Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 22 (since 2011-11-11 21:21:17)

I am a writer and editor dealing mostly with education. I wrote a good deal about myself to Philip Weiss 11/9, although I would not want that information to be made public. I am interested in responding to one or two of the threads for today, 11/11, if possible. Thank you.

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  • Max Boot has perfect propaganda on murdering medic-- but Jeffrey Goldberg is silent
    • ' “Do you really think today that an American soldier could get away with leading the genocide of hundreds of civilians and suffer house arrest? And that lots of politicians would support him?”

      'Is this a serious question? Hell yeah! Look at the people supporting Trump. How many civilians died in Iraq and Afghanistan?'
      --Hophmi

      You've got to love it. Hophmi doesn't actually do logical argumentation; instead, he spits out non sequiturs and other fallacious diversions. I don't believe I've seen this idea pointed out.

      So here, in response to the question whether anyone really thinks an American soldier today could lead the genocide of hundreds of civilians and suffer only house arrest, with lots of politicians supporting him, Hophmi answers, "Hell yeah! Look at the people supporting Trump." He follows up with "How many civilians died in Iraq and Afghanistan?" So the people supporting Trump are equivalent to American soldiers massacring hundreds of civilians and suffering only house arrest? Or Trump is equivalent to any such American soldiers? Or what else? There's no reasonable analogy.

      Hophmi gives us an argument so fallacious as to suggest imminent brain death.

  • Israel detains Washington Post bureau chief in Jerusalem accusing him of ‘incitement’ --updated
    • I hate to quibble, but actually, Webster's defines "nonplussed" as "so surprised or confused as to be at a loss as to what to say, think, or do"; the verb "nonplus" is given as a synonym of "puzzle" and "perplex." Chambers online defines the verb "nonplus" as "to puzzle; to disconcert." The Oxford English Dictionary defines "nonplussed" as "brought to a nonplus, or standstill; at a nonplus; perplexed, embarrassed." One of the examples that the OED gives is "She swept from the room, leaving the nonplussed artist to puzzle over the cause of her ... behavior." Nothing in these definitions would suggest "to be left dismayed by something"; "dismayed" is more like "utterly dispirited": the OED defines the word "dismayedness" as a state of "utter dispiritedness."

  • Explaining to an Israeli Zionist why Palestinians are upset
  • 'NYT' reporter says Palestinians must make 'concessions... they have long avoided'
    • The Times has been conducting a major propaganda campaign on the events of the past year in Ukraine. See some of the recent articles in Consortium News (consortiumnews.com), an excellent independent news source, as well as comments by Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian Studies at Princeton. (Cohen has been interviewed on Democracy Now! on this topic.)

      Times coverage of economics -- with the exception of the columns of Paul Krugman -- is less propagandistic than simply piss-poor. See the comments of Dean Baker on his blog Beat the Press at cepr.net.

      Besides, Noam Chomsky has taken the Times to task for decades for whitewash and propagrandistic coverage of just about every American intervention since Vietnam (and before).

      So yes, there's quite a bit of evidence of the Times' propaganda efforts in a number of areas.

  • Jodi Rudoren and Abe Foxman mull over 'the Arabs' owning New York hotel
    • Max Blumenthal (in the article linked above) notes the book Jodi Rudoren holds up in her office:

      Appearing at her desk, Jodi Rudoren promises to send a book she had just reviewed to her parents-in-law: Like Dreamers, a reverential history of the Israeli troops who conquered and occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, by the right-wing Israeli-American writer Yossi Klein Halevi.

      There isn't a huge abundance of books in evidence anywhere in this video, either in Jodi's office or in the Rudorens' home -- a bit surprising for a New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief -- but one book that is visible in the shot of the bookshelf in her office is The High Cost of Peace by Yossef Bodansky.

