Trending Topics:

Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 501 (since 2010-03-18 18:04:29)

Henry Norr

Showing comments 100 - 1

  • If '5 Broken Cameras' wins an Oscar-- then will you end the occupation?
    • >You would think the promoters of this film would want to show it in an area which has the greatest potential influence on whether it gets considered for the Oscars.

      I'm sure they do want to show it in Southern California. Where a film is shown is a function not of where the distributor would like to show it, but of where theater bookers agree to do so.

      >Two thirds of California’s Jewish population live in Southern California.

      Maybe that's what you're missing - theater owners may be scared to show it.

      But it's just the beginning, and I'm sure they'll line up additional showings. In fact, I bet it will get at least some SoCal showings. The New York Times review, lame as it was, will probably help clear the way. And a lot will depend on the turnout at the initial showings.

    • from the Five Broken Cameras page at the website of the distributor, Kino Lorber:


      Landmark Shattuck Cinemas Berkeley CA June 22nd – 28th
      Landmark Lumiere Theatre San Francisco CA June 22nd – 28th
      Camera Cinemas San Jose CA June 22nd – 28th

      Lake Worth Playhouse Lake Worth FL June 22nd – 28th

      Zeitgeist Arts Center New Orleans LA June 29th – July 5th

      Landmark Kendall Square Cinema Boston MA June 22nd – 28th

      New Mexico
      Center For Contemporary Arts Santa Fe NM June 22nd – 28th
      Guild Cinema Albuquerque NM July 16th – 19th

      New York
      Film Forum New York NY May 30th – June 12th
      Time & Space Limited Hudson NY July 5th-8th, 12th-14th

      Washington DC
      Landmark E Street Cinema Washington DC July 13th – 19th

  • Story of forced searches of travelers' emails goes viral
    • A little more play for this story: Dore Stein, host of Tangents, a world music/fusion program on KALW-FM in San Francisco, just read excerpts (with credit to Phil and MW) from the original post here about Sandra Tamari during "Gaza Corner," a segment about Palestine and related issues he's done at 11 p.m. every Saturday since the Israelis attacked the flotilla in 2010. He's also reposted the article, complete with the lovely picture of Ms. Tamari and Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, at the show's website.

    • >The Boston Globe, Seattle Times and many other outlets have published this important story

      It's great that this story is getting as much play as it is, but remember that "published" is an ambiguous term nowadays: the fact that an article appears on a newspaper's website doesn't necessarily mean that it was printed in the paper in question. In fact, because cyberspace is effectively unlimited, many papers have feeds that automatically post everything from the AP, at least within certain categories, to their websites. But when it comes to print, where space is finite, and increasingly tight, they are necessarily much more selective, and the ideologies and perceived interests of the publishers and editors come into play. In the case of Israel, we all know what that means puts a note (in very tiny print) indicating that a story appeared in print at the bottom of its posts of such stories (and when folks here say the Times has published something, I wish they would make clear whether they mean in print or just online). Unfortunately, not all papers provide such info, but generally when you see an AP story at a newspaper website, you can't assume it appeared in print. In this case, I hope I'm wrong, but I'd be surprised if this story appeared in the print editions of the Boston Globe or the Seattle Times.

      Of course, the significance of all this diminishes by the day as paper newspaper circulation declines and people increasingly get their news online. Still, so much appears online that having a story among the hundreds published every day on a newspaper website doesn't have the same significance - doesn't reach as many people - as if it had appeared in print.

      Nevertheless, I don't mean to poo-poo this: it's fabulous and important that Federman and Hadid did this story, and did it so well, and that the AP bosses let it go out to all those websites, and that Gawker, Tablet, etc., have picked it up.

    • Speaking of fascist ducks, here's the beginning of a piece entitled Israel: It’s called fascism posted just last week by the wonderful Michel Warschawski of the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem and Beit Sahour:

      Our elders used to say that if something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck – then it’s a duck. Similarly, it is possible to say that if a state acts like a fascist state, legislates fascist laws, its spokespersons speak using fascist terms and some of the population responds in a fascist manner – then such a state is fascist.

      For numerous years I warned against use of the word “fascist” in defining the state of Israel. The Israeli regime is first and foremost a colonial regime, moved by colonial considerations of excluding the indigenous population and taking over their country and lands. The use of the term fascism served to soften the colonial character of the Zionist project and of the state of Israel.

      There exists no doubt, of course, that the Zionist state did not lose its colonial essence but on the contrary, deepened even further the character traits it shares with states such as Rhodesia, Australia of the 18th and 19th century and the United States in its conquest of the west. However, Israel underwent processes which today justify also defining it as a fascist state.

  • Restraint
    • Aside from the video interview and the articles that others have recommended, Miko Peled also has a new book called The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine from Helena Cobban's Just World Books. I was hesitant about it, because I've had more than enough of anguished liberal Zionism, but I bought it anyway, and I'm glad - he really gets it, and it's a wonderful book.

      As I was looking for the book's page, I came across the following about Peled's upcoming visit to the East Coast:

      Miko Peled, author of The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, will be in New York City and Washington DC the week of June 18. Keep checking back for details of his appearances... Miko is a transformational figure in the Israeli peace movement and a great speaker and writer. He'll be in NYC for the first couple of days, then in DC. On Wed., June 20, he'll be speaking at a lunchtime event hosted by the Foundation for Middle East Peace in Washington, DC. The next day,, he'll be at a lunchtime event at DC's Palestine Center-- details and RSVP for that one are here. But check back frequently-- here, or on our Facebook page--for details of the other Miko Peled events we're lining up!

  • Israeli 'peace camp' reconvenes to receive free Madonna tix; Israeli anti-occupation activists say no
    • Nine people in the picture but only eight names in the caption - the woman to the right of Madonna (i.e., on Madonna's left) isn't identified. Anyone know who she is?

  • Daniel Pipes says he and Steve Rosen drove Senate re 'so-called' Palestinian refugees
    • I haven't read the books Lysias mentions, so I can't compare, but I learned a lot from Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation, 1939-1944, by Richard Lukas.

    • >>Last week we did a couple of reports on the Senate's unanimous passage
      >>of a rightwing Republican's amendment

      Yo, Phil - it was just the Senate Appropriations Committee, not the whole Senate. Last week Alison said it was "the U.S. government." How come you guys are having such a hard time getting this right? At least Alex got it right (and Pipes).

      Maybe it will go all the way through, but I'm betting it won't, or that the Senate will add some clause that allows Obama to ignore it. I seriously doubt the U.S. government, or even AIPAC, is actually ready to cut off aid to UNRWA. If they do, they'll have a major problem on their hands. I think this whole amendment is just one of the lobby's little games to put Congress through its paces.

  • US to differentiate between 'personally displaced' Palestinian refugees and their descendants
    • Did the "U.S. government" really approve the Kirk amendment? My understanding was that it was just the Senate Appropriations Committee that was scheduled to debate it on Thursday, as part of the 2013 appropriation for the State Department and foreign operations. If true, that would mean it still has to go to through the full Senate, then get reconciled with the House version, then get signed by Obama.

      I'm not saying it won't go all the way through, but I don't think that has happened yet.

  • Turkish prosecutor recommends ten life sentences for Israeli generals behind Mavi Marmara attack
    • I wonder whether the Turkish prosecutor is aware of the case of Ziad Jilani, the Palestinian murdered by the Israeli cop Maxim Vinogradov. The killing took place on June 11, 2010, just 12 days after the attack on the flotilla, and if you look closely at the killer's Facebook posts posted here on MW the other day, you'll notice that there's a clear connection between the flotilla incident and Vinogradov's murderous motivation: on May 31, the day immediately following the assault on the flotilla, his buddy Avi writes "Annihilate Turkey and all the Arabs from the world," to which Vinogradov responds "I am with you, brother, and with the help of God I will start this :)"

      Given all that, I think the Turkish prosecutor should add another life sentence or at least another few thousand years to his recommended sentence for the Israeli generals.

  • Honest broker? Israeli consulate sponsors Obama's former Middle East peace adviser at Stanford talk!
    • >"Aaron David Miller called him Israel's lawyer."

      Actually, Miller didn't single out Ross specifically for that title - he gave it to the U.S. peace processors generally, including himself. In 2005 he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled "Israel's Lawyer." It began "For far too long, many American officials involved in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, myself included, have acted as Israel's attorney, catering and coordinating with the Israelis at the expense of successful peace negotiations."

  • Why 'Brand Israel' is failing
    • There's a Krav Maga Institute that happens to have its HQ in Berkeley, not far from where I live. More info here.

    • Unless something has escaped my memory and Mondoweiss's search engine, no one posted anything here about the BBC World Service's 2012 Country Ratings Poll, although it's been discussed in detail in recent week by the Israeli press, Electronic Intifada, Gilad Atzmon, etc. (Phil did a post on last year's version: "BBC spots sharp climb in negative view of Israel in the U.S.".)

