Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 439 (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 439 - 401

  • 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.

    • Page: 4
  • Modern Language Association resolution criticizing Israel sparks raging debate
    • The decision to fight in the forum of the academia with the weapons of hasbara is boneheaded. "Let's insult the intelligence of academia, we'll trump open debate with Israeli security and the global threat of Unimaginable Terror, and threaten to falsely malign them as a way to get them to do our bidding, or at least keep quiet, and if they don't, we'll know they're all common Anti-Semites. All 30,000 of those English professors. We'll show them."

  • In Brussels whodunnit, Netanyahu irresponsibly claims anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic motive
    • I suppose that another possible explanation consistent with what has been reported is that the assassin was Israeli, and the Rivas had somehow created powerful enemies within their own government. The choice of Jewish Museum, and the quick (and therefore ill-informed or based on secret information) blaming on the global common enemy Anti-Semitism, would serve a false flag attack purpose. They could be whistleblowers. They could have been blackmailing someone with inside knowledge of corruption.

      That's just speculative, but I agree it looked like a professional hit, drawing our interest to who they were, and the loud and too-quick blaming of the enemy of choice is consistent with not having a true interest in getting to the bottom of who done it, the foreclosure of discussion of that possibility a potential "cover." Especially the part about complaining that other European leaders hadn't yet reached out to offer condolences, with the thinly veiled quasi-accusation that failure to call to offer condolences for Anti-Semitism itself demonstrates Anti-Semitism. He's announced the reason, and any one who doesn't jump into line is an Anti-Semite.

      Compare this video with that of the IDF soldier firing a round as the Palestinian youth went down on Nakba Day. Both shooters looked detached and dispassionate, with what to do after firing already orchestrated, although this shooter was obviously faster and more assured with what he was doing.

      But it could be Anti-Semitism, we just won't know until the shooter is caught and/or better evidence is gathered.

  • Ted Cruz seems to believe the road to Pennsylvania Avenue runs through Jerusalem
    • Ah, the new Zionist horses, Cruz and Perry. That should ride well among academics and progressives. But they'll have to climb over Christie first.

  • Israel's high court hears appeal of suit by family of Rachel Corrie
    • "They maintained that Corrie was in a danger zone and so she alone was negligible for her own killing."

      "negligible" . . . . She is not negligible in the minds of those who admire people willing to stand up for justice.

      We'll see what the Israeli court is made of, justice, or rationalization for murder and oppression.

  • The Pope in Palestine
    • No menacing lobbies in the Vatican? A year ago, Francis commented that there is a "gay lobby" in the Curia, whose practices left them exposed to blackmail by corrupting forces, leaks of which contributed to Pope Benedict's decision to resign. link to

      But Francis is the guy to clean house. This is a powerful picture and it will be interesting to see in what news sites it will be shown.

      Also, I really enjoyed the exchange of gifts between Netanyahu and the Pope last year: from Netanyahu a copy of his father's book about the Inquisition (subtext: here's a book about evil in your Church directed against my people, you should read it and maybe learn something); and from Francis, a wood carving of St. Paul on the Road to Damascus (subtext: here's a carving of a famous Jew who persecuted Christians before he saw the light, may you be inspired to cease your own persecution of minority religions in Israel).

      Their next meeting should be electric.

  • Netanyahu scoffs at Obama's 2009 summons and 'threat'-- to stop all settlements
    • "Given the absence of any meaningful external or internal pressure, it would be nonsensical for the prime minister of Israel to take orders from this or any other President."

      It's true Obama is not comfortable with leading through strength, while the Israeli right-wing - and apparently you mzrt - believe might is right. "Why do the right thing if you don't have to?" is a rationalization for deliberately doing the wrong thing, for id conquering ego and mocking super-ego. This report illustrates clearly what is seldom addressed directly, that Netanyahu is deliberately saying one thing while doing its opposite, and laughing at those who are suckered. He's eating the pizza while negotiating whose pizza it is, and laughing at those who were suckered into believing he would ever allow "the risk of peace" to come about.

      He's there reveling with his base about having built many thousands of settlements while pretending to engage in peace negotiations, to have brought the Israeli Zionist dream of building out a new reality on the ground, while suckering the US and the world community into believing Israel wants peace.

      Perhaps you and the Israeli right wing believe this is in your interests, but Israel is building its mighty fortress on a sandy foundation. Obama is a weak leader, but he is deeply intelligent, he has given Netanyahu his rope. Under the Obama-Netanyahu "leadership," which might better be described an abject enablement of the settler enterprise and AIPAC excesses, Israel has lied and connived itself to the point where its businesses will be boycotted, its leaders will be indicted in the ICJ, its murders and mutilations of innocent Palestinians will be exposed, on CNN, at FIFA, in the UN, its blatant control and manipulation of our Congress will eventually become a point of historic shame, and Israel (or its right-wing, if Israel eventually reforms itself and turns on the right-wingers) will find itself alone in the world, condemned for all of its crimes.

      It is only "nonsensical" for power to "take orders" from those who do not rule by power, from the perspective that power does what power wants, right and wrong be damned. But when power is built on the foundation of western democratic republics, it is folly to believe that there won't be a reckoning, that the sheer evil of the racist settler enterprise and the sheer corruption of the AIPAC-controlled Congress working in its service won't be held to account eventually.

      Mzrt, you're arguing power where Annie is arguing right and wrong. In America, we put checks and balances on power, so that right always has the better chance at prevailing, eventually. "For here we are not afraid to follow truth, wherever it may lead us, nor to tolerate error, so long as reason is left free to combat it."

      The school of opinion in America to throw off the evil corruption represented by Netanyahu's laugh line "the what?" when asked about the peace process is growing bigger every day.

      "Altogether elsewhere, vast herds of reindeer move across miles and miles of golden moss, silently, and very fast." WH Auden, "The Fall of Rome." Our founding fathers had the fall of Rome in mind when they built checks and balances and created a republic, not an empire. Everyone of those corrupted people in DC swore an oath to uphold the constitution, and the school of opinion sufficient to right the ship of state is steadily building. Laugh at the temporary success of corruption, at the temporary suckering of democratic people worldwide, if that strikes you as funny. Justify Netanyahu's decision to celebrate with his base because that base hasn't been held to account yet. It's only a matter of time, and right and wrong matters. Thanks, Annie and Phil, and +972, for an important glimpse into the heart of corruption.

    • The only way for Netanyahu to suffer consequences for this contempt of the US is for reporting such as this to get wider play. Journalists and editors who conceal this contempt are complicit in the manipulation of the American people by and for the benefit of the Israeli right wing, a state of affairs that is deserving of infamy, yet is chuckled about by the Likudniks, with impunity.

  • CNN airs evidence Israelis used live bullets on Palestinian protesters
    • The video you've posted at the bottom is just the security camera footage. The link at the top to CNN is where the best video including the Israelis appears.

    • I agree, Sycamores, the CNN video is extraordinary evidence. Starting around 1:48, we see soldiers in a group, one on the right sighting, then firing, and another soldier then immediately taking the weapon away. Almost as if the firing soldier's "turn" was over. The collating of footage from CNN with two security cameras is also compelling. The testimony of the father with the backpack in which he found a bullet is also compelling. A masterpiece of reporting.

      The video of the Israeli soldiers will likely make it possible to identify the soldiers involved: young men making a tragic mistake, which is what happens in war all the time, but, unlike most occasions, this one caught on video for all the world to see and condemn.

      CNN has made an extraordinary contribution, their journalistic pride in having captured the live video overcoming institutional constraints on criticizing Israel.

      I imagine that, in some cases, PTS consists of such video replays going on uncontrollably in the minds of soldiers who find they cannot rest comfortably with their memories of war and what they did in the moment. Unfortunately, we will now see either official denials lacking all credibility, or, almost as bad, fake outrage by Israeli authorities blaming the young soldiers, like Rumsfeld blaming the Abu Ghraib guards.

      The school of opinion needed to end the occupation must grow exponentially from such compelling journalism.

  • Friedlander's 'plain speaking' on Israeli trends (per Bromwich)
  • 'Today at 0800, Israeli bulldozers came to the fertile valley where we planted fruit trees--'
    • It's not the government that is to blame. "We have seen the enemy and he is us." - Pogo. "A people deserve the government they have." [I don't remember who said that.]

      It's our fault for looking the other way, for not doing anything in response to prior injustices. I guess it's time to take BDS seriously. Let the Israelis suffer the consequences of tolerating and defending this bias and ethnic cleansing.

  • Why didn't ADL poll anti-Semitic stereotypes held by Israelis?
    • I find it offensive that the test presumes the pollee forms opinions about people based on their religious/demographic group. Where is the answer, I consider it prejudiced to try to generalize various traits which vary widely from individual to individual across large groups based on skin color, religion or ethnic grouping?

  • On the day two Palestinians are killed, 'NYT' reporter flashes snark
    • Great thought, ritzl. From your lips to Sulzberger's ear. And after they form that prism, then some more of us who don't have an axe to grind on either side can wade in to make sense of it for what some elitists like to deride as "Dick and Jane," but which I tend to think of as America's backbone. What Phil quoted some historian of Abolitionism as a "school of opinion" formed over years of watching Abolitionists draw the "valuable hatred" of slaveowners, and which ultimately carried the Union through the Civil War to end slavery.

