Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 5802 (since 2009-07-31 03:28:07)


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

Showing comments 5802 - 5801

  • Palestinian youth say the talks with Israel are futile
    • "UNHRC (controlled by human rights luminaries such as Saudi, Syria"

      That doesn't make sense even as propaganda--Saudi Arabia and the Syrian government are enemies. And if you mean the United Nations Human Rights Council, they are extremely critical of Syria. link

      Here's a quote from that organization that is controlled by Syria--

      "In a resolution (A/HRC/25/L.7) on the continuing grave deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 4 against and 11 abstentions, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry through to the twenty-eighth session of the Human Rights Council, and requests the Commission to present a written report during an interactive dialogue at the twenty-seventh and the twenty-eighth sessions of the Council and to provide an oral update during an interactive dialogue at the twenty-sixth session; demands that the Syrian authorities grant the Commission of Inquiry immediate, full and unfettered access throughout the Syrian Arab Republic; strongly condemns the continued gross, systematic and widespread violations of human rights and all violations of international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities and affiliated militias that may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity; demands that all parties demilitarize medical facilities, schools and other civilian facilities; strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons and all indiscriminate methods of warfare in the Syrian Arab Republic; expresses its support for the efforts of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States to find a negotiated political solution to the Syrian crisis; encourages the full participation of women in political talks; strongly condemns the intentional denial of humanitarian assistance to civilians and deplores the deteriorating humanitarian situation; strongly condemns the use by the Syrian authorities of starvation of civilians as a method of combat, and further condemns the besiegement of civilians; further strongly condemns all acts of violence directed against humanitarian actors; and urges the international community to provide urgent financial support to enable the host countries to respond to the growing humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees."

      Yeah, that sure sounds like an organization which is in the Syrian government's pocket.

  • Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect
    • "If you want to limit the power of Zionist activism, then you have to change the paradigm for activism generally. If you want to prevent the ability of powerful groups within powerful governments to do injustice in the world, then you have to curtail the power of groups generally, not just the powerful ones. Activist groups calling for siege warfare against nations in my view is not the function of citizens"

      Yeah, look, David, if you're not going to pay any attention to what I actually wrote that's fine. You can state your own views without me as a foil. I already said I opposed siege warfare, and simply added that even if the BDS tried to do that, they wouldn't succeed. I didn't say they have tried to do that, to cause that level of suffering, and I also said I wouldn't support them if they did. BDS hurts Israel to some degree economically, but its main value is symbolic. It has been drawing attention to the issue far more effectively than any other tactic in recent years and obviously Israel is concerned. Boycotts are a time-honored tradition among those pushing for social change, and no, they don't have to be murderous like the ones used on Iraq. People boycott corporations in the US, they boycott states like Arizona and somehow, you know, they manage to do this without causing hundreds of thousands of deaths. So maybe you could acknowledge the distinction here, rather than pretend that one boycott is much like another. Or is the boycott against Chick fil A is the same as the sanctions on Iraq? I wouldn't have thought so, but who knows? It's a slippery slope. One minute you're boycotting a company because of anti-gay views of its corporate owner and the next thing you know you're plunging an entire country into destitution and greatly multiplying the infant mortality rate.

    • Page: 58
    • "Collective punishment is not okay against the Palestinians, so why is it okay against the Israelis? Why is it okay against Iran? Against Cuba?"

      It's a good question, but for me the answer is fairly simple. It depends on the severity of the sanctions. The sanctions on Iraq in the 90's were genuinely barbaric--they killed hundreds of thousands by most estimates. The sanctions on Iran are also extremely severe, and so are the ones on Gaza, though I don't know if those are having measurable effects on mortality.

      For me, anyway, it's too simple just to say "collective punishment" is wrong unless you specify the sort of harm you are inflicting. All political acts of any consequence have good and bad consequences for innocent people. It's unavoidable. But you can draw clear moral lines when the effects start having the same level of effects as a war. The sanctions on Iraq were near-genocidal in their effects. The BDS movement against Israel is nowhere near that level. It takes a bit of money out of their pockets and hurts their feelings. If it ever became so severe that Israeli children started to die, then I'd oppose it.

      You should really turn this around. I never, and I mean never, hear anyone opposed to BDS who also says that the sanctions on Iraq and Iran and Gaza were evil. You might be the first, but then, you're talking about some hypothetical level of sanctions on Israel that is far worse than what is actually likely to occur. Can you imagine how the US press and government would react if Israelis had trouble obtaining medicine? It's a back page story for Iran--if it was done to Israel then the BDS movement would be the Second Coming of Adolf Hitler. When it's Iran, the mainstream "peace advocates" praise the current level of sanctions and the opponents of negotiations want them made worse.

    • "Is Mike capable of settling into a rational and civil discussion "

      No. After he called Ali Abunimah an anti-semite based on nothing but his gut I lost interest in anything he has to say.

    • This kind of smear is so stupid it's hard to take seriously. . Anyone who falls for it is either a moron, ignorant, or wants to believe it. Or two or three of the above.

  • Friedman prepares American Jews for a divorce from zealot Israel
    • "But it IS your grandfather’s lobby! That’s as powerful as ever. (Thanks to Donald Johnson.)"

      Clever line and I'm happy to steal it, but I think someone else said it. Unless my memory is going. Middle aged neurons aren't always reliable.

  • Fear of Arab-Americans in the public square
    • For anyone encouraged by the intelligence of the responses to some New York Times articles, the responses to the Bruni piece should bring you back to earth. Very few of the readers seemed to notice how he thinks protest against Israel is a form of closeted anti-semitism and some of those who do notice applaud him for making the connection.

    • I was too disgusted to get a kick of it, but yeah, when Hirsi Ali says we should make war on Islam--all of it--and says we should shut down Muslim schools in the US, yes, that does "seem" broadly derisive of Islam. Change it to Jewish schools and Judaism and I wonder if Bruni would see the problem.

      I also got a kick out of how he thinks anti-semitism is so much worse a problem in the US than Islamophobia, based on the hate crime statistics. Supposing those were complete, it never crosses his mind that a great many Americans are supportive of torture precisely because it is Muslims who are tortured. Or that our foreign policy, which has killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims, is fueled in part by Islamophobia. Or that our support for Israel no matter what it does is fueled by a combination of Islamophobia and an eager willingness of people like Bruni to fling the "anti-semitism" charge at anyone who thinks Palestinians should have rights equal to those of Israeli Jews.

      Antisemitic violence in the US is the product of a handful of extremists. Anti-Muslim violence by America is baked into our foreign policy. Bruni is a clueless liberal bigot.

  • Alleged K.C. killer: 'If Jews can have a state of their own, why can't we have a White Christian state?'
    • Frank Bruni in the NYT today links the killings with antisemitism in general, including college campuses. Here's the quote--

      "Following 9/11, there was enormous concern that all Muslims would be stereotyped and scapegoated, and this heightened sensitivity lingers. It partly explains what just happened at Brandeis University. The school had invited Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a celebrated advocate for Muslim women, to receive an honorary degree. But when some professors and students complained, citing statements of hers that seemed broadly derisive of Islam, the invitation was withdrawn. Clearly, university officials didn’t want their campus seen as a cradle or theater of Islamophobia.
      But other college campuses in recent years have been theaters of anti-Israel discussions that occasionally veer toward, or bleed into, condemnations of Jews. And while we don’t have the anti-Semitism in our politics that some European countries do, there’s still bigotry under the surface.

      There's so much wrong with this it would take paragraphs to go into. I don't have the time right now. But what a sick joke the NYT is.

  • About that special relationship...
    • This surprised me. What is Israel getting from Russia? (Not that I have any dog in the fight here--haven't looked closely enough at the Ukraine situation to have an opinion.)

  • To reach the 'moveable middle' in Jewish life, you must be inside the tent
    • To Dan--Okay, that's better. I don't entirely agree, but your second argument isn't crazy.

      To Phil--I suspect you're right. The Gore who didn't win was free to speak his mind. A Gore in office would have been under tremendous pressure, in part from his own Veep, to go into Iraq. That's assuming 9/11 still happened, though that's also something it's a little hard to talk about without an alternate timeline handy for inspection.

    • "Their conclusion was that a Conference of Presidents of Minor American Jewish Organizations might make its members feel better, but would have less impact."

      So only minor American Jewish organizations oppose the occupation?

