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Total number of comments: 6437 (since 2009-07-31 03:28:07)

Donald

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

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  • 'Heart-wrenching, harrowing, transfixing' -- NYT needs to end blackout on Blumenthal
    • I should add that I don't personally find MaxB offensive, but yes, there are others one might recommend first, like Charles Manekin, before people are ready for Max.

      And anyway, some are beyond reach. Sandy Tolan's book The Lemon Tree is very empathic to both sides, but when I last looked at the Amazon reader comments many Zionist readers hated him and claimed the book was riddled with errors.

    • I think you are underestimating people, Yonah. I read a lot of people who I disagree with on some issues. I'm excited by politicians like Warren and Sanders even if I think their views on the I/P conflict are backward. They are good on other issues.

      Charles Manekin over at Magnes Zionist might be the type of person you'd find congenial --I like him myself. But I don't think he'd be bothered by MaxB. I prefer the Manekin approach myself, but if MaxB is accurately conveying what Israel is like, we don't have the luxury of ignoring him.

  • Corey Robin revisits Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem
    • I have a different question, Annie. Is the rule about justifying or denying the Nakba no longer in force?

      I suppose if that is the case we can look forward to the comment section attracting people like neggy defending the slaughter of innocent Palestinians because other Palestinians murdered Jewish civilians And then maybe we'll get people who actually defend terrorist attacks on Jewish civilians the way neggy justifies the Nakba and wishes Ben Gurion had been less merciful. Neggy would be happy. And you can see that's where he wants to go. The only way one can defend the Nakba, other than denying it happened, is to claim that this group of innocent people over here can be murdered because that group of innocent people over there were murdered. Get people to argue about which set of murders is justified.

      To me this seems like trolling.

    • Neggy is just another partisan who uses morality when it helps his position and ignores it when it does not. He is also pompous in a way I've occasionally seen before, always from someone defending some form of Western violence against civilians. I'm curious about where this style comes from.

    • No, I understood you just fine. You have a tribal morality--you imagine one side in a given conflict as "good" and the other as "evil" and you justify collective punishment for members of the "evil" side. You were clear about this in the first post. The Confederate analogy was also clear-- there's no connection in moral terms between the Palestinian case and the Confederate one, but you wanted to invoke it anyway.

      But once you invoke the notion of collective punishment, pretty much all of morality is a joke. It's just a matter of who is stronger--the moral talk is just gibberish, or maybe propaganda for people weak-minded enough to want to justify atrocities in moral terms, rather than simply saying we do this because we can.

    • You seem to be replying in part to some other post. That seems a little weird. But anyway, you make it clear that you do support ethnic cleansing and defend it by quoting Sherman on his lack of sympathy for Confederate slave owners while condemning us for not spending time condemning the actions of Czechs which don't personally bother you.

      I'm enjoying this.

  • The grotesque injustice of Obama's speech at the Washington synagogue
    • It's hypocritical for an American President to condemn Hamas violence against civilians and say nothing about the much greater Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians, especially when America helps arm Israel. I wouldn't expect a politician to be honest in these circumstances, but that doesn't mean we should give him a pass.

      And my views of Israel's human rights record come mainly from other sources, not MW. Nobody cites MW as a primary source on such issues. There are these organizations called human rights groups which investigate such things.

    • "However the fact that this latest speech is detested by the likes of us while seeming, I’m sure, perfectly sensible and all in a day’s statesmanlike work to the huge majority of people, just shows what a bunch of misfits and moral oddballs we still are, making visible progress only in universities, which aren’t normal places. "

      Most people probably paid no attention to this speech at all. Anyone who did was a misfit no matter what position they took on it. Some probably thought it was moving--liberal Zionists, for instance, might have thought so, as they seem to be the targets. More Likudist types thought it was Obama trying to pull the wool over their eyes. Some might have thought it was smart politics and some might have thought it was pandering, and some might have thought it was both at the same time, because those sometimes go together.

      I could well understand those who think it was smart politics, pandering, and also disgusting, because that's how I see it. I'm not sure about the smart politics, but it probably is. Obama is a successful politician and he probably knows his business, or has people advising him who know it.

    • You've made similar points before and you might be right, but in a way it is irrelevant what Obama's private motives are. We should point out that what he actually said was unfair and if enough people point this out, it would provide cover for Obama or some other politician to be more truthful.

    • Hophmi, those ties might explain why Obama pandered to his audience, but doesn't excuse it. And you're not even trying to excuse it. Good.

      JWalters makes a more interesting point below--not sure I agree, but Obama must know how hypocritical his speech is and I wonder what it would take for him to be honest

  • JVP to Obama: 'Shared values' means opposing Israel's systematic discrimination against non-Jews
    • There is an updated version of the post where the derogatory comment about the Palestinians is being reported as an attempt to reach out to American Jews who see Palestinians as bad actors. How very sensitive and inclusive of him.

      No mention of how Palestinian-Americans might feel.

    • I don't think you have to worry about the U.S. Invading, bombing, or supporting a coup in Israel.
      I'm not sure what JWalters means exactly, but probably not any of that.

      I do think his speculation is interesting. Obama knows perfectly well what the Palestinians have suffered, but he always stays inside the liberal Zionist comfort zone, and even within that category he is nowhere near as liberal as, say Jerome Slater. But he says several things in this speech which he has to know could be taken as criticisms of Israel--he mentions the treatment of the Native Americans as examples of American crimes. I don't think we should letObama off the hook, but I remember how he opposed gay marriage until it was safe to favor it.

    • Yeah. the NYT left out the tribe and easy partner comments. To be fair, I suspect the NYT editors might not even see the problem with those lines.

    • "And as an honorary member of the tribe"

      Interesting choice of words. So why should Palestinians trust him to be an honest broker?

      "The Palestinians are not the easiest of partners." (Laughter)

      Yeah, and these are the liberal Zionists he is pandering to with that BS.

      And the stuff about what Israel was meant to be--this is the President not so much denying the Nakba but simply pretending to believe Israel started out as a liberal democracy for all and is now backsliding.

      I think the NYT left out the more offensive comments, but I'll go back and check.

  • Obama equates Israel's creation to African-Americans gaining right to vote
    • I'm no expert on the real level of antisemitism in Europe--my impression is that it is a real threat in Hungary, but in places like France we're talking about terrorism, which is bad, but it's not like the society sides with the terrorists. If anything, the society seems more against Muslims.

      But anyway, people in the US could talk openly about what happened in order to establish a Jewish state, but this is usually left for historians and bloggers. Obama completely dodges the issue and pretends that the only possible motive anyone could have for opposing a Jewish state would be antisemitism, which is flatly dishonest. Apparently Palestinians are anti-semitic if they oppose their own ethnic cleansing. Obama can't come out and say that, so he ends up stating things which are self-contradictory. I actually think JWalters above may have a point--Obama might have chosen his words carefully, so that he can't be accused of hostility to Zionism, while at the same time criticizing to some degree what Israel does to the Palestinians. He's a politician above all other things and someone who opposed gay marriage until the polls changed.

  • Sheesh: A conservative response to the special relationship
    • "Or Israel is doing what every other nation always does – engaging in the practice of diplomacy by trading one thing for another, in this case, criticism of the Iran deal for more strategic support."

      This is exactly what I expected to happen back when it seemed Phil thought the Iran deal (if it comes off) meant the Lobby was knocked back on its heels. Well, it was, for a moment, but the obvious next move for them was to make use of the situation. Obama wants his Iran deal, so he's going to have to pay.

      He will also have to pander to the Lobby to make up for the spat with Netanyahu, though there he still says there should be a 2SS. But he's not really going to push for it, so far as I can tell and in the meantime Israel gets more weapons it can use on Gaza or Lebanon.

  • Hundreds of academics call on State Dept to revise its definition of anti-Semitism, respect criticism of Israel as protected speech
    • Israel is portrayed as a wonderful democracy worthy of the support which amounts to bootlicking by our political class. Their crimes are our crimes. Your claim that Israel is singled out is true-- it is singled out for praise within the U.S.

      And again, I see no important difference between AI, HRW, and the others. HRW's depiction of Israel's behavior is more or less in line with what most critics of Israel would say.

      Your 5 percent and 95 percent figures are ludicrous, as are your analogies involving Cheney, so I won't waste any further time on this thread.

    • I've not noticed any significant difference between human rights groups and what they say about Israel. They all (including HRW and the Israeli groups) are attacked by people who claim they are biased against Israel, but this is true of virtually every group they criticize. Reality has a well-known bias against governments that violate human rights, including Israel.

      I don't care what pro-government groups would say--there are always people willing to support whatever a government does, if they support that government, and so if one is interested in the rights of innocent civilians, you will read what human rights groups have to say about what has happened and what the relevant laws happen to be. We get the pro-government point of view in the mainstream press anyway, at least in the case of the US, Israel or its other allies. The rules of war are to some degree written to favor governments in the first place, and you will find people on the left who say this actually makes the human rights groups (including AI) too easy on countries like Israel.

      And I just did a quick check to make sure my memory was correct--AI also criticized both the PA and Hamas in their latest annual report, including for not investigating possible crimes against humanity in firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel.

    • Human Rights Watch does all that and ends up accusing Israel of war crimes. B'Tselem does that, Amnesty International does that, and so on. They also write reports criticizing Israel's enemies. It's the Israel defenders who react vehemently when the human rights groups hold Israel to the common standard.

    • Maybe we should support the State Dept. definition. Look at the double standards of people who support Israel when it does things they'd condemn if someone else did them. Soft bigotry of low expectations.

  • What if the Times had sent Rudoren to Selma in 1965?
    • Plants didn't invent photosynthesis, JeffB. Some form of bacteria did. But I didn't realize you'd actually used this example and you think it's a nice valid social Darwinian way to justify Israel's behavior. I really can't parody you. Maybe I should have gone with the photon ionization of neutral atoms ethical dilemma I imagined typing about, but it seemed too over the top, too strained, too ridiculous and cutesy. Maybe I was wrong.

