Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 698 (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 698 - 601

  • Who running for president is not 'friends' with Benjamin Netanyahu?
  • The anti-semitism charge is the canard
    • Is there any room, in your view, in the Democratic Party debate for non-Jewish realists, who do not necessarily define themselves in terms of their relationship, if any, with Zionism?

  • The Obama administration needs to own up to the quagmire in Syria
    • Historical dysfunction, I would say. The most powerful man in the world wastes $500M on a plan that he has his press secretary say "my advisers made me do it, they should own up," as a sorry political chapter in a tale of such woeful destruction, barely hinted at in the image of a small, drowned boy on the beach, or the videos of dying bodies, twitching, foaming at the mouth from chemical weapons being deployed on civilians by whom? There are conflicting stories, but no civic will to get to the bottom of it, just political claptrap. Those who persuaded the President to paint himself into a corner over use of chemical weapons, and then complain bitterly when he failed to act on his "redline," look suspicious in their constant warmongering, but no one takes them on. Then all these revelations from Bandolero make one's head spin: the layers of deception, false flags, turncoats, indirection.

      If Obama is at war with Netanyahu, why the hell doesn't he fight?

  • Nostalgia
    • The guy who asked Trump that question, I would wager, knows perfectly well Obama's religion and place of birth. In my experience in the Jim Crow South, deliberate mixing up of names and facts was often employed (e.g., "what do ya think about this Mahtin Luthah character?"), as a way of saying, "I'm not going to honor this person by pronouncing his name correctly, or stating his background correctly, I'm going to deliberately screw it up because I don't like the guy, and my good ol' boys will get a laugh out of it," the exact reaction Trump gave him. Lyndon Johnson used to used the same ploy on, among others, Henry Kissinger, pronouncing his name "Keesinger," to his great distress. There was some old Southern cold warrior, I've forgotten his name, who always said "commonists," in reference to Communists, using the same tactic. It's just like the "Democrat Party."

      I'd wager that most of the Republicans who answer those poll questions are doing the same thing, deliberately answering incorrectly, and laughing at the effect.

      It's not the gang of allies that I would've thought Israel would seek to align with in America, but, there you have it.

  • Netanyahu 'declares war' on stone throwers
    • Stone throwing is not the answer. Perhaps the Palestinian youngsters should write down a message on a piece of paper, and protest by throwing the messages, wadded up, at the Israelis. In addition to throwing them, someone could collect and post them on a website, or tweet them, in Arabic, Hebrew and English. This would transform the photographs of Palestinian youth throwing stones, an act of violence that only occasionally injures, but can lead to death, into a war of words. Israel will win the war of violence, but they cannot win a war of words against those they oppress. The youth can go through the motion, reducing the chance of harm to themselves or their target, and sending a more sophisticated, potentially winning, message, to the world.

  • 'New Yorker' says anti-Zionism is 'firmly rooted' in British left, and it's anti-Semitic
    • But what explains the difference on this issue between the UK and America, two nations, as Churchill said, divided by a common language? Is it England's longer history? Is it their closer relationship to things going on to the East of the Mediterranean, due to geography, prior Empire and colonialism? Their educational system?

      England was also ahead of the US in abandoning and outlawing slavery. Were there common reasons for that difference in timing, that suggest that the US following suit on Palestininian solidarity is merely a question of timing? Or are there other differences between the countries that would tend to have the US follow Israel, rather than England?

      History is now and England, wrote TS Eliot.

  • Iran Deal aftermath brings warnings of donor backlash against Dems
    • With the old-line hard-core Neocons vowing vengeance against Dems who supported the President, and Israel declining to prosecute those who firebombed the Dewabsha family - at least for the time being - "to protect intelligence sources," thus greatly strengthening the likelihood of international criminal justice intervention, the question becomes, how long does it take before being targeted by AIPAC for political vengence becomes a badge of honor, votes in the bank?

      I'm reminded of the "valuable hatred" line from the Lincoln biographer Phil quoted a couple years ago, there in reference to the Abolitionists. While the larger crowd was not ready for Abolition, and regarded the Abolitionists as crazy fringe people, the eruptions of hatred they generated among the powerful slave-owners was valuable in the gradual development of a school of thought among the mainstream populace that eventually led to the popular will to fight and win the Civil War.

  • Netanyahu aims his WMD at Obama and the Democrats
    • So Netanyahu is striving to convince the American public to replace Obama with a more right-wing, closer-to-Likud leader in 2016? Meanwhile, he apparently wins points among his fearful right-wing electoral base in Israel and the Occupied Territories, by standing up to the superpower. So, it's all political?

      Maybe so, I dunno. But if so, it is all the more reason for Obama to deliver a political knock-out blow to Netanyahu and Likud. Why he feels obliged to toady to someone who holds him in such contempt, who is so politically divisive, and is so antithetical to Obama's entire world view, is beyond me.

      Force him out of office. Otherwise, it will continue to get worse.

  • White House uses Cheney to bolster support for Iran Deal
    • Great music, too, that tuba suggesting a great source of flatulence while the lighter instruments suggest aimless wandering around.

  • Debacle for the Israel lobby: Booker jilts Boteach, and Netanyahu sinks AIPAC
    • 41 would be so much better than 40. Just as 61 was so much worse than 60, in the Israeli election. Sometimes, every vote matters, every vote is in fact decisive. My vote is that 41 oppose, the bill fails, and, shortly thereafter, the Netanyahu coalition falls apart. For what it's worth.

  • Ben and Jerry won't tell you who's trying to kill Iran Deal
    • So not MW's finest hour.

      B&J sold out 15 years ago, so the whole premise about selling in the West Bank is misdirected. Plus, B&J deserve credit for using their fame and name association to advance support for the Iran deal and (not necessarily without risk from those they sold their brand to - there could be contractual language about not damaging the name - potential exposure for violating it).

      And they promote a novel way for voters to tell their representatives that there will be negative consequences, and this, I think, is the key value: non-organized, non-billionaire Democratic donors are intensely frustrated that their representatives take all that money from AIPAC and their (loose) affiliates, and avoid saying or doing anything to offend them, to the point that small donors cannot compete. Congresspersons even ask small donors for money that will be matched by unnamed (and obviously heavy-giving) supporters, so the fear is you cannot support your own representative without further empowering his or her largest donors.

      You should include the moveon link in your article, so that your readers can join in that message: link to

      But thanks for publicizing B&J's efforts. I'd otherwise have missed it.

      Oh, and everyone (since Voltaire) knows whose name cannot be spoken in criticism.

  • You'd think Wasserman Schultz would lose DNC job for bucking Obama on Iran Deal
    • Democrats who fail to support the President here should lose their national party positions. There have to be consequences for corruption; otherwise it will get much worse.

      And, unfortunately, the Israel of today shows us every gradation of corruption, from weaselly go-along-to-get-along so-called centrists, to government officials demanding that the IDF open fire on women when they try to protect their injured child from police brutality, as they are displaced from their homes and land, to police who cannot find any suspects for burning people to death in their homes at night, to political leaders who pander to racist fear and blatantly lie about their intentions.

      Every gradation of corruption, racism, and brutality, and it will continue to get worse, until it is brought to a head by direct confrontation via people with power. That would the President, the US government, P5+1, and the President's political party.

      Otherwise, Democrats have embraced all that right-wing, fascist corruption as their own. It's shameful and disgraceful.

  • 51 Christian faith leaders urge Congress to vote for Iran Deal
    • Yeah, I was glad to see that, given her opposition on the BDS front. It is good to see mainline Christianity (i.e., excluding Christian Zionists) becoming active on this issue. Out of a deep stupor, the ghost of mainline American culture past rises to protect the republic.

      Phil has long pined for and now celebrates a debate among American Jewry. I'd like to see a debate among American Christians, isolating Hagee, et al, for the unChristian warmongery they represent.

      On the political side, it will be interesting to see what impact 50 churches have on our elected officials.

  • Beinart's fear of 'Israstine'
    • Hophmi,

      I lived for awhile in the Jim Crow South, during the Civil Rights era, attended a segregated school, and listened to racist students and teachers talk about how the races could not live together, and those who thought otherwise were treated with equal dismissiveness, along with contempt and ostracism, not to mention threat of violence.

      And today I live not far from where those three American friends grew up who overcame the armed gunman on the train in France this weekend - three friends of mixed races who grew up finding community in something other than skin color - and for whom the ingrained racism that was "accepted wisdom" within the white Jim Crow community would today sound as foreign and offensive as both Muslim and Israeli extremists sound today. I have lived in both versions of the American community, and I repeat, it all depends upon how you define your community, how children grow up defining their community, taking cues from their parents and elders.

      Attributing my view to an "utterly obtuse lack of intelligence and humility" is a form of personal attack that reminds me of how any hint of defense of Civil Rights was greeted by that segregated community: "Oh, so you're a N***** lover? Hey, everyone, get a load of this guy, hahaha."

      I'm also reminded of that scene from Schindler's List, where Schindler is hosing down the train full of Jews being sent off to die, in sympathy for their suffering in the heat, a form of identification and community, that was not felt by his other community, the Nazi officers who howled with laughter, sitting in the shade on the platform, joking that he was the cruelest of all, because he gave them hope.

      What is the point of building the State of Israel, if it will never find a sense of community with its neighbors? Why be at the cross-roads of many civilizations, if you're vision of a nation is one with impenetrable walls?

    • He should read MLK's I Have a Dream speech, to help him imagine that state, and to help him understand why his outlook is so similar to that of Southern segregationists, who themselves had difficulty imagining the US as it exists today, 50 years after the Civil Right movement.

      It all boils down to how you define your community, and he's defining his in an exclusionary way, inconsistently with American values.

