Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 6667 (since 2009-07-31 03:28:07)


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

Showing comments 6667 - 6601

  • Video: Sanders's campaign fact-checks Clinton's 'smear' defense with Elizabeth Warren charges
    • Good point. I love the way politicians like Clinton can put on an aura of outrage at the notion that her vote could be influenced by mere money.

  • Cultural Zionism good, political Zionism bad
  • In his war on Sanders supporters, Krugman forgets about Iraq
    • I think you're being such a purist on this one issue you won't acknowledge degrees of difference. Probably no politician is good on all issues and sometimes none of them are good on one particular issue, but we can still make distinctions. It seems clear to me that Sanders isn't great on the I-P issue. Obviously his main interest is domestic policy and for him foreign policy is a distraction. Frankly, I'll take that-- he isn't nearly the warmonger Clinton is, even if he isn't a hero. And your dismissal of Larison lacked content.

      I think Sanders is to Obama's left-- I fell for Obama for about two weeks, when I heard his pastor Jeremiah Wright on Moyers's show. But Obama soon made it very clear he wanted to be seen as mainstream and not at all like Wright. I couldn't understand where the progressive illusions about him came from. Sanders isn't my hero either-- the whole concept of a political hero is silly. But I think you go too far the other way. If I rated every candidate on all important issues the way you rate politicians on this one particular issue, I'd never vote for anyone.

    • I'm old enough to remember what he was like in the late 90's, when people were protesting the conditions in sweatshops. Krugman was extremely condescending towards the protestors and always argued against the straw man caricature of their position. Bush's campaign in 2000 radicalized him to some degree and he became the liberal/left champion--he also agreed that the 90's Washington Consensus on so-called free trade and global economics and the glories of the free market (the stuff Tom Friedman was always pushing) was wrong. I think Joseph Stiglitz might have convinced him there, but I'm speculating. But he seems to be partly returning to his 90's persona.

    • I forgot to say that your post actually makes me think better of Sanders. I've seen a little of the good stuff and some of the bad and I think the Larison column I linked is a short balanced account, but your post has more positive information about him that I wasn't aware of.

    • This was supposed to be a reply to Kris, but I must not have hit the reply button.

      Thanks. I think the biggest difference between Sanders and Clinton on Israel and other Mideast issues would be in their supporters. Sanders supporters are more likely to try and pressure their candidate to move to the left on his foreign policy stance. I haven't seen much of this with Hillary-- her spiel on foreign affairs is about how tough and smart and experienced she is, so if you support her then you are tacitly buying into the notion that she knows best.

    • This site criticized the Iraq War too. I have no interest in trying to convince you that there is a small difference between Sanders and Clinton while agreeing that Sanders is also bad on Mideast issues--you could read the Larison link or Pat Lang's blog or Kris's post below, but it wasn't the topic I chose to write about. I wrote about how Krugman essentially trivialized the greatest foreign policy disaster in the past few decades because he is shilling for Clinton. As for domestic policy, I brought that up because Krugman is using it to portray Hillary as a progressive pragmatic champion while again ignoring her foreign policy record. Krugman is widely respected by American liberals, so when he does this he should be criticized for it.

    • Coincidentally, Larison has a short little post on the differences and similarities between Clinton and Sanders on foreign policy.

      link to

    • I have no interest in puffing Sanders as great on foreign policy--he's less bad than Clinton is all I'd claim.

      So in case you missed the point, it was that Krugman keeps writing columns about how terrible Sanders is and how great Clinton is and almost never mentions the elephant in the room, which is her unbroken streak of militarism. I don't want to rewrite the post because I'd just say the same things all over again, but it wasn't a defense of Sanders, but a critique of Krugman's Clinton worship and the cynicism of his approach.

    • Not sure if Phil will have time to put it in, but the post above is missing a link to where Krugman mentions in passing Clinton's support for the Iraq invasion. (This is what motivated my sarcastic remark about blinking and missing it.) Here's the link--

      link to

  • Iraq war hangover is fueling anti-establishment candidates
    • Probably true, but there is a lot of overlap-- people who think our domestic policies are carried out for the benefit of rich people will usually have little trouble believing our foreign policy is also corrupt for similar reasons.

