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Total number of comments: 68 (since 2012-06-25 16:50:34)

David Nelson

Converted to Islam in 1998. I try to stay current on national domestic politics and US Middle East policy.

Showing comments 68 - 1

  • Watch the cathartic Vietnam documentary
    • No sympathy at all for the political or geopolitical motivations for the war, no innocence at all for the political and military leadership responsible for designing and orchestrating the war. That's what i was referring to as the American side. i phrased it poorly as American soldiers clearly fall within that phrasing. Sloppy language that should have been more precise. The impetus for that statement however came from reading comments (elsewhere) from those critical of the documentary arguing that there is much cleansing going on and that it should have been sharper in its explanations of American motivations and actions.

      For the young conscripts and even young volunteers, my natural impulse is to see them as victims themselves of the 'American side' in this war. So many times while watching i had to rewind because i got lost in thought and emotion imagining what it must have been like to have something like this forced into one's life, trying to imagine the fear and horrors felt by every one involved, the children, the villagers, the soldiers, everyone, wondering what i would've done but knowing that at 18 i didn't have the savvy to pierce through all the lies on my own and so in all likelihood would have gone to Vietnam to accept my fate.

      I have sympathy that you were forced into it, you made sacrifices that i can only imagine but are only too real for you, i know and understand that you and your fellow conscripts were not driving this war and i apologize that what i said looked like more of the blaming bs and hate you faced when you got back.

    • I watched all 10 episodes and have them on my DVR and have watched some episodes a second time. It's embarrassing how little i actually knew about the Vietnam war (and to give weight to the critics--how little i still know). I was born in 1973, so coming into consciousness about Vietnam was a lot like walking into a movie with 10 minutes left after all the important events had happened. And that really was my knowledge of the war, movies that provided a bunch of sound bytes and images that are several degrees removed from the horror of it all. "It was a police action" "It was a political war" "They didn't want to win" and of course the girl with napalm on her skin.

      After watching this documentary, i didn't come away feeling any sort of sympathy or innocence for the American side. Just a feeling of disgust and realizing we haven't learned a damned thing since, other than perhaps controlling the message "better".

      The Crocker family story with Moghie telling his family that if he were Vietnamese he'd be fighting for the North. If American "leadership" had any sincerity about our professed ideals, how different our foreign policy would look and how much tragedy would never occur.

      They kept bringing up Westmoreland's strategy of body count and crossover, the point where the number dying for the North was greater than the rate at which the NVA and NLF could replace those numbers. So morbid, but made clear to me the "logic" of what was going on in movies (and battles) like "Hamburger Hill." For the Americans, the war wasn't about real estate, it was all about making "contact" with the NVA to waste them. If that doesn't convince everyone that the American political class is populated by a bunch of ghouls, there is no hope for us.

      If there was a protagonist at all at the top, he was Ho Chi Minh. That's the main takeaway for me from the documentary, that Ho Chi Minh was Vietnam's right and legitimate leader, a national hero. The rest of the documentary underscored how infantile Americans are with our Red Scare and the horrible things we do to make it all go away. We kill millions all because we can't stop pissing in our pants.

  • Defense of liberalism in 'NYT' paints left as bullies but doesn't dare to mention Iraq war
    • I think the problem is with those who self-identify as liberal, which then gives rise to the fitting pejorative from the left. In the currently true "liberal" fashion, though, you have the condescension right: "mixed up in the minds of the young"

      spend some time on on leftist twitter and it seems the "young" do indeed know what they are talking about.

  • Obama's failure, and achievement, in Palestine
    • So, the people most vocal about the need for Israel to end the occupation and its purpose--never ending settlement expansion--are the ones most responsible for continued occupation and settlement activity? The answer to the occupation and land theft is shutting up about it?

      Your logic is unimpressive.

  • Fear that Israel is becoming 'South Africa on the Mediterranean' is expressed in Park Avenue synagogue
  • Powell emails expose depth of media self-censorship re Israeli nukes
    • I guess it is news when former officials say this stuff about what is common knowledge regarding Israel's nukes, but when Powell says about Iran "We’ll blow up the only thing they care about—regime survival," not only does he demonstrate American hideousness, he also demonstrates a severe misreading of Islam. When Saddam's Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, the IRI did not respond in kind even though they could have. Islam is the reason. This cynical reading of the government in Iran is false and perpetuates this animosity against them that is most deserving against us (America). The naivete regarding the Islamic Republic is on American officials and anyone siding with their cynical worldview.

  • Clinton Foundation's 'good friend' Bahrain quashed Arab spring without protest from Sec'y Clinton
    • I am not one to stick up for Clinton, but I think there is more to the story here. I'd say that Saud crossed that bridge due to direct orders from the US government, not on appeal by Bahrain to the GCC. Those orders would have stemmed from concerns over the future of the US Fifth fleet in Bahrain. Bahrain/Fifth fleet is nexus of US imperialism in the region, crucial for its hegemonic goals there.

  • Democratic platform is more militant against Iran than it was before Iran deal
    • Emory Riddle, i didn't say anyone was pulling the strings of the Zionists, clearly they have their own agenda and they craft it to their liking. What i said is that the Zionists are not pulling the strings of the American elite. US strategy is one of seeking hegemony throughout the Middle East, throughout Eastern Europe, throughout Central Asia to counter Russian and Chinese power, and to prevent any autonomous, indigenous power in the Middle East from ever reaching the point where they can pose any serious threat to American power.

      Specifically concerning the Middle East, the Israelis (and Saudis) are quite useful in this regard, indigenous threats are more threatening to them than they are to US power, and since their power rests on American power, they are not a threat to American dominance. You take away US patronage, Israel (and the Saudis) are significantly reduced in power.

