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  • Israeli journalist who called for unspeakable acts against Ahed Tamimi tries, and fails, to backpedal
    • Excellent point. That's typically how it is. In Hebrew palestinians are a low form of "human". But if you dare expose the Hebrew lingua cesspool of racism, then you are at fault for causing trauma.

    • I suspect people who read Hebrew, like Jonathan, have had more than a belly-full of the vile things being said on Israeli media outlets and social media. To most israelis Caspit's suggestion of "things that can be done in the dark" is definitely tame, and many unabashedlty connect the dots in their own postings to their circles of similarly minded "friends' and spell out those "things done in the night".

      I keep thinking that someone(s) could do a great service to the world by offering weekly collections of the translated pieces from the great minds of Israeli FB, Twitter and Walla users. Lets just say that calling palestinians "dogs" and "worms" is the least of the names they get called (no insult meant for dogs or worms in this context, of course). I reckon that such an exercise will go long ways towards helping the Israelis to "clean-up" their language, at least in public, after a few weeks. For those israelis who relish shooting out their vilest "feelings" into the ether space, the effort it'd take to keep one's language under control would by itself be a fine punishment.

  • The never-ending crisis of Zionism
    • Keith:

      I would argue that Zionism was/is a significant contributor to turning Jewish social reformers into militaristic supporters of empire and war if sold as “humanitarian” intervention.

      I think you are onto something here, on a deeper level than usually discussed. The transmutation of a positive social impulse into its near-opposite through an alchemy that involves a secret ingredient - in this case - zionism, is a process that most humans are oblivious to. That's because people can be so clever with words that they can successfully wrap empty space in a package that uses smart sounding verbiage as colorful packaging material to mask the fact that the content has been hollowed out. It is then that the medium becomes the message, so all it takes is mastering the medium to garble any message at all.

      It is also possible that some people, through centuries of endless practice of theological sophistry about the nature of god, or Talmudic wisdoms,have become naturally adept at packaging thin air to make it appear substantial. the trick is to make the process and the end one and the same, by selling sophistry as the height of rationality.

      So it is not so difficult for the social justice warriors to turn overnight into occupation/regime change advocates. Just as it is not so hard for modern day israelites to wrap themselves in the flags of the old rapaciously aggressive Israelites while denying the essence of that aggression, claiming both piety of purpose and purity of arms. heck, the old testament did just that, so it's hardly a stretch to rinse and repeat for the consumption of modern sensibilities.

      PS took too long to reply - hope you'll still catch the drift (the draft?) though it be long after hannukah now.

    • Unfortunately, secular zionism is in a state of symbiosis with religious zionism. That's because the first cannot stand without the second. Which is why, as time goes on, more and more of the jews of Israel will turn religious, even as they deny it.

      Why is jerusalem yours? ask a zionist or an Israeli. And they'll answer: because we had a long history there. But so did the Palestinians, you may say. To which they'll reply, but it was ours first. But how do you know it was yours 3000 years ago? because the tanach says so, comes the reply. Which is where religion intersects with the secular to become one not-so-holy ideology.

  • The Chanukah of fire and occupation (is not about ancient times)
    • the closest modern day analogy to the maccabbees are the Taliban in Afganistan. Just like the Maccabbees the Taliban are a zealot military-religious fighting force, holy warriors so to speak, who are extremely intolerant of other religions and are totally committed to fighting an invading culture. The US, through its occupation force and alliances with the equivalent of Assyrians and other local tribes recepetive to "helenization", is tnot unlike the conquering Greeks, who also sought to introduce a more modern culture into a highly illiberal and socio-economically inferior Judean peasant-like population.

      Indeed, based on all I read, the Jews of the then-Judea were very much like the current day Afganis - economically backward, spiritually insular, religiously intolerant and riveted by various tribal conflicts. They did not approve of artistic depictions, statues or dance. Not even songs, other than devotional ones.

      To celebrate Chanukah is like celebrating a Taliban victory - a momentary one. Indeed, i could never figure out what was so wonderful about that old Judea and I remember being rather repelled, as a school kid, by the brutality of the practices of the Hashmonaim (who later became a de-facto dictatorial power over Judea, a totally corrupt one). Sure, the Maccabbees were a warrior culture, and like all such, very radical - religiously and militarily. Not much into taking prisoners either.

      I now think that the religious extremism of some warrior cultures - be they hamas or Taliban - can be best understood when considering the context of having to fight against a vastly superior force, especially one that seeks to colonize both militarily and culturally.

      When i grew older and started to read more broadly, without having to put everything through the extremely narrow filter of israeli myths, I came to see Helenization as an attempt to unit diverse people under a more tolerant (give or take), more secular and more liberal umbrella. Sadlly for the hellenizers they also subscribed to something like a Neoliberal version of economics - a catch-all-you-can type, that deepened rather than lightened existing inequalities.

      In any case, as a child in israel, i would not sing any Chanukkah songs. I said I didn't like to and couldn't sing (not without some truth). Sometimes i would step out from the circle of singers, or put my head down in class so no one will see I don't sing. Still I remember that in 6th or 7th grade I choreographed a victory dance for Channuka using the wedding march music. I liked warriors so I had my dancers dressed with shields and helmets. very Greek looking. I caught my then teacher looking sideways at me, seemingly perplexed. That's all I remember of him - that puzzled look. That and visiting him once in a rehabilitation clinic after he was wounded in one war or another.

      There was However no one to talk to about the stirrings I felt against zealotry of any kind. Or about this feint - but growing - aversion to the whole Chanukkah concept based on idolizing an extremely intolerant and xenophobic streak of fanaticism, candles or no candles. Kids need symbols and feasts, but my child's concerns were waived off as, well, childish.

      I now think they were anything but. May be it was vague foreboding of a dark future that the stories of the Maccabbes exploits conjured. Too vague to put into words. I just knew I didn't want to sing those silly songs.

  • Anti-Christianism
    • WEll, there has to be some nuance here when it comes to what we define as neoconservatism. Generally regarded as a stated desire to reshape the Middle East and/or other regions in Israel's image. So yes, on the face of it, neoconservatism which supports and approves interventionism seems to indeed be on par with zionism, digging a little deeper will reveal a schism, with positions on a kind of a spectrum (just like autism). There are many Jews in the US who consider themselves "zionist" only in the sense that they support Israel but relatively narrowly. And while such professed zionists may indeed possess views that do not exactly uphold Palestinian rights, not all of them agree that the US should engage in fights on behalf of Israel.

      Be they a fight with words, as is now directed against Iran, or a fight with weapons and logistics as was done to Syria, the zionist subset of jews is not all of a cloth. Even many of those much derided - justifiably - as "liberal zionists" (Ie zionists on the so-called neoliberal/liberal left) disagree with making Iran a boogey-man or with the CIA's/US military not so covert actions in Syria. Not that they would go so far as to cheer Assad or anything, but many jewish zionists are, in fact, against the out-of-control defense budget and/or so-called "humanitarian" interventionist adventurism. Of course, many of those could still be classified as "Empire jews"; it's just that they are not always on the same side when it comes to the Empire acting on behalf of or in coordination with Israel.

      So, I am just being careful here with my verbiage, because precision matters. That's what I called Giraldi out for. May be he got exasperated or something (can't blame him), but he should know that a few caveats can make a big difference. Especially in defending against deliberate misinterpretation. I mean, it's not like he is a mere commenter on a blog, right?

      PS Needless to say I have little patience with zionists of all stripes, be they neo-this or neo-that, because by and large to be a zionist means to hold Palestinian rights as something separate from and/or inferior to human rights. That because to a zionist, by definition israeli Jewish rights trump everyone else's rights, whether they acknowledge that or not (many won't, as we all know, because they have such beautiful souls, as they display sometimes on these very pages, etc. etc.).

    • I didn't know Giraldi was fired from The American Conservative. I read that article at the time and knew he is asking for trouble.

      The real trouble is that he was not entirely wrong, just lacking nuance. Not a good idea to lump all Jews into one basket, as a majority are as far from neoconservatism as most of us are. The problem is, as many pointed out before, that a small but influencial minority, did manage to hijack America's foreign policy by making alliances with the Deep State and with Christian zionists (who basically bring up the rear).

      That being said, Giraldi was careless and did not put in the appropriate caveats. These days, it's dangerous to point out that America's foreign policy in general is teetering partly because all the Realpolitik guys were banished (and yes, it was mostly guys) and that was done primarily at the behest of an Israel grown blind to its own best interests.

      To see someone like Kushner, a thoroughly unqualified fellow by all accounts and a novice on just about everything, running around making mistake after mistake, yet winning praise from israel, is truly a sad sight. Do people really expect the world to not notice he is an orthodox jew? just watch this to get a taste of how the "great" Saban really feels about all the machers trying to stir up the pot:

      One gets the feeling that what really annoys Saban is that Kushner was too wet behind the ears to know he has to stack the deck with a couple non-Jews. As it stands, his team is way too visibly Jewish.

    • Com'on eljay - the entire old testament is the story of women "given" unto men. Such was the custom among the ancient elite. But be fair, that's just bible talk, and we may be unfair to said Asenath. For all we know she may have liked Joseph well enough and successfully manipulated her father to agree to "give" her hand in marriage. Heck, to take a page from the Book(s) of Mooser "there are them who giveth and there are them who taketh, but it's all relative, and that which is given often ends up taking the store".

      In any case, you may be guilty of anthropomorphising - projecting modern day sensibilities on people long gone, who may or may never have existed. next we'll take all these guys - the Abrahams, and isaacs and Jacobs and Josephs to the cleaners for sexual harrassment. And no small amount of pedophilia, surely. Me, I'd just like to inquire what said Asenath's age really was. For all we know she may have been 12 or 30, and was "regifted".

      Oh and then there's that: Joseph may never have been anything other than a nice story to tell the children. Them Babylonian Jews who wrote the bulk of the old testament sometime in the5th-6th century BC, were an imaginative lot.

    • Keith, I agree with your reading, especially this:

      Trump skillfully (and dishonestly) capitalized on working people’s disenchantment with the Wall Street

      Trump won partly because many Democrats did not care for the packaged establishment candidate they were presented with, like a gift that keeps on not giving. Some did not vote at all (numbers were down in key states lost by Dems); some voted green and some left the president box a blank.

      In addition, the Democrats completely failed to gauge the mood of a public that was seriously disenchanted by a candidate so compromised by corruption that even a barely qualified, rather distasteful candidate like Trump seemed better.

      Trump is now president partly because of the rigging and probably outright fraud committed in the Democratic primary, which by all rights, Sanders should have won. Had he done so we would now be knee deep trying to help Sanders fight the Deep State, instead of running around frothing at the mouth over some hogwash Russia "collusion" fairy tale.

      That on the Democrat side. On the Republican side, they just closed rank around Trump because many believed he could actually "drain the swamp". Alas, it looks like the swamp, in the person of paul Ryan and the Intelligence agencies are draining him.

      People who think it was about identity issues are out to lunch and should not be surprised when they lose the next election. The electorate - as in the 95% who are not part of the ruling class + enablers - is extremely disgusted with the Empire, the out-of-control military budget and the steady decline of jobs as well as America's reputation.

      I speak to many right wingers and not a few Evangelical Christians, where I live. I second Phil's comment about the diversity of their opinions. I'd hardly classify them all as narrow-minded, racist, brain-dead apparitions as the coastal elites seem to do. Many are thoughtful people and many are very good people - even if they do go to church and believe in Jesus. I hate to admit it, but these days, I am having far better conversations with these Republican/Libertarian people than with die hard democrats, who I seem to have lost in some pit of mush where they still mourn the loss of Hillary, and fight the ghosts of a made-up "Russia, Russia" thingy, while failing to see the reasons for the dems failures.

      Trying to talk to democrats about the mistake of abandoning the working class is like engaging in a slogfest in the middle of a blizzard.

  • Israel will get 'more understanding' from Trump's negotiators because they're all observant Jews, Sharansky says
    • Sorry, catalan, but BDS is the best thing that hapened to israel in a long time. The reasons for that may be a bit complex for you or for the simpleton Sharansky.

      You are wrong BTW about the reasons I don't like Sharansky. It's his looks, not his ideas. Of course, like the picture of Dorian Gray, sometimes the looks come to reflect the ideas, in time, all in good time. He reminds me of a weasel, just not my favorite, alas. There, see how politically incorrect I can be?

      If you dislike this blog so much because of something BDS, you are either a masochist for visiting and being pained over and over, or just so lonely that even our company is better than nothing. You do know that one can find really cheap rates on cruises these days, right? holler and I'll give you a link. And don't knock 'em till you try 'em. Some modern cruises offer political discussion circles - it could be fun, you know....real people and all that --

    • I think that indeed, the Israelis are feeling pretty confident these days. They are ever so more comfortable with a Republican administration, and even more so with one not known for its brain power (Trump is known for many things. But braininess is not one of them). Generally, they are delighted to be rid of Obama, who was, to them, one of "those" black people. Whom they don't trust. And rarely respect.

      But, as always, Israelis are fond of counting their chickens before they hatch. Trump is a two-edge sword, never mind Jared kushner. Oh,, sure, Trump will let Jared ratchet up some "peace plan", just as he let him play lovey-dovey boy with MBS, the new clown prince. But then, as we may all know by now, the best plans sometimes go awry. They sure did in Syria, didn't they? and Qatar? a poor move perhaps?

      I don't know what will happen in the next few weeks or months. But yes, trump thinks he can wheel and deal his way out of anything. Alas his son-in-law is not exactly the brainiset in the bunch and by now, perhaps good ol' Trump - who has street smarts if not sharp intellect (over-rated anyways) may be figuring that out.

      So, Sharansky thinks he - they - got an Ace in the Hole in the person of the Clown Prince. And the desperation of a KSA that was not able to bring tiny little Yemen to its knees, Billions of warfare materiel notwithstanding. Of course the reasons for KSA's desperation is another story for another day, but for now, desperation is what holds Israel and KSA together. Like peas in a pod, they sweat together. One can only wonder why (hint: the name starts with an 'R').

      In any case, silly Sharansky should think a little more about those Americans with Kippas. People know them around here (here being the US which Sharansky knows nothing about). They are a rather changeable lot, last i heard. here today, there tomorrow. Me thinks he should not be quite so comfortable (you know, butter on which side of the bread, etc).

  • Draft-dodger Tzipi Hotovely comes out as an anti-Semite
    • There is no belief that Jewish people are damaging to the society where they live, quite the contrary.

      Actually, there is a version of that belief - in Israel, of all places. Where many (especially any and all in Hotolevy's camp) voice the strongly held belief that the sizable (exact number is unknown) part of the Jewish population that leans left (i.e., consider Palestinians to be humans) are indeed damaging to the society in which they live. As in VERY damaging.

      A cursory perusal of social media posts and comments by Israelis will bear the truth of this kind of deeply held sentiment. Calling "the lefties" trash, traitors and haters of Jews and Israel is the least of the names they get called., names usually stated quite casually without caveats or subtleties - when in Hebrew. No need to dress up that turkey when speaking in the secret tongue. After all, it's not like >99% of jewish Americans can read it with any kind of fluency. Hotolevy's pages are especially well-littered with comments hurling epithets at Jews that might have embarrassed some Nazis, back in the day. I mean, Hebrew IS a colorful language, and israelis pride themselves on being, well, direct.

      Ergo, anti-semitism it is - in Israel - perhaps the most openly anti-semitic country in the world.

      Hotolevy's real crime? she made her pronouncements in English, a language with which American Jews are apparently quite familiar. Thus breaching the ultimate taboo - being honest in the wrong language.

  • 'Facebook' ads are way more important than the children we slaughter in some poor country
    • Well said, Donald. It needed to be said too. Especially these days, when a groping by some political figure gets far more attention than collusion with or even the outright order of murdering people willy nilly in other parts of the world (I have Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Syria in mind, for starters).

      I can't get over the fact that GHBush is accused of the crimes of groping but not the crime of bombing people into dust. War crimes don't matter because they happened to other people in parts of the world we don't care about. But inappropriate touching or groping - assuming it took place - even decades ago - now that's a major crime.

      Same twisted moral standards with Bill Clinton -

      Not belittling the victims of inappropriate behavior on the part of powerful people. Only questioning how we rank different levels of victimhood, and how we exclude so many from even being viewed as victims, oftentimes, because it was the US's policies that generated the victims in the first place.

      But that's how it's always been with Empires. Dehumanize others living on the edges of the Empire, but god help the gropers inside the Empire.

      Well, that's why the Romans referred to those germanic tribes as barbarians. In other words, fair game. In due course, it was of course the "barbarians" and the vandals who swept into Rome, but not to worry - the US is still way away from that.

  • The Clinton scandals entailed violent threats against people who knew about his sex life
    • I moved on to more important heresies

      Did you ever!

      A lot can and will still happen on the way to killing the king. Though I agree, the House of Clinton is on its way down. The only question is how many will it take thrashing about on its way to perdition. For the Dem Party this will prove costly.

      And there was a high price to pay for the schadenfreude theatre, because we now have a clown king to deal with. Which would be funny were it theatre rather than real life.

      Where is Shakespeare when we need him?

  • 'American Jews are losing it bigtime' -- Netanyahu gov't official slams '80 percent' assimilation rate
    • yonah, when have you become so reasonable? this is actually not a bad statement:

      This blog is devoted to the clash between American ideals, including fairness and democracy, with the current state of Zionism and with the very idea of Zionism

      Ok, so now i'll pick at the pieces:

      1. I would probably replace "fairness" with "justice", meant in the sense of upholding human rights, in a universal sense.

      2. it's not only the "current' state of zionism that this blog addresses. As you go on to state, it is indeed the very concept of ethnic nationalism that zionism embodies that is seen as standing in direct opposition to the American "melting pot" ideals.

      3. on that 'devoted' part: what you didn't mention is that a very big part of this blog is dedicated to witnessing and commenting on the plight of the people who are the oppressed ones, even as their oppressors go on and on about "assimilation" and "continuity". I see several posts every week on those "other" people (I think they are referred to as "Palestinians"). May be you missed those?

      Later you mention the blog's antipathy towards 'continuity of the Jewish people". You may have a point about this though I'd call it more of an indifference than antipathy. Also, it's a bit of a generalization, as not all who speak up here are antipathetic or even indifferent.

      Still, I do think this could be a point of discussion, this continuity business. It's not spoken of much, one way or another, except in context of various Israeli efforts to "preserve the Jewish race".

      I think for many people this 'continuity" thing should be stated differently for them to take an interest. For example, I wouldn't mind seeing a discussion about "Jewish ideals" as opposed to "Jewish people" who many times don't even carry forth the ideals, or at least a big chunk of them.

      This BTW, is where there'll be a big difference between discussion in America and discussion in israel. because for israelis "Jewish ideals" means quite simply "love for the Jewish people". If you have an issue with the people, even those like Hotolevi, then you are guilty of loving enough". In America, OTOH, such a discussion would take on a more abstract tone, probably veering off to a discussion about "Jewish values" something that Israelis have not much use for ( they prefer something more concrete, like "love").

      Of course, the real problem I see is that all such discussions are quite immaterial in so far as the current sad state of the Palestinians is concerned, both in israel proper and in the occupied territories. Jews arguing with other Jews about 'continuity", "values" and "ideals' must smack of theological disputes even as the Plaestinians' ship is being taken down, board by board, continuity, ideals or values notwithstanding.

  • My journey away from Zionism
    • Well said, genesto. I agree with the part about impatience from different quarters. It is, I think, sometimes difficult to imagine for those who have never been part of a cult-like inculcation from early childhood, what it's like for those who try - as adults to escape the bounds of their programming.

      To grow up in Israel for example, is to buy wholesale into an entire mind-frame and view of the world that becomes deeply embedded into the brain, even as it develops. Indeed the programming of children is very effective - as we know from countless examples. And the process of de-programming involves not only questioning aspects of one's identity, but the acceptance of estrangement from friends and family to whom one was close once. Which is why not many do escape and of those who do, the escape is never really finished - it's a life-long process.

      I have seen many people who are either Jewish or ex-Israelis - or even still resident israelis - who are accused at one point or another of being "gatekeepers". That is Atzmon's favorite labeling of anti-zionists, and as you probably know, this kind of "impatience" did not always serve him well. Truth is, not everything can or should be lumped under the "gatekeeping" rubric. I see people accused of that sometimes rightly, sometimes not so much. Many individuals just continue to struggle against their own boundaries while straddling a rather thin line. Also, in Gilad's particular case - and may be others I don't know or heard about - there's the danger lurking of the pendulum swinging too far. In the process of undoing personal programming sometimes one excises too many healthy parts as well, which I think is something that could have happened to him (though he won't agree, I am sure).

      I can also understand the exasperation of say, Palestinians and non-Jewish solidarity activists who have to go through any number of wickets to "prove" they are not "anti-semitic" (whatever that is). That while watching the Jewish people who are at various stages of post-zionist discourse, still go through those navel-gazing exercises ad-nauseum. You know the To-be-or-not-to-be stuff which you can witness on this very thread. And of which I am sometimes guilty myself (though at least I know it....).

