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Total number of comments: 3044 (since 2009-07-31 03:28:07)

Donald Johnson

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

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  • 'Facebook' ads are way more important than the children we slaughter in some poor country
    • I was being ironic with the Our Democracy phrase. I can never remember their names, but some academics did a study a few years ago and found that policy choices align with the desires of the rich and corporations, and public opinion meant very little.

  • Bret Stephens equates anti-Zionists with white nationalists in the 'New York Times'
    • If the 7th Century conquerors expelled any of the local residents, they should be allowed back in. This is going to be tricky, going back dozens of generations and trying to figure out exactly whose ancestors were involved and how compensation should be awarded. It’s going to be even worse going back to the various atrocities described in the Bible and figuring out who should get what. And many of the residents probably stayed in place, maybe converting to new religions.

      This reference to things which happened 1300 and over 2000 years ago is so exactly like the Palestinian issue. I mean, who could even tell who had Palestinian ancestors in the distant days of 1948, 1967, or yesterday?

      Btw, the logic of your position is one of two things. The first is that people with some sort of claim should be allowed to live in Palestine, no matter how far back in time it might be. So you support a Palestinian right of return and a democratic one state solution for everybody. The other possibility is that you mean one particular group has exclusive claim to the land. Gosh, I wonder which it is?

    • There are no regular far left or antizionist columnists in the NYT. They have centrist liberals, conservatives and far right columnists like Stephens. Even apart from the Israel Palestine conflict the NYT has always been unbalanced in this fashion.

    • The problem with any form of nationalism comes about when the nationalism becomes a justification for human rights violations. This happened with Zionism very early on.. I can point this out without dragging the Nazis into it.

    • That’s true—Stephens represents the neocons and mainstream Republican warmongers ( I am not being snarky there) and they don’t trust Trump or the alt right. They don’t trust Trump because he is unstable. Even warmongers want someone stable in charge. They don’t like the alt right because they tend to be antisemites.

      And yes, he is talking to people who think you can’t support Palestinian rights unless you are an antisemite.

  • How Avi Shlaim moved from two-state solution to one-state solution
    • “ The Iron Wall” is a pretty good diplomatic history of Israel, in my admittedly not overly informed opinion. I have the hardback edition, when he was still optimistic about Barak ( this was around 1999). Those were the days when some liberal Zionists ( he was one then) were both optimistic about peace and honest about Israel’s sins.

    • This is your long winded way of claiming that Palestinians don’t want to live in peace in the same state with Israelis, so the conflict is their fault. You don’t state it plainly because it invites the obvious counter that Israelis don’t want to share one state with Palestinians.

  • The Russiagate farce, or how the Russians corrupted our pristine democracy
    • Mooser, I would like to see Trump removed, though mainly because I think he is unstable, if Russiagate does the trick, fine, but I don’t have to take all this melodrama about meddling very seriously.

      As for Russia, the Beltway crowd that hates Trump doesn’t hate him because they are a bunch of lefty peaceniks. They hate him because they don’t trust him to fight the new Cold War against Russia that they favor so much. They wanted outright war against Russia in Syria. The heroes of the Intelligence Community ( love that phrase) are the same lovable characters that supported torture and lied us into Iraq.

      It is possible to despise both Trump and many of Trumps opponents. Give it a shot.

    • “And knowing Donald Trump, his history, the people surrounding him, the campaign, isn’t it much more than likely that the accusations have no basis whatsoever?”

      The sarcasm is misplaced. I think Trump is corrupt and probably guilty of all kinds of things. And he would be fine colluding with Russia. He might have done it. I just think that of all the bad things Trump has done or is doing, getting some dirt about Clinton from Russian sources would have to be way down the list. Participating in a crime against humanity in Yemen seems a bit more important to me. Apparently not to you. See that. I just snarked at you exactly how you did to me. It proves nothing. But my point is that Yemen is so much more important than Russiagate there shouldn’t be any comparison and yet the media focuses on Russiagate. What a shock.

    • You are doing the same thing I did— you are listing things wrong with the current system, which is what you call whataboutery.

      As for designing a new system, that’s beyond me. Go for it— seriously— if you have something interesting to say about that.

    • “and should be harshly dealt with. If an enemy nation can manipulate our elections, it will be the end of democracy as we know it.”

      That’s exactly the view I was criticizing. We already live in a democracy where people foreign and domestic interfere by spreading falsehoods. Happens constantly, all the time and we go to war sometimes because of what the real pros at lying manage to talk us into doing. And now some of the very same people who lied us into Iraq are outraged by Russiagate.

      As for harshly dealt with, sorry, but that is good old American exceptionalism. If what Russia allegedly did deserves a harsh response, I don’t want to imagine what we deserve for the things we have done. Do you think the US should be bombed to rubble or invaded or occupied have death squads supported by foreign powers? Someone could call this whataboutery. Fine, it is. What makes us so damn special that others aiming mere propaganda at our citizens deserves a harsh response. But fine, be harsh. Maybe we could lie about the Russians or hack their systems. I bet we do that already. Did you have something harsher in mind? And what is the appropriate harsh response for our actions, the ones that cause innocent deaths by the thousands or more? Do you want to go down that route or do you think only people who hurt us deserve harsh responses?

    • “The article was largely whataboutery imo. “

      Not sure if you meant my post, but if so, yes, that is exactly what I intended it to be, because sometimes whataboutery is the right response. People who toss it out as a refutation need to explain why Facebook posts matter more than crimes against humanity. Taken at face value Russiagate is absolutely trivial compared to what we do, including to Russia in the recent past, and it is obscene to see the attention given this compared to the attention given our crimes.

      But you might have meant something else.

    • Yeah, I have seriously considered making the RT website a daily stop. I did watch one online discussion there.

      That was something I thought of adding, but I would have needed to do more research and the post is long as it is. The whole point of free speech is that if you have a wide variety of sources an intelligent person should be able to take the various biases into account. And I have heard that RT allows people like Chris Hedges (I think) to broadcast, but I'd have to look that up. Even if the Russian government is trying to "meddle", this is one form of meddling I don't have a problem with if they allow dissident Americans to have their own TV shows.

    • "They have two powerful and popular allies in doing so: Trump and – drumbeat – Israel"

      Agreed. This post was getting pretty long and unwieldy as it is, or I would have said more about various things.

      I am going to be offline for a couple of days, so if there are future comments I won't be responding until Sunday.

    • Thanks. I don't know how much of russiagate is true or false. My point is that even if you accept the most of the various claims at face value it all seems wildly overblown. People who shriek about foreign meddling and the threat to "our democracy" need to keep some sense of perspective. I think a lot of this is deliberate, to distract us from things which are more important where people are actually being killed.

      I agree that consortiumnews is a good source for counterarguments regarding the various claims, but I for one don't have the background to be able to judge things like, for instance, William Binney's argument about whether the emails were leaked or hacked.

  • Cartoon of Dershowitz mingled appropriate satire and anti-Semitic imagery
    • Mooser— Fair point. I only know a tiny bit about Nast, but did he portray people of certain ethnic groups as particularly repulsive nonhuman figures? That would be a problem.

      I personally don’t like dehumanizing caricatures no matter what the target. If Dershowitz looked like Michelangelo’s David he would still be morally repulsive. I would, if I had artistic talent, do what Matthew suggests and show Dersh’s smiling face as he squashes Palestinians and gives weapons to an Israeli soldier as he shoots a civilian. In fact, Dersh’s face on David’s statue doing those things would be a fairly effective cartoon, I think.

      Third and absolutely my last final final comment.

    • I don’t care what Dershowitz said about the cartoon. I judged the cartoon for myself. I think calling someone an apologist for war crimes isn’t being gentle.

      I could elaborate, but it’s probably better to be succinct, especially in a second last word.

    • Keith, I don’t see the need to make the choice. As the original post points out, there were other ways to make the point about Dershowitz. And those other ways would still portray him as an apologist for war crimes and the critics would still use the blood libel attack. But that attack is easy to refute— there is no blood libel since Israel really does kill civilians.

      Also, for me it’s not just the antisemitism which I assume wasn’t meant anyway. I think cartoons which depict people, even immoral people, as physically repulsive and inhuman are a bad idea. I despise Dershowitz and I was repelled by the cartoon on a visceral level.

      I am basically repeating myself, so if you want the last word go ahead— I sort of doubt I have anything to add.

    • Yep. Whether or not the cartoon makes him look like a spider, it does make him look physically repulsive and nonhuman and distracts from the point, which is that Dershowitz is an apologist for Israeli crimes.

      “ Why step into their trap?”

      Exactly. I’ve never understood why people find this so difficult.

  • Leon Wieseltier on the Jewish people sounds a lot like Richard Spencer on white people
    • I am going to do to you the thing I hate when it is done to me. You write a long post and someone sees one line, often tangential, that they strongly disagree with and they jump on that one line and ignore everything else. So to partly make up for what I am about to do, this was a great post.

      Okay, here is the one line—

      “The Peace of Westphalia set forth a norm against interference by states in the internal affairs of other states–not that Putin is listening.”

      I am agnostic on Russia gate, but assuming everything attributed to him was really done by him, what he did was small potatoes compared to what we do and have done. It doesn’t even look big compared to what others do to us. If you have real influence, you don’t need to do the stunts Putin has allegedly done. Politicians of both parties grovel before you.

  • On my sixth visit, I've never seen Gaza so devastated
    • Thanks Annie. What kind of mind reads this article about the effects of the blockade and then says it’s legal?

      Israelis and their supporters think BDS is viciously antisemitic when nothing anyone has proposed comes close to the effects of the Gaza blockade. I don’t know if this is racism or extreme narcissism or both.

