Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 10607 (since 2010-02-28 20:54:05)



Showing comments 10607 - 10601

  • The two-state pipedream: Israel will move 100s of 1000s of settlers
    • And look how much happier the world became with the partition of Sudan!

      Many Germans, Greek bankers, and just about everyone that can be threatened by the nuclear-tipped Popeye sea launched cruise missiles on those Israeli Dolphin class submarines wish that Chancellor Angela Merkel was still living in East Germany too. But sometimes you just have to take the bad with the good.

    • The one state solution, which would repeat, yet again, the mistake of placing two peoples who don’t like each other in the same political entity, continues to be a bad idea (utopian is a misnomer; it’s better described as offensively stupid) that not only has little support among the people in the region, but a track record of abject failure there and everywhere else; it led to civil war in Lebanon, civil war in Iraq, dictatorship by minority and now civil war in Syria, civil war in the former Yugoslavia, civil war in Yemen, and civil wars throughout Africa. The one state solution is not utopian in nature, actually. It is the most colonial of colonial ideas.

      It's offensively stupid to claim that Jews had always had a "continuous presence" in Ottoman Asia without explaining how they managed to avoid triggering civil wars there until the era of the LoN Mandates? There sure as hell hasn't been a moment of peace and quite there, since the day the region was first partitioned to suit Zionist and foreign interests.

      BTW, many of those states in your list are still in existence. Maybe you'd better emigrate out of the USA lickity-split? After all, we had a civil war too and its a veritable wall-to-wall multinational nightmare. Albert Einstein gave some well-known advice against establishing a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power. He also said to:

      Remember that Switzerland represents a higher stage of political development than any national state, precisely because of the greater political problems which had to be solved before a stable community could be built up out of groups of different nationality.

      -- See "ADDRESSES ON RECONSTRUCTION IN PALESTINE (page 177) in his "Ideas and Opinions" link to

    • what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns.

      Like the Finns who invented the Molotov Cocktail and fought the USSR to a stalemate before and during WWII? If so, then the Palestinians have long-since filled that square on the checklist.

  • Did the BBC cover up the anti-Semitism of Gaza's children?
    • Unfortunately it was Robert Cohen who made this inference himself, not the result of any stated implication in the JC

      The same JC author, Sandy Rashty, wrote an earlier, related article: "Is the BBC biased when it comes to Israel? Two of its journalists speak out" link to

      Unless it was a really slow day for news, I'd have to guess that she took a great deal of umbrage in this case too, i.e. "Why ‘Jews’ were lost in translation in BBC Children of the Gaza War documentary ... A BBC documentary has substituted the word “Israelis” for "Jews" in its translation of interviews with Palestinians, its maker has admitted."

      I didn't see the BBC documentary, but it appears that the JC may have inserted the definite article in their own translation, since it's not inside the quotation marks:

      In one instance, a Gazan child says the “yahud” are massacring Palestinians. However the subtitles read: “Israel is massacring us”.

      If the BBC deserves to be used as a punching bag by any group, then all of "British Israelism" has a long overdue apology coming for the way the Beeb has always facilitated the Judean Zionists in substituting the name of the 10 "Lost Tribes" in order to enlarge their alleged patrilineal claims to places like the "Galilee" or "region of the Gentiles" (Isaiah 9:1). ...;-)

      On an interesting side note, when you register a foreign language word mark with the USPTO, like "KEREN KAYEMETH LEISRAEL," you automatically own the English translation. For some reason, "The Jewish National Fund" stubbornly peppered the USPTO with numerous unsuccessful (dead or abandoned) applications for translations like "The Perpetual Fund of the Jewish People". This somewhat puzzling translation was finally successful:
      Translations: The English translation of "KEREN KAYEMETH LEISRAEL" in the mark is "perpetual fund for the Jewish people of Israel". The English translation of the mark individually are "KEREN" is "fund", "KAYEMETH" is "perpetual" and "LEISRAEL" is "Israel".
      Goods and Services IC 036. US 100 101 102. G & S: Charitable fundraising services. FIRST USE: 19010000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19010000
      Standard Characters Claimed
      Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
      Serial Number 77384425
      Filing Date January 30, 2008
      Current Basis 1A
      Original Filing Basis 1B
      Date Amended to Current Register May 26, 2009
      Registration Number 3652802
      Registration Date July 7, 2009
      Owner (REGISTRANT) Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael), Inc. CORPORATION NEW YORK 42 East 69th Street New York NEW YORK 10021

    • Solid article, Robert.

      @ Robert and Just. I would have simply said that "Out of the mouths of babes oft times come gems."

      The Jewish Chronicle itself has written articles that call attention to the "hayalim bodedim (lone soldiers) who are here [serving in the IDF] FROM ABROAD". (emphasis added) link to

      So, I can't completely agree with the approach taken in the article. For example: So, if you were a Palestinian child in Gaza is it really so unreasonable to think that “Jew” and “Israeli” were interchangeable?

      It's just a FACT of life for these kids that many of the refugees living in Gaza still belong to families or clans that are comprised, in large part, of so-called "Israeli Arabs", who do not serve in the IDF.

      Conversely, tens of thousands of gun-toting HOSTILE FOREIGN JEWS have ALWAYS been part of the illegal settlement enterprise and/or members of the brotherhood of Hagana/IDF "lone soldiers". It isn't anti-Semetic when the Jewish or Israeli press brags about them and calls them "Jews", e.g.:
      * "2 American Jews among IDF dead in Gaza combat" - link to
      * "The American Settler You Don't Know" - link to
      *"Mickey" Marcus, a US citizen and US Army Officer, was appointed the first General of the Israeli Army in 1947 under the assumed name "Michael Stone". - link to
      *Michael Oren served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces, in the paratroopers in the Lebanon War, and as an IDF spokesman during the Second Lebanon War and the Gaza operation in January 2009. But he didn't renounce his US citizenship, until the day he subsequently accepted the position to serve as Israel's Ambassador to the USA. - link to
      *Jefferey Goldberg served as a prison guard in an infamous IDF concentration camp in the Negev during the 1st Intifada. link to

      These, and thousands of other "Jews", have always participated directly in the mayhem unleashed on the children of Palestine or their family members.

  • Responding to Gershom Gorenberg's 'Atticus Finch principle of Israeli history'
    • In the immediate aftermath of the 1967 war, Israel had an opportunity to choose the path of peace and reconciliation.

      That was never in the cards. From the outset, the debate between the members of the General Staff and the members of the National Unity Government was about the timing of a war of choice to preserve Israel's deterrence. There was no disagreement that it would be exploited for territorial gain. The Israeli government was simply being dishonest when it later said that it "had changed its mind" and would be keeping the territory. Even Zionist historians, like Michael Oren, admit that the Cabinet and Generals discussed the need to consolidate territorial gains before the war. It was one of the Prime Minister's explicitly stated goals. He admitted that Israel would need to enlist US support to hold on to the territories:

      Still, on the chance that Washington might yet authorize the convoy or at least give Israel its “ green light,” Eshkol would argue for time. “We will still need Johnson’s help and support,” he lectured the generals. “I hope we won’t need it during the fighting, but we shall certainly need it if we are victorious, in order to protect our gains.

      – Michael Oren, Six Days of War, link to

      We also know from the FRUS, the Meron Memo, and Accidental Empire that the Cabinet had already met to discuss "work camps" in the occupied territories on 27 August and approved working the land and taking over existing orchards from Arab cultivators at that same time. Ministers Dayan, Allon, and Gvati met with General Rabin on 1 September in order to put their plans into action and officially authorized the first "settlement outpost". So the resolution adopted by the Arabs during the Khartoum Conference was a moot question.

  • Israel's endless misery for Gaza is no policy at all
    • Israel believes it can tame Hamas’ political leadership, making them as cautious and subdued as Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

      If by "subdued" you mean that the PA has continued to maintain the charges of apartheid, war crimes, and other crimes against humanity in the dossier it recently filed with the ICC Prosecutor that it originally levied against Israel in the 2003 ICJ Wall case, then you should bear in mind that Hamas was perfectly okay with that subdued portion of the Unity government platform.

    • Page: 106
  • ICC rules prosecutor to reconsider 'Mavi Marmara' investigation
    • You’ve already accused the US Government of illegalities and wrongdoings. These illegalities and wrongdoings are a given.

      Correct. According to Article 1 of the Hague Convention the US government is required to instruct the members of its armed forces in the rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). link to

      According to Article 3 it is "the government" that is responsible to pay compensation and be responsible for all acts committed by persons forming part of its armed forces.
      link to

      According to rule 1 attached to the Hague Convention the "laws, rights, and duties of war apply not only to armies, but also to militia and volunteer corps fulfilling the following conditions:
      1. To be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;"
      link to

      None of the crimes you discussed occurred within my "chain of command". Full stop.

      Now what, if any, was your involvement in the illegalities and wrongdoings? I can’t explain your complicity, but you can. The ball is in your court.

      None at all. If you check my comment archives you'll find that I am repeating the official documentary records as well as personal accounts authored by the perpetrators themselves, and historical reports of eyewitnesses compiled by reliable sources. If you've been trained in IHL, you do not have to be in Fallujah Iraq or the Gaza Strip to know war crimes and crimes against humanity when you see them being perpetrated on camera against civilians, who are not in the fight, for no legitimate military objective, e.g. link to

      I didn't have any role or involvement in any war crimes or crimes against humanity and neither did any of my subordinates. The Department of Defense has a multitude of very legitimate missions that require trained professionals who are familiar with international humanitarian law and who are willing to accept regular military discipline and comply with a professional legal code of conduct.

      Part of that discipline and legal code is an obligation not to obey unlawful orders (see Little v Barrame). War crimes and crimes against humanity are not only a dereliction of a legal duty by the perpetrator, they are also a dereliction on the part of anyone with knowledge of them who fails to report them or speak out about grave breaches of IHL when they "are committed or ordered to be committed" in order to assist in fulfilling the government's obligation to bring those responsible before our courts or to extradite them for prosecution by others. See Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and stop "blaming the messenger" for reporting about US and Israeli violations of the international professional and criminal codes that I've sworn to uphold: link to

    • a public call for the end of gitmo and prosecutions doesn’t generally just take place on blogs where people post anonymously.

      I've mentioned here in the past that I've personally filed Rome Statute Article 15 communications with the Office of the ICC Prosecutor. That of course was done using my real name. link to

      But there are permanent legal restrictions on the exercise of some of the 1st amendment rights of military retirees under the terms of the UCMJ (10 US Code Chapter 47) and a legal obligation to avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interest in line with 18 US Code Part 1, Chapter 11. You can avoid doing that by not using your name, rank, and service when discussing policies or topics that others might misconstrue as being an official endorsement.

    • Whoa. You’ve anonymously publicly called for the end of Gitmo and prosecutions?

