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Total number of comments: 125 (since 2009-08-04 23:31:56)

Evildoer

Website: http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

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  • Ash responds to critique of Finkelstein on BDS
  • New petition challenges Horowitz smear invoking Nazi holocaust to attack BDS
    • Oleg is under the impression that what is wrong with the Horwoitz Ad is that it "invokes the holocaust." Therefore, the ad above is guilty of hypocrisy since it is also invoking the holocaust.

      1. There is nothing inherently wrong in invoking the holocaust. I take for granted that political analysis can be sharpened by the good use of historical analysis. The holocaust happened and therefore a good analysis of why and how it happened and what could have prevented it from happening can be (there is no guarantee here, plenty of rotten historical analysis exists) useful for a contemporary political debate.

      2. The problem with Horowitz is not that it invokes the holocaust, but that it misuses the holocaust. Horowitz builds and analogy between the Nazi boycott of Jewish business and BDS. The analogy encapsulates an implicit argument (two actually) that can be restated thus:

      (Now, i'll skip mathematical formalization, but it is easy to see that these are fallacies. Add modals and qualifiers as necessary. But the basic logic is easier to see in its strong form.)

      1. The Nazis used boycott against Jews
      2. people who support BDS use boycott against Jews
      3. Ergo: (1,2) people who support BDS are (like) Nazis

      4. Some boycotts against Jews (specifically, the Nazi one) contributed to a holocaust.
      5. BDS is a boycott against Jews
      6. Ergo: (4,5) BDS contributes to a holocaust

      Setting aside the (huge) fact that the minor premise in each argument is wrong (BDS is not a boycott against Jews), both arguments suck.

      The first is an example of the fallacy of the undistributed middle:
      example:
      1. cats are mammals
      2. dogs are mammals
      3. Therefore cats are dogs.

      And so is the second, example:
      1. Some humans are good mathematicians
      2. Sheila is human
      3. Sheila is a good mathematician

      In contrast, the petition does not make any grand analogy in the passage you quote. It lumps together a series of boycotts, including both BDS and the Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany and other boycotts, in a category that could be named perhaps, "examples of legitimate boycotts". The Nazis were boycottable, as is Israel today, as were the landlords who paid Charles Boycott's keep. There is no equivalence set between Nazi Germany and Israel. If there were, it would imply that Mr. Boycott's bosses were also "like Nazis." That is absurd in any general sense. It is not absurd only in the very restricted sense that both the Nazis and Mr. Boycott's bosses (and Israel as well,) are boycotable.

      Of course, the Nazi boycott of Jews is not included because it doesn't belong to this category of legitimate boycotts. It was an illegitimate boycott. The task of finding out why is left for the reader. If the reader is grumpy, let him or her explain what fair criteria would create a different division between legitimate and illegitimate boycotts.

      3. The holocaust is invoked again, as a basis of a lesson that some Jews, specifically, those who agree with the petition, learned from it. Obviously, some other Jews did not learn that lesson. Some learned other lessons, and some would strongly disagree with this lesson:

      When people are demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly, we must stand in their defense.

      Those who disagree with this lesson are welcome to make their case.

      That lesson does, in its application here, draw an analogy. The analogy is between those who were "demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly" in Nazi Germany (Jews), and those who are now in Palestine (Palestinians). Feel free to challenge both sides of this analogy, if this is your wish, as long as you note that no equal sign is assumed, only that in both cases, certain people were "demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly".

      Here they are again as syllogisms.

      1. When people are demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly, all people must stand in their defense.
      2. During the holocaust, Jews were demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly.
      3. (1,2) During the holocaust, all people should have stand in the defense of Jews.

      2a. Now, Palestinians are demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly.
      3a.: (1, 2a) Now, all people should stand in the defense of Palestinians.

      4. boycotts that responds to a situation when people are demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly are legitimate boycotts.
      5. BDS now/ Jewish boycott against Germany then responds/ed to a situation when people are demonized and attacked, oppressed and treated unjustly.
      6. (4,5). BDS now/ Jewish boycott against Germany then is/was legitimate boycott

      Hope this helps.

  • An unemployed ex-NGO worker, union activist, and labor sociologist discuss capitalism, labor organizing and the 'NGO-ization' of Israeli civil society
    • Very interesting dialog. Particularly the analogy to the supply chain. I hope this is an indication that more articles from Haoketz will be translated.

      What is missing however is going beyond the question of the status of the NGO worker as worker to general question about the political role of NGOs. What do NGOs do to the struggle that they promote? What do they do to the society in which they operate? What is the class position of NGO workers and how do NGOs structurally affect class and race conflicts in general? The problem with these questions is that they cut across the question of unions. We have seen how reformist unions have slowly become supporters of capitalist interests. Environmentalism is a well known case.

      Now, there are different forms of NGOs. There are those who simply provide services, like adult education or job training or monitoring that the state used to provide or should provide. This is a form of privatization, and the workers there are similar to garbage collectors who have been privatized.

      But there are explicitly political NGOs who strive to lead social movement. There is an ongoing critique of these entities that they in fact destroy social movement as much as build them. See, for example, The Revolution will not be funded . It is amazing and perhaps there is an intention behind it that this book is out of print after so few years and so expensive, but here is the comment left on Amazon by an activist I know:

      Kiyoko (New Orleans, LA USA) -
      As an organizer working in and out of the confines of non-profit organizations, I give my highest recommendations for this extremely important collection of essays. I often wonder how I've gotten to a point where I spend less time in the community, and more time sitting in front of my computer writing grant proposals, calculating budgets and writing final reports for foundations and government agencies. As many of the authors in the book suggest, shouldn't we be accountable to our constituents rather than foundations, which serve as little more than tax shelters through which "white capital is circulated among white people and works to maintain systems of white supremacy"? Through the proliferation of non-profits and foundations, radical social movements in the US have been co-opted to a point where the movement eerily resembles the oppressive capitalist social order we claim to be challenging, giving rise to the Non-Profit Industrial Complex.

      Collaboration is stifled when fierce competition for funding and stringent, narrow grant guidelines divide groups that are working towards the same goal. Perhaps most disheartening is the NPIC's power to shape our approaches and tactics for social change. As Dylan Rodriguez points out, "[m]ore insidious than the...constraints exerted by the foundation/state/non-profit nexus is the way in which [it]...grounds an epistemology--literally, a way of knowing social change and resistance praxis--that is difficult to escape or rupture." This epistemology is responsible for the belief that activists must conform to 501(c)(3) status for legitimacy and funding and that social services serve a greater need and purpose than the arduous task of social change.

      Tiffany Lethabo King and Ewuare Osayande warn that "philanthropy never intends to fund revolutionary struggle that demands the just seizure of wealth, resources, and power that has been gained by exploiting the bodies, lives and land of people of color worldwide." The NPIC's tentacles reach far beyond the US. Movements in the Global South are already under the threat of becoming non-profitized and co-opted. As activists in the US, we have an obligation to continue this discourse, learn from one another's mistakes and organize beyond the NPIC.

      PS. this article and the amazing number of comments it solicited is yet another example showing that the articles on this site that generate the greater amount of light also generate the least amount of heat.

  • Two cheers for Beinart
    • Adam, Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel and Gabriel Ash have largely focused on Beinart's dream of redeeming the Jewish state as a democracy inside the green line.

      Just to point out that I have, in fact, NOT focused on that point. It's sad to respond to an article that engages in a debate without reading what it is debating.

      I support campaigns that take any step, even a baby step, in the right direction.

      I oppose being lax about campaigns that set out quite explicitly to undermine the Palestine solidarity movement in the US. Anybody is welcome to come and pitch. just don't take aim at my foot. How hard is that?

  • Beinart's 'Zionist BDS' will only help entrench the occupation
    • Annie, Eva and Newclench make an important point that I overlooked, that Beinart is popularizing and legitimizing the boycott and that is welcome. Annie also used Dalit Baum to make another good point, that in itself, a targeted boycott of settlements is welcome and falls within the BDS principles of local adaptability and tactical diversity.

      My point, however, is that Beinart's proposal is for a campaign that, in addition to targeting the settlement, targets BDS as well. If that part of his campaign were to catch, it would not only undermine those who disagree with him on "solutions", it would also undermine the struggle against the occupation that is supposed to be the goal of his campaign.

    • No, that is not called progress, that is how progress is contained and stopped. The key difference is not the strategy but the energy. Fear drives social change towards reaction.

      As for the band of (often non-Palestinian) brothers you refer to, let's just say that Reut most likely wrote another set of counter-insurgency recommendations, that was not made public. We shall overcome!

  • Atzmon and Jewish identity
    • Annie,

      Yes, there are points that I get from your reply that make me think you misunderstood be, but my tendency to use shorthand is as responsible probably as your lack of familiarity with the topics. So don’t blame yourself. However, I’d rather not continue clarifying because that isn’t really the main issue. I don’t blame you for excluding yourself from responsibility. And this is my position as well. When I criticize Jewish infatuation with Zionism, I do so as a Jew in order precisely to make it clear that I do not exclude myself, even though I am not a Zionist. When I speak about whiteness I do so from the position that I am white. When I mention empire, I do so as someone whose material level of consumption benefits from the murders committed by the US. And that hardly means that I live up fully to my responsibility.

      What causes my exasperation and what I reacted to strongly, and I don’t retract that, even though perhaps I should have directed it more to those who did it and less to you for not seeing it, is the way quite many people here are deeply invested in brushing off anything that might implicate them. I think if you go back you can see that in most of what I said. But I’ll give you an example from what MRW did to my reply to you.

      It’s not the specifics, nor the facts that he brings, which I totally accept. Every argument presented in a sketch can be in need of tightening and completion. There are always other facts to bring in, contradiction to iron, etc. But beneath that is what animates the rhetoric. Where is the passion in the argument? For MRW, it is the desire to deny the validity of anything I said that might stain his sense of being American. In order to do that, he first has to assume that I believe that Hollywood Westerns are accurate representations of the past. That’s effectively calling me silly. Then he has to define the Americans who conquered the West, the cowboys, the settlers, the gold diggers, etc. as effectively “un-American.” (“They weren’t the Americans” he says, astonishingly) That means defining “American” history as only that aspect of American history that fits his arbitrary idea of what “American” stands for (a nation of laws). Then he has to make sure that the people who misrepresented that past are foreigners, “Eastern Europeans.” Jews, to be sure, but the important thing is that even though they lived in the US, acted in the US, used US historical material, however inaccurately, learned history from books written by Americans, participated in the US economy, appealed to an American public, for MRW they can be defined away as foreigners in order to defend his sense of what is pure about America. So much effort, and all put to work to prove that nothing I said could imply that he as an American can be implicated in either the murderous past of the American West, OR in the romanticized image of the past that plays some role in the oppression of Palestinians.

      This is just an example. This thread is full of arguments that boil down to the same motivation. That is why I think the appeal of Phil Weiss’s self-reflection to many here is that it relieves them of responsibility. He is willingly assuming all the guilt, and that provides many with the pleasure of feeling free of any. This is btw the purpose of the scapegoat in the Jewish ritual from which that is the origin of this term. And when someone challenges that division of labor, in which Jews take the blame and they take the feeling of being absolved, even victims, they get very testy. Instead of taking it as an invitation to be part of a process of change, they see it as a personal attack that anybody might say something bad about the US other that the fact that Jews are powerful.

      This is the sad and dispiriting part of it, that the moral fervor here is so often hollow at the center, because it is rooted in denial and self-defense. For me, perhaps I have too little faith, but I don’t think that this is curable through conversation. I feel the strength of this fear of being implicated as a black hole that sucks my spirit away every time I go near it. I’m sorry if that means that some of things we discussed remain hanging.

    • Tom,

      Allow me to take issue. Jews don't need allies or solidarity qua Jews. We are not oppressed. Some of us have more or less deep personal connections to stories of oppression. But that is not the same. The fact that Tree, Citizen, MB and the rest of Atzmon's groupies here are incapable of understanding the difference between a racist argument and an anti-racist one, or that they have to defend their identity by projecting and scapegoating, all that doesn't pose any threat to me or to you personally. They cannot fire us or have the police beat us. And that is where the comparison to African-Americans ends. They are a symptom of the difficulties that faces a genuinely transformative movement in a society to which racism is foundational and constitutes the privileged mode of understanding social and political problems. That is where the problem lies primarily, not in my or your personal safety.

