Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 1947 (since 2009-08-02 18:11:12)


Showing comments 1947 - 1901

  • 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.

    • Even Elizabeth warren. Gotta check on rand paul. To condone Gaza is to condone slaughter of innocents. That's the kind of moral principles our congress is made of. - all sold to the highest bidder. Something to bear in mind when we speak or praise American democracy - surely one of the world's greatest illusions.

    • Mooser - Freudian slip?

    • I wish I could meet one of those ex-Israelis. I only ever knew myself to have taken the action of renunciation of citizenship. For all the reasons cited by the individuals alluded to in the article, and then some. because in my case, I have kind of been giving up Hebrew too and with it the Hebrew culture so extolled by Bernard Avishai. Instead, I found a new home in American culture, history and world literature. Not a bad exchange, all in all.

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  • Our top ten viewed posts in 2014 -- and five most prolific commenters, too!
    • Citizem, watching Fox news is NOT good for your heart. Please be careful with that remote!

    • just is a she? may be I should ask who isn't......

      HPY to you Annie from a special - and somewhat troublesome - fan.

      And I loved to see your posts on top. I know i shared one of those posts on my facebook to great raucus all around. It was fun (and I'm sure got MW at least a few new readers that never knew it existed).

      PS I recently discovered a MW reader in one of the most unlikely places in the world. And not even remotely jewish but very interesting. Won't tell you where but am still trying to figure this one out....

    • Keith, I understand why someone might become a bit sanguine about the Jewish inner tube bobbing up and down in ever more turbulent seas. The best i can say about that tube is that it's still inflated after all these times, managing to stay afloat thanks no doubt to an obliging media (yes, I mean that last ludicrous post by Brooks praising the idf, among four or five other egregious ones in the past month).

      Things do indeed seem to be coming to a head, with 2015 a pivotal year. We may just be seeing the desperate flailings of an empire in decay, but like any wounded animal, those flailings can be quite dangerous to any and all.

      I think may be you could think about revising the usual chicken and eggs argument on which beget which - empire or zionism? If you look really carefully at the worst actions of empire in just the past year, be it Ukraine, Russia or Iraq or China or falling oil prices (and now the baseless blaming of North korea for the Sony hacking), a pattern does seem to emerge. In particular, the neocon forces have regathered and gone further afield in their playbook, especially when it comes to Russia bear baiting. It sure seems like someones want a confrontation real bad, even though none of it makes any sense. And by neocon I don't mean something particularly jewish other than the intellectual underpinnings thereof.

      Well, you know my theory: as just about all the realist and sober headed analysts got cleaned out of the state department, and as the access of these realists to the presidency got more and more restricted, what was left is a vacuum of competency into which neocons stepped in, or more like charged straight through the front door. I wouldn't consider the Neocons to be incompetent (though they are on some level, like all ideologues) because that's a dangerous assumption. They have a playbook and they are intent on carrying it out despite obvious setbacks. Also, we can't blame zionism for everything to be sure, but we can say that way many neocons are infected with a uniquely toxic brand of zionism, the kind we see both in the US and in Israel, and not only among Jewish actors. Since the clear-eyed realists are all but gone from positions of power, what's left is a movable feast of hawkish foreign policy on steroids, propelled forth by a collusion of factors. IMO, the steroids is what turned milder versions of zionism into a robust ingredient in a witches' brew that now threatens to choke all in its wake (like Europe - that's choking, isn't it?).

      I believe that somewhere along the line the extreme neocon movement and the worst of zionism (often not readily seen, just perceived by the observant) combined into a most unpallatable concoction. I am not trying to make a simplistic argument here that zionism somehow causes all the evils in the world or that it directs the empire. rather, I see a more subtle process where the zionsim acts as a yeast causing the empire's neocon cake to rise, even as it overwhelms other more nuanced flavors (sorry for the cooking analogies. Must be the holidays!). I know i should explain better what I mean by "zionism" (everyone seems to have their own definition) but may be this is not the place. I'll just say that to me it is something like spice (there's the cookbook again) that can overtake other ingredients (cf. world views), be theysomething related to israel or not. At one point I was partial to The Saker's definition of the Anglo-zionist forces of empire, but it needs some work to flush out (I assume you know that blog).

      Anyways, whatever the causes, I agree that we are about to have a very bumpy ride. And yes, even I/P, as important as it is, is just one rider on the rollercoaster that the world has become. Also, all that being said, I miss Jeff and others who used to frequent the comment section, propelling the wide-ranging discussions that used to occur in the comments (you should know - you were part of some of the longest, testiest and most boisterous exchanges, if I recall).

      Happy New Year anyways.

    • Your comment Annie, made me go back and read the post. Those were very interesting passages highlighted by Phil. I am trying to figure out what it could be that caused such an uptick in viewership two years later.

      That being said, I happened to glance at the comments that accompanied the article. All I can say, is wow - those were the days. Blankfort was still around, Gilad popped in, Witty provided witless commentary (as always,not quite to the point), Robert Werdine with his voluminous meanderings nonetheless gave cause for merriment and some curveball throwing (including the excellent referee action by Hostage) and there were numerous other great commenters we don't see much around any longer but they sure were good (space will not suffice to list them all, but surely they know who they are). I found the discussion's overall level to be pretty high, with all kind of facts brought to light, and the tenor to be pretty civilized even though some mighty provocative and controversial things were said, and trolls like eee were at the ready to derail and deflect. I would not hesitate recommending the exchanges on the occasion of this post to anyone. Agree or disagree, there was much food for thought. With everyone being so very careful these days, can anyone blame me for missing those other more heady days - a mere two years ago?

      Thanks Annie for bringing the delayed popularity of this post to our attention.

    • I like those categories, RoHa - especially the one for Grammar and Spelling. Should that include least # of typos?

    • U R 2 funny......

      HNY from a 4th tier competitor (with what 1- 800 comments or so? but if they counted actual verbiage, well, I don't know - might be up there. Can you refer me to your attorney? I would like to challenge the selection criteria)

  • Yes, Virginia, there is a liberal Zionist
    • Yonah, when we say "entirety" we mean "the vast majority". Naturally you'll find exceptions though I think Psalm 23 qualifies as a minute portion of the whole, and even then, if you look at the various interpretations over the centuries, you'll surely find that some twisted that one too to revolve around the jews. after all, the psalms can be read as addressed collectively or personally - take your pick.

      For you to say that Jeremiah and Isiah address anyone other than the Hebrew people is really bizarre. It is so very goyish of you to be so "open minded" - perhaps a little light headed from spiked sufganiot (gotta watch out for that!). May be it will help to read those books in the original hebrew language to get the proper hang of them? I know you have working knowledge of the language - perhaps that would work (even if laborious)?

      That being said I already stated that one can find any interpretation one wants on the bible. I can probably find proof there that felines are truly superior to humans if I look hard enough and with sufficiently squinted eyes.

      As for my not liking the bible much, alas, that's true. After all i had to suffer through more than 10 years of daily lessons on this one convoluted, seriously uninspiring collections of rants and jewish informercials interspersed with no small amount of porn and mayhem. You can trust me that I did my very best to make the learning environment in each of those years a bit challenging for class and teachers alike. All in all, I should probably feel obliged for those endlessly droning Tanakh classes - that's where I perfected my skills of making proper paper airplanes that could fly around the whole room in one take (for which purpose I had to use pages from some of the other infinitely boring books we were subjected to. The Jewish history texts, especially, which often came with just the right grade of paper. The bible pages were too darn thin and small. Now you know why the brainwashing didn't work out so well in my case - wrong paper grade. Too bad it didn't come in papyrus - could have probably branched off to ship building).

    • Keith, clearly we are on the same page on this religion issue (as well), and it's good that you brought up israel Shahak in this connection.

      The one thing that no one can disagree with insofar as the Bible is concerned is that no matter what you are looking for, you will find it there. It's that obtuse and that all over the place. After all, as many scholars pointed out the book of genesis for example, the one that W. Jones is so keen on singling out as "universalist" was a transcription of many existing oral tales, myths and parables, collated into a single treatise and colored just so to make it fit the israelites who no doubt penned much of it down in the 400-600 BC years. The annonymous writers (who unfortunately were never prperly credited) no doubt drew on many resources to come up with the National origin myths that pepper most of the bible. It was surely a treatise intended to comfort and sustain the spirits of a people in exile.

      Now, there are people, believers of all stripes, who actually think the bible was written - or inspired - by some god, transcribed by scribes, perhaps verbatum, perhaps not. using a god figure as a "unifying' principle to bring all the different myths (including the story of Noah and the deluge that is found in several other people's traditions and mythical tales from that part of the world) made sense at a time when belief in god or gods was prevalent throughout all the human populations. So, the israelite scribes, probably residing in babylon, conceived the grand tale that, like a good goulash had everything in it that reflected on the human condition at the time. But with a twist that made it their own, like every good PR job. Which is, IMO, the reason so much of the bible reads like an informercial - selling the same thing over and over again, using props and actors made to fit different times and places as well as evolving sensibilities.

      Whether it's WJones from a Christian direction or jewish ultra-orthodox, it matters little to the substance of such arguments. The believers will continue to believe no matter what the subject or the argument is. They will find ways to have every word reflect positively upon their belief system. No matter how many articles of reason, based on linguistics, archaeology or history, we may care to bring up, they'll only use those as cudgels to further deepen their faith.

      The only question I have is why the believers bother to discuss these matters with those who outright profess to be non-believers. It's not like there is a common ground on any matter of biblical interpretation, when one comes from a position of faith and another doesn't.

      W.Jones - the reason why the tale of Noah is universalist is because it never originated with the Hebrew people - it was a well known tale found in many writings of different persian, babylonian, assyrian and even phoenitian sources - apparently there must have really been a grand flood, and the scribes who wrote the bible at a time thousands of years removed from supposed events, included that theme, no doubt embellished with much imagination, and included in the book of genesis. It made a good story for sure, one that one could tell children over and over again, and surely that's what the story was about - a bedtime story - turned into parable - told by one generation to another..