    • Covering Middle East issues is no doubt one of the most emotionally challenging beats around, both for Phil Weiss and Jodi Rudoren, and much of that mostly negative emotion would come from being personally assaulted (hopefully only verbally) from impassioned critics. Jodi obviously comes "with personal familiarity" with the Israeli narrative, while Phil comes with that plus a cycle of disillusionment with it that has driven him to switch poles. I am certain that, no matter what Phil or Jodi write, they each receive personal attacks on their character for whatever it is they say. Phil has several years additional experience in dealing with this, while Jodi is still relatively fresh, and takes the establishment versus the anti-establishment side, so she hasn't built up as much scar tissue that makes for a truly thick skin. She's also shown no flash of brilliance that I recall, so seems shooting for lower targets than Phil, who is changing the world. I can't help but feel sympathy for people when they are personally and publicly attached, and I read Jodi's "snark" as coming from being so thoroughly and constantly criticized from all sides. She's trying to cope with humor, and, yes, it is insensitive, but those scars are still forming. I sometimes think that some non-Jew, non-Arab or Muslim should be assigned this desk at the Times, but then I think, how could they possibly survive, with only a non-tribal dedication to truth in journalism as a security blanket, and no one around with whom to commiserate?

  • The NYT and the NSA: Abramson and Baquet have different journalistic values
    • Is there no concerned rich person among the readers of Mondoweiss who would step in to provide financial support to Jill Abramson to encourage her and make it possible for her to fight this without needing financially to settle it? A lawsuit fought tooth and nail would provide the opportunity for discovery and sworn testimony of everyone involved. What a treasure chest to get at the heart of government (or multi-government) influence over our media. Warren Buffet maybe? Bill Gates? Any of the Asian-American billionaires who want to help preserve the America they emigrated to? Any billionaire who doesn't see eye-to-eye with those who are currently buying influence right and left. Does money only fall into the hands of those who want to protect Big Government so they can influence it?

      If so, just create a well-funded think tank - hire or otherwise engage Abramson with the support she needs to fight back with real punches. Make a lasting difference in preserving American values through the current round of corruption and incompetence. A couple other whistleblowers who've been destroyed for standing up for principle might also be worth your support, such as those profiled on Frontline this week, or that FBI translator, I've forgotten her name.

    • I nominate this post for a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism, although perhaps a new category is required. For investigative journalism focused on the filters and taboos practiced in the editorial rooms of important media institutions.

      Or for investigative journalism focused on government influence over media.

      Let's hope Jill Abramson fights back with all the weapons at her disposal.

      But let me predict . . . . she'll include a claim of unlawful discrimination based on gender, there will be a substantial - seven figure - settlement, and that settlement will impose a contractual obligation never to discuss the matter.

  • After first visit to Israel, 'Foreign Policy' editor says religious, garrison state has 'passed its sell-by date'
    • "Let’s hope he hosts more forums that lead the American discussion, and not just the American Jewish discussion, away from the narrowminded claims of his father and roommate, forever."

      Perhaps, having functioned as an Israel Lobbyist when he was supposed to be a journalist, rather than "lead the American discussion," he would participate in it, giving Americans who have neither a Jewish nor Muslim ax to grind, the opportunity to lead. Why do you consider him the natural leader here? Why not give the nod to someone like Stephen Walt, one not afraid to speak truth to power, damn the consequences, in the finest American and intellectual traditions? Why is Walt still sniffed at, and excluded from leadership, while this guy, who's finally waking up to his lack of fidelity to American and journalistic values, entitled to retain his leadership?

  • Israelis are in Nigeria to help search for girls -- Susan Rice
    • Let's not begrudge Israel its offer and delivery of help in this awful situation. What the US and Israel bring is the ability to search global data bases for information that may lead to recovery. The more they learn about these kidnappers (greatly facilitated by being on the ground), the more places they can look in the meta-data. One connection between one kidnapper and one cell phone may be all it takes to locate the girls. Then a Seal Team or Entebbe type raid might save them all quickly. And they'll deserve the good publicity, and everyone's thanks, if they contribute to a good result. They deserve our support as they make the effort.

  • 'Combatants for Peace' says Palestinians and Israelis are equal parties to conflict
    • "They are also renouncing the responsibility and culpability of the strong and ruling side, by concealing its shame under the mendacious narrative of equality and joint responsibility."

      And it is just such mendacity that the Lobby demands US political leaders recite with practiced enthusiasm, or face being sniffed at as having the whiff of Anti-Semitism.

  • South African radicals wanted to kill Paul Simon for violating boycott -- Steve Van Zandt
    • To Simon's credit, who knew Ladysmith Black Mambambo before Graceland? I've since bought one of their albums. I don't know the South African culture, whether they were viewed as traitors or sell-outs or otherwise disparaged for performing with him then, but who can deny that hearing those harmonies brings a positive intimacy with Black South African culture that is not otherwise available on the other side of the world. If Simon paid them double the going rate then made millions off of his album, he's exploited them, but he also introduced them to me and many others, so there's two sides that episode.

      But great work bringing the details of other long struggles against injustice to your readers, whether it is South African Apartheid or the Anti-Slavery movement in the US. To suffer in the moment to no apparent effect is made easier when such suffering is seen in longer time scale, with real justice eventually achieved.

  • Israel's unending settlements 'mortally wound idea of a Jewish state' -- Indyk
    • Indyk is at @46min to 1:14. I found him credible, and calling for leadership from Israel and Palestine, with most of the pressure on Israel. ICJ beckons/threatens. A flood of negative news in America does the same. There won't be any way to turn that flood back, once it starts, even though Indyk promises Obama is sincere in his unshakeable support for Israeli security. Obama's term is up in two and a half years. The flood of negative news that beckons/threatens today, if unleashed, will usher in a new era of political reality in the US whose course cannot be clearly predicted.

  • Newsweek: Extensive Israeli spying in the US kept quiet due to pressure from the lobby
    • This is an interesting development, up there with Friedman's article lambasting the settler movement (link to, Stewart's skit roasting Adelson (link to, the interview in YNET of senior state department officials blaming Netanyahu's Israel for the failed peace talks (link to But what does it signify in the context of the still-massive taboo-enforcement mechanisms in effect in the media? It's red-meat to Mondoweiss readers. But what effect does it have on the broader public? Presumably, these each represent individual decisions by writers (or comedian) and their editors/producers to goad the bear, yet there is no echo chamber for these articles/skits: they do not come with any legs, except on the blog sites like this one where the narrow market segment concerned about this issue seeks its news. Search via Google any one of these pieces and search in vein for citations to it on NBC/CBS/WSJ/Wapo/HuffPo(whose link to Stewart's skit deleted the Adelson segment)/AP/UPI/LATimes. Plus there is a measured pace to the whole that suggests an organized campaign being rolled out, step-by-step, in an effort to pressure Israel just enough to get it to change its course, without damaging the special relationship. And without damaging the mechanisms by which mass media coverage can be controlled by influential people who seek to use it for their own purposes on an ongoing basis.

      Walter Jones's victory on Tuesday despite being targeted by the Neocon war mongery, also a story without legs in the MSM, is another interesting development in this story of waning influence by one faction within an influential group.

      But academia is this influential group's greatest weakness. You can neither buy nor intimidate tens of thousands of tenured professors to turn them away from their dedication to seeking the truth. And mechanisms of controlling access to that truth inevitably become of particular interest to academics, as Walt & Mearsheimer showed years ago, now.

      To me, among other things, it signifies the importance of the echo chamber, that cryptic process by which certain stories grow legs, and others don't.

  • 'NYT' terms Islamic Jihad's 4 percent support-- 'new traction in Gaza'
    • Now would be a good opportunity for Mondoweiss to reveal how many unique readers hit its pages daily, or other statistics measuring its impact.

  • Obama outmaneuvers Netanyahu, at last
    • I think we see if the Tom Friedmans and Jon Stewarts take this on, as they each did a few weeks ago, in their own very different, but very popular ways. Friedman lectured the nation that these settlers are not the Israelis you met in summer camp, he sees that American Jews do not and will not continue to embrace the consequences of their intransigent racism, and he's chosen his side. Stewart lampooned Adelson as a swaggering oligarch intent on controlling with obscene political funding what Republicans can say about Israel.

      Journalists who care about journalism in the Middle East must read this blog, at least occasionally, especially for stories like this one, and each must choose whether to be a sock puppet for hasbara or a reporter on big stories like this. Academics place extraordinary value on academic freedom, freedom of speech, and, although the Lobby can try to punish them for taking up the cause of justice in Palestine, that will be counter-productive in the long run.

      So the Judo Master has thrown Netanyahu, using his own momentum, and we will see where he will fall. The racist settler movement has won internally in Israel, and Netanyahu has held his coalition together through the test. But momentum is everything. As Palestine moves forward in the international organizations and American Jews refuse to defend atrocities and BDS gathers steam, where does the momentum take Netanyahu? Great use of tactics in pursuit of no discernible strategy.

  • Don't destroy our dream-castle Israel! (Why the Jewish establishment shut out J Street)
    • "J Street is right that the rejection is a naked display of the brittle orthodoxy of the Israel lobby."

      To further mix that great metaphor, consider that, with brittle structures, it takes only a stiff breeze to blow them flat.

