Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 949 (since 2009-08-02 18:11:12)


Showing comments 949 - 901

  • 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'
    • 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.

    • ToivoS - good sleuthing - suspec ted as much - this really does read like an erdogani paid propaganda piece. I also agree that MW should look deeper into the source of these before promoting such a collection of shilling talking points on the front page.

      At least there should be a counter article.

      BTW, there is a huge amount of money being scattered around the various west publications from SA and Turkey especially, in an effort to score a few points in the information war.

      Also i agree that the effort by the Syrian Kurds was commendable.

    • ToivoS - bless your heart - couldn't agree more. Dreadful propaganda, indeed.

    • Why should Assad go? why not king salman or the emir of bahrain? hasn't SA committed enough war crimes in yemen yet?

      The government of Syria should be up to the Syrians to choose - the ones living there and suffering the ravages of the destruction brought upon it by the US Empire, Saudi Arabia (which pays for ISIS and promotes it as best it can) and Turkey, with some notable contribution from israel. Assad has actually provided a rather able leadership, as best i can tell - far better than al-Baghdadi or any of the CIA trained/supported islamists and the assortment of foreign jihadists unleashed upon the country.

      Have you seen the concert at Palmyra BTW? that was quite inspiring, wasn't it?

    • Page: 9
    • To my knowledge, there has not been an article that tells the truth about Syria - namely the way the US and Israel, with the support of saudi Arabia, Turkey and the rest of the emasculated West deliberately financed, armed and supported a color revolution to overthrow Syria's government. The excuse of him being a 'dictator' rings mighty hollow in light of the far worse dictatorship of the KSA and the other Gulf countries, which somehow - mysteriously - don't merit as much as a whimper from the bleeding hearts of the wes and/or their well supported stooges in the ME..

      Those who supported the destruction of Syria, including many who write articles blaming a cornucopia of false Flag incidents on Assad et al in an effort to discredit the legitimate government - these are the people responsible for the suffering of the Syrian people, including the refugees, now kindly channeled by Turkey into the heart of the EU, in a transparent effort to get their precious visa-free travel.

      False Flags like the east Gouta sarin attack, now conclusively proven to have been perpetrated by the opposition forces (with plenty of help from Turkey and propaganda from the US, israel, UK, cf that pathetic, so-called "observatory" - the one-man operation funded by UK and friends), the would-be attacks on refugee camps - such as the recent one which was, again, proven to be false (there was NO bombing from the air) , and of course, any number of hospitals (this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the FFs).

      Yet, here we are again - another sanctimonious article feigning sympathy for Syrians and making Assad out like the worst dictator ever. It's getting to be almost silly by now, given that the rather well-informed readership of MW knows different, and - by and large - recognizes - propaganda when it is inflicted.

      So, where are yassin-Kassab and al-Shami when it comes to the hideous rulers of SA? by far the most reactionary , authocratic, tyranical. dictatorial government out there, or the "emir" ruling Bahrain,where legitimate demonstrations were heavily squashed - with the help of the US? where are they when it comes to the palestinians actually living and dying in Palestine? where are they when it comes to Turkey increasingly moving towards a one-man rule where tolerance will be a thing of the past? Turkey that keeps bombing the Kurds as if it's the most normal thing to do, with nary a peep from the west or the ever so conscientious left groupings, now moaning and groaning about Syria? where were they when the town (Cizre?) in Turkey was burned with many people still in the buildings? where are they when it's a country 'allied' to NATO or the west that's perpetrating war crimes? funny - that silence of the lambs....

      I don't know whether people submitted articles that tell the truth to MW or not. I know i was going to once but ran out of time (that was when the Yarmouk situation was boiling hot from all the propaganda fires lit by a dubious "left"). I do know we need alternative voices on the dire straits Syria found itself in, when the evil forces of the Empire, the gulf and the malfeasant neighbours to the West and the North colluded to try and make Syria safe for the pipeline from Qatar (among other machinations).

      When I look at the situation from my - oh so lonely - perch, I see a very different picture. In truth the Syrian army with the support of Russia, Hezbollah and Iran/Iraq (the axis of resistance) has been mounting a truly heroic stand against the forces of evil that were trained upon the country. Be it ISIS, the various Al-Quaeda affiliates, Turkmen paramilitants or various islamist groupings (FSA etc.) - all armed and paid for - these are the enemies of the Syrian people and indeed, in many cases, of civilization itself. To me the fight looks much as it did for certain South American countries, where elected governments were disposed of, or, for a better analogy, may be look to the Spanish civil war where the fascist Franco forces were supported by other fascist leaning countries, and indeed by certain elements in the west, which were more mortified by some "socialist left" than the brutish right-wing thugs that ended up taking over. IMHO,, there is very little difference - politically speaking - between the fascist Franco forces and the Al-Nusra types, with some so-called "moderates" or FSA or whatever, consisting of a few hapless stooges there to paint a positive picture of the "poor rebels" who in reality are anything but poor.

      In lieu of a proper article i urge everyone to read MOA, The Saker (which occasionally writes about Syria), and Southfront 9with daily updates), among others. Stephen Cohen too and a few others one could mention. Too few, alas, way too few.

  • Beinart's Jewish double-bind: Support oppression or you're out of the family
    • This comment is in part directed to and inspired by Bryan above:

      So if the whole story of the Israelites' illustrious beginnings was a myth, one that was written down - as many historians believe - by the Babylonian exiles, what do these stories say about the morality of those who made them up? I will concede imaginativeness, story-telling talent and the ability to create fables that reflect on the human condition possessed by those early scribes. i will also concede strong devotion to a single god as the paramount value - one that transcends all others. But what do the biblical tales of origin say about the craving for justice? about universal rights?about fighting oppression from within not only without? the message is clearly not coherent - something uplifting here, something depraved there. Kind of like the human condition mixed with strongly tribal themes, coupled with lots of excuses about why good people can do very evil things (god demands it, tribal loyalty uber ales, weakness of heart, the devil made us do it etc. etc.).

      Even the prophets - selective readings aside - were first and foremost about devotion to god first, the tribe next and universal justice somewhere down - way down - the line.

      Indeed it took the advent of Christianity to distill the universal message from the angry old testament and filter out the tribal loyalty part. Which of course is difficult, making christianity at its core - suffer some cognitive dissonance, because well, it's hard to keep the jewish tribe out of the story without compromising much of its essence.

      It took the jews of the US to cleanse the jewish saga of its more oppressive, primitive and reactionary elements, and come up with the so-called "Jewish values'. This was done by washing away the mindless devotion to god. Alas, American jewishness, bound with the supposed fight against oppression and a craving for justice, also suffers cognitive dissonance, for the "values' as supposedly embedded in the vision of the prophets is still tribal-centric. There was no universal god for the prophets, much as many like to read their rantings/ravings/preachings, only an Isralite god. one that's keen to smash all other gods, as brutally as necessary.

      Alas, today in the American and israeli context we see both cases of dissonance come full circle. With many devoted Christians taking the bible literally and American jewry delighting in the redemption brought about by the ultra-oppressive state of israel while preaching obedience to the familia. Both communities are brushing aside the inherent contradictions embedded in their respective congregations.

      the result is that we have the likes of beinart and jeff goldberg and ADL on the jewish side. What we have on the christian side are the evangelicals and dominionists etc. etc.

  • Norman Finkelstein on Sanders, the first intifada, BDS, and ten years of unemployment
    • dan, as you said, Finkelstein definitely does not state in this interview that BDS as a tactic is something he agrees with. Instead choosing to take issue with the larger aim of BDS as well as the position, and indeed the existence of those "illusory" palestinian civil groups.

      Whatever he may have said in the past, his positions now, as reflected in this interview, have hardened. he goes as far as to maintain that BDS plays into the hands of the hasbara. Plus he goes on at several points about the importance of the palestinians recognizing israel as a "jewish" or at least "majority jewish" state. To me this looks like a regression in his positions. Being ostracized by many palestinian solidarity groups on account of his opposition to BDS probably got to him - can't have been pleasant and he said, his invitations for the lecture circuit have dwindled to a trickle.

      The truth is that what he really takes exception to is that 'agnostic' position on Israel upheld by the movement's leaders and most of its rank and file. In other words, the ideal one state for all its citizens as something to strive for is what's really bothering him. partly i conceded for this not looking as an overly realistic position at this point. but partly, i think it's that tribal tug on his soul of souls. He actually wants a jewish state and thinks that such a state can be a rational actor on the world stage if peace were to break out through the ushering in of a palestinian state. most of us differ on that point of "realism" as a 2SS may indeed be something simpler to conceive, but in practice israel will resist it tooth and nail, till kingdom come. Also, many of us are just not so committed to the idea of an "all-jewish" state. many of us think that's actually not a good thing even in theory because of the "collateral" unavoidable damage. And some of us - like me - simply believe that jews do much better when they are mixed with others, but that's another story.

    • Keith, agreeing with much of what you say but adding a caveat. There is another force on the global stage which is obviously fighting back against the globalist, corporate-controlled anglo-zionist Empire (I am using the Saker's terminology here, so you know where i am going with this). With the exception of a few bloggers in the west, not much attention is being paid to the Russian resistance and its newly minted alliance with China. This I see as the harbinger of a pro-national movement that aims to maintain and restore the state as a representative pf the public good in the long run (I am not saying russia is 'good" and I don't want to confuse pro-nation state with nationalism which has come to have negative connotations). I know that there is a campaign to villify Putin as the embodiment of all things bad in our controlled suppine press, but that's just propaganda, meant to obscure what's really going on.

      What i am saying is that the entity of Russia has embarked on an effort to remain separate from the global corporatocracy, which is the real reason it is being so condemned by the PTBs. Good or bad, Russia gave every indication of wanting to plot its own way rather than jump on the bandwagon of a dollarized, neoliberal, corporate train, where national, individual and ethnic differences can be all erased in favor of maintaing the profits of the top 0.01% (while spewing hymns to democracy and freedom - all the way to hell). Russia knows of course that ultimately this means finding a way to disengage from the dollar as the coin for all transactions, which means carving alternative financial systems - not an easy task by any means. To accomplish this they made an alliance with the Chinese, slowly integrating their corporate and financial infrastructures (just the other day, the Chinese acquired a 10% stake in Rosneft - part of the integration effort, clearly). In time the Russians and Chinese will seek to bring in Iran, India and what's left of the Latin American brics (after the damage being wrecked upon them now is done - hence the small 'b').

      When i look at these events of the geopolitical level, I find reason for hope that ultimately, a multi-polar world may emerge that might clip the wings of the global corporate elite structure. Wish Europe would join in but for whatever reason they are too weak to stand up to the Empire.

      The cynic in me sees of course the potential for the alternative Euroasian empire to turn into, well, just another global empire. one that's ruled by different corporations, but with the exploitive financialization forces intact. I am hardly blind to the rise of the oligarchies in China or to its rather mercantile nature. Still, in a multi-polar world, despite the danger of conflicts getting out of control, space may be created for alternative groupings of nation-states where they get to keep their traditions, values and individualities, and perhaps be allowed to have their own approach to serve the public rather than the private good.

      See how deep my opsimism goes? always looking for that sliver of a silver lining.....also, sorry if i am waxing about things you already know.

    • Note added re BDS (my reading):

      The psychologically damaged mindset of the Israeli gestalt (viewed as a whole - give or take a few 10's of 1000's excellent souls - bless their hearts) is what makes the BDS movement the only possible counterweight. In an important respect BDS represents a tacit recognition that the israeli psyche is, in fact, bound tightly with an irrational quest to hold on to the west bank (at least most of it), while believing they can thrive anyways. Since it seems impossible to entice israelis with the BENEFITS of relinquishing their unjust rule over Palestine (as evidenced by the failure of countless "peace" overtures and farce negotiations), the only counter-approach is to address the issue of COST. That in the hope that some day, the cost-benefit equation will become skewed enough to where the patient - the israeli gestalt in this case - will undergo an existential crisis that will allow it to deal on a rational level. It's a long shot, of course, and will be fought tooth and nail by powerful forces, but as any good psychologist knows, sometimes it's necessary to use "alternative" techniques of persuasion to help the sleepwalker come to terms with their condition.

