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Total number of comments: 3107 (since 2009-07-31 03:28:07)

Donald Johnson

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

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  • In propaganda coup for Israel, NYT frontpager ascribes Gaza's misery to Palestinian infighting
    • I hope you are right regarding the deterrence factor. As for “ permission”, that was my way of saying that the NYT is laying the groundwork to justify Israel if it does come to war. And unfortunately I think it works with some readers. You can read the comments underneath this or any NYT story on Palestine. The worst ones are by racists, but there are also some pretty bad ones by people who I think probably mean well, but get their information from the NYT. I can’t necessarily blame them. Nobody can follow every issue. I think propaganda works to some extent or organizations and think tanks and politicians wouldn’t produce so much of it.

    • Part of what they are doing, both in this article and in Friedman’s columns, is giving Israel permission to bomb civilians in Lebanon and Gaza.

      As for the blockade, the NYT basically supports it. They pay as little attention to it as possible. If anything one tenth as severe were imposed on Israel they would treat it as cause for war. But since it is Israel doing it to Palestinians they either don’t care or support it.

  • NYT op-ed describing Israel as a place of refuge is missing the word, Palestinians
  • Israeli diplomat calls on American students 'to restore the honor' of vilified word-- Zionism
    • “Cannot see for the life of me why they are considered somehow more morally abhorrent than say drone attacks or targeted assassinations.”

      The comment came up in passing when we were writing a piece about the fact that Israel murders civilians while the “ liberal” press pretends otherwise. You would have to take it up with apologists for Israeli or American military actions. In other words, the people we were criticizing.

      I guess I have a problem when anyone on any side has trouble using the word “ disgusting” about, say, the killing of children. It shouldn’t matter who is doing it or what cause they claim they are defending. I frankly doubt that any planner of attacks on children whether conducted by plane or by suicide bomber actually had good intentions when they plan such things. People are full of crap and can justify any obscenity.

      This is, btw, the fundamental reason why one should oppose Zionism. It starts out with good intentions— providing Jews with a refuge— but once it became a program for conquering Palestine then it meant, among other things, terrorist attacks on Palestinian civilians. Whatever good intentions might have been present become irrelevant.

    • We wrote that suicide bombing was disgusting, not Palestinian days of rage. And you know it.

  • Thomas Friedman justifies slaughter of Arab civilians by 'crazy' Israel
    • MAD sort of worked in the Cold War, but partly by luck. We humans often think that because some policy worked out that it meant it was wise, but we just have a sample size of one planet and there were times when we came close to nuclear war.

      "MW wishes for Iranian hezbollah violence to force Israel to fold up its tents and disband. "

      I think you are confusing the front page posters with some views that have been expressed in the comments. My impression is that Phil, for instance, favors BDS as the best path forwards towards a democracy with equal rights for everyone, but expects that there is going to be further bloodshed along the way. That isn't a question of favoring it.

    • "So it is indeed an oxymoron."

      I suppose, but it depends on how you define it. I am guessing we don't disagree on the reality of what many people who call themselves "liberal" actually believe. The question is whether they should be allowed to use the term about themselves. I think you are using the term to mean that people who are liberal should care in a consistent principled way about human rights. That's fine, but not all people who call themselves liberals act this way. This is true of both "liberal" Zionists and many American liberals.

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  • Struggle for equal rights for Palestinians is 'right choice,' and will lead to 'significant exodus of Jews' -- Henry Siegman
    • "why would an anti-Zionist not get any MSM air time? "

      I am not sure if you were misreading me. Anyway, I think anti-Zionists don't get airtime because there has been a long and up to this point successful campaign by Zionists in the US to portray anti-Zionists as anti-semites. This is or might be slowly starting to change, but right now openly racist jerks like Bret Stephens can have a regular column at the NYT, while we all got excited because Michelle Goldberg wrote one piece questioning Zionism. The equivalent of Bret Stephens would be someone I wouldn't want representing the pro-Palestinian side--it would be someone who actually was an anti-semite. There is no need to worry about it though--the NYT would never dream of publishing such a person.