  • End of lockstep US Jewish support for Israel is a triumph not a tragedy
    • Check out Jonathan Landay's piece for McClatchy today, Why is Israel's nuclear arsenal not mentioned in Iran deal debate, which starts out:

      "There’s one major issue that President Barack Obama, his supporters and his critics assiduously have avoided as they battle over the deal designed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons: Israel’s own nuclear arsenal."

      It includes this from Avner Cohen, and Israeli American in Monterey:

      "Cohen, an Iran deal supporter, also believes that it’s difficult to understand Israeli leaders’ fervent opposition to the accord – especially Netanyahu’s unprecedented interference in domestic U.S. politics – without understanding that they’re worried about maintaining an undeclared nuclear monopoly they’ve enjoyed for decades.

      “'Part of the 800-pound gorilla missing in the debate is an indication of Israel’s true interest,'” said Cohen, a professor of nonproliferation studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, Calif. 'Israel’s primary but unstated interest is to keep its own nuclear monopoly, in other words, not to allow anyone else (in the region) to have the bomb, not to allow anyone else to even get close to the bomb. The Israelis are concerned that the nuclear deal with Iran effectively provides Iran certain international legitimacy for being a special nuclear status, and the Israelis don't like it.'"

      Read more here: link to

      link to

      Interesting coverage of both sides of the issue, per the Mondoweiss thesis.

  • Leading Israeli journalist says Israel is an Apartheid state
    • Maybe there'll be progress in US media coverage when reports of Israeli Apartheid are coupled with reports of Israeli lobbying on Iran, reports of Adelson and Saban both calling for pre-emptive bombing of Iran, reports that Netanyahu's greatest fear, as shared with his cabinet, is that Iran will comply with the deal, reports that Netanyahu still thinks the US invasion of Iraq has had positive reverberations throughout the Middle East - "Hey, I'm still in power, we've added x hundred thousand West Bank housing units, we've mowed the grass twice in Gaza, Syria is dissolving into chaos, just like Lebanon and Iraq, Anti-Semitism is on the rise around the globe, Israelis are more afraid today than ever, and I'll soon be the longest serving Prime Minister in Israeli history, with the most right-wing government. All of these factors are positive reverberations from the US invasion of Iraq, all according to Neocon-Likudnik plan."

  • Kerry's stirring speech in Cuba was jammed with Iran echoes
    • Not that many saw that speech. What I did see I saw through the right wing frame, checking to see how Rush Limbaugh's rants align with the Lobby's. Nothing in Rush's talk that day about Iran, but plenty about Cuba and how pathetic was Kerry's talk, the whole deal was.

      I agree, Phil, this speech resonates with Iran, and more deeply, with American values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. There's a story here about how those values have been submerged to benefit Neocon objectives, for decades now. It is time for the country to arise and take a deep breath of fresh air, and, as a nation to rededicated, reconsecrate our commitment to those values, not to the false values of world domination through intimidation and aggression.

  • Israel begins using drones to monitor West Bank protests
  • Extremist settler youths descend on Palestinian worker, beat him with rod, fist and boot
    • Maybe Obama should ask her to the White House.

    • Kate, I confess I do not read your column daily. I find it overwhelming. A piling on of compelling facts, all written from a journalistic point of view, without expressing directly the righteous indignation, passion for reform, and other editorializing that otherwise characterizes much of MondoWeiss.

      But when I do read it, I always pine to see more of this as part of the daily news in the MSM. By what law of screening do these news items get filtered out? Do we owe it to Benjamin Netanyahu, Michael Oren, Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Lieberman, to look the other way when their climate of racist hatred and fearful warmongering lead to such abuse? Do we owe it the government of Israel when its deliberate policies of relentless settlement expansion, ongoing displacement of Palestinians, all enabled by false pretenses of wanting peace, when it is land and ethnic cleansing they want make us enablers of awful human rights abuses?

      I am grateful to Mondoweiss for giving your collection voice, but I think it is time that your feed got broader circulation. Margaret Sullivan, Judy Woodruff, why does so much news of so many atrocities not make it through to your audiences? When a foreign government guilty of this flood of abuses spends $40M to persuade our elected officials to abandon diplomacy in dealing with Iran, why be their censors to protect them from righteous indignation?

  • AIPAC spending estimated $40 million to oppose Iran Deal
    • Spending the money is apparently a first amendment right, per the Supreme Court and Citizens United. But it is also Obama's, and other interested parties', right to use this process as a teaching moment. The right communicator could turn all that investment into a huge backfire for Netanyahu and AIPAC.

      The American system depends upon the American public, given enough information, to sift through it all, and, eventually (after exhausting all the alternatives, as Churchill liked to say) getting it right.

      Rather than an argument among the Jewish community, what matters is a discussion among the American community, a no-holds barred discussion of what is the right thing to do. With Mr Hamhanded Yahoo apparently committed to continual re-doubling of efforts on the failed Neocon ideology, the door is open for someone to finally flay them for the failed Trotskyite warmonger ideologues they are. But you don't get there by respecting their sincerity and offering to appease them in ten different ways.

  • If I Were an Israeli Looking at the Iran Deal (to the tune of 'If I Were a Rich Man')
    • Satire? Detracts from this website's all important coverage of the coverage. Friedman is an important media voice, widely followed, and he has used his privileged position on the NYT OpEd page to call out Netanyahu for his failure of leadership. Isn't that also worthy of coverage here?

  • President Obama wants us to argue about the special relationship
    • Trump and the American Jewish community.

      It will be interesting to see how Trump maneuvers here. He doesn't need the money, but he does need the political support, not of Israel and AIPAC, but of the American Jewish community. He's always seemed pretty Philo-Semitic, but in a purely self-interested way, as one who learned along the pathway of many hundreds of business deals how to succeed.

      Now, with the American Jewish community split, with his polling surviving even his bleeding remark directed at Megan Kelly, with Fox willing to do deals with him, and with all the other Republicans mindlessly attacking Obama on Iran, there's an opening for him to steal leadership. He could dismiss Obama as a failed leader, dismiss his Iran deal as what you get when you send a weakling to the negotiating table, but then turn savvy, acknowledge that, while he could've gotten a much better deal - "it would've been huge" - that this deal is better than nothing, the only deal we got, better than rejecting it, because of the consequences of the US walking away from the P5+1 coalition that it put together, shrug it all off with "What are you gonna do with such stupid, weak leaders," but then turn on Netanyahu and his Republican sheeple, with a comment like: If I were president and a foreign leader treated me the way Netanyahu has treated Obama, I'd cut him off at his knees.

      In one stroke, he'd shatter the Likud-AIPAC-Neocon hold on America, destroy Netanyahu's feeble hold on power, and offer alliance with the surging part of the American Jewish community who do want to see peace in the Middle East, want to see Israel not so controversial, and lay a claim to the entire disaffected American populace who do not want any more stupid wars in the Middle East, who do not want AIPAC publicly strong-arming their congressmen for stupid purposes, who are tired of the parade of the naked Emperor, for whom the charade of not being able to notice that he's not wearing clothes is no longer funny.

      He's much smarter at power than the others in the race, a much better and more-seasoned negotiator, and his past political history - pro-life, pro-single-payor - are much more in synch with mainstream America than the charade required of Republican candidates. He would not be so easily moved, but could be negotiated with.

      And he's someone who will bring everyone to the polls.

      It will be interesting to see him maneuver.

    • Friedman, Forward Launch Pincer Attack on Netanyahu

      In today's column, Friedman examines what he sets up as three different Jewish-Israeli perspectives, a grocer, a military leader, and the prime minister. Only the grocer opposes the Iran deal, in Friedman's construct, and while his ideal prime minister would embrace the deal, using it to get greater security from the US, he concludes that "unfortunately," the Israeli Prime Minister is Benjamin Netanyahu, who has no discernible plan to deal with two existential threats - a nuclear Iran, and a one-state solution that is majority non-Jewish.

      link to

      At the same time, the Forward publishes an article by Larry Cohler-Esses, "A Jewish Journalist's Exclusive Look inside Iran, which is also picked up by the NYTimes, at least online, debunking the Islamo-fascist scarecrow image that opponents of the Iran deal are so fond of.

      link to

  • Photos: New Yorkers rally for, and against, Iran Deal outside Schumer office in midtown Manhattan
  • Netanyahu for president? He's been a citizen-- twice!
    • Yeah, Amigo, the Constitution reads: Article II, section 1, pa. 5: "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

      The Constitution would appear to require amendment in order to change this barrier, on the plain reading of the Constitution, which all judges swear an oath to uphold and defend. Some have questioned whether courts might hesitate to overthrow an otherwise effective election of a non-natural born citizen, where that issue was widely known, on some grounds, such as not appropriate for courts to interfere in the political process, or inconsistent with equal rights of all citizens. McCain presented an unusual case, having been born outside the US to a US serviceman and wife on US military duty. I assume he was not required to be "naturalized" in order to become a US citizen, but do not know those details.

  • Shocker: 'NYT' runs front page press release for AIPAC warning Obama to cool his jets
    • In response to suggestions that "war mongers" is an "inappropriate term," he should quote Adelson and Saban on their ambitions to bomb Iran, Netanyahu on his guaranty to Congress that invading Iraq would make the world a better place, call AIPAC out for denying it supported the Iraq War, when all it did was do so quietly, all that was necessary, and, besides, they're following Netanyahu NOW, who very clearly did lobby for the Iraq War. No apologies. Just escalate. Make them pay.

      And stop not doubting their sincerity, when there is every reason to doubt it. Start quoting the Gatekeepers. Start pointing out that dangerous behavior risks dangerous consequences. Start pointing out that ISIS and Al Queda in Iraq, Iran in Iraq for that matter, are all consequences of the Iraq War, the last time this chorus of warmongers were so sure of themselves, so disdainful of diplomacy. Get with the Vote Vet organization, which is driving veteran groups to lobby their Congressmen in favor of the deal. Get crowds of wounded vets calling on Congressmen and Senators. Play hardball for once in his political life.

