Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 606 (since 2010-03-18 18:04:29)

Henry Norr

Showing comments 100 - 1

  • U.S. State Dep't to American flotilla passengers: Drop dead
    • Gee, State Department, thanks so much for that helpful info and advice. I'm up early here in Athens, but once my fellow passengers on The Audacity of Hope are up and about, I'll definitely let them know how you feel, and I'm sure we'll all be reconsidering our plans - not...

  • The Goldstone Report and Israeli criminality-- what the Israeli left (and the US left) refuses to get its head around
    • I've had my differences with some of Professor Slater's previous posts, but IMO this one is superb. It's depressing that even someone like David Shulman, who has written very powerfully about the human reality of the occupation, especially in the South Hebron Hills, still suffers from such an enormous blindspot about Israel's nature. (Ditto re Jessica Montell and associates at B'Tselem.)

      Slater mentions two of his previous articles about Israel's history of attacking civilians, but the links attached to "here and here" evidently didn't come through when Phil or Adam posted the piece. To save everyone else the small bother of going to Slater's own site to find working versions of these links, they are here and here. In the latter case, you have to scroll down a bit to get the post I'm pretty sure means, the one entitled "The Goldstone Commission Report, Part 2: Did Israel Deliberately Attack Gazan Civilians?" If you don't want to bother scrolling, go straight here instead.

  • Mearsheimer on dual loyalty and William Safire
    • Interesting as that old (2003) article is, it leaves me scratching my head about the supposed pipeline plan. If you look at a map, you'll see that there's no way to get from Mosul to Haifa without going through Syria or, much more indirectly, Jordan. Even if they succeed in creating a separate Kurdistan, including Kurdish-populated parts of Syria, that still won't solve the problem - to get to Israel, the pipeline would have to go through the Syrian heartland. I suspect this plan depended, or depends, on drastic regime change in Syria.

  • The Emperor’s clothes are still on, for now (while his heckler is roughed up, hospitalized)
    • KPFA had an interview this morning with Rae Abileah from her hospital bed in DC. The archive is here - the interview begins about 8 minutes into the program.

      Rae, by the way, also took part in the heckling of Netanyahu in New Orleans last year, in disruption of Olmert's speech in SF last year, and scores of other bold actions. She's a real hero.

  • We can only pray that Congress's supine conduct before a rightwing foreign leader will have political consequences
    • >we could name israel the 51st state and divert even
      >more dollars to our little princess of a country.

      Reminds me of the old joke:
      Q: Why doesn't Israel apply to become the 51st state?
      A: Because then they'd have only two senators.

  • Arrigoni: I came here because my grandfathers fought fascist occupation in Italy
    • One clarification re Vittorio's comments on the video about ISM and Phil's elaboration that "he helped to restart the International Solidarity Movement which had been stymied by Israel's killings of American Rachel Corrie and Englishman Tom Hurndall in 2003": Those comments refer to ISM activity in the Gaza Strip. The ISM remained (and remains) active on the West Bank despite the 2003 killings. In fact, if I remember correctly, those killings, especially of Rachel Corrie, led to a large jump in the number of people volunteering for ISM in the West Bank.

  • Under pressure, Cal law school ends support for conference on Palestinian rights
    • The San Francisco Chronicle gave this story surprisingly extensive coverage the other day. (The reporter, Bob Egelko, is an attorney.)

      Hastings' board pulls UC brand from rights meeting

      Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
      Wednesday, April 13, 2011

      UC Hastings College of the Law made a last-minute decision to cancel a speech by its dean and remove its name from a conference it hosted on using the courts to promote Palestinians' rights after hearing protests from Jewish groups, campus officials said Tuesday.

      The conference, titled "Litigating Palestine," took place at the San Francisco campus March 25 and 26. The 13 speakers - four of them Jewish, according to a school official - discussed legal issues and court cases involving Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, protests, consumer boycotts and related topics.

      pproved by faculty

      The event, approved by Hastings' faculty, had listed the school's foundation as a co-sponsor along with the Trans-Arab Research Institute. But on the evening of March 24, Hastings' Board of Directors held a closed-door, emergency meeting and announced that a majority had voted to "take all steps necessary to remove the UC Hastings name and brand" from the conference.

      The board also dropped plans for a welcoming speech by Frank Wu, the school's dean and chancellor. Wu issued a statement the next day saying Hastings understands that the topic "prompts strong feeings on all sides," but believes that convening such gatherings is "among our responsibilities as an academic institution."

      The law school directors, who are appointed by California's governor, will not comment on the decision, Hastings spokesman Michael Treviño said Tuesday. But he and other officials said some alumni and organizations had complained to the college shortly before the conference.

      aw as a weapon'

      They included the Jewish Community Relations Council, whose executive director, Rabbi Doug Kahn, said in a written briefing for the group's members last week that the event was "an anti-Israel political organizing conference using law as a weapon."

      Kahn said he and regional leaders of the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee met with Wu and other Hastings officials March 21, told them the conference was one-sided and urged them to withdraw the school's affiliation and the dean's planned speech.

      The board's cancellation of Wu's address "interfered in the academic freedom of our institution," said the conference organizer, George Bisharat, a Hastings professor.

      Bisharat said opponents had wrongly accused the conference of "Israeli-bashing" and were also off base in arguing that the event was biased because none of the speakers supported Israel's conservative government. The purpose was to train lawyers in defending Palestinian rights, not to debate whether those rights exist, he said.

      "If you had a conference on Holocaust reparation cases, you wouldn't include Holocaust deniers," Bisharat said. "One of the key premises of the conference was that lawful and peaceful means of resolving disputes ought to be encouraged."

      Basil Plastiras, president of Hastings' fundraising foundation, which had been listed as co-sponsor, said the school has hosted many conferences on litigating human-rights cases in foreign countries and never found it necessary to include "balancing" comments from representatives of those countries.

      The directors' action dismayed Hastings' faculty. Nearly all of its tenured professors signed a letter to the board last week saying that academic freedom includes providing forums for controversial topics, and that the attempt to disavow the conference "undermines our commitment to maintaining both the college's fiscal viability and its high standards."

      E-mail Bob Egelko at [email protected].

      This article appeared on page C - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • This website is 5 years old
    • Congratulations, Phil and Adam. You've done an awesome job, and it's making a difference.
      Odd coincidence: I too was in Hebron during the 2006 Lebanon war, Phil. I was living in Tel Rumeida, just down the hill from the settlement. We often saw Yehuda leading his tours around town. Maybe I even saw you!

  • 'Hardball' panel ascribes power of Israel lobby to Christian Zionists seeking Armageddon
    • Even if Matthews et al. focus on the Christian Zionists to avoid confronting the issue of Jewish power, the CZs are an important and interesting phenomenon. As it happens, just last night I watched a new movie about them called "With God on Our Side," and I recommend it highly - even though some of the critics shown also tend to exaggerate, IMO, the role of the Christian Zionists and downplay the power of the Jewish Israel lobby. The movie is available on DVD. Check it out at (Beware of http://www.withgodonourside.ORG - arch-Zionist Mitchell Bard grabbed that one.)

  • We planned the Purim party, then my partner actually read the Book of Esther...
    • Thanks for the interesting background, Shmuel - and for the implicit correction: in March it's the equinox, not the solstice.

      We did, of course, eventually talk with our daughters about Purim and the issues it raises. But a young kids' party, with its attendant chaos, wasn't the right time for that.