  • The low-rent bullying of the Zionist ideologue
  • The problem with Miko Peled's 'Holocaust: yes or no'
    • Nobody here said Peled denied the Holocaus and I also don't see anyone saying that Holocaust deniers shouldn't have free speech. And you are doing exactly what you claim to condemn--you are smearing a bunch of people because they think Peled put his foot in his mouth. Evidently in order to believe that the Nakba was a crime against humanity, we also have to agree with you about whether Peled said something dumb. Sorry. Logic doesn't work that way. People can disagree about Peled's remarks and still agree on other things, even if you claim otherwise.

    • I think we are talking about different things. That might be happening a lot in this thread.

      I don’t think people should be jailed or forbidden to deny the Holocaust or to say various other stupid or offensive things, but Peled’s words as quoted in the article sounded like he was putting Holocaust denial in there alongside debate about Palestine. He isn’t a Holocaust denier, but it just seems dumb to link the issues like that. That’s how I see it in general. The last thing antizionists need to be doing is getting into arguments about the Holocaust, unless someone like Finkelstein does it. But he is an historian by training and isn’t remotely a Holocaust denier even if certain liars have claimed he is. One jerk, the editor of the Progressive years ago, said that many years ago on the basis that Finkelstein used Hilberg’s figure for the death toll. After that I rooted for the Progressive to go bankrupt. ( Don’t know whether it is still around.)

      Got off on a tangent.

      I think Yonah’s list of things are in response to people who say we should be free to discuss anything. Sure, we should have the civil right to free speech and to say anything, but it isn’t productive or decent or sensible to have discussions about the reality of the Holocaust. You are talking about something else— whether Holocaust denial is treated more seriously than Armenian genocide denial or other things. Yes, it is. You are right about that and right to say it is a double standard. Or anyway that is what I think your point is.

      One reason I have cut way back on getting into long discussions in these threads is that it sometimes seems like people are talking about 15 different things and arguing past each other. It’s a bit less frustrating just sitting back and trying to decide whether two other people are talking about the same thing than it is to get into it.

    • I agree with Yonah here. Yes, you should defend free speech, but no, that doesn’t mean you have to give a shout out to people who think the reality of the Holocaust is up for debate. Peled sounds like a good guy, but he said something dumb.

  • From Greta Gerwig to NYU, Israel has deep reservoir of cultural support in U.S.
    • The Iraq War isn't history. We are still bombing Iraq, most recently Mosul. The Syrian civil war was an outgrowth of Iraq, as was the rise of Isis. Millions of people are dead, wounded or refugees because of the Iraq War. Only an American would think that something that happened just 15 years ago and is still continuing is some remote bit of history irrelevant to current day concerns.

    • Gamal, I don’t think you have anything even remotely resembling an adequate approach to the subject or you would have written it by now. Nobody has an adequate approach justifying deliberate attacks on children. The best anyone does is to base it on notions of one group being collectively innocent because of oppression so members of that group can do whatever they want and nobody is allowed to mention it. This is how Israel defenders try to justify everything Israel does. The result is a lot of dishonest abstractions about what people actually do. And incidentally people who target civilians and take no responsibility for their actions usually don’t stop acting this way. They are sometimes willing to use the same reasoning to justify attacks on their own people.

      The French were utter barbarians, guilty of apartheid and massive war crimes. It doesn’t justify everything the FLN did. They were better at killing other Algerians than French anyway. They had an ongoing civil war with another rebel group throughout the war.

      The drone reference is your usual straw man, relevant if I defended it or the American support for Islamist rebels in Syria or other war crimes. I don’t.

    • Thanks.

    • Yonah—

      I am not going to comment much on what happened to Jews in the various Muslim countries because I don’t know enough. But “ exchange of populations” is a mealy mouthed Orwellian euphemism for a process that involved force and at least 20 massacres of varying sizes if I remember my Benny Morris. I didn’t like it too much in this post when Phil originally spoke of “ colonial targets” without specifying the nature of the target. The one thing that stuck with me when I read most of Orwell’s essays is that these vague fuzzy abstractions are what make atrocities more acceptable.

      Betty is talking about a mass atrocity and making it seem like a rational process where this group moved here and that group moved there. I will leave it to others to talk about the extent to which what happened to Jews in Muslim countries is comparable. In some cases it was voluntary but in others, I have heard, it was like the Nakba. If that is true, two wrongs don’t make a right. No group should be forcibly expelled from their homeland.

    • “Zohra Drif is a former Algerian freedom fighter who blew up a colonial target in Algiers 60 years ago”

      She blew up children, actually. Colonial children, no doubt. One five year old eating ice cream had her little colonial leg blown off.

    • “One million Jews escaped from Arab and African countries, so there was an exchange of populations.”

      Implicit Nakba denial.

  • In decertifying Iran deal, Trump caves to Israel. But who will say so?
    • There can be more than one root, Yonah. I think you have identified one, though I also think some of the Democrats are pretty hawkish, Clinton among others. Michael Morell the former CIA guy who endorsed Clinton said the US should be covertly assassinating Russians and Iranians in Syria. He said that on the Charlie Rose show last year. The lobby is a big part of this, but I also think people like Morell just like to have enemies.

  • As battle rages in UK Labour Party, Moshe Machover expelled after asserting 'Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism'
    • Thanks for the explanation, but the title is a reasonable summary of what their position amounts to even if they would deny it. In fact, to me at least the title understates the problem. The problem is that any criticism of Israel which makes some Jewish Israel defenders feel uncomfortable qualifies as antisemitic.

    • It's a waste of pixels to contradict the title of the post and then not explain what you mean.

    • That was probably overstated. He does take over some threads, but not all. And some points he makes are legitimate, but so mixed in with crap I don't personally think it is worth bothering about.

      So my revised suggestion is ignore him most of the time, but if some people want to refute some portion of his nonsense then they are doing a public service. If he does start taking over every thread then put a limit on him.

    • "he makes up all sorts of stuff and gets top comment all the time and basically holds court in the comment section making outlandish statements where every commenter and the entire conversation (thread after thread after thread) revolves around his outlandish anti semitic bullshit (“jews…. uniformly” etc etc).. it happens day after day after da"

      Yep. I usually just skim what he writes, but when I read it there is, to be fair, some legitimate points sometimes, but usually accompanied by outlandish or ridiculous or racist statements. I think that is intentional--mix together defensible statements with garbage. A single false statement could take paragraphs to refute and he churns this stuff out at an amazing rate. The sheer quantity is the problem. His output seems greater per day than what appears on the front page plus most of the threads are composed of his comments plus responses. When someone has the time to take over a comment section and make it about him it seems appropriate to put some sort of daily posting limit without banning him. No censorship, but it isn't supposed to be his blog even if he has time to act as if it is.

      Alternatively, we could just ignore him. That doesn't work in practice. Or just accept the comment section is about his views and not the posts.

  • My congressman, Ted Lieu, supports human rights everywhere but Palestine
    • "They see rejectionism, and rightfully blame that on Palestinians. "

      This and other statements, like your support for the Gaza War, are why I usually don't bother engaging you. Others do and good for them, but life is short. I used to try to discuss things with and then argue with someone like you years ago ( he was eventually banned, I think because he was trying to dominate almost every thread, as you tend to do). At first he seemed like someone with good intentions, but eventually it became clear that his ideology came first.

      I can't imagine what it would be like being Palestinian and having to live in a place where someone like you would be considered relatively liberal. And to be told constantly by such liberals to be more sensitive to the racists who had their boots on my neck.

  • Zohra Drif's memoir of Algeria's fight for freedom is stunning
  • Samuel Freedman extols Jewish 'love affair' with Jewish state-- while decrying 'dogma of white supremacy'
    • " liberal Zionism has enabled that permanence by failing to prevent meaningful criticism of the occupation in the United States; "

      I think that's a typo. I'm pretty sure you mean liberal Zionism prevented meaningful criticism. They were successful in that respect.

      Or maybe you meant they failed to present meaningful criticism of the occupation.

  • Between our life and our mother Algeria, we chose our mother: Excerpt from 'Inside the Battle of Algiers: Memoir of a Woman Freedom Fighter'
    • Horne's book on the Algerian war says that the population of Algeria before the French conquest was about 3 million and then a combination of war, disease and disastrous famine reduced it by 50 percent. So they were doing more than ending piracy. He then says that French medical advances caused a population explosion in the 20th century.

      Horne has a gift for understatement regarding the French and their, um, negative actions.. At the end of the book when guesstimating the independence war's death toll he refers to civilians killed " accidentally" in French military operations.

    • Thanks for the link. I have the first edition of Horne's book on the Algerian War-- he paints a very different picture, where a significant fraction of Algerian Jews sided with the Revolution, only to be expelled as a group at the end.

      I don't have a third source of info and can't judge, but either Avnery or Horne are being misleading.

    • That's a fair point. Fisk wrote about this in his book about the Mideast ten years ago. The civil war in the 90's was horrific. Not as bloody as the war for independence, but pretty bad.

      It doesn't justify the French in any way whatsoever. They were near genocidal conquerors, apartheid practioners, and slaughtered still more on their way out.

  • Why the split inside the Democratic Party over BDS needs to happen
    • Yonah, most of the finger wagging preachers within the US have been Zionists telling everyone precisely how much criticism of Israel is allowed before it becomes antisemitism and they generally see the boundary somewhere long before people got anywhere near antisemitism.
      You'd need a couple of generations of BDS proponents working hard to achieve parity in fingerwaving, assuming the Zionist side put down their fingers for that period of time.

      Attempt at humor aside, I mean all that seriously. But I also agree that some dialogue between different factions would be good. People like Beinart or better, David Shulman in the New York Review seem like natural people to talk to. People further to the right-- well, it's complicated. Yes, talk, but if people are wedded to their view of Israel as a state which has to be supported no matter what then politically they are acting like the white Southerners who hated MLK and saw the civil rights movement as a personal insult to them and their ancestors and heritage. I knew people like that when I grew up down South-- we probably all had some subconscious racism, but with a lot of people it was right there out in the open. You can try to change everybody's mind in favor of equal rights for everyone, but you can't expect to succeed and shouldn't wait to apply pressure until all the ideologues on the other side have been won over.

