Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 536 (since 2009-08-11 17:12:53)

David Doppler

I am a retired professional living in Northern California. The name is a pseudonym because I value my privacy.

Showing comments 536 - 501

  • Thanks to Netanyahu, Israel support turns into a political football
    • Neocon stands for Neoconniver.

    • Netanyahu has picked a bitter fight with Obama, over Iranian negotiations. Obama, who has virtually unlimited and highly nuanced capacity to make news between Netanyahu's speech and the election. The Israeli opposition is nearly united in criticizing Netanyahu for his over-the-top heavy-handedness in politicizing the US-Israeli relationship.

      What news might Obama, or his people, or his independent supporters in various places, including among Netanyahu's political foes in Israel, make? Announcing a deal with Iran. Or making a speech to the global community advocating for a realistic deal. Disclosing more intelligence reports that further contradict Netanyahu's lie-mongering. Disclosing those 28 paragraphs of the Senate Report on 9-11, that supposedly implicate Saudi Arabia, but who knows where that trail may lead. Direct criticism of Netanyahu for his policies and/or statements in the speech, along lines that track direct criticisms of Netanyahu by his center-left opposition, such as billions for building settlements outside of designated areas. How about cutting off US funding to Israel in the exact amounts invested by Netanyahu in such settlement building, which is perceived in Israel as undercutting needs for more and better housing options for Israelis. Revelations of Israeli misdeeds under Netanyahu's leadership that have been kept from the public. Revelations of further petty corruptions characteristic of Netanyahu's government. Major newspapers endorsing BDS. US military leaders discussing how Neocon conniving cost soldiers' lives. Breaking the silence breaking their silence.

      Obama has avoided punching the bully in the nose for years. Now, having transformed himself into a giant June Bug, Netanyahu has flown right onto Obama's porch and landed on the table in front of him, where he's waddling around yelling the same tired old Neocon bromides we've all been sickened by for years, pretending to wield the power symbolized by the US Capitol. Obama's rolled up newspaper is in hand. His aides and supporters, and Netanyahu's political enemies are all there with various fly-swatters and other, heavier weaponry.


  • White House says Netanyahu offers no alternative but military action (and Liz Warren won't say if she's attending speech)
    • How about a message to AIPAC that soon no one will shake Netanyahu's hand any more, so elect Isaac Herzog, instead. Give us a prime minister who didn't lose his credibility by guarantying that the Neocons were right on Iraq.

    • I'd like to see some MSM analysis of what the Israeli-US relationship will look like post-Netanyahu. Who is Isaac Herzog? What kind of coalition is likely to emerge, with either Netanyahu - who called the election to stiffen his coalition's right-wing spine and his own creds as stiff-spine leader - or Herzog/Livni, at the helm? Can't the US MSM take on the Neocon/Likud vision/track record of escalating war/escalating settlement building directly?

      Netanyahu's pretending that his address to Congress is about anything other than his own tanking election prospects, fits right into Boehner's pretending that shutting down Homeland Security is about anything other than undermining the President: extremism over realism and good government.

      I almost threw up seeing Krauthammer lecturing Obama in the paper this morning. Enough of the Neocons! Shelf life expired. Failure to deliver on Iraqi guaranty deserving of tar, feathers, and a rail ride out of town.

  • AIPAC and Bill Kristol turn up the pressure
    • It is funny, Sulphur, as you summarize it. The bootlickers vs the goosestepping imbeciles. But the table is set for someone (they're not all imbeciles) to speak with a little passion, demanding something from the Israelis. Like how about a Prime Minister that didn't guaranty positive reverberations from invading Iraq. A prime minister who isn't bought and paid for by Sheldon Adelson. A prime minister who isn't serving up Neocon KoolAid. A prime minister who doesn't insist on war with Iran, and would sacrifice Israel's relationship with the US to get it. Someone who would speak with passion and then who dismisses all the, "oh so you're a [Anti-Semite, Self-hating Jew, America-hater, terrorist coddler, denier of Israel's right to exist, whatever subject changer]" with a stern "don't start!"

      Or maybe, "Oh, so you're [an over-ripe Neocon? a lying lie monger? a fearful warmonger? a toady for Sheldon Adelson? Go, take his money. And don't ever darken my door again."

      The Netanyahu/Likud/Neocon power illusion is evaporating: "I'm melting! I'm melting! Oh, what a world, what world. All of my beautiful wickedness." It just takes a spunky girl intent on doing the right thing with a bucket of water to destroy it.

  • Israel gives out 'security Oscars' at the UN to Iran, Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia and PA
    • Thanks Giles and Taxi. You've fed my vaguely-formed suspicions with plenty of fodder for a good investigative journalist to take and run with. Are there any investigative journalists who read this site?

    • Taxi, are you speculating or do you have real evidence of specific Zionist/Hollywood individual(s) involvement in ISIS's slick PR campaign?

  • 'Haaretz' says Netanyahu could incite 'another political assassination' (as 'NYT' runs cutesy election coverage)
    • Yes, Pabelmont, it is the same, and reminds me of the deep South in the Sixties, where, if, in white society, one dared to suggest some merit to the Civil Rights protesters, you were dismissed as a "N*****-lover," or asked if that is who you were? It's a technique to change the subject from Obama's topic, how to contain the dogs of war in the Middle East, to the subject of proposed character defects of the critic, how much do you love America, or how much do you love those African Americans, which is irrelevant to the debate, and, in fact, turns the debate into a personal confrontation. It is akin to, although not as funny as, Arnold Schwarzzennegger's description of Democratic economic consultants as "economic girly men."

      And you're right, Mooser, Adelson is not only feeding the Israeli population Likud propaganda, he proposes to force the Sulzburger family to sell the NYTimes to him and Haim Saban to "make it more Israel-friendly."

      It's not easy, but I think the appropriate response is to attack the attacker for trying to change the subject. "Why are you trying to change the subject? Did the Iraq War turn out as you planned? Did it have the 'positive reverberations throughout the Middle East' that Netanyahu 'guaranteed.' Would you have us invade and occupy all the Islamic nations of the world until they all decide that their Western and Israeli occupiers and the Quislings they install really are better colonial masters than they could come up with on their own? Does one have to hate America to question your dangerously ill-thought-out approach to containing rather than continuing to amplify the threat of Islamic extremism?"

  • Netanyahu claims to know 'details' of Iran deal -- and State Dep't mocks him
    • Deliberately ambiguous, too, as to which side his spies have penetrated:

      "says that he knows what’s in the proposal that’s on the table right now, knows what is likely to be approved if it is approved – if it is approved – and he still doesn’t like it."

      [Interesting to know who asked THAT question.] Netanyahu probably has sources on both sides.

      I'd like to see Obama/Kerry attack Netanyahu for WHY he doesn't approve, because it isn't peace Netanyahu wants, but escalation. Look at his quote from 2002: "I guarantee you [attacking Iraq] will have enormous positive reverberations on the region." I bet he'd say, "I was right! We created chaos in which ISIS has taken hold, recruiting jihadis from around the world, exporting terror everywhere, making the clash of civilizations all the more inevitable." "Positive" here, in Netanyahu-speak, is just like "good" when he described the effects of the 9/11 attacks.

      Debating [or confronting each other as you might say in Hebrew on] Iran's intentions is the issue-framing Netanyahu wants, because then he and Giuliani can bash Muslims hatefully, and Obama, Barack Hussein Obama, has to appear to be defending them. Let's debate Netanyahu's intentions, the Likud/Neocons' intentions, because his/their guarantee in Iraq then gave us ISIS there now.

      Turn the debate into the debate the Israelis should be having: is fanning the flames of anti-Israel, anti-West reaction within the Islamic world by continuous aggression against the Palestinians at home and through US/EU proxies throughout the region the way forward? Or is Netanyahu/Likud well past their expiration date?

      I liked the report that documents are leaking out showing Israeli nuclear misbehavior. Let's have a disclosure PER DAY about historic, outrageous Likud/Neocon misbehavior that has been painfully ignored/covered up/ swept under the rug by the US media and government offices, until Netanyahu cancels his address out of fear of being arrested upon arrival!

      Start with why Cheney's staff were issued Cipro prescriptions from the White House pharmacy to guard against Anthrax attacks on the evening of September 11, 2001. link to

      Stop pretending that Likud/Neocon and US strategic objectives are the same, and we're really just arguing tactics.

  • Dershowitz's comments are 'shockingly vicious and sexist,' says Harvard Law Record article
    • From the perspective of Dersh/Epstein, the Florida Jane Doe lawsuit is a crisis management case study, to which they are certain to have dedicated substantial resources to address/rebut/survive (think of a plot in the TV series Scandal, and you can imagine the kinds of things money will buy in such circumstances).

      From this perspective, I think it interesting how much press has been given recently to women who accuse powerful or privileged men of rape or sexual exploitation, only to have their stories crumble under scrutiny. E.g., "Jackie" whose alleged violent rape at UVA made the cover page of the Rolling Stone, then dissolved into a story of made up names, places and events. E.g., Emily Bazelon's excruciatingly detailed piece in the NYTimes about "The Stanford Undergrad and the Mentor" link to, which oddly seems to also indirectly promote interest in the movie 50 Shades of Grey. Note the commonality of interest in BDSM. Note how Ellie Clougherty and Virginia Roberts are both high-cheek-boned blond beauties. The common story seems to be they willingly take their $200/trick, or 10K pounds for a royal trick, or their trips to Rome and Five Star hotels, and life at the elbow of a Silicon Valley or other power players, with their parents complicity, then change their mind about whether they consented. Steve Sailer has a series of interesting blogs on this topic at Unz Review. Note how UVA gets tooled in both articles, tooled for letting made-up rapes happen, then tooled for getting snookered in both stories.

      E.g., Bill Cosby, who's had at least one accuser contradicted for alleging he done dirty deeds in LA when he can prove he was out of town. Note Dersh's claims he'll prove he was elsewhere.

      I don't watch those celebrity channels, but I'm imagining a field full of apparently shiny objects that look a lot like Jane Doe #3, all of which turn out to be corrupt phonies upon closer inspection.

      The echo chamber for the Dersh/Epstein defense is being built before our eyes.

      I would continue to advise Jane Doe #3's lawyers to have #s 4 thru 10 all lined up, in case #3 is a plant or is eventually "gotten to," and her story changes in the same way.

  • James Baker to speak at J Street conference
    • Ah, yes. I stand corrected. It was Brent Scowcroft I was remembering who preached a more realistic realism that August, in the WSJ: link to

      Baker at least then counseled in his article that we could not afford for our effort against Iraq to be confused in the eyes of the world with the Arab-Israeli conflict. Ha!

      Looking back, the realists lacked cohesion, while the Neocons were cohesion's paradigm. Scowcroft, Baker, GHW Bush, were lone voices, lacking the Neocon echo-chamber. Netanyahu probably had this mind when he said the Americans were "easily moved."

      On a related note, and the "War of Ideas in the Middle East," and my earlier speculation whether Jewish intelligence is being dumbed down by reviving and thinking in Hebrew, I found this article today about the Israeli election in the NYT interesting, in that Hebrew apparently lacks a word for "debate," and has extended its word for "confrontation" to take on this newer western concept. link to

      Netanyahu does not want one, or only after he returns triumphant from scolding Congress. And, it seems, in the Israeli right, nothing really matters but the strength of the Israeli Leader's spine. Debate, schmebate! It's the echo chamber that matters. It's Netanyahu's ability to look stronger in confrontation that matters.

      So it's not so much a war of ideas, but of social/tribal models: ancient Judean versus western democracy. It IS a clash of civilizations, but not as Netanyahu paints it.

      Abe Lincoln, that great debater, observed that you can fool some of the people all the time. You even can fool all the people some of the time. But you can't fool all the people all of the time.

    • I think it was Baker who was allowed a column in the NYT around August 2002 during the run-up to Iraq War, attempting to turn the tide with a realist's cool analysis, and which overtime served instead to reveal that, for almost everyone else in media, Neocon Kool-Aid was being served at work, disabling the ability to hear and grasp realist assessments.

  • Warriors for 'the ultimate truth' gather in New York
    • I think "ultimate truth" as used here has to do with who you identify as your group or tribe. It is considered by one's own tribe to be heroic in many circumstances for a person of the tribe to surreptitiously strike a blow against an enemy tribe, under circumstances that would result in execution if caught or failed, e.g., all the "behind enemy lines" stories of heroism.

      Those of us who consider ourselves part of the global community (all humankind are created equal) give credence to norms of international law, including wartime law, which nonetheless recognize rights of opponents, especially their civilian populations. Apparently these people do not, and embrace those lessons from Deuteronomy that justify ethnic cleansing and genocide, so that "our side" can win over the other. I recall Glenn Beck at come point panting over those passages of Deuteronomy in pandering to this crowd.

      So it becomes a simple question of who is your tribe/community/crowd whose approval you most desire, are most prepared to dedicate your self to? For American Jews, Neocons and assorted right-wingers, that choice keeps getting starker.

      How US media journalists can stomach giving voice to people of such blatant racism and bigotry is beyond me, but one silver lining of Netanyahu's drive toward apocalypse is that no matter how difficult it is to stomach it one day, it becomes ever more difficult the next, and will continue to escalate until Netanyahu and Likud are defeated. They have made abundantly clear that nothing else matters to them than the "strength of the Israeli leader's spine," possible code for those "heroes" in Deuteronomy who did not flinch from the worst of genocide. Unless defeated in the polls, they will require defeat in some other forum or battlefield, the sooner, the better.

  • US and Israel divorce rumors over Iran
    • I think it is time for the Obama Administration to make an unconstrained rejection of Likud-Neocon ideology, which can be summarized as: destroy every Arab-Islamic country in the Middle East , that will not make a deal with the Israel and the Americans, so as to allow Israel to continue to expand its settlements in the West Bank, and oppress the Palestinians and Arab-Israelis, as occupied population and second class citizens; use influence in US and European capitals to engage the Western World in a Clash of Civilization with the Islamic World, under cover of which, Israel can continue to expand and ethnically cleanse. This Neocon ideology was ultimately (too late) rejected by George W. Bush, his father, and every realist in foreign policy. It seems to be embraced only by hard-core Likud-favoring Zionists, right-wing "Christian Zionists," Cheney-Rumsfeld and their ilk, and various media outlets in the habit of taking direction from CAMERA and ADL, who have now tried to call a whoa to Netanyahu's over-the-top heavi-handedness.

      Credulous "journalists" need to finally ask, why would America take seriously the false alarms being sounded continuously by Netanyahu-Likud-Neocons, while they continuously fan the flames of race-based, religious-based bigotry and hatred. How are the alarms sounded by Netanyahu about Iran any different that the alarms he sounded 20 years ago about Iran, and falsely 13 years about Iraq?

      Throw the bums out.

  • Netanyahu says Labor will bring ISIS to Jerusalem
    • Well, Labor should counter that Netanyahu-Likud-Neocons and their disastrous policies gave birth to ISIS and continuously make it stronger.

      The left will surrender to terror.
      It’s us, or them.
      Only the Likud.
      Only Netanyahu.

      When you treat Shi'a, Sunni, Arabs, Persians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Saudis, Egyptians, etc., etc., as "them" and equate "them" with "terror," you are a simple fear-monger. By attempting to implode the governments of Iraq, Iran, Syria, deliberately imposing chaotic conditions on their people, you subvert their unalienable right to self-government, and you replace it with colonialism or imperialism, two systems that history has shown always fail in the long run. And you become the catalyst for native resistance that history has almost always shown will prevail in the long run.

      The spell these words appear to have over the Israelis must be broken, and, it seems, by the international community.

      Perhaps Netanyahu should be arrested for war crimes when he arrives in the US to deliver his speech. That would change the initiative.

  • No one's talking about peace in Israeli election, U.S. liberal Zionists are warned
    • Yes, Rabin, like Lincoln, got assassinated. Like all of the Israeli candidates today trying insincerely to sound just as tough as Netanyahu, Lincoln ran on a platform of protecting the institution of slavery, of enforcing slaveowners rights to have their runaway slaves returned from free states. He re-iterated his vows in this respect in his first inaugural address, even as southern states were seceding. It wasn't until more than two years of Civil War later, after twin July 4 victories in Gettysburg and Vicksburg, that he revoked that vow and replaced it with the Emancipation Proclamation.

      Lincoln didn't die in vain, nor did the Americans who fought and died on both sides, as America performed un-anesthetized surgery on itself to rid its body of the cancer of slavery.

      Netanyahu believes the Americans are easily moved. Perhaps another Israeli leader will look to America's history for lessons in building a successful nation. Perhaps Rabin didn't die in vain, either.

      The Israelis need to decide if they are a constitutional democratic republic, like America and the rest of the West, or a religious state, "a kingdom or whatever we decide to call it" [per Bennett] like Iran and ISIS. They can only be one or the other. They cannot be one while pretending to be the other [they might fool themselves trying].

    • War of Ideas in the Middle East


      War of Ideas and Somatic States in the Middle East

      Walk back the fear level and the naked racism level, ramp up the mutual-respect-and-empathy-as-fellow-human-beings level, replace "kill-or-be-killed" with "let's make a deal," and a deal can be done.

      Where the US has been complicit, and should unambiguously now rectify and atone, is to assert clearly that the Clean-Break and Project-for-a-New-American-Century trajectory is OVER, and severe consequences to Israel for trying to stay on that path, while "fooling" and manipulating and "easily moving the Americans" into helping with that strategy, as the settlements expand away, and the hapless Palestinians are blamed for their victimhood, are now starting to flow. BDS, Dershowitz in jail, Neocon talking head opportunities terminated, end of US foreign aid, charges in the ICC, no more UN vetoes, etc.