    • Yeah, that Naderites as bad as Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz comment is morally insane. But that's the insider mentality. I can sympathize with part of the logic, but when he goes that far it shows there's something missing in his moral framework. There's a case for saying we should vote for the lesser of two evils in Presidential elections, but if Dan wants to blame the Naderites for the Iraq War, then he should accept responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died under the Iraqi sanctions, which both Democrats and Republicans supported.

  • Amid 'climate of fear' at Vassar, president comes out against 'action and protest' re Israel
    • Puppies--I don't understand what you're saying. I backed away from my original statement about the location of the protest--there's nothing sacred about buildings, and narrowed it down to whether or not a class should be disrupted, which is my real concern. Lots of classes in college have implications that others may not like, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes not. Establishing a principle that it's okay to disrupt a class because one doesn't like what is being taught seems like a bad idea to me. Protest in some other way.


    • "Even worse is a university where classrooms are kept sterile from disruption and discussion."

      Discussion and disruption are two different things. Students have the right to oppose their professor in class in a civil way--if the professor won't allow it then the professor is acting against the ideals of a university. And protests in general are fine--I just don't think they should occur in a way that disrupts a class.

      Otherwise, of course, fundamentalist students can disrupt biology classes where evolution is taught. And so on. One can go too far with civility and not allow any protests anywhere, but if classes can be disrupted then every group with an issue will start doing it.

    • "What makes a building with classrooms sacrosanct in your view"

      The presence of altars and the blood of all the sacrificed animals, mostly.

      It's not the physical location, but the idea of disrupting a class that I think is wrong. I don't think students going to class should have to be subjected to protests. I took one or two classes in my college days that had material I found objectionable and still do--it's what college is about. One was introductory economics, with its idiotic supply and demand curve free market BS that "proved" minimum wage laws cause unemployment. The model is oversimplified, leaves out power relationships, and is clearly and conveniently designed to channel one's thoughts in a certain way and in my opinion, does a huge amount of damage, but I don't think protests that disrupt classes are the way to handle this. The student can raise objections within the classroom setting in a civil way, and the professor should allow this without penalty or intimidation, or protest in the student paper or organize protests on campus, but classes shouldn't be disrupted.

    • "The place for protests are not in the buildings with classrooms. Outside the buildings with classrooms or at and in the administration building, yes. But inside the classroom buildings, no."

      That's a fair point.

    • "We have seen again and again that dialogue doesn’t affect the power arrangements one iota; it only allows supporters of the occupier to feel that they have atoned (we are critical too!) without doing a thing to address the structural inequity."

      This is unfortunately true. My impression is that the advocates of "dialogue" seem to be most passionate about this at the precise moment when the pro-Palestinian side is making its voice heard. What were these advocates of "dialogue" doing when the propaganda war was entirely in Israel's favor within the US? That's most of the time, but for instance, after the Camp David/Taba talks led nowhere, the US political and pundit class almost universally put all the blame on the Palestinians. That would have been an ideal time for all liberal Zionist advocates of a 2SS to have stood out and said "Wait, this is BS. If we're serious about a 2SS, we can't go along with this charade." A few did this, but most didn't.

      With a few exceptions (Slater, for instance), I don't think most advocates of "dialogue" and a 2SS give a crap about the 2SS. For the majority of them, what counts is that Israel have US support no matter what. Everything is about process and civility and ultimately it's just supposed to provide cover for Israel and make Israel supporters feel good about themselves and reassured about US support. If the Palestinians also get a state, fine, but it's not a priority.

  • The Jewish community must not embrace Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    • Hell must be freezing over. I agree. Great post, Sumud.

    • "I stopped listening to allegations of ‘anti-semitism’ years ago. It’s time to stop worrying about ‘Islamophobia’ too."

      Well, both reactions are wrong. There are people who hate Jews, and there are also people who make false accusations of Jew hatred to suppress criticism of Israel. There are real reasons to criticize some Muslims and to examine in what way Islam or various other religions provide excuses for human rights violations, and there are also bigoted reasons for bashing all of Islam.

      On the other hand, this is a blog comment section, so nuance is the enemy.

    • " I am trying to make general points about the problems involved in giving religion a privileged status in terms of immunity to criticism, for what amount to reasons of political expediency."

      And you're failing, because you ignore the specifics of this case. Brandeis isn't offering an honorary degree to Hirsi Ali, but they did invite her to speak. Rachel Roberts endorsed this stance.

      One thing I've noticed is that opposition to religion in general makes some people irrational. I'm not generalizing--I don't mean that everyone who opposes religion acts this way, but some seem to judge the merits of an issue like this by latching on to the fact that person X opposes a religion and judging the rights and wrongs of an issue based solely on that . But it is an empirical fact that some opponents of religion can be one-sided and bigoted in their attitudes. Hirsi Ali, for instance, siding with Israel because in her view the root cause of the conflict is Islam. I have a Christian Zionist friend who says exactly the same thing. It's an absurd position and both my friend and Hirsi Ali take that position because of an irrational commitment to seeing the world through an anti-Islamic lens. And then some people leap to Hirsi Ali's defense, without noticing the specifics of the case.

    • "Let’s abstract from the specific issue of Islam and try to discern the general principles being promoted in articles like this one. "

      One problem here is that you then go back to the specific--the caste system in Hinduism and ignore the specifics of what Hirsi Ali has said. Of course we should criticize a religion if it advocates human rights abuses. But Hirsi Ali doesn't just criticize genital mutiliation or the oppression of women or religious justifications for terrorism--she advocates war on Islam, the closing of Muslim schools in the US and sides with Israel against the Palestinians because she fits everything that touches on Islam into her anti-Islamic box.

      Brandeis should never have offered her a degree in the first place. They did invite her to speak. The article above endorses this position-- "The Brandeis community and Muslim organizations did the right thing in challenging Hirsi Ali’s award and the university did the right thing in inviting her to speak in a neutral forum."

      Now you're here and maybe you can answer this question. Why is it that every advocate of Hirsi Ali ignores the specifics of what she has said? Why do you, Andrew Sullivan, and today Ross Douthat all pretend that this is about freedom of speech, when Brandeis University has still invited her to come and speak?

    • "She was obviously set up by Brandeis to try and embarrass her."

      Oh yes, obviously. I'm sure that was the secret plan all along, because I have a copy of it here that I translated with my magic decoder ring.

      And "courage" doesn't give someone a license to preach hate, which she does. Unless, of course, you endorse the notion of declaring war on Islam. Maybe you do.

      "Then what we’ve got is the prototypical, hypothetical antisemitic Jew, which, I think, logically doesn’t exist"

      Logically doesn't exist? So a person couldn't be Jewish and hate Jews, a person couldn't be black and hate blacks, or white and hate whites, etc...? It's logically impossible? Where'd you take your course in logic?

    • Look at some of the comments below the Tablet endorsement. Some are critical of Tablet and some are supportive. And both in the name of Judaism.

      White southern Christians faced one of the great moral issues of our time during the era of Jim Crow and the majority flunked the test. Looks like a segment of the American Jewish community is following in their footsteps. The Tablet editors must be very proud of themselves.

  • Israel's brand rides high on NPR
    • NPR is mostly fluff on most issues, at least when I've listened to it. It's happy talk radio for the middlebrow set. Hell, I enjoy it sometimes (yes, look what I just said about myself), but it's not a place I'd turn to hear serious discussion of the issues.

      They always sound like they are floating ten thousand miles above the petty concerns of the people they report on. If a 10 km asteroid were approaching the earth on an imminent collision course, I'd turn to NPR to get the inside story on how the discoverer of the asteroid first became interested in astronomy as a child and made a telescope by taping together several empty toilet paper rolls and sticking a reading glass lens at each end.

  • Simon Schama's Israel whitewash
    • I was about to reply to this in detail, Yonah, but Woody says what I would have said. After generations of one-sided pro-Israel propaganda in the US (I don't know about Great Britain), why can't a historian be straightforward about the dark stains in Israel's history? I'm not asking for a Mondoweiss comment section style full throated denunciation of Zionism in every aspect--just an empathic description of how both sides experienced the mid-20th century and honesty about the behavior of all sides. I've seen it done--Sandy Tolan's "The Lemon Tree", for instance, which tells the history of Israel as seen by two families, one Palestinian whose family was driven out of its home and one a Jewish family living in that home, who in turn fled to Israel after the Holocaust. (I've now forgotten the details--I should reread that book soon. It humanizes both sides.)