    • Thanks bintbiba. I love the phrase "short faced bear" and have decided to use it in all applicable conversations. Fortunately with JeffB and his morality posts, literally anything and everything is applicable. I thought of including comments on the ionization energy of hydrogen, the Turing test, plate tectonics, and Tolkien's linguistics in LOTR, but life is short,as are the faces of short faced bears, so I went with them.

      Impressive animals, btw. I wish they were still around. I doubt humans armed with pointy sticks took them on directly.

    • Catalan, get a grip. The sarcasm is not to say that human- caused mass extinctions are a trivial issue, but that JeffB will use any argument at all to distract attention from Israel. I read Kolbert's book The Sixth Extinction recently--quite depressing.

      I lose track of the positions of some of the posters here. Are you a JeffB ally playing along with his distraction attempt?

    • In keeping with my own challenge, I have already responded to the plight of the Visigoths with the sad examples of the Neandertals, mastodons, and short-faced bears. But now I'm thinking even the latter is too anthropocentric. It's the typical lefty response--blame humanity first. But what about what the placental mammals did to the marsupials in SouthAmerica when the Central American land bridge went up? And what happened to the anaerobes when photosynthesis was invented? Heh? What about that? Any of you so called social justice warrior types have anything to say?

    • That's fine MHughes and I agree, but you do realize that someone bringing up the Franks and Visigoths in this context is a kook, don't you? I really do agree with you, but your post is an example of an Internet phenomenon--there is no troll that ever goes hungry, because some well-meaning person will come along and think about how awful it was that the Vikings raped and pillaged villages a thousand years ago and how some conflicts and abuses really do drag on for centuries, at least in some cases. I thought of American slavery myself, but didn't bring it up because we could go off on 50 different tangents, and also because some of us realize there is a direct continuation of the original crime going on now. I did bring up the ur-example of all such cases--the apparent genocide of the Neandertals, though apparently not complete since there are some bits of the Neandertal genome in some of us.

      JeffB is not trying to have a serious discussion of all possible historical cases of oppression and when one should be concerned about them and when not. He is engaged in an idiotic attempt at distraction involving, among other things, the freaking Visigoths. As it happens his idiocy has inspired some interesting responses from tree and others, but no, we don't have to call into question the basic moral foundations of the pro-Palestinian movement because JeffB can pick some random atrocity from 1500 years ago and call us hypocrites.

      But hey, let's extend it even further. Why limit this to humans? Some say the megafauna extinctions at the end of the Pleistocene were caused by Homo sapiens. How can we possibly criticize the Nakba when we say nothing about the poor mastodons, the saber toothed cats, and the short faced bears? And it is important--people really do get upset over the question of whether Native Americans actually caused a mass extinction. But I don' think it is necessary to respond to a troll trying to excuse Israel's crimes with a thousand page discussion of every ethical issue that has ever come up. But if we are going to do this let's have some fun with it. Is it possible to parody JeffB or are his examples already as ridiculous as it is possible to get?

    • "You aren't remotely consistent in your views"

      Coming from you JeffB, that means nothing at all. You are often interesting when you're talking about something besides morality.

    • Echo--

      It's silly to argue about this, since Palestinians are the ones lacking basic human rights, but since you wish to talk about some hypothetical universe where Palestinians had all the power and decided who got to stay, I would be opposed to the forcible expulsion of Israeli Jews from Israel-- two wrongs don't make a right.

    • I agree you can't do reparations for the Holocaust, But if survivors or their descendants want the art works, they should get them. But no, Palestine is not reparations for the Holocuast, except in the sense that guilty Westerners allowed Palestinians to pay the price for Western sins.

      As for draining swamps, I already said to someone else that I don't want to expel Israeli Jews. It is, of course, disingenuous and inaccurate to claim that all of Palestine was a hellhole until the Zionists came--if we redid history without Western imperialism there would still be railroads built and technological advances and trade in all the places where people of European descent came--it would have happened in a different way, there would have been different politics and struggles and forms of oppression and so on, but to imagine that Zionist improvements made it okay to expel the Palestinians is nonsense.

      And your attempt to make universal morality into something absurd is an evasion. I'm not going to waste any more time with you on this, because no sane person would treat the ongoing issue of Palestinian rights with some idiotic comparison to what might or might not have been done to Jews 2000 years ago. You're just playing sophomore level games and I'm not interested in playing along any further.

    • The point about the stupid uncouth words is that liberals are sometimes guilty of stereotyping in how they judge who is or is not a racist. But in reality racists can be highly educated and intelligent people. They may even be secular liberals on most subjects. It is easy for liberals to mock the rednecks and the fundamentalists, even educated ones, but bigoted Israel supporters are often secular liberals, members of one's own tribe, and on top of that if you criticize them they will call you an anti-Semite. Consequently we have these discussions where the Israel supporters go on the offensive, calling the critics of Israel "anti-Semites"' when they are the ones who defend a country which practices apartheid and commits war crimes.

    • Echo-- I don't agree. If Israelis want to emigrate, fine, but they have been there for generations now, many came as refugees or in good faith, not necessarily intending to oppress anyone under laws which allowed them to move there. I think it's a really bad idea to start assigning collective guilt to groups and then saying people lose the right to live in the land where they and a few generations of their ancestors were born. Also, if we claim to support a 1ss with equal rights for all and then start saying Israeli Jews have no right to live in Israel, then we are contradicting ourselves.

      The settlers in the WB are a different case--they are people who have consciously chosen to benefit fro apartheid going on right now. And of course it is wrong that any Jew anywhere has the right to live in Israel when Palestinians don't.

    • "If there is some obligation to reverse settlement that passes through generations then those 1 generation removed and those 100 generations removed are equal."

      This is bull and you know it. But let me have some fun with it. Go back 20 generations and theoretically, ignoring inbreeding, I have one million ancestors. Go back 30 and it would be a billion, which is probably more people than were alive 30 generations back. So inevitably there is inbreeding as generations pass, but obviously if you go back 100 generations, if you have any ancestors from a given region you are probably related to virtually everyone in that region back then. I've joked before that probably half of my ancestors oppressed the other half. Go back further and people of European descent are about 4 percent Neandertal, or so I've read. So I should claim I have been driven out by those dastardly Cro-Magnon genocidal killers and take Europe back on behalf of my Neandertal ancestors.

      There are no serious moral claims regarding events that occurred that long ago because the world has changes so much in the intervening millennia. There are moral claims regarding events that happened within a few generations, especially if the original conditions still prevail. Without claiming that the Nakba is on the same level as the Holocaust, nobody thinks the Holocaust is remote history and that we should no longer care about justice or reparations to the extent that reparations can be paid. People are still put on trial and there are reparations paid and sometimes stolen property is returned.

      As for Israelis, I agree that Israelis born in Israel have the right to be there. It's the only home they've got. What their parents or grandparents might have done isn't their fault. But if they continue to oppress Palestinians, claim the right to move into the WB and not allow Palestinians to move into Israel, and continue to profit by this, then they aren't innocent.

      Incidentally, I realize I'm spending far too much time responding to you. When you get into moral questions, everything is twisted to make Israel right in some fashion. I'm wasting time trying to convince you of anything.

    • "It is going to be hard to play the stupid ignorant racist card against Jews"

      A non-sequitur. You can be well-educated and a racist. One of my best friends as a child was deeply racist--his father was a doctor and a former naval officer. Again, this feeds into my point--quite a few people have this stereotype about who can be a racist and who can't, and this stereotype includes the notion that racists are all uneducated rednecks, when the reality is that intelligent people often just use their intelligence to rationalize their bigotry or their irrational beliefs on some issues. I don't usually play the Nazi card as I think people on all sides bring them up far too often, but they do illustrate the fact that an educated society can be capable of extreme racism.

      I think you know this at some level. It might be hard to "play the racist card" simply because people have this unconscious (and btw, bigoted) notion of what a racist is supposed to be like. The reality is often quite different.

    • The Jewish claim going back to the Romans is idiotic, JeffB. Nobody keeps track of where all their ancestors were living 2000 years ago.

      As fo Shaked wanting to give Palestinians in the WB the vote, permit me some skepticism--the same person who made the " mistake" of urging genocide last summer seems an unlikely person to genuinely support a 1ss with equal rights for all.

    • "I’ve tried again and again to walk through the actual history of the anti-Apartheid movement and show how the dissimilarities between the South African and Israeli case were in areas absolutely crucial to the “success” of the anti-Apartheid struggle. -"

      The biggest difference is that the analogy between SA and the Jim Crow South was seen as a close one and it was easy for American liberals to criticize and even mock white southerners and Boers as stupid racists, but there has been a type of political correctness which stops many liberals in their tracks when it comes to pointing out racism in Israel and its American supporters. That's a misguided liberal reaction to anti-semitism. I've seen people gladly bash the Christian Zionists, because they are in their comfort zone, ridiculing conservative white gentile Americans (often white southerners) who seem really reluctant to take the next step and criticize Israel's Jewish supporters. I've even seen idiots feel sorry for Israel because they have the Christian Zionists in their corner, as though poor little Israel must feel deeply embarrassed at having such uncouth supporters.

      The best analogy is between Israel and other settler colonial states, as a recent post pointed out. The Palestinians are the Native Americans. The main difference is that disease wiped out the vast majority of Native Americans, so there aren't a few hundred million of them forced to live in 20 percent or less of the US.

      But all analogies fail on one point or another. The similarity is in the way human rights are violated and in the way those violations are rationalized.

    • Actually, go right ahead and make analogies. Some might be legit and some not. There isn't any analogy that can excuse Israel's conduct and the US is implicated in Israel's crimes, but you might be able to find some other situation which is as bad and which also implicates the US.
      Or you can point to other situations which are worse, such as that in Syria. Again, this doesn't get Israel off the hook.

      People tried to get the Jim Crow South or apartheid SA off the hook by pointing to other places which were allegedly worse. It didn't work--that type of argument is stupid.