      To this day there are people in Persian areas who consider themselves Noahides - descendents/followers of Noah but not the whole shabang of the israelite traditions.

      As for the relationship to non-Jews - sure, some, like Cyrus or the "good" Pharoah are positively described, but only because they were 'good for the jews". It doesn't change the fact that the bible in its entirety revolves around the jews and what's good or bad for them. It is profoundly ethnocentric, parochial narcisistic, and often incredibly small-minded. But then again, I am sure you'll be able to find "universalist" messages if you look hard enough with sufficiently rosy tinted glasses.

    • W.Jones:,you say:

      "the Old Testament is, I believe, a universalist document in that it describes God’s relationship with mankind."

      If you want to pick a very short, very minor set of statements by some "prophet" or another to "prove" this point, I can't stop you. The truth is that one can pick and choose anything one wants out of the bible, and voila! proof has been found. As long as one forgets to mention that that was less than 0.01% of the total, why not? indeed thousands upon thousands of people of all faiths and persuations did just that and amazingly, the bible was found to "support" each and every statement.

      The statement you made above, based on the preponderance of evidence is patently untrue. The bible, as one reads it in hebrew (rather than any one of the translations which are already interpretations) is almost exclusively about the relationship of god to his so-called "chosen" people, and their obligations to said god, in respect of having been so chosen. That and the relationship between and among other Jewish/hebraic people. As to the relationship to other nations, the attitude is exclusively one of contempt and oftentimes, outright spite. Yes, one can find exceptions, but that's the OT for you - exceptions are plentiful, which is why I rely on the preponderence of evidence, as in >95%.

      No matter how you try to twist and turn every which way one sentence or two by one of those "prophets" the reality remains: there is very little that's truly universalist in the jewish Old testament, as much as Christians would love to think and pretend there is. Yes, the Christians adopted [most of} the OT as part of their lithurgy, probably a rather unfortunate choice but perhaps necessitated by the many references jesus, as told by gospels written 100 or so years later, was Jewish enough to refer to OT passages, so bingo! they're in!

      The "nations" are generally referred to derogatively, if not dismissively. Oftentimes they were subject to genocide. At best, an occasional treaty could be made with them, but true respect and inclusion were not to be extended to the hethens. If they converted, well - that's another thing.

      "The Bible predicted that the other nations would accept belief in Jehovah too and thus the Temple would belong to them. "

      THE BIBLE predicted no such thing. Your passage is a matter of interpretation every which way but loose. One so-called "prophet' made one assertion or another. That is not THE bible. The nations, if they converted to Judaism (not just accepting the hebrew god) they might be tolerated enough to escape god's wrath. never once has any statement been made that I know of for the temple to "belong" to the nations.

      Then again, there's nothing I can do to convince you or any other believer that what they want to believe may rest on flimsy foundations. faith is strongest usually when least supported by fact. By definition (otherwise it would be called 'reason" not 'faith").

    • Yonah, Spinoza was decidedly NOT "sociologically Jewish". He was not only expelled from the social fabric of Jewish life for his ideas, but he was content to live as a social outcast, dedicating himself to the life of ideas without the social compromises the jewish community dictated. Unlike uriel d'acosta, Spinoza neither recanted not begged for any inclusion. His few visitors were those people who read and were awed by the Tractus. They beat a path to his door, a one room dwelling provided by a caring, good hearted couple. His friends, or rather, the ones who befriended him and admired him were all non-Jews. The jewish people of Amsterdam were way too intellectually primitive and emotionally traumatized (by their escape from portugal, Spain) to be able to discern the incredible genius who sprung up from among their ranks (well, they liked him well enough as a yeshiva boy, a smart guy who could spout old texts and dusty old ideas with the best of them).

      Just because you, and some other tribally inclined jewish choseness peddlers, want to suddenly claim Spinoza as your own, does not mean you can or that your case has merit. He was a jewish elui, that's true enough. But the community that cast him out may not reclaim him 400 hundred years later because of some blood ties. Intellectually, emotionally and spiritually Spinoza was a man ahead of his time, a giant among insects, recognized by a few, but those few were the ones who counted. He is now credited with being one of several harbingers of the age of enlightenment, one that came upon non-Jews far sooner and with greater impact than the sheltered and shtetled jewish community, encased as it was in prim talmudic dictums and suffocating religious dogma that took the life out of any honest and open discourse. .

      And no, you can't always blame persecution. In Spinoza's case, the persecution was mostly directed by the established jews of the time. jews who would not come into their own form of enlightenment until nearly 200 hundred years later.

      Sorry Yonah, you can't have Sp[inoza. he belongs, by rights and by spirit to the family of nations.

    • mooser - I have an idea! dazzling in its simplicity - how about we just all "wait it out"? encourage as many gentiles as possible to gum up JDate on one end, and give israel every rope we can on the other end?

      I totally trust the israelis that they will do everything in their power to mess it up royally for every jew and wanna-be jew in the world. The israelis are that good! they need no help from anyone!

      Why, even as we speak they are giving a master class on how to make America cringe, even as kerry visibly squirms.

      And that's just for starters. I hear they have many more plans hatched up by the brilliant minds of the start-up nation.

      So why should we do anything? I say you tell Sean to be patient and wait.

      me, i got the popcorn ready (well, carrots actually) - I expect fireworks come 2015!

    • Sean - problem with the homework answer: your definition of "liberalism" as a political system based on individual rights applies perfectly also to Libertarianism. But we all know, on a gut level, the two are not the same.

      I use libertarianism as one stream of political identification to highlight the problem with defining "liberal". I think that before we can bag us a liberal zionist we need to figure out what exactly they mean by "liberal'. I bet it's not the same as what I might mean.

      I also see an issue with "civic nationalism" because it has the word "nationalism" in it. Liberals the world over have some things they might all agree on more than they differ by nationality.

      I guess I am pushing the linguistic angle because we can't prove the deep dichotomies in the expression "liberal zionists" if we don't have a working definition we can all agree on about what "liberal" is.

      All that before we even get to the "gradations" of "zionist".

      Mine field, that one.

    • Key questions for "Liberal zionist":

      1. What's "Liberal" and whose definition shall be used to define the term?

      Homework assignment (trick question): can a libertarian be liberal? if so, what are the commonalities? if not, where are the contradictions?

      corrolary: are there jewish libertarians? are there israeli ones?

      2. What's "zionist"?

      Homework assignment; distinguish between different levels of zionism, categorized by appropriate prefix and rank by proximity to "liberalism". Example: Faux zionist, Uber zionist, Nouveau zionist, Meta zionist, Para zionist, Paleo zionist, etc

  • Caroline Glick melts down with European diplomats
    • Behold the face of biblical messianism. I can see how caroline would defend the Gibghis Khan of the Old testament, the great slaughterer of humans and other life forms, joshua, to the last Canaanite man, woman and child.

      It's all a double-standard, the Glick would glibly say. How could you possibly hold the early Israelites to a different standard than the Moavites or the Hittites, or the Egyptians? that after all that the israelites did for those of the Midian tribe, sleazily cunning souls they were, who lied their way into survival as wood haulers and water fetchers! Now, really!

      And the Glick goes on, as she waves and gestures to the multitudes assembled around the soap box:

      "To call Joshua a war criminal, a biblical hitler bent on genocide, only goes to show what contempt the fine souls of the world have for the jews. The Jews who brought the law with them, straight from the Mouth of Moses on the mountain, the one and ONLY people who had any kind of Law in antiquity" (editor note: Hamurabi doesn't count, of course. His law is heresay but the tablets of Moses survive to this day in the pages lovingly collated by generations of sages versed in law, poetry, psychology and ethics).

      Sorry I just couldn't help myself imagining caroline on the line in a nice all American debate club high school beating back an attack from someone (kind of like yours truly), who might, just might question the right to be right of the forever righteous.

  • 'Tip of the BDS iceberg': Kuwait excludes Veolia from $750m contract
    • Veolia is a good step. However, what about Intel planning to spend $6B in Israel?

      I understand the BDS committee focuses on companies with demonstrable link to the settlements. But, unless they also start taking on these "big investors" like Intel, I am not sure we'll see that much progress in getting BDS into the consciousness of a zombie world that's being propagandized into eternal sleep, unless they start taking on the really big players.

      I am actually not sure whether Intel is on the list of sanctioned companies under BDS (will check). If they are, I think there should be an upward tick in the level of consciousness raising about this company. It is by no means an easy target. However, I should think that a letter writing campaign about them investing in a country of war criminals and child murderers should be a good start (and the "child murderers" is by no means a hyperbole. Most israelis were OK with what their sons, daughters, fathers, brothers and friends did in Gaza. They just wanted more of the same).

  • Did Snowden blow the whistle because of the US special relationship with Israel?
    • OK, I guess visits to Macy's and Nordstrom are OK too, but stick to fashion browsing! no excessive shopping for exotic perfumes now - those could be tell tale signs of "radicalization"!

    • I second your warning, Citizen. This information sharing is hardly confined to Arab Americans.

      In fact, we might as well assume that every single commenter and visitor to the Mondoweiss site, along with the blog editors are followed electronically everywhere else they go. Furthermore, portfolios are no doubt constructed that cross correlate said visitors with other metrics, such as other sites visited, activism, effectiveness, work background, travel patterns and who knows what personal information. This compiled information is no doubt shared - if not originated with - Israel.

      I believe that almost every single individual in the US who is in any way active politically has a dossier. This is kept as insurance to make sure that "when the time comes" there will be a complete "information awareness" about any and all that could present threats to the status quo.

      Inside israel, that such information is compiled is not even a secret - it's more like posted out there for all to see. We will never know what blackmail has already been brought against israeli activists to either silence them, get them to collaborate or just blunt their effectiveness.

