Commenter Profile

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



Showing comments 100 - 1

  • 'Geronimo EKIA'-- as Indian wars continue in Palestine
    • 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 ) 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 and the report of the original meeting here: link to 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

      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

      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

      link to

  • 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

  • '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

      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.

Showing comments 100 - 1