      "This is not a valid critique of Schama, only a valid footnote to history by those who wish they would get to make their own tv programs."

      So why don't we see Jerry's version, or Rashid Khalidi's version, or Ali Abunimah's version of history on these shows? PBS isn't giving all views on what they surely know is a contentious subject--they're letting Schama peddle his slanted history as fact.

  • 6 DC heavyweights tell Kerry, Netanyahu in West Bank is like Putin in Crimea
    • "Pathetic, they cant even get it right"
      How much influence do you think people trying to persuade Kerry would have if they not only criticized Israel, but took Putin's side in the Crimea?

  • 'There's a lot of anti-Semitism out there' -- Johansson reviews her role as 'new face of apartheid'
    • I know I'm wasting my time replying, as you know the answer perfectly well--after all you pretend to have heard BSD'ers reply numerous times. But here it is--Israel is treated as a Western democracy, and in the US it is actually treated by Congress as the 51st state. If anything that understates it. I think there are Congress people who are more likely to be critical of US human rights violations than of Israel's. So Israel's crimes are our crimes. Yes, there are places that commit crimes worse than those of Israel--the Syrian government right next door, for instance, kills and tortures at a rate far higher than Israel. But I don't have my congressional representative and my senator singing Syria's praises. I don't have my government claiming that Israeli apartheid and Palestinian attempts to gain membership in UN organizations are both "obstacles" to the "peace process".

      Like a great many people on the left, I think it is my responsibility to focus on the human rights violations that are linked to my country's foreign policy. In the 80's and 90's, btw, Israel would have been on my second or third tier of human rights concerns--Central America and East Timor and Angola and South Africa and the sanctions on Iraq (depending on the year) would have been first. Many of the older people involved in some way in criticizing Israel now would have probably been spending more time on those other issues then. Of course Israel was involved in some of that too, on the side of the killers. And as I've read more, I've realized that, as the Ibish quote today shows, the Palestinian issue is unique in some respects. The US really is intimately linked to an apartheid system that is many decades old.
      If Israel wishes to be treated like any other corrupt authoritarian regime with a rotten human rights record, please join them in their attempt to inform Congress, the President of the United States, and most of America's pundits. Unfortunately, it's decades late for Americans to pretend that what the Palestinians are suffering isn't partly our fault.

      There's no way you can't have heard that answer before. I think you choose to miss points that you don't want to acknowledge and this is a universal trait among Israel defenders. If you didn't have the anti-semitism accusation to make, you'd have nothing at all. So you make it. And again, it demonstrates bigotry on the part of those who use it.

    • "One of the problems here is the demonization of people for their beliefs. Maybe she’s a decent person, a good actor, maybe a good friend, daughter. Maybe not. Maybe she’s a superficial dimwit. But here stance on Israel does not alter or change her character. "

      There's a valid point lurking in there, but mixed in with some barnyard fecal matter. The valid point is that a person can be wrong on some moral issue and be a good person otherwise. It depends on whether they should have known better and also on whether they act on their immoral beliefs, but yes, people are complicated.

      Johannson goes around making statements about the I/P conflict which at best show her to be clueless and at worst, show her to be the sort that think movements for Palestinian rights must be motivated by anti-semitism, so apparently Palestinian rights are too unimportant to motivate anyone. The charitable interpretation is that she has given no serious thought to this conflict and is unwilling to modify her position when caught in the spotlight and when criticized she prefers to attack her critics as anti-semites. She's not behaving in an admirable way on this issue.

    • Anti-semitism is a form of bigotry, but on this particular subject, the I/P conflict, an accusation of anti-semitism is sometimes also an expression of bigotry. Johansson doesn't realize that the implication of her statement is that Palestinians don't matter. They are so unimportant that any movement conducted on behalf of their rights couldn't possibly be sincere. No, it has to be about hatred of Jews.

  • State Dep't tries to clean up Kerry's 'Poof'
    • This almost has to be trolling--alternatively, JeffB is buried so deep in hasbara he doesn't even realize there's such a thing as an Israeli occupation and has no notion that Palestinians have any claims to any land that Israelis might want.

  • 'Poof' -- Kerry blames Israel for breakdown of talks (Updated)
    • "I feel like I keep needing to remind you that I know the activist game of slaving over every word high-profile leaders say very well, and I’ve seen how it usually amounts to a big pile of nothing. Kerry did not place primary blame on the Israelis, headline or no headline, and pretending that he did won’t help the Palestinians, who remain stateless. "

      Here for once I tend to agree with you. There's a tendency with some political activists (on almost any issue, not just this one) to see the world as they want to see it and imagine great victories where not much has happened. (My favorite Orwell essay "Notes on Nationalism" mentions this.) I'll take this "poof" comment seriously in hindsight, if we really do see a serious and lasting split between the US government and Israel over Israeli intransigence. Now what I do see is that the Obama administration isn't playing the game Clinton played back in 2000, pretending that the failure of the Camp David talks was all Arafat's fault. So that's some tiny bit of progress, but unless there's more, the emphasis there should be on "tiny". In the end, if the talks crumble, the US will blame both sides and continue to support Israel. If they stop supporting Israel in some significant way, then this "poof" comment will be a harbinger. Otherwise it's not much of anything.

      And yeah, the vast majority of Americans are most likely completely unaware of this, and much of what they think they know about the I/P conflict they probably get from popular culture. I know people who read spy novels involving Israeli heroes--I'm sure they aren't balancing the hasbara they consume in their pleasure reading with books by Rashid Khalidi and Max Blumenthal.

    • "We are all quaking in our boots over this. "

      I don't know how much stock to put in this "poof" comment--as you say (in different words), Congress is stuffed to the ceiling with Israel bootlickers and even the great hero Kerry blames the Palestinians for having the gall to assert some small portion of their basic rights.

      But what the hell is wrong with you? Aren't you supposedly in favor of a 2SS? Instead, you cheer for a situation where you think that Congress will support Israel no matter what they do.

      The worst enemies of the 2ss are most of its alleged supporters. They only pretend to want it.

  • Zionism has distorted American Jewish life
    • You were missing my point, JeffB. My point was about whether a religion is for social justice, or if it's just another excuse for elevating one group above another and committing human rights violations.

      Now if we want to take my religion, Christianity, as an example, the fact is that one can be "liberal" in one's theology (i.e., not take it too literally) or "conservative" (taking it literally) and be either pro-social justice or against it. Now it happens that in America people tend to associate theological conservatism with political conservatism, but there's no necessary logical connection and it doesn't always work that way. Liberal Protestants in Germany ended up supporting German nationalism. The somewhat more conservative Karl Barth was a critic.

    • "The great Jewish wish for many centuries was for a messiah who would gather the exiles back to Zion. That’s happened. It has been fulfilled, the fulfillment is Israel. Judaism cannot exist in the form it did prior to those events. The Holocaust was our crucifixion and Israel our resurrection."

      I'm not anti-religious. I don't believe that religion is what you need to make a good person do bad things--any sort of ideology can do that. But when people blame religion for much of the evils of the world, they're not altogether wrong. So when someone takes an event that occurred in the real world, that involved massacres and ethnic cleansing, and turns it into a kind of sacred religious event, you can pretty much expect more atrocities to occur. Christians, of course, have been the masters of this kind of thing--making war for the Holy Land a sacred cause which then lead to massacres of Muslims and Jews, and persecuting Jews for religious reasons, but obviously Christians don't have any sort of patent right on this kind of behavior.

      If I were Jewish, I'd want to see my religion as the religion of the Hebrew prophets--social justice, condemning the powerful, Nathan going to King David and saying "Thou are the man" after he plotted the death of Uriah. But whatever. Make it about yet another form of stupid nationalism.

    • "on how insecure Jews were in the USA just 150 years ago and how they were perceived"

      Women didn't have the vote, black men had it and then it was in effect taken away, Native Americans were being ethnically cleansed, Chinese were often lynched, and only now are gays starting to have the right to marry.

      So rather than work for a world where everyone has equal rights, you look at how things were in the 1800's and then divide the entire world into "Jews" and "Everyone else" and go from there.

  • Friedman says Iran's friends include BDS and Jews in Open Hillel movement
    • David--Part of my problem is that Friedman has done this before--he made his name criticizing Israeli brutality in the 1982 Lebanon War. But what that did was establish him as the Palestinian sympathizer in the highly constricted range of opinion in the American mainstream, and so it gave him undeserved credibility when he then blamed Arafat exclusively for the failure of the Camp David talks.