      In the meantime, yes, it's a good idea to limit one's extracurricular (ie, other than MW plus other political, news or work related sites) online visits to the Amazon philosophy bookstore shelves and sudoku workshops.

  • Rabbi Brant Rosen steps down from Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue saying his activism on Israel/Palestine has been 'lightning rod for division'
    • babylouise, so, I see we are bringing in the Indians to excuse/justify the Israeli occupation (as in: one occupation, two occupations, who's counting?). You do know this is common-issue/standard hasbara line, right? I will resist the temptation to reply on the merits, but must inquire: did you not just say, somewhere above, that you are opposed to Israeli occupation? that you are, in fact, comfortably ensconced on the "left"?

      Anyways, I find that line of argument somewhat jarring - given your other statements. Those firmly in the 2-state camp for example (cf Lib-zios, "left", etc) do not usually resort to the "what about the Indians" argument. Just saying.

      Oh, the temptation! if only I had world enough and time!

    • Babylouise, Danaa here again - the civil version. Seems to me that what Elliot was driving at was to get a sense of the Jewish values that would draw you to a synagogue. I think that this is something that interests a lot of people here, and is a subject that has been much discussed over the years. hence the interest.

      To many here "values" is something that goes with "culture' and "tradition" and "history" as part of the total package. Surely, especially children are likely to ask - so, what did it all mean? tit is likely their educators anticipate thiese kind of questions and deal with it one way or another, but there's the rub - how is it dealt with? right wing synagogues have ready-made answers, as do the ultraorthodox. But what of the left-leaniing, more liberal denominations? given the past decades, given the way the reform movement transformed itself into a nearly mindless obsequiousness to all things israel - at the expense of "values' - these kind of questions are bound to come up.

      That being said, I kind of understand where you were coming from - some system of 'belonging" for your children in a larger and older system that American school system - which errs on the side of studied "neutrality and "inclusiveness" - cannot provide. At least I think I understand that to you - and no doubt many people who join synagogues for their kids' sake - it's a bout a sense of heritage.

      I know many Chinese people who send their kids to Chinese community centers to learn more Chinese history and language for the same reason. Keep a sense of heritage and a unique history.

      But Elliott has also touched upon some other important considerations - like, how do the children learn about their heritage? is it through the "victim" experience of being hounded from place to place forever? is it mostly emphasizing the positive attributes and universal messages contained within Judaism or is there more subliminal message of "exceptionalism" which ties up with the "why do they all hate us" question? and most importantly, how is the concept vs the reality of Israel introduced?

      Those are good questions, I think. And i have no cause to think that RJC did anything but a commendable job on all of those. But my issue - as I said in my other comments - is that the "political" cannot be separated from the "Jewish" any longer. It's always there, and while it may well be possible that Brabbi Brant Rosen's departure had all to do with internal politics at RJC, somehow I - along with others - doubt that his standing up for what he felt was right voicing opinions to the outside world - did not play a big part in what transpired.

      You want a "Jewish education" divorced from politics. But while that is understandable, I just don't think it's possible. The political is always there, poring from between the cracks. It's what many here lament and others out there encourage. Either way, it's a fact of life for jewish life in the US.

    • Me, a moderator? my my, have I been elevated! At this rate i may yet find myself on the same lofty level as Annie - what would I have to do then? behave myself? Now, that would be a bit of a shame, wouldn't it?

      OK, off to with me to the dictionary again - must learn more civilized discourse. No more of those "some"s (actually, I am only partly joking. I really could use some new vocabulary to describe hebrew unfortunately there are only like five words to say 'anger', so naturally we tend to go from "peeved' to red-hot furious in a blink of an eye.....)

    • Interjecting - unlike you babylouise (in most likelihood, since you are, I assume, one or more, generations American) , I do have parent who really did survive the holocaust, and we did end up in israel and not the beautiful America (ouch!). However, unlike those who would continue to worship THE Holocaust as the be all defining moment for Jews and people the world over, using it and the many dead and injured left in its wake to justify the worst atrocities committed by Israel, I have become aware of many holocausts perpetrated by humans on other humans throughout our common history as a somewhat sorry species. From the people of Vietnam, who were bombed to smitherins, to the nearly exterminated Hugenots of France. Humans committed genocide against other humans for a long time - so many in fact, that the reasons, when viewed collectively kind of blur together in a pool of common blood. In the jewish bible, Joshua was commanded by "some" god (there is that "some" again) to exterminate everything and anything in Jericho including infants and animals who committed no crime other than living in a city coveted by a conquering tribe. Yet, when I learnt the story of Joshua in israel, as seculars, we studied it in great detail but virtually no finness and no discussion regarding the morality of god's admonition was encouraged. that memory remains (note: the observiant study the bible WITH commentary - they may get a more nuanced view. I wouldn't know. Shmuel knows much more in that department).

      naturally, having stepped outside the cult that is israel, I have been extra sensitized to the ways in which the cult teachings and programming were administered. It's a different experience from yours no doubt (assuming again you are America born and raised) and quite different in general from Jewish Americans who were seeking spiritual life among other Americans and formed the tapestry known as "Jewish values" in the process (which, BTW, israelis completely fail to comprehend. On whatever side of the divide they are. We didn't do spiritual or universal values very well).

      Just thought I'll mention. Sorry for the harshness of my words, but I think that in the face of 500 dead children the time for gentleness and gentility is past.

      Ritzl - thanks for the able defense and your many good points, delivered in an ever so civilized and erudite a manner. I will try and learn proper discourse when the rage subsides a bit.

    • Mooser, you may surmise I am losing patience a bit (even as you are gaining?). I am becoming more harsh, I know. But also I have this sinking feeling that time is running out for a lot of things. Thanks for not chopping down - off to the dictionary now to find a softer package.....may be there is some new verbiage on sale...

    • W. Jones - it may very well have been just 5% - but it all depends on who that 5% is, and what they choose to do, doesn't it? As Rev Fife below has said, in his church it was also a very small minority that caused the strife. Then again, it almost always is that small vocal minority, and not just in churches. Witness the Salaita firing and the discredit it brought upon the university. Or the sum total of all the complainers to the NYT for being too "anti-Israel".

      An institution - be it a church, temple, a university, a city council, a newspaper, or a non-profit - is often at the mercy of vocal and motivated minorities which, due to some sway relating typically to contributions - can, at times move heaven and earth, threatening to bring the entire organization down if their specific, often narrowly defined wishes are not met.

      This, is the ultimate test of institutions, too - how steadfast they are in their commitment to their mission. Those which can resist will ultimately grow stronger. Those which don't will keep hemmoraging good people and good will.

    • Rabbi Brant Rosen is a well known and highly respected figure among jewish Rabbis, one who chose to express sentiments that many share when it comes to israel for example. As a result, his resignation, him being one of the not-so-many who have actually brought credit to judaism will naturally lead to speculation and perhaps even rash conclusions.

      You cannot be jewish these days and not be political. that's because there is that reprehensible little country, israel, to which many, if not most jeewish temples/communities/synagogs feel they awe allegiance. often in direct contradiction to values they consider to be part of jewishness and certainly contradictory to the liberal traditions of American jewry.

      Since the religious is political in the case of Judaism because of israel being what it is, it's natural that we all take great interest in the resignation of rabbi brant Rosen. To me, at least, he seemed like a bright light in a very dark tunnel. If he saw fit to resign, while i can't claim to know the exact causes, it is natural to suppose that there was a political element in there somewhere.

      This blog is one place where he was greatly admired, because, not despite of the views that he so courageously voiced. One can only hope that there will be a new home for him aftyer JRC, whatevr direction JRC chooses to go.

    • Babylouise - the causes of the temple sound pretty good to me. maybe you wanted something more Jewish centered, but that's a choice of for tribal narrowing which some want and hopefully not too many.

      I can say one thing though - to continue to support israel is to support child murders, oppression of others and persecution of those whose lands are coveted. If that's what Jewish heritage represents, then perhaps there is not much left to celebrate. Rosen reached out for the victims of israel's colonizing and dispossession. Some would say it's a good jewish value to do that. Others are comfortable consorting with those afflicted with the spirit of blood lust, revenge and greed. To each their choice.

    • Algodon, your church could mend partly because in the end, you just had yourselves and your church and spiritual values to contend with and fall back on. I don't know the details but reckon the strife was mostly internal. but the pressures that rabbi brant had to contend with were probably not only from within but also from without. And few people understand unfortunately the deeply poisonous stuff that emanates from the unholiest of "holy" lands.

      St. Luke's probably did not have to deal with an external actor that every few years insists on committing yet another massacre, resulting in hundreds of dead children among other abominations. Yet, that place, Israel, puts itself as the gathering place of "jews" supposedly. And as long as it is there continuing to behave as it does, it'll hang over like a dark shadow, a Democles Sword pitched to strike at the heart of every jewish adherent anywhere, every synagog, every community and every congregation, whether deeply devout or not.

      other churches may face grave issues and conflicts but not that most difficult of all challenges - excusing the death of innocent children in this day and age, brought straight into our homes, through our television screens where torrid little troopers who see themselves as avengers and masters of the land, clad like Roman centurions or mafia assassins, see fit to destroy everything in sight. Yet, excusing the atrocities and abominations is what every jewish congregation has been engaged in for months - to a greater or lesser extent. That can make for very difficult mending indeed. after all, Rabbi Brant made his own opinions and feelings known and excuses they were not. That is clearly one of the reasons he felt obliged to resign at this time (I don't know the details so am merely surmising here).

      Perhaps the closest things I can think of is the plight of the catholic churches in the face of all the child abuses or - even closer - the position of muslim mosques that have to deal with the barbaric behavior of ISIS. Surely, few support ISIS among the vast majority of mosques but it is there - a specter that threatens to sully the name of any muslim anywhere. as well as islam itself

      Actually, I take it back - there can be no comparison. Most catholic churches denounced the behavior of bad priests, though not before damage was done. And the great majority of mosques around the country have nothing good to say about Isis. But the great majority of jewish congregations continue to extohl israel, continue to pretend that Israel stands for some kind of positive Jewish values, that the bloody excess of that renegade, barbarous state are "understandable' because of some holocaust that happened long ago, or some barely believable clause of self-defense.