      What sort of things would you want to see JVP doing that would win some Zionists over to supporting Palestinian equal rights? I guess I should have started with that.

      Gotta google " chockma", unless that was a typo.

      Found it. Chokma meaning wisdom.

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  • Rachel Maddow's lineup of crazy U.N. speeches spotlights Arafat-- and leaves out Netanyahu!
    • She's a centrist liberal, more of an entertainer than a serious journalist. Her show is shallow and mainly interesting if you are a political junkie who enjoys political gossip about how moronic the Republicans are, an admittedly endless subject. . She tosses in some often silly background in her stories. She has an hour every night five days a week and could, in theory, dive deeply into various issues, but for whatever reason she generally doesn't do that. If one wants centrist liberal mainstream coverage of politics you would be much better off reading the NYT or the New Yorker with all their flaws than wasting five hours a week on Maddow.

    • I used to watch her semi regularly, maybe 20 percent of the time and never understood why people like her so much. She is not that progressive in foreign policy-- if she were she would have to take a long hard look at many Democrats and not just on Palestine. This is true of most other MSNBC hosts afaik, except occasionally Chris Hayes, but I stopped watching them all last year.

      Plus I think she treats her audience like we are morons. Or it comes across that way to me.

  • Israel lobby is never a story (for media that is in bed with the lobby)
    • Presidents for better or worse tend to run US foreign policy, though Congress can step in and oppose them. When the Obama Administration negotiated the Iran treaty it was engaged in US foreign policy and not acting out Obama's private hobby. Netanyahu opposed it. He also opposed Obama's re- election.

    • I fall somewhere in- between. The Israel Lobby is powerful, but doesn't always get its way and we would be behaving badly in somewhat different ways if they didn't exist.

      As an example, a few months ago the Senate voted in favor of Trump's Saudi arms package. AIPAC expressed reservations because it would weaken Israel's qualitative edge. It passed. Most Republicans supported it and most Democrats opposed it.

      The fight was about the bombing of Yemen and some Democrats and a few Republicans opposed supplying the Saudis with weapons they would use on Yemen. Last year with Obama in office, a large number of Democrats sided with Obama and most Republicans in favor of supplying the Saudis. This year two things changed. It is now Trump's war and AIPAC expressed reservations, and maybe some people had a genuine change of heart ( doubtful), so the vote was much closer.

      But the Saudis still won.

  • Nathan Englander, author of new Israel thriller, wants 'as many passports as I can get'
    • His novel might be good for other reasons, but it doesn't sound like he could say anything interesting about the conflict except by accident, unless it is a portrait of people like him who support Israel but don't know much about the issues and haven't given them much thought. Refusing to do research on a subject before writing a novel about it seems a bit strange to me.

  • Democratic candidate for Illinois gov'r fires his running mate over BDS
    • I lost respect for MJ when he said Ali Abunimah was an antisemite based on his stupid gut feeling, but that was a very good article.

  • Gideon Levy calls out Israel's fundamental, racist religion: Zionism
    • Yakov's piece was great. I wish he was still posting here, but maybe the issue gets more coverage if people post in other places.

  • Blunt references to Israeli apartheid are published by 'Peace Now' and 'The New Yorker'
    • Gonna be offline for a couple days, so whatever response you make I won't see for a bit.

    • Nuance, Yonah. If you didn't spend so much time whining you would be able to spot it. I acknowledged the Nakba part, for instance, but thought the article then veered into the standard format where liberal Zionists complaining about Gaza rockets set the framework.

      Phil is a glass half full type of guy. He sees positive trends and they are there, while I pointed out what looks like a sort of ideological rearguard action. Israel is an apartheid state which began with ethnic cleansing, but Remnick still allowed Israelis complaining about Gaza rockets to dominate the article.

      I get the impression you realize what a train wreck Israel is from a human rights pov and more and more people are starting to see through the mythology surrounding it and no longer feel compelled to pay respects to liberal Zionist shibboleths and it both worries and angers you. It should. Israel has frittered away decades and its supporters have been its enablers. There are two types of liberal Zionists. The smart ones like Beinart understand what is happening. The other kind constantly look for excuses to justify why, in theory, it might be nice to treat Palestinians like human beings, but gosh, there is no one to talk to and the antiZionists are just so mean. You seem to be both types simultaneously, a walking breathing quantum superposition of smart and dumb.

  • Shooting and crying, in 'The New Yorker'
    • If I recall correctly, David Shulman is a very liberal Zionist, but he works with Palestinians. I think ( again if memory serves) he participates in protests where sometimes people get beaten up.

      http://www.nybooks.com/contributors/david-shulman/

      As a coward myself I am not suggesting you go out there and get yourself beaten up, but there are apparently groups you could work with.

    • I get the impression-- I am not there-- that many Palestinians would be willing to talk to Israelis willing to work with them as equals ( not trying to explain to them that they must be willing to accept scraps) in the struggle for a society where everyone has equal rights. You can't find any groups like that? I don't know if you are in the US or over there. Here you could join JVP.

      There are people in the comments here who want an Algerian solution and you can't talk to them, but this is a blog comment section. Those nearly always become dominated by a particular portion of the political spectrum and if you fall outside it you need a thick skin or else you need to be a troll.

      As for the article you might be right-- if people just read the first page and skip the rest it will do good. If they read all the way through it morphs into liberal Zionist apologetics and not very liberal either. Beinart is better.

    • "Talk to Palestinians. "

      Now that was silly of me. There is no one to talk to. After the disillusionment of the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada, liberal Zionists have no one to talk to. That Palestinians lost many more due to Israeli violence must mean they have no one to talk to either. That they have suffered repeated brutal slaughters in Gaza must have really dried up casual conversation.

      So the only option left is for liberal Zionists to talk to Westerners, explaining the fact that there is no one to talk to and that Israelis were deeply disillusioned by the terrorism of the Second Intifada. People in the US have never heard this point of view, not more than 10,000 times or so. Maybe we get tired of the preaching or did that ever cross your mind?

      You might want to think about the problems in Israeli society and how they are ever going to reach a point where the two sides can live together in peace and spend just a bit less time worrying about how American lefties are less and less sympathetic to the usual excuses. We aren't the ones who the Israelis bomb and we aren't the ones firing rockets. We are only the ones whose political representatives help keep Israel's bomb supply well stocked.

    • Don't be silly, yonah. I often appreciate your pov. You hear from me when I strongly disagree.

      As for preaching, right back at you. You really seem blind to your own behavior sometimes. And you didn't bother to criticize my post with something specific, but struck your characteristic world weary above it all pose. Preach it, brother.

      On the 2nd intifada and how Israelis were disillusioned we have heard it before God knows how many times and I don't doubt for a second that Israelis see it that way and yes, it is human nature to focus on your own suffering, but--0hmigosh, I am preaching. If I responded with facts or in any way that wasn't completely affirming it would be preaching . If I say what I favor, same thing.

      Anyway, it doesn't matter what I think. Talk to Palestinians. And ask why the New Yorker still thinks it has to filter its reporting through a liberal Zionist pov.

    • Interesting. Now it is torturing and crying.

      I wondered a little about the motive for Remnick writing this piece, but left my speculation out of the post. I am guessing Israel is so far right at this point that Remnick wants to humanize them by allowing two walking stereotypes of tough sensitive moderately liberal Israelis be the face of Israel. They get to present their views as the truth. Buttu is there at the end as a token Palestinian voice.

  • The United State of Israel and Palestine
    • "A bi-national State of equal citizens is exactly what I have proposed. Within that State, the two nations will have autonomy over matters of importance to their national identity. What’s not to like?"

      I agree with the goal of equal rights for everyone. Whether the binational state idea is the right one I couldn't say. The big problem is getting to whatever version of the final goal Palestinians want. In South Africa there was tremendous outside pressure and there wasn't this notion that a multiethnic state was equivalent to South Africa's destruction. Or rather, there was, but it wasn't so widespread among liberals. Until the world sees equal rights as the desired goal we won't have the sort of pressure that would be needed.

  • Jews argue whether Zionism is racism -- in the Forward!
    • "My point is in response to the idea that the linking of Zionism and Racism in 1975 was refuted at the time by an impressive list of civil rights icons who were intimately familiar with racism and disputed the idea. "

      Jon, if you were just making an historical point, then yes, that was an interesting link.

    • I read the link. The authors ignore the Nakba--chances are good they know nothing about it or didnt want to know about it. If you start off ignoring the crimes committed against Palestinians in order to create Israel, then obviously criticism of Israel will seem unfair and bigoted. Here is a sample--

      "We support the rights of the Palestinians to genuine self- determination, but not at the expense of the rights of Jews to independence and statehood, and not at the command of economic blackmailers or of terrorists who would force their own “solution” at the point of a gun."

      Israel exists as a Jewish state because Palestinians were driven out at gunpoint.

  • Editors of 'Assuming Boycott' anthology speak out against anti-Semitism controversy at Queens Museum
    • He thinks Palestinians should fight for their rights and avoid antisemitism by using some fair method for selecting a target for boycotting. For instance, they could put a world map on the wall, blindfold themselves, and throw darts at it. If the first country struck was Papua New Guinea, and they dutifully launched a boycott against it, that would demonstrate their lack of antisemitic intent.

    • It is completely appropriate that the writers of this piece would defend Raicovich. But what we really need is an article about the people and/ or organizations who are attacking her. What is their history on the subject of Israel and Palestine? What do they say about Israeli oppression of Palestinians? Why aren't they being questioned about their bigoted assumptions?