    • If she opposes a 2SS then she should support 1 man, 1 vote for Palestinians in a 1SS. And yes, Jews or members of any religion or ethnicity should have equal rights in a state of Palestine, but settlers who were part of Israel's illegal settlement project took advantage of the situation--equal rights in this context might mean they have to make restitution or give back land which didn't really belong to them and if they put out their own money to acquire property under Israeli law, then the Israeli government should compensate them.

      I had never heard of Shaked until recently, but if she were a genuine non-racist I somehow doubt she would have made the "genocide" mistake. I gather there are a few interesting people on the Israeli right who seem to favor annexing "Judea and Samaria" and giving the Palestinians citizenship and equal rights. Is she one? Highly doubtful. Not that this position is without problems, as it leaves out the Gazans and Palestinian refugees elsewhere.

    • "They didn’t harp in a negative way and try and demonize her, because don’t hate Israelis and Jews. They want to cover her like they would a popular politician from a rightwing party because they consider Israeli a country like any other and Jews a people like any other. You don’t and so… "

      She's a rightwing racist, and should be treated like they would treat a rightwing racist politician in any other country, such as the politicians in the South who supported Jim Crow. It's interesting how you think it is demonizing a rightwing Israeli Jew to compare her to a rightwing American racist. I've seen this before. I know how racist "my people"--southern whites-- can be , but I never thought that southern white racists were demons or inhuman. They were people with a very serious moral flaw. To some degree maybe we're all racists, but some of us try not to be, while others embraced it. Guess what? There are a fair number of Jews in both Israel and in the US who have exactly the same moral flaw. Being Jewish doesn't make someone inherently better or free from racism and comparing racist Israeli Jews to bigoted Southern Jim Crow supporters is not "demonizing" them, unless you are of the opinion that Southern white racists are inherently more demonic than Israeli Jewish racists.

      And JeffB, I often find your comments interesting and worth thinking about (in a good way) when you don't touch on moral issues--when, for instance, you merely try to analyze where people fall on a given spectrum. But when morality comes into it you write and talk like someone for whom universal moral values are some foreign language you never learned, or some branch of math you never studied. Shaked is a racist. But to you she represents Israel and the NYT readership and therefore everything is fine. Bull Connor had supporters too.

      You may think you are defending the NYT and Israel, but your post is, if anything, a harsher assessment than North's. The funny thing is that you don't realize this.

    • Page: 64
  • The 'New York Times' is now a pro-Israel weapon. Who decided that, I don't know
    • The NYT does have a bland editorial today about the Pope's recognition of Palestine, where they tacitly defend what the Pope did and even acknowledge that many experts say the settlement expansion has made a territorially coherent 2ss nearly impossible. So they do continue to criticize Israel, but again in very mild ways. They even acknowledge without frothing against it that there are efforts to pressure Israel with boycotts and UN resolutions.

      Repeating my first post, I think their behavior as an institution has been consistent. They will criticize the settlement policy, but they won't criticize Israeli atrocities the way they would criticize those of Hamas--if Hamas rockets had killed 500 Israeli children last summer that figure would be constantly repeated and Hamas denounced in the most virulent terms. And since people are now openly talking about Lobby money and influence and Netanyahu's racism was what won him the election, they will push back by publishing Rudoren pieces about an Israel artist worried about Iran. The behavior here is hard to put on a bumper sticker--it is not a total lack of criticism of Israel, but criticism that is extremely mild compared to what they would say if Palestinians were the guilty party.

    • I think there is a tacit policy at the NYT that they will criticize Israel in mild ways, but that's it. It doesn't matter how badly they act, the NYT will never criticize them the way they will criticize, say, Hamas.

      And now that the influence of the Lobby on our politicians is out in the open, and Netanyahu's arrogance and racism is front page news and helped him win the election, they are acting very protective.

      In other words, I don't think it is a change in policy so much as a change in circumstances. Israel badly needs PR support right now and the NYT is there to provide it.

  • Rubio calls out Clinton over settlements -- and his biggest donor funds one
    • I don't understand the optimistic tone in your last paragraph. It's been standard boilerplate rhetoric and U.S. Policy for decades to make noises opposing the settlements. It's how most liberal Zionists define themselves as liberal. In most cases this opposition is little more than a fig leaf--it almost never leads the self-proclaimed critic of settlements to advocate any meaningful pressure on Israel to stop them.

      What is happening now is that Republicans are abandoning liberalZionism and embracing the rightwing variety outright. Your hope is that maybe this will force Democrats into open opposition. Maybe, but I can see how it will go-- the Democrats will stick to the 2ss as the best thing for Israel, will continue to proclaim their love for Israel, but it won't mean they will advocate pressure on Israel. In short, the Overton window shifts right and you're hoping this leads to a debate, but it's not one that will include Palestinians--it will be between two different styles of giving Palestinians the shaft.

  • Settlers Supporting Settlers: Towards an explanation of the US/Israel relationship
    • Palestinians who are citizens of Israel would be the equivalent of Native Americans who are citizens of the U.S.

      You're just trying to get Israel off the hook in a particularly dumb fashion, but if you want to push the Native American/Palestinian analogy, go right ahead. Everyone nowadays agrees that white settlers stole the land and Native Americans were the victims, even if some responded with what we'd now call terrorism. A few years ago, starting with Benny Morris, I started noticing the hasbara crowd defending Israel by pointing to America's sins. Great. Keep it up--it's an acknowledgment of the huge injustices committed by both countries and an admission that Israel's behavior has been criminal. And there should be these sorts of connections drawn.

    • I'd forgotten that point, but it is often observed that Israel got into the settler colonialism game right when it was going out of style. But I think the meme of civilized pioneer vs savage, as Geller puts it, is embedded in the subconscious mind of many Americans even though colonialism is now a bad word. The Lobby wouldn't make much headway without the culture here backing them up in some ways.

    • I think the article was a good one, but am a little perplexed that the idea seems new to some commenters. Norman Finkelstein spent a chapter or two on it in "image and Reality" and I think Chomsky made the same point. The hasbara claim that the Zionists made the desert bloom is like the American claim that settlers came to an empty continent populated only by animals and ahem, "natives" and forged a nation. Benny Morris notoriously justified the Nakba on the grounds that white settlers in America did the same thing. When I read books about America's relations with native Americans it always makes me think of the I/P conflict, or rather, when I started reading about Israel in a serious way it reminded me of America. Most of the standard hasbara claims echo the civilized man vs savage storyline that underlies the American hasbara narrative and if you read comments online from American Israel supporters, Jewish and gentile, they sound much the same.

  • Front-page attack in New York Times says BDS movement is driven by minorities' 'hostility toward Jews'
    • “Slater and his ilk…” has a very disparaging sound to it. although I don’t think you intended it that way. Jerry Slater is a very important voice (as you point out). He is well past “liberal Zionism” and has put his academic credentials on the line with a very brave and accurate analysis of Jewish terrorism"

      You're right that I didn't mean that to sound disparaging, but yeah, I should not have used the word"ilk" as it does sound disparaging.

      On liberal Zionism, it's been my long held belief that the term is very broad. For the most part liberal Zionists are people who criticize the settlements, but tend to support Israel when it slaughters civilians. But on the extreme left wing of the liberal Zionist spectrum you find people like Slater, who still thinks the idea of a Jewish state was justifiable in the late 40's given the Holocaust. However Slater pulls no punches when describing Israel's crimes. I don't think the NYT knows what to do with someone like him, so they ignore him entirely.

    • There's some truth to what you say, JeffB. I don't know where most American liberals fall on issues though. I often suspect they are further to the left than their establishment representatives both in government and in the media happen to be. I think many Obama voters, for instance, were much further to the left than he was, but they projected their views on him.

    • "White-ruled SA was a staunch anti-communist ally in the 70s and 80s. Didn’t prevent the liberal media from taking a stand – even if it didn’t benefit US"

      You're of course correct that the media was more honest about SA, though even here if you go back and look you'll find that plenty of people made some of the same arguments the hasbara crowd makes today. After the fact everyone became anti-apartheid, sort of how after the fact almost everyone claims to love Martin Luther King, though they usually leave out how anti war he had become. And South Africa was an exception for the press--if you look at other cases the press was often horrible. The Timorese suffered genocide while most of the American press said literally nothing for years and there has never been an honest mainstream accounting of how 100-200,000 people died under 5 successive U.S. Administrations as Indonesia used American weapons to kill them.

      If Keith is around, he could probably add details. So could I, if I wanted to spend the time.

      Yes, there is an added extra dimension of bigotry from the pro-Israel crowd, but let's not imagine the mainstream press could ever be trusted when it came to human rights issues. They usually let the politicians set the tone. The advent of the Internet has made some difference-- they now know that when they cover something up there are many more outlets for dissenters. In the old days you could write a letter to the editor, which was a complete joke and waste of time.

    • I agree, except that for the NYT the definition of antisemitism has always included criticism of Zionism or even criticism of Israel that is a little too hard hitting. For instance, someone like Jerome Slater is a liberal Zionist, but because he is honest about Israel's human rights record his views would not be mentioned in the NYT--that level of honesty would make him a suspicious figure. They wouldn't know what to do with him. I think with Phil and with the JVP, Jews who aren't Zionists at all, they are ready to imply self-hatred or fashionable radicalism as their way of discrediting them, but with Slater and his ilk they wouldn't know what to say, so they don't even hint of their existence.

      The NYT deliberately looks at the racism issue upside-down. The students who believe in universal standards of human rights applicable to all are portrayed as possible bigots, but the students who reflexively defend a country which is practicing apartheid are treated as the victims of bigotry rather than as self-pitying bigots themselves.

    • On foreign policy issues and human rights, I'm more surprised when the NYT does something right than when they do something wrong and I'm not engaged in cute snarkiness here. Of course the fact that Israel is involved which makes it even less likely that they will be honest.