  • Beinart calls West Bank 'non-democratic Israel'
    • According to Arutz Sheva, the settler news service, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics reported in January that as of the end of 2010, there were 327,800 settlers in the West Bank (excluding "East Jerusalem") and an estimated 230,000 in East Jerusalem. (The ICBS website has numbers only through 2009 - apparently Arutz Sheva has access to unpublished data.)

      The official figure for the Golan Heights through 2009 is "only" 17,600 settlers.

      BTW, in January the CIA World Factbook finally updated their count of Israeli settlers to match the 2009 numbers from the Israelis. For the previous six months - ever since I and then NPR's ombudsman exposed the fact that the factbook had been using the same settler population numbers since 2003, even while claiming they were up-to-date - the CIA site had said they were "reviewing" their count.

  • Urban Outfitters visits Tel Aviv
  • 'Washington Post' says repeatedly, the West Bank is part of Israel
    • How often does Jennifer Rubin's "work" appear in the paper WaPo, as opposed to the website? Did this particular column appear in print? Things that get into the actual paper still have much more impact, I think; an online post is just one among millions, even if it is on the WaPo site. When Phil or anyone else cites something from WaPo or NYT, it would be helpful, IMO, to make clear (when possible) whether the piece appeared on paper or only online.

  • Next, Palestine
  • Neo-Cons: Egypt shows Bush as prophet and the demise of 'Arab Exceptionalism'
    • >A quick google check indicates that [the phrase “Arab exceptionalism”] may have been coined in these very articles.

      It seems to be true that the phrase hasn't been used much on the web until recent weeks, but it goes back much further in academic political science literature. There is, for example, an extensive discussion of it in a book called "Democracy Without Democrats? The Revival of Politics in the Muslim World," which was first published in 1994.

  • How do you say ‘All the news that’s fit to print’ in Arabic?
  • Times' Kershner uses biased Turkel history to report on biased Turkel report
    • The references from the Times saying the Israeli blockade was imposed after the "Hamas takeover" in 2007 are no doubt useful in exposing the lie Kershner borrowed from Turkel, but we should all remember that the 2007 dating is also bogus. As Tuyzenfloot correctly observes, what happened then was just a tightening of the "diet" the Israelis began to impose immediately after Hamas' famously free and fair electoral victory in January 2006. The 2006-2007 siege got even less coverage in the U.S. media than the later blockade, but that doesn't mean it wasn't disastrous for the people of Gaza. Here's the beginning of a report by Conal Urquhart in the Observer of London in April 2006:

      An empty watchtower overlooks a deserted road lined with rusting vehicle parts. The only traffic is a pregnant bitch and a mule and cart. This is Gaza's economic lifeline, the Karni crossing into Israel, which is supposed to handle 1,300 containers of merchandise and food per day in order to sustain 1.3 million people.
      But nothing is entering or leaving Gaza, and now the funds to purchase what is available there are also drying up, bringing the dire situation of its people to a new and febrile crisis.

      Karni is officially closed because the Israeli army has declared a security alert for the Jewish Passover holiday. Yet it has barely been open this year. The effect is a paralysis of Gaza's commerce and severe shortages of basic foods. Not that the locals are in a position to buy what food there is. There is little money because the European Union, Canada and the United States have stopped funding the aid-dependent Palestinian Authority, which can no longer pay its staff's wages.

      The result is that families are existing on tiny amounts of money and businesses are facing collapse. Palestinian areas in the West Bank face similar difficulties, but the situation in Gaza is much more severe. John Ging, the Gaza director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said that, while he did not expect people to starve, 'the clock is ticking towards a crisis'.

      In fact, if you look at the big picture, even 2006 wasn't the beginning, just a new tactical phase in a regime of economic pressure that had been going on since around 1994, when Israel put up the wall around the Gaza Strip and began what Sara Roy calls the "de-development" of Gaza.

  • When Livni spoke of ethnic transfer, Abu Alaa said only solution is 'binational state from sea to river'
    • Another choice comment from Livni, this one from a Nov. 13, 2007 meeting, where she and Abu Ala (Qurei) were discussing what should be included in the "terms of reference" for the upcoming Annapolis meeting (the eighth meeting on this question):

      AA: International law?
      TL: NO. I was the Minister of Justice. I am a lawyer…But I am against law -- international law in particular. Law in general.
      If we want to make the agreement smaller, can we just drop some of these issues? Like international law, this will make the agreements easier.

      She should form a group - Anarchists for the Wall...

  • Al Jazeera publishes bombshell leak concerning the peace process; ex-CIA official 'The overwhelming conclusion one draws from this record is that the process for a two-state solution is essentially over'
    • On the media front: The headlines on "All Things Considered" tonight included a fairly long report from Linda Gradstein about the Israeli commission that "investigated" the flotilla attack and concluded that it was all fine (or, as one Haaretz columnist put it today, "We have probed ourselves, and it turns out we were excellent, just as we thought"). is giving high play to a story on the same subject on their front page. But not a word about the documents - nothing on ATC (even the late headlines) and so far nothing, even wire-service copy, at

  • British double standard on recognizing Palestine lets Israel off the hook
    • Nima Shirazi mentions U.N. Security Council Resolution 478, adopted in response to the "Jerusalem Law" Israel enacted in 1980. It passed by 14 in favor, none opposed, and the U.S. abstaining. As Obama and rest of the world dither in the face of Israel's ever accelerating campaign to Judaize the entire city, I think it's worth reading this remarkable document in full:

      Resolution 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980

      The Security Council,

      Recalling its resolution 476 (1980),

      Reaffirming again that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible,

      Deeply concerned over the enactment of a "basic law" in the Israeli Knesset proclaiming a change in the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, with its implications for peace and security,

      Noting that Israel has not complied with resolution 476 (1980),

      Reaffirming its determination to examine practical ways and means, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, to secure the full implementation of its resolution 476 (1980), in the event of non-compliance by Israel,

      1. Censures in the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the "basic law" on Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions;

      2. Affirms that the enactment of the "basic law" by Israel constitutes a violation of international law and does not affect the continued application of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since June 1967, including Jerusalem;

      3. Determines that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the recent "basic law" on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith;

      4. Affirms also that this action constitutes a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;

      5. Decides not to recognize the "basic law" and such other actions by Israel that, as a result of this law, seek to alter the character and status of Jerusalem and calls upon:

      (a) All Member States to accept this decision;

      (b) Those States that have established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions from the Holy City;

      6. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the implementation of the present resolution before 15 November 1980;

      7. Decides to remain seized of this serious situation.

      Adopted at the 2245th meeting by 14 votes to none, with 1 abstention (United States of America).

  • Hunting the neocons
    • Awesome. Thanks a lot, Max.

    • >you can pretend that Hanieh, Nitzan, Bichler, and Ash don’t exist

      For those of us who don't want to pretend, can you elaborate, Max? First names at a minimum, titles or links better, summaries of their arguments best. Thanks.

  • UN says demolitions of Palestinian houses in occupation jumped 60 percent, '09 to '10, keeping pace with settlement boom
    • Among the structures destroyed: in one day last month, in the midst of a severe drought, the Israelis destroyed 13 cisterns belonging to Palestinian families in the South Hebron Hills. Some had been built under Jordanian rule (pre-1967); others were built during the Israeli occupation with the help of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

      Ta'ayush, a wonderful organization that does heroic work in the Hebron hills as well as among the Bedouin within Israel, is collecting money to rebuild the destroyed cisterns - see here. If you, like me, can't get the YouTube clip to play from that page, you can also find it here.

  • There is no substitute for seeing it for yourself - Travel to Israel/Palestine with Interfaith Peace Builders in May 2011
    • re the video from the old city of Hebron (with my friend Issa doing the guiding): the first time I saw that grate and all the junk the settlers had thrown, I was sad and angry about the rocks, bottles, and so on, but when I really broke up was when I saw the dirty diapers...

  • Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and the silence of friends
    • I'm delighted to see my friend Jim Harris begin to expose Barbara Lee's hypocrisy here, but in at least one respect he is way too generous to her.

      Jim writes: "When news reached Barbara Lee of the wounding of Tristan Anderson, her constituent, by the Israeli military, by all reports Lee was genuinely concerned for his recovery and wanted an investigation into this tragedy."

      I can't say whether her concern was genuine, but I can point out the fact that Ms. Lee didn't say a word in public about Israel's shooting of Tristan Anderson until 11 days after it happened. And it wasn't because the news hadn't "reached" her: starting right after the incident (for those who don't know, Tristan had his skull shattered by a high-velocity tear gas canister fired directly at him), I and others called her office repeatedly to demand that she make a statement - and that she do something: specifically, that she use her position on the Congressional committee that every year initiates the legislation that gives Israel its military aid (the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee) to fight for an end to that aid.

      A week after the shooting, when she still hadn't said a word about Tristan, I let her office know that I was writing a column for the Berkeley Daily Planet about her silence, that I and others would raise the issue at an appearance she had scheduled at the Commonwealth Club, and that we would be leafleting at several readings she had planned at local bookstores to promote her book ("Renegade for Peace and Justice: Barbara Lee Speaks for Me"!!!). Only after that did she come up with a three-sentence statement about Tristan, in which she did indeed express concern for him and vowed to "press for answers about this tragic incident," but offered not a syllable of criticism of Israel.

      I actually went ahead and did the column I'd planned, then made it into a leaflet some of us handed out at her book readings. In it I compared her response in Tristan's case (and also the week and the street uprising that went by before she said a thing about the Jan. 1 police murder of Oscar Grant as he lay face down on a BART platform) to her reaction to the shooting of four Oakland cops that spring: in the latter case she put out not one but two press releases within 24 hours of the incident, and the day after that she was on the House floor (and on YouTube) delivering a six-minute tribute to these "fallen heroes." If anyone is curious, the column is still posted here.

      One thing to note about Rep. Lee: she could say almost anything about Israel, if she wanted to, and still not face any credible threat to her job. Ironically, she owes the lock she has on this district in part to her political courage - in being the only member of the House to vote against the Congressional authorization for the use of force after 9/11. Too bad that courage doesn't extend to Palestine!

  • Two provocative leftwing pieces on Israeli politics appear over there (never in the U.S., we're not ready)
  • The lobby has been broken because... Israel isn't good for the Jews
    • The problem I have with this post, Phil, is that the power of the lobby has never really rested on the support of the masses of Jews. The real bases of its power are the resources - not just the raw dollars, but also the organizational networks, control over the media and think-tanks and universities, etc. - of a small elite of super-rich, ideologically committed Jews, and there's no evidence that many of that group (or even their children) are abandoning their enthusiasm for the Zionist cause.

      At least from 1967 until now their position has been buttressed by the support of the Jewish masses, so to speak. Now, as you rightly observe, they're losing some of that support, and in some ways that will make things harder for them. But it's a huge leap to go from that observation to saying their power is broken, since they still have most of their resources.

      Just look at all those congresspeople who go down on their knees for the lobby every week. How many of them are doing it because their political fortunes depend on Jewish votes? Maybe a few from NYC, Florida, and LA. For the rest it's not votes but contributions, media backing, etc., that they're after - or that they fear will go to someone else if they stray too far. That whole dynamic remains even if a majority of Jews no longer cares whether they vote for those stupid AIPAC resolutions. (Besides, note that we're nowhere near having won over a majority of U.S. Jews yet.)

      To put it another way, the lobby is more like a mafia than a mass movement. They've enjoyed having a mass movement - the overwhelming majority of American Jews - behind them over Israel, but if they have to, they'll soldier on with only part of the US Jewish community cheering for them.

  • Adidas weighs withdrawal of sponsorship of Jerusalem Int'l Marathon that goes thru occupied villages
    • The Coteret article Phil links to is dated Dec. 12. I just did a little googling and came up with the following Jan. 2 entry at a blog called "Israel matzav":

      Jerusalem Marathon route changed

      Adidas has caved in to the threat of an international boycott, the Jerusalem City Council has caved in to Adidas, and the Jerusalem Marathon will be rerouted not to take in any areas of Jerusalem that were liberated in 1967, including the Jewish neighborhoods in those parts of the city.

      The Jerusalem Municipality had decided to change the course of the Jerusalem Marathon. The new route will not include running paths in areas of Jerusalem that were added to the city after 1967. Last month, two Meretz members of the Jerusalem City Council asked Adidas, which I sponsoring the marathon, to pull out of its sponsorship, threatening to start an international campaign accusing the company of supporting “occupation.”

      Municipality officials denied that it was pressure from Adidas that led to the change of the route. In a statement, a city spokesperson said that the municipality was hoping to keep politics out of the event.

      Maybe they forgot to point that out to the 'loyal opposition.'

      The blog is written by "Carl in Jerusalem," whose description of himself begins: "I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991."

  • Collective punishment: Wikileaks doc says Israel kept Gaza on 'brink of collapse' partly as response to capture of Gilad Shalit
  • One family in Gaza
    • I've seen scores of movies and videos about Gaza, including at least half a dozen since Cast Lead, and this one got to me more than any of the others - I think because it is so tightly focused on a single family. Thanks and congratulations, Jen, on a job beautifully done!

  • Gaza youth breaks out with a 'manifesto for change'
  • My wife's Christmas message
    • Suggestion for a last-minute Christmas gift for her: make another sign that says "Free Bradley" - IMO he's the real hero in this story, and he's paying a much higher price. If you don't want to make your own, you can get her a free "bike sticker" that says "Free Bradley Manning - Exposing War Crimes is Not a Crime" here.

  • Smearing Private Manning
  • 'I was as blind as the average left-of-center American. And then I spent a week in Ramallah and Bethlehem--'
    • It's great that your correspondent was so transformed by going to Ramallah and Bethlehem. But since those towns are actually bubbles - each in its own way - maybe you could suggest to her that she try Hebron and the villages in the south Hebron hills on her next trip. And maybe Rafah and Khan Younis on the one after that. By then she'll be a raving revolutionary...

  • Palestinian farmer watches settlers burn 19 of his sheep, killing 12
    • FWIW, Arutz Sheva, the settler news service, is now carrying a story entitled "Leftists Caught Red-Handed: ‘Burning Sheep’ Libel Was Faked".

      It claims that Samir Bani Fadel, the farmer whose sheep were burned, actually set the fire himself: "Fadel finally admitted to police the whole story was a lie and that he was responsible for the fire, which he set to burn thorns before it spread beyond control. Blaming Jews not only would have saved him from the embarrassment of having burned his own sheep, it also would allow him to claim damages from the government while being hailed as a hero among Palestinian Authority Arabs and left-wing anti-Zionists."

      It refers specifically to Phil, among others.

