Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 613 (since 2009-08-11 17:12:53)

David Doppler

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

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  • 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 redressonline.com

      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 nytimes.com

      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 haaretz.com

      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 Antiwar.com:

      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 news.antiwar.com

      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 ynetnews.com

      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 ynetnews.com

      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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  • 'Washington Post' buries Carter's statement that 'situation in Gaza is intolerable' in last paragraph
    • The Post article puts more value on the snark value of how much the DC "elites" disrespect a former President, than on what the former President does, or the merits behind his principled stand. And still they congratulate themselves on their elite status. It's like their celebrities, but think they're heroes.

  • Gaza rules: Kill 2 Palestinian women on cellphones in an orchard so Israeli soldiers face zero risk
  • Palestine’s moment of truth for the International Criminal Court
    • Hi Kay,

      Here's a good report about Lieberman's "announced" (but apparently not yet tendered) resignation.
      link to haaretz.com

      This coalition-building process is one amazing poker game, as Netanyahu's deadline looms on Wednesday. Lieberman says he's out, opening Foreign Minister to offer to Herzog, but is the resignation for real (announced but to-be-tendered)? Would Herzog take it, despite having consistently denied interest? Or is it a bluff to pull Bennett and Shas into line, to settle their bitter dispute over their respective slices of the pie of power and the direction of government policy and the Haredim. Without Lieberman, but with Shas, UTJ, Jewish Home (Bennett) and Kulanu (Kahlon), it's a 61-59 razor thin majority unlikely to last very long at all. And with Lieberman out of government, he could rabble-rouse to the right in opposition to any Centrist move Netanyahu's government might make to placate the US and international community. Kahlon has spoken against such a razor thin government - not likely to support any controversial reforms that are apparently his whole reason for being in government.

      Is Herzog ready to cut a deal to enter government in a last-minute, broad coalition? Or is he running a counter-proposal game under the surface, to pull away Lieberman, Kahlon and maybe Shas and or UTJ, leaving Netanyahu and Bennett to compete in a sort of fascistic opposition?

      Netanyahu, Herzog, Kahlon, Bennett, Deres, Lieberman, betting and bluffing, with Rivlin the dealer there to enforce a time-limit on Netanyahu's efforts. High drama. Surprise endings possible.

  • Israeli army can't stop patting itself on the back for helping Nepal victims
    • O/T, the important news from Israel that isn't being covered in the US (including here on MW) concerns the coalition building going on, which Netanyahu has until Wednesday to complete, or risk having President Rivlin invite Herzog to make a go of it. I've found the comments posted on this article in JPost to be valuable in exposing the various perspectives of the many factions (what I assume is primarily a Tel Aviv perspective). link to jpost.com

      The overarching context is that Netanyahu decided in December to dissolve early his broad-based coalition by firing Livni and Lapid, in favor of an opportunity to build a more purely right-wing government. The tactic may have backfired, because the Centrist Zionist Union and the Herzog part have declined to discuss joining, and the election tended to rearrange votes within larger factional divides, rather than show major movement on the right-left axis. Likud improved its showing, but at the expense of the farther right parties, while the Arabs and the Zionist Union also made major gains.

      Netanyahu (Likud 30) has now struck "deals" (nothing's final until all coalition partners sign onto the same deal) with Kahlon (Kulanu 10, a former Likud faction focused on improving economic issues for the Middle Class), with Shas (7) and UTJ (6, and with Shas, the religious parties) , and he needs his far-right wingers (BY Bennett 8, YB Lieberman 7) to join, with much-diminished role, which they are being offered on a take-it-or-leave-it-basis, and with which they are none too happy. This will get him a 67-53 majority that re-incorporates the religious parties expelled to form his last government, and who are expected to demand repeal of recent laws forcing the Haredi to serve in the IDF, and reducing their public dole, issues that Bennett of Bayit Yehudi fought hard for in the last coalition's brief tenure. Bennett is being forced to take less authority and eat crow on a core issue for him, he who lectured the Saban Conference about the only important thing being the strength of the Leader's Spine. If forced to choose between Shas and Bayit Yehudi - Bennett vs Deri - Netanyahu would have a one vote majority 61-59 with Bennett, Shas without BY would result in only 60 votes, but Shas's Deri is here asserting no compromise; Shas has a history of being part of every coalition, except the last). Without both, a one vote majority would be very unstable, with every coalition partner having effective veto power over every issue. If Netanyahu goes back to the well of Kulanu to ask for more authority to redistribute, he risks losing that essential piece. If he's forced to concede more authority tentatively assigned to Likud, he's giving up Likud's just spoils, earned with Netanyahu's election day appeals to right-wingers everywhere.

      The comments in JPost express many different perspectives on each of the factions, the risks inherent in any deal, and the many issues (other than how to treat Palestinians, which doesn't seem to come up) that occupy its readers' attention, as the deadline looms. Fascinating stuff, worthy of greater attention here.

  • Forgiving the anti-Semites
    • This whole post seems an invitation to prejudice, but this deserves special mention:

      "I said that [the Israel lobby] reflected a contract the American establishment had made with Jews to drive the economy in the 1970s. We were really good at the four horses of the global economy (finance, software, education, and media) . . . ; and in exchange for that leading role, the government would support Israel."

      You know that "the Jews" didn't get together and negotiate any such thing, and that "the American establishment" didn't get together and negotiate the other side, don't you? It's ludicrous. The American establishment? where at its tony clubs? "Hey, join us, A, B, and C, and some of the other fellows tonight. We're going to get the Jews to drive the four horses of the economy for us. Boy oh boy, will we make money, you betcha. All we have to do is support their Zionist project in Israel. No brainer. Phew. Now we don't have to worry about the economy any more."

      America is constitutionally a meritocracy, with limited, divided and competitive government, dispersed wells of power, all designed to prevent power elites from performing too much of the mischief they are historically so famous for. Your explanation of the Israel Lobby dismisses all of that, in favor of a belief that there is always an elite, America is no different from every ancient or Medieval kingdom, where "the Jews" struck their fateful bargains with "the other."

      The reason you haven't felt prejudice is that, for the most part, the American people struck a bargain with themselves 225 years ago to create a different kind of government and society that values its constitutional principles above all others, and which has led it through its twists and turns, exploring its many imperfections that haven't prevented it ever striving to be more perfect.

      I would say the Israel Lobby reflects a temporary abuse of power relationships fueled by political contributions and organized (but partially concealed in their collaboration) political, media and social efforts designed to punish those who fail to support the power relationships, and to reward those who do. It's worked very effectively since the 70s, but is in process of falling apart due to the bankruptcy of the strategic leadership provided by Netanyahu and the Neocons, who keep upping the ante while holding a hand with nothing in it but a failed ideology, as a new generation looks on in disgust.

  • Mark Shields blasts Adelson for 'making foreign policy for the United States'
    • I hope someone chronicles the grief Mark Shields takes on that one. I hope he strikes back with, the American people have a right to know everything about Sheldon Adelson.

  • Herzog lost Israeli election because he didn't have blood on his hands -- Shalev
    • Herzog is attacked here by his supposed friends as not a serious candidate, charisma-lacking, insufficient "cajones" in the made-man department, perceived as a "freyer" by the right-wingers who think peace is a dangerous illusion. I hope Mondoweiss isn't becoming an organ for Netanyahu propaganda. As blah chick points out, it is Netanyahu who is down to his last 16 days of overtime to get his coalition formed, or Herzog may be asked to form a government, and he would need only Kahlon to pull it off with a very thin 3 vote margin, including the Arab parties.

      Netanyahu took votes from Bennett and Lieberman to pull the election out, but they don't want to give up so much, because the early elections were supposed to make for a right wing government with greater clarity and unity. He's had to promise a lot to Kahlon and the religious parties, he's tried to bluff Bennett and Lieberman into taking less, holding out the possibility that Herzog would come in, now its Herzog's character, or lack of it, that is being attacked, as if Netanyahu doesn't want anyone to seriously think of entrusting the government formation to him Herzog.

      A little military action on the side would play into Netanyahu's supposed strong-man side, undermine Herzog at the same time.

      I guess my question is why do we need to pander to the right-wing settler movement?

      And maybe Herzog only appears weak to people used to Netanyahu's heavy hand. Maybe his strength will reveal itself through more intelligent approaches to long-term problems that keep getting worse under Netanyahu's leadership.