      Isn’t that an oxymoron?

      You obviously don't believe that, since you keep yourself occupied with an effort to respond to my comments, both here and at Opinio Juris.

      You’re scared that the United States government will push back, and possibly put your pension in jeopardy.

      Am I wrong?

      Yes, you're wrong. I'm not overly concerned about my financial security. My children are all grown, I own my home, cars, and other possessions and I'm debt free. I could live off of my savings for a couple of years. I turn down offers of employment or offers to do paid research on a regular basis. I spent about half my career working with people in the university and corporate research community; the national labs; NASA, NOAA; and the defense industry. When I retired from the military, I spent about a decade working as a systems integrator on factory automation, and instrument and control projects for several Fortune 500 clients.

    • I don’t have to check anything. You’re retired United States military. You volunteered , and for many years, you helped oil and maintain the greatest killing machine in the history of mankind.

      Translation: I couldn't figure out a mode of liability to charge Hostage with a single count involving a war crime or crime against humanity, even if my life depended upon it, so I'll employ a false generalization and a circumlocution about "oiling the machinery".

      How many Vietnamese civilians did the US Air Force kill? A million? ... Dead Panamanians? Sure.

      Persons who have actually checked my comment archive know that I've noted on more than one occasion that it's a waste of time to discuss individual war crimes, while overlooking the fact that planning and perpetrating a war of aggression is a crime, in and of itself, according to the principles of international law contained in Article 6 of the Nuremburg Charter. They also know that I don't advocate the use of force to settle political differences.

      People who actually do search my comment archives for the term "Vietnam", "Afghanistan" or any of the other countries you've mentioned, will find links to sources with some possible answers to your rhetorical questions - as well as a number of complaints I've authored about illegal US foreign policies and high ranking US officials who have publicly confessed or admitted responsibility for acts that amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity in my opinion. You'll even find citations to the Native American and Filipino genocides; "War Is A Racket", by Major General Smedley Butler; and the history of the Banana Republics that authored the Montevideo Convention as an initial step to ending US aggression against the inhabitants of Latin America and the Caribbean.

      FYI, one of the reasons that I post anonymously is that I've publicly called for the end of the century-long illegal occupation of Gitmo and the prosecution of the responsible top-level US officials of the current and former administrations for torture and a long list of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Our government has a proven track record of harassing or even persecuting employees who speak out about those things. My comments do not mean that I believe the DoD has no legitimate missions or that everyone assigned to one of them is engaging in criminality as you've suggested. Likewise, I've called for reforms of the government of the State of Israel and the IDF as presently constituted and prosecution of those responsible for crimes reported by IDF service members . That doesn't make me a hypocrite.

      And now, after your direct complicity in the death and destruction of millions of Third World peoples, most of whom were not a direct threat to the United States, you show up with a bunch of law books and obsessively prosecute Israel.

      Uhh…..yeah. Hypocrite.

      I didn't just show-up with a bunch of law books. I've explained that the government itself provided me with continuing professional military training on international humanitarian law, aka the "Law Of Armed Conflict (LOAC)". It was considered required career knowledge; assessed in promotion fitness exams; and was a prerequisite for many headquarters staff assignments. I won't hold my breath waiting for you to explain my "complicity".

    • What I find repugnant is the moral hypocrisy of someone whose led the good life in a country that was born out of the extermination of the indigenous inhabitants, and bred on the chattel slavery of tens of millions of African slaves.

      I believe if you check the archives here, you'll find that I have been critical of the US government and the other great powers for employing Israel as a lame-assed excuse to refuse to attend the Durbin Conferences, where restitution of state owned lands and reparations for those and other western crimes were on the agenda.

      While I think that we still do have de facto discrimination in the USA, unlike Israel, we do not deny those groups citizenship or equal protection under the law as a matter of official state policy.

      Really. What do you see in the mirror?

      Someone who doesn't buy your shopworn propaganda talking points.

    • I’ll fine tune it for you.

      My ancestors migrated to Jerusalem in 1812.
      Am I indigenous?

      If you still have to ask, after what I already said, I'll just assume you weren't born in the territory allocated for Jewish autonomy.

    • My roots in Eretz Yisroel go back to the early 19th century.
      Am I indigenous too?

      That sounds like a deliberately vague claim. I could care less what you consider to be "Eretz Yisroel" and don't count anything beyond the 1948 partition lines to necessarily be included in Medinat Yisrael just yet.

      As I've written here many times in the past, the government's refusal to honor its legal obligations and commitments to protect the fundamental human rights of the Arabs subject to its jurisdiction and allow refugees to return to access their property or inheritances after each round of hostilities has cast doubt on the validity of its claim to any territory at all. If you were born and raised in Israel, then you are indigenous. I'm not, and I find the idea of being invited to tour a land that's still off-limits to the refugees that the Zionists have managed to drive off completely repugnant.

    • And did you encounter any other religious lunatics? Say… on the Muslim side?

      Yes. But like the Westboro Baptist Church, they were indigenous, not foreign invaders.

    • No, no. That’s the farthest thing from my mind.

      In fact, I’m inviting you to visit Israel.
      I’d be happy to show you around. Not to the settlements, where only 6% of Israelis live, but to the real Israel.

      No thanks, as I've mentioned here in the past, I've had the pleasure of visits to Lebanon and the Sinai back in the Carter and Reagan eras when they were "disputed territories" that the National Religious Lunatics in the Herut/La'am, Telem, and Tehiya parties were still claiming as part of "the real Israel" (according to our daily intelligence summaries). Lebanon was supposedly the lawful inheritance of the Tribe of Asher and Beirut was Hebraized as Be'erot (wells). A large group of about 50 American Rabbis were paraded around the hills surrounding the city for propaganda purposes and, on cue, they declared that the invasion was "Judaically" a just and obligatory war. Government Ministers, like Yuval Ne'eman, were making headlines all over the region by claiming that the invasion was a continuation of the war for the independence of the whole land of Israel.

      I mean, you gotta be curious. Right?

      No, if I only get three wishes, I'm not wasting any of them on a trip to the Zionist Disneyland. IMHO, "Judaically speaking", it is still much better to be exiled from the Jewish State with a clean conscience than it will ever be to live there at the expense of innocent victims of our greed and hatefulness.

    • You’ve mistaken me being pissed off with my impotent rage. ,,, Rage that the hypocrites in the EU don’t prosecute Israel for her war crimes.

      If…I…could…only…..get… this damn thing to work!!

      Like many Americans you seem to be oblivious to the geographical facts, i.e. that the ICC is located in an EU country and Comoros just won an appeal on its referral there.

      Likewise France, Germany, the UK, Italy, and Spain are members of EU who have put their citizens and businesses on notice about the possibility of prosecutions in connection with the settlements:
      France warns citizens: Don't invest in Israeli settlements, Golan Heights
      France's Foreign Ministry says West Bank settlements, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights are built on occupied land, which is illegal according to international law

      The French government issued a warning to its citizens not to engage in financial activity or investments in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights. The French Foreign Ministry wrote in its warning that the settlements are illegal according to international law, and so doing business with them involves legal risks.

      A French diplomat said that the warning is part of a joint act by the five largest countries in the European Union — Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain. The United Kingdom and Germany issued such warnings several months ago, and now, in light of the failure of the talks between Israel and the Palestinians and the European protests over the recent wave of construction in the settlements, three more countries joined them. Italy and Spain are expected to publish similar warnings over the next several days. link to

      If you're trying to rattle anyone here with arrogant Zionist smugness, then you'll have to step your game up a notch. We've grown accustomed to dealing with major league Hasbara Central ass hats.

    • @ Jackdaw

      I always love how your typical Zionist simpleton's brain works. You start out with a groundless accusation about the ships registration and employ an enormous logical fallacy to conclude that Article 5 of the Convention on the High Seas contains a hidden death warrant.

      Your questions about the registration of the Mavi Marmara have already been asked and answered in the State Referral and the Prosecutors Decision Not to Proceed, i.e. the registration was valid. FYI, Comoros, like 167 other countries, is a state party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas. It provides a mechanism for dispute resolution that doesn't include commandos.

      I don't see how you managed to read all the way to Article 5 without noticing that Israel's blockade of Gaza violates the first 4 articles of the 1958 Geneva Convention on the High Seas. Here's the text of the three most relevant ones:
      Article 1
      The term “high seas” means all parts of the sea that are not included in the territorial sea or in the internal waters of a State.
      Article 2
      The high seas being open to all nations, no State may validly purport to subject any part of them to its sovereignty. Freedom of the high seas is exercised under the conditions laid down by these articles and by the other rules of international law. It comprises, inter alia, both for coastal and non-coastal States:
      (1) Freedom of navigation;
      (2) Freedom of fishing;
      (3) Freedom to lay submarine cables and pipelines;
      (4) Freedom to fly over the high seas.
      These freedoms, and others which are recognized by the general principles of international law, shall be exercised by all States with reasonable regard to the interests of other States in their exercise of the freedom of the high seas.
      Article 4
      Every State, whether coastal or not, has the right to sail ships under its flag on the high seas.
      link to

    • Yeah, Hostage. Tell us more about ‘maritime law’. It’s a bloody joke.

      Okay. The article you linked to doesn't say that maritime law is a joke, it implies that international maritime law enforcement is nearly non-existent. Murder is still a crime and the article claims that only about 1 percent of cases get prosecuted.

      But cheer-up, the ICC was founded to help put an end to impunity and the Flotilla murders are one step closer to an investigation. Let's review:

      (1) I said that the commandos violated the maritime jurisdiction of the sovereign state of Comoros - an ICC member state.
      (2) It didn't go unreported.
      (3) One of the preconditions for the exercise of the ICC's jurisdiction is that a crime has been committed on the territory or territorial waters of a member state, or on board a vessel or aircraft registered to that state.
      (4) In this case, the majority of the Pre-Trial Chamber Judges agrees that it was no bloody joke.

      I take it that's what pisses you off, and not the unsolved murders in the story you linked to.

    • i am wondering — since Turkey has issued arrest warrants for israeli officials over the Mavi Marmara tragedy — what’s up with that? what can or will happen?

      When the hearings in Turkey first began, Ynet published an interview with Former IDF Military Advocate General Avichai Mandelblit that was intended to discredit the Turkish indictments:

      Asked about any concerns the four Israelis may have about traveling overseas, Mandelblit said, "Naturally they have no reason to travel to Turkey because they won't be able to return and they should definitely stay away from the US.

      "The question is about Europe, but they are aware of the importance of the Palmer Report. European nations are reasonable and won't allow Turkey to use their judicial system for political ends."

      -- link to

      The Palmer Commission was not an actual international criminal investigation conforming to acceptable standards. Its mandate only allowed it to obtain hearsay information through diplomatic channels from the accused parties and it was only intended to achieve conciliation between the states of Israel and Turkey. In the end, it didn't even accomplish that objective.