      In this year's results, based on a survey of 24,000 people in 22 countries, Israel is tied with North Korea for third place among countries that most negatively influence the word - both got 50 percent, which put them a bit behind Iran (55 percent) and Pakistan (51 percent). The U.S., Nigeria, and Kenya were the only countries where a majority of respondents said they had a positive view of Israel; overall, only 21 percent of respondents were in that category.

      The results from the U.S. weren't so good, though: 50 percent of American respondents said they had a favorable view of Israel, an increase of 7 percent from last year, while the percentage saying they have a negative view of Israel decreased 6 percent to 35 percent.

      The full report is here. Here's the section on Israel:

      Evaluations of Israel’s influence in the world—already largely unfavourable in 2011—have worsened in 2012. On average, in the 22 tracking countries surveyed both in 2011 and 2012, 50 per cent of respondents have negative views of Israel’s influence in the world, an increase of three points from 2011. The proportion of respondents giving Israel a favourable rating remains stable, at 21 per cent. Out of 22 countries polled in 2011, 17 lean negative, three lean positive, and two are divided.

      In the Western countries surveyed, views of Israel show improvement only in the US. Fifty per cent of Americans have a favourable view of Israel in 2012, and this proportion has increased by seven points. At the same time, the proportion of negative ratings has gone down six points to 35 per cent and, as a result, the US has gone from being divided in 2011 to leaning positive in 2012. These are the most positive views on Israel’s influence expressed in the US since tracking began in 2005. Apart from the US, the most favourable views of Israel are found in Nigeria and Kenya, where views have also shifted since 2011. A majority of 54 per cent of Nigerians (up 23 points) rates Israel positively, and the country has moved from being divided to leaning positive in 2012 (54% positive vs 29% negative). In Kenya, negative ratings have fallen ten points (to 31%), while positive views have risen by 16 points (to 45%), shifting the country from leaning negative in 2011 to leaning positive in 2012.

      Among the Muslim countries surveyed, perceptions of Israel have deteriorated in Egypt (85% negative ratings, up 7 points and the highest negative percentage in the survey), and remained largely negative but stable in Pakistan (9% positive vs 50% negative) and in Indonesia (8% vs 61%).

      In the EU countries surveyed, views of Israeli influence have hardened in Spain (74% negative ratings, up 8 points) and in France (65%, up 9 points) —while positive ratings remain low and steady. Negative ratings from the Germans and the British remain very high and stable (69% and 68%, respectively). In other Anglo-Saxon countries, views have worsened in Australia (65% negative ratings, up 7 points) and in Canada (59%, up 7 points). This hardening of opinion towards Israel’s influence in the world is strongly apparent in South Korea, where negative views have risen (69%, up 15 points) while positive views have decreased by 11 points (to 20%).

      Negative attitudes have also increased among the Chinese, the Indians, and the Russians. In China, a 9-point drop in positive ratings (to 23%) makes the overall balance of views even more negative (23% positive vs 45% negative). In India, negative perceptions have gone up 4 11 points (to 29%), and overall opinion has shifted from being divided in 2011 (21% vs 18%) to leaning negative in 2012 (17% vs 29%). In Russia, public opinion has shifted from leaning positive in 2011 to being divided in 2012 (25% positive vs 26% negative).

      In Ghana, favourable views have fallen by 13 points while negative views have decreased by eight points, and the country has shifted from leaning somewhat positive in 2011 (32% positive vs 27% negative) to being divided in 2012 (19% vs 19%). Over six in ten Ghanaians (62%, up 20 points) do not give a rating, the highest percentage in the survey. In Latin America, perceptions are negative overall, with pluralities giving negative ratings in Chile (34%, stable), Peru (35%, stable), and Mexico (44%, up 15 points). Brazilians continue to be strongly unfavourable to Israel’s influence, with a stable majority of 58 per cent who rate it negatively.

      Factors shaping perceptions of Israel
      For those who held negative views of Israel influence in the world, the foreign policy of the Israeli State is by some distance the main reason explaining their negative rating (45%). The way Israel treats its own people stands out as the second most important reason (27%). Of those holding positive views, Jewish traditions and culture are cited by 29 per cent globally, closely followed by foreign policy (26%).

  • Google is partnering with Technion and Cornell in NY
    • Hey, Dickerson3870, I asked once before but you didn't respond (maybe you didn't see it): what's your system for keeping track of all these articles you cite? Do you keep a full-text database? If so, what software do you use?

      BTW, in case you don't know, that column you quote from was pretty clearly the key factor in my getting fired by the SF Chron, even though that didn't happen until eight months later.

      You might be interested in a follow-up, entitled "The Nakba, Intel, and Kiryat Gat," that I did for the Electronic Intifada in 2008.

    • I understand your perspective, dalybean, and I admire your rejection of the Motorola phone. I obviously can't say for sure that the threat of a boycott played no part in the Motorola split and in Google's acquisition of the phone group, and I don't want to be argumentative. I'll just say my own sense is that the analysis you suggest enormously exaggerates our power. Motorola started planning the break-up in 2008. The conventional analysis at the time, as I recall, was that it was a move to "unlock shareholder value," as they say - i.e., they expected that the combined (stock) market value of the two companies after separation would be more than that of the old single company. The underlying problem, I believe, is that the stock price was getting dragged down by the phone business, which is both very visible and very volatile, whereas the other group of businesses - what are now Motorola Solutions - was quite profitable but not so visible to investors.

      As for Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility, Google supposedly wanted their patent portfolio as a bargaining chip to use against the several companies who are attacking them over alleged patent violations in Android. Some people say they also want the ability to design, manufacture, and market their own hardware (tablets as well as phones) in order to boost Android.

      On the whole, those conventional business explanations seem more plausible to me than the idea that they were trying to avoid a consumer boycott, but who knows?

    • > best alternate search engine?

      DuckDuckGo - no tracking, good results, clean interface, and not part of any giant corporation.

      A blogger at last fall compared DDG to In-N-Out Burger:

      It feels a lot like early Google, with a stripped-down home page. Just as In-N-Out doesn’t have lattes or Asian salads or sundaes or scrambled eggs, DDG doesn’t try to do news or blogs or books or images. There’s no auto-completion or instant results. It just offers core Web search—mostly the “ten blue links” approach that’s still really useful, no matter what its critics say.

      DDG doesn’t offer Google’s “Search History” feature, which logs all your searches and lets you revisit them—because it doesn’t collect personal information, period. There’s no way to sign into it, and nobody’s going to figure out who you are based on what you searched for. There’s some advertising, but it’s minimal.

      As for the quality, I’m not saying that [DDG founder Gabriel] Weinberg has figured out a way to return more relevant results than Google’s mighty search team. But Duck Duck Go—which melds its own results with ones from Bing, Blekko, and other sources—is really good at bringing back useful sites. It all feels meaty and straightforward and filler-free…just like In-N-Out.

    • >Do you think it is more accurate to say that Google bought the
      >portion of Motorola that was a target of a consumer boycott efforts?

      Before Motorola split into two companies, there were some efforts - see for example - to organize a consumer boycott of their phones, though as far as I know that never got very far. Since the split, the BDS campaigns I'm aware of, such as JVP's campaign around TIAA-CREF and the organizing efforts within the Presbyterian and Methodist churches, have focused specifically on encouraging divestment from Motorola Solutions, because that's the half of the former company that has continued the activities that were the grounds for the campaign in the first place - that is, the sale of communications and surveillance gear to the settlements and the Israeli military. The fact sheet about Motorola at JVP's "We Divest" site, for example, now carries the following introduction:

      First, a word about the split!

      In early January 2011, Motorola split into two independent companies: Motorola Solutions (NYSE: MSI) and Motorola Mobility Holdings (NYSE: MMI).

      Solutions deals with radios, scanners, and other technologies sold mostly to governments (think ‘governments and surveillance.’) Mobility deals with the manufacture and and marketing of mobile devices for the consumer public (think ‘consumers and cell phones.’)

      Most of the information below refers to Motorola before the split, and specifically to the side of the business that was inherited by Motorola Solutions.

      If you know of any organizations that are continuing to encourage a boycott of Motorola-labeled phones and/or divestment from Motorola Mobility Inc., please share, and I'll stand corrected. If there are such campaigns, I'm curious about the case they make, because I haven't seen any evidence that Motorola Mobility has any involvement with the occupation, beyond selling phones in Israel, just as Apple, RIM, HTC, Samsung, and all the other phone manufacturers do.

      Believe me, I'm not saying any of this to defend Motorola Mobility or Google - they're all pigs to me. But for BDS purposes we have to be strategic about which pigs we target, and for now that seems to mean Motorola Solutions, not Motorola Mobility (now known in some circles as Googorola).