      Get a peace deal fast and let's all start making money in the new peaceful Middle East.

      Netanyahu the scapegoat sent off alone into the wilderness to atone for all of Israel's sins.

    • Great post, Phil. I would suggest much of the fatigue comes from Netanyahu's continuous and escalating fear-mongering that tends to shut down rational thought with kill-or-be-killed instinctive hormones, and, by nature, can only last so long before rest is required. Deep stupor of the immediate post-trauma.

      I discount the view that, just because no one is talking about peace NOW, the election won't mean anything. What they say today doesn't mean someone to Netanyahu's left who takes over won't very shortly find himself leading everyone toward peace, since only that will solve the BDS problem, which is rapidly escalating.

      Netanyahu has his lunatic hand on the tiller of the initiative, which he keeps driving with maniacal focus on getting re-elected, killing any Iran deal, and escalating the clash of civilizations. Once someone else takes the tiller, it will be a whole new era. Managing the conflict with ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollar, al Queda, etc. will be a lot easier if realists were tamping down the blowback fires that magnify their appeal, rather than deliberately fanning those flames.

  • Remembering Bob Simon
    • Huldai says it, not as a threat, but in response to Simon's question, how do you deal with having rockets pointed at Tel Aviv from Gaza to the south and Lebanon to the north, to wit: there's risk everywhere, you deal with it here the same way you deal with the risk of being hit by a car in NY.

  • Dear Mr. Netanyahu, please don't cancel your speech
    • I hope you are right Ellen. But remember what happened when prior presidents came to impasse with the Israeli government.

      On Netanyahu's lunacy, see his blow-up Sunday at the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronath and website YNET, and the paper's owner Arnon Mozes, who Netanyahu attacks both for smearing him and his wife, AND for trying to destroy Sheldon Adelson's free newspaper Israel Hoyom, which more faithfully prints Netanyahu's screed. link to

      Before we snicker at his lunacy, I'll feel more comfortable when the nice men with the warm jacket with very long sleeves get between him and Israel's nuclear armory.

      As to Taxi's analysis of "Empire," I find it hard to surrender my belief in American checks and balances, which may slumber for very long periods, but will eventually slough off the current round of corruption and incompetence disguised as "elites" lining their pockets at the Potomac trough.

    • The risk, Phil, is that Netanyahu will engineer other facts on the ground, to prevent the US-Iran deal. Your rosy scenario discounts the possibility that the terrorism alarm lights will be in full-flash mode, sirens wailing, bombs exploding, people gripped by fear. Netanyahu keeps doubling down, which means he would rather blow things up than lose the election, rather blow things up than let the US and Iran make a deal.

      It is only in an escalating crisis that Netanyahu succeeds on either of his goals.

      You feel safe and secure and that the debate will end Netanyahu's trajectory. While I hope you are right, I fear you are wrong. He has kept his hand on the tiller of the initiative, so far. If he cancels or postpones his speech now, he will very publicly have been forced to surrender the initiative, in itself, a very public defeat for the Leader. It seems certain to change his standing in the polls.

      So he goes forward with his speech, and, lo and behold, dangerous, exploding facts punctuate his points, and the time for debate is over because immediate fighting has intervened. A very dangerous time. Better that he cancel and then be defeated by his own electorate, crisis averted.

  • Speech to AIPAC could give Netanyahu his out
    • When the risk of peace became too intense in the 90s, Rabin was assassinated. Netanyahu gives every indication that he regards the prospect of a deal between the US/West with Iran as just such a risk. For the megalomaniac personal defeat and defeat of his state become one and the same.

      The US should push forward with the Iran deal, but should be on high alert for any level of effort by the Israelis to stifle it before the election.

  • Labor leader attacks Netanyahu for going easy on Gaza
    • It is a collective fear, mongered to by political leaders of all stripes, self-justifying, that paints anyone who would diminish it as naive, suicidal, or "denying Israel's right to exist."

      Ironically, it has become a threat to Israel's good standing in the world.

      It takes a charismatic leader willing to speak truth, then withstand the withering contempt of those dead certain the leader is wrong. Perhaps Obama can be that leader, laying down unwelcome lines in the sand for the Israelis, demonstrating the world does not end when those lines are lived within.

      Perhaps Livni and Herzog are false war-mongers, saying what they do not mean, in order to curry favor in the political race. After all, look at what Lincoln promised the South in his first inaugural: that he would not free the slaves, and that the North that would continue to return runaway slaves.

      It is no easy or simple task to turn a fearful body politic away from one path and onto another. It requires first understanding that body and its collective mood. That mood is one of acute fear, which has been steadily mongered to for decades. The last political leader to seek to defy that fear and make peace was assassinated.

      It was Clinton and Rabin then, and they proved inadequate to steer Israel to peace. Twenty years later, it is Obama, and Herzog-Livni (or perhaps some dark horse).

      What is perhaps different is that twenty years of Netanyahu-Likud-Neocon leadership have completely worn down Israel's luster and brand in the US and Europe. Beneath polite courtesy to Israel's stupid, corrupt and obnoxious leadership lies seething contempt for the leader, his party and the Neocons in the US. The courtiers to Netanyahu-Likud-Neocon seek to equate discomfort with that policy as weakness within Israel, and seek to equate that contempt in Europe and the US with Anti-Semitism.

      But the vision and the actions to implement that vision of Likud and the Neocons, under Netanyahu, have increasingly been exposed as completely corrupt and intolerable, to discerning minds everywhere, who cannot bear another episode of "mowing the grass," of naked, race-based violence against oppressed innocents, or of another Neocon-inspired war against another Islamic state, today Iran, sold as US patriotism, but in reality part of Likud-Neocon policy to destroy all Islamic and Arabic states that cannot be corrupted by Israel and the CIA, acting in secret.

  • Gideon Levy's argument for Netanyahu
    • I disagree with those who pine for more Netanyahu. The Prime Minister has Mossad and AIPAC under his control, and Netanyahu is hell bent on igniting the clash of civilizations that will engage so much of Asia and Africa in war that a few more episodes of ethnic cleansing of what the Israelis claim as their land will hardly be noticed. Risk of contagious war will continue to escalate under Netanyahu, unless and until his leadership is rebuked.

      I think the view that Livni will just resume a more peaceful sounding version of expanding the settlements, and the rest of the world will cease to notice, underestimates the capability of the American and European peoples to awake from their stupor and take the right side of history, forcing Israel to make peace.

      The school of opinion has been forming now for years. Clean up Zionism's mess now, rather than years from now, when it will be much larger.

  • Do we really want Benjamin Netanyahu guiding U.S. foreign policy?
    • I, too, am beyond sick of this crowd.

      But a true megalomaniac isn't going to back down. It's pedal to the metal, with ZOA threatening to take names, personally attack the patriotism of those who dare not attend. It'll be the standing stooges and the timid sheep pretending to be standing stooges.

      I think it is a very dangerous time on the false flag front, because, if current tactics don't "work" to fill the house, what else will he do?

  • John Lewis tells D.C. crowd he will not attend Netanyahu speech
    • McDermott: "I am not a standing stooge."

      Standing stooges shill for Sheldon's sheckels.

      Netanyahu, Dermer, Adelson & Boehner: the Four Stooges of the Apocalypse

      Standing Stooge-gate.

  • Why now? Story breaks that US teamed with Israel in assassinating Iranian 'agent' in '08
    • "The Jerusalem Post also says the leak was generated by the US security establishment: it’s an American warning to Israel and its prime minister, you need the U.S.

      Most likely, someone wanted to send the following message to the people of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: You need us.

      Look at the extent of the cooperation between our intelligence communities, which risks being damaged due to the discordant policies of your prime minister.

      Annie Robbins (who helped me on this post) and I favor a different theory: the story is an effort to entwine the U.S. with Israel and its war with its neighbors just as the United States is showing signs of separating itself."

      I think there's truth to both versions. The US is trying to justify to Israel its need to value the relationship with the US, just as Lincoln assured the Southern states in his first inaugural that runaway slaves would continue to be returned - trying to patch things up, avoid a bigger rupture. And those in the US who defend Israel, but want Israel to bend a little, are trying to keep that "no-daylight" riff going, on the assumption that their power base can run for more years, if they can just manage around or past Netanyahu's ham-handed gaffes.

      But I think Netanyahu wants to escalate, keep driving the initiative. It's more important to him that he remain at the wheel, regardless of where he takes us. I think he and his Neocon fellow travelers relish the thought of wider conflict, as their pathway to Greater Israel, and ever more excuses not only to "mow the lawn," but to "re-landscape." To them, we're just "the little thing of the rest of the world."

  • Media coverage of Adelson's support for Christie leaves out Adelson urging Obama to nuke Iran
    • 'Why isn’t the media asking these questions?' It's particularly inexcusable in the context of Netanyahu's plan to address Congress, rebuking the President on Iran. It's an "anti-journalism" filter, which blocks the most salient points, out of deference to Likud's Neocon influence in the US.

      On the brighter side, here's Roger Cohen opinion in today's NYT:

      'When I was in Israel at the end of last year, Livni told me: “Netanyahu looks at the situation of Israel through the lens of the threats. His deep emotion is to stick together, be united against those who are against us. I believe we need to be for something. Written on my wall is Jewish Democratic state, two states for two peoples. Written on Likud’s wall is Jewish state, Greater Israel. For me any day that goes by without a solution is another lost day. For those believing in Greater Israel, another day that passes without an agreement is another day of victory and taking more land.”

      'That’s a pretty good summation of what’s at stake March 17. Beyond economic issues, corruption charges, Boehner-Bibi shenanigans and the rest, Israel’s future is on the line. It’s not a babysitter the Jewish state needs. It’s a grown-up.' link to

      Obama, and other opponents of the Neocons, need to find further ways to pay back Aunt Bibi and the Neocons; the Congress speech becomes the make-or-break moment in the election. The better it looks for Netanyahu to Israelis, the more likely he is re-elected. There are any number of US Neocons who have been given passes for crimes, failed judgment, incompetence, lying, war profiteering, their disqualifications unreported or quickly forgotten due to the "filter." Now would be a good time to revisit all those fronts. If America cannot shake off the curse of Neoconism, the pathway forward just gets uglier and uglier, which is what they want. It is time to make life ugly for the Neocons, and then demand of the Israelis what Livni says she will deliver.

      You're either against Sheldon Adelson, or you're for him.

  • Netanyahu 'babysitter' ad warns that Labor will give away Israel's house and carpet
  • Netanyahu is a paper tiger
    • Defining one's enemy.

      I agree that the aura of invincibility is vulnerable to being shattered, that resistance is multi-form and growing, and that now is perhaps the best time in memory to precipitate a major change, a shattering of that power.

      But how to define the targeted tumor to be excised? I'd like to suggest an analytical approach.

      The Netanyahu-led Likud-Neocon movement is in the conflation business in which all its opposition is indistinguishable from the worst Anti-Semitic, Anti-Israel Jihadist-Shariah Law supporters, who all, in Likud's unalterable view, constitute existential threats to Israel who must be opposed at all cost and by every means. This website attracts many opposition voices, some who oppose Zionism per se, some who oppose some of its tactics, some who would speak for the oppressed, and the "War of Ideas in the Middle East" frequently breaks down into endless parsing of variations on any number of historical movements and lines of reasoning.

      This pits a well-organized, dedicated, simplistic combatant against a loose-affiliation of non-dedicated, very complicated mob of quibblers, very few of whom want to risk being smeared as equivalent to the worst of Israel's enemies.

      To me, the best tactic here, is to narrowly define the target to be unseated from power, to identify specific goals to be achieved, as a result, and then to resist with tenacity efforts to over-reach, as well as efforts that would conflate the movement with its worst allies.

      And, for me, that involves unseating Netanyahu and thoroughly discrediting Likud-Neoconservatism for the failed and exceedingly dangerous and corrupt political philosophy it is, with eradication of its small but well-placed minions from the halls and editorial rooms and board rooms of power, while insisting that the occupation end, Palestinian oppression end, and that peace be achieved, war crimes addressed, reparations made, differing interests in the land settled, and peoples reconciled. Within a relatively short time frame that is run by a disinterested international authority, with security guarantied by that same authority, perhaps with a default solution that will be imposed, in the absence of agreement to something different by the principals.

      The strength to achieve such a result will come by focusing narrowly on the tumor to be eradicated, and specific goals, and steadfast resistance to allowing the many threats to unity and focus that will arise from within the movement and from within the Likud-Neocon movement.

      Absent surgical resection, the prognosis gets progressively worse.

  • Zero (0) Palestinians quoted in 'NYT' piece on rift between US and Israel
    • Why no Palestinians, or realists for that matter, quoted? Why did it take a week for the White House to respond to this monumental insult, through an anonymous source quoted in the NYTimes? Why does that Times article NOT get picked up by the rest of the MSM, eg, the Newshour, or McClatchy, at least not out here on the West Coast. How does Dermer get reported by the NYT as being thrown under the bus by the White House in the morning, and then show up on the Newshour that evening, where he gets the last word on Iran, without reference to the NYT article and his potential scape-goat status being raised?

      Is there no decency, left, in journalism? Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?

      [For you youngsters, that's a reference to the point in the Army-McCarthy hearings where Senator McCarthy's hold on substantial power, and the corrupt and abusive mechanisms of that power, slipped from his grasp, through the able questioning of the Army's lawyer, Joe Welch.]

  • Since when is the Southern Poverty Law Center a pro-Israel organization?
    • It seems our "elites" require excessive toadying upon approach, with deference shown in every imaginable other direction, before any hint of criticism is voiced with respect to any particular issue. Otherwise, the criticism is certain to be dismissed without response and the critic smeared as suffering from any number of contrived personal failings. Especially, our media "elites," who treat stories critical of their favored members of our power elites with the same protocols.

      In this way, the straightforward storyline that our elites are abusing power and avoiding accountability, with example after example marshaled as straightforward proof, is verboten, proof of the reporter's bias, immaturity, stupidity, fringiness, and justification for his or her never working again.

  • Netanyahu speech could allow Obama to 'take on the Jewish lobby' as he took on Cuba lobby -- Indyk
    • Here's an interesting wrinkle: 54% of Americans, when told Netanyahu was identified as part of an illegal smuggling operation that moved nuclear triggers from the US to Israel, 54% of respondents opined he should be investigated by the FBI. Let the FBI question him under oath while he's here. link to

      Don't know how I missed that poll . . . .

      The Israelis are going after Netanyahu's wife's for keeping bottle deposits, on bottles paid for by the state (thousands of shekels!), with Haaretz editorial board calling for a criminal investigation today.

      Maybe the US should go after slightly larger crimes.

  • Salaita sues donors for 'injecting' themselves into U of Illinois decision, threatening to withhold gifts unless he was fired
    • Good headnotes, lysias. Thanks.

      I guess Hophmi is recommending the "laughing out loud" defense. Rather than consider the facts or the law, the court should just laugh at the plaintiff.

  • Shit dead rabbis say about gentiles
  • Independent investigation details Israel's deliberate targeting of civilians in Gaza
    • It will be interesting to see the extent to which Jennifer Leaning receives the support, or condemnation, from the Harvard Faculty, as this criticism of Israel is run through the usual hasbara response.

      We shall see if Harvard's motto has changed from "Veritas" to "Chutzpah."

    • Page: 5
  • Netanyahu speech scandal blows up, and 'soiled' Dermer looks like the fall guy
    • "But Bennett and the other good ole’ boys back in Jonestown are going to smell spineless actions if he fails to push forward . . . ." What a wonderful and hilarious mix of metaphors. Thank you, Chu!

      And it is a dilemma for Netanyahu, can't back down (spineless), can't go forward (growing risk of harming the special relationship, creating chaotic infighting within the American Zionist infrastructure). Still too nerve-racking to enjoy, until the risk of some USS Maine/USS Arizona/JFK assassination/911 attack/Anthrax attack- type event igniting conflagration is past.

    • Great piece about a great development. While it took a week - one on the outside speculates about the inner workings of our MSM propaganda apparatus - that's a true zinger: "repeatedly placed Mr. Netanyahu's political fortunes above the relationship between Israel and the Unites States."

      At last there is red meat for those in Israel and the US who are past tired of Netanyahu's leadership. And you parse it well, White House protecting special relationship, Dermer to go under the bus as Republican operative, with Foxman-Goldberg-Matthews-NYT all voting to cancel or delay, even AIPAC claiming it was innocent in the dark.

      I would suggest one further perspective, the possibility that Netanyahu-Dermer and a small handful of Likudniks and Neocons are going for broke: the rising tide of Neocon clash-of-civilization mongering is in danger of ebbing, with an Iran deal that leaves the sea wall of protection against general warfare unbreached, indeed strengthened. Netanyahu is at risk in this election, he takes Bennett's "strength-of-the-Israeli-leader's-spine" as a personal insult/challenge, and he is in full "bunker" mentality, needing a vast escalation of war as the only way to save his sorry ass from defeat (which in megalomania he equates with Israel's).

      The attack against Syria, with Hezbollah and Iranian casualties, another symptom - of ongoing efforts to stimulate fear in his electorate and escalate tension with Iran. Dermer's gambit a bold move in a secret plan to start a bigger conflagration. Today's concerted effort to walk back both situations a reaction from cooler heads within Zionist leadership who were NOT part of the secret plan.

      Empathize if you can for a moment with those who identify culturally with Islam and/or the Arab world. Video of Netanyahu haranguing the US Government, to repeated standing ovations from our Congress, with highly offensive, biased, demonizing descriptions of Iran, Islam, and (one might predict) Arabs of both Sunni and Shia persuasion, is certain to trigger alarm and to stimulate unity in opposition to further Israeli-led western invasions of Arab and Islamic countries. Just as images of Western Leaders seemingly led by the (uninvited) Israeli Prime Minister appearing united in support of cartoonists who mock the prophet would have had a similar effect.