      You may or may not be familiar with the case of Ray Bonner in El Salvador back in the early 80's, but he wrote a number of honest articles about the horrific atrocities committed by the U.S. supported government--the U.S. lied about what was going on. The most famous example was the massacre at El Mozote in which 900 villagers were butchered by the Salvadoran army, Bonner reported this, and the Reagan people lied. Abe Rosenthal eventually pulled Bonner out and the reporting from the NYT "improved" from the point of view of the government.

      That's what you can expect from the NYT on issues involving U.S. policy and human rights--occasional spasms of honesty and good reporting followed by a regression to the norm. How it works I generally wouldn't know, but I think reporters like Bonner tend to be weeded out or learn that the prevailing culture requires them to pull their punches.

      Though again with Israel there is an added extra reason for dishonesty.

  • An open letter to Pamela Geller
    • If you were curious, you could have googled. And it would have taken you about a minute to find and start reading websites that would have answered your question. The Wikipedia entry has a link to the SPLC piece on her that just mentions and there are others.

  • 'Most reactionary government in Israel's history' -- when will liberal Zionists hit bottom?
    • It's interesting--I think the pseudo-liberal Zionists old have kept this circus running indefinitely with US help. They just had to make the right noises about peace, make inadequate offers which they would present as the most generous imaginable, and they would have had the U.S. Government in their pocket for the indefinite future. Any violence would be blamed on Palestinian intransigence. It's been working that way for decades, but apparently this wasn't good enough for the rightwing Zionists.

  • Not a single Muslim is quoted in 'NYT' profile of Geller
    • I think that for the NYT, Islamophobia is a respectable position, not something they explicitly defend, but part of the mainstream. They would probably deny this, but I somehow doubt an open anti-Semite would get this polite treatment.

  • A response to the 'Washington Post' blogger who calls me an anti-Semite
    • I was out of town and didn't check back. Maybe nobody will read this reply--no great loss. Anyway, Mooser, I agree that people like Bernstein would call Phil an anti-semite no matter what. My point is that one shouldn't hand him any ammunition by engaging in dumb speculation.

      From my outside POV, much of the American Jewish community seems as screwed up and racist on the subject of Palestinians as many of "my people", southern whites, were screwed up on the subject of race in America. That's the point that should be hammered on. Bernstein was writing disgusting pieces about Gaza last summer. Focus on him and people like him, not on some ridiculous story about businessmen being corrupt that has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

    • So you think that anecdote has some larger significance than what one particular guy did? Because Phil seemed to think so. Why, I have no idea, but hell, it's a blog and I guess we're supposed to draw conclusions about groups of people based on basically no evidence worth anything.

    • I think Phil sees the Israel apologists can't defend Israel's actions, so he chivalrously decided to make it a contest by indulging in some barroom level sociology based on how Terry Gross laughed at Glass's anecdote. That way the Israel apologists can switch to their favorite subject, anti-semitism and now they have at least a fighting chance of discrediting all the countless solid and informative articles published here by labeling Mondoweiss a hate site. That was damn decent of you Phil--shows a real sense of fair play.

      Snark aside, part of it were fine, but a few chunks--well, if Phil hired me as his editor let's just say there'd have been less of that barroom sociology. I really don't understand what Phil thought he was accomplishing with that piece.

    • Phil, I assume you wrote that earlier post expecting this sort of attack. I sure did. And the earlier post did contain some dumb parts, like the story of the Jewish guy who cheated the record company. Maybe you really think that anecdote tells us something meaningful. Why?

      Bernstein defended Israel's monstrous conduct in the Gaza War. We should be putting people like him on the defensive.

  • Gaza rules: Kill 2 Palestinian women on cellphones in an orchard so Israeli soldiers face zero risk
    • Your argument is a waste of time--either Breaking the Silence testimonies give a fair picture of what happened or they don't. You are just looking for a cute set of debating points to gloss over the brutality Israel displayed.

    • I wouldn't expect him to be shaken by this-- clearly for him the idea that Israeli violence against civilians is justified is an article of faith, and people usually take a long time to change their minds about deeply held beliefs no matter what the evidence shows. Maybe after several years, or maybe never.

    • It's interesting to see how the Washington Post tries to downplay the brutality though it still comes through even in their report. But the other reports are better, making it clear that the death and destruction were obviously part of a deliberate policy.

  • Two videos to challenge my liberal Zionist friends
    • The narrative in the U.S. was that the Palestinians fled at the behest of Arab leaders and the Zionists begged them to stay. There was a mayor in Haifa, I think, who was supposed to have done this. One variation of the story is that the Palestinians intended to come back on the heels of the Arab armed and plunder their Jewish neighbors.

      I read a version of this in James Michener's novel The Source, where it was presented as fact proven by documented evidence. A Christian Zionist friend of mine told me this as though it were true in a conversation we had last year. Big lies never die.

    • "t does not show the Jews murdered by Palestinian fedayeen around that time"

      Haven't watched it. Does it show the several thousand mostly unarmed Palestinians shot by the Israelis during that time, according to Benny Morris in "Israel's Border Wars"? You've read it, right? Avi Shlaim gives a brief summary in "The Iron Wall".

      "So while you can make the case that “dispossession” is a part of the conflict, it is not the sole root cause or even the most important one; the most important is the failure of the rest of the region to accept a non-Arab, non-Muslim state. "

      Everything wrong with mainstream liberal Zionism is incorporated in that sentence. First, "dispossession" is placed in quotes. Hophmi can't bring himself to admit that Israel exists as a Jewish state because the Palestinians were forced out. Second, he dismisses its importance--for Hophmi, the main cause of the Israel Palestinian conflict can't possibly be anything so trivial as Palestinian "dispossession"--no, it has to be an explanation in which the Israelis are the main victims of Arab/Muslim intransigence.

      Which is why liberal Zionists of Hophmi's ilk have not brought about peace. If you think like hophmi, you may encourage dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian kids, but you're not ever going to put pressure on Israel to end the occupation, because frankly, to liberal Zionists of hophmi's description, it just isn't that important and whatever moral blame will be placed on Palestinians, Arabs, Western supporters of Palestinians or anyone and everyone except for Israeli Jews or their American enablers.

  • Obama's role model to journalists -- Dorothy Thompson -- turned against Zionism and was silenced
    • I urge everyone to read hophmi's Harpers link and see what he considers evidence of anti-semitism. In fact, what Thompson does is point out that there are people in every society who would go Nazi, given the opportunity--Jews couldn't, given Nazi ideology, but if they could (if, for instance, some other group were hated rather than Jews) then there are some Jews who would be Nazis, just as there are members of every other group who would join. That's what she is saying. She spends the article describing some imaginary people at a party (most of them non-Jewish) and then explains in her mind why this person would be a Nazi and that one wouldn't. I don't necessarily agree with all of her judgments of imaginary people, but to say she was an anti-semite based on this article tells me everything I need to know about hophmi. He just sees a phrase or two and reaches for the anti-semite accusation.

      Here's a piece from the article--

      " is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis.

      It is preposterous to think that they are divided by any racial characteristics. Germans may be more susceptible to Nazism than most people, but I doubt it. Jews are barred out, but it is an arbitrary ruling. I know lots of Jews who are born Nazis and many others who would heil Hitler tomorrow morning if given a chance. There are Jews who have repudiated their own ancestors in order to become “Honorary Aryans and Nazis”; there are full-blooded Jews who have enthusiastically entered Hitler’s secret service. Nazism has nothing to do with race and nationality. It appeals to a certain type of mind.

      It is also, to an immense extent, the disease of a generation—the generation which was either young or unborn at the end of the last war. This is as true of Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Americans as of Germans. It is the disease of the so-called “lost generation.”"

    • Fascinating. I never heard of her. I saw the Hepburn movie "Woman of the Year", but didn't know it was based on a real person.

  • Is there room for liberal Zionists in an anti-Zionist movement?
    • "But I’ve found on British campuses that it was the liberal Zionists who were most effective in whitewashing Israel and its war crimes."

      That's true everywhere, I suspect , though keeping in mind David Samel's distinction between liberal Zionists like Jerry Slater, who is completely honest about Israel's long record of atrocities, and liberal Zionists of the more common sort that you are describing, who are mostly whitewashers. We have some who comment here. They generally make noises about opposing settlements, but tend to get angry and dismissive if someone goes into more detail about Israeli atrocities, and they supported the slaughter in Gaza last summer. A self-described liberal Zionist is a better whitewasher than an openly arrogant and annoying person like Netanyahu. They can sigh and talk about their desire for peace and establish credibility with people who don't pay close attention to the issue, and then defend Israel's abuses.

    • Some of the people organizing these dialogue sessions may have good intentions--I once thought they were a great idea, but after decades of this it's clear that they also function as a gesture to make some self-described liberal Zionists feel good about themselves while continuing to support actions such as the bombing of Gaza. So long as the U.S. Government supports Israel at the UN and keeps up the supply of weapons, Israel can keep building settlements and bomb Gaza and shoot Palestinian civilians during ceasefires and there will be no consequences. If the people urging dialogue between children spent most of their time urging the U.S. to stop enabling Israel's worst behavior, then the dialogue would make sense as part of a larger strategy.

  • Forgiving the anti-Semites
    • Actually citizen, I think the same racist and militaristic tendencies that led the South to start the Civil War are alive and well in America today. To some degree this is why I think so many Americans sympathize with Israel-- we really do share some common and deeply unpleasant values.

    • I think you're making a distinction of no importance. Christian Zionists could not care less about the rights of Palestinians--they have their religious view of what the conflict means. It's part of the End Times drama and people who oppose Israel are automatically the enemies of God. Yes, they are ignorant. If that is all it is then as soon as they are exposed to the Palestinian side they'd have to re- evaluate their entire belief system. They don't do this. You can say this isn't racism. Looks like it to me--if someone told them thatIsrael had the right to colonize Alabama and take the homes of good Christian folk like themselves they'd soon learn to question their religious beliefs, because then, in their eyes, real people would be hurt.