  • 'Hey AIPAC leave Iran alone!' --Flashmob strikes AIPAC event in Oakland-- 7 arrests
    • My favorite among the signs outside: "AIPAC of lies"

    • Among those arrested were two survivors of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Janet Kobren and Gene St. Onge. Gene didn't get out of jail until 3:30 a.m. Here's his explanation:

      I'm back from captivity now and would love to tell you about how I was tortured but still refused to give names. Unfortunately, the reason I was kept until 3:30AM, about 2 1/2 hours after everyone else was set free, was because I refused to eat a bologna sandwich! That's right - it was as simple as that. I was put in a cell with Peter Tcherneff, who's a strong animal rights activist, among other things, and a vegan. So, when they gave us our 'dinner' of bologna sandwiches, cookies and oranges at about 9 PM or so, I told them I couldn't eat it (at least not in front of him) and asked for more cookies and oranges. The deputy, a short man with a large attitude, then said he would see what he had downstairs and get back to me. After waiting 2 hours for food (shades of my treatment in Israeli prison), I asked again. Apparently I was out of order in doing so, so he sent me to solitary confinement and, after further protests from me, threw me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In return, though, I had to wait in jail another 2 1/2 hours!

      Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!

  • ‘End Military Aid to Israel’ campaign comes to BART
  • WikiLeaks docs expose Egyptian complicity with Israeli war crimes (again)
    • >We still don’t know who is paying Mubarak to supply guards
      >for the western wall of the Gaza Concentration Camp.

      We don't?!? I do. The following is from the U.S. State Department website, and undoubtedly it's an underestimation:

      An important pillar of the bilateral relationship remains U.S. security and economic assistance to Egypt, which expanded significantly in the wake of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty in 1979. U.S. military aid to Egypt totals over $1.3 billion annually. In addition, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided over $28 billion in economic and development assistance to Egypt since 1975. ...

      U.S. military cooperation has helped Egypt modernize its armed forces and strengthen regional security and stability. Under Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programs, the U.S. has provided F-4 jet aircraft, F-16 jet fighters, M-60A3 and M1A1 tanks, armored personnel carriers, Apache helicopters, antiaircraft missile batteries, aerial surveillance aircraft, and other equipment. The U.S. and Egypt also participate in combined military exercises, including deployments of U.S. troops to Egypt. Every other year, Egypt hosts Operation Bright Star, a multilateral military exercise with the U.S., and the largest military exercise in the region. Units of the U.S. 6th Fleet are regular visitors to Egyptian ports.”

  • The opening of an American mind: Chalmers Johnson
    • FWIW, Johnson didn't invent the term "military-industrial-congressional complex" - according to numerous sources, Eisenhower himself intended to use it (instead of just "military-industrial complex") in his farewell address, and it's contained in some drafts of the speech, but he dropped it from the final version, apparently to avoid offending the congressional leadership.

      See, for example, link to :
      "In the penultimate draft of the address, Eisenhower initially used the term military-industrial-congressional complex, and thus indicated the essential role that the United States Congress plays in the propagation of the military industry. But, it is said, that the president chose to strike the word congressional in order to placate members of the legislative branch of the federal government."

  • NPR's Holocaust obsession
    • What do you mean that I'm "remaining silent here" - just that I haven't responded to your posts?

      As for "Avoiding the Shoa? Even forgetting it?" nothing in my post suggests that, because it's certainly not what I believe. Note my response yesterday about my personal visits to various Holocaust memorial sites. But a) I don't see why NPR should devote so much of its *news* broadcasts to distant history, and b) to the extent they do want to devote news time to historical issues, they should not privilege the killing of the Jews, as they clearly do, but give equal treatment to all such crimes and tragedies, with (I'd say) special emphasis to those that took place on this continent: the dispossession and extermination of the native Americans, black slavery, etc.

    • Maybe I should add that I've visited Auschwitz several times, and Treblinka and Majdanek and Anne Frank's house and the Holocaust Museum, and I was deeply moved by all of it. But I've also spent six months in the occupied Palestinian territories (the last two in Hebron, god help me), and I know a crime when I see one, whoever the perps may be...

    • Yup, I'm Jewish - born, circumcised, Hebrew-schooled (not that I learned anything there), and bar-mitzvahed, in a Conservative temple.

      On the other hand, ever since I was a teen-ager I've believed that one of the best things about Bolshevism was the League of the Militant Godless. It seems, though, that doesn't disqualify me from commenting on the Holocaust.

  • Do liberal zionists think that international law should be ignored because Israel will never adhere to it?
    • But eee, you've already stolen 42 percent of your "Mexico," you take more every day, and you subject all the "Mexicans" to daily harassment, humiliation, repression, and violence on the part of your settlers, soldiers, and police. You can't have it both ways: If you want the occupied territories to be a separate country, get the hell out of them. If you want to keep control of the whole area, you have to choose between allowing the population the legal and political rights of citizens, with all the consequences that entails for your dream of a Jewish state, or trying maintain an apartheid system as long as you can. But if you continue down that second road, do you really doubt that you'll face ever-growing moral, legal, political, and economic pressure?

  • Why did Saban and other Jewish donors give a man charged with espionage $670,000?
    • Follow-up: I just read Stein's story in the WaPo, and he offers the same answer to Phil's question:

      "He said his next move is to show that AIPAC, Washington’s major pro-Israeli lobbying group by far, regularly traffics in sensitive U.S. government information, especially material related to the Middle East.

      “I will introduce documentary evidence that AIPAC approved of the receipt of classified information,” he said by e-mail....Rosen said he would produce “statements of AIPAC employees to the FBI, internal documents, deposition statements, public statements and other evidence showing that [the] receipt of classified information by employees other than [himself] ... was condoned … for months prior to being condemned in March 2005 after threats from the prosecutors.”

    • Why are Saban et al. paying off Rosen? M.J. Rosenberg answers that question in his latest column at link to : Rosen is threatening to tell all about AIPAC if they don't pay him off, and he apparently kept a stash of 180 documents to back up his case. In other words, it's hush money.

  • Goosebumps video links American sacrifices in civil rights struggle to Palestinian protesters' travails
    • "It Isn't Nice" isn't "Barbara Dane's civil-rights anthem" - she does a nice rendition here, but Malvina Reynolds wrote it.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham says U.S. should 'neuter' Iran
    • The link to the source of the Graham comment doesn't work. One place where it's reported is link to

      The Israelis and their allies had been relatively quiet about Iran in recent weeks. That was evidently a tactical maneuver around the US elections. Now that they're over, the pressure for attacking Iran is increasing again. Besides Graham's comment, there was David Broder's column the other day. And today the lead story in Ha'aretz is entitled "Netanyahu to tell Biden: Only military threat can stop Iran." An excerpt: "During his meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in New Orleans, Netanyahu is expected to take a harsher stance than before regarding the Iranian program, after keeping a fairly low profile on the matter of late."

  • Brooklyn-Jenin: Wars of the Jews
    • >>On the day that the government of Israel declared that the state
      >>was a Jewish and Fascist state, several filmmakers were interviewed, >>including the maker of Lebanon.

      Are some words missing here? I don't understand: who's "the maker of Lebanon"?

  • Turn right at the end: The future of a country that gave up on democracy
    • Great pix, but (like most of the commentary from liberal Israeli Jews about the fascist trend in Israeli politics) they're almost entirely about the likely effects of these developments on liberal Jews. Except perhaps for the reference to the Nakba, one would hardly know from these pix that the Palestinians even exist, let alone that they've been suffering much worse forms of oppression for 63 or 43 years.

  • What does effective solidarity with Palestinians look like in the US?
    • Thanks for those courageous observations, Jo.

      Myself, I've always, in all contexts, cringed at "Long live the Intifada" chant - I want it not to have a long life, but to succeed and be over with as soon as possible, so the Palestinians can finally have what virtually every one of them I've talked to says s/he wants: a normal life!

