Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 6576 (since 2009-07-31 03:28:07)


Donald Johnson is a regular commenter on this site, as "Donald."

Showing comments 6576 - 6501

  • How can a 'New York Times' reader possibly know what is truly happening in Israel/Palestine?
    • This goes beyond the coverage of Israel/Palestine. I think you'd also have had great difficulty as a NYT reader knowing how many civilians our forces were killing in Iraq and Afghanistan-- the most recent study on mortality in the Iraq war published in 2013 in PLOS found that 35 percent of the violent deaths ( though this would include insurgents) were caused by coalition forces. You would not have gotten much or any sense of civilians killed by our forces except on rare occasions-- virtually all coverage was on the sectarian war ( of course, even much of that was our doing.)

      I once tried writing a piece on Fallujah and the contrast between even the conservative numbers of Iraq Body Count vs. the NYT, but didn't fully finish it. To do a really good job tracking down all possible sources of info would be beyond me, but even just relying on IBC the NYT looks bad.

  • 'NYT' preaches to Palestinians about launching 'intifadas'
    • It is critical of the Israelis and they do show some sympathy with Abbas, but the NYT has always shown some sympathy for Palestinians-- however, they always do it couched in so many qualifications and caveats it boils down to nothing, given that they don't question in any fundamental way the support the US gives Israel. If the Palestinians restarted a suicide bombing campaign you can bet every cent you have that the NYT would be outraged, but the killing of 500 Palestinian children and every other Israeli atrocity is referenced by the phrase " military clashes" .

      Your standards for support of Palestinians are extremely low. I think you are comparing the NYT editors to the attitudes you might find in people who think the NYT is anti-Israel. By that standard they look good, but why should that be the standard?

  • Saudi-led coalition bombs Yemen wedding with US weapons, killing 131 civilians
    • The UN human rights council has been a harsh critic of the war crimes of both the Syrian government and of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, so your whining with respect to those two countries makes no sense. I was surprised a few years ago when I started visiting their website-- if you listened to the hasbara brigade online you'd think the only country they rake over the coals was Israel. This is utter nonsense.

  • Amnesty: Killing of Hadeel al-Hashlamoun was 'extrajudicial execution'
  • The Obama administration needs to own up to the quagmire in Syria
    • The alleged control of the UN human rights council by the Saudis hasn't stopped the UN from criticizing the bombing of civilians in Yemen by the Saudis.

      link to

    • Yonah--- I could believe that 50 percent or more of Syrians prefer an Assad victory because in their shoes I imagine I would as well (unless I had been tortured or my family blown up by an Syrian government air strike or something of that nature). The realistic choice seems to be between Assad, who at least let people live their lives if they avoided political dissent, vs. the jihadists with their utter fanaticism.

      My impression from reading the human rights reports that Bandolero rejects is that the Syrian government actually kills more civilians because they have the greater firepower and often use it in urban areas. I don't know if anyone has a reliable count--probably not. But even if that's true, it seems clear that a jihadist victory would be worse for most people than an Assad victory. Lesser of two evils would lead to a preference for Assad.

    • "Have you read any human rights reports that verify that Assad has deliberately inflicted harm in civilians?"

      link to

      It might be hard to find a human rights report on Syria that didn't claim this.

      One can think that an Assad victory would be the lesser of two evils, but since their main opponents are ISIS and a branch of Al Qaeda, they can still torture captives, shoot civilians and use indiscriminate firepower in urban areas and meet that criterion.

    • link to

      That's a link to the latest UN human rights report on Syria which came out a few weeks ago. If you read page 13, they concluded from interviewing 600 former detainees that the Syrian government commonly uses torture on its prisoners. So do the rebels.

  • Bernie Sanders is 'radical' on economic policy but a pussycat for Israel
  • Nostalgia
    • Decided to link to an article of Waldman's--

      link to

    • Which one, Phil?

      I looked at a couple in this list and he seems critical of Israel's bombing in Gaza, but I didn't look at them all.

      paul waldman gaza

      Okay, that was supposed to be a link, but for some reason it doesn't look like it is. Anyway I looked at a couple of his articles in the Google search I tried to link above and his line was that he criticized both sides, but Israel was responsible for its own decision to bomb in ways that killed many civilians.

      The article I sent you was mostly good, except for that paragraph which we both dislike.

  • 'New Yorker' says anti-Zionism is 'firmly rooted' in British left, and it's anti-Semitic
    • The point, I think, is not that violent anti-semitism doesn't exist or that it can never be linked in some cases to anti-Zionism. The point is that Lane is illegitimately smearing the idea that Palestinians have the right to live in their own homeland. He is being racist himself, unconsciously no doubt, but that's the implication of his words.

    • Don't worry about hat-tipping, Phil. I don't care about that stuff.