      No, there is no parallel anywhere. And I am sure that Rabbi Brant did the best he could as long as he could, until the great schism was right there, the elephant in the room, and he felt obliged to leave before the big guns are brought out and the big contributions dry up.

      Frankly, his resignation, and knowing what a good man he is, tells me all I need to know about what may or may not have transpired. Whatever happened it's definitely a warning for the future of the jewish faith in any of its apparitions.

    • crankylibrarian,

      I have a question - why does your congregation even need Israel in the picture? isn't it best all around to divorce israel - and whatever it came to stand for (nothing much that's good left) - from what you consider Jewish values? is there, in fact, a single "Jewish value" Israel stands for (other than "it's all about us, so bugger off")?

      I really can't understand why jewish congregations, reconstructive, reform or conservative - still want any connection with israel. Just call it a day and join the rest of the enlightened, civilized world - including many Christian denominations - in confronting the true ugliness that Israel has become. If jewish congregations don't start doing that real soon, none should be surprised if the good name of Judaism itself - in any of its social/congregational /communal manifestations - and all its spiritual accomplishments - will be dragged into the mud, there to become entangled with genocide, blood-letting, hubris and colonialism.

      Divorce and renunciation - that is the only salvation for Judaism (not that you would ever get me back ...lost interest, I fear. Too much hypocrisy and hubris has been revealed to salvage much - but perhaps others could use a little comfort now and then).

  • Our new look
    • "Howdy" should attract more Texans and New Mexicans to the site. It'll make kinky Friedman feel right at home.

      I welcome anything that's not East Coasty, and Howdy is anything but that. At least it's not "Yo"....

    • Thanks Adam and annie for the comments and feed-back. I'm sure things will improve as time goes on.

      Some day some psychologist will do a PhD thesis on the commenters community, especially when the subjects are politics, geopolitics and conflict zones. I'm sure there are some common traits. We do kind of like to whine a bit - it's part of the motivation in commenting, the flip side of it. The other part is the emotional investment in the site - which can be great but has some side effects. In that regard the I/P interested "community" is quite special iboth in terms of intensity and commitment. Plus we got, like, the best trolls ever (speaking of trollish types, anyone seen hophmi lately? surely he has things to say about the new site!).

    • Keith, I'll try and see how easy (or hard) this is. I think I already got confused.

      link to

    • What do you mean by Hamas "crimes", jon s? executing collaborators? you think perhaps they should have sent them instead to the same fool-proof jail Ben Zygier was entombed in? ah, I know - they could have exiled them to Israel, right? or, at least give them a proper trial with certain israelis called in as star witnesses. I agree, that would be much better, and we should all thrive to convince hamas that collaborators are human beings too and deserve trial, or at least exile to the land up north, where they would no doubt be welcomed with open arms.

      I know, I know, you don't believe in terrorism and are dead set against the punitive centurions who managed to slaughter upward of 2000 people, 500 of whom were children. I am sure that in a final court of law it will be hamas fight back and execute collaborators as well as inflict you support dragging them all to the ICC, - Hamas which managed to inflict some casualties upon the child murderers and the murdererous troopers themselves, complete with photos of their heroes attire,, dressed up to the hilt in military insignia, who will no doubt complain they were only used as "human shields" by Israel, and should be compensated for the trauma they suffered having had to put the bayonettes through all those little kids.

      I know that israel would be much more civilized if it found some informers in their midst who were able to pinpoint the locations of select IDF commanders and political leaders, resulting in, say, the wiping out of half of Tel Aviv (I know, it's a big oops....!). Surely even such callous Israeli informers would still get the fairest of fair trials. The only democracy in the ME and all that.

      Besides, not ranting and rabving "hamas, Hamas, or Isis Schmeisis" is considered to be pro-hmas AND pro-Isis. But this is not a hasbara central location, you know. You can consult with Israeli papers and social media where Hamas! gevalt! is all they ever do.

    • What are your issues with hamas, jon s, other than israel hates their guts?

      They are simply a resistance movement operating within the confines of an internment camp for 1.8 M people, descendants of a horrific ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Israel. Hamas may not provide romantic guerilla figures a la Che Guevarra, their religion may be too fundamentalist for our taste, and they don't have English speaking leaders traipsing up and down the halls of the UN and NATO, like the once cuddly Syrian rebels. But they are the kind of leadership that emerges in a prison under conditions of extreme siege.

      Just because israel and apologists in the US go all nuts over hamas, this and hamas that, I see no reason the rest of us should lose our objectivity.

      BTW, are you pro or against the east Ukrainian separatists? all they want is to be free from fascist rule and for that they too are called "terrorists". In fact, israel, and its lackey, the US call anyone they don't like "terrorists". So that means what it means, right?

      Anyways, I don't take your comment all that seriously as I think you are just being a bit sanctimonious, trying to wave the hamas card, one of israel's least convincing talking points. In any case, I challenge you to show where or how MW has been "pro-Hamas". MW throughout the gaza slaughter of the innocents episode (hard Rock, or as the cuddly PR called it "Protective edge". Sweeter sounding for sure) has been steadfastedly pro-humans and pro-people. To Israel merely being pro-human is enough to designate someone a terrorist sympathizer.

    • Thanks for the reply and the sincerity, Keith (and Walid and MRW too). I do understand the issues all too well and believe that Walid, for example, also knows a thing or two about keeping discussion groups going. Tough road to hoe - that's for sure. I also realize that time investment is a deterrent to many, especially if one were to get too ambitious.

      Still, my thoughts were along a pure "mirror" site, as opposed to an original "forum", meaning it would be something to catch the traffic that "spills over' from MW due to threads being timed out, which to me is the most frustrating part of the comments boards. That and the length of time in moderation though I totally understand the limitations there.

      Friend Feed is one very simple option, as you say, and Sean has opened his feed just for that purpose, though now it catches lots of additional material. Unfortunately, FF has its limitations - like the lack of paragraphs and html features - making it all very "text like". Some like their stuff formatted, others care less. But it is very transparent and instantaneous. Unfortunately, its very simplicity is a downside in that it's impossible to say, ban someone from posting, and we all know the problem with trolls on all sides of the fence.

      Anyways, there are other options out there, and I'm just trying to hash things over - mulling them over in my mind. As I said in my post, and I know you agree, Phil and Adam don't "owe" us a comment section that will be to our exact liking. God only knows they come under criticism for having one at all (just check out MJRosenberg's twit on that). My worry is that the "great schism" in the jewish American citizenry and the coming estrangement between parts of the world jewry (I refuse to use the word "diaspora" any more) and israel (also coming) will not be a gentle one. It'll be more of a rupture I'm afraid and the level of nastiness that would bubble to the surface will be substantial. Efforts will be made to clamp down on public feed-back on lots of boards and worse. We should never assume that there is going to be a genteel separation, or that Phil and Adam are superhuman in being able to resist any and all pressure, so I'm merely anticipating a turn for the worse and would hate to lose track of the many good people who post comments here.

      None of this should be construed as whining because the web site changes its appearance, whatever my own preferences. Like everyone else I am very thankful and appreciative that the Mondoweiss space has existed all this time and that efforts are made to make it better still.

    • I’m less concerned with the wrapping, more concerned with the content - See more at: link to

      Trying to figure out the copy/paste feature. Let's see what this does to jon s, the content man.

    • Keith - I think it's really high time to look for other venues and options to carry on discussions. Personally, I am too frustrated by the two day limit to enter any comment - what's the point? be a megaphone? if that's what I wanted I'd just send in a post or have my own blog. The engagements with others is what made the comments section a vibrant part of Mondoweiss - perhaps too vibrant for the taste of some and/or too demanding on moderators' time.

      There are excellent options out there for a "mirror" site where discussions can be conducted without artificial time limits. Unfortunately, one or more people must be highly motivated to put this together, unless there is a group effort where everyone will have "duty shift".

      Personally, I think it's essential to have such an "echo chamber". Clearly people are clamoring to meet with, discuss and debate the issues with other somewhat like-minded people (OK, "like-minded" other than the Chomsky battles - but that's like a necessary ritual, isn't it? the willingness to fight over Chomsky).

      I wonder what people's thoughts are about something like this. I am willing to contribute my share because I think it's important to discuss the issues and personally, I have learned so much from other commenters that time would not suffice in the day to list them all.

      Mondoweiss does well in what it does. I don't want to spend time whining over what the blog does not want to do. They have an important role to fulfill and I support their quest to become more professional - no matter what I end up doing it'll be great to have a place I can link for so many relevant articles. They don't awe me a place where i can interject, opine or whine. So if I or others want one we should get off our collective behinds and do something.

      Feed-back please (assuming the thread doesn't freeze)?

  • Rolling in underground tunnels
    • guzzi, Israel is not purely secular, of course, though a majority still are not religious in the sense of believing in a god or all the biblical mumbo-jumbo.

      Yet you are right about the majority wanting to have their cake and eat it too, ie, not believing in the god part, but believing in the "Judaism" part, especially when convenient. ie, there may not be a god, except perhaps when he made us the chosen, or promised the land of milk and money. So there is god and there isn't at the same time, which helps clarify the mystery of the well known Jewish genius for being and not-being all at once.

      So there, we have it all wrapped up now - the "values" of Judaism (cf. we are the bestest and the chosenest) the genius of cracking the existential dilemma that troubled men and felines alike (to be AND not to be) while also beating heisenberg at his own game by demonstrating once and for all that the cat is both alive and dead (felines the world over rejoice!).

      So guzzi, where do I go to get tips on those "Jewish values"? will I get a glimpse thereof in Gaza perhaps? are they hidden in a tunnel? or must I wish upon a star?