    • I loved the whole Zionist ethos, I loved the whole militarism thing. But it was only because I was brainwashed. You can’t really expect much dissent from people who were brainwashed from when they were kids, especially not when they still are kids.

      This says it all, for most of us, who carry a lifelong puzzle about how could we ever believe the "ethos". And not just believe but buy it wholesale, like a self-evident truth. This is a question I once posed to Avigail Abarbanel, when I was confounded by my own acceptance - as a child and a young adult - of the Israel myth, given that I rebelled against much else, and early on.

      How can one make what seemed like radical departures from the mainstream yet be a conformist at the same time to the ruling ideology?

      Avigail's answer - from the viewpoint of a psychologist - was probably the best I had: even as a child, and even as an already rebellious child, one knows - and recognizes - consciously and subconsciously - that there are red lines. Lines that if crossed, can result in the kind of expulsion that no child dares risk. So, someone like me could question much of what they were taught, and still remain just within the borders.

      In high school I was quite fond of taking out pages from the Tanakh book that we were forced to study daily (and which bored me to tears), and fashion them into paper airplanes, while complaining bitterly that the pages were too thin, so the planes didn't fly far enough (not to worry, my just as boring Hebrew and jewish literature books (which were so uninteresting in my then view as compared with world literature) made for much better planes - they could reach the teacher's desk from the back row which is where I was relegated to due to excessive noise making). But even such a student, one who kept receiving a near-failing grade in citizenry and promptness, never asked the obvious question: how come all those Arabs just upped and left? I - along with just about everyone else - probably even Gideon levy when he was young, accepted that those "Arabs" (as we referred to the '48 exiled residents) were not 'as attached" to their homes as we were. Ergo, why ask questions?

      So, the "rebel" is tolerated, as long as they rebel within the allowed parameters.

      My own experience cause me to take quite an interest in stories of people who escaped cults. It's funny how complicated the internal de-programming process is. It's never actually completed. Even after so much time, I am still expunging bits and pieces where I find them, sometimes buried quite deep.

      And Offir's Kibbutz background is very interesting to me as well, since nowhere was the zionist myth, in all its secular glory , plated so deeply, as in the Kibbutz's socialist dreamscape. After all, the Kibbutz was - and may still be - viewed as the epitome of the zionist experience - it's best and brightest.

      You can hope that as adults they may develop some critical angles, but really, only few do so.

      Emphasis on "Few". Indeed.

  • The Russia influence story just crashed into the Israel influence story
    • jackdaw - in Singer's mind - his two passions - israel and money - are one and the same. One begets the other. The first lays the highway that siphons money (tax payer's and private) from the Empire's heart to its unruly outpost, and the second needs to be protected from any tax-grabbing government, so more will be left over to fund the first.

      On another level, people like Singer and Addelson are the kind of Oligarchs now in charge of US policy, just as their fellow oligarchs are nearly completing their ascendancy in israel. When both israel and the US are gavel-to-gavel plutocracies, then the final unification of the 0.1% can begin in earnest.

      The only remaining question is whether the Chinese plutocrats (now rising in the east) will be willing to wheel and deal, or whether they'll form their own -trans-pacific oligarchy that can then fight the club Singer belongs to - the Atlantic oligarchs.

  • American Jewry and Israel, unbound
    • where would Jerry have the Jewish people, from Israel and Brooklyn, return to (paraphrasing), “… they are the indigenous people of of Ur (Abram’s home town) … Let them return to their native homeland (Kuwait). The base from which the Jewish expansion began in 1900 BCE.”

      Cute. I like. Didn't think about that one. I mean, this kind of heritage (and as we know the Tanakh is proof enough. Just ask the Christian zionists!) should give the modern day Israelites a serious stake in Kuweit's oil.

      BTW, are you sure that's where Ur Kasdim was? I thought there was some controversy about the exact location (I mean, it's not like the bible provided the GPS coordinates).

    • Keith, I was kind of trying to do justice to the israeli viewpoint here, which basically views Jewish Americans as "freyers", ie, suckers. There is little respect from that part of the woods even for them who give the biggest bucks. That's just they way it is.

      Naturally, from the Jewish American viewpoint, they may well see things differently, and perhaps they even believe themselves to be in control. My point was that they are not. They are the tail that wags the dog. Where Israel goes they have little say over (yes, I know that many of the settlers hail from the great US of A, but once they are in israel, they do whatever they please, no matter how it might affect the ones "left behind"). As a result, I believe there are many Jewish Americans, including those who are various levels of zionist, who may cringe, just a little, at the kind of country israel is becoming.

      There is a reason I generally stayed away from the word "zionist" It's a different lens through which to view things. Not that I disagree with what you say, or with Israel Shahak in this context.

      An aside: there are those in israel who will also disagree with my take. Many there believe that American money has a corrupting influence on Israeli politics, and yes, they point to the support Netanyahoo got as a specific example.

      Point is, the relationship between Israel and its primary supporters in the US is like a distorted prism. Depending which angle you view it from the picture may be different. But my main point remains - no matter which angle you choose, israelis, on the whole have a dim view of most American jews, including the richest of the rich (whom they kind of despise all the more). That attitude of barely concealed contempt is true even for the settlers who just yesterday were American citizens themselves. Doesn't take long to take on the Israeli attitude, which pretty much looks down on everyone else out there. Whether they fear them or not.

      Yet another angle is how much Israelis actually worry about losing the support of America, including the new generation of Jewish Americans. They really do lose sleep over that. Yet strangely for the most part they won't process that their own arrogance may eventually beget the very estrangement they fear.

  • 'The Siege' gets US premiere at last, in blow to 'Israeli propaganda machine'
    • hophmi, may I introduce to you a nice blog called Mondoweiss? talks a lot about israelis. Some even write there. Almost all are presented as human beings. Flawed ones, here and there, but quite human. You should really read it sometime.

      Also, do you accept invitations for guest appearance on comedy shows? can I contact your agent?

  • The problem with Miko Peled's 'Holocaust: yes or no'
    • As usual, to me these discussions seem to be more evocative of a theological dispute rather than anything substansive. people parsing the 'true" meaning of Peled's 4 word throw-away sentence, part of a paragraph delivered in a speech - he must be a lucky man indee, to draw this kind of careful attention!

      The argument Ofir seems to be making is "be careful and don't give ammunition to the Lib zionists" The argument Peled seems to have waded into appears to be something like "are there or should there be limits to free speech?" (just trying to boil things down to the basics).

      Now I see no way for reaching a consensus on either side. As someone in the habit of "speaking from the hip" I'd say that the Lib Zios, like the true blue Zios, and/or the arch-zios, need no excuses whatsoever to appeal to some throw-away sentences to interpret ill-intent. After all, the euphemism known as the dreaded "anti-semitism", whatever that is, will be found even among the most artfully delivered expressions anyways, givenenough microscopes. In any case, the high priests of liberal zionism, people like, what's his name, Freedland?, are as practiced in linguistic contrivances as Israel's illustrious archaeological experts are at finding Judaica evidence in very artefact they dig out from anywhere. Trying to herd all speakers, especially those for whom English may not be their mother's tongue, into some kind of a linguistic and contextual straight-jacket will only serve to get us an ever -diminishing pool of speakers from which to choose. At the end all there'll be left are the linguists, and may be not even them.

      So yes, this argument of "watch your language! bears be there" is something that can only beget rites of counting just how many devils can safely dance on a pin (answer: more than one, if they be good dancers).

      But as to Peled's wading into the "how free should free be" well, that's another can of worms that the wise would better stay away from. There's no way one does not get trapped in a muddy swamp full of hungry alligators just waiting for a chance of an evening meal. One becomes prey the minute one gives in to the temptation of providing a single example. Basically, no, there are no safe examples to give (OK, I'll bite - how can I resist? here's one: "The genocide of the Indians beget the great country of America. Was it worth it? discuss.....").

      I realize this kind of debate may make sense in the English context, what with Corbyn rising (hooray!), a history of sectarian in-fighting going back to Henry the VIII's (which may be what led to this apparent fondness for semanticism of "ism"s), and yes, the spectre of Atzmonics (an interesting phenomenon all on its own - something akin to dread of the nightwalkers. Note to self: need to look more into this some day). It may also appeal to the subset of Americans that still miss their debate clubs (I didn't get to be in one, ever!). But does any of it make any difference to events on the ground in a Palestine being carved up as we speak?

      I imagine the [unstated] response of an arbitrary palestinian, may be someone stuck in a Gaza bread line, or lost in a crowd milling through a west bank checkpoint (who may be reading this debate on his/her mobile, having just finished going through the latest Weinstein disclosures). Thoughts such as: say what? could Peled or Ofir get me through this checkpoint a little faster if I say I agree with all they say, and which one shall I choose? Is this debate a sign that our water allotment going to be reduced again? or, better yet, this anti-semitism business - should really look into that some time - wonder if it's like a Zika virus, or that Lyme disease I've been reading about. May be it's something chronic, or is that just one of those conspiracy theories Americans are always into?

      Me, I always try to imagine, if only for a moment, that [imaginary?] lost-in-place Palestinian, as I [desperately] attempt a half-way decent come-back to one or more of those really well-articulated points made by my betters above, failing miserably. It kind of helps dispel, if only for a second, the cloud of disconnect that keeps hovering over everything, casting an ever-darkening shadow.

  • Watch the cathartic Vietnam documentary
    • I wholeheartedly agree with Phil's take on this series. I too was absolutely riveted, even though I knew (from reading, not experience) that much was left out and that some perspectives got the short end of the stick, especially the imperialist machinations that got Americans involved in the first place. It was the totality of the human experience that got me, the utter helplessness by so many in the decision making machinery who knew it was all for naught, yet could do nothing about it. McNamara's about-face got to me for some reason because I was so comfortable for the first 3 installments fingering him as a villain. How we need a villain! and then suddenly, as if a switch was thrown, he flipped. Actually, more like woke up. I thought of how he lived the rest of his life. His nightmares. The stories he told himself. His descent into political irrelevance. A victim of sudden insight, I almost felt sorry for him, despite his critical role in upping the ante on the military involvement, his serious strategic and tactical blunders, the insistence on "body Counts".

      Which was the second thing that got to me - those "body counts" as a "measure of success. What that did to those who had to assemble the lists. The tendency to inflate and conflate civilians with soldiers. The bodies themselves. Unknown, shown only as corpses. Mere numbers for military planners. I don't care what the critics - illustrious experts they all must be - I, as one who wasn't there when it all happened, found this effective. It connected from then to now. It can't have not made an impression on those who watched the whole series because it was a theme.

      The Moghe story was indeed powerful, one man's life. Lost for nothing. So were Mosgrave's and several others' commentaries. The veterans on both sides who became philosophers as a way of coming to terms with what happened.

      But more than anything, the series brought to life the absolute senselessness of it all. The military planners gigantic failures completely under-estimating and understanding their 'enemy". The misery of the soldier grunts capturing hill after hill just to leave it. Capturing a hill for nothing. Losing half the platoon for nothing. Killing hundreds of Vietnamese in the process for nothing. the Vietnamese holding on - just to make a point that they will hold on, knowing no doubt they'll lose that hill and take on stageering casualties in the process. It was one Alamo after another for the NVA. It was losing by winning for the Americans tasked with taking these targets. One could go on.

      But there are a few positives too - the Americans who flocked to the streets raging and demonstrating against the war. Whatever else one can say - it was effective. Street action changed the war's conduct and influenced decisions. There was power in the people.

      But then also the Vietnamese. The unbelievable resistance they put up. It wasn't just communist ideology or communist brainwashing that drove individuals to help keep the Ho Che Min trail open against all odds. It was commitment to something I can only call "resistance". Communism, as an ideology does well of course in co-opting the spirit of people. But that should not take away from the spirit those people showed. The many women who drove the trucks down that trail (I didn't even know so many women participated actively in the war effort for north Vietnam) set against the dearth of women among the American invading army. As we now know, so many years later, the spirit did survive, even communism's worst excesses, even Drezden like bombing runs. These people were bloody resilient, and that did come through just fine.

      And finally, that last segment, Part 10 - was really tear inducing. After so much has gone down and so many died and so many lives destroyed and a country brought to complete ruin, here we are, 50 years or so later, and Vietnam is a thriving tourist destination. And hard core communism gave way to ca Vietnamese version of capitalism with central planning. No different that countless other countries in the world. The Vietnamese would have nver allowed themselves to be taken over by Chinese. As the showed when they actually fought them later. And more than anything - the graciousness of a people who survived hell, several invasions, civil war and horrific deprivation, yet everyone who visited Vietnam (I know over 10 people now who went on tours of Vietnam as tourist. ) cannot but go one about the warmth, welcoming spirit and good will of the people who live there. They can't stop raving and all would love to go back. Of course, the country is quite beautiful and the Vietnamese people quite enterprising. But it appears they also have the gift of being able to forgive, even after the appalling cataclysm the previous generation went through.

      The Vietnamese people somehow persevered after endless trials and tribulations. They still have the spirit of a still fiercely independent people. We, in America, did not. We still have the ever hungry Empire beast to feed, the military planners go on making the same kind of strategic mistakes that come from refusing to understand what and who they are up against, we are more torn apart than ever, we are still relitigating a civil war, whose wounds keep opening up afresh. And our young people seem to have turned off. Our music gone to monotone, the songs belted out with more sound effects than heart, and our movies are, well....another time about those. We are an Empire in decline and Vietnam may have signaled just the beginning of the long descent that all Empires must go through.

      These are some of the thoughts I had as I watched each episode, some parts twice. Glad to hear there are many critics, but heck, the series was effective plenty in its own, no-doubt imperfect, way. It may have been too shallow about some facts for some people's taste, but it was not emotionally shallow, at least for those willing to watch with intent. And it made me think a new about things I haven't thought about for a long time, if ever. For which I am always grateful.

  • Rightwing campaign against Jewish exec who called for exposing Nakba seems likely to fail
    • Annie, I am afraid you are right about "organized Jewry" being essentially captive to israel, no matter what the latter does. When israel is proven to be an apartheid state, they are behind it; if Israel openly starts to practice ethnic cleansing (as opposed to the kind they are doing now - creepily), they would be behind that too; and if Israel were to bomb every structure to smitherins in Gaza, killing 100's of 1000's "organized Jewry" would find reasons to "justify" that, if not cheer them outright (insert sad face here). And when israel goes all theocratic outlawing the Americans' reform and conservative congregations altogether, "organized Jewery" would turn the other cheek. So all this we already know. The only question remaining is - If there is an all out campaign to outlaw BDS and perhaps even jail those who dare as much as utter the words, where would "organized jewry" stand? well, I say that, about half of "the organized ones" would be silent as lambs while a third would be busy finding constitutional justifications for just such a course of action. Never mind the remaining 20% - may be they'll stop being so organized? greater miracles have happened.....

      What is the matter with "organized Jewery" is the question that people should be asking, just as someone once asked "what's the matter with Kansas?".

      Because if they don't, the next question will be "what's the matter with Judaism that it beget such organizations"?

      As for speaking for most Jewish Americans, of course they don't. Unfortunately, they do hold sway over many of the largest donors to political and academic causes. And therein lies the problem. You can't fire these organizations, even if they don't speak for you. Not if livelihoods and careers depend on the largess of donors.

      And though I am glad the organized ones - through their selected frontmen/women - were not able [yet] to drop Myers to his knees, they still win more than they lose. Especially in a country where private donations grease just about every wheel.

      So, keep worrying.

  • Lessons from Finkelstein: a response to Seth Anderson
    • Tony leaves us with a call for…a mass movement from below.

      This is indeed a bit vague - more like begging the question than giving an answer.

      But, given Greenstein's arguments about the powerlessness of International law when all the Western, and much of the Middle eastern - world is held captive to a single Empire, one that's completely intertwined with the infrastructures of zionist ideology, the meaning of the vagueness is actually clear, and he does say it, in fact, in a few places.

      basically, it's no use waiting for International law to exact justice because the law itself is administered according to the whims of one Empire, in which zionism is embedded both by hook and by crook. IOW, the "International Law" as it is presently conducted is mostly an empty academic construct that serves only to assuage the guilt felt by some members of The Empire. Waiting for this "Law" to deliver either justice or solutions to deep international problems is something academics do by definition, as they debate the merits ever so capably.

      Greenstein's answer is not so hidden, even if it is not entirely realistic - for palestinians to get their day in court, the Empire that must fall first from its power pedestal. because it is The Empire that props up the racist ideology known as zionism, giving it teeth, preventing effective challenge. As for the "movement from below" this clearly alludes to masses of people rebelling against the existing power structure. The really relevant questions are therefore when and how are such masses to be cobbled together.

      Of course, the answer to that is not exactly hopeful, especially as everywhere we look The Empire - now turning itself over to the Corporate State - is flexing its muscles through wars and economic pressures and propaganda everywhere. Yet we know that declining empires do just that - they first become extremely arrogant, they overreach, and then they fall. We just don't know ahead of time what the inflection point is. Therefore, we must be prepared for when the time is right.

      And this is where BDS comes in - not as a movement that can bring rights and justice to palestinians overnight - but as a challenge to the power structure. Not only to Israel. Not only to "organized/established Jewery" which is fighting it tooth and nail. But to the entire existing power structure of Empire itself. An Empire which depends on various legalistic distortions to get its way, then claims to have done its evil deeds through the "power of law", so they can't possibly be evil. BDS is a people's revolt, just as occupy was. Our job is to see to it that it doesn't get easily squashed as occupied was and continues to grow - both above and under the ground (underground is what BDS has to do in Israel already).

  • Two Chicago pols break over BDS, as U.S. Jews divide over Israel
    • Keith - that's a great article - it really does a lot to show off people like warren, Booker and Franken as the faux progressives that they are. I heard that Elizabeth warren actually spoke in favor of the military increase by Trump in Afganistan. Wome,n rights, something, think that once there was a movement to draft her to run for the presidency!

      Also Misterioso, thanks for the link to Narwani's article. Haven't had a chance to read it all yet, but I found some interesting nuggets there.

    • What's the relationship between the kotel and Herod's wall?

  • Going veg
    • The best of Phil Weiss. Much to enjoy in this reading .....

      When it comes to Israel/Palestine: the political is personal, and the personal political.

  • The United State of Israel and Palestine
    • David, I back echinococus on needing some back-up for that elusive hope. Specifically, while there's some pressure from outside (empahsis on "some"), the pressure from the inside is practically non-existent. So you know a few good good people in Israel. So do I. And we all read Gideon levy and Amira hass and Yossi Gurvitz and jeff halper and breaking the Silence and most of the writers on 972. That all adds up to far fewer than even 10-20% of the Jewish residents of israel, if we include the silent supporters. Of those, half will probably go along with some degree of ethnic cleansing, if it is packaged "nicely", and if the world could somehow be made to swallow it. That leaves less than 10%.

      MY estimate is even more pessimistic. Judging by israeli social media (some of which I consult now and then - in Hebrew - I'd guess there are perhaps 100,000 people from among all the jewish residents who actually care for some long term and equitable solution to Israel/Palestine and are willing to pay the price (eg, withdrawing from post '67 borders). And of those not even half are willing to put themselves on the line by writing, putting comments on line, participating in rallies, supporting Palestinian solidarity, supporting BDS and/or bringing court cases where needed (the lawyers among them).

      So there you have it - the "pressure" from the inside is pretty paltry, one would say. And that is the problem. There really is no other problem.

      What we need are solutions to the problem of absence of hope. Violence in the form of an intifada is, IMO, a non-starter, for various reasons. So, at this time, the battle must take the form of resistance, be it through the solidarity activists (both israeli and foreigners), through Palestinian civil society (definitely NOT the PA), and of course by spreading BDS as far as possible, especially in an expanded vigorous form that will indeed delegitimize the Israel experiment in its currently toxic form. At least until such a time they show willingness to join the civilized world. Until that time, solutions can be proposed and immediately be put on the shelf for consideration as soon as there is someone to talk to on the israeli side. About anything. let me know when you find a suitable governmental entity to talk with.

      You had nothing to say, BTW, about my estimated $1T price tag for refugees wanting to settle elsewhere. I forgot to add - America will have to take in I'd say at least 100,000 as compensation for their vicious Israel-supporting, occupation promoting policies. It's only fair.

    • David, I am not as opposed to the ideas you advocate because the concept of One State Two Nations has been on the table for a long while (in one form or another), and there were a few wover the years who also felt this could, in principle (if not on every detail) represent an acceptable solution. Personally I like the model of England and Scotland even though many Scots are lately agitating for parting ways (as are the Venetians and the Catalans, but we'll chuck that to the vagaries of that malformed EU creature ). But having said that, I will take you to task for one tacit assumption underlying your entire premise, namely that Israel, as it is now is a rational entity. One that can be negotiated with. One that understands concepts of enlightened self-interest. One that cares about the institutes of civilization and international law. One that cares for humans outside its own narrow definition of "preferred humans". Or, for that matter, one that cares about the opinions and feelings of the world outside its borders.

