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Total number of comments: 1163 (since 2009-07-31 03:28:07)

Donald Johnson

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

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  • 'NYT' and Sen. Murphy have a double standard on Yemen and Gaza slaughters
    • This is true-- the NYT has a double standard. But I am glad somebody somewhere in the US is saying something about Yemen, because it is arguably the worst thing the US is doing right now-- supporting Saudi Arabia as it commits war crimes and brings millions to the brink of famine.

      link to theamericanconservative.com

      Larison has been writing about this for a year or so now and virtually no one else says anything about it. Yeah, Murphy and Paul have condemned it and now the NYT, but since this is Obama's own crime and can't be blamed on Republicans the Democrats basically say nothing.

      This is one of the rare times in its generally worthless existence where the NYT editorial section did something right.

  • Chosen indeed: all 7 letters run by 'NYT' on Mideast article are by Jews
    • I wasn't talking about how it is seen on campuses--I was talking about how the NYT frames the issue. For the NYT, anti-semitism is the only kind of bigotry that exists on this subject or the only type worth writing about. I probably could have been clearer, but obviously I wasn't talking about campus activists in general. (Though pro-Israel activists who see BDS as anti-Semitic would fit the description.)

    • Part of what is happening here is that Overton window thing. On this subject, the campus debates are always framed in terms of anti- semitism being the only conceivable form of bigotry that matters. The notion that supporters of Israel might be manifesting anti- Palestinian bigotry is nowhere in this frame. So you start the discussion by completely wiping out any mention of pro- Israeli anti-Palestinian racism and then you talk about the pro- Palestinian side as guilty until proven innocent of anti- semitism. And then to top it off you only have Jews discussing whether anyone is being anti- Semitic. But that's after the issue has been carefully framed.

      I am trying to imagine a NYT piece about this exact issue with the opposite bias, where anti- Arab or anti- Palestinian or anti-Muslim bigotry were the only forms of bigotry being discussed, and where the only letters published were written by Palestinian-Americans with one from a PA official. It wouldn't happen. The very notion that the pro- Israel side might have a bigotry problem would be incomprehensible to a NYT editor.

      Or anyway, they seem to act like it.

  • Israeli settler leader, rejected by Brazil, gets warm welcome in New York
    • That argument would work better if Hamas officials could visit the US and talk with people with whom they disagree.

      And anyway, the disagreement is all kabuki theater. Israel will continue to get billions in aid, so why should they care if Jane Eisner politely disagrees with settlement building?

    • This doesn't seem over the top to me. I agree that over the top rhetoric can backfire, but even liberal Zionist supporters of a 2ss would have to agree the settlements are a violation of international law and a huge obstacle to the 2ss.

  • Jewish organizations' response to Black Lives Matter platform demonstrates inability to engage with reality in Israel
    • So I got my copy of Figes's book on Russia from 1891-1924 "A People's Tragedy" and on page81 he agrees that contrary to popular myth, the Russian government never organized pogroms. He just says the authorities rarely brought pogromists to trial,because of their hostility to Jews. On page 197, regarding the pogrom in Odessa in 1905, he says,citing an investigation by Witte that the police were heavily involved and when Witte tried to prosecute the police chief, the Tsar intervened. The Tsar was pleased with the pogroms and thought they were the result of the people's righteous anger with troublemakers who he thought were mostly Jews. Figes also mentions how the police headquarters in St. Petersburg was putting out pamphlets blaming Jews for ruining the country and calling on the people to kill them. The Minister of the Interior subsidized these pamphlets.

      I don't read Russian. Maybe Figes made all this up.

    • From what I've read, it does seem like the Russian pogroms ought to qualify as genocide in the legal definition, since sometimes officials participated and the pogromists were treated very lightly by the government. I remember reading that after the 1905 pogroms the Tsar thought they were the result of honest citizen outrage. He didn't plan the pogroms, but approved of them. Mob violence by Arabs against Jews might also qualify if there is some government sympathy or support for the violence. But I'm not a lawyer. Still, morally speaking to me the Russian treatment of Jews in the Czarist era is on a similar moral level to Israeli treatment of Palestinians and maybe that's an analogy people should use more often.