      We might be talking past each other. I accept that when Friedman bashes the Lobby and Adelson that this is a positive development, but also see the danger in embracing him too much. In the very article where he says some things which we welcome, he also perpetuates stereotypes. And if the Israelis offered some sort of bantustan, Friedman is the sort who'd turn right around and blame the Palestinians for not accepting it. Definitely not a person to be trusted. What's happening now is that the Israeli right has gone so far they've lost sight of what has made the "peace process" such lucrative one for the settlers--they say they want peace, but they are so blatantly arrogant and disrespectful to an American President it's making it damn near impossible to pretend that it is all the Palestinians's fault that there is no peace. And even here you can tell Friedman is showing his willingness to blame the Palestinians if only Netanyahu would learn to play the game better.

    • “This is a defense of liberal Zionism, trying to push all of the threats to 2 States (as an achievable goal and as a moral stance) into one category, however strangely shaped.”

      That’s true and that’s what’s wrong with it–the lumping of all opponents of liberal Zionism into the same category (dastardly anti-semites, basically) is inaccurate.

    • "I think Phil and Krauss and some of the other commenters are letting personal animosity toward Friedman cloud your perception of the importance of this piece."

      Can't speak for Phil and Krauss, but I think they get the importance of the piece--it shows that Friedman is terrified. But it also shows that he is trying to appeal to powerful people by using the standard racist tropes about the conflict--phrases which show that he doesn't give a crap about Palestinian rights and can't conceive of anyone who could, but is only concerned about the effects on Israel and America's political system. He's worried that Israel is destroying itself with the assistance of the Lobby. So when you say

      "You can nay-say it all you want, but this is a big article, a big step toward justice.

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

      I don't agree. Pabelmont makes the same sort of argument that you do up above, but again, I think you both are going too far in giving Friedman the benefit of the doubt. The fact that he can't criticize the Lobby and Netanyahu without using the standard hasbara debating points means two things--he's willing to use racist arguments and he thinks the people who have power on this issue and need to be convinced are racist.

  • Bill de Blasio gives Avigdor Lieberman the Big Apple
    • "When you’ve got the refusenik credentials of Natan Sharansky and Yuli Edelstein, maybe someone will take the nonsense you say seriously."

      I needed an example even you could understand, so I looked it up--Robert Mugabe spent ten years as a political prisoner. So by your "logic" hophmi, nobody who hasn't done the same can criticize Mugabe's human rights record for its lack of consistency. And no, I'm not equating Sharansky with Mugabe, just pointing out the obvious fact that people who suffer political persecution can turn right around and become persecutors.

  • Adelson would install Netanyahu in the White House if he had his druthers -- Avnery
    • "Still inciting against Iran in what he and his readers think clever."

      Yeah, that's our Tommy. Which is why I hated his column today even when he said some things that were sensible. But he couldn't bring himself to condemn Netanyahu without also claiming that there might not be a Palestinian "partner for peace" and then he fell back into Iran-baiting. Netanyahu isn't bad in Tommy's eyes because he's a racist bigot with no regard for Palestinian rights--no, he's bad because he is acting exactly the way Friedman imagines an evil Iranian ayatollah would want him to act. Netanyahu is bad because his actions could destroy the possibility of a Jewish state. Not because it hurts Palestinians.

      It's an extremely childish and chauvinistic way to view the world. And this in a newspaper which claims to be liberal, cosmopolitan, and sophisticated.

  • US is 'absolutely adamant' that Palestine not go to ICC and wreck the peace process -- Power
    • "he, who was so early with a clear conscience about the situation, sold herself – willing – to people like Boteach and Foxman for nothing but power."

      She's been a careerist all along--"A Problem From Hell" is mainly about US sins of omission and not our sins of commission. An intellectually honest book about US foreign policy and genocide would have had chapters on Guatemala, Bangladesh, East Timor, Indonesia, and also at least some references to our support for mass murderers whose crimes didn't necessarily meet the strict definition of "genocide". She focused on our sins of omission because it's a safe topic--the Washington world loves to be told, as she actually says in her book, that American statesmen are too naive to understand the nature of real evil in the world. They like to be told that sometimes America needs to be more forthright and interventionist in its policies. They don't like to be told that they are potential candidates for war crimes trials. If she'd written an honest book she wouldn't be Samantha Power, the conscience of mainstream Washington. She'd be a pariah.

      It was entirely predictable that if she finally got a position in government she'd toe the line on the I/P conflict.

  • 'NYT' stamps Jimmy Carter 'radioactive' and not 'a force for good'
    • "he detests Israel, and, more mildly, dislikes Jews. ”--biorabbi

      citation please.--just

      It's probably just his bigotry. I've seen this before in people. Jimmy Carter is a devout evangelical Christian and somewhat critical of Israel. It follows in some people's minds that he must dislike Jews. It's projection.

    • "Half the population hates them. I don’t thin the west gave a fuck about the murder of a million Rwandans, 200,000 Syrians, or 6 million Jews either. But Sheldon Adelson, Apartheid in Israel, that’s news."

      You're delusional. At best you're describing the fact that this website is about the I/P conflict, so quite naturally it talks a lot about Adelson and apartheid, but not so much about mass murder in the past in Rwanda, Syria, Angola, Mozambique, the eastern Congo, Sudan, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Algeria, Spain (Spanish Civil War, you know), Greece, Yugoslavia, India/Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, East Timor, Cambodia, Vietnam, Korea, China, Tibet, Russia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina, etc.... I'm just naming places where mass murder has occurred as they pop into my head.

      If you want to talk about those other cases in detail, start a website. Some of them have something to do with Israel, so we sometimes mention them here. Israel has played a role in supporting mass murder in other countries, some thousands of miles away. Some of them have something to do with the moral depravity of US foreign policy (as does our support for Israel), so they also get an occasional mention. But this website is about the I/P conflict.

      Also, this website doesn't represent the entire world, or even "the west", whatever the hell constitutes "the west". Last I checked, though, there's been a huge amount of commentary about Syria, Rwanda and the Holocaust in "the west". And commentary is all you're talking about--it's not like "the west" actually does anything to end Israeli apartheid.

  • 'A Painful Price': The escalating war on Palestine solidarity at U of Michigan and beyond
    • "But no nothing like that happened in the SA debate."

      Not the way I remember the 80's. It was understood on the left that the Reagan Administration supported death squads and terrorists in Central America, Savimbi's thugs in Angola, and the support for South Africa was part of this pattern. With Reagan himself the opinion was that he was a man who lived in a fantasy world and refused to face facts about the sorts of people he supported.

      I don't know what "civil debate" means in this context, unless you simply mean that people didn't use violence. But there's no way to be polite about, say, the coverup of the massacre at El Mozote (El Salvador) or the genocide in Guatemala (Israel, btw, is implicated there) or the atrocities of Savimbi's men or the cruelty of apartheid.

  • An open letter to J Street: Let's talk
    • I read a Brian Esker comment. It was completely one-sided, not really full of fraudulent distortions because there wasn't much substance of any sort, distorted or otherwise. In conclusion, the (insert racist term for this or that group) should work things out and stop doing whatever.

  • From Portland to Portland, and Amman to Lahore, 'NYT' letter-writers are sharper than 'NYT' writers
    • Most of those comments were great and some were brilliant. But I didn't agree with you on "JMS of Winlock, WA, would be caricatured as “isolationist” by the MSM, but he’s voicing a sensible mainstream American position about aid"

      If you read what he said, JMS to some degree was repeating a common and inaccurate US government theme, one that Kerry himself used recently--that the US can't want peace more than the two sides themselves and that the outside world, apparently meaning the US among others, has tried and tried to make peace and the two sides refuse to go along. That's an excusable attitude in an average American who may not follow the issue closely, but it's wrong. The US isn't some innocent party doing its best to bring two intransigent sides together. We've been Israel's lawyer, arms supplier, and enabler as they oppress the Palestinians.

      But the other comments were very good.

  • MJ Rosenberg’s conundrum
    • "There is also Gaza and its 1.7 million Palestinians. They are not part of this alleged de facto single state including Israel and the WB. So, even if you presume the WB is not occupied territory of Palestine, you are still left with TWO states, not one."