  • Leaked Sony emails reveal Hollywood execs efforts to support Israel
    • “a really good director who on the face of it doesn’t seem completely biased, so that we can show something that gets the message across without making it seem like propaganda.”

      Sincerity is everything. If you can fake that, you've got it made.

  • 'NYT' runs piece of unadulterated propaganda for Israeli army
  • The grave danger of derailing the Iran deal -- an interview with Chas Freeman
    • Great piece, Phil. I have so wanted to hear from Chas Freeman, Walt & Mearsheimer, Jim Baker, some of the Gatekeepers who are too old to care whether their prime minister hates them, the school of realists in the US and Israel. And you deliver, again. I hope MSM will tap into this lode of antidote soon.

      Freeman's insights are many. This one in particular is a worthy challenge to the historical community:

      "And now an openly partisan divide has opened up because of Netanyahu’s hubris. It’s incredible! I can’t think of an example in history of so thorough an “own goal” by a leader. I knew he was self-centered, and showing contempt for the United States helped him win reelection. But, this latest set of maneuvers on his part has to take the cake. He didn’t think twice about trashing the interests of his country to advance his own."

      Are there nominations of competitors for the hubris-fed "own goal of all time award?" Custer dismounting at Wounded Knee? Cornwallis boasting that, with five thousand men, he'd march from one end of the American continent to the other? Hitler invading his ally Russia? Hoover tightening the money supply? South Carolina attacking Fort Sumter?

  • Kristol frets that he walked into Obama's 'trap,' and Rubio says he'll demand Iran recognize 'Israel's right to exist'
    • That was Netanyahu's last-minute demand, so Rubio is plainly pandering. What all those Congresspersons hear when they're briefed by the Pentagon on the prospects of going to war in Iran is not the same Kool-Aid. Even John McCain acknowledged sending Corker's letter to Iran was maybe not a good idea, given that it undermines much of US diplomacy for decades. It's like Zionism is being dumbed down by Netanyahu, as he struggles with the consequences of decades of Neocon ideology, the need to keep the fear level fresh, despite a real world out there that no longer is receptive, whose patience has worn thin. Netanyahu wants to kill the deal, while I believe most Republicans would be happy to settle for claiming credit for making the deal better than that weakling Obama could've negotiated on his own without Congress's help and bold action. Even George W. Bush lost enthusiasm for more wars.

    • I thought the process was highly interesting - it happened so fast and Obama surprised everyone by agreeing to agree. Despite the canned rhetoric, most of those Congresspersons don't enjoy having their puppet strings pulled one bit. Now that Netanyahu has put support for Israel out there in such stark partisan fashion, on an issue threatening involvement of US troops, it's nearly impossible for anyone who's not a true Kool-Aid lover to see this as anything other than naked politics, an extension of Netanyahu's divisive campaign in Israel into the Republican presidential primaries. Republicans can remember when AIPAC worked primarily thought the Democratic Party, and are unlikely to harbor any illusions.

      Those Republicans will now welcome the campaign money promised for voting as instructed, and they'll feast on the excuse to bash Obama, but do they really want to succeed in preventing the Iran deal, which could lead to another catastrophic war? Some of them are likely to welcome the opportunity to make Bill Kristol and the Neocons look like suckers.

  • Netanyahu played 'decisive' role in Senate bill aimed at stymieing Iran deal
    • Here's Chris Toensing at Antiwar.com suggesting that the US's $3B in military aid to Israel be put on the chopping block. link to original.antiwar.com

      The break between Netanyahu and Obama has occurred, and Obama is playing the adult attempting an intervention in chronic, harmful behavior. He needs to keep escalating until the bad behaving friend gets the message and changes. Nothing should be sacrosanct when it is beyond clear that US funds are going to pay for war crimes.

      Obama doesn't seem like much of a student of Machiavelli, "never do an enemy a small injury," and "the injury that is done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge," and shortened by Emerson to "Never strike a king unless you are sure you shall kill him."

      Obama's little campaign of a thousand paper cuts against a cornered, hard-right megalomaniac armed with nukes, Mossad and AIPAC, is a very dangerous game, best brought to a close very soon.

    • Thanks for the ongoing coverage on the coverage. It's fits and starts, followed by return to hasbara central.

      O/T, Yahoo News has this report up about coalition building in Tel Aviv: link to news.yahoo.com

      It appears Netanyahu is having trouble getting Bennett and Lieberman to agree, having given up too much, from their perspective, to get Kahlon and the religious parties, so he keeps floating rumors of talks with Herzog about a unity government (unity in air quotes because he's also floating the notion that his partner Livni would not be welcome, and Herzog has stated he will serve in opposition). Herzog denies having such talks, but rumors of them have the effect of further disempowering the extreme right-wingers, in an effort to force them to be more realistic (it was their base Netanyahu stole with his last minute racist/feamongering rants).

      This report repeats the threat of a unity government, but also includes the new threat of "even calling new elections," which seems to signal some desperation on Netanyahu's part. First, he doesn't have the government yet to disband, and Rivlin could ask Herzog to form the government, if Netanyahu fails to get his right-wing dream government sewn together. Second, since firing Lapid and Livni and calling for new elections to secure a solid right-wing government, to paraphrase Hirohito, the situation has not necessarily developed to Netanyahu's advantage. Obama has become more formidable in opposition to him, as Netanyahu against the advice of the sagest American Jews made highly partisan and Congressional the US's ongoing support for Israel, and the P5+1 have emerged in unity on Obama's side in that same dispute. He depends upon fear among the right wing of terrorists and Islamic would-be annihilators of Israel, and instead, Netanyahu's behavior since calling elections is alienating the rest of the world from its traditional support for Israel, giving Israelis enhanced basis to fear isolation.

      Could the right-wingers who flocked in fear to Likud on the last election day be driven to do the same again, if Netanyahu couldn't get a government formed with his more-right-wing partners, whose demands precipitate still another election?

  • When it comes to untrustworthiness, the U.S. trumps Iran
    • I find it ironic that Obama is having his Presidential prerogatives clipped by Congress while attempting to pursue diplomacy to contain Iran's nuclear threat and build economic ties with a traditional enemy, following decades of Presidential usurpation of Congress's sole constitutional authority to declare war. I suspect he'd have gotten much less pushback if he'd instead just launched a sneak attack on Tehran.

      What explains this behavior that would puzzle a founding father? It is Neocon ideology, pure and simple, alive and well in the halls of government, and in the editorial offices where these issues are "covered" without covering them.

      Haaretz and the Times of Israel have reported that Netanyahu has told his cabinet that his biggest fear is that Iran will comply with the agreement. “Netanyahu said at the meeting that it would be impossible to catch the Iranians cheating simply because they will not break the agreement,” one official said [those sneaky bastards!]. He also outlined his principal strategy to work through the US Congress to fight the deal. link to timesofisrael.com

      And why? because it is not peace he or the Neocons want, but war; not political order, but chaos, the Lebanonization of Israel's neighboring countries, blowback be damned (or welcomed as justification for running a police state that has no choice but to take and hold adjacent land to ensure its security).

      Framing it in terms of Democrats vs Republicans or President vs Congress is just cover for skilled in-fighting by a few well-placed, hard-core ideologues, who take their direction from Netanyahu. Until we face this threat to our Republic directly, it will continue its hold on power.

      Israel, too, would be wise to dump Netanyahu, strictly in its own interests, because he offers nothing but ever-expanding war, until, a generation from now, it will truly be a clash of civilizations, with no way out save that paved by failed Crusaders.

  • New Episcopal Church group calls for divestment from Israeli occupation, in recognition of the new political landscape in Israel and Palestine
  • 'United States of Israel' has compromised U.S. 'sovereignty' on Iran policy -- Gideon Levy in D.C.
    • Jason Ditz at Antiwar.com has a report up that Netanyahu is telling his cabinet that his greatest fear is that Iran will comply with the agreement. link to news.antiwar.com

      It links to an article in The Times of Israel to that very effect: link to timesofisrael.com

      Highlights from TOI:

      "The [two unnamed] officials, who were present in a cabinet meeting on April 3, said the prime minister was convinced the Islamic Republic would 'keep to every letter in the agreement if indeed one is signed at the end of June,' the newspaper reported early Sunday
      "'Netanyahu said at the meeting that it would be impossible to catch the Iranians cheating simply because they will not break the agreement,' one official said.