      I also agree that there is a legal and a " street" definition of genocide, the latter restricting it to acts of mass murder intended to wipe out much or all of some group. As for whether it does good or harm using the word in the I-P case, I don't know. It depends on how it comes across to people not yet committed to one side or the other. Personally I stick to words like " apartheid", " war crimes", and " ethnic cleansing" because the street definition fits Israel's behavior.

  • The 'New York Times' is dead set on marginalizing Jewish anti-Zionism
    • There are such things as secular Jews, seeing that there are people who identify as Jewish and are secular.

      People have all kinds of identities and don't have to fit into categories that others approve.

  • Democratic Party consultant asked about Palestinian rights: 'Not my problem'
    • Actually, I don't want to make fun of Stein voters. I was just annoyed by echino. People should vote in whatever way they think will do the most good or least harm.

    • All choices are bad here. Trump is a maniac. Stein can't win, not without an army of magic voters transported to the polls by chariots pulled by unicorns.

      I'm snarking here because you have said precisely nothing useful. You are ranting online under an anonymous name, which should bring the evil empire down any day.

      This is fun. Useless, but fun.

    • Personally I think we can do more than one thing at a time. I hope Trump loses and will vote accordingly, but will continue to point out Clinton's flaws. ( I could put it much more harshly, but am trying not to go into full rant mode.)

      One problem with politics is that people often think you have to toss rationality out , join a team, and engage in nothing but propaganda for the team until victory is won. I'm not sure how well this works with people who aren't yet on one side or the other. It seems more like a way of rousing the faithful.

      There are at least some people who get turned off by this behavior. They don't trust the cheerleaders because they know the cheerleaders are only telling as much of the truth as helps their side. It might actually be more effective to say one supports a candidate because of issues A,B, and C, but the candidate is bad on these other issues. Others could urge voting for a third party and give those reasons. The point being that it would be better if as many people as possible were as honest as they can manage to be and acknowledged the flaws in whatever candidate they choose to support.

      A few people do this to some degree, but mostly what we have is a lot of what I am politely calling cheerleading. And consequently we all have our favorite sources of information and we automatically dismiss what others are saying. This election worries me because I think the country as a whole is getting more and more tribal. The Trump side is worse, IMO, but the Clintonites scares me too ( centrist liberals are not nearly as connected to reality as they seem to think) and I don't think third party voting does much good, though given where I live I might do a protest vote, depending on what the polls say.

    • It obviously is our problem since our politicians treat Israel as the 51st state and we fund a lot of this crap.

  • The sensitive Zionist -- a review of Natalie Portman's new film
    • Jon s, you just endorsed a one state solution with equal rights for both sides when you say that you are living in your homeland, which is also the Palestinian homeland. I assume you did that inadvertently , but if you really meant it, great.

  • 'Does he believe in a God'? -- DNC leaders wanted to undermine Sanders
    • Having Trump's first name is a bit of an annoyance. I sometimes see someone say something nasty about "Donald " in a thread and ( usually) after a second realize they weren't talking about me. It's not that common a name. I used to get Melanie Griffiths references.

      As for the comment section, most of them at most blogs are pretty tribal. Even if you are in agreement on most things, step outside the box and you will be attacked. Someone lashed out at me at another blog recently. It's irritating. You either develop a thick skin or you do a lot of lurking.

      I'm slightly puzzled at Clinton's popularity with so many black voters , though I have read it's partly a generational thing. I sort of maybe understand it, but am not sure. So much of what goes on under the name of analysis online and in the press is just partisan character assassination, so it's hard to sift out what makes sense and what doesn't.

    • "So grow up" has a kind of sputtering sound to it. Let me try. So grow up, Yonah. See? Now there's saliva all over my IPad.