      Maybe someday we'll get to the point of calling for boycott and divestment of all companies that sell their products in Israel, in which case Googorola will be an appropriate target. It's a little hard to imagine such a campaign, though, since not only all phones, but also virtually everything else Americans buy is also sold in Israel.

    • Motorola split into two companies in January 2011. The one Google bought was Motorola Mobility, which makes cell phones and is not on any BDS list I know of. The company that provides surveillance and communication systems for the settlements and the Israeli military, and that is the target of various divestment campaigns, is called Motorola Solutions and remains an independent company.

      Not to defend Google. but we need to be accurate.

  • The awakening: Missouri paper runs a Jew's call for equal rights for all
    • "lefty PEP moneybags Irving Moskowitz"???? What evidence is there that Moskowitz is in any sense a progressive on any issue?

  • WaPo's Walter Pincus says US is 'going above and beyond for Israel'
    • I'm not ready to agree with Stevieb that "Ron Paul is in the same Zionst party that Obama is in" (nor am I a Paul fan), but the following item from Business Insider is pertinent:

      EXCLUSIVE: Ron Paul Shocks Campaign Staff With New Position On Israel
      Grace Wyler | Apr. 13, 2012, 6:32 PM

      Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul revealed this week that he would support moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a surprising position that contradicts conventional wisdom about Paul's stance toward the Jewish state.
      Paul first made this position known Wednesday night, during a private meeting with evangelical leaders interested in helping the Texas Congressman reach out to the conservative Christian community.
      According to a transcript of the meeting obtained by Business Insider, the leaders started off the meeting by asking Paul whether he would sign an Executive Order to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a major policy objective for Israeli hardliners and many leaders in the Christian Right.
      "The real issue here is not what America wants, but what does Israel want," Paul told evangelical leaders, according to a transcript of the meeting obtained by Business Insider. "If Israel wants their capital to be Jerusalem, then the United States should honor that."
      "How would we like it if some other nation said 'We decided to recognize New York City as your capital instead, so we will build our embassy there?'" he added.
      Even Paul's senior campaign aides were surprised by his response.
      "We were floored," senior advisor Doug Wead told Business Insider. "It sounds like pure Ron Paul, but it still caught us off guard..."

    • @Daniel Rich,

      My assertion that "there are some real differences within U.S. ruling circles about policy toward Israel" does not imply that there's a "definable group of individuals standing up for what’s right" - or for that matter an undefinable group of such individuals, although I suppose there are few individuals here and there within the ruling elite who happen to have decent positions on I/P. What this Pincus article suggests is simply that there are differences about how far the U.S. should go in funding the Israeli military at a time when even the U.S. military's budget faces some modest squeezing (not to mention social services, etc.).

      A few other recent examples of disagreements related to Israel: the apparently adamant resistance of the FBI, etc., to the release of Jonathan Pollard; the indictment of Weissman and Rosen from AIPAC; Obama's attempt (however brief and half-hearted) to push Netanyahu into freezing settlement construction; and currently the refusal of the intelligence agencies, Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs, etc., to endorse Israel's claims about Iranian nuclear-weapons development.

      None of this has much to do with "standing up for what's right" - it just means that various segments of the American elite may have views of what's in their own interest, and that of the U.S. empire and even of Israel, that don't correspond 100-percent to those of Netanyahu and the purest Israel-firsters.

    • This column is particularly interesting because, as Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair
      put it
      , "Connections between Walter Pincus and the intelligence sector are longstanding and well-known," starting from his work in the 1950s for Army Counterintelligence and including various foreign missions he has admitted the CIA paid him to do. The Washington Times once wrote that people in the CIA refer to him as the agency's "house reporter."

      One conclusion I think it's fair to draw from this piece: Behind the universal groveling to Israel, there are some real differences within U.S. ruling circles about policy toward Israel.

  • Rep. Pitts in damage control mode following call for Arafat-Sharon negotiations
    • Sharon and Arafat respond to Pitts here. Highlights:

      First, let us state that we are truly encouraged to hear about your renewed interest in the peace process. Please rest assured that from my vegetative state, I, Ariel Sharon, am in constant contact with Chairman Arafat, who is currently residing in a coffin. We are making considerable progress on substantive issues but it is difficult to shake hands since I am in a coma and he is dead.

      Please tell your president, Ronald Reagan, and your vice president, Jesus, that we are both optimistic about the near future.

  • 'NYT' exposes pattern of Ultra Orthodox community covering up sexual abuse, punishing accusers
    • Not directly related to this story, except that this is also about N.Y. Jews and sex: today's NY Post has a story, plus photos and online video, about a woman who is filing an EEOC complaint against the Orthodox Jewish owners of a Fifth Avenue lingerie outlet because, according to her, they canned her for being "just too hot" for their showroom.

      “I was working in a business that is not a synagogue but is instead selling thongs with hearts that are placed in the female genitalia area and boy shorts for women that say ‘Hot’ in the buttocks area,” fumed Odes yesterday in announcing her explosive Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the wholesaler.

      “Given their business product, I don’t understand why I would be told I was just ‘too hot,’ ” said Odes, 29, who alleges she was sacked by Native Intimates after just a few days of working there last month.

  • It's Good to be the King: Netanyahu scraps elections, buys off opposition and cements power with new unity gov't
    • Richard Silverstein has fabulous quote from Mofaz's Facebook wall, dated March 3, before he became leader of Kadima:
      “Listen carefully: I will not join Bibi’s government. Not today, not tomorrow, and not after I become head of Kadima on March 28th. This is an evil, failing, and pig-headed government and Kadima, under my leadership, will succeed it in the next elections. Clear enough?"

  • After LGBT forum, Oren will headline for notorious homophobic pastor John Hagee
    • Hey, Dickerson3870, thanks for these links and excerpts, and for all the others you've provided in previous comments. If you don't mind, could you say a bit about how you organize all this stuff - what do you use for a database? Do you keep full texts, or just the link and excerpts? Do you do full-text searches or have a key-word system?

      Just curious, and admiring.

  • Who's the anti-Semite?
    • I can't resist trotting out one of my favorite wisecracks: "Anti-semites used to be people who hate Jews; now they're people Jews hate."

  • 'Messianic' rap on Netanyahu frees Obama, thaws discourse (and exposes 'No Return' Goldberg)
    • Very interesting that the Times removed the paragraph that included Diskin's comments about Israel becoming "more and more racist." A little sensitive, are we, NYT?

      His remarks on this are still available at Haaretz:

      "Over the past 10-15 years Israel has become more and more racist. All of the studies point to this. This is racism toward Arabs and toward foreigners, and we are also become a more belligerent society."

      A separate story at Haaretz focuses on Diskin's comments about Israel's policy toward Palestinians, which are interesting mainly because public figures aren't supposed to say such things, even though what he says is completely obvious to anyone with open eyes:

      “Forget the stories they tell you about how Abbas is not interested in negotiation,” said Diskin, adding, “We are not talking to the Palestinians because this government has no interest in negotiations.

      The former Shin Bet chief added, "I was there up to a year ago and I know from up-close what is happening. This government is not interested in solving anything with the Palestinians, and I say this certainty,” he added.

      Diskin pointed the finger at Netanyahu. “This prime minister knows that if he makes the slightest move forward, then his well-established rule and his coalition will fall apart."

      "It’s simple,” he said, “Thus, no one has any interest in changing the situation. Abbas made mistakes, but this is beside the point. We as a people have an interest in this, but not this government. The problem becomes more difficult with every passing day.”

      Although Diskin's comments about the policies of Netanyahu and Barak toward Iran seem to be attracting the most attention, Haaretz reporter Barak Ravid offers this interesting perspective:

      Diskin’s criticism of Netanyahu over the Palestinian issue is even more significant than his declarations over the Iranian issue. The reason for this is that the Shin Bet is the body responsible for the Palestinian issue on both the political and security-related levels, whereas the issue of a nuclear Iran falls under the Mossad’s area of expertise as well as that of Israel Defense Forces' intelligence unit.

  • Widely-imitated, Beinart is giving Jews permission to be, unh, liberal Zionists
    • IHT does stand for the International Herald Tribune, Annie, but the Times owns it and puts its stuff on their web site. (Often, as in this case, they use the IHT for stuff they don't dare print in the U.S. paper.

      BTW, Stephen Robert lived up the street from me when I was a kid, except at that time he was Stevie Kniznick. One time he and another kid who lived next door peed on my sister....

  • Netanyahu goes looney tunes on Israeli Independence Day
  • What '60 Minutes' & Bob Simon got right and wrong
  • The five assaults of Lt Col Shalom Eisner
    • I'm surprised no one has commented on another aspect of this clip: the Israeli soldiers throwing the riders' bikes into the ditch or canal or whatever alongside the road. I counted seven such cases in the minute beginning at 3:12 in this clip (you have to look closely, in some cases at the distant background), and that's not counting the incident beginning at 4:16 or so, when a soldier runs to grab the bike of a rider who's just standing there - that one too probably went over the side, but that's not shown in the video. (The original video of Eisner bashing the Danish kid also shows at least two bikes going over the side - at about 1:25 and 1:33. I think those are separate cases from what's shown in the later video, but I can't be sure.)

