Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 467 (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.

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

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

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

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

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

      "In my own country, we Jewish-Americans have generally superseded the WASP’s as the new elite, as the new “whites.”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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Great title and article!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Safe for those who have all the power.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Where are the consequences?

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

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

      Replying to seafoid re IDF needing scared citizens, and in anticipation of the coming debate between Schmuley Boteach and Naomi Wolf, see Wolf's ten steps to accomplish a fascist shift: link to theguardian.com, 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 mondoweiss.net"

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

      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 nytimes.com, 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 mondoweiss.net), 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 theguardian.com

      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 haaretz.com

      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 buzzfeed.com
      No confirmation yet for what is sourced at Buzzfeed as an anonymous official. If true, it is a further sign of the Obama administration's complete break with Netanyahu, and an internal discipline to do so under AIPAC's radar.

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

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

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

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