  • Dennis Ross says Clinton was the only president to stamp down anti-Israel forces inside the White House
    • Just to restate the obvious, it's stunning that anyone could think this man could be an honest broker, or that you could trust him to give an honest account of what happened in the 2000 negotiations.

      And Krauss is likely right--I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him in charge of policy on this subject in a Clinton administration.

  • Kerry and Shapiro bring the one-state news the NYT failed to deliver
    • This is a long problem with the NYT and foreign policy in general-- they tend to let the American government set the agenda. They act like they need its permission to report on some stories, no matter how obvious.

  • 'NYT's next Jerusalem chief routinely offers Israel as a model for American conduct
    • The problem is not with the point he is making, which is that terrorism causes only a tiny fraction of American deaths and even a tiny fraction of the violent deaths. The problem is that he invoked Israel as a model. Israel steals land, prevents Gazans from leaving, tortures prisoners, shoots demonstrators and every few years commits major war crimes. They aren't a plucky group of innocent heroes who have learned to " live with" terrorism. They create the conditions that cause it.

      The prison swap bothered me too-- again, it's from a Zionist perspective. The Israelis once again are presented as people who have to deal with terrorist kidnapping by exchanging 1000 prisoners, many of them terrorists, to get one person back. We are supposed to be impressed by their willingness to give up so many bad guys to get one person back. We don't hear about Palestinians unjustly arrested and abused and nobody ever stops to think about how many Israelis should be in prison for their crimes against Palestinians.

      The first example, about Israel living with terrorism, is something I've seen on TV shows. It's a not so subtle way of saying that the Israelis are the good guys without stating it outright. Nobody ever talks about Palestinians having to live with war crimes.

  • A Response to Ben Norton on silence over war in Yemen
    • I don't think the Yemen posts were meant to be personal criticisms. All of us have limited time. I take the posts to be pointing out that the US is supporting yet another country which is killing civilians. It's a common theme in our foreign policy. I tend to think like Glenn Greenwald, who is sort of the new Chomsky these days-- the guy who writes aboutAmerican or Western hypocrisy in claiming to support human rights when we often do just the opposite. From that perspective, Yemen and Gaza are two examples of a larger process. It's not just lefties who see this--I think the sensible conservatives (sensible on foreign policy at least) have also spotted the pattern. . I'm thinking of people like Daniel Larison and probably Andrew Bacevich ( though I'm not sure about the latter.). Possibly before he was corrupted by his desire to be President, Rand Paul might have seen it too. In America that might be the beginnings of a real coalition opposed to our idiotic policies.

      But hell, I only half believe this myself ( I mean the part about developing a coalition of people across the spectrum opposed to our stupid policies.)

      But yeah, if you do encounter people who oppose the bombing of X and support the bombing of Y and if arguing with them about Y will increase the chances that nothing will be done about X, well, that's not a good use of time.

    • Thanks. I guess I should have paid more attention to it then. I don't recall any of my usual sources about American crimes talking about Sri Lanka.

    • This is odd. On some issues, maybe it would be divisive to link to them. Syria, for instance. People here have very different views on Syria. That probably reflects the larger world.

      On Yemen, I can't see it. Who likes the Saudi regime unless they are paid to like it? They are committing war crimes similar to those of Israel in Gaza with weapons and intelligence and diplomatic support from the US.

      This blog largely focuses on Israeli crimes and people have a finely developed sense of the idiocy of "whaboutery" when used by the pro- Israel crowd to deflect attention from Israeli crimes. But that's not what this article is about. US support for Israeli and Saudi war crimes are very similar morally and to some extent politically. There is a Saudi lobby-- it is much less successful in suppressing criticism. Their suppression of women is common knowledge. Nobody goes around claiming that criticism of the Saudis is anti- Saudi ism or if they do, people would laugh. But the Saudi regime gets a tremendous amount of support anyway from our government.