      On digby, I wonder if it is a generational thing--you talk about that with the Jewish community but I think it is more widespread. We're both about the same age, I think, but my vague impression is that many liberals about our age or older were brought up subconsciously to think that criticism of Israel was a touchy subject, bordering on antisemitism unless you watch your step and are very very careful to say that you are only criticizing certain aspects of Israel's behavior and of course there are other people who are worse and they live in a tough neighborhood and so it's understandable if they overreact sometimes or aren't perfect and that's why one should never single them out and for goodness sake, Zionism is not in any way shape or form even remotely connected to any form of racism at any time. By the time one is finished with all the caveats it's time to hand them another 3 billion dollars for weapons purchases.

      This would be why it is difficult to get the liberal mainline churches to support BDS--I'm guessing some of the older folk are walking around with a voice in their head something like the one I just channeled. With such an attitude BDS would seem like a really fringy thing.

    • Salon is a weird mixture these days of worthless embarrassing crap and some good articles. Digby is usually good,which is what was so infuriating about her stupid condescending ignorant garbage about the BDS movement. I read her regularly and was stunned by that piece--she is generally anti-interventionist, sometimes cites Chomsky or Glenn Greenwald and I just wasn't expecting that piece from her. The charitable assumption is that she just doesn't follow the I/P issue closely and stuck her foot in her mouth. Could happen to anyone, I guess. Snark not intended--we are all probably ignorant or insensitive about some issues. But I hope she improves.

      As for the New Yorker, I haven't read the article yet, but that's the sort of crap I've seen for years in the "liberal" press in the US--the deliberate conscious conflating of anti-semitism and anti-Zionism with contempt for all of Europe thrown in. Europe is to some degree outside the bubble we have in the US where anti-Zionism is beyond the pale, or so I gather, so journalists like Lane carefully let their readers know what they are supposed to think about that.

  • Video: Israel's celebrated Labour Party 'is the mother and father of racism', says member of Knesset
    • Okay, I just read her Wikipedia bio. She' s a poster child for being progressive except for Palestinians. A very long article and they never come up once. If the article is reflective of her life, I could easily see her looking right through a Palestinian colleague.

    • I'm a little behind-- I'll have to google to find out who this Shaffir person is and what she has said.

      I just read the New York Review piece at the library yesterday and yeah, it was as you said, an attempt at putting all the blame on the Zionist right. Ben Gurion was portrayed as this moderate opposed to terrorism. He seemed okay with the Nakba., but that went unmentioned. This is like modern day liberals who condemn individual acts of terror like the burning of the Palestinian baby, but supported the slaughter in Gaza last year.

  • Could Syria's revolution have been different?
  • A guide to the worst refugee crisis since WWII
    • Keith, it has been decades since I read about Afghanistan, but I am familiar with what Brzezinski admitted about US involvement. Afghanistan was used as a theater for fighting the Cold War and roughly a million people died (estimates vary). There would have been a civil war anyway, but the outside interventions made it far worse. The U.S. bears a huge amount of blame, but the Soviets fought that war much like the US fought in Vietnam. In some respects the two wars are like mirror images of each other.

      My view here is identical to Chomsky's, btw--maybe you haven't read some of his work from the 80's. He didn't write much about it because he mostly focused on US crimes for the reason you mentioned, but he condemned the Soviets without having illusions about the mujahideen. You seem to think that if someone condemns Soviet brutality they must not be aware of America's, but I have read Bruce Cumings's books on Korea and some other authors whose names I forget and I know perfectly well that we bombed most urban areas in North Korea and much of the South into rubble. I can't even begin to list what I've read about Vietnam, most recently the Turse book about American atrocities. On Afghanistan I read a leftist from that country (can't find the book, but I think the publisher was Verso) and he acknowledged Soviet crimes, but gave a leftist perspective missing from the MSM. I read Cockburn in the 80's and knew the Western press was romanticizing the mujahideen and whitewashing their actions.

      I don't think there are exact statistics for Soviet crimes in Afghanistan, but I have never seen anyone deny that the death toll was between several hundred thousand and 1.5 million, with several million refugees fleeing the Soviet bombardment. Again, similar to Vietnam with a different superpower wielding the massive firepower.

      Gamal, thanks, I think. Repeating myself, I thought your post about your position on Syria was very informative--that is the Mondoweiss comment section at its best.

    • Sorry, I don't agree. You probably won't be seeing as much of me here as I'm trying to cut back on my online bloviating, so good news for you, but there will be others. You seem oblivious to the fact that people on your side also make sweeping statements that might anger people or chase them away. It's an unavoidable problem since people invariably see connections between the I-P conflict and other issues and won't always agree.

      And my views don't match Renner's on intervention. It's not imperialism to notice that sometimes America's enemies also commit atrocities. I can notice this without feeling the urge to start bombing people.