      Turkey is exercising criminal jurisdiction over crimes committed against its nationals elsewhere. Among other things, rights for which no derogation is allowed under the terms of the ECHR and the ICCPR were violated. That means that even in wartime, the question of fact as to whether or not the blockade itself was legal, would simply be an irrelevant factor under the applicable human rights laws of the EC. So, Turkey is certainly entitled to request custody of the individuals accused from other EC countries. But it can't expect them to honor the terms of any final judgment that results from a trial in absentia.

      The Geneva Conventions have been universally ratified and Comoros has alleged that grave breaches were committed that require all other state parties to search for those responsible and either prosecute or extradite them, without regard to their views on the Rome Statute or the ICC. The articles on penal sanctions for grave breaches do not allow a High Contracting Party to exonerate itself.

    • All the other ships in the Freedom Flotilla followed the directives of the Israeli Navy ... The Captain of the Mavi Marmara told the IHH Turks to stand down, not to resort to violence, to turn in their weapons. They refused, and they attacked the paint ball shooting commandos with iron bars, knives and guns. ... Sounds like open mutiny to me

      It sounds like a difference of opinion regarding a question of material facts to me. That usually means someone (hint hint) needs to investigate the reports of the various witnesses. The Court and the Palmer Inquiry both noted that there were widespread injuries among the passengers of the other ships. You being a trial lawyer and all ought to be asking why that was necessary if they indeed followed the directives of the Israeli Navy?

      I myself would ask the Captain if he told the passengers to stand down before or after the shooting started and if he was issuing those orders under duress? The Court noted in its decision that there were reports that the commandos fired their weapons from the helicopter before they boarded the vessel. The victims would have been entitled to ignore the Captain and defend themselves and others if there was a clear danger to their lives. There's nothing illegal about trying to repel people who are already using deadly force against you to keep them from boarding and attacking even more victims below deck . Even the Palmer Inquiry report questioned the execution style methods that other passengers witnessed, i.e. "Mr. Doğan’s motionless, wounded body was kicked and shot upon, execution-style by two Israeli soldiers." If that's the treatment the Israeli Navy was dispensing to kids who were hors de combat in front of other witness with cameras, then it just might not have seemed too wise at that moment to stand down in the middle of an apparent and on-going massacre.

      As the Judges pointed out, the truth or falsity of these contradictory reports necessitates an investigation, and if needed cross-examination and a final determination made in the Trial and Appeals Chambers by the Judges acting as the triers of facts and the applicable laws. You know, the way a real criminal investigation and trial are supposed to work. If there's a reasonable doubt, then the ICC rules of procedure and evidence will afford the defendants all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

    • The ship wasn’t attacked.
      All the other ships in the Freedom Flotilla followed the directives of the Israeli Navy and docked in Ashdod Port, where their cargo would be inspected and sent on to Gaza.

      You must be a pretty poor trial lawyer if you think the armed commandos were somehow "kidnapped," but that the passengers and crews of the ships diverted to Ashdod against their will after the vessels were commandeered at gunpoint through the use of deadly force were not legally assaulted and kidnapped.

      Once again, the commandos were violating the maritime jurisdiction of the other sovereign states on the high seas, not vice versa. They committed acts for which individual criminal responsibility arises under both international and national laws and for which the defense of obeying unlawful superior orders is not allowed.

    • Yeah. And some would be pissing into the wind.

      What part of ‘International Armed Conflict’ don’t you get?

      What part of the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas and the UN Charter don't you get? There's no internationally protected right to engage in armed conflict on the High Seas in either one. The high seas belong to mankind and the international community of states have reserved them for peaceful purposes only.

      After Nuremberg, it was decided that the only part of of an armed conflict that anyone has to accept will just have to fit through the tiny keyhole in Articles 2(4) and Article 51 of the UN Charter:

      All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
      Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.

      -- link to

      Israel was not, and has not ever been attacked by Comoros, Cambodia, or Greece. So it had no right to attack commercial ships under their maritime jurisdiction while they were operating on the High Seas or anywhere else. Full Stop. Israel's right to impede the delivery of relief consignments of food, fuel, and medical assistance was terminated by the UN Security when it acted to maintain peace and security by adopting resolution 1860 in 2009 calling for an immediate cease fire, withdrawal, and unimpeded flow into Gaza of relief consignments. link to

      Nobody is making a special case out of Israel. Its Prime Minister declared the blockade of the Straits of Tiran "illegal" and an affront to the entire international maritime community. See the page on the telegram from Israeli PM Eshkol to President Johnson That incident led to the subsequent inclusion of blockades in the list of the constituent acts of the UN and ICC Definition of the Crime of Aggression.

    • @Hostage I’ve been meaning to ask you. Why have so many Kansas Jews joined ‘Jews for Jesus’?

      I'm not familiar with any great number of Jews that have done so. I would guess that it's either because they are true believers or because they have an ulterior plan to eventually sully his reputation and that of the organization through their own misconduct.

    • BS. The suspected live fire came from the helicopter. The commando speedboat might have thought it came from the ship. The only other live fire was from the IDF executing innocent civilians.

      No, the after action report of the most elite commando unit in the IDF complained that one of the unarmed passengers managed to wrestle a 9mm handgun away from one of the IDF trained killers who had brought it aboard. The passenger allegedly managed to turn the weapon on his IDF attackers before being killed. Even if the report is true, some would say that he was exercising an unqualified legal right of self-defense under the circumstances.

    • 50 calls?
      I’ve always wondered if Teresa had a hand on the wheel.

      Yes, reports like this are pretty ironic. Mark Kersten @ Justice in Conflict has a couple of articles which explain that the ICC is a veritable political hotbed that almost has a phobia as an organization about appearing to be free from outside political influences. He says the Court should end its "toiling for years in the accountability purgatory that is a preliminary examination," by opening investigations into Afghanistan, Georgia, and Palestine.
      link to
      link to

      The ICC Prosecutors are the worst offenders of all, since they have demanded to be in charge of policing themselves and that any independent oversight mechanism of the Office of the Prosecutor staff activities created by the Assembly of State Parties include a requirement to obtain Prosecutor's consent before taking any disciplinary actions. In at least one case Wikileaks revealed that Ocampo had advised US officials that they could more readily obtain China's acquiescence to toppling the Bashir regime in Sudan if assurances were provided that the successor regime wouldn't be allowed to interfere with China's continued access to the victim state's oil and other natural resources. So it comes as no surprise at all that such a lizard-brained individual refused to recognize the jus cogens Palestinian right to determine its own statehood and the corollary right of permanent sovereignty of peoples over their own natural resources.

    • Self defense, as in the ‘humanitarian aid workers’ had kidnapped two of the IDF commandos and stabbed one in the belly with a knife.

      Live fire, directed from the ship, at the commandos didn’t help either.

      There is no right of self-defense for the armed forces of another state, who violate the jus cogens prohibition of aggression contained in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, in order to attack a vessel flagged by any other State on the high seas. The Permanent Court of International Justice ruled in S.S. Lotus (France v Turkey), 1928 PCIJ Series A, No. 10. that the first and foremost restriction imposed by international law upon a State is that, failing the existence of a permissive rule to the contrary, it may not exercise its power in any form on the territory of another State. "Kidnapping" is a very inappropriate legal term of art. The members of the Israeli armed forces who attacked the flotilla were acting without any UN Chapter VII sanction. Some would argue that actually triggered the victim's right of self defense, i.e. to use lethal force if necessary or to attempt to subdue them and take them prisoner.

    • It seems the US is allowing the international community to go ahead and hold Israel responsible for it’s crimes. About time too.

      After Congress speech scandal, Netanyahu is toast at White House
      As long as Obama is in office, he has no intention of meeting Netanyahu. If reelected, the Israeli PM may find himself abandoned and defenseless in the international arena.
      Another man to whom Netanyahu is “toast,” at least temporarily, is Secretary of State John Kerry. In the last two years Kerry was the main defender of Netanyahu’s government in the world and Netanyahu hastened to call him for help every time he was entangled by his government’s policy.

      When the European Union advanced sanctions against the settlements, Kerry tried to block them; when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas went to the UN Security Council, Kerry pressured state leaders not to support the move. When the Palestinians turned to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Kerry made 50 phone calls, to the court's prosecutor and to foreign ministers across the globe, in an effort to block the move.

      Kerry was subjected to quite a few insults from Netanyahu and his ministers, mainly for his efforts to advance the peace process with the Palestinians. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called him “messianic” and “obsessive,” Habayit Hayehudi head Naftali Bennett said he was anti-Semitic and Likud minister Gilad Erdan said he was endangering Israel in his talks with Iran, and had no understanding of the goings on in the region.

      But the more attacks the U.S. state secretary was subjected to, the harder he tried not to burn the last bridge with Netanyahu. Kerry spoke with him on the phone a few times a week and saw him almost every chance he had. However, Netanyahu’s maneuver over the Congress speech was the last straw for Kerry.

      He felt personally affronted. His announcement that he wouldn’t meet Netanayhu in Washington was perhaps even more significant than the president’s. For Obama, such a move was almost self-evident. With Kerry it reflected a real rupture. --

      link to

    • the Prosecutor did not in fact apply the principle she announced, and did take into account certain facts “outside of the Court’s jurisdiction” for the purposes of her analysis

      There is a distinction between "jurisdiction" and "applicable law". The authors of the draft ICC Statute commented that it seemed appropriate to place the paragraph on "Applicable Law" in the section of the Statute dealing with the primary function of the Court, the exercise of jurisdiction through a trial chamber. "But the article applies in relation to all actions taken by the court at any stage." See page 27 link to

      So while the Court doesn't exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression (yet), it still has to apply the law during the preliminary analysis phase regarding the blockade of Gaza.

      Now, who was that one dissenting judge?

      Judge Peter Kovacs. He's a real fan of the idea that blockades are perfectly legal in accordance with the San Remo Manual, despite the fact that the experts who worked on it only came from 28 countries and many of them worked in a personal capacity and did not represent any state government at all. It was a deliberate attempt to codify updated customary rules of naval warfare, but it was never incorporated in a convention or ratified. Even if it does represent rules of customary law, it cannot supersede the "jus cogens," peremptory norm reflected in the prohibition of force or aggression against the political independence or territorial integrity of any state contained in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. The 2010 ICC Review Conference held at Kampala Uganda after the flotilla raid adopted the General Assembly's customary definition of the crime of aggression, which explicitly includes any blockade or military occupation in violation of the UN Charter as a constituent act of the crime of aggression.