    • Annie,

      Thanks for this post. Because the thread is so old and because of time constraints I'll be briefer that you deserve. I didn't go to summer camp and my own personal experience of difference growing up was based on being Romanian. Ethnicity is a construct. So is any other identity term. Each identity can be experienced in a variety of ways, and these change over time and place and person. Yes, my family lived under Nazi occupation and the recollections passed to me from this experience had an impact on me. But that isn't something everyone Jewish has, and it doesn't mean that it had the same impact as on every other person who has a personal story about the Nazi regime. And there are plenty of Americans whose families visited hell, even if the Nazis were absent. American Jewishness is as much an American thing as a Jewish thing. All identities are hybrid, pieced together, complex, self-contradictory, layered, performative, and in flux. Some more than others. Some more consciously than others. But all are. The least I expect is that you don't assumed to know too much about people because you know one identity that applies to them. You know something. Not much. And when someone comes up claiming that he has the key to who someone is based on one word, that you consider voicing your disagreement because that is abusive behavior.

      Another point about responsibility and culture. Putting aside economic interests and geopolitical facts (and that is putting aside a lot, because what politicians call "the American way of life" is sustained through mass murder and misery all over the globe, including within American cities, and that has to do something with the absence of a Jewish lobby in Finland.) but putting aside that and focusing only on culture. Would it be possible to dehumanize Arabs as "sand n**as" if the foundation of racism that is being evoked didn't already exist? Does the fact that two million Americans, mostly with darker skin, rot in concentration camps where they are denied medical treatment and often die from treatable diseases, perhaps help explain the habits of mind that make it easier to ignore or rationalize the fact that two million Palestinians are locked in the "open air" prison of Gaza? When ultra right religious American Jews go to the territories, do they only revive a biblical Judaism? Do they not also revive a younger America, a romanticized American past in which murder, extermination and violence were experienced as opportunity and freedom? Aren't the romantic idea of the cowboy, the togetherness of "circling the wagon," the personal relation with a firearm, part of the attraction of the West Bank, part of the reason why so many of the settlers are American, and part of the reason Americans find it so easy to identify with Israelis and to consider Palestinians as inherently terrorist?

      The point is not to play hot potato with Zionism. But we have a world full of violence and oppression, and that inevitably means that we have a culture full of rationalizations and justifications for violence and oppression, and the best way to help guarantee that this violence doesn't stop is to convince oneself that this has nothing to do with me.

    • Elliot,

      Thanks, but I think you make it too simple by making it about personal dynamics. The dynamics I observed at Mondoweiss comments is a little like a kind of Red Lights Cabaret. Jews are expected to go on the lit stage and undress (that's called self-reflection), whereas the non Jews get to sit in the darkened room and clap if you look good or boo if you're a bit flabby. And some of them get extremely touchy over the suggestion that they might want to share the stage.

      I think it was unwise for Weiss to let this dynamics develop, but the root of it is Weiss's decision to reflect publicly on the role of his Jewish identity in the conflict in Palestine, while excluding from self-reflection the role of his American identity. Of course, Jews are today part of the white establishment, and his attention to this aspect of contemporary American Jewish identity was long overdue. But the context of it is an American empire, built over centuries of genocide and oppression. And when you downplay that, then that encourages what you noted.

    • I responded to a direct address. You can unsubscribe to the post if you don't want to read. Why are you keeping posting here. Get a life.

    • Tree,

      Given that you were given ample evidence, word for word, and you can find plenty more if you wish, of exactly what the master philosopher said about the holocaust, and you think that putting the word kill in quotation marks, and suggesting that intellectual agenda of the Palestine solidarity movement should be understanding the responsibility of Jews for getting murdered by the Nazis, is the same form of engagement, and has the same political motivation, as questioning the ideological use of the holocaust for the sake of justifying Western domination and Zionism, you either can't read, or more likely, you don't care about what you read. Which is your prerogative. The internet is full of places where people who have no clue about something "discuss" it, and "educate" each other in various forms of nonsense, whether it is evolution, climate change, the JFK assassination, 9/11, the faking of the landing on the moon, the lizards that rule the world. So adding another meaningless discussion about how the Jews faked their own gassing to rule the world is not the worse thing that can happen in the great scheme of thing. As I see it, it's a pointless and sick discussion, and the people who enjoy participating in it deserve each other, but I would certainly not want to deprive you of your constitutional rights to engage is such pointless and sick discussion if that is what floats your boat. I do hope, out of respect, that it doesn't float your boat. But it's your problem.

      On the other hand, if the holocaust really interested you you would have been aware that in fact there is an enormous amount of actual research and debate about various aspects of it, much more in fact than about Darfur, and you can join that debate any time, provided you invest what it takes to educate yourself, and you learn to recognize that, like in any field of human knowledge, the debate is structured, not a free for all. If you argue about Darfur based on disinformation produced by Israel's foreign office, I am quite sure you will get plenty of hostile reactions from people who really care about it. And you will deserve it. Sure, there are some forms of touchiness, including legal penalties, that are problematic and reflect various ideological formations that need to be challenged, but contrary to what you believe, "challenging" them by nonsense is counterproductive. If you just want to read something off the internet on some "revisionist" site and then debate it, I won't. This is my answer BTW, not because the holocaust is about Jews. It is the same answer I'll give to people who read some Zionist fact sheet and then come to "debate" whether Palestinians are in fact foreign workers, as well as people who want to "debate" whether the Sanctions killed Iraqis. If someone has a genuine question about which I happen to know something, I am happy to share the knowledge. But I don't see any value in indulging the desire to talk out of ignorance or out of a transparent political ploy. The expectation that people "debate" with you about something you have no clue about and, furthermore, refuse to spend the effort necessary to educate yourself, is presumptuous.

      Now, because working on the political question of Palestine, or indeed any political question, is work, is a goal oriented activity involving limited resources, takes time and effort, and has a real stake that involves the fate of many people, then every person invested in it has a responsibility to make good use of that investment of both themselves and, more importantly, of the people they work with. It is my opinion that discussing whether the holocaust happened, or whether Jews deserved to be murdered, should not be on that agenda, and that the people who push it on the agenda are not just wrong, but quite often saboteurs. This is my opinion, which is also the opinion of the overwhelming majority on this question. I will do my part to keep it that way, for the simple reason that I care about success. If you disagree, well, that's why politics is contentious.

      As for the the nasty personal attacks. I stand by them, even though I would be much happier without them. Given that nasty and demeaning comments on the hidden motives of anti-Zionist Jews do not raise an eyebrow here, I see no reason why the pleasure of this type of scrutiny shouldn't be shared more broadly. There should be enough nastiness for everyone, regardless of ethnicity or religion.

    • Donald,

      I think there are things missing from the narrative, and as historians' work continues and ideological constraints shift, our understanding of the holocaust will get richer in some ways (and poorer in others, as the passage of time makes the period less present).

      For example, one of Hilberg's latest points was that there was a class component to survivorship, that an over reliance on survivor narratives obscure. Also, nationalism is most often uncomfortable with discussions of class differences, and the prevalence of Jewish nationalism in the research arena means that these questions get far less attention than they deserve.

      Thomas Snyder dwells on a similar issue when he notes the significant difference of survivorship rates between Eastern Jews and Western Jews, and the overwhelming silence of the Eastern Jew in holocaust representations. Given the clear picture of internal Jewish German racism towards Eastern Jews at the time, that is, again, a very uncomfortable subject of research.

      It should be needless to say that this really has nothing to do with holocaust "revisionism," which is a matter of pseudo-scientific attempts to challenge, reduce or dismiss the moral claims of holocaust victims against their murderers. I think motivations vary and there is clearly more than one reason why people are attracted to that. But all have to do with reaction to the political usage of the holocaust. You have people who are reacting to the use of the holocaust as a justification for Zionism, and see questioning the holocaust as a way to argue against Zionism. That is particularly the case in the Middle East, and both Joseph Massad and Gilbert Achcar wrote critically about that aspect. You have people, mostly Germans, reacting to what they feel is the unfair singling out of Germany, which was punished for crimes that were, at least in key aspects, no worse than what others did. They have a point, in that the reason Germany became a symbol of evil is less the crime itself than the contingency of losing the war that was essentially a war for global domination. But that gripe is ultimately no more impressive than the Zionist gripe about "being singled out." And finally, there is the fact that the holocaust became a component of a highly ideological and dominant liberal narrative about "Western civilization" and what makes it better and unique. And you have people reacting to that on two levels. First, you have people from outside the West reacting to that as a way of rejecting the Western claim for superiority. That is I think Ahmadinejad territory. And then you have ultra-reactionaries in the West itself who also react to that narrative because it is liberal, i.e., because it extolls the West for having rejected racism. Of course, the West hasn't really rejected racism, except at a superficial and symbolic level. But there are certainly people who are apprehensive even about that little symbolism.

    • I didn't call everybody or even most people anything. And I assure you I am not alone.

    • Donald,

      I pick fights. And I don't appreciate passive aggressiveness, as in talking sh*t and then playing innocent and complaining for being "attacked."

      Also, I don't assume the worst motives. There are far worse motives than the ones I attributed here to anybody. I assume the motives that in my opinion clearly emerge in what certain people said, which I will call as I see. If you want to argue, feel free.
      Clearly, this site has a special attraction for a certain kind of personality that is in denial about the racist structure of US society, and uses an unhealthy fascination with all things Jewish to help sustain that denial. And BTW, that isn't "the pro-Palestinian side." I've been participating in solidarity work for over a decade now and I met preciously few such people in real life. They are mostly chatterboxes.

      Finally, Tree has a reading comprehension problem, as I never said and I don't believe the holocaust was the "worst" atrocity. I challenged that idea many times. e.g. link to dissidentvoice.org Or read this passage I wrote two years ago:

      Nazism committed horrible crimes, but these crime are not as unique as the liberal demonological catechism presents them. Horrible war crimes were committed by the allied armies as well. The crimes against humanity the Nazis committed had a unique character. But that uniqueness pertains mostly to the methods and especially to the rhetoric of mass murder. In terms of outcomes, the genocide against the Jews and the Roma was no more horrible than what Americans did to the indigenous people of North America and to the Africans they enslaved. The U.S. killed more people in Vietnam than died in Auschwitz. The U.S. (and Britain) are responsible for more deaths in Iraq than died in Auschwitz. Think about these numbers. The differences are real. I don't mean to say that rhetoric and ideas and method don't matter. There is a qualitative difference between taking pride in exterminating people as the Nazis did, and pretending these people aren't dead, as the "coalition" does in Iraq. There was something particularly odious in the Nazi absence of a guilty conscience. There was something particularly odious in an industry that produces dead bodies as its main "product", as the Nazi death machine did, compared to an industry that produces a roughly equal amount of dead bodies, but as an out-of-sight economic "externality," the way the Western military-industrial complex does. But the difference is exaggerated by a liberal discourse that uses Nazism as a way of displacing the knowledge of its own demons.

      link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

      One can challenges the pious discourse of the holocaust in a way that is 100% respectful of its victims, without making snide, half-assed, non-committal, passive-aggressive, throw away remarks that perhaps they weren't really victims. Because, whether you intend it or not, when you make these kinds of remarks you express an emotional affinity with the perpetrators of all massacres.

    • And just to confirm my analysis of your "Jewish" neurosis, I now notice that your avatar shows a Star of David with a phallic protrusion.

    • Jaynot,

      let me psychoanalyze you and MB. As you know, psychoanalysis was invented by a Jew, and was even called a "Jewish science" by the Nazis, so by psychoanalyzing you and your creepy friends I am just being the kind of Jew who fits your fantasy of Jews. And this is exactly how I want to be. I aim to please.

      You and MB, unless you are a gay girl in Damascus, are white boys who grew up in the world where white privileges used to be normal and go without saying. Then, depending on your age, either the social norms changed around you, or your awareness of them changed as you grew up. White privilege still rules the world, and you still enjoy a great deal of it, but it is no longer unchallenged, and cultural norms impose on you feeling somewhat apprehensive and trapped about it. You no longer have access to the guilt-free enjoyment of your white skin privilege.

      The manifest content of your interest in this site is care for Palestinian suffering, but the latent content, of which this interest is a symptom, is the quest to regain the uncomplicated relation to the Phallus, that is to your whiteness, that you no longer have. That is why what really make you tick is discussions about Jewishness.

      In your fantasy, Jews deprived you of that enjoyment. They, the Jews, (at least all those "masked" lefty ones) promoted the "liberal" values that helped break the cultural invisibility of whiteness. They supported the civil rights movements, defended immigration, etc. But they themselves, thanks to their damned "holocaust," got to keep the cake and eat it. They can now be part of the mainstream and enjoy the very privileges of whiteness that you are expected to feel guilty about, while they don't need to feel guilty about because they can claim the "victim" status.