    • I find Phil's diary interesting, but I objected to drawing any grand conclusions based on anecdotes like the story of the businessman breaking records. Is it really any surprise to find out that some businessmen (of any ethnicity) are dishonest? Same for Wall Street, which was corrupt back in the days when it was just a WASP establishment. (I don't actually know what the ethnic composition of most corrupt Wall Street types is now--it's probably a beautiful rainbow coalition of scumbags.) Mitt Romney in what was intended to be his confidential speech to his donors in the 2012 election campaign probably showed what many or most of the superrich think of the peons under them. If I recall correctly, he also dissed the Palestinians.

      So I'm sure that rich Jews are often going to be like rich people of other backgrounds---they're going to be a-holes. If they happen to have some particular bigoted ideology, they're also going to use their money to push it, like Adelson.

    • "Did you happen to notice the word “diary” at the top of the piece?"

      Yes.

    • Phil, let me give you some advice as one self-hater to another. In my case it's self-hatred of part of my white southern heritage. I think there's a tremendous amount of overlap between the hypocrisy you find in some white southerners and that you'll find in many Jewish supporters of Israel. At bottom it's just racism and it is no accident that many of Israel's strongest American non-Jewish supporters are white evangelical southerners. They just retargeted some of their old-fashioned bigotry against a new group--Palestinians.

      Anyway, here's the advice. Focus on the racism. I think your corrupt businessman story about breaking records is dumb--corrupt business types can be found in all ethnic groups. And rich people of any sort are often self-indulgent. You may not like aspects of American Jewish culture just as I don't like some aspects of stereotypical white southern culture (grits, country music. etc...), but this is irrelevant. Don't mix irrelevancies in with serious criticism.

      And look what happened in this thread. Are we discussing the racism of American Jewish supporters of Israel? Nope. It's all about anti-semitism. Again.

      Incidentally, the "self-hater" phrase I'm using ironically. I think you're angry and disgusted, as you should be by the blind support for Israel, but I also think you're sort of shooting blindly here, when you should be aiming your shots a lot more carefully.

  • In defense of Cornel West's prophetic voice
    • "Well said."

      Thanks. So much of American (I think you're Canadian, but it might be the same there) political and intellectual life seems to be conducted on the level of high school kids competing to see who gets to be labelled the cool ones. That's what this sounds like.

    • This sounds like a fundamentally trivial and unimportant subject--intellectuals as celebrities.

      To the extent that West or any other intellectual is important, it is for the content of their criticisms. On the drone strike issue, for instance, what matters are who gets killed, how many innocents die, why some forms of killing are called "terrorism" and others are blessed by the state. I could not care less whether Dyson thinks West is too harsh in his rhetoric, or who wants the title of "prophet" or any of that crap.

  • A lesson from the New York Times on how to mislead with numbers
    • If Hamas rocket fire killed 2000 Israelis, the majority civilian, including 500 children, the NYT would think it an obscenity to point to some much lesser act of Israeli violence as a provocation.

      I often wonder if they are deliberately and consciously deceptive, or if the bias is buried so deep in how they think it just comes out that way. Could be a bit of both, I guess.

  • Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: An argument
    • My suggestion, which might not be a good one, was that you publish some of your essays on this subject as a short book. I said the NYRB might review it since they've carried some good articles by Shulman, but I predict that the NYT would ignore you.

    • Not to quarrel with your point about collateral damage, but I suspect that some of the civilian deaths in Gaza were intentional. It would make logical sense (setting aside the morality), given the Dahiya doctrine and past behavior. Israel wants to punish its adversaries and killing some civilians can be part of that. Their apologists say they can't be doing it deliberately, because if they wished they could kill far more, but that's a silly argument. Most governments (and for that matter criminal organizations) don't kill as many people as they possibly could. They sometimes kill some to make a point. And in the case of Israel, they need the deniability. I suspect that even American Israel apologists would find it difficult to explain, say, 100,000 deaths in Gaza, but 1500 they can claim are collateral damage (and some fraction would be). As Jerome points out, the interesting thing about Israel is sometimes Israeli officials let the mask slip and basically admit that they target civilians.

    • Let me add to the praise. I think you should try to publish this and some of your other pieces in book form, but don't know how much trouble that would be to do.

      I think there is a fair chance it would actually get mentioned favorably at the New York Review of Books, as they've been putting out some good material on this subject. You would probably be ignored at the NYT. But it'd be good to have some of your best work in one location, though nowadays I suppose the web can serve that purpose.

  • Understanding the Jewish National Home
    • Adding to what you say, Mhughes is that it is common for colonialists to stay that they have come to help the benighted natives. The way to help people is to respect their rights to their own land, while trading with them and giving them help and assistance if they want it.

      I would guess the early Zionists were a mixed bag, just as white settlers in America were. Some wanted to be fair to the natives, others didn't. Some genuinely respected the natives, others had a condescending attitude, and some saw them solely as obstacles. (. The majority are probably in the latter two groups.). But if you claim a fundamental right to land you and your ancestors haven't lived on for centuries, you are headed for trouble even if you think you mean well.

    • Shouldn't Britian have allowed all theJewish refugees to come to Britain then? Why should they have to go to Palestine, where their presence would be unavoidably linked with a colonialist movement to take Palestine from the native people?
      There is plenty of blame to go around on who should have helped European Jews in the late 30's, but ifyou want to talk about being obtuse, blaming Palestinians is like blaming the refugees themselves. The Jewish refugees were fleeing Hitler-1the Palestinians were trying to obtain the right to control their own land. The people to blame here are not the Palestinians and not those fleeing Hitler, but the rest of the world for not absorbing a relatively small number of desperate people--relatively small on a global scale, but not small if they are put into a tiny powder keg called Palestine.

    • Zionism, as proved by documents like the Carlsbad Resolution, is in no way racist."

      You wouldn't be this stupid on any other subject. The Carlsbad resolution shows that one could formulate one particular Zionist ideal in a non- racist way, but it happens to be a way inconsistent with how Zionism was actually carried out. You are like someone pointing to the ideals of some communists as proof that communism in practice was in no way inconsistent with basic human rights. I'd defend someone who wanted to argue that some idealized form of communism is on flat contradiction to Leninist practice, but someone who defended the actual record of Leninism by pointing to the words of some idealists who had no power at the time--well, that's a little bit silly, isn't it?

    • "Or simply, the Carlsbad resolution suggests that Zionists have always vied for peace, and it is their Arab neighbors who have been unwilling to make peace with them."

      This is childish point scoring and it goes far beyond the evidence by making sweeping claims based on one statement made in public. In fact we know that at least some early Zionists had racist attitudes towards Palestinians, which is exactly what one would expect from Europeans and white Americans at that time. (See hostage's comment) Others probably believed in the ideals of the Carlsbad statement. One thing I admire about Fincham is that he seems strongly motivated to stick to facts.

  • Just like the Nazis, Iran 'plans to exterminate six million Jews' -- Netanyahu
  • Obama's long & passionate Monday with Saban, Foxman, Hoenlein and other Jewish leaders demonstrates power of Israel lobby
    • Anyone besides me expect to see a compromise that involves throwing the Palestinians under the bus? Obama wants Congressional support for his Iran negotiations--maybe he gets it by returning to the U.S. role of being Israel's lapdog in the UN on the Pakestinian issue, just as Rudoren was lobbying for in the NYT recently.

  • Faithwashing: the Muslim Leadership Institute and the academic boycott
    • If the Hartman people supported the bombing of Gaza, boycott them. I would never dream of boycotting a group like B'Tselem, which has done its best to investigate the crimes of all sides.

    • "First of all, for the record, I stand by what I wrote about Hamas bearing primary responsibility for the civilian casualties. Secondly, what does that have to do with my opinion on the Hartman Institute? Someone can be wrong on one topic and correct on another (unless you have a totalitarian mind-set). "

      Your endorsement of the Hartman Institute bears little weight, because you are also the sort of person who thinks that the deliberate bombing of homes by Israel can be blamed on Hamas. This is like blaming Hamas suicide bombing on Israel. It's contemptible.

      I've noticed over the years that whatever one thinks of liberal Zionism, there seem to be two types of liberal Zionist--one admits Israel's war crimes and the other manages to find ways to blame the Palestinians for nearly everything Israel does. It matters very little in the end if you say you oppose settlements and you are willing to have "dialogue", if in the end you justify nearly every act of Israeli violence as self defense. It's just a way of making yourself feel good. It's a technique that probably works well in the American context, where most liberals would hear the word "dialogue" and think that something meaningful is happening and get warm fuzzy feelings about it, but if you represent the liberal side of the Israeli spectrum, it just means Israel needs to be pressured from the outside or nothing is going to change.

    • "Because the Muslims who participated in MSI are trying to dialogue with Jewish groups in the Jewish mainstream. The Jewish mainstream both in the USA and Israel supported the bombing of Gaza."

      That's actually a good point. Depressing, but maybe true. And I agree that to make peace people do have to talk to their opponents.

      So I'll grant that. The problem is, of course, that in the US we constantly hear the Israeli POV and these dialog groups never seem to go anywhere. I would have supported this sort of thing much more ten years ago, but now I tend to think that unless dialogue is accompanied by real pressure on Israel by the US, the dialogue just gives cover to Israel. It enables people to pick out the "good Muslims", the ones who are willing to "dialogue" and distinguish them from the bad Muslims (and others) who favor BDS. And nothing changes. It's a fig leaf.

      Now if people could both do dialogue and work to change US policy so we stop arming Israel and protecting them in the UN, I'd be okay with dialogue. Yes, people should talk to each other, especially enemies.

      I'll also reply to Hophmi here, though he may or may not see it. In the first place, if people want to visit Israel can't they do it without the help of the Hartman Institute?