      No, one and a half. Gaza is a prison camp where the inmates are allowed to rule what happens inside the barbed wire.

  • Tell Bill Gates to divest from Israeli occupation profiteer G4S
    • "Managing prisons is only one small part of their operations"

      So if it involves supporting torture they should get out of that small portion of their business. Problem solved.

      "And the Gates Foundation does very diverse work including funding polio vaccinations in 3rd world countries"

      So they should try to avoid mixing up their good work fighting polio and other diseases with the support of torture.

      "It’s so much of a stretch here to criticize Gates or G4S "

      So if an otherwise good person or company does something wrong we should never ever point it out, in hopes that they will learn something and stop doing it.
      We should just look the other way.

  • Pollard was in it for money, and sold so many dox Cap Weinberger wanted the death penalty
    • Well, I tend to believe you, lysias. But I always find it a little odd to see progressives (not that all of us here are progressives, of course) taking the side of people like Cap Weinberger and talking exactly the way the Obamas and John Brennans of the world talk. Pollard seems to be a scummy person who sold secrets for money and that's reason enough to put him in jail, but on the list of issues covered at this website, whether Pollard stays in jail ranks somewhere around number 9573 in order of importance. For me, anyway. But for that reason, I'll stop commenting in this thread.

    • Thanks Cliff.

    • "So it’s no big deal that Pollard sold such a huge number of documents to the Zionist Parasite, apparently many hand picked by the Israelis?"

      Might be a big deal. Hard to say. The National Security State always hyperventilates when some of their secrets are stolen. We peons on the outside are supposed to take their word for it that It's Really Really Serious.

      And it might be. Maybe some people died, or maybe not. But I don't come to this website because Israel spied on us.

    • Pollard is obviously a scum--I didn't realize it wasn't even for ideology, just money--but I take intelligence claims of great harm with a grain of salt. It's how the National Security State functionaries always talk when somebody leaks something. No doubt Pollard did do harm, but I'd want to know specifics before I get all worked up about this. Did someone actually die, for instance, because of what he leaked and what is the proof? They say the same sorts of things about Snowden, Manning, and Assange (not that I'm comparing those people with Pollard.)

  • Cutting thru hysteria over divestment, 'Forward' quotes Jews in favor
    • One passage in the article I thought was very insightful, not just about Michigan, but in general--

      This underlined an important distinction between even the moderate pro-Israel students and the pro-Palestinian activists. The emphasis of the former was, for the most part, on “dialogue,” a goal many upheld as inherently valuable.

      The SAFE students voiced interest in dialogue, too. But they had another goal that seemed to them equally, if not more important: helping in a concrete way, with the means they saw at hand, to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its perceived violations of Palestinian human rights. Their contribution from distant Ann Arbor, Mich. might not be much. But it was pressure, not just discussion that they sought to generate."

      I think that nails it. A great many liberal Zionists are about dialogue, endless dialogue and while I think that's good as far as it goes, that's about all they want. At their best they don't favor oppression of the Palestinians, but this sort also doesn't want Israel to be pressured in any way. Just talk, talk, and more talk, and then maybe have some discussion about the talk. And nothing changes, because the harder line Zionists just keep right on with the occupation. Why shouldn't they? It's not that the better sort of liberal Zionist wants the Palestinians to be unhappy--they just don't want anything done that would make any Israeli Jew (or American Jew, for that matter) uncomfortable. And "uncomfortable" even extends to feelings--so, for instance, boycotts are bad because they remind some Jews of Nazi Germany. Our now banned friend RW was like this. So the situation has to remain as it is until most Israelis are persuaded by "dialogue" to change it. If that takes another 70 years, so be it.

  • Wait, did a 'Washington Post' columnist just call Netanyahu a bad guy?
    • Bull Connor should have demanded MLK recognize Alabama as a white state. Then a productive discussion on civil rights would have been possible, but MLK was so intransigent.

      Is there any other case where alleged liberals demanded that the oppressed group give their seal of approval to their own oppression before discussing substantive issues?

  • Attacks on BDS sharpen as it gains traction in the Jewish community
    • "You’re calling for denying Jews the right of self-determination, we’re calling for both peoples to realize that right."

      And you've supposedly been doing it for decades. If the 2SS advocates were serious, they'd use the threat of BDS as a tool--Israel had better get serious about offering the Palestinians something they can be happy with, or the next step is "one man one vote". It may be too late anyway, but instead of desperately trying anything to get Israel to offer the 67 borders and at least a token right of return, the supposed 2SS advocates decide to label the advocates of equal rights "anti-semites".

      The worst enemies of the 2SS are most of its supposed advocates. Their main priority is to keep Israel happy and use the peace process as a fig leaf--so long as Palestinian violence is kept down (Israeli violence against Palestinians doesn't register with most "liberal" Zionists, with some exceptions) that's the only thing that really matters.

  • A British Jew warns US Jewish orgs to heed rapidly-shifting world opinion
    • "To summarize, you were raised as a Zionist, could not break with it for fear of alienating parents and other tribals,"

      That was a weird misreading. He specifically said he has taken a stand against Zionism, which has strained his family relationships, but not broken them and he's proud of that. Good for him. Why do you object to someone wanting to maintain ties with loved ones?

      And what's wrong with his being a shulgoer and caring about his culture? Being in favor of Palestinian human rights doesn't mean one has to embark on a crusade against all forms of cultural identity.

    • "There will never be a good reason for hating or indeed loving anyone because of their race or ancestry... It’s another question whether a dangerously anti-Semitic movement could arise without good reason. I must say that I don’t think it will in anything like the near future. When it comes to the Palestine question I do not fear ‘new anti-Semitism’ but the same old complacency and prevarication."

      I agree with this. I think this post was overwrought and melodramatic. I couldn't tell if the writer was talking about a new anti-semitism brought on by revulsion at Israel, or merely a loss of face. I think the latter is far more likely--people may someday look back at all the embarrassingly stupid hypocritical things that have been written in defense of Israel and ridicule the people who wrote and believed such things, but that's happened to a lot of people over a lot of issues--white racism, anti-gay attitudes, pro-Iraq war attitudes, etc... But even that may not happen anytime soon. As you say, the same old complacency and prevarication may well prevail for quite a while longer.

      Of course, I write as an American. But is Europe really on the verge of a new anti-semitism? Seems unlikely. They already know what Israel is like. Americans may not know, but if they find out, I don't anticipate the roof caving in.

  • Journalistic malpractice: Washington Post suggests Abbas doesn't recognize Israel's right to exist
    • A non-sequitur, giladg. The ethnic cleansing occurred over all of what is now Israel. I didn't focus on Jerusalem. And even if I did, how did your response demonstrate anything except that some Palestinians have moved into Jerusalem over the years? If an illogical attempt at Nakba denial is the best you can do, perhaps you should find some other conflict to argue about.

    • The phrase is Orwellian and deliberately so. Instead of talking about the basic human rights of Palestinians to live in their own homeland, instead they are asked to recognize the right of Israel to exist, which means the right to have ethnically cleansed the Palestinians.

      There's also the legal issue--does Israel have a right to exist as a state like any other? But by putting the issue in this way, it submerges the issue of Palestinian rights. So I would expect every Palestinian who has acknowledged Israel's right to exist to secretly or not so secretly resent the fact that they have to jump through this hoop when no one forces Israel to recognize the Palestinian right of return.

  • Saudis don't care about Palestinians, say American commentators
    • "I think for decades the United States has been invested in Saudi Arabia as a source of stability in the region…"

      Spoken like this is something to be proud of.

  • Liberal Zionists are the new front line against BDS
    • "I hope someone can dissect why this notion that Israel will be destroyed if it becomes a equal rights-based state holds so much fear/sway. I don’t get it at all, yet somehow I feel like I’m supposed to, if not actually care."

      It's an ideology, a kind of religion. MJcould argue for a 2SS on strictly pragmatic grounds and he does so in part--he could argue that the Israeli Jews will never agree to give up their hegemony within the 67 lines and that past injustices in practice aren't always rectified and so on and he does this. One could then debate what is or isn't practical. But justifying Israel's rejection of equal rights on purely pragmatic grounds isn't emotionally satisfying for him, so he goes on to say that there's some right to Jewish "self-determination" which means it was and is okay for Israeli Jews to drive Palestinians out of their homes and keep them out. And he makes the illogical claim that when apartheid ended in South Africa, South Africa still existed, but if Palestinians and Israeli Jews had equal rights in a 1ss, it would be the "end of the state of Israel."