      In other words, the structure of your fantasy is that of castration. You feel that the Jews castrated you, took away your enjoyment, which they are now enjoying and you cannot. You envy their access to the Phallus, which you imagine that they have it because you want it. And you resent the Jews because they have what you desire. But since you cannot acknowledge your desire, because it is racist and socially unacceptable, "taboo," you displace it on the Jews. That is why the word "taboo" tickles you so much. The "holocaust" taboo is a displacement of the real taboo that you want to break, but that castration prevents you from breaking, which is the taboo of enjoying your white privilege openly. That is why you obsess about the enjoyment of Jews, how they feel about themselves, how they feel about others, etc., because, in your fantasy, the Phallus is there, in the hand of the Jews, and if you fight them hard enough you can get it back.

      By the nature of US history, you are one of many, which means that smooth charlatans who can feed your castration fantasy with sophisticated cant are going to be popular for a long time to come.

    • thanks for the reminder, or was that permission granted?

      Yes Annie, I spoke about you with the Elders and they decided to grant you permission.

    • I have to disagree with Tom. Atzmon is not a holocaust denier. Nor is he an antisemite. He is a coward who wants to be perceived as a holocaust denier and as an antisemite by people who find such things cute, but doesn't have the guts to be open about it, so he make halfway suggestive statements that any reasonable reader would understand exactly as what he wants them to understand, and then, when challenged, retreats behind weasel words, "they quoted me out of context," and Bill Clinton style, "what is the meaning of the word 'is'" type defenses. That is when he doesn't go back and airbrushes his articles.

      For the many folks here keen on "breaking taboos," as if being offensive is a value in itself. Just as a curiosity, did you do your mother/father? Because there's a taboo for you. And if you think taboos are wrong, then you should go for it! Spinoza did.

      On the other hand belittling mass murder unfortunately isn't a taboo in our societies. It's done quite commonly by the mass media and the political establishment regarding people who don't count. When Jews were gassed, they didn't count. Now they do. Obviously, the right way to protest against the fact that so many other people don't count is to argue that those dead Jews who didn't count then should still not count now! That will show all the mass murderers of the world once and for all...that you are 12 year old.

      Annie is complaining that someone ("gate keepers," I assume) don't mind her talking with Nakba deniers but are offended if she dares talk to Atzmon. No need to be cross. You can talk to whoever you want, nakba deniers, holocaust deniers, IDF soldiers at checkpoints, skinheads, US senators, whatever. As far as I am concerned, you can date Alan Dershowitz. It's all kosher. But the way it works, is that healthy people form opinion about the moral fiber of other people based on the choices the latter make (I know, this isn't popular here, where the mark of a person is her "essence," but out there a lot of people do do that). And whom you befriend, and how you react when certain things are said in your presence, these are choices. If you have a problem with people forming opinions about you based on your choices, you can always hide behind a pseudonym.

      But let's return to "gate keeping." Why would anyone, least of all me, want to shut up someone like MB, who believes apparently, as Atzmon does, that Jews had it coming, and that they were persecuted in Europe because they (we, I should say) sucked, you know, all these high society, powerful rich Jews who filled the shtetl, or like my grandfather, the positively terrorizing traveling salesman that oppressed all of Eastern Europe?

      Au contraire, MB. Talk! Share your prejudices, fantasies, defense mechanisms and your nostalgia for the (recent) time university professors could be racist (and sexist) pigs freely, without needing false internet identities (unless of course you are really a gay girl in Damascus!). As they said on Archie Bunker,"those were the days." And while you are fellating Atzmon, get high on your imaginary analysis of "jewishness". After all, there is a group of Jews who reached exactly that same conclusion, a 100 years ago, namely that Jews sucked so bad they were giving Europe an infection, so they had to be kicked out of Europe and totally remade so they can learn to be just like white Christians. These Jews called themselves "Zionists." Atzmon is always shocked to find out that Zionists are cool about him. Of course they would be. I mean, if I came out with the brilliant strategy of fighting Zionism by promoting its racist worldview, I could probably have gotten it funded by the David Project.

      On the other hand, I am really intrigued to know that MB and friends find the ideas that he fantasize that Jews have "so alienating to non Jews." If an idea alienates you, MB, it cannot be totally bad. I promise to consider more closely that I might have been chosen to alienate you.

  • How the 'temporary weave' of Zionism is starting to fray at the edges
    • Let me clarify the issue. Since you want clarity. Everyone wants to see an inclusive effort. The question is what the acceptable basis of such an inclusive effort. There is a tendency, and it is a tendency associated with relatively privileged people, to assume that "we can all get along", and therefore "inclusive" is easy to achieve, and only spoilers spoil it. The key, according to this tendency, is just to put politics aside and focus on what is obvious. The reason this is a tendency that goes well with privileged audiences is because the latter see the way things are as unproblematic "common sense" and are generally unaware how relations and ideas that are mainstream and common sense play to their privilege.

      What Max is saying, if I understand it correctly, is that

      a) US policies in the Middle East, BY AND LARGE, are driven by the core imperialist concerns of the US ruling class: world domination, client regimes, militarism and militarized capitalism, surplus extraction, accumulation, etc. Whatever the lobby does is an important CONTRIBUTION to these concerns. No less but also no more.

      b) ruling classes only change their core policies when the alternative is ceasing to be a ruling class.

      c) a political movement that is based on the common sense of the relatively privileged is not going to produce the kind of threat to the ruling class that is going to lead to the dumping of core policies.

      b) therefore, a political movement that CAN challenge these core policies must be based on the perspective of underprivileged groups: people living under US domination, immigrants, African Americans, etc.

      d) The main challenge to building such a movement is the tendency of people from privileged backgrounds to see such perspectives as too "political" and to refuse to participate in the movement unless the movement mirrors their sense of privilege, i.e. the sense of what they perceive as common sense, normal, nonthreatening and obvious.

      Hope that helps.

    • TR, the notions of the earthly city vs the heavenly city are taken from the Pauline distinction between the flesh and the spirit, which is the foundational idea of Christianity. The basis of that is in St. Paul's description of those who recognized that Jesus came back from the dead as "the children of Abraham according to the spirit," whereas Jews who do not recognize the resurrection are "the children of Abraham according to the flesh." This is the fundamental theological move, (supercession) that founded Christianity, and is the essential background for St. Augustin's idea of the earthy and the heavenly city. "The Heavenly Jerusalem" is the city of the new chosen people, just as the earthy Jerusalem was the city of the formerly chosen people.

      I also see no basis for the idea that the inspiration of Augustine was not in the Hebrew Bible. The key prophecies of Isaiah were read by the orthodox fathers of the church as prefiguring Christ, and that included the theme of "the light onto the nations" that will spill forth from Zion, an idea that is obviously evoked by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

      So you cannot take the chosen people out of "the shining city on the hill" without bowdlerizing Christian theology.

    • I don't dispute at all the the facts about Israeli racism. But when you go deeper and listen to how people make the case for their racist position, how they justify them, it is quite often in terms of the other's belief. It begins with "I don't mind living with them, but they want to throw us into the sea", and through "racism is just natural. People want to live among their own. So it is better to keep apart," and all the way through, "I don't want to be against Arabs, but it is unpatriotic not to be against Arabs and therefore I have to be."

      I am not arguing that racism doesn't exist, but that it is foundational to racism itself that it refers back to a kind of common sense that is more important than what "I personally believe". Of course a lot of people are personally racist. But the reference is there for them too. Even Wiesenfeld, when he started getting attacked, responded with "my grandmother would call Kushner a Kapo."

      You won't get that from polls, but if you read monographs that go deep into the racist consciousness, for example, overlooking Nazareth (Rabinovich), or even Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, then this becomes clear.

    • That is assuming that the general structure of ideology is sincere belief. More often than not it isn't. Like the landlord who says, "I personally wouldn't mind renting to a black family, but my neighbors are such bigots, so you wouldn't like it here anyway," ideology often stands as the belief about the belief of the other.

      Consider the Zionist idea that turning Israel into a democracy will lead to a bloodbath. What is being said by those who say that?

      "I don't mind having Arab neighbors. But my enlightened views are the exception. Most people in Israel, both Jews and Palestinians, are violent bigots. It is out of concern for their limitations that I oppose democracy and equality, not because I am personally against it."

      This is how ideology works, not by sincere belief, but through the creation of a "common sense" about what other people believe.

      So the accurate formulation of the power of Zionist ideology is "most Jews believe that most Jews believe in Zionism."

  • 'Geronimo EKIA'-- as Indian wars continue in Palestine
    • What occurred to the American Indians is tragic, but cannot be undone. This in no way justifies Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, which is equally reprehensible, is also ongoing, and which should be resisted and stopped. Perhaps, fighting for and securing Palestinian human rights and justice could be a small gesture of atonement for what was done to the native Americans.

      What happened to Native-Americans cannot be fully undone. But there is a lot that can be done, and that white Americans should do, that isn't merely symbolic atonement. This, for example, link to thevoiceoftheindigenous.wordpress.com is not taking place in Jerusalem.

    • Page: 1
    • It is a bizarre claim that Augustinian Christianity had "no connection" to the old testament. What are you? A neo-Marcionite? The core of Augustinian Christianity is the Pauline idea of supercession which make Christians "Vera Israel," the true (and hence chosen) people of Israel. This is based on interpreting the Hebrew Bible in allegorical fashion. The Shining city on the Hill is the City of God, which is "the true meaning" of Mount Zion and of the prophecy that Israel will be a "light unto the the nations," that would fill the world with the word of God from Jerusalem.

    • Fascinating discussion: and fascinating results. There are so many good points being made, but as usual I would like to focus on a negative (I am a negative kind of guy).

      Some of the participants here have broken with the natural solidarity that was expected from them and developed a radical critique of their societies. For others, it is much easier to see the mote in the other person’s eye than the beam in one’s own. I am not going to comment of the usual Israel apologists, as they don’t matter. They are a mere nuisance. But those who are touchy about US history are another matter. This defensiveness leads to projecting on Israelis/Jews those aspects of their society that they wish to deny. A lot of that shoe fits. But that is almost incidental.

      US and Israel are two settler societies. A lot is different. But a lot is not. Much of the discussion only underscores the way settler narratives dominate consciousness in the US.

      1. The US was not founded on genocide because most Amerindians died of disease.

      This is the Benny Morris (TM) argument, which is that Israel was founded, not on ethnic cleansing, but through a war, in which depopulation happened, “not by design”. The similarities are not in the actual events. The timespan, the period, the numbers, the methods (most of them) were different. But the apologetic argument is the same. The settlers came to take the land, and their plan to take possession required getting rid of the original inhabitants. They belligerently attacked the natives, and the result was that somehow, the natives vanished. But who can blame the settlers? They were pure at heart. God just intervened with the right serendipity.

      2. Native Americans are citizens with equal rights today in the US.

      This is true. It is also true that Palestinians who are left in Israel have voting rights and elected representatives in the Knesset, a fact that Israelis Hasbarists use to claim that the past is over. Again, there are differences. Native Americans have certain common rights, including the right of self-administered reservations. They enjoy constitutional rights. Palestinians in Israel have neither (although reservations are certainly imaginable in the future). But on the other hand, the Israeli political system allows political representation to Palestinians, and there are percentage wise significant areas of Israel were most resident are Palestinian, which isn’t true in the US.

      But this “who is better” for the natives misses the point in both places. What matters is that settler apologists want to argue that the past is over. It isn’t in neither society. Native Americans are at the very bottom of US society. They are repressed, marginalized, and poor. Their activists are hounded by the FBI. And the government is still after their land. In 1948 Israel, Palestinians earn about three quarters of the Jewish average. This is about the same ratio as between white and African-American households in the US. (link to leftbusinessobserver.com ) What is striking is that even getting information about Native-American income is difficult. They don’t even count in most statistics. But when they are counted their average income is even below that of African-Americans.

      3. Religious notions of the “chosen people” and the “promised land” were limited in scope and not a major factor in the colonization of the US.

      Partially this is true. It is false to say that the religious ideas of the Puritans were the cause of the (almost total) extermination of the Amerindians. Nobody who brought up these ideas claims so. Most of the settlers who settled the US had economic goals, gold digging, land speculating, ranching, escaping famine and persecution, etc.