      But the more substantive point is this--anyone who follows the I/P conflict at all will have heard about rocket fire from Gaza and Israelis running to bomb shelters and the psychological harm done to Israeli children. Yes, people should know about this, but they already do. Hardly anyone hears about the much greater violence (in peacetime) that Israel inflicts on Gazans and people in the WB. Let me know when Obama mentions the shooting of Gazan fishermen with the same level of condemnation he gives to rocket fire. In fact, I don't think the Obama people have ever condemned Israeli violence in anything like the terms that they use for Palestinian rocket fire.

    • You blamed Israel's killing of children entirely on Hamas, JonS, so your endorsement of the Hartman institute leaves us in pretty much the same place we were before.

    • Yonah--If the Palestinians had absolute assurance that Israel,would stop shooting fishermen and other innocent Gazans, and lift the blockade permanently, then maybe.

      I'm hesitant because of the basic unfairness--I don't think Palestinian armed resistance has done much good ( if any) and it has done harm, both in killing Israeli civilians and in providing excuses for Israel to kill much larger numbers of Palestinians. But I can see why it would stick in the throats of Palestinians that someone asks them to disarm when their oppressors continue to receive weapons.

      Do I think Israelis have the right to live in peace? Yes, but not by keeping Gazans in prison.

    • I'm not sure why anyone needs to go to Israel in association with a group that supported the bombing of Gaza. One can learn the various Israeli points of view without giving legitimacy to people who are comfortable applauding for war crimes.

  • 'NYT' describes Congress as Netanyahu's wind-up toy
    • The Republicans are Netanyahu's windup toy. Nearly all the Democrats were as well, until it became a choice between Obama and Netanyahu. Now the question is how many will side with Netanyahu and how many with Obama.

      I also think the Rudoren piece ( and yes it is pure propaganda) outlines plan B for the Lobby. They may lose on Iran, but they may regroup and try to keep the US in Israel's corner on Palestine. It might work--it depends on how Democratic politicians see their chances changing in 2016 if they defy the Lobby not just on Iran, but on the Palestinians.

    • That story was amazing-- a few years ago it would have been labeled anti-Semitic if it had appeared at some blog or in a book, but things are changing.

      The one thing lacking is that it focused mainly on Republicans--the final journalistic breakthrough will be when the phrase progressive except for Palestine makes it into a NYT story.

  • Now Obama needs to 'compensate' Netanyahu -- NYT pipes Israeli propaganda (Update)
    • Okay thanks. And let me add to the praise-- great article. It was thanks to some piece at Mondoweiss recently (I don't recall if it was you or Phil or Adam) that I knew what Eiland was saying about civilians in Gaza last summer. Once one knows that, it becomes really clear just how biased Rudoren is when she picks a man like him as one of her key dispensers of wisdom.

    • I agree that Rudoren is channeling propaganda (for some weird reason you seemed to think I was agreeing with Rudoren in the other thread). And I agree that the logic is insane. But it is precisely the logic that has had the US helping our "ally" Israel by siding with them in the UN, supplying them with weapons, and saying they have the right to "defend" themselves when they blow up Palestinian families. There was never any sanity in this.

      It is possible that Netanyahu with his special blend of charm and charisma has finally weakened the Lobby beyond repair--he may have ticked off Obama so much that he will start siding with the Palestinians. Maybe. Or maybe the Obama people decide that to win support in Congress for the Iranian deal, they placate Israel's supporters in Congress and never do anything to put real pressure on Israel with respect to the Palestinians.

      Pointing out this possibility doesn't mean I think Israel deserves this support or that I think it was okay for Rudoren to cite Mr. "There are no innocent civilians in Gaza" as her chosen expert on how the U.S. should behave on the Israel-Palestine issue.

  • Bibi talk: 'New York Review of Books' trivializes Israeli fascism
    • I understand North's point, but the article, or rather the earlier shorter blog entry I read a few days ago, is very critical. I much prefer substance which is critical and a title which is dubious to the other way around.

      My complaint is that the article is behind a subscription barrier. That makes it nearly useless, though in this case there is that earlier version at the NYR blog one can read.

  • How Obama won on Iran
    • I pointed that article out precisely to say that this is plan B for some Israelis-- if they can't stop the Iranian agreement they will try and argue that Obama owes them something. I expect this might become the new line in some quarters in Congress. Obviously Rudoren herself is pushing this line and is spinning the story with her choice of "experts" . I have no idea why you think anyone who points these things out is swallowing her line hook line and sinker. Do you think you're the only person who can see that Rudoren is openly siding with the Israelis she chooses to quote? Hell, after I typed that comment yesterday I wasted several minutes writing a letter to the NYT public editor on just that point, if only to let the paper know their readers can see obvious bias when it is rubbed in our faces. I still think it is worth pointing out that this is a strategy some Israelis wish to try.

      Whether there is any chance of any of it working I don't know. The Obama people show signs of finally being sick and tired of Netanyahu, but I haven't forgotten how they kowtowed and defended Israel's right to "defend itself" last summer. Politicians are not the sort of people you can trust, not on human rights issues. If Obama is angry at Netanyahu it's mainly because Netanyahu pushed him too far in the past few months. That is more Netanyahu's doing--he seems to have a special talent for annoying the hell out of people.

    • That's possible. I can't tell for sure where Obama stands--I'm just pointing out the stance some Israelis and their supporters will take if they decide they can't stop the Iran deal.

    • Before people get too elated, the thing to watch out for now are the Israelis who want to go to plan B--that is, accept the Iranian agreement as a done deal, and use the fact that Obama wants Israel's non-opposition to the deal to obtain leverage on the Palestinian issue. In short, Israel goes along with Obama on Iran and in exchange, the US continues to side with Israel in the UN.

      I don't know if Netanyahu is a smart enough sociopath to try this and make it work, but Jodi Rudoren eagerly relays the views of Israelis (including Mr. "There are no civilians in Gaza" Eiland) who want to go this route.

      link to Rudoren story

  • Double standard in US political culture: BDS is fine for Indiana, not Israel
    • Ziusudra--I'm not sure what you are responding to in my comment.

    • Israel isn't stealing Palestinian land and treating them with racist contempt because it fears terrorism--if fear of terror were their motivating concern, they'd be trying their best not to stir up hatred with the settlement policies and pointless acts of brutality like the shooting of fishermen. You know damn well this is true.

      And Indiana isn't robbing land owned by gay people and forcing them to live in certain areas of Indiana--if you really want to claim the situation isn't comparable, why would you single out only Palestinian terror?

      The fact is that boycotts are a normal tactic used against groups or governments that oppress human rights. They aren't always employed and they won't always work, but there is nothing racist about them. But when people advocate boycotts against Israel, the screeches of anti-semitism are heard from some of the same people who support boycotts in other cases. And you know this is true also.

  • Scripted Hate: What to expect when Campus Watch writes about you
    • "Due to our department ofobfuscation and mystification".

      Any job openings in that department? Resume on request, but I think my body of work speaks for itself.

  • CUFI Leader John Hagee confirms Christian Zionism is anti-Semitic
    • Along with others here, I agree with JeffB's first point--fundamentalist Christians think everyone except those who convert are going to hell, so it is a form of political correctness in the bad sense to claim they are somehow singling out Jews.

      Jeff's second point about what some other Christians do in singling out Jews as special as dangerous is right, but not necessarily for who he means. It would depend on the historical circumstances, I suppose, but nowadays it would probably be Christians who are ashamed of historical Christian anti-semitism who would adopt that line and the danger would be for Palestinians, whose own rights are ignored out of a fear that criticism of Israel is somehow anti-Semitic.

    • Why is it dumb? You mean dumb in some political sense? Martin Luther was an anti-Semite and Blumenthal is rightly criticizing the fatuous idiocy one often hears, which is that Islam needs to go through something like the Reformation. I've never understood why secularists say this, except maybe it is out of sheer historical ignorance. Do people want to see a century or more of religious wars?

      In fact, one could say the fighting between Sunnis and Shiites bears a certain resemblance to the fighting between Catholics and Protestants. I think people must have in mind that the Reformation brought about religious freedom, but that came more than a century after Luther and was more a reaction to all the bloodletting.

  • Emails show Missouri museum canceled 'Ferguson to Palestine' event under pressure from Jewish group
    • The Justice Department found that the Ferguson police force is racist and corrupt. You either favor this or you don't pay attention to news stories outside what you get from Faux.

  • In Israel, the mask is finally off
    • "There was much propaganda involved in blaming Arafat for the failure of Camp David, but Barak was serious until time was up."

      Much of that propaganda came from Clinton and Barak and that detracts from whatever seriousness they had about peace. When the chips were down they both agreed to make it seem like it was all Arafat's fault and as Teapot points out, the responsibility of the Israeli electorate for choosing Sharon goes unmentioned.

      This matters because even if one accepted a 2SS as the best achievable result, it's clear that most of its advocates in the US and Israel were and are more interested in upholding Israel's reputation than in putting any real pressure on Israel to accept it. So we had a decade where we constantly heard that the Palestinians were offered peace and Arafat rejected it--full stop. That was an excuse for continued settlement building. Then the somewhat hazy Olmert- Abbas talks took place and nothing came of them, except another legend about how the Palestinians had a "generous offer" on hand and rejected it.

      I suspect you agree with much or most of this, Yonah, so I'm not criticizing you. But I think you're overly hard on David Glick. Even if Barak and/or Olmert were partly sincere, it doesn't matter much. If Barak and Clinton genuinely put peace ahead of their own reputations, they wouldn't have spent the following decade putting all the blame on Arafat.

  • American Jews are taking back their power from Israel
    • "Mika Brzenski has really been playing hardball on this issue the last couple of mornings on Morning Joe (Scarborough not there) This morning she went off on guest asking why everyone is blaming Obama for the rift “what are you afraid of” …”who will cut through the bs” She was really digging in. "

      Might be her dad's influence, not that I want to take any credit away from her. Her father really ripped into Joe on this issue once--I'm not a regular viewer, but I saw the clip online.

  • I want my country back
  • Why did Herzog run scared? He fears the Israeli people
    • Yeah, Israel only murders Palestinians in large numbers if they react violently to Israel's normal levels of oppression.