      He's not making an argument--he's reciting a creed.

    • "The reason why BDS keeps failing despite the almost universal recognition that the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are illegal and immoral is that the BDS movement is not targeting the occupation per se"

      Rosenberg should be down on his hands and knees thanking God for the BDS movement--it gives him and other liberal Zionists an excuse for their own failings during the past several decades, long before BDS was even a blip on anyone's radar. They allegedly want a 2SS that is fair to the Palestinians, but they've accomplished absolutely nothing.

  • NY Times should apologize for publishing Palestinians 'have avowed as their goal the killing of all Jews'
    • There's a bright side to all this, though I don't think the NYT policy is based on what I'm about to say. I've always thought that the most devastating criticisms of the pro-Israel position come inadvertently from the people trying to defend it. In printing this letter the NYT is showing the moral bankruptcy of the people defending Israel.

      In a way it's unfair to the pro-Israel side that the NYT doesn't print letters from anti-semites, while they do print the anti-Palestinian garbage. I'm glad they don't publish the anti-semitic letters--they might very well pick out the worst letters they get from the David Duke types and print them, giving the impression that this is what most critics of Israel look like.

  • BDS' big night: Loyola student government passes divestment, U. Mich votes it down
    • "But Max’s shtick: flashing his Jew badge that he never (probably) has use for except to goad Zionism, marks him as a scumbag."

      Even if you were right about Max's relationship with his Jewishness, I think "scumbag" is totally out of line here. People reference their own ethnic or religious identities like this all the time when the subject has something to do with their identity. I've flashed my own background as a white Southerner when using the Jim Crow analogy. When criticizing Christian Zionism I often mention that when young I was one myself. It's meant to signal that I know something about the subject from the inside. On the subject of Israel, if someone is Jewish, they usually bring it up themselves, no matter which side of the issue they're on, or at least that's my impression. The Jewish critics of Israel bring it up in part as a shield against the inevitable anti-semitism charge (though in that case they're usually accused of self-hatred or in this case of being a scumbag).

  • Liberal Zionists turn on media darling Ari Shavit for promoting Netanyahu's bluff
    • Experience suggests, JeffB, that you aren't capable of understanding points of view if they don't fit a particular line you're trying to push. But with respect to this website, if you paid close attention you'd see fissures among the pro-Palestinian side in the comments section. The majority favor what irishmoses just outlined. A few sometimes sound like they want a military victory over Israel--in the real world any war on that scale would be a human rights catastrophe no matter who won.

      The front page posters seem to me to lean towards a 1SS with equal rights for all, but I think some might settle for a 2SS if the Palestinians got enough out of it. The "destruction of Israel", meaning death and chaos and mass exodus of the Jewish population, isn't on their agenda. But you'll believe it is if that makes it easier to dismiss their criticisms.

  • U.S. intel analysts doubt Israeli claim that captured weapons were headed to Gaza
    • "If you want to attach your wagon to the Iranian horse’s ass, that’s your gambit. I wouldn’t advise it."

      Thanks. Fortunately I'm not a country and so the advice doesn't apply. If you're making a serious point, yes, Iran allies itself with some unsavory types (like the Syrian government) and gives them weapons, just as the US does. I'd take the outrage over this weapons shipment more seriously if Israel didn't have a long history of using weapons to kill Arab civilians.

    • Cheer up hophmi. The IDF terrorists will always have enough weapons from the US to kill civilians in Gaza, and they get to take potshots at farmers and fishermen without the US saying one word about it.

  • Ohio State Hillel member calls Desmond Tutu a 'neo Nazi' for criticizing Israel
    • "What does Tutu have to forgive the Nazis for? They didn’t do much of anything to Xhosa"

      He's suggesting a general principle. Tutu is suggesting that morality is universal and forgiveness is a good practice for everyone. You don't want to understand this because you'd rather pretend that Tutu is some Nazi-sympathizing inconsiderate monster. Have fun with that.

    • Just in case people don't click on the link I provided, here's that monster Desmond Tutu speaking about forgiveness in a South African context. This is obviously what he was trying to tell the Israelis, and of course JeffB sees this as Nazi sympathy--

      "To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. It is also a process that does not exclude hatred and anger. These emotions are all part of being human. You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things: the depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger.

      However, when I talk of forgiveness I mean the belief that you can come out the other side a better person. A better person than the one being consumed by anger and hatred. Remaining in that state locks you in a state of victimhood, making you almost dependent on the perpetrator. If you can find it in yourself to forgive then you are no longer chained to the perpetrator. You can move on, and you can even help the perpetrator to become a better person too.

      But the process of forgiveness also requires acknowledgement on the part of the perpetrator that they have committed an offence. I don’t like to talk about my own personal experience of forgiveness, although some of the things people have tried to do to my family are close to what I’d consider unforgivable. I don’t talk about these things because I have witnessed so many incredible people who, despite experiencing atrocity and tragedy, have come to a point in their lives where they are able to forgive. Take the Craddock Four, for example. The police ambushed their car, killed them in the most gruesome manner, set their car alight. When, at a TRC hearing, the teenage daughter of one of the victims was asked: would you be able to forgive the people who did this to you and your family? She answered, “We would like to forgive, but we would just like to know who to forgive.” How fantastic to see this young girl, still human despite all efforts to dehumanise her."

    • " A prayer service for Nazis" turns out to be Tutu doing exactly what as a Christian leader he's done all his life--advocated forgiveness even for the most evil of men, though he also says those guilty of evil should acknowledge it. Here he is talking about it in a South African context--


      So it turns out that what JeffB refers to as Nazi sympathy is actually just Desmond Tutu practicing forgiveness and urging others to do what he tries to do himself-forgive the unforgivable. You might think he's asking too much, but it's not more than he asks of himself. Unbelievable that someone could take this and twist it into something evil. At worst one could argue that someone like me, who has never lived under oppression, shouldn't say something like that to Israelis regarding the Nazis, but Desmond Tutu has lived under apartheid, and yes, he does have some personal credibility here that I don't have.

      On holding Jews to higher standards, I disagree with Tutu, but then that's because I think Christians and Jews should both give up the pretense that their standards are higher than others. Or more accurately, Christians and Jews often profess high standards of morality, but it's only the very rare people like Tutu who come anywhere close to living up to it. So yeah, it's unfair to expect Israelis to be better than others. But if Israelis and Israeli defenders do claim to be moral paragons, as many do, yes it is perfectly fair to point out that Israel is in reality no better than apartheid South Africa and should stop pretending otherwise.

  • D.C. scribes party with red wine, vinyl, and image of a terrorist
    • "His conflict is a national one, not a racial or ethnic one. His country is the most diverse in the region"

      Irrelevant. People can be bigoted in various ways--by nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, you name it. Begin cared about the group called "Jews" and not about the group called "Arabs", so he was cavalier about killing members of the latter.

      Duke and Begin share a common tribalist attitude towards human rights. How they define their tribe is different.

    • "There is no evidence that Ben-Gurion was thankful for the massacre, and even Robinson admits that right after Ben-Gurion was alleged to have said this, he distanced himself from the massacre. He also apologized to King Abdullah for it, and used it to try and keep the Irgun out of the government."

      None of which disproves that Ben-Gurion was thankful for the massacre. There were many Zionist massacres in 48 and many more afterwards and they were necessary for the existence of a Jewish state.

    • "Begin believed in self-determination for the Jewish people. Duke believes in persecuting the Jewish people. Comparing the two .."

      Hophmi once again inadvertently shoots himself in the foot. Begin believed in the self-determination of the Jewish people by denying the self-determination of the Palestinians. For hophmi, the comparison with Duke is only relevant in that it involves what they thought about Jews--not what they thought about human rights in general, where Duke and Begin were /are both tribalists.

  • Iymen Chehade fights Chicago school's cancellation of his class
    • "david sp- Saddam is dead. Get it? HANGED! And his country in shambles."

      Apparently david sp thinks the US should give Israel the tender treatment it gave Iraq. Sanctions that destroyed the economy and killed hundreds of thousands, and then an invasion which killed hundreds of thousands more.

  • Ariel Sharon and Juan Gelman: Two responses to the legacy of the ghetto
    • Oh look--a report on the Central African Republic from just a couple months ago. At the UN. Is the Central African Republic a special UN name for Israel? Hmm.