    • Thanks Gamal. I actually appreciate it when you spell things out. I read the UN report on Syria from last year and they found based on the evidence they had that all the main factions in that war are committing atrocities, including the government. I believe them. But I have noticed in the past that the actual breakdown in the death toll showed ( last I saw) that armed combatants on all sides seemed to make up the majority of the death toll, so I already knew that the claim a couple years back that Assad had killed 100,000 of his own people was a twisting of the data. One hears less of this now that the West is more worried about ISIS.

      And yes, ignorant Westerner that I am, I also think Assad is the least of the possible evils among the likely victors in Syria, which is deeply depressing. And the last thing I wanted a couple of years ago was for the U.S. to try to topple Assad-- any sane person looking at our record would expect a catastrophic result.

    • Sloppy as usual, gamal. I don't agree with Renner's support for US intervention. Our history of intervention has been one of total disaster for the people involved.

      The U.S. should provide humanitarian aid to refugees and open our borders to them if they want to come here. Argue with Renner and whatever demented straw man version of me you have lodged in your head, but I may correct you about that if I have nothing better to do.

    • I don't know if it's possible or even desirable to keep everyone focused exclusively on Israel's crimes, though I agree it would be a mistake if we spent the majority of our time arguing about those other issues. They come up and some of us yell and insult each other and then most of the attention goes back to Israel, as it should, given the blog's purpose.

    • You are assuming that the "provocation" comes from people who disagree with you. But someone can condemn Soviet behavior in Afghanistan, which involved killing hundreds of thousands of civilians or more, and the Assad government's habit of torture and bombing and shelling of civilian populations without supporting American military intervention in Afghanistan and Libya. It seems a little weird to condemn Israel's bombing of civilians in Gaza and then excuse the vastly greater scale of bombing the Soviets did in Afghanistan because the Soviets and their leftist Afghan allies were socially progressive when they weren't torturing people to death and bombing villages into rubble. The Zionists sometimes make the same type of argument. So I disagree with both sides in this thread to some degree, but while I am typing this, someone else is no doubt being wrong on the Internet.

  • Vicious 'NYT' article attacks Palestinian for bending rules to get out of Gaza 'to see her children'
    • Why should a Palestinian need an Israeli permit to leave Gaza? The usual line is that Israel withdrew from Gaza, so there is no occupation.

      A sensible person reading the piece would see that Palestinians are kept in prison and are trying to use whatever means possible to escape so they can do terrorist things like visiting their children. So the piece does a service in that regard.

      The bad thing about it is the spin and the implicit acceptance of the system. Last summer Gazans were quoted as saying the war would be worth it if the blockade were lifted, which was one of Hamas's basic demands -- this is an existential matter for Gaza ( why are only Israelis allowed to have existential concerns?). James explains why in this piece. Rudoren writes as though the main villains here are Palestinians in the medical profession who exploit the situation to make a few bucks. Or that a system designed to allow people with serious medical conditions to leave is being abused by "fraudulent" cases of people who want to exercise their basic human rights. Fortunately the Israeli police are on the problem, doing their best to crack down on these abuses. The Rudoren piece has the tone of a TV episode of MASH showing how Corporal Klinger would game the army's system to get what they needed.

      Suppose some coalition of nations could impose a similar blockade on Israel. Where would the focus be in a NYT story about Israeli mothers trying to leave to visit their children?

  • Over 1,000 Black activists, scholars and artists sign statement supporting freedom and equality for Palestinian people
    • "I am starting to wonder if Weir isn't a Zionist agent..."

      I suppose you are parodying the way some people think here, but if serious, I don't think you should go there. One can go through endless layers of paranoia trying to imagine what an intelligence agency might try. As for parody, it probably just annoys people.

    • It was a suffocating dynamic--Obama was an historic figure, the first black man with a real shot at the Presidency and when Wright defended himself he was seen as "egocentric"' which is the phrase always used on people who point out the emperor has no clothes during an election season. It was maddening, actually--Obama used his speech on race to slip in some hasbara. It's why I never really trusted him during his first few months in office when he did make some attempt to pressure the Israelis. The campaign showed he wouldn't stand up to much pressure on this subject. He also distanced himself from Rashid Khalidi during the campaign.

    • Tokyobk--

      I was very annoyed with you a month ago when you assumed I downplayed antisemitism on principle. I don't--I try to go on a case by case basis. In that case Annie and I (we were both criticized by you) didn't think that the conservative Christian belief that unsaved Jews were going to hell was antisemitic for the simple reason that they don't single out Jews. Now any given fundamentalist Christian might or might not be antisemitic based on other things he or she thinks, but that particular belief isn't one of them.