  • Abergil redux: YouTube video shows IDF soldier dancing beside bound Palestinian woman
    • Actually, that video has been online not for weeks but for years! If you go to the YouTube page where it's posted, you can see that it's been there since April 20, 2008. It's funny - since the Ha'aretz article appeared, the story has been picked up by the AP, CNN, the New York Times, and scores of other outlets, but none that I've seen has noticed how old the video is. (In fairness, I fell into the same trap: I posted a link to it on my Facebook last night, after I read the Ha'aretz story, but a friend who remembered seeing it before clued me in about how old it is.)

  • More on Jewish racism towards Palestinians
    • Kathleen wrote "thanks to [among others] ... Jimmy Carter ... light bulbs are turning on in peoples heads about the racism in Israel." Yes, more and more people are waking up to this, but I'm afraid I have to disagree about Carter. In his 2006 book and the media appearances he did around it, he certainly made a brave and important contribution to educating Americans about the situation in the occupied territories, and that will always be to his credit despite the appalling apology he extended to the Jewish community last year. But in the book's paeans to the "democracy" he claims is thriving on the Israeli side of the Green Line, he consistently omitted any reference to racism and its consequences, and in at least one place (p.189-190 in the hardcover) he declares that the conflict, unlike South Africa's, is not about race but about land - as if the two can be separated in Zionism!

      Considering how explicit, vicious, and pervasive Israeli racism is, it's hard to believe that any honest person could miss it, particularly someone who grew up in the American South and has always seemed relatively perceptive about the forms racism took and takes there. I've always wondered if perhaps he didn't miss it in Israel, but made the tactical choice to duck it in the book.

  • Hasn't 'demographic bogey' argument for Zionism passed its sell-by date?
    • >Soffer, a former adviser to Sharon, offers the Zionist answer
      >to rightwinger Moshe Arens's call for a binational state.

      Soffer offers a *different* Zionist answer, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that Arens and the other right-wingers throwing around the idea of formally incorporating the West Bank (and not Gaza) into Israel have suddenly abandoned Zionism. The differences between him and them may be important, but they are about strategy toward a shared objective - preserving Jewish supremacy in the "Holy Land.".

      In other words, this is a dispute among thieves.

  • An American sees the occupation for the first time and--
    • >"We went to Bethlehem ... and it was the worst."

      Next time you guys are in Palestine, you should spend some time in al-Khalil/Hebron - makes Bethlehem seem like Club Med.

  • Poll: Israel continues to lose support in the US, especially among liberals
    • >There are some serious internal divisions looming within the Democratic >Party. What happens when a critical majority of the base, not only voters
      >but party activists, realize ...

      What happens? Approximately the same thing that happened when Obama funneled trillions to Wall Street, supported immunity for the telecoms for illegal wiretapping, gave up on closing Guantanamo, surged into Afghanistan, abandoned single-payer healthcare and even the (lame) public option, etc. - in short, nothing at all, except that some of the activists stay home and the Republicans gain ground.

      Washington is occupied territory, and the occupiers aren't going to give up because of a poll.

  • The question of apartheid in Israel/Palestine
    • I have enormous respect for Michael Sfard, and I know the view he espouses in this clip - that Israel is approaching apartheid but isn't there yet - is extremely common, even among people (like him) who actually know a lot about the condition of the Palestinians. But I can't for the life of me understand this assessment. Sure, if you define apartheid as "the system they used to have in South Africa," then of course there are many differences and there always will be. And if you think apartheid exists only when a minority dominates a majority, then we're not quite there yet in terms of the population between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

      But international law - specifically, the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid - doesn't require that conditions be identical to those in pre-1994 South Africa, nor does it apply only in cases of minority rule - in fact, the words "minority" and "majority" donn't even appear in the text. People who want to argue about this issue really should read the Convention, specifically the definition that makes up Article II:

      For the purpose of the present Convention, the term "the crime of apartheid", which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa, shall apply to the following inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them:

      (a) Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups of the right to life and liberty of person:

      (i) By murder of members of a racial group or groups;

      (ii) By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

      (iii) By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups;

      (b) Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or in part;

      (c) Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups, in particular by denying to members of a racial group or groups basic human rights and freedoms, including the right to work, the right to form recognized trade unions, the right to education, the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;

      (d) Any measures including legislative measures, designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups, the prohibition of mixed marriages among members of various racial groups, the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof;

      (e) Exploitation of the labour of the members of a racial group or groups, in particular by submitting them to forced labour;

      (f) Persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid.

      On the basis of that definition, can there really be any question about whether Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid?

  • 'NYT' and 'LAT' don't want to call a settlement a settlement
    • FWIW, not all of Gilo is "a spanking new settlement" - parts of it, including as I recall many of the high rises, date back to the mid- or late 1970s. Not that that makes it any less illegal or immoral. It's just a reminder that w/r/t the West Bank the latest land grabs - for example, for Givat Yael, a huge new settlement the Israelis are planning next to Gilo - are just the continuation of a process that has been rolling along on its merry way for 43 years, with scarcely a peep from the rest of the world. It's easy to understand why most Israelis think all this is just normal development of their "neighborhoods," since the world has treated the process as such, de facto, for so long.

  • Border charade
    • >these borders that deny political self-determination to the Palestinians
      >are the outcome of the ongoing policy of Likudnik Zionists for 40 years...

      Please, Phil, let's not perpetuate the illusion that the Likud is solely or even primarily responsible for Israel's policy of colonization and occupation. It's well known that the settlement policy began when Labor was in power, and the settler population increased most rapidly during later periods of Labor rule. Unfortunately, these policies are part of the Israeli consensus, shared across all the major Jewish political parties. They may not all like the settlers, but they have all assisted them and continue to do so.

  • Tony Judt rose to the occasion
    • A transcript of the Cooper Union debate Phil cites is here.

      Judt's reference to Koestler on that occasion was less extensive than in the speech Tuyzentfloot cites, but the gist is the same:

      TJ: Sixty years ago, very near to this room Arthur Koestler stood up and gave a lecture about, then a fairly new phenomenon, that is the rise of the cold war, the emergence of the Soviet Block, and so on and talked very angrily and very energetically about everything that was wrong with it, wrong with communism and why ratify it, this goes from an ex-communist.

      And he was accused in the room while he was speaking of bringing aid and comfort to what was not yet called McCarthyism or what was soon going to be McCarthyism. You are saying the kind of things that verge on McCarthyism, Nixonism as it was then called, you shouldn’t say this kind of stuff, it helps them and his answer that was very simple.

      You cannot help it if idiots and bigots share your views for their reasons. That doesn’t mean that you can be taught with their views. You have your views and they should be judged on their merits and it worries me that the very first thing we do when someone writes a controversial essay, whatever it’s academic standing, about the Israel lobby, about relations between this country and Israel. The first question is not, what is the truth or falcity of the substance of it, but how much does it come close to anti-semitism, does it help the anti-semites should we not have said it, because of anti-semitism issue, this seems to me to close down conversation with this country

  • Israelis kill an American. No story here
    • Since there's no little grey note at the bottom of Cohen's column saying that it appeared in print on page such-and-such, I'm assuming that they ran it just on the website and not in the paper - is that correct?

      How about the International Herald Tribune - anyone know if it was printed there?

  • The new mixed-Jewish establishment
    • Not sure whether this has been posted here before, but Eric Walberg has collected some interesting info (mainly from the Des Moines Register) about Chelsea's new father-in-law, who was a pioneer in "Nigerian" e-mail scams and was characterized by the federal prosecutor as a "one-man crime wave." From Walberg:

      Chelsea Clinton's new father-in-law, Ed Mezvinsky, was a Congressman from Iowa 1973-76. After his 1976 defeat, he and 2nd wife relocated to suburban Philadelphia. Together, they raised eleven children, several of whom were adopted.In the early 1980s he opened a number of businesses, including grain export, medical instrument companies and a series of get-rich quick schemes with African businessmen, including but not limited to Nigerian email scams.

