Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 22 (since 2011-11-22 03:09:17)

A lifelong NYC resident, from a progressive Jewish family - civil rights, labor, anti-war movements - who finds it appalling how so many otherwise progressive people start sounding like Netanyahu as soon as Israel/Palestine comes up.

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  • No Palestinians need apply to new Israeli government-- and American liberals don't notice
    • Honestly, even if Netanyahu and his coalition weren't flaming racists, I wouldn't expect the Joint List to either be considered to join the coalition, or to have any interest in joining it. A right wing government would never be expected to include a truly progressive party. Now, if Herzog had won more seats, and had he been in a theoretical position to form a so-called "center left" government, the failure of the press and of Herzog and his other potential partners to consider them would be a different story. Personally, I am hoping that somehow Netanyahu and Herzog form a "unity" government. The idea of the Joint List being the official opposition, with all the perks that are involved, is quite delicious! As it is, they are already making people take notice of the plight of the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

  • Mamdani's 'holistic' challenge: Anti-Zionists must persuade Jews they can only be safe by dismantling the Jewish state
    • One difference between Barghouti and Abbas might be that unlike Abbas, Barghouti seems to have credibility among the Palestinian population, as one who is both part of the resistance and who understands and is capable of dealing with the Israelis. Part of the problem is that both Israel and the PA see it in their best interests to suppress the democratic process. Pamela Olson relates in "Fast Times in Palestine" how during the last Palestinian Presidential election, Israel and the PA conspired to keep Mustafa Barghouthi (who Pamela was working for at the time) from campaigning. This kind of thing has to stop if there is to be any sort of credible government in waiting.

  • Elizabeth Warren visits Netanyahu, even as he undermines US negotiations with Iran
  • Defending Apartheid: Then in South Africa, now in Palestine
    • "Apartheid was based on racism; Israeli Jews are not racist. They may occupy, persecute and discriminate Palestinians, but they act out of misguided patriotism and a hundred years of bloody conflict. Not out of racism."

      Back in the '80's I saw a political cartoon, I forget by which cartoonist. It portrayed Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Reagan's UN ambassador, who had recently defended US support of "authoritarian" (right wing) regimes as opposed to "totalitarian" (Communist) ones. The totalitarian systems, the cartoon Kirpatrick says, murder, torture and imprison. Authoritarian systems, on the other hand, leave many of these functions to the private sector." We need an updated version of this cartoon for David Landau: "In a racist system, individuals occupy, persecute and discriminate. In an apartheid one, many of these functions are left to the government."

  • Brant Rosen's prophetic voice elevated him beyond the rabbinic politics of our day
    • Thanks, Marc, for this wonderful testimonial. I have never heard any of Rabbi Rosen's sermons personally, but from reading the holiday sermons that he has posted on his blog over the years, it seems that he has been able to manage to walk a fine line by weaving in progressive Jewish values without any overt political references. And he makes it abundantly clear on his blog that the views expressed are his own. So it is ironic that people should feel that he has crossed any lines between his personal and official roles. As I emailed him the other day, I have held him up as an example in my own synagogue, where our Rabbi has offended a lot of people by the way he has blurred those lines. It is also ironic that when a Rabbi preaches the right wing line from the pulpit, there never seems to be a consequence. A year or so I attended a Bar Mitzvah in a synagogue where the Rabbi, from the pulpit, explicitly defended Israel's right to all of what he considered the "land of Israel", told us the God gave us the land, and should we magnanimously decide to give some small portion of it to the anyone else, that is totally our decision and nobody can tell us otherwise. That certainly offended me, but whatever I said to some of his congregants afterwards, it not only fell on deaf ears, it was made clear that nobody felt there was anything inappropriate in what he said.

  • Rabbi Brant Rosen steps down from Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue saying his activism on Israel/Palestine has been 'lightning rod for division'
    • This is discouraging on so many levels. As a progressive Jew, I have come to see Brant Rosen as one of my spiritual as well as political heroes. That he has been able to lead a major congregation for all this time had been a source of optimism that holding progressive views on Israel/Palestine might not necessarily be a career killer for a pulpit rabbi. So much for that. On the other hand, as Brant said, change leads to new possibilities. I am sure that he will continue to provide his inspiring brand of spiritual and political leadership through JVP and perhaps other new vehicles that he will play a role in developing. And I look forward to continuing to read his marvelous blog, Shalom Rav.