    • I guess several of us had the same reaction to that line. Obviously Phil knows why or this blog wouldn’t exist.

      But Phil, if you are reading this, I think you could make your point about the press more bluntly, without the rhetorical naïveté.

  • Israel, are you a real state?
  • Norman Finkelstein's new book on Gaza is a meticulous account of Israel's crimes
    • I think you are right. I used to have great respect for HRW and AI and still will read their reports, but for whatever reason I think they have drifted into the orbit of the foreign policy establishment.

  • Fearing breakup of Israel lobby, liberal Zionists stress the power of Jewish unity
    • I was thinking more of which nonZionists you like, but thanks.

      Haber, I think, is non Zionist. Or rather, a cultural Zionist who doesnt support the statehood idea as part of his Zionism, if I understood him correctly. I used to read him regularly and gradually stopped as he seemed not to post that much. But there were a few posts in 2017 as I just saw. But I agree he is very good, someone who just radiates intelligence and decency. I suppose if I wanted to convince a liberal Zionist to really re examine the ideology Haber would be the person I would recommend.

    • “Yes leftist zionists are in a tough spot. But no. MW has disqualified itself from helping them to decide how to proceed.”

      What site or book or magazine or writer would you recommend for this? I am not being snide.

  • After disturbing tour of Hebron, Roger Cohen takes a step away from Zionism
    • I was half depressed and half amused by the racist bozos in the comment section, particularly the ones who shed crocodile tears and then out all the blame for the situation on the Arabs and/ or Palestinians.

  • Israel as a perversion of Judaism and the modern nation-state
    • Actually, it is a settler colonialist venture and also a venture intended to preserve Jews. I can acknowledge the second point without endorsing the method. The best long term method for preserving Jews and all other minority groups is to move towards the liberal ideal of secular democracies with equal rights for all. The nationalist idea is understandable, especially with groups who are being oppressed, but it often tends to produce a new oppressor class when successful. That is what was bound to happen when you build a nation on land already inhabited by others.

      I am not sure the writer intends to say that Israel is some unique case of oppression. It has its unique features, but every case does. He is attempting to give the history of Judaism and its relationship to nationalism in a few paragraphs or rather, summarizing the content of a book which apparently attempts to do that. I am very far from being an expert in Jewish history so my opinion is worth almost nothing, but it sounded plausible to me. But admittedly that doesn’t mean much.

    • That’s an interesting criticism, but I am curious about the last whine. Do you mean that Israel is a typical example of settler colonialist nationalism, like the US, when the whites came with their notions of racial and cultural superiority and took the land from the Native Americans?

    • It’s semantics, Keith. By “ religion” he means the reduced role religion has in modern Western secular societies, excluding Israel. He states this very clearly. Several centuries ago one particular religion would permeate the society and adherents of minority religions would be on thin ice, if allowed to exist at all. He should use a different term if it is going to cause this sort of useless debate about word usage. But you are accusing him of denying reality when you and he and I all agree on the history.

      It’s a little weird how you assume I disagree with you on the questions you ask— the whole point of the quote I provided from the post was precisely that religion used to dominate society and that in recent centuries separation of church and state became the ideal for many, as a reaction to the Thirty Years War. Israel is a society where one religion dominates.

      I think this is turning into one of those arguments where people agree very loudly at the top of their lungs.

    • I think you are misreading him at certain points. For instance, he defines “ religion” in an idiosyncratic way by everyday standards, as private belief rather than a system that dominates the entire society. You see that in this passage—

      “In order to accomplish this blending of sovereignty, territory and identity, the state was made secular and the church subordinate to the state. Christianity was turned into a “religion:” something private and internal, an impulse separate and distinct from the secular pursuits of politics and economics. The essence of this religion is belief. It allowed people to be Catholics or Protestants (and by now Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Wiccan witches, or atheists) and yet be loyal Frenchmen, Englishwomen, Germans or Americans at the same time.”