    • The only "liberal" Zionists I think the Palestinians could work with, in the sense of getting some sort of acceptable deal (depending on whether the Palestinians will settle for a 2SS and that's up to them), are the Zionists who are honest enough to say that the Gaza War was an Israeli atrocity and who are honest enough to admit that Israel is practicing apartheid on the WB. If they don't have the basic honesty to do these things, then they can't be trusted, even if they are critical of Netanyahu. Chances are their criticism is tactical in nature--they're mainly worried Netanyahu is doing his best to destroy the bipartisan support American politicians have given to Israel.

      Not that I think we can count on Netanyahu to do that. The pushback against Obama is already strong, and it's going to get stronger.

  • Bill Maher justifies Netanyahu's racism by saying U.S. has done much worse
    • The whole image is grotesque and sexist. A crazy woman is trying to kill you, so you merely hold her wrists and then have to slap her? That sounds more like a comedian's funny haha depiction of domestic violence. It reminds me of the "funny" depictions of violence against women in shows and movies from the 1950's that I've seen--Maher is a couple of generations behind the times, though he does have an appreciative audience.

    • It's understood that politicians can't be trusted--it's a truism. They want to be re-elected and they will ditch any principle to achieve that goal. Maher prides himself on looking at the facts and telling unpleasant truths. I think he's a pompous jerk and not just on the I/P conflict--his comparison of Hamas and Israel to a crazed woman being slapped by a man shows he is an ass on other subjects as well. And he has an enthusiastic audience who defends him on everything.
      He's got his niche, just like Fox News.

      What is disgusting about the American political scene is how much attention is paid to people who just aren't that bright or insightful, but they have a way with "witty" invective, though the wit is often in the eye of the beholder. People like Maher because he insults other people they don't like. Fox News is loved by conservatives for the same reason. It's a common flaw, and I share it, but it's not a good way to approach issues. What is bothersome is that, unfortunately, Maher has enough of a platform and is taken seriously enough that people think they have to refute him.

    • I can't stand the claim that he doesn't support violence when he clearly does. Basically, he and Sam Harris and their fans are bigots who support state terror against Muslims and yet they claim to be doing it in the name of secular liberal values. They represent secular liberal values in the same way that the torturers of the Inquisition exemplified the Sermon on the Mount.

    • Moore missed the point, perhaps deliberately since Maher is his friend. Maher doesn't just criticize the crimes and stupidities of Muslim fundamentalists--he took the side of Israel during the Gaza slaughter because of his mania against Islam. That's sick and if his fan club can't see where he crosses the line from legitimate criticism of fanaticism to being an advocate for war crimes, then they share his sickness or are deliberately blinding themselves to the flaw of their hero. He's been doing this for awhile now and I've heard him claim he gets more applause for his Muslim bashing , so apparently he has the audience that deserves him.

    • And here's the great progressive hero of the cable shows managing to be sexist, bigoted, and defend war crimes all in one tweet---

      "Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who's trying to kill u - u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her"

      Lovely man, Bill Maher. I can sure see why people admire his insights.

    • I take it then, Chris O, you didn't get that upset when Bill Maher defended Israel's actions last summer, a course he took because of his kneejerk Islamophobia. So he defends the killing of hundreds of Palestian children because of his bigotry, but that doesn't count as support for violence. Is that what you want to say?

      I don't know, Chris--when I see someone like that go on and on about how Islam encourages violence and then he supports extreme violence himself, it makes me a bit queasy. I actually do agree with Maher on some issues, but this one seems kind of important to me. The fact that so many progressives side with Maher and don't call him out on this suggests that maybe it's really just another form of tribalism at work. They like him because his smugness and insults towards some groups make them feel good. That's human--I fall into the same trap too. I don't personally find Maher a very interesting man, but I suppose I could have an admiration for someone else, only to find out that this person was defending war crimes. That would upset me. I might react to criticism of my hero by lashing out at people who attack him.

      On the Democrats, the fact is that in politics we rarely have really good candidates who have a chance of winning, so people react in various ways. Some go third party. Some vote lesser of two evils, but people who do this should still criticize the candidate they vote for if that candidate takes a nauseating position on some issue, which most Democrats do. But it's a big mistake to make a cult of personality around a politician, for the same reason it's stupid to admire someone like Maher.

    • "I’ve tried for years to come up with an explanation as to why many otherwise rational people (people that I know personally and know aren’t evil monsters) become such bizarre zealots when it comes to Israel and Zionism. They totally lose sight of reality. "

      No need to apologize. It's a good question and I've noticed it too in people I know, so yeah, otherwise decent and rational people can have enormous blind spots.

      In Maher's case, I think it's worse because he has a public forum and is exposed to the arguments against his position and he simply rejects them in favor of bigotry. I can understand people who do it out of religious conviction, oddly enough. There is a whole view of the world they have and sometimes they feel it's oddly fragile and if they give in on one point (the creationist movement is another example of this) their whole view of the meaning of life will collapse. They are wrong, but I get part of what motivates them and why they think it is so important.

      But I don't quite get what is at stake for Maher. Except that he is just a racist a-hole.

    • I don't think Maher is a good man and your own description of him makes him out to be a bigot. I think it reflects very badly on progressives in the US that people pay attention to him, as though his views merit respect, in the same way that the popularity of the Fox News channel reflects poorly on conservatives. Maher might be right on some or many issues, but he is still a bigot who defends war crimes.

    • Maher defended Israel's conduct in Gaza, so this is expected. What irritates me are the people who say these Islamophobes aren't haters who justify violence. Of
      course they are. Maher has his progressive fan club, which to my mind means that many self-identified progressives are bigots and haters themselves.

  • Apartheid is no longer verboten word for Israel in 'NYT' and 'CNN'
    • Before we give the NYT too much credit, Rudoren claimed Israelis knew Netanyahu was just pandering to his base and it was the Obama people who took him at his word. I think the reason the NYT is reporting accurately, to the extent that they are, is because the Obama Administration has lost all patience with Netanyahu. When the current American President openly criticizes Netanyahu, I think it undermines attempts at spinning what Netanyahu said, but given half a chance, many liberal Zionists will try to cover for Netanyahu in a desperate attempt to keep the fake peace process alive.

  • Netanyahu's victory marks the end of the two-state solution
    • The NYT is trying to do this--their job is complicated by the fact that the Obama Administration is deeply disgusted by Netanyahu and isn't buying it, at least at the moment, so Rudoren and company try to make it seem like the Israelis all know Netanyahu was just appealing to his base, while the Obama people think he really doesn't want a 2SS. Which is BS--I don't doubt that some Israelis are spinning it that way, but I doubt anyone in Israel really believes Netanyahu wants a 2SS. Here's the story--

      NYT piece

      Here are two paragraphs where the NYT contrasts what Washington thinks with what Israelis supposedly think--

      "In Israel, Mr. Netanyahu’s apparent reversal regarding a Palestinian state on the eve of an election was largely seen as a blatant, somewhat desperate appeal to take votes from parties on his right flank — which appears to be exactly what happened."

      "Many analysts expected Mr. Netanyahu to backtrack after the ballots were tallied; after all, back in 2009, he refused to explicitly endorse an independent Palestinian state right up until the Bar-Ilan speech in which he did so.

      But in Washington, many officials have long suspected that Mr. Netanyahu was never serious about making peace with the Palestinians or about the American-brokered negotiations toward such an outcome that collapsed last spring. So when a right-leaning Israeli news site asked him directly on Monday, “If you are prime minister, a Palestinian state will not be established,” and he answered, “Correct,” they pounced."

      So the NYT propaganda line is pretty clear--Netanyahu didn't really mean it, and Israelis supposedly know this, but those silly Obama people think his stated opposition to a 2SS was heartfelt.

  • Who can save Israel now?
    • "i’m not allowed a few sentences of displacement even if I add something of substance afterward?!"

      Okay, just this once.

    • Yonah, what you're doing in this comment is called "displacement". The Israeli electorate just chose a racist apartheid supporter and you show your unhappiness by bashing Phil. Phil is too much of an optimist, as many have said (including me). I've called him a cheerleader on other occasions. That said, he's done a superb job with the website. If he was overly optimistic the other day, it was a mistake he made with many others. I was willing to be slightly optimistic the other day.

      .

    • "Damage control will save liberal Zionists from losing faith in Israel"

      I think that's a fundamental truth about most liberal Zionists. Whatever happens, they find some way to spin it. Most of the time it boils down to some crude Orwellian tactics--facts down the memory hole and settling on a one line bumper sticker slogan in place of real history. That's what Friedman did in his column today.

    • I'm not quite so hopeful about liberal Zionists in the West. Some may come to their senses, some not. Tom Friedman found time to put part of the blame for the election on Hamas and its "insane war" last summer, plus the "fact" that the Palestinians turned down two peace offers under Barak and Olmert. So with Israeli brutality last summer on full display and its naked racism in the election equally exposed, he more or less splits the blame.

      And the new line people are spouting in the NYT news reports--Netanyahu is a pragmatist. The 2ss isn't dead, because we can put our faith in the fact that Netanyahu is a cynical liar who will say anything to win an election. You can't make this stuff up.

  • Why I hope Netanyahu will be crushed tonight
    • I hope you're right. Like some others, I don't feel confident predicting the future. I can predict the past though (hat tip to Bohr's comment on that). In the past, when liberal Zionists are in power it is very very easy for mainstream American liberals to assume that a "peace process" is all that is needed and if it doesn't produce results, to then blame the Palestinians. You find this narrative spouted in virtually every comment thread at the NYT--that Israel offered the Palestinians peace several times, and they rejected it. So I expect more of the same. The only thing that has produced real criticism of Israel in the US are people like Netanyahu, Begin, and Sharon. Netanyahu's arrogance is so breathtaking it became impossible to ignore. Get rid of him and the US press and politicians go right back to their comfort zone. And if you think anti-Zionists will now have a place at the table in the US, show the evidence. I don't see it.