      This is just a minor aspect of the whole incident - the soldiers doing it seem perfectly relaxed, and there's no indication on the video of any particular reaction from the bikers - but to me it's a revealing: even among the Ottoman, British Mandate, and Jordanian laws the Israelis keep around in case they feel like using some form of repression missing from their own legal code, I doubt there's one that authorizes the army simply to destroy these bikes, even if there is one that allows keeping them off the highway. But the bikes belong to Palestinians and their friends, and that's justification enough for trashing them.

      ahadhaadam is certainly right, though, that things like this happen to Palestinians all the time, and the real issue is the apartheid system that makes them possible and necessary. It's good that a lot of people who may not know much about the situation are shocked by these videos, but we need to do our best to educate them about the context - specifically, in this case, the active ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley.

  • Eisner, new poster boy for occupation, says you can't look good for the camera when you're fighting 'anarchists'
    • One more quote, this one from Haaretz's latest report:

      Eisner, who was suspended from duties following the incident, said that 'it could have been a professional mistake to use a weapon in front of the cameras," he told Channel 10.

  • Barghouti to U.S. Jews: I know you don't like the word apartheid, but what do you call a system that gives a settler 50 times more water than a Palestinian?
  • Video: Senior IDF officer smashes peaceful activist in the face with his M-16
    •'s coverage of this incident includes a few more interesting details. One is an as-yet unconfirmed report that the perp, Lt. Col. Shalom [sic] Eisner, is - or at least was - in line for promotion to Deputy Commander of Bahad 1, the IDF’s officer-training school. Reporter Ami Kaufman writes that "Leading Bahad 1 is considered to be one of the most prestigious jobs in the IDF" and several of its former commanders went on to become high-ranking generals or Chiefs of Staff.

      Kaufman also reports that Eisner is the son of the late Rabbi Benny Eisner, "an icon of religious Zionism who also lived in the 'Jewish House' in Abu Tor, East Jerusalem."

      Meanwhile, the latest piece in Haaretz reports that the Danish ambassador to Israel has asked Israeli authorities for "clarifications" on the incident because Andreas Ias, the young man whose face Eisner smashed, is a Danish citizen.

      Oh, and Israeli President Shimon Peres says he's "shocked" by the incident

  • Dave Eggers won't accept Grass Foundation prize lest he have to-- horrors-- say anything about Israel and Iran
  • 'I've been duped' -- America's travel guide Rick Steves says our media black out the brutal occupation
    • Gotta hand it to Rick Steves - with one interview he's tossed his NPR show, his TV franchise, and a $20-million-a-year business down the tubes! I'll wager he's off NPR in a month and out of business in a year.

      And I thought I paid a price because one lousy column cost me my job at the SF Chronicle...

      At least he'll have lot of time to travel...

  • Finkelstein 'not going to be an Israel-basher anymore' but remains 'appalled and disgusted'
    • If I'm following your logic correctly, Nevada Ned, you're arguing that many forces in the U.S., not just the Israel lobby, would like to overthrow the current regime in Iran and restore it to Shah-like subservience. I agree completely, but that doesn't contradict my previous comment. What I said was "conjured up in Tel Aviv and introduced into American political discourse by Israel’s stooges in the media, Congress, etc." was not dislike for the Iranian regime or even the desire to overthrow it, but the idea of bombing the place over its alleged effort to achieve the capability of building nuclear weapons. Most everyone in the U.S. has been anti-Iran since 1979, but even during and after the hostage crisis, I don't remember anyone arguing that bombing was a good solution. Nobody proposed bombing India or Pakistan when they got the bomb. But now the Israelis and their agents are pushing this criminal lunacy, so most of the Congress and the punditocracy are all for it, and the rest of the media is at a minimum normalizing the idea.

    • To me there's some room for debate about how big a role the lobby played in starting Bush II's war on Iraq - for sure the mostly Jewish neocons were early and ardent promoters of the idea, but at least after 9/11 they weren't alone, and it appears that Bush et al. had several strategic, political, and maybe oedipal motives, not _just_ appeasing the lobby, for deciding to go ahead with it. The Israelis themselves undoubtedly liked the idea, but I haven't seen much evidence that Sharon et al. were a major force in pushing it (remember that in 2002-2003 they were rather busy with other things - smashing the intifada).

      Iran, however, is an altogether different case, because who on earth wants a war with Iran except the Israelis and the lobby (and, I suppose, the MEK)? The whole idea was conjured up in Tel Aviv and introduced into American political discourse by Israel's stooges in the media, Congress, etc. Though I've had some differences with Finkelstein even before his attack on the BDS movement, I've never before had occasion to question his intellect or his integrity. But if he really sees no evidence for the lobby's role in U.S. Iran policy, I have to say I think he's lost his grip on reality!

  • Land Day in Pictures: Israel, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank
  • Land Day in posters: a retrospective of the 1980s
  • Global March to Jerusalem website blocked in Israel; decoy site directs to hasbara video
    • The reason the Haifa reader couldn't get to the official GM2J site is that the site came under an intense distributed denial-of-service attack from inside Israel, and the only way the site administrators could keep it up and accessible from the rest of the world was to block requests from all Israeli Internet addresses. Here's a statement the team put out early this morning:

      Access to Global March to Jerusalem website

      from Israel blocked in wake of denial-of-service attacks

      Journalists, Israeli supporters can turn to North American site,
      Twitter for latest news on peaceful protest campaign

      London – One day before the Global March on Jerusalem - featuring demonstrations in the holy city itself, at checkpoints surrounding it, in Israel, in nearby countries, and around the world - administrators of the project's website,, were forced to block access to the site from Israeli Internet addresses after the site came under an intense denial-of-service attack from inside Israel.

      "We took this step with great reluctance," said Shabbir Hassanally, administrator of, "because we know that many Israeli and international journalists based in Israel, as well both Palestinian and Jewish supporters of the march within that country, have been counting on our site for updates throughout this historic day."

      Unfortunately, Hassanally said, not blocking access from Israeli ISPs would have caused the site to become unavailable from anywhere - including Israel. Although security measures had thwarted earlier attempts to disrupt the site, by Wednesday evening a concerted distributed denial of service attack was producing millions of requests per hour at times. The DDoS attack, coupled with the already high legitimate traffic for the site, would have completely prevented access. Investigation showed that the rogue requests were primarily from Israeli Internet service providers, including Netvision Israel and Hotnet Israel. At that point the GM2J Website Team decided that the only option available to ensure the site would remain available for genuine users elsewhere was a complete block on access from Israel.

      "The good news," Hassanally added, "is that the site is still up and running, despite the desperate attempts to shut it down. The truth will not be silenced."

      Journalists and supporters unable to reach can follow developments as the marches unfold on, a related site operated by GMJ-North America, an autonomous association supporting the global initiative, and on, by following the official GMJ account, @gm2j, or by searching for the hashtag #gmj. Information will also be posted to GMJ's official Facebook page,

  • Brooklyn’s Park Slope Food Coop to take the first step towards a boycott of Israeli goods on March 27
  • Public radio station fires editor who dared to speak out about Israel's 'brutal military occupation'
    • Heh, funny to see my name pop up here. I'm going to write to Sunni tonight to welcome him to the fraternity (is there a non-gendered alternative word?) of journalists canned for speaking some truth about Israel.

      One question I have about Khalid's case: did some Zionist vigilante complain to station management about his Facebook comment, or was management tracking such things on their own? Probably the former, but nowadays you never know. The lobby is extremely aggressive in policing the media and media people (as they are in politics, the universities, and everywhere else!), but very often they don't need to intervene because the media organizations do the dirty work for them, preemptively, for fear of bad press and losing subscribers, advertisers, or donors.

      In my case my immediate editors thought my Intel column was great - they even made a little extra space for it, and got the art department to add a color map. I even warned them that it would be controversial, and turned it in early so we'd have time to argue about it if they were going to ask me to water it down, but they had no problem with it - until it appeared in the paper and the poop hit the fan. I didn't know it at the time, but I found later that the local lobby and even the Israeli consul in San Francisco were on the phone demanding a meeting the publisher within hours after the paper hit the streets, and they met in his office two days later.

      Aside from the injury to immediate targeets, the really bad thing about these cases is that they have a very chilling effect on other journalists: they're a pretty stark reminder that crossing the lobby even once can cost you your job - and quite possibly prevent you from ever getting another in the media. Especially in the current media environment, few journalists can afford to take that risk, so nearly all of them toe the line or just avoid the whole I/P issue.