    • I don't understand people's reactions to this piece. As an American the Palestinian issue matters to me more than, say, the far bloodier civil war in Sri Lanka a few years ago because America is directly involved in helping Israel kill Palestinians. The same is true in Yemen and the same was true of numerous other places in the past few decades. For Americans it is all the same issue-- we sit around thinking of ourselves as innocent ( speaking broadly of ordinary people who don't follow these issues) while our government has the blood of innocents on its hands. And you don't have to be an expert about a given conflict to know it is wrong to bomb civilians.

      As for Syria, all the armed factions murder people, but since the US is supporting the rebels, their crimes are the ones that should concern us the most.

    • I generally agree with all this. But in my own limited experience people's reactions are slightly more, um, complicated. Most liberals are more than willing to criticize the Saudis--the Saudi regime is only liked by people who receive money from them, so far as I can tell. But the same folks who will bash the Saudis are reluctant to criticize Israel.

      On the other hand, there are some liberals who are willing to criticize US foreign policy so long as it can be blamed on Republicans. I think this is probably much more common than people who will criticize Israel, but not the Saudis. I know one person who invariably reacts with a passionate defense of Obama and the good intentions of Democrats in general whenever some criticism of US foreign policy is made, unless it can be blamed solely on Republicans.

  • Why are American pro-Palestinian voices silent about the brutal war on Yemen?
    • This one isn't that difficult. You don't have to know that much about Yemen-- I sure don't-- to see that the US is once again helping someone-- the Saudis in this case-- bomb civilians. Why should we be doing this? The only reason is to keep the Saudi government happy.

    • The last thing I'd advocate is another Western intervention to topple yet another government. We've caused enough catastrophes over there.

    • I agree that both the Syrian government and the various Islamist groups are murderers and I would assume that many Syrians hate both, but what is your explanation for the lack of success on the part of whatever groups you support? What course of action do you advocate that would lead to an end to the killing?

      I will look up MENA later.

    • The commentators I've seen condemning the US- Saudi crimes in Yemen are Ben Norton, people at the Intercept, and Daniel Larison along with the human rights groups. All of these people are also critical of Israel ( not sure about Larison-- I'd have to check). I just checked-- Larison was critical of Israel in Gaza.

      Have you said anything to anyone about Yemen?

    • I don't follow activism out in meatspace very closely, but online Yemen has been an issue at Salon ( as you know)and at the Intercept. I didn't realize reaction has been limited, but if so that's really bad because as you say these are the same issues, for Americans at least. In both cases civilians are blown up by war criminals with American support.

      There actually has been some attention given to this issue in the NYT as I mentioned in my piece. The NYT has been fairly honest about the fact that the Saudis are committing war crimes, much more honest than they are about Israel's.. The problem with the NYT coverage is twofold-- first, like Israeli crimes supported by the US, the stories are on the back pages. That signals that they aren't important and consequently I would guess most Americans don't know about them. I assume the rest of the MSM is the same.

      The other problem with the NYT coverage is that they lean over backwards to be sympathetic to the Obama administration, which supports the Saudi campaign but is evidently worried about bad PR if people start to pay attention in the West. Once again the great and noble West which lectures the Muslim world about terrorism is supporting state terror.

      I did bring this up at another blog and my sense was that some liberals are jaded-- they don't support the bombing, but don't get angered by it the way they were when Bush was torturing people. In some cases this is straight partisan politics ( one person was actually defending the policy, but this person is the most fanatical Obama worshipper I've ever encountered.). In other cases I can't put my finger on it, but it's as though sophisticated grownup people just aren't supposed to get outraged by this. I'm guessing it's because of our limited likely political choices for President.

  • Sophisticated Orientalism in the New York Times
    • Your own comment is tendentious . Given the treatment you get here, I can understand you being snarky with a lot of us, but I can't recall James North ever getting snippy with you.

      That aside, both of you have a point, which you'd see if you weren't trying to score one against him. It is fair to explain the meaning of the terms. but it is also true that Americans often speak as though there were age-old conflicts going back centuries or more that "explain" the actions of cynical people today. I remember the same complaint being made about some of the reporting during the Balkan Wars. Cynical actions taken by specific people in order to arouse sectarian tensions were then presented in the press as evidence of age-old sectarian tensions. Well, no, ordinary people under normal circumstances are perfectly willing to live side-by-side with others of different faiths. The "age old" sectarian struggles are the results of cynical people trying to stir up hatreds, sometimes from within the society and sometimes from outside it.