      The fact that Netanyahu is still claiming that the ICC has no jurisdiction because Palestine is not a "state" is sort of revealing. Denial of self-determination is a relevant factor or element of the offense in the customary definition of both the crimes of apartheid and aggression. For example, “The Travaux Préparatoires of the Crime of Aggression” edited by Stefan Barriga and Claus Kreß Cambridge University Press, 2012 explained that: “there was a need to include somewhere in the Rome Statute definition a reference to GA Resolution 3314 as a whole, in order to reflect the strong desire expressed by many delegations to respect the integrity of that resolution. The definition of the act of aggression would therefore have to be read in conjunction with other parts of the General Assembly resolution that address relevant issues, such as statehood (article l) another peremptory norm "self-determination" (article 7), and the principle that those provisions of the resolution defining aggression are interrelated and must be read together (article 8). … So the explanatory note to article 1 of GA Resolution 3314 would therefore have to be taken into account. It reads: ‘In this Definition the term State: (a) Is used without prejudice to questions of recognition or to whether a State is a member of the United Nations; (b) Includes the concept of a “group of States” where appropriate.”

      So the right of self-determination is a decisive factor in making any decision regarding the meaning of the term “state” according to relevant practice of the General Assembly and the ICC Assembly of State Parties. The UN General Assembly has always acknowledged that Palestinian statehood was declared in “the exercise of an inalienable right”, and as such, the option of statehood is a matter of self-determination that is not subject to any veto (by the Secretary General, The ICC Prosecutor, the Security Council, et al) or to the current peace process. See the text of A/RES/55/87, 21 February 2001. link to

  • Not everyone is allowed to have a 'Good Life in Germany'
    • Thanks for this article, Rebecca. I know that Germany has a rather good track record with regard to refugees in general and compared to other states, but it seems that they have a blind spot with regard to some refugees.

      Article 1D of the 1951 Refugee Convention makes it perfectly clear that, once Palestine refugees leave the area of its operations and stop receiving support from the UNRWA, they have to be treated like every other refugee seeking asylum with a genuine fear of refoulment. They are entitled to all of the normal regime of protections afforded by those entitled to assistance from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees until their status has been resolved in accordance with the resolution of the General Assembly. They are also under the protection of the European Convention on Human Rights. See for example the decision ECtHR in CASE OF AUAD v. BULGARIA link to

  • 'I trust Obama more than the Prime Minister of Israel to run our policy' -- George W. Bush's former pollster
    • Virtually every Jewish Israeli politican condemned the Iran deal, just as virtually every one of them cheerled the Gaza slaughter.

      Sure there are! But to quote Jabotinsky on the subject of Zionism:

      ... there are no meaningful differences between our "militarists" and our "vegetarians."

      -- link to

    • Correction: seems like a mock trial does not a trial make . welcome to Israel if you’re our kind of Jew have a seat all others [except for any nuclear whistle blowers under house arrest, like Vanunu] leave your wallets at the door on your way out

      one wonders why Iran didn’t make equal inspections part of the agreement

      Because the Security Council has never been able to enforce or live up to its existing treaty obligations and resolutions on that score, e.g. S/RES/487 (1981) said that all states have the right to a nuclear program and that all states, including Israel, should be under IAEA inspection (15 voted for, None voted against, None abstained):

      Deeply concerned about the danger to international peace and security created by the premeditated Israeli air attack on Iraqi nuclear installations on 7 June 1981, which could at any time explode the situation in the area, with grave consequences for the vital interests of all States,
      Considering that, under the terms of Article 2, paragraph 4, of the Charter of the United Nations: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations",

      1. Strongly condemns the military attack by Israel in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct;

      2. Calls upon Israel to refrain in the future from any such acts or threats thereof;

      3. Further considers that the said attack constitutes a serious threat to the entire IAEA safeguards regime which is the foundation of the non-proliferation Treaty;

      4. Fully recognizes the inalienable sovereign right of Iraq, and all other States, especially the developing countries, to establish programmes of technological and nuclear development to develop their economy and industry for peaceful purposes in accordance with their present and future needs and consistent with the internationally accepted objectives of preventing nuclear-weapons proliferation;

      5. Calls upon Israel urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards;

      link to

  • 'One cannot understand conflict without knowing its victims'
    • Enjoyed your response ;-)

      If you are interested in seeing the Prosecutor's decision not to investigate Operation Cast Lead or any other crime committed prior to November of 2012 overturned, then you'll enjoy this one that I just posted there:

      Re: “The problem with the Comoros situation, as I’ve noted before, is that it is simply a backdoor attempt to get the OTP to investigate the Israel/Palestine conflict. If it does ever investigate, the OTP needs to focus on the larger situation — not on a tiny situation in which, conveniently, only one side has committed crimes.”

      As John Oliver says from time to time “How can this still be a thing?” There can’t be any doubt whatsoever by this point in time that the situation in Palestine involves crimes that are listed in the Rome Statute, which are of sufficient gravity to demand an investigation (if Article 53(1) contains a mandate to conduct one, as these Judges have suggested).

      It doesn’t require a vast expenditure of time or effort to locate prima facie video evidence on Youtube of the current Prime Minister of Israel and members of his party list standing on territory illegally annexed to Israel (Har Homa) after the Six Day War bragging about the on-going crimes he and his government have been instrumental in committing there and elsewhere beyond the armistice lines since his first term in office. Israel is a party to the armistice agreements that were concluded under the auspices of Article 40, Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. See UN SC resolutions 62 and 73. The Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations says: “Every State likewise has the duty to refrain from the threat or use of force to violate international lines of demarcation, such as armistice lines, established by or pursuant to an international agreement to which it is a party or which it is otherwise bound to respect.”

      It is no secret that the 10th Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly was convened to take up that same Har Homa settlement as a situation of on-going concern to the international community of states. They called for a Reconvened Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions and obtained an ICJ advisory opinion. Both of those bodies concluded, among other things, that Israel had established settlements illegally in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

      Despite the fact that the Rome Statute requires the ICC to establish a treaty relationship with the UN, there are no procedures in place that require its judicial organs to advise the Prosecutor when one of the ICC’s member states refers to an alleged violation of the Rome Statute in a formal written submission, as Jordan did in 2003.

      The situation in Palestine wasn’t dragged-in over the transom, it walked right in the front door of the ICC in 2009 when the government of Palestine accepted the Court’s jurisdiction. It isn’t the fault of Comoros or anyone else that the Prosecutors failed to properly address the situation. At the time, both the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly endorsed the conclusion contained in paragraph 1835 of the Goldstone report that the Prosecutor had the necessary competence to recognize Palestine as a state capable of making an Article 12(3) declaration in accordance with the rules of customary international law. In fact, the Prosecutor as a creature of an organization with its own “international legal personality,” is one of the officials who has been empowered by the state parties to conclude special agreements on the exercise of the Court’s jurisdiction with “any other state” in accordance with Articles 4 and 54(3)(d) of the Statute. In line with the customary principle and practice reflected in the ICJ “Reparations” case, all of the members of such an organization are bound to respect agreements with third parties that the organization concludes on its own behalf in the fulfillment of its functions and purposes.

      The ICC Registrar said that a “conclusive determination” on the applicability of Palestine’s Article 12(3) declaration “would have to be made by the judges at an appropriate moment.” I subsequently pointed out that the Prosecutor didn’t have the final word on the subject of Palestine’s statehood. You indicated it was a moot question, but seemed to change your mind when Eugene Kontorovich, Nimrod Karin, Robert Howse, et al suggested that it was a valid dispute that could be addressed to the Judges in accordance with Article 77(2) of the Vienna Convention and Article 119 of the Statute.

      Palestine declared its statehood in 1988 and applied for membership in both the UN and UNESCO on the basis of its original UDI. It’s latest Article 12(3) declaration reserved its right with respect to retroactivity in connection with other crimes committed on its territory. So it certainly has laid the necessary ground work for its own request under Article 119 on the validity of its disputed Article 12(3) declaration. The General Assembly explicitly acknowledged the role played by the PLO Executive Committee acting as the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine since November of 1988 in its November 2012 resolution on the status of Palestine in the United Nations. No one can prevent Palestine from filing a declaration accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ for the purposes of the Genocide Convention retroactive to that date. In fact, those declarations are customarily considered to be retroactive in effect, unless there is a reservation to the contrary.

      So, I think you have it exactly backwards. It has always been the Office of the Prosecutor who deliberately cobbled-together a sophomoric rule of treaty interpretation and tried to sneak it in the back door, despite the fact that it flagrantly contradicts the stated policy and position of the General Assembly; the stated policy and position of the UN Secretary General; the explicit terms of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties regarding the rights of UN specialized agency members; and the customary peremptory norm (jus cogens) of self-determination. The latter is incorporated by reference in the Statute itself under the auspices of the contents of the “Applicable Law” subsection and the “Definition of the Crime of Aggression” criteria outlined in “United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3314 (XXIX)” that was adopted as part of the Kampala amendments. Despite her protests to the contrary, the OTP did employ it own “status at the UN” jargon in order to avoid opening a proper investigation of crimes committed on Palestinian territory since 2002. those have included the ones contained in the correspondence of the 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, the ICJ’s findings in the Wall advisory opinion, and those committed by both sides during Operations Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense, and Protective Edge.

      Comoros and Palestine are both full member states of the Arab League. They brought-in incontrovertible evidence of their multilateral treaty relationships when they had the Secretary of the League present an official exhibit to the Office of the Prosecutor back in 2009 regarding the status of Palestine. After the State of Palestine filed an Article 12(3) Declaration with the Court and an application for full membership with the UN, the UNESCO board of governors simply decided to finally take action on a pending application for full membership that it had originally received from the government of the State of Palestine in 1989. See the text of “Admission of Palestine as member of UNESCO – Resolution (29 October 2011)” @ UNISPAL The moment that Palestine became a member of UNESCO, the Secretary General had an affirmative obligation under the terms of General Assembly Resolution 368 (IV) 1950 to dispatch a letter of invitation to Palestine to become a state party to the UN Genocide Convention. Likewise, he had a binding treaty obligation to accept deposits from the State of Palestine for all of the so-called UN “Vienna Conventions,” including the Law of Treaties, on behalf of the “international community of States” as a whole (see Article 52 VCLT). They included standing instructions for the Secretary General to accept signatures, ratifications, and accessions to that treaty from all members of UN specialized agencies in Articles 81-83 of the VCLT. So it’s unlikely in the extreme that the Judges of the ICC would find that the Secretary erred in performing his duties as a despositary.