      But I have to say I read at your profile your comments in the monster thread and found myself agreeing with them. Most blog comment sections I have visited develop a culture and a set of attitudes, rational or not--if you stick with the prevailing attitudes you're fine and if you go against one then expect to be mobbed, expect that any attempt you make to be nuanced and detailed will be treated as a big target list--your best points will be ignored and people will zoom in on whatever weaknesses there may be in what you say, because the really important goal in the local culture is to destroy the heretic. You can agree with 90 percent of what the local culture believes, but if you write about the 10 percent where you don't, it won't matter. You are One of Them. I've seen this at blogs where I lurk most of the time, don't consider myself one of the gang, comment once in a while and otherwise observe as an outsider. Here I am part of the gang and I usually keep my head low on the 10 percent, but have said enough to be accused of closet Zionism when I stray. Frankly, I should say more, but it's a freaking blog comment section--it's not worth the aggravation.

      Here as you observe the word "antisemitism" sets people off. This is in large part because the accusation is often made falsely to shut down criticism of Israel or Zionism, but some think that any accusation that someone is antisemitic or insensitive to it means you are trying to distract attention from Israeli crimes.

    • Wow. This could be really big.

      Incidentally, one of the things Jeremiah Wright was criticized for back in 2008 was his criticism of Israel and Obama came to Israel's defense in his famous race speech. The mainstream overlooked that-- the fact that Obama felt it necessary to mention that issue in a speech largely about race in America, but I suppose there were donors to reassure.
      link to

  • Danny Danon 'would only make Israel look more extreme' -- former Israeli ambassador
    • I agree Danon is an extremist and so is the Israeli mainstream, so your little tantrum was unnecessary. Since Oren denounced Danon, I think it would be good to see him confronted by his own words by other journalists. Phil did it at this blog, but I want it done on a larger scale.

    • It'll be interesting to see if some enterprising reporter, Israeli or American or someone, will ask Oren about his views on this appointment. At very least it'd be a nice opportunity to embarrass him. But if Oren's book has already dropped off the bestseller list and if he is not any longer giving talks to promote it (I don't know if that's true or not) then the most likely occasions where this would happen have already passed.

  • Jimmy Carter has cancer
    • Carter's Presidency was considered a failure at the time, but in large part that was because there was a conservative backlash against honesty and self-criticism after the Vietnam War. People didn't want to hear about the need to get serious about energy conservation, for instance, and many wanted to wave the flag and talk about how great we were and how evil our enemies were and so on. It was the moment for a feel good self-deceived BS artist like Reagan.

      Carter is certainly the greatest ex-President in history--he did more good as an ex-President than most people, certainly more than most Presidents while in office. (SInce a great many of them do more harm than good that's a low bar, but the post-presidential Carter comes out looking good by any standard.)

  • If I Were an Israeli Looking at the Iran Deal (to the tune of 'If I Were a Rich Man')
    • Rodney, this wasn't really Tom Friedman-- it's satire. Friedman just wrote a piece defending the Iran deal at the NYT, which is good, but he included his usual apologetics for Israeli savagery. Friedman is a pompous jerk who has won several Pulitzers and is treated with great respect in the mainstream press, but online he's widely considered a very bad joke even on more mainstream liberal blogs.

    • I'm not sure--on the one hand it is nice to see the mainstream favoring the deal but on the other hand it is Friedman, who should have quit his job and taken up gardening decades ago. Notice he does his usual excuse making for Israeli war crimes. If Phil were to do a serious piece he'd have to talk about that too, but it's Friedman--he has been making these excuses for Israel his whole career as a pundit (except, or so I have heard, when he was still a reporter back in the 82 war, when he was critical of Israel's bombing. But I think that Friedman is gone.)

  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • So you agree it makes no sense to ally with white supremacists. Good.

    • My covert Zionism is as follows--Zionism is a settler colonialist ideology that was used to justify the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes. I understand that many Jews in the first half of the twentieth century thought that having their own state would be a solution for centuries of murderous antisemitism, but they were wrong to think the solution was to inflict another massive atrocity on Palestinians. They lived at the tail end of an era when Europeans and people of European descent thought such things were justifiable. They were wrong.

      Currently there are people who call themselves liberal Zionists, but this is a broad category. Many, maybe most, are just trying to make themselves feel better with a token expression of opposition to the occupation, but they have no desire to see any pressure placed on Israel. At the opposite extreme you have people who seem on the way out of the movement, people who acknowledge all the crimes Israel has committed, but haven't yet made the final step of saying that the whole idea was wrong. And there are people in- between. So I think the people on the verge of leaving and some of the in-between folks (thinking of Beinart) are worth reaching out to.

      But I could be wrong on that last part. It still doesn't make sense to ally with white supremacists who hate Jews--it's a weird strategy for a movement based on universal human rights to employ.

      As for redeemable white supremacists,anyone is redeemable, But you don't go to a group of people who hate Jews and start telling them about the crimes of Israel and of the Lobby with the idea that you are going to redeem them. You would do that if you feel like this is a target group already predisposed to hate Jews, so maybe you can pick up some allies. Seems stupid to me. In sharp contrast, there are liberal Zionists who eventually make the leap out.