      What is striking is that the only reason this comes up is the comparative context of denying the obvious history of Israel, in which a very similar dynamic was playing. Most of the Jewish immigration to Israel was motivated by economics or by political persecution. Only a small minority was motivated by ideology. When ideology mattered, it was not in causing events, but primarily in providing justifications for actions that originated in social conditions, as it always does, including in the US. Furthermore, Jewish religious beliefs played a small role in the medley of ideological justifications for the right to settle the land, which included, as it did in the US, the Lockian ideas that land should go to those most productive, and many other ideas that were common to colonialism. One can debate how small that role of religion was. Some would argue smaller. Others would argue larger. It is a fascinating debate. But no serious history of Zionism would claim it was dominated by “the chosen people” idea. (BTW, God is totally absent from the Israeli declaration of independence). Despite all that, Mondoweiss is home to many believers of the idea that the notion of “the chosen people” is the primary basis for Zionism. And it is primarily those who deny the relevance of religious ideas in US history that make that argument.

      This is ultimately a matter for psychoanalysis. What is at stake is acting up difference. Israel, as settler society, provides a certain mirror to the US. The fact that the US is the major backer of Israel only helps to polish that mirror further. When one learns enough about what is going on in places like Gaza, the image in the mirror turns ugly, (and it really is ugly!). Hence the urge to deny that that image has anything to do with the person gazing into the mirror. Whatever it is that I see there must be somebody else. Not me. This is why the “chosen people” theory of Zionism finds so many takers.

      But a movement for justice cannot be based on denial and projection. Without taking responsibility there can be no hope for a liberated future for anyone. So take a good look in that mirror. You have seen the enemy and it is you.

    • In essence, they know if you want cheap gas at the pump, somebody has to pay for it.

      Except that war push the price of oil up, not down, and that is a boon to the oil industry, and to capitalist elites in general.

      George Bush Sr. had to go Saudi Arabia and implored the Saudis to curb production because the price of oil was too low. At least that is one problem US capitalism is not likely to face again soon. Who says the war in Iraq was a failure?

    • A materialistic society is a society were people value material things. A materialist analysis is an analysis that gives primacy to the conditions of existence, economic, social, etc., over the self-ascribed motivations of the agents in explaining events. One can have a materialist analysis of a non materialistic society. Indeed one should, because the fact that the people of the European Middle Ages, for example, valued salvation more than they valued improving the productivity of their land doesn't mean that their actions and their thoughts were not shaped by the economic and social conditions prevailing.

      As a matter of fact, early militant Zionist society was extremely idealistic, and personal enrichment was frowned upon. That hardly makes that society unsuitable to materialist analysis. The gist of a materialist analysis is not to say that Zionists were greedy, but that their worldview, including their ideologies, the way they used the Bible, how they transformed the ideas that they received from various traditions, including Volkish nationalism, Judaism, Protestantism, orientalism, etc. were a response to the specific social, economic, political, intellectual conditions that prevailed for them in Europe at the time, rather than a kind of independent volition that existed in and of itself.

      And the same is true of the settlers of the American West (and the Eastern establishment that benefited from the expansion even more than the settlers.)

      That the two societies are different in some ways (and not different in other ways) has no bearings on this.

    • Citizen, I think that as a simplistic reading of both testaments. To begin with, Jesus says, "I come to bring not peace but the sword." And, by and large, his followers kept his word, far more effectively than anything related in the old Book.

      Second, the basis of Christian theology is the idea that events in the old testament are symbolic of events in the new testament. So reading the new as the opposite of the old is a secularized interpretation that is insensitive to the history of biblical interpretation.

      Third, a "pox of all three religions" would have made sense if the history of secularism were better. But it isn't. Just as Christianity claimed to improve over Judaism and yet the crimes committed in the name of Christ made all the blood shed in the Hebrew Bible pale, so secular ideologies claimed to improve upon Christianity and yet have already committed crimes that make all the bloody history of Christianity pale in comparison.

      It seems that as far as Europe/US is concerned, every new dispensation is bloodier than the previous one. So as they say, when you're in a hole, stop digging. What we need is not a new dispensation, but tracing our steps back, carefully, to figure out what went wrong. This is what I mean by saying there is no escape from the Bible.

    • If I understand you correctly, there is a difference between material conditions and ideology. "Manifest Destiny" is the result of material conditions, the existence of land and resources for the taking and the interest of people in taking them. The puritan ideas of "the chosen people" arriving in Cna'an was just an idea. Some people believed it, but it did not cause the expansion.

      In contrast, if I understand you, in Palestine, there was a land to be taken, and there were people who wanted land. But these factor are secondary. Rather, the ideology of "a chosen people" determined the course of history, as Jews took the land, not because the land was easy to take and they wanted it, but because of their religious ideology.

      In other words, The history of the US colonization is materialist, whereas the history of the colonization of Palestine is idealist.

      That's a bizarre way of looking at history. Surely, the method of history is not dependent on where you stand. Or perhaps it does?

      I particularly liked that:
      By the time they had arrived, some of my own ancestors were already in Virginia colony, and there seems to have been no concept of “promised” in their view of their struggles.

      Now I don't know how well you are informed of what went in the mind of your "ancestors" 300 years ago. But I still remember when my ancestors brought me to Israel. It was in my lifetime. And I can assure you that no concept of "promised land" or "chosen people" was ever mentioned in my house when I grew up or play any role in their decisions to live in Israel. They came to Israel because of antisemitism and for economic opportunities. If I were to draw the conclusion from this that ideology didn't matter to Zionism I'd be an idiot.

    • The establishment of Israel was not a mistake. It was a crime. So was the colonization of the US. But an honest person is obliged to do only one thing, support ending oppression wherever it is. The past needs to be remembered, but no matter how honest a person is, the dead cannot be resurrected. There are only redeemed through our actions in the present.

      In the US, that means fighting for equality and against racism and all other forms of oppression, and that will require a revolution one day, because the current system of government cannot be reformed, although few people accept it. In Israel, it means ending Zionism. The only difference is that ending Zionism is easier and will take less time, inshallah, than ending the somewhat less disgusting political system in the US.

      Now you are right that a couple of people here are making your Hasbara efforts easier by pretending that the US would be a wonderful place (it is, if you own property on Martha's Vineyard,) but for a few annoying Jews.

      But the good news is, no matter how much they make your Hasbara easier, the starting point is so bad that it won't help you. Watch the people of Egypt and Syria. They are the future. You are a roadblock. There is nothing more depressing in the world than that. That you have made yourself a roadblock on the road to freedom. My deepest condolescenses. Honestly.

    • You will notice that the debate over genocide (as well as other crimes of similar and lesser proportions), that is the debate initiated by apologists, is always about intention. And this is the same debate about terrorism.

      1. One of the key claims of holocaust deniers literature is that Hitler was unaware of it, and that there was no planned extermination.

      2. One of the key claims that you raise about the Amerindian genocide is that it wasn't planned.

      3. The millions of Africans who dies on the Passage. It wasn't planned.

      4. The Nakba. (Benni Morris) It wasn't planned.

      5. The Armenian Genocide. The Turkish claim is that "it wasn't planned."

      6. More people died in Iraq as a result of the invasion and the sanctions regime than died in Auschwitz. But, it wasn't the intention. The goal was to remove Saddam/prevent nuclear Armageddon. So how can you compare?

      7. The difference between the IDF and Hamas? IDF doesn't "target" civilians. It just shoots in the air, and the children jump high to catch the bullets.

      Such a long history of these bumbling genocidaires, always stepping on corpses inadvertently. They just walk their walk and people drop around them, and they have no idea how it happens that so many people die in ways that just happen to serve their interests.

      Why does intention matter that much? Why is the yardstick of these actions the moral purity of the oppressor's consciousness? Why would we want to look at all these historical crimes from the perspective of the criminal consciousness? Because it is the criminals who often write those history? Because we identify with the criminal and are looking for ways to wash our hands?

      Accidental is what nobody can imagine. The death of people through bombing, disease, lack of care, institutional destruction, internment and expulsion is a normal outcome of those practices, and one should never give a hoot about the state of consciousness of those responsible. What matters it what happened to the victims.

    • Thanks!

      And just to add that the distinction between nationalist/secular ideas and religious ideas misses the point. Secularization was not a process of replacing religious ideas with new, non religious ideas. It was a process by which religious ideas were transformed and became secular versions of themselves. This is true of the big ideas, such as socialism, nationalism, the nation, etc. It was true of "manifest destiny" which was a secularization of "the shining city on a hill". but is a much larger application.

      Just an tiny example of how secularization works in practice, the prime literary expression of colonialism, "The White Man's burden" was coined by Kipling in a poem. The burden in question is the suffering and death of the soldiers of empire, who bear the burden so that the benefits of Western civilization accrue to the "half-devil and half-child" natives.

      The poem has one direct Biblical allusion: the complaints of the natives who refuse to accept the benefits of civilization are like the complaints of the Hebrews to Moses:

      Why brought he us from bondage, Our loved Egyptian night?

      Moses, however, is also typologically a precursor to Christ. And the fundamental image of the poem is christological. The Burden (Cross) is carried out through a painful series of hardships (Via Dolorosa) until death, by the imperial soldiers (Christ), in order to bring the good news of Western Civilization (Salvation) to the uncivilized (heathen) natives.

      Or, the Burden (Law) is carried out through a painful series of hardships (40 years in the desert) until death, by the imperial soldiers (Moses), in order to bring the good news of Western Civilization (Liberation) to the uncivilized (stiff necked) natives (Hebrews).

      There is no escape from the Bible.

  • Leftism begins at home-- a defense of David Simon
    • Congratulation to Phil! (and obviously to the writer) This is one of the most important pieces of writing ever published by Mondoweiss, in my (usually insufficiently) humble opinion.

  • Helen Thomas will cover Move Over AIPAC conference, doesn't want to speak at it
    • KEITH, I always was hysterical, irrational, and overreacting. It is my nature and you'll just have to get used to my failure to meet your universal standards on these matters. But the truth is this is all the result of my inbred need to please. I am trying to help you prove the point that you want to prove based on my "overreaction." Am I not doing well?

      I don't however remember discussing here the reasons for organized American Jewry’s support for Zionism and Israel. I was discussing the reasons, or at least some of the reasons mentioned in this thread, as to why JVP organizes on a Jewish basis.

      I didn't say you were insensitive to the existence of our wonderful evil empire. But since JVP has been accused here of having "no sense of its members’ obligations as US citizens," and I, being irrational and hysterical as I am, expected that someone who "has long stressed the evils of the the US empire" would consider it his duty to speak up in the face of such accusations. But I am glad to know that I was wrong. I now realize that the cause of my error was my own unamerican tendencies. Please direct me to the nearest rehabilitation facility.

    • Look Keith. The bottom line is this. There are a lot of problems with JVP. I disagree with them on many things. I even criticize them when I think it is useful.

      But they are doing a great deal of lifting. They certainly do more lifting that the 63% of Americans (almost all good "universalist" American citizens) who repeatedly express support for Israel in the polls. But they even lift more than most (though certainly not all) of the 17% of Americans (Americans, not Jewish Americans) who express a more favorable opinion of Palestinians, most of whom don't do anything at all, and many of whom don't do much beyond kvetching, including in online forums.

      And the anecdotal evidence is that one of the things that motivates them doing so much more than most good "universalist" Americans, is their understanding of their Jewish identity.

      While you are sitting back here snickering, quoting and praising material that questions their loyalty to the blood soaked American empire, psychobabbles about the deep evil inside them, and treats them as a sinister organization that is oppressing your poor self and your favorite saxophonist.

      Enjoy it! But let me give you one final sinister tribal advice taken from a truly evil source. The Talmud.

      Your actions will bring you closer. Your actions will lead you further away.

    • I think generalizing is a good thing. Because there is nothing really to say without it. The problem is of course, the quality of the generalization, and whether one is aware what is being generalized about whom.

      So we have someone speculating that the members of JVP have an "unauthentic self." And you don't understand why this is insulting. OK. Maybe you only pretend not to understand what we are talking about in order to defend your fragile sense of self which is unable to come to terms with your deep chauvinist aggressive impulses.

      But wait, how terrible of me to try to insult you that way! We should keep the discussion civil, which means that we should both agree that only non-present members of JVP (Thank God neither of us is!) can be insulted. If they get touchy it will only prove how fragile their self is anyway. I therefore apologize for what I said earlier. It was totally out of line.

    • And I am having a pique about you reducing the matter to "my" demonstration being slighted. It is not about "my" demonstration. I was one of thousands. It is about revisionism, airbrushing the past to fit the argument.