      At another blog a person I generally like reacted to the Saudi bombing of Yemen (and the American assistance given to the Saudis) with the question "Why should we involve ourselves in these age-old sectarian wars?" I generally liked the point he was making, which was that there was no good reason for the US to support Saudi Arabia as it killed people in Yemen. But the way he made it made me wince.

  • 'NYT' reports differing perspectives when there is no doubt that one is false
    • My theory wasn't meant to be complete. I'm only claiming that the NYT likes to have some cover before gingerly pointing out that theUS government has innocent blood on its hands. I'm not sure how much cover they would need before reporting forthrightly about Israeli crimes, but right now there is none to speak of.

      And yes, even that gives them too much credit, as I think they are actively trying to cover up Israeli wrongdoing.

    • Good grief-- what I meant to say is that I agree with the half empty perspective. I accidentally said the opposite. The NYT has been really bad in its reporting lately and this article should be seen in that context. They are presenting "Breaking the Silence" to Times readers, but trying to undercut their claims. They didn't do this with Yemen, though they did try to present the US in as sympathetic a light as possible while still reporting our support for war crimes there.

    • I agree with the half full perspective. The NYT actually did a decent job a few days ago writing about the war crimes committed by Saudi Arabia in Yemen with US support. There was no hedging about it, no pretense that Saudi denials should be taken seriously. Though I don't want to give the NYT too much credit--I suspect they were honest because Obama officials have expressed some discomfort over Saudi behavior. This didn't happen with the bombing of Gaza, except for that moment when Kerry was sarcastic on Fox News, apparently not realizing he was still being recorded.

      My theory is that the NYT won't be honest about Israeli crimes until they ar given political cover by some prominent American politicians willing to stick their own necks out.

  • Rubio's neocon-establishment team bolstered by 'Zionaire' hedgefunder who denies existence of Palestine
    • Krauss seems to get some sort of pleasure in calling people ignorant, but tokyobk's "rant" is the simple truth-- Wilson was racist by the standards of his own time and he rolled back progress on racial justice. It's weird to excuse him on the grounds that he was merely a product of his white racist background. Yes, he was, and race relations were set back 100 years because of people like Wilson. Obviously this is a small point to Krauss.

  • Terrorism is an understandable response to west's wars in Middle East, realist and left writers say
    • It's funny that you think people don't know that killing and oppressing the "other" has been part of human history going back thousands of years. You could no doubt find some silly lefties who imagine that oppression was the invention of Europeans, and somehow you think this means that Western oppression is no big deal. Doesn't work that way.

    • I don't doubt that Islamic extremism has internal causes too, though I am personally too ignorant to say much about that, but as others have pointed out, it's bizarre that you think that there was no Western intervention 100 years ago that might have helped trigger extreme reactions.

  • Trump at the rightwing Jewish conference
    • Trump, who you love,wants to kill the families of terrorists, so you are confused.

    • link to

      Trump is a classic demagogue-- he says a few true things along with a lot of disgusting vile things and attracts followers for all sorts of reasons. If we go full- blown fascist, Trump is the kind of guy who could pave the way.

      Just saw tokyobk's comment. What he said.

  • 'New York Times' uncorks laughable Israeli propaganda
    • Not sure where this reply is going to go. Anyway, Yonah, for better or worse this blog advocates for Palestinian human rights and is, as you've noticed, not a great place for discussion of other aspects of Israeli or Jewish culture, or the Hebrew language or Biblical scholarship and when those subjects do come up, they aren't usually going to be treated as valuable and worthwhile topics in their own right.

  • David Grossman's love letter to Israel, warts and all
    • "Short summary: Grossman didn’t adopt an everything-about-Israel-is-horrible viewpoint like mine, so his book is offensive."

      Sometimes reviews of reviews tell you about the reviewer of the review. In this case, you somehow missed the objection to the way Palestinians were portrayed.