    • Kind of blowing my own horn here a bit, but this is why I wrote that piece about BDS and antizionism being equated with antisemitism.

      In short, advocates of Palestinian rights have got to stop playing defense on this subject. The accusations are blatantly racist against Palestinians because it assumes they have no right to use nonviolent protest methods against the government or ideology that strips them of their rights. It assumes that anyone who supports BDS must be motivated by hatred against Jews, the clear implication being that Palestinian rights are too trivial a matter to be worth supporting and so you must really be a Nazi.

      Too many articles in this subject adopt the defensive position, which gives the casual observer not directly involved the impression that it is people concerned in good faith about antisemitism on the one side vs people who are accused of antisemitism in the other. But the shoe should be on the other foot here-- the accusers are the ones who are racist and they aren't challenged on this so long as we stay within the framework of the accusers.

      Now there can be antisemites on the pro Palestinian side, but you need actual evidence of this before making the accusation in good faith and support for BDS is not that evidence. Rather the reverse-- people who make that accusation simply because someone supports BDS are unknowingly exposing their own bigotry or at best, their own ignorance of the implications of what they are saying.

      I feel like someone should make this point over and over again until it becomes a well known meme in itself. People who attack BDS as antisemitic are racist. People who say antizionism is antisemitism are racist.

  • If you can't say 'equal rights,' I can't work with you
    • I thought it was a good piece. The conditions just spell out what equal rights should mean for the most part. I suppose the phrase " can't work with you" rubs you the wrong way, but if you agree with the substance then try remembering that it doesn't actually matter if you want Robert Cohen as your date. If he asks you for one you can turn him down.

  • McMaster solidifies power at NSC -- and supports Iran deal, sees Israel as occupier
  • Ensconced at New York Times, pro-Israel advocate Bari Weiss smears Sarsour as a 'hater'
    • This was encouraging. I don't know who Ryan Cooper is beyond having seen the name but in this piece about the fight between centrist and leftist Democrats, Cooper mentions Bari Weiss's piece and he portrays it as the cynical attack it was--

      https://theweek.com/articles/715955/why-leftists-dont-trust-kamala-harris-cory-booker-deval-patrick

    • Thanks, Yonah. I don't mind the personal insult-- there is some truth to it, but you might want to look in the mirror. You're a crotchety sort, not that this is always bad.

    • You just did it again, Yonah. You trivialized the issue of pervasive racism against Palestinians. In fact, you sidestepped it with some silliness about who is more famous. Evidently the racism issue is either unimportant to you or else, and I would prefer to believe this, it makes you uncomfortable so you prefer to dodge it.

    • If that's true, yes. I am qualifying everything I say here because I don't have the time to look into the cop killing accusations from both sides, but suppose Sarsour is dead wrong. Then go ahead and criticize her for that issue.

      But don't surrender to the bigots. It is a kind of false pragmatism that says we should let the bigots frame the debate. If Sarsour really is wrong on the other issues, Bari Weiss is still a racist for claiming Sarsour's antiZionist tweets are hate. It really is possible to hold multiple thoughts in one's head simultaneously, but Ms. Weiss is counting on people to read her column and lump everything into one big category called " hate".

    • Yonah, your language shows you are deeply uncomfortable with the issue here, so you employ distraction and trivializing words to evade the point of the post. You want it to be about attacking and defending. Anything rather than face the issue.

      The issue is that many defenders of Israel employ arguments that are obviously and transparently racist and they get away with it because we are socialized to accept their framing or risk being called haters or antisemites. So Bari Weiss calls Sarsour a hater because she said Zionism was creepy, but Zionism is the ideology that justified the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and their continued oppression and Sarsour is of Palestinian background. And this isn't just Bari Weiss vs Linda Sarsour. This racist attitude is pervasive in the US. We have a situation where racists managed to convince most liberals that the group being oppressed is acting hateful if they criticize the ideology that justifies their oppression.

      But by all means, try to make this post about something trivial, rather than an example of pervasive racism. It's your best option if you don't want to confront it.

    • Also, Yonah, the assumption Ms. Weiss makes is that some people have views which are so indecent they shouldn't be tolerated in political life. Does this also apply to people who are so lacking in basic empathy they think it is an outrage that a Palestinian despises Zionism?

      And what about politicians and pundits who think that only antisemitism could explain why people want to use traditional nonviolent modes of protest against Israel? In other words, Palestinians don't have any right to use pressure on their own behalf and anyone who thinks they do must be an antisemite. It's almost like the mainstream in America thinks Palestinians are subhuman.

      What is bad about the Weiss column is that she is speaking from a position of privilege and she is totally oblivious of the fact. Or maybe not. People like Sarsour go against the natural order of things, with her critical tweets about Zionism. It is up to Bari Weiss to restore balance to the force.

      And before you ask, I had never heard of the cop killing case. I don't sympathize with cop killers, but I also don't have any interest in going through the details of the case. Maybe Sarsour was wrong for all I know. On Ali, I have the impression she is the Gilad Atzmon figure for Islam. I have little interest in her or him. Whether Sarsour was nasty I don't know. Sarsour might well have said stupid or insensitive things. If so, she is no different from most mainstream figures-- she has just been insensitive in ways that offend the mainstream. Treating Palestinians with contempt and condescension is the mainstream norm, so Bari Weiss has nothing to worry about.

    • Why should they do anything of the sort? They can give their opinions if they want on these other topics , if they want to do the research necessary to determine just exactly what Sarsour thinks but the issue isn't whether Sarsour is above criticism. Maybe she has said stupid or indefensible things or maybe Weiss is distorting what she said or maybe it is a bit of both. The point is that Bari Weiss kicks off her attack by stating that antizionism is a form of " hate"' equivalent to supporting genital mutillation and cop killing. Do you understand the extraordinary level of arrogance it takes for Weiss to accuse a Palestinian American of hate because she doesn't respect Zionism?

    • You guys are optimists. There will only be a debate if enough people call her out for it.

      Weiss herself does not want a debate-- as you say, she is on a mission to marginalize her enemies. She mentions the antiZionist tweet first and then quickly moves on to Sarsour's alleged support for Shariah law and then there is a reference to genital mutilation and later cop killing. I don't follow Sarsour so I don't know about what she has or hasn't said but it is clear what Weiss is doing. She wants her readers to lump all these things together as examples of hate, not something any good liberal would want to touch with a barge pole. The messaging on antiZionism as evil is almost subliminal. It's there, and then she goes into all the other topics. Antizionism, genital mutilation, oppression of women, copkilling--all the same, nothing to debate.

  • Debunking the 2 claims: anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, and BDS unfairly singles out Israel
    • "You really can't dismiss 24 percent of the Israeli Palestinian population."

      We are going down a rabbit hole here. If that 24 percent is okay being second class citizens it's no skin off my nose, but it doesn't prove anything about the morality of Israel's actions in the WB or Gaza or the ethnic cleansing in 48 and so on. Also, in America you could get 24 percent of the population supporting almost anything. Trump, for instance.

      Also, I wouldn't care myself about living in a Jewish state if I had the same rights as everyone else and there were no other major human rights issues at stake.

      This all seems like it is wandering rather far from the point. The point is that many on the Zionist side ( and again to be fair, not all) want to define the issue in such a way that Zionism is beyond question and anyone who questions it is an antisemite. This is a racist lie. This doesn't change because some Palestinian Israeli citizens give answers to poll questions that make you feel better.

    • "Holy shit! I take your point, but; there’s a big difference between the societal wart of social discrimination or snobbery and a system of discriminatory laws in Israel."

      You're right. I was leaning over backwards to be fair-- the Palestinian citizens in Israel do have the vote at least and if you just took their plight in isolation and there was no occupation and no Gaza blockade and there had never been a Nakba, we wouldn't be talking about Israel very much. But there is an occupation which is an apartheid like system and all the rest and Jon seems determined to ignore it.

      I am, and this isn't snark, disappointed. I thought he was talking about a 1ss. Silly of me. He only meant the current situation wasn't so bad as far as he was concerned and was not talking about some future situation where everyone has equal rights.

      Annie caught that bit about gay marriage. That should have been a clue to me Jon wasn't really conceding anything much.

    • Well, that didn't last. Here I thought Jon was getting reasonable but now he is citing the equivalent of Ben Carson on race relations in America.

      If we were only discussing the situation of Palestinian citizens within Israel and they were the only Palestinians anywhere in the world, then this blog wouldn't exist. They are discriminated against, but sure, every society has warts. Maybe this wart defense needs an essay.

      But those aren't the only Palestinians. Many were expelled from their homes and millions now live under apartheid in the WB or under a very harsh blockade set up by Israel and Egypt. Apparently when Jon was talking about living in peace in one country he was only referring to minority groups ( emphasis on minority) within Israel. If Jews were under blockade in Gaza or under apartheid in the WB I doubt we would be talking about warts here.

      And Jon apparently wasn't referring to everyone living in peace in a single unified state. He was ignoring the massive human rights violations and just focusing on people who are citizens inside the 67 lines.

    • MHughes--"I think that Donald assumes that the ideology or principles that justify what the Palestinians have suffered is properly called Zionism"

      Yes. As I just wrote Jon, sure, I gather there were other forms of Zionism that didn't involve somehow getting rid of enough Palestinians to form a majority Jewish state. But those alternate forms are not the ones that prevailed. Most people nowadays mean Zionism as the ideology that produced Israel.

    • Finally, Jon, an actual response to what I wrote. But you are missing the point. Yes, in real life people are complicated and can't be lumped into nice clean categories as required by ideologies. And I don't doubt that some Palestinian citizens of Israel support the state.