      On separation of church and state, he is talking about the period after the Thirty Years War and not the Middle Ages.

    • Fascinating post. Thanks for writing it.

  • Vic Mensa's searing piece in 'Time' on Israeli oppression is prefaced by clunky disclaimer re anti-Semitism
    • I wouldn’t put it quite the way you did Phil. I agree that the opening remarks are there because of the subconscious racist assumption Americans have been indoctrinated in—if you criticize Israel as harshly as it deserves you are guilty of antisemitism until proven innocent, because nobody could legitimately be that outraged by crimes against Palestinians. No, it is probably really that you are motivated by antisemitism, because Palestinians don’t matter.

      It is a viciously racist assumption, but because we live in a racist society most people adopt a defensive crouch on the subject. I don’t know who wrote those lines, but they weren’t necessarily written with bad intent. They might have been intended to brush off the criticism we all know is going to be leveled at the piece. I agree, though, that it is way past time to get out of the crouch. Wait for the cries of antisemitism to begin and then point out the racism.

  • Israeli Jews will never accept Palestinians as equals -- Klutznick, chair of Americans for Peace Now
    • One other thing, Yonah, regarding MLK. King could use America’s professed ideals and mythology to support equal rights for all. The US never lived up to it, but the ideals and words were there. If a Palestinian version of King tries to make a case to Israeli Jews or American Zionists, the founding mythology of Israel doesn’t have a whole lot of room for acknowledging a Palestinian right of return. I am not being snarky. Would be Palestinian MLK’s have much more of an uphill fight if they try to reach Zionists with a message of reconciliation and equality because of this, even apart from all the bloodshed.

    • I am not over there, Yonah, so I don’t have any firsthand sense of what. Palestinians want. LHunter’s post above is encouraging. This NYT story is moderately encouraging.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/05/world/middleeast/israel-palestinians-state.html?action=click&contentCollection=Middle%20East&module=RelatedCoverage&region=EndOfArticle&pgtype=article

      But as I said, I don’t know.

      On the tone within the US, one advantage MLK had was that some or many white liberals largely embraced his message, at least superficially. It is very different for Palestinians. Things might be changing now— I am not sure— but mainstream opinion has always stayed firmly within a liberal Zionist framework and even there, it has tended to fall on the more conservative end of the liberal Zionist spectrum if you follow me. What I mean is that liberal Zionism as a category stretches from people who pay lip service to a 2ss, but sigh and put all the blame on the Palestinians for the situation, all the way over to people who have a foot out the door. In political circles and in much of the press people tend to fall on the conservative Israel justifying side of that spectrum, though the idiocy of Netanyahu and Trump have damaged the Israeli brand for American liberals. Anyway, pro Palestinian people who think the problem started in 1948 are treated as, at best, unrealistic nuts and at worst as antisemites. Up until now if a Palestinian gave the “ I have a dream speech” he or she would have been treated as a terrorist antisemite out to destroy the Jewish State or simply ignored.

    • Thanks for that post, LHunter.

    • Annie— good piece.

      I think you might have misunderstood me though, not that my personal views matter much. What I meant was that it was time for BDS to just come out for one man, one vote. But having read your piece I am thinking maybe you and the BDS people are right and they should just stick with their principles as written.

      I agree that the pro Israel side always makes it about them.

      Mooser, if the Israeli Jews don’t want to live in a country where Palestinians have equal rights, maybe many or most will leave. That’s their choice if we get to that point.

    • Yonah, if you mean the comment section at MW, I agree. Some want the colonialists to leave, meaning nearly all the Israeli Jews. Others want a secular state with equal rights for all.

      My impression from thousands of miles away is that younger Palestinians are increasingly favoring the one state equal rights for everyone position. They are tired of their old leadership, both Hamas and Fatah. But I only read about this. If true, those are the people you should be focusing on and not people in this comment section.