      Proof that the US is still in charge is in the Iran deal. Israelis and Saudis are strategic assets according to a certain US worldview. Change the worldview (as the Iran deal threatens to do) and you change the strategic importance of the Israeli and Saudi relationship to the US.

      What this means is real solutions to Palestinian oppression (and all the other horrors going on in the MENA) will be found in changing the strategic orientation of the United States. But no, Israel and its American agents are not in charge. If you want the more academic arguments, read some old blog posts on The Leveretts haven't posted anything in the last year, but the strategic goals of the US vis a vis the Middle East are well documented there.

    • I think actually it's the US who has its fingerprints on almost every conflict in the world. I know the zionists of America like to think they are the center of the universe and all (narcissism does that), but in the end they are a bunch of useful pawns with advanced degrees and media connections. take away the Israel lobby and you still have a bunch of people at the top convinced of America's exceptionalism and divine decree to rule the world, and this mentality goes all the way back to the colonies. sorry i just don't buy it, the one big fluffy tail merely deflects from the rabid dog on the other end. the real people in power get much free PR and political cover from the Israel lobby, but the goals exist independently of it.

  • Freewheeling Trump has backed down on only one issue. Guess which one
    • Yes, you're right Mooser, implosion or wishing of it not the answer, there will be nothing happy about it. The fallout will fall on all the wrong people. The ethical armor needs buffing from time to time--peace means peace even in frustration.

    • I say that, but then i back away, knowing how many innocents will be wasted.

    • Actually, though i am sure you and me are quite opposite on our views toward the region, i do sometimes wish the US Republicrats would abandon any and all pretense to fairness regarding Palestine and Israel. US should greenlight Israel for any and all their twisted plans. I am more than happy to watch Israel implode.

  • Goldberg on Obama's Syria credibility 'crisis'
    • Dan, thank you for your comments. I went and read several articles on the subject of the sphinx, and after doing so now see what Krauss meant by saying there was nothing "mysterious" about Obama. The sphinx has at times symbolized the keeper of secret or hidden knowledge, mysteries of the universe etc. In fact, reading up on the sphinx it is clear its meaning has been interpreted and reinterpreted over and over again throughout history and cultures. This of course is natural if one accepts that symbols by themselves have no inherent meaning and instead have meaning only insofar as they activate archetypes from deep within the subconscious mind.

      When i associated Obama with a sphinx, it was what rose to the surface as i was typing the comment. Having gone back now to read up on the various meanings of the sphinx, had i done so prior to making the comment initially, i probably would have left it out, because sphinx as symbol has meant things that i didn't intend to attribute to the president.

      My own sense of the meaning of the sphinx was mainly formed by viewing pictures and videos of the Great Sphinx of Giza, as well as from watching History and Discovery channel type documentaries on ancient Egypt. The first layer of meaning then comes from merely seeing it, and even in pictures the statue is imposing and powerful, and senses of guardianship or protection are evoked. A second layer of meaning then comes from video commentary, which i don't even really specifically remember, but regardless faded memories would have still informed my sense of the meaning of the symbol of the sphinx as i typed. So mainly i was seeing the sphinx as a guardian or protector.

      Going back to the Iran deal, a war with Iran would have been catastrophic for all those involved and would have fully bankrupted America in multiple ways. Considering the power and skill of the warmongers who were trying to push us into this war, it took quite a bit of political skill and knowledge for Obama to get the JCPOA accepted in the US. Given my belief this war would have been catastrophic, and given my sense of the sphinx as guardian or protector from harmful forces, and finally given that symbols never really have precise meanings, i don't see much wrong in seeing Obama as an American sphinx.

      At any rate, here a few quotes from around the web regarding the sphinx and its meaning:

      " In addition, the Egyptian sphinx was viewed as benevolent, but having a ferocious strength similar to the malevolent Greek version and both were thought of as guardians often flanking the entrances to temples."

      "We must also finally look at the Great Sphinx as a guardian of the necropolis at Giza from evil. Situated at the very entrance to the sacred cemetery, the Sphinx must have been a warning to dangerous forces."

      "The sphinx has no history of real living existence, but exists only in art and literature, representing human desire for that which is greater than themselves, both in terms of the body and the mind. Yet the sphinx also embodies paradox, beautiful and alluring, she is also dangerous even deadly; the guardian of knowledge and threat to evil, encountering a sphinx is described as confusing and destructive."

      Now, while the neocons may not be "destroyed," certainly their power has waned during Obama's presidency, the JCPOA representing that as good as anything else. Obama, through his political skill and willingness to know foreign policy viewpoints that are apart from the standard playbook in Washington, guarded/protected America from harmful domestic forces and a war that would have proved to be horribly catastrophic.

    • i didn't say anything about mystery. Even if the full meaning of the sphinx in ancient Egyptian culture is a bit of a mystery, that does not mean the sphinx itself symbolized mystery or mysteriousness.

      The president showed political fortitude, acumen and vision to, in the first place, negotiate the Iran deal and then secondly to make it all succeed domestically. Did you not see all the resistance and name calling that was going on? The rational, cynical thing for him to do would have been to forget about it all in the first place.

      Go back to 2011 or 2012, read a few old blog posts on the, back then a war with Iran seemed inevitable. Hillary Leverett herself called Obama feckless on more than one occasion and warned repeatedly about the coming war. Without Flynt and Hillary Leverett, i believe America's Iran war would be underway as we speak. Flynt and Hillary argued the anti-war position from a national security point of view--and won.

      With the passage of the Iran deal, the trajectories have changed. The JCPOA pushed a war with Iran back a decade at least. By then Iran will be too powerful, too integrated into the global economy, that, barring any reckless decisions on Iran's part, a war with Iran will be impossibly foolish (as it has always been). Obama never wanted a war with Iran (he was being cornered into it) and i think he sees that by putting it off a decade or two he may have put that war off for good. His actions in Syria make all the rest of that even more so. The man has vision and through his political skill saved America from a treacherous, ruinous mistake. The man is a Sphinx.