      "According to the report, the prime minister stressed that Iran’s compliance with the deal would mean that in 10-15 years, when some of the terms expire, it will be difficult to convince the international community to impose new sanctions against Tehran in the event it moves to build nuclear weapons, or persuade the world powers to continue monitoring its nuclear program.

      "At this point, Iran’s nuclear program will have received a 'kosher stamp' from the world and the sanctions will be lifted, the prime minister noted.

      "During the April 3 cabinet session, it was decided to focus much of Israel’s efforts in convincing members of Congress to back a bill sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker (Rep.) and Bob Menendez (NJ) which would give Capitol Hill the authority to reject a White House-brokered accord with Tehran. The Corker-Menendez bill would oblige Obama to give lawmakers 60 days to examine, and possibly block, a nuclear deal."

      Let's see some US publicity about Netanyahu's and the Neocon's true fear, the loss of this opportunity to start a war with Iran. Why do we allow Netanyahu and the Neocons to lecture everyone about our naivete and lack of negotiating ability, and lack of manhood to stand up to threats, when they've been shown over and over to be lying in order to create chaotic blowback, to justify escalating Israeli "security measures," read, more settlements, more abuse of Palestinians.

      Until Netanyahu forms his government, he's vulnerable to losing his majority to Herzog. With this racist, right-wing, fear-mongering pathological liar running AIPAC in our Congress to submarine diplomacy with Iran so that American soldiers can be placed into hopeless war across two thousand miles of Islamic Asia, from Iraq through Iran through Afghanistan, what is the excuse for making nice, and being respectful?

      Throw the bum out.

  • How Obama won on Iran
    • Kay, I would challenge this statement: "Israel cannot exist without a bogey man." Why cannot Israel make peace?

      As Kafka wrote in his Little Fable:

      "Alas", said the mouse, "the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I am running into."

      "You only need to change your direction," said the cat, and ate it up.

      Is it Israel that cannot exist without fear to hold it together, 67 years after its founding, or just the Netanyahu-led, right-wing, bunker-mentality, Neocon Clean-Break-following Apartheid state?

      Why is everything an existential crisis? Isn't making everything an existential crisis one of the cornerstones of Neoconservatism? See Craig Unger, The Fall of the House of Bush, cited in History Commons for this summary:

      "Like Trotsky, Unger writes, the neoconservatives pride themselves on being skilled bureaucratic infighters, and on trusting no one except a small cadre of like-minded believers. Disagreement is betrayal, and political struggles are always a matter of life and death." link to historycommons.org

      It is impossible to win a reasoned argument with someone who believes or pledges a pact with others together, group-thinking, to believe that it is their way or certain death. But such people can only lead into ever-expanding conflict. Megalomania, thy name is Netanyahu and Adelson and Kristol.

      Rather than allowing them to define the issue as, "do we allow Iran to follow a path to its bomb over Tel Aviv? [or blow them up first by way of pre-emptive war, our only alternative]," they must be disempowered and held accountable for their own treason, perjury, war crimes and crimes against humanity, miscellaneous felonies.

      In criticizing Neocon ideology by saying Israel "cannot exist without a bogeyman," you buy into the identity of Israel with this megalomania. Let Israel change its direction, it's fear that it is but a little short-lived mouse can be eaten up by a prosperous, peaceful future, following reparations, atonement, and learning to treat Arabs and Muslims as they would have them treat themselves, trusting, but subject to verification, secure under its Iron Dome, and with US backing.

  • Tipping point?
  • A pessoptimistic view of the Israeli elections
    • Mondoweiss is dropping the ball on coalition-negotiation reporting. Here's Jason Ditz at Antiwar once again giving the clear scoop: Kahlon cancels coalition-building meetings as progress on allocation of ministries appears not to be to the kingmaker's liking. link to news.antiwar.com

  • Washington 'sits shiva' for the 2-state solution
    • What angers the Center-Left is the prospect of a One State Reality run by Likudniks and points further to the right, who will inevitably find an excuse to slaughter and ethnically cleanse every inch of the promised land, all the while blaming the victims, labeled as terrorists crawling up out of the ground, vermin-like. A one-state solution does not offer Palestinians or Arab Israelis a future with their inalienable rights to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and self-determination.

      A one-state solution led by the Right will be a nightmare chapter in the book of Nakba, a remake of the genocide in the Book of Deuteronomy.

      What also angers us is the dishonesty shown clearly by Netanyahu's panicked election disavowal of the two-state solution, followed by quick lies to walk it back, but which has always been visible to the discerning eye: it has been dishonest to pursue peace talks without intention to consummate them, with intention instead to build settlements in order to change facts on the ground; it was dishonest to submarine the recent round of peace talks, "the threat of peace," then pick a fight with Hamas in order to "mow the grass" another time; it was dishonest to destroy Iraq on pretense of 9/11 complicity and supposed WMD, when the real reason was to create chaos where organized hostility to Israel existed; it is dishonest to seek to do to Iran what was done to Iraq, on the basis again of its organized opposition to Israel's expansive and repressive ambitions.

      Israel could exist in peace if it settled for some version of the facts on the ground, and going forward dealt fairly and from a basis of mutual respect, if always cautiously and prudently, with its neighbors and its Arab citizens. But the Netanyahu-Likud-Neocon trajectory is a growing, enduring clash of civilizations, a hundred years war, during which Israel will grow and become cleansed, and the rest of the world will be damned to repeating the Crusades. Terror is necessary to sustain Netanyahu's trajectory, as is dishonesty about its sources and solutions.

      As expressed in the US, the Neocon trajectory means coming to live with a still-effective AIPAC (see grossly under-reported March 20 letter from 367 Congresspersons demanding approval rights of the Iran deal link to news.antiwar.com) closely aligned with Ted Cruz and Sheldon Adelson, strings pulled by Ron Dermer, the public lectured to about its duties by Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, surely a new Dark Age. That should anger every person for whom liberalism is more than one side in a televised political mud-wrestling match.

  • The liberal Zionist lament: Joe Klein and Jodi Rudoren try to explain away Israeli racism
    • I agree, Annie. We're all human. Bias is insidious and finds its way into all sorts of places (EVERYONE needs to look within). It is what our social institutions do with bias - to magnify it or to isolate and shame it - that creates times and places of extreme oppression based on bias, or, alternatively, islands of diverse culture, such as many (but not all always) enjoy today in the Unites States.

      I continue to believe that we have evolved different somatic states that facilitate either fear of, or welcoming "the other," depending on a basic sense of safety or threat, and that Netanyahu and the Neocons are major fear-mongers, like most fascists, depending on the basic sense of threat to justify leadership based on "the strength of the Leader's spine," which is inspiring, when you're afraid, and disgusting when you feel safe and secure.

      Mandela said, we must not only free the blacks from their oppression, but the whites from their fear.

      Brooks is wrong to assert the difference, that Anti-Semitism, like the Jewish people, are unique, because it blinds him to the universality of the whole situation. I don't begrudge him getting "gooey-eyed" when he thinks of Israel. I understand it, because I feel the same way when I think of America's founding principals. Absolutely worth fighting for.

      But bigotry in service of or directed at one race or ethnic group is just as bad in one situation as the next. Liberal intellectuals, above everyone else, needs to understand this. Look within, David. Behold your own bias. Come to realize it does not justify oppressing Palestinians, or excusing fascist governments or societies.

  • Netanyahu and the unraveling of the British Jewish consensus
    • The initial event that must clarify is the new government: can Netanyahu get to 61? If so, then he will continue his effort to walk back all of the damage he has done since calling elections, all the while continuing the Neocon trajectory, building settlements, oppressing Palestinians, goading Gaza to fight back, then "mowing the grass," while screaming about existential threats. But with ever intensifying international pressure shifting to intolerance. Which will continue until whichever Centrist party threw in with the right to make 61 backs out. We could repeat this election process in six or 18 months.

      If the right-wing only gets to 57: a "purified" right wing devoid of any centrist or left leaning parties, then Herzog may have the opportunity to form a broad new coalition government, one that would seek to clean up after Likud, also under intense pressure from the international community, willing to change direction, but they will also face intense pressure from within from the right wing that will object to everything.