      If he pulls off the Congressional address with standing ovations two weeks before his election, and then, say, one week later, there's some major escalation from the other side, which he both responds strongly to (showing the strength of his spine), while fanning the flames of fear (count how many times he uses the word "terror," and how often he conflates Hamas with Hezbollah-Iran-ISIS-AlQueda), that is a potential formula for Netanyahu's re-election.

      This is someone whose supporters use the term "risk of peace," which they regard as an existential threat to Israel.

      The entire Zionist power structure in the US - like the CIA - is one not subject to ordinary checks and balances, with anonymity, secrecy, plausible deniability, non-accountability built in, and such power structures are inherently subject to abuse by small groups of plotters who have the Leader's secret, deniable, backing. It's authoritarianism, differing only in flavor from fascism, a very dangerous governing philosophy, completely un-American.

      I see the weeks until the Israeli election as very high risk, which won't recede until Netanyahu loses to a more Centrist coalition, and an Iranian deal is done. Unless and until both occur, we should assume the same sorts of efforts that drove the US to war in Iraq are underway again.

      And we and the press should stop presuming that Netanyahu and the Neocons are incapable of false flag attacks to achieve their goals, or that Zionist operatives in the US power structure aren't available to their Leader to advance his agenda, under requirements of absolute secrecy.

  • Finkelstein on Joan Peters's legacy (and Dershowitz's legal troubles)
    • Thank you, Adam & Norman. The insights about what the Israelis and especially the Settlers believe are very helpful, sparking curiosity about how that can be changed over time.

      Which in turn reminds me of S.C. Gwynne's book, Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, and especially the end of Chapter 13, where the differing impacts of the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 on public opinion are described:

      "As the [horrific] details became known, a wave of revulsion swept through he corridors of power and influence in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. The . . . Massacre would have an enormous and lasting effect on the Indian policy that was made in those places. It is interesting to note, though, that such gut-churning shame and disgust was largely confined to the east. . . . [I[t was clear from the reaction on the raw frontier that it was long past the time when it had become morally justifiable to kill Indian women and children."

      The immediacy of the perceived threat from hostile indigenous neighbors changes the somatic state of the settler community, to one of kill or be killed.

      There are many differences between then and now, here and there, yet there are parallels to be drawn by both sides. I would just note three. First, by the time this Massacre stimulated policy-changing revulsion in Washington, the borders of the continental US were set and the Comanches were the last, if fiercest, remnant of indigenous defiance, completely encircled. If Israel thinks history can repeat itself in the MIddle East, with the entire Arab/Islamic people and land playing the role of the Native Americans in North America, they're at about the point of Plymouth Rock, and their enemies are not just emerging from the stone age, nor likely to be decimated by new diseases.

      Second, colonialism was near its peak then, and is now dead.

      Third, Israel is relying on the US and its military might to defeat its much larger "enemy," but the US has already been misled into four unsuccessful land wars on the Asian continent, and isn't going to be stirred emotionally into what it would take to do to Asia what it did to its own North America, nor is there a substitute population to "take over" afterwards, and the evils of occupation are part of why colonialism is dead.

      So the problem the world has is a settler community in Israel and Palestine possessed by an irrational but palpable fear which their leaders are exploiting to drive continuously toward larger and larger crises. This would be a small problem, except for the outsized influence that settler community has in the US and especially certain policy-making functions in Washington and media organs in New York and Los Angeles.

      What would cure that settler mentality? Mandela would advise, we must not only release the Palestinians from their oppression, but the Israelis from their fear.

      It would be good if we had a leader in Obama willing to speak plainly and act decisively, because an intervention is clearly required, right now in this Israeli election. Yet he does not appear to have it in him to execute on his ideas. The bully Netanyahu clearly needs a bold punch in the nose, because allowing him to continue to escalate is otherwise going to end in bunker mode.

  • State Dep't says Netanyahu speech is not inappropriate, disrespectful, humiliating or embarrassing
    • The "settler mentality" is contagious, C&D. More Netanyahu-Likud-Neocon leadership comes at the high risk of stimulating (or "false flagging") some big attack that makes that fear and siege mentality more palpable among the American and European publics, now being fed a steady diet of the global threat of Islamic extremism. It is irresponsible to be a "fan" of this process in the mistaken belief that more people will see and understand how power is being abused. That settler mentality is similar to the Lucifer Effect, under the spell of which ordinary people do horrible things. It is much better nipped in the bud by an election, than having to be defeated in an all-out, multi-generational clash of civilizations, which is what Netanyahu-Likud-Neocon leadership is intent upon achieving: a contagion of war-crime-minded-mob hysteria.

    • She said, while wiping the spittle from her face, and smiling a phony smile, reminiscent of the abused woman trying to change the subject and hide the bruises at the same time, unwilling yet to face the elephant in the room.

      Time for intervention.

  • Tell your congressperson: Don't attend Netanyahu's speech
    • Great interview, Max! And thanks for posting it, just.

      I would add one thing to Max's terrific analysis of Netanyahu's motives, in appearing uninvited in front of Western World Leaders marching in front of the Je suis Charlie demonstration, and later in front of Congress haranguing them about the danger from Iran: the INTENDED impact these images must have when viewed by the Islamic and Arab worlds. Likud-Neocon INTENT is to stimulate unity among the otherwise highly diverse and factionalized worlds which the Likud-Neocon-clash-of-civilizations outlook REQUIRES as the external and internal threat that justifies their right-wing authoritarian, racist, ethnocratic, religiously divided, fascistic worldview. Netanyahu, Likud, and the Neocons are in fact implacable enemies of the Islamic World, who they view as Israel's implacable foes. Netanyahu is selling his leadership of the Israel AND THE WEST, not only to his electorate, but to his enemies as well. If he gets away with the same kind of standing ovations he got before, and wins his election, this will send a message of greatly heightened danger to the Islamic world, and will further tie the US to his naked hatred and hostile intent toward them. He will succeed in escalating both the Israeli/West's attack on Islam, and the ineluctable blowback against us all. Why Obama and the realists continue to try to mollify and condone and avoid imposing real consequences on this aggressive behavior is beyond me. Netanyahu is a very scary leader playing with the controls of US power.

      If I'm wrong that this is his intent, I believe I'm still right in understanding the impact and the grave consequences, and he's just stupid in believing little Israel can conquer and dominate the entire Arab/Israeli world. Evil intent, or deep stupidity, it's at risk of becoming historical in its impact, in either case.

      To me, it's a tinpot territorial dispute over a few thousand square miles of ancient dirt, hardly justifying World War III, the generational clash of civilizations.

    • A Peace in Palestine Parade, concurrently scheduled, to which we invite our Congresspersons and Senators, give them a choice as to which event to attend. Roll will be taken. Maybe invite the President to speak? Maybe invite all our former presidents, as well. All our former Secretaries of States, as well. All the former Secretaries of Defense. Retired Generals and Admirals. Maybe all of those Shin Bet Gatekeepers. Various Veterans organizations. Maybe European leaders, current and former as well. Maybe a row of honor, for those realists, like Chas Freeman, who got blackballed by AIPAC. Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame.

      Netanyahu wants to play Israeli election politics in DC, let's play tit for tat.

    • Perhaps there needs to a counter-demonstration, a peace parade, that directly challenges the Netanyahu-Likud-Neocon narrative. "No More Likud-Neocon Wars." "Down with LIkud and Netanyahu. Done with Neocons." "Blowback Bibi." "Likud Civilization Clashes with American Values"

  • 'NYT' and Matthews warn that Netanyahu speech to Congress could lead US to war
    • Thanks, JWalters.

      Your link reminds me a bit of John Judis's book Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Isaeli Conflict, in that there have been many threads in the prayer shawl of Israel's history. The Likud/Neocon thread has been pulling that shawl, like a table cloth set at a large table, toward catastrophe, as Netanyahu seems to have snagged it on a button as he rushes out to chase his demons.

      Time for the Israeli electorate to cut that thread.

    • I don't look forward to a divorce, which would be catastrophic for Israel. An arms-length alliance based on mutual respect among nations. I draw a distinction between Likud-Neocon and Israel, generally, which could evolve away from Likud's aggressive-destructive interference in its neighbors' affairs.

    • I disagree, C&D. Likud-Neocon KoolAid can kill a lot of people, already has, but could escalate dramatically, which is their goal.

      Better for elections to halt trajectories. Better than assassinations. Better than more catastrophic wars.

    • Brooks and Shields addressed the issue on Newshour, both critical, with Brooks leading off, saying both parties do it - e.g., Pelosi visiting Syria - and blaming Boehner for the invitation, and separately Netanyahu for accepting it: unwise by Boehner to try to speak with two voices on foreign policy, unwise on Netanyahu's part to pick a fight with the president. Then Shields flayed him:

      This is — this is not done. What John Boehner did is a cheap political trick. And it was not a surprise to Benjamin Netanyahu. I mean, Ron Dermer, the… ambassador to the United States from Israel, who had been a Republican political consultant in this country working with Frank Luntz, orchestrated this invitation.
      And it’s a major plus for Mr. Netanyahu on — two weeks before his election…
      it’s beyond irresponsible. It’s beyond a cheap political trick. It’s just tawdry.
      I don’t think — respect I have to for David, I don’t think it compares with Nancy Pelosi or any member of Congress at any time visiting another country.

      link to

      Tawdry? Irresponsible? Cheap political trick? How about viewing this moment in a historical context?

      Since at least the 1980s, Likud-Neocon thought has pursued a singular historic trajectory: view the Arab/Muslim world as Israel's immutable enemy, engage the US and the West with Israel in a generations-long struggle with that enemy - the "clash of civilizations" - pursue a policy of "Lebanonization" of all hostile Arab and Muslim states, by which their organizational structure is destroyed, causing their countries to collapse into violent ssectarian chaos, and meanwhile forcibly take lands from the West Bank (and possibly beyond) for expansion via settlement.

      The movement gathered urgency when the Oslo Peace Accords created, for Likud and the Neocons, a genuine "risk of peace." Rabin was then assassinated, halting that risk, and Netanyahu had his US Neocon consultants prepare his Clean Break paper, laying out the strategy, with specific goals of regime change in Syria and Iraq, and Netanyahu demanding that Iran be added as the greatest threat of all. Given means of extraordinary influence over US policy during the Bush-Cheney administration, with many of the Clean Break authors staffing Cheney's and Rumsfeld's offices, they aggressively bent US policy and public response to the 911 attacks into a program of conquest of Iraq, followed by Paul Bremer's deliberate destruction of its infrastructure, to achieve the desired result.

      As Netanyahu himself stated, when asked about the 911 attacks, they were "good, well not good for the Americans," but good in the sense that now the Americans know the danger from the common enemy. From the Likud-Neocon perspective, every accidental, unintended, or surreptitiously intentional US or Israeli attack on Arab or Muslim wedding parties, civilian gatherings, hospitals, schools, relief flotillas, burning of Qurans, cartoons mocking the prophet, etc., is "good," in the same sense, because it stimulates the unifying rage and desire for revenge among all of the common enemy, as is every terrorist attack that results, which allows him to fear-monger to his own electorate, to make their flesh crawl with fear of terrorists rising up from underground tunnels to attack kindergartens.

      Placing himself at the front of the line of political leaders in Paris created an image of unity of the West against the Arab Muslim "common enemy" in support of cartoons that mock Islam and its prophet. Addressing the US Congress lecturing our lawmakers about these dangers and having them leap to their feet in repeated standing ovations, will further identify this Likud-Neocon aggression against Islam with the US government, the culmination of two decades of Clean Break.

      Many of the papers detailing the clear focus of Likud-Neocon trajectory are gathered by history commons: link to

      This LIkud-Neocon trajectory must be halted, and it can be, by Netanyahu's defeat in the elections. Obama can speed it along by imposing consequences for Israel for Netanyahu's intransigence, throwing every single Neocon or Neolib still in his government out (and in jail when crimes can be proved), appointing realists, and dedicating himself and his two years to righting history's trajectory to one of mutual respect among nations.

  • Congress invites Netanyahu to rebut Obama on Iran, and White House slams 'breach of protocol'
    • Netanyahu leaves Obama no choice but open confrontation. He should not continue to shy away from it, but use his exceptional mind for nuance and rhetoric to let Netanyahu hang himself before his own electorate. He and Netanyahu have been in a political fight ever since Obama was first elected, with Obama fighting as if his hands are tied behind his back.

      McCain was skewered when he bumbled into stupidly asserting that the fundamentals of the American economy are strong, even as they fell apart, and Obama, asked him what economy he was talking about. It took him forever to beat Hillary, he was in no hurry for a knock out punch then, either. But he needs to deliver a fatal blow politically to Netanyahu in connection with this brazen effort to interfere in our political system. Careful to destroy Netanyahu, as the failed leader he is, in front of the Israeli elections, but not to overstate who he is attacking.

      What are his choices? He could withhold funding. He could decline to run interference in the UN. He could openly criticize Netanyahu's fear-mongering. He could take him to task for advocating for a Jewish State, for telling French Jews they are not safe anywhere but Israel. He could open up some of the investigations of Israeli corruption of US institutions that normally get quashed so effectively by the Lobby. E.g., Jeffrey Epstein, and whatever connections with the Israeli government he might have that the US government has knowledge of.

      What can the American public do, in light of this development? All those standing ovations should come at the risk of being viewed as disloyal to our President in foreign policy. There needs to be a grass roots efforts telling congresspeople that inviting a foreign leader to rebut the President, and wildly applauding him, on matters touching on sending American troops into war, will come at a cost. Maybe an organized effort by veterans disgusted with Congress. An organized effort by intellectuals about the bankruptcy of the Likud-Neocon ideology as applied to foreign policy. An organized effort by mainstream Christian denominations to condemn the racism and apartheid policies of Israel. Organized rallies by JVP opposing Netanyahu's every move.

      How about forcing AIPAC to register as a foreign agent?

      What about some media reporting about the brazenness of Netanyahu's efforts to interfere directly in the US political process? Is Netanyahu a suitable leader? or fatally heavyhanded? What about just some detailed analysis of the Israeli election? Netanyahu using and abusing foreign policy, including this effort to have his own state of the union speech in DC, in a desperate attempt to hang onto power.

  • French terror attacks contribute to Israeli's isolation
    • A collection of great insights here. Thank you.

      You close with Orly Noy's connection between Israel's self-delegitimization and its perception of rising Anti-Semitism, beneath a surface in which Israel denies such connections: "The Israeli experience will provide you with a uniform and a flag, in whose name you can rule as masters."

      For me this triggers further reflections on the Lucifer Effect, or how ordinary people can become monsters when the social structure requires or supports it in them, especially in the context of prison guards, or masters over slaves. [See the Stanford Prison Experiment].

      This is Likud's Lucifer Effect, as Netanyahu, the LIkudniks and the Neocons, captives of their own haywire group-think, keep doubling down on the disastrous policies they have been following for over 15 years.

      "Turns out we look a lot better fighting a religious war than we do running an occupation."

      Ordinarily, one looks at an occupation as destroying the character of the soldier required to enforce it, but for Netanyahu and his allies, it is a deliberate policy to continue to become more the occupier, more the dominator in a cruel relationship, more the world leader instigating a century-long war of civilizations pitting Israel and the West against Islam.

      The extent to which he will go to fan those flames is astounding, and requires an international "timeout," a very international condemnation of Israeli excesses, enough to require a change in leadership in Israel. More of the same will continue to lead in the same direction, with leaders inciting their populace to cruel excess, then competing with each other to run out ahead of the mob with further incitement.

  • Netanyahu crashes Paris unity march, French gov't fumes
    • International Jewry needs to send a clear message to the Israeli people: make peace now! There is no good endgame for "the Jews" in a cathartic war of civilizations, despite the strong beliefs of the Israeli right-wing to the contrary. Hollande's stony face is prelude to what? Obama's similar expressions when photographed with Netanyahu beg the same question.

      Here's what I see: Netanyahu spending all of the goodwill of the Jewish people like a drunken sailor, continuously inciting "the West" to perpetual war with Islam, continuously seeking to identify "the West" with Israel and Israel with "the West" in the eyes of both the Muslim and western worlds, while continuously oppressing the Palestinian people, while blaming them for their own suffering, while continuously claiming the victimhood of the Jewish people at the hands of everyone, including the West, to justify and indeed proclaim "most moral" a long series of racist and fascistic actions and tendencies.

      Word was that Netanyahu originally planned to stay away, as requested by Hollande, but changed his mind when Bennett and Lieberman announced they would attend: the Israeli right wing thus turning France's effort at unity in tragedy into right-wing Israeli political and electoral theater: Bennett-Lieberman-Netanyahu in a contest to show who will escalate the failed Neocon/Likud policies of the right wing faster, with louder chest thumping, and more violence inflicted with less nuance?

      Who else is to constrain the Israeli right wing?

      Machiavelli advised that leaders should be both beloved and feared by their people, but, if they must choose, fear was more important than love. Under Netanyahu, whatever leadership role Israel could claim in the US and much of the rest of the West is now based solely on fear: fear among Congresspersons that failure to follow AIPAC diktat will bring on them unwelcome organized Jewish opposition in their next election. Fear among academics that criticism of Israeli policies will result in personal smears such as were leveled at Norman Finkelstein and Walt, Mearsheimer and Salaita. Fear among journalists that publication of criticism of Israel will become "career-limiting events." The limits of the power of this fear are much more easily perceived by Diaspora Jews, whose share of the love the Jewish people have enjoyed in the West is being thus squandered. Love following divorce is replaced by something else (see Hollande's stony face for prelude). Use (abuse) of power to instill fear, in the absence of love or at least recognition of legitimacy, is what American and Western divided and limited government (invented after and with the benefit of Machiavelli's insights) was designed to control. Right-wingers lack the nuance to understand that basic lesson of history.