    • It's up to you to be as kind as you want. Telling Jews that they have an "inauthentic" self or a weak self if they see themselves as Jews even if they do not go to synagogues regularly is not a "discussion." It is an insult. If you want to insult people, you should be able at least to take the heat.

      And I am sorry to disagree, but I see no new level. There is a Zionist ideology that sees all Jews as potential citizens of a Jewish state in Palestine. We know that this ideology exist for about 100 years. We know that a significant number of US Jews see themselves as such and see Israel as fundamental to their identity. We know that for 30 years at least. Zionists have been shouting that from rooftops. So it isn't much of a secret. So what have you recently discovered? Other than insults directed at precisely those Jews who either don't, as myself, or are in some process of rethinking it, as most JVP members are. What is new?

    • Just a little addition. The protest in 2005 was a follow up to a protest in 2002, as you can see if you scroll down that link I give about. In the picture, you can see a SUSTAIN activist doing street theater against US support for Israel in 2002. But according to the "revisionist" school of arm-chair activism, the left never heard of AIPAC until it was informed about it by the latest judeophobic posse.

    • So many falsehoods, so little time. Let's start with the non-trivial fact that the author is clueless.

      the Move Over AIPAC gathering is the first time ever that a national demonstration has been called opposite the annual AIPAC mtg and the obsequious tribute rendered by half of Congress and the top of the executive.

      I was present at protests outside AIPAC conference already many years ago. The web even remembers, here it is, Protest against AIPAC

      If you check the list of supporting organizations, you will find the group I was a member of that time, Stop US Tax funded Aid to Israel Now, a group that can be described as anarchist in orientation and did mostly direct action and street theater (the name kind of says what needs to be said) as well as Jews Against The Occupation, the New York group that was one of the earliest groups post-Oslo that pioneered the link between radical politics and Jewish activism, as many of the leading activists were LGBT Jews with a history in LGBT organizing. But I am sure you were always "to the left" of them.

      There can be all kind of debates between leftist activists about how to organize. The opinion of arm-chair right-wing poseurs like you and Atzmon is not part of it. You are are working over time to weaken the movement by attacking and belittling the work of dozens of people who devote a great chunk of their life to practical civic organizing, including but far from limited to the end of apartheid in Israel, and calling for their exclusion, because they don't worship your "universal" all-American cant.

      When you write a decent article dissecting the fantastic, chauvinistic aspects and bogus claims of your "American Citizen" identity to "universalism" I'll start listen to what you have to say about "Jewishness."

  • Where does Israel end and the Diaspora begin? Or Zionism end and Judaism begin?
    • Danaa,
      I can understanding the psychology all right. I went through that stage myself, and I liked the humor of his early writing. I understand why people engage in gratuitous violence, including symbolic violence, to salvage a sense of self. But shouting insults while wanking off to the sound of exploding kneidalach is a dead end. Add to that the pseudo-intellectualism, the faked expertise in all thing Jewish, and what you get is the Jewish twin of Walid Shoebat.

    • Sorry, I posted it in the wrong place.

      The reason diaspora Jews are more likely to be offended by an openly judeophobic discourse than Israeli Jews is that judeophobia is fundamental of dominant secular ashkenazi culture in Israel, although Israelis call it “Shlilat Hagalut.” Israelis are not shocked by this because they see this kind of racist discourse as normative, and that can stay with them long after they have officially repudiated it. (and it also rhymes with the general racism of Israeli culture). As long as you think like an Ashkenazi Israeli you won’t understand what is offensive about Atzmon.

    • The reason diaspora Jews are more likely to be offended by an openly judeophobic discourse than Israeli Jews is that judeophobia is fundamental of dominant secular ashkenazi culture in Israel, although Israelis call it "Shlilat Hagalut." Israelis are not shocked by this because they see this kind of racist discourse as normative, and that can stay with them long after they have officially repudiated it. (and it also rhymes with the general racism of Israeli culture). As long as you think like an Ashkenazi Israeli you won't understand what is offensive about Atzmon.

  • When tribal identity and an exaggerated sense of insecurity trump reason and compassion
    • On the contrary, it is thanks to the kind of revolt that is sweeping the Arab world, AND thanks to the kind of reaction that it solicits AND thanks to the way this reaction clarifies what has been confused for so long that the future of the Middle East is getting brighter.

      What we are seeing is the emergence of CLASS as a determinant cleavage, cutting across both nationality and religion. Wealthy Sunnis in Bahrain are in crucial respects, including their susceptibility to propaganda and their willingness to turn a blind eye to extreme violence, closer to wealthy Israeli Jews from Tel Aviv than to their poorer Shia neighbors.

      In the deepening of this understanding lies the future of the region.

  • JNF feeling the heat over Al Araqib
    • The committee or unrecognized villages is an indigenous body. It wasn't created by an Israeli NGO. If there are indeed Israelis who claim ownership of the Bedouin struggle they should be told to shove their paternalism somewhere where the sun doesn't shine.

      The campaign that the JNF refers to what initiated in Edinburgh by the BDS National Commitee, with the involvement of the Scottish PSC and IJAN. See the call here, link to stopthejnf.org and the report of the original meeting here: link to ijsn.net. Since then, many organizations have endorsed the campaign, and despite the slow start, the campaign is growing and it is great to see that the JNF is beginning to feel the heat.

      Later on, afaik, independently of that call, a coalition of 48 Palestinian organizations and soft Zionist organizations in Israel launched a campaign of defending Al-Araqib, and a few US Jewish organizations joined. See the call here, link to jfjfp.com.

      Now, while these two campaigns share a target, they are very different. The BDS campaign is based on the (correct) assumption that the JNF is a fundamental component of Zionism and is intertwined with the Israeli state for that exact reason. The JNF is fundamentally a racist organization that exists for the purpose of ethnic cleansing.

      In contrast, the campaign in Israel is based on the assumption that Israel is a democracy and therefore the JNF actions in the Negev are incompatible with the democratic principles of the state and with the JNF's own mission.

      For more, see the ripping of that call by Uri Davis, one of the experts on the JNF: link to alternativenews.org

      One can have all kinds of takes on the wisdom of the conciliatory strategy of the Israeli coalition. In the Israeli context, it is perhaps a wise decision, perhaps not. It is hard to judge from afar. The wisdom of American Jewish organizations lining up behind such a call is a different matter, and you are invited to read the different calls and rejoinders and to make your own judgment about what is the right strategy.

      It is hard to understand why the JNF is singling out IJAN. The campaign in which IJAN participates is a Palestinian campaign led by the BNC, and although IJAN participated in the launch it is by no means leading the campaign, which, like all BDS campaigns, thrives in diversity and local initiative. It is possible that they do it because the sight of "traitors" brings in the donors. Good for them! And good for us as it draws attention to the crumbling hegemony of Zionism among Jews.

  • Double your donation in December, get two gifts!
    • When I was an editor at the defunct Yellowtimes we had a discussion about a T-Shirt. I don't remember if we actually did it or not, but I came up with the slogan:

      Everything you need to know to become an FBI target.

  • Notes on Hanukkah: The Maccabees and Zionism's 'invented traditions'
    • How true, especially Yom Kippur!!!

    • That was the general assumption of most those who wrote about European Jews in the 19th and early 20th century. From the European perspective of emerging national cultures where religious background, land and citizenship where closely linked, Jews were abnormal. That was the central claim of antisemitic discourse as well.

    • great post, and timely, but you refer to rabbinical judaism as if it already existed during the Macabbean revolt. It didn't as it was only created after the destruction of the temple. The pharisee tradition may be said to have been an antecedent, but even that has to be stretched a 100 years at least back to account for the actual revolt.

      Second, you miss the most important irony of Hanuka. The Macabean revolt was a native zealot movement that rejected not just occupation but all the globalized culture of the Helenic word. If one looks for a similar modern phenomenon, the best candidates are Islamic resistance movements, from Hamas to Bin Laden (The absence of sources makes it somewhat difficult to say to which of these polar opposites the Hashmonites were more similar). Nothing could have been further from the whiteness worshiping Zionist movement, which saw national liberation AS the equivalent of helenization (normalizing the Jewish condition).

  • JNF embarks on NY gaywashing
  • Congressional request for Pollard pardon just another example of putting Israel's interests first
    • Why this bloodlust! The US is a punitive gulag, holding the largest jailed population in the world by both percentage and absolute number. In many countries that have much lower crime rates than the US, a first degree murderer who behaves well in jail is paroled after 15-20 years. If Pollard had murdered him mother he should have been let go by now, if nastiness and meanness were not the chief values in which the people of the united states are trained by their masters to uphold like rottweilers, for better not to see what is done to them.

      All this charade about Pollard is unseemly, given how many prisoners rot in US jails for which our elected "representatives" couldn't care less. But being mean to Pollard will not make the place one iota better. This kind of enjoyment of a person's misery provides the emotional release that one gets kicking a beer can in anger, except the beer can is a human being.

      I hate to imagine what the crowd who gets so excited about Pollard here would do to people if ever they were given a gun and told to man a checkpoint.

  • Hitchens says US is 'Shabbos goy' to Israel, and latest deal will just further dispossess Palestinians
    • Hitchens hates religion. It's the only part of his booze addled brain that keeps on automatic pilot from the days he was a Marxist. That means that when there is a secularist government in Israel and Tzipi Livni would lobby for a war against Hamas or Iran, he will be in favor of the Israeli Lobby pushing the President towards war against Islam, but when the Lobby sounds too "Jewish," i.e. religious, then he is getting on any bandwagon that is there to bash the lobby "humiliating" Obama.

      Of course, again, my "patronizing generalization". Weiss welcomes anyone who is willing to piss on his pet peeve, "the lobby," even someone who would tomorrow advocate that the US invades Indonesia to root out Islam.

      That is the problem when you have no real politics.

  • $3 billion in fighter jets to Israel: reward or bribe?
  • In any rational order, Lieberman would be a doorman
    • I am not going to defend myself from a contemptible and illiterate Dershowitz sock puppet. I have a record of writing on Palestine going back 10 years, and anyone who wants to know my opinion can check it. Or they can take your word for it. I have no problem with either.

    • Philip, I tend to be combative in comments because, well, because that is my habit. It expresses my frustration more than anything else.

      The real issue is that paying attention to racism goes beyond the obvious of supporting Palestinians against oppression. Part of the evil genius of our era is that the system has learned to channel the rage against it into practices that only strengthen it over time. If the genius of the successful terrorist is to get the system to react in self-damaging ways, the genius of our current system of domination is that it has so far managed to transforms the energies that rage against it into tools for entrenching itself. The Israeli leadership of course has mastered that technique. But this is true in the US as well. Here is what I wrote about the "Russian" question in a calmer moment (quoted above).

      We should always remember and repeat that Palestinians are the first and foremost victims of Israeli racism. But the racism of the state manifests itself well beyond that, in the dominance, legitimacy and recurrence of strategies of racialization at all levels and against any group when the dominant classes considers it useful. It is particularly difficult to grasp that even "excessive" racism against Palestinians (as opposed to what is supposedly the correct dose of racism!) can become the basis for racialization. Recognizing this does not mean forgiving or excusing racists. Whoever told the pollsters that the state should encourage Arabs to emigrate should be held accountable for his or her execrable politics. Yet these racializations, even when they masquerade as political moderation and opposition to racism, are still racist, and moreover, they serve the specific purpose of defending and maintaining the racist apartheid regime in Israel, with white, secular Ashkenazi Jews at the top and Palestinians interred in camps at the bottom. Therefore echoing and supporting these subsidiary forms of racism, however gratifying it may momentarily feel, is in fact counterproductive.

    • The full sentence is “Alyah is a wonderful thing in principle, if you ask any jewish Israeli ”

      That is, it is a statement about how Jewish Israelis view Alyiah, responding to Weiss speculating that they might view it negatively.

      That you would try to represent it as my own view says everything about you that needs to be said. You are contemptible.

    • It isn't anti-aliyah. Alyah is a wonderful thing in principle, if you ask any jewish Israeli . But the olim are supposed to know their place, however, be grateful for the good state that brought them to Israel, and submit to the cultural and political hegemony of the founding European settlers. Whenever they do not, whenever they claim, for some unfathomable reason, that, that they are equal to the Ashkenazi elite, racist discourse is brought in to "put them in their place." The oldest examples are from already the 1920s', when party apparatchiks used antisemitic stereotypes to explain the "low quality" (or insubordination) of the new immigrants from Poland. Since then, every immigrant community got the same treatment, although some got it far worse than others. In particular the Arab Jews got the worst of it because of the intersection of this standard immigrant put down with white European orientalist racism. And recently Ethiopians got it even worse.

