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Total number of comments: 2957 (since 2009-07-31 03:28:07)

Donald Johnson

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

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  • 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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