      But I bet they really downplay it. Let's see. Here's a quote--

      "The convening of the special session today reflects the imperative urgency of addressing the situation in the Central African Republic. We reiterate our grave concern at the egregious human rights violations and abuses committed by ex-Séléka and anti-Balaka, against Muslim and Christian civilians respectively, and the harm and suffering these have brought to the civilian population in the country for many months. While the ongoing reconciliation initiatives are commendable, violence along religious lines, which has increasingly polarized the communities, continues to affect especially the most vulnerable groups of the population as national authorities are still absent.

      Large-scale human rights violations and abuses have been reported. They include summary executions, disappearances, widespread looting, property burning, mutilation of adults and children, attacks on hospitals, sexual and gender-based violence, enforced disappearances, forcible displacement, and destruction of mosques and churches. Because of the violence, access to education has been hampered as schools have been closed for many months.

      We reiterate our serious concern at the high number of the internally displaced persons and refugees. Displaced persons continue to be attacked and are the target of human rights violations and abuses. They have become extremely frustrated at the delays and obstacles to humanitarian responses; some of them have been living in dire conditions in the bush and rural areas. Last week there were approximately 886,000 internally displaced persons in the Central African Republic including 512,000 in Bangui alone. The current lack of birth registration system within the sites where internally displaced persons live will have a serious impact on the future of the children. Given the volatile situation in the Central African Republic in the event of family separation, reunifying children with their families will become a momentous task."

      Gosh, that can't be. It sounds critical.

    • I was just doing some quick browsing at the UN human rights website. Team hasbara honestly seems to think all they do is talk about Israel. It's insane. There's material on all sorts of issues there. There's a major study on Syria and another on North Korea. I did some random browsing and found all sorts of things, but one report listed the country mandates that have been established in a footnote. They are as follows--

      They are: Afghanistan (in operation since 1984), Iran (1984), Iraq (1991), the for- mer Yugoslavia (1992), Myanmar (1992), Cambodia (1993), Equatorial Guinea (1993), the Palestinian Occupied Territories (1993), Somalia (1993), Sudan (1993), Democratic Republic of the Congo (1994), Burundi (1995), Haiti (1995) and Rwanda (1997).

      So yeah, Palestine is on the list, along with a lot of other places. Including some places in Africa.

      I really think that hophmi and others are so used to the claim that the UN only focuses on Israel it never occurs to them to go over there and find out what else they do.

      Here is a link to what they have on Syria--

      commission on Syria

      It strikes me that the hasbara types only pay attention to what the UN says about Israel because that's really the only thing they care about. The UN can write reports on Syria, North Korea, etc.. and it doesn't matter, because they also criticize Israel.

    • "The UNHRC spends half its time on Israel, and millions die in Africa. You must love it."

      Several times in the past few years someone has said something like this about the UNHRC and I google the UNHRC and look at their front page. Today is the first time I've ever seen the Israel/Palestine issue on the front page, along with other issues. I don't doubt that they have condemned Israel many times, but to hear hophmi and the other hasbarists talk, it's just about all they ever do. In fact, there is a vast amount of info there on a great many topics.


  • Obama doesn't talk to Jimmy Carter -- because of Israel
    • What did Wiesenthal mean by saying "Jimmy Carter has a way of bringing you down" ? Several possibilities come to mind, but I don't know which if any are right.

  • 'NYT' music piece strikes false note on Mehta and Israeli politics
    • "Stop making an issue where one does not exist, and answer my question: How many Jews are in the Palestine National Orchestra?"

      This reminds me of the white southerners I used to hear back in the 70's (Jim Crow was still a fairly recent memory) claiming that it was the blacks who were the real racists.

      Jodi Rudoren had an interesting article the other day LINK that was about a Palestinian generational divide. The younger generation favors a 1SS with equal rights for all. A tenth grade Palestinian girl was quoted as saying that everyone should just get along.

      So based on that, hophmi, if you want to see a region where Jews and Palestinians all play together on all the orchestras, you should be cheering for this younger generation of Palestinians, rather than worrying about the plight of the poor Jewish musicians, of whom there are no doubt vast numbers, who try to get on the Palestinian National Orchestra.

    • "But somehow they don’t make it into the Israeli orchestra.”

      They have a Palestine National Orchestra. Did you miss that? How many Jews are in it?"

      How many apply? Presumably this massive cohort of Jewish musicians clamoring to join the Palestinian National Orchestra would all be supporters of a 1SS with equal rights for everyone.

  • The battle over Palestine is raging--and Israel is losing: Ali Abunimah on his new book
    • There's no rational reason that I can see for MJ's reaction, so it probably is just some kneejerk tendency he still hasn't conquered where anyone who is passionately anti-Zionist must be an anti-semite.

  • Ululating at Vassar: the Israel/Palestine conflict comes to America
    • "People quite literally consider me either a fascist or insane. In the real world holding the very opinions I express here I’m extremely happy with Obama as president and mostly agree with him on the issues. "

      You're moderately progressive except for Palestine. That's all. On Palestine you spout some really inane rubbish. And "moderately progressive" in America just means you're slightly center-left.

      On whether Brown is or isn't a "progressive" I couldn't say, not living in California and not paying attention to him. You're correct that the word as used in America covers an extremely wide range of views, largely because the Republicans have been successful in framing centrists as liberals, and liberals as socialists, and socialists as Stalinists.

    • "Attempts to convert the USA into an enemy of Israel would perforce at the very least expose Jewish students to the kinds of pressures that Arabs felt after 9/11, and often still do."

      It shouldn't be seen that way. The US has a foreign policy where we sometimes trample the rights of innocent people--this has happened over and over again. In this particular case, we do so by standing behind Israel no matter what Israel does to the Palestinians. This should stop for the same reason we should not be blowing up wedding parties with drone strikes.

      If Israel supporters insist on ignoring inconvenient human rights violations, then yes, criticism of Israel will seem to them to be an attack on them. There's nothing new about this. Some white southerners feel personally abused if one tells unpleasant truths about the Confederacy. Some lefties in the 30's probably felt abused if someone criticized the Soviet Union.

    • "But they’re kids. They’re into feeling righteous. And in the Vassar bubble, it’s easy for them to do that."

      "That supports what I’ve said for some time, which is that anti-Zionism is mixed in with something more nefarious than that, and that more nefarious thing is something anti-Zionists completely refuse to deal with."

      "It remains in your best interest to fight antisemitism in your movement, and to stick to the facts of the conflict, rather than making this about how bad the American Jewish community is."

      I picked out three quotes above--I think the first quote is more to the point. Like Phil, I felt a little uncomfortable reading this account, but from what I can tell it's more the self-righteousness that you'd expect from college activists. I remember once knowing a college kid during the tail end of the apartheid era. I forget the details, but mentioned how someone had been killed by the South African government. He hadn't heard of this particular incident, and his immediate reaction was a very intense "Those bastards!!". His voice was seething with anger. Now yes, the SA government was full of bastards and it was a crime, but I thought his reaction was a little over the top. But he was also about 19 years old.

      As for the second and third quotes, yeah, I think any movement critical of Israel will also pick up some anti-semites. But it cuts both ways. When I started reading seriously about the I/P conflict, the way Israel defenders talk about Palestinians always reminded me of the way defensive white Southerners spoke about blacks. And I don't think that's an accident. Human nature is boringly predictable in ethnic conflicts--racism pretty much goes with the territory.

  • Lockerbie: 25 years of geopolitics over truth
    • " I do appreciate the delicious irony that the craven choices made in 1990 prevented this from being high on the list of charges against Iran today."

      It's more than that--it's an indictment of the NYT that their reporters know that Libya was probably framed and they don't make it a front page story. Instead, they toss it into the middle of a silly gossipy piece about a spy novelist with intelligence connections.

      This is almost as revealing as the WMD lies put out by the US government in partnership with most of the mainstream press. If they talk about it, they show how little either our government or our so-called press watchdogs can be trusted. So they just mention it from time to time in the back pages.