    • "Homo Sovieticus" is a racist slur in this context. Of course, the endearing quality of Mondoweiss is that it has no patience for the distinction between racism and anti-racism.

      Why would someone purporting to oppose colonialism join in a racist attack on an immigrant Foreign office who dares to put colonialism in question?

      God knows, and She's not telling me.

      More on the racism against the Russians here:

      link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

      link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

  • Alienated affection: Israel relationship is costing the U.S. its alliance with Turkey
    • Yet another example to the consistently unprincipled Mondoweiss support for Palestine.

      Perhaps the motto of Mondoweiss should be changed to "support Palestine because it will help you suck the blood of so many other people, you won't even notice that Palestinians aren't oppressed anymore".

      Seriously, this is moral bankruptcy. It will not convince a single imperialist, because it is based on the bogus assumption that the people at the top of the hierarchy are clueless and don't know what their interests are. The only thing it does is lend credibility to the Hasbara portrayal of support for Palestinians as based on double standards and motivated by hatred rather than by principles.

  • We don't make this up. We wish we did, but we don't
    • Let me see if I understand,

      the reeeeeeeeally shocking thing is that even a representative of the white, racist, paranoid, petty bourgeois pseudo-revolutionary pseudo-movement kowtows the line on Israel. That must be the end of the world for you jeff? After all, if even the most racist segment of the US political spectrum isn't biting, then the whole strategy of appealing to white racism against Israel is hopeless. Isn't it? You ARE throwing in the towel, aren't you?

      Well, I guess the teabaggers have failed the test. They aren't far enough to the right. What next?

  • The real Yitzhak Rabin
    • Question: How many left Zionists it takes to change a light bulb?

      Answer: If only Rabin was alive, there would have been peace and all the light bulbs would have worked forever.

  • No loyalty to apartheid
    • To be clear, the statement above does not condemn cooperation with the Zionist "left" as such. It condemns the expressed political basis upon which the Zionist "left" mobilized against the "loyalty oath" and reminds people outside of Israel what the real problem is.

    • If I understand you correctly, Mapam is different from Ben Gurion's party, because the kibutizm of Hameuchad, created by Ben Gurion party are on stolen Palestinian land whereas the kibutzim of the Artzi were on the moon. Is that correct?

      Mapam, whose Palmach unit was a leading force in the Nakba, is the real left, that shouldn't be confused with the unreal left of Ben Gurion, who merely gave orders to the Palmach to do the ethnic cleansing. Is that your understanding?

      Thanks for bringing clarity to such a confusing subject.

      The "declaration of Independence from fascism" that was the manifesto of this protest, covers up Israeli history. That is a hard fact. If you want to challenge that fact, nothing could be easier. All you have to do is quote the relevant passage from that document that acknowledges Israel's history or even mention who the victims are.

      Pretending that Israel has a legacy of equal rights that is only now being betrayed is pandering to Israeli racism. You can put lipstick on this but it is still a pig. This strategy never works. When you pander to racism in order to "reach out" to more people, you strengthen racism, you don't undermine it.

      If the only way to bring 4000 residents of Tel Aviv to a protest is to craft a message that panders to racism, than this protest is useless. A protest of five Jews in Um al fahem is worth more than all the thousands who marched here. And if one could have brought almost the same number to the street on the basis of a truly anti-racist message, then the organizers need to be challenged for their lack of leadership. Either way, failing to notice the problematic base for this mobilization doesn't help the struggle against apartheid. Furthermore, the problem here is not only what happens in Israel, but the way the blind worship of such "opposition to fascism" feeds soft Zionist organizing in the US, which is all about "helping obama" see the light. That too must be challenged.

      The Israeli "left" has a history of being extremely eager to protest when the right is in power, while being totally silent when far worse crimes are committed by Laborites. There is no evidence that this pattern has been broken here.

  • Obama betrayed the antiwar left
    • Obama never betrayed the anti-war left. Every word he said before the elections marked him clearly as a corporatist suit, ready to defend Washington's bacon in every way. He was clear that he was not "anti-war". he was anti failure and that was pretty much the only criticism against Bush he made. He clearly promised that he was going to focus on Afghanistan and he did.

      Obsama kept every promise that he made. The people who feel betrayed are the people who allowed themselves to be bought for peanuts, and were ready to look the other way and to call Obama corporatist, Wall-Street centered agenda "left." The people who did that have only themselves to blame, and perhaps to ask themselves why they are so clueles.

      But don't worry, the next "progressive" hope is just around the corner. And when that reservoir becomes exhausted, there is always the opportunity to go to other side for a "savior." Paul Rand is already a rep., and Gen. Petraeus will soon enter politics, and when that too fails with "betrayal", fascism will beacon. For those who have an emotional need to be "betrayed" the future was never brighter than today.

  • The Israel lobby is just icing on the imperial cake
    • Yes Bob, The Neocon plan was an explicit plan to "drop prices" and it worked didn't it? Brilliant, these Jews. How they get everything they want! But of course, we always should believe what people write in the newspapers, because they never lie and there are never processes at work that the newspapers don't write about. I know that because I read it in the Washington Post.

      XOM is really fsucked, isn't it? After all, it just won the contract to develop the second largest oil field in Iraq. But who cares! Asia Times says it lost big time. Hell, isn't it in bankruptcy already? Actually, the stock beat the S&P 500 by 20% for the last year, and over 75% for the last decade, but why should I care? Asia Times says XOM lost it pants in Iraq, so it must be true, because anyway we have no clue about what matters to people who own XOM.

      We all know that the Iraq war wasn't a 100% success for US corporations. There was resistance. Some things didn't work. The war might even have negative unintended consequences. That is the absolute FINAL proof that the war was forced on the US against the interests of its elites, isn't it? By this logic, one is surprised that you haven't yet found the Jewish Lobby that drove Hitler to invade Poland. After all, nobody ever bites more than he can eat. Maybe you just don't read the write papers.

      You should work your way through "my pet goat." Slowly.

    • Max,
      unfortunately you (and I) sometimes seem unable to understand that some of the students here are still struggling getting through "my pet goat." Maybe next year. Did you actually use the word methodolology?

    • Nope. The US changed the team, scrapped the neocon plan, put oil executives in charge, and they rebuilt the oil ministry according to the OPEC template of a state oil company with long term service contracts. These are the facts. The rest is you bad interpretation.

      The only success of the neocons in Iraq was to drive oil prices to the sky, which made XOM the largest capitalization company in world history. This too is a fact. Of course, the oil executives just "sat and wept" "by the rivers of Babylon" all the way to cashing their stock options.

      Financial literacy: F.
      Reading comprehension: F.

    • Bob, the earth is not flat, and Iraqi oil wasn't privatized. With your level of reading comprehension one can find evidence of anything anywhere.

    • Where did you get the idea that big oil lost the fight against the privatization of Iraqi oil? Can you buy an Iraqi oil field? Where? How much? Iraqi oil wasn't privatized, the national Iraqi oil Company was reconstructed and put in charge of Iraqi oil, and the people who advocated privatization were sacked by Bush.

      Capitalism is an adversarial system. Oil companies compete, and sometimes they get in conflict with other components of the system. That changes nothing from the simple math that oil company profits are a function of oil prices, which show a remarkable correlation to middle east conflict. Now, if you don't understand the difference between losing a profitable contract and losing the environment that keeps the money flowing, that is probably why oil companies will not hire you to lobby Congress for their interests.

      But as I told Jeff, I'll say to you too. Keep sending them your CV. You just never know.

    • including Chomsky have ever presented a logical geopolitical reason why the expansion of Israeli settlements somehow is beneficial for US global interests of which I am as well aware as anyone who has posted here.

      Not being a "chomskyte" I don't feel like defending him. He's just your punchbag and I hope you keep getting hours of fun and fulfillment from punching him. However, allow me to point that the limited scope of the question is itself illogical. Why stop with the US? Why not ask why the Lobby itself support the expansion of the settlements? After all, some of the hardest core Zionists oppose that expansion. Where is the logical explanation for the Lobby's support for the settlement? And if we touch that, why is Israel itself supporting settlement expansion? after all, can't Israel's elites see that it is self-destructive? (clue, they do. Almost every PM since Rabin has said so.) Isn't that exactly the point made by M&W, that the extremist advocacy of the Lobby harms BOTH the US and Israel?

      At least M&W, in their quest for respectability, are led to that silly conclusion of their thesis, which must be that the Lobby is essentially a medical problem, since there is simply no rational explanation for its existence. You avoid that only by stopping your curiosity at the grass of the Capitol.

      Your question assumes that everything that happens in the empire happens because it was willed by the masters. It's like challenging the theory of evolution by asking for an evolutionary explanation for why my left toe turns inward. That's not how power works. Absolute power is a matter of fantasy. Power doesn't give orders and receives reports. It shapes the terrain in which the people make decisions, and then improvises to maintain its advantage in relation to these decisions.

      The settlements can only be understood as an Israeli issue. The settlement expansion is driven by the internal logic of a settler society, in which the social antagonisms among the settlers are temporarily resolved by being exported on the back of the natives, because that is the cheapest option. The Israeli elites, despite being as clairvoyant as M&W, and despite gaining very little directly from that expansion, have been unable to stop it, because it is systemic to Israeli society.

      To stop Israeli settlement expansion means to restructure Israeli society. It would be a daunting task, with unpredictable risks and success is not guaranteed. The patient might die (we both aren't going to be devastated by that, but that is obviously not the position of policy makers.) Furthermore, because of the close alliance of Israel to the US, restructering Israel will also require restructuring the US, although to a far lesser degree. Nevertheless, the dividends need to be very high to justify such restructuring. The US elites have therefore, quite rationally, from their point of view, not embarked on that mission. There is no doubt that this is partly because the meaning of that mission was explained to them by their allies, and because, in my opinion, even though they would prefer to reach a formal apartheid agreement with Salam Fayad and Saudi blessing--and I'm not sure that they do, it is quite possible that they do not--they don't prefer it to the point of taking the risk. And no doubt part of the work of the lobby is to dissuade people form thinking that it might be a good idea. It's an essential component of the mechanism. But the bottom line is that is the accepted wisdom now that it isn't a good idea. You claim that it is a good idea. To me it seems, judging by the latest figures from Wall Street, that the elites of the US are doing great, and will probably not hire your counsel.

      But you should keep sending them your CV. You just never know.

    • Donald,
      I think you miss the core issue because everybody is speaking in telegrams.

      Interests exist in relation to system. The "interest" that the "lobby theory" extols, whenever it really comes up, is not just the interest of ordinary Americans, but specifically an interest that is common to ordinary Americans and US elites and corporations. for example, Blankfort assures us that Israel's weapons industry steals jobs from Americans (that is, the without the lobby, the profits that come from killing people abroad could be shared more broadly by ordinary Americans), and the "fungibility bobs" claim that the lobby harms oil companies, and the upshot is that the instability Israel creates harms both oil companies (that lose contracts) and ordinary Americans.

      These theories get economic relation wrongs. Oil companies are the chief winners from Middle East wars. They are also self-contradictory. If indeed ending support for Israel will reduce conflict in the Middle East, that would lead to less money for weapon manufacturers, and less jobs for Americans (not to mention that selling support for Palestine to ordinary Americans through the benefit of killing people in afghanistan is repulsive).

      But the bottom line is that the "lobby drives policy" theory is the basis for a proposed alliance between "ordinary Americans" and WASP elites against an allegedly foreign evil that harms both.

      (There is something pathetic about begging elites to recognize what is really good for them, as though they are too thick to know their own interests, but that conceit has been a constant feature of right-wing populism; the emotional structure of populism is that of the children calling upon their father to defend them from the bully and put everything in order.)

      The theory that Green proposes is rough on the edges, see my criticism above, but his politics are rooted in the axiom of the left, that progressive politics works through building alliances between ordinary people in different places AGAINST elites. So of course I agree with you, and I believe Green agrees, that ordinary people have an interest in driving the lobby out of town. We, people, have an interest in peace. We have an interest in a decent society, in which everyone has a place. We have an interest in living full lives, not stunted to increase Wall Street profits. We have an interest in preserving our planet. We have an interest in simply being decent and being respected by others for being decent. That's evident, and the institutions of the lobby play a part in frustrating all these interests. That is evident. The question is the nature of this interest we have, and the kind of political alliance and vision within which this interest takes shape and the strategies for defending them take shape.