      Unfortunately, that's not the case. You are far more likely to get rational debate with Palestinians than with Israelis. The palestinians may well disgree fiercely with one or another of your propositions (some more emotionally than others) but the israelis , for the most part, will go balistic at any suggestion of any kind of compromise or granting of equal rights to Palestinians within their union, however that union is defined. If you were dealing with sane people then conversations about what, where and how can be had. I had many of those myself over the years, including with select israelis. Who then turned out to be in such a dire minority that whatever agreements or disagreements we might have had meant as much as a Fata Morgana in the midst of shifting sand dunes.

      The reality is that israelis want the west bank - or most of it. And they want it minus the palestinians, or with minimal number of them. They not only want it but many believe that eventually they can have it and get the world to accept it as a fait accompli. They are working hard towards accomplishing that goal, using Gaza as a preferred model. And the people who turned Gaza into a horrific ghetto and are basically trying to figure out how to disgorge its inhabitants one way or another while the world doesn't notice, those people will not even go as far as to consider the first two sentences in your proposal. They feel they don't have to. And besides, they want what they want so there.

      One point regarding the RoR. You say:

      After 70 years of denial of their right to return, the most just solution of the Palestinian refugee problem would be for them to be given huge sums of money, by Israel, to enable them to settle in any country of their choice willing to take them.

      This can only happen AFTER the RoR is accepted as a principle. IOW, Israel has to acknowledge that, in principle, the Palestinians have the right to return, and once that's agreed, practical aspects of how to go about it can be discussed. The idea of offering substantial compensation can of course be entertained once the principle is established. I once calculated the compensation, using as a figure of merit the sum offered the settlers who left gaza, and came up with something just over $1T, if most of the refugees chose to take the money and run. These sums are interesting because one could, for example, offer reduced compensation to those who elect to return to israel, which can "sweeten the pot". Ah, if only we were talking tachles!

      Wouldn't it be nice if we could sit and talk relative sums of money? give or take on who pays it? and to how many? and who goes where?

      Well, in an ideal world where we deal with sane people who are not wrapped in their toxic ethnic/religious supremacy cloaks, we could indeed discuss such things. But the country you are talking about, Israel, is in the midst of collective psychosis, so first we may need to put them on some serious meds. Getting them to take the meds is something none of us, here or anywhere else, has figured out how to do. And without the necessary medications and, of course, serious counselling and rehab, unfortunately all proposals are doomed to remain academic exercises.

      Anyways, it's an interesting detailed thesis you put forward. A worthy effort, IMO, though one might quibble with "some" details (which I would absolutely do, if I thought it'd make a difference. Like the Areas A, B and C - these are Israeli inventions, meant to keep the sheep in their holding pens, so I would not even agree to these classifications, for starters, unless we agree to also divide israel into Areas A, B, C and the rest of the alphabet soup).

    • irishmoses, my comments often cross into that new realm of auto anti-semitism 😀 so there....

    • Any solution that addresses RoR should first and foremost accept the principle of RoR. Once that is accepted (and good luck with that) manners of practical excution can be discussed.

      For myself, I did always feel that a very substantial compensation for those who want it is a possibility, as part of a comprehensive package, but with emphasis on "substantial". In my book, at least as much as the settlers who left Gaza got (check out the numbers and you'll see we are talking A trillion $ or more in toto).

      However, as I first mentioned before anything at all can be discussed RoR must be accepted as a right. In my estimation, the chances that israel could ever be brought to a point of even offering an apology, much less accept the principle, are about as good as reversing global warming. IOW, there's a small chance. A vanishingly small one. Though that tiny chance can be increased if the pressure on israel increases. like, a lot.

    • This is really great information, misterioso. Keep it up! some of us are suckers for good references (because we are lazy bums?).

  • As many as 1 million Israelis have left for the U.S.
    • Well, irishmoses, it ain't over till the fat lady sings, as they say. Yes, the near future for palestinians does not look promising at the moment. But neither is Israel's, not when you take into account that this country is well on its way to being a theocracy coupled with ultra-right nationalism. I commented above on what the numbers look like for israel - the Demographic trends point to an absolute majority of religious and ultra-religious before 2025. With the haredis reaching 25%. With them living mostly on some kind of welfare assistance that's a large chunk of very very backward, under-educated and reactionary segment for the country's economy to carry. Add to that the Arab population at 20-22% which is also not doing well economically due to extremely discriminatory apartheid like rules, and of course a very large part of the Mizrahi who are still struggling economically, and you get a country where fewer than 30% will carry the full economic burden.

      Also as I pointed out and Keith elaborated on, israel now has just about the highest inequality of any country among the OECD. This inequality index is getting more and more skewed, even as the run of the mill young persons struggle to get adequate housing and other basic necessities.

      So it'll be a combustible combination that spells ultimately, something more like a failed state than a "start-up" nation. A very dangerous one, I should say. If you read today's story on MW from Ofir about Bennett's insidious plan to crypto-insert "Jeiwsh" "values" into secular schools, you can see where this increasing religiosity trend is going. With over 35% of israelis wishing the could leave (per recent poll), many will do just that even as the ones they leave behind will be the more religious and less productive ones. As the religious gain power and infringe on education, freedom of speech, democratic institutions etc. the seculars - who don't want to leave - will no doubt fight back.

      One of my past predictions was that in a few years some strange and unexpected alliances will start forming. Including potentially, alliances between the educated Jewish seculars and the more educated Arab seculars. There may be new parties. It is, in fact, possible that many seculars will come to regard Arabic people who are not too religious and/or christians as less of a threat and more of a natural ally than their fellow jews who have kind of gone nuts with too much religiousity.

      Under this scenario, there's no telling which way the cookie will crumble, including for the Palestinian residents of the west bank and Gaza.

      People don't realize just how serious the gap is between secular and religious jews. Not just gap, but outright hostility. They basically despise each other. And no one know better than Jewish people in Israel just how crazy mad their religious bretherns can get. Judaism, which in America and other western countries is a relatively benign religion and/or culture can, in truth, be anything but. May be it'd be advisable for non-Jewish people outside israel, to pay more attention to what the old testament actually says, and Christians in particular would be well advised to try and imagine what it can be like when much of the biblical god's admonishments are taken literally.

      Besides, the idea that Israel, as it is now has the slightest intention of "integrating" palestinians into its midst, even with limited rights, can be entertained only by those not so familiar with what Israeli reality actually is.

    • AAlen - they consider themselves culturally Israeli, which to them means speaking hebrew, a language most jewish Americans don't speak at all. The entire israeli culture revolves around the language, and hebrew is radically different from European languages that israelis, for the most part don't speak. Most of the secular israelis don't even think of themselves as Jewish and follow none of the halachic dictates. They may do Passover but again it is part of a culture to them rather than any great affinity with the religion.

      That was my point - Jewish culture in the US or UK is vastly divergent from israeli culture. Therefore the two do not converge when Israelis move to the US.

    • Misterioso, these were good sources. I think your reply and mine to JuanR (yours being the by far better sourced) complement each other. I tend to project ahead, based on trends that are reasonably well supported. Inside Israel there is much talk about the splitting apart of society along several seams. Here we address the religious/secular divide but there are other, troubling fault lines and one of your sources mentioned the educational/underemployment divide. Indeed, robust neoliberal policies, coupled with self-segragation (Haredi) and discrimination (Arabs) have taken a huge toll on the Inequality index in Israel. IT has, I believe an even worse inequality than in the US, and getting worse ever faster.

    • These numbers don't even mention the growth rate among the observant/traditional/orthodox, which also exceeds that of the secular though not as much as the Haredi one does. At some point - already around 2020-2022, the total religious pJewish opulation will exceed that of the non-religious one by as much as 5%, rising to a ratio of 60-40% by 2025. By 2030 it will be even more lop-sided.

      What that means for politics and for life in israel is easy to guess - more extreme white zionism, more enforcement of halacha, more neighborhoods taken over by the religious and more and more separation. Since the majority of emigrants from israel will be secular, the internal ratio of religious to not religious will accelerate.

      Basically, israel is well on its way to becoming a theocracy, ruled by halacha as much as Iran is ruled by Sharia. When the theocracy is coupled with ethnic supremacy, I think we can all guess where this will lead and what kind of country this will become.

      I mentioned Iran, but i think that over the same period of time Iran will actually start liberalizing. I predict that in another 10 years the scarves will be all but gone except for the more devout rural populations. Who knows, by such a time it may be Iran that will be the "only Democracy in the Middle east" while israel sinks to being ruled by a cabal of religious mumblers who will convert the Kneset to the old sanhedrin.

    • Actually, that's not true. The figures of 8M+ count many israelis who have already left, because it is assumed they will return. That's an open secret but everyone in israel knows. There is hardly a family that doesn't count at least one of their members who emigrated, even if it was supposedly "temprary". For some it is, but for many it's permanent.

      I don't denty that the birth rate is high, especially among the religious but therein is the biggest problem. The secular and the traditional/observant are diverging rapidly in israel. As I said above, they don't even socialize together much, and I am not even taking into account the ultra-orthodox. Already, the religious exceed the secular in israel's educational institutes - in elementary schools, the ratio is 3:2 religious to secular. Which means they receive differring education programs and generally don't walk in the same circles. After all, it is not possible for a secular to be happily married with an observant, virtually by definition. This is the end result of Judaism being so strict about inteer-relationships, customs and values. One of the two has to convert - either to religious or to secular. for there to be any kind of a match.

      The result is that israeli society is fast splitting into at least 4 distinct and barely relating branches: the secular, the traditional/observant, the ultra-orthodox and the non-Jewish/Arab. The latter account for nearly 25% of that number you quoted. With this kind of separation in another decade you will have several distinct bubbles that do not inter-mingle. Since there'll be more religious, their rules and preferences will prevail, making it ever less comfortable for the secular. Who will continue to leave in droves.

      Also, BTW, it is not true that the reverse aliyah slowed down. That contention is just the official story. The reality is something else.

    • mcohen - not quite right on this score. israelis, when they live abroad, tend to congregate in their own israeli communities rather than make much of a bridge to the local Jews. Indeed, Israeli culture deeply separates them from most "Jewish cultures" especially when you take religion into consideration.

      Most of the israelis who leave israel - to never return (whether they plan on it or not) are secular, and too much jewish religion is exactly one of the things they escape from. Israel is becoming increasingly more religious, and the guys with kippas are now in evidence everywhere, when once you could count them on one hand. The people who live in the tel Aviv and haifa Hi Tech bubble, for the most part, are repelled by all the overt Jewish symbols and certainly by much of the observant self-righteous, holier than thou pronouncements. In Israel, I am told, the two communities - the ultra-secular and the observant/orthodox/traditional do not mix socially at all. They don't intermarry and don't share the same values.

      So when the secular (especially from Hi-Tech sectors) come to a place like the US or the UK or Germany and are all too glad to integrate with their non-Jewish but also non-religious new neighbours and co-workers. from experience, I know at least 4 such families, whose children married non-Jewish Americans. That despite going to Israeli camps in the summer, despite visiting israel several times, and despite speaking Hebrew. In the end, it's the American college life that's so attractive to second generation ex-Israelis. None I know actually got a new spouse from the "Old country".

      So don't count on ex-Israelis strengthening Jewish "diaspora". The ex-Israelis will make their own diaspora that will have only very limited association with the indigenous Jewish ones, and over time they diverge more and more.

  • Chomsky on what 'everyone knows'
    • RoHa, those titles! you have my full sympathy for the bubble life. Yet it's not the worst bubble out there, is it?

      PS my own specialty used to be the Physics of bubbles (believe it if you wish). How can I avoid blowing them every-which-way? and just you wait till you see my take on the economic bubbly species....very explosive, that (sadly not on this blog).

    • Keith - I will address only the "volitional" part. Whatever you may have read into a preamble, it was I who desired to expand my own comment, influenced by none other than my very own self. As you can tell from multiple typos and egregious grammatical cul-de-sacs. I often produce my comments in one breath, literally at the heat of the moment, and frankly a 10 min edit window hardly suffices for the needed repairs. Also, as you can well imagine, given my preference for expounding, well, it bears to reason that things may need to be "expanded" for clarity, if nothing else. Wouldn't you do the same?

      So while I cannot take editors off the hook on everything, as I know basically nothing, in this particular case, blame for content, should there be any, must be shouldered all by my lonesome (and i had shoulder surgery not so long ago, too. Ah, the burden!).

      An aside - to your other points, think of it this way - if people did not care so much for Chomsky's opinion,s they surely would not take the time to run every sentence through a grinder, would they? can there be a greater complement?

    • Keith, so I happened to see your comment and had to jump in. My own "expanded" post was entirely volitional, and was really using Chomsky as a means to address some aspects that are of special interest to me, namely, the "bubbles" in which intellectuals and academics live. Chomsky is one of many such people on all sides of the fence, and my point was simply to use the take Chomsky has on BDS as a way to highlight what it means to be always surrounded by the best and brightest, which I am sure Chomsky is. far from yet another "Chomsky bashing" exercise, I am interested in the ingenuous ways people - even the smartest and best meaning - can be so incisive in their anlysis and still manage to sugar coat a past, making it into something more glorious and/or glamorous than it was. We all do that a bit, don't we? In the US we have a great admiration for the founders, yet the blemishes of the time and place where the constitution was written are and were there for all to see, even now through the lens of time.

      My other contention is that sugar-coating the past can make it difficult to come to terms with a very harsh present, which then leads to viewing possible futures through rose-colored glasses. Things were good once - may be they can be again. Which, alas, can make one oblivious to the fact that the "patient" (cf. israel) has kind of gone all psychopathic in the meantime.

      Chomsky does some things extremely well, and few are better. But when it comes to certain aspects of the I/P debate, then no one can ever hope to be always on the "right' side in a historical sense - not you, not I, not Chomsky, not Ofir. None of us can guess history's final verdict so all we can do is assess, estimate, make predictions.

      Personally, I think I would rather take up the issue of BDS with someone like Chomsky than a crazy pro-Israelite madman. The question Chomsky brings into the debate is "what's likely to be most effective". And both he and Finkelstein bring in this great faith in "international law". Well, many of us have little hope that law alone can do the trick of changing israel's ways. And as for effectiveness, time will tell - most of us go by a strong gut feeling that BDS - especially the expanded version (where it's applied to all of israel) - will pay dividends. Chomsky doesn't share this gut feeling, for whatever reason. I claimed that his coming on one side (of BDS not being so effective due to one item in a platform), was because it's natural to believe in some ultimate "right" and "justice" when one is surrounded by generally well-meaning and well-reasoning people, which someone like Netanyahu decidedly isn't. And neither are most israelis.

      The truth is, that there really isn't anything other than BDS, something that I believe most Israelis and ex-Israelis who believe in human rights see plenty clearly. There is simply no other choice. Nothing else will work - and I know you are not so naive as to think "Free Gaza" can work on any level more than PR for the cause of gazans. The blockade will not be lifted just as the riron ring of occupation gets ever tighter.

      So all in all, it's a good argument to have, and better with one such as Chomsky as lightening rod than some lesser figures (of which there are too many to count). It's not all "bashing" you know.....

  • Chomsky still believes in the old Israel. I did too, once upon a time
    • I don't think that passing judgments was the point here, other than between the lines of course, which obviously you are reading. It is ultimately history and people of good will and great insight who will one day, in the distant future pronouce the final verdict - was the israeli experiment a net good or a net evil? that's how we usually judge historical events and historical powers - in the end.

      But yes, some of us like to jump the gun a bit. So we might muse - will israel in the end be judged as the british Empire was? (some good, some terrible, lots of great oratories and civil bureaucracies but at a cost of much misery on the ground and bloody sectarian conflicts. Yet, still - it beget the US, didn't it? which cleansed out the Indians, but then produced a functioning democracy, which has now been all but subverted. And so on and so on.). Or will israel be judged as Spanish colonial rule was (mostly bad, horrible evil in its wake, massacres galore and little grandiose ideas to sweeten oppressive regimes' excesses - leaving behind countries with huge disparities, dysfunction in the corridors of power, corruption galore and civil societies still struggling to emerge against all manner of oppression)? or will it be seen in the end as the Ottomans of old who must have left something behind - just that we keep struggling to figure out what it was exactly?

      I think that in the end palestinian resistance will be viewed as all resistance movements throughout history were. Perhaps not unlike the Algerian resistance, or Garibaldi's fights against the Austrian occupying power, or Simon bolivar's challenge to the ruling authorities of his day. Will Arafat be some day compared to Che Guevara or to the basques? The details of what shape the resistance took matter only insofar as there was an alternative that was less violent. In most case, subjugated indigenous forces never have had much of a choice. By definition. Just ask the British, or the French. Or the Spanish. Or even the Chinese for that matter.

      But never mind. This wasn't the topic - Chomsky the intellectual was.

      As for Gaza - yes, Israel did leave. At the cost of turning it into an oppressive penal colony, surrounded on all sides and deprived of all sustenance. A penal colony turned into an internment camp turned into a ghetto, surrounded on all sides by extreme brutal means to prevent exit or entrance, or livelihood. You might want to research the Warsaw ghetto a bit - did you know that people from Warsaw (and supporters outside) carried out violent raids against Germans and poles resulting in numerous death of noon-combatants? check it out - aren't you a disciple of history?

  • Israel would use nuclear weapons to keep refugees from returning -- Noam Chomsky
    • My issue with Chomsky's position is what it always was: he operates from a prism that is strongly colored by the israel that was once upon a time, perhaps 50-60 years ago. Chomsky was around then to hear and witness the many idealistic statements of the then Israeli intellectuals and political leaders.

      I don't want to open a debate on whether that "old" Israel, that ephemeral citadel, that light unto the goyim, was ever real or not (well, we know there's no light withut much darkness....right?). Fact is, it was real enough in the minds of many, both inside israel and outside it. Chomsky is old enough to have at least some of his opinions and judgements formed by those once-upon-a-time impressions.

      Unfortunately, while clearly he processed that Israel has changed greatly, and not for the better, he still tends to lay the blame at the "occupation" (in parenthesis, because it's really an occupation of the mind that took place right along with the physical one). In that he finds confirmation among many of his fellow intellectuals, including the fine left-wing leaning ones in Israel. Their very existence continues to give Chomsky hope about fine things like "International law" and "Human Rights". Sometimes, as much as I hate to say it, he sounds alsmot child-like, hanging on to these civilized concept, as if they were life rafts (perhaps they are. Not for me to say).

      Chomsky is probably too old to change his own paradigm just as many, including the founders of Gush Shal;om, are. Yet, there has been a major paradigm change - the Israel that is is not the one that was, or was imagined. The Israel that is is a different beast. One could say, it's a monster. An insane one at that, or one rapidly becoming so. There is no talking to most israelis these days about fine concepts like "international law". There is no convincing them that one needs to give a little to get a lot, because all they care about is how to make the "little" into miniscule. This israel has little use for human "rights" unless they are jewish rights, and not just any Jews but the "right kind" of jews.

      Little does Chomsky process just how depraved Israeli society has become in moral terms. probably because the people he knows do not appear depraved in the slightest. Little does Chomsky know what collective insanity looks like because he does not come face to face with its manifestations on a daily basis. Little does Chomsky know - except in the deepest recesses of his mind - what Gaza ghetto is all about, because to know what the plan for gaza is, is to give up on the endless chit-chat with fine israelis.

      I like Chomsky a lot for his clear-eyed views on many issues that are important to anyone considering themselves a progressive. But I find it difficult to deal with his refusal to look reality in the face on a whole host of issues; from BDS to Human Rights to the Rule of Law, be it in israel or the US. While he rails against the corporate state he still talks as if half-measures and fine talk will have any effect on its rapacious ascent. And while he rails against neoliberalism, he can see for himself how well we have all been doing battling it. More like batting our eyelashes and clutching our pearls while losing every skirmish, I'd say.

      Because of his rose-colored glasses I believe that Chomsky is simply not the right authority to take on something like BDS, be it as a tactic or a movement. Just as he may not be the right one to lead a Sanders-like revolt against the ruling classes. Perhaps ultimately, even sanders will not suffice for the revolt that needs to happen, if and when the time arrives for it. Which it will.

      And that statement about israel using nuclear weapons before allowing refugees in? that is very telling. I think Chomsky's subconscious is sometimes wiser than his - oh so lucid - conscious mind. He should listen to what it's telling him, perhaps.

    • Page: 10
  • Zionism is apartheid, and worse
    • Nathan, OK, you win. Gaza does have a "beautiful" beach. With access somewhat circumscribed, but never mind that.

      I am sure that israel's exceptional planners are losing sleep over what can be done about that beach. Yes, a blockade is in place and yes, they got Egypt to sign on to it, but, what if millions of Gazans started streaming out to sea on rickety boats as living conditions on the strip became intolerable. Ah, a bit of a dilemma!

      But never you mind. All that needs to be done is to make sure that access to photos and videos can be prohibited (there's a plan for that) and that those migrant-picking pesky NGO boats can be kept safely moored around Mibya.