      There will be a sharp divide within Israel between the right wing and the rest of the country, and we should not rule out the possibility that Netanyahu, or the Chief Rabbis, invoke emergency measures to suspend the [unwritten] "constitutional" processes that require 61 votes to approve a government [counting only 106 seats in the Knesset as the denominator, not all 120, excluding the "Arabs"]. This would be quite extraordinary, and could trigger sharp divide between Israelis, let alone the long-suffering Palestinians and Arab-Israelis. Israeli terrorists could incite the Third Intifada by assassinations or by blowing symbolic things up, all of which could trigger annexation of everything and a huge ethnic cleansing, to bring about through violence the one state solution, with the demographic problem cut down to size by some serious genocide and expulsion of populations.

      Is this the Zionist dream? Or can Herzog put together a broad liberal/centrist coalition, salvage the two state solution, and build two democracies in the land? It is time for history to choose.

      Mandela would have advised that not only must the Palestinians be liberated from their oppression, but the Israelis must be liberated from their fear. He would advise looking into the Israeli heart - what does it hold most dear? how to deny them of it, until they can be forced to accept change, made easier by toning down the fear level.

      Israelis want to be acknowledged as exceptional, as chosen, based on brilliance and achievement. They want to be a light unto the world. It is time for the international community and the US media, in particular, to stop honoring the Netanyahu-Neocon trajectory as anything other than base, right-wing imperialism built on colonialism, US support for it as anything other than complicity in war crimes.

      Netanyahu sought to paint his trajectory before Congress as ensuring that never again would Israelis and the Jewish people succumb to the Holocaust. "Never again" must be broadened to include what the Zionist Project has been doing to the Palestinian people.

  • The historic night for the Arab List
    • Good question, ckg, and outstanding answer, lysias! Great historical perspective. I sense that Odeh's personality is such as to catalyze change. Herzog immediately refused to contemplate a unity government with Likud. And Odeh has offered up his 14 seats to Herzog. If Lapid and Kahlon turn Likud down, it is not clear where Netanyahu can find his last four seats, and Herzog, with the Joint List's 14, could turn Netanyahu's racist, fear-mongered "victory" into a hopey changey new direction. It would be good for Odeh to get a ministry in that government, certainly political correct for the Obama administration. Kind of like Thurgood Marshall going on the Supreme Court.

      Thanks, Allison for this great insight into Odeh, a key figure in our future.

      I also found this report at +972 about what Netanyahu did to Bennett, his closest political ally - namely rape and pillage - very interesting. link to 972mag.com. Why am I reminded of that guy Cheney shot in the face apologizing for being in his way?

      Reading your report and this article about Bennett, it is slowly dawning on me why so many people look at Netanyahu's 30 seat plurality and 57 seat alliance (4 short of the majority he technically needs) as equivalent to a landslide: they don't count the Joint List's 14 seats as part of the denominator; it's 57/106, the Jewish majority. It is, literally, unthinkable in Israel and among many in the US media to form a government with "the Arabs" (citizens of Israel, nonetheless).

      I think the next week or two will be very important, and I'm glad the Arab Israelis have a leader who seems well liked and credible to represent them in this important time and process. I still want to hope that, in a year or so, Prime Minister Herzog will join hands with Minister of Civil Rights Odeh and President Obama at the front of a million man march for freedom and justice across Israel. It will sure beat BDS and the US cutting off support, and your prime minister being indicted in the ICJ for war crimes.

    • What is the value of Sheldon Adelson's free newspaper to Bibi Netanyahu? How much does Adelson spend on it? There's disclosure. Then there's reality.

  • Who can save Israel now?
    • Here's the only coverage of Yair Lapid and Moshe Kahlon I can find today.

      link to ibtimes.com

      link to haaretz.com

      Neither is in Netanyahu's government yet. And why would they join an openly racist government bent on defiance of the world, when their whole point is improving the condition of the Israeli public.

      Herzog has been bashed for "conceding," but what did he concede? that Likud won more seats than the Zionist Union? that Likud gets first crack at forming a government? both are immutable facts. He also declined to join Likud, saying he will be in opposition. If/when Netanyahu finds he only has 57 votes, then Herzog will have 63. Herzog cannot speak for Kulanu and Yesh Atid. But he has asserted that he will not make a unity government with Likud. Likud just went on record as openly racist and to having been dissembling about the "peace process." +972 had a good column 10 months ago about how Bibi was boasting to his base, "Obama said 'not one brick.' But we built xxxxx new settlement houses, despite the pressure." Someone then asked him, what about the peace process? The what? he deadpanned, to general laughter.

      Herzog's strength is reality based, while Netanyahu's is personality and ideology and deception based. When Herzog says, oh, you only have 57 seats? so, you get to be the opposition. I'm forming a government with 63 seats, Netanyahu may go ballistic, but he's painted himself and his supporters into a racist, fearmongering, isolated corner. Against the tiresome Bibi, who's out strongmanned Bennett and Lieberman, there will be arrayed, Herzog (and Livni), Kahlon, Lapid, Odeh.

      Netanyahu has an unlimited capacity to make people tired of him, and he will exhaust the last dregs of tolerance as this coalition process plays itself out. The team of Herzog-Livni-Kahlon-Lapid-Odeh have all the potential of hope and change, the alliance of both the international community, especially the Obama administration, and the Gatekeepers, the wise men of Israel's security establishment. Netanyahu has his tiresome megalomania. I'm optimistic.

    • According to JPost, Kahlon won't begin coalition negotiations until Sunday. Netanyahu CANNOT get to 61 - the minimum he needs - without Kahlon or Lapid's Yesh Atid. link to jpost.com

      So all the assumptions that it is Bibi for four more years are just false. The government isn't formed until it's formed, until someone gets to 61. Kulanu, with Yesh Atid, the Zionist Union, the Joint List, and Meretz, make 63. Netanyahu CANNOT form a government without at least one of those. Kulanu may be all the former Likudniks tired of Bibi who failed to respond to the last minute racist/alarmists tactics to return.

      Kahlon is one cool customer. He's going to make the rightwing sweat, before he decides. Where does Michael Oren sit in your new government, Bibi? Does Kulanu get 3 or 4 ministries? Or maybe 5? Who's to say he isn't just playing his cards for strongest position in cutting a different deal with Herzog, instead? Kahlon and Lapid are alternate kingmakers, each playing a version of the prisoner's dilemma. Do they fold to Bibi the tough jailer? Or have they formed a bond through their prior years in Bibi's government that allows them to hold out, like made men in the mafia? Or is either one of them just too fed up to consider being part of Bibi's government, too often burned to trust anything he says?

      I'd sure like to know more about why he abandoned Likud and his government post in the first place, because he strikes me as a man of deep principle and competence, one who wants to heal Israeli society, not a drinker of Neocon KoolAid.

    • When you include all the right wing parties, excluding Kulanu, it's less than 50%. Kulanu remains the big dog.

    • And the press's treatment of 25% of the vote as "a majority," or anything other than the one in four plurality it is, ought to be prosecuted for journalistic malpractice.

    • I predict that Netanyahu's "victory" in the election, will soon resemble his "triumph" in Congress. Painful, up-close-and-personal megalomaniacal self-congratulation, shared by the racists and those naive enough to believe his lies, followed by the painful reality that he's still Bibi, he's still trying to follow the failed trajectory, nothing he says is true or worth listening to, and a growing group of realists are going to have to start mopping up.

    • So I have yet to see confirmation from Moshe Kahlon that he will throw his support to Netanyahu. Instead, I saw that Likud was fined for broadcasting at the last minute 2-year-
      old statements by Kahlon urging Israelis to vote Likud. link to haaretz.com

      Latest I've seen says Kahlon's still mum: link to nytimes.com

      ZU 24 + YA 11 + Joint List 14 + Meretz 4 = 53, and Kulanu's 10 would make 63.

      Yair Lapid said 2 days ago, "the Netanyahu era is coming to an end." Will he now be Netanyahu's kingmaker?

      Netanyahu is fast celebrating victory and "seeking to establish facts on the ground" (sound familiar), but L 30 + JH 8 + Shas 7 + YB 6 + UTJ 6 = 57. Likud cannot win without Kulanu or someone else. My guess is they're offering Kahlon Finance Minister while telling him they've already cut a deal with YA, when in fact that isn't true.