      But it is the Zionist side (not all of you) who came up with that lovely slogan that antizionism is the same as antisemitism. You acknowledge that this isn't so and that Palestinians, for instance, can object to the ideology without being antisemitic. Good.

      The problem is that the form of Zionism which prevailed is the one which wanted a majority Jewish state in a land where that would not have been possible without getting rid of a lot of Palestinians. I doubt many Palestinians think that the Nakba was morally justified, even if they happen to be citizens of Israel and happen to be reasonably content with their lives. As I said in my previous response, yes, there were some Zionists who had no intention of forming a state that involved pushing out enough Palestinians so the Jews would have a majority. I sympathize with people who feel a religious or cultural connection to the land or who wanted a refuge from antisemitism. Where it went wrong was with the people who thought they had a right to expel Palestinians to achieve their dream.

      As for whether everyone can live together in peace, I hope so. One step people could take towards that would be acknowledging the massive injustices that were a part of Israel's founding. The insistence that antizionism is a form of antisemitism is taking a giant step in the wrong direction.

    • Um, Jon, where did you get that interpretation of my beliefs? You made it up. My ideal solution , not that this matters, is a 1ss with equal rights for everyone, not a zero sum game. Failing that, if the Palestinians were willing to settle for a 2ss why would I object? But it would have to be one they were happy with, not one shoved down their throats by the US.

      I get the distinct impression you can't argue fairly on this topic, so you fall back on argument from authority and straw men projections to make yourself feel good. But the issue is pretty straightforward. It is people in the Zionist side who insist that everyone chant antizionism is antisemitism and some of them even require Palestinians to say this -- Bari Weiss in the NYT today is an example. It shows a level of arrogance that is astonishing and yet most of us in the West treat that slogan as though it had to be taken seriously. Frankly, it should be treated as racist. The only excuse for individuals who believe it is that in the US at least are told this so often people often just accept it without thinking through the ( obvious) implications. Btw, I don't think all people on the Zionist side are this clueless. I would be surprised if Peter Beinart, for instance, jumped all over Linda Sarsour for saying nasty things about Zionism, but Bari Weiss in the NYT today thinks it is " hate" for a Palestinian- American to do this.

      And as Annie said, actually existing Zionism is not about everyone living in the same state with equal rights. I gather there were some cultural Zionists in the early days who wanted Jews to move there without taking land or rights from the people already there. If that version of Zionism had been the dominant one, this blog wouldn't exist.

    • "The conventional line of thought seems to go the other way: Zionism is so clearly and obviously valid that any who say ‘They had and have no right to do this to me’ can only be motivated, since they have no remotely good reasons, by prejudice, presumably anti-Semitism."

      Yes, and the corollary is that Palestinians are lesser beings, though since in the modern era amongst self-described liberals you can't say explicitly racist things, they dance around it instead, saying as little about the Palestinians as possible. My local legislature passed an anti-BDS proposal a couple months ago and it is basically about how awful the BDS movement is and how wonderful Israel is. There is not one word mentioning the Palestinians and the only indirect allusion to them is a call for interfaith dialogue. Dialogue about what? If you went by the resolution, it could only be about how wonderful Israel is and whether we are being insufficiently supportive.

      The interesting thing about my post is that it was necessary to say it at all. It would be too obvious to need spelling out for a Palestinian or for that matter any other group victimized by a settler colonialist state, but most of us in the West are immersed in language that privileges the Israeli viewpoint--their rights are sacrosanct, beyond question, and Palestinians are treated as a problem, not people with equal rights, but people who are an embarrassment and who need to be finessed in some fashion that doesn't inconvenience the Israelis, the people who matter, too much. Nobody in liberal circles wants to go back to full fledged 19th century racist thinking, so they don't usually want to say that the Palestinians deserved to be expelled, but they also don't want to talk about it if at all possible.

      Basically, with Western liberals what drives this is guilt over the long history of Western antisemitism. The expulsion of the Palestinians is, using Al Gore's phrase about a different subject, an inconvenient truth. So you get comments like the one by Pope Francis that jon66 quoted above.

    • Thanks Annie.

    • No, Nathan, I don't want to rewrite the title because I wasn't writing about antisemitism, but about anti-Palestinian racism. I wanted the post to be relatively short because I wanted to make a couple of points as clearly as possible. If I got into the issue about who really is an antisemite it would be a different subject. Tony Klug's piece and the comment section underneath it is the natural place for that discussion.

      I am repeating myself, but for the sake of clarity there is a difference between saying " some people who criticize Zionism are or might be antisemites" and " antizionism is a form of antisemitism". The problem is that a great many people on the pro Israel side conflate these two points, but as I point out in the post, the second claim is actually racist against Palestinians. I think in some cases the racism might be subconscious, but in any case the accusation creates a context where Israeli rights are placed on a pedestal and Palestinians and their sympathizers are considered guilty until proven innocent. And they are only innocent if they grant Israel's right to expel enough Palestinians to create a Jewish state. I think that is the idea. The pro Israel side wants to frame the debate in such a way that people feel they have to walk on eggshells when criticizing Israel.

      It's a point which in the US mostly goes unacknowledged because people feel they have to steer clear of any criticism of Zionism or be branded antisemitic. So I wanted to make that point without getting into the question of who really is an antisemite, because in the US any discussion of BDS nearly always focuses on that rather than the racism on the other side.

      My short little post and the points I wanted to make would get swallowed up having to explain this.

    • I see what you mean, but I don't actually have editorial control here. I send things in and someone else posts them. Hopefully most people know what I meant to say.

    • Thanks annie. I hadn't seen it, but I just read it now and it's very worth reading.

    • "In the above article, the context has been switched on us. "

      Exactly. The whole point of the "antizionism is antisemitism" claim is to force the issue into a context where the only question is whether advocates of basic Palestinian human rights must be anti-Semites and it does this by asserting it as an obvious truth right from the very start. I "changed the context" by pointing out that if it is an obvious moral truth then it applies to everyone and so it logically follows that Palestinians must be morally obligated to cheer for their own expulsion. You don't like it. Well, too bad, because that's the standard claim.

      You tell us that the real issue is whether there are anti-Zionist activists in the west who are motivated by anti-Semitic prejudice. Well, if that's the real issue then people should state that plainly, but they don't want to, because they like the blanket claim that antizionism is necessarily antisemitism too much to give it up. They don't want to say that some antizionists are motivated by moral consistency on basic human rights issues, while others might be motivated by antisemitism. They want it to be a blanket charge against all antizionists.

      As for whether some are motivated by antisemitism, I think so. Am I going to write it? I did so, several years ago. But it is interesting that to you, that should have been the real focus of the article that I wrote--what I chose to concentrate on is somehow secondary, not worth talking about at all, a distraction from the real issue. Evidently a false charge of antisemitism which is racist when examined is not important.

      Which brings me to what could have been a followup--why is it that in the Western mainstream we talk so much about antisemitism amongst pro-Palestinian activists (and I agree it should be discussed) and almost never about the explicit or implicit racism amongst those who support Israel? That is almost universal. And that's the real point of my post--even people who see themselves as wishing the best for both sides (and often sincerely so) often adopt a subconsciously racist attitude about whose rights are beyond question and whose rights are subject to negotiation. And which forms of bigotry deserve to be written about and which ones don't. So we end up with politicians both liberal and conservative claiming that BDS is antisemitic, because they adopt the views I write about in this post. But you don't want me to write about that. It's not important to you.

    • Argument from authority--Jon66

      I noticed you didn't try to engage my argument, presumably because it is easier to make the case for Zionism if you utterly ignore the most basic human rights of Palestinians--in fact, the two passages you cite don't even acknowledge their existence, other than vague references to political issues and in MLK's case "the Arab side", which probably means the surrounding countries more than the Palestinians. The Pope Francis quote is incredibly feeble, because of that "there may be political disagreements between governments and on political issues". Taken at face value, his quote says that Israel's right to exist in safety and prosperity is absolute, but the rights of Palestinians (who again aren't even mentioned) are political issues, presumably things we can argue about and disagree on. King's comment is worse. It is actually the opposite of the truth. Israel was not then and is not now an example of how a desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. That claim only makes sense if you think of Palestinians as non-existent or as subhuman.

      It doesn't matter who says the things you tell me King and Pope Francis have said. Taken literally, they are dehumanizing to the Palestinians. I suspect I understand the politics of it. The Pope is the head of the Church which has a long and discreditable record of antisemitism--only in the post WWII era did they face up to it. As Marc Ellis as said in other posts, this is the problem that pops up with well-intentioned liberal Christians when the issue of Palestinians comes up. They have just gone through a period of self-examination where they look at their own history and how they have contributed to 2000 years of oppression of Jews and now they are faced with the problem that Israel is oppressing the Palestinians. If they take a stand they will be accused of falling back into Christian antisemitism. So they talk mush instead. I don't know enough about what MLK knew or didn't know about the Palestinians, but he might have believed the guff that was being spread back then about how the refugees only fled on Arab orders, hoping to come back after the Jews were expelled so they could loot the Jewish homes. He gives no indication of understanding anything about what was done to the Palestinians and the part about Israel being an oasis of brotherhood is sheer nonsense.

      One reason I kept my post short is because if I got into all the counterarguments of who said what it would turn into a book and you really don't have to do this to see that the counterarguments are wrong. Your reply, an argument from authority, shows that you understand this.

  • Israeli paper investigates 50-year-ago attack on 'USS Liberty,' while US papers leave it in the letters column
    • The Dura shooting. Almost forgot about that. The Israel side thought it important to try to disprove that because it was or seemed to be ( I would have to reread a lot to take a side) a filmed example of Israelis shooting at a child. From a PR standpoint it was a disaster, as Israel still tried to keep people in the US believing the purity of arms myth.

      That ship has sailed. We've had a couple of slaughters in Gaza, one in Lebanon and civilians being shot on numerous occasions. Anyone who thinks Israel doesn't commit war crimes as a matter of policy is deluded.

