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Total number of comments: 25 (since 2015-05-24 15:16:23)

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  • Resolution 242 does not mean what you may think it means
    • This article touches on a fundamental component of the long term intractability of the conflict: there are no recognized borders of Israel. What comes closest to it, the Partition Plan, is so far from the facts on the ground and the ideological goals of the Zionist movement such that, a transformation comparable in scope to the origins of Zionism may be needed for the eventual resolution.

  • Donna Edwards ends insurgent campaign by taking on Democratic Party orthodoxy, and supporters vow to continue the fight
    • Linda J, I agree that the real world is more complex and more than a single factor determine the outcome of events. My way of dealing with that complexity is looking at one factor at a time while putting the others aside. I didn't mean to say that the one factor I am focused on is the dominant factor contributing to that event.
      That one factor I was focusing on here was the question: " If I am discontent with the corrupt duopoly of political ideas in the U.S. system and want to effect change, am I likely to be more successful pursuing my ideas as a third party or should I pick the lesser of the two evils and pursue the change I desire from within?" My contention is that the answer to that question is very clearly laid out against third party movements by the basic rules of the U.S. Constitution. Beyond basic logic I tried to follow, numerous actual examples bear that out including the one I referenced.
      Looking at that particular example more generally, taking other factors that contributed to the result, Nader's candidacy was not the dominant factor. I agree with you on that. It was Gore himself. I still shake my head after so many years "How could you lose an election to W after those 8 years of the Clinton era..."
      After we agree on that fact, I still ask the question "Was Nader's third party candidacy effective in bringing the change it advocated?" I think the answer is still clearly no. Out of the 24,000 votes he got, I would expect the difference favoring Gore vs. Bush would have been larger than Bush's eventual margin of victory of a couple hundred votes. So, with the best intentions of well meaning Green party enthusiasts, instead of the climate changing,book writing Gore, we got W who needs no description. It is an extreme, symbolic example but a valid one nevertheless.
      Perhaps a more convincing example is what the Tea Partiers have been able to do to the GOP. Had they started an actual Tea Party instead of taking the fight from within the GOP, they would have undoubtedly split the vote in many districts in favor of the democratic candidate and prevented their own agenda achieving such a prominent national platform. Fighting from within, they have been able to hijack the GOP practically in many critical turns.
      I empathize that pursuing a principled political cause in the purity of a new political movement is much more appealing and energizing than having to associate with the legacy of one of two tired old choices, but the U.S. Constitution clearly favors the latter approach in effectiveness. This is not the case in parliamentary democracies in effect in many other countries in the world.

    • Thank you for the very relevant factual details, Boo. I am far from Maryland and found your post very helful and informative.

    • The entrenched two party political establishment in the U.S. , the inertia of which can be so frustrating for me and apparently many others on this site, is not the result of a conspiracy. It is the predictable outcome of the constitution which governs the political system and 250 years of maturation of that system.

      The U.S. constitution specifies a "winner take all" method of elections. This basic rule dictates that, change to a political movement must come from within. Temptation to start a third alternative borne out of this frustration is the temptation of self destruction. Any new breakaway movement hurts the preceding movement that is closest to it by dividing support and elevating the movement farthest from it in relative terms, which determine who wins the election. To move from the abstract to the concrete: we can thank Ralph Nader and the Green Party being that third alternative in Florida in 2000 for 8 years of W and the consequences that entailed for the world, not to mention the suffering of the people of the Middle East.

      Ms. Edwards and Bernie have pursued their goals, many of which I share, in the smartest and most effective manner. I am disappointed that they were not able to win their nominations this time around but they have won substantially in shaping the political discourse. Ideas and principles are important, perhaps more than the personalities. Change will come driven by ideas, information and demographics. In a country of 300 million people, it will be slow and difficult to take notice at the moment, like the earth moving in space. For those who notice signs over time, the movement is clear as the sun and the stars make it for the movement of the earth.

      Being presented a choice between Trump and Hillary in the general election will be a cruel joke for me. Luckily she will not need my vote to make sure Trump does not win my state.

  • Why I chose to get arrested at AIPAC
    • Ariel, you are an inspiration. You are precious evidence in the face of counter examples such as Trump, Cruz, Clinton and Netenyahu that evolution is right. A better future awaits humanity than our past. Please don't get arrested, don't get hurt, continue to be an inspiration for your children and the whole world.

  • Palestinians call on Oscar nominees to reject Israel propaganda trip
    • Naturally, they will not take these guests to Shuhada Street. Nevertheless, these tours in effect are the Apartheid Tours. No matter how much lipstick they might put on the pig, it is hard to impress a thinking mind with the result. After seeing how many proponents of Palestinian rights were transformed during their visits to Israel, including Birthright, I am convinced of that.

      This is the basic challenge of the Israel project in the internet age and beyond. When you have truth against you and can't suppress it as you did in old times, you will lose ground at every turn. You can try putting on a good face like these efforts. They end up attracting supporters who are not so keen and create detractors who are. Over time, this adds up to a losing result no matter how you add it up.