      Okay, on to substance. One thing I learned from the Internet is that there are people who take party loyalty seriously, for reasons that seem more connected to the iron law of institutions ( google it) than for any sensible reason. Politics should matter to people because of the issues, not because of when someone joined a party. Sanders did exactly what all the Nader bashers said people should do if they want to pull the party to the left. He ran as a Democrat and pledged to support the winner and is doing so and yet he was still treated as a pariah.

      I would actually have more respect for the DNC people if they favored Clinton because they preferred her stance on issues, repulsive as some of those stances are. If it was based on how long she was part of the party compared to Sanders, that's got a high school flavor to it. Anyway, Sanders is trying to start a movement to get progressive Dems in office, which party types should welcome unless they are conservative DLC types.

      Agreed about Trump. I hope he loses, but things are going to get real interesting if he wins.

  • The iron law of institutions versus Bernie Sanders
    • Nothing to disagree with there. I have seen someone somewhere mention that Sunday voting idea, but it doesn't seem to have caught on. No doubt the Republicans would find some way to say it's unamerican, though I'm not imaginative enough to predict how. But it does seem like an easy way to increase turnout.

  • New York Times's breathless story on landing interview with Netanyahu reads like 'the Onion' on crack
    • You captured this perfectly. I'd like to say you're a comedic genius, but honestly, Jeffrey Gettleman did virtually all the work here. I wasn't laughing out loud, as we denizens of the internet are often found doing, but there was a big smile on my face the whole way through the original article. Who could possibly write this crap and mean it?

      This guy is wasted at the NYT. As you say, the Onion is where this stuff belongs--you'd hardly have to change a word.

  • Hillary Clinton has a decision to make
    • Good idea.

    • So much for silamcuz the alleged hater of Western imperialism, here the defender of Clinton, the friend of Kissinger, defender of Israeli war crimes, supporter of the invasion of Iraq.

      Some of your posts make sense and others, like this one, are incoherent nonsense. I'd wonder if this was intentional except I don't really care that much.

      Yakov's post was great. If anything he's a bit too generous to Clinton, who in my opinion supports Israel because she genuinely thinks the way many Israel defenders think--we should be bombing the Other because we are the good guys, they are the bad guys and if innocents die it's all their fault.

  • Ozick says Obama needs 6-volume history of Jews on his bedside table
    • I'm not a fan of Wiesel, but people are complicated. He was a Holocaust survivor, so, yeah, I think he really did care about antisemitism. You have to imagine him as some sort of demon to think he didn't. It was wrong that he became a tribalist and said horrible racist things about Palestinians and he wasn't a saint or conscience of the world, but " gilded cage" is something I'd use about some jackass born in the US who has never experienced one second of actual oppression, not someone who lived through the Holocaust.

    • Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor and Ozick's family immigrated to America to escape pogroms, so if I want to use understatement I'd say it would be natural for them to be concerned about antisemitism. I can't see how one could blame them for that. ( More understatement). The problem is their bigotry towards Palestinians and their unwillingness to recognize that any oppressed group can become oppressors.

      But the bigger problem is that people like Wiesel and Ozick are held up as moral gurus when they were/ are bigoted against Palestinians.

  • Mainstream obits for Wiesel offer barely an asterisk for his intolerant views of Palestinians
    • My impression, partly confirmed by the lists above, is that Wiesel stuck to the safe targets. So he criticized the Sandinistas for their treatment of the Miskitos, but faced with evidence of Israel's complicity in a vastly greater crime against Mayans in Guatemala, Wiesel spoke for refugees without condemning the people responsible.

      link to books.google.com

      Not sure if that Google book link will work, but Google Wiesel with Guatemala and you should find some interesting things.

      Wiesel isn't the only hypocrite of this sort-- as Chomsky wrote about at endless length, this careful form of convenient universalism is the norm in mainstream US circles. That's why Wiesel was lionized. He never said anything truly uncomfortable that would disturb a NYT editorialist.