  • Take the right position on Israel and you can raise 1/4 million, Senate candidate is advised
    • Ellison just redeemed himself on Chris Hayes' MSNBC show. He came out strongly not just for a cease fire but also for an end to the blockade of Gaza.

  • Feinstein, Baldwin, Kaine, Paul among 12 senators who didn't sign AIPAC letter blasting Palestinian gov't
  • Anti-Cantor coalition included Tea Partiers, Independents, Democrats
    • Thanks, Annie, I didn't know that independents can vote in Virginia primaries, so that certainly puts a different spin on the result than we've heard from the mainstream media. My other take on this race: Cantor had the big bucks behind him and Brat had very little to spend. Whether it was the Tea Party, people like Beq, or as is likely, a combination of both, the candidate who spent the most by far was defeated. Kind of gives one hope that maybe it's just possible, even under this corrupt political system, that another big monied "lobby" can be defeated!

  • Fiddler on the Nakba
    • Back in 1969, in the wake of a contentious, racially charged teachers strike in NY City, a white, Italian-American chorus teacher staged a mostly African-American production of "Fiddler on the Roof" at a middle school in Brownsville, Brooklyn. This teacher had to contend with opposition both from the local community and from the mostly Jewish teachers and administration in the school. Ultimately, much of the school community, and many of the students and parents, recognized that "Fiddler" speaks to the shared experience of all people who have been oppressed.

      I am continually struck by the sad and painful irony of the oppressed people of Anatevka turning into the oppressors of the Nakba. The parallels of expulsions, violence and demolitions foisted on an innocent population are so close that one can perhaps envision a (slightly edited) Palestinian version of "Fiddler on the Roof" speaking to the shared experience of Palestinians and Jews. "Black Fiddler" (as the teacher, Richard Piro's, book about the experience was entitled), probably touched not many more than the few people who saw it (though it did warrant a "60 minutes" spot: link to youtube.com, and a longer documentary: link to youtube.com). Would a "Palestinian Fiddler" reach at least some people of conscience with the shock of recognition of our common history of catastrophe, and jolt at least some of the oppressors into seeing themselves as the oppressed?

  • Debbie Almontaser salutes Donna Nevel
    • When Debbie Almontaser was thrown under the bus in the Khalil Gibran fiasco by our previous Mayor (not to mention the schools chancellor, the NY Post, and countless others), I remember Donna's eloquent defense in, among other venues, an education listserv we both belonged to. I second Annie' statement that these are two moral giants! And what a refreshing change, to see two of our top city officials at the event. It does beg the question of where our current Mayor was that night; hopefully not at some AIPAC event!

  • Kerry's cowardly apology on 'apartheid' is giant blunder for Israel's propagandists
  • Khalidi: It's time for Palestinians 'to get off their knees' and turn to Europe and ICC
    • As it happens, I've just been reading Khalidi's, "The Iron Cage". He has the credibility not just of a brilliant academic, but of one who has been involved in the political process (and been thrown under the bus by Obama, a former friend, to boot!). He is absolutely right, of course. And the deal between Fatah and Hamas, if it holds, can only help by providing some essential unity if and when the PA goes to the ICC and UN, and Israel tries to turn the West Bank into another Gaza. My sense is that if that occurs, liberal Zionists the world over will flock to support the Palestinians, because it will no longer be possible to live in denial.

  • Friedman prepares American Jews for a divorce from zealot Israel
    • Rereading the Friedman article, something just struck me that I missed the first time: "[Defense Minister] Yaalon wasn’t talking about Palestinian terrorists. He was talking about Jewish terrorists, renegade settlers, who slashed the tires of an I.D.F. jeep parked in the settlement of Yitzhar ..." Mr. MSM columnist was actually calling it like it is and acknowledging what these folks are doing is terrorism. Whatever else Friedman says or doesn't say in this column, using this term is a big deal. Now, if he'd only take the next step, pointing out the historical parallels to the original Zionist terrorists, the Irgun and Stern Gang, and how, even though supposedly (according to mythological history) their terrorism was directed against the "authorities" - the British in that case - in actuality in both cases the terrorism was directed just as much if not more against the Palestinians.

    • "The three-year window would be likely to witness vigorous debate within Israel and induce new political currents that may be more conducive to a swift and authentic deal with the Palestinians over two states, probably within the framework of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative for which there is polling evidence of growing support among the Israeli population."

