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  • In order to receive hurricane relief, Texas town requires residents to reject Israel boycott
    • I'm a Texan and the storm flooded our city, too, and I am glad this unconstitional situation is getting so much publicity. Thanks to everybody for picking up the story. This anti-boycott law is dangerous and against the first amendment. Hopefully, it will cause more people to examine the abuse perpetuated by the Israeli govt and American support for it.

  • In leaked transcript of White House call, Trump lauds Israel's wall
    • I live in a border state and this wall idea is just idiotic.

      Israel's wall is 400 miles long. The US southern border is thousands of miles long--with rough and unstable areas that can't be used for building. You also have to build decent roads to carry all the heavy equipment to get to large swaths of the border. Lots of land owners have already lost access to land they own because the wall that has already been built cannot practically follow the actual border. So their land is cut in two, just like in Israel. That's really working, Trumpy!

      If the US really wanted to stop people from working in the US unlawfully, there is a simple way: e-verify. The system is free and already exists. All employers would have to check all potential employees. Business groups have fought this idea because they will lose cheap labor, so it's not really talked about at all. But if they couldn't work here, people would not come.

      So all this huffing and puffing about immigration could be stopped instantly with a few key strokes into the e-verify system if the law required it and if the penalties were stiff and heavily enforced against employers who violate the law.

      In Texas, we prefer to spend millions on sending our own state troops to the border in a show of force. It's just a very expensive "Keep Out" sign. (Texas generally runs itself in the style of a Third World theocratic regime, so it's not a big surprise.)

      Everyone here knows if you can get across the border, you can probably stay for as long as you want. Construction companies, restaurants, meat processors, home builders, road work, landscaping, barn crews, housekeepers, custodians, farm workers--all sorts of manual labor is done by folks who come across.

      Folks in power know how to stop it, but they don't really want to. You would have to really rewrite the law to allow people to come in and do the work that needs to be done, pay them a fair wage, and provide safe working conditions. That would cost folks in power money and political power. Why would they ever change a situation that is working so well for them? Especially when this, the effective thing to do, will not be an improvement for rich people. Better to spend the regular people's money on a facade.

      Trump is a fool. He has no clue. And he can keep the people happy with all this "wall"rhetoric, but it's a joke. Employers would rather watch state (and federal) money go straight down the drain than risk their cheap work force.

      I think I read that the wall was a 17th century solution to a 21st century problem. That's about right.

  • 'Israel receives more US military aid than every other country in the world combined' -- New York Times reveals
    • Facts about US aid to Israel need to come out. It actually may matter more given our current America First political situation. It could tick off trump supporters.

      On a tangential note, the CBS Evening News ran a story about settlements (Thursday or Friday night) that let settlers talk openly about their antipathy for Palestinians. It could have been more hard hitting, but I was surprised to see it at all. They even talked a little bit about the oppression of the Palestinians. By the way, it was a line from Scott Pelley at the end of report two years ago or so about the money we give to Israel that opened my eyes to that.

  • Catholic mass for Muslims draws more than 600 people blocks from the White House
    • This is certainly heartening news. Sometimes, it seems only people of Jewish descent or religion are permitted to have a valid voice about the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories--at least this seems to be the case in th US. As a progressive Catholic, it is nice to seem folks from my religion demonstrating what I think people of goodwill everywhere believe in and hope for: basic human rights, kindness, and decency for all.

  • New anti-Semitism legislation may stifle campus activism for Palestinian rights
    • In a way, if efforts continue to try to stifle speech about Israeli illegal activity, human rights violations, and oppression of the Palestinians, maybe it will force the issue into our court system and bring attention to it. The US is the primary sponsor and protector of Israel--including its abuse of Palestinians. The more publicity this receives in the US, particularly if the reasons why people are speaking out against Israeli policies are brought to light--well, I think the blatant unfairness of how Israelis treat Palestinians will be harder to ignore. Frankly, that this is coming up in the Dept. of Education is all the better. The news loves a school problem! And especially a federal school rule--just look at the bathroom stuff!