      Passing healthcare was every bit the impossible deal and he won that too. These are serious accomplishments given a generally craven and stupid American political culture.

      So i guess i don't really understand your comment.

    • Obama is still a Sphinx, even if weathered. The Iran deal, healthcare, and not going all-in in Syria are amazing accomplishments, especially considering all the obstructionists and bullies the president has faced. He's a man with vision. I will remember him kindly even if i would have liked to have seen more (Gitmo) and don't agree with him on everything (drones). It's going to be interesting to watch his post-president career.

      Great commentary and collection of the links Annie. History cannot be whitewashed if it is not forgotten. I clearly remember these Zio militants pushing for war in Syria, while not wanting to be seen as pushing for this war in Syria. Liars and ingrates, all of them.

  • 'Untenable one-state reality' is taking hold, Kerry tells Israel supporters
    • I agree with the sentiments of JWalters, Eva Smagacz and John Douglas, in my opinion some amazing words by Secretary Kerry. I was surprised at the end where Weiss seemed to come down against Kerry (though thank you Phil for using "American street" to even up the language), I'm reading the speech thinking when did we last have a Secretary of State who could've possibly said these words? Colin Powell certainly could have, but his boss would have stopped him.

      Maybe it is true that Kerry is out of touch with the American street, but he's an establishment figure working within the establishment trying to persuade other establishment figures that the status quo cannot maintain. It is a tough job he has, i think he did a damn good job in that capacity. Israel should take this as one of the last warnings they are going to get, if something doesn't change for the better, soon life will become much tougher for all the parties involved.

      I also cannot help but think Kerry's and Clinton's speeches at Brookings were coordinated, in a 'bad cop, good cop' sort of way. Kerry's speech was saying "listen up bubs, or bibi, or whatever, here's the reality..." Whereas Clinton's speech was reassuring Israel they would be coddled for a while longer. Or, Kerry bruised the Israelis up, and Clinton performed triage. It is easy for those of us who have bucked the establishment on this issue to leave aside the diplo-speak, but as the current and former chief American diplomats, it is not so realistic to expect them to do so.

      Also, all you all who are mocking the Arab Peace Initiative, i would just like to say that even if a one state solution seems inevitiable at this point, it is not going to be certified as such until a whole lot of bloodletting occurs. I for one do not have any blood to lose, so if there's a chance with the Arab Peace Initiative, then how can anyone except the Palestinians mock or discourage it? The Saudis have billions to throw into the incentive package, surely some econmic benefit of this inititiative must be seen by Israel.

  • Obama administration will do nothing for Palestinians through end of term
    • Thank you Kay24. BDS and the rest of us are focused on the shadow on the ground, unaware or indifferent to the ball flying high above our heads. Sooner or later more people will have to begin contemplating the existence of the sun.

      A note to Israel and the KSA, imperial US never actually depends on any of its "allies" for nourishment, it may smilingly chew on the cuisine, but will always spit it out in the end.

  • Cotton's rise was fueled by pro-Israel money-- but 'NYT' and Matthews won't tell you so
    • everyone seems to be looking at this from the Zionist angle, but it seems to me that considering how much money pro-Israel donors are willing to give, it is good strategy for the Republicans to wrestle the Israel issue away from the Democrats. If they can show themselves better friends to Israel than the Dems, and NOT have to fight a war against Iran, all the better for the for those Republicans who are in the Israel game not because it is close to their hearts but because of all the money, both received and what no longer flows to the Democrats. Making Israel a partisan issue may not be good for the lobby, but surely it is good for the Republicans.

  • 'NYT' and Matthews warn that Netanyahu speech to Congress could lead US to war
  • The best U.S. 'strategy' to combat ISIS? Stop supporting religious states
  • CNN headline: "100 people killed today in Israel, Gaza fighting"
    • American: "Israel is a threat to America –at least the America this group/generation thought they knew and sacrificed for—once they learn the truth about this they are incensed."

      I agree and believe this is a good tactic on which to focus limited energy. Convince the Tea Partiers, random patriots, and fly-over America of the threat that Israel is to the United States. Convince enough of them, and the discourse on Israel in America shifts from being dominated by Jews to one being dominated by patriots. Once they are convinced, they will provide the energy to move the rest of America. This will be good for America, good for the Palestinians, and, no doubt kicking and screaming the whole way, this will be good for the Israelis.

  • Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect
    • Donald,

      "Can you imagine how the US press and government would react if Israelis had trouble obtaining medicine? It’s a back page story for Iran–if it was done to Israel then the BDS movement would be the Second Coming of Adolf Hitler. "

      How do you extract general principles/guidelines out of an inequality in power among any set of activists? Palestinian request for sanctions against Israel is okay because the activists are not powerful and could never hurt Israelis enough to matter. On the other hand, Israeli request for sanctions against Iran is NOT okay because the Israeli activists (and their counterparts in the world at large) are powerful and can actually hurt Iranians. What i am hearing is that sanctions against one nation are only valid if those who desire the sanctions could never harm the target country to a considerable degree to begin with.

      In a free society, an activist can support whatever cause he or she wants. The problem though is that the success of that cause is not necessarily a function of the righteousness of that cause. Case in point: Zionists in America. Most here would say the cause is unjust, and yet look just how successful their cause is.

      If you want to limit the power of Zionist activism, then you have to change the paradigm for activism generally. If you want to prevent the ability of powerful groups within powerful governments to do injustice in the world, then you have to curtail the power of groups generally, not just the powerful ones. Activist groups calling for siege warfare against nations in my view is not the function of citizens, but rather the function of accountable officials within government deliberating on a clear and present danger to the country's security. There is no clear and present danger that Iran poses to the US, and so the sanctions against Iran (i.e. siege warfare) are unjust and Israeli friends in America should not be able to bring those sanctions about.