  • Rendell (of MSNBC and Friends of IDF) is under investigation for ties to Iranian terror group
    • Good that Isikoff picked this up, but I'm not sure what if anything he has "broken." As other commenters have pointed out, this story has been all over the place in recent days. If we're giving credit to journalists, I'd say Greenwald deserves a lot more, because he's kept this story alive for months, when no one else was covering it. But the real credit for "breaking" it should go to Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor - as far as I can tell, everyone else is just building on the very detailed report on this he published last August.

      One important thing Greenwald has done that I don't remember seeing in any of the other coverage is to highlight the fact that the U.S. has charged a number of people with providing "material support to terrorists" for things like postings to YouTube or links on a website - actions for which they received no money and that obviously did a lot less (if anything) to benefit the organizations in question than what Rendell, Freeh, et al. have done for the MEK. But they got prosecuted because they're not big shots - and in most cases because they're Muslims.

  • Liberal American Jews are giving themselves permission to say goodbye
    • Jimmy Carter "pointing the racism and cruelty that permeates the Israeli government and attitudes in Israel"?? No way. He's a hero, in a sense, for going as far as he has with respect to conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories. But he repeatedly declares that Israel is a wonderful democracy, except for the occupation, and he makes no mention of the racism. (My guess is that that was tactical choice on his part, in the vain hope that it would help him ward off charges that he's anti-Israel, anti-semitic, etc. It's hard to believe that anyone not totally under the thumb of the Zionists, as he clearly isn't, could miss the racism. Especially someone from Georgia.)

  • Stunning photos of woman demonstrator slammed to sidewalk by water cannon, at Qalandiya checkpoint
    • Haggai Matar has posted a report on this demonstration at +972. It includes a much longer YouTube clip. I'm pretty sure the incident depicted in the Activestills sequence occurs between 2:20 and 2:30 in that clip - you don't see the woman in the purple top, just a glimpse of her banner, then the Intermix truck, then a score of media people swarming around something, presumably the victim.

      One thing that strikes me from that video: the way the Israelis use gas and flash-bang grenades against people just marching down the street looks just like the tactics the Oakland police now routinely use against our Occupy marches. I wonder how long it will be until we get the Skunk and the Scream machine...

  • Connecting the West Bank to solar energy: A day at the Abu Kbeta family compound
    • Sorry, guys, but to me this piece reads like some kind of liberal-imperialist-NGO fantasy: Israeli do-gooders, with a Palestinian sidekick tagging along, bring light to the benighted villagers, and "Young and old were all grateful."

      Author Weinstein (who apparently is or until recently was a project manager at Cisco, I discovered by googling his name) mentions that the Israeli authorities had destroyed a widow's house the day he visited Umm al-Kheer, and that they had repeatedly destroyed Ibrahim's family's sheds until the Israeli Supreme Court made them stop. But he doesn't convey the sustained and systematic quality of the ongoing Israel campaign to force the tiny village's Beduin residents out, evidently to make way for further expansion of the adjacent settlement of Karmel. I'm not sure when it began, but the heroic Ezra Nawi was arrested in Umm al-Kheer in 2007 when he tried, in vain, to protect a home from demolition. In October 2008 the Israeli army demolished ten house-tents there, leaving 60 people homeless, according to Operation Dove, the Italian humanitarian organization that's been active in the area since 2004. In July 2009 the army came back to destroy some toilets. In September 2011 they leveled three houses and one toilet.

      At the beginning of this year 12 structures were under demolition orders, and on Jan. 8 eight more were added to the list. Then on Jan. 25 (perhaps the day Weinstein was there?) the Israelis bulldozed not one but two houses - neither of which had a demolition order! (Video here.)

      Aside from downplaying the demolition campaign, Weinstein quotes Comet-ME co-founder Noam Dotan to the effect that "Jewish settlers almost never threatened them or destroyed the installations." Apparently "them" refers to the Comet-ME crews, because numerous other observers - including Operation Dove, the Villages Group, and UNRWA - have all documented routine settler harassment of Umm al-Kheer's residents.

      The author does note that "six local communities received demolition orders from the Israeli Civil Administration specifically for the wind turbines, solar panels and electricity rooms they had built" - a development previously mentioned on Mondoweiss here (by Phil) and here - but somehow Weinstein doesn't let that news mar his happy tale.

      All in all, I don't think this post effectively communicates what's really going on in the South Hebron hills.

      Back in December, Living on Earth, Public Radio International's environment show, also did a puff piece about the good Israelis of Comet-ME trying to make life better for the West Bank village of Tha'le. But last week, in the wake of Israel ordering the demolition of the solar panels there, LOE returned to the story, and to my ear the update had a tone distinctly critical of Israel, particularly by public-radio standards. In fact, it's considerably more hard-hitting than Weinstein's post - except that at the end the host quotes a spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs making the laughable assertion that "had the West Bank villagers applied for the permits [for the solar panels], they probably would have gotten them."

  • Netanyahu gives genocidal bible story to Obama
    • Phil notes that the Book of Esther ends with mass murder of Persians. OlegR calls this "a perversion of the story itself." Who's right? Check the text. From Ch. 9 of the Book of Esther (King James version):

      5 Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them.

      6 And in Shushan the palace the Jews slew and destroyed five hundred men.

      7 And Parshandatha, and Dalphon, and Aspatha,

      8 And Poratha, and Adalia, and Aridatha,

      9 And Parmashta, and Arisai, and Aridai, and Vajezatha,

      10 The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand.

      11 On that day the number of those that were slain in Shushan the palace was brought before the king.

      12 And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what is thy request further? and it shall be done.

      13 Then said Esther, If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews which are in Shushan to do to morrow also according unto this day's decree, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.

      14 And the king commanded it so to be done: and the decree was given at Shushan; and they hanged Haman's ten sons.

      15 For the Jews that were in Shushan gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day also of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but on the prey they laid not their hand.

      16 But the other Jews that were in the king's provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy and five thousand, but they laid not their hands on the prey,

      If, as Oleg says, "this part of the story throughout history has been widely used by antisemites to accuse Jews of being revengeful people with genocidal tendencies," it's not hard to see why...

  • ADL enlists city of Oakland to block Atzmon event
    • Adam wrote "If Atzmon is talking about Israeli Jews then say it, if he is talking about Zionism then say it, but he refers to all Jews and Judaism."

      I have my share of problems with Atzmon, but in the interests of accuracy and fairness, I have to say that that statement is just true. Have you read his book, Adam, or sat through any of his talks? On page 16 of his book, as well as in many if not all of his public appearances, he has explained clearly that he divides those of us who consider ourselves Jews into three conceptual categories:

      1) those who adhere to Judaism as a religion;

      2) those who regard themselves as "human beings who happen to be of Jewish origin;"

      3) "those who put their Jewish-ness over and above all of their other traits."

      (Personally, I don't think these are really parallel categories, because members of #1 could be in #2 or #3, but that's a side issue in this context.)

      Over and over in his talks and interviews he explains that he doesn't have any problems with groups 1 and 2 and that his critique is directed at what he calls "category 3 Jews" - it's that group he accuses of tribalism, racism, arrogance, greed, brutality, etc.

      Granted, he sometimes drops the qualifier and refers to the people about whom he's making these very negative generalizations simply as "the Jews." Obviously, that's a major problem, because a lot of people hear - and repeat - those remarks without paying attention to the conceptual framework he's laid out earlier or elsewhere. But if you actually care to understand his framework, it's clear that he's not talking about all Jews and Judaism.

      Though he doesn't claim to be doing empirical sociology, I'm pretty sure that if asked he would put the overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews in his category 3, but in my opinion and experience over there, he's got good grounds for doing so - see Danaa's powerful comments in this thread. As for American and European Jews, I suspect he'd put a majority in category 3 - and contend that many of us who would put ourselves in category 2 are infected to one degree or another by category 3 thinking. Again, while I'm sure I disagree with him in some cases about where that's happening and how to respond, I think he's definitely on to an important reality. I know that a lot of my own upbringing, even though it was more assimilationist than Zionist, included a lot of the attitudes he associates with category 3.

      In fact, I think part of the appeal of this site to those of us of Jewish origins is that it helps us wrestle with that dialectic in our own consciousness, our families, and so on. For sure I see that in a lot of Phil's posts about his family and community, past and present. (To be clear, that's just my interpretation - I'm not saying Phil sees any value in these categories or anything else in Atzmon's work. Care to comment, Phil?)

  • Etgar Keret in the 'NY Times Magazine' tries on orientalism with an iconic 'Arab' look
    • Not to be pedantic or anything , but now that you've changed Edgar to Etgar, how about "trys" to "tries"?

  • Why Israel freed Khader Adnan
    • I agree with EdithLake that the title of this piece should be changed, but not to "released," because the Israelis haven't "released" him any more than they have "freed" him. All they've done is to state that they don't intend to extend his administrative detention when his current term expires on April 17 - unless they come up with new evidence against him.