      By the way, I agree with Annie Robbins--it is a colossal waste of money. But this is how our system is set up--the courts are the arbiters. For instance, I am sick of the ranting about who gets to go into what bathroom. With all our other serious problems, who cares about where someone relives themselves? This is just like so many of the "issues" people get up in arms about--like little more than manufactured boogeymen to keep the general population distracted while the oligarchy that runs our country gets to have its way.

      However, this could help people pay attention to what the US is doing in Israel/Palestine. Especially if it becomes a high profile federal case that involves multiple states or something.

  • 'Ruling class' must regard Trump's rise as response to 'ill conceived wars' -- Matthews
    • Well, I'll try to inject a positive note (though maybe it's a just a passing hope). Hillary Clinton has shown that she is not really wedded to any particular policies or principles. Remember that video that was going around of 10-15 min of her stating one position, then changing it some time later with no real explanation or even claiming she had not changed at all.? She can change on a dime is what I'm saying--when she feels pressured or threatened. Can't beat 'em? Join 'em. That seems to be her motto.

      Also, she owes a lot to Bernie Sanders and especially Elizabeth Warren. Warren has bucked President Obama in the past. She's obviously more popular and seen as a more honest actor in the political realm than Clinton. Clinton will still need Sanders' support on things in the future and he's quite free with his opinions.

      I have some hope that if Clinton wants to keep progressives on her side (and she likely will need those votes in the Senate), she will have to dance with the powerhouse progressives there who are far more popular than she is. They are bringing her to the ball. Clinton will have to work to keep in Warren and Sanders' good graces. That ought to act as some sort of a brake on her military adventures.

  • Lesson from Kahane and Trump -- ideology outlives the ideologue
    • The thing about Trump is that he is only taking Republican positions to the next step. For instance, voter ID laws were passed in my state to deal with the problem of voter fraud--even though there was virtually no evidence that voter fraud existed. The idea that elections are rigged and poll watchers are needed is really just saying that voter fraud is a problem.

      All these little policy bombs have existed in Republican rhetoric for 40 to 50 years (including talk radio and Fox news), and Trump is just setting them off. Sometimes, I listen to conservative talk radio and more than once I have truly been shocked by the racist talk on the show and on the commercials. It's just extraordinary---there's nothing implied about it--it's absolutely blatant. So in my opinion, Trump is the logical result of Republican/ conservatives opinion, action, and rhetoric. He's reaping what they have sown.

  • More insultingly stupid propaganda for Israel in the 'New York Times'
    • The US had freedom of religion and kept religion out of government from the beginning. Israel made religion an integral part of its government from the start. That was and is a crucial difference between our countries.

  • Why Trump's revolution succeeded, and Bernie's fizzled
    • Sorry--I don't have time to read every comment, so maybe someone already said this, but I'll say it:

      Trump is famous. He's well known. Everybody knew his name before he ran for president. He was the star of a TV show for years. That went a long way to helping him win. (Hillary Clinton is also famous. So the two most well-known people won.)

      I knew who Sanders was because of his appearances on the Colbert Report. But none of my friends and family that are primary voters knew him. They were suspicious of him--is he for real? How long has held these views? etc. But for me yakking about him, I doubt they'd have voted for him or at all, really, because it seemed like Hillary was a shoe-in.

      Also, Super Tuesday came early and there were a lot of people voting in states where people just didn't get to hear enough about Sanders to know if they liked him. I'm not so sure Hillary would have done so well in my big state (high minority population) if Sanders had time to cover all the Super Tuesday states well. Super Tuesday put Clinton way ahead early and made her look like a winner.

      (Side note: I find it fascinating how casually folks discuss the American public by racial labels during presidential election seasons, when that sort of generalizing would be considered impolite at best or down right racist if you sliced and diced the public up by color or ethnicity in any other circumstance. We are all equal individuals until voting season when we are just part of our demographic group/herd.)