  • Israel-splaining
    • I'm late to commenting on my own post (I was out of town), but your comment captures exactly the main points we are trying to make. The anti-Palestinian rights movement is implicitly racist and it's long past time for people to be pointing this out. You said it better than we did.

  • Clinton's 'infatuation with war' and neoconservatism stirs misgivings on the left
    • Yes. It was in emails. All of my pieces here start out as rants emailed to Phil. They start off along the lines of " Can you believe this crap I just read? " and then argue for why I think it sucks.

  • Netanyahu agonistes
    • "Stay tuned..."

      That sounds good. Someone needs to do it.

    • That's what is interesting about this-- even the war criminals are getting worried. Of course that doesn't mean that if the centrist war criminals get back in power things will end happily. Up till now when centrist or " liberal" Israelis were in power it put a kinder gentler face on apartheid, but with the younger liberal generation in the US maybe that will stop working.

      I'm hedging because I don't know.

    • Funny because it's the literal truth.

  • American Jewish identity: Moving beyond 'love for Israel' and the Holocaust
    • "American support for Israel isn't just about Jews..."

      Among Christians it's two things. First a lot of Christians after WWII finally acknowledged the harm done by centuries of Christian antisemitism and atoned for their sins ( or the sins of their ancestors) by throwing the Palestinians under the bus. It's more complicated than that, but that'll do as a summary. Tied in with this is the fear of being called antisemitic if you criticize Israel.

      Second, the believers in an imminent Second Coming usually also think that God wants them to support Israel no matter what, so guess who gets thrown under the bus?

      Actually, I should mention a third-- Islamophobia and/or prejudice against Arabs. But that's implied in the first two.

  • 'Boycott' Israel over J'lem prayer rules, but 'work' against occupation -- Forward's double standard
    • She knows her audience. The commenters ( I think there were one or two exceptions) either rejected option 5 or thought it not worth mentioning.

  • Dennis Ross tells American Jews, 'We need to be advocates for Israel' -- and not for Palestinians
    • I don't know much about Yaalon and maybe he is a cynical jerk or even a war criminal, but if so, it is all the more significant that someone like that is taking this position. It doesn't mean he can be trusted, but it does show that people in the Israeli mainstream are scared of where things are heading. Even if he is a total cynic he realizes that what he is saying now may well resonate with some Israelis.

      If there is going to be change there it's going to involve Israeli equivalents to DeClerk ( I probably misspelled the name).

    • Blaming Clinton first seems fair, but that doesn't mean Ross didn't play a secondary role. Clearly Miller was blaming himself and other American diplomats.

  • Michael Lerner brings down the house at Muhammad Ali funeral by standing up for Palestinians and against Netanyahu
    • I've always liked Lerner-- he's obviously a decent guy who really does want a fair and just solution for everyone. He genuinely hates violence. I can say this without necessarily agreeing with him about everything. If Palestinians are willing to support a 2ss, that's fine with me, but it isn't my choice or Lerner's to make.

  • Please boycott us, Governor Cuomo
    • Hophm, like other people who say BDS is antisemitic, is a bigot without knowing it. He thinks that a standard nonviolent method that people use to fight for basic human rights is bigoted when used to fight for Palestinian rights. Hophmi only sees the Israelis as fully deserving of human rights and not Palestinians. He would probably defend Israel's draconian blockade on Gaza, but not a much less stringent boycott of Israeli companies.

  • PEN director praises Charlie Hebdo's courage, then suggests BDS makes students feel 'isolated, vulnerable, threatened'
    • I think you're right. She was asked about BDS and dodged the question by changing the subject.

  • Huffpo writer expresses bigotry against Palestinians by equating battle for equal rights and anti-Semitism
    • Phil and I both signed the piece.