      You see, I like to figure out what israel's brilliant planners are up to. I know they are hard at's not easy to plan a decent genocide these days, you's not like it was in the 30's and 40's. So unfair!

    • Jack Green
      Warsaw Ghetto was a holding area where Jews were stored until they were taken to the gas chambers. There are no gas chambers in Gaza.

      Yes, there are two differences I see:

      1. the extermination of the gazans is going to happen over a longer period than the warsaw ghetto had

      2. Gas chambers are not really an acceptable tactic any longer, so other means had to be found. What's going on is an attempt at extermination by bits and drabs. Israel ups the ante every few months, shutting off power here, putting underground wall there, pressuring the Egyptians somewhere else. Then wait a little to see if the world notices (the UN crying Gevalt doesn't count) before proceeding to the next step. See - most Israelis know exactly what it's all about, and for the most part, they don't mind much, as long as things don't "get out of hand".

      "Just get rid of them somehow", is the motto you hear on the streets, in the cafes and in the taxis and even on social media. may be you need to pretend to not know, but that doesn't mean Israelis share your particular species of ostrich.

  • From 'Avalon' to Madoff: What 'The Wizard of Lies' reveals about contemporary American Jewish identity
    • "markers of a debasement of humanity that has untethered contemporary Jewish culture from its most important ethical values."

      Question - has it really?

      What are those "important ethical values"? something ever so consistent with a certain settler-colonial state that's making all kind of amazing financial and material progress at the expense of an indigenous population? ?

      And where have we seen that before? Joshua, maybe? part of an illustrious, value-filled book revered by generations of these 'ethical value upholders"? Joshua, a book that is taught to Israeli children like it's just a fine and dandy little tale of righteous "conquest" - to be repeated again thousands of years later, inb '47-48 and '67. Hey, boys will be boys, right? the morality of it all - the values! and such ethics! so very impressive! beats them greek values by a mile, surely....

      Now, what was it about Madoff that was exactly new? oh yes, he messed around with his fellow Jews and their investments. Now, how could he? Ah, such lessons we learn! if only he didn't swindle his own co-tribalists! if only.... may be there wouldn't be a movie worth making, eh?

  • DC and Jerusalem reel over Trump disclosure of ISIS plan to-- hush!-- put laptop bombs on planes
    • Actually, people are getting this a bit wrong (well, not totally). The fact that Israel has moles inside ISIS is the most obvious secret to hit the universe since, well, the fact that Adam and Eve were Apple addicts, took one byte and their universe crashed (proving god knows computers. OK, I read this somewhere).

      What is not obvious to everyone is that the "mole(s)" are not moles as much as double agents. It is israel's support and information sharing with ISIS that was exposed, and they are mad because now ISIS is pissed. That Israel surreptitiously supports ISIS with military intelligence is the worst kept secret in the world. I am sure Lavrov giggled when he heard the "secret".

      OH yes, the city in Syria. Like none would guess israel has agents in Raqqa? common - we are already in the third grade and not kindergartners any more.

      OF course, the problem for Israel is that ISIS will not trust them so much any more. How sad! the heart breaks!

  • Warren and Sanders stand firmly behind Trump officials -- on guess what issue?
    • The fact that both sanders and warren signed this sad little letter, and the unanimity of ALL 100 senators, highlights better than anything the reasons the progressive wing in this country is toothless and powerless. If someone like sanders, feels obliged to go along with giving israel a free pass for its horrendous and inhumane treatment of palestinians, AND for it pushing for the destruction of countries such as Iraq and Syria, shows just how marginalized progressive policy advocates are.

      I have said this in many comments over the past many years, that ultimately, foreign policy is a lithmus test of the truth of progressivism (particularly in the economic sphere). Ultimately, Sanders and warren, whatever else they believe in, are still at one with the Empire. And unfortunately, with the culture of lobbies pervading the soul of the Empire, it is not surprising that they, like almost anyone else who managed to get elected to national office, must pay homage to the most powerful lobby of them all, AIPAC (yes, it is the most powerful, IMO, though I use my own yardsticks to define "most"). Signing such an egregious letter is the price that must be paid to maintain what little platform the so-called progressives have to push some domestic agenda. That's what politics is like in the US and has been for a very long time.

      Support the israeli settlements (in deed if not words) and may be, just may be, we'll let you wax poetic on some minimum wage or medicare-for-all or some illegal alien rights (as long as they are referred to by the new terminology of "immigrants" - heaven forbid using the European version of "migrants").

  • Gilad Atzmon’s attack against me – the 'merchant of JVP'
    • Stephen Shenfield - I understand your assertion with regard to the target audience of MW and you may well be right about that.

      However, what I am saying is something else - this effort to edify the "young jews" is, in fact, a drop in the bucket. Other than raising some awareness in jewish circles, producing a little campus activism (and little it is!) and authoring a whole bunch of good articles on awakening to the plight of the palestinians, the effort as a whole, resulted in next to no gains for the palestinians. And indeed, since this website was launched, over that entire period, the palestinians only lost ground in all the ways that matter to them, even as they gained in the PR department. Not saying the effort is not a worthy one, of course, just that it does not produce sufficient gains to alter the facts on the ground.

      This civilized BDS exercise, can go on for another 20 years, achieving very little of consequence. The victories are largely symbolic - and to most israelis, meaningless.

      Young jews, as you refer to them are also not the ones controlling the purse strings. older jews do. And without addressing the issue of relative power between the two camps - for human rights vs for taking the land and destroying the indigenous people - is highly lopsided. For every little symbolic victory (say the UNESCO declaration) the other side scores gigantic victories in terms of additional US money, more aerospace collaborations, more knesset actions curtailing the rights of people inside israel and on the ocuupied territoris, and more shows of force (like the 100 senators writing a letter).

      basically, I am saying your "target audience' will NOT achieve anything of substance for the palestinians, but many will end up feeling good about the essential goodness of their "tribe". Wrongly of course because no tribe has essential goodness embedded in it. ALL tribes are dedicated to self-preservation of their own members, sometimes violently, sometimes less so, but always aggressively.

      Since these are the facts (little progress for the Palestinians other than better PR), I believe that the jews alone are incapable of bringing about the needed revolution, for it would take a revolution, indeed, whatever form that revolution takes. Sorry to be the bearer of bear news but this is the reality. Unless Jewish people with progressive thought find a way of making common cause with non-jewish people (and I mean, all those "other' non-jewish ones, not just the palestinians who are kind of jewish descendants anyways) nothing much will change on the ground. And to make that common cause, the jewish activists will have to learn to check their anti-semitism and holocaust denial charges somewhere in the closet. These are utterly immaterial to palestinian progress, and only serve as purity tests to exclude otherwise essential people.

      lastly, yes, none of those palestinian leaders really care all that much about those "anti-semitism" charges - but they can't say that can they? why should they? the flingers of such accusations are nearly always out to lunch at best and gate-keeping at worst. but no, I wouldn't expect Abunimah to confess his true feelings any more than I expect sanders to confess that he feels israel is actually a rogue state. Politically unpalatable, that's all.

    • Nice one, Mooser. Quite on point, too. Goodwin is such an inspiration to us all!

    • I am ever so glad you took the time to answer Gilad's questions. One can agree or disagree with Gilad's slant on, say, "jewishness" as a tribal thing (and a slant he has) but his value (at least to me) is that the provocative way he asks certain questions requires some self-interrogation. It was, in the past a useful exercise for me. May or may not be for you, as you seem to have greater certainties than I do.

      I do agree that speaking directly to israelis in their own language - one that the vast majority of jews around the world neither speak nor understand - is an exercise in futility. There will be some who will agree with your positions (say - separating church from state, or revisiting the foundational zionist mantra - my interpretation of your position) but those are either way too few, have way more on their plate, are scared to stake a position or are just too jaundiced by one too many failures of the left. Clearly, not enough to make a difference in policy as the country keeps slipping further and further to the nationalist right with each coming year.

      Therefore speaking to others, elsewhere in the world is essential and you seem to have done a great job of that. The problem I see is that of the audience - for either you, or me ( in my own more far more modest capacity). Are we able to transcend the tribal and reach the universal? are we doomed to just have eternal chit-chats with our lefty friends and fans? should we try to reach the more conservative segments out there (in the US context), and more importantly, can we actually have a meaningful dialog with Palestinians (either there in the holey land or outside) who are not nearly as secure and privileged in their security as we are?

      To me, some of Atzmon's questions serve a purpose in that they highlight this last dilemma - who are we talking to, really? mainstream jews? young lefty activists? a few israeli ex-pats like myself? Arabic people? christian people? NGO's? the UN?

      Which begs a host of other questions, if I bring in the element of what's the most effective way to bring about a change in the I/P sad equation (more I = lots less P)?

      Atzmon appears to maintain that remaining part of the tribe while trying to bring about human rights of the Palestinians (in practice, not just theory) is not possible due to cognitive dissonance (chosenness, trying to protect the tribe, cf. gatekeeping, etc.). I wonder whether that's true. Been wondering for quite a while now. to me, this was - and is - a question everyone must answer for themselves. I discovered, along the way, that it's not possible to advocate for palestinians rights without choosing sides. So I did but given the price, am not sure i can recommend it to others.

      Again, I appreciate very much all the work you have been doing, your inspiring writings and the fact that you were willing to even wade into the Atzmon sand pit. As opposed to some others, I do think this takes some courage and definitely no small amount of fortitude.

    • Goodwin, what happens when you support apartheid, racism, ethnic supremacy, murder, mayhem and probably genocide, if you had a chance?

      Whatever and whoever Beria was he had nothing over the gloriously criminal state of israel and its syncophants abroad. Like you, Goodwin?

      The evil you seem to support is quite on par with Stalin's worst. And given what israel is preparing for the Palestinians, you may yet get a chance to discuss another holocaust altogether.

      Your obsessions with holocaust-schmolocaust seems to have a pathological component. You know, we do have some good pasychologists around here. I understand Abigail Abarbanel may be willing to consult on-line.....

    • Sheffield, I agree about the arguments about Atzmon and/or HD (Holocaust denial) are a distraction, as I kept saying above.

      Unfortunately or fortunately, the topic of Atzmon seems to be irresitable to too many people. To me, the most interesting aspect of this is the 'why". What is it about atzmon that gets the goat of certain people, enough so to generate a veritable raucus?

      A thought - may be here it's not Atzmon as much as Ofir? may be we all sense that Ofir, given his hard-hitting pieces about israel has become sufficiently visible to where he too must burnish his credentials to continue having the warm reception he gets among the dissident crowd? The sub-text to my musing here is that Ofir, like Abarbanel, like peled, seem to be on the recvieving end of especially sharp brand of vitriol from the mainstream jewish-affiliated direction. Like Atzmon, these are all ex-Israelis (as in growing up there, not just relocating at some point in adult life) which gives them both a unique perch AND a chance to speak from a credibility reservoir. When they speak of israelis and what they are like, we have to take them at their word, because they lived there - in the belly of the cult that we all suspect israel is. They are the cult refugees, just like me, and Shmuel and others who are not so well-known.

      Atzmon is the gadfly, I suspect, who can be used profitably to smear the israeli ex-pat commentators by association, thereby detracting from that special credibility arsenal they are equipped with. I suspect that is probably why Ofir felt obliged to use an otherwise minor incident like GA asking him some questions which he did not particularly feel compelled to reply to, as a vehicle to burnish his own armor, which he surely needs. Even if I am not entirely right in assigning motivations to someone I don't know, I prefer to hold onto these speculations, so I can better avoid the temptation to step into the mud and become one with the spectacle. Me, no gladiator. in the commentariat arena....

    • For Mooser above: I was about to make the same comment, but longer of course. So you tripped the wire and here goes:

      Of course, it's nice to see a thread grow to well over 200 comments, something that has not been seen on MW for quite a while now. And for the record, I suspect there is a lot of "comment fatigue going on when it comes to Palestine. That + a certain desultory state of mind, given the bad things we read every day, and the foreboding I think we all share when it comes to the future. On the other hand, it is Atzmon, yet again, that brings out the multitudes, especially the 'silent kibbitzers" (of which I am sure there are many) who rarely comment on matters that are of greatest concern to Palestinians.

      This to me illustrates one of the serious issues that bedevils otherwise excellent sites like MW. Even if this blog has not been run by individuals of jewish ancestry (Phil and Adam) it is often Jewish people from the Anglo countries that do the bulk of the commenting (and are prominently featured above the line too). That's not a coincidence but a result of being in positions of privilege that allow them to comment and write about such a so-called "controversial" subject. yes, there are Arabic people and non-jewish people in general that read and comment as well, but they too, I suspect, have certain "privileged" positions from which to issue opinions (I define "privilege" broadly, as something that allows one to feel pretty secure in their own position in the world. Secure enough to where they don't fear someone knocking at the door the next day for a comment made on Facebook - something that happened to over 900 palestinians in israel per recent revelations).

      We often wish we had more people commenting who are either israeli or palestinians. Very few do, and that colors the tenor of the comment section, which has come to have a rather mournful rather than rageful tone. But secretly or not, we all understand that even without the language barrier, a palestinian commenter on MW. no matter how annonymized. has to watch his/her back (that knock at the door). And even say, an Arab American who lives in the US will not feel as secure as a jewish American or jewish English citizen.

      That's why the Atzmon threads grow and grow. Because the subject of a jewish epicurus is one of intense interest to many jewish people, and they do much of the commenting (if nbot exclusively so). And to them the mere word "holocaust" is a trigger - on either side of the debate fence. Even the few non-jewish commenters have become quite inured by now and/or jaundiced, after having waded into the holocaust and/or anti-semitism, especially if they called out these topics for the rackets that they are (in the sense of building walls between people rather than bringing them together). Of course, by association with something like BDS, someone as exposed as Abunimah, must then track with the Jewish "dissident' mainstream when it comes to controversial figures, such as Atzmon, or Weir, so I wouldn't bring up him or other palestinian solidarity activists as examples of Atzmon denouncers and antisemitism disavowers. Politically they all do what they must to keep up the fight from their side of the fence (and there is a fence there!).

      Still it is my hope that obviously jewish commenters such as Goodwin sands - so very active, all of a sudden, and Greenstein whose life's work seems to be the pursuit of Atzmon, will not prejudice the larger issue on which most of us are united, namely the desperate fight to endow Palestinians with human rights.

    • Not taking the bait. Russia under stalin is simply not my beat. If beria was or wasn't and who else was or wasn't I'll just have to let others debate.

    • So, other than "exposing" Atzmon, Greenstein accomplished what exactly? for the palestinians, I mean.

      I get that you and him are anti-semite chasers par excellance. Must be a great sport. Is that a bit like ambulance chasers? is the exercise keeping you fit?

      I am sure that the ones agonizing under the boots on the ground in israel are most appreciative of your efforts. Surely you guys must have done a lot of good in the campaign for human rights. Please share some recent successes - we are dying to know, out here in the wilderness, where the spirit of Spinoza roams (yes, the one that got shunned - for emitting sacrileges considered bad-for-the-Jews or something).

    • greenstein, in Israel, the entire educational system is steeped in hostility towards non-Jews (and not only palestinians). The result is an arrogant, cruel, crude, loud-mouthed and ignorant population with just a few who even know what Human Rights are all about. The UK is under lock and key as far as criticizing that torrid little apartheid state, with almost all the rich ones (yes, the 1%) supporting outright anything and everything that can be done to persecute the palestinians. And indeed to wage destructive wars on any Arab country that failed to recognize the apartheid based fascist theocracy in the middle -east (yes, i know, they love them some LGBT. So enlightened!).

      Your BDS campaign as it now stands is, in fact, toothless. I support it, of course, and do so by refusing to engage with anyone and anything that comes from that evil little place, including its sad little language (which I am mercifully forgetting. never liked to speak it anyways). So my question to you - and I know you are an avowed anti-zionist - how will you ever get through the glass ceiling of privilege, so effectively used by the one-percenters of the tribe to suppress dissent? you think that smearing atzmon is an effectivre tool? have you ever expressed one tenth of the passion you direct his way towards the real bad guys out there? did you call out israel and the one-percent jewish establishment in the UK and US for pushing the destruction of Syria? or is that also something that can be interpreted with the famously talmudic, On the one hand, on the other hand?

      For myself, notice i don't care to discuss the merits or flaws of Atzmon's many claims. I assume that like many, he is right about many and off the reservation on some. So what? ben-Gurion wasn't? Churchil wasn't? Mother Theresa wasn't? (no, I am not comparing GA to these illustrious personalities. Just making a point about points). Those who want to hear him out can and those who don't care to engage with him shouldn't. I am only talking about the relative passion directed towards marginalizing someone on the tribe's fringe vs the passion directed towards the ultra=powerful, myth peddling, atrocity supporting members smuck at the center of the tribes.

      have you succeeded yet in marginalizing someone like Poju zabludovich (who is actually known for occasional rantings himself)? got him on record yet? managed to get an audience?

      Anyways, given the proscribed boundaries of the battle for human rights for the palestinians, I see those boundaries as the problem, and fist shakers such as Atzomon, as a symptom. But, by all means, do go ahead and expand your passion on the margins of the battle, waving the anti-semitites! and holocaust-denier! flag. Like goodwin Sand on this thread. and keep up the purity tests too. Maybe you'll bag another minor victory on the BDS front on some obscure campus. For which I am grateful of course. Just that it hasn't done a thing yet to stop a single new settlement, has it?

    • Goodwin, your constant harping on the Holocaust is getting beyond boring - this is something that happened over 70 years ago, and to this day, it is something to wave with, accuse with, go on and on about and yes, keep claiming compensation for. Even as palestinians got hardly any compensation for the atrocities committed against them by Jews - supported and abetted by oh, such fine souls in the west. So polite, so well-spoken. The same beautiful souls who don't believe the ,20 Million Russians who died over the same period of time merit but a footnote (some of the 20 million were jewish too, BTW). A footnote, as in - oh but they died in war!

      Your kind of hypocrisy and constant holocaust, holocaust! flag waving is the sin that will keep more people under bondage of perpetual occupation alive. After all, there is always Atzmon to talk about!

      It seems to me that your reaction in particular exemplifies Atzmon's point about the tribe uber ales. there are so many points to debate or discuss when it comes to someone like Atzmon. Rightly or wrongly, he acts out the fury that accompanies many who escape from cults. Yes, it's acting out, and one may or may not want to engage with someone who flings around provocations and needlings. But you are worse, because so far on this thread, the only things you keep bringing up are those worn-out accusations of holocaust denial and anti-semitism. That while real people - today - are dying in the concentration camp that is Gaza where israelis - of such lovely, nice people, keep them under lock and chain, hoping to some day get the world distracted enough so they can finally bomb them or starve them to death.

      Why not talk about this coming holocaust!

      Nothing is more boring and reeking of self-aggrandisement and entitlement than thses pathetic cries of but anti-semitism! you single-handedly give backing to the VT publication 9and sometimes they are on the money too).

    • You want to put Atzmon "in the bin" (whatever that means). His sin apparently being one of playing into the hands of some supposed anti-semites (the current existence of which I have not been able to confirm, not having met or witnessed any these past few decades).

      So Goodwin, if the bin is for Atzmon, what fate would you prescribe for the actual evil doers? yes, I mean, the Netanyahus, the Feiths, the Wolfowitz's, the Horowitzes, the Dershowitzs,the IDF pure-of-arms, the baby killers in Palestine, the pervertors of American foreign policy towards bombing still more countries, the whole multitude of zionism justifers, and bayers for ever more spilled blood?

      Seems to me that the sins of Atzmon, such as they are, pale by comparison with the sins of actual killers, murderers and accomplices to murder. Of thieves and liars. Of genocide peddlers. Of each and every one of those millions of israelis who just couldn't get enough of dead children in Gaza, and still can't.

      But may be you are more interested in some anti-semitic purity tests than real victims of the urges of palestine? may be the pogromists are, well, just slightly "mistaken" and are going a wee-bit over-board, but Atzmon? why he be guilty of the gravest of sins - dumping on the tribe (rightly or wrongly, does it really matter?).

      So, excuse me if I don't care to join in your witch-burning rituals. Or your holocaust-effigy wavings. A bitt oo busy here watching real fires consuming real in an ongoing holocaust, not that one in the past.

    • Sorry for the typos (and that's the only thing I am apologizing for, now and ever). Overran the edit time window, darn....

    • just, like you I miss some of the old crowd. We should really find a new meeting place, where we can do our lamentations, shouldn't we?

    • beautiful comment MHughes. But unfortunately since you didn't mention either the Holocaust or Bolshevism, it won't be deemed of deserving a retort by the likes of goioodwin sands. Certainly not good old yonah, who these days issues epithets, it seems (well, I excuse him. Fatigue is a terrible thing).

      But FWIW, I liked your comment (well, we agree, in general*, so that helps....).

      * there are always those specifics though....

    • Goodwin Sands, how about you respond to my points, not just citizen's? or MHHughs976's thoughtful comments?