    • There appears to be a managed outcome in sight: Congress votes to disapprove, the President vetoes, then his veto is sustained, by a narrow margin. Schumer's 10:00 PM Thursday announcement was designed to bury it in the news cycle dominated by the avalanche of Republican Debate. There are reports he will not work very hard to over-ride the veto, wanting to retain his shot at Senate Democratic Leadership. Obama wanted to get Netanyahu to make his deal for more aid, but Netanyahu favors playing this political battle out, at great expense - both monetary, and in terms of risk to the Lobby. Congresspersons are being subjected to direct pressure - carrot and stick - the Lobby at its most blatant.

      It is, of course, possible that, in the veto over-ride stage, Netanyahu and the Lobby will increase the pressure, and go all out to destroy the deal, and with it, any semblance of authority for the Obama Administration, but by most accounts that is unlikely to prevail.

      So what is gained? Will the Lobby then target each elected official who voted to sustain the veto, extract a price for disloyalty to the foreign master?

      Obama should take a lesson a from Donald Trump, someone who is always negotiating, always looking to win, and almost always does win, willing to use every tactic to get there. He has such an opponent in Netanyahu. He remains intimidated by those who will "dog whistle him," accuse him of personal failings for fighting too effectively. In a fight to the death, he is perpetually modulating his message, nothing personal, do not doubt his sincerity, etc., etc., please let me give you more billions in aid.

      Even if Obama wins with a narrow margin on veto override, each and every one of those who support him may be targeted personally, vindictively, for the rest of their political lives, unless Obama first destroys Netanyahu, forcing regime change in Israel, forcing a change at the helm of the Israel Lobby.

      There is no good that can come out of a Netanyahu survival of this fight to the death with the President. It is a fight that should never have been picked in the first place. The Israeli newspapers reported that Netanyahu told his cabinet that his greatest fear was that Iran would get its deal and then abide by every term. Netanyahu is not sincere, at all, as he showed in panicky reporting about busloads of Arabs on election day, and a pledge never to reach peace with the Palestinians. The recent Israeli "terrorist attacks" are a symptom of Netanyahu's fearful leadership. Holding him accountable for these failings will do Israel and the Middle East a big favor.

      It is not moderation his would-be allies in Congress need from him. It is strength. It is a killer instinct. And it is not just his allies who need that strength as the US system of government is under such blatant attack. The US Constitution - the American Way - needs a strong leader in times when it is under direct assault. A leader who uses strength to win when those he leads are under deadly assault will pass the most basic leadership test, while minor transgressions will always be forgiven. While one who tries to merely contain a sworn, deadly enemy, with just enough effort to contain him this time, will forever be remembered as an appeaser - a failed leader.

      Schumer should pay for his betrayal with loss of his shot at leadership, and Netanyahu should pay with loss of his job. All else is merely empowering Netanyahu to do more and escalating damage, to Israel, the Middle East, and the US.

  • University of Illinois Chancellor steps down as judge upholds Salaita lawsuit against school on 1st amendment grounds
    • I believe that's right ckg. The Section 1983 mentioned in the decision and quoted below is a civil rights statute, enacted post-Civil War, and goes to actions taken "under color of state law," to deprive citizens of their rights, and grants them access to federal court. There does not appear to be any discussion of this issue in the opinion, presumably because UIUC did not deny that it is a state institution and its actions were taken under color of authority granted by the state. As to private universities, the linkage to state action would be weaker and a bigger issue, but sometimes may be met by virtue of substantial relations with, or funding for, the university, under various state statutes or programs.

      42 USC Section 1983 provides: "Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia."

  • Defying Obama on Iran deal, Schumer cites Hamas
    • Death knell of the lobby?

      The leading candidate for the Senate Democratic Leader position defies his President in service of, as guardian for, a foreign right-wing government where, if he doesn't have dual citizenship in public fact, he has it by right in the "state for all the Jewish people."

      At the same time, this appears as the first three paragraphs of the the NYTimes's coverage of the Republican debate, by Nate Cohn:

      "Winning a primary debate isn’t about having the best one-liners or drawing the biggest applause.

      "For top candidates, it’s an audition for party elites, moneyed supporters and, secondarily, voters. The goal isn’t to wow the crowd or surge in the polls, but to reassure — to confirm their ability to win and handle the presidency. For less serious or low-profile candidates, it’s an opportunity to break out — to cause party elites to reconsider or get voters to coalesce behind them.

      "And whether they do so depends a lot more on how the news media covers the debates than the performances themselves."

      Cohn's analysis then is, with this "reality" in mind, we have to wait to see what the party elites think, and what the media decide to do with its echo chamber, to figure out who the conservative choice will be.

      Together, they make a stark claim to constitutional power in the US, not the written constitution everyone is sworn to uphold, but the Israel Lobby version of political power in America, the manner in which Israel's leader claims the ability to "easily move" the Americans.

      The trouble is, the influence of traditional media is waning, the influence of big money which is largely spent buying traditional media ads, is becoming an explicit issue - Trump proudly described how he, as a multi-billionaire, has purchased many politicians, including Hillary Clinton (I told her: "be at my wedding, and she was").

      The trouble is the continuation of Israel's influence in the US is being made explicitly tied to this different, cactus flower constitution, which Nate Cohn feels obligated to make the lede in the NYTimes coverage of the Republican debate. What has worked in the dark won't continue to work in the sunlight.

      Yet Netanyahu continues to bet the future of Israel's relationship with the US on its ability to do so. He keeps making more and more difficult demands on American Jew's loyalty. He's lost academia. He's lost the young and educated. He's lost Jewish Voice for Peace and J Street. He's operating in Israel from the narrowest majority cobbled together from his own party's 25% plurality with 26% of other right-wing and religious parties. Yet he keeps re-doubling the size of the bet he makes, like a gambling addict betting his home and life savings on one last spin of the roulette wheel.

      Having the NYTimes tell its readers how power really works, and stay tuned to find out what moneyed party elites and their media echo chamber decide you, our dear readers, should think, and how you will vote, would be laughable, if the stakes weren't so high - the stark assertion of the cactus flower constitution as what really controls the US so blatantly anti-American.

  • Obama tells Americans it is 'abrogation of my constitutional duty' to defer to Israel on Iran Deal
    • A great speech, now that I've watched it all. There's a lot of relevant, and portentous background, in his choice of American University, and his recalling of President Kennedy's speech there in 1963, in Douglas's JFK and the Unspeakable.

      Kennedy, having survived the Cuban-Missile Crisis, used the speech to announce a unilateral halt to atmospheric nuclear tests, which began the process of reversing the arms race, and earned himself a hardening of the opposition to him within his own military- industrial complex, who regarded his actions as treasonous, worse than Chamberlain at Munich. Five and a half months later he was dead. Much of the detail about how his death was plotted and by whom is obscured by their cover-up, but the book documents that there were plans to pull it off and concrete actions to implement those during a prior trip scheduled to Chicago a month or two earlier, foiled by a change of schedule. It is within reason to hypothesize that his AU speech was an important catalyst for the events that led to his assassination, and Douglass makes the case pretty compellingly.

      So Obama pulled out an important symbol today, in his choice of location, and the direct invocation of that speech. He'll fight with everything he's got. And it's about time he stood tall and fearless and drew a line in the sand. Herzog could take a lesson.

    • "upcoming fall of the current Likud government"

      Amen, Abierno.

      "the accession of a far more right leaning government in Israel, more probably than not under Naftali Bennett"

      No way, my friend. Likud would not have beaten Zionist Union, but for Netanyahu's last second appeal about "Only Likud. Only Netanyahu." with images of Arabs being bused to the polls, and a promise never to make peace, resulting in a surge away from Bennett to Netanyahu.

      A new election would surely put Herzog over the top, especially as the Right's failures resonate.

      If the right wing strengthens, and unites behind Bennett (with Netanyahu ceding power and supporting him, which would never happen, but would have to because a divided right wing will easily fall to the large middle), well, then, it will be over for Israel in the world of nations, and in the US.

      Bennett: all of the barbs, none of the charisma, of Netanyahu.

      There will be a natural alliance between Obama and Herzog. If Obama wins in this surprising show of strength in this signature battle, Israel will have every incentive to change its leadership, and the world will be a safer place with Netanyahu and the rest of his right wing nuts off of the nuclear button, and out of the command chair at IDF.

    • Good idea, Qualtrough. For some reason, I'm reminded of a scene from Band of Brothers, where Capt Winters and his team have just rousted Germans out of a little town, having run through machine gun fire to do so - major house-to-house fighting for hours - and, as they walk down the street during mop up, a Major asks them cautiously, is it safe? which brought a smile and chuckle to Winters' face?

  • The extremism of the center in Israel
    • See this report re demonstrations in Israel against Israeli terrorism: link to

      Obama's moment awaits.

    • Well, bryan, the US is definitely aiding and abetting the fearful Israeli right-wing hysteria, and we the citizens of the US bear responsibility for what we do. That is OUR main problem, and it is time to fix that. But Israel's increasingly right-wing culture has a problem that MIchael and many others have described for us, and the US problem is in aiding and abetting Israel's problem.

      I think Obama should make a speech about the 18 month baby burned to death as a price tag for opposition to the Settlement expansion, as a price tag for existing as a Palestinian in Judea and Sumaria. tie it to the many such price tag attacks, the total lack of enforcement against these racist terrorists and vandals, tie it to the Occupation, tie it to Netanyahu's Apocalyptic world view, tie it to the Neocon world view, and make a case that Palestinian lives matter, make a case that a future that denies Palestinian human rights is one that the US can no longer enable, make a case that the Israeli people need to halt their race to the right, or find themselves all alone in a hostile world largely of their own making. Netanyahu has been trying to topple Obama for years now, and it's time Obama toppled him. These little jabs that he keeps popping, instead of the knock-out punch, are part of the reason that little baby is dead. Her blood and horrific death are on all our hands.