      The three demands of the BDS movement are for an end to the occupation, equal rights for Palestinians and the right of return. That doesn't sound like some zero sum solution where one side wins and one side loses. Zionists hear a demand for equality as a demand for their subordination and/or expulsion. I don't think it is helpful to say this is correct, because it isn't.

    • The problem with her piece is that she is mixing up different things ranging from clear cut examples of antisemitism on the one hand and support for a 1ss on the other. In the latter case she is revealing her own unconscious bigotry. In- between you have college students allegedly being crude and uncivil, which is wrong, but without more detail I don't know if it is antisemitism. It's not unusual for college activists to use overheated rhetoric on all sorts of issues-- a friend of mine was telling me just the other day what some student speakers said about their own college president during a graduation ceremony and it wasn't pretty. ( In that case the administration was allegedly sexist and racist). And if the people being yelled at actually defend Israeli policies then it's not that overheated, though personally I wish people on both sides would stop using Nazi references.

  • Clinton forces dig in against changes to Democratic platform on Israel
  • Top donor to Clinton super PAC is Haim Saban
    • "When an Arab regime kills 300,000 people"

      Look, I know you don't mean it this way, but that's apologetics for Islamic jihadists. The fact is that the regime isn't doing all the killing--the rebels are also killing a massive number of people. It's a civil war with outsiders supplying help and/ or weapons to both sides-- the death toll is extremely high precisely because of the outside help for the rebels. On the rebel side you have the Saudis and others, including the US and evidently Israel's interests are a big factor. No, that doesn't mean it is all Israel's fault, as obviously quite a few outside groups have an interest in this war.

  • 'NYT' blames Hamas for civilian deaths in front-page article that sounds like Hillary Clinton
    • It's possible that people in Gaza don't like Hamas. My impression was they stood behind them during the 2014 slaughter, hoping that the Israelis would lift the blockade. They might be tired of them now-- do you have links to any sort of poll?

      Personally I have no stake in any Palestinian group-- I just want the NYT to stop writing apologetics for the Israelis. And I know one of the reporters used to be an activist. It's irrelevant. The NYT has a fairly consistent bias-- how Hadid reconciles her convictions with her job is her problem.

    • I read the link, but I need to read it again, as there is a lot there. I "approve" of the paragraph you quote. It doesn't matter, though, as I mentioned my personal feelings mainly because many people seem to think that facts should only be reported if they support their views.

      The NYT and others should report what Hamas is doing and what various Palestinians think about it because that's what a newspaper should do. If most Palestinians support the tunnel building they should report this. If some don't they should report that as well. .They should also report what Israel does, but for the most part they don't. They choose to highlight those facts which in their mind justify Israel when it kills civilians. That's what I wrote about.

      You clearly want to have an argument with me about Hamas, resistance and so forth. I don't, but I will write a few lines. Palestinians are the victims here and the Israelis are the aggressors, so Palestinians have the right to use violence to overthrow their oppressors. However, it hasn't worked for them. Frankly, if they could win their freedom with tunnels and rockets then they will do it and criticism would be silly. There's not a people on earth that wouldn't fire rockets and build tunnels if it would enable them to win their freedom. Since they are unlikely to win this way, it seems like a waste of effort and lives. Nonviolent protest hasn't worked either, which is why I don't feel like arguing about this.

    • I am responding in advance to someone who might accuse me of only being angry because I must allegedly support Hamas. The point is that if the NYT wishes to write about the plight of Palestinian civilians in an objective way, they would write about Gazan fishermen being shot, protestors being shot, hundreds of children killed in their homes and yes, if Hamas digs tunnels in densely populated neighborhoods then they should write about that too. They don't do this. The only time I can remember them reporting an Israeli action in harsh unalloyed terms was when the boys were killed on the beach, and that piece was written by a photographer who was there, not one of their usual reporters.

      What they generally do is report some fraction of Israeli brutality when it happens, usually closely accompanied by Israeli rationalizations and then when referring to the war later on they adopt the Israeli viewpoint as a summary of what happened. So the message is that Israeli actions are justified. This piece went on the front page because it had the right message.