      YA and Moshe Kahlon both used to be in Netanyahu's coalition, and both either left or were thrown out. Until one of the other announces, the process isn't over.

      By the way, Likud's victory is 25% of the voters. He behaves as if it is a landslide.

      This hunt ain't over till the big dogs howl. Moshe Kahlon, Yair Lapid, which way forward?

  • Netanyahu won. Now what?
    • There is the reality, and there is the version of it Netanyahu is celebrating. The reality is clearly stated by Jason Ditz at Antiwar: "Netanyahu Wins Surprise Plurality, Govt Still Unclear

      link to news.antiwar.com

      Without at least one of Kulanu, Yesh Atid, Zionist Union, The Joint List (Arab), or Meretz, the right only counts 57 seats, not enough to form a government.

      While Likud is talking about appointing Moshe Kahlon of Kulanu as Finance Minister, he's not talking to them yet, and won't until Sunday. He left Likud over disagreements with its leadership and formed his new party. He has a great deal of credibility, and has refused to say which way he will go. Likud also fraudulently used old recordings of his voice to urge voters to vote Likud at the last minute, not exactly prelude to a trusting coalition partnership.

      There is every reason to hope that Bibi's "Election Victory" turns out to be just another speech to Congress: short-term megalomaniacal hero worship for the Leader, long-term harm to Israel. The Congressional standing ovation bounce faded in days, but the broken relationship with the US iremains. Now the so-called election comes down to coalition building, and, until Yair Lapid or Moshe Kahlon, or Isaac Herzog, or Ayman Odey, or Meretz announce they're joining the fascists, THERE IS NO new Netanyahu government. But the further long-term damage of Netanyahu's last minute rallying cries to Israel is obvious: Netanyahu and the Neocons never wanted peace, and are just a bunch of racist fearmongers, and the Israel Lobby has been selling phony goods to the US public for years, and is still trying to spin the current situation AS IF Netanyahu actually won anything, except the largest (25%) plurality, and the right at first crack at putting together a coalition.

      Yes, 25% of the electorate voted for his party, and 48% for the hard right and ultra-religious. But 52% didn't, depending how Kulanu turns.

      So, I encourage everyone to calm down, and wait for a coalition to be announced. Until it is, there is no new government, only Bibi celebrating as if there were. Why join in his celebration? The Center Left plus Kulanu still have to vote their 63 seats.

  • Israelis go to the polls today--and nobody knows who will win (Updated)
    • So reading the exit polls, and Netanyahu's premature victory celebration, I'm struck by Moshe Kahlon's king-maker status. He's got 8 votes, and, where he goes, so goes the government. I don't know him well enough to say conclusively, but I do know he has made social issues his main program, and left Likud for Netanyahu's failure to keep promises on this front. His social and cultural roots are in Likud, but Netanyahu has made Likud all about racism and fear-mongering, Neocon warmongering. So I will be disappointed if he re-unites with Netanyahu, not only because I'm very tired of him, but because the Netanyahu-Neocon trajectory will lead to rapidly expanding BDS, de-legitimization within the international community, and greater unrest along the Jewish-Arab fault line. It is hard to achieve social justice while the IDF is "mowing the grass," and the world, and the Arab-Israelis and Palestinians are distracted by your government's ongoing war crimes.

  • Why I hope Netanyahu will be crushed tonight
    • Great piece, Phil. And this moment would not be happening, not be happening as it is happening, without the essential role played by Mondoweiss, influencer of ideas in the Middle East, shaper of thinking on the Middle East throughout the world.

      Just as Moshe Kahlon fixed cellphone monopoly pricing by throwing it open to new competition, you opened up a new stall in the marketplace of ideas at a time when the monopolists were overcharging for stale goods. You've had a brisk business, and this customer is very satisfied.

      I am grateful that Netanyahu, in the end, dropped all pretense, and made it all about preventing a Palestinian state, fear and racism now, fear and racism tomorrow, fear and racism forever. "Wait, guys, everything I ever said about the peace process, at Bar-Ilan, to the Americans, to the world, that was just fake, you KNEW it was fake, it was just cover for our true mission of ethnic cleansing and genocide. And you'd better get out the vote because our enemies are everywhere and are going to take over and make peace."

      And he was reported on NewsHour saying so. There was no acknowledgement by Judy and Gwen that his statement meant, oh, so you've been lying to us now for decades? And we've been reporting your lies as if they meant something else. But they know. They know they owe the gods of journalism some serious penance and atonement on that one. They know all the Neocons were in on all the lying from day one, and that they've been used and abused by these racist liars for much of their professional lives.

      So I think it all moves us to another stage.

  • Surging support for Palestine fuels JVP's biggest meeting yet
    • Great post, Alex. 30 new chapters and 60,000 new members since the Gaza War! Angela Davis drawing the line from Israel to Ferguson.

      I think back to the Naftali Bennett interview by Martin Indyk at Saban a few months ago, and you had this bright, wise, nuanced interviewer and this completely dismissive fascist-like responder, talking about the titanium in his spine. I think back to Abe Foxman saying to Netanyahu: "don't come to Congress," and he came and evoked and reveled in crowd ecstasy reminiscent of certain documentaries in the 1930's, but earning Obama's saber-thrust: "you broke it. you fix it."

      Now you've got Ayman Odeh becoming a political star in Israel, change the overwhelming message of the election, over-subscribed mega-conferences by JVP in the US, BDS now rolling with gathering momentum.

      Why, I believe it is time to get out in front of the change (years of denial and hasbara having failed)! Things could move very quickly now, as Herzog, the Gatekeepers, the center take over from the now discredited Neocons. One day the crowd woke up and said, I'm not as afraid of Israel's enemies as I am of our leaders. What good is strength in service of stupidity and racist fascism and corruption.

  • 'We aim to shape the democratic and moral alternative in this country' -- an interview with Ayman Odeh
    • "And David, I’m not a plant. Please stop with that nonsense. I post here because I want to, and because my habit to post places where I feel my perspective is underrepresented, rather than in places where everyone already agrees with me."

      My apologies, hophmi, your perspective is valued. Especially now that you are one of only a small number of commenters who acknowledge the possibility that an alternative coalition to the now-purified right-wing could count to 63 seats, if the ZU, YA, Kulanu, and Meretz all decide together that they would rather form a government with the Joint List (Arab) as an essential coalition partner than that all but one of them would be in opposition to still another Netanyahu term.

      I'd be interested in your perspective as to why so few people see that as within the realm of possibility? So far, even the great Phil Weiss.

    • Will wonders never cease? Hophmi's starting to sound like the voice of reason on Mondoweiss. Change is in the air.

      If hophmi is a paid hasbara plant, as has been so often alleged, does this post not represent an official, post-Netanyahu change of Israeli hasbara?

      "Not every Palestinian-Israeli will vote for the joint list; they’re not a monolith. But enough will to give Arabs in Israel leverage that they have not had before. At worst, Odeh will lead the opposition, and at best, they’ll be part of the government. Either way, it will be a positive thing for Israel in the long-term."

    • Thanks, Allie, for a journalist's look at who is Ayman Odeh? I predict MSM will be following your and Mondoweiss's lead very shortly.

      I do not share just's hope that Ayman will lead the opposition, although it's a fine alternative for him to have as a chip at the table. It's Herzog's chip as well. My hope is that he will be part of the governing coalition, which excludes Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, and Jewish Home. Let Bennett or Netanyahu or Lieberman be the voice of the opposition. Let the Centrist-inclusive-peace camp lead, and let the racist fear-mongers be in opposition. They've made it us vs them, expansion vs peace, warmongers vs peacemakers, Zionism vs everyone else in existential struggle. Let them lose on the battleground that they chose, the early election they so overconfidently called. Let the Israeli electorate reject that trajectory, at long last. Let the US realize the Israel in the Israel Lobby is no longer Bibi Netanyahu.

      What if Herzog and Obama joined hands in Ayman Odeh's peace march? What if the Israeli crowd grew as enthusiastic for change as Congress was for Netanyahu? The die-hard racists left mutedly muttering on the sidelines?