      For myself, I think novels are an unreliable way of conveying information about a controversial political topic, no matter who writes them and no matter what the intended message. We have enough trouble with spin from nonfiction writers--fiction writers have artistic license to tell a story however it strikes them. Grossman might be a fine writer--from all I've heard he is--but why would I want to read him to learn about the Palestinians? He might be telling me something about the Israelis, but I can't even be sure of that. Novelists have a vision they wish to convey and it doesn't necessarily correlate that closely with reality.

      Now I read novels with political and/or historical content anyway from time to time, but I don't do it with the expectation in most cases that I am learning anything I couldn't learn better from an historian or a nonfiction writer. Novels aren't written to replace history, journalism, human rights reports, or sociological studies, even if they contain material that might be accurate.

      Incidentally, the fact that you are here doesn't mean you want to be challenged. It's common for people to visit blogs expressing views they hate so that they can type blistering comments (if allowed).

  • 'NYT' announces Rudoren's return to NY
    • Sheer nonsense. The UN as a whole is ineffective on human rights, but the UN human rights council does plenty of work on a great many subjects, as you would know if you stopped reciting hasbara and ever bothered to look. And the UN's ineffectiveness is because member states like the US don't want it to be effective when it criticizes one of America's allies. I think you blathered on this before, citing that hypocrite Moynihan of all people, or maybe that was some other drivel-spouting poster. Moynihan, of course, took pride in making sure the UN would be ineffective when Indonesia invaded East Timor.

      But don't let facts complicate your narrative--you wouldn't have any sort of case if you did.

    • And btw, I don't think Phil wants the NYT at to read like Mondoweiss. This is an activist blog with a point of view. A newspaper should try to give the facts first and foremost, without spin. I think if it does so,the objective reader would end up seeing that the Palestinians are the oppressed group, but there would be full reporting without spin about the atrocities and killings of all factions. What we get from the NYT is material which is often subtly or not so subtly spun to imply, for instance, that every Palestinian death in the past month or so has been justified, because they were either killed while committing or attempting to commit terrorist acts, or killed while engaged in violent clashes with Israeli soldiers. An objective newspaper would point out that some of the alleged killings of terrorists are disputed (that is, in some cases we don't know the facts) and in the case of the demonstrations many people have been killed or wounded when they were just standing there.

    • So in your view Hass is the equivalent of Glick? But Hass is critical of Hamas. If you want someone on the opposite end you'd have to find a journalist who is in agreement with Hamas.

      This, of course, is the problem with both the NYT and apparently your own view. You see the two extremes as someone on the one hand who thinks Israel can do no wrong, vs people who believe in human rights and who are in fact critical of the human rights violations of both sides, but focus more on Israel because its crimes are much greater. You see the spectrum ranging from Glick to Hass, and so someone who downplays Israeli brutality, but isn't a fanatic like Glick represents the sensible center for you.

    • DeBakr, in any society where group A benefits from the oppression of group B, those in group A who are dissenters and feel guilt about the situation will be mocked and seen as fringe characters. That's pretty much universal. The situation can change in a couple of ways. Maybe the group A is somehow forced (it could be via nonviolent means) to change its ways, or alternatively enough of them might be persuaded that they really have no stake in oppressing group B. Eventually, if all goes well, the dissenters are seen as people who were ahead of their time. That can take awhile. American historians in the mid 20th century were still portraying abolitionists as fanatics--it took the Civil Rights movement to change the treatment abolitionists received at the hands of white American historians more than a century later.

    • I googled and found the following, which might be what Krauss is talking about--

      link to

      Scroll to the bottom, where Baker and Jeffrey Goldberg are quoted.

  • NPR's Martin says that Beirut and Baghdad victims matter as much as Parisian ones
    • The MSM was willing to admit its mistake concentrating on Paris and not Beirut-- after a day or two of complaints I saw stories in the NYT and other places about this.

      So I'm glad she and others pointed out the double standard, but the fact that it was quickly acknowledged by the MSM shows you something-- they admitted it because it's all about the crimes of ISIS. If last year she had said the children of Gaza were the victims of state terror, you'd find people angrily rejecting " moral equivalence" between what Westerners do and what ISIS does. Joe's sarcasm is exactly right.