  • It is 'full-fledged apartheid' now but Americans can use a familiar term, 'segregation' -- Mustafa Barghouthi
    • Barghouti's comment saying why not call it segregation, a term Americans understand better, has a certain media brilliance in light of the current news cycle weaving two racism stories that so far have not arched together (to my knowledge) but which carry strong potential to do so: Kerry being forced to apologize for using the A word in describing Israel's political-social-legal-civic treatment of Palestinians as an oppressed lesser class living within Greater Israel and subject to its control, and the NBA banning for life Donald Sterling (fka Tokowitz) for being frankly racist in his attitudes toward Blacks, and invoking the reality of Israeli racism in doing so (the white Israeli Jews treat black Israeli Jews "like dogs." "It's not racism, it's the world - live with it"), and invoking the calls he got complaining from the people he cares about having to look at pictures of Don's girlfriend sharing a celebratory moment with Magic Johnson on Instagram.

      The story of Israeli racial discrimination-segregation-apartheid is out there in raw form, with the story for how it gets policed in American media on obvious display, if not yet acknowledged by the talking heads. "We're going to talk about these related topics, but, for now, at least, we're going to studiously avoid connecting them, because we operate under taboos that, for whatever reasons, cannot yet be openly discussed." And we're going to show outrage at Sterling, but avoid speaking of his Jewishness and ties to Israel, even though he invoked the latter explicitly, and the former implicitly (who are the people calling him up to complain??? his KKK buddies???), and some of us at least have reported those comments - e.g. Newshour last night - so we know they're out there. And we're going to report certain people expressing outrage at Kerry for using the A word, but we're not going to do so with the same sense of shared outrage because we all know on some level its phony hasbara designed to allow swaggering oligarchs to cynically continue to buy publicity tricks to display to the world the opposite of reality.

  • NBA owner Sterling reportedly sought to justify his racism by citing Israeli racism
    • It's illegal in California. But it doesn't make me uneasy to learn it just because a legislature decided to use the law to suppress this form of information. Let Donald Tokowitz sue his girlfriend for violating his statutory right not to have his call recorded. Maybe she can give him back the Land Rover. It will make me uneasy if Tokowitz uses technicalities and his influence, and that of the crowd he was referring to who called him up to complain about his girlfriend's Instagram posts of her socializing with Blacks like Magic Johnson, to avoid all the consequences he deserves for being such a racist.

  • Khalidi: It's time for Palestinians 'to get off their knees' and turn to Europe and ICC
    • Clearly put. And in what universe should it be the US's objective to keep an oppressed people from seeking justice in the ICJ? If that is a threat to Israel it is only because they are perpetrating international war crimes and want to continue to do so with impunity. The US objective should be to end international war crimes, not enable them.

  • 'Al Jazeera' examines Jewish constellation of lobby elites, and marginalized 'universalists'
    • "We’re not about to see an end to the Jewish presence in the American elite, or for that matter an end to American elites."

      I for one feel that the notion of American elites is not a good one, nor true to American values. The Southern slaveholders were elites and they got theirs. Grant beat the shit out of them, and he was working before the war as an assistant in his family's dry goods store. "All men are created equal" is the founding principle. "To secure the rights of the people, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed." Devotion to elitism is un-American.

      Or as Jefferson said: "There is an natural aristoi among men, signified by virtue and talent." I don't think he meant that it was important that people go around labeling who is elite and deferring to them as better than others, but that the most talented and virtuous would naturally rise. Don't label them as WASPs or Jews. Label them as the most talented and virtuous. That's the American way.

      I remember in DC 35 years ago there was a popular restaurateur written up in the Post who divided people into four classes: lions, tigers, monkeys and dogs. The first group were the major Kennedys, and a few others, the tigers were movers and shakers in a class below - the most influential lawyers, etc., he considered himself a monkey, someone there to amuse the lions and tigers, and everyone else was a dog.

      Washington & New York are all about elitism, the recognition of which becomes an excuse for abuse of power. Jefferson said America was a nation of shopkeepers, and that the average man on the street could quote Latin. That is the ideal - people who consider themselves ordinary, but who are educated, engaged, and the backbone of America. As Admiral Halsey said, "there are no heroes out here. Just ordinary men facing extraordinary challenges." Fuck elitism.

  • Snowden revealed a world of conspiracies I once would have scoffed at-- Bryan Burrough
    • Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not trying to get you.

      The deriding of conspiracies has at least two valid bases: 1) the suspicious but not too bright person who builds a conspiracy theory that leaves out important facts that make the theory a dud, and takes action based on faulty assumptions, embarrassing himself or harming others. 2) Conspiracy theory combined with prejudice, which assumes facts not in evidence to build a false theory, at the expense of innocents who belong to the group discriminated against.

      But I agree, there is an important place for conspiracy theories because sometimes small groups gang up to take advantage of others - con artists, e.g.

      I used to follow a rule that groups bigger than three or four could never be relied upon to keep a secret, so that conspiracies theories that involve large groups were almost certain to be phony. But the Kennedy assassination shows how organizations can be built, with institutional loyalty to secrecy and need-to-know compartmentalization, allowing broad organizational support for conspiracies the details of which are only known to a small handful.

      Perhaps this suggests a third basis for the deriding of conspiracy theories: organizations like the CIA rely on broad organizational belief in an exoteric higher good - secrecy in service to national security in a time of threat from global Communism - to pull off an esoteric domestic assassination, and the deriding of conspiracy theories is intended to discredit those who in the broader organization or public seek to examine the facts supporting a conspiracy theory.

    • Thanks, Lysias, I'll put those on my reading list. I keep hoping some journalist or historian will ask Poppy Bush about it, and he'll blurt something out in his dotage that points the finger. Or he or someone else will decide to unload before they go to their graves.

    • Such knowledge is worth billions to hedge funds who can use it, in highly leveraged and secret fashion, like other insider information, to turn our economy into a rigged casino. Billions can buy the loyalty and intimidate the subservience of scores of Terry Gross's and their media outlets, not to mention elected officials and their minions. Social organizations like Zionism, Neo-Conservatism, Neo-Platonism, the NSA and CIA, and, frankly the whole Washington culture nauseatingly depicted in "This Town," "House of Cards" and "Scandal," provide supportive social frameworks that turn what others regard as obviously corrupt and evil into what participants come to rationalize as laudable service of a higher purpose, the burden of the elite. The key to the founders' wisdom was in anticipating such abuses of power and striving to structure government and society such that abusive power would always be offset by competing power. Technology has magnified the power and the harm possible, and it remains to be seen whether we can overcome this latest threat. But if so, it will be in no small part due to the connectivity of the internet and social media empowering random observers to organize in ways that were not previously possible.

      As to the proper role of conspiracy theories, I again highly recommend Douglass's book, "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters," as the best account I've seen for how this assassination is likely to have occurred and how a massive cover-up could be done and gotten away with. The best account of how a higher purpose, "plausible deniability," can be used to create unaccountable power in very small CIA units whose secrecy must be protected for the higher good, national security, which can then be turned to great evil facilitated by a large group believing they're doing the right thing for a higher purpose, with only some small handful in on all the actual details, which remain largely hidden. The book won't tell you who ran the operation, but it will show you how ceding power to organizations like the CIA and NSA, where individuals are vulnerable to abusing power, where they think it essential in the fight against an existential threat - the Soviet Union and global Communism - can lead to catastrophe.

  • 'NYT' abided by Israeli gag order even as 'EI' scooped it repeatedly
    • Is there a distinction between Rudoren residing in Israel obeying Israeli civil law, vs the Times publishing articles by someone not in Israel on the same topic?

  • Friedman prepares American Jews for a divorce from zealot Israel
    • Thanks, Phil, for this excellent coverage. What Mr. Nutshell says in the NYTimes and wherever he is syndicated on this topic is big news in the war of ideas in the middle east and deserves this kind of coverage. "[T]he worthy business of Friedman’s piece is stating that the Israel American Jews fell in love with is over." You're Mr. Nutshell yourself with that sentence!

      And thanks on behalf of all non-Jews for this: "'You did not go to summer camp with these Jews.' (Non-Jewish readers are chopped liver)."

      A sub-focus of this blog has always been how the Zionist narrative fits and clashes with American values, and not just Jewish-American values. Friedman talking to American Jews about their grandfather's Israel and their grandmother's America on the pages of the NYTimes, as if the rest of us aren't there, is pretty hard for non-Jews to miss, even when they've been used to reading Friedman as if he were their expert on the scene. And when the family feud from the Seder dinner spills out into America's lap, and that feud includes, as Jon Stewart put it, what 80 year old Jews want to tell American politicians about what words they can and cannot use in describing Israel, it is hard to believe that "your grandfather's lobby" (another great line) will retain the same level of power: the set-up is virtually complete for someone to make a scene about resisting the Lobby, and having that play to their advantage everywhere the Lobby has sought to stifle resistance. A rigid structure set to be blown flat by a good wind. We went from Chas Freeman being abandoned by Obama, to Power and Hagel being confirmed but only after they were publicly forced to humble themselves to their arrogant overlords, to Netanyahu making Congress give him 87 bi-partisan standing ovations, to now, when the Lobby is being depicted as Sheldon Adelson the "swaggering oligarch" insisting that Republicans grovel in Las Vegas to "kiss his scooter-riding 80-year old ass." [Jon Stewart]. Stewart gets the laughs. Friedman gets the readers. The Lobby's power is now all illusion. And they've shown themselves increasingly inclined to respond to challenge by upping their arrogance level, an historically catastrophic tendency.