      Norman Finkelstein is, perhaps unfortunate for being a rational man to the core. So rational, in fact, that his visionary ideas, cannot fully encompass the irrational elements of the Israel/Palestine dilemma. And because he still thinks of israel (and, of course its many supporter Jews around the world) as a basically rational entity that is amenable to conventional forms of persuasion, he cannot fully grasp just how unlikely it is for the 2SS to become a reality. More unfortunately, just as we all know (from personal experience), it is difficult to persuade rational people to recognize the irrational element in certain harmful individuals, I doubt debates with Finkelstein, no matter how calm and scholarly, will convince him to view BDS as a useful tactic that can achieve strategic goals.

      This is all the more regrettable, because Finkelstein is so very smart, and we would all benefit from him having a proper platform so he could continue to challenge all and sundry. For myself, I know that while i disagree strenuously with his views on 1ss vs 2SS and BDS as a tactic, reading and hearing him made me examine my own convictions more deeply.

    • I was struck again by the sadness that permeated this interview with Finkelstein. I still think of him as an old prophet/new scholar who can't find a home in any group. The sad ness I see in Finkelstein's fate is of disconnectedness on two different levels:

      (1) he seems to accept that a scholar who plots a collision path with mainstream academia is bound to suffer from the notorious cowardice and funding dependence inherent in the academic structure. But in his acceptance he still does not fully grasp just how far and deep academic subservience to power goes. Or he may grasp it (by now, he might well) but cannot yet imagine the truly kafkaesque dimensions of academic life (at least for the liberal/ arts/political/economic/legal departments)

      (2) While he has certainly plowed deeply into israel's misdeeds over the years, he still does not comprehend the israeli psyche on both a collective and individual level. AS a result, he still thinks in rational terms about a group of people who some time ago have been brain-washed into more of a cult-like mentality. Finkelstein cannot understand the israeli paranoia for example, because it is not a rational symptom. Neither does he understand the toxic combination of superiority complex and a fear of persecution, the two being flip sides of each other, but co-existing in a state of perpetual disharmony. It's the kind of conditions psychologists like Avigail Abarbanel recognize, but scholars like Finkelstein dismiss - as if it could be waved away with a slight of hand. "Surely, reason must prevail in the end' says the scholar, even as the psychologist reaches frantically for some behavior-modifying pills.

      While the first disconnect prevents Finkelstein - a fine scholar by all account - from bagging an academic position for which his skills are well suited, the second disconnect causes him to hang on to the 2ss dream as if it could ever be a reality, while dissing BDS as unrealistic, and thereby making himself not so grata along the Palestinian solidarity lecture as well. A truly sad predicament. The Israelis, collectively (by a decided majority0 basically want to hang on to the west bank. Whether they all admit it, whether some are willing to relinquish some of it, whether some very few keep saying they'll happily give it all up doesn't matter. The reality is that for the most part they want to keep it and believe that ultimately they will, which means that, on a sub-conscious as well as conscious lever, they judged the costs to such filly to be acceptable.

  • Sanders slams Clinton for ignoring Palestinian needs and thinking Netanyahu is 'right all the time'
    • I'll note that the discussion where the notable observation "Palestinians are human" appeared, was in a context of Mid-east policy, where, again, Sanders showed himself to be a realpolik kind of guy (which is obviously not far enough for most of us, but it's a start). Not long after the assignment of humanity to palestinians - which is something hillary equivocates on - there was mention of Syria and the ever-lasting fake issue of "no-fly" zone (a code name for regime change, as we all know). Sanders again held to his guns on this one - even though he too chose to repeat the mantra of "Assad is a horrible dictator", which is an essential prologue to any statement by anyone in power in the US (sort of like "Saddam was a horrible dictator" and so was Ghaddafi, and "Israel has the right to defend itself").

      I am, of course, grateful for small deviation from the propaganda lines, even if it was just a foray. I do find it interesting that Clinton doubled down on the no-fly zone - to protect the 'refugees", no less, from Isis AND Assad. But not a word about the inconvenient presence of Russia in that same area slated for "no fly", which of course, Russia enforces with gusto, as we speak. presumably the Russians are not protecting 'refugees",and to add insult to injury, are actually upholding the government's right to defend itself from attacks by the neocon conglomerate of CIA/saudi-Arabia/Turkey/Israel. OK, obviously no one can go down this road in a debate - that might be too, how to say it? - sensitive. After all, surely the monarch of saudi-Arabia is not a tyrant, Turkey is a paragon of democracy and israel is a shining light on the hill. The CIA? just another humanitarian organization, surely.

      Ignoring the Russians must be the new "realpolik" for the Clintonites. Kind of like ignoring wall Street in favor of the new punching bag, known as shadow banks (which are not at all connected in any way to real banks - perish the thought! Kind of like a separate mafia....).

      An aside - in the past, I did hear Sanders calling out the great Kingdom of SA. Speaking of treacherous waters!

      All in all, after this debate we can all see what a horrid disaster Clinton will be as president. Frankly I am beginning to wonder whether trump (if these two are the nominees) will not be the lesser evil. Isn't this Hillary's campaign platform? the lesser evil? what if she isn't the "lesser"?

    • Well said Bryan. Alas, even Sanders did not dare mention the word "blockade". Much less Gaza Ghetto. But I am not complaining. In a world where the words for "neutral" and "even handed" are verboten (on the pain of eviction from the vaunted halls of Jewish life and New York Times), saying a single sentence about Palestinian unemployment in Gaza does indeed appear as if a revolution is near. That is how far down the rabbit hole the "conversation" has sunk, and how steep will the eventual climb have to be. Good for sanders that he at least had the courage to show up Clinton as deep in the hole. Like the Alice in Wonderland Queen she be with "sentence first, judgement later". And a sense of good judgement? never.

  • Execution of Palestinian exposes militarism and racism of Israeli culture
    • Jonathan Cook does not name the murderer but his name is known - and named - throughout Israel, where he is considered a "hero". irecommend Richard Silverstein's piece on the murder where his name - Elor Azaria - is stated along with photo of him standing next to his approving commander, Shapiro and a screen shot of a Facebook dedicated to upholding his reputation. may be a new Tzadik? after all, many in israel, consider the murder of a wounded person by a medic as a Mitzvah - a good deed. One that can surely get one to heaven.

      I am only surprised the defense of the killer has not defended this act of mayhem and brutality as a "mercy killing". May be that's the role of the medic now in israel? administer to a lightly wounded Jewish soldier, no matter how thuggish, and make sure to administer the coup-de-grace to a wounded palestinian? I mean, they kill horses, don't they?

      Also absent in this piece is the ongoing persecution of the Palestinian, Imad, who took the video and gave it to B'tzelem. The attacks on his home, his villification by a blood-thirsty israeli public and the unbelievable vitriol directed his way are by now known facts. I read he had to go into hiding but may have been arrested by now - perhaps his crime was "witnessing the morality of the israeli Army"? or "accessory-after-the-fact"? after all, why was he there? very suspicious, indeed. Why are any Palestinians at a checkpoint? I wouldn't at all be surprised to learn later he was tortured into confessing some ill-intent or another, even as the nurderer-in-broad-daylight is walking around under light "camp arrest".

  • Trump abandons 'neutral' Israel position, Sanders adopts it
    • One other commendable statement by Sanders (I believe it was in an interview with Wolf Blitzer, but I'm not sure): he stuck it to Saudi Arabia - actually named them as a key sponsor of terrorism - something Hillary, with all the money she (and/or hubby's "foundation") received from the despicable KSA, would never, ever do. sanders called out KSA as undemocratic, despotic, and generally a bad player, including in Yemen. He also singled out Qatar for honorary mention - Qatar which is spending $200.B for the vanity spectacle of the world cup. Sanders suggested that some of that money could have much better uses.

      IT took me a short research to verify that indeed, not one of the candidates, and not one of the news stations had the guts to call out SA for the sponsor f ISIS and Al-Qaeda that it is. A thoroughly disgusting regime (but no, no one advocates regime change there, do they?).

      The reason for avoiding naming the culprit of terrorism as wahabism-on-steroids is obvious: money. Sanders referred even the the Saudi regime buying the acquiescence of their own citizens. And right he is. But KSA (and Qatar and UAE) also bought stakes in any number of news organizations - something that is not always in plain sight, but is known to those who need to know and some others who care enough to look. Needless to say, surreptitiously they contribute to the candidates as well even if it's well hidden behind super-pac or "foundation" veil.

      I think it was incredibly brave of sanders to go there. At least as brave as directing some criticism Israel's way for Gaza and the settlements and the hint that israel is not always working in good faith (OK no news to anyone here).

      Since much of the media has jewish involvement in one capacity or another, no wonder they have worked so hard to first ignore him, then diss him, then dismiss him. And still he won't go away, despite obvious election fraud (Arizona), suspected fraud (Iowa, Illinois) and generally shabby treatment by the liberal bastions, such as NYT and MSNBC.

      We complain a lot about having poor candidates. But there is one who is head and shoulders above them all, and it's Bernie Sanders. A mensch among the mice. IF we, the people, can't get a guy like this into office because of quibbles, squabbles and petty cynicism, may be we all deserve what we are going to get.

  • Why is AIPAC legitimating Donald Trump's bigotry?
    • Actually, Cruz is more like an American Netanyahu, or may be an American bennet. In which case Hillary is more like the Israeli lapid. I think.

    • Donald, what makes trump mre bigotted than the American jews who support the ultra-racist, hyper-Islamophobic, etohno-supremacist theocracy known as israel?

      I am not saying you are, but the vast majority of attendees to AIPAC must be inherently racist, bigotted, islamphobic and suffer from a serious supremacy complex. OK, they don't mind the mexicans. Why should they - the 1-5% (which, conservatively speaking encompasses the majority of attendees - both jewish and non-jewish sycophants) have no issue with those lower than low wage earners, do they?

      Basically, support for AIPAC or the holier-than-thou trump protesting "rabbis-in-good-standing" or the thieving, illegal,settlement fund raisers who day in, day out defend ugly racist practices, is so much worse than support for trump. If anything the 20,000 or so AIPAC attendees make trump sound like a boy scout.

      20,000 is a lot of people, I think. I know hardly anyone who frequents this blog is among them and I know we can subtract perhaps a 1000 who are there to gather information or speak to people in the vain hope of affecting change. What I want to know is where are the Black-Lives-Matter protesters and the others who are so keen to disrup ttrump rallies. Why aren't they disrupting and protesting this gathering of this sliver of the elite who support a reprehensible foreign entity that is guilty of war crimes galore - often at the expense of their own country?

      Where are the AIPAC protests, Donald? (yes I know there are a few. but where is the buzz? where are the multitudes? where is the disgust and the opprobrium?)

      Again, it's not you or james north or Phil or anyone here I accuse of bigotry, racism and/or blood lust. But you know as well as I do who the guilty ones are. In fact, they'll be momentarily on our very TV screens, preening and crowing to all the media that are handsomely paid to deliver their unctuous, hypocritical, condescending utterances.

      So, Frankie P got a point. may be you should re-read it.

    • Just to emphasize once again - AIPAC has no problem with mexicans and latinos in general because just like the rest of the 1% they love the economic migrants - excellent for low wages and profit taking. Just as Merkel over in Germany thinks a couple of million refugees and migrants can do just great to prop up a decreasing labor force and insufficiently consuming, overly saving Germans.

      The AIPAC shills who never tire of calling for the blood of Iranians, and secular rulers of muslim countries such as Assad, of course are all for the combating 'prejudice" against "muslims in general". It's just when they happen to be Palestinians, or Shiites like hezbollah or iran, that they have issues with.

      And here we are, talking about the bad trump who, in truth, has shown not one hundredth of the bigotry afflicting the high and mighty AIPAC movers and shakers and their even more contemptible racist-to-the-core "bretherns-in-faith" from israel.