      I ask for a reason - which is other than defend Atzmon's assaults on polity and politeness. (which I'll grant he does - with apparently great relish). GA made it apparently his mission to call any and all writers and speakers of jewish origin to account over their tribal connection. No matter how they might rise above it or side-step it, they will, by definition, be forever guilty of whitewashing something or other to do with the tribe. I am sure GA will find me guilty too (perhaps of secret gatekeeping? as in juggling the keys to the gate while standing in the way?).

      The point some opf us make - and on which we may be accused of cavorting with Atzmon - is that the fact that there is indeed a tribe is nothing either new or particularly controversial, but the cult that grew out and from within the tribe - zionism - is a uniquely toxic element that the entire tribe is called to recognize and atone for.

      In making this last point I am on the same page, I believe, as Phil and the other writers and contributors to this blog. And very much with Jonathan Ofir, given his writings. The difference however is one of degree and demand for atonement. My demands are probably harsher because people like me cannot seem to be able to package the reality of the very evil things israel has done and is doing, and the eviler it's planning to do, ars something semi-benign (as in the old adage s "they all do it" and power gets to your head", etc.).

      I find commonality with Atzmon on the level of unforgiveness. Sometimes I track with jeremiah rather the "nice" isiah (cf. Ellis, a modern version). I want to see evil shouted from roof-tops. I want to see perpetrators punished (how exactly I am not sure, because violence is not my cup of tea). Atzmon brings rage into the conversation. And for that I would rather he stayed in then be shunned.

      Of course, for the many who want a gentler, scholarlir take on evil and its many doers and promoters inside the tribe, there is Abigail Abarbanel.

    • Part of me understands the torments of Atzmon. The part that sees neocons continue to walk among us, free as birds, even rewarded - amply - while their crimes resulted in rivers of blood on the other part of the world. I cringe at the sight of horrific war criminals, every bit as abominable as certain fascist types, people like Feith, whose hands are dripping with the blood of innocents , being actually interviewed on TV as if they were not criminal serial killers. Even considered for a job in Trump's administration - which sort of smelled like Eichmann appointed to a UN's human Rights commission or something (luckily for us all, even trump could not go that far). This part of me cannot forgive the jewish community that sheltered and covered up for the likes of Wolfowitz, kagan, Ledeen et al with platitudes about - hey, it's not just jews! what about Cheney? oh sure. Cheney. that totally mclarifies things, don't it?

      Possibly, though temperamentally very different from Atzmon, I too would launch at tirades if cornered by certain individuals. The ones who hold the Feith et al cover-up by the jewish establishment guilty as charged (for being basically willing to forgive the thugs for Empire and israel) but then recoil at expanding beria's ethnicity to a historical cover up by the entire jewish establishment of Russia. Unlike Atzmon though I would never be so quick to hold an entire community (even a tribe) guilty because of some Jewish connection by some to some very bad things.

      Still, on bad days, I rant much as Atzmon does. On bad days when the magnitude of the crimes and abominations committed against the Syrian people, the Iraqi people, the Libyan people, the Yemeni people, become impossible to ignore. I know many jewish people (and of course, many many non-jewish people), people i respect, expressed their disgust with the neocons every bit as deeply and clearly as I did and do. I also know that many of the jewish people who failed to be suitably disgusted simply because they had not much knowledge about foreign affaires in general, much as most Americans. After all, it's the unique privilege of those who live in the heart of the beast to not know what the beast does when it goes on its rampages.

      But still, there is that little voice that says - of all its subjects and citizens, the Jews of the Empire should not use apathy or ignorance as a way out of witnessing that which must be witnessed, if civilization is to continue. If too many of them do just that, then perhaps they are all guilty?

      All that being said, a world without the like of Ofir is a sad world indeed. I have never seen an article of his I didn't like or appreciate. Of all the people out there, if I were Atzmon, I would let it slide, Even on a bad day.

    • Good points, Keith. I was about to make one of those myself (the one about the Holocaust being turned into something of a cult-like jewish gatekeeping aspect).

      Now, it is true that Atzmon can be artless. Even his questions can be phrased as an offense so it's not surprising that he elicits defensive reactions. Not that I don't understand how one could become so brittle given the attacks leveled against him for many years now. But psychologism aside, I think Ofir, despite denials, was probably given ample warnings that any association with Atzmon is poison in any and all jewish communities/organizations. Of course, being from israel, Ofir should recognize the MO of someone like Atzom. Something like offense is the best defense? a certain aggressiveness, whether justified or not?

      That being said, I probably would have also cringed at the question on Bolshevism. There is something about that line of questioning that makes me uncomfortable, and not because I care to be a gate-keeper, of any kind, for anyone. By now, that part of history - in general - the entire 1917 revolution, in fact - is so fraught with inaccuracies, exaggerations and mythologies that short of being a scholarly historian I am not sure I would be able to answer any question about that part of Russian history. Just heard someone on NPR who was researching Lenin's train trip back to Russia. Who funded it and for what purpose, she asked? was Lenin a tool of Western powers - or in particular of the German powers who sought a withdrawal of Russia from WWI. plausible, but true? false? who knows? how would anyone ever know what transpired in lenin's mind?

      I only bring this up because i see - among European Jews of marxist leanings, never Americans - an ongoing debate about Trotsky. May be Gilad has by now figured out what it's all about, I sure didn't.

  • When it comes to Syria, our press is full of moralizing and propaganda, and short on analysis
    • InBound - yes, israel and its agents within the American government and the entire political system - clean it up - If only that were possible!

    • Bandolero, good to see you interject again. Interesting points. See also my comment above.

      Me, i am just surprised why we are debating assad's rather than, say, Obama's or Hillary's or Erdogan's or Bandar's guilt when it comes to Syria. Weren't those the ones colluding to destroy Syria by killing as many of its people as they could through their MB, Al-Qaeda and ISIS stooges and turning so many previously comfortable citizens into refugees?

      To think that we are even willing to debate the pros and cons of a leader of a country fighting for its survival against truly evil forces unleashed by the oh so wonderful powers of the gulf, west and israel?

    • Ditto but then to continue to the logical conclusion, isn't Obama far more guilty of "atrocities" than Assad ever was? who is the real war criminal here? the one that did the attacking, destroying and plundering or the one that did and does the defending?

      Relativity lessons, anyone?

    • Donald, the problem is that you frame the discussion in terms of "Assad is innocent" or "Assad is guilty". But that is entirely beside the point. No one stays innocent in the face of a vicious attack on life, limb and liberty. The American revolutionaries were decidedly NOT innocent by your criteria. Neither were the forces of Simon Bolivar. Or the resistance fighters of France against the Nazi occupation. Certainly the Algerians were far from "innocent" in ridding their country of the colonizing French pieds noir.

      Assad is fighting a war for the liberty of his country from the invasion mounted by the Empire, just as Keith says. The question of "innocence" in this context is nonsensical because by definition any and all liberated towns will incur collateral damage in terms of civilian casualties. Aleppo was liberated at great expense. Numerous Syrian soldiers were martyred in the process and quite a few civilians ended up as casualties, mostly unintended, but mostly unavoidable. Just look at what price the inhabitants of Mosul, mostly civilians, have to pay for their liberation! that town is being destroyed brick by brick, but what's the alternative? and where is the cry of indignation fro m outr humanists, never apparently in short supply?

      My problem with your line of argumentation is that, even as you try to remain reasonable (and for which stand you deserve plaudits), you cast the conflict in terms that have little bearing on the situation on the ground. We are all couch warriors here, and none of us has our lives or property under immediate threat of being blown up. The difference between you and me is that I know this and therefore accept that any moralizing and high mindedness is, well, a luxury that those who have their lives at stake do not have. So, I reserve moral judgements, and try to stick to military tactics, in the hope that some day, there'll be time enough for high moral ground dwellers to banter back and forth on what should've, could've been done better.

      No matter what tactics Assad's army used, and many complain they were not harsh enough, pale by comparison with the reality of deeds perpetrated crazy mercenary Jihadists paid and armed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Israel and the CIA, many, if not the majority foreigners literally injected into Syria by the malfeasants. In all fairness, how would you speak if it was anyone you knew or claimed kinship to, had THEIR children enticed by crispies only to be blown up as the US's cuddly lovable oh so moderate "rebels" did last week?

      Anything you or I say also pales by comparison with the disgusting silence of the MSM on this atrocity. One so dastardly and evil that any speech about Assad's "innocence" or "guilt" means nothing by comparison. Frankly, Obama - to use one example, is hundred times guiltier of atrocities than anything Assad ever did or was party to. If we are to lay blame, let's do it proportionately, shall we? yet, here is Obama - a war criminal by any reasonable measure (for both Syria and especially for Libya) - and he is about to be getting $400K per speech. That's enough to make anyone throw up, isn't it?

      Also while we are at it, a word or two should be said about the unbelievable bravery of the Syrian Army in the face of incredible atrocity that was perpetrated upon their country. I kind of doubt the American or the israeli army would display nearly the same bravery and resolve in the face of such daunting odds. We should lift a hat to them, not argue about relative "moralities".

      BTW, what would you have advocated for the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto or for the French resistance? minimize collateral damage? really? there were people who did just that, you know. movies are being made about such relativities these days. may be some day, the Syrians and their army will get some movies made about them too, and how some thought that less is more and others that more is less.

  • Why prominent Israeli journalist Larry Derfner rejected liberal Zionism in October 2008
    • So when you gonna write your book, Yonah?

      Suggested title: "Disenchantment and its discontents".

      Alternatives: "BDS as Kosher Enlightenment: the third rail",

      Sorry, I keep the best titles for my own, so you can't have "Israel, a case study of Hysteresis in Jewish History"

  • Actor Richard Gere in Hebron: 'it's exactly like what the what the Old South was in America'
    • the gazans suffer every bit like the jews of the warsaw Ghetto did, and then some. Yes, israel has not liquidated Gaza - yet. But they would if they could. Ask any israeli and they'll tell you exactly - in their own oh so culturally uplifted Tikun-Olanish words - just what they would like to do to gaza and gazans.

      Followed by what they'd like to do to palestinians in the west bank, palestinian Israelis and, of course, their own "left".

  • BDS co-founder: Israel’s arrest and interrogation of Omar Barghouti next step in ‘war against BDS movement’
    • Actually, we love us some zionists. It gets a little boring otherwise, not to have them walk in to try and justify the unjustifyable.

      As for engaging them, people did it for years. It's useless and pointless - just like enegaging a Mormon cult member or a scientologist in a debate. their minds are sealed within their self-referencial bubble. If they come out to play it's just for fun.

      I have yet to meet a single zionist (which means over 90% of "Jewish" israelis) who was ever willing to learn something that in any way challenged their assumptions. just doesn't happen. But no harm in a little snowball fight, is there? I mean, they are making their pay grade this way (and I want my commission!).

    • I wouldn't mind seeing a GoFundme page to bring the murderous IDF thugs and the rest of the storm troopers to justice. Right along with the crazy religious nutcases who are busy with their pogroms. Frankly, the israelis make the Cosasacks of old look like saints by comparison. At least the Cossacks rode in, did their evil deeds and rode out to terrorize some other hapless peasant somewhere else (OK, not all Kossacks did that. My apologies to the good kossacks). But the israelis will not rest their evil-minded torture regime till every last Palestinian is gone or jailed or rendered subservient. Just as commanded by that sad little dusty and violent manuscript (otherwise known as old testament) taught in every israeli school every day. But hey, that's not considered incitement to violence. After all, it was such a great little book!

    • Any civilized person should engage in complete boycott of anything and everything from Israel. period. It is a horrific apartheid country that runs itself like a crazy cult of ethnic purity. A true testament to mankind not only not making much progress ethically, but possibly going backwards.

      Those in charge of the gaza ghetto and those who condone it should be held accountable. Even if they are "nice" people. Many nazis were also "nice people".

      Good for Omar. Hope he continues to resist.

  • Cuomo told Netanyahu he doesn't understand why 'fringes' of Democratic Party are turning against Israel
    • Israel - now where again is that country? and who is Dayan?

      Signed: Maxi Bds

      PS what happened to the comment archives?

  • 'NYT' runs U.S. propaganda on Russian crimes-- without even a comment thread
    • Indeed. Alas. It must be the playbook they all have to play by.

      So when was the last time the US had a UN ambassador that was not female? is this also one of the rules?

    • OK. Peace. A start.

      PS hope you didn't miss my acid tinged keyboard too much.

    • Samantha Power is an intellectual and spiritual midget when compared with her betters such as Churkin. Her diatribes in the UN were the object of mirth and derision the world over. especially when she'd go half -cocked against Russia or Syria.

      Also, Donald - Russia absolutely did NOT kill thousands of civilians in Aleppo - that is sheer nonsense worthy only of the propaganda arm of Al-Qaeda such as the illustrious White helmets, and that discredited pathetic SOHR serving as the mouthp[iece of the hotel hopping "Syrian opposition" clowns. Not that the White helmets were not worthy of an oscar just may be in the actor and supporting actor categories.

      Also what was this mention of the US being responsible "only" for thousands of dead civilians in Iraq and Syria? try over a Million and you'll be closer to the truth. Indeed the entire destruction of Syria - including by the US supported ISIS and al-Nusra (OK, OK, it was behind the scenes, I know) should be laid at the feet of the US and its malicious treasonous CIA. naturally with credit being shared with the most reactionary regime in the world - the great and illustrious Kingdom of saudi Arabia. yes the one whose king just recently took a little vacation with a retinue of 1500 and 150 tons of luggage.

      The great king of kings - our buddy of the guilded age, bathing in the blood of innocents. relishing it too,no doubt. While israel and the CIA are rubbing his back......even as that joker harpy samantha is off peddling her next book - probably something oh so very humanitarian.

  • Video: 'Apartheid has been here for ages. It doesn't really bother us' -- Israeli comedian says in closing act
    • Here is a little mental exercise - what would happen if an American comedian with a show (say someone of Jon Stuart's stature) was to make the same rant? can we even imagine the aftermath?

      Also, how many of us would dare share this on our own facebooks? just wondering....

  • Israel's neverending occupation is bringing 'infamy' to Jews worldwide, making Jewish life 'precarious' -- Tony Klug
    • Klug still aims to save jews from themselves and israel from itself, while bemoaning the downward slide in Judaism's image.

      It is, however, too late already. Judaism - that goose is cooked. Look at the huge rise of religion worshippers in israel. More and more of even the seculars are actually going in a religious directionl, even as the number of the bona fide religious is rising ever faster with their over-reproductive life styles. That the role and influence of religion can only increase over time is only to be expected since it is after all, a biblical justification that beget and props up claims of legitimacy in Palestine. Without the claims of religion, it is simple colonialism, nothing more. naturally, Israelis, in their desperate search for moral coherence, gravitate towards their own religious prescriptions. Yet, even as israelis increasingly flock towards their singularly ethnocentric brand of parochialism, it is the religion itself that will be collateral damage. No way can judaism shake itself from the burden of culpability in the brutal injustice of the occupation and ethnic cleansing.

      Neither will the jews of the world be able to escape history's verdict. Just as muslims feel obliged to continually defend islam as a "religion of peace" in the face of the barbaric interpretations and practices of wahabism, so will Jews feel increasingly obliged to spring to judaism's defense.

      To no avail, of course, because israel, as a whole, cares not a hoot about either physical or spiritual well-being of their "bretherns' elsewhere. Indeed, were you to ask the average israeli whether they think anti-semitism is good or bad for the jews, they would likely answer that it's a gift that keeps on giving and they should just all come to israel and bring the money too.

      Unless some miracle happens (and none can be seen on the horizon), the gig is up, and Judaism will have lost its good name as surely as islam had. Or catholicism. History can be tortured but in the end it does not forgive.

    • I agree RoHa about these "time-honored jewish Ideals". Since when were equality, justice, peace and mutual respect either "time honored" or "Jewish"? A cursory readings through some of the annals of jewish history, going back to medieval and even further, to biblical times, will reveal that these great virtues were quite limited in scope, even when upheld by Rabbis of great note. They applied primarily to jews, when they did, minus the "mutual respect" part which never applied even among Jews, except by exceptional people.

      Indeed, the Jews who aligned with the ideals circulating in Europe during the 18th, 19th and early 20th century borrowed most of the wisdom of their ideals from Christianity (which they would never stoop to credit) and the winds of enlightenment, which they neither invented, nor propagated among members of their own congregations.

      Justice, freedom, peace and mutual respect - I saw very little of any of these in the old Israel which I knew. needless to say, though these were hardly practiced, we mouthed them off as platitudes handed from on high.

      Of course, there were always good individuals to whom such lofty words meant something. In israel and outside it, among jews and non-Jews. But they were the exception that proved the rule. Indeed I consider myself lucky to have known 5 such israelis in the entire time I spent in that country.

      It's a racket, what can I tell you? a good one, too.

  • Commemorating 75 years of advancing prophetic Judaism, free of nationalism and politicization
    • Mooser - that link to the Trefa banquet was precious! never knew about it.....

      As for the denominalization of Judaism in the service of Zionism - I think I saw someone actually write about that but it was quite a while ago and I don't have the link handy. But I get the drift....

    • I get your point that one can just change "Jewish" to "everyone" and bingo! from a totally ethnocentric and indeed, xenophobic and racist diatribe, the prophets turn into saints!

      Alas, if you go through much of the preachings, you should be able to see quickly that it's not just a noun that needs changing, but rather the entire feel and purpose behind those texts. Which, I am sure I don't need to remind you, were all about keeping the israelites "pure". As in ethnically and religiously pure. At no point were others invited to join at the table except under great restrictions.

      I know the Reform and the Tikun Olamists like to pick just a few well selected sentences - from a prohet, or a judge, or a talmudic rabbi, and then massage them until, like the beds prepared for visitors to Soidom and Gemorrah, they fit!

      of course, this is exactly what Christians also do with their new testament - they take out the jewish part and bingo! peace be upon all men... But the equivalent to what the Tikun Olamists are doing is to take jesus out of the new testament and make it all about, say, Mary. That would be just grand, surely!

      Another parallel for you - we could take Tarzan and turn him into Tarzana to make the books of Tarzan into the greatest ever feminist texts, using your logic, couldn't we?

      Now, I am not saying that the Tikun Olamists couldn't or shouldn't come up with their own "Talmud Olam" to reinterpret the Torah. Only problem is - they want to do it with a wave of the hand and the stroke of a pen. I say - lazy bums! go ask the rabbis how many centuries it took them to come up with the talmud? why on earth would it take less than a few decades for the Tikkuners? just because we got computers, does it mean, thought and debate have been banished?

      I says - go do the hard work! and may be, just may be, after some centuries of it, the world will come to see that jews really did invent democracy. And law. And Good Will towards ALL men (+women of course).

      Oh yes, they were against slavery too. After, like, 7 years......I believe. That was super advanced for the times, and this must be pointed out over and over until we all get to believe it.

    • But I like that word! Synod has such a nice ring to it, matter what it is madeof.

      As for the catering - what, we don't have enough capable tribal chefs that can solve a few spillovers? just put some paprika in it, as my mother used to say, and who's to tell things got a bit, well .....over-cooked?

    • Interesting article and a nice thorough recounting of the history of resistance to nationalist Judaism, as it took over (under the guise of "enlightened socialism") the land of the Palestinians.

      Unfortunately,, there is a large number of jewish American (can't say a majority, as there are no hard numbers on that) who will defend whatever it is israel wants to do, no matter how depraved and evil. If it is only 30% that's already too many. Even more unfortunately the reform leadership is squarely in this column, even if many in the congregation aren't.

      One of the issues i have with this article, just as much as I had with Marc Ellis' vision (commendable as these visions are) is that they keep referring to this mythical "prophetic Judaism". What on earth is that, given that nearly all the prophets addressed their admonitions and visions primarily to Jews? the universalism that's being read into the prophets is fine, as long as we realize that's all it is - wishful projection of modernist thought into a much more primitively ethnically pure reality. It is not so easy however to turn parochialism into universalism without that secret ingredient known otherwise as pilpul (I am sure there are better names, but y'll know I mean a certain torturing of the truth) .

      That being said, I do agree with the poster above who suggested that the first order of the day for the prophetic jew is to part with the Talmud (well, keep the fun stuff and the sage stuff) and have a new synod that will do a new interpretation and commentary on the Old testament. This should have been done ages ago, really. But hey, it's never too late!

  • Elor Azarya's 'normative' support for genocide
    • i am really glad to see this article from Ofir (who has steadfastly been producing good work!). He actually puts out some Facebook posts that mirror the kind of genocidal dog whistles I have been pointing out for some time now. I am not even sure it's "as little" as 57%. My guess - that poll notwithstanding - is that it's closer to 65-70%.

      The thing is that, as i keep saying, American Jews DO NOT read Hebrew, so they see only the tip of the iceberg insofar as the absolute garbage one can see on Israelis' Facebook pages and other social media. In Hebrew they do not mince words and don't even try to mask their tracks. In English, it can be shocking too, but it's easier to dismiss as an "aberration", especially as there is some push back usually. Ofir no doubt sees what I and many many others see and know to be a fact. Among other things, we have family members that are so far gone that any conversation with them is utterly futile.