  • The farewell party of the mezuzah-kissers
    • Honoring scripture is not going to end with Netanyahu's tenure in office, or peace, at long last. Why you equate them, as the Israeli right wing is doing, is beyond me. You wrote yesterday that Herzog and Netanyahu were likely to share power. I think you were wrong then: the election has been made explicitly about the Likud trajectory of expanding settlements, mowing the grass, and lying about the "peace process" to the gullible Americans - a failed trajectory that has run out of steam. I think the right gets put in the opposition, and a broad centrist coalition leads the only program that will end BDS and restore Israel's place in the international community, all the while accomplishing real social progress for ordinary Israelis. The crazy right wingers become the crusty old Westerners no longer fighting Indians, a curiosity among younger people growing up in civilization.

  • Herzog and Netanyahu are likely to share power -- because Herzog won't share it with Arab List
    • Yeah, and slavery was forever, too.

    • I also disagree that Herzog and Netanyahu will share power. In a lengthy facebook entry translated by +972, Bibi is making the election explicitly about the risk of peace based on the 67 borders, mocked there as paranoid ramblings. "Only LIkud" can stave off this catastrophe, he pleads as Israelis prepare to go to the polls.

      Does Herzog deny that he will make peace? No. Does Kahlon say he cares about security/peace? No. He cares about social issues, as Yair Lapid has for years.

      Newshour had a good segment about the Israeli electorate Friday, at long last addressing the possibility that Netanyahu would lose. My favorite quotes from people on the street:

      "Yes, Bibi is strong. So what?"

      "Yes, Israel is surrounded by enemies. I do not fear our enemies. I fear our leadership."

      The election is a referendum on Netanyahu, who explicitly makes it about avoiding the risk of peace. A big Herzog win will say, "it is time."

    • "Herzog is a breath of fresh air. The differences in intelligence, nuance, awareness, pragmatism, and plain political savvy between Netanyahu and Herzog is stunning."

      Couldn't agree more. And Kahlon is worth watching, too. A man who oozes competence, integrity, and dedication to public service, wanting to focus only on improving society, who abandoned Netanyahu because Likud's focus was "elsewhere."

      What poisoned Livni's leadership was trying to avoid being outflanked on security issues by the Right, who cannot be outflanked politically on that side. The Right - Netanyahu, Bennett, Lieberman - needs to be silenced by the Gatekeepers, and other grizzled veterans, who understand the tragedy of strength in service of stupid ideology.

      The rabbis need to support Herzog, as well, because some of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem are about to be horse-traded for a lasting peace.

    • In short, this election pits ideology vs pragmatism. And a failed ideology at that.

    • Herzog was grilled at the Saban Conference, by Haim Saban himself, about how his numbers didn't look like they could add up, right - left, and he was fascinating to watch and listen to. The gist was that it is a mistake to look at the parties by a simple left-right divide, as we tend to in the US. It is coalition building, a process we don't generally use. Minister-slots or other promises to keep are horse-traded for support. link to youtube.com [well worth the watch for those who don't yet know him, as I didn't,]

      So I see it as a multi-step process: first the election, then the designation by the President of one party leader to seek to form a coalition, then a coalition-building-horse-trading free-for-all, with the possibility that the designee gets changed mid-course, as happened last time.

      As to the Arab Parties, I understand they also decline to take minister slots, maybe as a pre-emptive move, in light of the unlikelihood of them being offered. But they've united this time in seeking a change at the top, and are willing to vote their seats for new leadership, a unifying, get-out-the-vote message for them, so I'm not sure whether the past treatment of United Arab Parties as irrelevant is indelibly written as applying this time. They are 13 seats or so that only require "anybody but Netanyahu (or presumably Bennett or Lieberman)." Those votes will apparently be there for a change at the top, with or without minister slots, and without participation in the governing coalition, offered or accepted. Herzog was generous in his description of the Arab Palestinians as comprising every Christian and Muslim sect with deep cultural diversity, blunt in his belief that coalition building begins with respect for each faction.

      To me, the government needs to shake off the dismal failures of the hard right, of Netanyahu trying to avoid being outflanked by Bennett and Lieberman on his right, the culture based on fear of terrorists, fear of Iran, racism rampant. Those people need to be disempowered, just as the Neocon grip on Washington needs to end.

      Kulanu could do that by joining the Zionist Front. Can that happen?

      Here's a recent interview of Moshe Kahlon of Kulanu, on i24. link to youtube.com

      In it he sounds entirely consistent with Herzog. He entered government to make social change. He succeeded famously slashing the cost of cell phone service to 1/20th of what it had been (some privileged monopolist got a poke in the eye?). He then left Likud, his Sephardic home, because, according to the interview, it abandoned the social purpose he'd entered government for. Lucy, the interviewer, digs into his own Sephardic roots, could you possibly betray Likud by joining Herzog, burning your bridges for future Likud leadership, abandoning your Sephardic home in an Israel that is us vs them, Arabs vs Jews, Ashkenazi vs Sephardim, and he emphatically answers that it is time to put those divisions behind us, that he does not feel discriminated against, that his party's platform of solving social issues will go to whichever coalition commits to achieving them.

      I read it that he is in play for Herzog, especially a Herzog that is intensely pragmatic about solving the problems of the various factions. One can look at Kahlon's move to abandon Likud as the beginning of the fall of Netanyahu's Likud.

      What if Herzog put together a vast coalition, including both Yesh Atid, Kulanu, from the right, the Arab parties, and a passel of smaller factions with not-entirely-inconsistent priorities. A vast, diverse coalition dedicated to change, to social progress, to peace, security through resolving issues, instead of "mowing the grass," to mending Israel's relationship with the US, to restoring Israel's place in the international community after the destruction wrought by Netanyahu-Likud-Neoconism?

      The electorate seems so feckless contemplating more leadership from the old crowd. That trajectory has run out of steam. A vote for change could be the big message at the ballot box. Then Herzog will be negotiating from a position of strength. Netanyahu, suddenly turned weak by his excessive display in Congress, its stupidity resonating in the electorate, not as merits for Bibi, but as demerits for entrusting Israel's future to someone who would make a public display of his ability to manipulate stupid US representatives in front of their own electorate. Yes, Bibi, you've shown the world how stupid and corrupt the Congress is, how easily you can move them. Thank you very much. Here's the door.

  • The Obama-linked ad that imagines Mr. and Mrs. Netanyahu leaving the official residence (Updated)
    • Thanks, Annie.

      And another door opens. I went looking for some video of Isaac Herzog, and found this from the Sabin conference last fall: link to youtube.com

      All I can say is, what a breath of fresh air. It's a little bit out of date, given Netanyahu's recent visit, but in a thoroughly enjoyable way (especially Nancy Pelosi's assurance to the crowd that the US government would never take sides in the Israeli election).

  • Netanyahu flails against int'l conspiracy, as liberal Zionists seek orange revolution against 'fading strongman'
    • Says J Street: “This stunning New York Times feature on Netanyahu’s settlement policy is essential reading.”

      When I opened my West Coast version of the NYTimes iPad version, I could see the title to this article, but could not open it. Now it doesn't appear at all, nor does a title search return anything. Even when linking to it via Mondoweiss, the first two paragraphs are unreadable, with the title printed over them.

      "Essential reading" that only goes to certain places?

  • Even if Netanyahu loses, he can still win
    • Again, this is very helpful, Allison. Your election coverage beats any I'm able to find searching high and low for it, although the Guardian is helpful, too link to theguardian.com

      I hope you'll continue reporting as the election results come in and the bare-knuckle politics of coalition building gets underway. The Herzog/Livni split seems pre-historic - how can leadership be divided, like that? I remember Greek city-states uniting their armies for common defense that way, with the commanding general changing day by day through a rotation. Not a good way to run any organization.

      The UAL role reported in the Guardian seems to offer a path for Israel to gain support in the International community, a government of all its citizens has a firmer foundation than these right-wing extremists.

      I think the US press should consider diving into in-depth coverage of the election and coalition process, because, so far, it has seemed to be nothin' but Netanyahu inevitability, mere propaganda. As it is, they're all at risk of seeming "surprised" by Likud's downfall, having never bothered to look critically at the bankruptcy of its ideology, the failure of its tenure, the emptiness of its propaganda.

  • We may not have Netanyahu to kick around anymore
    • "But can an Israeli Zionist government make any real concessions?"

      Realism says that will be a matter of the strength of the political forces driving toward peace. Netanyahu's trajectory toward war over the last 20 years have exhausted the Likud-Neocons, now panting and wheezing through one desperate blunder after another.