    • This was discussed in a rather strange NYT Sunday Magazine article last year--


      Here's the quote--

      "I asked de Villiers about his next novel, and his eyes lighted up. “It goes back to an old story,” he said. “Lockerbie.” The book is based on the premise that it was Iran — not Libya — that carried out the notorious 1988 airliner bombing. The Iranians went to great lengths to persuade Muammar el-Qaddafi to take the fall for the attack, which was carried out in revenge for the downing of an Iranian passenger plane by American missiles six months earlier, de Villiers said. This has long been an unverified conspiracy theory, but when I returned to the United States, I learned that de Villiers was onto something. I spoke to a former C.I.A. operative who told me that “the best intelligence” on the Lockerbie bombing points to an Iranian role. It is a subject of intense controversy at the C.I.A. and the F.B.I., he said, in part because the evidence against Iran is classified and cannot be used in court, but many at the agency believe Iran directed the bombing.

  • Johansson got career boost from 'comic farrago' over SodaStream -- 'New Yorker'
    • "ood grief. I could care less about Scarlett’s political views (stovepiped straight from the Sodastream boss), but as a piece of journalism this is the most hilariously bad, banal and sycophantic piece of fluffing I have read in a very long time. SJ’s people must be over the moon. Not only does Antony Lane develop a schoolboy crush of embarrassing proportions,"

      That's pretty much it. Anthony wasn't about to allow one single bit of criticism of his apparent fantasy love interest into the piece.

      The only thing I wondered is whether he'd have been equally blase if the issue had been, say, gay rights rather than Palestinian rights. That is, if it was easier to treat it as a big joke given who the victims were. But no matter what the issue, I don't think Anthony was going to say anything critical of her.

  • Israeli high school student leader calls youths' refusal to serve 'declaration of war'
    • "The fact that there are sixty kids who are refusing to serve once again shows that Israel is a free and diverse country, a nuance lost on the BDS cult."

      I've never understood how any intelligent person could trot out such a stupid argument. Only in the most totalitarian societies (like, say, Pol Pot's Cambodia) will you find a total absence of dissent.

    • "Is there anything left that’s not?"

      Nope. All actions taken against Israel are violent by definition. In fact, merely by typing this criticism of their rhetorical tactics I am guilty of terrorist keyboarding.

  • State Dept puts American seal of approval on latest Israeli-initiated round of violence
    • I have no problem with people condemning rocket attacks on civilians. I have a problem with the hypocritical American government which says nothing when Israel kills far more Palestinians (including children).

    • "The State Department’s refusal to condemn Israel’ unprovoked killings of Palestinians, while using the strongest terms possible to criticize Palestinian reactions, effectively stamps American approval on the latest Israeli-initiated cycle of violence. "

      Business as usual. AFAIK the last time the US took some sort of stand regarding Israeli violence was during the 1982 bombing of Lebanon. I think I remember reading in Jonathan Randal's book "Going All the Way" about Phillip Habib screaming at some Israeli (either Begin or Sharon) about the bombing. Kinda surprising, given that overall the Reagan Administration wasn't exactly the strongest we ever had on human rights issues.

      But hypocrisy is what you'd expect from President Drone. Obama, Bush, and Netanyahu are all members of the same club--the Western war criminal society. And all sarcasm aside, I'd be amazed if an American President took a strong stand against Israeli war crimes. It'd be setting a precedent which an American President wouldn't want to set. Obama hasn't exactly been a strong proponent of investigating Bush war crimes for the same reason.

      Whistleblowers though--Obama has no tolerance for that sort of criminality.

  • Kerry tries to get out of Jewish-state trap set by Netanyahu and the lobby
    • "That’s the thing I have noticed about being Palestinian: numbers never work in your favor"

      Nothing works in their favor. If they use violence (whether against soldiers or against civilians), they're terrorists. If they use the standard techniques of nonviolent resistance, they're echoing the boycotts of Jews by anti-semites. If they shoot back at Israel after Israel kills some Palestinians, they break the ceasefire.

      Someone should compile a list, but I think it's true that everything Palestinians do or don't do is used against them in the American press.

  • Does Israel Have a Right to Exist as a Jewish State?: An excerpt from Ali Abunimah's 'The Battle for Justice in Palestine'
    • "Your statement on Chavez and Venezuelan Jews is such a grotesque distortion."

      Thanks for stepping in. I wondered about JeffB's claim--Chavez wasn't exactly a popular figure with the mainstream press in the US and if he were as antisemitic as Jeff claimed, I would have guessed it would have been common knowledge.

  • Shira Robinson explains the DNA of Israel
    • "Historians don’t have those sorts of opinions about “brief periods of hope”. They are perfectly willing to see carpetbaggers are corrupt and oppressive while seeing their opponents as racist. They understand that all political movements are morally flawed. And they don’t condemn peoples because their politics is imperfect."

      I was giving a brief summary, but of course some Northerners were corrupt and some weren't. And for many decades white southerners told a fairy story (encapsulated in movies like "Gone With the Wind" about corrupt northerners and blacks oppressing white southerners.

      "After the fall of the south it was occupied and within a decade a terrorist movement arose to drive the Northern troops and their associated economic interests out of the territory. This would be called an “anti-colonial” struggle in other contexts."

      In the sense that Zionism would be called an anti-colonial struggle. The problem with the white southern stance is that they were struggling against the notion that they had to treat blacks as equals, just as Israeli Zionists had to struggle against the notion that Palestinians were human beings with the right to live in their own homeland.

      As for "not condemning peoples because their politics is imperfect", that's too vague to mean anything. I think you just don't want to come right out with a clearly made point. Obviously some historians do condemn groups like the Nazis or the secessionists or the Ku Klux Klan. And Israel's history doesn't look any too pretty when examined closely--that's why there were so many lies told about the Palestinian expulsion.

    • "Wasn’t Reconstruction in the former Confederate States bitterly contested?

      Why is Israel’s nose being rubbed in the dirt for struggling for her post- war identity?"

      It's weird how Israel defenders take some of the most shameful episodes in US history and cite them as some sort of defense. It used to be that Israel's critics, like Chomsky and Finkelstein, would make connections between what Israel is doing and what America has done. Now Israel apologists refer to American sins as some sort of positive moral precedent, or at least as an excuse.

      So regarding Reconstruction, for a short period of time blacks in the South had civil rights, but southern whites opposed this, and the era of Jim Crow was put in place. Then white racist historians portrayed the Reconstruction era as a time when corrupt Yankee carpetbaggers and ignorant slaves ruled over their betters, before the whites fought back. In recent decades historians have rejected that racist interpretation, so now we see Reconstruction as a brief period of hope, followed by a vicious racist reaction that lasted until the civil rights movement in the mid-20th century.

      If you want to say that Israel is repeating the history of the post-Civil War south, in that the rights of some people are being crushed for the benefit of others , you would be correct.

    • "At what point, then, do the progeny of settlers cease to be settlers?"

      I would have had a problem with that statement too, except that the article provided plenty of context. The point is that if the descendants of settlers still enjoy legal privileges that the descendants of the original inhabitants do not, then it is still a settler colonial state, and not a normal country with a history of conquest like so many others.

      The point should be that discrimination continues to exist in Israel. One would have the same problem for other reasons if a society were an Islamic state and it discriminates against non-Muslims. It's not that present day Israeli Jews are guilty of what people did back in 1948--it's that they essentially endorse what happened then, continue to benefit from it, continue to do some of the same things, don't try to make up for the injustice, and have a system in the West Bank that is similar to apartheid and a less harsh but still discriminatory system inside Israel itself.

    • I have a suggestion. Articles of this importance should be easy to find. Mondoweiss should have a sidebar with a list of topics, each one linking to some of the best posts on that particular subject. So, for instance, "Israel's early years" could be one, and this article would be linked.

      No need to thank me for the suggestion--I'm always up for making proposals that involve work for other people.

    • "A standard that is applied nowhere except to Israeli Jews."

      That's obviously false and you know it. It applies to any society that began as a settler colonialist society and still gives privileges and rights to one ethnic or religious group over the people who were already there. So it would apply to apartheid South Africa, Rhodesia when still under white rule, Algeria under the French, the US for much of its history, Australia for much of its history, etc... The US and other societies are still guilty of injustice against the original inhabitants, but Israel is, figuratively speaking, still stuck back in the 19th century.

  • Review of recent 'NYT' corrections raises doubts about paper's commitment to getting the facts right in Israel/Palestine
    • Off topic, but tree, do you have a link to the post you did on the founding of the various Palestinian universities on the West Bank? Some hasbarist in the comment section at the New York Review of Books is claiming credit on behalf of Israel for them. I tried googling for your remarks without much success.

      Nevermind, I found it. For anyone else interested in the topic--


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