      To me it seems that it is this ill-disguised anti-American, power-hungry, war-mongering organization called AIPAC that should be protested as the most disgusting exhibit of bigotry, hatred and anti-humanity, rather than someone like Trump who is apparently the voice of millions of disaffected, left-behind people, whether they are prejudiced or not. Disaffected people, from time-immemorial found others, lower than they, as targets for their resentment and unhappiness. In Israel, the Mizrahi descendants and Russian emigres voice far more hatred for Palestinians, and muslims in general than any Trump-supporting republican voter ever has. For true, concentrated hatred, I suggest we look to the east Mediterranean rather than west of the Atlantic.

      PS I am obviously a Sanders supporter , but i find the hissy-fits thrown around about Trump disingenuous as well as dangerous. Let the people vote for whom they wish, and drop the sacred "Humanitarian" coverings.

    • Let's talk about them elephants in the room again, shall we?

      What is AIPAC after all, if not the mputhpiece of the most virulent, toxic, bigoted and obnoxious strains in the so-called Jewish state? who or what does AIPAC support - to the detriment of the American people - if not a xenophobic, racist, ethno-supremacist country called israel? what is heard day in, day out on the streets of israel, and the neocon halls of America, populated by exalted figures such as Adelson, Foxman and Gaffney (now part of the Cruz team of killer-shills), if not bigotry, hatred and contempt of any and all minorities? which country in the world makes trump look like a saint by comparison?

      And while we are at it, what exactly has Trump said about migrants and alternative religions (not jewish or christian) that AIPAC has not endorsed and indeed promoted from the and to the highest offices in the land?

      Why, you say, it's not mexicans or some feckless "muslims" they are against. It's those Arabs called palestinians that they wish to see gone from the white-washed streets of israel, and their friends banished from US campuses.

      Is there a body politic more prejudiced against anyone not jewish than the illustrious AIPAC and its oh-so-jewish "values? who exactly are these rabbis protesting anyways - Some ill-conceived pronouncements by Trump or the fact that he proposed even-handedness and/or humanistic approach to the I/P conflict? why, Trump failed to condemn all palestinians as hate-filled "terrorists" even as he had some issues with muslims in general. may be he doesn't realize that protesting israeli murderous occupation and spite for all non-Jewish residents within and without the Green line is simply not kosher.

      I think AIPAC is way to the right of the Trump in the hate mongering business, and may be that's what upsets the high and mighty congregation - that Trump may not be "saufficiently "right" in the right direction.

      The upset over Trump's speech to AIPAC is thoroughly disingenuous. After all, that other masked hater of all things not empire, called Hillary (of the "we came, we saw, he died") is speaking in front of AIPAC too, probably to protest her undying support for the most racist, bigoted, hate-filled country in the world.

      Now, now.....

  • 'New York Times' whitewashes poll showing Israeli support for expelling Palestinians
    • Thanks Keith. Yes, I have Shahak's book and have been reading through it (not in order. I never read in order because, well, I am not sure...). Very interesting points and observations. What i read I have annotated carefully. The chapter you mention is actually one of the ones I haven't read through fully yet but have every intention to do so. I can certainly see why he was so villified. I have read a couple of other books (one by maxim Robinson called "cult, Ghetto and State") that address the same historical facts, though without the analysis of Classical Judaism that Shahak brought up.

    • Actually, one of the things I found shocking but not surprising is the seeming unanimity of the religiously affiliated Israelis, who by large majorities supported expulsion of the non-Jews as well as keeping Israel preferentially Jewish (ie, a jim Crow-like state). Somewhere in the poll, there was a question on political affiliation. Again, shockingly but unsurprisingly, fewer than 10% identified as "leftists".

      The hand wringers and apologists seem rather uninterested in these factoids. may be they are too embarrassed to call attention to the all-too-obvious facts that the more jewishly educated are correlated with the more bigotted, prejudiced, and indeed undemocratic.

      Why does no one comment on the vaunted Jewish "values' in this connection? what does it mean when Judaism becomes synonymous with intolerance and xenophobia? how do the great jewish pontificators in the US (the Bill krystols, brookses, friedmans etc) deal with the Israeli version of "Jewish values"?

      If anyone has seen some interesting commentary on this - from the US especially - I would like to read it. Am always interested in innovative apologetica (it's a relatively unknown field now but is expected to grow explosively in the coming years, I hear).

  • Trump's Jewish mirror
    • Good point THB. Indeed, the Reform movement is despised in Israel because they fail to conform to the orthodoxy and xenophobia of the established jewish lithurgy and dogma. The rank and file israelis assume/presume that Reform are essentially impostors, not to be taken seriously.

      To think that the reform guys continue to kow-tow to the brutal conquistadors of israel, prostating themselves further at each insult, is indeed the kind of travesty Stockholm syndrome was invented to explain.

      OTOH, may be they just suffer from a martyrdom complex.

    • I am with you in my impatience, Mooser. May be Trump will trumpet his newly discovered Jewish values to AIPAC?

    • If Reform jews support a state as brutal, oppressively criminal, corrupt, xenophobic and racist as israel, what exactly does it say about their "jewish" values?

      I kind of agree with Ellis here (I think I agree...not that he would ever stoop to correcting me/others) - Trump and Israel are mirror images of each other. The substance is similar even if appearances differ. In an honest world, where "reform" jews take a break from pip-squeaking about their "Jewsih values" and own up to the brutish criminal entity they support, they should all be flocking to trump - a somewhat cruder manifestation of their "values".

  • Sayed Kashua doesn't want to write in Hebrew for 'Haaretz' anymore
    • Shmuel, thanks for the recommendations. and comments. Alas, Aida is only available in hebrew, which is kind of difficult for me to read. I bought The Flight of the Swans (also in Hebrew) but it's going to be hard going.

      These days, reading in hebrew for me is a bit like reading English was for the first 2 years after I came to the US. Can be done, but a little laborious.

      Why haven't his books been translated to English? and is there perhaps an "underground" translation available?

    • Hello Shmuel. Dare I confess my ignorance and admit I didn't know Sami Michael, until you recommended one of his books to me (Flight of the Swans). Amazon was out for a while and it took some time before I was able to get it, but alas, by the time it arrived, I was mired in the other side of my brain and could not escape. Still haven't read it but it is moving slowly but surely to the top of the heap next to my desk (a scary thought because just below it, is Piketty's book - all 1000 or so pages of it, which I have been pretending to have read but may need to make good on the pretense real soon due to a stupid commitment I made to some people. Only Sami's book is protecting me from this fateful meeting with the great - and supposedly readale, but - oh so voluminous - Piketty and his many - oh so many- diagrams and graphs).

      I have saved all the Hebrew teachings you gave me over the years here and can confess that your sentences in my near-forgotten language, brought up a few pangs of regret (don't worry though - I get over such pangs rather swiftly, so no guilt for you...).

      The other day, looking through a box I long had in storage, I found n old old notebook with poems I wrote in Hebrew back in the day. Tried to read them objectively figuring on a chuckle or two, but alas, comprehension escaped me. It was literally like reading someone else's writing. I could not recognize the person who wrote them anywhere in my memory - or connect to the feelings and perceptions behind the words - so much so that the thought crossed my mind that perhaps I just copied someone else's work for posterity. Except the pages were marked with my name and lines were crossed out and words rewritten here and there, and yes, there was a hint of that verbosity which felt somehow familiar (a verbosity to which English lends itself so much better, ouch!). Interestingly, I also found the feelings conjured by the words quite foreign, a distance that may be explained by the passage of time, but only partly. For example, way angrier than I recall. What was there to be so mad about, I wonder? or, could it be that hebrew lends itself to fury so well that it conjures that particular emotion, even out of nothing in particular?

      Alas, I know enough Hebrew still to see that those poems were not all that great (so in the box they shall remain). Good thing I ended up going on another path.....

    • I am late to reading this piece, and will be late in commenting; still, better late than never, yes?

      As a former Hebrew speaker I am especially touched by Kashua's complex relationship with the language of his oppressors. I say 'former speaker' because I have consciously and deliberately set upon not speaking the language I grew up with for many years now. No, I didn't quite forget it, nor do I seek to denigrate it. What happened though is that as I moved away from the Israeli gestalt, its language started to feel foreign to me. As one feels with a language one learns later in life. I am not sure whether the two processes - growing apart from the collective, and growing estranged from its language - were independent or fed on each other in some sub-conscious way. I just know that one day, a decade or so from the time I left, Hebrew stopped feeling organic - and I lost the music of the words.

      Unlike Kashua, part of my own estrangement was the direct result of having discovered another language - English - one in which I felt I could find a more natural expression. The thought occurred me tha perhaps, we each have a natural language of sorts, one which may not always be the one we are born into or are raised with.

      Still, though my journey - linguistically and politically - is quite different from Kashua's, I find great resonance in his story. For I have come to believe in the supremacy of language over the personal emotional world. Do we feel something if the language we have at our disposal has no word for that emotion? perhaps we dismiss such inexpressible emotions as something foreign, peculiar or just too vague to get hold of. I have been wondering about such things for quite a while now, searching my memory banks, taking note of others' expressions, musing idly as I listen to music - which may be just another language to wrap reality into, or escape from its everydayness.

      Kashua was always political and In Hebrew, he expressed the vagaries of israeli political existence, through the funny, to which hebrew lends itself well. Almost too well. I, OTOH, woke up to the political dimension of life in English, and therefore have only its vocabulary to discourse on this level. In Hebrew I was politically asleep - as many if not most young people are. Nothing different about that between Israelis and other humans - the young are too busy to meddle in the messy business of collectives everywhere; or, to put it more accurately, they would rather not unless external events force them too, as when revolutions occur.

      Nowadays, I realize that to be israeli - Arab, jew or otherwise, is to be political. The politics of the "situation" is always there, separating people from one another into camps, even if they just met as strangers. For an israeli, the personal is truly political these days, and I am not sure if it was always so, because when I was young confrontations with alternative world views were few and far between. We complained about our own society, but still we were politically dormant. So I think that perhaps, for the Arab israeli person of letters, such a state of blissful drowsiness was not the option it was for us, who grew up cozily wrapped in the bubble of illustrious - and shared - manifest destiny.

      Anyways, figuring this train has left the station, I hope it's OK to wax poetic to an probably empty room.

      My very best to Sayed Kashua, whose "Arab Labor" I discovered one day, all on my own, on an isolated ranch somewhere in middle America. Quite by chance, thanks to linkTV.

  • Clinton's date to pander at AIPAC leaves an opening for Sanders, you'd think
    • Krauss, sometimes, when we don't know the facts about how or what a politician is thinking (and let's not forget that Sanders is a politician, if a principled one) it may be instructive to look at who is opposing them. And the one group I see fiercely opposing Sanders are the neocons who are basically apoplectic about him. The other group is from the liberal ranks of the establishment. Why wouldn't J street endorse Sanders for example? isn't he for their precious 2-state chimera? or the other jewish operatives and/or commentators? is it just that they are all ogling for a position in a Hillary administration, or could it be they know some things we don't?

      I think we should take a serious look at the ones from the supposedly "liberal" side of the aile who speak up so forcefully for Hillary when their own positions conflict with everything she stands for (cf establishment etc.).

    • Phil, thanks for bringing in that debate in Las Vegas. Truly precious. The standard bearers of the New Mandarins chatting among themselves - how cute!

      I hope that once Hillary gives her supine address to AIPAC Sanders will find the courage to comment on the power of lobbies in the US, even if he doesn't take her on directly. Of course that will take place after the Ides of March, when many things can either change or not.

      I do BTW agree with DD that Sanders' "emotional" attachment to israel is somewhat dubious. At best, he has very mixed emotions as do many once idealistic jewish israel supporters in the US. Chances are that what he feels is a deep sense of sadness for the country that could have been and isn't (putting aside for a second the original sin of colonization and dispossession of the natives). Ultimately though he has to wrestle with his own political instincts that right now are telling him that taking Israel and/or AIPAC head-on in inadvisable. His plate is plenty full already and for the battle against the big bad wolf he will have to be much better weaponized than he is at the moment.