      But Israelis appear to be under the influence of these right-wing fear-mongers, and some form of check-and-balance needs to be exercised immediately. This election is of fundamental, historical importance. A continuation on this rightward trajectory risks catastrophe.

  • How a tweet about Gaza children went viral round the globe
    • Thanks, David. Too grumpy, then. I don't have the time to read them. Plus, I don't write in iambic pentameter, either. Why tweet in 160 characters, or whatever it is? To make some tech company worth billions, by mining my tweets to figure out what ad to send me?

      Or to find a "home" among some flock of tweeters? Too grumpy, by far!

    • Thanks, Phil, for a powerful image and message that wouldn't otherwise come to us old folks, too busy or too grumpy to take up tweeting.

      How is it trending in Israel? I'd love to see more evidence that the Israeli election is a forum in which the wisdom of enshrining racism in government policy is being seriously debated. Racism and other bias exists in some form in everyone, while government institutions and cultural norms can effectively dampen them or magnify them greatly.

      History judges people, times and places by such institutions and norms. So far, Israel seems to be trending toward an historical abyss.

  • Dershowitz named in lawsuit alleging abuse of underage sex slave
    • Good question, CigarGod. I googled both lawyers. Brad Edwards is the young Florida trial lawyer who's made a specialty of crime victims' rights. In my experience plaintiff's trial lawyers are liberal progressives who see themselves as fighting for the little guy against powerful evil, a profession in which American Jews have in the past been over-represented. But, thanks to Likud's Lucifer effect, Israel's brand among smart liberal, progressive Americans of all sorts has been tanking. Edwards doesn't look or appear Jewish, but you can never tell by names or appearances, so let's just assume he's a liberal-progressive engaged in building his rep as a leading trial lawyer representing crime victims. This is his ticket to stardom. He also looks like a real trial lawyer, one who believes in settling his losers, and trying his winners (many so-called litigators are said to do the opposite), a junky to the high of bringing it all home to the jury in his closing argument, when his version of the story is told in spell-binding soliloquy, and the jury nods in agreement, while his opponent's version is met with cross-arms, unwillingness to make eye-contact.

      I don't know how he connected with Judge/Professor Cassell, but they both focus on Crime Victims rights, so they probably crossed paths at national conferences. It would make sense for a real trial lawyer to associate with a real appellate lawyer early on, someone who can help frame every pleading and every step of the case from the perspective of later appeals, avoiding pitfalls along the way, taking advantage of desperate opponents floundering around. [Oil and Honor, about the Pennzoil/Texaco/Ghetty Oil cases, tells of a similar partnership and how Texaco, with all its high priced NY lawyers, got totally out-lawyered by a Texas country trial lawyer with a very smart appellate partner, to the tune of an un-appealable $10B jury verdict.]

      What do they want? Presumably to vindicate crime victims rights against those who would crush them, and to win in the biggest case ever in their little niche. Plaintiff's trial lawyers who hit the top of their profession also make a lot of money, as they're typically paid a percentage of jury awards (maybe 40% give or take).

      But they're lawyers representing Jane Does 1, 2, 3, 4, . . ., so they want what their clients want. I defer to others to say what women who graduated from a high-end sexploitation ring in their teens want when they get to be 30 or 40, but I assume money would be a motivator and that they would have to consider settlement proposals, so it is possible they could all get bought out. But not directly through settlement of this suit!

      Because, they're suing the US Government, the Justice Department, not Epstein or Dersh. And an early front in the Justice Department's handling of this case is the internal decisions - do we defend this settlement, which appears to have been illegal, and done to favor all those rich and powerful "compromisees" of the Epstein-Maxwell's honeytrap operation, or do we throw the Justice Department lawyers who handled it under the bus? Their technical, legal obligation is to enforce the law. And it was a Bush era settlement.

      Now there's a political question for Justice. Eric Holder just announced his resignation, and Loretta Lynch has been nominated to replace him, but remains to be confirmed. Now that should be a politically charged confirmation hearing, and Holder remains in place until then. Vanita Gupta was recently put in charge of Justice's Civil Rights division. She of ACLU fame. This case is going to be one they all put a lot of time and thought into.

      The whole thing could explode if Justice decides that defending a sweet deal for Epstein, put together by Dershowitz, during the Bush administration, in order to protect many, many, rich and powerful associates of Epstein, is not the right course. Loads of publicity make it harder for our civil servants in Justice to tolerate quiet deals that go against the grain of justice, so, if I was an investigative reporter, I'd try to reach all my contacts in Justice to see what the skivvy is, off the record.

      Don't put it past Dersh and Epstein to plant a false witness - a "Jackie" from UVA - to make the most spectacular accusations that draw all the attention, then dissolve in a confused mess. That could all be happening now, with the Prince Andrew accusations and denials. link to The Dersh was pretty specific about the not having checked flight manifests and dates, etc.

      If Edwards and Cassell are suitably careful, they'll have thoroughly vetted multiple star witnesses, most still in hiding, not all of whom can be bought out [or otherwise silenced] by the dark side. The trouble is, Epstein and Maxwell know everyone of them. Intimately. Or did some time ago.

    • So Cloak & Dagger, just to one-up you on the conspiracy front, it's occurred to me that this is a boil that has been festering to burst for quite some time (years). And, in anticipation of that boil bursting, what hedge fund billionaire's skilled PR, damage control, and legal teams wouldn't want to get out in front of today's inevitable story? Say, with a bogus, front-page story two months ago in Rolling Stone Magazine falsely accusing a prominent, WASPy fraternity at UVA of running gang rapes as part of the initiation process? All with an anonymous accuser? who then appears to have misremembered when it occurred, what fraternity her date was in, the fraternity where it happened, and who knows what else? All to the discredit of women who cry rape? All anonymously?

      Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the author of that journalistic catastrophe, is profiled here: link to (seems she over-reported allegations of sexual misconduct against priests in an earlier story, her husband then being a prosecutor in the office prosecuting the church or its priests), and she is included in a write-up about Jewish Life in Philadelphia, here: link to (make sure the kids have fun and get their Jewishness reinforced).

      Perhaps some of Mondoweiss's journalism mavens or Philly dwellers know her or the people she works with. Perhaps some UVA students know if "Jackie" went to that same NJ summer camp? Are there dots to connect here?

      We've already recently seen Dershowitz stirring the pot "in defense" of UVA's Phi Psi house (not exactly his usual cause) for the great and wrongful libel done to it. And he's rolled out his entire hasbara trope in the process: leftist violence against the fraternity is like terrorism, Hamas, and all that is evil in the world. link to Just a coincidence? Note the reporter called him up for his take. I'm writing about UVA campus issues, who should I call? Cognitive Dershonance.

      Remember how W's records of being AWOL were finally dealt with: Dan Rather was given a re-typed version of the actual records, he then got them confirmed by someone who'd seen the originals by having them read to her over the phone, went live with them, but then when later shown them she confirmed they were not the originals, and other phorensics proved they'd been created on a later type-writer. Rather was then cashiered, and W's AWOL guilt left untouched ever since. There some serious damage control talent available for the right price and the right cause. And they all have offices in DC.

      This is truly the story that could un-constipate the entire American system. But it takes a Mondoweiss to dig independently, because so many others have already been corrupted or compromised, whether they know it or not.

    • This should be huge! The lead counsel is an accomplished but young Florida trial advocate who seems to make crime victims a specialty, while they also brought in this Professor Cassell from Utah Law who is a former federal judge, former President of the Stanford Law Review, and a specialist in crime victims rights. Dershowitz is true to his autobiography, Chutzpah, in attacking the persons of his accusers, but I predict they will not be intimidated, and that they got their facts straight.

      This is a book that is likely to have many chapters. 40 beautiful young women (or girls) put to use all over the world, by a hedge fund manager. Remember the business model of the hedge fund: find some asset class that is arguably over-priced, or can be driven down in value, then place leveraged wagers using complex derivatives anticipating their value will fall, then do what you can to get others to "make a run on it," encouraging others to bet against it, or just sell, releasing bad news that drives it down, creates a selling frenzy. Cash in with 10 to 1 leverage, and then do it again.

      All those powerful people compromised, then information gleaned from them, favors requested, all to destroy some asset, so the hedge fund rakes in billions.

      And don't under-estimate the role played by mainstream media in repeatedly reporting "the scandal" of the over-valued asset, while lionizing the hedge fund "genius" who figured out "it was over-valued," and bet heavily against it, but without ever questioning their tactics, including whether the news outlet realizes it is helping pull off the strategy by stimulating a selling frenzy, or is instead incredibly naive, never even interviewing the London Whale, for example, to see if he might have been complicit, nor daring suggest that he might be. Why there's Ghisalle Maxwell right in the middle of the whole deal, daughter of a disgraced media tycoon!

      Mondoweiss, dig deeply here. Scoop after scoop after scoop could move your numbers up by orders of magnitude. And all those beautiful victims to be interviewed, with a salacious sex romp tied to every single illegal manipulation, and the Justice Department itself - or certain people in it - likely to be an early story or set of stories of corruption.

      This could be a watershed is exposing the stinking pile of corruption that claims to be our "elites."

  • Campus movement against Israel is largest since anti-Vietnam war movement, Cary Nelson says
    • Great report. Cluelessness is a wonder to behold. "It's just like Vietnam, except the protesters are all wrong and Anti-Semites."

      But perhaps this is how cluelessness gets cured. A lone voice in the supposedly "safe" crowd says, "hey, deal with the facts." The rest of the crowd responds with hostility, trying to reinforce for themselves that any criticism is unwarranted, but seeds of doubt are planted, the incident will resonate for all of them over time, the "group-think" shattering.

      Nelson the advocate suggests maybe not killing so many Palestinians, so as to reduce the fuel for protest, also, in his way, reporting the facts: the destruction in Gaza last summer has galvanized opposition to Israeli policies. His analogy to Vietnam is telling: who had the right side of history in those protests? In that sense, Nelson is telling Tel Aviv: It's over. You've lost. Change. But through indirection, trying to stay within his assigned or self-assumed role as Israel's advocate in the US. Dershowitz did a similar number several years ago.

      Crowd dynamics in Israel have been very unhealthy, deliberately made that way by Likud policies, Netanyahu demagoguery. But crowd madness is difficult to sustain over time, especially as voices call out for justice, for facing the facts, and as the strongest voices for continued madness sound increasingly Glick-like: what, we're going to follow her into battle?

      "Deal with the facts," is such a compelling message when you're facing group-think. "Huh? What facts? What does she mean, the facts? What's wrong with her? [but the seed is planted, and facts don't go away.]"

  • 'Desperate' Senator Graham promises 'violent backlash' by Congress if Palestinians go to UN
    • 'Of all the leaders in the world, Graham assures Netanyahu, “you’ve had the most consistent message regarding Iran: Beware of the Iranians, they lie, they cheat.” '

      If that isn't prejudice, I don't know what is: substitute any other nationality or ethnic group for Iranians, and you'll see how offensive it is. Amazingly undiplomatic for an elected official overseas.

      But an accurate description of Netanyahu.

      And here is another value of Mondoweiss - reporting on what our elected officials say to suck up to Netanyahu and Israel, something that gets underreported in our MSM. As Israel's image tanks, these types of statements will eventually come back to haunt.

      Netanyahu has also been very consistent in overplaying his ham-hand, and doing great damage to Israel and his followers every time. Here he has the soon-to-be Chairman of the US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee publicly kissing his ass on an issue of war and peace with a country that the US is in deep negotiations with.

      If Republicans are slow to take offense, what of academia, the intelligentsia, the DC elite, the young activists on campus, the growing body of American Jews who want peace and an Israeli government committed to working for it? what's left of the soul of journalism? [All members of Mondoweiss's growing readership.] Unless you're Sheldon Adelson or Bibi Netanyahu, glorying in having US elected officials publicly kiss your ass, who's left to be other than revolted? And right-wing Americans, when they finally get fed up, are not likely to be very circumspect in their wording when they finally tell Netanyahu or his successors where to go. They are not Israel's natural allies.

      If Israeli voters don't turn this ham-handed yahoo out of office, who else will they blame for the very predictable consequences?

  • John Mearsheimer: What Mondoweiss Means To Me
    • I learned about Professors Mearsheimer's and Walt's LRB paper and book thru Mondoweiss. On the day the book was to be released, I turned to the NYTimes Book Review to see how it would be handled. Instead I found Ruth Weisse' book, Jews in Power reviewed, and I read that, too, after the Israel Lobby. We're all still waiting for the NYTimes to acknowledge one of the most important books of the last decade, while Weisse's book is long forgotten.

      Mondoweiss has been the antidote to an Orwellian thought control movement, where those voices who would speak truth to power have been heard, and power's responses have been parsed.

      I often think of a passage from Amos, one that MLK famously quoted, when reading this blog: "Let justice come down like water; and righteousness like an ever flowing stream."

      Justice would include rectifying the slights and unanswered slurs throughout our MSM directed at W&M, by acknowledging their significant contribution to turning the country and the world away from the Neocon pathway to fiasco. Righteousness will include supporting Mondoweiss financially.

  • SodaStream rejected, at Harvard (and in Brooklyn)
    • The story quickens. It was just the Super Bowl 11 months ago where the whole Scarlett Johanssen brouhaha surfaced.

      Imagine a negative campaign ad that takes Netanyahu to task for his heavy-handed blundering - the headlines from Mondoweiss, the photos, the links, all in a collage in unflattering coloring, with sinister voice-over about how he's destroyed Israel's brand, blundered ineffectively into US elections, incited racism with his naked fear-mongering, boasting about how many settlements he's built, despite US pressure, responding to general laughter the question, "what about the peace talks?" "The what?"

      That would be a negative TV ad worth watching. Mondoweiss, the Movie.

      Off topic, Tom Friedman has jumped into the Israeli election in a way that Obama and Kerry cannot. Perhaps his column examining the potential for a centrist coalition will give other media room to stop reciting Netanyahu's talking points that the election is likely to result in a stronger, farther right coalition.

  • US feels the heat on Palestine vote at UN
    • "The White House appears paralysed, afraid to appear out of sync with world opinion but more afraid still of upsetting Israel and its powerful allies in the US Congress." Perhaps Obama can go suck on a cigarette to derive momentary escape from his dilemma: he's sought and obtained the highest office of the most powerful country in history, but he's too weak to confront anyone over anything.

      Or he could pencil out the speech he could go down in history for, confronting evil where he finds it in Israeli policy, while outlining a pathway forward out of the wreckage created by a long history of Israeli actions. A pathway for two peoples. He could even outline American principles and how they apply to this latest conundrum, the pathway forward that they suggest.

      "Bennett’s goal, according to analysts, was to prove to Israeli voters that he is not afraid to stand up to the Americans." Some ally. Some president who's earned the disrespect of the Israeli people while enabling their worst behavior.

      Unless he comes up with something new, he'll go down in history as particularly craven.

  • Our Year-End Campaign: What Mondoweiss Means To Me
    • Link to Krugman article: Putin, Neocons and the Great Illusion: link to

    • Mondoweiss has been the crucible in which dual questions have been and continue to be sorted out: what does it mean to be a Jew in America, during the Zionist project in Israel and Palestine? And what does that project mean for America and American values? Martin Indyk put it bluntly to Naftali Bennett at the recent Saban Conference: "you and I live in different bubbles and with different realities." Bennett dismissed him as "part of the peace industry." In effect he responded, you, and "the little matter of the rest of the world," don't matter. What matters is the strength of the "internal spine of the Israeli leadership," as we reclaim Greater Israel, what was once the First Kingdom and the Second Kingdom, and is now the Third, whatever we decide to call it, pursuant to the bargain Moses struck with G-d three thousand years ago. Everyone who opposes us is an Anti-Semite, and, besides, we have our technological ways to punish European or any and all other opposition (hey, my company makes the authentication software most banks use so that you can access your money).

      But as Paul Krugman's insightful column in the New York Times today illustrates, conquest is for losers. Building empire by plundering neighboring states in the time of Rome or the Mongols was in part because wealth was objects that could be plundered then, an economic model that only works now in very primitive parts of the world. For the modern global economy, conquest is a negative sum game. Following the Neocon game plan through the Bush-Cheney administration was totally disastrous on foreign policy and economic fronts. The Netanyahu-Bennett formula for the way forward is more of the same: strong leaders, through strength of spine, conquering opposition, crushing those whose lands get occupied until they beg for mercy, imposing order from the top down

      But the reality is Israel has to curry favor from America's Jews because America is the global super-power, and American Jews, by and large, are discovering that the Zionist Dream has become a Palestinian nightmare, that occupying someone else's land and subjugating its people through brutal strength destroys the character of the dominator even as it destroys the lives of the dominated. Leaders like Netanyahu and Bennett have been seeking to bend the American experiment in service to their colonial endeavor, but America is post-colonial, post-slavery and (mostly) post-Jim Crow. America has been atoning for its own abuses of Native Americans, atoning for its own race-based slavery and Jim Crow past.