    • I can understand someone going on a radio show not realizing that the host is a flaming racist antisemitic nutcase. Doing it repeatedly seems a bit careless. Who exactly is she trying to reach? One logical guess would be the sorts of people that are regular listeners, people who are predisposed to hate Jews. If people don't see the problem here I don't think I will be able to explain it.

    • I looked at the Hitchcock link to the end the occupation website

      link to

      According to the link,, Weir seems comfortable hobnobbing with a white supremacist and Jew hater though apparently she denies he is that. So either the link is full of lies or she is an amazingly unobservant person.

      People have made an interesting argument--if some are willing to work with Zionists than why shouldn't Weir reach out to white racist apartheid sympathizers? It occurs to me that talking to Zionists and trying to win some of them over seems directly relevant, whereas embracing racism in all its forms might be taking the logic in the wrong direction, but let's go with it-- maybe the key to winning over America is to ally with the white nationalist crowd. That's an inspiring thought. No more apartheid analogies then, because we wouldn't want to confuse our new pals. Any chance Mondoweiss could sprinkle some Confederate flags across the top of the website? A burning cross motif might also broaden the appeal.

    • Yeah, nobody ever talks about Israeli crimes or Zionist racism at Mondoweiss. Every single article going back to the beginning has been about antisemitism. This might as well be a publication of Abe Foxman's. Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen Phil and Abe Foxman in the same room? Eh? Makes you think.

  • It's not bigoted to call out the Israel lobby over Iran Deal
    • What hophmi is trying to say is that the Nakba, the occupation, and the various war crimes committed against Gazans are all perfectly okay or beneath notice because Israel is a liberal democracy. Or illiberal ethnocracy. Or something.

      Seriously, I wonder who is supposed to be fooled by hoophmi's line here? I know some people who would be--Zionists of the dumber variety, including Christian ones, but the smarter sort of liberal Zionist (like Beinart) would be embarrassed by this low quality hasbara.

    • "Defining the advocacy of a strong US-Israel relationship as dual loyalty is itself antisemitic. "

      I don't have strong feelings about dual loyalty one way or the other--if Israel were this wonderful democracy with a superb human rights record I'd probably be feeling a bit of dual loyalty myself.
      It's not. If Israel were this hypothetical country with the perfect human rights record and our President was urging policies that would likely lead to war with Iran against the more peaceful wishes of the hypothetical Israeli PM in this alternate universe, I'd want my senators to side with the Israeli PM. We don't happen to live in that universe.

      The point is that politicians sometimes take positions because of their religious affiliation or because they are pressured to do so by people with a religious affiliation and it is perfectly okay to point this out. It happens all the time with abortion and Christians, the example you brought up for some reason, though it works against your case. And btw, just as not all Christians have the same view on gay rights or abortion, not all Jews have the same views on Iran or Palestine or Israel, but it is still okay to point out that (rightwing) Christian pressure leads some politicians to take particular positions.

    • "See Vatican, abortion"

      Not sure what point you think you are making. Yes you are replying to Cigargod, but in a way that doesn't help your larger case. On issues like abortion people often talk about the Christian Right , the CatholicChurch, and the religion of a politician if it motivates his stance on an issue. This has been part of politics and the reporting and discussion of it for decades.

  • Schumer defection raises fears about firewall on Jewish support for Iran Deal
    • I mistyped--I meant to say that to the extent most politicians would bring it up they would denounce it. Phil's comment sounded to me like he imagined candidates debating it, which. I find hard to imagine in 2016. A debate sounds like someone would support it. Maybe Keith Ellison or a handful of others. Maybe Phil meant it would be debated by non- politicos on a larger scale. That. I could see.

    • "BDS...will be openly debated in the 2016 campaign."

      Trivially true. It's debated now, but not by politicians, most of whom would denounce it if the subject came up.

  • 'NYT' turns settler murder of Palestinian baby into occasion for 'soulsearching' by Israeli Jews and Jews only
    • You inadvertently illustrate a weakness in James's piece (which I otherwise thought was quite good). The problem in focusing on these murders by individuals is that it gives mainstream Israelis an opportunity to play the role of civilized people who condemn the atrocities of their own side. The problem here is that these same people were supportive of the vastly greater killing by the IDF last summer. That is the fundamental contradiction in all of this " soul-searching".

  • Christian Zionists expose their anti-Semitism at conservative summit in Iowa
    • Mooser-- yeah, maybe avoiding the thread altogether would have been better for my blood pressure.

      Tokyobk-- I apologize for calling you stupid. Your remark was stupid and deserved all the abuse I gave it, but I should have left it at that.

    • Here, tokyobk, is a link to me talking about murderous antisemitism in the US in a recent thread. Note my debate opponent and his response--an anti-Semite who kills three Christians at a Jewish community center isn't an example of murderous antisemitism and he ignores the other links entirely. (I assume a real murderous anti-Semite would have somehow sensed his victims weren't Jewish.)