      In other words, even in the best of cases, he faces almost two more months in prison, probably with even more than the usual abuse because of his courage and notoriety - even though he very likely did nothing whatsoever even by Israeli standards. (If they actually had anything on him but found themselves unable to extend the administrative detention, surely they would put him on trial, not promise even conditionally to let him loose in April.)

  • Why young Palestinians chant the word 'thawra'
    • Hey, Phil, I'm all for active listening, but in future how about waiting until your interviewee completes his/her answer before you agree? All those "Yes"-es are pretty distracting!

  • BDS interview fallout: Finkelstein 'showed his own fear of the paradigm shift in discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict'
    • I just want to thank Adam, lareineblanche, the other commenters, and above all David Samel - this is a superb discussion. And, yes, Norman Finkelstein, too, for sparking it, even though I find much of his argument infuriating.

      Special appreciation to David for noting Finkelstein's condescension toward Frank Barat. Not as weighty as the other issues, of course, but that kind of arrogance needs to be called out.

  • You won't have Ethan Bronner to kick around anymore . . .
    • The "auspicious" tweety to cites links to a piece by Ethan Bronner. That piece is surprisingly positive about the Bil'in movie, but given who wrote it, I'm not sure how auspicious the tweet really is.

  • Chris Hayes stunning 'Story of the Week' featuring Sheldon Adelson
    • Interesting tidbits from Wikipedia article on Chris Hayes: "Hayes is married to Kate A. Shaw, Associate Counsel for President Barack Obama ... Hayes's brother Luke is a Democratic political operative."

  • The antiwar movement must rise again. Now
    • Historical side note, FWIW (not much): Back in the 60's many of us in the New Left were convinced that Allard Lowenstein, the main operator behind the Dump Johnson Movement, was a CIA agent, or at least a collaborator with the agency. Grove Press even published a book making that argument in the 1980s. In hindsight, I think the story was very likely BS, but it arose because he was so into his ties with high levels of the establishment, even as he tried to enlist the movement in his projects, and because he was very hostile to anyone he judged a commie or commie dupe.

      The question was taken seriously enough that the New York Review of Books, after publishing a very critical review of the book, ran a long exchange about it.

  • Israel's latest threat -- the silver screen
    • Sorry to be shilling for the NY Times today, but I just discovered a 10-minute version of "The Law in These Parts" posted as an "op-doc" on their site, under the title "The Justice of Occupation." I trust the full film is more persuasive - I regret to say I don't think this abbreviated version will convince anyone of anything.

    • The NY Times ran a long and surprisingly favorable review of "5 Broken Cameras" the other day, written by - wait for it... - Ethan Bronner! It includes a brief discussion of some controversy around the film among Palestinians: apparently some have criticized Burnat of "normalization" for working with an Israeli co-director and Greenhouse, an Israeli NGO, to make the film.

      I also came across a review, in both prose and video, by a young woman named Mali Elfman, at a site called It's an odd appreciation - never once mentions Israel, uses the word Palestinian only once, to identify Burnat, and seems to present the struggle simply as a rural village trying to preserve itself in the face of encroaching suburban development - yet Ms. Elfman was obviously deeply moved by the film, and I found her video in particular quite affecting.

  • The great book robbery
    • Karina mentions the project's website, including the book list, the teaser to the movie, and the discussion forum, but for some reason she didn't include a link. It's easy enough to guess or google, but just to save everyone that enormous trouble, it's Well worth checking out, IMO.

  • Adelson's millions come tipped with missiles aimed at Iran
    • This just in: Miriam Adelson, Sheldon's wife, is giving Gingrich's Super PAC another $5 million (not to be confused with Sheldon's $5-million donation a few weeks back).

  • Following weeks of smears, Zaid Jilani resigns from Center for American Progress to take new job
  • Number of Israeli colonists now approaches 750,000!
    • W/r/t the settler population, here's a comment I just posted at Richard Silverstein's site:

      I think the 722,000 figure should be taken with several grains of salt. In 2010 the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics put the settler population in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, at 517,774. That doesn’t include about 20,000 in the Golan Heights, but even if you add them in, and figure 5% growth per year in 2010 and 2011, we’re still pretty far from the Israel HaYom figure.

      I don’t read Hebrew, so I don’t know whether Israel HaYom gives any more detail, but a Jan. 15 AFP report does. First of all, it says the numbers come from Yaakov Katz, a Knesset member fro the far-right National Union party, who says he got them from the interior Ministry. For the West Bank settler population, not counting East Jerusalem, he gives a figure of 342,414, which is not out of line with conventional estimates. There are two reasons the total is so much higher than most figures: a) it includes 60,000 Jewish Israelis allegedly studying at institutions in West Bank settlements, and b) it puts the Jewish population of East Jerusalem at 300,000, compared to the usual estimate of 200,000. Even factoring in substantial increasesin the last two years, that’s a huge discrepancy.

      I have no way of evaluating the figure for students, but as to East Jerusalem, I can’t help but suspect that Katz and his sources are inflating the number in order to strengthen their claim to that area.

  • Breaking report: US/Israel military drill cancelled, after US tells Israel to back off
    • DebkaFile's version of this story is very interesting, starting with the headline: "US, Israel in open rift over Iran: Big joint military drill cancelled."

      Some excerpts:

      US-Israeli discord over action against Iran went into overdrive Sunday, Jan. 15 when the White House called off Austere Challenge 12, the biggest joint war game the US and Israel have every staged, ready to go in spring, in reprisal for a comment by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon in an early morning radio interview. He said the United States was hesitant over sanctions against Iran's central bank and oil for fear of a spike in oil prices.
      The row between Washington and Jerusalem is now in the open, undoubtedly causing celebration in Tehran.
      The exercise was officially postponed from spring 2012 to the last quarter of the year over "budgetary constraints" – an obvous diplomatic locution for cancellation. It was issued urgently at an unusually early hour Washington time, say DEBKAfile's sources, to underscore the Obama administration's total disassociation from any preparations to strike Iran and to stress its position that if an attack took place, Israel alone would be accountable.
      Israel's Deputy Prime minister further inflamed one of the most acute disagreements in the history of US-Israeli relations over the Obama administration's objections to an Israel military action against Iran's nuclear sites in any shape or form.
      The friction was already fueled last week by the deep resentment aroused in Israel by Washington's harsh condemnation of the assassination last Wednesday, Jan. 11, of the nuclear scientist Prof. Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, and absolute denial of any US involvement.
      Although Tehran has since accused the United States of the attack, the White House treated it as the defiant sign of an approaching unilateral Israeli military operation against Iran to which the administration is adamantly opposed.
      Friday, Jan. 13, the Pentagon announced the substantial buildup of combat power around Iran, stationing nearly 15,000 troops in Kuwait - two Army infantry brigades and a helicopter unit – and keeping two aircraft carriers the region: The USS Carl Vinson, the USS John Stennis and their strike groups.
      DEBKAfile's military sources report that a third aircraft carrier and strike group, the USS Abraham Lincoln, is also on its way to the Persian Gulf.
      This massive military buildup indicates that either President Obama rates the odds of an Israel attack as high and is bolstering the defenses of US military assets against Iranian reprisals - or, alternatively, that the United States intends to beat Israel to the draw and attack Iran itself.
      The "budgetary constraints" pretext for cancelling Austere Challenge 12 is hard to credit since most of the money has already been spent in flying 9,000 US troops into Israel this month. Although the exercise in which they were to have participated was billed as testing multiple Israeli and US air and missile defense systems, the exercise's commander, US Third Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, announced that the event was more a "deployment" than an "exercise."
      Its cancellation leaves Washington and Jerusalem at loggerheads in four main areas:
      1. President Obama believes he is rushing through the sanctions against Iran's central bank CBI and oil restrictions with all possible speed. He needs time to persuade more governments to support him. Israel sees little real progress in the crawling diplomatic bid for backers and is impatient for action. At the rate the sanctions are going through, they will not be in place before the end of 2012 and by then, Iran will have already acquired a nuclear weapon.
      Israeli leaders also suspect that the Obama administration may be foot-dragging deliberately in the hope of encouraging Iran to enter into negotiations and so avoid a military showdown. They point out that all previous rounds of talks were exploited for Iran's forward leaps in their nuclear weapon drive, free of international hassle.
      2. President Obama insists on the US acting alone in attacking Iran with no Israeli military involvement. This would leave him free to decide exclusively when and how to stage an operation. He is counting on the tightened military and intelligence cooperation he has instituted between the two armed forces and agencies to safeguard Washington against the surprise of a lone Israeli action.
      But Israel has declined to make this commitment - even in the face of US officials' efforts at persuasion.
      3. US military strategists are counting on an Iranian reprisal for an attack on its nuclear sites to be restrained and limited to certain US military assets in the region, Israeli targets and oil installations in the Persian Gulf, including a temporary and partial closure of the Strait of Hormuz, through which one fifth of the world's oil passes.
      They expect Israel to refrain from striking back for Iranian attacks and to leave the payback option entirely in American hands. US officials have said they fear an Israeli overkill would tip the entire American military operation into imbalance and generate unforeseen consequences.
      The incoming US troops were therefore armed with the sophisticated missile interceptorTHAAD systems (easily transportable Terminal High Altitude Area Defense hit-to-kill weapons) to show the Israeli government that the US would stay on top of all the military moves against Iran - offensive and defensive alike.
      On these three points, the US and Israel disagree. ...