  • It's time to reveal the Israeli role in the US surveillance machine
    • Great article. I continue to be concerned about the value of this information to hedge fund billionaires and wannabes (American, Israeli, Russian, Chinese, wherever) who are every day looking for sure-fire ways to make money by shorting assets whose market price has not yet taken into account negative news not yet public. Pick any highly valued asset, and it would not be hard to identify the corporate people most likely to be communicating by phone and email about key issues facing the company. An analyst and trader with access to such email and phone traffic and inadequate ethics could make huge profits. For every Snowden, there's likely to be ten analysts who might be seduced to provide inside information secretly for money. Within large corporations already processing this information for other reasons, there's risk of systematic exploitation of this information. Without accountability or outside checks on people handling such valuable information, it's only a matter of time before abuse occurs. The fact that the press looks away from news that this information is being outsourced to Israel pursuant to a MOA that relies on them to delete on sight stuff they're not supposed to look at suggests its already being abused, big time. Remember Friedman boasting about Israel's innovation economy by virtue of 1800 new millionaires in Israel in the 12 months or so following the global financial meltdown???? No mention as to how they made that money.

  • For Miliband, the road to 10 Downing Street runs through Jerusalem and Sderot
    • Phil, I appreciate the report that he was asked three times if he is a Zionist and that he declined to answer each time. It seems to me 1) that this is both a reasonable and an increasingly important question to ask politicians in the US, UK, EU, Australia, etc., and 2) that there is a taboo in effect that permits Zionists to avoid having to go on the record. The question was asked in Israel, but an answer might have pinned him down back home in ways that Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, and numerous other successful politicians (and Supreme Court Justices) are not. I suggest that one of your sub-goals in the war of ideas in the middle east should be to allow and encourage discourse, including direct and frank cross-examination by the press of politicians, on the dual questions: are you a Zionist? And, if so, what does that mean to you (ideologically, emotionally, and/or with respect to whatever specific issues come up).

      The suppression of such discourse is antithetical to US democracy. And if there are Anti-Semites out there who will feast on the news, let them: it is neither an excuse to suppress relevant political inquiry, nor effective in quelling Anti-Semitism to misuse law and policy in an attempt to control thought. Such is the cost of power in America, and an often-effective check on uncontrolled power.

  • State Dep't tries to clean up Kerry's 'Poof'
    • Great reporting Phil, and great comments. "Poof" is such a great word for this moment in the I/P peace talks, and in the [largely] unrelated [or parallel universe] US domestic consumption and reporting of those events. I've likened Kerry's actions to juggling chainsaws [peace process, Syria, Iran, and most recently Ukraine]. We've had fun noting the passive-aggressiveness used by the Pope and Secretary Kerry in dealing diplomatically with Netanyahu [Kerry's extended references to Rabin in a formal meeting not too long ago, the Pope's gift of a wooden carving invoking the epiphany on the road to Damascus of St. Paul, a "thorn in the side" of anti-Christian Jews, when Netanyahu gave him a copy of his father's book about the Inquisition]. And now, at center stage, we have a "poof" moment, when much of the structure on stage disappears suddenly in smoke, and the multiple audiences gasp and strain to make out what new forms emerge or appear to emerge [are they real or more illusions?]. Reading Psaki as she goes thru her Kabuki dance is becoming ever more entertaining as more and more people are in on the joke.

      By the way, I haven't seen Mondoweiss refer to John Stewart having great fun with Sheldon Adelson in light of the Supreme Court's McCutcheon extension of Citizens United last week, at the tail end of which is this sequence:

      So let me get this straight, Justice Alito doesn't see how money corrupts politics unless you can draw a straight line from "I am giving you this money to do this thing for me". Well, let's see if we can find Justice Alito a broader non-literal quid pro quo. Like a historical example of the corrupting influence of money in politics. What if we reached back in history, to like, this weekend?

      [video clip insert] JAN CRAWFORD, CBS (3/27/2014): The Republican Governors are heading west to Las Vegas. ... They're speaking at the Spring Meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, but more important, their private talks with one man — Republican super-donor Sheldon Adelson.
      [Stewart again] [omit gross joke about "super donor" referring to money, not something else . . . .] So a pack of Republican presidential hopefuls just flew all the way to Las Vegas just to kiss the scooter-riding ass of one 80-year-old billionaire. Doesn't prove anything though, right? I mean, people on Fear Factor [omit another disgusting joke about what people will do for $50K]. It doesn't mean the two are connected. It doesn't mean that money changes their behavior.

      [another video clip insert] 3/31/2014:
      CHRIS MATTHEWS: Later, according to NBC News, Christie did apologize to Adelson.

      JOE SCARBOROUGH: He ended up having to apologize for referring to the West Bank as "occupied territories".

      [Stewart again]: Still don't think money has a general corrupting influence on politics? Cuz I can tell you this. My family is full of 80-year-old Jews who would very much like to tell politicians what words they can and cannot use to describe Israel. But as of this taping, no presidential hopefuls have flown to their house to solicit that opinion. Obviously, we tape at 6, the show's on at 11, things could change between that time. There may be a presidential hopefuls conference at my Aunt Doris's house right now. If so, obviously Monday's show will be a full apology.

      Transcript at link to

      With Friedman in the NYTimes Sunday Review, and Stewart on the Daily Show declaring open season on Adelson, in front of their mega-audiences, I'd say that we're not in Kansys any more.

      To what extent, if any, have these media events been orchestrated or coordinated by the White House? I'd like to know who the master Kabuki Theater writer/director is, because Netanyahu is no match. He's about to find out he's been the sucker in a huge comedy routine all along.

  • Because Rep. Jones voted 'present' on Israel aid, lobby group runs attack ad with burning flag
    • I think having the ECI running such ads against one could rapidly turn into a plus, although a rural North Carolina Republican district may not be the best ground to chose for a symbolic fight between the Lobby's Goliath and an America First David. It takes courage to stand up to that kind of onslaught, but a guy who knows himself, and isn't afraid to point out the damage that Israel is doing to the US military could be all that's needed to expose the Lobby as that con man behind the curtain. That's a compelling story about why he turned against the War in Iraq, and there's a chance that the Lobby, consistent with Netanyahu's chronic ham-handedness, are about to be seen more broadly as the ill-advised buffoons and bullies that they are. Which side does Thomas Friedman and the NYTimes take on such a public contest between ECI and J Street? They could totally legitimize Jones in standing up as an America Firster against the Adelsen funded swaggering oligarchists.

      I'm beginning to believe the Dems best hope in November is that the NYT-Friedman-and their long media train decide to savage the Likud-Neocon-Adelsen-Settler enterprise alliance, in favor of Obama-J Street, and open up freedom for American Jews to distance themselves from the ongoing war crimes being committed in their name in the Middle East. There's no more deserving crowd to own accountability for those war crimes, and once the liberal elites and the majority of American Jews draw the line separating themselves from such corruption, the war of ideas in the middle east will be over.

  • Friedman says Iran's friends include BDS and Jews in Open Hillel movement
    • Two observations: most bias is unconscious, that's why it is so insidious. How we combat it can be intensely frustrating for those for whom it is blatantly obvious, because it no longer seems possible that it could be unconscious, but for Friedman's non-Jewish liberal audience, the tone he strikes is not necessarily the wrong one. I'm reminded of studying James Baldwin in a very white college class in the 1960s, where Baldwin was writing about race with an editorial "we" to refer to we his readers, as if he were himself white. I can imagine Black Panthers resenting him and bad-mouthing him for adopting such tropes, but, in my class, at that time, that thought never occurred to us. He was part of our turning away from our prior bias which we had not previously recognize as such. Similarly, for my liberal academic friends who lap up Friedman's words, and who have been knee-jerk Israel supporters, unconscious reciters of hasbara, and never heard of this column, this could be a big wake up call.

      "Terrified" is a bit much. He's been a cynical champion of the Iraq war, and of anti-Muslim bias, but he sits in a high place in America's punditry, and he has very consciously decided to fight the Likudniks and neocons and settlers and rightwing rabbis for the soul of Israel and of American Jews. And that is a good thing. He's decided to join the school of opinion that has grown up watching the primal clashes between Abolitionists like Phil, and Rachel Corrie, and many others who've suffered deeply to contribute to the effort for justice in Palestine. And he'll bring along millions with him. Important millions, many of whose unconscious bias will be corrected through the process. Shame on him and them for waiting!? Spit on his image for being a shameless opportunist. Sure, Phil is entitled to shame them. But don't forget to celebrate.

      [The coverage above omits all the important things Friedman said that will advance Phil's efforts.]

    • I think Phil and Krauss and some of the other commenters are letting personal animosity toward Friedman cloud your perception of the importance of this piece. The lede is that Friedman has called Adelsen a swaggering, reckless oligarch trying to buy the governments of both the US and Israel, in pursuit of dangerously bad policy objectives that [drumroll] are an existential threat to Israel. He mentions "'the occupied territory,' as the US State Department calls the West Bank" not so much as a "bit of hasbara" but to set up his description of Governor Christie groveling to apologize to Adelsen for using that same term in his remarks to the "Adelsen Primary," which he is condemning in the NYTimes.