      The BDS movement sidesteps whether they favor one state or two. I think they are eventually going to have to come off the fence.

      https://bdsmovement.net/faqs#collapse16233

  • From Spinoza to Vilkomerson, Jewish voices for peace have long been banned-- by Jews
    • Visiting your family is not fraternizing with the enemy. I would not go to Israel as a tourist but if I had family there I would visit them.

      Also, the idea that everyone in Israel is an “ enemy” is not the message the BDS movement is trying to convey, afaik. When people boycott companies or states or governments, they usually don’t cut all ties with people who live in those places or work for those companies until the goal is achieved.

    • I don’t agree with this at all. The idea of a boycott is not to demonstrate personal moral rectitude and willingness to suffer, but to impose pressure on Israel. Refusing to see your own family members is an odd way to put pressure on a government.

  • The Times discovers 'the best interests of the American people' in the Russia case
    • Although we used it here, I am actually not comfortable with the phrase “American interests”. Whose interests? Rich Americans have different interests from others, at least in some cases. And obviously some Americans have an interest in Israel, for better or worse.

      But if the NYT is going to use the phrase, it is on them to explain how Russiagate is different from a lot of other sleazy things that happen.

  • Finally a 'New York Times' columnist says liberal Zionism is dead
    • “I sure do like the sound of that, but the left in the usa act more like Israeli liberals. ”

      Many liberals in the US are very much like liberal Zionists in their attitudes and not just on Israel. The antiwar movement in the US died when Obama got in. FAIR just had a piece where they point out how little coverage the liberal station MSNBC has given to the US supported bombing of Yemen.

      https://fair.org/home/msnbc-yemen-russia-coverage-2017/

  • Let the two-state solution die a natural death
  • If you genuinely back the Palestinian cause, you must support the right of return
    • Thanks eljay.

    • I could imagine a nonviolent Palestinian movement for a secular democratic state with equal rights for all joining up with whatever small number of Israeli Jews who feel the same. The very most liberal of the liberal Zionists join it. Someone like David Shulman might do so. It becomes a movement that even the NYT starts having to cover as a real thing.

      Where it goes from there I don’t know.

    • I support the right of return. What you are describing, Yonah, with the suitcase thing, is more of an Algerian solution. Even the NYT now has a story up about how the younger generation of Palestinians is more supportive of a one man, one vote type of solution, secular democracy, equal rights for everyone.

      Upthread RoHa said he used to be a halfhearted supporter of a 2ss as the “ realistic” one. That was me also. But it doesn’t seem particularly realistic anymore if it ever was.. And even then, I thought the only type of workable 2ss would not be a divorce the way some Zionists describe it, but something with very open borders, people crossing back and forth, really more of a binational thing. If you had the divorce and cold peace type of solution, it wouldn’t be stable, or that is my guess. That seemed to be what many Israelis wanted— toss the Palestinians as little as possible and then forget they exist or if they aren’t satisfied, blame them for not accepting the “ generous offer”, keep stealing land and apply force as needed to keep them under control. But the Israelis have killed it off anyway. So why bother with a “ realism” that accepted the Nakba?

  • A foreign leader -- Netanyahu -- set Trump's agenda in Middle East, Michael Wolff book says
    • Agreed. There was a brief acknowledgement in the msm of the Israeli collusion angle in connection with Flynn’s meeting, but most ignored it and now it is safely down the memory hole. For all the talk you hear about the need to investigate collusion, they only mean the Russians. They don’t want to go looking for any possible quid pro quos elsewhere.

    • Thanks for that. For those interested, here is a link.

      https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2018/01/276817.htm

      You can also watch the video. I think the conversation about Palestine starts somewhere around the 20 minute mark, but I forgot to look.

    • Bannon sounds like he favored the Jerusalem move, so if he was the antiwar voice it didn’t mean much.