      Speaking of ships, one thing that deserves more notice in the arguments over the Liberty is the machine gunning of the life rafts. No one on that ship was going to be allowed to survive even if they tried to abandon ship. Even if you think the Israelis thought it was an Egyptian ship that little detail is yet another blow to the purity of arms myth. It's not an uncommon sort of war crime -- I remember reading similar things going on in the Pacific War in WW2-- but it ought to embarrass all the myth makers about how wonderful the Israeli military is. If they were murdering supposed Egyptian sailors then they were probably murdering captured Egyptian soldiers. If they knew it was American it's hard to imagine them admitting it even if they had a plausible scapegoat somewhere in the chain of command.

    • Pat Lang saw the NSA transcripts--

      http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/07/httpwwwhaaretzcomus-news1800584.html

      That is some fog. Maybe in the heat of battle the Israelis were confused and thought the US was an Arab country.

      Seriously, I have never immersed myself in this subject and haven't read, for example, Oren's book and so do not know how he gets around this sort of thing. But it sure looks like the US government was scared of a serious investigation. And the arguments of Oren and Segev as cited in the Haaretz piece boil down to questioning the motive and claiming that the top Israelis couldn't have been that crazy. Well, if they were that crazy, they got away with it.

      Here is a summary at Ennes's site--

      http://www.gtr5.com/summary_of_events.htm

  • Defense of liberalism in 'NYT' paints left as bullies but doesn't dare to mention Iraq war
    • Terms mean whatever common usage dictates, or anyway I find it easier to think of it that way. Your definition makes sense, but in the usage of the NYT and probably the majority of Americans Clinton is a liberal and the NYT is a liberal paper.

    • You're welcome.

  • Church leaders must be willing to pay a price for Palestinian solidarity
    • They almost never have to look them in the eye, so they are more worried about being accused of Christian antisemitism. It probably doesn't cross their minds that Israel defenders are anti Palestinian racists.

      Also, I watched an online video of the discussion of the anti BDS resolution at the Westchester County legislature a couple months ago. ( I might find the link later.). What struck me was how aggressive the pro Israel side was-- one guy who intended to move to Israel soon iirc was blatant with the claim that BDS was antisemitic. The whole resolution assumed that. In contrast, one of theopponents of BDS bent over backwards to try to be conciliatory. He said that if we sat down together we would probably find we agreed on most things. So it was like the Yeats poem, with the best lacking conviction and the worst being filled with passionate intensity. The liberal legislators thought the resolution was a compromise because it spat on the BDS movement, but didn't require the County to cease doing business with people who boycott Israel.

      That's the climate in liberal America. It never crosses their minds on this subject that the real bigots are the people pushing anti BDS resolutions.

  • A house cat is smaller than an aircraft carrier, not larger-- in world of 'NYT' correction
    • Good analogy. They would probably take the same approach-- acknowledge if pressed that a rock thrown by a boy does have less energy than an artillery projectile traveling at 1 km per second.

      Gotta look at Walker's link.

    • I skimmed through the link above ( only skimmed-- reading it seriously would be a major project) and to get to 0.5 c using his assumptions requires a mass ratio close to 30. So it would take 150 kilograms of matter and antimatter to get the 5 kilos up to that speed.

      You would calculate the number to be much less if you see the standard relativistic rocket equation ( given in the following link) and assumed a much higher exhaust velocity as a science fiction writer probably would have done or as I would have done but according to the preceding link the standard equation isn't accurate for antimatter powered rockets and reality is an ugly thing for people who want to go zipping along at a respectable fraction of c.

      http://www.relativitycalculator.com/images/rocket_equations/AIAA.pdf

      Anyway, back to more normal mondoweiss topics. I thought it was interesting how the NYT handled a factor of six million error acknowledgement. Not very openly, it turns out.

    • I am not a rocket scientist either, but you are no doubt correct to be skeptical about how easy it would be. I said maybe in 50 years because who knows what might be doable in 50 years, but at present it looks very very hard. Here is a paper that pours some cold water on the overoptimistic assumptions people make concerning antimatter rockets.

      https://trs.jpl.nasa.gov/bitstream/handle/2014/38278/03-1942.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

      Of course manufacturing and safely storing the stuff is the biggest problem. I would imagine you would have solar powered factories in space. Only lunatics would do it on earth.

  • The Battle for Palestine on US Campuses: a review of 'We Will Not Be Silenced: The Academic Repression of Israel’s Critics'
    • Yes, it is antisemitism if someone dislikes Jews as Jews, even if he might dislike some other groups more. In a normal environment I wouldn't have to point out something so obvious. But yes, in the US other groups were hated far more than Jews. At the same time, there has been antisemitism. It is possible to hold two or more thoughts in one's head at the same time. So your objection to the article is not to facts. Your objection is that it is wrong to call dislike of Jews antisemitism if, for example, Quakers were hated more. This might be a valid objection if you argue exclusively with people who think antisemitism is some unique form of hatred or prejudice which has some metaphysical significance above and beyond all other hatreds. But if you treat it as one form of bigotry among others, you can read the Wikipedia article without kneejerk responses. And you don't have to let the bad faith of others dictate how you respond.

      Getting back to the post, the writer is making a simple point, but you have to hold several thoughts in your head simultaneously. Here they are-- antisemitism is bad, it should be denounced and yet at the same time false accusations of antisemitism are constantly used as a propaganda weapon to suppress truthtelling about Israeli apartheid.

    • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_antisemitism_in_the_United_States

      The post doesn't say antisemitism was particularly horrific in America as compared to other places or compared to other forms of hatred in the good old USA. You can read the Wikipedia article and make your own judgement about relative degrees of horribleness.

  • Yakov Rabkin's devastating critique of Zionism: it is opposed to Jewish tradition and liberalism
    • I haven't read Suarez's book and I don't doubt he has uncovered new material, but I got the general impression that there was a lot of terrorism committed by Zionists in the 30's and 40's from reading David Hirst's book many years ago. This was an early edition from the 70's before the Israeli revisionists started publishing. I found it in a used bookstore. That along with Chomsky's The Fateful Triangle turned my views upside down, though I was already getting a little suspicious of the pro Israel propaganda that I mostly had believed. Some of it was so over the top, like the idea that the Palestinian refugees all fled solely because they were ordered by their leaders to do so and the Zionists all begged them to stay. That just sounded a little too convenient. You can be almost comprehensively ignorant about a subject and still find some of the propaganda just a little too silly to swallow. But someone I know in real life repeated the story to me just a year or two ago as though it were true. A successful Big Lie never dies,because some people want to believe it

      I strayed from the point, which is that at least some of this terrorism committed by Zionists has been known in the West for decades, but in the US at least it was mostly not talked about.

      I liked the original post, but have nothing to add.

  • Just 1 of 12 Westchester County legislators stands up against anti-BDS bill -- Alfreda Williams
    • It occurred to me reading my account that you might get the impression that the private conversations were drastically different from what was said in public.. They were not or at least not the parts I heard. I just didn't want to repeat snippets of private conversations.

  • Westchester legislature prepares bill saying BDS 'maligns the Jewish people,' and opponents organize
    • You will find that though people here respect Finkelstein we don't bow down to him.

      My understanding is that BDS doesn't take a position between 1 state and two. Of course many Israelis think it would be the end of Israel if they had to live side by side in complete equality with an equal or larger number of Palestinians. Finkelstein' point is that the 2ss is the one endorsed by the international community. It is up to Palestinians to decide if they care-- the rest of the world has allowed Israel to do what it wants.

  • 'To live or to perish' -- Norman Finkelstein on the Six-Day-War and its mythology
    • Phil already pointed out the exterminationist rhetoric and Finkelstein admits it. It was disgraceful and should not be forgotten, but it doesn't show that Israel was in any danger. So if the Arab archives are opened, there might well be more exterminationist rhetoric in them, but it won't show that there was any real possibility that Israel might have been defeated. You would need to uncover some documentary evidence of something militarily significant to disprove what Finkelstein asserts.

  • Israel provoked the Six-Day War in 1967, and it was not fighting for survival
  • Through 'severe pressure,' U.S. can impose a two-state solution on Israel -- Nathan Thrall
    • I should add that I don't think we should be pressuring the Palestinians, but again as Thralll points out, they have been under tremendous pressure to back away from their basic human rights. ( Thrall doesn't put it quite like that.). The Israelis, on the other hand, are told the settlement program is an obstacle to peace, but nobody expects the US to cut off aid even after decades, On the issue of violence,the US is wholly in Israel's corner. We hear constantly about terrorism and rains of rockets, never about war crimes, though Kerry was sarcastic about pinpoint operations when he thought he was off camera during the Gaza war. The US takes pride in defending Israel against war crimes charges and supplies some of the weapons, yet we pretend to be honest brokers. This isn't naive. It is blatant hypocrisy and officials would have to be stupid not to recognize it in private.

      Kerry waited until he was going out of office before displaying anger, but he was the only one who thought his efforts were going to bear fruit. I suppose you could call this naïveté. To me it is more a combination of arrogance and self induced blindness. We give the Israelis massive amounts of aid, pressure the Palestinians to acquisce to something far less than is their right, and Congress makes it clear they support Israel no matter what and Kerry thought the Israelis should take what we are willing to let them have when they are sure they can have more.

    • You're right--US officials lately haven't been pushing for a 2ss along the 67 lines, but something less. But they do act as though talking without pressure will bring it about, when nothing the Israelis would accept ( unless forced) would be acceptable to the Palestinians and vice versa. The Israelis have no incentive to do anything. Thrall is right about that and it should have been obvious to people like Kerry. You might think it gross hyperbole but I could use more sedate and careful language and it boils down to the same thing--people in the US pretend to believe that negotiations without any serious pressure will bring about a solution acceptable to both sides. Or rather, no serious pressure on the Israeli side.