  • 'Lesson: The Jews will defend themselves even if it means killing children'
    • Mooser - I think it was the Star Trek references (much less Dr Who). Dead give-away of Christian-ness.....everyone knows that!

    • I know all about the "Galutim miskenim" syndrome. Practiced it myself. I remember all too well those American jewish tourists (who we figured to be all "rich") showing up on "our" beaches, wearing Bermuda shorts, soon to take on lobster red hue. Couldn't play rackets, or navigate a hasake, or know the right places where one could get a nice pork-in-a-pita sandwich. Even when they dumped the bermuda shorts, donned proper speedos and managed to get that tan business going, they would always reveal themselves by being too darn polite. It takes good israeli upbringing to know how to be uncouth just right without a shred of embarrassment.

      But then I had to figure things out, like there is a virtue in civilized conversation, and time not spent on the beach could be spent in libraries and on baseball courts and in comedy halls. Of course, speaking of un-cool - well, there's always Florida (but no more on that). Also the American constitution is kind of nice - never knew such fun could be had talking about 1st to 4th amendments back in the Middle east (am still getting a bit hazy about those other amendments). Last I heard there was some serious law contributed by these hapless, homeless pale "exiles" once they took care of the local Cossacks and beat back the pogromists.

      JeffB - here's something just for you - America IS the real zion, but the wanna-be zion is doing everything it can to ruin it - may be because they figured that a home is not a home unless it has "only" Jews (with a few assorted hanger-ons admitted). Actually, they are kind of jealous - no other way to explain the influx from the Holy land to the new jerusalems known as new York, Boston and LA (not gonna say notin' about new jersey...or Florida).

      BTW, three "a"'s is really too much, don't you think? even the Finns don't go that far...

    • Phil, lost in the verbiage of Lozowick is a barely concealed contempt for the Jews of the world. Not sure others caught just how very dismissive his tone is towards Jewish people in general, including those who may be zionists but do not live in Israel.

      He may direct his ire towards those who question IDF bad manners as they conduct "just war", arguing that the "Just" part sanctifies poor behavior. But the spite towards those usually referred to, euphemistically, as "diaspora" is unmistakable. We won, you lost, the spaces in-between-the-words seem to say, followed by a not-quite-audible, "now get lost" cadenza, trumpeted in the distance.

      To those outside the israeli paranoic group think, it may be obvious that the attack on Gaza is more of a pogrom than a "war", Gaza already being a prison from which there is no escape. It goes almost without saying that applying the word "Just" to a purely punitive campaign, while comparing Gazans to Nazi Germany, is neither relevant, nor logical*. But what he is really saying is that whatever these "other' jews, not absorbed into the Borg zio mindset , are thinking is immaterial, because they are "outside the hive", and therefore, by definition, inferior.

      I think this contempt for and dismissal of any and all opinions from outside the Borg should not be taken lightly or ignored. Neither should we blind ourselves to the obvious loss of mental acuity that is a natural side-effect of being "assimilated". What Lozowick reflects is nothing short of n attack on the very concept of enlightened discussion. I kind of doubt that any of the good points made by commenters here would have the slightest effect on him. I would expect him to be immune to both reason and logic when they touch - even obliquely - upon the First Imperative, which is "self-defense".

      My worry is that the Borg may morph into Daleks, and then what?

      * would not a better comparison of Israel's Protective Shield' (itself a euphemism of the operation name which is better translaterd as "Hard Rock") be to the Romans swooping in to attack annoying little Judea the better to dislodge those zealots (cf. the biblical Hamas) once and for all?

    • Hasbara Buster:

      Lozowick to Intellectual is like Twerking is to Grand Jete.

  • Fatelessness
    • Thanks for your excellent comments, W. Jones. You said it better than I did, I think. The idea of the international community as a kind of a Chorus in a Greek tragedy - I like that.

      Also, your points about the brave solidarity activists, especially the ones on the ground and the ones organizing the actions, are well taken. If only there could be more!

  • What Jim Fallows and I saw
    • hear, hear, tree.

      "Oh, those gentiles…its all in their secret codes, and one can’t really believe what they say in polite company, can one? Why not start checking into your own racism and bigotry? It appears to be a ripe field for contemplation."

      Alas, it's in a different code. And encrypted, too.

    • So, here is the conundrum:

      Jews as the new privileged class, by and large condone what Israel, the Jewish state, is doing. The majority is at least silent. A very loud minority are out and about justifying the outright murder of children as "justice" and "self defense" (those must be the new "Jewish values"). A much smaller minority, of which Phil is a leading voice, are disconsolate over the mayhem perpetrated by the Jewish state - in their name - even as they bravely seek to remove their name from the list of supporters.

      I ask, how many Jewish people have actually stood up and called the gaza slaughter what it is, a disgusting atrocity? a crime against humanity? Possibly a prelude to outright genocide (what else would one call "mowing the lawn"?).

      How many Jewish people actually contacted their representatives, wrote letters, spoken to their friends and family, showed up at a demonstration, put their opinions on their social media for all to see? or even whispered them barely audibly?

      How many came out as opponents of barbarism, whoever commits it? or calling it for it is - biblical style barbarism?

      Yes, I know. A very small fraction - some 10's of thousands. Was it, is it even 100,000? Shall we say 10%? shall we be generous and say 15%, if we were to include the ones on the side of humanity but too timid to "out" themselves for fear of repercussions?

      And if that is the case, if that's all it is from the Jewish community - 5-15%, if the vast majority still support - and cover - for the actions of the Jewish state of israel (because that's what it calls itself, right?), by silence or by speech, can they continue denying that it IS done in their name? that the wholesale slaughter of children is something jewish people could easily go along with, if they think it benefits them?

      Let me ask differently now (Phil, don't listen now...) - how many Jewish Americans have lost any sleep over what just happened in gaza? or, if they didn't lose sleep, were at least embarrassed by, say 10 minutes out of their busy day? anyone cares to make an estimate?

      Where I am going with this is, well, nowhere good. I think it's time to hold the 90% responsible, as in, personally so. Because the dead children had souls and if their eyes were open, they would be accusing eyes. The dead children - the ones last month, and a year ago and 6 years ago, and 8 years ago, are like zombies. They will rise to walk among us, like small ghosts, haunting only a few sensitive souls, at least at first. But then, as the zombie children continue to multiply, what was a whisper may become a loud voice, and then a shout, then a not so silent scream.

      On my side, dead children - lots of them. On the Jewish American majority side (forget the christian zionists for a moment, OK?) - there's Hamas! and scary muslims! and Holocaust ghosts, of course. Those are always around, as attested to by countless memorials, museums, movies and books.

      Talk of collective responsibility is not pleasant. It's incendiary, in fact. Most Americans now were not guilty of expelling the Indians, or bombing Vietnam or destroying Iraq. But all Americans - great and not so bad included - pay a collective price, one way or another - whether they were the least bit guilty or not. Liberalism is founded and gets it life blood from collective responsibility. It's what fuels the western do-gooders of the world. It's what fills up the coffers of the charitable organizations. It's partly what propels journalists-with-conscience and doctors without borders.

      It is time for American Jews (or was it Jewish Americans) to take stock of what they supported, enabled and covered up for. The jewish state of israel. Not any state. Not an israeli state of citizens, A very jewish state, spinning ever faster out of control. Impervious to voices of reason or compassion. If a monster it is, it's a jewish monster. Over there, yes, but spreading tentacles far and deep, way over here.

      What does one do with a Golem anyways? anyone knows?

    • Phil, why do you celebrate the new Jewish mandarins? are they any better than the previous mandarins (the wasps)? if so, in what way?

      Hint #1: the wasps had at least their loyalties firmly anchored in the country which benefited them, the US. They could also be said to represent - at least in part, a majority of the people, and were well represented in all 50 states. Yes, even in the mid-west.

      Hint#2: all who rise must eventually fall. Of their own weight. Due to their own exc esses. The human race has never known how to handle privilege. It seems that jews, as a subset of the human race, are no different. Privilege begets entitlement, which begets blindness, which begets, as sure as the sun rises, corruption and obliviousness to others.

      Hint #3: what about noblese oblige? seen much lately?

      Hint #4: most importantly, what about Gaza? what was it I heard about jewish values and when have I heard it last (scratching head, puzzled)?

  • 'Is the Zionist dream based on the repeated slaughter of civilians?'
    • The intent of the rockets is to hit military targets. Unfortunately they don't have good guidance systems, so they miss their targets, sometimes by miles. I think israel should supply Hamas with some better fire control and navigation systems. Also perhaps more effective detonation and payloads, so there can be some actual damage, enough to produce heart rending photos of destroyed bases and power stations. If some rockets still stray from their targets, then Israel could also instruct hamas in hasbara tools, such as "oops, we didn't mean to hit that school, but it's IDF's fault for having a recruitment center so close to it. When will Israel learn to love it's own children more than it hates ours?".

      How about it jackdow? care to help on this worthy endeavor?

  • PLO official Hanan Ashrawi: Israel's assault on Gaza is 'state terrorism' and should be referred to the International Criminal Court
    • I read the above exchanges between Hostage (welcome back), WJones, Walid, Abierno and others with interest. I have a couple of comments to add (from a very non-lawyerly place):

      Everyone here (minus paid/unpaid trolls) certainly agrees that what Israel is doing in Gaza amounts to a war crime of the gravest kind. Doesn't need a lawyer to see that, just common sense, really, and the stomach to look at some really disturbing photos, of which there are way too many. Whether Abbas could/should/would turn to the ICC and how is the key issue debated, followed by "what would the ICC do", the $1B question (as Hostage pointed out - after $1B and 12 years two Africans prosecuted. Wow!).

      Of course Abbas should be SEEN as doing something, no matter the route. Of course the ICC will find a way to not DEAL with the issue. After all, who pays the piper here? where from ICC's budget? and most importantly, who exactly is running the show at the UN, anyways?