      The General Assembly itself had repeatedly adopted resolutions which acknowledged or recalled that the 1988 unilateral declaration of the State of Palestine was a step taken “in the exercise of the inalienable right of self-determination” and that Palestinian statehood was “not subject to any veto or to the peace process” (resolution 55/87, 21 February 2001). It had also adopted numerous resolutions regarding the fact that the League of Arab States had “recognized” the permanent observer mission of the PLO as that of another existing state whose origins could be traced to the Treaty of Lausanne and the Covenant of the League of Nations. It encouraged all UN member states to sign, ratify, or deposit accessions to the “Vienna Convention on the Representation of States in their Relations with International Organizations of a Universal Character” so that their own relations with the PLO mission, and that of any international organizations hosted in their countries, could be “governed” in accordance with its rules. It explicitly noted that they “only apply to states”. Article 8 of that Convention defined the term of art “permanent observer mission” as one that applied to “missions from States”. So the General Assembly’s position has always been clear, i.e. that international organizations of a universal character, like the ICC, should treat Palestine as a state. See the texts of: The Vienna Convention on the Representation of States in their Relations with International Organizations of a Universal Character and the series of resolutions titled “Observer status of national liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity and/or by the League of Arab States”: General Assembly resolutions 35/167 of 15 December 1980, 37/104 of 16 December 1982, 39/76 of 13 December 1984, 41/71 of 3 December 1986, 43/160 of 9 December 1988, 45/37 of 28 November 1990 and 47/29 of 25 November 1992.

      The note on the use of the term “state” in the General Assembly’s definition of aggression and its application to the situation in the occupied Arab territories is also an established part of the practice of the General Assembly.

      I’ve mentioned in the past that the General Assembly noted Palestine’s full membership in the League in its 1998 resolution on Palestine’s observer status. Those Arab League multilateral treaties predate the entry into force of the Rome Statute and deal with a variety of subjects, including diplomatic immunity and extradition. Under customary law, the Rome Statute can’t create rights or obligations for the 18 other third party Arab League states without their consent. The Statute itself stipulates that the Court’s procedures for “surrender” cannot be “more burdensome” for them than the procedures for “extradition” contained in those and similar agreements with the Organization of the Islamic Conference member States. The Statute contains provisions that will require the Court to recognize those international agreements and work with third party states under the terms of Article 98 should the need ever arise.

      I doubt that it was the intention of the authors of article 98 to create a loophole for the ordinary customary rule concerning head of state immunity to preempt their erga omnes responsibilities regarding the jus cogens prohibition of genocide as Asad Kiyani has suggested, since that would only have rendered their attempt and the Rome Statute itself null and void in accordance with the Article 52 of the VCLT.

    • That alone gives me a frisson of real hope.

      You better pinch yourself then, because we are talking about applying common sense and international law to a situation involving Israel and Gaza;-) Even the experts who concede that the blockade is illegal, and that the Court can exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed in Palestine (at least in theory), still insist in more than a few cases that it would be an utter disaster if it ever decided to do so. You should also recall my warning above that you should get ready to hear the talking point that the Pre-Trial Chamber can only recommend that the Prosecutor review the decision, e.g. See: "The Pre-Trial Chamber’s Dangerous Comoros Review Decision" by Kevin Jon Heller link to

    • It’s really unfathomable to me.

      The Judges didn't get it either. Among many other things, they noted that she had concluded that "there was reasonable basis to believe that the war crimes of wilful killing under article 8(2)(a)(i), wilfully causing serious injury to body and health under article 8(2)(a)(iii), committing outrages upon personal dignity under article 8(2)(b)(xxi), and, if the blockade of Gaza by Israel is to be deemed unlawful, also intentionally directing an attack against civilian objects under article 8(2)(b)(ii) of the Rome Statute (the “Statute”) have been committed in the context of the referred situation." - but that her decision "not to proceed" had not only been erroneous, but had also failed to explain why merely conducting an investigation "would not serve the interests of justice" (the only other grounds mentioned in the Statute for deciding not to conduct one).

      I can only be grateful that those 2 judges aren’t going to let her off the hook for this egregious act that let the Israelis get away with murders.

      Well, I haven't read their whole decision yet, but the first 15 pages have literally been a joy to read so far;-) Apparently there was considerable argumentation, with written replies back and forth from both Comoros and the Prosecutor, when the Judges got fed-up and ended the debate in-progress and said they'd already heard enough. I especially like the fact that they cut through the fog of "preliminary examination" and prosecutorial "independence" jargon that the OTP has employed in this, and many other cases, to avoid opening investigations:

      The Prosecutor’s assessment of the criteria listed in this provision does not necessitate any complex or detailed process of analysis. In the presence of several plausible explanations of the available information, the presumption of article 53(1) of the Statute, as reflected by the use of the word “shall” in the chapeau of that article, and of common sense, is that the Prosecutor investigates in order to be able to properly assess the relevant facts. Indeed, it is precisely the purpose of an investigation to provide clarity. Making the commencement of an investigation contingent on the information available at the pre-investigative stage being already clear, univocal or not contradictory creates a short circuit and deprives the exercise of any purpose. Facts which are difficult to establish, or which are unclear, or the existence of conflicting accounts, are not valid reasons not to start an investigation but rather call for the opening of such an investigation. If the information available to the Prosecutor at the pre-investigative stage allows for reasonable inferences that at least one crime within the jurisdiction of the Court has been committed and that the case would be admissible, the Prosecutor shall open an investigation, as only by investigating could doubts be overcome.

      -- link to

      I have to say that I am less than impressed with her. amigo linked to this a couple of weeks ago: link to

      Oh yeah, I abandoned any illusions that she was operating in good faith years ago and have insisted all along that the Palestinian Solidarity movement needs to stop blaming the PA and start protesting against the stalling and deliberate obfuscation of the situation by the ICC Office of the Prosecutor. She's either been the Deputy or Chief Prosecutor ever since the day the Statute entered into force in 2002. So she was part of the team that spent $1 billion and 12 years to secure a grand total of two convictions. Her department alone has an annual budget of $166 million and hasn't indicted a living soul since she was put in charge two years ago. She's never had more than 22 defendants on her plate, but nonetheless complains about "the lack of resources" and "tremendous workload".

    • @ Just

      Even Haaretz is engaging in the hasbara spin. From your link: In November 2014, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda decided to close her preliminary investigation into the incident, saying there were no grounds for a full-fledged criminal probe.

      In fact, her written report explicitly concluded that war crimes or crimes against humanity were undoubtedly committed, but she incorrectly claimed it would be hard to indict the parties who bore most responsibility for the crimes committed during the raid and that the scale, severity and impact of the 10 murders were not an act of "sufficient gravity" to warrant any action by the ICC. This, despite the fact that "murder" is listed as the first example in the Rome Statute's list of Crimes Against Humanity and "willful killing" and "murder of all kinds" are listed under "War Crimes" and that the blockade is definitely "part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population", and "a plan or policy that is part of a large-scale commission of such crimes".

    • ‘One cannot understand conflict without knowing its victims’

      In that spirit, here's some breaking news:

      ICC calls for reopening Marmara flotilla case against Israel
      About six months after ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda rejected the war crimes complaints made by the Comoros Islands, a panel of three judges, by a majority of 2-1, decided to demand that they be reconsidered.

      link to

      Looks like the Judges at the ICC didn't buy into the Palmer Inquiry/Turkel Commission hasbara whitewash or the Office of the Prosecutor's refusal to open an investigation on the basis that the crimes committed against the victims in the raid on the flotilla, including murder, were not of sufficient "gravity".

      Get ready to start hearing the propaganda talking point that the Pre-Trial Chamber can only recommend an investigation, and that the Prosecutor has the final say in the matter.

      That's incorrect. Article 46 of the Rome Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence Article 24 require that a Judge or Prosecutor be removed from office for a “serious breach of duty” if either "Repeatedly causes unwarranted delay in the initiation, prosecution or trial of cases, or in the exercise of judicial powers." and these Pre-Trial Chamber Judges are not debarred from initiating action to do that.

  • Abe Foxman says goodbye to an America of secret Jew haters
    • (Oh, and speaking of Jews and working the soil, isn’t he glued in to the fact that Israel has the best cows in the world? Even Bibi brags about them. Onward, the Kosher Cow!)

      I don't see what's so kosher about it. Humans do not have any dietary requirement for milk from another species. For a religion that's so concerned about using separate dish ware to avoid any appearance of cruelty associated with cooking or serving-up the offspring in its own mother's milk, the requirement to keep dairy cows in a constant cycle of pregnancy-birth-lactation, where the calves are promptly removed and used to supply the related veal industry, it seems to be equally inhumane.

  • CT bus ads feature longstanding plan to 'abolish partition'
    • Wildly off topic, but: wasn’t that “successor state” thing put to rest by Venizelos in 1923

      No, I don't think so, since only the new government of Greece could pursue the claims on behalf of Mavromatis against Palestine in the PCIJ. Palestine was the successor state to which the old Ottoman Concessions had been subrogated. Those cases, like the Ottoman Public Debt Arbitration dragged-on until the 1925 final judgments were delivered.

      There's a discussion about the fact that the assignment of the Ottoman Public Debt under the Treaty of Lausanne was not based upon any existing customary rule of succession in international law by D.P. O'Connell "The Law of State Succession", Volume V of the Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law, 1956, Hersh Lauterpacht editor. The attempt by the UN in its partition plan to include the assumption of the public debt and pensions incurred by the UK during its own administration in accordance with Article 28 of the mandate was rejected by Israel after the fact. It announced that it was adopting a "clean slate" on treaty and loan obligations since there had been no orderly replacement of one state by the other to which the laws of succession could be applied. See the discussion by O'Connell pages 10-11, and 178. Among other things, the UK was trying to pass-on the multi-million pound invoice for operation of the detention camps in Cyprus and elsewhere that it had established to house Jews trying to enter Palestine illegally or Zionist fighters that it had deported as undesirables under the Palestine Defense Emergency Regulations of 1945.

      Here's a link to the UN discussion about a bill for the operation of the camps during the resolution 181(II) transition period. Note that the 4-3 split opinion among the members of the old Permanent Mandates Commission over the legality of the 1939 White Paper is really an indication of an uphill battle for the Jewish Agency. A decision in their favor by the Council of the League was virtually impossible, since it would have required unanimous agreement. The permanent members or members of their commonwealths protected each others interests from outside interference by preventing the adoption of decisions and insisting upon watered-down recommendations. link to

    • [By the way, that one should have been the last big loan that through “bailouts” brought about the takeover of the Ottoman Finance Ministry by the West, parallel to the Goldman-Sachs “loan” that murdered Greece.]

      I've cited the fact here on many occasions that the Mandated States of Palestine and Transjordan paid-off their share of the judgment awarded to the creditors in the Ottoman Public Debt Arbitration. Greece apparently never did so. It gives bondholders haircuts today, but nobody questions its existence or statehood. In 1962 the British government noted that the taxpayers of the States of Palestine and Jordan had settled their debts, but that Greece never had:

      In addition, the Greeks have a responsibility for a share of the Ottoman debt; for under the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, the successor States of the Ottoman Empire undertook to take their share. With the exception of Greece, all the others, Turkey, Syria, Palestine and Jordan, have, come to satisfactory and far from exigent terms with the Ottoman Debt Council, but negotiations with Greece have never been finalised.