      People can talk about what their long term interests are, but nobody can predict the long term future and anyway, comfortable people usually don't make difficult drastic changes based on what might happen in some nebulous long term future. Kerry might think they should. If the US isn't willing to cut the aid and stop siding with them in the UN, why should they change their behavior? Hophmi below says Phil doesn't see them as human beings. They seem like bog standard human beings to me. Comfortable, complacent, no reason to change.

    • I think that is right if I understand you correctly.

    • Which beliefs? I was speaking specifically about the belief that with a little jawboning the Israelis would gladly accept a 2 ss along 67 lines. As Thrall points out, the incentives are for Israelis to keep doing what they are doing, in part because Congress will support them as long as they pretend to want a 2ss.. Government officials can figure this out as well as anyone, so if they can't see it they are a bit dumb.

      .

    • I think he is probably right about how Israelis view things. So long as the US is on their side, they have no incentive to change their behavior.

      I think he is wrong about the " naïveté" of US officials. If you accept their sincerity, the word he is looking for is " stupid". But he apparently is in a profession where he has to talk to these people, so the harshest thing he can say about them is that they are " naive". That's a standard trope used by people in government or around it. Other countries have officials who are cynical or dumb. Ours are well intentioned and naive.

      The fact is that Israel has unquestioned US support and can keep stealing land and the Senate will support them 100 to 0 and every official in both the US and Israel has to know this. They aren't " naive." They play the peace process game because, at least in the pre Trump era, Westerners like to be seen as having good intentions. This is meant to fool fellow Westerners as much as anyone.

  • Collective post-traumatic stress disorder – Jews, apartheid and oppression
    • Keith, I am aware of it it looked. It was sloppy, but I meant it literally. The personalities in this comment section don't interest me much anymore. I don't agree with hophmi on much, but I think he was right about von Treitschke and I just don't give a damn what other people's motives are for the positions they take here. Or rather, I don't care enough to get into it like I used to.

    • I wasn't talking about YoniFalic with the Nazi reference. I was referring to actual Nazis.

      As for sources, the Wikipedia quotes seemed pretty damning. He didn't just hate Jews. But perhaps the quotes were all fabricated and he was the exact opposite of how Wikipedia depicted him.

      I also checked Yonic Falic's link to my earlier reference. I am perfectly willing to believe that there were other forms of ethnic violence in Russia besides anti Jewish pogroms. Figes himself describes the brutality of the Czarist forces in crushing the 1905 rebellion and obviously he wasn't describing all the victims as Jews.

    • I didn't know anything about von Treitschke until this thread. I googled and if the Wikipedia article is right he was a vicious antisemite, racist, and colonialist. He seems like exactly the sort of intellectual a Nazi would love.

  • Fake progressives
    • Jon, if you are arguing that real people are usually flawed and nobody is perfect than congratulations. You've made your point. King was not morally consistent in that he was echoing racist Israeli justifications for a state which they established by expelling hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. And he insulted the Palestinians by echoing the Zionist claim that Palestine was a wasteland until the people of European descent came to fix things up.

      A morally consistent MLK would have taken his " I have a dream" speech and modified it to say Israeli Jews and Palestinians would one day live in peace and equality, etc...

      The charitable assumption to make about King is that he didn't know about the Nakba and was " well informed" by being told the usual propaganda stories from the Israelis about the history and he thought they were true. Around the same time James Michener wrote one of his massive historical fiction pieces about a region, in this case Israel/Palestine It's called " The Source". I read it. Michener obviously writes as a liberal and gives the extremely one sided story of modern Israel as the Zionists of the time would have told it. He presumably thought it was true.

  • Gilad Atzmon’s attack against me – the 'merchant of JVP'
    • Atzmon in his own words

      http://www.aljazeerah.info/Opinion%20Editorials/2010/March/15%20o/Truth,%20History,%20and%20Integrity%20Questioning%20the%20Holocaust%20Religion%20By%20Gilad%20Atzmon.htm

      I read a similar post by him several years ago when I first heard his name, and saw he was a Holocaust denier. I only vaguely remembered the details until I looked them up-- once it was clear what he was I lost interest in him, but some people here react in kneejerk fashion to any accusation of antisemitism. Such accusations are often dishonest and even racist In the case of Atzmon they are accurate.

      It would be a shame if he became closely linked to BDS. Fortunately from what people have said here, he opposes it.

    • There is an interview with Ynet where Atzmon says the death marches were humane--

      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4147243,00.html

      I suppose he could claim to be misquoted. But if he is showing up at a holocaust denial conference, he might not want to.

    • The intention was good, Yonah, but I also wonder if it was a good idea to raise Atzmon's profile in any way. There are always going to be people like him-- engaging them even to criticize just gives them the attention they crave.

    • Phil-- completely agree. Atzmon is very much like the Islamophobes. All those poor misunderstood bigots want to do is " ask questions". The giveaway is the focus on one religion and the obvious demonizing, but sure, it's only about honest historical inquiry.

    • Yeah, I heard that claim around 1990-- " Other Losses" . So we are supposed to believe that in Western prison camps a gulag level death rate occurred and was successfully covered up.

      Two other points. I didn't dismiss Allied war crimes-- I pointed out that the Holocaust was worse. It clearly was. That is true even if Other Losses was true.

      And this is exactly the sort of bad faith argument that pops up with people like Atzmon. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize Zionism and even what Finkelstein calls the industry without having to sink to the level of someone who thinks the Holocaust was the same as the bombing of civilian populations. You don't have to think the Holocaust was uniquely evil and beyond any other atrocity in history, but you also don't have to wallow in far right arguments that downplay it either.

    • Atzmon is at best a troll. You can see it in the comparison of the deaths of German civilians in bombing raids to the Holocaust. Indiscriminate bombing is a war crime, but the Allies stopped killing civilians when the war was over and Hitler would not have stopped killing Jews. Hitler intended to wipe out the Jews and the Allies did not intend to wipe out the Germans.

      This is obvious and shouldn't need to be spelled out, but when you see someone arguing like this it is a clear sign that if you engage this person you are going to be wasting a lot of time refuting nonsense.

  • When it comes to Syria, our press is full of moralizing and propaganda, and short on analysis
    • I should clarify--I understand now that you are not saying Assad is innocent. ButI think your principles just confuse the issues unnecessarily for reasons I have already explained. So now, hopefully, I will shut up.

    • You say here--

      "I lay responsibility for ALL of the death and destruction on the empire. "

      Which logically implies that Assad is innocent. There is no responsibility left to lay on anyone else. But why exactly do you have the right to do this? Being a citizen of the US doesn't mean you get to say that Assad isn't responsible for his own actions.

      "What right does the arsonist have to criticize the behavior of those inside the building he set on fire? You have no moral standing to criticize the behavior of those under imperial attack "

      Which paints a picture of innocent people in a building who are doing things that can't be criticized by the arsonist. It's a poor metaphor. A better one-- there are people in the building, some torturing the others, and the US in its wisdom thought it a brilliant idea (and I agree with you that the intentions were not good no matter what we claim) to hand weapons to some people inside, some of whom turn out to be torturers themselves. The actual truth is that Assad is a dictator and the USgovernment and others are trying to overthrow him. The predictable result is that the already cruel and dictatorial behavior of the government becomes much worse. There are multiple guilty factions--the US, the Saudis, Qatar, the Syrian government, ISIS, Al Nusra, various other rebel groups, Russia, etc....

      And there is zero reason not to say so. I know that Chomsky says citizens should criticize
      their own government first. That's basic morality. It doesn't mean you have to shut your brain off. A Russian citizen should be able to criticize our behavior and Syria and the behavior of Russia, and that of Assad and that of the rebels, Every human being on earth should be able to, in theory at least, have a discussion about Syria and who is doing what to whom, to the best of our ability to determine it. Artificial limits on what you can say about this or that are a bizarre self-limitation on trying to understand what is happening. And silly. You can be perfectly clear that the US is guilty of massive crimes and still notice that Assad's government tortures people and bombs civilians.

      My last post, I think. We are going in circles.

    • I agree neither of us are experts but your moral stance is inconsistent. You say on the one hand that we have no right to judge Assad, but then you talk about him as though he was innocent, so you are implicitly judging the Syrians who say he is a monster and who think the outside world should take action to overthrow him. A Syrian who had been tortured by Assad or who had lost family to Assad would not see him as a victim. My stance is that it is a brutal civil war made much worse by outside intervention and our role should stop. I hear arguments that the rebels commit atrocities and believe them. I hear the same about the government and believe them. One can quarrel about particular incidents, but overall it seems clear that there are terrible things being done by both rebels and the government. There is no justification for the atrocities of either side and I can say this while at the same time saying we were utterly wrong to intervene, that we made the situation worse and that I personally under no circumstances could see a moral way to justify Americans bringing Assad to court.

      There is a confusion here. The fact that we have no right to intervene does not mean that as individual human beings we can't express our views on what is happening. If I adopted your approach, it would sound as though I think Assad is morally justified in what he does and for that reason we shouldn't intervene. In reality I don't think Assad is morally justified in his behavior, I think there is a lot of evidence of Syrian government atrocities and I still think it was wrong for us to intervene, in part because we made the situation much worse, but more fundamentally because we don't have the right to do it.

    • I agree with basically everything you say about US foreign policy and in fact said much of it here ( without going through the whole list of countries we have intervened in, which includes many more horrific examples.)