      Speaking just as a tactician here, not a wisher for all good things. On that second front I am of course with you and all true progressives.

    • Interesting comments, DD. And this:

      "I expect he seethes inside toward Netanyahu and the Neocon playbook with similar feelings he expressed about Kissinger. But he is holding that back, for now, reading the political winds as best he can."

      I tend to agree with you on this one, as I said before. I know some on the left criticize sanders for not going to bat AIPAC straight and square. But taking them or the neocons embedded within and with them head on would be a politically foolish move, especially as he, as the sole combatant does not get to even choose the duel weapon. Far better to mount political guerilla tactics on this front, at least while the battleground is so uneven.

      That being said, chances are - and I agree with you on that as well, that Sanders can't stand netanyahu and his ilk. Among other things Netanyahu took israel on a neoliberal course that has resulted in just about the worst inequality among OECD countries. Yes, even worse than the US and much much worse than most European countries. Surely that alone would put sanders on a collision course with present day Likud-racist-religious-Ideological israel, which is rife with corruption, graft and outright racism, even before the occupation is factored in. After all, when he was young, it was a Shomer hatzair Kibbutz he volunteered in and they didn't come much more socialist than that back in the day. (other than the communist party).

      Sanders actually enjoys quite a bit of support among the israeli left, pale echoe of their former selves that they are. I have seen quite a few expressions in israel wishing they had someone like him on their political scene.

  • Bernie Sanders's God is a lot like John Brown's
    • So says the guy who refuses to acknowledge that Israel's vaunted democracy is akin to the democracy of the confederacy. Over three million persons, some living in conditions that are just as dire as those of the American slaves - or Indians - are deprived of the rights of a human per the UN charter, in israel. That beacon of light unto the "nations".

      The palestinians of israel-proper, who have actually been granted citizenship, are living under conditions much like the Jim crow South. The Plaestinians locked in the conquered west bank territories and in the horrific ghetto of Gaza - live, work and die strictly according to what Israel allows. In other words, they have the rights accorded to slaves. No one offered them the vote or citizenship, much less an opportunity to be considered humans and have the rights of personhood.

      To which you will no doubt say they don't want the vote because then they would have to be citizens of Israel. To which I will reply - does anyone know what the response of the people of gaza would be to an offer to become citizens of israel with full rights of movement and livelihood? how about trying that out?

      Unfortunately, no Jewish person in America who fancies themselves a zionist (liberal or otherwise) and supports the apartheid country of Israel while denying it is an apartheid state - has any claim to partake in debates on what it took to abolish slavery in the US and what it took later to release them from Jim crow. At least not in good conscience, because their consicience is sullied. So to me, speaking to what did and didn't end slavery and the role of John brown sounds a bit sanctimonious, coming from you.

  • Did dodging foreign policy doom Bernie Sanders?
    • MRW - I just saw this chart on the Nevada turnout for Dems and Repubs on Rachel maddow. The numbers definitely don't jibe with those very low numbers in the few thousands for the Dems and just over twenty thousand for the Repubs.

      These caucuses are definitely confusing....

    • I stand corrected MRW - I thought for some reason this was like Iowa, where they really did give counts of those "county delegates" rather than the popular vote. I think I just refused to believe so few people in Nevada go to caucus. But seeing the republican numbers, must now accept the unbearable lightness of democracy in Nevada.

    • Re Sanders and foreign policy positions, I think that many of us who support sanders tend to forget that win or lose, Sanders will still have to represent an Empire. With all that entails. It is not that Sanders forgets that, otr that his anti-war stands, or I/P stands are weak. It's that he doesn't forget that because he can't.

      The question before the people of the country is the same it's been for many decades now - do we want to stay an empire or, more pertinently, do we, the people, even have a say on the matter?

      Yes, we all figure that when sanders rails against the lobbies that hijacked the US democratic process, he is also speaking of the military-industrial-surveillance lobby and of AIPAC and the Saudi lobby. But, as the case may be, and strangely enough, it is much safer to criticize strongly the financial lobby, the gun lobby, the oil lobby and the insurance lobbies. Because those lobbies, somehow, are part of the so-called "domestic" landscape (even though they are not). Take on the foreign policy and you deal with the Empire in all its trappings.

      And this is the saddest part of the story - that, in the end, even the best candidate, even the bravest one, cannot tackle the deep state. Ron Paul did and he is the only one who dared, and he was thoroughly marginalized, but because of that, is still out there, writing and speaking.

      Unfortunately, in the end, there will be no revolution if one is not willing to take on the Empire itself. And this is a conversation only some military people are able and willing to have because they know, in their bones and in their souls that the Empire is in decline, and as it declines it'll corrupt everything it touches till only the dry embers of a pretend-democracy are left. Which is why so many of them support Trump. Can Trump really keep it up? can he do anything about it? would he even want to? time will tell but I suspect the Empire has its ways of co-opting him or, if need be, tripping him.

      That is what's stopping the revolution, regardless of what Sanders true opinions are on Palestinian liberation or Syria or Russia. regardless of how strongly the anti-war camp feels.

      For myself, before I get too depressed about sanders' real chances, I try to remember Michael hastings. No one speaks of him any longer or his suspicious demise. No one notes the strange silence of Jeremy Scahill, or the scarcity of Glenn Greenwald either. But at least they are still around and may return and do so occasionally, as often as they dare. I also try to remember that Sanders' fight is an honorable one, and I would like to see him punch through as long as he can, even if he can't do so on all fronts. I hope his voice will remain strong even though he may not prevail this time around, In the end of count it is the movement he helped create that should be kept alive. As hard and distressing the road ahead is likely to be.

    • MRW< you may be looking at delegate numbers, not the popular vote. It can be confusing for these caucus states.

    • Good points kalithea.

      I am especially with you about the terror of seeing either a hillary in one of her many dashingly hot pink or chartreuse tops or a Trump with his mop on my TV screen. I am going to start looking seriously at new Zeland, I think, if either of those two are elected.

    • What has to be factored in for a race between hillary and Trump is the likely indifference and even antipathy of the many Sanders supporters, who have seen and are living through the total trashing of their candidate by the entire MSM, especially outlets such as NYT, PBS, NPR, MSNBC etc. That even as other, more 'alternative' outlets are decidedly pretending he barely exists.

      Seeing the hillary shenanigans, hearing her endless pandering, disingenuous shift 'to the left" (which she will no doubt recant the minute it gets to the general election), and the yawning canyon of absence of anything that can be called "vision", many supporters of sanders will, at best, cast a vote for Hillary just to stop trump, but very few will hit the pavement for her. And quite a few, myself included probably, will vote for a third candidate, like jill Stein. The defection and disillusionment of the youth vote and not a few of the not so young and not so white, is a factor that cannot now be assessed with any confidence.

      AS for trump, just you wait. If he wins the republican nomination - watch him beat a fast turn to the center, probably on many identity issues. perhaps other than immigration. He may well get the anti-war vote by many who will overlook his many other deficiencies. he will moderate his comments on muslims and latinos. He will probably take a few pages out of sanders' book about the need to eliminate corporate campaign finance and "clean up" washington. Indeed, I predict that in a Hillary-vs-Trump we'll see the weirdest realignments of voters we have even witnessed - with not a few Republicans holding their noses and voting for Hillary, and not a few Democrats and perhaps a majority of independents likewise holding their noses and voting for Trump.

    • I agree about the naming of Churchill. This was a serious off-note for Sanders. I could not believe he wouldn't come up with the "safe" choice of Mandella (which Hillary exploited). To choose Churchill, who supported the colonialist rule over india almost to the bitter end, indicates to me that Sanders may not be as well-read or well-informed on foreign history and affairs as he is about domestic ones. It's probably typical of many of his followers too, unfortunately, as much as we'd like to believe otherwise. It's hard to blame young people (in general) for knowing so little when the MSM has been completely captured. I know from personal experience that I must make an effort to read alternative media, the only places where I find a semblance of truth about what happened in the Ukraine or in Syria or in Egypt or Libya. And the alternative media can be a minefield of its own - one has to have judgement born of experience in reading media in general to make the trek without being waylaid.

      I don't take sanders off the hook or put all the "left" on the hook. Just pointing out the obvious - there s a serious defieciency in the educational background of Americans - young and old, left and right, male and female, when it comes to America's role in the world, and the dire history that entailed for the people who happened to live in the wrong place at the wrong times. If anything that history has been rather "churchillian", but most Americans, sanders apparently included, don't even know what was it that made Churchill a bit of a controversial figure. May be some irish Americans and Indian Americans can help him out on that?

  • Biggest loser in Iowa was foreign policy
    • May be we could keep the act as the Cassandra Duo, and you could forgo the wig? can I be the Opssimist?

      I got a drawer-full of silver linings I would like to use......

    • echin, I am not sure you quite got my point, which has to do not with what Sanders is or isn't, but with the silence a candidate - any candidate - must endure in the US< just to be allowed to step out of the gate. That's the connection in which I mentioned Ron Paul.

      Sanders for a long time, even as his legions of support increased in power and noise, got the silent treatment from the MSM. Something that was totally obvious to anyone who tuned into any news channel or media. But silence is not as bad as full out ridicule, which is what greeted Ron Paul, whenever he tried to step into candidacy of the GOP. Under the cover of enforced silence, sanders, while ignored, at least did not have to endure the poison arrows and toxic intimations of anti-semitism and anti-empirism. And that silent space (which was not at all silent in the progressive circles) allowed his campaign to blossom, almost stealth-like - but in full view of them who were observant.

      There will be time enough for promises, now that he is taken as a serious threat to her annointed majesty HRC. And not just on I/P. How he is going to handle the barbed wires that will be erected to trap him into making off-the-cuff statements that will be later held against him, is what will tell whether he will surf the waves or crash under them trying.

    • kalithea - internal dysfunction is what happens when one lives in an empire. Power corrupts all political processes and distorts all policies, no matter how well intended at first. The result? sanity of and by the people is the greatest loser.

      Eventually empires can't have statesmen because they might tell the truth now and then. To the rulers or to the people or to the world. That's what makes them statesmen. So goners be they, and when have we had one in the US last?

      Empires can and do have Mandarins who toil at the levers of power. But mandarins invariably get full of themselves and end up mistaking inertia for stability and self-enrichment for wisdom.

      Things are not so good for America because the people fail to internalize what an empire is and what an empire does to stay "on top". Thee people pretend they live in a democracy but such democracy as is practiced is hobbled by the external and internal realities.

      Especially since Empires must do very bad things to remain an Empire but the people want to think of themselves as good. Hence the dysfunction at all levels from the lowest to the highest.

      The worst times - the ones we have entered sometime ago - is when Empires go on the decline trajectory, which all empires must eventually do.

      PS see my comment above about poor Sanders who has yet to contend with these facts of life.

    • Keith, optimism much?

    • Good realist take from Phil here. Of course, it's hard to disagree that the silence on foreign policy on the democratic side is deafening. I also agree that it is wise of Sanders to keep some of his opinions under wraps, but leave us, progressives, a crumb trail to allow guessing of what his positions might be at a future point.

      To add four more to Phil's points:

      1. Sanders, as an avowed progressive, is in a lose-lose situation should he choose to speak out on the I/P issue. Or for that matter on Syria, or the destructive role played by Saudi Arabia in turning the ME into a bastion of chaos. If he points out the obvious about israel's slide into apartheid and facsist like tactics, he'll be greeted by howls and shrieks the decibels of which we can easily imagine. If he comes out as a supporter of israel + the usual blah-blah platitudes, he risks alienating a sizable fraction of his progressive base. Therefore, the best approach for him to take right now is to keep as mum as possible.

      2. Sanders has been in Washington for a long time. Long enough to know how strong the powers-that-be are and their capacity for extreme evil in the service of the eilite's power. This applies in particular to the new Jewish Mandarin class, who punches with abandon when it feels even remotely threatened. We may agree that AIPAC can punch above its weight, but saying the emperor has no clothes, and actually yelling it from the roof-tops are two different things. One thing sanders is not, is suicidal. he wouldn't have survived as long as he had otherwise. So, he will play the issue of foreign policy by ear. Gingerly. Waiting until there is a critical mass of support to give him cover, should he choose to come out with a truly independent foreign policy, driven by real-politic concerns.