  • How Ahed Tamimi was slapped first, and why no one is talking about it
  • Zionism didn't have to turn out so badly for Palestinians, says Roger Cohen
  • In video tours of Palestine, Nas Daily plays native informant
    • I haven’t watched him, but on the assumption that the post accurately describes him, he sounds exactly like the worst sort of liberal Zionist. In their own minds they want peace and just wish the Palestinians would get over their petty little complaints and be as nice and decent as, well, liberal Zionists like themselves. The fact that he is Palestinian just gives him the extra credibility needed to persuade liberal Zionists that they are perfect and don’t need to change.

  • Israeli Jews 'will never accept' giving vote to Palestinians -- liberal Zionist leader
    • I used to think that way. I have about three minutes, so no long post. One problem is that even if you wanted to push for a 2ss as the practical one, we know what happens. A solution which is completely unfair to Palestinians becomes the maximalist one. Their basic right to live in their own homeland is tossed away— it is not even used as a bargaining chip, as degrading as that is, but tossed into the trash before the negotiations even begin. So w begin with Israel’s right to ethnic cleansing as a foundation for negotiations and then bargain over how much more they can have.

    • Sibirak—

      You’re right. Good posts.

    • It’s a wider problem— even apart from Zionism, a lot of self proclaimed American liberals are not very liberal. For instance, they tend to be indifferent to American atrocities unless those can be blamed solely on a Republican.

      There’s always been tension between liberals and people further to their left. Liberals sometimes take rightwing positions, especially if their own privileges are at stake.

  • Genocide and American liberals
    • “Propaganda is primarily effective on those who want to believe.”

      That’s true, which is why I said that thing about the values of readers. I just want to leave open the possibility that some, when faced with facts stated forcefully so they can’t ignore it, will admit what is going on.

      Hypothetically, if you explained to a friend via email with plenty of links what we are doing to Yemen and Gaza and how the press downplays or ignores it, they might start to see how morally twisted the mainstream emphases and storylines are. But if they are emotionally committed to the mainstream storyline, they will find some way to dismiss it and cling to what the msm tells them is important. I have encountered a few people like that both online and in real life. Which is part of why there is a bit of a depressed tone to the post.

    • I think you are right regarding most people and I thought of striking out that line. At the moment, reading your post, I think I should have. It is probably true of a few that their values are warped. Mostly, though,it is that propaganda works on everybody. Hear the same things over and over again and see some stories emphasized and others downplayed or not covered at all and it is entirely natural to absorb it. It probably happens to all of us about some issue or other.

    • Thanks. And yes, it is depressing.

  • Flynn's plea on Russian influence reveals... Israel's influence!
  • Dangerous signs that Trump, Netanyahu and the Saudi Crown Prince are planning wider Mideast war
    • I sort of doubt that someone will be prosecuted because they tried to help Israel. There should be enough in the way of perjury and corruption to prosecute people in the Administration without dragging Israel into it.

      Many of the Beltway people who hate Trump are just as much a bunch of neocon warmongers as the people in Trump’s Administration. They just don’t trust Trump to be a competent warmonger. McCain hates Trump, for instance. People like that will try to keep Israel out of it.

      All this is farcical. Trump’s biggest crime is not his corruption, but the fact that he is mentally unstable and incompetent. Think of all the people we could be quietly killing without the embarrassment of having Trump as our President.

  • Trump administration using unjust US law to pressure Palestinians
    • The irony ( or one of them) is that Trump and the people around him are itching to get into a war with Iran, and they also want to keep US forces inside Syria where they have no right to be. It doesn’t make any sense that this is something Putin wants. If anything, Trump is under the influence of the Saudis and the Israelis and Americans who all want the US to take out Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.

    • Good points. Personally, I am guessing there is something to Russiagate, but it is mostly stuff that we wouldn't bat an eye at if the US or an ally did it, and I don't mean just the mainstream, but even lefties. The US pulls so much crap on so many levels that something as minor as what the Russians are accused of doing would be way way down on the list of anything we would care about. We are helping the Saudis create the world's greatest humanitarian crisis in Yemen and virtually all the pundits in the MSM ignore this in favor of russiagate.