      Here, from Amazon, is an excerpt of the Publishers Weekly review:

      The author of an early book on Osama bin Laden and director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism, Bodansky turns his attention to the Middle East, painting a nightmarish picture of a region that has been teetering on the brink of war for several years. The United States, which he says "seduced" Israel into the Oslo peace process, is partially to blame, as are Israeli politicians, who until recently have ignored intelligence reports of the Arab world's complicity in terrorism and military buildup. He details his evidence for Yasser Arafat's involvement in terrorism which, he says, has been calculated to draw Israel into an on-again, off-again war that it cannot win. Arafat's goal, he believes, is to destroy Israel in a phased plan. Arab and Muslim nations from "rogue" states like Iraq and Iran to more moderate ones like Egypt have been engaged in the plan as well, but fear of an Israeli military response, among other factors, has prevented all-out war. Many will find it hard to believe that American and Israeli governments are as na‹ve as Bodansky claims about the level of unity in the Arab and Muslim world which he paints as very high. And while Bodansky marshals a prodigious amount of detail to support his case such as specific calls from Arafat for terrorist acts his language betrays a point of view some will find problematic, as when he says that Anwar Sadat "manipulated" the U.S. "into getting him the Sinai interim agreements with Israel." A book that might serve as a clarion call is less convincing than it could be.

      And here, from the same web page, are reviews from various other publications:

      Praise for Yossef Bodansky and The High Cost of Peace:
      "Read Bodansky and one can begin to appreciate what President Bush really meant when he said, 'This will be a monumental struggle between good and evil.'" — Indianapolis Star
      ....
      "I always suspected that Arafat was a terrorist and a corrupt leader. Now, Bodansky's exhaustive and damning investigation proves just that beyond a shadow of doubt. The High Cost of Peace should be required reading in the White House and Congress." — Congressman Eric Cantor, chairman, Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare
      "To truly comprehend why peace in the Middle East—an end coveted for so long by so many—is becoming more and more illusive [sic], you must read Yossef Bodansky's excellent book. An engrossing account of Israel's quest for security and peace, as well as the United States' struggle to secure its vital interests in a turbulent region, The High Cost of Peace provides an adamantly hopeful prognosis against dire and tragic odds. I strongly recommend it." — Brigadier General (Reserve) Yigal Pressler, deputy adviser to the Prime Minister of Israel
      "Bodansky has written the story that the evening news has ignored. While they've been busy blaming Israel and the United States for the violence and terrorism in the Middle East, he's been busy unearthing and documenting the intricacies of Middle Eastern terrorism." — Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley

      This book was published in 2002, only a few months before the Iraq war, and it has a place of prominence on Rudoren's NYT office bookshelf.

      These books indicate Rudoren's intellectual influences? The title The High Cost of Peace -- and the book's thesis -- are now especially ironic, after this latest assault on Gaza.

  • A brief respite in Gaza
    • I am ashamed. I am horrified, outraged, and shocked by the enormity of the Israeli slaughter in Gaza. Words fail me. Faced with the atrocities we witness on the TV and in print, I can do little more than stare in absolute stupefaction. And rage that the U.S. enables all this.

  • I'm waiting for Roger Cohen to say that Zionism is 'often' racism
    • If the Jewish establishment defines Judaism and Jewishness as Zionism, and insists that the Israeli government is the official representative of “the Jewish people,” and declares criticism of or opposition to Zionism and the Israeli government to be antisemitism, wouldn’t it be logical for much of the world to embrace antisemitism explicitly and without apologies?

      Sean is not 100% off base here. This is a critical moment in time with respect to the concept of anti-Semitism. Consider for a moment the number of pro-Israel supporters who seek to shut down any criticism of Israel's attack on Gaza by shrieking "anti-Semitism!" in response. (Roger Cohen's article is one example, though his is a meeker shriek.) The problem becomes the perception of anti-Semitism among people less knowledgeable about history in general and less aware of Israel's disenfranchisement and oppression of the Palestinians BUT who nonetheless have seen enough footage of the carnage in Gaza on the nightly news -- because more is shown this time. Some of these people are likely to come to one or more of the following conclusions:

      - So this is what they mean by "anti-Semitism": Jews are covering up their dirty deeds. Maybe this is what anti-Semitism has always been about.
      - So when they talk about "anti-Semitism," this is the kind of thing they are defending.
      - The Jews want people to believe they are the victims, but look at the horrors Israel is perpetrating. Maybe Jewish victimhood has always been a lie. Maybe they have never really been victims.

      Doubts about the Holocaust are not far behind -- and there are so many Holocaust deniers willing to help these doubts along.

      Of course, these are not valid points of view, but people who are less informed -- the vast majority of Americans, at the very least -- could easily make such inferences. This is one of the risks of abusing the terms "anti-Semitism" and "anti-Semite." We all realize here, I think, that the abuse of these terms diminishes their meaning; it can also lead some people to draw incorrect and dangerous conclusions such as the ones above.