      When has there ever been such a blunt criticism of the misguided money behind the Israel Lobby in the pages of the New York Times? How many liberal elites who don't think too much about Israel are now more fully informed, motivated to fight against Adelsen, to be repulsed by heavy-handed AIPAC abuse of its bought-and-paid-for control over Congress, and to understand that right-thinking people have a right and duty to stand up for democracy and justice against that lobby and its oligarchs. You can nay-say it all you want, but this is a big article, a big step toward justice.

      Don't be unwilling to share credit for your movement when tommy-come-lately joins your parade, even if he is very annoying in his arrogance and his style.

      As an aside, I think Republican groveling in the "Adelson's Primary" reported in the NYTimes could help turn the tide, if anything can, to save the Democrats from devastating losses in the November elections.

  • Courageous conductor, democratic society -- the NYT's Mehta meme
    • Picking at the NYTimes over cultural aspects of its pro-Israel bent is fine, but Thomas Friedman just called Sheldon Adelson Iran's best ally in destroying Israel! Called him a swaggering oligarch! Identifies him as what's wrong with politics in both Israel and the US. In the NYTimes Sunday Review. This is all over Haaretz, Jerusalem Post. This is big, Big, BIG! Not to criticize my favorite source for the war of ideas on the middle east, but don't wait too long.

  • When Anja Niedringhaus went to Gaza
    • Pamela, the image no doubt belonged to her employer, so she may have been jeopardizing or at least abusing her employment relationship to promote [via an interview], an unauthorized display of the photo. So I wouldn't read her "wanting" into feeling obligated to respect her employer's rights.

  • 'NYT' readers who objected to calling Abbas 'defiant' have a point, public editor rules
    • We all suffer from bias, and much of it is insidiously below the surface of our own awareness. A public editor is in a great place to expose such insidious bias, but it does help to have downfield blocking, and a developing school of opinion that has been emerging over time as people's attention has been attracted to seemingly fringe characters sparring with and drawing hateful, abusive, overreactive responses from people in power. Abbas asking for justice for the oppressed at the international organizations and being characterized as being unreasonably defiant, and no partner for peace by the occupying force backed up by the world's only hyper-power, is a perfect foil this bias which, at its core, is a simple prejudice that all Palestinians are both inferior and possessed of murderous intent toward the Israeli Jews. Abbas should ask for justice in the international organizations, and the US should stop providing downfield blocking for the oppressor regime. "Let justice come down like water, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

  • An open letter to J Street: Let's talk
    • More from Haaretz: Pretty powerful stuff! Israel seeks to incite a third intifada to justify more ethnic cleansing and oppression. Instead, they're told they'll get indicted in the ICJ. Why wait for the Israelis to take new reprisals?

      "Palestinian demands

      The Palestinians issued six main demands in connection to the core issues at the meeting:

      1. A letter of commitment from Benjamin Netanyahu, in which the Israeli prime minister recognizes the 1967 borders and recognizes East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.

      2. The release of 1,200 Palestinian prisoners, including Marwan Barghouti, Ahmed Sa'adat and Fuad Shubaki.

      3. Implementation of the border crossing agreements and an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

      4. The return of the Palestinians who were expelled from the West Bank in 2002 after a siege in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity.

      5. A freeze on construction in Jewish settlements, including Jerusalem, the reopening of Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem and family reunification for 15,000 Palestinians.

      6. Prohibition of the entry, for the purpose of carrying out arrests and assassinations, of Israeli security forces into areas of the West Bank that are under Palestinian control, and the transfer of Area C to Palestinian control."

  • Boteach posts censored videotape of Columbia debate
    • If you're capable of empathy for guys like Boteach, Adelson, Netanyahu, Cheney, there's plenty of irony and tragedy involved for people who wield so much wealth and power, are possessed of so much skill and self-confidence, have such a clear - if deeply flawed - vision of what they're trying to accomplish, and manage to make such an historic botch of the whole endeavor, slowly unfolding on the pages of Mondoweiss.

    • Whatever happened to Boteach's nephew Efraim Diverolli, the 22-year old arms merchant who somehow won a $300M Pentagon contract to arm Afghanis and was indicted for re-selling illegal, ancient Chinese ammo that didn't work. link to Hard to believe that a guy with his own arms merchant background who can play the key role in getting Samantha Power appointed over Zionist opposition wasn't involved when his young nephew stumbled through a Marijuana haze to get a plum government contract. But I think Henry Waxman did an inquiry that affixed the blame solely on Pentagon contracting officials' incompetence.

      When accountability is removed, abuse and incompetence thrive, often at historically outrageous levels. Enough so, and repeatedly so, such that our founding fathers had this risk in the front of their minds when they created our highly inefficient, tri-partite federal government, to insure that whoever has political power in America will always have ambitious competitors seeking to draw them down. The press as our fourth estate is an additional check on such power. Phil sparring with Shmuley is an important scene in the historic and ongoing effort to bring abusive power to account.

      Is this the first appearance of Phil Weiss in a political cartoon? I predict it will find a place in the definitive biography of an important warrior for both American and Jewish values.

    • Latuff's date 2013 must be a typo? Or is this deja vu all over again?

  • Reports: Abbas faults Israel for 'procrastinating,' says Palestine will move to join int'l organizations
  • Boteach stops reporter from videotaping Columbia University debate
    • Seems like the censorship of video-taping became the story. Was there anything else reportable out of the debate? If there were audio recordings, can someone put together a transcript, if it is worth reading/

  • US Jewish leaders blast Harvard students on pro-Israel trip for taking photo at Arafat's tomb (Update)
    • Practicing thought control and intimidation tactics directed at elite students and faculty in America is as idiotic as it is self-defeating. Free trips seemed to have worked for awhile . . . . which says something about human gullibility.

  • Obama doesn't talk to Jimmy Carter -- because of Israel
    • Carter has stimulated "valuable hatred," or maybe, "valuable radioactivity" would place the phenomenon more in our time. Thanks for covering this tidbit. Note for evolving school of opinion: presidents who express support for Palestine or opposition to Israeli Apartheid get disinvited from the White House and their own party's convention, which means our "establishment" practices thought control enabling oppression. The academics are in process of rejecting the establishment on this issue, and the progressives were heard booing the heavy-handed way that establishment railroaded pro-Israel planks over popular opposition at the 2012 convention. The momentum is bending toward justice at accelerating pace, and those still practicing oppression will soon be outed as history's bad guys, in the Pantheon with the Confederates and the South Africans.

  • Ululating at Vassar: the Israel/Palestine conflict comes to America
    • Great reporting, Phil. Feels like the Spring of 1970, or will feel that way, when/if violence does break out.

      It's interesting that Doonesbury is rerunning its earliest cartoon strips depicting Mark occupying the President's office at Walden College.

  • Brandeis prof blasts school's deference to Israel and AIPAC (and donors Steinhardt, Schusterman, Crown)
    • Excellent work by Professor Mairson: American values vs Zionist values, laid out in simple contrast. Stand with the damned, indeed! That only works if you've got strong central organization, plenteous funding, and people wearing blinders and ear-plugs, prepared to rush, lemming-like, off a cliff and into the sea.

      It's not so easy to sustain such idiocy indefinitely against the institutions of universal rights, free speech, limited government intended to secure individual liberty, and the natural tendency of each new generation to challenge its parents' sacred cows.

      Interesting to read this and Jodi Ruderon's piece in the NYTimes this morning about Abbas's son having given up on a 2SS and looking for equal rights in a Greater Israel, instead, 1SS dead ahead. Zionist dream of ethnic purity evaporating in the strong light of a diverse modern world.

  • 'Forward' lives up to its name, bashing denial of Palestinian narrative and donors' control of Hillel
    • "There is no point in arguing with your Hillel director, or Eric Fingerhut, Hillel’s president and CEO, or the Jewish Museum’s staff. You are clearly right. But if they listen to you, they will lose their jobs."

      Now there's a brilliant piece of analysis. It has the potential to change the attitude of protesting students toward the organization's leadership from one of intellectual adversarial argument to one of economic understanding and pity. And it turns the focus from those bought and paid for to those doing the buying.

  • Kerry tries to get out of Jewish-state trap set by Netanyahu and the lobby
    • They are playing litigation when they need to play deal-making. It's a psychosomatic state in the brain: I must one-up my opponent, lest my manhood be suspect, vs. let's identify your interests and my interests, and see if they overlap enough to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. What do their crowds want to see? Their champion returning with a scalp? or news of a new era of cooperation? As the much stronger contender, Netanyahu sets the tone, and he clearly does not want peace. He wants to crush his opponent, and then blame him for victimizing his side.

  • Fruits of a right-wing takeover: Knesset barrage limits Arab parties, conscripts the ultra-Orthodox, and puts the peace process to a vote
    • I agree with Hophmi and Scott on why size matters.