  • Israeli gov't support for violent occupation made today's murder inevitable
    • Elizabeth Tsurkov:

      "When a nation denies millions their basic rights, it needs to dehumanize them to justify it. The attack is the result of this dehumanization "

      That's right, and the "dehumanization" and action based on it you describe is a natural human somatic state that is relatively easily instilled in otherwise normal people by the "right" [or oh-so-wrong] leadership and social conditions. See Phil Zambardo's, Stanford Prison Experiment, soon to be new movie.

      It's almost like that moment in Lord of the Flies, just before the rescuing adults arrive, with marooned school-children, recently school-mates, in full warpaint utterly dedicated to killing each other.

      I guess that's why we have international criminal law courts. It should also be why we have a State Department and Congress willing to put enough pressure to force change in awful leadership. Why not have Obama make a case for change in Israeli leadership and West Bank policy based on this incident (and the similar fire-bombing of the Church of the Loaves and Fishes with similar graffitti, for which the likely culprits were released without consequences).

      It's going to get worse until the grown-ups arrive.

      Instead, we empower that awful leadership to spew propaganda from our own media and are own elected officials, by never, ever calling them to account!

  • Why is Wasserman Schultz, Obama's surrogate, holding out on Iran deal?
  • Pelosi says Iran deal has the votes, and Podhoretz urges Israel to attack Iran
    • That Neocons have since the 90s and before have steadfastly craved war with Iran, Iraq, Syria is indisputable. Why they haven't been held accountable as irresponsible war mongers is hard to accept. Maybe there need to be crowds of wounded veterans picketing their offices, demanding accountability for Neocon lies.

  • Congressional support for Iran deal solidifies-- and Cory Booker pushes back against friendship ultimatums
    • It is time for realistic Zionists to de-throne Netanyahu, before he wreaks more havoc. If the Congress passes a disapproval bill, Obama vetoes, and the veto-override fails by a few votes, so Obama wins, but by the narrowest of margins, and all those Congresspersons are made to publicly mouth hasbara instead of doing their jobs, the Lobby may find its coffers of political influence pretty much exhausted. They're losing the young and the educated, trading for the old and the stupid. Trading academia, what's left of journalists, progressives generally, for Rush Limbaugh ditto-heads.

      Enough already. Dissolve the Israeli government.

  • Huckabee's 'oven' comment echoes many Netanyahu statements equating Iran to Nazis
  • Iran deal is overwhelmingly supported by American voters -- 54 to 38 percent
    • The American people, especially the Liberals, aren't so stupid as some on this blog assume. The whole point of an educated populace and free press is that the crowd gets smart, over time, and can eventually rectify even deeply established corruption. This is why the Likud pivot to a partisan right-wing strategy in the US is so fundamentally short-sided and dangerous for Israel. It ain't going to work, those who support Israel in this effort are going to be painted with all the other unrealistic and dangerous things Netanyahu will do, and since he holds even American Jews in contempt, let alone American right-wingers, in the end he will be universally despised here.

      How long will Israel empower him to lead them to catastrophe?

  • 'NYT' must think it has no Amish readers
    • Column wasn't worth reading in the first place - exchange of texts with unhappy 12 year old - all made worse by publishing them for all the world to see. The Amish angle is another thoughtless taking-advantage-of-others snark. What about it was worthy of "ink?"

  • US Jews want Congress to approve Iran deal, by whopping 53 to 35, far more than Americans overall
    • "Diaspora Jews are not convinced that Israel is doing enough to prevent military conflicts."

      That's laughable, rating war mongers on how much they're doing to prevent war.

  • Christian Zionists expose their anti-Semitism at conservative summit in Iowa
    • In contrast to the numb-skulled outlook portrayed here - Likud's coalition of dim bulbs - the NYTimes has an opinion piece up today actually quoting some of the Gatekeepers, the Israeli security establishment figures who know too much to drink Likud Kool-Aid: link to [former heads of Mossad, Shin Bet, IDF Intelligence, etc.]

      Netanyahu's slim hold on power is an ongoing disgrace, elevating fear and stupidity over realism and intelligence. Power has been put in the hands of highly destructive and deceptive fear-mongers, and is kept there by all the skills of mass manipulation of mob opinion. Chutzpah is pursuit of unattainable goals, unsustainable dynamics, is lauded as heroism and leadership. More rational voices are not given permission to speak, and when they do, there is no echo chamber.

      I call on the News Hour to ferret out these voices, and give them some oxygen, because angry Republican Senators reading quotes written for them by AIPAC in order to solidify their fundraising plans are no more illuminating than these CUFI interviews. Shallow people repeating what they hear their crowd saying, as if its validity is given. "It says so right in the Torah. What else is there to talk about?"

  • Netanyahu bluffed an attack on Iran, and Jeffrey Goldberg helped out
    • O/T but Jason Ditz reports the Saudis are reported to be supportive of the Iran deal, per Ashton Carter. link to

      Perhaps the Saudis view Netanyahu's heavy-handed intransigence as an opportunity to become America's new BFF in the Middle East.

  • Democrats are 'uncomfortable' with Iran deal because Netanyahu is so 'influential in our country' -- Rep. Ellison
    • The ongoing influence of Israel in America is greatly facilitated by the ruse that the current (or former) governments want peace, but don't have a partner, when the opposite is true: the Israelis want all of Palestinian land, and have dehumanized the victims of their aggression. This dynamic has to be made more explicit in American discourse, in order to remove this pillar of Israeli influence over "malleable" Americans. Obama has confronted Netanyahu over his statements in the election, but so far he refuses to impose any real consequences, leaving Netanyahu the freedom to bash US policy as hard as he can, then demand compensation for not getting his way.

      How about sending the clear message that the Netanyahu and Israeli policy of using an illusory peace process as cover for continuous ongoing land-grab is unacceptable, and aid will be cut off until specific steps are taken, including replacing Netanyahu, before he does more damage.

      We need to stop appeasing the Israeli right wing.

  • Walker and Bush talk tough on Iran in bid for Adelson's millions
    • The Bibi-Rush Strategy: stage a contest - akin to a hot dog eating contest - to see who can out bombast the other guy. The carrot is Adelson's money, the stick is Rush's critique on the airwaves after each public pronouncement.

      A formula for bringing on another Dark Age, if allowed to seize power. Against it are arrayed the institutions of the American republic, an educated and informed electorate, a free press (and blogosphere), divided power, separation of religion from political power, periodic elections, diffused social institutions that create community outside of the halls of power, a written constitution all office-holders are required to swear to uphold, an independent judiciary.

      Which society will prove stronger, more resilient, and more enduring? Right-wing Zionism, or the American Republic?

  • Let's help the 'NYT' get an interview with Netanyahu
  • Nine reasons Obama is going to win on Iran. The first: Netanyahu
    • The Netanyahu-Oren introduce-partisanship-into-American-Israeli-relationship "strategy" has made it onto Maureen Dowd's "rhymes with bucket list." Dowd's liberalism, sharp wit and fashionable pen have always seemed to flaunt her Philo-Semitism almost as much as her Irish heritage. But that changed in today's [July 20] column, Hi Ho Lone Ranger, all about the New Obama's strength, confidence, and bold pursuit of a long list of important policy achievements, letting his passion take the reins, as in "Mr. Cool has left the building."

      She ends with Iran.

      "Obama has always reflected the smug air that he was right and any other positions were illogical. But it is gratifying when aimed at the obnoxious Republicans and more obnoxious Bibi.

      "Republicans were never going to go for the Iran deal. Their apocalyptic statements were written well in advance and they just had to hit 'Send' followed by a fund-raising appeal to Jewish donors.

      "Obama is gambling that he won't hurt his party and that in 10 years Iran will be a better member of the international community. But he can't do worse as an oracle of the Middle East than the conservative warmongers who ravaged the region."

      Netanyahu is alienating American Jews, and much of the Philo-Semitic American establishment, along with them. He'll keep doubling down until thrown from office. I'd like to suggest branding the Netanyahu-Oren partisan push as Israel's Rush Limbaugh strategy, because you cannot find a better purveyor of that venom than on Rush's radio program. Bibi & Rush: made for each other.

    • Great list, Phil. And interesting to contrast your take with Rush Limbaugh's rants over the last couple days, which included ridiculing liberal "orgasms" over how strong and confident Obama was in his press conference, ridiculing Obama's taking on Major Garrett, demanding to know a single foreign threat Obama had undermined during his term - ticking through them as a list of Obama failures - then concluding that the one foreign leader he has undermined is Netanyahu.

      So hasbara central is trading the NYTimes for Rush Limbaugh as their weapon of choice. Smart move.

  • 'I trust Obama more than the Prime Minister of Israel to run our policy' -- George W. Bush's former pollster
    • Jason Ditz at Antiwar has the scoop on Netanyahu negotiating the level of Israeli lobbying against the Iran deal in exchange for more military aid:
      link to

      There's apparently a heavy foot on the AIPAC gas pedal, and the stirrings of a deal for how soon, and how much that foot is lifted, with Israel's military leaders reportedly eager to nail the deal down, while the foreign ministry and Netanyahu believe they can squeeze more out of Obama by putting more pedal to the metal in lobbying Congress.

      How much more damage to Israel will its moderates tolerate? Menendez indicted, but well-funded to defend himself and to attack the President, while the Israel brand is now being co-sold on American airwaves with the Rush Limbaugh brand. Anyone of those elected officials potentially exposed as selling their vote in order to let Israel squeeze more military aid, for use in the hands of the Great Megalomaniac. All the indirection just adds to the depth of collapse of the ruse, when it comes.