      Who gains from such developments?

  • 'Children killed in their sleep': Israeli artillery fire hits UN school, killing at least 20
  • Video: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis
    • Or to put it more accurately, we have a real-life demonstration of the reality that the Milgram experiment suggested was the case.

    • Seafoid, I have to ask: what makes you so confident that the Israeli regime will soon be gone? As long as Israel continues to receive its generous financial and military aid from the U.S. -- and there's no likelihood of that being cut anytime in the next couple of decades -- it can keep all this up indefinitely, I would say.

    • What we're seeing here in the U.S. is a metaphorical reenactment of the Milgram experiments, with most of the commenters on this site representing the very small percentage of people who would not follow the experimenters' instructions.

  • Israeli military destroyed el-Wafa hospital even though it knew there were no weapons inside
    • Moreover, Article 19 states:

      The fact that sick or wounded members of the armed forces are nursed in these hospitals, or the presence of small arms and ammunition taken from such combatants and not yet handed to the proper service, shall not be considered to be acts harmful to the enemy.

    • Hophmi writes, Article 18: “In view of the dangers to which hospitals may be exposed by being close to military objectives, it is recommended that such hospitals be situated as far as possible from such objectives.” 100m is not very far.

      He conveniently omits the VERY FIRST SENTENCE of Article 18:

      Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.

      link to icrc.org

      Skipping over that sentence is transparently dishonest.

  • Understanding Hamas
    • Hamas was labeled a “terrorist” organization not because it is opposed to Israel, but because it engaged in terrorism.

      Irgun, the Stern Gang, Palmakh, and Haganah also committed many acts of terror. These were all Jewish terrorist groups. They killed civilians, blew up buildings, terrorized Palestinians to the point of driving them out of their villages, and gave Israel some of its most famous leaders, such as Menachem Begin (Irgun or Stern Gang -- I forget which).

      Israelis say that the Palestinians name streets after terrorists. Well, Israel elects terrorists as members of its government.

      Self-righteousness becomes a joke when those who affect it have even dirtier hands than those they condemn.

    • That was rhetorical....

      Thanks. I knew that.

      But why haven't we heard from Simone Daoud for a long time? When I think about people who lived in Palestine before the proclamation of an Israeli state, Simone Daoud and his beautiful stories about life before 1947-1948 come to mind.

      What happened to him?

    • Did Anyone Live In Palestine Prior to the Formation of Israel?

      What ever happened to Simone Daoud? He'd be able to fill you in on the people who lived in Palestine prior to the formation of Israel.

  • How many people have died from Gaza rockets into Israel?
    • It's all a war crime, whether the victims stand on the roofs of their buildings and await the Israeli bombs or die before being able to escape. Israel has no right to bomb civilian areas. If there are civilians in the area, bombing that area is a violation of the Geneva Conventions -- all the more since Gaza is an occupied territory, pursuant to the definition of occupation in international law.

      This pathetic "human shields" argument is a tacit admission that Israel is bombing civilian areas. That in itself is a war crime. It doesn't matter what other factors are involved.

      In a just world, Israel's leaders would be in the dock at the Hague.

  • Relentless bombing on Gaza continues: Israel kills media worker, 9 people watching World Cup on beach
  • Chomsky supports portions of BDS agenda, but faults others, citing realism and int'l consensus
    • Chomsky makes an excellent point, which is that there is a third possibility, not so easily discounted. Israel could continue its oppression and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians indefinitely and expand into what remains of the West Bank and even farther, into Jordan. What's to stop it? As Chomsky says, the vote that counts is that of the U.S. Chomsky points out in his interview with Frank Barat (on youtube) that if we want the right of return and equal rights for Palestinians, we need to change U.S. policy. End funding for Israel and force the withdrawal of the IDF from the West Bank. Once the West Bank is in the hands of the Palestinians and the settlers are no longer subsidized by the Israeli government, most settlers will return to Israel, where they can be subsidized to live there.

      I support the boycott. But ultimately, I have great difficulty seeing how Israel can be forced to change if the U.S. continues its support. The Palestinians would have had a state years ago if the U.S. hadn't been funding Israel and supplying it with so much military aid.

  • 'Forward' editor says Presbyterian vote was anti-Semitic
    • I wrote: “Actually, in many respects, the Soviets were worse human rights violators … during World War II than the Nazis.”