      I agree with dbroncos that the lack of a written constitution 66 years on is more likely an ingenious subterfuge than anything else. My working assumption is that the Talmud and other ancient Hebrew doctrine provide for a means of government of a Jewish State that give great authority to Chief Rabbis, who are elected, and that they have, pursuant to those religious laws, ceded authority over most governmental functions to the elected government, but retaining jurisdiction over marriage and family law, and certain issues such as who is a Jew for various purposes. Under the US system, the constitution recognizes that political power comes from the people, and its ratification by different levels of representative government, and execution by officials elected under it, make for a consistent system - far from ideal, but proven to be able to survive and re-correct itself despite historical levels of incompetence and corruption among those in power at different times. And, of course, it separates church and state. To enact or otherwise formally ratify its constitution, Israel would have to express clearly where it believes authority comes from, and perhaps failure to finalize it is just a way to split the baby, placate the rabbis and religious while holding out to the world and its secular population that it is a constitutional democracy.

      Perhaps someone who knows Israeli political and religious history better than I do can correct or improve upon this working assumption.

      I think the ending of the exemption of the Haredim from military service, with 1800 exceptions, is a good thing, and, in any event, appears to resolve a dispute between right-wing and religious zealots.

      The referendum on I think shows that Kerry is making progress, and provides a way for elected officials to divert the wrath of those who see ceding claims to Israeli lands from them, to avoid Yitzak Rabin's fate. Or perhaps it is just another subterfuge to prolong forever the prospect for peace. It'll all get passed, then voted down by the Israeli public.

  • Zirin challenges sportswriters to report Israeli violence against Palestinian soccer players
    • This is an important story, but the need for hard facts cannot be understated. What was reported about the two recent shootings, and the implication that there is deliberate targeting, are explosive and could go viral, if some critical social exchange threshold in a process that I don't understand, is reached. But one of the most amazing tactics of the spin artists is to take a huge negative story that has been covered up, such as George W. Bush's being AWOL for the Air National Guard, and destroying the story and the story-teller by setting up the reporter - remember Dan Rather? - with forgeries of the real documents. Zirin mentions a lot of players, and I agree they need to be looked into closely, and I find the possibility plausible given all else we know about Israel-Palestine. But we need ten different reporters digging out real facts and reporting them, not just the horrible implication (which without facts are indistinguishable from an Anti-Israeli slur), to where they become immovable. Who shot these two? What are their names? What do they say to the allegations? What does their commander say? What do five eye-witnesses say? Who killed or arrested the others? How are they connected? That's a lot of players killed or injured, but it's not very plausible that there's a widespread program to destroy Palestinian national soccer by targeting their best players, without more evidence linking the perpetrators to each other or to a common leader or program, or initiative. It's shocking, but it will be even more so if it's true, but discredited through a "Karl Rove special."

      One could start by interviewing one of the coaches or long-time team member, or someone else who's intelligent and been closely involved deeply, all along, who knows everybody, is perceptive, can sort his own knowledge between what he saw, what he hears, where, when and from whom.

  • US Homeland Security investigates Israeli arms deal to Iran
    • Way to go, Annie. What do you make of this? What is Israel's motive in allowing or causing prohibited arms shipments to occur? I remember trying to sort out Iran-Contra and confess the logic of Israel's involvement there escaped me at the time. Is it just a lucrative opportunity for well-connected arms dealers who are greedy and profiteering, maybe paying off their own enforcement people? Are they sending in Trojan Horse arms that they retain some hidden control or access to after the Iranians deploy them, e.g., by misrepresenting their source? Or is there some other explanation?

  • Video: 8-year-old boys stopped by soldiers-- 'you were about to throw stones'
    • See Zambardo, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, about the Stanford Prison Experiment

  • Evangelicals who dissent from Christian Zionism wear 'stain of indelible infamy,' Israel says
  • Battle over Maryland's anti-boycott Israel bill heats up
    • Lobbying state legislatures to punish free political speech by a large liberal academic group upset by Israeli oppression of Palestinians and protesting it is so obviously a losing cause that one wonders about those making the decisions, both the quality and the purpose of their thinking. If they by miracle were to succeed, it would certainly help solidify the liberal academic community against the Israel Lobby, at best briefly delaying, and at the same time magnifying the utter rejection of the very idea of thought police in academia. "Think as we tell you, or you will be sorry, we'll get the legislature to penalize you," is a joke of a strategy.

      Group think can cause smart people to do stupid things, and that is the most likely explanation here. Organization and message control can be powerful tools, but there should be wisdom commensurate with capability.

  • Thousands denied water in Jerusalem as California Gov signs energy pact with Netanyahu
    • Did you see Mark Shields on NewsHour today? Laying to our elected officials and what they've become toward politically active billionaires in the wake of Citizens United: "[they've been turned in mendicants, into supplicants, and basically into ideological eunuchs." Could have been his finest five minutes. When he said it, I flashed on Pelosi telling AIPAC how the center of world innovation is Israel (not her home town Bay Area). Jerry Brown, too. What was it the SNL Senator said in the skit that didn't make it to air: "Pass me that donkey!"

  • Dateline, Ukraine: How the State Department 'midwives' democracy
    • Well, give that flea a megaphone. Obama needs breathing room to not follow the dictates of the neocons. There needs to be a counter-narrative in the press that doesn't buy the Ukraine = white hats, Russia = black hats BS. There needs to be a counter-narrative asking who in our government is striving for confrontation between the US and Russia and why? People in the press, people in Congress need to ask these questions.

      Incidentally, I just finished Season 2 of House of Cards, and we're working our way through Scandal. It's hard to keep the first ladies and presidents and other support characters straight between these two, both of which seem to be the same story of diabolic corruption, complete with CIA and NSA and hacker snooping via phones and all else electronic, with brilliant protagonists overturning every basic American value, in pursuit of power. Popular TV turning it into entertainment, historic low approval ratings for all the institutions of power, the table seems set for someone to expose the real base of corruption.

      Let those who manipulate power and press to start wars for ulterior motives be exposed and held accountable.

    • I had to read to the end of Bandolero's comment, with Kiracofe's dot-connecting, to see how this report was on topic for Mondoweiss. Are Russia and the US really such pawns in neocon games?

  • State Dept to 'check out' vicious attack on Palestinian athletes
    • Thanks, Bumblebye [and Annie!]. It's a start. Assuming the facts reported so far are true, this can be a test of the taboos still in effect at many media organizations on digging too thoroughly into Israeli misbehavior, perhaps a catalyst for re-examining them.

      Anything short of full accountability in this case will be grossly disappointing.

    • How about some English subtitles to the video? This is a story that could go a long way. Who shot these athletes in the foot and broke their knees? What do they have to say for themselves? What do Israeli officials have to say? Can we see them explain themselves? What does the Israeli public say? What do their consuls and rabbis and representatives hither and yon have to say? Get them on video! Get to the bottom of this. In detail. There are a lot of soccer fans in the world. This is gasoline on the fire of BDS, but the facts have to be gathered and presented thoroughly, so that the global public sees them clearly, not wondering what the Arabic means, wondering who filmed it. This is the time to make up for the death of Rachel Corrie, and a million other injustices. "Do justice, and walk humbly with G-d." Now there's a principle from Judaism that resonates around the world. "Let justice rain down like water, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream."

  • Pelosi calls Israel's creation 'the most spectacular political achievement of the 20th century'
    • Pandering at a new level: "I may represent the Bay Area, but I humbly defer to the true masters of innovation." This exchange says a lot about the power relationships Israel's leaders seek and revel in, the detachment from reality they entail (and what it takes to hold a leadership position in Congress). I'm reminded of Alexander the Great, and the point at which it became common for the masses to prostrate themselves in his public presence, something the young Turks did willingly, but his old guard fellow Greeks and Macedonians who'd known him since youth found offensive. America = checks and balances to protect the people from unbridled power, the need to prostrate oneself in front of anyone.

  • The NY Times' unbalanced coverage of the BDS movement (Updated)
    • Re: the update and KS's form letter, I'm reminded of the old joke about the person who complained to railroad about a cockroach in her food on the dining car, and got a very solicitous letter from the President of the RR apologizing and reciting all their efforts to ensure highest standards of cleanliness, etc., etc., and to which was clipped a note from the President to his secretary, "Send this jackass the cockroach letter."

    • I think the public editor owes us a comprehensive look at bias on this and related issues at the New York Times. Many of its readers lived through de-segregation in the South, and know how insidious bias is, how anger rises in response to its criticism by those who call it out among an establishment that harbors it below the surface of their collective consciousness. This is the most important job of a public editor; otherwise, she's just enabling that same bias, deferring timidly to the anger of prejudice.

  • Thinskinned AIPAC blackballs Jim Lobe
    • It's all "valuable hatred," and thanks to Phil Weiss and Jim Lobe and others for enduring it so that the rest of American society can learn from the hostility and further assess the merits of the considerable influence AIPAC continues to wield in the halls of power.

  • Anti-BDS activism and the appeal to authority
    • "Organizations that maintain dossiers on pro-Palestine activists and work closely with surveillance agencies to suppress dissent really have no choice but to evoke the repressive apparatuses of state power in order to counter threats to their supremacy."