  • An inside look at the UCC vote to divest from the Israeli occupation
    • Very heartening report! Should be mandatory reading for those who say Netanyahu comes out ahead in Israel, despite losing on Iran, that his story is one of heroic struggle, no one else could have done better, the defeat is just all Anti-Semitism. I'm sure some people believe that tripe, but the more it gets contrasted to this kind of report, the fewer they will be.

  • 'NYT' discovers elephant in living room: 'Pro-Israel billionaires'
    • "attitudes" is code for Anti-Semitism, used facilely to dismiss Israel's critics from the "academic and policy-making worlds." No room in that head for the notion that academics and policy wonks may have informed academic and policy-based grounds for criticism, that what Walt & Mearsheimer undertook was an analysis of the impact on policy and critical thinking of the corrupting influence of the Israel Lobby, and the stupidity of Likud policies, and those smart people absorbed the lessons.

      To the Israeli leadership and their supporters: when you find yourself in a deep hole that leads nowhere but further down, stop digging! Re-aligning with Rush Limbaugh and his ditto-heads may introduce a mob of new listeners who can, for a little while, be misled with stale hasbara, so long as Obama is there to be bashed with it: they'll throw any rock at the Black president. But, after that, what? You'll be another few meters deeper into your hole.

    • Oh, wow! An elephant. Who knew?

      I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that Hillary ultimately fails, DUE to her "billionairesness," her raising over a billion dollars for her own campaign, and her fealty to certain Pro-Israel billionaires.

      If you're a young, idealistic Democrat looking to get ahead in progressive politics, knowing your pay-check comes from West Bank Settler supporters, will have a selective quality. If you're a small donor, knowing that she's raised so much big bucks from people with a clear non-progressive agenda, why contribute when you know it means nothing to her?

      And the NYT reports today that, while she's outraising everyone, she's also outspending everyone at a high burn rate, awkwardly reported as reflecting "frugality." She's in the pocket of "interested billionaires," she's spending their money freely, and therefore will need to keep doing what they want to keep the money flowing, and small donors - heart of the Democratic party - can't feel that they make any real difference to her, regardless of what her high-cost TV ads say about her.

      This is where Israel's strategy of leaving the Left behind, in favor the Right, is so deeply stupid. I turned on Rush Limbaugh for a few minutes yesterday and today, looking for coverage of the Iran Deal, and he's bloviating pure Netanyahu-speak. The Democratic base, in case you haven't noticed, doesn't identify with Rush, and their all aware of the Israel Lobby, and the cost of taking billionaire checks to fund your campaign.

      So Hillary expects to win following tried and true political tactics, built on billionaire dollars, just as those billionaires have lost their minds, to fund a mega-campaign intended to rally her base, who are searching their souls about whether to join BDS, in order to finally put enough pressure on Israel to get it to change direction, and still looking for a candidate who will hold financial pirates accountable.

  • Israel's real fear about the Iran deal: It puts pressure on the occupation
    • While I tend to agree with your headline, I don't see that you make the case for it in the article. It's an important case to be made, but I don't see the signaling you see. Please help interpret this, because the words you write and quote don't seem to add up to a signal, or not in any language I'm fluent with.

  • 'We should seize it' -- Obama announces Iran deal as 'new direction' for the Middle East
    • Who's going to put Walt or Mearsheimer on to talk about the Israel Lobby? Chas Freeman, has your phone been ringing? Joe Walsh and Valerie Plame, what take do you have on the Neocons vs intelligence-based diplomacy? Will some Mainstream US journalism outlet report as Haaretz did that Netanyahu told his cabinet that his greatest fear is that Iran will get the agreement and comply with every term? [] Will someone ask why the Likud Coalition regards an Iran compliant with this agreement as an existential threat? Will someone connect the dots between that view and Netanyahu's election day promise that there will be no peace with the Palestinians on his watch? Will Jim Baker be allowed on the air to discuss why Jeb Bush was put on the defensive for including a realist among his advisers, instead of drinking pure Neocon KoolAid?

      Will Phil Weiss ever be given a voice again in MSM to talk about the war of ideas in the Middle East?

  • In West Bank Snapchat story, life under occupation was the elephant in the room
  • Time for a Jewish reformation?
    • There's another aspect to "Reformation," the situation in Israel, and how America deals with it: the separation of church and state. Christianity evolved from its Jewish splinter sect status in the old Roman Empire, to become the official religion of that empire under Constantine, and the impact on both institutions was profound. You can tour the Vatican today and the impression has little to do with Christian values, and everything to do with gold-plated (or solid gold) works of art - priceless art from history's masters. Not far away there are the ruins of the Temple of Vesta, which kept the "eternal flame" of the Roman hearth burning for a thousand years, tended by the Vestal Virgins, who were unceremoniously dumped by the new State religion. The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church (let's see what did Jesus say about hierarchy?) is modeled on that empire, with absolute power in the top, a "Senate" of cardinals, to choose successors, and virtually no built-in accountability. Power corrupts, and Martin Luther demanded change, away from that corruption, and only after that and other Protestant schisms were reality, could the Church bring itself to acknowledge the need for Reformation, which, without built-in accountability, has repeatedly failed to root out the most appalling corruption imaginable, until its Priests are being arrested for pedophilia and its bishops and cardinals found complicit through cover-up, and re-assignment.

      In Israel, Orthodoxy is in power. There is no signed constitution, and the Chief Rabbis control various aspects of Civil Law, the implication being they are happy to delegate political power to the elected government, so long as it is understood within the family that power flows downhill from the Rabbinate, who get it from G-d. Again, power corrupts, and absolute power that one believes flows divinely down from the Heaven onto the individual leads to - well, there are all those stories of King David in power to illustrate the point, as well as the ultimate fate of the First and Second Kingdoms.

      Meanwhile, the modern republic, exemplified by the USA, builds that separation into its constitution, while providing other checks to all manner of power, setting seats of power against themselves, so that the inevitable corruption becomes an opportunity for others to root it out.

      So, by all means, American Jews can ponder the Reformation, their Reform and Conservative Jewish institutions, which adapt the ancient Jewish beliefs and traditions to life in a modern state, and contemplate whether and when it becomes necessary to separate formally from an institution that has become the state religion of an occupying power, where the inevitable corruption flowing from that occupation and from that identity of state with religion make continued support and obeisance, from the perspective of life in America, intolerable, on a moral basis.

      I recall a video here some years ago, of a settler assuring Palestinians whose land he was taking over from them for his own farming, with all the certainty of the true believer glowing from his face, that their land was his land, and, once the Messiah came, they could be his servants, if they chose to avoid certain death. And of another settler coveting a home and estate within the valley below his settlement, dreaming of the day he would take it away from its owner.

      Without accountability, the outcome is certain.

  • Hillary Clinton promises megadonor she will work with Republicans-- to oppose BDS
    • Saban might be the key. He's a one-issue guy: Israel. But his dearly beloved country is being run by a weak coalition of numb-skulled right-wingers, who repeatedly shoot Israel in the foot, and who regard American Jews with dis-respect and contempt. Despite all the efforts to stem BDS, it keeps growing. Support for Israel among American liberals, especially liberal Jews, keeps shrinking. Into the teeth of this movement's ever gathering momentum, Netanyahu and the Likudnik/Neocons keep insisting on doubling down, dragging Saban and other liberal American Jews and their vestigial support into their doomed vortex. At some point, directed by people like Michael Oren to do something even more stupid, he has to have a limit.

      All those liberals who've abandoned the Likud/Neocon party line are immune to hasbara, it has the opposite of its intended effect. Or rather, it no longer works to mislead those members of the American public, who recognize it instead as evidence of corrupted media and government, but who are constrained by social norms from expressing themselves too bluntly, or too loudly, on the subject, at least so far. When Hilary parrots the Likudnik party line, she does it not because she believes it, but because she is corrupted. When Saban extracts such promises in exchange for monetary support, he, too, no longer believes the words. He's going through the motions, following directions from foreign leadership for whom his respect has to be disappearing.

      As the vortex tightens, the old social order will eventually collapse.

      We've already had Abe Foxman try to call off Netanyahu's speech to Congress. Anyone who thinks the Netanyahu regime will get smarter and more subtle, instead of continuing to double down, demanding ever more blatant denials of obvious reality, is kidding themselves.

      Oren's book shows the mentality of the Israeli leadership, and it ain't going to inspire much Aliyah. Suddenly, Iranian diplomats are speaking good sense: try diplomacy and negotiating interests, instead of aggression and intimidation to force submission.

      Obama is not without support among American Jews, and the notion that Haim Saban has the same capacity for blind, arrogant stupidity as a Sheldon Adelson is false.

      Who gives out first? America, or the Netanyahu regime? The intellectual elite in America have already switched sides. More billions will not reverse that; they just magnify the gall felt by those who have been enlightened.

  • Michael Oren cannot hide his disrespect for Jewish Americans
    • "Israelis - the world's only Jews without a compound identity."

      The chief advantage of the technological age we live in - with instant communications and rapid transportation - is that one can be a member of many different societies or groups: one's immediate neighborhood, block, dorm or apartment floor, or gated community, classes and teams, one's co-workers, one's professional societies, one's fraternal organizations, one's alumni associations, one's religious groups, one's political group, blogs where one posts, one's online gaming community, social media groups, etc., etc.

      The difference Oren suggests as an advantage for Israeli Jews is actually a ticket back 2,000 years and more when such tribal sharing was the natural though primitive state. Freeing oneself from "compound identity," as he sees it, is a process of denial of the importance of anyone else, other than Chief-Rabbi certified Jews. It is a starvation of life, rather than an enhancement of life he is promoting. Balance among the different groups one belongs to requires careful management, and one can be stretched too thinly, but preaching oneness as a virtue seems both narrow-minded and anachronistic.