      The clear and present danger posed to America by Israeli actions towards Palestinians is a matter of fact to me, but to me that means American officials, not American activists, need to deliberate (with the voices of the citizenry allowed in that deliberation) what needs to be done about it. And yes, American officials are failing that deliberation, in no small part due to the corruption of the American system by rich and powerful activists. Activists got us into the Iraq war, activists have succeeded in their sanctions war against Iran and have almost succeeded in launching a hot war with Iran, and now those against the abuse of power that enables such warmongering are now trying to add on to that activist corruption through their BDS? NGOs (or even NG non-Os) have no business declaring war. The only check and balance in this set-up is defined by those who have money and those who don't.

      If an activist wants to encourage the international and Israeli recognition of Palestinian human rights, an act of war (sanctions) is not the way to go about that, it is just not the mandate of the citizenry.

    • Ali Abunimah, rather. typo, or dyslexia.

    • Ellen,
      The difference in various sanctions regimes then is in the amount of social, media, and political power any one group has towards their government? Where would the Iran sanctions be without the concerted efforts of the friends of Israel in the US media to demonize Iran? Where would those sanctions be if those same friends did not wield the undue influence they have in the US congress and State Department?

      If American supporters of BDS could influence the US government towards its own direction, would they do so? How harsh should those sanctions be if it could do so (gain official US support), and who in charge of BDS would temper the sanctions if a few punishing sanctions were passed against Israel? Should sanctions against only some Israeli imports/exports be enough, or would BDS supporters go full throttle with all sanctions conceivable until Israel capitulated? Which medicines should be sanctioned? Which banks should be sanctioned? Whose bank accounts frozen, what technologies halted, which foodstuffs prevented from entering Israel? Who determines when enough is enough, Ali Abuminah?

      The whole idea of economic sanctions rests on collective punishment--make a society hurt badly enough and eventually (so the theory goes) the domestic political pressure in that society will force the target government to change its undesirable ways (undesirable to this or that grass-roots group who may or may not have political power in their respective national governments).

      So to me the argument needs to be made why collective punishment is moral. Collective punishment is not okay against the Palestinians, so why is it okay against the Israelis? Why is it okay against Iran? Against Cuba?

  • Friedman prepares American Jews for a divorce from zealot Israel
    • pabelmont,

      Without American cover for Israeli crimes, without American billions pouring into Israel on a regular basis, without American Zionist media moguls dictating the MSM discourse, how effective would Israel's colossal bluff been all these decades? Take away the gun, and the Israelis have no more gun to shoot.

      Why not then sanction Americans for our necessary and sufficient support of the continuation of Israeli crimes? Aren't Americans, Zionist or not, every bit as culpable as Israelis themselves? Instead of supporting collective punishment in the form of BDS, why not direct all this energy to ending criminal American support, financial or otherwise, to the apartheid state? BDS is a short-cut to the real problem--mis-directed wealth and power, along with lies, lies and more lies, in the American social and political fabric. Without criminal American support, Israel is cut down to size and would be forced to make peace or die.

  • How we can oppose the Assad regime and Western intervention at the same time
    • "This transcript verifies the allegation of Saudi Government support of ISIS in Syria. While mainstream media has never directly acknowledged this fact, this evidence directly ties the ruling Al Saud family with terrorist and extremist organization fighting in Syria."

      Omar is asking American citizens and liberals of the world to support wahhabi terrorism. We get thrown in jail for that, don't you know Omar?

    • Don't you have livers to eat, Omar?

      Maybe the reason the American public did not support you cannibals is because we are sick of your intolerance, sick of your lies, and sick of your insurrection. Yours is not a revolution, a revolution needs no help, a revolution is momentum and your side has none. This conflict has been manufactured from the beginning, whatever grievances Syrians may have have been tragically magnified by your insurrection.

      No more wars for ME dictators. No more wars for would be dictators, no more wars for cannibals.

      You have not defeated Assad, so quit asking us to behave as if you did.

  • In response to ASA boycott vote, Lawrence Summers calls academic boycotts 'abhorrent' and then calls for a boycott of the ASA
    • Mr. Summers indirectly admits to the presence of human rights abuses in Israel, but justifies those abuses because other nations also abuse.

      Where would the Enlightenment have taken Western civilization if reason and logic were rejected because other nations are irrational?

      this man's reasoning is absurd. 100% Hasbara as i know it.

      Israel never has to make peace with its neighbors.

      Israel, as sure as the US dollar, has unlimited resources to continue to fight their never-ending-war against their neighbors. Israel's never-ending-war strategy against their neighbors is built upon the need to keep those neighbors weak and impoverished so as to allow Israel and its US shadow to dominate a region in which they are severely outnumbered. By snuffing out the progress and hope of the nations surrounding Israel, Israel attempts to humiliate its neighbors into submission. Israel in its actions proves itself to be an anti-modern, retrograde force.

      Most importantly regarding this anti-modern strategy of Israel to keep its neighbors weak is that without US diplomatic, economic, military and ACADEMIC support of Israel, Israel would be forced to make peace with its neighbors as it would not have anywhere near the power to entertain themselves with the never-ending-war strategy of thiers.

      Therefore Americans are directly responsible for what happens in Israel and the Occupied Territories of Palestine. Americans are directly responsible for what happens in Afghanistan, at Abu Gharaib and Guantanamo, in countless other places across the globe where our drones obliterate the lives of people about whom we have no understanding.

      Where is America to go when so many of America's brightest, most promising intellectuals get led by people like Mr. Summers who hold such anti-modern, retrograde views? All in the name of Zionism, at the expense of the Enlightenment and anything that might be good in modernity.