      3. To the previous point, IMO, what has saved Sanders so far is the very fact that he is jewish. That's why he doesn't get the full Ron Paul treatment. Had he not been jewish i doubt he would be treated with what i consider kids' gloves (Ie being ignored hoping he turns out to be a flash in the pan). Why does this "save" him? because I think the "other side" notices the same bread crumb trail that we do. They suspect that at the very least, he is a J Street type, who has kind of battled his inner zionist for some time. At worst, he may be at one with his base, willing to explore putting much more pressure on israel than anyone dared before. Worse yet, he is far from a liberal interventionist believer and certainly not a hawk. But the military and military Industrial complex, are carefully watching, so, if he is smart, which i think he is, caution is the best way forward.

      4. Like it or not, America is an Empire and behaves like it. It is also an Empire in decline that is seriously in danger of being captured by "animal spirits" from either side. The world is moving to a multi-polar power structure and the PTBs are none too happy about that. they all suspect sanders will be the one to usher in the multi-polar era, should he become president. That can only happen if the time is right and the alternatives are worse. Sanders made enough conciliatory comments about Russia to make certain ears perk up. He, being a Washingtonian, knows and sees the not-always-visible gallery. he plays up to it some, by a combination of silence and certain well-worn platitudes about "peace on earth". But I doubt he discounts the power residing in the upper floors, and its ability to command instant retribution, should it feel threatened. Talking about inequality is fine (after all, what can anyone really do about it, and besides, the PTBs are beginning to feel that inequality has, in fact, become a threat to them). Talking about environment and single payer is fine as well - those are all nice long term goals. But seriously cutting back on military budgets and military/industrial/surveillance infrastructure is something else.

      So yes, like Phil I believe sanders, at heart is a progressive on I/P as well, and wouldn't mind doing a little BDS of his own. But none of us should be naive enough to think he can come out with a platform that puts israel in its place (and I wouldn't be surprised to find out some day that Ron Paul has been whispering sweet nothings in his ear). So for now, silence is golden, and all we can do is hope that a time could come when Sanders would feel free to say the right words. For now, let's follow the trail of crumbs. After all, that's the best we got - for now.

  • 'If we lose the West Bank, we lose everything': An evening with a liberal Israeli
    • MDM: "They may have no ideological attachment to the occupation, but they see no real reason to ‘relenquish’ the West Bank."

      I kind of agree with Sibriak, at least in part. My take is that indeed for now at least, israelis can't and won't imagine life without the West bank, even if they never go there. many secular people for example really do believe that t is theirs as a "spoils of war", a time tested argument with much historical antecedence. one often hears the typical zionist refrain - "if they did, why can't we?" Where "they" can be any power in the West, be they the American colonizers or the british in Australia and canada, or the french in north Africa, etc. etc. this refrain is most often followed by the equally infamous line "why are we being singled out?", implying deep-seated anti-semitism etc.

      The religious of course believe the land is thereirs because it was promised to Abraham, no doubt through a legal deed of trust crafted by a a well known historical figure, namely, god, an unchallengable authority in all matters, legal tenders included.

      But underlying these convictions, which all israelis share to some degree or another, there are other attributes israelis have. For one thing they are a rather self-serving people to an almost narcissistic degree. By self-serving I mean collectively - even as any one individual may be a paragon of selfless virtue, at least when directed to his "own" people. They are also deeply materialistic, something that some of the settlers encountered by Phil in his travels, actually were riled up about. most of the 'coastal" israelis are rather attached to their lifestyles and material comforts, so if there was a credible threat to their economic well-being of the country, there would indeed be some serious backlash.

      In fact, I believe that were there substansive economic sanctions on israel, it would produce some near- miraculous cost-benefit re-evaluations. Among other things, the west bank would suddenly not seem all that important to keep, at least to an increasing number of people. Articles would be written about how much it's costing the country to maintain. Even more articles will be written about how awful it is to be a disliked country and a disliked people. Yes, lots of israelis would pack up and leve no sooner that conditions get a bit tough, and the increase in emigration would produce loud wails of Oy vey. Lots of israelis are already leaving (those who can, basically) and many are clearly unhappy about being disliked, even if they refuse to see the reasons for the antipathy they generate.

      Will such re-evaluations be sufficient and will it change the political picture in israel? That's hard to call because the addiction to the west bank and the desire to maintain Gaza as a ghetto is so entrenched in their psyche. And yes, the settlers, in their misplaced idealism would be a hard nut to crack. But even they, were they to lose material and spiritual support inside israel, may come to see their enterprise as somewhat doomed, and quite a few will leave and go back inside the green line if life became a lot less materially comfortable (again not speaking of the die-hard religious ones). All in all, about half the settlers may be willing to leave in return for some material enticement. As for the remaining half, OK, that's a difficult question, but it's not all that difficult to make them rethink a few things, and perhaps come up with a few compromises.

      I guess what I am saying is that israelis are not like iranians. The modern israeli, even a fairly religious one, will not willingly make the kind of material sacrifices that iranians made, without it causing a near-revolution. My guess is that israel may feel like a nation, but the israelis did not really gel into one, the way the citizens of some countries have (this BTW is my theory, based on my own experiences, observations and speculations. I am eager to find out whether I am right on this one, so bring on those sanctions, please!).

      But all this is hypothetical. Depending entirely on strong and pain-inflicting economic and cultural sanctions. If those could be brought about, I think there may be hope for some kind of acceptable arrangement for both people.

      If only the global will was there!

  • The world the settlers made
    • MaxNarr; "settlers are essentially good people, with good intentions, and rational thinkers".

      So were most of the Germans during the Nazi era. Many nazi sympathizers and their families just wanted a better world in which they and their descendants could live along with their pure bloodied compatriots. All deeds - horrific as some were - armed conquests included - were justified by a form of manifest destiny, not unlike that fervently adopted by settlers of all kinds and colonialists of all stripes from times immemorial. it's only the shape of said manifest destiny that sets them apart, whether a Quranic tract, or Torah incantations, or a new or old testament.

      In fact, there is no deed so foul that it cannot be rationalized and justified by a belief in manifest destiny. What god promised, mere humans cannot take asunder. All it takes is faith in said god, and a faithful attribution to divine origins.

      The 'good' settlers, with their "good" intentions and not entirely irrational thinking would surely say they can't possibly be compared to the French in Algier or the British in Kenya, or the Spaniard in South America, much less to some foul nazis. For one, they are not as brutal (at least so far). For another, they are, indeed, even "better' than the original zionists, so idolized by their liberal zionist bretherns. Besides, their manifest destiny is surely superior, and better proven than the flimsy claims of others, not nearly as well supported by a book of books and dusty learned Talmudic treatises. What they don't say, and what they wcertainly won't tell a visitor among them, is how far they would actually be willing to go in defense of the purity of their blood lines and their stake on the land. Those darker thoughs and intentions, such as are being loudly voiced, are reserved for the insiders.

      Sometimes, the worst evils reside among the best intentioned.

  • Why are American pro-Palestinian voices silent about the brutal war on Yemen?
    • This article raises a good question though perhaps the question should be asked much more broadly: why does the global left, seemingly in unison, choose to avert its eyes from Saudi atrocities - both direct (as in yemen) and indirect (as in Syria and Iraq)? where has everyone been when bombings were and are going on in Iraqi cities, carried out mostly by Sunnis of various kinds? why has the "global left" (whatever that entity is - it includes pro-Palestinian groups) chosen to fall catatonic in the face of the calamities that have befallen Iraq, Syria, Bahrain and now Yemen? why are they so quick to dismiss these awful conflicts as "mere" sectarian wars? and, more relevantly here, as Ben Norton asks - where have all the solidarity groups gone when it comes to devastation visited upon Yemen? and to make things worse, it sure isn't just the pro-palestinian groups that have gone deaf and mute, while yeme is reduced to rubble and its people devastated. It's almost all of the solidarity groups everywhere (with a few notable exceptions).

      Oh yes, and one more question, to partially complete the circle of unanswerables - what exactly makes Syria "complicated"? Who and how did the left fall into the well laid trap of ascribing the 200,000 +casualties in Syria (the number most often cited and never supported ) to Assad (ignoring that well over half of those casualties, if not most, were soldiers and civilian supporters of the secular government)? just what did Assad's army do wrong in trying to fight the takfitris that were injected willy-nilly into their country, complete with arms, drugs and even enough chemicals to make for a few false flags? and why the incredibly shrill silence about the malfeasant role of Turkey in Syria and its ongoing deadly campaign against the Kurds?

      I don't have really good answers to these questions, though commenters above have certainly pointed to a few hints, such as sympathy fatigue, fear of losing focus, ignorance of the situation in eg, Yemen, the complexity of the players in Syria, etc. I do however think we should look a lot deeper into the choices made by well-meaning left activist groups as to what cause to support and when.

      One direction that has not gotten much attention is the unbelievable amount of money spent by Saudi and Qatari governments on PR in the West on the one hand (through part ownership of media outlets etc) and the support they provided to Palestinian groups such as the PA and Hamas. In fact, the latter two are heavily dependent on golf states funds to stay afloat and continue to exercise some form of government, each where they are. I happen to think that we are naive if we believe that such influx of money does not color and corrupt both the attention paid to certain conflict zones and the attitudes taken. I don't think for example, that pro-Palestinian western groups can entirely ignore the preferences of ruling bodies on the ground in Palestine. And the way the saudi money works to corrupt the arguments in favor of human rights everywhere is insidious. It almost always turns on the sunni vs shiite dichotomy, one that most, if not all of us, non-muslims, basically don't get. Let's face it, good people of the left - we have no clue what divides the Sunnis and the shiites. Something about the succession to Mohammed is about all we know. Please correct me anyone if I am wrong - what do we, westerners who come mostly from Jewish and/or Christian background know? how much have our Palestinian friends educated us with regard to this schism?

      And that is the other issue that, IMO< contributes to the relative silence about the Yemen situation. All we ever heard (mostly from the saudi side through their shills in the western press) is that the Houtis are "kind of " shiites and are allied with Iran. Sounds much like the Alawites of Syria - "something shiite" again, so it must be Iran that has put them up to no good. And since almost all the money that goes to support think tanks and western media comes from the Sunni side, no wonder we find it difficult to educate ourselves about who and what is going on in these conflicts.

      So between the ignorance of what the muslim sectarian split is about or how deep it goes, the ready access of Saudi backed PR (surreptitiousy of course) to our papers of record, including the NYT, and PBS/NPR, and the fact that too many official and semi-official Palestinian entities have become so dependent on gulf state money that they are in no position to lend their voices to solidarity with Yemenites, or yazidis or coptic christians, or Kurds, or people of Iraq, it is just too politically complicated for left solidarity groups to go on a limb and swim against the tide.

      Yes, Norton and others here are right. Indeed, if one wanted to know what to support just look at what SA and Qatar support then turn and look sharply the other way. Saudi Arabia in particular is so corrupt, despotic, culturally chauvinistically primitive and religiously reactionary that it has a strong claim on being just about the evilest regime in the world currently. Yet, here we are in the US, in the UK and in most NATO countries and we are in cahoots with the worse of the worst. So much so that even our radicalest solidarity groups have been reduced to whimpering barely audible protestations.

      So really there is nothing very complicated about Yemen, or Syria, or Iraq. Follow the Sunni money and all shall be revealed. The rest is for each of us to interpret well enough to make the wiser and humane choices..

