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Total number of comments: 6362 (since 2009-07-31 03:28:07)

Donald

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

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  • 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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