      After all, there is a very big country that has committed numerous war crimes in the past 12 years that we know of. It's called the US. Followed by another, slightly smaller (only in size) country where war (and other) crimes is a way of life. It's called Israel. Neither is a member ICC state but they forever point the fingers of blame at other, oh so grievously human rights violating states and agencies. That's just a fact of life in our wonderfully organized world. As is the result (all too obvious) that both the US and Israel get away with whatever they want to get away with (OK, OK< I know they are not the only ones. Just the most frequent ones). They have, by hook and by crook, acquired a permanent "immunity" card. Be it Power or Holocaust, they get out of jail, no matter the hollerings elsewhere.

      But here is something to think about:

      In a world where Gaza was allowed to fester as ghetto/detainment/prison camp for this many years, periodically bombed to "mow the lawn", the bombings excused on the front pages of the western newspapers as "fighting terror", what chance does any lawyer have, no matter how learned, august and righteous? no matter how solid the arguments and water tight the case?

      And in a world, where there's a very good chance (likelihood) that a plane full of 298 perfectly innocent passengers was 'sacrificed" as part of some grand plan to get NATO "in", that while the baying about Russia goes on unabated on all the front page media - never mind the facts, in such a world, what does "war crimes" mean? does any of us really believe there can be an honest investigation of the plane crash if the finger points straight to Kiev and beyond? and if so, let us think for a moment - what can the rest of the people in such a world do in the face of willingness of some well-heeled and/or dastardly actors to destroy civilian planes, cities and even entire countries?

      I guess what I am trying to say is that, despite earnest desires on the part of many, it is only the Rule of Law when TPTB allow the Law to take its course. But when the law is inconvenient, there's only the jungle for the rest of us, plaebes and peons.

      Boy, I'm sure glad I didn't choose ICC law as a career. I might get depressed or something.

  • Horrifying details continue to emerge of massacre in Khuza'a
    • Bernie Sanders, hero to the left - on Larry King show (paraphrasing):

      Israel is in the right ("self-defense, blah blah", as in, no matter those dead people - what choice is there? or as in "what do I care, it's not like those dead children are jewish or anything". Whatever.)

      Putin should change his ways (as in, give in already, we want 'it', whatever 'it' is).

      But, there is always a but, inequality is really bad and we should do 'something" about it.

      As if someone who can't stand up to the zionist and neocon control of the US congress could ever do something meaningful about inequality.Or about anything else, for that matter.

      And this, mind you is probably one of the best people out in that congress.

      It's just that we have an empire to run and a fascist cult-run, semi-mad country to watch for (or else, they can take down the empire - gevalt!)

    • Seafoid, about your link:

      Comments like this are found all over israel, from all levels and ages - the educated and the not so, the well off and the poor, the charitably inclined and the mean-spirited. All are united as one: MORE BLOOD please. The loving grandmothers whispering to their cute ten year old grandchildren - "they' brought it on themselves; "they" would do worse if "they" could. In the bars and clubs, in university halls and yeshivas, on buses, in taxis and in the streets. In homes where spouses cuddle and look lovingly at their off-spring, as they watch the images of the brave IDF out on their mission to kill a few more. Get those tunnels. They are all hamas anyways. It's good (us) vs evil (they).

      Sometimes, mowing the lawn is hard work.

  • Avishai says we misrepresented his views
    • Don't take Phil's warning lightly Mooser. I share his apprehension, as do many others. REspecially seeing the level of almost hatred between the different camps arrayed on the jewish side. Each with its own cadre of non-Jewish supporters and bretherns-in-arms. each armed with arguments that range from military to moral at the blink of an eye. I have seen more than one dinner party come to complete ruin and more than one angry outburst, followed by strangely violent expressions of speech. I know many families where members are effectively ostracized. And I had occasion to witness more than a few cases where the mere word "Israel" was treated like a toxic concoction, not to be uttered or addressed in polite society. Except that when massacres happen , as in gaza, it gets harder and harder to pretend that the elephant is just taking a nap in the middle of the room.

      It's not even as simple as anti-vs-pro Zionist. Like you say, it's coming down to "who is speaking for judaism" and close behind "what does jewish mean anyways". And mixed in is the barely mentionable conundrum "what does it mean to be American"? that last one is where the fault line will bring forth the really intense tremors. Or, that's what i predict.

  • 'Are you a fucking leftist?' --Israeli fascists target anti-occupation activists in Tel Aviv
    • Mooser, Hostage got unhappy over the Chomsky debates and is taking an extended "leave of absence". The Chomsky thingy even got me sucked in again - the dude is irresistible! and a spring chicken he even ain't...

      Between you and me, Mooser (because no one can hear, right?) it's a jewish intellectual thing. After all, there are still food fights over poor old Trotsky - it's like the guy was never brought down! and I did not even mention Marx yet...

      Chomsky just has a way of getting the brainy all on fire (I need to think about that some more. May be this could be weaponized...). And the Lib Zio is full of brains - splattered everywhere on the nets. Not to mention the anti-zio - - burning even brighter.

      Seriously though, it's all about BDS. The final frontier. Time to take a stand. With us or outside "us". The "it's all America's fault" crowd vs the "It's all israel's fault" rabble-rousers. Of course, you and I (and perhaps another couple thousand, or million, including some Chinese and Indians) know it's not so simple as to be one or the other. I am learning a lot from reading these days about the fight of the Romans with the Goths. Of course, a couple thousand years later (give or take a few decades), the Goth went all German-like (or french...) and the Romans went Italian (BTW, in case you are tempted to ascribe me any historian credentials, nothing could be further from the truth. I can make anything I want into Goth, including vandals and Visigoths. Such vikinganization saves me from Chomsky and/or Trotsky worship pits - or temples).

      PS I know none of this applies to you, as you wisely stick to plumbing and carpentry as the ways to enlightenment.

  • The Israeli culture of vengeance on full display
    • Just today, an image popped up on a facebook page of an israeli, showing the mangled body of a bombed palestinian loaded onto an ambulance in gaza. Comments underneath it, ranged from "more of the same please" to "'why are they loading unto ambulance? for chips?" or something like that. Then there is the ubiquitous " they would be worse". This is quite typical for the commentary one sees in Israel. The sheer blood-lust displayed on israel's social media - and in conversations on the street (as recounted by some brave souls) are truly disgusting as well as overwhelming. Even if it's "only" 20% of the so-called jewish population that actually express these sentiments, there's another 40% that feel the same but have enough sensibility to not express the hatred openly. But it's there, percolating just barely under the surface - and at least in Israel - they know it. As does max Blumenthal whose indefatiguable documentation in "Goliah" is driving the mainstream good jews of America quite crazy with distress.

      I said before and I can only repeat again - what you see in Hebrew is 100 times worse than anything you read in English. Israel gets to hide its extremely ugly side behind an obscure language that most of the world does not speak or comprehend (including the vast majority of jewish Americans). Had even a fraction of the average Hebrew conversation/postings/ramblings been on display for the world to see, as they are in Israel, I doubt that even some of the greater supporters of israel's brutal conquests would not avert their eyes in utter shame and discomfort.

      There is a great evil that's taken root in the very souls of the israeli public, and especially among the younger generations. That evil hides behind a [very] foreign language at the moment - so what is visible to the English world is but a tiny echo - and that is already repulsive plenty. Enough so that Jewish publications like NYT labor mightily to couch whatever is happening in "cycle of violence" language and other white washings. Making sure we see masked Palestinian youth throwing stones, rather than photos of grieving mothers and broken, leveled orchards and destroyed homes. As for people who know and see how israelis actually speak, witnessing the culture of pure distilled hatred that grew up among the sand dunes and hilly country-sides of the holy land is so discomfiting that they choose to turn away, as we all tend to do when confronted with the darkest side of our human capital. It's just too plain unbearable.

      I would like to call upon more Hebrew speakers to share with us all what is really happening in Israel and what has really happened to israelis. I know people can easily find counter-examples (there was a photo of the uncle of one of the murdered Israeli teenagers hugging the father of the murdered palestinian boy that was shared on facebooks too), but these are a small subset of the total - oftentimes used as cheap Hasbara to illustrate that - "hey, we have good people among us". Of course there are good people among Israelis. But there were good people in Germany too when the nazis were raging about, and there were certainly some good people when the Palestinian/Hindu massacres happened in 47-49 and there were good Spaniard and Portugese people who were appalled at the misdeeds of the conquistadors, and probably some Turks who were quite taken aback by what was done to the Armenians. But those were not the ones who carried the day - did they? for example - we don't even know the names of those Turks who spoke up against the Armenian genocide - history has relegated their names to near-obscurity, hasn't it? the only saving grace at the moment, and frankly the only thing that's holding back the full madness of israel from being unleashed, is the world out there, with its internet, blogs like this one (and many more) and a growing legion of stubborn truth-tellers.

      I guess that's what I am trying to warn about - beware that those good people in Israel - and many we know here on MW - and there are no doubt many more we don't know - may not be on the winning side. They certainly aren't in israel at the moment or we would hear that much more from their ranks rather than the few highly laudable - and visible - groups, like breaking the Silence, B'tzelem and others. Once Pandora's box is opened and the furies are let loose, a few good - and brave - men and women is just not enough to hold the dam. We all have to step up and help, at least by holding the mirror, as steadfastedly as we can.

      For that we need many more articles like this one. Kudos to Jonathan Cook.

  • How long can Israel depend on Mizrahi docile loyalty? Smadar Lavie asks in new book
    • These are very good points of comparison, Shmuel. And i share your questions about some of those specifics....

    • I could not agree more with many of the sentiments expressed in this piece - and am looking forward to reading the book. It is about time that the well-meaning people in the west - on all sides, left and right - woke up to the pervasive racism endemic to Jewish society in Israel.