    • I find myself quite agreeing with Tony Greenstein, especially this:

      "There should be no difficulty in deciding who to support in Yemen. The Saudis are everywhere enemies of freedom, both within Saudi society (e.g. the recent 47 executions) and without. Their bombing of Yemen’s population and its blockade of Yemen are outrageous war crimes. The Yemenis have a right to determined their own future and government. The Saudis also act to uphold repressive governments throughout the Gulf, e.g. the use of their military to uphold the dicatorship in Bahrain in 2011. "

      Indeed, it should be quite simple - there is simply no cause that saudi Arabia is engaged in that is not treacherous and injurious to Human Rights. Not outside that country and not inside it. This is a reactionary regime, one that is ruled by a dogmatic, violent, toxic religion. Anything saudi Arabia supports we should be deeply suspicious of. Yemen is a case in point - does anyone even know what got the Saudi goat about yemen? what is the bombing about? and why does the US - and indeed NATO - support these obvious war crimes?

      I attempt to answer the last question below.

  • A Christmas message in dark times
    • Good piece here by Falk. I like the open mindedness about the SPIRIT of Christmas, which is something that transcends its meaning for the religious Christians.

      What i do sense among the many jewish objectors to the words "merry chirstmas" is not so much a plea for tolerance but a concealed sense of envy. heck, the Christians, over millenia came up with a good one. Christmas IS (or can be if one lets it) be kind of fun for all. It IS a time of year that, while we use/abuse it for an orgy of consumption, we also spend some time thinking what gift to get others that they might like. Even for people we rarely see or know, or even like. It IS a time when families try to get together or at least call each other when they are far away. The lights DO look festive and even hurried strangers do seen to try and wish you a merry old time almost cheerfully. And people do so without regard to one's own religion or lack thereof. Even die hard atheists may find the grit to wish Happy something-or-other to believers, momentarily putting their deep principles aside. As prof. Falk suggested, there is a perceptible feeling of good will in the air int the time leading up to Christmas. No matter how religious one is, it's nice to at least try and exchange pleasantries during that brief time in the year. Personally I noticed thatIi can even get over my aversion to small talk, for like 2 whole weeks. Suddenly I don't mind it all that much - the little chit-chats - proving that pompouseness too can take a break now and then. Heck, there are years I didn't even mind the Christmas music beamed out everywhere.

      And did I say yet, that some of those christmas carols are not half bad when properly rendered? at least christmas kept the choir music art thing vibrant for a thousand years, eventually begetting that Handle's Messaiah sing-along.

      Now compare with what the Jews came up with. Sorry but hanukkah is a pale counterpart. most, including jews, don't even know what it's about. Something to do with a - very temporary - military victory by the Maccabis over some local Greek troops. As in those over-zealous, ultra-religious, ultra-nationalistic maccabis. The Maccabis that later beget the hashmonaim rule that lasted long enough to bring corruption to an art form. The Maccabis who are the spiritual fathers of the current religious=nationalistic settler movement taking over israel. So yes, one can light candles, one more every day, then stare at the candles till they go out some half hour later. One can pretend that Hannukah is a time of gift giving - why - a gift every day - and for 8 days too! But secretly, or not so secretly, we know it's basically an invented festivity with next to little or no spiritual meaning, other than celebrating a tactical military victory, if that can be considered spiritual. Hannukkah, like kwanza, feels like a somewhat forced invention to allow some groups in the US to feel "included" to have something of their own to hold up against the ever-invasive Christmas and all its symbols. Hannukah can be called a 'festival of lights", but the more one digs in, the emptier it becomes of meaning other than yet another mid-winter event that goes back to ancient solstice rituals.

      So it is the colorfulness and the spirit of giving and togetherness that marks Christmas as an achievement of festiveness. It has a universality that transcends its religious meanings, a universality that is not exactly shared by the invented hannukkah. A Buddist or Hindu American may choose to put some lights around their house or tree without feeling weird. But no one thinks of lighting hannukah candles except jewish people and their closest and dearest. IT just doesn't FEEL universal, maybe because it isn't.

      In israel, of course, hannukah just means an excuse for a week long winter school holiday for all. Which is kind of nice when you are in school. Whether one lights candles or not. It's just that those hannukah songs, which I blissfully forgot, used to drive me nuts. So may be, hannukah Grinch that I am, it's time for settling some old scores. I do, of course, wonder whether i would be quite as inclined to give Christmas a pass, had THEY kicked me off the school choir, due to an unfortunate inability to carry a tune.....

    • Mooser: "I think immigrants strengthen America. Heck, one of them might give me a job! "

      Correction: as in "some" immigrants. The truth that not many want to talk about is that there are different kinds of immigrants. One doubts Americans, including Trump, would have all that much objection to waves of immigrant engineers arriving from Germany, UK, France, or Seoul. Or even if they are not engineers but say, "merely" liberal art types. It is only a "type' of immigrant that is objected to and those are the low skilled manual laborers arriving through the southern border. Yes, their labor is needed or else they wouldn't be let in, words against "immigration" notwithstanding. The trouble is that everyone understands, from the smartest to the stupidest, that in the long run these immigrants are much harder to integrate into the larger, skilled labor force, which means endless expenditures on education, incarceration, human capital promotion and what not.

      What I am saying is the obvious, even if it is rarely stated by the either MSM or bloggers, liberal or otherwise. In modern America, upward mobility is a kind of a myth. What was once upon a time is largely compromised. People's educational levels and earning power tracks with their parents' and neighborhoods. The middle class is being hollowed out and in the future, there will be fewer and fewer well paying jobs for the low middle class. And that last one is where the majority of immigrants from the South would normally move into, were things the way they used to be in the 50's and 60's.

      So I would cut some slack for them who hear whatever they hear in Trump's whistles. The people who support his seemingly uncompromising stand on immigration tend to be the ones fearing being displaced by modern technology. It's their jobs that are being eliminated, not those of the IT specialist. So, in supporting trump, they only voice their trepidation and discontent.

  • The way for Americans to take on the Islamic state is to end support for Jewish nationalism
    • A little more on the matter of souls:

      Tricky business that, the soul of a religion, or a movement, or an ideology. Ever the scientist, I wonder - does soul operate as a liquid, flowing from one vessel (religion) to another? or is it more like a gas that expands to fill up every crevis in the original container? or is it solid, making for a hard core at the center, surrounded by the great emptiness of mere words spawning (somehow) intertwining strings of rituals, devotions and beliefs?

      The once great Jews had a name for the soul of Israel - they called it Shechina. Pre-Israel, the adopted national poet Bialik wrote about the tears of Shchinah, crying for the children of the people of Israel, scattered every-which-way. He must have known much about that elusive, perhaps illusive, soul. Which somehow failed to touch me enough for reasons unclear. May be I had something like soul immunity? well,I never got chicken pox either, having been exposed multiple times.

      If imagine that if the soul of Judaism was something like a liquid, and it got somehow contaminated by the evil seeds of zionism (cf. ultra ethnic nationalism), could it have flown through to the outer layers of Jewish culture (whatever that is), leaking out of its pipelines, then bursting into an ether filled dimension where all religions live? further infecting Islam along the way and may be susceptible parts of Christianity too?

      Phil implies, and I tend to agree with him, that the contamination of the Jewish culture that grew around Judaism (and the culture IS infected, big time!) may have been a key factor that beget the infection now gnawing at the soul of Islam. I like analogies (far-fetched ones best of all) so Phil's contention - which strikes me as deeply true - reminds me of the Ebola agent that jumped species. How exactly, we still don't know, but it's essential to acknowledge the fact of transmission if we are to avoid more serious outbreaks.

      Well, just some more food for thought for those more etherially inclined.

  • Netanyahu brings neocons and liberal Zionists together again
    • Missed the edit window. Oh well....

    • Eisner and Makovsky remind me of the German elites of 1932-1934. They saw what was happening - the fascism growing in their midst, the slow erosion of Democratic principles, even the beginning of the calls for ethnic cleansing, and for separation of the Arian race. But, on the whole, they did nothing to stop the monster, and many made all kinds of excuses for it, such as "it's really not a monster", or "don't worry, it'll all go away", or even, "it's just politics". Some excuses were more sensible than others, since Germany at that time was still reeling from the punitive measures post WWI. And the communist threat was cited over and over as the reason to be "on guard", to take "tough measures". You can hear those kind of excuses in Eisner's voice, who sees the threat to "zionism" as looming larger than any other. And in Makovsky who sees - infers - as Netanyahoo likes to do, "a clash of civilizations", which means, of course, endless conflict. This, just as some, once saw the threat to German identity. To the German nation. Communism played the role of the "old" looming 'clash of civilizations", spear-headed by those suspect "Slavs" and "Jews". Such arguments did find an echo among the average German, who felt all kinds of misgivings and apprehensions. At the time, much as there are Arab parties in Israel's knesset, there was a strong Communist party officially represented in the German parliament.

      At that time, the 1928-34 period, the call from the national Socialist German Worker's Party" (nicknamed later the "Nazi" party) was for a "Democratic and German national state", even if not always stated exactly that way. Sometimes, "Arian" was substituted for "German National" interests, slowly starting to erode the lines between who's the "in" group and who are the "out" groups. After all, many German Jews felt and were proud to be German too, and certainly felt themselves to be German nationals".

      Here is a quotation from the Jewish Virtual Library about the period preceding 1933:

      "In April, 1920, Hitler advocated that the party should change its name to the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). Hitler had always been hostile to socialist ideas, especially those that involved racial or sexual equality. However, socialism was a popular political philosophy in Germany after the First World War. This was reflected in the growth in the German Social Democrat Party (SDP), the largest political party in Germany.

      Hitler, therefore redefined socialism by placing the word 'National' before it. He claimed he was only in favour of equality for those who had "German blood." Jews and other "aliens" would lose their rights of citizenship, and immigration of non-Germans should be brought to an end.

      In February 1920, the NSDAP published its first programme which became known as the "Twenty-Five Points." In the programme the party refused to accept the terms of the Versailles Treaty and called for the reunification of all German people. To reinforce their ideas on nationalism, equal rights were only to be given to German citizens. "Foreigners" and "aliens" would be denied these rights.".

      Just look at this platform of 1920, and tell me if it doesn't reverberate with today's platforms emanating from israel. Then think again of people like Eisner, liberal zionists in good standing, just as there were many like her back in Germany, some who actively sought to arrest the rise of the nazi party, later to acquiesce and even justify.

      Then scroll forward a bit. to 1935. The year of the "Nurenberg laws" (with versions already being considered in the Kneset, if not yet fully enacted) and later, to the infamous Krystalnacht.

      Often we ask, why did the Germans people, especially their elites who saw what was happening, allow Hitler's rise? was it a collective insanity that took over the people/ was it ignorance that allowed it to happen? was it bitterness over being treated so badly by the allied victors? was it fear of communism?

      I think it's perhaps wise to start asking questions about the Eisners and the Makovskys of the jewish elite world in the US - and their cohorts in Israel proper. How can they not see what the plan really is for the Palestinians/ could they secretly support it? do they not care? are they overtaken with a form of nationalist, identity driven, psychopathology?

  • Netanyahu's craziness is calculated, to drive out Palestinians
    • I hope people pay serious attention to what Avigail has to say here. Not because the sanity/insanity of netanyahu is so much the issue but because netanyahu's policies represent what most israelis want, crazy or not. And what they want is to get the palestinians out, one way or another, hopefully relatively "humanely" (ie by causing a flight), but if that cannot be arranged soon enough, the "humane" part is dispensable. Unfortunately, based on all i read and see coming from israel, a majority of israelis it is, be it 60% or 80%, doesn't matter.

      Worse yet, the majority of the jewish establishment in the US and other Anglo neighborhoods, are as keen as ever to cover up what is really going on, though their representatives might deny they know what there is to know. IOW they plead "selective ignorance".

      What can we, who care about the fate of the palestinians do? that is the ultimate question. BDS is nice, but it is a slow process, one that is and will be fought aggressively by the PTB.