      Anyway, I do think the "Party" people were in the tank for Clinton all along. All those coin tosses in Iowa went her way--mathematically, that's very unlikely. Voice votes went her way. Voter rolls adjustments seemed specious. She had a little bit of help here and there to make her look like a bigger winner than perhaps she was--maybe she didn't really need it or maybe she did. Sure helped her overall "narrative" unless you really followed it closely and knew about the "irregularities".

  • 'Washington Post' publishes article by Jewish leader urging boycott of Israel
    • I have noticed over the last several weeks that the Washington Post seems to be running more things like this--things that are critical or at least more even-handed with regards to Israeli society and the reality of the lives of Palestinians. Because of Mondoweiss, I often glance through several papers' take on various events and opinion pieces. I'd say the Post and the LA Times are running some anti-status quo pieces. I think it's a sign that open debate is becoming more prominent. (Just my observation.)

  • Are comparisons of South African apartheid and Israel useful?
    • As an American, the bottom line for me: why is the American government supporting a government whose stated purpose is to maintain a religious and ethnic majority of one group over all others? Why are US tax payers protecting a foreign government--financially, militarily, and politically--that imposes ethnic and religious tests on the people it governs and controls? And in a presidential election season in which race and religion and bigotry have been recurrent themes and issues, why aren't US journalists asking these questions?

  • Chuck Schumer 'worried' that his daughter was not marrying a Jew
  • On Holocaust Remembrance Day, NPR promotes Israeli army but Obama takes a pass
    • To JWalters, I don't think most Americans know about the Nakba. I certainly didn't. I read about it here and looked up more stuff about it on my own. I am neither Jewish nor of Middle Eastern descent, and most of this history was unknown to me. I have a non-Jewish Zionist friend whom I told about the Nabka and current conditions in the occupied territories, and he refuses to believe it. But I keep working on it. (I'll tell you what's getting his attention. It's the "most moral army in the world" claim. He's a veteran of the US Army, and he knows full well that no army can stand there and honestly make that statement.)

      Anyway, the Nakba really has to be talked about in America. Maybe a PBS documentary--? Probably couldn't get made or aired. Or just a documentary movie?

      It would be very tough to do. I can already hear the cries of anti-semitism. Probably difficult to get a distributor. Just put it online, I guess. And publicize the hell out of it. Get a celebrity spokesman.

      But yeah, your point is well taken. I really think the reality is that average Americans just don't know about the past or current conditions in this part of the world. And years of news reports that focus on suicide bombings for instance or just violence in general and not what leads to the violence is the problem. But that takes time to explain. This coupled with failed peace talks time and again--well, it all just feels like a broken record.

      I think most people I know either support Israel for religious reasons or because of the holocaust and the news reports. Or they don't care all that much because, "Those people have been fighting for years and years. It's never going to stop."

      I believe most people just don't know. A straight up series of "here's why they are fighting" stories would help. Here's what the laws are. Here's what the conditions are like. Explain only certain people can marry, only certain people can use this road, only certain people can live here or go to this school--show them the segregation, and that alone will get people's attention. It's our great democratic ally--and it's Un-American.

  • Sy Hersh's 'forbidden statement': Sanders's liberation from NY Jewish money could change US foreign policy
    • Yep, this is what happened to me. Jimmy Carter wrote his book, and I saw his interviews. Jimmy Carter tries to be a good person, more so than most people I've ever seen, so I paid attention to what he said. Looked into things myself...and realized how much money America is giving Israel. Met an actual Israeli. All this really opened my eyes. And my family's as well.

      If you listen closely, you can pick up things in the regular news. It was a line at the end a report by Scott Pelley on the CBS evening news that mentioned that Israel gets 3 billion dollars a year annually from the US. That's more than any other country in the world. Or something to that effect--that made me sit up and listen.

      When I really started paying attention to news about Israel, I started noticing little lines like that. But it's easy to ignore. I think most people are so used to all "those folks just keep fighting" stories that they just tune out.