  • Bibi throws in with GOP, Democratic base turns critical, and Israel finally becomes partisan wedge issue like abortion -- Blumenthal
  • Pro-Israel 'lawfare' group seeks to censor Twitter account for Hezbollah's TV station
    • Shurat HaDin is also the group that filed the bogus complaint to the Greek Coast Guard that served as the original pretext for preventing The Audacity of Hope from sailing to Gaza as part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla last June.

  • Israel prepares to transfer 70,000 Jerusalem Palestinians to West Bank i.d.'s
    • Allison wrote: "The Palestinians from East Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Silwan, whose status will be revoked, are already geographically annexed to a "greater Jerusalem" by the security wall. The route of the wall cuts Silwan from other Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem that are east of the wall ..."

      I think it's wrong to suggest that the Palestinians of Silwan would lose their Jerusalem IDs under Barkat's recent proposal. That proposal involves changing the boundaries of "Greater Jerusalem" so the parts of it that are east of the apartheid wall would cease to be part of the city and would instead fall under the authority (such as it is) of the Palestinian Authority. That's why the 70,000 or Palestinians who live in those areas would lose their Jerusalem IDs.

      As the second part of the quoted passage implies, however, Silwan is west of the wall, and it's certainly not an area the Israelis want to turn over to the PA - on the contrary, they're doing their damnedest to keep it, just without Palestinian residents.

      The Jerusalem Post's report on Barkat's proposal says the major neighborhoods it would affect are Kafr Aqab, the Shuafat refugee camp, Semiramis, Zughayer and Atarot.

  • Ron Paul and the left
    • Professor Slater: Is your article about Mearsheimer and Walt available online anywhere for less than the $36 Security Studies' publisher wants for it?

    • BTW, five Occupy protesters were arrested today outside the Des Moines headquarters of Ron Paul's Iowa campaign. You have to read down to the 12th paragraph of this AP story to discover that "The protest at the Paul headquarters was aimed at his proposal to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency if elected."

    • This is off-topic with respect to Israel/Palestine, but since people are also talking about Ron Paul's positions on some other issues, I think it's worth noting one that hasn't been mentioned here: global warming. On his page on the subject, he professes agnosticism about the science, calls for end to subsidies for oil companies, says "we should never, ever go to war to protect our perceived oil interests," and winds up with this:

      "After additional consideration and analysis and shortly before the release of the Climategate emails in late 2009, Ron Paul identified the artificial panic around Global Warming as an elaborate hoax:

      “The greatest hoax I think that has been around for many, many years if not hundreds of years has been this hoax on [...] global warming.” – Ron Paul on Fox Business, Nov. 4, 2009

    • I'm surprised folks participating in this discussion, aside from Richard Witty, don't seem to be paying much attention to the electronic interview with Ron Paul in today's Haaretz. It's an odd one - he reiterates a lot of his commendable non-interventionist principles, opposition to foreign aid, etc., but also appears to be trying to reassure and even appeal to the Israelis (and of course their backers here at home). Some key passages:

      * "I do not believe we should be Israel’s master but, rather, her friend. We should not be dictating her policies and announcing her negotiating positions before talks with her neighbors have even begun. ... I believe we have gone too far, to Israel’s detriment. Instead of being her friend, we have dominated her foreign policy." (The U.S. dictates Israel's policies?? That's just the opposite of what's happening!)

      * "I am the one candidate who would respect Israel’s sovereignty and not try to dictate to her about how she should deal with her neighbors. I supported Israel’s right to attack the Iraqi nuclear reactor in the 1980s, and I opposed President Obama’s attempt to dictate Israel’s borders this year."

      * in response to a question about Iran: "I believe I’m the only candidate who would allow Israel to take immediate action to defend herself without having to get our approval. Israel should be free to take whatever steps she deems necessary to protect her national security and sovereignty." (Not surprisingly, Haaretz's headline writers call this statement "a 'green light' to an Israeli attack on Iran.")

  • Pentagon asks for extra $100 million to Israel for Iran defense (and Congress doubles the tip)
    • Another data point: in 2006 Congressman John Dingell wrote in the Arab American News, a paper based in Dearborn, MI, "I have been in Congress for 50 years, and during my tenure I have proudly helped to move more than $300 billion worth of American aid to Israel." His column is no longer available at the Arab American News sit, but Jeff Blankfort posted the full text here.

      Dingell doesn't spell out how he arrived at the $300 billion figure, but obviously he was including various kinds of indirect assistance the US provides to Israel that WRMEA and the Congressional Research Service don't include in their tabulations.

    • An updated version of the table Alison links to in the last sentence of this post, published in the November, 2011 issue of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and available here, shows a total of $123.2 billion in aid since 1949.

      Of course that doesn't include the several kinds of indirect aid Thomas Stauffer cited.

      BTW, rumor has it that WRMEA is in dire financial straits. Anyone who can spare $29 (or more) and wants to see this kind of research and reporting continued should subscribe.

  • Israel's image tanks as it slowly loses support of US media and Europe
    • Thanks for pointing out the Salon article - it's a good summary of a trend that's already been documented on this site. But note that when Jordan Michael Smith talks about "the media consensus" collapsing, he's confusing the elite punditocracy with the media at large. How many people in this country even know names like Thomas Friedman, Roger Cohen, Stephen Walt, Andrew Sullivan, et al. - much less pay attention to their views on Israel? We can hope that the real changes taking place within this narrow stratum will eventually influence the rest of the media - the news pages (as opposed to the op-ed page) of the papers, NPR, network TV, etc. - but I haven't seen much evidence of that happening yet. And you can bet the lobby will fight every inch of the way to prevent it.

      And then there's the larger question of when and how changes in any of the media will affect the political elite. After all, even though the Zionists obviously place a high value on control over the media, it's only one component of their power in Washington, and not the most important, I'd say - even if Israel's standing in the polls declines and there's more criticism in the media, they'll still have the resources to buy the Congress and Presidential candidates.

  • Bias in the Great Library at Alexandria?
    • > I ... climbed up the slanted stairways toward the shelves...

      Aren't all stairways slanted, by definition?

      (focusing on the big issue here)

  • 'New Yorker' editor tells American readers one thing-- and Israeli readers something else
    • The Robert Siegel interview from last May is hardly the only example of NPR ducking the question of Jewish money. In fact, NPR appears to have systematic policy of doing so (surely, it can't be that they're all just stupid, right?). One example from just last week: in an All Things Considered segment entitled "GOP Candidates Affirm Their Support Of Israel," about the Republican Jewish Coalition Forum, there's no reference whatsoever to money, donations, contributions, whatever. When host Lynn Neary asked reporter Ari Shapiro "Well, why is it so important for Republicans to address this group?," Shapiro acknowledged that Jews are a small number of voters and overwhelmingly vote Democratic, but then rattled on about the evangelical vote, the possibility that Jewish voters could make a difference in a few swing states, etc. - everything except money.

      Quite a few of the commenters, however, pointed out what was missing.

  • In 1950, Doubleday censored frank account of Deir Yassin massacre from prominent American's book
    • What's described as the "full text" of Spafford's Our Jerusalem - is available online here. It's apparently of the published version, minus the censored chapter, but there are a few references to Deir Yaseen in chapter 31.

  • The Israeli army shot at me and 3 Palestinian kids in Gaza today
    • >I realized this is what Palestinian first, second, third,
      >fourth graders experience daily in Gaza.

      At least metaphorically, it's what *all* Palestinians experience daily.

      Nice report. Stay safe, Radhika.

  • Occupy Oakland calls for general strike on November 2nd after police fracture Iraq War veteran's skull
    • If you can get through to Mayor Quan's phone, more power to you - no one I know has been able to since the raid.

      But everyone should go to her Facebook page and leave a comment on her statement yesterday defending and thanking the cops, etc. As of now there are 11,754 comments, and though I certainly haven't read them all, I have yet to see one supporting her, and most of them are exquisitely scathing.

      There'd be outrage over this incident no matter who was mayor, but there's a special edge to it because of who Jean Quan is. For those who aren't from the Bay Area: she was a prominent activist in the Third World Liberation Front at UC Berkeley in the late 60s. She went on to be a member of some small left collective, and then a union organizer, then a progressive member of the Oakland school board. Her M.D. husband is a big single-payer activist, her Deputy Mayor for Community Relations was previously head of the Alameda County Labor Council, and her buddy and top adviser is Dan Siegel, longtime activist and lawyer in many cases attempting to rein in the Oakland cops. She got elected mayor because Oakland's ranked-choice voting system in effect pooled the votes of several progressive candidates, enabling her to squeak past the establishment Dem candidate.