  • A Thanksgiving from Hell -- US 'native foods' at the UN feature Snickers and Oreos
    • If only Sam Walton were here to see the success of his cultural coup d'état! Cheap cheap cheap cheap cheap cheap cheap cheap! Didn't the Americans invent the internet and i phones?

  • Israel and its apologists can no longer defend the country on its merits, instead they must try to suppress debate
    • No good can come of Israel until they achieve a fair and lasting peace with the Palestinians. Until then, Israel is a nation of authoritarian occupiers blinded by the delusions of their ideology, thinking themselves a democracy all the while stealing the life, liberty and vote of the people they occupy.

      Added to all this of course is the stranglehold the friends of Israel have over American government policy and the corporate discourse. As Israel creates is tiered society with second and third class citizens, as well as non-citizens, clearly the friends of Israel, if they really want to be effective, need to reverse the American civil rights movement and roll-back the gains for minorities and out-groups everywhere. And surely since 9/11, isn't that what we have seen?

      If 9/11 (and the ensuant erosion of the public's rights, especially certain ethnic groups) was good for Israel, does that mean Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Movement were bad for Israel?

      It sure as hell looks like it from my vantage point.

    • When have the Israelis ever been able to defend Israel on the basis of its own merits? When have the Israelis and their friends NOT tried to deceive and rewrite history to fit their own unjust ambitions? Was there once a time when Israel and their friends were noble and good? What decade?

  • Kerry reassures Israel as Congress grumbles about a deal
    • From the Times article:

      "“There is a fundamental difference of understanding between this Israeli government and this U.S. administration, and it’s reflecting in the reality that’s emerging on a variety of tracks,” said Jonathan Spyer, a senior research fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. “This Israeli government, even though it won’t say so openly, regards this administration as bungling across the Middle East.”"

      This is some pretty tortured phrasing by Mr. Spyer. He should say it like it is, that there is a fundamental difference in understanding between Israel the Nation, and America the Nation, to say nothing about the governments. The American Nation, domestically, is on a trajectory to realize more, not less, of our liberal ideals. Can this be said of Israel the Nation? Ethnic cleansing and tiered citizenship are not liberal ideals. It wasn't until America the Nation gave up our own domestic ethnic cleansing and our own slaves and second class citizens that we could begin to reverse our own downward spiral to disenlightenment. How many decades before enough momentum can be created in Israeli society to bring them out of the spiral of their own racist dogma? How long before Americans drop this dead weight? Israel is nothing like America.

  • Reports say peace process is 'fantasy' and 'worst' since Oslo-- but blame falls on Israel this time
    • Yeah right, like Palestine has anything to offer Israel. These negotiations have been doomed from the start. I blame Turkey, Egypt and Iran for not sitting at the table with the Palestinians, and I blame the Palestinians for not insisting that representatives from Turkey, Egypt, and Iran sit at the table with Palestine and be included in the negotiations. It has long been known that the US cannot be an impartial actor in the peace process, so why does Palestine keep falling for the ruse? The negotiating table itself is not balanced. Other Middle Eastern powers will balance it out. Expecting the US to play a neutral role keeps everyone locked into this insanity.

  • Dennis Ross says US must undertake 'new military deployments' against Iran and support Israel if it strikes
    • it is predictable that the ross solution is to increase pressure, essential as it is to "coercive diplomacy".

      if the Ross trio are speaking for the Israelis, it appears a total end to enrichment is no longer an Israeli demand:

      "This will require limits on size and enrichment level of its uranium stockpile, number and type of operating and installed centrifuges, design of enrichment facilities and possible plutonium production at the Arak heavy-water reactor."

  • Journalists should tell their readers if they're Zionists
    • Who oh who is buried in Grant's tomb?

      I always assume a mainstream American journalist is a zionist until there is evidence to the contrary.

      Is America's Zionist media Zionist?


  • Corey Robin calls on American Jews to reflect on their 'power and status' and deep differences with Israeli Jews
    • Kathleen,

      Come on the media etc have never allowed the people around the world to not know about the power and status that Jews have attained throughout the world.” In fact this tribal promotion has been persistent, often exaggerated and in many ways gross. NPR andTerri Gross being a few of the big promoters."

      Power is in large part mental, so their narcissism serves a function. Unfortunately these people forgot their principles along the way. Consciously or unconsciously, they are aware of the shallow and artificial nature of Israel's power. They think they are helping Israel (and themselves) with their sensationalism, but in reality they are enabling the Israeli nation's deluded world view. Gross and the others have let their self-service and tribal mentality ruin America's media and misguide their home government's foreign policy on the grounds that it is good for Israel (and their careers).

  • Obama and Netanyahu discuss the colonial question of questions on Iran
  • Netanyahu is the wolf in wolf's clothing
    • Yes Kathleen, exactly right. The propaganda has been piled on so thick over the decades we may need some paint stripper to clean up the discourse. No equivalancy in actions at all between Israel and Iran, none.

  • Major 'NYT' piece calls two-state negotiations 'phony'--and catastrophic
    • Freud on illusions:

      Freud defines religion as an illusion, consisting of "certain dogmas, assertions about facts and conditions of external and internal reality which tell one something that one has not oneself discovered, and which claim that one should give them credence." Religious concepts are transmitted in three ways and thereby claim our belief. "Firstly because our primal ancestors already believed them; secondly, because we possess proofs which have been handed down to us from antiquity, and thirdly because it is forbidden to raise the question of their authenticity at all." Psychologically speaking, these beliefs present the phenomena of wish fulfillment, "fulfillments of the oldest, strongest, and most urgent wishes of mankind." (Ch. 6 pg.38). Among these are the necessity to cling to the existence of the father, the prolongation of earthly existence by a future life, and the immortality of the human soul. To differentiate between an illusion and an error, Freud lists scientific beliefs such as "Aristotle's belief that vermin are developed out of dung" (pg.39) as errors, but "the assertion made by certain nationalists that the Indo-Germanic race is the only one capable of civilization" is an illusion, simply because of the wishing involved. Put forth more explicitly, "what is characteristic of illusions is that they are derived from human wishes." (pg. 39) He adds, however, that, "Illusions need not necessarily be false." (pg.39) He gives the example of a middle-class girl having the illusion that a prince will marry her. While this is unlikely, it is not impossible. The fact that it is grounded in her wishes is what makes it an illusion."