      And the younger crowd in Israel are the worst of the worst. Basically, if there were arrests for Hate Speech, half of Israel would be in jail - and it's only half because not everyone sings their ugly tunes in public on the internet. But you sure hear it around the Shabbat tables from the sweetest of all sweet grandmothers and that cute 10 year old kid.

      "Kill them all" is so common a refrain, as to be entirely normative.

      I just wish people the world over started to honestly digest what that means. Not just for israelis, Jews of the world or palestinians, but for our entire Western civilization. A civilization that continues to tolerate Ghetto Gaza, and will no doubt find ways to avert its collective eyes, when the liquidation starts up in earnest. However cagily and cleverly it is conducted. One can count on that clever little Start-up nation to do things cleverly enough to have a built-in plausible deniability at every step, while the cauldron keeps bubbling, covered with a chalis to contain the noxious fumes.

  • The immaculate conception of Louis Brandeis
    • Probably you are reading over not into. The absence of Allison Weir mention is as it must be, I'd assume, given that the mere mention of her name is likely to bring out the brigades, at which point the discussion becomes about Weir not Brandeis. That's how smears work - in the end a name becomes unfit to mention in "polite' society, especially if one wants to keep it "polite". The PTB are these days trying the same tactic with the "Fake news" meme - branding works by making certain citations problematic. Just try citing anything that appeared in RT, even if it's just an article about birds or bears.

    • But don't you see JN? the zionism controversy is a giant cutter-to-size! Not that I disagree about Brandeis' American giantness. It's just that "they" want to make it all about something jewish, thereby knocking the most progressive American ideals down to size. The "they" BTW are the apologists of the zionism extohlling variety cited by Phil in his excellent piece, herein supported by a more modern variety (see certain commenters above). Thusly are great achievements by Americans, who happen to be of jewish roots, corrupted, especially in retrospect. Because that's what zionism does. I concede that zionism may have been conceived as something ideal back in the day (as in, way back, before colonialism became a very very dirty word, as has "manifest destiny"), but ended up eating the soul of its own history. Like that snake symbol that eats its own tail (picture anyone?).

    • Wow, hophmi really came out of the woods for this one. Right along with jon s. Not to worry though - still the same zionism-is-a-smash cheering section. Of the American variety. Bearing the consent-manufacturing gifts that never stop giving, especially to the self-gifting. But hey, it's an exceptionally gifted section.......

    • as you know Mooser - or should - one of the great jewish achievements was the ability to claim iconic cultural/political thought as its own. Especially of the ground-breaking variety.

      The truth is - for millenia, covering the time from the 400-500BC period when the old testament was written down by Babilonian promulgators of zionism (the biblical variety) - true democratic though was almost entirely absent from Jewish teachings (give or take a couple of radicals). That is until the enlightenment taught them just what a winner democracy could be, at which point they promptly claimed the democracy concept as their own. Easy to forget history of those - eh, not so enlightened - medieval rabbis who ran rough-shod over their venerating subjects. Never happened.

    • Good point about the flip side of zionism's promoters. However, I must continue to object to the use of the word "anti-semitism" as if it was something totally obvious and written in stone. What I mean, as always, is this: there was no doubt that there was some (emphasis on "some") anti-jewish sentiment in parts of America but that sentiment was no different than simmering resentment of any other group of migrants to these shores who may be rising a bit faster than the natives feel comfortable with.

      My thesis is simple - what anti-Jewish sentiment there was, and is, is in no way different than the Anti-Asian sentiment we see often enough. Be it anti-Chinese or anti-Indian, there is considerable resentment to be found in quarters of the American populace of "upstart" immigrant (or migrant) groups. What I object to is the deliberate singling out of anti-Jewish sentiment as something unique and other to the much more conventional resentment seen far and wide in a country that prided itself on attracting immigrants/migrants, especially the more successful ones, yet found itself concerned when that very success they laud is so obvious that it makes the "natives" seem somewhat lackadaisical by comparison.

      Anti-semitism is a word that has been weaponized so effectively that we can't possibly use that word without recognition that there is a battle being waged.

  • Israel advocates worry Trump's pick for State has anti-Israel bias
    • Last I heard from the "Fake news" revelers - Putin has now been determined to cause the extinction of the dinosaurs and was seen - definitively (By CNN, no less) - at Caesar's assasination scene wielding a knife. That Putin! cavorted with Attila the Hun surely! no doubt was the very one sending Ildiko, Attila's last reputed wife, to poison him on his nupitals! thus the world was changed forever. Putin is like - everywhere!

    • Did you mean "exercism" as in "too much exercise" (a new word to be added to the lexicon. No problem here) or "exorcism", as in "extricate victory from the jaws of defeat?

      Sorry, just channeling a Mooser here. Forgetting myself*.....

      * who am I, exactly, in this upside down world? anyone knows?

    • the CIA/Democrat/Soros nexus

      Did you just cite one of the key Deep State components? or is it an axis?

      I agree BTW about the power struggle within the elite. There is lots of evidence for that. The line, the dividing line, goers straight through the heart of the CIA, the FBI and all the other three-letter agencies/agents.

      Poor little Empire.....torn asunder......

  • A missing piece of the puzzle of Trump's victory: the 2003 invasion of Iraq
    • I am with annie here on the issue of Syria, though I also agree with james North's take on the lack of support for the Iraq war in fly-over country.

      I know quite a few who are in active duty in the military as well as veterans. To a person they were all dead set against America's misguided intervention in Syria on the side of Jihadis and to a man - and woman - they are quite opposed to the kow towing to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, knowing full well who supported the Wahabis and the muslim brotherhood, and suspecting the nefarious purposes behind such support. The resistance of the military to any bombing of the Syrian army has been written about and many pointed out that this played a role in pulling back from such misguided missions following the chemical false flag attack (not one military person I know believes it was anything other than a false flag, since, as military trained individuals, they are all trained to look for the Qui Bono, and there was none for Assad. No need to look too deep into that or be a high fallutin' strategist to see that. Common sense would suffice, and that can be possessed even by some not-so-eminents).

      But more than that, I have not met or read any veteran or active duty person praising Hillary or having much confidence in her understanding of strategy and tactics and the difference between them. many professed some envy that the Russians can have someone like Putin whose heart and soul is obviously in promoting and serving the Russian national interest, something everyone believes. No, it's not always aligned with America's interests (no reason it should), but the clarity Putin's Russia has brought to military and economic conflicts are the object of no small amount of admiration, because it is so transparent. The US, by contrast, is perceived as having no clarity, either of vision or tactics. Its policy is mired in squabbling groups of unknown allegiances, which brought a chaotic approach to almost every task (just take the CIA - perceived as divided between the "good CIA" and the "bad CIA"). The military thrives on and needs clarity of goals and well defined missions. They feel they got none under Obama and were expecting more of the same veil of confusion under a Hillary..

      For all these reasons I am pretty sure that Trump got the lion share of votes from military people, that despite the myriad of reservations many had about him as a person and as a leader.

      What I find ironic is that it is Hillary's very hawkishness that got her to lose a substantial number of votes, even as Trump, the muslim lambasting clown, could trumpet his almost "peacenik" approach to foreign policy, including in muslim countries (emphasis on irony, of course. No, I don't think Trump is a true "peacenik". Only Bernie was that, and even he would have had to pay homage to the military-industrial complex, were he to run and get elected (insert sad face here)).

  • Media reports that Russians are behind email leaks are official stenography -- Carden
    • DeBakr - what on earth are you smoking? can I have some of that good stuff?

      KSA is just about the most repressive regime on earth - probably worse than North korea. may be you have some secret affection for the head-choppers but that is not likely shared by any here. And Qatar? com'on - what with all the slave labor or is that chomp change?

      Re MH17 - again, I have no idea where you get your hasbara points but anyone who knows anything realizes the plane was brought down by Ukraine - though we may not know who gave the order. IF you are not sure - why not ask for the cockpit recordings with the Kiev air traffic control tower? the answers are all there.....(yes, I know Ukraine refused to hand them over, but rest assured, heart throb Victoria Nuland has copies - just ask her and I am sure she'll oblige and send you the transcripts. She does have them, you know....).

      But you'll be glad to hear I disagree with one thing at least in Carden's piece - the annexation of Crimea was something Russia had to do following the US instigated maidan coup, which was all about getting hold of Crimea for the US fleet. Plus the Crimeans are mostly Russians and they voted with their feet. one could only wish we would have such open voting in this country. One free of the fraud and rigging that has apparently corrupted our entire voting system beyond repair, and called the legitimacy of candidates such as hillary and any governance she may preside over into question. There are quite a few states that would love to part ways with the east coast elite corrupt governing corporate/wall street rule if only there was a way.

      Anyways, I see no reason whatsoever fto assume Russia was behind the Wikileaks latest dump. After all, Podesta used gmail, as in GMAIL. Anyone expects it to be secure? why, was he too cheap to pay for an email box with more secure features? not to mention Huma who used a yahoo e mail to which she forwarded her state department mail, as did hillary. Yahoo, the very platform that gets hacked periodically - as in who did not yet have their address book hacked? of course, some may wish to question why Hillary and huma would forward classified e mails to unsecure addresses but that's the least of their crimes. I am actually assuming it was probably some basement dwelling kid who broke into Podesta's treasure trove of corruption revealing e mails. Anyways, it's fun to read how the sausage is really being made. now, i bet AIPAC servers are quite a bit more secure. darn - where are the russians when we need them?

  • Miserable night, bleak forecast
    • There are people out there, on the Palestinian solidarity and pro-Palestinian side who still believe that it will somehow be possible to affect change on US policy without changing the discourse on Jewish power. These 'some" people I am referring to are almost all jewish, and many found a cozy homes in organizations with "Jewish" in the title. that while the few voices arguing that it is not possible to do anything of substance for the palestinians without taking on The Lobby, are silenced or shunned or exiled.

      Reality however is a stern teacher, and the reality is that Palestinians will end up on the losing side big time, unless many more of us gang together to combat that nonsensical 'anti-semitism" as a weaponized tool to silence critics. For a long time I have maintained that anti-semitism exists only as a weapon not as a reality. There are many Jewish power brokers (see for example Phil's truly depressing cataloguing of the influence peddlers surrounding Hillary et al, which includes staunch republicans) whose job it is to see their power is maintained and is wielded to support whatever it is israel wants to do. Ergo, it is that power that needs to be combated, which means, by definition, combating the spurious charges of "anti-semitism" likely to be hurled the second Jewish power is mentioned by a non-Jewish person.

      For anyone still hopeful that somehow the jewish "community" can come around and exert pressure on israel to behave, I can only lament their likely life-long wait. not going to happen, not on any scale that matters. Ultimately, it's all about power and money, something israel understands all too well, as do the jewish oligarchs in the US and canada, and, of course, their non-jewish brethern oligarchs, all of whom flock together in their oligarchic circles. I suspect that it will take a precipitous decline of the American empire before any change on the ground happens, and not just on the I/P front but also climate change and inequality. Which means a revolution from within the Empire and robust resistance to it without.

      The first salvo for a revolution from within was Bernie, as imperfect as he was in terms of championing of change.That's the salvo from the left and we saw how it was crushed, both by hook and by crook. The other salvo is from the right, as embodied by Trump's improbable rise. Another thoroughly imperfect standard bearer. he will lose, because the hillary crowd will make sure he does, if need be by the same hooks and crooks used against bernie. The next challengers will be better armed and more forewarned. In the meantime, the palestinians must wait - their suffering unrelieved.

    • RoHa - did I just learn a new word - "divagate"? why does my spellchecker not like it?

      I'm just trying the comment function, hoping to give annie another opportunity to go dumster diving while typo fixing.

      trash talk is a most appropriate topic following the depressing post above. Not that I find it surprising as hopey-changey is not my shtick. Still, every day I hope my dire diagnosis to be proven wrong - I'll take anywhere over nowhere anytime.

  • Ari Shavit’s humiliating fall from grace: AIPAC, Hillel cancel events in wake of groping story
    • jon s - that resignation! the crime in israel is to be caught, as you would know, since you were there for a time, and heard them talk amongst themselves, right? getting caught is very very bad, even, and especially for the powerful and/or influential. Rumors about Shavit's bad behavior (meaning sleaze-ball, or jack-ass, or whatever the word is in English) have been circulating for some time. To violate the dignity of a pretty jewish American lady journalist would therefore be considered fool-hardy. IT opens the dam to other accusers in israel, who didn't dare or care to come forward before.

      In an israeli context Shavit was shown to be both a jerk and an idiot. A deadly combination, just like a certain president. Ergo, a resignation is in order, followed by public shaming, and possibly worse.

    • judithbell, do you speak from experience? because I do. You need to live in israel for like 20 years and serve in their army as a young recruit before you can state emphatically one way or the other. If that is not possible, you may want to listen to the accounts told in hebrew (not English!) among the Israelis. Even then, the worst stories are not told, even in hebrew and even among the knowing, because, well, failure to self protect is not considered a positive attribute.

      I don't mean to dismiss what some American service women go through, but in israel, service is mandatory, and people find themselves in the military at age 17, 18 with very little life experience. Also in israel, the bonds of silence are even stronger, especially since some of the worst violators have the "glamor" jobs - front line combat officers, pilots etc. So they have an aura of invincibility in an israeli context.

      Also in israel it is generally accepted that women's role in the military is partly social. Indeed, the IDF can do quite well these days without recruiting women, but they are needed for the 'cohesiveness' and the "bonding', i.e., a social function. So many, not being so wise, behave accordingly, brushing aside the absence of respect from male peers. When the bonding function is violated, as you can imagine, it's triple the shame. Talking about it or filing a complaint is beyond betrayal. It destroys the veneer of "we are all in this together" kind of rubbish. It can destroy the bonding function of an entire unit. Errgo, the woman complainer not only got herself into a 'situation" but also failed in her primary duty if, the social one, if she complains

      The US military takes volunteers, and women in the American military do in fact participate in some of the most dangerous and demanding duties. Some in the front lines. A few military pilots, etc. I am sure attacks and unwanted advances happen a lot in close quarters, and there are repercussions to filing complaints. OTOH, unlike the israeli army which for most is compulsory, the reaction of the US military can be more of a shrug, as in "what did you expect"? , "did you think it was going to be a bed of roses"? etc. There is an expectation of toughness and of toughing it out.

      I guess my point is not about the occurrence of abuse of authority or just abuse, but of the reaction to it by the military itself as well as society at large. The American woman soldier, being a volunteer, expects to be treated professionally. the israeli woman recruit expects to have an interesting and socially rich lifestyle.

    • Bless your heart, annie. All fixers of typos and bad syntax will surely end in a heaven where birds sing, flowers bloom, and lovely humans speak in impeccable grammar with crisp vowels too.

      And thank you so much for the reminder of that earlier article. I thought I remembered something weird about good old Avi but could not recollect.

    • I overstayed my edit time, so apologies for the disjointedness, typos, etc.

    • To me Shavit's reaction and his apologetic non-apology sounds like a typical israeli male's. Shavit's advances would be considered 'all in a day's work" in israel. Such aggressive behavior based on the premise that it's normal macho behavior is so common over there that it is barely worth mentioning. probably one third of females serving in the IDF were at one point raped and many times assaulted. I wouldn't know what it's like in a workplace but my guess is that women who work in larger firms sometimes wish there was a hijab or a burqa to ward off the many unwanted advances. This happens disproportionately more to women who are younger, good looking and generally out-going. Attributes that make them appear somehow "accessible". The usual reaction is to shun the man and use a form of public shaming by spreading the word. That when the assault did not actually culminate in rape. IF it did, many times the reaction is silence and self-blame for allowing a situation to evolve that far.Almost every israeli woman has such stories to tell, though most would rather not.

      As the few prosecutions of men in power in israel demonstrate, these situations become especially problematic when the man is older and in a powerful position. A good rule of thumb is that power goes to the head, and not just in israel.

      I base these observations a bit on experience (left israel when I was quite young, so I had a chance to experience typical predatory behavior many times over, and predatory it is) and most on stories I hear from there and the occasional reading of hebrew accounts for the more recent climate over there. I know that personally, having come to understand the israeli male behavior, I developed certain traits and behavior patterns almost sub-consciously that were designed no doubt to ward off bad situations that would force me to write someone off for life (caveat: I did not have female friends to gossip with. Just other males and those would hardly be the right ones to commiserate with). For example, one defense tactic was to not be in a situation where one is alone with a certain type of individual male. especially a much older one. Another is to have clarity about my own designs and interests so as to avoid any appearance of flirtation when the interest is not there on my part, and when there is a high likelihood of misinterpretation of mere friendliness for an invitation. I am no longer there, but the attributes persist through life for better and for worse. Even when in America where the aggressiveness is rarely so overt and in your face (again, it's my experience, and only as a comparison. I was never an undergraduate in the US so wouldn't know what the climate is like there). One thing I noticed in israeli females, even ones who are older, is the way they can move from friendly to freezing in a blink of an eye, almost. It's like a switch is thrown. probably a defense mechanism developed over their youth.

      It will take probably an anthropologist/psychologist team to dissect Israeli male and female more and behavior patterns. best to think of it as a kind of a jungle. Avigail Abarbanel can no doubt shed more in depth light on this interesting phenomenon of inter-gender behavior in a place like israel. may be she should write another article on this matter for MW? I am sure it'll be interesting.

      None of this is to hold Danielle blameful in any way. She would likely not have recognized the signs that her pleasant demeanor was eliciting in an interview situation where the goal is to put the subject at ease so they'll speak freely. She would probably not realize that his increasing "friendliness' were all signs of trouble to come. because it's not an American she was dealing with. In her place, i would have probably seen it coming from a mile away and changed the tone of the conversation, and possibly reschedule another meeting in a place where alcohol is not served. But then i would know things she didn't and no reason she would, coming from a more civilized jewish milieu. How do you note that suddenly the rules of the jungle apply and not the rules of a jewish day camp? or a friendly collegiate encounter?

      I do have BTW one funny story to tell. Funny to me because i made it so and nothing bad happened, though it could have. may be another time, in response to an Avigail well-measured account of the mores of the jungle.

  • Jeffrey Goldberg is Jewish
    • Phil - you accused Jeffrey Goldberg of being "shrewed"! That's like so anti-semitic! almost merchant of venice like...., don't you know that? what next? you'll accuse some jewish person somewhere of being "smart"? imagine the fanfare.... the howls of disapproval... the opprobrium....

      Off to re-education camp with you - and your ilk too, many of whom are present in this comment thread. as long as I can pop in (to the camp) now and then, that is... I heard the wine is first class.....

    • Tokyobk, I second Mooser's request for the calling cards of the august members of that tight community of sharers. You didn't mean anyone on wall Street, right? because that couldn't be - they don't do sharing so well, last I heard....besides, I didn't get anything for example after they collapsed the economy in 2008. So if you could help direct some my way, i would definitely appreciate it. hey, I AM a member of the tribe, too, so I need to get some precious.

    • Yonah sees "problematic". I see his post as emblematic. To a certain class of people (and I don't mean jews necessarily) who are bigoted against ghosts, which they see everywhere.

  • Clues to the end of the world shared during final 2016 presidential debate
    • Good point pabelmont. Climate change was a barely audible aside from the Clintonite direction, while the Clinton kryptonite Trump, seemed not to have heard the expression, much less repeat it.

      Even if there is no hot war, things are likely to get pretty hot, alright!the sad thing is that jill Stein's poll percentage - now hovering somewhere just upward of 3%, probably reflects the total number of people who care about climate change. That is, care enough.....(yes, i know many of sanders' supporters did, but he was expelled from the table of the powerful, along with his basement dwellers. leaving - what? the deplorables and deplorable-in-kinds?

  • New statement calls on the movement to focus on Palestine, not divisive internal conflicts
    • Donald, gamal, Keith, echi, jd65 - have you guys had a chance to read this truly gawd awful screed just published on The Interecept of all places?

      This one has one murtaza hussein as co-author, the same one who publish a glowing report of the 'revolutionaries" in Syria on The Intercept some days ago.

      It's a good read, not because it makes blood curdle but because it frames the new /old terms of debate for humanitarian interventionism under the unfortunately-soon-to-be-elected Hillary. The goal here is to present the so-called "opposition" (cf. salafist terrorists in my book) as winsome revolutionaries, while Assad is, by definition, the oppressor of such noble aspirations as ISIS (yess, there's a place where the interviewee says something along the lines of "better ISIS than Assad" or some such. I could not read through in great detail due to blood boiling. Not good, that). Note how these westerners, funded no doubt by an assortment of saudi/Qatari money, purport to speak for ALL Syrians. Even as they live the good life outside.

      That being said, I am sure one can find among Syrian refugees someone who will say one thing and another next to them who'll say the opposite, depending on what they figure must be expected of them. refugees do what refugees must, and words are less important than food or a ticket to the EU, surely.