      If it were just a matter of extending the "same old same old", in Friedman's words, I'd agree that it would only be a cover for further Israeli intransigence and expansion. But "vigorous debate", not only within Israel but also the US and around the world, would likely not just center around two states but around other alternatives as well. Just the process of setting a deadline could put a whole new dynamic in place. I have recently seen myself the slow but steady transition of many of the liberal Zionists I know towards acceptance of the possibility of alternatives to the two state solution. If a three year window can both increase acceptance of alternative solutions and stimulate the generation of new and creative ideas for fair and equitable governance, whether one state, two states, or some sort of bi-national confederation arrangement, it would be time well spent in the long run.

  • 6 DC heavyweights tell Kerry, Netanyahu in West Bank is like Putin in Crimea
    • Good to hear these foreign policy experts weighing in with such sensible arguments. There is a big difference with the Russia/Crimea situation, however: In I/P, we have been actively supporting and enabling the occupation, which not only makes us complicit, but we can influence the situation by simply withdrawing that support. We have little influence, nor do we have any real national interest, in the situation in Crimea.

  • 'New Yorker' satirist Borowitz won't touch Adelson's Israel agenda with a barge pole
    • Yes, seanmcbride, I did write that, and thanks! I agree about the groveling, he is very smart to steer clear of it, and given Paul's non-interventionist stance, I sense that he might even manage to avoid getting sucked into it in the future. Too bad about his right wing social policies, but if it came down to him vs neocon Hillary, if I don't go third party, I might just give him a look.

    • Chris Christie’s recent political troubles grew last Saturday when he used the term “occupied territories” in the presence of Sheldon Adelson. But according to a source close to the casino magnate, the New Jersey Governor, in apologizing to Mr. Adelson, explained that he meant to say “transportation”, not “occupation”, and was referring to his new Middle East peace plan.

      Mr. Christie went on to detail his proposal to tie up bridges and roads in the West Bank with lane closures, thereby keeping residents from “making trouble”. “They’ll be so busy stewing in traffic”, he reportedly told Mr. Adelson, “that those Palestinians won’t even notice all the new settlements that Bibi is building.”

      Unfortunately for the Governor, his streak of bad luck continued when he immediately had to issue another apology to the Republican kingmaker for using the term “Palestinians”.

  • U.S. intel analysts doubt Israeli claim that captured weapons were headed to Gaza
    • As Gomer Pyle used to say, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"

      By the way, shouldn't there have been a "Mission accomplished" sign in that picture displaying the captured missiles?

  • Shira Robinson explains the DNA of Israel
    • This is a wonderful interview, especially timely for me as I've been reading "Citizen Strangers" so this provides a good companion overview as well as a window into who she is and how her thinking and values developed. I always wish, as I read a book, or afterwards, that I could converse with the author, so many questions come up, so much more I want to know. In that vein, Phil, I wonder if Mondoweiss might ever consider some sort of "authors' series", where your readers could meet, hear from, and converse with some of the writers featured on the site, such as Shira Robinson, Max Blumenthal, Miko Peled, Pamela Olson, etc. You could even do it as a fundraiser for MW; perhaps one donation level to hear them speak with a Q and A, another level for a reception with a chance to converse at greater length. Just a thought ...

  • On John Judis's 'Genesis,' and its critics
    • This is an important and illuminating commentary, and I have always admired Prof. Slater for his scholarship and his values. However, that "kinder and gentler" ethnic cleansing bit disturbs me. I suppose one could compare that sort of "transfer" to the idea of eminent domain, moving citizens around for the common good. But in that case, people are at least ostensibly chosen fairly, on geographic terms, say a block where everyone has to move to make way for a highway. But if this were done as Prof. Slater suggests, it is more as if some of the residents of the block were moved out due to their religion or ethnicity, while the others remained. It would be an odd highway route indeed. Personally, I am agnostic on the issue of one state or two, as long as the democratic and human rights of all of the state's (or states') citizens are respected. But the idea of even "gentle ethnic cleansing" reveals the basic flaw in liberal zionist thinking, that this sort of thing can ever really be fair.

  • 'Daily Beast' labels Abbas 'stubborn' for refusing to recognize Israel as Jewish state
    • Hmmmm, I think there's one way that the Palestinians might be willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Abbas says to the Israelis: "Hey, how can we recognize you as a 'Jewish state' if you guys can't even figure out amongst yourselves just what that actually means? But given how important this is to you, we'll help you out on this. It's not really our business, but since you can't do it yourselves, we're willing to determine what a Jewish state is; and to make it even easier, we'll decide for you what the borders are. And then, we'll gladly recognize that state." Problem solved!

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