  • Censorship in Brooklyn: Food Coop bars 'any events related to BDS or Israel' from meeting room
    • Starting a new co-op sounds like a good idea. I'm sure there's some other place that could be used to hold a meeting if needed. If folks don't feel good about being part of a group like this, they could leave. Or "boycott" it...

  • Obama's November surprise
    • I don't think Obama will do anything about Israel at all. It looks to me like Obama just tries to work around Israel (like getting the Iran deal done, but really all through his years in office). It's just a waste of energy trying to move the stubborn Israeli brick wall. On every issue, Clinton seems to take whatever position is politically favorable to her at any given time--she won't do anything. I can't really tell if she truly has any personal convictions about anything other than she thinks she deserves to be president. Also, she is too bought off and too beholden to donors to do anything (on this and many other issues--but especially this one). I really doubt that Obama makes decisions based on Clinton's campaign fortunes--just on principle. I don't think his personality or character would allow him to do that.

      My guess is that the US will someday be pushed to rapidly change positions/postures on Israel due to outside circumstances--something or some string of events will happen someday that the press can't ignore or slant or stick on a back page. And then it will rise to attention of ordinary Americans. Kind of like how lately those 28 pages in the 9/11 report have come into sharp focus after all these years of stewing in the background, popping up in the news every once in a while. Or even the gay marriage issue. Things just perk along, and one day, change seems inevitable.

  • 'Forward' columnist and Emily's List leader relate 'gigantic,' 'shocking' role of Jewish Democratic donors
    • So AIPAC is very much like ALEC (American Legislative Executive Council). Hardly ever hear much about either one's influence in ordinary American press.

  • Jewish leaders' excommunication of Sanders aide over Israel will only alienate young Jews -- Open Hillel
    • As a non-Jewish Southerner, I will never cease to be amazed at how familiar this all sounds. The arguments of Foxman, Abrams, and indeed pretty much all of the Israeli right are strikingly similar to segregationists. The religious arguments--yep, we heard all that, too. Anti-"mixing" arguments--yep. (Quite honestly, I'm Catholic and I still hear a lot of anti-Catholic/anti-intermarriage rhetoric from people who don't know that I'm "one of them.") It's just so fascinating to me and my family. The parallels are so strong, we just shake our heads and wonder how can Americans be so blind? Someday, history is going to look back on all this, and it's going to be rough going for all these pro-Israeli defenders and apologists.

  • 'We don’t want to find ourselves in a position like apartheid South Africa': A report from Israel's first national conference against BDS
  • 'New York Times' whitewashes poll showing Israeli support for expelling Palestinians
    • Expelling or transferring Arabs is a big deal. But doesn't anybody have a problem with 79% of Israeli Jews agreeing that Jews deserve preferential treatment? That's a very straight forward result to a very straight forward question that just slid by. And it shows that Israeli Jewish society does not believe in equal treatment for everyone. That is not a true free and fair democracy. And to me, that is the biggest problem. Everything stems from that notion: one group overwhelming believes it deserves --it is entitled to--preferential treatment. How can anyone outside of that group exist fairly in a society like that? Expulsion is the natural result of that.

  • Sanders's outreach to Arab Americans on Islamophobia helped deliver Michigan surprise
    • Americans actually lived up to the ideals expressed in our Constitution and in our laws--and other Americans are surprised! ("created equal," etc. etc)

  • And the winner of the Sheldon Adelson primary is... Hillary Clinton
    • I've thought about this, too. I'm not voting for Clinton under any circumstances. My vote for president doesn't really count since I live in a scarlet red state, so the March 1 primary is my only chance to have an effect (and I already voted early). I do feel obligated to vote in November even though it is symbolic because of where I live...still trying to figure out if you can write-in here.