      Not to repeat the many good points made by you all (yes, even* Donald makes his own case reasonably well. After all, who are we to pick our few supporters, even if they don't play exactly as we wish them to), I think it is important to take stock of the new enemies to the cause of Syrian people (as people, now subjected to terrible hardships by our own Western and gulf state regimes). In particular, let us note the publishing forum - The Intercept. Whether Glenn caved in to critics after Rania Khalek published one or two articles there, or he is just under extreme pressure from the corporatocracy - for which he now works, whether he agrees or not - and has to prostate the publication's good name, is immaterial. Be it as it may, such articles are not what the old Glenn (especially the firebrand who once wrote in Salon) would have tolerated, given the glaring hypocracies (too many to count).

      Instead of setting off on each other, my suggestion is that we may all unite in the interest of standing up against the powerful propaganda machines - arrayed against us all. Donald may not go as far as we may want him to, because perhaps he is not a crosser of Rubicons. But he has written on the subject of Syria better than the likes of ones whose heart is with interventionism, come hell or fire. Ones we have seen published right here on MW.

      I do expect things to get much worse, propaganda wise after hillary comes to the power, propelled and pushed across the finish line by the corporate deep state. We, as in all of us, Donald too, will no doubt be described as Putinists, Assadists and worse in the months and years to come, as the evil doers plot a way to their "no fly" zone. There will be time enough to take it out on each other, I think and hope, once the dust settles and most of Syria has been freed from the clutches of the cuddly al Nusra, ISIS and their FSA buddies. For now, I wish we could unite in common cause, whatever secret motivations we may suspect in this or that individual.

      * Donald, the 'even" is not to be taken as battle cry unless you want or need a battle, In which case, I'll be happy to oblige of course, since I am an obliging kind of person, as we know.

    • notatall, I 'll second echiniccus' request - what on earth is anti-semitism as opposed to any other kind of bigotry we see day in day out on our TV screens? many many jewish people say abhorent things about non jewish people (take for example paul krugman, who I cited above) or can barely conceal their contempt.

      That not to mention the torridm, horrid things you read in the pages of the NYTs, WaPo etc about palestinians, by people who are obviously jewish and obviously can't wait till the palestinians 'learn their place". This problem of anti-palestinian bias and Jewish supremacy that looks down on others and FULLY SUPPORTS the ethnic cleansing of the palestinians from their own homeland, is a far far bigger problem than the imaginary "antisemitism' some claim to see in every shadow of anyone who believers israel basically sucks (I do, as one example, Not only Israel but most israelis are people i prefer not to associate with on account of their racism and bigotry. Not to mention plain ill manners). Yet, you have a hideous creature called Nethanyahu, an even worse mafiosi thug called Lieberman and they are received by heads of state as if they were actually part of the human family. And who rolls out the red carpet for these jerks? yes, certain jewish Americans, who then put pressure on American politicians to cave in and sell American interests on the cheap..

      So yes, it is high time to denounce these bigots for they are, rather than hide behind your illusory blood libel of something you call "anti-semitism". Which, as i said, I have never seen or witnessed, except may be by people who are persecuted by israelis and who understandably despise those who oppress them and their enablers in the US.

      I would say that this Douglas guy, who I don't know, is much less of a problem than the writers of the NYT and WaPo plus the other jewish people who do, for example, fund raisers for the murderous criminal IDF. Depending on what Douglas said about blacks or non-whites, I would have to decide whfor myself whether weir oweas and apology or should get the medal of honor for bravery.

    • Notatall, I beg to differ on this matter. I don't know Douglas or have any idea why appearance on his show is such a line crossing event. I'll just make a few comparisons, assuming Douglas may be beyond the pale:

      1. people are willing to write for a polemic journal like the new York times (otherwise known as the pravda times) which has pushed travesties such as the Iraq war AND is currently busily promoting a campaign to divide and destroy Syria (under thee rubric of "humanitarian" intervention). This rag also promotes a racist nepotistic creature like Hillary who lies for a living and has been proven to be just about as corrupt a politician as we have ever seen, not to mention her blood-soaked hands and sadistic tendencies towards vanquished-by-empire foes (cf Qaddafi, among others). She and Bill and their corrupt money laundering "foundation' are pretty much a mafia operation, designed to enrich them and their cronies using pay-to-play schemes every bit as bad as drug pushing. Same for the torrid write-ups from the likes of brooks et al as well as the near complete disappearance of any palestinian narrative. Yet, people who are otherwise decent still write for the NYTs now and then. Should they all be shunned?

      Oh and did i say the NYT is guilty of racism by promoting all things jewish and barely hiding their disdain for the 'gentiles' (to use the illustrious paul Krugman's word. yes, he does say that, often enough and yes, we know what he means. So, am i misinterpreting or something....or may be not?). basically, if Douglas has bigotry against the zionist creed (which I would share, BTW. Zionism is nothing to be proud of, alas. It's become almost like a scarlet letter, thanks to that murderous ethnic cleansing entity on the meditarraneans calling itself israel or some such) then krugman has all out bigotry against any economist who happens to not be jewish enough. (can't be sure whether his ire and bigotry is directed only against economists. may be not, because he went all out against sanders too for the crime of not being sufficiently kiss ass to the PTB, whoever they are).

      2. The new Yorker is similarly guilty of pushing skulduggery, corruption and violent interventions in the name of "women's rights" or israel or some other politically correct mem de jour. Yet a decent writer like Sy Hersh does publish there. Should he apologize for the platform and say it was a mistake to publish there?

      3. the waPO, known as pravda-on-the-potomac is a known neocon propaganda and yellow journalism rag. hey, they even have a columinist called jennoifer Rubin, a lousy writer, if there ever was one, who arguably displays more prejudice in a single column than Douglas ever did on his web site or beyond it. But here and there a ray of sunshine appears and a decent article sees the light on WaPo's pages. Should anyone and everyone stop writing there because of the overall violent, racist, bigotted and corrupt editorial bend?

      To me , an appearance in ANY forum does not imply agreeing with editorial policy. Same for Weir as for a Rania Khalek or one Phil Weiss. the good guys are too few to demand some impossible and ludicrous purity test from them.

    • tokybk - why was peled's tweet objectionable? it's not like he said the 'p' or 'c' words or anything obscene that i could see.

      Peled is an ex-israeli and talks as Israelis do - being 'ex' doesn't alter that, it only slightly dials down the insults, which in israel are so common as to be matter of fact. Whether it's politicians or ordinary citizens. peled retains one of the features so widely admired by Jewish visitors to the state - directness in speech. I am often guilty of the self same. He saw sleaze and called it by its name - so what? just go over to the Wikileaks releases about the Clinton sleaze campaign and marvel at the level of corruption. Oh yes, that one is across the board, so OK to call it that (or is it?).

      If you could read hebrew (which of course, you may know a little of - just enough perhaps to think you do) you would find israeli social media a literal cesspool. I realize that's why most Jewish people around the world (excluding the settler support varieties) would never even try to understand the language spoken by by their supposed bretherns in the "holy" land, as it would offend their delicate sensibilities and eternally bolstered sense of victimhood (oh, those anti-semites all around them!).

      that being said, i can say what i want, but Peled is now a public figure and EVERYTHING he tweets or says publicly will be jumped on by enemies - from within and without the movement. I assume he must have gotten exasperated and let out in public that which most ex-Israelis see, mention and talk about in private. that because many israelis escaped that lousy little place by the sea precisely because they could not stand the endemic corruption of the Oligarchic political and business life. It's pretty much like in the ukraine except they get much larger hand-outs from big daddy, so the veneer of the good life is thicker (cf. the Tel Aviv and its great night life). So, sometimes it's hard not to get exasperated when you witness the cover-up operation run in America by "nice" jewish people who'll do anything and everything not to see the ethnic cleansing spectacle unfolding before our very eyes. And that is indeed sleazy (which remains so even if many non-jewish brain washed evangelical types share the same blind spot, which in their case, is truly blind, so perhaps a bit less sleazy?).

    • It's a good effort, IMO, and i am glad they highlighted the latest witch hunts against peled, who said something not the least bit controversial (unless of course you find everything controversial). It is also timely because of the great increase in the pace and severity of battles to marginalize BDS.

      When I read the petition, the examples - several of them - seemed to mention JVP as part of the "offending' partyies as Annie mentioned above. For me, JVP, despite the good work many of its members do, has become somewhat compromised - because of the overwrought actions of certain groups of individuals who appear to take sides, for example in favor of "humanitarian" intervention in places like Syria. When Blumenthal came out recently with his devastating expose of the "white helmets" as essentially a terrorist affiliated umbrella group pretending to do "humanitarian" work but really used as propaganda arm of the CIZ/KSA/Qatar etc. he was subjected to considerable villification, some of which again came from JVP members (though they were not the worst). In fact there are a few things that burst the propaganda bubble more ferociously than commentary on Syria. Some of which appeared here, on MW, as we all saw and noticed.

      Ideally, I would have liked to see a certain unmentionable name with the initials GA added to the list of examples. Of course, that would have meant far fewer would dare to sign. Still, i do take great comfort from the fact that the lynching of Allison Weir and the great Greta Berlin were on the list.

      Overall, it's worth adding one's name to the list of signatories, minor quibbles notwithstanding. Especially in light of the fact that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine is accelerating, with nary a word of protest from our president or the current candidates, compromised as the latter two are.

  • Shimon Peres, dead at 93
    • Oh yes, on the positive side [very positive] the archives are back! something to rejoice over, as some of the comments on this web site are/were worth so much more than a peres ever was.

    • Sometimes, the worst people get to live the longest. makes one almost wish there really was a heaven and hell. In which case good old [very old] Peres would definitely not be sent to the former.

      I have no eulogy to offer for him, other then - bye.

  • UC Berkeley reinstates Palestine class, rejecting pressure from pro-Israel groups
    • Interesting and encouraging. This should be noted in light of Avigail Abarbanel's recent articles about the words used to describe what israel is doing. She argued - quite ogently - against use of the word "occupation" in referring to the West bank and gaza, since occupation implies a kind of temporariness. Something that can - eventually - be ended. Kind of like the US occupation of iraq, or the british occupation of india. But we know this is not the case with israel, which intends - for all appearances - to settle the west bank just as it settled - and colonized - Israel proper. Every israeli knows this is the intent, and this is the plan. But they also know the word "settler colonialism' conjures images of an America or Australia or canada conquered and settled by Europeans. This is exactly what israel plans to do, but being the age of the internet, it's abit more difficult to hide the cost to the native people.

      hence the push-back from groups like AMCHA and the israeli government.

      All the more reason to rejoice at berkeley's decision.

  • After building a protest movement, West Bank village of Nabi Saleh steps back from weekly Friday protests
    • Keith, I totally agree bout the need to focus on the here and now. The siege of gaza needs to be a rallying point even if they attack us as Hamas-lovers, or Putin-stooges or whatever. Tearing down the wall, ditto. But israel is upping the ante as we speak, slowly but surely executing its grand plan.

      So, on our side, it's good to have a grand plan or two as well. It occurred to me that we - as in you, I, activists, palestinians on the front line, solidarity people everywhere - cannot bring ourselves to envision the outlines of a grand plan. And because of that we are weak in the face of a far more determined and focused foe, which actually has a unified philosophy, namely - we want it and we'll have it, and time is on the side of those who make facts on the ground.

      So, i says there is room for philosophers and visionaries. We need the likes of Zizek in our ranks, and the palestinians need them too, They have some of their own, to be sure, great thinkers, like Said, but the message needs to permeate more deeply and widely. It is necessary, I believe, to accept that the time is rapidly coming for a gestalt transition, among us all, palestinians included. people like Shmuel have been preaching this gospel for some time now, and quite well, but the message needs to resonate in villages like nabi saleh, and in cities like Ramallah and in the refugee camps throughout. Sure abbas can continue to have talks with yahoo. Why not. learn from Putin - the Russians always talk of cease fires even as they maximize gains on the ground. At this time, the best Abbas and his ilk can hope for is the equivalent of a "frozen conflict" but israel will not let them have even this much.

      So, I am thinking tactics and strategy, because thinking is all I have to contribute at this time.

      As with regards to sanders, I am conflicted. the revolution i speak of was more in the sense that the SPIRIT of a revolution really does exist among the people. Clearly, sanders, may have triggered something, but we all understand that ultimately - and always - he is a politician, and must do what politicians do. I try not to be too cynical about him, because cynicism drains the soul of energy. Instead, I look for the green off-shoots of a real movement. Can the off-shoots survive the coraling the establishment is intent on un-leashing, using the threat of trump as a trump card? I kind of see my job (if it can be called a job - because it really is just my programing that so inclines me) as encouraging and making connections to the off-shoots. The time for the real movement will come. I want it to be a good one, even while recognizing we may not have the luxury of having a national leader (if we did, they would bring them down). I am thinking local for now.

      BTW - an interesting subreddit for you: WayofThe Bern. Don't get discouraged by the name. They are all refugees there, but lots of good links, which i store in the shed where I keep my pitch fork well oiled and sharpened. Not enough eassayists. For those check out caucus99 (I am not providing the link so as not to bring the ire of whatever from the woodworks).

    • Susan A, my critique of Blumenthal (whose book I have and read, and to whose interviews - the few he is allowed to give - I listened) is circumspect, and well tempered by my respect for what he HAS done and HAVE brought to light. I am the last person to advocate rifts and minor internecine battles for purity or otherwise among the all too few supporters of Palestine. Same goes for Finkelstein who has done much good, and whose debating skills are beyond comparison.

      That being said, my comment has to do with something i recognize that exists among even the best jewish solidarity activists, and i hope you can view it with the consideration it deserves. I understand all too well what the somewhat one-sided teachings about jewish history have done to the people of israel, because I was subject to them myself. Even now, just as I think I escaped the worst of the tribal circle the wagons mentality, something happens, or someone says something and I am back into the old Anne Frank dilemma wondering who will hide me when the whole thing cracks open. That little twinge of fear is real, and fight as one way, I recognize its origins in having been brain-washed from a wee young age into the "basically all the goys are against us" mind frame. In israel that is how >95% of them feel - and express - quite overtly. In a place like the US, that little fear is tempered by multiple loyalties and alliances, such as are formed in this country. Loyalties that cross the ethnic/religious/political dividing lines. Just look at Phil and read his writings over the years, but even he, now and then feels that little twinge. He and I and multitudes of other Americans of jewish descent feel it when we talk about things like the rise of the jewish mandarin class (which Phil has done himself on several occasions and on a deeply personal level). We worry - what happens to us, solidarity people, progressives par excellance, when they come after the 1% with pitch forks. Will they make exceptions for some? all?and I speak here as one with my own pitch fork well sharpened, waiting in the shed, for when the time comes, and the neoliberal economic order based on perpetual accumulation of wealth by few, collapses, as it inevitably would. Just like the peasants of old, will the screwed over unemployed and under-employed, be inclined to make fine point distinctions? who knows?

      So, the way Blumenthal and Finkelstein deal with this existential angst is to arm against closet anti-semites, that you say exist among the activists. The way I deal with mine is to see all activists as soldiers in a battle for the soul of humanity. Like all soldiers, comments will be made in a heated moment, but that has been the case for every people fighting a much more powerful enemy - which in this case is the monied, all-powerful, deep state pupeteers, whoever and wherever they are. As warriors against deep states everywhere (israel included!), looking for closet bigot, here, homophobe there, anti-semite somewhere else is pointless and divisive. Ultimately, it's not whether anti-semitism is real or not, and whether all goys are infected a little by this 'virus" (which our distorted history inclines us to believe). It's about our own fears, sub-conscious anxieties and that's what needs to be recognized.

      Long answer but the gist is simple; no, greta berlin was no more anti-semitic than you or I. And Atzmon got it right on lots of issues that may be disturbing to many, even if his mannerisms may not be to everyone's taste. And BDS is just about the only weapon we got and it needs to be sharpened to the max, one heck of lot more than it is now. Even as the forces of evil are arrayed against it everywhere we look. In the end, we are either in this together, fighting as warriors in a common battle, or we are in it for the excitement and adrenalin rush of some feel-good activism, something that can be abandoned when we become too despondent over too few victories and many losses (we have one coming now, in Hillary). If it's the former then sorry, but you - and blumenthal, and Finkelstein and the many other jewish people who see palestinians as the oppressed people in this colonialist-settler adventure known as israel, we need to fight as one, and avoid the squabbles that tarnished just about every revolutionary movement from time immemorial.

    • To add one thing - another fact that neither israeli notr international activists counted on, is just how utterly cruel and racist the israeli mind frame really is. There have always been perhaps too many jewish people among the internationals. many (at least till proven otherwise) kept believing, deep in the recesses of their minds, that there was commonality between jewish people raised and educated in Western democracies, and israelis, raised and educated in a semi-Sparta-like garrison state mentality. The nice jewish liberals of the west could see palestinians as people, even behind scarves and religion. The israeli - except for the few most enlightened ones - cannot and never will. presuming there was some sort of a "bond' between jews of the world and israelis was - and still is - a major error, which contributes, time and again, to failed tactics. I am reminded of the gaza flotillas, among other things.

      I am also reminded of people like Finkelstein and Blumenthal, who, while actively engaged in exposing israel's misdeeds, cannot bring themselves to cross the rubicon. Namely their own sub-concious fear that anti-semitism is real if dormant, and BDS, can wake it up. But that's the line that needs to be crossed, because one can't hold the stick on both ends. One must risk blow-back of all sorts to be effective.

      many palestinians know this, on a very deep level. Blumenthal can write in the comfort of his Milieu. The people of the gaza ghetto can't. And until he is willing to see gaza as a ghetto, and the israelis as fundamentally flawed and cruel people, he will never understand what is really happening.

      I believe Phil may have, at some point, crossed that line. But i also understand what it means to cross lines. So I can only say what I see, which is that time is running out for one cause, and it's high time to start working for another.

    • I kind of wish people like tamimi started leading a movement for equal rights for palestinians. The struggle for a palestinian state is unfortunately all but over. A combination of increased israeli brutality, tacit support by a US largely captured by zionist visions which obscure the colonialist nature of the israel project, and a steadily rising campaign against international activists, have all contributed to the realization that palestine cannot be as envisioned.

      Sometimes, i think left wing activists get so sold on their own somewhat idealistic visions that they neglect to see the reality, in all its gore. The reality is that power and money (the two being interdependent) play a big role in human events and always did. Revolution is a nice word, but when these only work when the numbers are there. The sanders revolution in the US failed, so what hope does a palestinian revolution have?

      Ultimately, the palestinians of the west bank may need to take a step back, save themselves from death and injury, so they can fight another day. And when that day comes they will have to overcome their own differences and join the palestinian israelis (even if there's a barrier in between) and call for their rights within the israeli system, crooked as it is.

      Somehow the struggle of the palestinians for a state of their own reminds me of the Spanish civil war. We know who won and who lost in that one. Those who saw echoes of Algier in palestine were misguided in equating the french with Israelis, and also ignoring the fact that a sea separated Algeria from france. Geography is destiny, they say, and in this case, it unfortunately is.

  • Marc Lynch warns against the U.S. escalation in Syria
    • Donald, I have to agree with keith here. Virtually EVERY news source in the west is suspect - the entire MSM has become, in many ways, worse than Pravda ever was in the good old USSR. Most certainly anything from any so-called "opposition" figure residing in the west and speaking perfectly good English, is as good as their pay masters want it to be. that goes for the thoroughly discredited Syrian Observatory etc. in the UK - a one man office funded partly by saudi Arabia and partly by the west.

      You are not able to quote a single news item that comes from the government held side or get the view as it looks from, say, Iran or any of the allied forces fighting against the regime change, You have no legitimate sources to back your stories of 'atrocities". And, BTW, whatever happened to that infamous little chemical attack story in east Ghouta? funny how no one mentions it much any longer.

      Someone just nominated the 'white helmets" for a Nobel prize I heard. More f
      unny, that. Most would consider them to be part of the propaganda machine, well oiled, always at the right place to render "humanitarian" help, always only to one side..

      More funny things - no sooner does the government make some battlefield gains (earned at great cost!) that we hear of yet another chlorine attack. Or barrel bombs, or the same hospital bombed over and over and the same pediatricians who just keep dying only to reappear and sign petitions (for link, please consult one of the few credible sources on Syria - MOA).

      Also, may be others have pointed it out already, but just what do you think the US would do if some outside forces mounted a regime change operation in this country? what if the Russian ambassador was seen handing out cookies to Occupy, while some agency or other kept supplying them with deadly weapons, urging "jihad on wall street' (actually that has a cute ring to it....don't anyone get ideas now). Given the brutality with which the rather peaceful Occupy was suppressed, can you even imagine the response of our militarized police if someone actually mounted an armed rebellion?

      Syrria responded as best it could to outside intervention conducted to remove a government the US and the evil Saudis and their Qatar bretherns didn't like. For Qatar, may be it was the pipeline. For the US, it was pipeline + israel + empire. For Israel? just the usual, something about the shiite crescent, no doubt. Or, just chaos in Syria to remove any threat to the Golan occupation.

      And, one last thing - where are the wailing voices of the great liberal papers and journos and columnists about the atrocities committed by the Saudis against Yemeni civilians? did you see even a peep from the NYT? (OK, there was a peep. lame as it was).