      You two should have a lot of fun together. Leave me out of it. In fact, maybe I'll leave myself out of this place--my tolerance for this kind of idiocy is pretty much at its limit.

      link to

    • I responded more politely up above, but here I am going to say some slightly ruder things.

      Maybe you are just stupid and can't make distinctions or refuse to do so when it is easier to lump people into demonized categories, but let me explain something to you. I think antisemitism is still around, sometimes leads to murderous violence even in the U.S. And of course has been a huge factor in most Western history--I couldn't guess how many Jews have been murdered over the centuries but was shocked to learn that one of the greatest antisemitic killings occurred during the Russian Civil War circa 1919 and is almost never mentioned because later events put it in the shade.

      On a smaller scale, I see antisemitic comments on the internet sometimes, though among evangelicals who support Israel what one sees far more often is Islamophobia.

      So here is the distinction you don't seem to get, so I will type slowly. One can largely agree with the notion that Christianity has a history of antisemitism that goes back to passages in the Gospels themselves, and still not agree with what Norton said here.

      Got that. Or is it just more fun to assume that anyone who disagrees with an attribution of antisemitism in a particular case is really just the next thing to a Holocaust denier?

      For some reason I thought you were smarter than this. My mistake.

    • Tokyobk, you are making unfair generalizations about people here. Many or maybe most of us agree that antisemitism is real, existed in Europe and so on. You'd have to be a lunatic to deny it. If you have particular lunatics you want to criticize, name them , but don't act as though all the criticism of what Norton wrote is based on a denial that antisemitism existed and played an enormous role in Western history, I wouldn't dream of denying it--I just don't think it is accurate to throw the accusation around in a careless fashion.

      I grew up as a Christian Zionist and I can tell you quite a few of us as teenagers read this book "the Hiding Place" a true story (or I assume so since I haven't checked) about a Christian Dutch family that hid Jews from the Nazis. These were the sorts of people we thought of as heroes. Now one thing about that which is not admirable about evangelicals is that we always seemed to know these stories where someone in our group was a hero--we weren't told about the darker side of our faith tradition. My father was amused by someone in his Sunday school class for adults who was shocked to discover that Calvin plotted to have Servetus come to Geneva so he could be tried and executed. And we never talked about the long history of Christian antisemitism, unless maybe we could blame it all on the Catholics. Though in more liberal churches we did talk about that. Anyway, my point is that I know some of this from the inside and yeah, some Christians are bigots about Jews--over my life I've heard a few examples. But some guy who thinks that the end times are near and who expects Israel to play a huge role and who expects Jews to convert to Christianity when they see the book of Revelation happening in front of them--well, he has a rather odd set of beliefs, but the chief victims of those beliefs are Palestinians, who only exist in that theology as the enemies of Israel and therefore of God, unless they choose to side with Israel.

      The beliefs could also be dangerous to Israeli Jews, if this alliance of rightwing Christians and Jews leads them to drive Israel right over a cliff.

    • Annie--I agree with all that. Interesting how several of us had similar reactions.

    • I agree that there is a 2000 year history of antisemitism, but it is unfair and inaccurate to accuse a Christian Zionist of antisemitism because he thinks everyone (and that means everyone) should become a Christian or face hell in the afterlife.

      The doctrine of hell has been the justification for many atrocities--heretics were seen as worse than murderers because their mistaken teachings would lead people to hell. So it seemed logical to jail or execute them. But I am not going to hold a modern day American fundamentalist who really does believe in freedom of religion responsible for the crimes committed by some Christians in the past.

      There are plenty of other reasons for being critical of rightwing Christianity and Christian Zionism. We don't need to invent any or attribute someone else's crimes to them.

    • You're right. Theologically conservative Christians usually think everyone who doesn't share their beliefs will end up in hell unless they get with the program. I had friends who thought baptism had to be by total immersion or you were going to hell. Some individual Christian Zionists may in fact be antisemitic based on other things they may happen to think, but this belief about who goes to hell isn't limited to Jews.

      This misuse of the term antisemitism is not helpful.. I have also seen it employed by liberal Christians of the sort Braverman criticized here recently. The idea was that we should feel sorry for the Israelis because they have these uncouth rightwing Christians supporting them. It's a cheap and easy politically correct way to blast the rightwing Christians and avoid talking about the real victims of Christian Zionist support for Israel-- the Palestinians.

  • The global arms race between the US and China is devastating Africa and the Middle East
  • Press can't justify red carpet for Oren tract and blackout for Blumenthal's 'definitive account' of Gaza
    • We might actually have more luck getting the media to pay attention to Palestinian writers, at least among the subset in the MSM that has a sense of fairness or shame. They can tell themselves that Shavit and Oren represent the mainstream political spectrum in Israel and that someone like Beinart is critical of Israel from an American Jewish perspective, but they can't get around the fact that they are ignoring Palestinian voices. Not that I think there is a legitimate excuse for ignoring Max, but the lack of Palestinian voices is a really easy argument to make.