      Arrayed for peace are the BDS movement, P5+1, the various war crimes liabilities that will constitute the stinking carcass of the dying "Project for a New American Century," and let us not forget Mondoweiss, which has kept open the window of journalism into the bizarre workings of Israeli hasbara, a triumph of the American value of an informed public, as the ultimate check on corrupt and incompetent "elites," the dangers of naked ideology.

      And let us also not forget the Palestinians, and other Arabs, Muslims, and the many factions throughout the Middle East, and their right to self-determination, their own dreams of a just peace, of reparations, of a resolution to the generations of conflict brought about by the Zionist project.

      It will take a great leader of Israel to negotiate a peaceful way forward. Isaac Herzog was born into a great family. He's on the verge of having great leadership challenges thrust upon him. It will now be up to him to achieve greatness. Realism is the only reliable guide.

      Here at home, let's be sure to dump the Bill Kristols, and other disgraced Neocons, once and for all.

      Hint to all those fearful prosecutors, editors, journalists, auditors-general, Congresspersons and staffers: the Great and Terrible Oz is now powerless to prevent you from doing your jobs, as America expects and history demands.

  • By busting up peace efforts, AIPAC may have burst its own bubble
    • AIPAC answers to the government of Israel, currently led by the Leader himself, Benjamin Netanyahu. If and when Isaac Herzog becomes prime minister, perhaps there will be new direction. Perhaps reluctant Congresspersons, Senators and their staffs, who don't like the marching orders, should refuse to march, asking to wait until after the election. "Come back when Israel has new leadership," would be an excellent message to send, likely to be rewarded by the new administration.

  • Neocon meteor Sen. Cotton is funded by Abrams, Adelson and Kristol and loves war a little too much
    • I do think a Logan Act case should be brought, the major legal issue being whether the Senators can have it struck down as applied against them as unconstitutional. It was named after Logan, a senator, after he did the forbidden with France, and the Gummint enacted the Logan Act to make sure it never happened again. There is here a clear violation of the terms of the act. The Attorney General should enforce the law, launch an investigation and indict; let the courts decide if the Logan Act is unconstitutional, as applied to Senators, presidential candidates, to lobbyists who may have helped write it and carry it around, to foreign agents who contributed, to financial backers who lent material support. I don't think the constitutional issues get decided the same, as applied to different players. In any event, such a case would provide numerous discovery opportunities, and opportunities for the much easier to prove perjury or obstruction of justice charges that might arise in an investigation against arrogant, uncooperative suspects.

  • On first campaign stop in West Bank, Netanyahu warns that 'radical elements' want to take over Israel
    • I just read that Guardian article, the Tom Friedman piece in the NYTimes this morning putting Sheldon Adelson in the spotlight, and I totally disagree with MDM. Netanyahu is a megalomaniac whose ideology contributed to the assassination of Yitzak Rabin, brought us the Iraq War, would lead us to war - nuclear war - with Iran, etc., etc. The Israeli electorate has grown tired of Netanyahu's leadership, and he is in a panic about that. What does a panicked megalomaniac with nuclear weapons do in the face of an "existential threat" to his leadership, which the megalomaniac equates with his country? His rhetoric makes clear that he continuously doubles down on his "existential threat" mantra, his only-Likud-only-Netanyahu mantra. The coming week remains a very dangerous time, because if this megalomaniac would waste Israel's relationship with the US to re-secure his precious "leadership," what else would he do?

      In Herzog's hands, the Israeli body politic can begin a new direction. What exactly, MDM, do you REALLY hope to see as the result of Israel's continuing to follow Netanyahu's path? Because it all looks terrible to me, for Israelis, Palestinians, the world generally. Nuclear-armed megalomaniacs can do a lot of harm. It's irresponsible to hope for continuation in order to prove by catastrophe that past political theories were flawed, when they can be corrected by an election.

  • Israel's Foreign Minister calls for beheading Arab citizens and it's not anywhere in the New York Times
    • It's a crime against journalism, but also ripe for Pulitzer winning investigative reporting: How the [NYTimes, Washington Post, NPR, PBS, etc.] enforce subject matter taboos, biases, and propaganda objectives to ignore, kill or downplay important stories. Who'd like to blow the whistle? Anyone? Anyone?

    • It's a crime against journalism.

  • Netanyahu's accomplishment: Consolidating support for negotiations with Iran
    • I think filing charges under the Logan Act makes a lot of sense. Against the 47 senators, and John Does 1 through 100, identities to be clarified through extensive discovery, under search warrant, subpoena and penalty of perjury. There are certainly constitutional questions that might nullify the Logan Act, as applied to some of the defendants, but each type of defendant would present different legal questions, and it would be well worth the effort to litigate these issues fully. The potential results: 1) the entire Logan Act is nullified, severely limiting the President's "unitary executive power," greatly magnified under Neocon Dick Cheney's interpretation; 2) it is nullified as applied only to the Senators who signed it, on the theory that they are exercising their legislative power, checking the executive power (also limiting the latter), but at the same time, possibly exposing the Lobby and its individual actors to criminal liability; 3) Logan Act is nullified as to everyone, expanding both the legislative power and the First Amendment rights of every individual, at the expense of Cheney's vaunted Executive power, or 4) all of the signatories and those who worked to make it happen get convicted of crimes.

      The process could take years to fully litigate, and, if pursued aggressively, would be a likely case to go to the Supreme Court. I've always thought of Obama as a Judo Master, someone who uses his opponent's strength and momentum to throw him. Here, Netanyahu has made his full charge, through his Lobby, and Obama has just met the charge by grasping his lapels firmly, rolling backward, while kicking his feet hard into Netanyahu's middle as he rolls backward, sending the Likudniks/Neocons flying into a legal void.

      Obama's understated but elegantly incisive comment describing the 47 as making alliance with Iran's hardliners is the same sort of coup de grace he used against McCain ("what economy is he talking about?" in response to McCain's "the fundamentals remain strong" as the economy went off a cliff)

  • Two-state-solution is at last disputed in Israeli elections (though not 'nation state of the Jewish people')
    • Yes, and the US needs to make clear it needs a regime in Israel prepared to agree to a 2 state solution (not just "negotiate for" one, which is code for eating the pizza while arguing over whose it is), and to do so in good faith, pursuant to a reasonable timetable. Likud and points right regard that prospect as "the risk of peace," and threaten assassination to those who seriously advocate for it. Netanyahu seems clearly more concerned with being outflanked by Bennett, or otherwise losing the Israeli right wing than with risking US support. US support has to be put in play, in order for Israel to forced off the right wing trajectory, which will end badly, all the more the catastrophic the longer it retains power.

  • Israeli voters not impressed by Netanyahu's speech to Congress
    • Great quote, seafoid, and the article it is from is worth reading in its entirety: link to foreignpolicy.com

      Netanyahu has made clear the trajectory he is leading, has been leading, intends to keep leading: fear-monger about Iran, Palestinian terrorism and Islamophobia, in order to justify increasing violence at home and abroad, while settlements expand continuously, all the while blaming the victims of violence, and blaming all voices of criticism as Anti-Semites, Chamberlains, or the hopelessly naive.

      He's been doing it so long his crowd is very tired of him, he's in danger of running our of steam. If he loses and a new, more Centrist leader takes the helm, a change in trajectory becomes possible. Without it, no change in Israel's direction is going to happen.

      How will that change occur? Walt says the application of political forces of equal momentum are required. As Likud-Neocon trajectory runs out of steam, gathering against it are forces of 1) BDS and its growing economic impact, capacity to grow further - exponentially - within Israel; 2) Growing international pressure, with Obama leading P5+1 toward a possible deal with Iran, and Martin Indyk speaking of a joint UN resolution that the US joins or abstains from; 3) Palestinian action in the international court of criminal justice; 4) Growing estrangement of Diaspora Jews from Netanyahu's KoolAid crowd; 5) Growing self-recognition among the Netanyahu crowd as they look in the mirror that they are trying to live a lie.

      I don't know Isaac Herzog well enough to say he can be anything like Lincoln was for America in his prospects of leadership in Israel, but I can say that a change of direction is required, and Netanyahu isn't going to make it.

      "The inability to make hard decisions is why all empires collapse."

      I would say the key advantage of a republic over autocracy in whatever form is the built-in capability for the source of political power - the people - to periodically slough off its leaders, who inevitably become corrupted by power and incompetence.