    • David,
      I agree with the general tenor of your practical conclusion. The Zionist lockdown should be confronted directly, but the "analysis" of the US in terms of contending ethnic and national interests is destructive in addition to ridiculous. The arguments of Weiss that you criticize, you are far too nice. They are not arguments at all, more like "hey! it's raining! The God of Thunder is taking a leak".

      But unfortunately you follow Chomsky into an analysis of imperialism that is almost theory free. While this is not as damaging as magical thinking, it is still a measure of the intellectual decline of the left. Chomsky has no framework for "imperial interests," which means that whatever imperial agents write in classified correspondence ends up not only as evidence of capitalist interest but also as the building blocks for a (non) theory of capitalism. Some people accuse you of Marxism-Leninism below but the problem it is neither. To start from capitalism means that just as the press declaration of oil executives cannot be trusted, neither can CIA briefs. The latter do not articulate capitalist interests but translate them to the language of the state bureaucracy. Just because the CIA wants to control oil does not mean that oil companies want to control oil, and even that doesn't mean the controlling oil is "a capitalist interest". Interests are vectors of systems. If you want to understand oil companies you start from the cycle of the commodity, M-C-M', not from what the CIA says about oil resources. You start from looking at how firms make profits today (which is somewhat different than in Marx's day), how these profits interact with the actions of state agents, and then how the interaction between the two is controlled and how they interface with the political space through such concepts as hegemony and ideology.

      Not doing the empirical homework you end up with blatantly wrong factual claims, such as Israel being the "cop on the beat" which happened for the last time during Black September, (and then Israel tried to show that it can do that again in Lebanon 2006 and got beaten up and sent home by Hizbullah) or that Iraqis died to get at the oil beneath them, which makes no sense at all, as some people point out in the comments although for the wrong reasons. And you treat the superstructure, in a vulgar marxist way, as "icing on the cake." But there can be no cake unless you can keep the people baking. So how to do that, which is about the role of the press and in general representations, which is most of the work of the lobby, that's not icing, that's a crucial aspect of capitalism.

  • Trainwreck in Boston: Dershowitz calls a Palestinian novelist a bigot and a Holocaust-denier
  • The Israel National Library nationalizes Kafka
    • Yes, but there is one good reason why Israel should indeed own the Kafka estate.

      It is not Herzl's Altneuland but Kafka's stories, that correctly describe the future Jewish state.

      In "The Trial," Kafka nailed the legal system that the Jewish state would later develop. In "the penal colony," Kafka nailed the military doctrine of the then far in the future IDF. In metamorphosis, Kafka hit at the relation between the White Man and the Jews that the state of Israel would bring into being.

      It is Kafka, not Herzl, who should adorn Israeli money, and be taught to children as "the seer of the state".

  • Where is the Gandhi of Israel?
    • Shouldn't someone whose former employer is the CIA begin with asking where is the US Ghandi?

      This is an ignorant and shallow article, about India, about Israel, AND about Palestine, even bringing up the the "making the desert bloom" canard. I am somewhat reassured by the fact that this is the scholarship level that drives US foreign policy. It explains a lot.

      But I guess it was published in "the national interest" so it must be true.

  • Hafradah v apartheid, the story continues
    • Sure we can get along...especially since we are in total agreement. Thanks for the clarification. You were not attacked personally, the idea was dissected and criticized.

  • Why 'hafrada' shouldn't replace apartheid in our discussions about Israel/Palestine
    • The idea that one would change such a basic framework that is true to the facts, true to the ethics of the struggle, and one of the pillars of the legal and rhetorical strategies of the movement to get (perhaps) the approval of one (or two or three or four) US academic who doesn't even identify with the movement and cares about his career more than anything else is a neophyte's failure of nerve. Get a grip! An academic turned down your invitation. Worse things happen to people involved in this liberation struggle every day.

      We need movement intellectuals. The rest are welcome if they come, and if they do not they can take a hike.

  • What does it take to get liberal Zionists on board with BDS, and is it worth it?
    • Is it worth it to get liberal Zionists on the BDS wagon?

      Of course it is worth it. If it is worth getting the managers of ABN Arno, the Norwegian Finance Minister, the Saudi government, and Salam Fayyad on board the BDS wagon, none of whom can be described in any way as a principled supporter of justice, than what makes liberal Zionists different?

      A movement for justice wins when even the people who disagree with its principles are forced accept its demands. That's the point of BDS. It should be noted than nobody (including Haber) has suggested changing the principled language of BDS to accommodate liberal Zionists (or the managers of ABN Arno, or anybody else). Liberal Zionists should support BDS for reasons that appeal to them in their current state of moral confusion, just as ABN Arno managers should support BDS because it serves their financial interests. BDS grows as more people understand that it is the best alternative for them to support. Only a fraction of these will actually support BDS on the basis full political agreement.

      That is the strategy that has made BDS as successful as it has been.

  • Blumenthal likens Kamm to Ellsberg; Judy Miller says she 'may have done a very, very bad thing'
    • How silly is patriotism. The Pentagon describes wikileaks as a national threat, which means that they are devising plans how to take it down, and it IS treated as the enemy of the state. Not to mention the administration just admitted that Obama ordered the murder of an American citizen. At least Kam gets a show trial.

      Fidel Castro? That's hysterical. A country that has been persecuting dissidents since 1948 (and used to murder them before that), is suddenly in the news because the persecuted happens to be Jewish, (but forget Vanunu, he was not Ashkenazi) so now it is like "Fidel Castro."

      Where is this perpetual stupidity coming from?

  • It's time for Americans to discover the true character of Israeli society
    • And the Lord said, “For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have expelled the Palestinians, and have oppressed those they didn't expelled, and they occupied what they haven't gotten at first, and because one of them gave a finger to my faithful blogger, So I will send a fire upon Judah,
      and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.” (Amos 2:4-5, slightly amended)

  • an argument about Passover
    • I assume the persecution of Italians through the ages explains Ponzi. Not sure about Ken Lay, I think he may have been a victim of "reverse racism."

      Can I extrapolate from this blog that Jews are logically challenged because of how they were persecuted?

  • More Moor on academic boycott
  • The linkage fantasy
  • They're backing down
  • Suddenly the 'special relationship' is... embarrassing
  • Oren sounds the alarm
  • Is Hillary's 'deeply negative signal' a deeply positive signal?
  • Ahmed Moor: Why I am for academic boycott
    • I think it is time to admit that all these folks who claim to hate Witty are fakin it. Admit it! He's the life of the party. His temporary failure to post creates genuine anxiety, and the whole mondo community behaves like a village that lost its village idiot.

      Common Witty, I'm sure you know the monologue from 'The Merchant of Venice.' Give us the performance of your lifetime! You will never be loved as you are here.

    • While there is a lot to appreciate in the article, there are two significant failures that need addressing. These are the lack of distinction between the existence of privilege and accounting for that privilege, and the lack of attention to the principle of Palestinian leadership of the boycott campaign.

      1. Privilege and accountability

      Any justice struggle is a struggle against one sort or other of unearned privilege. And any such struggle must worry about the role of members of the privileged class in the struggle itself. You already touch it when you say: "the Palestine/Israel I hope to see one day will rely on these [anti-zionist] people." But one cannot separate the war from its outcomes. The way one organizes the struggle will determine the range of possibilities within victory. A struggle that completely excludes members of the privileged will not be able to be transformed into a victory that relies on them. Of course, that does not mean that their participation isn't problematic. There must be accountability for that privilege and thought about how to ensure that it doesn't undermine the struggle. A big part of the BDS campaign is providing clear thinking on that manner. Israelis have privileges, and it is a principle of the campaign that not only they can but they should participate in the struggle by using their privileges (for example, by using state funding, academic positions, privileged access, etc. for the purpose of the struggle). They should however be accountable for that privilege and not use it to determine the direction of the struggle. For example, they should recognize the Palestinian leadership of the struggle.

      2. Palestinian leadership

      The Palestinian boycott initiative (BDS), including its academic component is not only an effective weapon against Israel but a complete modeling of the struggle, including the recreation of a pole of opposition, Palestinian self-determination and ownership of the cause after the Oslo damage that is not just a goal but also a principle of the struggle itself. Part of this work is the building of the campaign as a response to a Palestinian led call ( the BDS 2005 call), and the establishment of a Palestinian leadership that provides the campaign its moral and political compass.

      Of course, you can disagree with the direction pointed by these compasses. That is totally legitimate. But by building your arguments in isolation, without reading or reflecting on what the leadership of the BDS campaign has to say about the Hanafi-Ophir affair, and by establishing your boycott logic independently of the extensive reasoning already written as explanation and clarification of various questions, for example, the question of the role of dissident Israeli academics, you model for the reader a type of engagement that undermines the work of BDS as a form of organizing the Palestinian struggle on the basis of Palestinian leadership and self-determination.

    • BDS is against Israeli institutions. If you support boycott of either Pappe or Morris, you do not support BDS. In fact you are undermining the principles of BDS.

      Morris is an open racist advocating mass murder and ethnic cleansing. He should therefore be shunned and disrupted on the principle that racist speech is not tolerable. That is unrelated to BDS.

    • While it is crucial for scholars in relevant fields to expose and analyze the colonial situation in Palestine, this academic imperative should not imply that one overlooks how scholarship engages this colonialism. That is, this book, as a collaboration of various scholars – Israeli and non-Israeli contributors – was completed with support from the Van Leer Institute [2]. In other words, through working under the aegis of the Van Leer Institute, this project has cooperated with one of the very institutions that PACBI and an overwhelming majority of Palestinian academics and intellectuals have called for boycotting.
      ...
      Though intellectual projects may aim to rigorously articulate the complex matrix of control that exists in Palestine, the intellectual process has a fundamental ethical and political component. As such, it is incumbent upon all scholars to realize that any collaboration which brings together Israeli and international academics (Arabs or otherwise) under the auspices of Israeli institutions is counterproductive to fighting Israeli colonial oppression, and is therefore subject to boycott.

      A project involving only Israeli academics, on the other hand, receiving support from an Israeli academic institution, may be seen as a justifiable exercise of a right or an entitlement by Israeli scholars as tax payers and, as a result, may not per se be boycottable.

      link to pacbi.org

  • 'Clean and tidy' campaign targets non-Jewish foreigners in Israel
    • Yeah, Clean and Tidy sucks as a Euphemism. The last time they called it "Avoda Zara". Much better, makes you feel connected to the land, the oral tradition. I think they should have called it this time "Be'ur Khametz" to give it that Jewish holidays je-ne-sais-quoi feeling. Or they could have called it "paperless homecoming" to combine an appeal to the sacredness of orderly documents with the spirit of Jewish longing for a homeland. I can think of others. Cal me before the next time, because a nations's true measure is how carefully it chooses the words to speak about these upsetting, tragic really, things that just have to be done, you know, like 48 and all.

  • 'Washington Post' hires Bush speechwriter
    • and I've always told you you were wrong, so the question is, will you evaluate your basic matrix of understanding after it keeps leading you to wrong predictions?

  • my wife and I have an intellectual disagreement about peasants
    • That is not what I say. That is what you seem to be saying, which is that knowing what you talk about is not worth the effort because the only thing you can know is what the winners want you to know. I disagree. The winners write history, but not everything they write is false because of that, only a crucial portion, and because they write it incompletely, one can always see through the cracks something worthwhile. It takes however an ethical and intellectual commitment to the cracks and to the people glimpsed in them.

      When you make the demand on others to spend time listening to or reading you, you have an obligation to have yourself spent time to know what you're talking about and reflecting on it honestly, and that time should be a little more than the time it takes you to say your mind. This is the foundation of the idea of the "public space" as a democratic space of representation and decision. Without it, there is nothing but automata pretending to be people pulling each others' legs and noses. An animal farm masquerading as a public. Which is what we mostly encounter these days, including on the web unfortunately.

    • An "intellectual dispute" is one in which the participants are committed to, if not know the truth, than at least, as Socrates put it, "love wisdom". That is defer their conclusions until they have studied the question they engage in, and discuss it with a certain level of artisanal commitment to the quality of what they have to offer. As someone who fashion's himself now America Jewishness 's internal tribune, isn't it time to reflect whether a superficial knowledge of Jewish history from scraps of prejudices, hearsay, limited personal experience and works most charitably called "polemical" (or simply put, stinking to heaven), while perhaps good enough to start asking questions, is not enough for an intellectual (as opposed to a purely demagogical) attempt to answer them?