      In order for a more perfect illusion to come about in Israel-Palestine, the "wishes" of the various groups must be aligned. The "Jewish State" might be a "wish" in Zionist lore, but it does not resolve with populations on the ground. Democracy is first and foremost about inclusion, without inclusion you do not have democracy. The creation dis-autonomous enclaves in a Swiss cheese fashion in Palestine is not inclusion and is not democracy. It is an impossible illusion.

  • AIPAC on an island: 'Politico' report says Israel lobby alone in pushing for war in Syria
    • What IS the objection to bringing Syria before the International Criminal Court?

      If the US government utilized the Court in such a high profile case, would that then expose the US government itself to the rulings of the court? Will it expose Israel? Is this why the US government is not suggesting this route instead of immediately resorting to cruise missiles?

      "Punishment" could come from the court, couldn't it?

      (some questions for those knowledgeable in law)

    • The Lobby is now caught in the headlights. If they back down and do not press for US military action, the untouchable lobby will have been defeated. If they succeed in getting this war started, they get all the blame for the war and its destructive effects. Lose lose for Israel.

  • Mainstream press openly addresses Israel lobby's role in US policy re Syria
    • I agree, but she is on the defensive with the "American lobby" blurb. She knows more and more Americans are aware that this lobby she speaks of is actually Israeli. But even that couldn't be said without the bs comment by Ari Shavit:

      "Ari Shavit, a columnist for the left-leaning daily newspaper Haaretz, said that Israel and others in the Middle East were being left with a “feeling of orphans,” wondering “if there is still a reliable parent in Washington who is really committed, who understands what’s going on and who is willing to act.”"

      I don't know about the children in DC, but the adults in the rest of America are wising up to what is really going on in Palestine. We know, and it is not good for Israel and its current projectory.

      I saw waay too much of Bill Kristol extolling the virtues of war over the weekend on MSNBC and CNN. All he wants to do is get the damn war started, confident he is the initial chaos will inevitably lead to Israel's desired war of aggression against Iran. After his aiding and abetting the Iraq war, why are not he and his neo-con and liberal zionist ideas consigned to the dustbin of history?

  • D.C. thinktank pushing Iran war got $19 million in one year from Israel supporters
    • What a bunch of liars. Why is there never any accountability on these people? Their lies lead to wars which end up killing thousands and millions of people, and still no accountability. That the neo-cons have any influence beyond the darkest corners of the net is beyond wonder.

      Excerpts from Christiane Ammanpour's interview of Mohammad Javad Larijani in March of 2012:

      Christiane Amanpour : The Prime Minister of Israel believes that Iran has a nuclear weapons intent, and one that will be aimed at Israel. Therefore, this talk and this feeling of crisis and war is all around.

      Is Iran preparing for war?

      Mohammad Javad Larijani: We are fully prepared to defend ourselves. And everybody knows in the region that Iran is not an aggressor but Iran is a fierce defender. ..Netanyahu should be worried about the policies in the region. They are in real crisis. I think the real, the real bomb is not the atomic bomb of Iran, the real bomb is the great failure of Israel to prove its legitimacy and to define meaningful relation in the region.

      Amanpour: Meantime, everybody talks about what President Ahamdinejad said a few years ago, that Israel should be wiped from the face of the map. People believe that that means militarily. Is that what the President meant? Is that Iran's intent?

      Larijani: Definitely not. I think neither the president meant that nor is that the policy of Iran.

  • Obama seems to think the road to Tehran runs through Jerusalem
    • The hyped up Iranian nuclear threat has been a diversion all along by the PM of Israel to take American focus off the illegal settlements and the decades long occupation of Palestine by Israel.

      As the President said, it would be difficult for Israel to negotiate when under immediate threat. How convenient then for Netanyahu to keep hyping the so-called Iranian threat. The greater the external threat, the less pressure there is on Israel to make peace with its neighbors.

      So i agree, peace in Palestine is the answer to an agreement with Iran (not to mention it being the answer to many other things in the Middle East). An agreement will be an end to occupation, with an end to occupation Israelis will no longer "need" to divert attention from it.

  • Netanyahu says Iran threatens US mainland, and AIPAC and Congress cowboy up for war
    • Apparently no one gave the Prime Minister the memo that his September performance at the UN was a flop. lol.

      Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of a foreign government is advising agents of that government (AIPAC) to push America into a war neither the American President nor the American people want. This is extremely foul behavior. Our politicians should be having hernias over this man's ingratitude toward the security guarantees the American nation provides to Israel. And to be urging us into a war that would be financially and militarily disastrous for America. Who is the real enemy here? Some person of high standing should lecture Mr. Netanyahu about how damaging his incessant war crying is to Israeli interests in the US.

      If anyone thinks the Iraq war was a disaster for the US position in the region, an Iran war will end in a tenfold disaster and the eventual US retreat. It is ludicrous to be speaking of a war against Iran, clearly a war not in the US interest in terms of economics or prestige. America in the Middle East is already the bully that no one likes, we already have soldiers who cannot deal with their PTSD, we already have Abu Gharaib and extraordinary rendition, we already have an NSA recording and violating the details of our ordinary lives, what new forms of insults to the American people and our ideals will this new war for Israel bring?