      Woody wrote: "I disagree with this. I think that in the six years between 1939 and 1945, that the human rights violations of the Germans clearly exceeded those of the USSR...."

      Yes, I take back that statement with respect to the years 1939-1945. Nazi human rights violations exceeded Soviet human rights violations in virtually every respect. (Also, I apologize for accidentally posting the same thing twice.)

      However, Stalin's crimes were horrendous throughout his time in power. Scholars began to have much greater access to Soviet archives at the end of the 1980s. The Times reported the results of one historian's research as follows:


      A Soviet weekly newspaper today published the most detailed accounting of Stalin's victims yet presented to a mass audience here, indicating that about 20 million died in labor camps, forced collectivization, famine and executions.

      In all, Mr. Medvedev calculated about 40 million victims of Stalin's repressions, including those arrested, driven from their land or blacklisted....

      Mr. Medevedev's accounting included these victims:

      * One million imprisoned or exiled from 1927 to 1929, falsely accused of being saboteurs or members of opposition parties.

      * Nine million to 11 million of the more prosperous peasants driven from their lands and another two million to three million arrested or exiled in the early 1930's campaign of forced farm collectivization. Many of these were believed to have been killed.

      * Six million to seven million killed in the punitive famine inflicted on peasants in 1932 and 1933.

      * One million exiled from Moscow and Leningrad in 1935 for belonging to families of former nobility, merchants, capitalists and officials.

      * About one million executed in the ''great terror'' of 1937-38, and another four million to six million sent to forced labor camps from which most, including Mr. Medvedev's father, did not return.

      * Two million to three million sent to camps for violating absurdly strict labor laws imposed in 1940.

      * At least 10 million to 12 million ''repressed'' in World War II, including millions of Soviet-Germans and other ethnic minorities forcibly relocated.

      * More than one million arrested on political grounds from 1946 to Stalin's death in 1953.

      Are these findings now in dispute?

      link to nytimes.com

    • Actually, in many respects, the Soviets were worse human rights violators before and during World War II than the Nazis. Certainly, more people were killed over several decades by Stalin than by Hitler over his time in power.

      The real problem with your "whataboutery" is that it amounts to an argument against protesting any regime anywhere. If we must begin with the worst regimes with the highest body counts before working our way up to merely vicious war criminals with lower body counts, then we have a long list of war criminals to protest, boycott, sanction, etc., before we get to Israel. Very convenient. It could also be difficult to determine the absolute worst regime, with several in contention for the title. "Whataboutery" is nothing more than rhetoric designed to deflect criticism of criminals partisans prefer to protect. Invoking that argument should automatically qualify as making propaganda for war criminals and human rights violators.

      In the case of Israel, as Woody and others have pointed out, we are protesting the regime of war criminals most heavily supported by our own governments. This does not mean that we are OK with other vicious human rights violators in the world. Those who protest the regime in Sudan have similar "whataboutery" hurled at them. Those of us who protested the apartheid regime in South Africa have heard your arguments before.

      So smear away. "Anti-Semitism," you* say? That word is not a charm that magically validates your arguments. You remain an apologist for war criminals.

      *Jane Eisner

    • Actually, in many respects, the Soviets were worse human rights violators before and during World War II than the Nazis. Certainly, more people were killed over several decades by Stalin than by Hitler over his time in power.

      The real problem with your "whataboutery" is that it amounts to an argument against protesting any regime anywhere. If we must begin with the worst regimes with the highest body counts before working our way up to merely vicious war criminals with lower body counts, then we have a long list of war criminals to protest, boycott, sanction, etc., before we get to Israel. Very convenient. It could also be difficult to determine the absolutely worst regime, with several in contention for the title. "Whataboutery" is nothing more than rhetoric designed to deflect criticism of criminals partisans prefer to protect. Invoking that argument should automatically qualify as propaganda for war criminals and human rights violators.

      In the case of Israel, as Woody and others have pointed out, we are protesting the regime of war criminals most heavily supported by our own governments. This does not mean that we are OK with other vicious human rights violators in the world. Those who protest the regime in Sudan have similar "whataboutery" hurled at them. Those of us who protested the apartheid regime in South Africa have heard your arguments before.

      So smear away. "Anti-Semitism," you* say? That word is not a charm that magically validates your arguments. You remain an apologist for war criminals.

      *Jane Eisner

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