      America's institutions of divided and limited federal and state government, universal education, journalistic media, individual rights, separation of church and state, freedoms of religion, speech, press and to assemble and petition for redress, meritocracy and free markets, are all designed to withstand the tendency of strong leaders like former British royalty, or Southern landed-gentry, or robber barons, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, or, in our own day, politicians like Bennett, Netanyahu, Cheney and Bush, and the so-called Washington elite, to abuse power. America's institutions are designed to withstand such abuse, suffer through it for awhile, then slough it off in periodic re-inventions of its leadership, its fashions, the make-up of its continually evolving ethnic and cultural diversity.

      These limitations on government power lead to many and diverse reservoirs of power elsewhere: in academia, in different branches of government, in journalism, in corporate board rooms, in diverse cities or suburban and rural communities, in unions, in clubs and religious and charitable organizations, scientific societies, faculty senates, intellectual and cultural movements and now blogospheres, and other new social structures enabled by technology and evolving culture. Must all of these reservoirs of power serve one all-powerful central leadership whose strength of spine is all that matters? (Kim Jong-un would say yes). Or must limited central leadership continuously justify itself to these many reservoirs of power, who are free to criticize and reject?

      American Jews have contributed greatly to post-World War II America, and have benefited greatly in return, as global economic wealth has expanded for the good of most people. But now the many separate reservoirs of power in America, including American Jews, must choose: the American way, or this ancient tribal re-enactment of failed history enunciated so bluntly by Bennett. Plus sum games, or negative sum games. Phil Weiss made his choice, and created a blog where he, and others attracted to the discussion, have sorted out the facts and their responses to those facts, a sort of American emotional intelligence diary for a special-purpose group created in response to the circumstances of the last couple decades: today's expression of that which America's founding fathers put their trust in. Through Phil's leadership, and willingness to dig for and expose the truth, to acknowledge the consequences of that truth, and to pursue that discussion, regardless of the costs, he has once again demonstrated the strength of America's commitment to dispersed power, so that society can continuously seek to correct itself, continuously evolve to become more perfect. Phil's recent headline that we are all anti-American now (in response to the torture report) is, I think, false. It is just past time for America to acknowledge another round of failed leadership, slough it off, hold the scoundrels accountable, and begin anew.

      My hope is that enough Israeli Jews read this blog, and compare American and Jewish history and values, and realize that tribalism and racism and religious fundamentalism and deceit and treachery are no match for American and western democratic values. My hope is that through those values they can salvage their own dream of a predominately Jewish political state, if they just open their eyes to the humanity of their non-Jewish neighbors, and those neighbors' equal rights to freedom, self-determination, and equal voice in the political power that governs them, and, above all, to the benefits of limiting power and holding accountable those who abuse it. My hope is that, with the coming election, they begin their own process of atonement for the many wrongs they have inflicted on the Palestinians to date, and at the same time, turn their attention to ways to engage in plus sum games with the Arab and Muslim world that is their chosen land.

  • Salaita firing has 'crippled' U of Illinois's ability to hire excellent scholars
    • Thanks, Phil, for this report, which I can't help but consider in light of Naftali Bennett's recent performance at the Saban event, also covered here in granularity (what would we do without MondoWeiss?)

      The kind of "strength of inner spine" talk Bennett used, sort of boasting that he didn't care what he was being confronted with by Saban and Van Dyk, just denying others' perception of reality in favor of imposing a different perception, when contrasted with the tools used in that effort (threats of insidious payback for European boycott by Bennett and Israel, "hey, my company makes the authentication software most banks rely on for you to access your accounts"), ruination of career applied to Salaita, ethnic cleansing, collective punishment, applied to Palestinians, and the audiences to which the Zionist cause is applying these tools (the New York Jewish community for Bennett, academia, in the case of Salaita), is truly impressive in the depth of its stupidity and naivete. As if techniques that might have worked, for awhile at least, in influencing a crowd or other community in an ancient marketplace or city, will work just as well applied to the digital globe, American academia, and a sophisticated New York Jewish community gathering.

      I don't know if there's polling associated with such an appearance, but I'd love to know what the general mood was in response to Bennett's performance? If he does other than drop like a rock in his efforts to seize power in Israel, I'll be painfully surprised.

  • British MPs call for concrete action to sanction Israel
    • This is a very fluid and important time, with the Israeli elections looming, Netanyahu clearly running to his right, courting those who view the prospect of peace as an existential threat. Kerry came out with a statement hoping there will be a new Israeli government determined to achieve peace, with his own history of being dissed by the Israeli hard right for being messianic about peace. Washington hasn't found a voice for peace yet, other than various people who've been disciplined by AIPAC: George HW Bush, Chas Freeman, Walt & Mearsheimer, and a few ex-Congresspersons. But we see more on the pages of the NYTimes now than we did. I think there's an opportunity to take the Neocons on with righteous indignation about their mendacity.

      And I like that GHW Bush is being cited in Britain as a positive example for taking action to influence Israeli policy (even tho it may have cost him his second term). I sincerely hope there will be very close coverage of the Israeli elections, and that Americans understand that we have the ability to influence them. We may be the last best hope to stop the build up toward the Likud Lucifer Effect that threatens not only Israel, but the entire Middle East, with deep global implications.

      Now's a good time to challenge the Neocons in their blathering. They are long past due some accountability for all the suffering they have enabled in the world and damage they've done to US global standing. And the Neocon-Likud alliance is both very strong and recorded in detail in The Clean Break and Project for the New American Century papers, originally published as a "break" from Rabin's Oslo Peace Efforts. Let's have a full blown debate about whether Israel and the US need four more years of Likud leadership away from peace, and Neocon influence to draw the US into more utterly destructive regime change initiatives, or whether it's time for our own clean break, out of the Likud version of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Let's use Israel's elections as the excuse for detailed coverage of the whole Likud-Neocon corruption of American values. I've long thought Netanyahu was so heavy-handed that he will destroy himself. Better that happen in this election, than in another term run by the right wing free of constraints, such as they've been, from Yesh Atid and Labor.

  • Whew! Likely DefSec nominee said U.S.-Israel relationship has never been stronger
    • It is now all about the coming Israeli elections. There's a good piece up at Haaretz entitled:

      15 reasons why Netanyahu could lose the next Israeli elections

      link to


      "15. Because given enough reason, when push comes to shove, Israelis will choose to step back from the brink, from international isolation, from confrontation with Israeli Arabs, from estrangement from American Jews, from a moribund peace process, from a return to Orthodox hegemony, from a government dedicated to the advancement of settlements beyond its border rather than the towns and villages within. Instead of voting for a candidate who promises that things won’t get worse, they could opt for one who pledges to make them better; instead of settling for what they already know, they might set Israel on a new course, towards a future unknown."

      There may be an alternative to this evolving Likud Lucifer Effect, elections will thoroughly stir the pot, and we'll see how it comes out. What role can and should American Jews, the American government, the American people, and their European counterparts play?

      Here's a thought, perhaps the American media should give full voice to the debate. There are many interesting political parties in Israel, none with more than 16% of the vote, with interesting and colorful leaders, who will flay each other in fine democratic fashion. Out of this chaos, a coalition will be built, led by the party with the largest share, or, failing that, a leading party selected by President Rivlin (no fan of Netanyahu's). Maybe Haaretz itself should strive to expand its circulation among American readers, because they provide coverage and color that doesn't make it through the MSM. On Middle East issues, this election will be much more meaningful than any US election has been in decades.

  • Pssst! Is Israel going crazy?
    • So DaBakr, how do you explain the collective mentality that gives rise to the long list of actions Phil describes above, which do seem "crazy" to me? Dangerous, as well. How do you diagnose the problem, or do you not see any problem?

    • "That doesn’t seem to be working either." Alas, so far, you are right. But then slaveowners dominated US legislation until 1861, but were ultimately sloughed off, despite horrific cost to the country. I take a long view, and hope this "molt" will not be as costly, for either the US or Israel/Palestine.

    • Has making Hebrew the official language of Israel dumbed down its citizens?

      Recent research in language and the human mind reveals stronger links between language, thought and intelligence than has been previously understood. This RadioLab report broadcast on Public Radio earlier this year [ ]presents evidence that language is how the human brain connects different faculties - such as that for distinguishing direction and that for distinguishing color to enable learning and following rules like "to the left of the blue wall," in ways that animals with those same faculties (or humans whose language faculty is distracted) cannot. Adding words to a self-invented sign language among a group of deaf-mutes kept together without training measurably increased the intelligence scores of the group on standardized intelligence tests. And speaking and reading to young children, using as many words as possible in child-care is being associated with higher performance in school. English is perhaps the biggest language in the world and in history, with somewhere between 250,000 and 1,000,000 words (depending on whether to count different definitions or parts of speech represented by the same spelling), and growing rapidly. According to Wikipedia, the Hebrew bible contains some 4000 words, and, with variations amounts to about 8000, with new Hebrew words (usually variants on the originals) being officially added regularly, bringing the total to somewhere in 20,000 to 80,000 range. There are close to 200 words in English borrowed from Hebrew, also according to Wikipedia.

      Viewing the devolution of Israeli society into an insular, racist collective voicing palpable fear of the people whose land they have seized and occupy, and who they continuously and increasingly oppress, is a wonder, given the reputation of Jews throughout history for intelligence, nuance, and, above all, the ability to live as a minority among other nations for millennia. Is it the language? Or the entire set of ancient social institutions?

      One wonders if being part of a collective that increasingly strives to re-establish a language, culture, religion-based political structure, in a homeland that ceased to exist two thousand years ago - in the early years of the Roman Empire and before the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, American style democracy - is willfully denying itself the benefits of two thousand years of the advance of civilization? The original promised land was described as a place where the stones were iron, and from the hills, copper could be mined - the dawn of the Iron Age!

      This ongoing inversion of history is a rare form of social pathology. Do the Israelis expect a better or different outcome for their dreamed-of Third Temple than that which accompanied the First and Second? Or which accompanied the Crusades? If so, why? Because the USA has been its staunch ally since its founding? A few more years of Netanyahu-style hubris - a fine Greek word for needlessly humiliating someone else for amusement so as to offend the gods, inviting divine rebuke and connoting arrogance combined with stupidity - will soon bring that to an end.

      Unlike ancient Israel's, America's political institutions are designed to withstand historic levels of corruption and incompetence, slough them off, and start anew. Congressional obeisance to Netanyahu and Likud cannot continue, not as Israel descends into Likud's Lucifer Effect. Will Americans continue to follow a rampaging racist mob speaking an ancient language, justifying themselves with three-thousand-year-old scriptural passages?

  • When Hagee vilifies Obama as 'anti-Semitic,' Cruz and Dershowitz don't walk out
    • See Thomas Friedman's column today, including among "News Drumsticks" to be chewed over at Thanksgiving dinner tables tomorrow Israeli President Rivlin's "Israel is a sick society" statement, which you "may have missed:" link to

      He also quotes former Mossad Chief Shavit from Haaretz Monday: '“I am truly concerned about the future of the Zionist project. I am concerned about the critical mass of the threats against us on the one hand, and the government’s blindness and political and strategic paralysis on the other. ... I am concerned that for the first time, I am seeing haughtiness and arrogance, together with more than a bit of the messianic thinking that rushes to turn the conflict into a holy war. ... This right wing, in its blindness and stupidity, is pushing the nation of Israel into the dishonorable position of ‘the nation shall dwell alone and not be reckoned among the nations’ (Numbers 23:9).” Shavit said Israel should launch a peace effort, based on the Arab peace initiative, which calls for full peace for full withdrawal.'

      This pandering to Adelson and his ilk, which has become de rigueur in the tedium of getting elected and holding high office in the US, is about to get left high and dry, as first Mondoweiss and other bloggers, then Walt & Mearsheimer, then broader academia, now the NYTimes, are experiencing moral outrage and intellectual disgust at the old order.

      Well done, Phil & Co. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Next year in a more peaceful, post-Likud Jerusalem.

  • The Minds of Others: An interview with Max Blumenthal
    • "Whiteness is the supreme embodiment of privilege. Whiteness is expressed through the wielding of power against calls for equality and the simultaneous denial of the very existence of the privilege to do so — a willful lack of self-awareness.

      "In my own country, we Jewish-Americans have generally superseded the WASP’s as the new elite, as the new “whites.” But unlike other white people in America, we are able to claim persecution when anyone challenges our privilege, and our claims of persecution will be taken very seriously."

      I find this pretty racist and offensive, equating "whiteness" with elitism and abuse of power, claiming Jewish-Americans have superceded WASPs as the new elites, the new whites.

      I would say that white Americans as a whole are not very likely to regard their particular religion as self-defining to any substantial degree, and have outgrown and put aside much of the overt racism that characterized the nation prior to the Civil Rights movement. I think of abuse of power as endemic to those who have it, requiring checks and balances on all power, to prevent abuse. I am proud of the fact that Americans have built a nation dedicated to equality and to imposing checks on power, to holding those who abuse it accountable. It isn't whiteness that deserves complaint. It isn't gathering power, if gathered fairly and legally. It is abusing power (not whiteness, nor WASPiness, nor Jewishness) that is the source of pain and suffering and that deserves complaint and dissent and agitation for change. Those Jews who gain power then seek to avoid accountability by smearing critics of their abuse of power as Anti-Semites deserve their comeuppance. But what shade of skin color they happen to have has nothing to do with the issues, and it is offensive to characterize the desire to avoid accountability for abuse of power as "whiteness."

  • Netanyahu's 'battle for Jerusalem' can't end well for any of us
    • "Netanyahu’s ‘battle for Jerusalem’ can’t end well for any of us" and the notion that they are playing a "zero sum game" are inconsistent. They are playing a negative sum game, in which the total of what will be left afterward is much less than what we started with. The Israelis and the Palestinians will lose the most, and, the Israelis have a lot more to lose, absolutely, but not proportionately. It will be cataclysm born of fear and hatred. Someone needs to take the Israeli right wing by the scruff of their neck and shake some sense into them, with equal parts lucid wisdom and stern authority. Both sides need to be distracted from the clear direction the Likudniks have been leading us these last 15 years and more, which keeps getting worse.

  • Muslims' beliefs are 'untrue' and 'ridiculous,' 'Salon' author says, offering support for Maher's intolerance
    • Off topic, but this is an important bit of news from "Mossad-Backed Jundallah Pledge Support to ISIS" link to

      It reports that Jundallah, a terrorist group in Western Pakistan and Eastern Iran, was getting funding during the Bush Administration from Mossad agents disguised as CIA agents, there handing out dollars to support terrorism in Iran. I had heard rumors to this effect, but never such a detailed report, and that it was a sore point between Bush and the Israelis. Now they are signing on with ISIS.

      I hope Mondoweiss looks into this story. If true, the details should come out: our "closest ally" posing as CIA agents to support terrorists against Iran and Pakistan. It's unforgivable that our media don't explore such stories. It's enough to worry about the CIA creating havoc, but to have our allies impersonating our CIA in order to create havoc takes it to a whole nother level.

  • This is not yet an intifada, Palestinians say
    • Hi Annie,

      I noticed that after I posted, and, "not yet an intifada" is better, certainly more politically correct, because no sane person wants this to continue to escalate into an actual intifada. But sanity seems in short supply in Israel today, and if it does explode there, it will be because of Likud policies, and Netanyahu tactics trying to manage his right wing by "out-right-winging" them.

      Maybe the Gatekeepers need to assert themselves more forcefully than merely being interviewed for a documentary. Someone needs to change the social pressures on Israel's leadership, because it will only get worse until the spell is broken.

    • Great title and article!

      I am reminded once again of Phil Zimbardo's book, the Lucifer Effect, about the Stanford Prison Experiment, in which ordinary Northern California college students randomly sorted into prisoners and guards, and placed in roles running, or being confined in, a prison block, were rapidly transformed in both cohorts, with the guards becoming cruel and sadistic, enjoying the torment they put their charges through, with the prisoners lapsing into a state of frustrated dependence, a version of the Stockholm syndrome.

      His point is that ordinary human beings are psychologically capable of playing both roles, given the social structure driving them to it.

      "Netanyahu's Intifada" is a great title for the unfolding chapter.

      "Likud's Lucifer Effect" is offered up as a broader title for how God's Chosen People could find themselves the driving force in such a historical catastrophe. [Hint: they're ordinary human beings like everyone else.]

      [By the way, Zimbardo terminated his experiment early, shocked by some of the behavior unleashed, perhaps suggesting the way to avoid the worst potential consequences of Israel's current course of action.]

  • Caltech prof says Israeli scientist passed NASA rocket secrets to his government
    • Thanks for publicizing this, Phil. It's an important development, and even more important is the apparent ambiguity as to whether it is news (absolutely) and something our Congresspersons, FBI, State Department, Obama, should take up in dealing with Israel and its lobby (again, no question).

      The ambiguity results from a clear conflict between the tried and true American value: "we are a nation of laws, not men," versus the contrasting tradition that on hard questions the rabbis and elders get together and agree to do what's best for the community, and everyone else goes along.

      Americans need to take a stand, or be relieved of their responsibilities in Government and in elite roles in media and academia. Nothing less than the future of the Republic is at stake.

      Now is the time for an elected US official to channel the recent Australian and Irish representatives who come out strongly for principled opposition to Israeli lawlessness, to express righteous indignation, to let the smears roll off like water, and above all focus on enforcing our laws against those who break them, and those who try to bend the rules to protect private or foreign interests. I suspect such a person will be surprised at the breadth of support.

  • Pro-Israel billionaires Adelson and Saban muse over buying the New York Times
    • Insights from psychology, sociology, socio-biology and evolutionary psychology are often helpful in understanding what is going with individuals and groups. It makes sense that leadership at times finds lack of empathy and ability to manipulate useful in achieving and exercising power, and that groups reward those who are best at leadership by following them. Positive examples include Steve Jobs' "reality distortion field" in which he could persuade his team that they could achieve the impossible, inspire them to do so. Nelson Mandela used similar techniques to persuade the Springboks that they might win the Rugby World Cup, against high odds, and thus provided a shared victory for all his people, to build a unified nation upon.