  • Most US Jewish students don't see Israel as 'civilized' or a 'democracy,' Luntz tells secret anti-BDS conference
    • Boycotting something is and historically has been an acceptable non-violent form of protest. For instance, when the Europeans started labeling goods from the occupied territories, I saw several articles in the Israeli press in which Israelis vowed to boycott European goods in response to the European actions.

      So apparently, it's okay for Israelis to boycott whatever they choose, but no one can boycott anything Israeli because that is anti-semitic? Now who's using a double standard?

      Israel cannot save itself with slogans and PR.

  • 'No Wars for the Billionaire Class': A look at a possible Sanders foreign policy
    • All good points! I find foreign aid particularly galling considering how the budget for things like food assistance get cut repeatedly. Food is a basic need. Several places in the country need water--clean, running water. And health care. I'm having to deal with that in a major way right now, and I can attest that we have no "system." "The health care system" is an oxymoronic term. Even with insurance, I have spent hours trying to mediate between the insurance company and "the provider" and ambulance companies. And threats from hospitals and doctors about collections.

      Here's the thing about health care: the President of the United States (Obama) offered to help the Vice President of the United States with medical bills so the Vice President would not have to give up his house in order to pay for his son's medical expenses.

      Anybody see a problem with that?

      What chance do I have when the Vice President needs help with his son's cancer treatment?

      I have to deal with cancer treatment, too.

      (And this is AFTER Obamacare was in effect.)

      Tell me how secure Americans should feel when the American President has to offer to help the Vice President with medical expenses!

      We got a bill for $450 to $500 to see a specialist for a 15 minute consult. The insurance company paid 37.50 and we paid 40. What kind of farcical "system" is that? What if I had to hire someone to go to the grocery store to negotiate the price of milk from $255 to $1.99? That's essentially what's happening.

      I have been dealing with this for months and it's truly appalling. And exhausting.

  • BDS movement faces attack in six state legislatures
    • This looks to be patently unconstitutional. Pro-BDS advocates or just plain old free speech advocates need to challenge South Carolina in court.

  • Generational sea change within the Democratic party will also include policy towards Israel
    • Ex-Pat,

      I understand and agree with what you're saying. I don't think it really makes sense for Sanders to talk about Israel/Palestine on the trail unless someone else brings it up. Totally agree with your point about that.

      I think most democratic voters (and voters in general) are more interested in stuff that directly affects them every day like the bread and butter economic issues that Sanders is very clear and consistent on. He should stick to that. Israel is not most people's top priority issue--it's not even for me. And making a big thing about it will probably just rile up Republicans and lead to Clinton going on again about how impractical (or radical) Sanders is. (As though equality in a democracy is a radical notion...)

      I think the less Sanders says, the better--both for him and for he actual issue itself. I've read a whole slew of Clinton vs. Sanders articles today (because everybody needs a productive hobby), and I'm impressed with how deftly Sanders handles questions that could be "gotcha" moments. He seems to have some skill with that sort of thing. So if Israel comes up for some reason, it'll be interesting to see what he says.

  • Biggest loser in Iowa was foreign policy
    • One thing I think you can say for Sanders is that he hasn't said he would meet with Netanyahu in his first days in office like most of the Republicans--or maybe all of them. Clinton wrote that fawning and obsequious letter about Israel in the Forward. (In addition to all her lavish private meetings where she pledges allegiance to a foreign country.) Sanders has not done anything like that. He refused to attend Netanyahu's speech to Congress--I think he was one of the first people to announce he would not attend. He has not met with Netanyahu or visited Israel while running. He has not held fund raisers for Jewish donors.

      He has not taken on the bellicose/hawkish tones like both Clinton and the Republicans. Sanders does not strut around bellowing about bombing people in foreign lands in a playground contest to see who has the biggest fist. ( I, too, agree that the current fights will have to be fought and settled by the people who live there. Our meddling will only exacerbate and prolong suffering there and also bring more of it here to our military families.)

      Perhaps it's a good sign to see what Sanders hasn't done. He hasn't sucked up to the Israeli lobby while on the campaign trail. And frankly, that's a big thing for a member of any party to do.