      I said before that what we have in Israel is not so much a racist society (which it is, to be sure) but worse - a caste system that was deliberately developed and foisted upon the population through decades of a highly subversive educational system . The Mizrahi, from day 1, were treated as a lower caste - something well below the lowest of Ashkenazi immigrants (say, those from Bulgaria) - but a goodly smidgen above the native palestinian residents, who, in turn are considered an Israeli version of India's Dalit - "untouchables". their culture - such as it was - was considered "inferior", their ways "primitive", their speech "vulgar", their version of Judaism - "peculiar". Of course, we all loved to go to yemenite weddings (and if we were never invited to one, pretended we did), but that's another story. It wasn't just their different 'color' - it was their entire state of being-Arab that was, to us, superior ashkenazi children, kind of repulsive.

      I recall that in the entire years I spent growing up in Israel, we, of the Ashkenazi population, did not intermingle or even meet young people of Mizrahi descent. they did not go to "our" schools and we "knew" their schools were more "religious", and generally of much lower quality. How did we know/ who said that? was there any formal prohibition on "mixing"? no - but it was not necessary. What there was is a seemingly natural recoil - not because they were 'darker" (after all, we spent most of the time on beaches trying desperately to get that deeper color which they came to naturally), but because they were, well, "not cultured", or "not so clean", or "not really one of us". Most importantly because, like in all caste-based societies - it just wasn't done. No one thought or talked about the reasons why we were not to mix, but we all knew what the unspoken rules were.

      Interestingly, many of us met Mizrahis for the first time in the IDF, where suddenly, "they" were all around. usually in occupations deemed "lesser" - they were the cooks, the guards, the military police, the drivers, the busboys in the officers' cafeterias. Sometimes car mechanics or warehouse workers. In other words, they were the "shoe-shine" boys - and, of course, a ready-made "canon fodder" for israel's battles. Sure enough, when I rebelled during my own service, one form the rebellion took, was to announce that i only date non-officers, and that in fact, I rather prefer "cooks" and other "working people" (well, I invented terms as I went along). This, believe it or not, was considered outrageous conduct, which, of course, was the point (I wish I could say it implied an emerging political conscience - alas, at the time - this was just typical, in your face, israeli behavior, meant to showcase disgust with the way women soldiers were treated in the Israeli military - basically as 'socialization material". So I did my own form of "socializing"). Alas, such relationships that were developed during service - mine included - did not last very long. By the time we (some of us) went to University, or started a work life - it was back to our all-encompassing, ever so cozy Ashkenazi groupings. Again, to my lasting shame, I must confess that the one - and only - student of Mizrahi descent I met as a student days - a rather nice fellow - did not get much more than a passing glance from a not very enlightened previous version of my self. I thought it was interesting he was there, and was mildly curious, but the taboos were just too strong, and my own courage was perhaps more for show than real substance 9at least that's what it looks like, looking back, not very rosily).

      I know things have changed somewhat in israel - more Mizrahi are educated now, have university degrees, work at "white collar" jobs and there are more than a few cases of "inter" marriage. But have things really changed that much, I wonder? this book, and Sylvia's review, say that changes in the intervening decades since my time, were more superficial than foundational, and I am inclined to believe that, based on what I know of that society's sinner structures. I do wish more people spoke up about the intricacies of intra-Jewish separation (which goes deer than racism, IMO) - then and now. I am tantalized by the possibility that the mizrahim may have a very significant role to play in any potential rapproachment with the palestinians, but realize this would take herculean educational outreach efforts. Still, I also think the "left" of the "West" should pay a heck of a lot more attention to that segment of israel's society, and especially to the very disturbing undercurrents of a caste-like class-based society there. After all, whatever happens in Israel seems to have a way of infecting America, so if for no other reason, some serious attention is warranted to what makes that society "tick" and tick so out-of-tune.

  • Israeli police and media collude to marginalize coverage of Muhammad Abu Khudair's murder
    • For a little countermeasure to the ever-repellant hasbara, here is one of several facebooks popping up all over Israel:

      link to

      Yes, it is in hebrew, but google translate can give enough of the flavor. Lots of likes for this one which basically incites against Hanen Zoabi, the Palestinian-israeli Knesset member who appears to have driven some israelis quite mad with hatred.

      I especially recommend a comment from yesterday which shows a video from Syria perspective (don't watch!) implying that Zoabi and Jihadi are quite the same. Makes sense, right?

      For those who are interested (and Max Blumenthal has certainly done much research on the subject of pure hate) there are many more where this came from. Note that people "like" this facebook - along with others of the same ilk - under their own names. They don't even try to mask their identities - like it's something to be proud of. An old Israeli friend - who apparently liked these types of postings quite a bit - brought it to my attention in an [unsolicited] e mail (I am on his list for some reason). He actually thought I might find the substance "convincing". No wonder i don't miss my old friends much.....

  • Liberal Zionists' denial of Israeli racism heightens danger to 'everyone living in this land' -- Blumenthal
    • Keith, thanks for taking the trouble to reply even incurring the extra heart beats from that thread-hopping exercise . It is frustrating that threads close prematurely nowadays, though I expected that - and probably more to come. My absentism has something to do with a disenchantment and even more so with disconsolateness - the Cassadra routine is getting kind of old, not to mention pointless. I don't want for the disconsolation to shine through since, well, what's the point? Much better to give support, where and how I can, to those who act in defiance of whatever it is that's being prepared for us all. Out in the world, things are at the stage where they are getting worse (hopefully before they get better) both on the I/P front and on the many Empire's battle fields, now grown to encompass Ukraine, EU, yet again - Iraq, and a few other barely mentionables, like oil, gas and grand finance.

      Personally, I have always taken a bit of an issue with the tendency in progressive ranks to chump down on their own. Chomsky, like Finkelstein, like Greenwald, are lightening rods. As my other comment said, there is this inclination, among progressives, for hero worship to take hold. Was just thinking of Chris hedges the other day and, of course, Greenwald, who is the subject of any number of conspiracy theories. At the end of day, all these heroes, Chomsky at the head of the pack, are just human. Not all their opinions are solid, not all their positions consistent. if they are lucky, they live to get old which might make them ramble a bit. Knowing all that, my own disappointment in Chomsky is rather mild, if there at all, since I never did the adulation part either. He has done and said much that is good and even great, and sometimes brilliant. His current anarchism speaks to me, as kind of the last refuge of the scoundrels among the 99%. He is occupying a very large space in the progressive halls, and one can hardly be surprised that there'll be those who prefer to serve notices of eviction rather than roll up the sleeves and clean some of the dust around. Frankly, if everything Chomsky ever said was right on and totally consistent with mine or anyone else's preferences, I'd get really worried.

      For myself, I am quite content to see Chomsky serve to precipitate ongoing debates about BDS and specifically about jewish attitudes to it, and therefore to Israel. It's a good angle to discuss and an opportunity for many to examine and re-examine their own attitudes. We should all be so lucky that a mere collection of words would stir such a tempest. At least for some of us it's Chomsky rather than Danerys or Jon Snow that cause us to go into convulsions of eloquence.

      Also, I am sometimes amazed at the willingness by some to assume that there can ever be a perfect severing or a disconnect between the role of Empire and the role of Israel. Sometimes one leads and the other schemes to find benefit, sometimes it's the other way around. However the I/P conflict began, whatever the outsize role of the Lobby is and was, by now, the two are tied in a gordian knot, with no sword in sight to cut through. Some day the sword will be found and both will go out in a flame (hopefully leaving some of us standing). Treating Chomsky as if he is an Arthur, turned into a dark lord of Camelot, is well...a bit too dramatic.

    • Henry, there was a good interview with max Blumenthal on RT television yesterday. Abby martin's program. She let him speak his piece, which he did quite effectively, proceeding to reinforce the comments on her own. I believe RT is "letting" Abby "go there" periodically. As long as it's not too much (well, they have to be really careful. For those who get and can watch RT, it's an amazingly refreshing channel - give or take some production issues**. Really "subversive" at times, but sure beats every other alternative).

      An aside; also yesterday on peter lavelle's program (a really good one much of the time) he had Jim Lobe and Robert parry on. Agree or disagree with either, they are good analysts, and where else can we see any realists interviewed on any MSM?
      * such as the ubiquitous reliance on what I call "bimbo news buster' effect. De rigeur on all channels nowadays, not just RT or Fox. Even those who don't look bimbo-ish, are made-up to look so. I think Abby's program for example, would be a lot better if they just let her dress like a normal person).

  • Chomsky supports portions of BDS agenda, but faults others, citing realism and int'l consensus
    • PeterAgur, I realize the accusations are serious - but that does not make them any less true. I know what admission system to TAU is like, and it is not nearly as transparent as you suggest. There are numerous exceptions on the matter of grade on matriculation exams and/or the entrance exam. All kinds of extenuating circumstances are taken into account - though only for jewish, not palestinian applicants. For the latter, it's maximum "transparency", right? example - I have a family member who managed to get into TAU with far less than adequate grades. But her mother was widowed hence some consideration was extended, both on acceptance and tuition waiver (that lovely relative is now a trophy wife par excellance, to the best of my knowledge, using that education that she got, somewhat minimally. Oh well, happens everywhere, I suppose, and that is definitely NOT Chomsky's fault).

      But besides the underground discrimination, such as age, you yourself bring up the most obvious grounds for discrimination. Israel is making sure that the schools in palestinian towns remain inferior and underfunded AS A MATTER OF POLICY. Not only that, but there is the matter of the subjects tested on which again, disadvantage palestinian students (look into that if you wish). Harvard, at least is making at least some attempts on bringing a modicum of fairness through eg, affirmative action towards the disadvantaged, even as it continues to accept disproportionate number of "legacy" students (which is how the jewish undergraduate population can reach that staggering 30% level - clearly not on merit alone). In israel, they make lip service to support for 'disadvantaged" students but it is just that - lip service.

      I have some links to the situation in israeli higher education as far as the Palestinians are concerned. If this thread stays open long enough I'll go and find them for you. If not, you can look for the material yourself - not very hard to find.