      What is crucial is that leaders be held accountable, that power to challenge leadership be divided up among competing ambitions. That's the American way, but not necessarily history's way.

      Right now, Israel's leadership, including the rich Americans who participate actively in that leadership, have persuaded themselves and their followers that they all face certain death unless leaders and policies are followed blindly. This is "real" delusion, to the Israeli people, and will only be ended when those leaders are disgraced, held accountable for their many crimes, and new leadership takes them in a new direction.

      Trying to manage these delusional fanatics by kissing their asses while trying to nudge them this or that way - the Obama way, the Chamberlain way, the Clinton/Christie/Everyman way - doesn't work. Direct challenge leading to toppling of leaders in disgrace is essential to change the mood of the country.

      [Oh, and Phil, will you let us know when Sheldon and Haim offer to buy Mondoweiss for more than it's worth? As is, it's priceless.]

    • "Saban expressed an openness to the idea, but was concerned that the Sulzberger family would not sell. Adelson dismissed that concern, 'You pay significantly more than it’s worth, then the non-family shareholders have the right to bring a suit between the real value and what’s been offered.'”

      This is a great insight into why Obama's let's-not-hold-anybody-accountable-for-the-2008-financial-meltdown approach was such a fiasco for the country. The rich got much richer ($60 trillion in derivatives bet on whether $4 trillion in publicly-traded sub-prime-mortgages would fall in value), and they know how to use their wealth to control governments, control media, control financial markets (and which assets will decline in value), and control anybody else whose own assets are big enough to be exposed on public markets. Anything we want, we can buy, and if anyone controlling an asset we want that is publicly traded but doesn't want to sell, we can take it anyway.

      It is the devil the US Constitution was supposed to protect us against: unaccountable power. Although the oath of office is to uphold and defend the constitution, we increasingly hear our public officials say their first responsibility is to keep us "safe."

      Safe for those who have all the power.

  • The UN can bring peace to Jerusalem by moving its headquarters there
    • What I like about this suggestion is that it would be a bold act of international leadership to change the subject from the intransigent eat-the-pizza-while-we negotiate-over-whose-pizza-it-is process. It could accompany bold statements of international support for the two state solution, bold offers of UN peacekeeping forces to maintain security, perhaps herald major economic development around the internationalization effort. Have a neutral, international zone, plus Palestinian and Israeli autonomous zones. Who knows, maybe Netanyahu and some of his colleagues could negotiate immunity in exchange for facilitating it. Likud and the right wing have painted themselves into a corner, and this might open a new doorway out.

  • Update: Why did Netanyahu respond to chickenshit with 'grassy knoll' remark?
    • Thanks for the h/t, Annie. That graphic is great.

      And thanks lysias for the insight into Netanyahu's shrink. The fearful fear-monger, leading his fearful people from one crime to the next, and with a heavy enough hand to contemplate the unspeakable.

  • Bouquets for Melissa Parke
    • Thanks for this link bilal a. Just to set the quote marks straight and put it in context for MW readers, the link (well worth reading) is to Justin Raimondo's post today at, "The Chickenshit Lobby is Mad as Hell." And everything other than bilai a's headline is quoted from Raimondo, while the two sentences quoted above, were quoted in Raimondo's piece from Netanyahu's speech at the Knesset. So the question asking "was Bibi threatening the President of the United States?" is Raimondo's. And a very good question it is, entirely consistent with Netanyahu's over-the-top heavy-handedness.

      It would be nice to see this question explored by the press, as I hope it is being by our security forces. Question for Jen Psaki, for example: when Prime Minister Netanyahu referred to "grassy knolls" in his speech to the Knesset about resisting pressure to sacrifice Israeli security, are there concerns he was making a veiled reference to the assassination of President Kennedy, who had pressured the Israelis to allow inspections of Dimona, causing David Ben Gurion to resign? Or on 24 hour cable, What about that "grassy knoll" reference by Netanyahu, in rejecting the Obama administrations pressure to make progress on peace? What's the context there? [e.g., Mordechai Vanunu; "In July 2004 Vanunu claimed in the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper that the State of Israel was complicit in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He claimed there were 'near-certain indications' that Kennedy was assassinated in response to 'pressure he exerted on Israel’s then head of government, David Ben-Gurion, to shed light on Dimona’s nuclear reactor'" link to

  • As AJC and CAMERA go after Jebreal for writing up Israeli 'hate policies,' 'NYT' backs her up
    • Israel's hasbarists use the same tired argument : all criticism of Israeli policy is Anti-Semitic, even in the halls of academia, where donation hungry administrators can be humiliated in front of their Faculty Senates, by succumbing to pressure tactics from manipulative donors. Once the American academic community is "radicalized" on this issue, how exactly do hasbarists plan to re-benight America? by saying their same tired arguments more loudly? By calling that entire community Anti-Semitic? By doubling down on their donations with strings attached? Time for a leadership change, and a change in direction.

    • That's a significant point, because it highlights a pillar of hasbara: Americans are "clueless," and can be misled through a concerted propaganda campaign.

      Jefferson boasted how American farmers could converse in Latin and avidly read and discussed the latest news from London and Paris. An informed public is one of the pillars of America, and those who count on being able to manipulate the clueless don't understand American history. As Churchill said, the Americans always do the right thing, after exhausting all the alternatives.

      I think we're set up for Obama to make his most important speech ever, in which he openly confronts Israel's racism, Apartheid, and deceit, as well as the collective fear that enables it, makes clear to the Israelis that continuation on this right-wing path ends in the International Court of Criminal Justice for its leaders, with whom American leaders will no longer be able to stand.

  • Sh*tstirring Jeffrey Goldberg dumps diplomatic sh*tstorm with 'chickensh*t' quote
    • If Naftali Bennett believes what he says, that Netanyahu is "leader of the Jewish state and the Jewish world," (a tired conflation) then he should consider that now may be a good time to find a new leader, because this one is a laughingstock.

      The "coward" quote, however, isn't funny, although it's ironic coming from an anonymous source afraid to say something on the record. "Afraid to go to war" with Iran - without cause and without prospects for avoiding total calamity - isn't really a criticism, but it is school-yard name-calling designed to provoke violence or rage.

      Quoting anonymous name-calling should disqualify both source and reporter (and publication) from being considered "elite" in any way.

  • Israeli president's diagnosis -- 'Israel is a sick society' -- doesn't go viral in the U.S.
    • If the President of Israel says the country is sick, does that make Israel a self-hating nation of the Jewish people?

      Which is a joking way to circle back to Phil's great insight from his study of Lincoln and the abolitionists, that those who, originally a fringe minority, by repeatedly provoking the slavers, earned their "valuable hatred," the value coming from ordinary people becoming aware through public eruptions of that hatred of its unhealthiness, and eventually forming a school of opinion that carried the nation through the extremely bloody and costly Civil War. Grant, who clearly voiced that school of opinion in his memoirs, also voiced the view that no one had more to gain from the South's loss in the Civil War than the South itself, by ridding itself of its sickness.

      I hope Israel can rid itself of its cancer with less bloodshed, and with fewer lingering injustices. There can be a future for Israel/Palestine, but it requires isolating, publicly chastising and disempowering the hate-mongers, starting with the Prime Minister, and points to his right.

      The US needs to stop being its rubber-stamp enabler. President Rivlin's comment ought to grant President Obama permission to publicly criticize and even chastise Israel.

  • NYT takes on Europe's recognition of a Palestinian state
    • So I gather this appeared in the on-line version of the Times on the 16th, but it did not appear in my electronic version of the paper received via subscription here on the West Coast that day. Your article refers to it appearing in "the pages of the New York Times," and I wonder if it was in the paper version distributed in New York, or the e version distributed there or elsewhere?

      I suppose the editorial board gets to decide what appears where in different versions, and I wonder how they consider the issues primarily addressed here on Mondoweiss in making those allocations. I can see them segmenting their markets by medium and by level of protest over coverage or lack their of, but I've seen nothing addressing that possibility.

      It's been helpful in the past when Mondoweiss has been specific about where the Times publishes certain controversial pieces, but I'm not sure how thoroughly you check all the different versions published by the Times. A note on your methods would be appreciated.

  • Europe wearies of Netanyahu's diversions
    • Time for regime change. Long past due. And may the neocons be dropped like hot potatoes at the same time.

  • Israel wields 'significant US domestic power' to foil peace process -- NY Review of Books
    • '“U.S. pressure on Israel during Obama’s first year in office consisted mostly of reprimands, which were more costly to Obama’s domestic political agenda than to Netanyahu.” Yes, and why– because of the importance of the Israel lobby in the Congress.'

      And the refusal of media - including the NY Review of Books - to report on the subject objectively.

  • British Parliament sends a message to Obama: the people see Israel as a 'bully'
    • Great post. I'm reminded of that gay Irish Parliamentarian who spoke with such moral indignation some weeks back. I wondered at the silence that seemed to great his words, but thought the plate was set for an American politician to make a similar speech that would be a turning point.

      Now the entire British Parliament jumps on board, competing with each other to more eloquently state the need for change.

      When will one of our faint-hearted "elites" in DC realize that the time is ripe for a leader to emerge who is not too shy to express moral indignation at the status quo, with passion. My sense is the threat to career has evaporated, and it's just a matter of weeks before someone decides that his career will be advanced by demanding a change from Likudnik intransigence. Maybe some Congressional candidate looking for a break out issue to put new juice in a close but otherwise losing campaign.

  • How 'Open Hillel' created a new community by challenging the Jewish establishment
    • It's the old difference between teaching how to think versus what to think, sometimes used by Anglicans to tout their prep schools over Catholic schools.

      It also reminds of the adage, know thine enemy. Even if you regard Palestinians as your enemy, nothing but benefit comes from getting to know them better.

      In terms of negotiation, knowing your opponent's interests is always key.

      One can only conclude that certain aspects of the Jewish establishment have committed themselves to stupid thought control as their strategy for dealing with fall-out from Israel's policies. And to take that strategy to elite academic settings! What could go wrong? How did these people come to power in the first place? How do they get replaced?

  • British Parliament votes overwhelmingly to recognize Palestinian state
    • “The only thing that the Israeli government, in my view, in its present demeanour under Bibi Netanyahu understands is pressure.”

      So heavy-handed has Netanyahu been that he leads his country into defeat in the British Parliament, in American academia, and who knows what other bastions of the world establishment will join in the chorus condemning his "homeland."

      Perhaps Obama will take strength to say what he should've said years ago: here is a line. If you cross it, we will cut you off, from funding, from Security Council veto, from moral support.

  • Tablet types Rev. Shipman as elite, anti-semitic WASP
    • As if it were funny that anyone would even care about the facts.

    • Somehow, I'm reminded of Henry Kissinger complaining that Lyndon Johnson kept calling him Mr. Keisinger, as if he was confusing him with someone else, when, instead, he was showing contempt for who he was. Like Archie Bunker responding to being corrected about how to pronounce someone's name: "whatever!"

    • British Imperialism died about the time Israel was born. The Protest Episcopal Church in the United States elected Bishop Gene Robinson, earning the wrath of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The first Episcopal bishop in America was ordained by a Scottish bishop, because the Brits didn't think the colonials were worthy of their own bishop.

      Mark Oppenheimer's bias and ignorance are classic. He doesn't even care that he's an ignoramus.

  • White House is now in open spat with Netanyahu over his 'American values' lecture
    • The talking points are entirely defensive - look at what our American values do to support Israel. So, come on, please, Mr. Prime Minister, Sir, please stop criticizing us when we have your back, or we'll be even more anguished than we already are!

      Where are the consequences?

  • Ohio treasurer fights divestment from the 'beacon of American values' in the Middle East
    • On the broader topic of media treatment of the issues covered here, John Oliver's latest last week tonight episode is 1) a hilarious routine on the Miss America pageant, 2) an excellent example of the fading art of investigative journalism, by which they put the lie to the pageant's claim that they are the largest provider of scholarships for women ($45M, NOT) , and 3) a segment on the questions asked of competitors, a whole series of which seem to have been from the war on terror playbook. It's even hilarious in what it leaves out, the obvious question of why it is the contestant from New York has now won three years in a row, a subject addressed on multiple other sites as demonstrating obvious rigging, complete with a follow-up scandal in which it appears the winner was thrown out of her sorority for excessive hazing at Hofstra, and the pageant was well aware of this issue. Oliver is very smart, and very funny, and, by obviously not touching the question of who's manipulating the pageant, while skewering them in three dimensions, shows how "over" the existing media power structure is. Some of them just don't know it yet. link to

  • Russell Tribunal finds evidence of incitement to genocide, crimes against humanity in Gaza
  • Ohio student leader who dropped bucket of blood for Gaza receives vicious death threats
    • Replying to Mooser, "how long we got?" it took decades, and then 500,000 lives in the Civil War, to overturn the slaveholders' establishment. [And I agree your DSM joke is hilarious. "Can I get some health insurance here, the costs of my disorder are getting out of hand."]

      Replying to seafoid re IDF needing scared citizens, and in anticipation of the coming debate between Schmuley Boteach and Naomi Wolf, see Wolf's ten steps to accomplish a fascist shift: link to, for a more complete list of what is needed by those who achieve and then hold onto power by creating fear among the body politic.

    • Yes, and the source of the "valuable hatred" slavers demonstrated against abolitionists, which we learned about from Phil's study of Lincoln and the Civil War, valuable in that its outbursts (like Helbron's) draws the attention of the crowd otherwise not paying attention, which over time grows into a school of opinion necessary to overturn the corrupt establishment.

      In further response to Annie, Helbron seems like a small person, overtaken by her hatred, seeking comfort in a simple atonement, without a clue about the larger issues debated here, or her own emotional state triggered by the cognitive dissonance created by Megan Marzac's bold statement and action. Marzac is the Abolitionist, Helbron the slaver driven to rage by someone who would challenge her sense of her and her people's basic goodness, her security in the folds of her community and its highly respected place in the world.

    • Annie, I'm not excusing her, or the crimes committed, I'm trying to understand how someone could write that awful letter to a young woman of principal, and then turn around and invoke Yom Kippur as how she will wash herself of her sin. I don't know her and am just speculating, just noodling on this issue. Was it Dostoevsky quoted here recently? who said the line between good and evil cuts right through the heart of everyone. If you face that reality, you have to ask, how is it possible that people do such things, unless they are inherently evil? Having known Southern Whites who participated in oppression of African-Americans, and American Jews who stand up for Israel no matter what, and having lived in Germany in the 70s and known many people there who participated in war time Germany, I'm convinced that people when threatened or led to believe they are threatened will do violent things, and that demagogues use that quality of people to fire up a crowd to do awful things. And almost all of them, in different circumstances, are capable of leading ordinary lives free of such offenses.

      Mandela got to know his jailers, what was in their hearts, and what he found was love of rugby, and fear of being slaughtered by Black Africans rising in violent rebellion. He used the love of rugby against them by turning boycott against South Africa to include international rugby competition, and he used his own dignity, personality and insight to quell that fear. Like many others here on this blog, I'm deeply concerned about the corrupting influence of Israeli oppression, both in Israel and here in the US, and I'm just offering up my thoughts on how to understand the hearts of those who we would change.

    • You sub-title this blog, the War if Ideas in the Middle East, but I have come to view it as the war of somatic states. It is not so much a person's ideas, as the psychological state they find themselves in: am I and my community at immediate risk of being killed by people who hate me, hate us for who we are? If so, there's no time for nuance, or politeness, or counting to ten. Protective action, even violent action, is required now, including the basest personal attacks against those who stand in the way.

      If the risk is not there, then we take on a wholly different somatic state: in which our curiosity about others who are different is a source of richness in our lives. Debra Helbron, like many Israeli Jews, sees her community as surrounded by angry people of different cultures who would kill them all, if given half a chance, and out of this sense of threat, wells up her primal instinct to destroy her "enemy," her smug belief she is doing G-d's work, and will be forgiven any excesses done in the heat of passion. She's Piper Chapman pounding away violently at Pennsatucky, her prison enemy, who's attacked her with a knife (Orange is New Black reference), later shocked to realize she's even capable of such violence. When will she also wake to realize she's no different from the supporters of George Wallance, united in their fear of being at the mercy of the African Americans they had oppressed and abused for so long?

      Netanyahu, Lieberman, and points to their right, all are engaged in demagogic fanning of these flames of fear, and self-righteous mutual goading to ever further acts of hatred and violence. The whole society is united in this fear, and the accompanying rationalization for racism, violence, phony investigations, brutal oppression of those subject to its "occupation," condescending dismissal of all criticism.

      To paraphrase Nelson Mandela, "Not only must the Palestinians be released from their oppression, the Israelis must be released from their fear." We can argue with words expressing ideas forever, Phil, but this is the emotional truth at the bottom of the bottomless pit.

  • The best U.S. 'strategy' to combat ISIS? Stop supporting religious states
  • Some thoughts on the Cornell-Technion partnership in light of the 2014 Israeli invasion of Gaza
    • Thank you Eric Cheyfitz for this article, and the careful parsing of the strains of Zionism - revealing the roots of Likud Party policy in Jabotinsky's worldview, which is, I think, the key "idea" that must be overturned in the "war of ideas in the Middle East."