  • Clinton campaign is 'nervous' Sanders will push 'divisive' battle over Democratic platform on Israel
    • It's moronic to hold the position that public criticism of Israel is counterproductive. Unless the Israelis are such pathetic narcissists one shouldn't say one word in public that might upset them, a rule we do not follow for other countries. And anyone who is serious about a 2ss should have been criticizing the Israelis for decades now. If, of course, someone only pretends to support a2ss as a kind of fig leaf than that's different. You say you support it, give Israel everything it wants, and settlements continue to grow. it's worked so far.

  • Michael Ratner was dedicated to radical social change, with humor and humility
    • Rather was a great man.

      I am also puzzled by that Syria article yesterday. So far as I can tell, both Assad and the various rebel factions are murderers. The idea as proposed by those writers that if only the US had given more support to the FSA then things would have been over in months is so stupid I can't imagine how anyone could really believe it. Do people just not pay any attention at all to the actual record of these proxy wars? Anyway, the rebels of all factions have received a lot of aid, and the jihadists have successfully killed tens of thousands of Syrian soldiers. So obviously killing that many wasn't enough to win. How many more would need to be killed? How many more civilians would die? What are the jihadis doing when our fantasy super rebels have defeated Assad and now try to usher in a magical world of human rights and puppies for everyone?

  • 'Either Assad or we'll burn the country' - An excerpt from 'Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War'
    • I mostly agree with this, but I was also disturbed by the one sided nature of this article. That is, I accept that the Syrian government is guilty of massive war crimes and so is the opposition. I don't believe in the fairy tale that if only we had intervened more the war would have only lasted months-- in fact, this seems insane. It is the sort of thing Clinton would say.

      It would be good to read a piece which told the truth about the war crimes of all factions, but not another one of these Clinton style pro- intervention pieces. In this case, MW actually sank below the level of the NYT which recently ran an honest piece by Declan Walsh describing the war crimes in Aleppo by all sides.

  • Calling Israel a 'modern day miracle' and 'vibrant bloom in desert,' Clinton says BDS is anti-Semitic
    • Phil, it's not just absurd and wrong-- it's racist. A blanket accusation of racism against BDS is nakedly racist. This has to be said over and over again until people get the point. Currently we have the Orwellian situation where an utterly cynical liberal politician panders to bigots by making a racist charge of antisemitism and we allow them to frame the issue, where BDS advocates have to defend themselves. .

  • A new proposal for confederated states (without any idea of how to get Israel to comply)
    • Without necessarily agreeing with every word, that was a very good comment. Really more the kind of thing that should be a front page article, to stir discussion.

  • Anti-Semitism is considered a serious moral failing. But no one calls out anti-Palestinian bigotry
    • Clinton characterized the entire BDS movement as antisemitic. Which is nonsense, except on the assumption that Palestinians are inferior beings and so the only motivation for boycotts must be antisemitism.

    • Your usual kneejerk response. But if you actually thought about it you'd realize you are being self contradictory. College campuses are hardly representative of what one hears in the mainstream press or from politicians and normally you'd be the first to point this out-- you would claim that what campus activists say is not representative of the larger society.

      And no, Islamophobia isn't the same. Clinton calls out Trump's Islamophobia. Most liberals and the remaining conservatives with some sense of decency do the same-- that is, they do not approve of bigotry against American Muslims. That's true of you too. But Palestinians are a different matter-- Clinton just assumes she can make a blanket antisemitic accusation against pro Palestinian activists and not be condemned as a bigot.

  • Advice to British leftwingers on kicking racism out of their anti-Israel rhetoric
    • I agree with most of this. Point 1 is right-- there are way too many Nazi comparisons in politics and on this issue by both sides. It isn't antisemitic, usually. It's just people in an argument going over the top.