      None of the businesses worked well, and between 1995 and 2000, Mezvinsky executed 165 transactions under $!0,000—evidence of classic restructuring behavior to avoid reporting large amounts of income. He charmed investors, including close friends and friends of friends; and became close to, among others, Bill and Hillary Clinton.

      Eventually, his fraudulent business deals caught up with him and in 2001 he was charged with 66 counts of fraud, totally at least $10.4 million. Among the frauds he was accused of was a classic Ponzi scheme, in which he spent his wife's inheritance, used checks from her congressional account and cheated his mother-in-law out of $300,000. He pleaded insanity, claiming his bipolar disorder didn't allow him to see the downside of his risky investments.

      Mezvinsky was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to nearly 7 years. He was released in 2008.

      link to (=an article from the Des Moines Register)
      link to

  • Why I'm voting for Eisenhower over Obama
    • Thanks for posting about this instructive episode, Phil. As it happens, I've been fascinated by it ever since I wrote a term paper about the Suez crisis in 1963 (!!), and I wrote my own column about it earlier this year: A History Lesson for Obama. A couple of observations:

      a) Your introduction suggests that the dispute between Eisenhower and Ben Gurion was about Israel's withdrawal "from Egypt," and the passages you quote from the Balls' account don't identify the land in question any more specifically. In fact, by the time they're writing about, the Israelis had already withdrawn (grudgingly, under pressure from the US, the UN, and everyone else) from most of the Egyptian territory they seized in the Suez war in November, 1956. (As they left, in that oh-so-charming way of theirs, they destroyed much of the city of El Arish, razed several villages to the ground, systematically destroyed telephone and telegraph lines, and broke up the railroad and paved roads with what was described as "an ingenious giant plow-like device." I wonder whether it was manufactured by Caterpillar?) UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold protested that the destruction was a violation of the cease-fire terms, but that obviously didn't cut much ice with Ben Gurion.

      By the end of January 1957, the Israelis were holding on to just two pieces of occupied territory: one was a small strip along the Gulf of Aqaba, which Ben Gurion wanted to keep until he got strong international guarantees of Israel's rights of marine access, and the other was the Gaza Strip, which, as he told the Knesset on January 23, Israel intended to keep permanently. (He claimed it was part of the inheritance of the tribe of Judah.) The Knesset even passed a resolution declaring that they were keeping it.

      The Aqaba issue was eventually resolved without too much trouble - the US supported Israel's claim to access, Eisenhower proclaimed that the US was prepared to enforce it, and Ben Gurion accepted that. The real sticking point in February, the period the Balls describe, was Gaza.

      b) My only gripe about their account is that they pass so quickly over Eisenhower's TV address on Feb. 20, 1957, which I think is a critical part of the story: if he hadn't had the courage and ability to lay out the situation to the American people as plainly and forcefully as he did in that speech, he never would have been able to stand up to the Israel lobby and their allies in the media and the Democratic party (LBJ in particular). Remember that TV was new in those days, and it was a big deal - as I guess it still is - for the president to deliver a live address to the nation. And the demand for Israel's withdrawal was not just some passing comment - it was the focus of the entire speech. The text is posted here, and it's well worth a read, particularly in light of arguments (such as those made in Jerome Slater's recent postings) that a U.S. president can't really afford to challenge Israel because of the domestic political balance. The amazing thing about Eisenhower was that he didn't accept that balance as given and immutable, even in the short run - he set out to change it. Would that we had a president of equal courage and integrity today!

      c) The Zionists like to claim that Eisenhower soon came to regret standing up to Ben Gurion, not just about Gaza but about all of the Sinai. I don't know whether there's any truth to that (I never read his memoirs - anyone know whether he discusses this episode there?) - my suspicion is that they're making it up. A column in the Jerusalem Post just a few months ago had an alleged quote from Ike about this.

  • Slater responds to the 'Obamaphilia' charge
    • Building on what Sin Nombre, lysias, and other commenters have already said:

      As I see it, the fundamental problem with both Professor Slater's original blog and today's defense of it is that they take the current ideological climate and political balance as given and then ask what Obama can do. If you accept that given, Slater's answer is indisputable.

      But what if Obama, like Eisenhower in 1956-57, actually took the offensive and tried to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to *change* the politics of the situation?

      I'm not talking about him endorsing Hamas or even calling for a secular democratic state with equal rights for everyone who lives there (what a crazy radical idea!). But what if he went on TV and said:

      "Look, we love Israel, we have long-standing ties to Israel, we remember the Holocaust, we're not going to abandon them, Judeo-Chtristian values, blah blah blah. But what they're doing is just crazy - it's endangering them and us and everyone else. Everybody knows what has to happen if there's ever going to be peace in the Middle East: as a first step, Israel has to get out of all the territory they conquered in 1967. That's been the official policy of the US government and almost every other government for the last 43 years, and it's enshrined in dozens of UN resolutions (Security Council resolutions we supported as well as General Assembly votes we opposed), rulings of the World Court, etc.

      "But the Israelis have been playing us all for fools throughout those 43 years, stringing us along, defying the UN, rattling on about a "peace process" that's all process and no peace - and all the while continuing to steal more and more Palestinian land every week.

      "Worse, they've done it all on our dime - we've already given them between $100 billion and $300 billion (depending on how you calculate) of *your* taxpayer dollars, not to mention the billions more we spend every years to buy off the dictators of Egypt and Jordan. Per capita, we give every Israeli man, woman, and child more than $400 a year, compared to $21 per Haitian, and $14.50 per African - even though Israel is now one of the 25 richest countries in the world.

      "All this makes no sense, and I'm not going to do it anymore. We're ending the military aid, and we're not going to give them cover at the UN any more. And I'm going to repeat what Dwight Eisenhower said in 1957: either they get out of the territory they've seized illegally or we put economic sanctions on them until they do."

      Obviously Obama isn't about to do anything like that. But if he did, I'm sure he'd have enormous support from much of the public, and even some of Congress would come around. Sure, it would be a political gamble, but it's either that or continue the status quo. And if he took similarly bold progressive positions on other issues - taxing the rich, putting the unemployed to work rebuilding our infrastructure and converting to clean energy, etc. - and really set out to convince and mobilize the American people behind that program, he just might win.

      And if not, we wouldn't be any worse off than we are now, and he'd be recognized around the world and in history as a hero.

  • 'Birthright' trip visits occupied Hebron, w/ nationalist tourguide celebrating 'our right to the land'
    • I don't know about Birthright, but in the summer of 2006, when I was living in the Tel Rumeida section of Hebron/al-Khalil, just down the street from the Tel Rumeida settlement, busloads of visiting tourists, mainly from the US, arrived just about every day.

      One delegation from Birthright Unplugged also came to visit.

  • Zionists rebuffed by Bay Area longshore workers
  • Petraeus braintrust says 'pragmatic' and representative Hamas must be included in Palestinian gov't
    • What ever gave you the idea that the old State Department Arabists listened to the Arab street, Phil, except perhaps for intelligence about how to manipulate or repress the masses? As far as I know, they were listening to the Arab rulers and to the oil companies. With respect to Palestine that certainly made them preferable to those who took/take their orders directly from Tel Aviv or AIPAC, but let's not delude ourselves about their real interests!

  • Nicholas Kristof: 'The occupation is morally repugnant'
    • Check out the photo at the top of Andrew Sullivan's "How is this not apartheid?" piece, and then read the caption at the bottom. It says the Palestinian guy "fights ... with Israeli border police," but what the photo actually shows is one cop dragging him by the neck, another holding his left arm, and his right arm apparently just hanging loose.