    • This is good as far as it goes, but notice the limit. She's talking about victims of our official enemy (using Chomsky's phrase) and so it's acceptable to point that out among mainstream types. What if she went further and starting reading the names of Palestinian children blown up in their homes by American-made weapons, or the names of children in Yemen who died the same way? Now that would be brave. She'd be in deep trouble, actually, and I bet she'd lose her job.

  • West's war against terrorism is Israel's war, Chuck Schumer says
    • The rhetoric you are criticizing is that of Schumer and neocons in general-he takes Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and tries to make it part of the worldwide problem with Islamic extremism. So you read this entire piece and the only thing which outraged you was Phil's final line? Great sense of perspective there.

  • The way for Americans to take on the Islamic state is to end support for Jewish nationalism
    • Not sure. The post is more about things we should do if we don't want to be war criminals or accessories to war crimes, but ISIS isn't composed of people who are fighting for Palestinian rights. We set the stage for ISIS, obviously and we should stop doing such things, and that might cut down on the creation of future terrorist groups, but ISIS itself--I think those guys are a little beyond reaching with a drastic pro-human rights shift in US policy.

    • I think the content of this post is fine, but the title is overstated. That's all. I started to write more, but it is silly to write a couple of paragraphs arguing with a title.

  • Today's a day to grieve for Paris, not score political points
    • He's right about one thing though-- there are a lot of Westerners who think like him and have a purely tribal sense of morality. After a massive terror attack in a Western country, people like this use it as a justification for Western war crimes.

    • I had a few weeks where I had hopes for Obama, knowing he had gone to church where the pastor preached that sermon. But that turned out not to mean anything.

    • Good post-- I think that's about right.

  • CAP runs deceptive article blaming settlement project on rightwing Christians
    • Atrociously destructive? Don't be ridiculous. The Jenkins piece is right to criticize the Christian Zionists, but he goes off the rails towards the end when he tries to make it seem like it's only the Christian Zionists who are the main problem. How far would they get on this issue if the mainstream Jewish groups criticized Israeli war crimes and loudly warned that Israel had become an apartheid state. Hell, even if they still maintained some liberal Zionist loyalties if they were as honest as, say, David Shulman in the New York Review it would provide cover for Democrats and even sensible Republicans, if any are left, to take a more sensible position.

      You should be criticizing Jenkins for given an incomplete and distorted view.

      BTW, I agree that the Christian Right has a hugely destructive effect on foreign policy and not just on this issue. They supported the death squad right in Latin America and vicious groups like UNITA and Renamo in Africa during the 80's, for instance. But on those issues there really was a blatant partisan split. On Israel, not so much, for the reasons Phil says and Jenkins obfuscates.

    • Don't give away your secrets, Phil.

      On the post, you're right and it goes deeper. I see some liberals who are happy to bash the Christian Right on this and sometimes even talk as though they are the ones somehow forcing Israel to behave in a way that will ultimately destroy them. We're supposed to feel sorry for Israel because they have these uncouth Christian fundies in their corner. What's going on is that they don't want to be accused of anti-Semitism, so if they criticize pro-settlement ideologues they stick to a safe easy target.

  • Netanyahu's fancy watch
    • Yeah, some signifiers of status always seemed silly to me. Though I will defer to watch experts about whether this 5k watch means anything. Personally it would make me very nervous wearing 5000 dollars on my wrist--I'm sufficiently klutzy I'd probably smash it on a doorway. Maybe Netanyahu is expressing confidence in his physical coordination.

  • US and Israel rewrite history of UN resolution that declared Zionism is racism
    • Seriously, who cares unless you want to propose another term which has as much moral force. You could call it bigotry, I suppose, but I don't think that has quite as much bite.

      Are anti-Semites a category of racist? It depends on how one defines racism, how one defines Jews, and whether one takes into account the particular motives and beliefs of the individual anti-Semite. But they are all haters, whatever else one wants to call them. As it happens, the word " anti- Semite" has as much bite as the word " racist", so it doesn't much matter.

      I know an Islamophobe at another blog who objects to the term racist because "Muslims" aren't a race. Again, though, it is because people tend to use the word racist as a catch- all category for people who hate a particular group. I'm fine if someone proposes an alternative word so we could avoid that type of pointless distraction.