  • 'This is our village!' - a report from Nabi Saleh
  • Why was I silent about my politics in the Holocaust survivor's house?
    • I'd recommend the following as worth reading:

      Katz, Jacob. From Prejudice to Destruction: Anti-Semitism, 1700-1933. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980.

      R. I. Moore , Formation of a Persecuting Society: Authority and Deviance in Western Europe 950-1250, 2nd Edition

      Trotsky on anti-semitism in the Soviet Union: link to marxists.org

      Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust

      Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

    • Because, as it is clear from your condescending irony ("revealing", "true history") at the very idea that historical analysis better than the stuff that informs Mein Kampf (and Herzl) exists and has any value, you have no intellectual interest other than that of buttressing your prejudices. You find what you seek.

    • I guess "sociological power" is the power to fill vacancies in social science departments, a power monopolized by Jews at least since Talcott Parsons converted. On the other hand, it is possible Weiss wanted to say "social power," and added a few Greek sounding syllables for the same reason cheap restaurants drench foul smelling meat in heavy sauce.

    • What isn't clear about what I said?

    • The Holocaust included a genocidal European reaction to Jewish sociological power;

      Phil, Mein Kampf is not a good history book, neither of Jewish history, nor of European history. It's funny you're all worked up about seeing the book being sold when your own understanding of Euroepan history is often drawn from the same rotten sources.

  • Jews in recovery (or why liberal American Jews might help to imagine a binational future)
    • Donald,

      Despite our ringing the metaphorical alarm bells, shouting (metonymically) from rooftops, and dropping banners from synecdochic bridges between communities of faith, misguided and irresponsible people, succumbing to delusions of omnipotence and disrespectful of the wisdom of past (and future, both indicative and iussive) generations, insist on practicing the art of apologizing for Zionism without having undergone the 5-minutes rigorous training that JSF is so deservedly famous for, often producing not only monstrous arguments, whose major premise can be from stage 4, while supporting evidence is from stage 2, and the middle isn't even properly distributed, like those chimerae one occasionally reads about in the news, with a sow's behind, a dog's snout and the forelegs of a Tory, but also putting themselves and unsuspecting passers-by in danger of life, limb and grave incontinence. JSF cannot be held accountable for the shoddy work of unlicensed and unqualified fly-by-night, on broomsticks, by-the-seat-of-their-pants and with instruments cobbled together from old sewing machines, "practitioners." We urge you to report any instance of such presumptuous impersonation to the police immediately. Better safe than sorry.

  • Meet the Post-zionist Zionists: Gilad Zwick
  • I'm accused of anti-semitism
    • Just so you know who accuses you of antisemitism, here is a story about Lisa Goldman, which, if true, is quite damning.

      From As'ad Abukhalil:

      A person sent me this (I am citing with his/her permission): "...With regards to a post about a media award ceremony, one of the award winners, lisa goldman, did in fact enter into to lebanon to do a broadcast story on about beirut a year after the invasion. Coincidentally my ex girlfriend was sitting next to her on the return flight from beirut to amman and mentioned to me that she had met a really annoying journalist who insessantly bragged about her degree from columbia thru the entire flight. When my ex asked her what she was doing in beirut, she said she couldn't talk about it. Fast forward a couple months and while visiting beirut I ran into a guy I know who used to work at torino express. He told me how one day a journalist showed up and asked to interview him on camera for a british news station. When the interview aired on isreali tv, he subsequently got into a mess of trouble with hizbollah (he grew up in dahiye), was fired from torino, and his family more or less ex communicated him.

      I put two and two together and figured out that he had met the very same journalist who my ex had sat next to on the plane, and had been facebooked therafter. Seeing a good opportunity I messaged the journalist to inform her what had happened to her interviewee as a consequence of her journalistic adventure in lebanon and she replied within seconds to tell me that none of it was her fault, because she could not be held responsible for the actions of a "fundamentalist terrorist group" and that she herself had put herself at huge risk by entering lebanon. She also googled me and, having found out I did grad school at harvard, dropped in a couple of words about her degree from columbia and how I should know better than to take sides since I had an ivy league degree and therefore should understand the situation from her perspective. I responded that I thought her actions were nothing more than being reckless with others, and that if she was such a brave journalist she should have interviewed some members of hizbollah instead of an espresso jerk in gemayze. She wrote back that I was an obvious anti semite and that her 'arab' friends in lebanon had supported what she had done.

  • Palestinian students describe anti-Arab discrimination
  • Obama will fold to the generals, just like LBJ did
  • Anti-Semites, go away
    • Thank you, Phil, for this post.

      Mooser, As a socialist/communist/anarchist, I would kindly ask that you do not "apologize" or "explain away" the so-called "Jewish responsibility" for communism.

      Of course, Jews do not own the spirit of justice, equality and solidarity. The history of the radical left goes back to the diggers and levellers of the English revolution, to the sans-culottes of the French Revolution, to the Parisian Communards, etc. and it continues in such non-Jewish contexts as black US churches and Latin-American liberation theology. It is down but far from out, as it vibrates in every place where human beings toil. Some Jews played an honorable part in that unfinished odyssey. They have my admiration and gratitude.

      Nor does the fact that Jews were over-represented in the many revolutionary movements of the turn of the last century, and neither that they are sometimes over-represented in modern radical circles, including in the Palestine solidarity movement, something PEP and wealthy Jews basking at the center of the modern American establishment can take credit for, as they often shamelessly try.

      But neither there is anything here to apologize, for either Jews, leftists, or those who are both. The revolutionary heritage in imperfect, and includes many mistakes, crimes, oversights, confusions and false starts. These failings are a discussion worth having with those who share our commitments. And one thing one can say about leftists is that they have always been eager to analyze their mistakes, sometimes to the point of boring everybody to death. But there is absolutely nothing there for which an apology is owed someone calling himself, with slight spelling mistakes, "Amerikkka First."

  • Huffpep
    • You need to stop drinking kool-aid. When will Welt admit that Israel is committing apartheid rather than merely "warn" about the possibility that Israel just might, if it is careless, perhaps one day, in the fullness of time, become in certain aspects like a state that could be described, mutatis mutandis, as not enough dissimilar from Apartheid? When? When they begin commercializing Palestinian chopped liver? Or not even then?

      Welt is going to the Washington Post to provide the White House with excuses for "failing" in what it has not intention of achieving, excuses that the White House will value, so maybe he will get back in the good grace of the inner circle, and he gets cheered for his courage around here.

      Bull eye for suckerdom!

  • Jewish Voice for Peace tries to open debate around Toronto Film Fest, other Jewish orgs (including J Street) look to shut it down
    • Let’s take the issue of diversity first. Although 20% of Israeli citizens are Palestinians, only 4.2% of Tel-Aviv residents are. For a major city, that is an impressive lack of diversity. Moreover, almost all these Palestinians live in a few segregated neighborhoods in the far end of Jaffa, mostly Ajame. Excluding these marginal and poor neighborhoods at the edge of the city, Tel-Aviv is almost completely free of Arabs. As such, the city no doubt constitutes a demographic miracle. The below-margin-of-error percentage of Arabs in this “diverse,” bustling, Mediterranean metropolis is lower than in Paris, Geneva, London, or Brooklyn.
      more here

  • Connecting with the Jewish rage in 'Basterds'
  • When, and why, did a religion become a nation?
    • Jack Ross, This website published an endorsement of a racist book, with quite some evidence of racism in the review. M. Idrees was thankfully given the right to reply, and now you complain of "Mulslim Chauvinism." I think this is ignorant and smells of, how should we call it, a deep sense of whiteness. If you don't publish racist crap about Muslims there would be no need for them to defend themselves and educate you.

      As for your theory of nationalism and strategy. It is rather thin. Oppressed people organize on the basis of their oppression. Does LGBT activism "falls into the hands" of those who want a two state solution for LGBT people and straight? Should textile workers not organize on the basis of their work? Nationalism and religion are complex and problematic formations, and organizing with them, like every real politics, carries risks, but Palestinians are oppressed based on their national identity. They are stopped at checkpoints based on their national identity. Hence the nation is the natural and obvious unit of organizing and struggle. Real political struggles are not won by appeals to charity. They are won by organizing the victims.

      As for appealing to the decency of the White Man. The majority of humanity has doubts today whether white people have decency. Your post doesn't help.

  • Israel stops US basketball players from coming to Palestine
    • So if you want to continue to poo-pooh the danger of retributive actions to cultural boycotts, particularly by Israel, then be my guest.

      It takes the cake to justify your refusal to stand in solidarity with Palestinian academics, teachers and artists who are demanding a cultural and academic boycott by appeal to your concern for their well-being. But you have my sympathy, with all that White man's burden you carry on your frail back alone.

    • Eherens,
      The BDS Campaign is a campaign led by Palestinian civil society. It has a set of official documents. These documents declare what the demands from Israel are and what kind of solidarity is being asked from people who feel compelled by their conscience to be in solidarity with Palestinians against Israeli apartheid. BDS is not consistent with doing whatever you feel like to punish Israel. It is regulated by the BDS National Commitee.

      First, you declare yourself uninterested in that. You claim the right to determine how to support Palestinians without caring about the organized Palestinian BDS demands. There is no such thing. If you do not recognize the right of Palestinians to be in charge of their struggle and strategies, you are not supporting their struggle. Period. Even if you think you are.

      Then, you criticize supporters of BDS because they might do things that the official BDS campaign does not asks for. And you defend people for not supporting BDS on the same grounds, that BDS involves certain actions which it ostensibly does not involve.

      Put simply, your contribution is an attempt to confuse people about what BDS is and to discourage them from acting in solidarity with Palestinians.

    • Can you please quote me the specific language in the call for cultural boycott above that complying with it would require "refusing to invite a professor like Neve Gordon come to the US for a conference"?

    • Yes, eherens, cultural boycotts CAN be abused, so can chainsaws. Are you also opposed to chainsaws?

      The cultural boyoctt that is part of BDS is the following:

      We, Palestinian academics and intellectuals, call upon our colleagues in the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel‘s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid, by applying the following:

      1. Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions;
      2. Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;
      3. Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions;
      4. Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations;
      5. Support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.

      Can you explain the connection between this and Ramadan? Do you have a specific problem with this?

  • neocons linger. why lord?
    • Contrary to common perceptions, the neocons are a fixture of the US establishment. They came to power through the Cold War, as cheerleaders of more more more funding for the Pentagon, and built their careers on the Military Industrial Complex, and they won't go away as long that stays. Contrary to common perception, the War in Iraq and their other adventures were a smashing success. If you consider the amount of money spent the defense industry oiling the careers of these guys, it is probably the most profitable investment ever. More importantly, nobody else who matters lost money in the Halcyon years of the Bush administration.

      Now that the bubble burst, everybody needs to appear somber. But in 4, maybe eight years, they will be needed to launch the next big war. So they are not going away. At best they have a long vacation for writing memoirs and making money in the private sector.

      They will be back. Bank on it.

  • 'Atlantic Monthly' extols 'righteous Jewish violence' in Palestine
    • It seems to me that the film, for all its pretense, is essentially a 300 for liberals, allowing those who imagine themselves urbane and sophisticated to enjoy the same uncomplicated sense of righteous violence and masculinity liberated from feminist "oppression" that the hoi polloi experience in the typical action movie. The introduction of the Jewish themes (as well as Tarantino's name) elevates the film from the mildly disreputable category of entertainment, whereas the Nazis, not a real political phenomenon but a token of pure, fantastic evil, merely function as a device that frees the genteel consciousness from the guilt of enjoying the pleasures of fascism. This is yet another reason to remember (as I also explained here) that the fundamental problem with calling people Nazis is not that it "demonizes" them, but that it assumes that Nazis were demonic. The category of the demonic, not the wrong labeling of Zionists or Arabs or anybody else with this category, is the door through which fascism is kosherized. read more

  • Herzl's contempt for Armenians was an original sin of Zionism
    • Have to agree with Anomalous. The original sin of Zionism, even before they even realized that Arabs existed, was their contempt for Jews.

    • Cultivating the powerful, using financial influence, expressing contempt for an indigenous Asian people–these traits have been hallmarks of the Israel lobby.

      Would one play "the great game" unless one accepted the premise of the game?

      Also note the response:

      He replied that he did not care; he was revolting only against the Turks.

      So it is possible to be oppressed and still refuse to accept the premise of game.

      There were other options. Herzl played the way he did because he made choices based on his class background and his political orientation, not because the condition of the Jews necessitated it.

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