      Which is not to say that you're all wrong either--Netanyahu is such a warmonger it would be safer to have a saner person as Prime Minister, at least from the standpoint of making an attack on Iran a bit less likely. And maybe the liberal Zionists can be challenged to deliver. I'll be happy if liberal Israelis can produce a real peace--there's just not much evidence that they can.

      I'm reminded a little of Obama's Nobel Peace Prize--he got it for his Obamaness, not for any actual accomplishment at that point. (He might deserve one if the Iran deal goes through, though he is still terrible on the drone strike issue). Liberal Zionists often get credit for imaginary accomplishments in the same way. Maybe they can deliver, but right now Obama has a better chance of that.

  • 'We aim to shape the democratic and moral alternative in this country' -- an interview with Ayman Odeh
    • I'd be happy if Israel reforms itself from the inside. It'd be by far the best outcome, if Israeli Palestinian citizens worked with liberal Israeli Jews against racist policies and the sorts of economic inequalities that Krugman wrote about today. Fine with me if we outsiders are irrelevant. But I don't know how likely this is.

  • Sheldon Adelson is not the problem
    • Thanks, IB. Derfner is always worth reading. I don't think Adelson is king, just that in the US and probably over there he uses his considerable influence for bad causes. It's like Fox News--I don't think Fox is enough to wreck the country, but it has probably played a big role in making the American right more irrational.

      How much would I quantify all this? No idea.

    • In your article I think you take a pollyanish view of Adelson--he isn't merely participating in the political process. he is doing his best to use his wealth to get what he wants and much of what he wants is immoral. He wasn't simply naive in suggesting we bomb the Iranian desert. He suggested threatening a second bomb on Teheran if we didn't get our way. So, no, I don't find this merely naive. You point to the fact that his contributions are only 2 percent of the total, but if his influence is so negligible, why wasn't he rendered an instant pariah after he made the bomb the desert and then threaten to bomb Teheran remark? You quote people who say Adelson is a mean person when crossed and seem to admire him for making billions. I don't get this. What is admirable here? making billions might be admirable in some respects if one does it by making a genuine contribution to society in the process, but doing it via casinos? it's good that he donates to charity--that is yet another demonstration that people are rarely if ever the embodiment of pure evil.

      I think there is also a bit of undemocratic thinking in your notion that a great many ordinary people could cancel out Adelson by contributing money to the opposing side of whatever issue. That amounts to the notion of one dollar, one vote. The fundamental problem is this--why should billionaires have vastly more influence than ordinary people? yes, if we are going to have billionaires throwing money around I would prefer to have them on my side, but I'd much rather not have them wield that kind of influence--we basically have a new aristocracy.

      on the rightward drift of US politics, I partly agree with your explanation. I grew up watching white southerners turn Republican and yes, it was in large part true that many of those same people were bigots. But I also grew up watching how programs like Friedman's series Free to Choose" introduce the meme that government was always the problem into people's brains. there was a deliberate concerted effort by rightwingers to turn people against liberalism on the domestic front, and to make militarism the default option in our foreign policy. that can't be blamed solely on the militaristic and racist tendencies of white Southern voters and the way the Constitution gives excessive power to certain regions of the country.

      I suspect with no proof that you might be bothered by the coverage given Adelson because he is a living incarnation of an anti-Semitic stereotype. If so, I think your reaction is misplaced. the problem is the excessive influence of the wealthy on the political process--in this case the repugnant rich guy is also a Likudist Most people are smart enough not to make stupid generalizations from this. But I'm just guessing--that might not be a motive here.

    • Try a little harder to overcome your attitude about grammar. Quite a few intelligent people make spelling and grammatical mistakes. Also, I've found my own mistakes are greatly multiplied when I use an IPad-- some of it is due to my fingers being a little too large and the rest is the IPad correction software. One of the things I think it has done is correct its with it's, or maybe the other way around.

    • I think there is some truth to this post but it is overstated. The part that is true is that the US and Israel are both settler colonialist state and there is a cultural affinity there. Many Christians in the US are Zionists, and that part about Jacksonians who tend to be warlike also rings true. I think Mead was working off of an idea proposed in the book Albion's Seed by the historian David Hackett Fischer (not sure of the spelling). So if there weren't these cultural proclivities the Israel lobby wouldn't have as much traction.

      That said, if money wasn't involved I don't think you'd have this reflexively Orwellian praise for Israel and its values by nearly every American politician. We may be a militaristic country, but there was much more division about, say, the Central American wars a few decades ago or even about Iraq. But Israel is a sacred cow and when they bombed Gaza and kill hundreds of children, what I remember from Washington was a lot of nonsense about Israel having a right to defend itself. Kerry when he thought he was off camera expressed some disgust. And remember how Christie had to genuflect after he used the term occupied territories? Most Americans wouldn't have known or cared. it' absurd to deny the role of money here.
      Also, we are finally getting the MSM to admit the role of money from a few rich donors in helping to determine what DC types say and how policy is set. No sane person denies how much influence money can have in politics, so why would anyone deny it here?

    • Ever hear of the "Overton. Window"? If not, google it. What happens is that people on the pro-Palestinian side say that international law supports a 2ss solution along the 67 lines and then that becomes the leftmost position. Israel supporters then start haggling over how much of the remaining land they can take or keep. That is what happens when the U.S. is the mediator. So even if one thinks a 2ss along the 67 lines was the best achievable solution, it makes sense to,point out just how much the Palestinians are giving up, so as to rebut the claims that Israel is making a generous offer when it offers something even less than the 67 lines.

      The fact is that even the 47 partition was unfair to Palestinians, giving them less than half the land when they were 2/3 of the population at the time. A 1ss with equal rights for all would be fair. It may or may not be achievable, but the Israelis in their arrogance are making even the 67 lines unachievable.

    • Well, that was unintentionally revealing. It's not uncommon for people to be upset by grammatical mistakes. But when you use this as an excuse to dismiss substance it tells everyone what sort of contributor you are likely to be.

  • We may not have Netanyahu to kick around anymore
    • It did occur to me that there is one way non-Netanyahu might be better--aren't the more liberal Israelis more sane regarding Iran? I don't know that for a fact, but I get that impression because of the stories about the Israeli intelligence figures who disagree with Netanyahu. A bit more sanity about Iran would be a good thing.

      But I don't know the spectrum of opinion on Iran in Israel.

    • The problem with the South Africa analogy is that while Israel behaves about as badly as apartheid SA, in the US amongst liberals this still isn't recognized. Netanyahu was finally making a real difference with his hubris--Democrats who were otherwise in Israel's corner no matter what were forced to pick between Obama and Netanyahu and some of them chose Obama. A mainstream Zionist who isn't a complete numbskull will know better than to split the bipartisan consensus in American politics. The liberals who have been criticizing Netanyahu still claimed to love Israel, and at his very worst, they still split the blame 50/50 between Netanyahu and the Palestinians for the lack of peace. If Netanyahu loses, American liberal PEP types will be back in their comfort zone, back to supporting the never ending peace process, and back to putting 90 percent of the blame on the Palestinians for the failure to achieve peace. Kerry will adopt the Israeli pov and try to force the PA to accept--if they refuse, then Friedman and most of the American liberal pundits will line up with Kerry and the Israeli "liberal Zionists" in sighing and claiming that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

      Or that's what they will try. If you are an optimist, you might hope that people in the press will have wised up and will cover the issue differently. Dream on. I hope I'm wrong. Some part of me thinks maybe with the internet and so forth things will be different, but I think most of the mainstream media will continue to be awful.

  • UC Berkeley Israel group wants to ban imaginary word rhyming with intifada as 'triggering, terrifying'
    • Thanks. I may try to find it online.

    • Sounds like you still believe the "Gone With the Wind"/"Birth of a Nation" version of what caused white racism during Reconstruction. It was all that carpetbagger corruption and rule by ignorant freemen--otherwise the South would have quickly become an interracial paradise. That was the view adopted by white America for nearly a century because it made reconciliation between white Northerners (who were also racist) and white Southerners easier. Okay, maybe you don't think that, but the analogy works against a defense of Israel.

      In fact whites in the South had no intention of allowing blacks to have equal rights. If you are making a direct analogy between their attitudes and those of Israeli Jews, I don't disagree. People usually have great trouble seeing the injustice of a system that benefits them. And yes, this would make a 1ss wth equal rights for all very difficult to achieve.

    • I'm hoping for cute cat YouTube videos.

      Several years ago someone here linked to an Israeli satirical TV show with a class of adorable four year old Israeli children dutifully repeating all the standard Israeli propaganda, sometimes with a bit of a twist. (I forget why, but somehow Norwegian salmon were anti-Semitic.) It was great and if I thought it necessary to point out that Israel has virtues, I'd point to that show as an example. it doesn't cancel out war crimes and apartheid.

    • Your last paragraph is very much to the point, unlike most of the rest. Virginia exists today, and without slavery. A lot of Virginians in 1861 were opposed to that-- we don't look kindly on them now and that is even with allowances for the time in which they lived.

      And divorce rates? I wonder if you realize how ridiculous you sound. You don't seem to get this, but I don't think Israel's apartheid (which the U.S. supports in practice) means that everything about Israel is bad, but the fact that there are good things about the country doesn't mean that we should pretend their crimes are tiny and that we should support them.

      I await another 1000 word essay about, say, how Israelis pamper their pets. I have a soft spot for that kind of thing, so you might want to try that next.

    • "However, if we’re doing this for one group, we have to do it for everybody. "

      No we don't. We could single out people who have personally experienced violence who might want a warning if a novel or film contains scenes depicting violence. In other words, people who genuinely suffer from post traumatic stress disorder could request trigger warnings on material that they might encounter in a class. (I don't know what happens next--do people who want this policy then request some sort of transcript be made? But I'll let colleges figure that out if they want to go this route.)

      But there is no reason why people should have trigger warnings because they might have to read some pro-Zionist or anti-Zionist literature or be exposed to protests.

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