      And no, that doesn't mean Assad's side is innocent. What it means is that America has no legal or moral right to be intervening in Syria or other places, and that we bear a huge portion of the blame and that our press is covering it up. But you can say this without denying the reality that many Syrians have been victimized by the Syrian government. In fact, if anything the refusal to say this probably detracts from the credibility of some on the anti imperial left who otherwise make good points about US involvement. If we take the view that we can't talk about the Syrian government role in killing civilians without somehow supporting USimperialism, then all discussion turns into competing propaganda systems. It contributes to cynical mistrust of the antiwar side.

    • Thanks. Yeah, the D.C. types who pushed for Iraq have gotten away with it. The only lesson they learned is that large American ground forces lead to American casualties and Americans don't like that. They learned nothing else, and want to keep sowing chaos, with the support of much of the press.

  • Trump's new war has neocons, Clintonites, and Israelis applauding, but left and realists dismayed
    • "Has someone here denied that there are reports..."

      This is why I don't spend much time in comments. Endless parsing that means nothing. Gamal and Keith get mad when I say Assad is a war criminal, which is what I would also say about various US presidents and American allies and all forcthe same reason-- they commit atrocities against unarmed people. The evidence against Assad is as strong as it is against Israel or the US. One can question individual cases, but to argue that the government isn't guilty of massive crimes against civilians is no different from Israeli apologists denying the evidence in Gaza. There too you could question individual accounts. It's a simple straightforward concept and there are only two relevant ways to argue against it --

      1. Deny virtually all the claims of Syrian government atrocities. That would be interesting if real facts could be deployed to back it up. But it is wildly unlikely.

      2. Claim it doesn't matter because the US is evil or some other form of whataboutery or claim the government has the right to murder or torture or whatever. I reject this and find it boring. Anyone can claim a noble cause for mass murder.

      One can also do the random insult thing or engage in parsing and I lose interest. Ditto for questioning my motives, especially when I have stated plainly that the US has no right to intervene and is responsible for greatly increasing the death toll with its arming of rebels. You see that in my comment and yet you act like it isn't there. This is why, for the most part, it isn't worthwhile engaging in comment threads on the subject of Syria. It is a subject that inspires more bad faith and bull feces on all sides than any other, including Israeli crimes. So far as I can tell, this is true virtually everywhere.

    • Sibiriak-- the straw man is intended to point out that Israel's tactics in Gaza resemble the Syrian government's tactics in Syria. There are similar reports of indiscriminate bombing and shelling.

      If one or both of the chemical weapons attacks were false flags, then both were war crimes, obviously and if the US knew then it is about as serious as you can get short of genocide. I think our support for the rebels was a massive war crime regardless of the truth about the chemical attacks. I think Assad is a killer and we had no right to try to overthrow him and the pretense that we haven't intervened against Assad is a monstrous Orwellian lie put out by interventionists to justify yet more immoral intervention.

    • Gamal, you don't speak for all Syrians, millions of whom probably hate Assad even as others support him. If his forces have deliberately killed large numbers of civilians in massacres or indiscriminate bombings, then he is a war criminal. If his forces torture or murder prisoners, again he is a war criminal. If you deny that his forces have done such things, that would be a bit more relevant than the usual insults. What you call " patronizing" is me not being interested in your insults. You seem to think that by taking on the role of spokesperson for all Syrians and using the word "we" like you represent everyone in the Mideast that it is supposed to carry weight. It doesn't. If you made an argument that the Assad government is fighting the war as humanely as possible and that all the reports of indiscriminate bombardment and torture are false, that would be relevant.

      This doesn't mean the US had any right to support the rebels-- by doing this the US stretched the war out greatly adding to the death toll and anyway, using your words, it is the act of insolent moral midgets to intervene in other people's countries. We agree on that part, even if you meant the words for me.

    • Figured you'd object to that. No doubt he fights as cleanly as Israel in Gaza.

    • It's not clear what happened in Ghouta in 2013. Assad is a war criminal, but even war criminals can be framed by other war criminals. What we do know beyond question regarding Ghouta is that the original claims about the evidence were flat wrong and disproven by MIT weapons experts Postol and Lloyd.

      https://www.rootclaim.com/claims/who-carried-out-the-chemical-attack-in-ghouta-on-august-21-2013-8394#storyline_assumptions

      The link above asserts that the rebels probably did Ghouta.

      Here is a NYT story admitting that the early claims regarding the evidence were wrong, in that way the NYT has when it really would rather be writing something else.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/29/world/middleeast/new-study-refines-view-of-sarin-attack-in-syria.html

  • Israeli Jews maintain the occupation because it is in their interest -- Noam Sheizaf
    • It's not rational, but people normally don't think long term if the short and medium term seems comfortable. That is why global warming is such a threat. The Israeli blindness is the same sort of mentality. They feel fine and the long term threat would require uncomfortable changes or maybe worse from their pov, so like most humans tend to do they stick their heads in the sand until forced to do otherwise.

      On another issue, I see people making the same mistake I constantly made with a different liberal Zionist commenter several years ago--I couldn't let his nonsense go unanswered. It's a waste of time. I would like to see a discussion/ debate between someone like Peter Beinart and Phil or better, a Palestinian, but that's not exactly what's been going on here ( or in my day with the other guy). Of course people gave me the same advice back then and I didn't listen.

  • No room for Zionism in any movement for justice
    • Yonah, I agree that we have to remember the murderous ( and later genocidal) antisemitism that was one of the motivating forces behind Zionism. ( This, btw, is why I think Sandy Tolan's The Lemon Tree is one of the best introductions to the issue for Americans. You see both sides, the Holocaust and the Nakba.)

      The problem in America and in most Western governments is that the Palestinian side of the story still isn't known. Or that is my impression. I bet most Americans still don't know about the Nakba or have some distorted hatefilled version of it in their heads, like the friend of mine who repeated the old story that the Palestinians left so the Arab armies could drive the Jews into the sea and then they could come back and steal their belongings. Even liberals who know better largely ignore the issue because it can't be blamed on Republicans -- for the same reason they ignored Obama's support for the Saudi's barbaric war in Yemen.

      The BDS movement calls for equal rights for everyone. I wouldn't judge it by the words of a few commenters here.

  • The 'Times' runs propaganda about how moral America was till Trump got in charge
    • I was joking and always assumed you mostly were. If you are serious about this, you wii have to thrash out it with someone who cares.

    • This is a longstanding issue with you. I think you are going to have to face the fact that the sun has set on the British Empire and the new chronicle of empire is the New York Times and as such, it has wrested the title of " The Times" away from that British rag you keep harping on about.

  • Hate crimes in America: either a trap or an opportunity for Palestine advocates
    • Good post. It's weird seeing people deny antisemitism when there have been so many incidents. The one distinction I would make is that Islamophobia in one form or another has the backing of " respectable" people and the government. You get it from Bill Maher, Donald Trump, Haim Saban, and so on. Antisemitism is something that lurks in the fringes in the US. Trump is reluctant to acknowledge it in his supporters and because he is an extreme narcissist he reacts badly to even the slightest trace of criticism, but he isn't banning people from Israel.

  • 'NYT' runs U.S. propaganda on Russian crimes-- without even a comment thread
    • As I just wrote Dana, that part of my post was poorly written. I was only comparing the death tolls caused by Russian and American air strikes in the past few years as counted by the Airwars site. The total number of deaths caused by US policy in the Mideast is going to be vastly larger.

    • On the number killed by the US you make a good point-- I was thinking of the number killed by US air strikes in the past few years, which is probably in the thousands based on the Airwars site. The total killed by the US since 2003 is much much higher. I should have been clearer.

  • Obama fostered spread of nuclear weapons because of his naivete, says head of Council on Foreign Relations
    • He sees the Iraq War as a tactical blunder, not as a massive war crime. So like interventionists after Vietnam, he can't wait until Americans get over their reluctance to get involved in yet another big war, so we can get back to jumping into any and every war the Beltway crowd wants to fight. Obama was no peacenik, not by a long shot, but proxy wars in Syria and Yemen and our own bombing and actions by special forces just aren't macho enough for a guy like Haass.

  • Dennis Ross's advice to Trump is 'bullshit, delusional or lying,' to gut two-state concept -- Peace Now
    • That all seems correct to me. The facts are accurate and the reasoning seems pretty straightforward. I like your plan,, but of course it is Palestinians whose support you need.

  • The Quebec mosque shooting and the Zionist connection
    • Jon, you don't have to be an expert on any culture but your own to acknowledge the point people are making-- it is convenient for Westerners, especially Israelis, to carve out a category of violence carried out by non state actors and call it " terrorism". The next step is to treat it as uniquely awful, ignoring the fact that state violence against civilians is greater. Then even within the category of non state terror, people like you ignore the fact that the US and Israel support some of these terrorist groups.

  • Gaza fishermen see 'worst times ever' as Israeli Navy kills one and injures three others
  • Obama 'betrayed' American Jews and Trump is a 'swineherd' -- Bernard-Henri Levy
    • " seems morally inadequate."

      Yeah, if the idea is that one should avoid cruelty solely to avoid God's punishment ( but it would be okay if we could dodge His wrath)' then yes, that would be a purely self interested motive. Usually, though, the idea is that you shouldn't be the sort of person who is cruel-- God's punishment is not there just to provide the incentive but to demonstrate what God thinks of cruel people. In the NT, see the parable of the rich man in hell. In the OT, my favorite is the story that Nathan tells King David about the rich man who steals and sacrifices the poor man's beloved pet. David is outraged, as he should be, only to find he is the villain. The aftermath-- David loses his son -- is problematic since the baby pays the price, but the moral is clear. Don't abuse the powerless.

      I don't know what the point of the swineherd story is. Levy's reading is repulsive.

  • Hell just froze over: the New York Times runs an article saying Zionism is racist
    • In Dante you had choices. Or rather, Minos had choices. Under the new reginpme, you will freeze and you will like it.

    • That's a good point. We were modifying the original piece via email back and forth and I guess the headline slipped through unchanged.

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