    • The purchase agreements conditional to displacement of populations are another big, hard to swallow thing and should be expanded on somewhere else

      Well of course they have been. For example, the Charter of Herzl's proposed Jewish-Ottoman Land Company (JOLC) contained an article which reserved the right of the Zionists to involuntarily transfer or deport the non-Jewish population of Palestine to other parts of the Ottoman Empire. link to He was enticing the Sultan with offers to pay-off a large portion of the Ottoman public debt with funds made available by Jewish American banking and business leaders. But in the end, the Sultan obtained a French bailout instead.

    • “How could the Zionists exile anyone, seeing that the Turks, and then the British, were in control?”

      FYI, the report of the director of development in Palestine, Lewis French, and the portion of the Peel Commission report on the subject of landlessness said that the Jewish Agency routinely demanded that any untenured fellaheen tenant cultivators be internally displaced as a condition of their land purchases and in accordance with their program of "Conquest by Hebrew Labor". They only offered compensation in return for resettlement outside Palestine in such cases.

    • I love it when you show up with the cement foundation, Hostage.

      Well, there are always absurd suggestions that the question of Ben Gurion's well-publicized plan of aggression against the Arabs has been somehow taken out of context or that these maps are mere propaganda, because the Jewish people had some sort of inherent or residual right to settle on state land in Arab Palestine, even after the UN partition plan was adopted and its transition period began or after the armistice agreements were concluded under the auspices of a series of Chapter VII Security Council resolutions. You have to be so detached from reality as to be completely fact-averse to even begin to entertain such ridiculous notions.

    • I’ve asked you before: who were- or are- the “Jewish Palestinians”?

      There were only about 60,000 of them prior to the mandate era. Many of them were descendants of religious pilgrims living off of foreign charitable donations in one of the small communities located in the four holy cities. They didn't have any substantial land holdings which could be used to establish a state. To be perfectly honest, the Zionist movement despised them, precisely because they were considered to be poor and almost indistinguishable from their Arab neighbors. See Arthur Ruppin’s “The Picture in 1907″ link to

      If that doesn't embarrass you enough to drop the subject, then read Elkan Nathan Adler's account in the Forward of his book Jews in many lands (1905), where he brags about the fact that he targeted the indigenous Jews living on lands held by his employer's Jewish charitable trust with evictions and home demolitions to make room for Zionist settlers.

    • @jon s: “Where is state land? Conveniently, it’s included in the green, in order to convey the impression that the Palestinians lost it.”

      Because in fact they did. FYI, Article 6 of the British Mandate for Palestine made it abundantly clear that any "State land or waste land required for public use" was off-limits to Jewish settlement. link to

      There was no such corresponding prohibition against its use by Arabs, since many of them had acquired heritable rights through tenure as cultivators on community owned lands and the Sultan's estates that were shown on the Ottoman civil list. I don't know what kind of "State" the authors had in mind, but it damned sure wasn't a "Jewish" one from the standpoint of the right to use its public lands.

      So, even if we accept the (completely false) argument that Article 80 of the UN Charter somehow preserved Jewish rights under the mandate, that cannot explain how Jews obtained exclusive use of so much "state land" on both sides of the partition or armistice lines. In fact, Israelis have designated millions of additional dunams of occupied Palestinian land as "state land" in order to colonize it after the Supreme Court affirmed the applicability of the Hague Convention prohibition against expropriating private property in the Elon Moreh case. The ICJ was correct when it declared those practices illegal.

    • a bus ad that takes a quote out of context because it supposedly “raise consciousness” about the issue.

      There is nothing taken out of context at all. Ben Gurion himself saw to it that his own memoirs and letters confirming his intentions were published while he was still alive. Even if we leave out the contested, crossed-out sentence, in his infamous 5 October 1937 letter to his son Amos, the remainder of the text supplies incontrovertible proof that partition was simply the first step of his plan to build-up a military force that he planned to employ in order to settle the empty territories allocated to the new Arab state and Transjordan after the partition, with or without the consent of their governments. link to

      Even in 1937, that was considered to be an illegal usurpation of sovereignty or a form of illegal aggression under the rules of customary law reflected in the Hague Convention of 1907, the 1920 Versailles Peace Conference report of the "Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and on Enforcement of Penalties," and the "General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy" (aka the Kellogg-Briand Pact).

      Likewise, we also learn that was his intention from an article published in the official history of the Haganah, printed while Ben-Gurion was still alive. In the summer of 1937, in the wake of the recommendation for partition contained in the Peel Commission report, Ben-Gurion ordered the Haganah commander of Tel Aviv, Elimelech Slikowitz (“Avnir"), to draw up a plan for the military takeover of the entire country in anticipation of the expected British withdrawal from Palestine. The article helpfully provided a map of the military stages of the envisaged conquest of Palestine. See Dinur Benzion, ed. Sefer Toldot HaHaganah, Vol. II (Tel Aviv: Zionist Li­brary and Marakhot, 1964), pp. 749-54.

  • Theodor Herzl wasn't Jewish, according to Israeli minister
    • O.K. I’ve been reading along with all the comments thus far and it’s time to ask “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” Come on…rabbinical texts? biblical texts?

      Yeah, the very same material that many western cultures and societies mined for centuries in order to justify their own Christian politics, philosophy, and ethnics. I frankly doubt that the ancient leaders were very different from our leaders today, like Carter, Regan, Bush II, or Obama who sometimes employ their religion for political ends. I firmly believe that religion was always the hand maiden or instrument of the competing political echelons in the past. Likewise, I think that the many references to Rabbis or other persons, who were either excommunicated or who were apostates (meshumad, min, epikoros, & etc.), but were nonetheless the subjects of the on-going ethical or philosophical debates indicates that Jewish secularism, atheism, or agnosticism are not new-fangled ideas.

      You do know, surely, that they are all myths, don’t you? They don’t really prove anything except people have fun debating them at great length…each trying to get the upper hand. For what? Not a thing of importance, really. They don’t really prove anything except people have fun debating them at great length…each trying to get the upper hand. For what? Not a thing of importance, really.

      No, while I admit that the scriptures and rabbinical texts contain religious myths, they also contain the wisdom literature which discusses lessons learned from historical events, and contain philosophical and ethical material and the related debates and discussions about those subjects that serve as a cultural touchstone for many people. If you've been following the article and the comment thread so far, then you certainly know by now that there have always been competing Jewish world views regarding the desirability of separatism, isolationism, or universalism.

      The article points out that Herzl and roughly half of all Jewish people living today aren't considered the co-religionists of the hard core fanatics. But I would argue that has always been the case. In the era of Josephus, the historian wrote that there were only about six thousand Pharisees with their Persian/Zoroastrian derived fixation on "purity". The much more numerous Am Ha-Aretz or people of the Land of Israel most certainly were not considered members or proponents of all of their religious doctrines.

      What I've been pointing out is that: (a) there is a long Jewish tradition which says that the halakhah (the way we should all live) follows the universalism of the House of Hillel and its custom of patiently listening to all opposing views and repeating them to others before presenting their own; and (b) that political Zionism is willing to do neither of those things. So, it's absurd to suggest that an Anti-Zionist has abandoned 3,000 years of Jewish tradition.

    • @ Jackdaw Anyway. Rabbi Schiffman tells us that the dirt from a Gentile lands can impart uncleanness because it’s earth may contain decayed human body, and, that there is ‘doubt’, attached to an ‘am ha’ ares’s’ clothes because his menstruate wife may have sat on the clothes.

      You've failed to take notice that no evidence was required, and that no amount of exculpatory evidence would have been deemed acceptable in either case. This wasn't just limited to a Gentile's soil as you suggest. The same thing is true of many other rabbinical texts which simply assume that the Gentiles (themselves) must be treated as if they are both ritually and morally impure because they "might" eat unclean things, be idolators, commit sodomy, or have contracted carcass contamination of their persons or their dwellings. See for example T. Zabim 2:1.

      You still sound as clueless and bigoted as Donald Trump. I supplied you a link, try reading it again. Rabbi Schiffman clearly included both the Gentile lands and the clothes of the Am Ha-Aretz in the "six cases of doubtful uncleanness", i.e. there is merely "doubt" and no real evidence of uncleanness. The decrees regarding both are based solely upon the ignorance and prejudice of the Rabbis toward others, not upon any solid evidence that someone's wife sat on their clothes or that anyone had discovered bones in a Gentile farmer's field. It goes without saying that you can't explain why dirt from a Jew's land isn't automatically considered unclean for the very same reasons or why a Rabbi's clothes aren't suspected. After all, there had been other peoples buried throughout the Land of Canaan for hundreds of thousands of years before the Israelite cultivators arrived on the scene and all of their women folk started looking around for a place to sit down.

      Where’s the Gentile hate? Even Yosé ben-Yo’ezer, who originally decreed Gentile land (clods of earth) impure, did so as a stop gap measure to try to stop Jews from moving from Eretz Yisroel.

      You gotta be kidding me. Many Jewish scholars (e.g. Rabbi Adolf Büchler, Dr. Jonathan Klawans) agree that the laws regarding the ritual impurity of Gentile lands, houses, and persons were adopted shortly before the revolt of 70 A.D. Those laws were also applied domestically to places, like the region of Caesarea Maritima. Cities like it, and Tiberias were known to have been built upon graves but there were surely many others where that happened unwittingly. In your earlier comment, you claimed that he had "legislated to preserve the religious and ethnic identity of the Jewish people in the face of encroaching Hellenism". So, any reasonable person could conclude from your own comments here that these were new, non-scriptural laws aimed at creating isolated ethnic enclaves inside Palestine or preventing Jews from taking up residence in Gentile countries by declaring Gentiles "impure" or "unclean". That's the textbook definition of an apartheid law or legislated descent-based segregation.

    • I’m confused. Hezekiah the Zealot lived around 30 BC, but it was Yosé ben-Yo’ezer who legislated to preserve the religious and ethnic identity of the Jewish people in the face of encroaching Hellenism, and “decreed uncleanness upon gentile countries and upon glassware” [Shabbat 14b–15b], .... That puts 130 years between Hezekiah and Yose ben-Yo’ezer.

      You certainly are confused. Years after the Sanhedrin had moved from the unclean Gentile lands of the Emperor's private estate at Yavneh to Usha, the Rabbis themselves were still arguing about the proper mode of disposition for a heave offering in the six "doubtful cases of uncleanness", including "the doubt of the area of a grave" and "Gentile lands". So, if you had wanted to end all commerce and communication between the people of the land and their Gentile neighbors, it would have taken a hell of a lot more than one decree that simply made their crops and glassware ritually unclean. That's why the passage from Shabbat folio 14b of the Babylonian Talmud that you just cited explains that the uncleanness of Gentile lands was only one of the 18 ordinances. link to So let's drop the apples to oranges comparisons, we are not talking about the same legal measures or the same enforcement regime.