  • Israel has more legitimacy than US because the bible mentions Jerusalem, not New York -- says David Harris
    • Um, it shows nothing of the kind. By your reasoning, if I can find out where my ancestors were living 2000 years ago, I have the right to go to those places and re establish my long lost homeland no matter what the current residents might say. Or I could convert to some particular religion, find out where it’s adherents were living at some point in the past and claim that location for myself and my co religionists.

      But you are providing more evidence for my theory that the strongest arguments against Zionism are always made inadvertently by Zionists.

    • Since we are being honest, your notions of collective innocence and guilt are disgusting and basically the mirror image of Zionism. The one point Israel defenders make which is valid without justifying their ideology is when they say nobody is innocent. The world is full of states formed in part by conquest or invasion or ethnic cleansing or various other forms of injustice. The solution is not to dispense “ judgment” on literally millions of people. You can indulge in your bloodthirsty childish fantasies , but put into practice your solution is no solution at all, but a call for the violent expulsion of millions of people who won’t go willingly. By rights you should be saying the same thing about every country where invasions have happened, including the US, but you don’t. This is bad faith on your part. Though to give you “ credit”, you did endorse the massive transfers of populations after WW2 in which hundreds of thousands died.

      The Zionist argument made by Harris doesn’t work because the answer is obvious— equal rights for everyone, a right of return, and reparations. The Israelis won’t do this willingly— it will require pressure. Your “ solution” would also require pressure in the form of some massive military intervention, and consequences nobody can foresee, but at least echino will know that his particular brand of perfect justice will finally come to fruition in one place, for the survivors anyway.

    • “You mouth breathing liberal zios are a hoot! “

      I am not a Zionist. You logic - impaired comment writers are a scream, no matter what orifice you use to take in oxygen. Evidently it is a clogged one.

      That was fun. Anyway, your comment was bloodthirsty. The best arguments against Zionism are made, inadvertently, by Zionists. You see it in some of the comments made here by many of Israel’s defenders. They discredit themselves. The worst advocates for anti Zionism are people who clearly salivate over the prospect of some sort of apocalypse.

    • "The same has been said for Germany. And then, they moved out of the eastern lands AND paid to get out. You never know."

      Most people don't point to the massive ethnic cleansings that occurred in Eastern Europe under Stalin as examples to be emulated. I have seen Zionists claim we shouldn't pay attention to the Nakba considering the other things that happened in Europe or in the formation of India-Pakistan during the same time period.

    • "yeah, you mentioned earlier “Israeli Jews owe massive reparations to the Palestinians”. i just don’t think it will ever happen because for the most part they feel entitled and find so many ways to justify their crimes, which they do not recognize as crimes."

      I am a little puzzled by your comment. The point, I think, of this blog is to help build a movement to put pressure on the Israelis to do the right thing. Obviously if they can keep American support while they continue to steal land and practice apartheid then that is just what they will keep on doing.

      Echino favors expulsion of the Israeli Jews. He hammers on that constantly. Setting aside the morality (which I think is the morality of ethnic cleansing), that has zero chance of winning widespread support in the US and of course it gives the pro-Israel side exactly what they want--Palestinian advocates who favor driving most of the Jews into the sea, no doubt carefully distinguishing between those who have immediate ancestors who lived there pre-Herzl and those who don't. And if in some really strange twist there was a coalition of nations that actually tried to carry the plan out, what exactly do people imagine Israel would do faced with a genuine existential threat?

      You don't think the Israelis would willingly compensate the Palestinians? Well, yeah. That is so obvious I didn't think it needed to be said. I was outlining what would be right in contrast to what Echino thinks. We don't compensate people either. But that should be the goal. And pressuring the Israelis while stating that the longterm goal is equal rights for everyone gives them not a moral leg to stand on. Alternatively,, we could adopt the Echino platform and proclaim our desire to do something involving the forcible expulsion of Israeli Jews from the country where they were born, something that would require a massive war that might end up going nuclear. Good luck selling that position.