      Fanatical, even.

  • Episcopal Church rejects BDS resolutions citing fears divestment would hamper church in Jerusalem
    • Another "victory" for Netanyahu, and at what cost? It is now clearer to many Episcopalians that Israel is using the threat of mistreatment of Episcopal Churches in Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied territory as a lever to demand political/diplomatic support against non-violent efforts to persuade Israel to reform itself. A corrupted and un-principled stand for the Episcopal Church.

      And thank you for Desmond Tutu's fine insight: "the powerful will only come to the negotiating table if economic pressure is applied." It reminds of the lawyer joke, from Punch & Judy, I believe: "You have an excellent case, Madam. How much justice can you afford?" Also, Theodore Roosevelt's quote, which regained currency in the Nixon Administration: "When you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow,"

      Israel is using its occupation of Jerusalem as a lever to coerce churches to avoid pressuring Israel with respect to compliance with international law. The occupation is soul-destroying for Israel, even as it oppresses Palestinians, and corrupts those who need anything from Israel.

  • In rebuke to Israel, State Dep't says it has no objection to BDS aimed at occupation
    • It's an interesting mis-match between Obama and Netanyahu. For years, I thought of Obama as a Judo Master, only willing to touch an opponent in defensive mode, using an attacker's momentum to throw him for a fall. Recently, however, the most powerful man in the world is jabbing, jabbing, little punches, each designed to say, "did that sting? watch out, I'll throw another one soon that is 2% harder."

      Meanwhile, for Netanyahu, every single disagreement or personal slight is the Nazi brownshirts taking over again, cause for soaring rhetoric invoking the Torah and the Holocaust, with him in the role of David, the existence of the state of Israel and the Jewish people hanging by a single thread in existential balance. The Judo Master turned jabber vs the 800 pound drama queen.

      What galls me is the impudence with which Netanyahu and his supporters disregard any and all effort at balance, external truth, universal values, and the impunity with which their dishonesty is treated by our media and major social institutions generally. Chutzpah isn't a virtue, in the end. Pretending that it is, while innocent children are oppressed, is soul-destroying.

      Enough, already! Squash Netanyahu politically like the giant ugly bug he is. Let's move on to realistic solutions.

  • In effort to thwart BDS, some Israel supporters urge partial settlement freeze
    • At last there is a voice from the centrist opposition calling for moderation of Likud's stance, (best summarized by Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovely on what to say to the international community: "It's all ours. G-d gave it to us. It says so right in the Torah. What else is there to talk about.")

      I predict a chaotic deterioration in Likud's absolutism, leading to some event, a word from Netanyahu resetting practical goals: "it makes no sense to speak of peace with the international community, the Arab League, the Palestinians, before January 1 (or before they guaranty us the end of BDS)," or, alternatively, a vote of no confidence from the Knesset throwing the bums out.

  • 'Jewish cow' is udderly superior to all other cows in the world, Netanyahu says
  • We must break out of the paranoid survival myth
    • Excellent post, Lillian Rosengarten! "The paranoid survival myth." What a phrase to capture a complex sociological phenomenon in a few words.

      What we also need is a contrasting phrase to describe an alternative vision: a Modern Israel, maybe, envisioning a prosperous country at peace with its neighbors, doing justice at long last for the Palestinians, leading the whole Middle East region in an economic boom, providing attractive economic and cultural incentives for peaceful, multi-cultural living in the ancient cross-roads region.

      Your phrase might also be modified to be "The paranoid tribal survival myth," since at core, the racism and fear of annihilation is tied to tribal identity, tied to specific geography, tied to ethnic cleansing for safety sake. In a modern state based on American and European values, the racial, tribal identities that characterized much of the world when transportation and communication options were greatly limited, are replaced by the ability of the individual to be part of many different societies, local, regional, national, international and virtual, and for centers of industry and culture to attract the most talented from all over the world. Perhaps one reason Diaspora Jews hesitate over Israel is sacrificing the benefits of the modern western state to one consumed in ancient tribal traditions, developed for a different time (and none too successful in those times, either).

      Paranoid tribal survival myth vs a modern Israel at peace with the world. How's that for a War of catch phrases in the Middle East?

  • Neocons never fade away, they just get political cover in 'The New York Times'
    • I'd like to ask the NYTimes editorial board and writers if they enjoy being a propaganda organ for the Neocons, and accept responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of dead in Iraq and the Middle East due to wars pushed by the Neocons, whose viewpoints get such uncritical amplification by their newspaper.

      Why not report that Netanyahu told his cabinet that his biggest fear about the Iran deal is that Iran will get it and then comply with every detail of it. link to

  • Support Palestinian human rights with the 'fierce urgency of now': An open letter to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
    • Well, it's a good letter. It seems likely Bishop Schori has been playing politics all along, with important allies among the American Jewish Community. If it were just about morals . . . .

      But the Gaza War last summer, and Netanyahu's performance through the election and new government formation have to force recalculation, re-triangulation of politics. Does Bishop Schori want to align with Sheldon Adelson and Benjamin Netanyahu? Can't she find a way to use what's left of the Episcopal Church's clout in the US to join the many forces demanding change in Israel's leadership and pathway? Netanyahu, Likud, and the Neocons hang on by the thinnest of threads, yet they keep doubling down on what they are betting on their failed vision for Israel and the Middle East, what they are demanding from those who would be political bedfellows, including Bishop Schori.

      Why the Episcopal Church, America's version of the Anglican Church, might use its own deeply political history as guide to nudge the American Jewish community away from the racist extremism gripping Israel. The Anglican Church was founded when the Pope in Rome sought to ex-communicate Henry VIII over his divorce from his Spanish Queen, and England's Christians had to choose between King and Church. Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Bolyen and Henry VIII, grew up under constant threat of assassination, her half-sister Queen Mary, a good Catholic, riding the bucking bronco of religious history at the dawn of the Renaissance, before Elizabeth took on the challenge, and led England from obscure Island on the fringe of Europe, to the threshold of its global empire, and its Church to its position of outsized influence in America, using extreme intelligence, caution, tolerance, and her other virtues to build and give birth to the American and Western European models of post-medieval society.

      Now you have Ultra-Orthodox Judaism ensconced in Israel with visions of Greater Israel and a new Kingdom, a new Messiah, and the American Jewish community must decide between loyalty to that two-thousand year-old vision of Israel, or their own country and post-renaissance society. There are leaders in the American Jewish community - and in Israel - with whom Bishop Schori can align, with an eye toward a better future. Or she can continue to enable Netanyahu, Adelson, Likud, and the Neocons in their self-destructive spiral.

      I hope she finds some inspiration in Elizabeth's deft handling of very difficult situations. Ongoing enablement of Apartheid would be shameful.

  • Democratic Party-linked thinktank issues report on Adelson's influence that never mentions Israel
    • Someone needs to take Adelson on, because he's an easy target who would resonate with many demographic groups, military, progressives, foreign policy realists, Libertarians, anti-Citizens United, academia, the BDS movement. I would think journalists would like to take him on, given his proposal to Haim Saban that the two of them together, launch an unfriendly takeover of the NYTimes to force it to become more Pro-Israel, if there are journalists left in the MSM.

      You should dig deeper into this, Phil, how is such a report possible?

  • Israeli leader turns on US Jewish journalists Friedman, Wieseltier, Remnick and Silvers for disloyalty and anti-semitism!
    • This morning some 16 Settler Yeshiva students were arrested for arson at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and fishes. link to

      Rabbis for Human Rights report 43 such attacks against churches and mosques since 2009. link to

      Perhaps Michael Oren can explain how reasonable people are supposed to react to such hate crimes, without criticizing the society from which they arise?

    • Perpetual doubling down is how gambler's lose it all.

      Why is the debate: either you're gambling with us, or you're an Anti-Semite, OR

      Zionism must die. ????

      How about exporting American values to Israel? Zionism can become Americanized, 21st centuryized. Israel can be redeemed, but not when the debate is my existential threat versus yours. Who's fear is more palpable?

      How about who's vision for the future is more realistic, most in keeping with universal values that respects all individuals?

  • Foxman bashes Israel for taking US and Jewish support for granted and not coming up with a peace plan
  • People behind BDS are also responsible for 9/11 attack, Israeli centrist tells NY synagogue
    • Thanks for the anniversary reminder, Kris. Maybe by the 50th anniversary, Israel will be in a better place more able to acknowledge and atone for its past sins and transgressions, as the US has for slavery, Jim Crow, and Native American abuse, setting the stage for a permanent state at peace based on the American values of self-determination, equal rights under law, divided power, separation of state and religion, checks and balances. Then, perhaps the memories of those heroes can rest more easily.

    • Both Lapid's remarks and the Israel Lobby's pitch to the Supreme Court are over the top, in a related way. They elevate the result desired over respect for the processes and values involved. For Lapid, he says it's not about the policies, its the other side against Israel, then acknowledges that it is the policies but never mind because it is our country right or wrong, to an American audience no doubt concerned over the dual loyalty issue. He's saying: "I disrespect your concern." In the Supreme Court, it's vanity plates for Jews born in Jerusalem over American separation of powers. Kagan's quip is excellent because it contrasts the level of importance of the one compared to the other, but there's a barb there: you expect me to elevate this goal over my oath to uphold the Constitution of the US, exercising the power of a seat on a court that I struggled mightily to secure, the honor and privilege of my life. AIPAC says: "We disrespect the constitution. We can control Congress. We'll try to use it to control the US, and why wouldn't we? We would expect you to side with us, because we're more important."

      As Phil has observed, it's disconnected from reality.

      But the Likudniks know only escalation, which they will continue until thrown from power.