  • Israel's real fear about the Iran deal: It puts pressure on the occupation
    • Many people, including Iranians or so I gather, are hopeful that this deal will weaken the power of the theocrats by allowing more people in Iran to prosper. The right-wingers in Iran thrive off having enemies, just as Netanyahu does. I welcome this agreement if it means they can no longer make excuses for their own repressive actions based on Western sanctions and hostility. I also welcome the end of the cruel sanctions, which you left off your list of things which hurt Iranians .

      But yes, Iran has a bad human rights record. This agreement may be a step towards bringing a better life for its people.

    • Fred Kaplan makes a point which isn't quite the same, but it's related. Basically, Israel and Saudi Arabia want Iran isolated forever. And more than that--he says they wanted us to fight their wars for them.

      link to

  • The people love the Iran deal -- to judge from 'NYT' letters
    • Some of your sarcastic criticism of Iran might be valid,, but some of it is misplaced--you seem to think Iranians are uneducated and you probably think that to the extent they are educated, women would be less so. I'm no expert, but this appears to be false.

      link to

      But in general your post is silly, since nobody praising the deal wants the U.S. to be run by theocrats. You'd probably find more of that attitude in the opponents of the deal.

      Maybe I have you confused with someone else, but I thought your sarcasm used to be smarter than it has been lately.

      Off topic, but while visiting the Intercept to get the link above I saw a story about Wikileaks--it appears that a document shows the Israelis assassinated a Syrian general in 2008.

  • Jews have replaced WASPs in foreign policy establishment-- Heilbrunn in NYT
    • The time of King David? Seriously? But okay, let's go with that. You must mean Nathan the prophet and all the other prophets who condemned the sins of their leaders and the rich in their own societies.

  • Michael Oren misrepresents 1971 synagogue bombing that changed his life
    • I was thinking of letting you froth a bit more, but I'll obey your orders and do what you refuse to do for yourself

      link to

      link to

      I think you know about the murderous attack on the Kansas City Jewish community center which killed three people none of whom happened to be Jewish. I think you know because of the weasel phrase concerning Jewish victims--sure, obviously there is nothing murderously antisemitic about an attack on a Jewish center which happens to kill non-Jews.

      Remind me to ignore all your posts in the future.

    • You didn't look very hard Giles. I found examples in a few minutes yesterday before you gave me your orders to do research for you.

      Incidentally, in my own googling I didn't stumble across any reference to the bombing Oren writes about, so I guess that one didn't happen either, or it's hard to find a complete list.

      So there have been firebombings and murderous attacks on Jewish places of worship in the U.S. just in the past few years, motivated by antisemitism. I don't know what your point is.

    • I agree that I am not in a position to say that there was no antisemitism where I grew up--in fact I heard two examples of it, both nearly identical in claiming that Jews were obsessed with money. What I can say is that anti-black racism was expressed hundreds of times more often.

      I would assume that some ( or many?) of the people I was around probably believed some stereotypes about Jews. If I were Jewish growing up where I did maybe I'd have some stories, but as a white Christian listening to other white Christians talk when no blacks or Jews were around nearly all the bigotry I heard expressed was aimed in one direction.

      Incidentally, I was an Islamophobe then to the extent I gave the subject any thought. After the oil embargo I thought of Israel and the U.S. united against those dastardly Arabs, plus I had also read The Late Great Planet Earth, which was about the whole end of the world theology everyone I knew seemed to believe in, including me. I rooted for the Israelis in 1973 . Plus along with a lot of people I had read Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place, about a Christian family in Holland which hid Jews from the Nazis. So I saw Jews as being the good guys along with us. I think that would have been the common view where I was. But no doubt one could believe this stuff and still harbor some stereotypes about Jews.

    • I just did my own googling and yes, law enforcement agencies say that they haven't found evidence that the recent black church burnings were racially motivated. I missed those stories--I had heard about a new rash of burnings of black churches. Now as for synagogues, in NJ there were two firebombings a few years ago, an attack in Sacramento in the 90's and I found a few other attempts where anti-Semites planned on bobming, but were caught, along with a fair number of vandalizations and the murders in Kansas a few years ago (though If I recall correctly, the murderer intended to kill Jews and hit non-Jews.)

      There. I have been your trained circus animal. Note, though, that I made a general comment that people who bomb or burn synagogues are generally anti-Semites, which seems to be true, and you came back with a demand that I jump through some hoops because you had never heard of any burned synagogue in the U.S. I guess you leave the hard work of googling to your inferiors.

    • Which MSM outlet says that the bombing of black churches isn't racial? Some Fox News types wanted to claim that the attack in Charleston was an attack on Christians and not on blacks. But your comment tends to reinforce my point, though I agree that where Kahane is involved there are other possibilities.