      Like a star over the Chandrasekhar limit, no matter what the initial composition, no matter what planets may be revolving around you, you can't change how you end up, however hard you might be motivated to try. It may go fast at times and slow down during others but it will get there one way or the other.

  • Netanyahu responds to Ban Ki-moon's criticism of the Israeli occupation (Update)
    • If they keep criticizing colonization like this, French FM may be found afoul of French anti-semitism laws along with Ban Ki Moon. It would be interesting to see them taken to court over that.

  • Why are American pro-Palestinian voices silent about the brutal war on Yemen?
    • For whatever it is worth, this article voices a lot of my own thoughts. The government of Saudi Arabia and its actions are no less a contributor to the collective pain and suffering of the people in the Middle East vs. that of Israel. As a remarkable coincidence, they have been our two "most reliable allies" in the region for the longest time.

  • Egypt's destruction of Gaza tunnels leading to economic and environmental disaster
    • You are right JustJessetr, I rarely have a chance to do it here by virtue of the topics discussed here. I just wanted to say that is how I feel and I do express it in other fora when I have the chance. I should also be more modest speaking for others here. It took me a long while to see your comment so I am just responding now.

    • Just to put DaBakr, Hophmi and like minds at ease: I suspect many who contribute on this site, do put Egypt, Saudi Arabia and ISIS under the same critical scrutiny we subject the government of Israel. We do not want to discriminate on Israel vs. ISIS. We just want to make sure the approach of civilized nations towards these egregious violators of human rights is consistent. While we are bombing one of them, we should not be handing over bombs to the others.

  • Jewish American activists unfurl banner in support of BDS at the Western Wall
    • By all means, try that, like these brave women did, rather than shooting missiles and bombs.. That would be a very welcome evolution in the approach towards Muslims..

  • Set up? Video appears to show Israeli soldier placing object next to Palestinian killed in Hebron (Update)
    • Indeed. When I watched the video the first time around, it was very unclear what if anything is being passed on from the soldier that rushes on to the scene to the one standing next to the dying person on the ground and whether if the latter drops anything down, because the bodies are blocking the view. I watched it again after reading your comment Bumblebye and it looks like you have spotted the smoking gun. I hope this video becomes a viral hit on youtube with the benefit of your observation.

  • Debacle for the Israel lobby: Booker jilts Boteach, and Netanyahu sinks AIPAC
    • In reading an article on Tomdispatch, I learned of the following passage from George Washington's Farewell Address in 1796, at the end of his Presidency. I thought others might find interesting with respect to the topic at hand, as I did. The full address is here: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp .

      It is interesting to see how the first ever President of the U.S. could see something so self evident, so clearly, yet over the last hundred years, such a self evident truth has metamorphosed into a mishmash of excuses and exceptionalism, cultivated by nothing more than good old fashioned corruption and blackmail, only if applied relentlessly.

      "
      ....
      In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

      So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

      As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

      Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.
      ..."

  • Vicious 'NYT' article attacks Palestinian for bending rules to get out of Gaza 'to see her children'
    • She might have intended this as a "feel-good" piece for the supporters of last year's attack and the years long policy of blockading Gaza. She resisted the headline "Mission Accomplished!" and analysis that this policy may be finally showing signs of success in breaking the spirit of the Palestinians towards a mass exodus to mark the next milestone in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

      It is helpful to understand the current audience of the New York Times.

  • Videos: Brave Tamimi women of Nabi Saleh take down Israeli soldier assaulting injured child
    • I watched the first embedded video that captures the entire scene. It felt like watching a Woody Allen or Federico Fellini movie. Then it struck me as the symbolic depiction of the wider struggle. A soldier enjoying vast physical advantages pursuing what he is indoctrinated to do, as he struggles with his conscience that it does not feel right. The struggle of the doctrine and the conscience results in an ambivalent effort that veers along the edge, resulting in a somewhat farcical mess. Finally, the physically meek rise in numbers and exert their righteous will, relieving the soldier of the struggle. With this outside "help", his conscience finally overcomes his indoctrination and he retreats in peace .

      I think the wider struggle is at about where the first couple of women arrive. Mondoweiss may be one of them.

  • Meeting Jimmy Carter
    • Jimmy Carter's contributions have been invaluable in rendering the understanding of the plight of the Palestinians accessible to a much wider segment of the society. This understanding is already emerging as a pivotal factor in the challenging of the long standing injustices and the eventual achievement of peace,

      Some Presidents fade into the sunset after leaving office. Jimmy Carter has grown in stature every day of his long and remarkable life.