    • This is your specialty here, isn't it? Pointing to black Americans who defended Israel. Perhaps you have combed through their writings and speeches and statements and can tell us how many knew about the Nakba and what they had to say about it. I would be especially interested in how they argued about how it was justifiable.

      Seriously, if they knew anything at all they probably repeated the story Israel had put out, about how the Palestinians fled at the behest of their leaders even though the (Jewish) mayor of (I think) Haifa begged them to stay. Such a tragedy--the Zionists so much wanted their Arab neighbors to live alongside them and have equal rights, the vote, and so on, but the Arab leaders filled their minds with fear and the desire to loot their Jewish neighbors after they returned on the heels of the invading Arab armies.

      I actually read more or less that scenario in a historical novel published by a well-known liberal writer of the time--James Michener in his book "The Source". It came out in the mid 60's. Possibly that was what mainstream American liberals, white and black, believed at the time.

    • That was an amazingly silly rant, DeBakr. Moynihan, of course, said that he worked to keep the UN from doing anything effective regarding Indonesia's invasion of East Timor. Using him as a left icon is absurd. Yes, the UN was and is hypocritical, because most of the nations comprising it are hypocritical. The US and Israel are prime examples, not exceptions to the rule. Israel was condemned alongside South Africa for the same reason--they were seen as the last vestige of European settler-colonialism. Did the corrupt governments of nations condemning Israel ignore their own crimes? Yes, just as the US and Israel do. Notice that Central American countries voted against the resolution--most were under the rule of rightwing dictators supported by the US and armed by the US and Israel. Guatemala later committed genocide against the Mayans with its Israeli trained army. So yes, there is plenty of hypocrisy at the UN, but you are somehow missing some of it.

      As for the UN, the UN commission on human rights as put out numerous reports on the atrocities of the Assad government and its enemies, and reports on Sri Lanka, Eritrea, North Korea, and Gaza, among others. Israel apologists find it useful to repeat the claim that the UN does nothing but condemn Israel and you guys have done it so often it has become a fact in your minds.

    • I've never examined the history of the UN declaration, but it's long been obvious that the condemnation of it as antisemitic was meant to intimidate critics of Zionism and prevent Israel from being compared to other settler colonialist countries.

  • Israel gets to use violence. Palestinians don't. That's the rule
    • Your school teacher analogy is a good one, but it is worse than that--the teacher not only hands the bigger child a club, but says the bully has a right and an obligation to defend himself.

    • And for rational and olive , a handy link to HRW concerning events in 2014 .

      link to

    • Should they also kill people who don't have knives or pose any other sort of threat? Because they do. But congratulations on not knowing anything about facts that might weaken your position. Orwell would be gratified to know human nature hasn't changed a bit since he wrote "Notes on Nationalism".

    • It's a rule of thumb that I have never known to fail--when a person gives himself or herself an anonymous handle that is self-complimentary, it's never true. "Rational" as part of your handle, for instance.

      Your argument would make sense if it had some connection with reality, but other than the corrupt leadership of the Palestinians it's false. The Israelis often initiate violence and that's even apart from taking the big picture view where the theft of Palestinian land started the conflict. There are ordinary Palestinians shot and killed by the IDF from time to time during periods of "peace" and it might get a brief story in the back pages of the NYT or none at all. Palestinian fishermen are sometimes fired at and occasionally killed. If you ever bothered to read the human rights literature (which, by the way, documents and condemns the atrocities of both sides), you'd know this.

      Besides, the entire occupation and land theft that is the settlement enterprise has to be enforced at the barrel of a gun. This is self-evident--you don't even have to take the trouble of spending five minutes with Google to find this out.

  • Obama friends Netanyahu with one-sided statement
    • Given our rotten policy, Obama has to say "aspirations" and not "rights" with respect to the Palestinians--you don't engage in a long drawn out political processto obtain your basic human rights at some point in the distant future. You should have those immediately. So if Obama used "rights", he'd be tacitly acknowledging that the Palestinians have the right to use violence to obtain them--he says Israel has the "right" to defend itself and Israel isn't living under a brutal military occupation. They're suffering from some attacks on their civilians and soldiers and police and they reply with tactics of collective punishment, added to the daily act of collective punishment which is the occupation.