      And thank you for documenting the somatic state some of us have been discussing here, with this quote from a Dutch family visiting Tel Aviv: "It took us few rather disorienting days here to slowly come to the conclusion that the palpable collective fear is disproportionate to the actual threat.” - See more at: link to"

      Also see my prior comment on that somatic state here: link to

      Further to my point that, to apply what Mandela did in South Africa to the Israel-Palestine conflict, we must look at what is in the Israeli heart, what do they fear? what do they love? The Likud-niks and points to their right have fanned a disproportionate but "palpable collective fear" - that which "makes the flesh crawl" - made "real" for them by images of mad, blood-thirsty, Islamic terrorists bent on extermination, crawling up out of hidden tunnels, and the Israeli public is in the clutches of this irrational fear, which puts them in a somatic state that justifies cruel and hateful violence against the Palestinians and those who support them, justifies looking the other way when confronted with gross abuses of power, and justifies irrational hateful attacks against those in the US who challenge that irrational fear, and who challenge that racist, colonial worldview.

      Mandela, I suggest, would have seen the challenge as not only freeing the Palestinians from their oppression, but freeing the Israelis from this fear, deliberately instigated by Netanyahu's government.

      What do Israelis love? Perhaps others can better answer this than I, but I posit that they love Jewish and Israeli "exceptionalism," the extraordinary capacity to succeed against long odds, through brilliance, hard work, perseverance, mutual tribal support, aided by a little clever indirection, where necessary, along the way (freyers beware). To follow Mandela's lead, then, those who would end the oppression of the Palestinians must work to end the claim to exceptionalism by those who follow this evil Jabotinsky worldview, wherever they are found - in Israel, and in US and European positions of power in academia, media and government.

      Perhaps this process has already begun: Donald Sterling (born Tokowitz) has found his racist views to disqualify him from continued NBA ownership, despite his invoking Israeli racism to justify what he sees as just a realistic outlook. Bruce Levenson is following suit in Atlanta. The UIUC brouhaha is soiling its chancellor's nest. All are examples of pretenders to exceptionalism being brought down (or due for a fall) by their embrace of Jabotinsky's worldview, or their willingness to be led or influenced by those with that worldview.

      I see the way forward as more examples of good people of intelligence and conscience, like Professor Cheyfitz, challenging and confronting this world view, insisting that people who hold it be exposed as racists and colonialists, and therefore disqualified from holding positions of power and influence, just as Nazis and White Supremists, who held power in the past, find themselves today.

      More examples are required. Let the Israelis wake to the fact that the collective fear they feel is irrational, that those who lead them have been deliberately fanning it for base political and colonial purposes, that many of those they fear are themselves victims of Israeli's base racist colonialism, as to whom they must seek atonement for their brutal, murderous, racist policies. Let those who react with instinctual hatred and violence here in the US to those who challenge their colonial worldview be isolated from mutual support by their communities. Let those who claim to be exceptional while embracing this Jabotinsky outlook have their claim to exceptionalism rejected by a growing crowd of thoughtful people of conscience who cannot stand to be a party to it.

      Thank you, Professor Cheyfitz, and thank you Mondoweiss, for this exceptional website, and the opportunity or at least hope it provides to change the world for the better.

  • Front-page 'NYT' piece on foreign influence on D.C. thinktanks leaves out Israel
    • My thought in reading the article (which included Norway and Japan, not just Arab governments) was that these governments, and/or the lobbyists and think tanks serving them, all learned how to do this from Israel, AIPAC, and their various think tanks.

      I saw it as a sort of threat by the establishment of the NYTimes directed at Netanyahu or Israel more generally: if you don't clean up your government, and its policies toward the Palestinians, the lever-pulling in DC is all going to come out, and it will be very ugly. It's too obvious an omission. Note the historical reach back to the origins of the Foreign Agents Act in the late 30s, enacted to foil Nazi propaganda efforts in DC. No one interested enough in these matters to read the whole article could possibly be unaware of the influence purchased by prominent Israeli Zionists in DC think tanks, nor to have missed Netanyahu's bitch slap at Obama during Protective Edge (aka sheer cliff) "don't ever second guess me," nor to have missed Israel's helping itself to US munitions without White House or State awareness, with Israel's supporters in DoD saying, legally, we didn't need to inform anyone! Obama's cravenness in the face of this performance testifies loudly to Israeli power in DC; this article trumpets its power in the media; and the implicit message is: make peace with the Palestinians stop empowering your racist fringes, or it will all fall apart.

  • 'NYT' headline implicating Hamas in teen killings is a lie
    • Great link, ckg! Politics and hasbara in the newsroom. Nothing about the reason for the gag order, nor that the many arrests were re-arrests of hundreds of those prisoners released in exchange for Gilad Shalit, nor the targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders that could be interpreted as provocation by Israel to ignite Hamas actions that could be used to go to war in Gaza. With so many members of Israel's cabinet demanding more war, and criticizing Netanyahu for releasing Hamas prisoners in trade, the failure to consider Israel's motives as engineering a casus belli, or anything other than defending their citizens from rocket attacks, is naked bias, an active part of the cover up, part of handling those nasty war crimes investigations. May the war criminals on both sides be brought to justice. Without a credible external system of justice to call these people to account, they will remain out of control.

  • Salaita firing turns into a 'catastrophe' for University of Illinois
    • Thanks for the enlightenment, tree. A jumble of conflation and nuance.

      What is needed is a plain word to describe someone who smears a person of conscience by trying to conflate their opposition to evil with a specific form of evil sometimes directed against the tribe doing to the evil. How about "conflanuance," to describe the act, a contraction of conflation and nuance, as in, "Wait a minute, you're pulling a conflanuance." And a person doing it is a "Conflanuancer," as in "Wretched conflanuancer, behold thy comeuppance!" Or "your nuance is getting tangled up in your conflation, you're becoming conflanuanced, and should go lie down."

    • And what a lousy battleground to choose, since we all know where academia will come out, even if some will allow [have allowed] themselves to be corrupted by money and clever politics. Key question: what will Salaita do? Will he settle, or hold out for re-reversal?

    • Wow. That's simply amazing. But I disagree that anti-Semitism can be honorable, except in the very narrow sense that sought to redefine it as "new Anti-Semitism" as any Anti-Israeli or Anti-Zionist policy or argument, in which case I'd put it in quotes, referring to that narrow definition only, which deserves to be rejected. But the argument is joined with vigor in academia. Phil's wish has come true, at least in part.

  • Israel's right wing Zionists, Palestine's militant resistance are political winners after Gaza slaughter
    • "thereby cemented the realistic political view in the west that this is an intractable conflict on which John Kerry sought to apply bandages that did not work. “There is no peaceful resolution of the conflict” — the understanding conveyed to me by a Spanish friend in Jerusalem — gains force."

      I disagree, Phil. What the change in opinion demonstrates is that hot conflict polarizes. It's like you go to a fight, and you don't know the boxers, don't know who you are going to root for, may be ambivalent about boxing as a sport, but when the fight starts, more likely than not you like one more than the other, start rooting for him, get a visceral boost when you're guy lands a good punch. And in a fight, bravery, daring, ability to land and take a punch are honored, while fear, weakness, inability or unwillingness to engage as a fighter are held in contempt. It's a somatic state of mind molded by evolution, during which combative nature is brought out in everyone.

      It's like Britain dumping Winston Churchill as soon as WWII ended. He was the right guy for the fight, but once the fight was won, then he was the wrong guy, his combative nature no longer in synch with the needs of his people.

      The ship of state in Israel/Palestine is being driven by the Israeli right, who view the Palestinians as a despised foe, to be crushed and subjugated, their land taken. Among the Palestinians, only those willing to respond combatively earn the respect of their crowd, and any would-be peace-makers in the Israeli side are like anti-boxing picketers, not getting much attention while the fight is ongoing, bringing words and ideas as weapons to a more primitive battle of brute force.

      But somatic states can change, from time of war to time of peace, and blessed are the peacemakers.

      Kerry & Obama have sought to turn down the flames of combat, but unsuccessfully, so far. To say there is no peaceful solution is to resign oneself to the slaughter of the Palestinians. What does the teacher do with a school-yard fight? separate the fighters, scold them, impose sanctions, force them to shake hands. But to do that, the teacher needs bigger size or stronger moral authority, and Obama is unwilling to demonstrate that, unwilling to yank Israel by the collar and scold it. That's what is ineffective. It's intractable as long as the US sides with the bully against his victim. Or allows the bully to use the teacher's authority (and stockpile of weapons) without even having to ask the teacher. The bully turns on the teacher and snaps: "don't ever second-guess me again," and the teacher keeps smiling his shit-eating grin, acknowledging that he's just the bully's toady.

      It's actions like these that affect the somatic state of the crowd, which can't help but notice. Right now, that state is total disgust with our political leadership. You wrote about the "valuable hatred," of the slavers toward the Abolitionists, attracting the attention of the crowd over time, resulting in a "school of opinion" prepared to endure the Civil War to end slavery. Let's hope there's some value in this state of disgust, forming a school of opinion prepared to endure whatever is required to rid ourselves of the current levels of corruption and incompetence in Washington.

  • More Orientalist insinuations in the New York Times
    • Thank you, James North, for showing why Mondoweiss is essential in an era when our leading newspaper is a propaganda organ for the power that cannot be named. I was offended this week by Peter Baker's "news analysis" piece, As World Boils, Fingers Point Obama's Way link to, bemoaning the President's lack of overarching strategy, without so much as acknowledging that the Neocon's over-arching strategy, as put forth clearly in the Clean Break paper, and in books like Clash of Civilizations, is what created all the problems Obama has been left to try to clean up. "Overarching policy," in Hillary's interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic, and in Obama's "lack of it," has become code for "will sell soul to Neocons to win elections."

  • Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney dodges Gaza question (and how long can he get away with that?)
    • Also, consider the Democratic strongholds that aren't locally dominated by AIPAC-driven donors. If someone in such a district gave a speech showing the kind of moral outrage that the Irish liberal MP Norris did (linked on MW a few days ago: link to, I would think an opponent channeling "AIPAC revenge funding" from elsewhere could find his sources of funding, and any groveling (as Christie did to Adelson), or hasbara recitations turned back on him. It will take "AIPAC liability" as an actual deciding negative to break the mental chains binding most of our spineless representatives. But I think Netanyahu and the Neocons through their heavy-handed over-reaching have teed it up for the right person.

      Hell, Obama could give the speech himself and destroy the Likudniks and Neocons, if he would just screw his courage to the sticking post and do it. That would be as close to Lincoln as he could ever come. But then Lincoln legend included his being someone who could handle himself in a fight, picking his opponent up by the lapels and shaking him angrily while declaring, "you don't fight fair!"

  • Israel got tank shell that killed 20 at UN school from US without Obama's approval -- WSJ bombshell
    • Right Wing Foreign Government Secures US Arms Sales from Pentagon Behind Administration's Back and Against its Will!

      Now there's a headline to contemplate. Obama and Netanyahu are both right in their negative assessments of each other. "Reckless and untrustworthy," and "weak and naive." Obama seems too smart to be naive, but he IS naive when it comes to executive leadership, seeking comfort and escape in a solitary, thoughtful cigarette, akin to sucking his thumb, rather than taking necessary action by bringing the relevant people together in one room and imposing his will on them, setting bars for people, terminating them if/when they fail, putting in place alternative means to insure that people aren't saying one thing and doing another, especially when he knows that is the proven pattern.

      What is the point of seeking and obtaining the Oval Office if one isn't prepared to wield power? It's not a debate, or a legal brief, an oral argument, or a conversation in the faculty lounge. It's about cutting people off at the knees, ruining people's lives, destroying your enemies, if necessary. The question for Obama to contemplate over that thoughtful smoke is, who's life gets destroyed here? His own, or at least his place in history? the American people's? the Palestinian people's? the Israeli people's? or the Israeli right wing and their neocon American fellow travelers?

      I don't remember the exact context, but some years ago some neocon voice was quoted as saying Obama's efforts to force the Israelis to do that which they didn't want to do was a mistake because it would just drive them further down into their "bunkers." I was struck by the imagery and the association with Hitler's final moments, and looked up the etiology of the word "bunker" and learned that it was in fact from the German, coined in the 30s to describe the ubiquitous bomb shelters Hitler had built for the German people, to which they could resort when the horrific threat to the German people used by the Nazis to consolidate power - the bogeyman of the Jewish-Communist conspiracy and their ridiculously naive and weak allied powers - brought on their inevitable attacks. The threat was thus made "real" and "concrete" for the people, even as the strong-man leadership led them to utter ruin.

      It is typical of the hasbara effort to cloud such comparisons by slander and endless distinctions that make any such comparison inaccurate, but it is plain to see that the Israeli people, led by their right-wing leaders, are in a similar somatic state to that of the German people, in which the "dire threat that makes the flesh crawl" is perceived as real and immediate, and in response to which strong leaders not afraid to use overwhelming force, whatever it takes, to smash the threat, are the only answer.

      Obama needs to pull the rug out from under this tinpot regime and force the Israeli people up from their "bunkers" to wake up and smell the coffee. And he needs to be able to use American resources, not have them used by the tinpot, to do so. As far as I'm concerned, and I voted for him twice, he's already on the ash heap of history as a failure due to weakness. Maybe he can turn it around, but I'll believe it when he demonstrates that he sees the necessity and has the capability of inflicting political harm on Netanyahu (and the part of his cabinet to his right) and on the domestic neocons. Everything less is mere appeasement of the bully in the room, who is looking for the next opportunity to laugh at him in contempt of his weakness.

      "Don't ever second guess me again," left unanswered, indeed. You've been called out, Mr. President.

  • Rep. Steve Israel tweets his meeting with Mikey Weiss of Roslyn Heights -- but not Netanyahu
  • 'An extreme rightwing regime behaving in the most criminal fashion and defying the world and unscrupulously using the Holocaust to justify what they're doing'
    • What an extraordinary speech. Methinks there's political hay to be made by being out front on this bandwagon. How often do you get to demand justice from people who are realizing they should be ashamed of themselves for having denied it? How often do you get show the depths of your scorn for right-wing fascistic lunatics who've been effectively hiding behind liberal and progressive stupidity? How often do you get to pull the curtain away to reveal to the broader public the absolute corruption lying at the heart of super-powers, and the new establishment? Phew. That's why we read Mondoweiss.

  • Video: Mark Regev, deciphered
    • This is amazing. Great questioning by the BBC, then, great translation of Regev's propaganda into the language of what is actually happening.

      It would be funny except those children seeking shelter at the UN were actually killed as part of Netanyahu's plan to show he is still leading somewhere despite the failed Obama-persistent peace process. Where exactly is Netanyahu leading us? Tom Friedman? David Brooks? Senator X? Congressman Y? Face the Nation? Meet the Press? Newshour? NPR? How far will you follow the Israeli right wing in its mad desire to silence those it has imprisoned and wants to slaughter into oblivion? At what point do you say, enough!

  • As night follows the day, deaths of 10 Israeli soldiers lead to deaths of 30 Palestinian civilians
    • I suspect that Netanyahu is intent on doing substantially more than Cast Lead, longer time, more dead, in order to justify himself to his right wing, who would support him killing everyone door to door, and are ready to dump him at the first sign of peace. I believe news coverage should focus more on the pressures on Netanyahu from the most rabid within Israel. What this group is saying, what that minister is saying, what that rabbi has said, how the Haaretz columnists size up the politics of the situation. Netanyahu's and Israel's narrative to the West is so completely dissociated from reality. If Israel and the Palestinians were to reach an accord on a long-term cease-fire with some combination of disarmament and opening of borders, would the Israeli electorate stand for it? Or topple the government immediately in favor of Lieberman or someone else?

  • The deafening silence around the Hamas proposal for a 10-year truce
    • "As a result one wonders whether Israel really wants a long lasting resolution of the conflict."

      It is perfectly clear that a substantial part of the right-wing coalition supporting the Netanyahu government view a long lasting resolution as an existential threat to Israel, and have made clear their intention to leave the coalition if the "threat of peace," as they call it, gets too close to reality. There is nothing marginalizing these "dogs of war," except for progressives willing to take the personal assaults that come from directly challenging these people, whether their leaders in the media, or the mob in the streets.

      Only the United States government has the power to pull the plug on its enabling of this ongoing massacre/war crimes/program of atrocities. Direct rejection of Netanyahu's and the further-right policies, direct calls for ceasefire on some basis similar to the Hamas 10 point plan, and withholding of foreign aid, refusal to continue to block UN Security Council resolutions, will create the necessary leverage.

      In short, it takes leadership, in the face of AIPAC-led opposition, to break this "cycle of violence," and the AIPAC hold on the US government. Obama has sought to lead through weakness, and it isn't going to work against the rabid crowd shouting to kill all the Arabs, and burn the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

      There have to be real consequences for the Netanyahu government to continue to play out this charade of war crimes designed to prevent peace while blaming the victims. Only the US can deliver those. We know what Obama & Kerry believe. We just need for them to lead instead of pandering. Pandering to bullies doesn't work. A punch in the nose is required, with an expression of righteous indignation, on behalf of right-thinking people everywhere. A clear statement of unacceptability.

      And please, no more "wondering if Israel wants a long lasting resolution." Clearly, those holding power today do not, and must be replaced, or given the impetus to change.

  • US Jews occupy Israeli army support office in NY in civil disobedience action
    • As a non-Jewish American, one whose ancestors fought for the American Revolution and bled on both sides of the Civil War, I'm reminded by this post of sitting on my grandmother's stately porch in the seventies and discussing the civil rights movement from the perspective of someone whose schooling had bridged the segregation-integration divide, with gentle, elderly white ladies who had objected originally that it was "led by outside agitators," and was moving "too far and too fast," but who came to view it all as just and the rightful direction ultimately (and who had to then adjust their relationship with the "help," not always successfully, depending on how old they were).