      Netanyahu is full of it if he thinks he hasn't yet lost this argument. There is no will to fight his stupid war here in America. He needs to go back home and learn to live in peace, not through domination, but through mutual agreements-- Just like everybody else.

      It is Netanyahu and his government who must yield. It is he and Israel who must offer up concessions. He and they are the obstacle to peace.

  • It's time for the media to talk about Zionism
    • Mooser, i think got the wrong drift from what you said. I am with you on the medical patients and offering them better prices. There was a RAND study done just before California's Proposition 19 (to legalize cannabis) went up for a vote in 2010 (unsuccessful). The study concluded that the prices could drop by as much as 80% in California if it were to be legalized.

    • @Mooser about the opium. There are many difficult questions ahead, but just ask the people of Latin America if the US needs drug policy reform.

      If there was not so much money in heroin, would the people in Afghanistan be growing so much of it?

      Personally i think every substance should be judged based on its own merit or detriment. I see alcohol as coming at a much greater negative cost to society than cannabis use. Marijuana is marijuana, and alcohol is alcohol, and never the twain shall meet, except in very broad generalizations.

      I have never been able to convince myself that marijuana is an intoxicant. It just gets me 'normal.' A brain functioning without thc for me would be the same as a brain functioning without serotonin or dopamine. Well, maybe not quite that extreme, but you get the idea, it's just another neurotransmitter.

      Also, the medicinal efficacy of cannabis is well established, there is nothing hypocritical about it.

      Anyway, absolutely did not mean to derail the discussion of Philip's essay. so apologies;)

    • On the issue of liquor, i have been bone-dry for many years now. I stand by liberal principles as a matter of survival. I voted in favor of the liquor laws. And i voted in favor of gay marriage. I am a minority within a Muslim context with many of these issues. But again, and as Phil's essay covers, it is a matter of survival at its core.

    • here is some great reading on the issue. i have noted the Israelis are progressive on the issue of medical pot.

    • Thanks Mooser. The legalization of pot is very much a social justice issue world-wide. As for being Muslim and smoking pot (and the future of cannabis is so much more than smoking), i have a rational, scientific understanding/perspective of the cannabis plant. The superstitions against it must end, when that happens, we will see how much benefit this God-given plant brings to humanity.

      I do not have a shop, i currently deliver to Medical Marijuana patients. I am not sure what is going to happen in two days, but only medical patients are allowed to grow. So it seems we (mmj patients and providers) can be of help to those over 21 looking for primo buds. The state has a year to develop a licensing structure. Will be exciting whatever happens. Still waiting on a position from the Obama administration.

    • "I like liberal traditions of personal freedom in the United States, including the tradition of tolerance of religious and ideological claims I find preposterous. These liberal principles have guaranteed my freedom as a minority in the U.S. and granted me a darn good life, including jobs in the First Amendment business and marriage to someone who is not Jewish"

      My own upbringing is such that i am not a minority in American society. I grew up 'swimming with the current' and so do not know directly what those early experiences as a minority are like.

      I did however convert to Islam in 1998 at the age of twenty-five. Since then, and especially since 9/11, i have gained a much deeper appreciation of America's liberal principles and how those principles directly relate to my own survival as a 'free' person here.

      On top of this, and perhaps to some extent because of these principles, i have i also involved myself with the budding legal cannabis industry here at home in Washington State. In two days, recreational use of cannabis becomes legal. As a member of the industry, i am again relying on American liberal traditions to (hopefully) remain a 'free' person.

      Anyway Phil, I have often asked myself: "How can i be a liberal and a Muslim at the same time?" This essay comes very close to answering that question.

  • Israeli hasbara cartoon features white man fighting jungle animals
    • What good are city walls in the era of gunpowder? What good are delusions in the era of the internet? Israel is protecting itself with obsolete technology.

    • Just another common (and quite elementary) projection by the Israelis. A defense mechanism to deal with its own dissonance. Israel cannot perceive itself to be a liberal democratic state without expunging its own contradictions. Benji uses projection all the time when he talks about his "enemies." These sorts of defense mechanisms are usually obvious to outsiders, but outsiders are not who the mechanisms are erected to protect. A defense mechanism in intended to protect the ego from the harsh realities of the outside world and as such only has to fool ego, not the outside world. A city's walls look different depending on where one stands.

  • Gaza vs. Israel: The legitimate and illegitimate use of violence in the Western discourse
    • "In Egypt, people are heading for Rafah. "

      Thanks for the Guardian link seafoid. That there are young Egyptians who are heading to Gaza is both beautiful and frightening at the same time.

      In the context of escalation, what is Israel going to do, start bombing Egyptian citizens who make it to Gaza? What responsibility will an accountable-to-their-people President Morsi and the Egyptian military have if Egyptian civilians are murdered by the IDF?

      And all Obama can do is console the aggressor. Things can so quickly spiral out of control here. My heart and prayers to all those young Egyptians striving for peace and of course to all the Gazans and other innocents who must be terrified.

  • Whether legal or political, the Holy Land Five struggle will continue
    • Good thing we aren't a nation of Muslims in the Middle East. If we were, America would be assisting us oppressed citizens to revolt against our regime.

  • Goldberg ignores decades of consistent Iranian statements on nuclear weapons for the sake of propaganda
    • You think a fatwa is the same thing as a PR message?

      I have lurked for quite a while and seen you write some pretty smart things, this not being one of them.

      You start from a prejudiced point of view if you think Iran's principled stand against nuclear weapons is a propaganda ruse. Iran has suffered greatly for its principles over the last 30 years, if they were inclined to acting against those principles don't you think they might tried to negotiate a better security environment?

      Basically Krauss, your argument is that we cannot believe Iran because we can't. And you call Nima's argument weak? Puh-leeze.