  • Israeli mayors initiate boycott of Sweden over foreign minister's criticism
    • Israeli officials have no sense of irony.

      Also, I think they should boycott American foreign aid since many Americans support BDS.

  • Palestinians took over in the afternoon, at the Haaretz NIF conference
    • This was interesting to me. I'm an non-Jewish American (Catholic), and I often feel like people like me are not "allowed" to speak on issues regarding Israel (unless it's just unqualified support or "love") even though it is the United States of America (including ALL American taxpayers) who is the primary benefactor and defender of Israel. And, of course, we rarely here from actual Palestinians--it's usually commentary by and debate between Israeli Jews and American Jews and everyone else really is shut out. So it's good to see and hear from Palestinians for a change.

      It's slightly uncomfortable for me even to write this as I am southern and am acutely aware of every word I say whenever any talk that even begins to approach matters of race or ethnicity or religion comes up.

      I feel that in order for things to actually change in the region, pressure must come from Americans as a whole. I feel like organizations that try to shine a light on the shameful inequality and injustice that Palestinians endure must do more try to reach people who are not Americans of Jewish (or Muslim or of Palestinian or Arab) descent. It should not just be a debate among family members of American Jewish households because all Americans are complicit in this system even if the majority of us don't realize it.

  • Bragging that she and Israel were born within months, Hillary Clinton wants to take relationship to 'next level'
    • I believe "completely SOLD her soul" just about nails it. Trump was right when he said that nobody gives big money to a candidate without expecting something in return.

      Aside from that, this kind of blatant butt-kissing by Clinton is just really hard to watch. It is political prostitution on parade.

  • Israeli soldiers raid Al Aqsa courtyard, attack worshipers
    • On a related note: it seems the occupation (tactics and weapons industry) is a profitable export for the Israelis, according to a new book by Jeff Halper called War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians, and Global Pacification. Interesting article about how worldwide elites are using Israel's methods, armaments, and technology to control the masses and ensure their own wealth and power--from the Sudan to the US. The author says this is how Israel positioned itself to be a player on the world stage. I'm curious to see what people around here (who know more about this) have to say.

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/14/israel-securocratic-warfare-and-the-pacification-industry/

  • God is on Israel's side, but not the United States, says Israel's new U.N. ambassador
    • Mr. Danon would do well to remember that the Lord giveth, and the the Lord taketh away. So, I guess, good luck with that.

  • Clinton can't separate herself from foreign-policy buffoons Saban and Adelson
    • This is the kind of thing that just adds to my doubts about Hillary Clinton. She reminds of GW Bush and Jeb (among many others) who seem to want to be president just to be president. I didn't vote for her when she ran in the primary last time. I felt so strongly about it that, for the first time in my life, I went to the caucus type thing my state held after the primary vote to sign in again and vote for Obama--it requires just sitting for a long, long time. (My state has recently done away with this two-step process.)

      If she does win the nomination and gets elected, I feel like the smart bet is she will be one term. She is bad at making speeches--just sucks on the stump. She is a lot like Romney--disingenuous. She is not like me. Has no idea what life is like for ordinary people. She has a tin ear. When polls show people don't trust her, I think that's just shows peoples' good instinct. She's been around a long time. We know her. I don't really like her because she is a suck-up, she has a finger in the wind, and I think everything she says is with a wink to her big money donors who know she's just things to try to appeal to the little people. She doesn't really intend to do a think about banks, income inequality, or Israel's apartheid. But the kicker is that everybody knows it. She's not fooling anybody.