      So, no wonder some people here don't trust the "liberal" bleeding hearts, because their hearts bleed ever so selectively. Hopefully, you'll never have to experience anything like what the syrians did, but surely, with a little imagination, you may want to reflect a little more on those 'atrocities", and how you would feel about them if it was your neighborhood that got taken over by some scarf-wearing mafiosi.

    • ritzl, you beat me to it apparently with the MOA link. That should teach me to read through the comments more thoroughly. Still, no harm in bringing it up again 9alas, in adouble too! glitches galore seem to be happening....I only hit the submit once!). I did add up the link to the mysterious brother who was quite alive and then suddenly very dead. Then, nothing.....the family evaporated.

    • Well, there are some doubts raised re the "wounded boy on orange seat" - a rather conveniently photographed picture just at the right time to put Syrian government on the defensive:

      I cannot verify or deny, but the case of a staged photo op seems rather compelling. Not only that, but the instant way in which the photo was circulated in the western press and used to generate publicity against the allied forces in Syria (cf. Syria/Russia/Iran/hezbollah axis) and bought wholesale by the ever loud chest beating so-called "left" is, by itself a bit suspect.

      To add insult to injury, shortly after the photo popped up and circulated (and seemingly believed by all, including lynch, it turned out the photographer was the very same one who filmed the beheading of a sick boy by one of the US favorite rebel groups (al-Zinki or something. very moderate they be). Funny how this photographer turns out in all the right places. Even funnier how the tale of the sick boy in the back of a truck was insufficient to elicit but murmurs of feigned sympathy in the very quarters so lamentous of the boy-in-the-orange-suit. So, it would appear that "Assad-atrocities" are to be played up and iconic pictures conveniently produced whenever the government scores a victory.

      But, wait, there's more - the ever watchful MOA caught our darling press in yet another strange little contradiction, now related to the brother of the "boy-in-the-orange-seat". Is the brother dead or alive? you be the judge.

      Funny how these things work out in the western propaganda and its leftist cheer-leaders world.

      Disclaimer: I, of course, cannot judge what really happened to the boys in this story in all its tribulations. people no doubt get killed and wounded during military campaigns, including children, especially in situations where civilians are effectively held hostage by western- and-gulf-kingdoms' financed jihadi-propelled attempts to destroy countries. A boy may well have been wounded. But the photo was well staged, its instant circulation suspect, and the bleeding-hearts' acceptance of the "of course assad is bad" tale-of-tales, while ignoring the plight of the Syrian citizens who were made into cannon fodder in the arsenal of geopolitical machinations, is a testament to the moral and ethical collapse of much of the vaunted "left".

      Next, i am sure we get to see more brave humanitarian acts by the illustrious"white helmets", who somehow never get around to saving anyone bombed by rockets fired by the sweet-cuddly rebels. Apparently, if Assad is the one trying to protect them, they must be not only expandable, but unphotographable.

    • Well, there are some doubts raised re the "wounded boy on orange seat" - a rather conveniently photographed picture just at the right time to put Syrian government on the defensive:

      I cannot verify or deny, but the case of a staged photo op seems rather compelling. Not only that, but the instant way in which the photo was circulated in the western press and used to generate publicity against the allied forces in Syria (cf. Syria/Russia/Iran/hezbollah axis) and bought wholesale by the ever loud chest beating so-called "left" is, by itself a bit suspect.

      To add insult to injury, shortly after the photo popped up and circulated (and seemingly believed by all, including lynch, it turned out the photographer was the very same one who filmed the beheading of a sick boy by one of the US favorite rebel groups (al-Zinki or something. very moderate they be). Funny how this photographer turns out in all the right places. Even funnier how the tale of the sick boy in the back of a truck was insufficient to elicit but murmurs of feigned sympathy in the very quarters so lamentous of the boy-in-the-orange-suit. So, it would appear that "Assad-atrocities" are to be played up and iconic pictures conveniently produced whenever the government scores a victory.

      But, wait, there's more - the ever watchful MOA caught our darling press in yet another strange little contradiction, now related to the brother of the "boy-in-the-orange-seat". Is the brother dead or alive? you be the judge.

      Funny how these things work out in the western propaganda and its leftist cheer-leaders world.

      Disclaimer: I, of course, cannot judge what really happened to the boys in this story in all its tribulations. people no doubt get killed and wounded during military campaigns, including children, especially in situations where civilians are effectively held hostage by western- and-gulf-kingdoms' financed jihadi-propelled attempts to destroy countries. A boy may well have been wounded. But the photo was well staged, its instant circulation suspect, and the bleeding-hearts' acceptance of the "of course assad is bad" tale-of-tales, while ignoring the plight of the Syrian citizens who were made into cannon fodder in the arsenal of geopolitical machinations, is a testament to the moral and ethical collapse of much of the vaunted "left".

      Next, i am sure we get to see more brave humanitarian acts by the illustrious"white helmets", who somehow never get around to saving anyone bombed by rockets fired by the sweet-cuddly rebels. Apparently, if Assad is the one trying to protect them, they muct be expandable.

    • Annie, you sure it was a good idea to point in that direction? most of us suspect that the disappearance of the archives was not entirely accidental.

    • Bingo, annie. Found my own partly lost archives. Noticed that the last comment is from August 30, 2015, which is when these must have been archived.


      Especially for Hostage's long lost archives....

  • France's burkini ban is a dangerous, Islamophobic assault on feminist values
    • Presumably if the Burkini is OK so is toplessness, I assume. Same thing, same feminist statement, just different approaches - bare less or bare more, each a feminist in thir own way, right?. Actually, come to think of it, the solution is obvious - make all beaches and pools in France Cloths Optional. let anyone wear or not what they wish. If people are offended they can go to another beach, or get their own private beach or pool.

      I see this whole issue as a storm in a teapot, and i don't trust the feminist interpretation issuing morality rulings. I especially don't like the fact that local controls and preferences are usurped in favor of something that may be more politically correct.

      So yes, may be cloths optional should be the norm everywhere. Which will no doubt result in a few sights for sore eyes, perhaps more offensive than the Birkini, depending on who chooses which option.

      In fact, there are interesting fashion statements one could make, such as a scarfed/veiled hat (to guard against the sun, of course) combined with a thong bikini a-la-brazil. There are many other interesting combinations i can think of, including topless with birkini pants that match a head-cover? a, the possibilities are endless. And no, I am not just mocking - some of the beach wear I imagine may well come to pass, since forcing people to change the way they view beach wear will likely result in counter-statements. Just you wait - I have every faith in the imagination of the french women (don't know about the men. Must think about that some more).

      perhaps i am weak in the cultural-devout-religious empathy department, but i read that these birkinis started appearing only last year or so. No doubt as a radical statement, just like the hijab is for some.

      In case anyone wonders whether my reactionary values are limited to women who believe in coveralls, far from it. i am also all in support of the motion pending in Italy now that if gay marriage is legal then multi-spouse marriage should be legal as well (whether bigamy or polyandry - take your pick) . In fact, i seriously resented once having to divorce one husband just to marry another. I kind of liked them both, for different reasons, especially as they resided in different countries. with each offering excellent vistas, albeit, very varied ones. Come to think of it, I am not really sure my divorce from one was ever properly finalized (which is why I have to stay anonymous?).

      may be we should just make it a catch-all-you-can civilization, why not? one person's sacred values is another's sacrilege, so just legalize everything.

  • The Palestine-Israel language trap
    • And there's your comment, in its entirety! smart you to have saved it. Nothing like semi-dead threads to recover lost pearls, no?

      I can see some controversialism in it - the jewish mandarins and all that (with which i agree totally, as you well know). Phil said things like that himself, couching them of course, in his indomitably affable style. I can see that some moderator (not annie) might consider the comment dangerously close to some illusory "protocols' and squash it, so as to not call in the troll squads.

      Either way, the glitch theory may have some merit, though it's far from proven. We need to try a few more times, don't we? especially those of us who just love to skate right along the red line......

      Regards, as always.

    • Keith, write to Adam. I kind of doubt it was deliberate. More likely a glitch.

    • Raphael, alas, the only thing I can teach is how to forget hebrew. I grew up in that language and it never felt natural to me. Discovering English changed my personality since it takes a word to define a state of mind, and in hebrew many states of mind are missing (there are, for example, woefully few ways to describe tolerance. In fact, one of the words translates - literally - as "put up with" or 'suffer"). new words are invented in hebrew constantly but no one uses them, and the existing words were defined to match a state of being, or more precisely, a state of being right. Always.

      There is value in knowing more than one language, I often heard that said, and perhaps there is. But not many spoke about the value in forgetting languages that include words that serve to cloud the mind and infringe upon one's clarity of thought. I have examples, but this isn't the place.

      That being said, and being cognizant of the power of words and/or their absence, I think that what Avigail wrote is truly insightful, and I regret to see much of that misinterpreted. then again, one can't expect that the power of words to inform, obstruct, persuade or dissuade, etc. will be clear to all. Indeed, i suspect that deep knowledge of that power, assuming one is not a linguist like Lakoff or Chomsky, comes from deep familiarity, and indeed fluency, in more than one language, even more so if one language was learnt much later than another. Only by having had the experience of an outsider to words that mean so much to an insider, can one come to appreciate what the power of language truly is. More later on this theme, may be, time permitting.

  • Palestine stands for the larger divide in the Democratic party
    • Left unstated in this article is the very high likelihood that the democratic primary was not only rigged in Clinton's favor (which we know for sure now thanks to the hacked e mails) but was also outright fraudulent.

      the below is an extensive article written by highly reputable people that goes over all the bizarre discrepancies and shenanigans that happened during the primary:

      It was mentioned and used as the basis for lee camp's program above brought in by Annie - an absolute must watch.

      Another article just came out goes over some of the pros and cons in some of the arguments over exit poll discrepancies, early/absentee votes etc., crediting the many other writers on the subject such as Palast, Harris, Simon and many others

      This article ends with the very obvious question: with so much smoke how could there not be some fire?

      If indeed, as is highly likely there was a concerted campaign on the part of the DNC anbd the Hillary camp to cheat and defraud the voters so she could be coronated, where or how would "couple counseling" come into that? were athletes caught cheating not disbarred from competing? are criminals allowed to run for office?

      the one and ONLY reason Hillary is running for office is because she feels entitled and wants it. Does she have a single idea she promotes on her own or is her campaign speech consists of "I am not Trump"?

      Right now, most progressives are little by little congregating under the jill Stein and the Greens flag, and that is as it should be. Jill Stein is a good and worthy candidate. hillary is a corrupt corporate creature who is in all likelihood a criminal who is every bit as dubious as Nixon ever was.

      The question i have is - how weird is it that the republicans, despite attempts by the establishment, managed to have a clean primary while the democrats managed to have a dirty campaign centered around a lousy super-unpopular candidate?

      I heard the arguments about the Supreme court and found them unconvincing. The entire "lesser evil" as a democrat slogan is beyond questionable. Should hillary, by some hook or crook (probably both) win the presidency, the Palestinians are certainly in for a world of pain.

      IT is time for #DemExit, Folks. that is if anyone still has any real conscience left.

  • 'Either Assad or we'll burn the country' - An excerpt from 'Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War' (Update)
    • Debakr - your comment is unfortunately comprised of pure nonsense mixed with much debunked propaganda. Read the many links provided here for a better handle on the reality in Syria. what wholesale massacre of activists? got any reputable source to back that? Obviously you have no intention of being convinced by any facts or arguments so I will leave those for my betters.

      As for your not so competent defense of KSA (just an oppressive little family rule, eh?) I hope you don't present the paymasters with too hefty a bill for social media hasbara. Something tell me the reward might be skimpy.

    • Frankie P +Thanks for the mention of the Palmyra concert (blacked out in the Western MSM) and for the excellent comment you brought up from the Saker. Something for the deeper thinkers and/or feelers. They should definitly highlight in their Comment corner..

    • Annie, I put up a comment yesterday addressing yours above, but it seems to have been swallowed up by the ghosts (I never saw it come up - may be I pressed the wrong key, or maybe...who knows).

      I can't repeat it all but i wanted to thanks you again for the lengthy and useful comment you made, concerning the difficulties of posting on the Syria question. It helped clear many things and I'm sure others found it useful as well.

      the point i wanted to make was that I there are reasons there are splits in the palestinian solidarity movement re Syria. You said many have a heart-felt aversion to the current government in Syria, while others are strong supporters of Assad and the government of Syria in their effort to fight back against the tearing up of their country. The split is actually reflected within the palestinian communities in Syria, with some groups actively fighting side by side with the Syrian Army, and others (like the one that had control in Yarmouk) allied with the islamist groups such as the al-Qaeda affiliated jaisch al Islam , Al nusra and even (some factions) fighting alongside ISIS..

      The problem for palestinians in the west bank, gaza and the solidarity groups in the west is that a fair chunk of their monetary support haols from Gulf countries, inclusing in particular, SA and qatar. the latter, through muslim brotherhood organizations, has a large presence in many Arab countries - obviously - as we saw from Egypt with Morsi. nowadays Qatar has mended fences with SA, so groups such as hamas, whose leader meshaal used to shelter in Syria, and is now in one of the Gulf countries (Abi Dahbi?), have to at least pay lip service to what SA goals are. And unfortunately SA goals are to break up Syria and, if possible, turn it over to any number of extreme islamist groups (take your pick from the "coalition they assembled in Riad a few months back). But Hamas and the PA aside 9the latter also getting fair support from the Gulf) many palestinian solidarity groups and activists have been compromised by the financial support received from one side in the conflict. I don't mean to say they knowingly tailor their message to the pay master, but it's easy enough to subvert the terms of discussion by flooding organizations with one-sided information, and making it tacitly clear that independent investigation into the facts on the ground are not welcome.

      There can honestly be few good explanations as to why solidarity groups the world over had not as much as a peep to say about the atrocities perpetrated in Yemen now by the saudis, or have said much of anything about the unbelievable brutality and misery brought by the islamist armed groups to the people living (often very reluctantly0 in the areas under their control. I can easily understand why so many may find the situation in Syria confusing, with facts disputed and with the US Empire Including turkey, UK etc) arrayed against the russia led axis of resistance. I have never seen even the slightest reference to the many good deeds Assad has done before the CIA propelled attempt at a color revolution 9cf "spring' which was more like "winter"). Or an analysis of the Qatar-to-Turkey pipeline plans. Instead there is this knee jery fist waving at Assad the tyrant, where in reality, he and his government were perhaps #20 at most on the list of thee world's great tyrants today 9with SA and the gulf countries heading the the top 10),

      OK, you know much of what I say is true insofar as the facts in Syria go. But the picture of finacial sources of solidarity and human rights groups is obviously murkier as there is little visibility of where the support comes from. I just think that this should be taken into account when considering the outpouring of anti-Syria articles from certain groups. This exerpt here is no different. It is just kind of interesting how one-sided the comments elicited from Syrians were. Given the way people feel in Syria, the coloring seems a bit strange to me. I would perhaps need to read more to understand where the authors went in Syria and which area residents they interviewed, before i say any more.

    • echinococcus - I agree about the positive net effect, even if the tenor of the article precipitating the discussions feels sour. We need those from time to time, though i agree with annie that it has a kind of a musky/moldy feel to have to go over all the old ground again.

      I am trying to be fair to this site. MW has, by and large, stayed away from general discussions involving the ME, with a few notable exceptions (the Egyptian "spring" - that turned into fall - and 5 or so articles dealing with Syria - all with the pro-regime change flavor, mixed with that little smidgen of color revolution meme. Phil did put up an article about his change of heart re libya, which was, if I recall, well received. My guess is that he, like many other writers on the palestinian/israel situation he finds it necessary to reserve judgement in the open, whatever his own feelings are. therefore, i try not to jrender judgement on that which i do not know.

      I can also see a problem with having the Syria question erupt with pro/con views and comments galore. Let's face it, the US (or, rather, parties in the US) are and have seen fit to use Syria as one place to conduct their little shadow war with the Russians. This blog being in the US, supported primarily by US sources (including readers), perhaps it is somewhat ill-advised to come out - for any blog owner - on the side of the ones the US's PTB set up as the empire's frontier. Comments is one thing, but giving a forum to far ranging discussions - including articles that may support the "other side' (cf. axis of resistance to the Empire) is another. Funny how I/P is legit, but Syria/Iran/Russia vs Saudi-arabia/Turkey/ the CIA (parts thereof)/Israel is not. I know the answer why that is so, of course, but I'm not telling (except under duress!). I only talk secretly (ie, in old comment threads that no one reads) about such things to keith, because it's part of our act, so it's OK.

    • Annie, thanks for bringing up those "old' Syria threads and conversations. I was set up to look for them but you beat me to it. man, those were good discussions!

      And you are right, it does feel tiresome to go over all the old ground again. Do you not find it interesting that in this most recent excursion, the yarmouk camp did not feature as prominently? have "Human Rights" operators (I hesitate to call them activists, for fear we may find the tell-tale signs of USAID lurking in the tunnels) decided to drop the pretense of 'caring' for palestinian refugees and are now sheltering behind 'civilians under siege" mantra? If i recall, the yarmouk-waving deeply caring writers of days gone by, found a way to sneak their pro-regime change articles into MW under the umbrella of "palestinian rights" and "Palestinian suffering". Do they feel such cover is not necessary any longer?

      Or, is the problem that there are not enough submissions on the topic of Syria from the side that cares for a more truthful discussions? I can't recall a single front page article along those lines...and yes, i deeply regret I couldn't finish mine up in time due to pressing obligations.

    • Merlot, again, it is not up to YOU to decide what the leadership the Syrian people want. You andn the ones you support or are supporting you, are interested in removing Assad for entirely nefarious reasons (the Qatar to Turkey gas pipe line is one such reason; israel has its on, as do elements in the US - but not all).

      By the same token if bringing 'democracy' to Syria implies killing and dispossessing half the population, is it any surprise tyhat people would rather stay united?

      I find it very disturbing that at this time, when the Syrian government campaign is seeing some success, when Aleppo may be on the verge of being liberated from the scum sent in from the north (the liberation of Aleppo is what the 'cease-fire" is supposed to halt, and has), when latakia can breath freely for the first time in 3 years, that this is the time, the authors choose to bring out this informercial. one of these authors has apparently been justifying the massacres of the kurds conducted by the Erdogan regime.

      Question - why can't we use your arguments to topple the evil monarchy of SA? the ones who, in all likelihood, supported and enabled 9/11 (among other unmentionable parties)? when the authors herein - and you - kindly use the same exact arguments to call for the removal of the turkey regime and the saudi regime (and perhaps also the Jordanian regime) then, maybe, may be, we might engage in a discussion. not before.

    • Silamcuz,

      Glad you think the compensation is merited. That some people distribute articles they have been paid to do - by whatever party - is not the issue here. Anyone is welcome to write anything or not, whether compensated or not. But people (known as 'commenters") are also free to reply as best they can, especially when it is clear that the article in question is a propaganda piece. neither are "commenters" obligated to take any article on some 'merits" just because it has 'scholarly' appearance and adds citations.

      FYI, all the FFs had plenty of citations to go with them in the information war. So., to take one example, why on earth have the authors brought up the sarin E. Ghoutta attack, proclaiming it an all but forgone conclusion that it was the "Assad" guys who did it? that by itself is a red flag. If you have been on this site for a while you'd know that there are myriad of much more credible citations that unequivocably put this claim to rest. Sy Hersh's articles were mentioned, but there are many others. Annie provided several references as did a few others. If I have time, i'll bring up the previous Syria related infowar articles that appeared here on MW where numerous citations were provided. understandably, people may not feel like retreading old grounds and debunking - yet again - this pathetic piece of shill.

      Sorry also for the lack of 'respect" shown to the illustrious authors. may be they can pop in here themselves to defend their positions.

      In the meantime, here is a hint for you - when you refer to the Syrian government as the "Assad regime' that's a dead give away. just because most of the western MSM does, that does not justify the terminology. Which, if we were fair we would apply much wider, such as the "Erdogan regime" and the "SA kings' regime".

      And yes, some of us are mighty mad to see the suffering of the Syrian people exploited to score cheap propaganda points. If you, or the authors, were to tone down your inciting termininology, we might do otherwise and refrain from calling the Erdogan regime, say, or the brutal SA regime, terrorist sponsors (which should be a crime, BTW, and isn't. After all, our own CIA does it too).

    • Doing what little I can, Just. Wish there was time to write up that which should be written, but alas, something tells me that the usual purses are firmly shut, so comment here and there is all I can do.

    • Eric, to be fair - Phil had a change of heart about libya - many people did, as the real truth of what happened there started to trickle out, and the disastrous postscript is now clear for all to see. I believe he may be on the fence with regards to Syria (can't say I know - going by the fact that 4-5 articles were published by now - all smelling of the same one-sided propaganda flavor...).

      Actually I prefer not to cast aspersions without knowing, but if so, my apologies.

    • silamcuz - who is paying you exactly? care to disclose?

      I do agree this article needs a serious reply. It's just hard to do for free when the writers have been generously compensated.

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