    • Hostage, I understand Chomsky is speaking of the reactions of others and not necessarily himself. However, this particular passge I quote indicates Chomsky's own belief that "they" (Presumably the public-at-large) need more "education" before the tactic can be "effective". Now, now - education, really? like the palestinians have another hundred years before they are totally done away with? and who will conduct this "education" exactly? educators? our MSM columnists? Roger Cohen? Ruth marcus? how about Max Blumenthal, for example? seen anyone lately invite him on a main stream channel (other than RT, DN, etc)? better yet - hasn't Phil Weiss been trying to do just the sort of "education" needed for over a decade now (or longer)? haven't you?

      And what's the outcome? anyone learning anything that wasn't inclined to learn in the first place?

      The emphasis on (2) makes a lot of sense to me as does Point (3) in the BDS platform. Those two points have already done more to educate multitudes (of the not-so-jewish variety in particular) than all the great jewish explainers and educators in the past 20 years.

      Chomsky is simply wrong on this issue (of point #2) not because he doesn't have some idea of just how bad the palestinians' situation is in Israel now, but because he does and is willing to let it go on, while making meek little whoispers about "education".

      I can only repeat what I said above - the palestinians citizens of israel are treated not just as a lower race of people, but as a lower CASTE. And that is so and will remain so because nothing is more terrifying to israelis than the idea of inter-marriage. This is the greatest taboo - the fear of assimilation. It is far greater than any concept of "honor" they keep hurling at the Arab society. Israelis will not rest and will continue to labor mightily until such a time that the Israeli Palestinians can be finally relegated to the status of "untouchables". And just because a caste system is not enshrined in law, does not mean that it is not practiced de facto. Besides, in a way it is the law as long as archaic halachic "laws" handed down straight from the middle ages is what governs family law.

    • Keith - were it only as simple as you say - the PEP vs the POOP.....

      There's much more than visceral anti-Chomsky gangerism turd-hurling fun-fest to the critiques elicited by Chomsky. For one, he has always cut a larger-than-life appearance BECAUSE he was so erudite and articulate about the issues, and bBECAUSE he presented himself as siding with justice rather than relishing power. Chomsky said much that was right on, not just on I/P but the darn Imperialism and plutocratism of it all. His "manufacturing Consent' was one of the great masterpieces - laying our orwellian reality out as well and as convincingly as anyone could.

      But people who reach the grand status of "prophetism" eventually encounter the cut-down-to-size phenomenon. Really not at all unlike the more common celebrities. There is, among humans, a tendency to put some of their own on pedestals, which then get hoisted so high that the figure head sitting upon the "throne' acquires almost trans-human characteristics. As they get nearly "deified' they appear to lose touch with humanity, at which point resentment creeps in and they become "fair game".

      This happens quite a lot among the liberal side of the fence. One example - few are as bitter and vitriolic about Obama's failures (real and perceived) then those who actually believed in the Hope and Change message. from lionized-qua-Leninized to Stalinized is but a short stop.

      In another example, I have every expectation that this is about to happen to Glenn Greenwald too. Too many were too eager to put him on a pedestal so high that there was only one way out and that's down. Now that his 'grand finale" has gotten the kibbosh, I expect the chorus of lamentations to reach fever pitch any minute.

      All that being said, there's another phenomenon going on and it is one that I think both you and Hostage need to take into account (sorry for lecturing. It's a problem, I know): BDS is a Palestinian civil society initiative, not a jewish one (though many jewish people are riding this train, at least for now, even if some begin to behave as conductors). Boycott is sometimes the ONLY tool left for those who have been defeated, and Palestinians, unlike the Jewish activists and sympathizers who support them, taste the bitterness of defeat every day. That is why the BDS platform is what it is and that is why RoR is here to stay - be it from a true yearning for justice or as a strategy. Palestinians were not brought up on Talmudic debates, of "on the one hand, on the other hand". They were brought up among the ruins of their homeland, living to see it taken over, destroyed and rebuilt for another people, who they justly see as usurpers and conquerors. That this was allowed to happen may indeed have had something to do with the Empire (cf. colonialism as a tool) but to the palestinians this matters only a little, only in the debating clubs and the hallowed halls of academia and activists' workshops. The jewish sympathizers, the anti-zionists and the post-zionists of all stripes labor to make it appear as if "we are all in this together". But we are not, are we? At the end of day, the post-zionist's home is safe from destruction and his life has built-in protections even during the worst of demonstrations.

      Why am I repeating the know and obvious here? because to me it seems that people like Chomsky and Finkelstein have come to symbolize the gap between the victors and the vanquished. when a member of the victors' class - and Chomsky is certainly that on more than one level - takes issue with one or more of the meager tools available to the vanquished - why, he can expect the sky to come falling down on his head. If he doesn't and didn't then he must have forgotten his human roots....just a little.

      Those people who feel most strongly the bitingly sour taste of defeat (be they Palestinian or not) have earned the right to be disappointed - in Chomsky, Finkelstein, Goldstone or Slater. Even in you Keith if you come out too hard and fast on the battlefield where too many of the wounded still lie, visibly in pain, and the dead have hardly even been buried properly. You can't blame people if they feel that Chomsky is now bringing the terms of surrender. However artfully the arguments are presented, it has the look and feel of "we won, you lost, so get the best terms you can". It smacks of rubbing in the salt, of partaking in the triumphant celebrations of the undeserving. And it reminds me of the conquistadors' "gift" of Christianity presented to the vanquished natives of South America, even as the the jewish conquerors do not in any way even bother to offer the 'gift" of "Judaism".

      I like much of what you say, keith. But sometimes it's important to see the psychology at work, not just the [geo] politics, or the finer points of tactics. If some people see Chomsky's hand wringing over "international consensus" and other silly artefacts as a Trojan horse, it's perhaps better not to try and paint the horse brighter colors, as if that would serve better to hide the defeat is nigh message hidden within.

    • The "money quote' from Chomsky:

      "There are “prohibitions against discrimination” in international law, as HRW observes. But pursuit of (2) at once opens the door to the standard “glass house” reaction: for example, if we boycott Tel Aviv University because Israel violates human rights at home, then why not boycott Harvard because of far greater violations by the United States?

      Predictably, initiatives focusing on (2) have been a near-uniform failure, and will continue to be unless educational efforts reach the point of laying much more groundwork in the public understanding for them, as was done in the case of South Africa."

      This by far is Chomsky's worst misunderstanding/malinterpreting. The way he speaks of Palestinians rights in Israel shows he has no clue as to what their status really is like. Similarities have been drawn to the Jim Crow South, but that is not accurate. Neither are comparisons to something akin to the old "Dhimmi" status of non-believers in Muslim countries. The closest comparison, IMO is to the caste system in India - the way it was - and still is in many places. The Jewish Ashkenazi have effectively the status of brahmins, while the Mizrahi descendants are somewhere below the merchant class. The Palestinians unfortunately are not second class citizens, as some would have it. They are effectively ranked below third class, even as Israel has been trying hard to relegate them to a new kind of "untouchables". One cannot and should not underestimate the huge efforts being mounted in Israel to enforce greater separation between Arabic and so-called Jewish populations. Prohibitions against miscgenation, while not entirely written into law, are nonetheless enforced as common practice - by consensus and by societal pressures - and sometimes through deliberate barriers in the law. it's not just that Palestinian Israelis are "discriminated' against, as say, blacks are in the US in parts of the at least parts of the US. It's that there is an active policy meant to ensure they are regarded - and treated - as a separate - and inferior - caste. It is that obvious policy (not always enshrined in pretentious articles of law that are hardly ever followed) which makes comparisons by Chomsky to racial practices in the US bordering on the pernicious.

      Tel Aviv Univ should be boycotted not only because of israel's ethnic persecution and oppressive policies against Palestinians in the West bank and the internment camp of Gaza. It should be boycotted because it tacitly provides support - by hook and by crook - to the extreme educational disparities between palestinians and Israeli jews, be it through discriminatory admission policies (carefully papered over), secret quotas, preferential scholarships, dormitory assignments and carefully designed channels for encouraging 'separation" while pretending to do otherwise. To the best of my knowledge, harvard does nothing of the sort. In fact, I am quite sure that were hrvard to impose (secretly of course) the kind of policies TAU does on Jewish applicants, why - the land could not contain the cries of the multitudes, with Chomsky no doubt leading the voices of outrage.

      I can see and understand people going all berchleft at the mere mention of RoR - I disagree of course, but I see how people have been brainwashed for 70 odd years to see Right of Return as an existential threat, ie, Palestinians coming back = Israel not "jewish" any more. How sad.... Of course, the reality of the demand for RoR is quite different than the hysteria surrounding the issue, but unfortunately, there's a large contingent of erudite and intelligent jewish people - who won't - and can't bring themselves to view the RoR question realistically. So knee-jerk reactions is all we get.

      Having said all that, the bottom line is, I think a lot simpler: BDS was a Palestinian, not a Jewish initiative. It is therefore suspect, almost by definition. When push comes to shove, Chomsky, like Finkelstein, simply care less about Palestinians, their view-points and their initiatives than they would, were those to come from the Jewish side. These progressive luminaries won't weigh Palestinian initiatives (and viewpoints) fairly because they are still part of the tribe, even as they move along its outer reaches - carefully laboring not to overstep some invisible line.

    • People may be interested to note that RT just had an interview with max Blumenthal who mentioned BDS and Chomsky and allusions were made to Mondoweiss as well (with regard to eg, information known about the kidnapped teen settlers). I didn't catch the whole segment but I think Abby martin should be lauded for broaching subjects and having guests on that no one else in the MSM dares to approach (that despite the fact that Abby's mannerisms unfortunately get to me now and then).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Thanks for this piece - I will contemplate it profusely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      inquiring minds want to know, that's all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • ToivoS - well stated!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Iproyect,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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