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Total number of comments: 1860 (since 2009-08-02 18:11:12)

Danaa

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  • 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 facebook.com

      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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