      In other words, we expected better!

  • Palestine in Oakland
    • Iraq Veterans Against the War, the group Scott Olsen is active in, has set up a support fund for him. If you're so inclined, you can make a secure donation at this page or mail a check or money order to:

      P.O. Box 3565
      New York, NY 10008-3565
      Attn: Scott Olsen Support Fund

    • BTW, here's a response to Max's article from Dalit Baum of and Global Exchange's Economic Activism for Palestine project, who knows a lot about such things: "Defense Technologies supply the Israeli police with some of these weapons, but not the army mostly. The weapons used in Biliin and Niilin were almost all CSI-made."

      FWIW I got hit in the leg last night by chunk of a projectile - I think it was the firing mechanism of a flash-bang grenade - with a label saying Defense Technology Corp., Casper, WY. I gave it to the National Lawyers Guild.

      Headed back to Oakland for tonight's "reconvergence." Wish me luck...

    • Scott Olsen has a fractured skull and swelling fo the brain, according to his roommate - more info and pix here.

      Oakland's Tristan Anderson (who's also from Oakland).

      One thing I can say from personal experience: the gas the OPD used last night wasn't half as bad as what the IDF uses.

  • 'Washington Post' headline: US must reevaluate aid to Israel
  • UN: Israel 'becoming more efficient in their demolitions, displacing ever growing numbers of Palestinians'
    • Yesterday's "Today in Palestine" reported on a demonstration by schoolgirls in Hebron/al-Khalil. Just want to note that there's a lovely set of photos of this demo here.

  • Palestinian bloggers called to join prisoner hunger strike
  • NYT reviewer: Small group of Bush advisers will take real reason for Iraq war to their (restless) graves
  • The new 'internalized conflict': Israeli settlers targeting Israeli activists w/ impunity
  • Silverstein and McGovern ponder prospect of Israeli attack on Iran
    • Tony Karon chimes in on this topic with a post entitled "Is Israel Again Weighing an Attack on Iran's Nuclear Facilities?" at Some highlights:

      "Panetta's comments, coming barely a month after the U.S. reportedly agreed to deliver 55 bunker-busting GBU-28 bombs to Israel, were widely viewed as an "down, boy" message to any adventurist bomb-Iran impulses on the part of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak."

      "the latest round of chatter could be nothing more than the by-now quotidian Israeli saber rattling designed to make Iran believe that it faces imminent military action."

      "the U.S. military['s] leaders have long made clear their belief that an Israeli military strike on Iran would have disastrous consequences both for Israel and for U.S. forces throughout the Middle East. "

      "as Iranian scholar Trita Parsi, who has studied the Iran-U.S.-Israel relationship over decaes, wrote last weekend, the dangerous escalation of rhetoric amid the absence of communication channels between the U.S. and an increasingly isolated, embattled and skittish Iran raise the danger of an unintended lurch into tragedy. He warns of declining American influence creating a vacuum that a number of competing forces are jockeying to fill, and that the decision-making of key players is increasingly shaped by domestic politics rather than strategic calculation."

    • Haaretz has an interesting follow-up on Panetta's visit to Israel here. The headline and lede are about former Mossad chief Meir Dagan arguing that Iran is far from being capable of building nuclear weapons and insisting that a military strike is "far from being Israel's preferred option." But the bulk of the story is about Panetta supposedly passing on "a clear message from his boss in Washington: The United States opposes any Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities."

  • The jury is in - Times readers decide against Bronner
    • One more letter in today's NY Times also deserves attention, IMO:

      Your otherwise thoughtful column perpetuates the confused and mischievous distinction between the appearance of a conflict of interest and an actual conflict. You give aid and comfort to those like Mr. Bronner who try to defend themselves against the charge of a conflict of interest by claiming that they are not actually influenced by the financial gain. That is beside the point.

      The purpose of conflict-of-interest rules is precisely to avoid an inquiry into the motives of individual reporters (and other professionals). The rules are meant to maintain the trust of readers, who are not in a position to investigate the motives of reporters.

      The rules in effect tell reporters to avoid circumstances that we know from experience create a substantial risk that professional judgment may be unduly influenced by improper considerations like financial gain. It is about the circumstances, not about the individual. To say that a reporter has violated the rule is not to say anything about his actual motives. It is to say that he has failed to respect the reasonable expectations of his readers and the public. That is a serious offense, but it is not the same offense as biased reporting.

      When a reporter’s judgment is actually distorted by gifts, payments, promise of speaking engagements and the like, the violation is no longer simply a conflict of interests but emphatically the victory of the wrong interest.

      Cambridge, Mass.

      The writer teaches government at Harvard.

  • Khalidi reflects on the 'Palestinians' Next Move' in The National Interest
    • >Have they really thought this through?

      No, clearly not, at least not in any realistic way. The option most popular among Israelis, I think, is none of the ones you list, but what they call "transfer" - somehow getting the remaining Palestinians to leave the West Bank (and maybe Gaza, too). Call that option #5. Problem is, it's not going to happen with your #3.

  • Israeli settlers attack Israeli activists & journalists; 19 injured, 3 hospitalized
    • Mairav Zonszein's story at includes some useful background on this incident, including this first-hand report from one of the Ta'ayush activists who were attacked:

      When we arrived Friday morning there was already a security officer there, who decided to call the police, but they did not interfere. However, more and more settlers from the area gathered on the main road a few hundred feet from where we were. I called the police and told them we felt in danger. There were some police cars on the road where the settlers were but they did not prevent the settlers from coming up to confront us. Some came up to us and started cursing and threatening. I called the police again. Then dozens came towards us and began attacking us. It really felt like a lynch. I was punched several times and fell to the ground and when I got up I rushed over to a border police officer and begged him to protect me and help me. I latched on to him for dear life but he didn’t stop them. My camera was taken from me and broken and my glasses had broken somwhere. I began running to the street with another activist and managed to get away from the settlement while many others were still being attacked. I managed to get out with only a broken hand and some bruises.

      Israelis speaking/writing in English often call incidents like this "a lynch," a term that has an odd ring to my American ears. I'd say the normal noun is "a lynching," but unless someone gets strung up, I think the term *pogrom* is both more accurate and more resonant.

  • 'Are there any Palestinians unaffected by the occupation?' I ask him
    • Ah yes, the rudeness. My first visit to Israel was in 1960, when I was 14. I had no particular political critique at that time, but I hated the place - precisely because so many people were so obnoxious. I had no desire to go back there ever again, and in fact I didn't until 2002, when my partner and I cancelled a long-planned vacation in Greece and went instead to volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza....

  • Photos of the crowd at the opening of MECA's 'A Child's view from Gaza' Exhibit
    • I volunteered yesterday at the new storefront "gallery" where the Gaza kids' art is now on display. MECA is selling very nice t-shirts with the image of the little girl crying behind bars. They're available in red or black, in various sizes, at $15 each. They don't have an online store, but if you e-mail again or call - [email protected] or 510 548-0542 - and offer a little extra donation to cover shipping and their trouble, you might be able to work something out. If that doesn't work, get a friend in the East Bay to stop in at the MECA office or the storefront and buy what you want. If that's not possible, and you really, really want one (or more), e-mail me at [email protected].

  • Imagine if this article was about whites and blacks in the US
    • Interesting. This info will probably help the "Greater Israel" forces vs. those who've supported a two-state solution (or better, endless discussion thereof) as a way of avoiding the "demographic timebomb" (=a Palestinian majority).

  • Could censorship of children's art prove a turning point?
    • That's Kate Raphael, a friend and a longtime activist in QUIT (Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism), Women In Black, the International Women's Peace Service, the International Solidarity Movement, Direct Action to Stop the War, Act Against Torture, and lots more grassroots groups. Check out her blog at and Murder Under the Bridge, her online serial mystery set in Palestine, at

      And no, Annie, I didn't update this post - I guess you were just too bleary-eyed to notice some of the links when you read it last night or this morning. :-)

  • Harvard students: 'The decision to criminalize the Irvine 11 for their courageous action is an attack on all people who seek peace and justice in Israel/Palestine.'
    • Jon S wrote: "There’s a difference between heckling , which is legitimate and acceptable, and disrupting the event to the point where the speaker is prevented from speaking and unable to exercise his freedom of speech , and the audience denied the right to hear the speaker they came to hear."

      As several other commenters have previously noted, the longest statement made by any of the Irvine 11 during Oren's speech was 8 seconds long, and the total time taken by 11 statements combined was roughly 60 seconds. How short would their statements have to have been to qualify in your eyes as "heckling , which is legitimate and acceptable"?

Showing comments 100 - 1