      I disagree on two grounds: 1) organizations are people and people always have a choice whether or not to be repressive; 2) "evok[ing] the repressive apparatuses of state power to counter threats to their supremacy" is a wholly un-American concept: the whole essence of the American constitutional approach is to divide and limit government, and turn the egos and ambitions of each apparatus to the task of holding each other back. The so-called unitary executive backed by zealous neocons, coupled with the new technology-enabled capacities of the surveillance state and the recent habits of leaders in the executive and legislature to dissemble and enable dissembling to keep secret the extent of such repression, and of the press to enable this, may be working to enable historic levels of repressive capacity for the moment, this state of affairs is likely to be temporary, with major backlashes likely, as both liberals and libertarians, both moderate progressives and moderate Republicans come to realize there is a shadow government that holds itself accountable to no one, uses terrorism as the bogeyman to deflect scrutiny, and does not have our interests at heart. While the behavior of the Zionists may be predictable, it is not excused on the theory that they have no other choice.

      But thanks for the valuable insight into the authoritarian vs grass roots divide in the ongoing struggle. The public is watching, and these clashes have value in moving public opinion. BDSers keep pointing to examples of oppression in Palestine, authorities keep screaming Anti-Semitism. People figure it out eventually.

  • Ramaz says, Jewish high schoolers can handle Beinart, but Khalidi would overpower them
    • Students learn from their experiences, perhaps more vividly and forcefully from having their invitation overruled by authority (valuable oppression), than by what Khalidi might have said.

      I am reminded of Noah Feldman's NYTimes Magazine article, Orthodox Paradox about being excluded from Maimonides School alumni publications when he started dating a non-Jew, who became his wife and the mother of his children: link to

      And of his vivid recollection in that article about a particular incident in which an alumni-physician-guest speaker explained his interpretation of Sabbath law to allow him to always care for non-Jews on the Sabbath, which was challenged by a rabbi on the fine Talmudic point of whether his intent was to help the patient in need or to protect the Jewish community, followed later by the rabbi's apology to the class for having made his point in a mixed meeting, rather than in a Jews-only discussion. Where will such tribalism come out in its clash with the American values of separation of church and state, freedom of expression, and equal rights for everyone? Trend seems pretty clear.

  • 'When I go into the class, I am preparing tomorrow's citizens for the next war'
  • Judis says Museum of Jewish Heritage has reinvited him to June 1 appearance!
    • Very funny, seafoid. Lost in translation.

      Thanks, Phil, for continuing to highlight this contribution to the dialogue. Note to self: must read Judis' book.

  • 'Price-tag' attacks on Palestinians are as Israeli and common as matkot on a Tel Aviv beach
    • Why am I reminded of this photo from the Civil Rights era?link to

      I guess it is the KKK model of mostly anonymous brutality against the hated underclass, leaving polite society free to express its disapproval, without doing anything about it. These deputy sheriffs are grinning in court because they are in on the joke: they get to dole out the brutality, then come in afterwards to investigate the crimes, secure in backing of the judicial system. It's a double whammy: the pariahs get brutalized, then their cries for justice get mocked.

      I suspect there is an evolved somatic state into which prison guards, torturers, slaveowners, KKKers, and price-taggers are apt to slip, in which prisoner, suspect, slave, Black underclass and Palestinian become objects of both cruelty and derision. See, Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil, about the Stanford Prison experiment. [High school bullies overturning someone's books in the hallway, then howling with derisive laughter at the victim's helplessness is an even more common example.]

  • AIPAC chair pushing sanctions on Iran is crucial Obama backer
    • Thanks, Phil, for completing the necessary information a reader needs to understand that op-ed. Mondoweiss has been Toto pulling the curtain back to show the carnival professor behind the screen, working the apparatus of the Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz. Only in history, time moves more slowly, and the moment of realization takes a decade or more to sink in among a large enough school of thought to justify overturning the prior order. Shame on the NYTimes for being such a willing tool - I guess it is reduced to being the microphone into which the professor thunderously shouts, "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! I am the Great and Powerful . . . . "

  • A month later, de Blasio's AIPAC declaration continues to roil New York
    • Phil described the phenomenon of "valuable hatred" by Slavers toward "radical" Abolitionists creating public fireworks through which the broader community gradually developed a school of thought that found the slave culture to be unacceptable. Romney got taped pandering to the one percent. De Blasio to AIPAC. House of Cards, Scandal depict thoroughly corrupt, highly deceptive politics in DC. AIPAC's fellow travelers forced Secretary Hagel to fellate the donkey. Perhaps "Valuable pandering" may be an analogue, by which a school of thought is growing up that finds pandering to special interests, giving AIPAC and those who pander to it a free pass to corruption, unacceptable.

  • Jewish community commits intellectual suicide before our eyes
    • The dual loyalty charge and its denial are false analytics, left over from tribal living thousands of years ago, when one's tribe counted for one's territory, language, religion, various disciplines of food, thought, etc. In modern times, we all belong to many tribes - our local, state and national political jurisdictions, our political parties or factions, our religious groups, our workforces, our schools, our neighborhoods, the sports teams we root for, the news, entertainment and social media outlets we invest time in, the professional societies and clubs or other organizations we belong to. The modern state, led by the American model, deliberately limits the power of each tiered political jurisdiction, separates church from state, asserts the individual's liberty to do as he or she well pleases, subject to limited government constraints, and asserts that the purpose of each political jurisdiction is to secure the rights of the individuals who comprise the jurisdiction, deriving its just powers from their consent - not from God or higher authority. All the different groups we belong to compete with each other for our attention, loyalty, support. Unless you're sworn to some office of government or the governance of this or that society, your loyalties are yours to dole out as you see fit. In 225 years, following this model, the US has achieved unprecedented success and stability, and demonstrated repeatedly its ability to endure and eventually slough off historic levels of incompetence and corruption among its elected leaders and people, and to continuously improve upon its cultural institutions, to attract new talent to its gene pool, to make more perfect its union. The history of what I believe are three relatively brief Jewish states, based on a covenant between G-d and the Jewish tribe, in a promised but disputed land, subject to a rigid religious code and process that makes different rules for Jews and non-Jews, administered by rabbis and political authorities to which the rabbis cede power over military and civil matters, has been one of very temporary ascendancy, conflict, and repeated failure. Any American Jew is free to support Israel and whatever political movement, philanthropy, think tank, school of thought, and other institutions and groups he or she chooses, except that, upon taking government office, or the office in any other institution or society, prior loyalty to that government or society is required. If any American takes any such office, pledges such loyalty, but openly or secretly reserves a higher loyalty to another group, then that American is not fulfilling his office, and is subject to rightful criticism from members or citizens who make up the jurisdiction or society. The notion that the loyalties of our leaders cannot be fully dissected and discussed is anathema to American free speech and free press. To America, Jewish angst over what it means to be a Jew and an American, how leaders who happen to be Jewish should resolve dissonance between loyalties, are just examples of robust civic life in a free and diverse modern society. History favors limited, democratic, representative, non-racist, non-religious government, that owes its highest loyalty to the laws of the land which secure our rights in an open society - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - to us, its people. Racists, fanatics, fundamentalists, totalitarians, fools, censors, and thought police be damned.

  • Gaining the 'valuable hatred of their enemies,' boycott movement is educating others
    • "Valuable hatred" is a very interesting insight, Phil, as is the notion of a slowly developed "school of opinion" among those watching the dispute between Abolitionists and Slavers, "ready one day to revolt with decision against continued complicity in wrong." I am reminded of Grant's reflection, which I think reflects that "school of opinion:"

      "There was no time during the rebellion when I did not think . . . that the South was more to be benefited by its defeat than the North. . . . The former was burdened with an institution abhorrent to all civilized people not brought up under it, and one which degraded labor, kept it in ignorance, and enervated the governing class. With the outside world at war with this institution, they could not have extended their territory. The labor of the country was not skilled, nor allowed to become so. The whites could not toil without becoming degraded, and those who did were denominated 'poor white trash.' The system of labor would have soon exhausted the soil and left the people poor. The non-slaveholders would have left the country, and the small slaveholder must have sold out to his more fortunate neighbor. Soon the slaves would have outnumbered the masters, and not being in sympathy with them, would have risen in their might and exterminated them. The war was expensive to the South as well as to the North, both in blood and treasure, but it was worth all it cost." Grant's Memoirs, Volume 2 (loc 217 of 6031 on Kindle).

  • Jewish groups used anti-semitism smear to try to stop boycott debate -- Holocaust scholar who heads MLA
    • Well said, Marianne Hirsch, and the tools of thought-control so clearly revealed. Mischaracterization, exaggeration, conflation, personal smears are poor choices of weapons in an academic debate. Fighting and losing publicly for thought control in the MLA, in defense of a brutal occupation coupled with naked land grab, takes both chutzpah and stupidity, which, unfortunately seem to be in abundance in Israel and among its staunchest American supporters. Maybe if they shout a little more loudly and shrilly, that will make the difference, turn it all around?

  • 'NYT' highlights AIPAC's first failure in 30 years, as de Blasio and Hillary jump on Iran bandwagon
    • Her quoting the US intelligence community is significant in that it places AIPAC's goal to enact new sanctions as directly contrary to the judgment of our own intelligence community, in addition to our President and (current) State Department. Talk about daylight between Israel and US. AIPAC/Likud have perhaps now demonstrated to the Israeli right wing that the US cannot be pushed as far as some apparently assumed it could be. This shows Israel/AIPAC is being run by a group that is increasingly out of touch. The hope is that this will weaken and isolate the right wing within Israel, helping lay the groundwork for peace. The risk is that a real effort for peace will create havoc in Israel, dissolving governments, riots, further attempted assassinations of peace-makers, a parallel disarray emerging there, as among American Jews here. A constitutional democracy is designed to survive such turmoil, to continue to perfect itself. Can the Jewish State?