  • Netanyahu likens BDS to Nazi Germany
    • Like the boy who cried "wolf," Netanyahu and his cohorts are the folks who cry "Nazi." The analogy has lost all impact. It sounds like so much whining at this point. As far as BDS goes, in spite of the efforts of some folks, legislation in America cannot stop it. If I choose not buy Israeli products and not visit the country, that's my decision. If I want to support BDS or hold a rally, that's free speech. If the idea that Israel is stealing land through settlements, practices institutional racism and discrimination, and as a society has decided that Jewish supremacy is acceptable and that all men are not created becomes the way Americans generally see Israeli society, no amount of Israeli officials belly aching can stop it. Example: gay rights and gay marriage. You are generally considered bigoted or at best unenlightened if you still spout anti-gay rhetoric. That's a huge change form 15 years ago.

  • No Palestinians need apply to new Israeli government-- and American liberals don't notice
    • I noticed that the Arab List was never mentioned in any of the newspaper, magazine, or wire service articles I read about all the machinations of trying to get a majority in the new government. I noticed it, and it was especially obvious in the American press where the big headlines are about racial strife and and the police. Also, considering that the Arab List was the third biggest winner in the election, it's hard to explain why they were ignored by the new government and why the press failed to point this out. I guess the racism is just assumed and accepted by reporters and it's not worth mentioning.

  • Using the dead: the 'NYT' works with Israel to justify military service
    • I think the author has presented a wise perspective on how a society views its wars and war dead especially when the dead are used in the promotion of new wars. I know she is Israeli, but it's something all peoples can learn from. It is not disrespectful to examine and question the wars that the dead fought in. Indeed, it is both disrespectful and shameful not to.

  • Leading American rabbi issues first public criticism of apartheid conditions in Jerusalem
  • Now Obama needs to 'compensate' Netanyahu -- NYT pipes Israeli propaganda (Update)
    • As I was reading this NYT article late last night, I actually stopped twice to check to see if missed the words "opinion" or maybe even "analysis" or something that indicated that this was not to be read as a straight, factual presentation of news was written near the title. I could not believe that anyone would think we/America needed to "compensate" Israel in any way for anything at all ever, let alone forging anti-nuke deal. Talk about unmitigated gall. It's just arrogance that knows no end. On the bright side, even Bill O'Reilly came out in favor of giving the deal a chance. So did Pat Buchanan. Because the alternatives are just war and war and war. And then Netanyahu's "right to exist" ploy--he really never misses a chance to show his completely overblown sense of self-importance.

  • Who can save Israel now?
    • The news coverage I read from many sources either described Netanyahu's racist and anti-Palestinian state pronouncements as merely last minute desperate campaign tactics or said that his statements would be "walked back" after the election. It was sort of like saying, "But he didn't really mean it." However, I think he really meant it and must be dealt with accordingly.

      The US cannot credibly keep acting as apologist-in-chief for this racist country.

      And I do believe the election results show the society as a whole condones, embraces, and shares this same racist point of view even though I realize there are some (a decided minority) of fair-minded people, too. From personal experience, I got to know a native Israeli quite well who held the same appalling racist views. Consequently, we are no longer friends. The profound frustration I felt led me to this site.

  • Pro-Israel campus activists acting as agents of state propaganda and intimidation
    • I read Jimmy Carter's book about Israel when it came out and was quite surprised by what I found in it. (As an aside: His recent book about the treatment of women world-wide is both frank and raw and well worth reading.) Anyway, I read Carter's book on Israel again recently after I had a visit from an Israeli in the summer of 2013 that reminded me of the book.

      My friend was not open at all to discussing Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. She called them "Arabs" and would only insist that they go "back" to live in an Arab country and leave "our land". Her family is from Europe and moved to Israel after WWII, and I pointed out that the Palestinians had put in much more time there than her family did. (And if we're going to talk ancient history, how far back do you go? Because my best estimate is that all humans should be living in Africa if we're going to go back as far as we can to where everyone got their start.) She really had no argument. Nothing to say about the settlements. Nothing to say about UN violations. Nothing to say for the PM insulting our President and regularly lying in public. It was like dealing with a pouty, sulky child. Immature. Refusing to think about anything that doesn't fit with her view.