      I suppose the diplomats in American administrations probably think this through--they know they have to be hypocritical about the situation, because that's the policy, so what words do they use? And this seems to be part of it--Israel has "not just the right, but the obligation" to defend itself, while Palestinians have some "aspirations" that maybe, if they behave themselves, might be granted to them after some political process.

      There's a method to this-- you use soft rhetoric that gives the illusion of reasonableness to drape a veil over what amounts to blatant racism. I suppose diplomats and speechwriters pick this up as part of their profession, so it just comes naturally to them.

  • Obama administration will do nothing for Palestinians through end of term
    • On this one the NYT got it right--one of their reporters (Rudoren maybe) more or less said this was going to happen back in the days when I think some folks thought the Iran deal would mark a permanent split between the Democrats and Israel. Yeah, right, that was going to happen. The Lobby was just going to roll over and die and people in DC were suddenly going to start telling the truth.

      This was utterly predictable (by this I mean I personally expected it) Getting the Iran deal mattered to a lot of people in DC, both for national security reasons as they saw it and also because Netanyahu and the Republicans made it a partisan issue. This sparked enough Democratic anger to override the Lobby. Now someone point to a group with a lot of money to contribute to political candidates which cares about the rights of Palestinians.

  • 'Netanyahu destroyed hope' -- Erekat
  • The idea that people living under violent military occupation must be instructed in nonviolence is problematic
    • I like the nonviolent approach and hope Palestinians take it. And I'm glad people who practice what they preach advocate for it. My point is only that those of us who are Americans have no standing to urge Palestinians to take this course, with the possible exception of Americans who are themselves willing to risk jail or beatings or death in nonviolent protest.

    • "There are far deeper forces that drive the Palestinian antagonism (and no point to repeat that) and in any case the Gaza case shows that – there are no settlements there anymore and it only got MORE violent. "

      I know this is a common argument with pro-Israel types because I see it all the time--you guys apparently repeat it so often it becomes a "truth", which is false pseudo-facts in politics become firmly established in the minds of their adherents. (There are many others like this in the I/P conflict). But if you stopped and thought about it for a moment you'd see how ridiculous this is. Yes, the settlements in Gaza disappeared, but Israel with Egypt still controlled the borders. Gaza is a vast prison. Imagine some world where Israel were placed under a similar blockade until they shaped up. You would be outraged. This is so obvious it's hard to fathom how anyone could miss it, but people do, and obviously it happens because ideology makes people stupid.

    • A shorter version of what I said above--if you want someone to urge nonviolent resistance to Palestinians, find people who have actually practiced it under similar conditions. I don't know if the AFSC Mideast director would fit the bill. Desmond Tutu or someone of that sort might.

      There was also that Palestinian--his name slips my mind--who really did practice these techniques. (Not that he was or is the only one, but he was famous for awhile.) I read recently that he was tortured and then sent into exile by the Israelis. I should find his name, but I have to do some errands.

    • Most Americans, Christian or not, aren't pacifists, so we can't preach pacifism to others. Someone like MLK could (leaving aside the unfortunate pro-Zionist stance he apparently did take on this subject). But most of us have never risked our lives in some nonviolent struggle for justice, so we don't have the standing to tell others to do what we aren't willing to do ourselves. I'm not in jail because I committed some act of civil disobedience to the arming of Israel. Until I take that kind of risk I'm not going to tell others to take bigger ones.

      I think the stabbing attacks directed against unarmed people (even militant settlers) are wrong. However, arming a country which uses the weapons to bomb children is a bigger wrong, and we who are Americans live in a country where the mainstream politicians defend Israel's "right to defend itself", which means in practice that we give them weapons so they can bomb homes with children inside. I can comment about what I think is right or wrong, but we Americans are doing terrible things to them and we commit our own war crimes, all of which leaves us in a poor position to give advice. Maybe ask Desmond Tutu to talk to them. I don't see why Palestinians would give us too much credence on this subject.

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