      AS others here have seen before, I do have some very simple ideas for what can be done. Simple as ideas but perhaps too aggressive in execution for some. One of the simplest ideas is, what I call, "personal BDS". WE don't need to wait till this or that corporate entity is on board. OR the EU finally deigns to label settlement products for what they are. WE can, each of us, as individuals a even if quite annonymopusly, if need be, pledge to practice a "form of maximal BDS". That means we minimize our dealings with israelis, even if they happen to be friends, family or colleagues. Doing the minimum means not going there for a visit, and if unavoidable, trying to stay at an Arab israeli village (and they have some great B&B's these days) rather than stay with family or hotel in Israel proper. For some of us, this means we stopped speaking Hebrew to Israelis ex or otherwise - and perhaps, instead of excuses, telling the truth. I think arguments with Israelis are pointless as many of us found out. There is no changing the minds of those who are enmeshed in a cult through the force of fact or logic. Personally I found it effective to just let people know why I do what I do and avoid what I avoid. Let them know in a way that closes the door on argument. I let people I know professionally know where I stand, as gently as I can, because some I actually like as people. IT seems to have an effect, even if it comes across as an insult.

      There are situations, I think, where friendships do not take precedence over justice.

      For those who don't know many israelis and have no plan of visiting or dealing with them, there are other avenues to bring the message home. More later.

  • 'Most-read' article at Washington Post calls Israel 'savage, unrepairable society'
    • Boycotting Israel is, in fact, the only way of getting across the message that state sanctioned barbarism has consequences. Boycott alone will not stop or eliminate the evil that lurks in the heart of Israelis over night. But it will make some take notice of the practical trade-offs for israel. This, in psychological parlance, is called behavior modification.

      At this point in time it is not yet easy to see the positive impact as most israelis are still in a state of denial and/or rage, with their elected officials and representatives resorting to foaming at the mouth, and their hasbara brigades in full hysteria mode. But as the boycott movement tightens and widens, as it becomes clear to israelis that they are indeed pariahs to the rest of the world, the choices they must make will become starker. I believe, a point will come when more and more israelis will start getting beyond the denial and rage phases and re-evaluate who and what they are as humans on this planet. I say that because I also believe that most Israelis do indeed care about the opinion of the world, especially as it reflects their good or bad opinions of themselves. This stage is what begins a transition into something more conducive to civilized behavior - both individually and collectively.

      In the meantime, the palestinians will indeed continue to suffer, but with the growing realization that their sufferings do not go unnoticed, and that each punishment inflicted upon them becomes a boomerang upon the perpetrators in the spiritual dimension. The alternative is to continue and suffer with no one to look or care. So the choice is, again, clear, and I am certain most Palestinians understand the stark choices before them.

      Of course, for the boycott to be effective it does need to become deeper and spread wider. It has to even include a chill in personal contacts with israelis, IMO. Basically ALL israelis and ALL the jews who support them in the west must process what price the occupation exacts. Not of them as mere citizens of a country, but of each and everyone as individuals with choices to make, a spirit to defend and a tradition to preserve.

    • MHuges - you do have a point the way you state it. It's just not the way I meant my point to be taken. I am asking for the assignation of collective guilt in the Now and in the Then and in the Soon for actions that were actually taken and inactions that were actually exercised allowing the reprehensible actions to be taken and to then be covered up and papered over. It is not the jews of 400 years from now that concern me, but the jews of the past 100 years and the next 50. Within our lifetimes or overlapping with them.

      Once, long time ago, before I lost faith in Elie Weisel the man, there was Elie Weisel the author, who wrote a book - "The man in the window" I believe it was called. I had many arguments with people as to whether the "man in the window" in that Hungarian town, looking down on the street as jews were rounded up and brutalized, had any responsibility for what happened and/or whether he should have had any guilt for what transpired. Some said to me - what could he do? rush into the street and get killed? but I was of the opinion that there was always more one could do than just watch through the window, or wave a gun. There are things one can do in he face of intolerable calamities that fall well short of suicidal. There is passive resistance. There is witnessing and photographing. There are letters that can be written. and for some there are just things they could choose to not do and not support.

      In an americaln context, this translates to who one cares to vote or not vote for. painful conversations one CAN engage in as opposed to avoid. Donations that can be made and not made. Trips to israel that can be taken or not. Many small actions that when undertaken by many will indeed have an effect.

      It is in the absence of the many such small actions that the guilt lies, I believe. I know for some it's just laziness or busyness. But for many it is indifference to the fate of others not like them. and for still many more, it is actually an approval of the direction israel is heading.

      What and who will feel guilty 200 years from now is another story. who should be feeling guilty now and for what is the real story, isn't it?

    • Thanks guys for the encouragement. Sometimes it's needed.

      And Ellen - about me and writing - problem is and always was - the ultimate goblin-maker - it's name is Time. I don't have enough of it, and so the goblins keep multiplying and running around, biting a little here and a little there, and sometimes all i can do is watch - in exasperation.

      Addendum - in case anyone is left wondering (other than the wandering Jew, Yonah, who never wonders out of his box) - yes, I happen to think that ultimately, it is the great jews of America, the lovers of a constitution they did not get to write but wish they did - it is them who history will hold as the guilty party for whatever it is that's about to befall the Palestinians that hasn't yet.

      I believe in collective guilt, if not punishment. The Germans did it. The Roman Church did - somewhat, if sheepishly. To some extent - albeit a limited one - the americans of today feel true remorse about what was done to the native indians. And the American Jewry - collectively - good and not so - are guilty as sin for not stopping the evil that has and is happening in Israel - in their name and with their - collective - support.

      I don't blame the NYT and WaPo for skimping on information. - they have to to survive. I don't blame sanders for turning into deaf and mute when it comes to IP - if he showed more care, well - we know his little "free" ride would be all but over. I do somewhat blame the language barrier for preventing Americans - jews included - from knowing what's in the heart of hearts of israelis. But truth is, I don't need to find excuses for any of it. Each and every jewish person in America is part and parcel of the occupation and the terrors it begets. They all know. They surely do - even when they avert their eyes, they know. Some do something to lift to burden and some do a lot. Some of course refuse to admit there's a burden in the first place. But it doesn't matter because in the end, none has done enough and none will. Even those who want to and try. Even you and me, whoever you are - wedid not do enough.

      So what can the rest of us - jewish and not - do that they haven't done enough of? perhaps demand that the Jews of the wrold -especially Americans, at least admit the crime and feel the guilt. Because it is theirs to carry, till the end of times. Because it's there - the guilt, for each of us to partake from. Watch congress blame the palestinians and cut their support - we elected them. Watch Kerry weave and turn away from the ill- wind. We elected this White house. Watch MSNBC's Snow twist left and right - we watched them and maybe wrote a little letter, but it wasn't enough. Watch the ones who were banned, tarred and feathered through the years. The ones we couldn't sve fro disrepute and firing and reputation smearing. Watch what happened to the NYT and PBS and NPR and every other public channel. We supported and watched these channels and may be called in, But we did not have the wherewithall to stop their descent into the abyss. Then after watching - carefully - tell me where the guilt lies. That before we even get to measure just how much has accumulated - while we watched.

    • Gavron is saying what I (and not a few others) have been pointing out for some time now, namely that the reality as seen from Israel is vastly different for those who read hebrew and those who don't.

      I know exactly what he means by calling attention to the savage, barbaric posts on Israel's Facebook and other social media. I see some of these every day. And I also see the ubiquitous calls for expelling/getting-rid-of the Arabs/Palestinians, made sometimes by a couple of commenters, who then get 10,000 likes. I see what they are sharing and what they are commending. I see references to discussions and talks and events and interpretations of events that raise the hair on the back of one's neck.

      Even the most casual reader of Facebook in Israel (the Hebrew one, of course) picking postings up at random on the "situation", will be aghast, if they hail from any civilized country. And that's not all. The vitriol heaped upon Obama is beyond the pale - postings that in the US may result in an arrest for hate speech and incitement to violence, get hearted in Israel. And these heart-awarders, are not just some young misguided men who have nothing better to do. They are ALL the nice people - the grandmothers, who other than posting pictures of cute grandkids and recipes, call outright for the worst punishments meted unto the "Arabs". Once, I thought of making a collage of "disgusting things said by gentle grandmothers", but luckily, no time or inclination for "collages.

      The truth is as Gavron said it and as did Peled, Abarbanel, Halper, Levy, Hass and a few, too few, other Israelis and ex-Israelis - Israeli society has descended deep into the heart of darkness. And no, the nice' Jews of the US, in their ever-cultured pretences to being part of a "great" religion, cannot follow them there, and will not, because instinctively they know what lurks in the dark. So, the "nice jews" of the "Tikun Olam" crowd, prefer their own little squabbles, on who is and who isn't admissible to their little club, and their soirees with panels where they can publicly decry the ghastly going-on-occupation with wails of the traditional Oy-vey, while the palestinians - and increasingly, Israeli Arabs - bear the brunt of the horrid hatefulness and abject violence heaped upon them by the lynch peddling residents of the "Holy land" who believe themselves to be somehow more "jewish" by being more "resourceful" in the soft-lynch , and crying-and-beating department.

      Don't believe me? just post something about MK Zoabi - In hebrew - on your own facebook and ask a couple of willing Israelis to share, as an experiment. I am pretty sure you'll be locking your house with nuts and bolts, if not moving altogether, shortly thereafter.

      PS yes, there are English readers in Israel - but they tend to be the worst, since they came from the worst the US had to offer. Israeli Americans form some of the most zealot infested settlements in the WEst Bank. That's why you are better off sticking to hebrew - might even get one of those nice grandmothers to invite you for some nice coffee-with-borsht, so she could show you the error of your ways and regail you with the Holocaust stories of others (that she read somewhere and adopted as her very own. Yes, israelis do do that and then some).

  • Coulter's point is that Republicans pander on Israel to win donors, not voters
    • Sanders has been super careful to say next to nothing about foreign policy in general. You can't pin him down on Syria, on Ukraine, on Russia or China. He does everything he can, short of dropping the microphone to avoid these topics.

      AS a politician, and given his crowd, I must say that's a smart move. All these foreign policy topics - each and every one of them, I/P not the least but not even the most - is likely to split his progressive audience like a knife. Sanders probably figures that the longer he can go without dropping into any of the foreign policy traps, the better for his standing and the more likely he is to keep his momentum, as well as an image of being "above' the fray.

      The reason i say this is smart is not because I buy into the platitudes sanders manages to conjure when confronted. I say it because i know very well - as do most people here - just how divisive something like Syria is, for exampe. WE have had threads going into the 100's just on this issue, and it's not hard to see the reasons why (or, not hard for me, at least, even if the reasons I may come with are not popular or proper to say in polite society). Then we have the question of the migrant explosion in Europe and the relentless bombing going on in Yemen. Can anyone make a public pronouncement on these topics that is not vanilla?

      The main problem for any politician to tackle the foreign policy issues, IMO, is simple - no matter where they stand on anything, they are still citizens of the Empire. To be too critical is to question the Empire, and that even before we get to something real tricky like the I/P question. Ron paul did just that - as does buchanan - and look how carefully they shunned him - both right and left. Ultimately, it is of course not possible to be a real progressive while supporting the projection of power that an Empire does. So even as the republicans can march in lock step with the most hawkish positions (more bombs! more boots!) a progressive candidate will have a serious issue. I suspect that ultimately, this is the shore on which sanders' candidacy will break.

      Alas, in the US, I don't think we are ready for someone like Corbyn.

  • I am Israeli
    • Elliot - good responses - and I too missed the exchange. Sometimes, great things happen in the comments section but are missed by many who do not necessarily read all the articles.

      As you know I second your experience and then some. And you are right about the process of peeling off the brainwashing layers being a long and oftentimes a painful one. When great prejudices are implanted in young minds, they grow roots and the branches grow out to touch and intertwine with the building blocks of identity itself. One prejudice wraps itself around another in a seemingly seamless tapestry, becoming effectively one. Trying to undo them uncovers endless knots some laden with moth balls, others hardened into a tumor like shell that lodged itself in vital organs.

      Perhaps the most obvious example is the way anti-palestinianism (which can start out as a relatively "simple" process of obliterating records of the indigenous people - at least the way this is taught to children), morphs in adulthood into general racism against people who are darker, and/or islam as a religion. Tackling one prejudice in an attempt to slap it down only leads to another popping up that one did not even realize was there.