      That's one of the biggest difficulties in accepting your line of argumentation. The same very passage you cited indicates that these decrees regarding the uncleanness of Gentiles lands were not always accepted when they were handed down by the pairs of Sages. The passage indicates that they were only accepted from the Sages disciples (who resorted to bloodshed). In addition, the subsequent discussion in folio 15a reveals that the earlier decree by Yosé ben-Yo’ezer and Yosé ben-Yohanan was so obscure that even the Rabbis themselves had questioned its authenticy. link to They had finally sent word to Yosé ben-Yo’ezer's son to repeat the two or three things he had said in his father's name in the past to see if the decree about the uncleanness of Gentile lands would be mentioned among them. If that was the case with the experts, who literally were obsessed with the subject, then it's extremely unlikely that the common people had any knowledge about the earlier decree's existence.

      Vered Noam, of the Department of Hebrew Culture Studies, Tel Aviv University, has pointed out that the Rabbis had much more stringent customs of purity than those which were required under the theoretical-biblical concept of the proper bounds of non-priestly purity. He has also noted that the plain meaning of the scriptures relating to impurity dispels any notion that impurity is always regarded as a forbidden state or that it has to be avoided. He said that:

      "After all, bodily impurities, including corpse-contamination, are an inescapable component of daily life. ... the few verses warning against impurity, or stating a punishment for its incurrence, are primarily directed at preventing contact between impurity and consecrated persons, objects, or places, and not against contracting or prolonging impurity in the secular sphere."

      The dual strategy of Rabbinic purity legislation -- link to

      FYI, the majority of the Jewish people lived in communities in Alexandria and Babylonia and would hardly have been troubled by such a Palestinian rabbinical decree, since they would have only rarely come into contact with a consecrated person, place, or thing involved in the Jewish Temple cult or its offerings.

      For that matter, the same thing could have been said for the descendants of the so-called "Am Ha-Aretz" that Ezra and Nehemiah found living in Palestine when they returned from exile. Experts agree that they never shared the Rabbi's obsession or enthusiasm for purity. By the era of the Maccabean revolt, they were quite numerous and the term had come to mean "those less than scrupulous in the observance of the Law." In actual practice they had normal relations and trade with their Gentile neighbors and the Rabbis actually included contact with "an Am Ha-Ares's clothes" as one of the six doubtful cases of uncleanness right along with "Gentile lands". See for example Lawrence H. Schiffman (editor), "The Talmud of the Land of Israel, Volume 13: Yerushalmi Pesahim", University of Chicago Press, 1994, page 34 link to and Aharon Oppenheimer, "The Am Ha-Aretz: A Study in the Social History of the Jewish People in the Hellenistic-Roman Period", Brill, 1997.

    • and that link of yours has faulty logic ... there’s a difference.

      He's defending an ancient system of apartheid laws, invented by the House of Shammai and the Zealots, that even Jewish scholars have said were primarily motivated by hatred of their Gentile neighbors. Even back then, there were Jews who were so strongly opposed to the idea that they couldn't worship under the same roof. They literally had to be put to the sword before the apartheid scheme could be adopted. When he stupidly asked "How is BDS any different than what the Zealots were doing?", he already knew the answer. We aren't using religion as a fig leaf for eternal bigotry and hatred. Nothing in the BDS platform violates the Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and equal human rights.

    • @ Hostage

      You are cherry picking your history and generally taking things out of context.

      Bullshit! You don't need to be so meticulous about maintaining your purity against an accidental transgression, even if you had an offering, the God of the Bible wouldn't accept it. How can you publicly defend highhanded cases of hatred, cold-blooded murder, covetousness, theft, and those who falsely bear witness about the situation in Palestine on such a widespread scale? If you can be cut off from the congregation of Israel and stoned to death for presumptuously gathering wood on the Sabbath, then what does Divine Justice require for those much more serious sins committed against the Palestinians by their Jewish neighbors?

      You claimed that I rubbed you the wrong way because I had abandoned 3,000 years of Jewish tradition, but you've had to cobble together an argument. All of the sources that I cited, the Sages, Josephus, and the Christian scriptures are in perfect agreement on these historical details. Every time that the people of Israel forgot to live humbly and to care for others living in their midst as if they were looking out for their own interests it has resulted in societal failure, wars, and destruction. All you've cited are some comments that do not refute what the Sages, Josephus, and the Christian sources had to say on the subject. I'm not cherrypicking anything, since I've made my case by quoting the text of The Jewish Encyclopedia on these subjects verbatim.

      Here is what the article on HATRED has to say about the destruction of the Temple:

      Hatred is unbrotherly where love should prevail, and therefore the Law says, "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart" (Lev. xix. 17). This prohibition is not, as is often asserted with reference to Matt. v. 43 et seq., confined to kinsmen (see Brotherly Love). Only idolaters and doers of evil are excluded from the universal law of love (Deut. vii. 2-10), whereas even an enemy's beast should be treated with kindness (Ex. xxiii. 5-6). One ought not to rejoice at the destruction of the man that hateth him (Job xxxi. 29; Prov. xxv. 21 et seq.). The hatred most frequently denounced in the Psalms is that caused by no wrong-doing on the part of the hated and persecuted one (Ps. xxxv. 19, lxix. 5 [4], cix. 5). It was this hatred without reason which caused the brothers of Joseph to do evil (Gen. xxxvii. 4).

      "Hatred without cause" ("sine'at ḥinnam") is therefore the rabbinical term for the vice of hatred: and the Talmud is emphatic in denouncing it. On its account the Second Temple was destroyed (Yoma 9b). It undermines domestic peace (Shab. 32b). It is equal in wickedness to any one of the three capital sins (Yoma 9b). To leave no doubt as to the extent of the prohibition of hatred, the Rabbis use the term "sine'at ha-beriyyot" (hatred of fellow creatures; see Creature), and condemn such hatred as is detrimental to the welfare of mankind (Abot ii. 11). "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer," is Pharisaic as well as New Testament teaching (R. Eliezer in Derek Ereẓ Rabbah xiii. is prior to I John iii. 15).

      link to

      Here's what the article on BET HILLEL AND BET SHAMMAI has to say about the dispute over relations with Gentiles and the adoption of the 18 new laws:

      the Shammaites, whose principles were akin to those of the Zealots, found support among them. Their religious austerity, combined with their hatred of the heathen Romans, naturally aroused the sympathies of the fanatic league, and as the Hillelites became powerless to stem the public indignation, the Shammaites gained the upper hand in all disputes affecting their country's oppressors. Bitter feelings were consequently engendered between the schools; and it appears that even in public worship they would no longer unite under one roof (Jost, "Gesch. des Judenthums und Seiner Sekten," i. 261; Tosef., R. H., end). These feelings grew apace, until toward the last days of Jerusalem's struggle they broke out with great fury.

      Relation to External World.

      As all the nations around Judea made common cause with the Romans, the Zealots were naturally inflamed against every one of them; and therefore the Shammaites proposed to prevent all communication between Jew and Gentile, by prohibiting the Jews from buying any article of food or drink from their heathen neighbors. The Hillelites, still moderate in their religious and political views, would not agree to such sharply defined exclusiveness; but when the Sanhedrin was called together to consider the propriety of such measures, the Shammaites, with the aid of the Zealots, gained the day. Eleazar ben Ananias invited the disciples of both schools to meet at his house. Armed men were stationed at the door, and instructed to permit every one to enter, but no one to leave. During the discussions that were carried on under these circumstances, many Hillelites are said to have been killed; and there and then the remainder adopted the restrictive propositions of the Shammaites, known in the Talmud as "The Eighteen Articles." On account of the violence which attended those enactments, and because of the radicalism of the enactments themselves, the day on which the Shammaites thus triumphed over the Hillelites was thereafter regarded as a day of misfortune (Tosef., Shab. i. 16 et seq.; Shab. 13a, 17a; Yer. Shab. i. 3c).

      Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel continued their disputes—probably interrupted during the war times—after the destruction of the Temple, or until after the reorganization of the Sanhedrin under the presidency of Gamaliel II. (80 C.E.). By that time all political schemes and plans for the recovery of the lost liberty had become altogether foreign to the ideas of the spiritual leaders; and the characteristies of the Hillelites once more gained the ascendency. All disputed points were brought up for review (see 'Akabia); and in nearly every case the opinion of the Hillelites prevailed (Tosef., Yeb. i. 13; Yer. Ber. i. 3b; Grätz, "Gesch. der Juden," 2d ed., iv. 424, note 4). Thenceforth it was said: "Where Bet Shammai is opposed to Bet Hillel, the opinion of Bet Shammai is considered as if not incorporated in the Mishnah" ("Bet Shammai bimeḳom Bet Hillel enah Mishnah"—Ber. 36b; Beẓah 11b; Yeb. 9a); that is, null and void.

      -- link to

      BTW, why are BDS boycotts of Israeli goods and services, or the Palestinian ‘anti-normalization’ policy any different from what you say the zealots were doing?

      That should be fairly obvious. Unlike the Zealots, the Palestinian Solidarity movement is pursuing righteous ends, like regional peace; equal rights and protection for everyone under the law, and a just settlement for those who have been wronged. We are not prescribing a perpetual or endless regime of boycott, divestment, or sanctions under the auspices of the eternal Torah and a person's genealogy. We are only targeting the State governments, the individuals, and the organizations who are violating the traditional Jewish prohibitions against murder, covetousness, theft, spreading lies, and hatred of mankind in a highhanded fashion, until such time as they agree to comply with basic human norms.

    • I sense that most anti-Gentile legislation had to do with the laws of ritual impurity. Gentile lands weren’t in and of themselves impure, but rather, a clod of earth from a gentile’s land could be impure because a Gentile might have plowed over a graveyard and rendered his crops impure.
      Likewise Gentile glassware would be declared impure because glass was made of sand and indistinguishable from gentile soil, and which might be ritually impure.

      Your post hoc attempts to cobble together some sort of unscientific religious veneer to disguise the underlying bigotry are just as effective as Donald Trump's. You're simply saying that a Gentile's goods had to be declared impure, because they "might" be, not because they actually were impure. The logical corollary is that a Jew's goods could be assumed to be pure, even if they actually weren't. The laws of purity were unhistorical nonsensical and bent whenever they proved to be to inconvenient, i.e. The sefer Torah makes your hands unclean, but the books of Homer do not. The Priests in the Temple could nonetheless offer the sacrifices to God without worry on that account, because the sefer Torah of the Sanctuary didn't make your hands unclean, only the ones everywhere else.

      Well, for starters, no one knows today the exact nature of the Eighteen Measures, and it seems that no one even knew back in Talmudic times.