      Probably the caption came from the photo service, so I'm not blaming Sullivan, but it's an interesting instance of subtle manipulation.

  • 'Fresh Air' gets Gaza's history wrong
    • from NPR's corrections page (link to :

      June 23, 2010
      Israel And Gaza: A Crack In The Stalemate
      Fresh Air from WHYY, June 22, 2010

      Our guest misstated the year of Hamas' election victory. The elections were held in January 2006, not June 2007.

    • Thanks, David. I thought about using Dov Weisglass's 2006 "diet" comment in my note to NPR, but apparently Weisglass denies having made it. Of course I don't believe him for a minute - who would have made it up? - but in my many years of wrestling with NPR and other media operations, I've come to the realization that, from a tactical point of view, it's best to stick to points that are absolutely indisputable. If you bring up anything that's remotely debatable, even if the evidence for it is overwhelming, they'll focus on that and ignore any other issues you might be raising

      As for your question about the "diet" and the West Bank, it was mainly if not entirely aimed at Gaza. I was in al-Khalil (Hebron) from May to the end of July 2006, and though economic conditions were bad, I don't recall hearing or seeing anything suggesting that they were particularly deteriorating a that moment. In fact, the main economic problem I remember hearing about, aside from a temporary shortage of cooking gas at one point, was the flood of cheap Chinese goods (including shoes, traditionally one of the main products of the city, and even kaffiyehs!) that were imported by the Israelis, which were driving a lot of small Palestinian factories (really just workshops) out of business.

      Of course the Israelis never want any Palestinians (except maybe a few prized collaborators) to live well, but I do believe that the "diet" was specifically in response to the election of Hamas, which seems to have genuinely freaked out the Israelis, and Gaza was where Hamas was strongest. From the point of view of the Israelis, who have no real grasp of Palestinian sumud - steadfastness - I think they really believed they might be able to "persuade" the Gazans to go back into the grip of Fatah, not only by making them suffer, but also by showing them that things were a bit better in Fatahland.

    • Notice, eGuard, that I put Sara Roy's family background in parentheses and used the words "and also happens to be" - all to suggest that it's information that's incidental to the main point. Certainly it doesn't qualify her as an expert on Gaza, but I'm sure - she says it herself - that it has an effect on her perspective. And in the current U.S. mainstream political/cultural environment - in the eyes of people like Terry Gross and many of her listeners - the unfortunate reality is that it makes her more credible than if she didn't have that background.

    • "What did Terry Gross ever do that was so awful....?" Well, joining in the uncritical enthusiasm for the war on Iraq in 2002-2003, for one thing. She typically addresses "serious topics" (i.e., economics or politics, as opposed to the arts) a couple of times a week, usually when something in the New Yorker or the New York Times or a new book from a major mainstream catches her fancy. As for Diane Rehm and Tom Ashbrook, they're not broadcast here in the Bay Area, as far as I know. How do they deal with Palestine?

    • You can get "“The Gaza Strip: The Political Economy of De-development" for a mere $35.24 plus shipping at (in this case, it's the list price that's half the used price!): link to

      But unless you need all the gory details, you can get her basic argument from "Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict," a collection of her essays over 20 years, published in 2007 and still readily available for $25 or less.

  • Update from Oakland: Victory!
    • According to the schedule posted for at least the last week or so on the Zim web site, the ship was due to dock in Oakland at 2 p.m. yesterday and to leave again (for China) at 8 p.m. (The schedule is still there: link to ). For an action like this, though, the exact arrival time of the ship is irrelevant - the picket line has to be well established before the work shift begins. Since it was due during the day, we had to be there before the day shift began. Given that the ship apparently left LA on time the day before, and the weather was perfect, there's every reason to think that the reason it didn't arrive on schedule was that the bosses (at Zim, SSA, or higher up?) held it up in the hope that we would not be able to sustain the picket into the second shift, and they'd be able to pretend we had had no effect.

  • Blockade of 'Mavi Marmara' continues, stateside
  • 'LA Times' runs two incisive pieces on the conflict
    • Sanders' piece on Gaza seems quite accurate in most respects, with one notable exception: he writes that "Israel's blockade came in response to the 2006 capture of soldier Gilad Shalit and Hamas rocket fire at Israeli towns." In fact, it's well known and easily documented that the blockade began in response to Hamas' victory in the famously free and fair elections of January 2006. It was the following month - February 2006 - when Dov Weisglass, chief aide to Ariel Sharon, said "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet..."

  • House votes 410-4 to award another $205 million to--
    • FWIW, here's "House Hall of Fame" section of the most recent "report card" on Congress from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (link to, covering the current Congress through Feb. 15 of this year:

      Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) +9
      Nick Rahall (D-WV) +8
      John Olver (D-MA) +7
      Keith Ellison (D-MN) +7
      Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) +7
      Jim McDermott (D-WA) +7
      Pete Stark (D-CA) +6
      Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) +6
      John Dingell (D-MI) +6
      Betty McCollum (D-MN) +6
      Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) +6
      Jim Moran (D-VA) +6
      Lois Capps (D-CA) +5
      Sam Farr (D-CA) +5
      Bob Filner (D-CA) +5
      Barbara Lee (D-CA) +5
      George Miller (D-CA) +5
      Maxine Waters (D-CA) +5

      In the previous report card, covering the 109th Congress (2007-2008), Stark got a -2, one of the better scores in the California delegation, but behind Lee (-1) and Woolsey (0). Ron Paul and Kucinich got+3s, and Moran (these were the good old days) was rated +2.

      Lest anyone take these ratings too seriously, the highest score overall for the 109th Congress went to Dianne Feinstein (+4)!!!

    • re "the steel wall which will cut off all supplies for Gazans from the Egyptian end": Don't miss the BBC's recent update at link to .

      Some highlights:

      "Every problem has a solution. The Egyptian steel barrier was a problem but we found a solution," says Mohammed, a grimy-faced Gazan tunnel digger who didn't want to give his real name.
      Mohammed, covered in dust and dirt, is in the process of digging a 750m (2,460ft) smuggling tunnel from Gaza into Egypt. He says he's been digging it for 18 months.
      As he hauls up a plastic container of sand with an electric winch from the metre-wide tunnel shaft, he says the new underground Egyptian barrier aimed at stopping smuggling is a "joke."
      "We just cut through it using high-powered oxygen fuelled blow torches," he says.
      The Egyptian government says it began constructing the barrier along the Gaza-Egypt border last year. When finished it is meant to be 11km-long (seven miles), stretching down 18m (59ft) underground.
      According to Egypt it is made of bomb-proof, super-strength steel and is costing millions of dollars to build.

      Mohammed smiles when he hears this.
      "We pay around a $1,000 (£665) for a man with an oxygen-fuelled cutter to come and break through it. It takes up to three weeks to cut through but we get there in the end," he says.

      If they [Egypt] opened the border, we wouldn't need to dig tunnels. But until they do, we'll keep digging, whatever they do to try and stop us
      The BBC spoke to one man in Gaza employed to cut through the barrier. He said he could cut a metre-square hole through it in less than a day.
      This news will be embarrassing for Egypt's government.
      Encouraged by the United States which gives millions of dollars in military aid to Egypt every year, it says it is trying to crack down on smuggling into Gaza.
      The BBC asked the Egyptian government to comment on the fact that Gazans were already cutting through the barrier. The government has not yet responded.