      She also kept insisting that Israel was "just a tiny dot" and perpetually under threat. To which I said: a small country with one of the largest armies in the world (the fourth largest, I think) and with nuclear weapons is not a weak, defenseless country. And why aren't the nukes acknowledged? Of course, I just got the same repeated "tiny dot" response.

      She struck me as having a unique form of national narcissism and self-pity--full of arrogance and feeling victimized at the same time. She was well inculcated with certain phrases and beyond that had no cogent thoughts of her own.

      I stayed quite agitated after her visit and re-read Carter's book.

      When the Gaza War rolled around, I was upset to see propaganda cartoons on her twitter feed from her government. The pictures were juvenile and simplistic and ridiculously clownish, but they were upsetting because they reminded me of the black and white cartoons I saw in textbooks back in high school depicting Jews as bad and less than human. These were color cartoons that depicted all Arabs as bad and inhuman in exactly the same way.

      I expressed some, but not all of my views about Gaza. Her response was that she was extremely angry with me, but decided that "the media" was the reason for my opinions. I laughed out loud. Clearly, she knows nothing about American media. I get more information from Jewish and Israeli publications and sites like this. But it was another indication of the tidy little way of thinking she has so she doesn't have to challenge or, heaven forbid, change her mind.

      It is really astounding to me that Israel works so hard to exercise so much thought control on its own citizens and expects it to work in other countries with its "hasbara"--which is a new word for me. I honestly thought it simply meant propaganda. The very idea of hasbara is just insulting in and of itself.

      I can no more be friends with this person than I can be with a member of the Klan. I see no difference between a white supremacist and a Jewish supremacist. The very idea of building a country around one religion or ethnicity is anathema to me as an American. (I have experienced some religious and ethnic discrimination--very, very minor compared to other people so I don't often think about it--but enough to know to never talk about or acknowledge my religion at work. ) I do know there are some Israelis who are trying to change things, but it doesn't seem to be working. What I know for sure and certain is that Israel is not a democracy, no matter how hard they try to convince us otherwise.

  • Netanyahu speech scandal blows up, and 'soiled' Dermer looks like the fall guy
    • I generally agree with what you're saying, but I think if Netanyahu comes and pushes for US strikes in Iran, Americans are likely to take notice. Strikes will have repercussions. I just don't think America has the appetite for starting a war with an organized country. Also, I wonder if the issue of Israeli nuclear weapons will come up, and what the effect may be if it does. Netanyahu never ever mentions his own country's nuclear capabilities and is never questioned about it in interviews. I really don't understand why no one in the news ever calls him on it.

  • Tell your congressperson: Don't attend Netanyahu's speech
    • One thing that seems (to me) is rarely discussed in these conversations about Iran and nuclear weapons and Israel's fear of an Iranian bomb is that Israel has nuclear weapons, too. Israel is not part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation agreement, is not inspected by any authority, and does not give any public admission or accounting of their capabilities. And the US lets it go...

      I don't think it's a good idea for any country to have a nuclear weapon. I certainly want the negotiations to work. But frankly, Iran seems to have more stability to me than Pakistan. It also seems like for Iran, this is a matter of national pride. Who wants to be told by other countries what they can and cannot do? So the more Congress pushes them, the less likely they will bend. This is basic schoolyard politics.

      Add Israel's actions into the mix, and it looks like they are trying to bully the US and the US President into doing Israel's bidding. As an American, I take offense to that. Congress is adding to it and making the country look like we are not in charge of ourselves.

      It takes a high degree of hubris for Israel to point to another country and make all manner of demands on what it can and can't do when Israel will not own up to its own weapons. Why is Israel allowed to have weapons? Again, we are back to the sandbox, and the idea of what's fair and what's not. If Iran were to get an atomic bomb, wouldn't it just be a stalemate, a classic case of mutually assured destruction?

      To me, it seems like Israel is forever pointing a finger at others and claiming, "Don't look at me. He's worse." Just like a child trying to defer fault. This is not a position of strength. It's just immature and not something that can be respected on playground, much less on an international stage.

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