      To me this became quite obvious when vising israel before Obama got elected. The prejudice against him as a black man (even if mixed) went really deep. I heard some of the strangest and sometimes viciously racist comments offered, unsolicited, from the mouths of the most civilized and educated people in Israel at the time. Comments that the most conservative republican in the deepest of the deep south would be ashamed to make aloud. Comments that the vast majority of jewish Americans (at least the non-orthodox) would not be caught dead uttering. But in Israel those epithets and snide comments rolled off the tongue, with nary a thought given to the fact they might be offensive. Yet, these were all "nice" people, who would be horrified to learn they share commonalities with the Ku Klux Klan.

      I may be further ahead of you, Elliot, in this process, but the place where I am now is kind of barren. De-programming cannot unfortunately be done successfully without nipping off some healthy tissue along with the diseased ones. Where there was a tumor once, there is now a scar, which refuses to heal. In rediscovering compassion for the Palestinians, I seem to have lost for example, some of my empathy for the jews of israel. I look for it sometimes, trying to feel a sense of spiritual "balance" but all I find is the cold surface of a hard shell. As I've written about before, the main casualties for me were my good memories of growing up in israel, and being happy enough much of the time. I lost almost all my original friendships and what's left is a field of humpty-dumpties where one walks on egg shells trying not to stir up dust blowing in from dark attics.

      Still, despite the losses there are gains, I should say. One discovers new people, new histories and makes new friends with fresh eyes, so the overall effect may be an enriching one. May be I just need to set up an appointment with Avigail Abarbanel. She might have a good apothecary for me to rummage through.....

  • Could Syria's revolution have been different?
    • Smart read of the political game plan, Bandolero. I also see them try to get a serious go at the US presidency, whether through republican or democratic channels. Right now, it's not looking too good for them, but lots of things can change come 2016.

      I think however that it's not only Obama the hawks don't have a full handle on. It's also the US military. There's huge resistance among the military leadership for any more adventurism. Also among the rank and file that are actually suffering from serious fatigue. Iraq and Afganistan cost a lot in terms of moral. Even if hardware can be replaced, the spirit is another matter. Through my own military channels I hear absolutely no clamoring for any boots on the ground anywhere. Even if the politicos and military appointees sing a different tune.

      As for wielding the power of money, you are right on the money again. Clearly, the hawks realized that ultimately it's China and Russia that stand in their way. So plans are afoot indeed to cow both, one way or another. Though, if truth be said, the hawks have their work cut out for them as neither Russia not China are run by idiots. Plus those two countries don't have to deal with the slowness of the democratic process to respond quickly. In the meantime, the PTBs succeeded in driving Russia and China into each other's arms, a process that has yet to fully play out. When it does, and I am sure it will, the hawks may find they were too clever for their own good.

      One small example from the Chinese side - something I read about: the Chinese may not be unhappy at all to see their stock market take a little dive. If anything they were seriously concerned about too many people putting money into the stock market rather than into consumption, which they need to spur the domestic economy. By tamping on the stock market, confidence took a dive, and more Chinese are choosing to put money elsewhere, which is not a bad thing. Kind of like the decline in the value of the ruble - sure did a heck a of a job bolstering manufacturing, consumption and export.

    • Bandolero, I share your reading of the situation, especially the Southern Front flop, as well as the growing impatience of the Europeans seeing how they are now at the receiving end of the refugee tides.

      The only questions have to do with what hand are the hawks holding. They won't fold so easily, alas, and we should expect some desperate measures from that corner.

      My own sense of wonderment is compounded by the tone deafness of our policy creators and disseminators. Surely, they all knew that Syria is a line in the sand for Russia, just as Crimea was, and as Nato in the Ukraine is. Yet, on our TV screens, newspapers of record and NPR stations (not to mention the right wing ones) we continue to see and hear a steady barrage of disemlers of nonsense and sing-songers of the eternal punch line "Assad must go". It's the final word in any exchange between pundits, each more ignorant and shrill than the other. The signs of desperation are mounting, even as the European unity is crumbling.

      Me, i just like to wonder - what will they do next to stop Obama from talking to Putin (followed by green lighting inter military co-ordination). And what can the KSA and israel (together and apart) pull out of the ever-shrinking bag of tricks?

    • IProyect - again I ask - are you a paid shill for saudi Arabia/Israel/US neocon-humanitarian?

      Something is seriously wrong with all your posts here. So far, let's see - you have denounced individual commenters as:

      1. Baathist propagandist (2-3 times)
      2. Assad worshippers/pimpers
      3. crypto-stalinists (I put the crypto in there, just to be helpful)
      4. Goon defenders

      Did I miss anything?

      More tell-tale signs of being on payroll of certain PTBs (here, there, elsewhere) - twisting the screen names of posters who bring timely information debunking the talking points (signs of desperation - paymasters may not be pleased!).

      Examples: bimbolero, beezelbaboolero (did I get the spelling right? must be a new twist on "beelzebub" a famous biblical demonite. Or was it kryptonite?).

      Finally, when that does not get a rise, try accusing people of being "sock puppets" as Iproyect has just referred to annie. A case of projection, obviously.

      Are things really that dire, Iproyect? we could start a fund raiser for you, if it'll help, you know...

    • Annie, fantastic links from you and some serious excellent googling too. All nicely condensed to put IProyect where he belongs - the neocon (now morphed into "humanitarian" interventionist) chair.

      I agree he does not do a very good job for the crowd promoting the regime change meme. May be IProyct is lazy as he does not answer any of the substance brought before him. Seems to resort to instantaneous name calling (Bandolero the local "Assad and/or baathist propagandist", "Assad apologist", etc.). He cites poorly researched snippets from sources that are easily found on line and readily debunked. That when he is not putting out one-liners casting aspersions on any and all who would seek to debate his points.

      I wonder whether he is actually paid to spread some of these false memes on-line. We know the progressive Saudi regime has been funding and paying a lot of these "democracy promoting" institutes as well as generously supporting - selectively - various publications. What makes me wonder whether he is actually paid - one way or another - is the simple fact that his heart does not seem to be in the astute defense of regime changers world wide. He does not check the references brought in front of him, or reads widely, or even make a single enlightening point about Syria as an actual country with actual people. rather it seems he is trying to cobble together a few talking points, issue them without his own analysis, then, when called upon the falsity of some of his claims, dismissing the responders as 'apologists" and whatever other names he gets from his shill notes.

      Very similar methods to those used by the zionist promoting crowd. Almost verbatum sometimes.

    • I love it when I see some like K Renner hold themselves up as bastions and dispensers of "moral authority", as the strive to criticize - quite selectively - certain tyrants and despots. That while ensconced in the comfort of a cushy chair or plush sofa, somewhere 1000's of miles away from the conflict zone, with nary a friend, relative or acquaintance who might, just might, be subjected to the downsides of "regime change".

      This is what they did when they - and we know who they are - advocated removing the great dictator sadaam, later to wash their hands clean as a whistle from the blood of 100's of thousands, their "moral authority' managed to dispose of (on top of over million wounded and many more dispossed). Compared with what the war criminal gangs of Bush (yes, those neocons) and now a similarly criminal gang inside the Obama administration , have done to destroy countless lives and countries, frankly, some of them "tyrants" look quite good by comparison. What has Assad for example done that in any way comparable in atrocity, blood thirstiness and destruction brought forth and promulgated by the current Obama regime minions, for example?

      Could you blame anyone in Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Mali or Afganistan were they to call for the immediate arrest and trials of the Washington and new York humanitarian tyrants, who caused countless loss of life and continue to advocate for more? the ones who brought about the refugee migration we now see?

      In my simple mindedness, I tend to measure "moral authority' against the number of lives the promulgators of mayhem and destruction are happy to sacrifice,. What authority "moral" or otherwise, bloody-minded individuals like Renner and Iproyect have, I can't begin to imagine. But they must be pulling it out from somewhere, may be a place of fervent imagination re their own selves position in the world.

      The most outrageous part of the hypocrisy we see on display, not just here but all over the MSM, is the way the humanitarian-murder-minded regime changers manage to never call out the worst tyrants and mayhem perpetrators in the world today. That includes the Saudi "kings", the Emiratis, the Bahraini chief henchmen. Oh yes, and while we are at it, add to the murderous hordes they unleash, these inventers and financiers of ISIS and Al-Quaeda, a few "democratically elected" ones - be they in Israel or Turkey. perfectly fair, if it is dead bodies we are counting.

      Something tells me that neither Renner nor Iproyect would be so nonchalant about "regime change" were it they and their family lives on the line. Just a wild guess there.

    • Great comments Keith (you are now branded as a "Putin Apologist" - congrats! almost as good as the AS tatoo - -).

    • Iproyect, actually it is you who has little credibility on these matters. I don't recall you ever showing much gravitas or matters of Syria, Lebanbon, Iran or anything Middle east other than israel.

      Even if you had shown any powers of analysis (which in this case you haven't - spreading opinionated droppings does not qualify), [....]

      Bandolero and piotr in particular (just to mention two here) have offered especially illuminating viewpoints that seem to derive from sources as varied as the Middle east itself.

      I don't know whether the author of this piece, Charles Glass, is jewish or not. I usually try to read things without knowing - at first. Then, if and when I note comments or gratuitous set-asides that call attention to some things omitted and/or some things over-emphasized (example - the great western-style democratic aspirations of the Syrian people. Really?) then I look deeper into who the writer is and what their associations are. One particular item that always gets my ears perk up is mention of certain NGOs, or sources that are funded by them (like the infamous misnomer "Syrian Observatory" operating from a house in London, mostly a one man operation that is primarily "humanitarian interventionist" source funded).

      In any case, bandolero appears to be extremely well-informed and roundly so, especially on Syria matters. Everything he writes conforms with what I read or know about from my sources. Should he turn out to be Jewish (in whole or in part - and I am decidedly not asking),I'll be surprised (for the reasons outlined above) but the tribe should be most proud and I should add pronto a name to my not very long list of exceptions (that prove the rule).

  • 'NYT' misrepresents Iran's prediction about 'Zionist regime' to mean 'Israel'
    • DGF - why is it so important for israel to remain a "Jewish" state? haven't the past 50 years demonstrated that this is the last thing the Jews of Israel need?

      There are, I believe, traps set well within the heart of hearts of the jewish religion - traps that are set to spring the minute the concentration of jewish people reaches a critical mass. The traps are of their own making, a direct result of adherence to a somewhat distorted history and to a concept that is anachronistic in the modern world - that of choseness. Many smart and some even wise - jews debated over centuries, "chosen for what, exactly". May be some suspected a Trojan horse. May be others got a whiff of something not quite "kosher". Be it as it may, it's a trap, one of several, hidden in plain sight of the bible, talmud and the holy/not so holy writings of the great rabbis.

      And being as I see that kind of clearly (though more needs to be said on the nature of the 'trap") it has been my contention for some time now that the jews of Israel need the Palestinians to become whole. Only that way lies redemption and a sense of peace. Only with the Palestinians, can Israel become Denmark, a promised land of something. In the same way, though for different reasons, the Palestinians need to live with the jews under a common fate, to find their own version of peace.

      just saying....(sorry, I have no proof of pending redemption .....but the possibility is there - for a while, at least).

    • Elliot, I admire your temperateness. I know i couldn't hold my tongue/pen in the face of dissembling disseminations of someone like Debakr. I no longer have the patience to wade through the cluttered consciences of the apologists. Put a note for you on your very own thread (and a well deserved one it was, too).

      BTW, the tell tale sign of a hopleless clash, athe heart of the Gordian knot, is when they get to the pressing question of questions: "do you or don't you believe in Israel's right to exist". This is waved like a Democles sword, ready to come down on all and sundry. FWIW, I stopped answering this question a while back, when i realize it's not really a question.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      tree August 16, 2015, 10:03 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      How's that?

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

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

    • irishmoses - great analysis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • So, Tokyobk

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

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

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

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

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

      If only Weir were weirder!

      If only Walt and Meirsheimer were not so professorial!

      If only Gilad did not play jazz!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • +3 genesto

      +1 (then some) stephen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • I second your comment ritzl.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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