      As for your second comment, I looked on Wikipedia yesterday and found some attacks on synagogues in the U.S., something you could do for yourself if you were curious and not simply trying to get back at me. Internet squabbles aren't worth the time.

    • Well, usually when synagogues are bombed or burned, the perpetrators have something against Jews.

    • The bruised knuckles did sound like macho posturing from a future IDF soldier. Maybe he invented Krav Maga.

    • Why do you assume nobody has a problem bombing a synagogue? I condemn it, but that should be taken for granted.

      You are just desperate to have a talking point.

    • I'm going to assume it was most likely anti- Semites who bombed the synagogue-- if Oren is telling the truth about his childhood fist fights with anti- Semites ( and with Oren assuming truthfulness is a big assumption) I could see why he had a distorted view of the U.S. Maybe he really did grow up in a nasty area, like the Pine Bush school district that is in the NYT today.

      Where I grew up in the 70's I heard anti-black comments all the time-- I distinctly remember two anti- Semitic remarks during that same period when I probably heard hundreds of uses of the n word. The two examples of anti- semitism stood out for me because they were so rare, though I assume there was some casual anti-semitism around that was rarely voiced. People were reading Hal Lindsay and believed that Israel was under God's protection, so Christians were supposed to be on their side too.

  • Carter says Israeli rejection of 2-states forced US to withdraw as mediator 'for first time in modern history'
    • Any list that has Carter as one of the five worst Presidents, let alone the worst, is clearly idiotic. He wouldn't be on the top five either-- his record was mixed. His successor represented the reactionary trend in American politics at the time. Americans after Vietnam and Watergate wanted to be told how wonderful they were, and Carter didn't tell them what they wanted to hear. Reagan's comforting BS was more what they wanted for a President. Carter put solar panels on the White House. Reagan removed them. Carter was a lousy politician sometimes, but he had a much better sense of where the country needed to go.

      The worst thing about Carter was that, like all Presidents, he supported mass murderers in his foreign policy--notably in East Timor. But Reagan was much worse.

  • I believe I can make a difference in my lifetime
    • I don't think there is any other situation in the world where a small country practices apartheid while supported by a superpower whose politicians still echo blatantly stupid propaganda points defending it. I would say the Lobby and their Christian Zionist allies make this unique. They single out Israel for special support and praise and this has generated a reaction.

      Though that's just part of it. Israel is also a throwback to the 19th century days of Western settler colonialism, and that has gone out of style. Again, some other situations might have a higher body count, but Israel gets a bit more attention from some for the same reason apartheid SA got it. The South African apologists made the same complaint--why single out SA when some African dictatorships had a higher internal bodycount ? (I qualified that with the phrase internal, because SA was partly responsible for some massive civil wars in its neighbors.)

  • Hillary Clinton promises megadonor she will work with Republicans-- to oppose BDS
    • The "Israel is a vibrant democracy" phrase is one of those propaganda lines that works, at least for awhile, because people repeat it over and over again, so that it becomes conventional wisdom. It is nonsense for exactly the reason you say, but unless reporters start to push back on the phrase, it will fool people who don't follow the issue closely. Everyone will know that Israel is the good guy because it is a "vibrant democracy". Everyone says so.

      Stupid cliches work--I once had a smart friend of mine back in the 90's parrot a line from either the NYT or Madelaine Albright to the effect that Israel only demolished some houses while the Palestinians were terrorists, so there was no moral equivalence. He got his info from the NYT.

  • Michael Oren cannot hide his disrespect for Jewish Americans
  • A racist country with too much influence over US -- Israel's new image among Democrats
    • Doublestandard up thread asked a good question--who are the elites Luntz was polling? How did he single them out? Are they well-informed people on the subject? What are their beliefs on other subjects? But anyway, I think all of us on both sides would be interested in finding out.

    • Krauss, I think "lumpy" was a reference to Luntz, or anyway it makes more sense that way.

      It even crossed my mind it could be spell correcting software at work--I've had a lot of very creative corrections in some of my posts and emails since I started using an iPad.

    • I read that Webb announcement the other day and wondered whether his fan club here had seen it. Not that he has much of a chance anyway--he can grovel to the Lobby all he wants for all the good it will do him.

    • I agree that many Americans couldn't tell Iran from Iraq, which is why I wouldn't take their support for Israel too seriously--it is likely based on a mixture of ignorance, prejudice and propaganda.

  • Oren's demands make Israel's liberal apologists squirm
    • JPM linked to this piece in one of his Oren articles--

      link to

      It shows Oren was demonstrably and absurdly wrong on the facts in what he wrote about an argument he had with the NYT.

      JPM also talks about the Haiti thing, where again Oren got it wrong on basic facts. I think he is probably right that what that shows is Oren's sense (on Israel's behalf) of a massive sense of entitlement.

      I'm not explaining things very clearly here, but if you click on the link to Marshal's piece and then read some of his links you'll find it worth your time.

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