      On point 2, I think people are getting stuck on his " it's both" statement and not reading his explanation. He clearly doesn't think Zionists had the right to expel Palestinians -- I don't think he is just saying that the impulse behind Zionism wasn't racist, but to establish a place where Jews could live in peace. Theoretically this could have been done in some peaceful way without expelling anyone. Maybe. But anyway, given the history of antisemitism I think Cohen is only arguing that Zionism was an understandable reaction, and not defending how it actually ended out working.

      On point 3 he seems to be saying that hard working lobbyists did have an effect in creating an anti- Palestinian bias, but we shouldn't use terms like Zionist conspiracy. Fine with me. I'd rather hear details about how the influence works than use nebulous paranoid sounding terms.

  • Jeffrey Goldberg terrorizes peers into silence over his daily intellectual and moral outrages
  • Norman Finkelstein on Sanders, the first intifada, BDS, and ten years of unemployment
    • I can understand part of what Norman is arguing within an American context. I don't think Palestinians need pay any attention to what Americans will be comfortable with regarding 1ss vs 2ss. But I suspect he is right that many (most?) Americans probably think a 2ss is fair. A friend of mine ,not a close one so I didn't know he was interested in this issue, was angrily denouncing the shooting of the wounded Palestinian--this was in a conversation a few weeks ago. He brought it up. He also despised Hillary's AIPAC speech. But he clearly supported a 2ss, so for people like him Norman might be right.

      OTOH, Norman's claim that we shouldn't emphasize the longer history seems wrong to me. You pretty much have to or it is used against Palestinians. I have repeatedly seen pro Israel types online claim that Palestinian hostility is caused by antisemitism and not by the occupation because the hostility and terrorist attacks occurred before 67. It is hard to believe that the people making these claims are this ignorant, but I think they are. I also know someone who thought herself well-informed who knew about the killings of Jews by Palestinians in the 20's, but clearly knew nothing about any Jewish massacre of Palestinians in the 40's besides Deir Yassin. So if you don't talk about the older history a lot of pro Israel half truths will be believed as whole truths.

    • I'm sure he'd be against corporate control as well-- he is a pal of Chomsky. He wasn't giving his full view on political philosophy, just making his " I'm a pragmatist" pitch by pointing out that his ideal world is very far away from current reality.

      Not disagreeing with what you said here-- I just don't think Finkelstein would disagree either.

      This was a reply to Keith, but I think I stuck it in the wrong spot.

  • When 'Broad City' Went On Birthright, and taught us all a lesson about American Jews and Israel
    • I read the script of the movie we argued about and as I expected its politics were accurately described by the numerous critics-- I was even familiar with many of the incidents in the film. And on the politics, Asad AbuKhalil was right. That's all I cared about. I could explain that ten more times and it wouldn't matter.

      In this case I've said nothing about the show except to point out the inane nature of your criticism of this post. This blog could be about all sorts of other things, but when we wander off the main purpose it is usually to talk about something related--US foreign policy or racism, Syria, etc... There is no reason to see it become a place where the characters in your favorite shows are given a deep analysis, but you seem to think you are scoring a point with this. You are sometimes unfairly attacked here, I think, but you also write some silly churlish comments.

    • He could up the ante by talking about complicated nuance. That would set us all back on our heels.

    • "fact that mw publishes a post that adds zero insight into the characters of abby and ilana and focuses on anti zionism is utterly predictable. "

      The fact that a blog which is about Israeli oppression of the Palestinians and is anti-Zionist would publish a piece about a sitcom episode in terms of its anti-zionism is utterly predictable because it is what the blog is about. This point you're making isn't as devastating as you seem to think. In fact, it's rather a head scratcher as to why you think it's a point at all.

      I'm sure there are other places online where you could read about the characters on your favorite TV shows.

  • Donna Edwards's campaign unsettles the Israel lobby inside the Democratic Party
    • I know people on both sides are using that Tea party comparison, but I'd be careful about accepting it. It's already being used by Clintonites to discredit people to their left as fanatics.