  • Fogies shut their mouths amid new wave of idealism
    • Barbara Lee "an ally to the cause of cutting aid to Israel"? Gee, that's news to those of us who are her constituents! Please explain what she's ever done to end the aid. Maybe her vote today in favor of an extra $205 million for Israel and her votes in favor of every other bill authorizing and appropriating money for Israel - in the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, the Appropriations Committee, and the House as a whole - over many years are just elements of a clever strategy for putting an end to the aid?

      I certainly agree, though, that voters everywhere, but particularly in the districts of other members of the foreign operations subcommittees, need to press their reps about this.

      As for Jim Moran being "well known for his opposition of US aid to Israel and [having] the battle scars to prove it," yes, but note that he was one of the "Yes" votes today.

    • One thing I should have included: Rep. Lee, who calls herself (in her autobiography) "a renegade for peace and justice," felt compelled to sneak into the library through a side door, apparently in an effort to avoid having to walk past the 25 or 30 of us who had waited two hours for her. We responded to that by marching (quietly) into the library and lining the room where she was speaking - with our signs held high. Who knows what effect these things have, but at least she knows we're here, we're growing, and she can't get rid of us by offering some pious liberal platitudes as she signs the blank checks for Israel!

  • NPR report on West Bank expulsion order turns horror into a she-said/she-said debating point
    • One other aspect of this story: the conclusion of the online text (apparently not aired) grossly underestimates the number of settlers. The total for the West Bank and East Jerusalem is not "about 365,000," as reported in (non)transcript, but about 500,000. According to an IDF report quoted in Haaretz, there were 304,569 of them in the West Bank alone as of June 30, 2009. As for East Jerusalem, the figure of 200,000 is widely reported; the most recent official figure I've seen is 189,708 as of the end of 2007 (from the Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, cited by the Foundation for Middle East Peace).

      Although there's no real dispute about these numbers, for some reason NPR has a hard time getting them straight. Exactly a year ago they ran a story by Sheera Frenkel in which she declared that "An estimated 250,000 Jewish settlers are living on territory captured by Israel in 1967" - an estimate off by a factor of two! I complained at the time to their ombudsman, and she submitted it to the corrections department. Nothing happened for weeks, so I complained again. Lisa Shepherd asked for more documentation, so I sent them a whole treatise. Finally they posted a correction on the transcript - it's still at link to

  • Palestinian statelessness is an American Jewish achievement
  • All the nukes that's fit to print
    • Wow, what a lot of discussion!

      Getting back to James North's original post, I just want to point out that, predictably, NPR did the same thing as the NYT. On Tuesday they ran a pretty long analysis (long by their standards: 744 words, 4 minutes and 32 seconds on air) of Obama's "nuclear posture review." Reporter Mike Shuster managed to mention eight of the nine nuclear states, as well as Iran. Guess which nuclear power he missed?

      The closest he came was this statement at the end of the piece: "All of this doesn't take into account the smaller nuclear arsenals of China, France, and Britain, or the nuclear competition between India and Pakistan, or the hard cases in the Middle East and northeast Asia."

  • Judt's Algeria story suggests that years of civil war may lie before us
    • The New York Times did an interesting obituary of Jacques Massu (not Massau), the notorious "victor" in the battle of Algiers, when he died in 2002. According to the obit, "for much of the ensuing 40 years [after his time in Algeria], he was confronted, even haunted, by the tactics of torture systematically used" there. Sincerely or not (he always claimed he wasn't personally involved), he eventually agreed that France should officially acknowledge and condemn the use of torture. "Morally," he declared, "torture is something very ugly.''

      Something the leaders of the IDF, not to mention the US military, might want to keep in mind...

      The obit's at link to

  • Barghouthi: 'the day of student engagement against Jim Crow is coming'
  • Pinkwashing doesn't fly in SFO
    • What's supposed to be under those headings, Annie, are photos, not links. But I take it you're not seeing them, and I'm not either - just empty spaces and (depending on what browser one is using) the symbol for a broken graphic. I'm not sure what the problem is - they're just JPEGs, and Phil says they're working fine for him.

      I'll try to find out if they're posted anywhere else, and if so, I'll post a link. Sorry.

  • A Palestinian-American discovers that the State Department allows Israel to define his national identity
    • To Ahmed Moor, if you follow these comments: I just want to say that I really appreciate this post, as well as the others you've contributed here. They're beautifully written and add an important dimension otherwise mostly missing from this site. Keep 'em coming!

  • Two Palestinians are killed in a demo--but only Israelis count as witnesses
    • Not argue with the main thrust of this very well done post, but one detail is off: U.S. citizen and ISM activist Tristan Anderson is *not* effectively brain dead. He's still in the hospital, he's capable of little or no movement on one side, he's lost sight in one idea, and he has many other problems resulting from his injury, but he's made a lot of progress in recent months. He can even talk now.

      So what's to complain about?

  • Duke beats Baylor, by somewhere between 5 and 15 points
  • When it comes to E Jerusalem, 'NPR' misleads and misinforms
    • Peter Kenyon, an NPR reporter currently in Cairo, was kind enough to confirm what I thought I heard him say in their headlines this morning. Here's what he said:


      It shouldn't be a big deal that someone mentions this indisputable historical fact on air, but considering the general climate on NPR and the MSM in general, it's quite remarkable. Three cheers for Peter Kenyon!

    • Thanks, MRW (and to others here for your responses). In fact, I sent the piece yesterday to NPR's ombudsman, Lisa Shepard, and to a guy named Loren Jenkins, who is, I'm told, the editor in charge of Middle East coverage. I sent it by e-mail rather than paper. Do you have some reason to think paper would be more effective?

      Interestingly, but probably coincidentally, in their hourly headlines this morning they had a report from Cairo by Peter Kenyon, in which I _believe_ he said that the international community has never recognized Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem! I was just waking up, so I'm not entirely certain I heard him correctly. I went to to listen again, but Kenyon's segment was not included in the online version of the hourly headlines. It's not inconceivable that some Zionist higher-up pulled it between the time I heard it on the radio and when I got to the website, but more likely it just got replaced with some newer item - they update the headlines frequently. They don't post transcripts of their headlines, so I can't check.

      Did anyone else hear Kenyon's report?

  • Bummer
  • Hosanna, 'NYT' columnist notions one-state without getting Tasered (yet)
    • Ia Wright's piece in the actual paper NYT? The heading on the web page says "exclusive online commentary from the Times," which to me implies that it's not in the paper. If I'm wrong and it's in print, I'll be much more impressed.

  • Brainy Krugman can't catch a clue when the answer is: Israel lobby
  • Israeli education ministry censors Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    • Thanks for the slideshow link, but is that the very book in question - in English - or do they have a Hebrew version?

  • East Jerusalem isn't 'disputed,' it's 'occupied'
    • The widespread use of the phrase "disputed territories" throughout the American media is no accident - it's the product of a concerted campaign on the part of the Zionists. See, for example, the position paper on precisely this issue published in 2001 by Sharon adviser Dore Gold - link to . The notion that the territories Israel took over in 1967 don't meet the legal definition of occupied territories has virtually no support among authorities on international law - except the Israelis and their backers here. Even the US judge who was the one dissenter against the International Court of Justice's decision that the separation wall is illegal agreed that the territories are occupied in the legal sense.

  • Berkeley student senate divestment resolution
    • An important observation by Carol Sanders of JVP, who testified at the student senate hearing before the divestment proposal was adopted:
      "An interesting and heartening distinction was how diverse the people speaking in favor of the bill were --Palestinian, Israeli, Jewish, Chicano, Asian, and many other ethnicities, while the opponents largely identified themselves as being from the Jewish community."

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