      So, what is Israel? An empire? A theocracy? A democratic republic? No one can decide that legitimately but the source of that political power, the citizens who live there. Perhaps it is beyond comprehension that Herzog will form a government with the Arab List, and lead Israel to make deals with Palestine, and its other neighbors, that change the current trajectory. But perhaps not. It depends on leadership and the crowd being led. Note how feckless the electorate is in Allison's review.

      We can hope that it is ready for new leadership.

    • Thanks, Allison, for this insight into what the Israeli electorate is saying. On first reading, it was depressing to think that the Leader of a small, near-plurality chosen by such an apathetic crowd unwilling to look at the beam in its own eye, while picking aimlessly at this mote or that, could rock our Congress as Netanyahu just did.

      But then I read this wonderful column in the NYTimes this morning from the "Disunion" series, looking back at the Civil War from the perspective of 150 years, in which Paul Kendrick recounts Abraham Lincoln's final encounters with Black History's Frederick Douglass. link to opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com

      I like to hope that Israel's more moderate candidate, Isaac Herzog, who, like everyone else in Israel but Israeli Arabs and a few radicals, ignores Israel's human rights travesties against the Palestinians which are part of Israel's DNA, just as slavery was to America, will consider Lincoln's experience. Lincoln ran his initial presidential campaign unwilling to make a moral case about ending slavery, a motive he emphatically denied and pledged against in his First Inaugural address, and a position he maintained for over two years, until after important twin victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg came on July 4, 1863, and he then issued the Emancipation Proclamation, not on moral grounds but only as applied to the rebellious states and on the narrow legal basis of defeating the rebellion through a form of war-time economic sanction. [See the recent movie "Lincoln" for the later process of enacting the 13th amendment to broaden emancipation and make it constitutional.]

      Here is what Lincoln said at his Second Inaugural, in early 1865, that so moved Douglass: “If God wills that [the War everyone was so tired of] continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”

      Douglass had advocated unsuccessfully with Lincoln for years to make the war about moral redemption of the republic from its original sin of slavery, and the column recounts the impact on him of hearing what he had worked so long for enunciated so powerfully, so succinctly, by that leader for his time.

      It is worth noting that Norman Podhoretz's spat with Gore Vidal in the 1980s, at a time when the Neocons began their rise within the American conservative establishment, included his Neocon view that there was nothing relevant to today to learn from the Civil War, part of the Neocon effort to remake America as the World's Empire, willing to fight "dirty little wars," wherever, so that Israel could count on it when necessary, all else in America's history thus made as irrelevant to Neocon outlook "as the War of the Roses."

      It has been one of Phil Weiss's great contributions on this blog to share his own studies of that period of transformational trauma in American history, in addition to being one of the "radicals" (like the white Abolitionists) willing to fight for justice from within a crowd not yet ready to accept the premise that their high sense of self-esteem is fundamentally tainted by deep moral crimes.

      Unlike some on this blog, it is my hope that Herzog will eke out at least a small electoral margin, and will then lead Israel through the painful process (but I pray not as painful as was the Civil War), necessary to redeem Israel for its moral crimes against Palestinians. These conversations between Lincoln and Douglass are well worth reviewing, for inspiration, in these difficult times.

      We heard Netanyahu's version of history on Tuesday. Here is a competing view. Let the Israeli electorate make its choice which is a better source of guidance for the future.

  • Media are stunned by Congress's 'loyalty' to Netanyahu (but refuse to explain it)
    • A day and a half after the event, I'm impressed with Netanyahu's ever-heavier hand on the helm of Israel's ship of state. He's been shouting about the existential threat posed to Israel by Iran since the early 1990s, so far to no avail. So he calls an election, to rid himself of troublesome coalition partners Livni & Lapid, then he goes to Congress to tell his story with the largest megaphone on Earth: the US Congressional dome. He defies protocol, insults the President of the US, tells the world that Obama doesn't know how to negotiate, disclaims any political motivation, and wraps himself in the Israeli flag, the robe of Jacob, defender of God's chosen people from the Holocaust, from every threat that ever existed, all of which become existential in his telling.

      And in doing it all, he flays himself and Likud, and the country he leads. He's blown the cover off of the Israel Lobby's power, off of dual loyalty as an Anti-Semitic canard, off of his own ongoing character assassination of Iran, whose ambassador was given time on Newshour to explain why Iranians want to see the Zionist regime (not the Jewish people) done away with, because they murder children, don't represent the native people of the land. He was somewhat understated I thought, because he neglected to point out that Israel hasn't signed the nonproliferation treaty, and has built its own nuclear weapons in defiance thereof, AND Netanyahu's chief financial backer has openly called for unprovoked nuking Iran, as a negotiating tactic.

      It's sheer megalomania. He uncorks all the rare bottles of reserved goodwill for the Jewish people and Israel in the US, and pours them over himself, as a stunt in his flailing re-election campaign, glorying in Congress's bought and paid for adulation, euphoric in his "triumph," which instead marks the end of Israeli hegemony in the US.

  • Journalists Goldberg and Gordon once again try to 'drag us into a war'
  • Netanyahu's quick stop in East Jerusalem before heading to Washington
    • “Israel’s security is absolutely at the forefront of all of our minds, but frankly, so is the security of all the other countries in the region, so is our security in the United States.”

      Yes, Bibi, it's all about you and your mission from G-d. Just as the it's all about the rest of the Middle East, and the US, too.

      Netanyahu leaves reasonable men no alternative but to try plain-speaking: No, Bibi, it's not all about you and your megalomaniacal delusions that your every move and thought are what saves Israel from non-existence. It's about thoughtful realism in a difficult environment, and your drama Queen antics are highly counter-productive.

  • Bipartisanship is dead, as Netanyahu, AIPAC, and GOP square off against Obama over Iran
    • "“The last thing that anyone who cares about Israel wants, the last thing that I want, is for Israel to become a partisan issue. I regret that some have misperceived my visit as doing that.”

      "“My speech [to Congress] is not intended to show any disrespect for President Obama and the esteemed office that he holds, I have great respect for both.”

      Translation: "I'm a lying liar here to explain my lies so please take notes, and parrot what I say exactly, so as to avoid appearing confused."

  • Netanyahu's speech and the American Jewish condition
    • Great piece, Phil.

      May it be a stone in the foundation for centuries-long evolution and development of American Jewish political philosophy, separate and apart from Middle Eastern Zionist political philosophy, showing a better capacity to learn from history: to separate religion and state; to place ultimate trust in a well-informed and diverse public - protected from concentrations of power by constitutional limits and separation of powers - rather than in elites corrupted by concentrated power; in transparency rather than deceit or rationalization; in laws not individuals; in accountability under law rather than atonement via tribal scapegoats; in selection of leaders based on virtue and talent, rather than breeding.

      Who knows, maybe Israelis will eventually realize that they too have something to learn from America.

  • It's not about nukes, it's about the US shifting the power balance -- Parsi
    • I'd encourage Hillary and Liz and every other progressive and centrist member of Congress to consider whether they'd rather deal with Netanyahu or Isaac Herzog as Prime Minister? Do they identify with his Neocon politics? with his settlement policies? Do they like his chief funder, Sheldon Adelson? Isaac Herzog is running neck and neck, link to theguardian.com and Netanyahu is desperate to use the US Capitol as a stage prop in the closing weeks of his election. Why would these Dems help him? Just tell those hysterical AIPAC pressurers, I'd rather work with Isaac Herzog. Come back when he's in office.

      Is the Congress half full of Neocon dittoheads? or half empty because members would like to deal with a more reasonable, less megalomaniacal prime minister.

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

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

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

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

      Crunch-Splat!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Throw the bums out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • War of Ideas in the Middle East

      becomes

      War of Ideas and Somatic States in the Middle East

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      On Netanyahu's lunacy, see his blow-up Sunday at the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronath and website YNET, and the paper's owner Arnon Mozes, who Netanyahu attacks both for smearing him and his wife, AND for trying to destroy Sheldon Adelson's free newspaper Israel Hoyom, which more faithfully prints Netanyahu's screed. link to i24news.tv

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Standing stooges shill for Sheldon's sheckels.

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

      Standing Stooge-gate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Absent surgical resection, the prognosis gets progressively worse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Maybe the US should go after slightly larger crimes.

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

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

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

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

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