      My very positive view of American Jews and their role in the Civil Rights movement and progressive politics generally, was disturbed by the rise of the neocons and the war on Islamic terror, and AIPAC's role in it, and my progressive American Jewish friends continued support for AIPAC, despite their horror at the notion of Jewish Republicans. I have to say that I am proud as an American to see these American Jews standing up for American values to their own fascist-enabling neighbors. There is a conjoining of American and Jewish values, which are also Christian values in the old mainstream protestant and Catholic communities. Together they can form the "school of opinion," similar to that which carried America through the Civil War, that can sustain the American dream through this dark age in Israel's history, and America's enabling of it. This school of opinion is not an existential threat to Israel, but to its dark age. Just as Grant believed that the South stood the most to gain from the war to end slavery (and he was right), I believe Israel has the most to gain from ending its illegal and immoral war against the Palestinians, and its wrongheaded effort to set the Western world at war against Islam generally.

  • The fascists wanted to murder us: An eyewitness account of Haifa's anti-war protest
    • Their hatred is valuable in its ugliness, because ordinary people will see it and recoil from it, turn against it, realize something must be done. Even some of those swept up in the angry crowd will live to regret it, experience a change of viewpoint. Thank you for having the courage to endure it, and to Mondoweiss for its intrepid reporting.

  • Florida Congresswoman sides with Israeli police over her own brutalized teenage constituent
    • Provocative comment, ABC. Everyone hates Congress, but nobody does anything about it . . . . yet. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that, in DC, there are several prominent stories of Congresspersons who lost there jobs for crossing Israel, but none - so far - for selling out to Israel. I know many Congresspersons despise being forced to be toadies, being given two alternatives, you're either with us or you're against us, but the space does not yet exist for one of them to drive a stake in the ground, say for an investigation into the Liberty, or Rachel Corrie, or this beating of Tarek Khdeir, and a demand that Israel's representatives be called to account for war crimes on the carpet of some appropriate government office.

      Obama has made Kabuki theater out of his passive-aggressiveness in despising Netanyahu while kissing his ass in public, even while being scolded, earning him Everyman's contempt. Kerry's huge investment in the peace process, America's blaming Israel for the peace melt-down, occasional voices in the MSM distancing themselves from the Israeli right-wing, have all been signs that there might be a change coming. But it isn't here yet. It could break, at any time, however, as the news continues to loosen up, and as the Israeli right-wing reels from one excess to the next. American politicians believe that there can be no future in challenging Israel, and Israeli politicians believe that there can be no adverse consequences to "mowing the grass," and other atrocities, and so it escalates.

      But all that could halt in one theatrical episode. "Have you no decency, Mr. Netanyahu? at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

  • The 'so-called peace process' and Gaza 'siege' -- Mohyeldin conveys Palestinian despair on MSNBC
    • Somewhat off-topic, but this video released by the IDF purporting to show Palestinian commandoes emerging from the sea lacks all credibility.
      link to

      It splices together video from three or four cameras "capturing" this new threat and its successful eradication by a combination of small explosives and satellite-directed, eye-in-the-sky larger efforts.

      Scene One:
      Two heavily armed and equipped soldiers are caught by telephoto emerging from the surf, with no apparent explanation for how they got there, they definitely didn't swim with that heavy gear, but no boat is visible.

      Scene Two:
      Two riflemen are shown via cropped telephoto in close-up firing repeatedly in the direction of the camera, but not at it, a line of fire well below the line of sight from the camera (where was it, in a tower?). Are these two of the commandoes? One suffers a jam and looks at his compatriot as he tries to unjam it. Target of their firing unidentified? Not visibly identifiable as Israeli or Gazan.

      Scene Three:
      From distance behind, five commandoes are shown moving upward (away from the sea) over sand dune-like terrain, with a large explosion occurring above and in front of them, to which they do not seem to visibly react, although their curving path defined by their single file is looping around the site of the explosion.

      Scene Four:
      Closer up two commandoes are viewed in similar terrain before disappearing in an explosion. These explosions appear to be quite small, like a mine exploding, but they also appear to be fake, superimposed, the location and kinetics not matching the terrain credibly. No craters are visible as a result of the explosions.

      Scene Five:
      From space the now familiar scene in which a target icon is fixed on a location, apparently the same or similar sand-dune terrain, and held in place until a very large explosion occurs, following arrival of a missile. If this is supposed to be a concurrent view of the explosions shown in the prior video, there is no credibility, since this is an enormous explosion that would leave a big crater, knock down much of a city block.

      There is no concurrent video from the scene(s) from which the video is being made, as would be typical by cameramen accompanying a unit under attack, viewing over defense work and front line soldiers. Instead, multiple elevated camera locations are apparent, as if the commandoes snuck into a filming set-up, and then dutifully moved from one set to the next. Or a camera from a tower pointed first toward the sea, then along a road, then up a hill, to capture three different scenes, although quality of video is much greater in the second video, perhaps because that scene was closest to the tower.

      It's not getting much play in the press, perhaps because professional hasbarists in the West apply higher standards than do the crude producers of this video.

      Implication: IDF is churning out crude, phony propaganda to magnify the threat from Gaza and justify "mowing the grass;" western hasbarists are unwilling to stake their reputations on validating it. Further speculation: this is what happens when there is no accountability, the quality of work goes in the sewer, and western hasbarists are now being held to a modicum of accountability, enough so that they are unwilling to get on board, but not enough for this amateur video to get picked apart or even questioned.

  • Caught in a lie: E-mails prove right-wing pro-Israel donor Adam Milstein gave money to California student candidates
    • The wheels continue to come off the Israeli hasbara machine, as it stupidly takes on academia, mainstream protestant religious organizations, student governments, major philanthropic foundations, with front men like Adam Millstein brazenly buying influence while denying he's given "cash" to students he's obviously seeking to influence financially. Such a spectacle Israel is making of itself. I'd be embarrassed for it, except for the awful oppression of Palestinians being enabled by such efforts. Time for regime change in Tel Aviv. No more excuses.

  • We say ‘No More!’ to the racism, apartheid, and occupation being committed by the Israeli state in our name
    • Amazing how powerful straight talk is after decades of self-delusional BS. "The truth shall set you free."

  • Three of six accused Israeli murderers said to confess
    • Kate, this is the best news to come out of the Middle East in a long time:

      "Palestinians from the Hebron area showed up at the door of the Fraenkel family, looking to comfort the bereaved. Asked why they had come, one Palestinian said, “Things will only get better when we learn to cope with each other’s pain and stop getting angry at each other. Our task is to give strength to the family and also to take a step toward my nation’s liberation. We believe that the way to our liberation is through the hearts of Jews.” He later said that the visit went very well from his perspective. “They received us very, very nicely. The mother [Rachel Fraenkel] was incredible.” “I see before me a Jewish family who has lost a son opening the door to me,” he added. “That’s not obvious. It touched my heart and my nation.” The Palestinian visitors also mentioned an initiative spearheaded by Jews and Muslims to transform July 15, the Jewish fast day known as 17 Tammuz, into a joint fast day for people of both religions who wish to express their desire to end violence in the region."

      Leaders who demand and promise vengeance do so to appear strong to their right wing elements, and share responsibility for the climate of hatred and violence in which these crimes occur. It is time for leaders who will promote peace, starting with honoring the "other's" dead.

  • After repeated calls for vengeance, Netanyahu urges Israelis to be 'cool-headed' and seek 'justice'
    • And tired of all the blow-back, especially now that Dick Cheney is back howling at the moon.

    • I think regime change in Israel is called for. Netanyahu has built his political house on the foundation of the extreme right, panders to them regularly, and that should, at last, be acknowledged as unacceptable by the American and international communities. Let Israel decide. And then let America re-evalutate and re-articulate what it expects in exchange for its steadfast support for Israel. Lynching and burning of Palestinian children by racist mobs, and execution of youths by sniper fire, all while settlement expansion accelerates, cannot be part of the equation. The American people are tired of having all this blood and land theft on our hands.

  • Liberal Zionists' denial of Israeli racism heightens danger to 'everyone living in this land' -- Blumenthal
    • Drawing fire from these sites is an acknowledgement of MW's success in giving voice to a different perspective on Israel's role in Middle East unrest. I always liked this quote, which has relevance here: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - Mahatma Gandhi

      I, too, deplore the lack of sympathy for mothers whose children have been murdered, wherever they're expressed, and attribute such brutality to a somatic state of kill-or-be-killed in which sides are chosen subliminally and hostile acts flow from perceiving the "other" as just a threat to be destroyed, like an enemy in a video game, or like a shot on goal to be deflected. Peace is a very different somatic state, in which differences of culture/racial/religious/ethnic background are experienced as a richness of life, to be enjoyed and explored without undue concern over personal safety.

      Both somatic states are fundamentally human, forged through the crucible of evolution, and the role of civilized, intellectual debate should be in part to determine what is the appropriate state for given circumstances, and how can those circumstances be managed to promote peace and minimize war.

      [As a World Cup aside, competitive sports evoke such strong emotional responses from fans because they replicate, in harmless "civilized" form, the kinds of competitions that in our evolutionary past saw small teams venturing out from home sites in search of game (a ball in a net is a lot like a rabbit in a snare or on the end of a stick, evoking the triumph of the hunter who's delivered protein to the group through the ancient skills of the predator), and, in such a hunt through the territory surrounding ones camp, there was always the possibility of confronting a similar group from a neighboring camp, during which battle on contested ground is always a possibility: the World Cup and the Olympics provide a civilized, controlled means to play out the emotions of these hunts and competitive battles, representing one's community, flag, team/national colors, and at the expense of the neighboring tribes, but without (too much, or too serious) blood-shed (note the heroism of Clint Dempsey playing through a broken, bloodied nose and black eye). And note how the two somatic states can coexist through civilized competitive events like the World Cup.]

      Kudos to MW for putting the lie to the long-standing story line that Israel cannot be blamed for anything, except by Anti-Semites who deny Israel's right to exist. It has done so by original, in-depth, meticulous reporting of the uncomfortable and unwelcome reality; namely, that right-wing zealots who are guilty of Anti-Arab or Anti-Gentile racism are in league with settlers who intend to take Palestinian land for themselves and who have nothing but contempt for Palestinians, Arabs, and the international community, are a political force in Israel that, so far, cannot be crossed, at risk of certain loss of power, or worse, assassination.

      There are posts printed here in the comment section that simply favor one side or the other in the kill-or-be-killed state of mind, and I, for one, would be pleased to see a stricter screening process, to focus on the intellectual debate, as opposed to mere name-calling, vilification of the other or demagoguery. Facts, all of them, however uncomfortable, followed by reasoned discourse on what they mean, how we should respond, and who should be held to account, in the best American tradition of open debate.

      By the way, as further evidence that MW is on the path to winning, Tzipi Livni is quoted in Ha'aretz today as saying she's tired of being "politically correct," by which she means avoiding criticism of the settler enterprise, and she obviously thinks it is time to call for an end to settlements as a necessary part of advancing the peace process.

      link to

      She's not likely to ever acknowledge the constructive role of MW in bringing her to this statement, but that is in part where the room to make such a comment is coming from, and it is part of the background that continues to create the school of opinion in the broader Israeli, American Jewish and international communities in which such a call will increasingly be given credence. And the violent racists in the Israeli camp will at last be acknowledged and finally disciplined, so that the oppression imposed on the Palestinians can be brought to an end, and its role in fueling jihad can be neutralized.

  • Turning blood into cement: Reflections on nationalist violence in wake of suspected revenge killing of Palestinian teen
    • Maureen Dowd has a piece up today at the NYTimes today talking about how her head is exploding over Dick Cheney's rising from the deathlike to attack Obama for failing to clean up his mess. She needs to connect the dots between Cheney's rantings and Netanyahu's policies. They are cut from the same cloth.

  • Israeli army spokesperson responds to Mondo criticism
    • A dialogue between Mondoweiss and the IDF is a very interesting development, but conducting it pursuant to Twitter rules is an unhappy constraint. Similarly, the comparison and contrast between Hamas and IDF policies in dealing with their respective enemies deserves greater and more nuanced analysis than social media permit. It's what many of us read Mondoweiss, along with Ha'aretz and many other sources in search of, since it isn't being done by the NYTimes. But a handful of tweets does not a thoughtful analysis make.

  • From Mississippi to Gaza -- Dorothy Zellner reflects on 50 years of struggle
    • Wonderful, inspiring piece. A pessimist who has become optimistic.

      I had a sort of dream recently that President Obama made a joke about Netanyahu being unbelievable, lacking in credibility, finding humor that others would take him seriously, as if those who did take him seriously were hopelessly naive. If you believe that, there's this bridge I'd like to sell you kind of humor. What would happen in Israel if that happened? After all the heads exploded, that is, from too much cognitive dissonance. I guess it too comes from a sense of optimism that the Likud grasp on power is a teetering house of cards, ready to collapse at some point from the slightest touch.

      Those right-wingers castigating Dershowitz as an Anti-Semite have their parallel in Israel, who Netanyahu had to defer to keep his government together, to avoid "the risk of peace." But right-thinking people everywhere, from Presbyterians, to the Gates Foundation, to academics, to former freedom riders like Dorothy Zellner, to the Mondoweissers, all make up a school of opinion in which Israeli oppression of Palestinians, settlement building on stolen lands, is just plain wrong, and must be denounced and resisted, however you come to your sense of moral obligation, whether it is Jewish tradition, Christian tradition, a liberal intellectual tradition, or conservative commitment to preserve and defend the American values of individual human rights, including life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the right to equal say of all citizens in a representative government. It is moral obligation, lest your very soul be destroyed if you continue to ignore the wrong, to avoid the issue and thereby enable it.

  • Anti-Cantor coalition included Tea Partiers, Independents, Democrats
    • I think gaza has a point about the IP issue's potential to draw people from across the political spectrum. People can be motivated by correcting injustice, by a desire for peace, by resenting the abuse of power and the endless mendacity of claiming victim hood while murdering and abusing a subjugated people, by being isolationist, by being anti-Zionist from within Judaism (from various current and historical perspectives), by righteous indignation from watching our elected officials crawl as supplicants to any foreign lobby, etc. Even in some case by Anti-Semitism. Remember the decades of slavers bashing abolitionists, and the concept of their valuable hatred informing a school of opinion that ultimately united the North in a very costly and bloody Civil War to end it. All those Northerners weren't of one outlook, but in the end, they agreed slavery needed to be ended and the Union preserved, newly freed of America's original sin.

      Now Israel, too, must atone for its.

      On the primary front, open primaries have been positive generally in securing more moderate, broad-appeal representatives. If Brat loses, and it looks like the Dems did him in by crossover voting in the primary, that could harm the trend to open primaries.

  • Palestinians 'under occupation... denied dignity and self-determination' -- Clinton
    • Off topic (sorta), but Eric Cantor's primary defeat in Virginia may presage a larger failure of Zionism to change from Democratic to Republican horses, a grass roots rejection of establishment elitism (i.e., bought and paid for by AIPAC) on the right. And two college professors now face off to vie for his seat. How anxious are two academics going to be to jump thru AIPAC's hoops, I wonder? Maybe calling all those academic organizations Anti-Semitic was not a good idea?

  • Video: 'CBS This Morning' runs hard hitting spot on boycott of Israel
    • "I'm flabbergasted!" At actual reporting going on at CBS?

      Perhaps it is a measure of the relative noise made complaining about coverage that portrays Israel in "too favorable" a light, vs an "unfavorable" one. At some point, at the journalistic level, when the complaints even out, you just report the news. At the ownership level, perhaps more and more people who care for Israel realize that BDS is necessary to break the grip the right-wing has on the government in Israel, or have just become ambivalent about it, too much to actively interfere in journalism.

  • Israel announces major escalation in settlement expansion (Update)
    • "Har ShootyourselfinHaFoot." Priceless!

      I agree it is past time for Palestine to join and file complaints against Israel in the International Court of Justice or ICC, and for the US to double down the pressure on Netanyahu.

      Note reports on Buzzfeed that the US has been in back channel talks with Hamas for months. link to
      No confirmation yet for what is sourced at Buzzfeed as an anonymous official. If true, it is a further sign of the Obama administration's complete break with Netanyahu, and an internal discipline to do so under AIPAC's radar.

      It is possible to look at this as a contest for control of Netanyahu between his right-wing settler groups, who vowed to bring down his government if he concluded a peace agreement, and more progressive elements, including the Obama Administration, who claimed Netanyahu was personally ready to make hard choices for peace (but unable to retain his government, if he did). In this calculus, there have to be adverse consequences for Israel that weaken and isolate Israel's right-wing, in order to create space for Netanyahu or a successor regime to make peace. And the lines need to be drawn around issues of justice and international law as aggressively and persistently as the hasbaraists seek to paint them as Anti-Semitic. Harsh international truth-seeking-and-reporting on some of Israel's atrocities and cover up will be important in fueling BDS, which will do the trick, eventually.

  • Dershowitz disqualifies an entire continent from supporting BDS, citing history of 'Jew hatred'
    • I agree, Woody. I think a couple years ago Dershowitz was quoted as having advised his "client" Israel that the war for American public opinion was either lost or inevitably about to be lost. But his client keeps doubling down. He cannot win on the facts, cannot win on the law, so he's attacking his opponent's character. "Chutzpah" is the name of his autobiography, and may as well be his middle name. Whether he's personally a racist, I'm not sure, but he's definitely got one for a client.

  • Historic football victory provides another global stage for Palestine
    • Great job, Annie, and good plan. I wondered about those two while reading this post, but you're right to allow them to celebrate their championship. It's a story by itself.

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