  • Clinton will hold fundraiser in Tel Aviv
  • Obama's November surprise
    • What Hophmi is trying to say is that Clinton won, so the Palestinians can go frack themselves. As far as American politics goes, he's right.

    • I don't pretend to know why so many black and hispanic voters like Clinton, but they've been her chief source of strength. And in general, there may not be that many voters who would vote against her and for Sanders on this issue, or rather, the people who would vote for Sanders on this issue were probably voting for him on others as well.

      In general, American elections don't seem to hinge very much on what terrible things we do to other people. Lots of Democrats claimed to be outraged by the Bush invasion of Iraq. War crime, crime against humanity, worst blunder in US foreign policy history, etc... And who is the likely Democratic nominee? The great foreign policy wonk who supported the Iraq War.

  • 'Forward' columnist and Emily's List leader relate 'gigantic,' 'shocking' role of Jewish Democratic donors
    • Hophmi is usually wrong, but in the last couple of days I've agreed with him on two things, not because of his basic position but because people go too far.

      I've sort of given up on this, but the Nazi/Holocaust analogies are over the top. And the problem is that they aren't the sort of comparisons that will get people to see how bad Israel is. Because they are exaggerated, they are more likely to chase people away. When I talk to friends in real life about Israel, I talk about the bombing of homes in Gaza and the shooting and indiscriminate firepower used and fishermen shot and so on and I know I can back it all up. If I started making Holocaust analogies I think they'd write me off as a lunatic.

    • "rather on the very conscious, deliberate hasbara programs the Israeli government initiated after it found itself subjected to a lot of shockingly negative attention in the American media during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. I don’t think I was aware of any of that – I didn’t even have a TV at the time – but the clips of John Chancellor and other mainstream reporters and anchors talking about how Israel had become a regional bully, etc., are quite stunning"

      I remember some of this and I am embarrassed to say how much I fell for the hasbara. This was a couple of years before I stumbled across Chomsky's "The Fateful Triangle" in a bookstore, which turned my views around. Anyway, at the time I actually heard a friend of mine, apolitical, talking about how mad she was at "those stupid Israelis" because of their bombing of Lebanon. And I felt superior, because I had read an article in The New Republic explaining that the press had it all wrong.

      A year or two later and I had read Chomsky, but also, a year or two later and the Marine barracks bombing had totally erased any memory of Israeli brutality, along with the hasbara campaign. Sabra and Shatila, oddly enougth, played a role. The Western press is much more horrified by face to face massacres than by technological massacres conducted by bombing, at least if it is a Western country doing the bombing. And the line was that since the massacre was conducted by the Christian Phalangists and not by Israelis and since the Israelis investigated it, that meant the Israelis were civilized. I don't know that I've ever seen a mainstream reference to the bombing after the time period when it actually happened.

  • 'Anti-Zionism = anti-semitism' is a formal logical fallacy
    • Hophmi is right. If all Jews whose ancestors are not native to Palestine need to leave, then that's just a new form of ethnic cleansing. That's not what a 1ss with equal rights for everyone is supposed to mean.

  • Sanders' unprecedented call for 'justice and peace' marks decline of lobby's power
    • I was disgusted that he caved in to racist buffoons and suspended his outreach person, but he still went on national TV and said Israel killed 1500 civilians and wounded 10, 000. He also condemned Clinton for ignoring Palestinians and said Palestinian rights were important and he did this a few days before a New York primary. Now I could talk about what I didn't like -- in particular, the notion that Israel was defending itself-- but what Sanders did was as historic as you get in presidential politics. Nobody who is running a serious if long shot campaign has ever done it.

      If the discussion in American politics switches over to one where the human rights of both sides are recognized, it's going to make a difference. If it becomes an argument between liberal Zionists like Beinart and anti- Zionists like people here, that's a giant step forwards. That's why noxious people like Eliot Engel are so angry with Sanders. They want a world where all American politicians talk like Hillary.

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