  • Iran wants nukes to deter attack
    • Below I have transcribed a question on the nuclear negotiations asked by Greg Tealman of Arms Control Associaton. The setting is a talk titled "Will diplomatic failure over Iran trigger war?" given by Mark Fitzpatrick at the International Institute for Strategic Studies--US (link below to the youtube video).

      Mark Fitzpatrick's answer illustrates that the demand that Iran shut down the Fordow site is demanded NOT because the US could not destroy Fordow, but because Israel could not destroy it, or, in other words, Israel cannot "contain" Iran with the existence of Fordow. Looked at from the Iranian point of view, however, Fordow is a deterrence against an Israeli attack.

      But let's be real, Israel cannot militarily "contain" Iran as it is, Fordow or not. Iran's nuclear program is too redundant, too much a part of the broader Iranian society for it to be erased.

      So clearly Israel already relies on the US for security from their perceived Iranian threat, Fordow does not change this equation, so why should Israel be so insistent this demand to dismantle Fordow be included in the negotiations?

      As Fitzpatrick says, the US can destroy Fordow, or certainly can destroy any usable entryways into it. And as we all know, the US has Israel's back. So why this demand to dismantle Fordow from Israel? Do they not think other nations have a right to defend against Israeli aggression or to protect their valuable assets?

      Is it merely an irrational demand by Israel knowing full well the rational actors in Tehran will reject such a demand?

      It seems clear to me the dismantling of Fordow is a strawman put in there so Israel can ensure the negotiations will fail.

      Anyway, here is the question and answer. I transcribed it, so my apologies for any errors. The question is asked @28:17 in the video (link below):

      Greg Tealman-Arms Control Association:

      "I wanted to focus on Fordow, and the, um, specifically on the demand that it be shut down. Um, I wanted your reaction to my interpretation that from an Iranian perspective, the 'shut-down demand' can only be interpreted as a provocation, as an indication of bad faith on the part of the six powers [P5+1 or E3+3] because it ultimately means that even if Iran were to accept limits at 3.5%, if they were to accept the Additional Protocol, if they were to accept everything else that we ask for, we would say "Fordow has to be shut down because we have trouble destroying it in an air assualt." Isn't that essentially what the demand is and how is that, how is that constructed to allow us in these very difficult negotiations to get over the hurdle of lack of trust and faith on both sides and get a confidence building agreement?"

      Mark Fitzpatrick: "Yeah, Greg, that's a good question. I think though that, um, the pronoun is not the right pronoun in the way you framed the question. It's not that "we," that is to say, members of the E3+3, have a difficulty attacking Fordow. The United States could do it with its, um, its heavy gravity bombs, but Israel couldn't and that doesn't make it any easier for Iran obviously, it would make more of a problem but I mean this is realpolitik we're talking about here. "

  • Netanyahu is pushing world to WW3 -- Onion's 'joke'
    • the word "Zionism" is used in the Western press in connection to conspiracy theories and islamists. In this way, fear and ridicule is inspired and "Zionism" as a subject is never taken seriously by Americans who are not well informed on the issue. it is not a subject of polite, non-anti-semitic speech.

  • Michael Moore says Palestinians have gotten a 'raw deal'
    • After watching the incomplete documentary, i distinctly remember thinking to myself "How can anyone discuss the modern Middle East without considering Israel's role?"

      The pressures are real. Standing up for human rights in Palestine will cost liberals many of their dear friends.

      These liberals should be so much more pissed off than they are. But what can you do, Moore is just another victim of Israel's emotional blackmail.

  • Jon Stewart: We've finally discovered evidence of Democratic voter fraud Republicans are always complaining about
  • Dems have thrown two-state solution under the bus -- J Street and Beinart say
    • Thank you Philip. I enjoy your blog. Israelis may not know or appreciate it, but people like you are some of Israel's best friends.

    • The delusion of a two-state solution keeps Israeli apartheid alive.

      I see one state where more than half the population is treated as sub-human.

      No more make-believe. The world is too small for Israeli racism to have a place among us.

  • Romney and Pro-Israel Dems attack party platform, but insider says AIPAC reviewed platform language and had no problem
    • Actually, from the following wiki article, the Mormons believe themselves to be included in the tribes of Israel. I am guessing Mitt's love for Israel is real:

      "The official position of the LDS Church is that those who have accepted Mormonism or are a part of the Latter Day Saint movement are primarily from the House of Joseph. Adherents believe they are members of one of the tribes of Israel, either by blood lineage or by adoption, when the recipient is not a literal descendant of Jacob, also known as Israel. Individual church members are told their tribal affiliation through a patriarchal blessing. The LDS Church teaches that all of the tribes exist within their numbers, though not every tribe in every country. "

  • Obama talks to Iran and washes hands of Israeli attack, Ynet reports
    • i presume the Israeli thought might be that if America attacked Iran, Iran would be so pre-occupied with defending against America, Israel will not have to worry so much about Iranian missiles and only have to defend against Hizbollah if they were to even enter into something aggressive. Israel was/is hoping to get this war on the cheap.

    • Probably not Sean, my personal belief is that this has been a hoax all along, and has been intended to coerce America into either attacking or into giving israel more money and weapons. imo, israel never had any intention of initiating anything other than their dirty secret wars and assassinations.

    • These comments will throw more uncertainty into Israel's calculation. Not knowing whether America will be there to finish the job Israel starts will considerably increase the perceived cost to benefit ratio for Israel.

  • My correspondence with NYT's Rudoren
    • Octavia Nasr is the prime example here. All she said was "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot..." and got fired for it.

    • Marc b. , I agree your cynical view is most likely true. Rudoren is part of the "Re-brand" Israel campaign and her function is known to her and her superiors.

      It is all part of the effort to spin Israel from the murderous, thieving apartheid state it is into some sort of Enlightenment gem.

      She is a refurbished relic from the pre-Internet era. The New York Times and the Zionists of America should update their strategy to avoid being so transparent.

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