    • “I just love that “they need to”! Sure, who’s gonna make them do what they need to, with Unc’Sam paying for everything and sending them soldiers, too, and keeping the rest of the world paralyzed? You? Go ahead, show us how you make them do what they need to!”

      This is called shifting the goalposts. You asked for my position on whether Israeli Jews should be expelled and I gave it. BDS is precisely about pressuring the Israelis.

      Your own solution has nothing to do with reality no matter how often you advocate for expulsion. Mooser’s response to me applies to you. Do you really think the US or anyone else is going to help the Palestinians expel the Israeli Jews? Do you think the Palestinians themselves can do it? What do you imagine would happen if some other power declared an all out war on Israel with the express intent of expelling the Jews?

      One reason I haven’t replied before now is that I don’t see the point in getting into a long discussion about something which won’t happen and if it did happen would be catastrophic for everyone there, and everyone downwind and if the more pessimistic projections of nuclear winter are correct, for everyone everywhere.

    • I agree about the compensation principle. It is going to be pretty massive, I would think, if it were fair.

      Harris is weirdly oblivious to the logic of his argument, but I first starting seeing Israel defenders making that style of argument ten or more years ago. It amazed me, because previously only people like Chomsky and Finkelstein compared the Palestinians to the Native Americans. But good, go right ahead and make the comparison.

    • Keith—it is probably the last part, but gamal and I have been arguing about this or that for years. I even think I remember when it started. I had mentioned during the last Gaza slaughter that Hamas rocket attacks were war crimes. Legally they probably were from what little I know, ( though nobody applies the law to us), but nowadays I would just keep my mouth shut on that, given the massive ratio of civilian deaths. The US also kills more civilians “accidentally” in “ collateral damage” in single air strikes than Hamas did in the whole war and if we were living in Gaza being imprisoned and sometimes pounded by the Israelis we’d go berserk. Plus, we are supplying the Israeli weapons, or some of them.

      Anyway, we have a history. In hindsight sometimes I agree with him, though not always.

    • I think the Israeli Jews owe massive reparations to the Palestinians and one man, one vote is the political solution. How massive the reparations need to be I couldn’t begin to say.

      I don’t agree with your notion that the Israeli Jews should be expelled. If they keep heading in the direction they are headed then an Algerian style conflict becomes increasingly likely and all bets are off, but there is no telling who comes out on top. This is the nightmare scenario, not something to aim for, but if it happens it will be Israel’s fault. As for Israelis being invaders, yes, as are most people of European descent living outside Europe. For that matter, the same is true of many Europeans living in Europe. Nobody is morally pure if we have to go back in time and keep track of what our ancestors did and not very distant ancestors either. I would guess millions of Israeli Jews were born in Israel. It is their home. Their sin is in continuing a situation where the original inhabitants were expelled and not let back in. They also practice apartheid. They need to stop practicing apartheid, allow the Palestinians back, pay reparations and accept the principle of equal rights. Alternatively, they can read about the history of the French presence in Algeria.

    • Who is “us”, gamal? Do you speak for everyone in some group which has never done anything to anyone? You act like that, as though there are groups who are collectively innocent and others who aren’t and you of course are in the first group.

    • I don’t care about the Bible reference, but if he wants to defend Israel on the grounds that other countries, including the US, were formed as a result of colonialism, imperialism and conquest, he is shooting himself in the foot.

      He is right about other countries. But the solution to past injustice begins with acknowledging it, admitting it was wrong, and granting the principle of equal rights for everyone. Harris seems to think the solution is for everyone to embrace their inner racist and support apartheid. Or at least, support it in the case of Israel, as I doubt he wants America to be a white Christian nation.

  • '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.

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