  • Netanyahu under siege, in 'the most embattled democracy on earth'
    • Netanyahu's main tactic a year ago, as peace talks fell apart, was to start a war with Gaza. His tactic in the winter was to call new elections to secure a stronger, righter-wing coalition. His tactic now will be either or both of an invasion of Lebanon or Gaza.

      He confuses his own political trajectory with his country's existence, and is growing ever more desperate as his tactics fail, backfire, or prove only short-term distractions, with progressively shorter terms. He's progressively sacrificing US support, although Obama is maddeningly nuanced in his approach to escalation of consequences.

      He's offering his fanatic followers Likudnik Kool-Aid, and the moment to drink the fatal dose is rapidly approaching.

  • Obama says peace talks are pointless because Netanyahu won't see the 'best' in others
    • It's hopey changy stuff vs fear of terrorists crawling out of the ground to attack kindergartens.

      I think it's good that Obama lectures the Prime Minister in such an intellectual, analytical, I feel your fear, but don't endorse its consequences, sort of way.

      It is practicing the art of the possible, and he just needs to erode a couple votes from Netanyahu's 61-59 majority to topple that sucker. He's chipping away at it, but seems to have found a voice that let's him do so, while avoiding too strong an attack. I think he's carrying a lot of American Jews with him, as well. No, we don't believe Netanyahu's backtrack on never peace on my watch. He is motivated by fear, and fear can be a disabling somatic state, can cause one harm. It's all so calm and reasonable, and Netanyahu seems - is - a lying fear-monger, by contrast. The Tel Aviv Labor Israelis will be motivated, while the right-wing settlers will be non-plussed.

  • ‘They said we drink the blood of children’—Netanyahu goes off the deep end after FIFA campaign
    • Very interesting bit of medical history there, Stephen. Do you suppose the wide-spread "therapy" of blood-letting had a hidden economic motive as a means to procure blood for this "medicinal" purpose?

      And see this article in the NYTimes last year about new research into the rejuvenating qualities of young blood - transfused, or mixed by parabiosis, not eaten. link to

      Imagine a series of posters with pictures of the Prime Minister with his most shocking quotes. E.g., picture him in fierce lecturing mode, superimposed on a photo of that broken young soccer player on a Gazan beach, saying, "holding Israel accountable for this boy's death is the same as accusing all Jews of drinking children's blood." Same with photos of the scars from gunshot wounds on the young soccer stars' feet: "holding the IDF accountable for crippling these Palestinian soccer players is . . . .

      Another would be him testifying to Congress in 2002: "I guarantee you that, if you invade Iraq, it will have long-term positive reverberations throughout the Middle East."

      Another would be him in front of his cabinet: "my greatest fear is that Iran will get its deal with the West and abide by every term."

      Another would be him in tyrant tirade: "If FIFA banishes Israeli football, it will be destroyed."

  • 'Heart-wrenching, harrowing, transfixing' -- NYT needs to end blackout on Blumenthal
    • Now it seems Israel has persuaded Palestine to withdraw its motion to banish Israel, and the Congress has passed with wide support the appointment of a committee (Israel, Palestine & FIFA) to oversee issues of travel, access to donations, racism at events. link to
      Now for the election results . . . .

    • O/T (or on the topic of what else gets ignored by the NYT), Netanyahu says FIFA "will be destroyed" if it approves Palestinian soccer's petition to ban Israel from FIFA competition. link to

      What power does he have to destroy FIFA? Would that not be corrupting power? His timing, as always, is very heavy-handed. The only alternative to Blatter in the election today is a Jordanian prince. What direction would he take?

      And what kind of person responds to allegations of deliberate interference in Palestine's national soccer program - refusal to allow travel, shooting and crippling of young star players returning from practice, shelling of boys' games on a Gazan beach, tolerance (some would say encouragement) for "death to Arabs" chants by Israeli soccer fans - by threats of destruction of the international body that would dare investigate?

      One who doesn't want anyone to look at the allegations.

      Israel has been losing the intellectual crowd, sparring with academics, trying to get legislatures to criminalize their academic freedom, but the soccer crowd is the global man in the street, and Netanyahu's sole instinct is just to raise his voice.

      "Off with their heads!" cries the Queen of Hearts (is how he will be heard).

      He has lost the confidence and support of many of his closest political allies. The NYT's support is surely eroding, as well. Why would anyone entrust Israel's future to him in such times?

  • Rand Paul gets the 'soul' of the American people: stop killing Muslims on global TV
    • Right on the money, Phil. Rand Paul is getting some hits, and you can see the extent of influence of the Israel Lobby in media by the voices and pens who attack him personally, seek to ridicule him, render him "not serious," because part of their mission in life is to not allow the Neocons to be taken on directly. Part of their mission in life is to defend their position among so-called elites who exercise power from a vantage point of condescending, Neo-Straussian entitlement to "mislead the public for its own good."

      But Neocons are fair game. Their ideology and plans are written down and available. Their "damn right" attitude about the Lebanonization of Iraq as having been their intent all along (why else did Bremer explode the constructive steps Garner had taken to stabilize Iraq? Why else did Netanyahu tell his cabinet recently his biggest fear is that Iran will get its deal with P5 + 1 and abide by every term?). Their fingers all over the chaos in Ukraine. Their dedication to pre-emptive war against Iran. Their prior support of ISIS. All that is lacking is intellectual honesty among the "crowd" of journalists to put aside the Neocon cup of Kool-Aid from their lips, to say, I'm going on the wagon from that hallucinogen. I'm going back to work at my profession.

      And see this NYTimes Op Ed contribution from a Palestinian soccer player demanding, on FIFA's day of shame, that FIFA red card Israel for its mistreatment of Palestinian soccer, calling out the "Death to Arabs" chants at Israeli club soccer matches: link to

      Times are changing, just not fast enough.

  • 'This land is ours. All of it is ours': Meet the Netanyahu cabinet members focused on fighting BDS & annexing the West Bank
    • The lovely Hotovely, with the simple mind: God gave it to us. It's right here in the Torah. What else is there to discuss?

      Deputy Foreign Minister, indeed. Deputy Sunday School teacher would be more fitting.

  • Netanyahu's new Foreign Ministry aide gets $226,000 from Sheldon Adelson shop in U.S.
    • Who wouldn't want to run against Sheldon Adelson?

      He's at least as bad as the Koch Brothers, for any Democrat worthy of the name. He has so little support among the American Jewish community, except what he purchases, he's just this side of Donald Sterling (LA Clippers former owner who got banned from the NBA for telling his girl friend not to go games with Blacks like Magic Johnson, so he wouldn't have to hear about it from his racist Israeli friends) and can be usefully compared to him, conflated with him as the wrong billionaires to have on your side. Let Sheldon Adelson wrongfully accuse some bright, earnest Democratic politician of Anti-Semitism. Yeah, that's the ticket.

    • Corruption "happens in all western democracies" should be:

      Corruption and incompetence by office-holders is anticipated by western democracies, so they constitutionally build in separation of powers, checks and balances, independent judiciaries, periodic elections, so that the state can slough off the bad actors periodically, and renew with fresh leaders and reforms.

      The "everybody's corrupt" mantra is a signal of a corrupt person trying to avoid accountability.

  • Red lines, shmed lines-- U.S. must buy Israel's compliance with Iran deal
    • Obama is practicing the art of the possible. And who sets the lines of what is possible in American politics? We the people, all of us.

      Something that is clearly not possible: persuading Israel to give up its nukes.

      The worst news here is that Netanyahu scores points before his right wing electorate by extracting major additions to his arsenal, continuously upping the blatancy with which he pushes around the US government, demanding groveling in order to show off his power before the right wing mob.

      US Jews need to push to constrain Israel in this regard, because Netanyahu won't ever show constraint, and the end result could be catastrophic.

      What is possible is removing Netanyahu's hands from the button that controls Israel's nukes. One or two votes in the Knesset is all that would take.

  • The crisis of the American Jewish community
    • Off topic, see Jason Ditz at on the split within the Israeli government over whether or how to cut a deal to allow the US to bribe it with military equipment to acquiesce in the Iran deal.

      link to

      Question: is there any dealmaking with right-wing hardliners? Or is it just a question of whether you will acquiesce fully in their leadership, falling unquestioningly in line and in step, or else become their mortal enemy?

  • Like it or not, Obama is a liberal Zionist
    • Great piece. He's a politician, a practitioner of the art of the possible. I disagree with those who say 2SS is all over and 1S1V1P is all that is left. 2SS never existed for many of the Israeli right wing extremists, who currently hold onto power, by the narrowest of margins. Obama is clearly campaigning to chip that margin away, until Netanyahu falls.

      I think a 2SS put together against the will of the Israeli right wing, after their power is broken, is the better answer. Chip, chip, chip . . . .

  • The grotesque injustice of Obama's speech at the Washington synagogue
    • No Stephen, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," reads the first line of the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. It would violate the First Amendment in several respects to prohibit a politician or government official from speaking in a house of worship. Now if he set up a government office there, that would be a problem.

  • Losing public opinion on BDS, activists turn to 'lawfare'
    • It is unwise for anyone seeking to wield influence in the US to attack one of our core foundational values in such a blatant fashion. Those public servants who side against the First Amendment are forgetting their oath of office, to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Only a foolish enemy of the US would rejoice in publicly turning one its public officials in such a corrupt way.

  • Obama equates Israel's creation to African-Americans gaining right to vote
  • The final straw: The real reason why Palestine wants Israel out of FIFA
    • Let's not hold our breath for FIFA to take a righteous stand on principle. They're not made of such stuff.