  • Leading American writer Abulhawa is denied entry to Palestine
    • This documentary "Defamation" by Yoav Shamir ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_xGBU0ljUY ) offers some valuable insight taken in its entirety. I learned of this documentary from one of the comments on this website and watched it with great interest. Especially the last ten minutes culminate in a very concrete demonstration of how a visit to Auschwitz and reflections on the Holocaust, which ordinarily might be expected to be a very solemn experience, can be manipulated into a very traumatizing transformation of targeted teenagers into an agitated, aggressive state. They exit in need of some closure and are presented loose references that, now it is the Palestinians who pose the same danger to them. It is not surprising that many of them end up reflecting the atrocities of the Holocaust on helpless Palestinians who become their subjects by virtue of the occupation. Phil Weiss had explored a similar theme in the article "Forgiving the Anti-Semites" .(http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/forgiving-anti-semites )

      The long standing situation in Israel/Palestine is similar to a Stanford Prisoner Experiment (http://www.prisonexp.org/ ) extended into an absurd duration of 67 years while the original experiment had to be stopped prematurely after one week. One week was enough to expose the darkness in so many of us, waiting dormant to play out under the right circumstances. It is not surprising that 67 years can expose a lot more variety in the darkness of the human soul. I think, much of the pathological behavior in current day I/P has its roots in the extreme pathology of the Holocaust. It may be important to keep in mind and explore this link even if it may not be as central as I perceive.

  • The case for US government sanctions on Israel
    • This indeed illustrates the mechanism through which Gandhi's words come true.

      At the onset, identity determines for the masses, who is a man of peace and who is a terrorist. Gandhi was not embraced as a man of peace by the British Colonials at once. He was jailed.

      Then, some distinguish themselves from the masses and see that it is actions and principles that should be the basis of that determination not the shape of a nose or the off shoot of Aramaic one speaks. This is what Mondoweiss is about.

      Eventually the advantage of truth wins over more and more among the masses and wins. The pace at which this happens depends on a lot of complex factors, but the principle remains: "the truth shall set you free" and free is what humans strive to be.

    • "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

      Mahatma Gandhi

  • Resume requirement for counter-terrorism job appears to include: Jewish
    • Thank you Rocky Missouri

    • "... they are going out of their way trying to show they are friendly to Israel and committed to peace..."

      kind of like trying to show they are friendly to Saudi Arabia and committed to inclusive democracy

      no wonder they are having a hard time.

  • 'Washington Post' runs letters explaining why BDS is not anti-Semitic
    • Regarding contemporary antisemitism, Anti Defamation League (ADL) recently issued a report of an extensive survey they conducted across the world in more than one hundred countries. Details of the survey and the results can be found at the ADL website here: http://global100.adl.org/
      Many MW readers and contributors may contest whether the ADL concept of antisemitism, as framed by the survey questions, is appropriate or misguided. I would like to point out some observations from the data that is largely independent of that debate.

      Starting from the ADL findings above, I plot the percentage of of the population that is not antisemitic ( according to ADL ) as a function of the distance of that population from Tel Aviv in this chart: https://www.dropbox.com/s/tx21sxnx327nikn/adl-index.jpg?dl=0
      There are two clear trends in this chart. One set of countries whose populations strongly identify with Palestinians, i.e. countries where arabic identity is strong, are highly "antisemitic" (according to ADL) regardless of their distance from Tel Aviv. This is the horizontal trend line. The other set of countries whose populations have no identification with arabs or palestinians, follow the diagonal line. In other words, the closer you are to Tel Aviv, the more likely you are to be "antisemitic" (according to ADL). These two lines intersect in Palestine/Israel. With this data from ADL, I would like to leave the conclusion of the source of modern "antisemitism" to the intelligent reader.

      To complete the picture, if the population is more than 4,000 km from Tel Aviv, then it is "safe" from "antisemitic" tendencies. The distribution is independent of distance as can be seen here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/k9789fzlsg8nduj/adl-index-1.jpg?dl=0

      Another way to look at this data is a heat map overlayed on the world map which points one to the same conclusion: https://www.dropbox.com/s/vgbs6xmlejjxvkt/adl-index-2.jpg?dl=0

  • After a hard week in the news, Israeli gets valentines all weekend from NPR
    • I too had been an NPR listener/supporter for over three decades. Though I felt its perspective can be narrow minded when it comes to international affairs at times, I have accepted it as par for the course in comparison with other mainstream media outside the US.
      Within the last year, I too started noticing something funny going on with NPR when it comes to all matters Israel.
      The first instance was the reporting of the tragic death of Kayla Mueller. While most news outlets provided Kayla's activism and humanitarian efforts starting in the Palestinian territories, NPR reports of the tragic event just skipped any mention of Palestinians while extensively covering all her other volunteer efforts in the Middle East. It was like listening to a young child conveniently omitting a troublesome part in a story.

      A few days ago, I was traveling out of town and happened to be tuned to a local NPR channel in the rental car. There was a story regarding African migrants. As I listened with interest, the story ended with the punchline that these two migrants were intending to travel to Israel. At that point, I had to laugh. Of all the masses looking for a better future in Africa, they found the couple aiming to settle in Israel, where the effort to reconcile superiority of a religion with democracy continues in this day and age.

      These NPR episodes make me think something akin to "placement" is going on where Hollywood movies feature commercial products in the natural flow of a film story in return for advertising payments.

  • ‘They said we drink the blood of children’—Netanyahu goes off the deep end after FIFA campaign
  • The grotesque injustice of Obama's speech at the Washington synagogue

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