Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 372 (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 372 - 301

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Transcript at link to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      "Palestinian demands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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