      But if they were to take a stand, it could have a serious effect on the moral balance inside and outside the Middle East. After analyzing what was in the hearts of his white South African captors, Mandela realized it was rugby, that other, other football, and the Springboks, the SA national team, and so he led their movement to boycott South Africa from international rugby. The international shame among sports fans of national teams adds a dimension lacking from academic groups and liberals in journalism or elsewhere that should not be underestimated. And a dimension to the impact of the boycott effort on the overall community, in Tel Aviv and elsewhere.

      The power of denial, the power to self-delude that one is the righteous good guy belonging to a good and exceptional society, and to dismiss inconsistent evidence, must be overcome with a multi-dimensional strategy, and soccer is definitely a different dimension to the effort. Netanyahu swore in his new righter-wing government last week, but it is historically weak and subject to extortion by everyone of its members, so it might not last very long. Shame and deprivation on the soccer fan front could turn a number of votes if a quick re-election were to spring up.

      So I think it is a good tactic.

  • The U.S. is at last facing the neocon captivity
    • "We invaded Iraq because a powerful group of pro-Israel ideologues — the neoconservatives — who had mustered forces in Washington over the previous two decades and at last had come into the White House were able to sell a vision of transforming the Middle East that was pure wishful hokum but that they believed: that if Arab countries were converted by force into democracies, the people would embrace the change and would also accept Israel as a great neighbor."

      "wishful hokum . . . that they believed"????

      What about neocon Bernard Lewis's view that the Middle East powers that were hostile to Israel should "Lebanonized," turned into “squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions and parties”, led by rulers with a parochial, sectarian outlook and lacking a national “common identity.” link to

      It seems to me only the not-too-bright ones believed the process would work - the Bush-era Republican operatives who went to Baghdad full of fervor to remake Iraq, and who Garry Trudeau lampooned in a great cartoon, where a desperate Arab was crawling out of desert, croaking for "water, water," and the eager-beaver believer said, "give this man a tax break!"

      The NYTimes re-reported Netanyahu's 2002 testimony to Congress in the run-up to his recent speech to Congress, where he said, "if you take out Saddam . . ., I guarantee you it will have enormous positive reverberations throughout the region." link to

      In the same breath he was preaching taking out Iran. It's not to remake them as democracies, that's just a line to sell poorly informed and gullible Americans (like W). The enormous positive reverberations he was pining for was to destroy their civil society and turn them into cauldrons of sectarian violence. The ones that still stand behind the Iraq war decision (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Netanyahu, Kristol, etc.), do so because they wanted it all along for other reasons, and they "fixed the facts and the intelligence to match the policy." They never believed the hokum.

      Why else would Netanyahu tell his cabinet recently that his greatest fear is that Iran will reach a deal with the West, and then fully abide by every term of it? link to

      It is neocon dogma to destroy those countries and turn them into cauldrons of sectarian violence.

  • Ilan Pappe on the western awakening and what it means for Israel/Palestine
    • Great piece, Phil, both on an intellectual level and a personal level.

      "I think we’re seeing a Kosherizing of the BDS movement. That in fact the world sees the mushrooming of crazy people and crazy ideologies. This is happening, no doubt: the people being burned alive, and beheaded. In this world, the BDS pro Palestinian solidarity movement is a group of civilized people, simple people who believe in humanity, decent people who believe in the rights of human beings.

      "You could not wish for better partners with whom to build a better world."

      So much follows from how you choose to define your community.

  • 'NYT' and 'MSNBC' leave Marco Rubio backer's Israel agenda out of the story
    • "Till our press even addresses the issue of the Israel lobby, people are going to form dark and conspiratorial views of the extent of its influence. And until it addresses the issue, some conspiratorial ideas will actually have merit. We need sunshine. Especially from Jewish writers, who [may from personal experience be in a better position to] understand the role of Zionism inside Jewish life."

      A good thought, Phil, but your last sentence claims a special place for Jewish writers, as if others are less qualified, and should therefore be discouraged or should self-edit to discourage themselves from trying. See my suggested edit in brackets, intended to eliminate this bias.

      Or do you endorse the idea that non-Jews should be discouraged from expressing their views and opinions on the role of Zionism in Jewish life and, by extension, in the lives of American Jews and America generally?

      I personally think it would be valuable for people addressing issues relating to the Middle East to clarify their relationship to Zionism, from deep opposition, through total ignorance or indifference through historical justification, through gooey eyed love, through having loved ones fighting in the IDF, to drawing direct justification for Israel's oppression and expansion based on biblical passages from 2500 years ago, and the many shades of variation and combination mixed in. Same goes for those with special attachments or reasons to oppose the goals of the Palestinian people for their own country.

      They should all have permission to speak their freely speak their minds in good faith, because only through such discourse can an issue be fully vetted in American society.

  • Netanyahu’s coalition: Who’s in, who’s out
    • And here's another angle, reported by Jason Ditz at

      It seems Jewish Home is its own "coalition," and one of its ministers, Uri Ariel, head of a former religious party that merged to form Jewish Home, now wants the Justice Ministry for himself, even while Netanyahu fences with Ayeled Shaked and Bennett over stripping that position's power before she gets it. Ariel is threatening to withdraw unless he gets it instead, and his faction is worth 3 or 4 seats.

      link to

      So it is truly a "government that is susceptible to extortion." Twice in two days, over the same appointment. And the WSJ spins it that Netanyahu is "playing" Bennett. Netanyahu is being played so hard and so fast by so many that even he is going to soon grow tired of himself.

    • I think you meant Bennett was "ruthless" in exploiting Netanyahu's desperation. The rest of us are "rueful" about the whole mess.

      As to Netanyahu "playing" Bennett, so that he can bring Herzog in in his place, that's a laughable effort at spin. First, it was Bennett who took Lieberman's defection Monday as a signal for a fire sale, and he promptly announced his new demands then put his cellphone on Airplane Mode to avoid any communication with Netanyahu until there was no other choice. Some sucker. Second, Netanyahu has been trying to bring Herzog in since the beginning, spreading rumors of ongoing talks, but they've all been rejected by Herzog who keeps responding with the litany of reasons why change in leadership is needed. Here's what he tweeted:

      “'This government is devoid of responsibility, stability, and an ability to govern,' tweeted Herzog, who has been conspicuously silent in recent weeks, fueling speculation that he had not ruled out joining Netanyahu in a unity government.

      “'This government is one of national failure,' Herzog tweeted. 'A government that is susceptible to extortion is a narrow, weak government that won’t advance a thing and will be quickly replaced by an alternative that represents hope and responsibility.'”

      I think it is at least as likely that Kahlon will pull out, wanting only to push economic reforms from within a broad-based government (what he has always said). His economic reforms will have no chance against Bennett and the Religious Parties, whose agendas are very different, and whose tactics will be just what Bennett did this week, my way, or the government is dead, take it or leave, I'm turning my cellphone off now. It was so bad in Netanyahu's last government that Kahlon resigned in protest. How could it not be much worse this time?

  • 'Most reactionary government in Israel's history' -- when will liberal Zionists hit bottom?
    • The Airplane Mode Coalition.

      When Lieberman suddenly resigned and went to the opposition on Monday, Naftali Bennett published his demands, and then reportedly put his cellphone on Airplane Mode, to avoid any communication with Netanyahu until the very last minute, when Netanyahu would have no choice but to capitulate, a tactic that worked, and was reported as "smart" somewhere in the Israeli news media . Is there any reason to expect anything different on every issue of significance to come before the government in the days ahead?

      Are the other party leaders going to be "team players," when a small party (Jewish Home has 8 seats, less than 7% of the Knesset) uses its veto power in the coalition to make highly partisan demands and then refuses to even communicate? Jewish Home has fewer seats than six of the nine other Israeli parties that won seats. Bennett is a natural dictator ("the only thing that matters is the strength of the Leader's spine") who will use every ounce of his power to advance his agenda. "No, you listen to me!" I predict will be heard over and over in cabinet meetings. Hands over ears, singing "la, la, la" as others try to express their opinion. "Take it or leave it" will be the watchword.

      Moshe Kahlon, on what basis do you suppose your economic reform agenda can be advanced in this government?

  • Netanyahu appoints Ayelet Shaked—who called for genocide of Palestinians—as Justice Minister in new government
    • The big story is the coalition, and the language being used in the Israeli press to describe it is fascinating:

      link to

      I can't help but wonder will Moshe Kahlon affirm his deal with Netanyahu, when the prospects for him and his reform initiative within this dysfunctional coalition seem hopeless. Wouldn't he be better off joining forces with the opposition, giving them a 67-53 majority, at least. Perhaps one of the religious parties would switch sides, as well. Perhaps Likud, sans its Leader, could be persuaded to join a broad coalition, with Herzog providing the new leadership everyone, I mean everyone but Bibi and Sara, are pining for.

  • Palestinian actor on Israel's top tv show sets off uproar over the occupation
    • O/T (but the big news in Israel/Palestine), here's an article in YnetNews today in which MK Shelley Yachimovich appears to carry Netanyahu's water demanding that Herzog split with Livni. "In response to Yachimovich's comments, Herzog said: 'I can still remember days when only eight people sat here. It's easy to break apart and destroy what we've built. I honestly think statements of this kind serve Bibi (Netanyahu). There's a wonderful opportunity here, he still doesn't even have 61 (MKs). We can still take over the government. We're a quarter of the Knesset.'"

      link to

      Possibly Netanyahu is desperate to get Herzog to join, to solve his problem that, with Lieberman's defection, he can only get to 61-59, and that not done yet because Shas and Jewish Home have irreconcilable core issues. A razor thin majority may not be enough to keep Kahlon and Kulanu's 10 seats. Herzog sounds like he's itching for the opportunity to put together a government with Netanyahu left out, or possibly as a big but non-essential part of a very broad coalition that leaves out Bennett and Lieberman, symbolizing a decisive turn away from the rightward trajectory Netanyahu has led for so long. Stayed tuned.

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