  • Israelis accuse Kerry of courting rockets, anti-Semitism, and Nobel Prize
    • A predictable tactic as Kerry starts to win on the merits - a personal smear designed to change the subject and put him personally on the defensive. Does he react by pleading with the defamers in self-defense, or dismiss them and the charge as a pitiful effort to change the subject?

  • Lost in Occupation: Scarlett Johansson ends relationship with Oxfam to stick with SodaStream (Updated)
    • I think there's a carrot and a stick for SJ: yes, she's being well-paid under a contract with SS, but SS has also invested millions more in developing and buying air-time for the ad. For her to turn on them at this point could make her liable for significant damages, probably would breach several terms of her contract, upon which they've relied. So the decision she makes today to resign from Oxfam may not be the same decision she'd have made when she signed that contract probably unaware that this issue would fly as it has. As Annie points out, it's all great PR for BDS, and SJ has provided it, even if that isn't what she intended. She's probably not sleeping well these days, stuck without good options, living with unexpected consequences of an earlier decision.

  • Foxman says US gov't is conducting 'vendetta' against American Jews with Pollard case
    • Looks like the final terms of Iranian/Palestinian deals are being hammered out, and Pollard may be an item in that end-game, a sweat beed in Kerry's performance juggling chainsaws, but an issue to those in Israel who won't find an historic peace acceptable without retrieving prisoners.

  • 'Embracing Democracy' event at DC Jewish community center broaches the Nakba
    • Thanks, Sibiriak. Great link. And, consistent with Finkelstein's analysis and with the "new hasbara" preparing various audiences in Israel and the US for the framework for peace, here's another shoe dropping (by Professor Yehezkel Dror):

      "The bitter pill Israel must swallow if it wants peace:
      Israel cannot live as a state of denial any longer. It must relinquish dreams for a 'Greater Israel' and actively seek peace in the region, but will need a new framework for such revolutionary deeds."
      link to

    • I see it as an opening of the door for a comprehensive settlement and peace, which includes acknowledging the suffering and losses of the displaced Palestinians, seeks to compensate them, and opens a door for reconciliation; if not a right to return, then a right to visit maybe? A Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital? A right to be paid off for compromising all future claims? Feels like tectonic plates are moving in Israel. Obama-Kerry-Netanyahu-Lieberman moving them. Right wing fringe in Israel and their American Neo-con allies going postal, but military-intelligence leadership on-board, maybe driving (remember closing line of The Gatekeepers - must avoid Israel winning all battles but losing war, (having been all tactics, no strategy). It feels like the real power structure in Israel is testing out/prepping the American Jewish establishment for a big framework proposal. It's this plus peace with Iran, or its war with Iran, BDS going mainstream, next Intifada, and would the US really join us in going to war in Iran? Kerry saying so, Obama saying so, but everyone working on peace, and we saw what Obama's word tied to red-lines on going to war meant in Syria. I.e., squat. Feinstein, Debbie W-S in the loop, holding line, taking heat, keeping quiet, rest of AIPAC Neocon war machine not in loop, trying to amp up pressure, but not working.

  • Pressure builds on 'double talk' Wasserman Schultz-- not a 'real friend' of Israel
    • It seems to me this is a Democratic Party issue as deep as they come. Where is the debate within that party playing out? We got to see the convention vote on the Jerusalem issue on live TV, but surely there are heated discussions ongoing throughout the party over whether the DNC Chair supports Obama or AIPAC?? Can anyone provide a link? or explain how the party works without such debate?

  • Oxfam expresses 'concerns' over Scarlett Johansson's support for settlement product
  • Cracks in the lobby: Wexler warns Netanyahu not to be 'cavalier' about US support
    • I agree this is a watershed time for Israel/US relations. The American Jewish community has risen in America primarily as part of the liberal establishment, which has supported Israel in the past as consistent with liberal values. The ugly reality of the Israeli right wing, the corrupting effect of being an occupier, the fraudulent nature of the hasbara effort, the racism directed at Palestinians, the misdirection of American Power to fight dirty little counter-productive wars so that it will be ready and willing to fight wars for Israel, are all coming to a head in America. The liberal establishment here cannot be joined at the hip with the same Zionist movement that is joined at the hip with the Christian zionists and the Sheldon Adelson moguls, the Gitmo torturers, the Iraq War fiasco, the whole Clean Break/Global War on Terror strategic plan, which has now fully demonstrated its bankruptcy over the last fifteen years, with AIPAC and Abe Foxman left to smear with false accusations of libel those realists who seek to serve America by criticizing and correcting failed policies. With Obama and Kerry making every effort from the perch of American intellectual liberalism, if the Israeli Right Wing thinks it can continue to submarine these efforts and continue the same eat-the-pizza-while-negotiating-with-Palestine-over-whose-pizza-it-is strategy, while libeling all critics as Anti-semites, which is now being mocked for humorous effect in multiple settings, it is mistaken. And what will come out of the other side if this peace effort fails is an isolated Israeli right wing relying on oppressive and naked aggression for its territorial ambitions, supported only by right-wingers, religious zealots, and others who can be bought for money, as their only allies, as global liberalism turns against it.

      This will be bad for Israel, Diaspora Jews, and the world generally, and only right-wing zealots and various ideologues are blind to this reality. If there are those in Israel who imagine an end game of some global eruption of Anti-Semitism driving the Diaspora home, or the Messiah coming, or a combination of those, they are surely madmen who need to be stripped of power immediately.

  • 'Economist' pulls cartoon showing Obama shackled to Congress bearing Star of David
    • Abe Foxman is talking himself out. He says the same over-dramatic B/S over and over, and at some point, people stop listening, understand he's part of the Lobby.

  • When you watch football, you are complicit in violent assault
    • Off topic, Phil. What? You need to take on another popular cultural institution? Zionism getting too tame or stale, must take on football? Must alienate American blue collar workers, too?

      Stick to the War of Ideas in the Middle East. Focus. You're having an impact.

  • Three 'NYT' stories propagate official Israeli narrative
  • What Irish hero Michael Davitt tells us about Jewish history
    • Great multi-cultural perspective, although, since I didn't know much about Kishinev, I had to look it up to learn that it occurred in 1903.

      On reflection, I'm reminded that an English translation of Solzhenitzen's book, Two Hundred Years Together, has never been published. It would be interesting to see how he reported, if at all, on Kishinev, from his Russian perspective. Always valuable to see things from different perspectives, rather than relying on "engines" of public opinion.

  • Eric Alterman declines request to debate Max Blumenthal at Brooklyn College
  • When a Jew gets 5/3 of a vote...
    • A war of ideas, please. Not a war over ethnic entitlement or influence. America can survive and indeed thrives on the former, but the latter is un-American, since the era of multi-culturalism has arrived (and which resulted from the triumph of universal ideals over ethnic ones).

  • Elephant waddles through room. 'NYT' doesn't see it
    • I agree HarryLaw. I suspect that if someone did a poll of average NYT readers they'd find a surprisingly large percentage are well aware that there are Israel-related taboos in effect. They read Haaretz and Mondoweiss for news on the Middle East, and they read the NYT to see how those filters are working today and how they're finally changing. What that percentage is would be elucidated by understanding how many people read Mondoweiss? Phil, Adam, care to share?

  • Huck and Jim vs. Herzl and Morris: Mark Twain on Zionism and the first aliyah
    • Great to still be hearing from Twain, and using the Huck/Big Jim team to ponder on what's right and moral, and with appropriate deference to their betters, more than a century after his death. Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.

      "It ain’t no use, we CAN’T kill dem po’ strangers dat ain’t doin’ us no harm, till we’ve had practice . . . . "

      Compare Irving Kristol in Commentary in 1984, urging American Jews to drop liberalism and instead support interventionism:

      "If American Jews truly wish to be noninterventionist, they have to cease being so concerned with Israel, with Jews in the Soviet Union, or indeed with Jews anywhere else. To demand that an American government be interventionist exclusively on behalf of Jewish interests and none other—well, to state that demand is to reveal its absurdity. Yet most of our major Jewish organizations have ended up maneuvering themselves into exactly this position. They cannot even bring themselves openly to support the indispensable precondition for the exercise of American influence on behalf of Jewish interests in the world: a large and powerful military establishment that can, if necessary, fight and win dirty, little (or not so little) wars in faraway places. It is the winning or losing of such wars that will determine the kind of world our children inherit—not striking pious postures or exuding moralistic rhetoric."

      See marc b.'s comment a year ago: link to and the link to Commentary there.

  • Palestinian villagers capture settlers carrying out 'price tag' attack in West Bank
    • I do not think it is appropriate to publish posts talking about taking life away from these settlers or anyone else! Not sure where it originated, but it is not a good idea to host such a discussion.

    • The NYTimes has an article up on this incident this morning, but, as is often the case, one learns far more about it, and the scope of censorship at the Times, from reading Mondoweiss. At least the NYT mentions "price tag," which may send some of its readers to the internet to see what that's all about. Thanks, Annie.

  • 'Wolf of Wall St' reflects Jewish rise (though Scorsese leaves that out)

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