      Well nobody left us step-by-step instructions or a detailed diagram regarding the construction and use of the Golden Calf, but that doesn't mean that we are clueless about its nature or the intent behind its creation. I was careful to cite the commentaries on the pertinent passages from the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud authored by the Jewish scholars at Bar-Ilan University or The Jewish Encyclopedia. I notice that you're not bothering to do anything like that.

      We do know for certain from the various Jewish, Roman, and Christian sources that the law was intended to prohibit normal relations and trade between the Jews and their Gentile neighbors on the basis of these newly-minted, man-made laws of purity. You can compare the information from the Jewish Encyclopedia articles on Gentiles and the Houses of Hillel and Shammai with Simon Peter's comment on the subject from Acts Chapter 10, after his his own purported vision regarding unclean things. The passage in question had certainly been composed by the time of the Talmudic era:

      Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation;

      link to

      We also know for certain that the Sages agree that the day they were adopted is remembered as a day that was every bit as bad for the people of Israel as the day that they made the Golden Calf; and that the consensus of opinion among the Sages was that hatred without a cause, and not a lack of ritual observance, purity, or acts of charity was the precise factor that led to the downfall of the Second Commonwealth and the destruction of the Temple.

      For example, according to Josephus, the Zealots had essentially declared war on the Gentiles when they put a stop to the daily sacrifices that had been provided for the welfare of the Emperor. Likewise, he reports that they hated "Hellenized" or culturally assimilated Jews. In War Chapter 6 he explained that all of the daily sacrifices had ended due to lack of supply and that Titus had offered a truce to provide for them. The besieged Zealots refused the offer and boldly claimed that the city belonged to their God and could not be captured. Josephus replied that the Zealots had actually angered God by ending the sacrifices and defiling the Temple. He claimed that God had switched sides in the dispute, because Titus was actually attempting to restore the necessary sacrifices to their God.

    • Is this all nonsense?

      Yes, of course it is. I've described the Kahanists that write for The Jewish Press and Arutz Shiva as members of the Jewish Taliban and that wasn't a backhanded compliment to either party's theology or traditions. I've known hundreds of progressive Muslims from my days in the military, who don't believe in taking everyone back to the 7th century state of affairs and level of civilization. I believe in practicing religious tolerance. Nevertheless I have ridiculed the idea that tolerance implies that anyone should be willing to accept or condone the right of governments or individuals to oppress and persecute the hell out of their citizens or neighbors in the name of the God of the Jews, Christians, Muslims, or any other religion.

      I've commented here almost incessantly about my support for the obligation under international law to condition recognition and maintenance of diplomatic relations between states and/or international organizations on guarantees that fundamental human rights will be respected and observed both in theory and in actual practice. I also put my money where my mouth is by contributing to organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, Avaaz, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

      I am sure you would have some choice words regarding stoning of adulterers, hanging of gays, female genital mutilation, etc, since you are a very objective person.

      You can bet your bottom dollar on that. Any snide remarks that I've ever made here pale in comparison to the ass chewing I gave my representative in the US Congress when I found out that the US taxpayer was picking up the tab for the bodyguards detailed to protect Hamid Karzai and the members of the Afghan Supreme Court while they considered imposing the death penalty on one of their own Christian citizens for the crime of departing from the Islamic faith.

      I think I've made it perfectly clear that I'm: (a) opposed to the death penalty; (b) any form of ritual genital mutilation; and (c) any form of torture, "cruel", or "unusual" punishment. I've stated that I'm no fan of the Hamas regime and that I'm convinced beyond any doubt that they have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity that have targeted Jews and Palestinians alike. I've commented about the fact that I think the other governing faction of the PA in Ramallah has an adequate set of basic laws, but a damned poor human rights record so far. I'm glad that they've all signed-on to the ICC Statute and the major UN Human Rights and Hague/Geneva Humanitarian Conventions, since that means they can be subjected to more formal oversight by the treaty monitoring bodies and the other contracting state parties who can demand an official accounting and corrective actions or sanctions.

    • No. You rub me the wrong way because you’ve failed to preserve any part of the 3000 year Jewish religious tradition.

      You must mean that rubbish about "the Guy-in-the-Sky" leaving "eternal commandments" instructing us on every subject, including the proper way to take a dump in order to avoid a toilet demon, all to ensure our ultimate success in slaughtering or driving-out the other nations residing in the Holy Land, then yeah, I consider that to be a bunch of self-serving genocidal nonsense.

      On the other hand, if you mean the lessons-learned from that failed undertaking, including the obligation treat others as we ourselves want to be treated and to grant the less fortunate and the strangers living in our midsts as equals under the law, then you know perfectly well that I have never abandoned my secular humanistic "Jewish Theory of Everything" for even one moment. In fact, I've commented before about the fact that hatred of others without a cause is the very subject that divided the ancient Jewish community from within and which led to its eventual downfall.
      * link to
      * link to

    • @ CigarGod

      The ancient Jewish prophets didn't spend a great deal of time catering to "seekers of smooth things". They are remembered to this day for rising up early and forcefully bearing witness against social hypocrisy and systematic injustice perpetrated against others. They did that with such devotion that it literally enraged the members of Jewish society and placed the prophet's lives at risk. A well-deserved jeremiad is unlikely to be well-received by the intended audience.

    • @Hostage

      For a guy who is loathe to say anything positive about Jews, you can’t seem to leave them alone.

      Hasbara fail! I'm a member of Jewish Voice for Peace and I have nothing but positive things to say about Jewish persons, religious or otherwise, who embrace honest scholarship, universalism, and equal human rights. I consider myself fortunate to have been raised and educated in a household full of such individuals. I just rub you the wrong way because I won't defend blind faith in Jewish racism or tribalism grounded in either ancient religious superstitions and myths, or underhanded modern political subterfuges.

    • More and more Jews are being unjewed.

      It doesn't work that way. Even Herzl's deceased descendants, one of whom had converted to Christianity, were nonetheless redeemed and buried in Israel with full Zionist State honors. Spinoza was only excommunicated once (so far), but has been redeemed at least twice since he died. I think that once you've had your genitals ritually mutilated, you're pretty much a son of the Covenant forever. At most, excommunication can only identify you as a bad one and suspend your rights, privileges, and immunities temporarily. FYI, Herzl created some suspicion about his own qualifications in that connection when he bragged about his venereal disease and his sexual endowments in a bawdy letter that he wrote to his friend Heinrich Kana. He described his penis as a young "German-Austrian" candidate for knighthood (not a kosher Jewish one).
      * link to
      * link to

      Thanks to the composite and conflicting nature of Jewish-Hebrew-Israel religious, atheistic, agnostic, zionist, universalist, and racist (mis)identity, excommunication is a hit or miss proposition in any event. Someone will always be willing to claim you as their very own.

      For example Spinoza was excommunicated and died while renting a room from a Protestant family in Holland. They had him buried under a flagstone in the Church that they occasionally attended together, leading many to speculate that he had converted late in life. Then:

      A plaque was placed in the Nieuwe Kerk churchyard in 1927 to commemorate the two-hundred-fiftieth anniversary of Spinoza's death. Several Jewish enthusiasts from Palestine, who wished to reclaim Baruch Spinoza as a Jew, were involved in the commemoration. The Latin inscription reads: "This earth covers the bones of Benedictus Spinoza, once buried in the new church."

      In Palestine, at about the same time as the unveiling of this plaque, Joseph Klausner, the renowned historian and later a candidate in Israel's first presidential election, delivered a speech at Hebrew University in which he declared that the Jewish people had committed a terrible sin in excommunicating Spinoza; he called for a repudiation of the idea that Spinoza was a heretic. He ended, "To Spinoza, the Jew, we call out . . . from atop Mount Scopus, out of our new sanctuary —the Hebrew University of Jerusalem —the ban is rescinded! Judaism's wrongdoing against you is hereby lifted, and whatever was your sin against her shall be forgiven. Our brother are you, our brother are you, our brother are you!"

      In 1956, the three-hundredth anniversary of Spinoza's excommunication, Heer H. F. K. Douglas, one of Spinoza's Dutch admirers, conceived the idea of constructing an additional memorial next to the 1927 plaque. Knowing that Ben-Gurion, the prime minister of Israel, much admired Spinoza, Heer Douglas asked for his support. Ben-Gurion enthusiastically offered it, and when the word spread in Israel, members of a humanistic Jewish organization in Haifa, who considered Spinoza the progenitor of Jewish humanism , offered to contribute a black basalt stone as part of the memorial. The formal unveiling of the monument was well attended and included governmental representatives of both Holland and Israel. Ben-Gurion did not attend the unveiling but visited the memorial in an official ceremony three years later.

      The new plaque, placed next to the 1927 plaque, contained a relief of Spinoza’s head and the single word "Caute" (caution) found on Spinoza's ring seal, and, below that, the black Israeli basalt stone sealed to the plaque contains the Hebrew word meaning "Your People." Some Israelis took issue with Ben-Gurion's attempts to reclaim Spinoza. Orthodox members of the Knesset were so outraged by the idea of Israel honoring Spinoza that they called for the censure of both Ben-Gurion and the foreign minister, Golda Meir, for instructing the Israeli ambassador in Holland to attend the unveiling.

      Earlier, in an article, Ben -Gurion addressed the issue of Spinoza’s excommunication. “It is difficult to blame the Jewish community in seventeenth century Amsterdam. Their position was precarious . . . and the traumatized Jewish community had the right to defend their cohesion. But today the Jewish people do not have the right to forever exclude Spinoza the immortal from the Community of Israel.”
      Ben-Gurion insisted that the Hebrew language is not complete without the works of Spinoza. And indeed, shortly after the publication of his article, the Hebrew University published the entire body of Spinoza’s work in Hebrew.
      Some Jews wished Ben-Gurion to appeal to the Amsterdam rabbinate for reversal of the excommunication, but he declined and wrote: “I did not seek to have the excommunication annulled, since I took it for granted that the excommunication is null and void . . . There is a street in Tel-Aviv bearing Spinoza’s name, and there is not one single reasonable person in this country who thinks that the excommunication is still in force.”

      Epilogue, Irvin D. Yalom, The Spinoza Problem, Basic Books, 2012 link to

    • Mooser, if you mean Holy Ground Land, there has just been proposal to build a new island off the coast of Gaza. Or do you think that bit could never be holy?

      [Hostage dons a knitted kippah] No, the Torah allowed David and Solomon to occupy and collect tribute from any profane territory that the Holy One, blessed be he, had explicitly placed off limits to annexation in such places as the lands granted to the descendants of Lot and Esau. We'd rather owe Eilat to them forever than steal so much as one footstep for our tourist or shipping trades. Other than those few examples, everything else is up for grabs under the rule of Divine foreknowledge and the "Every place where you set your foot will be yours." license granted in Deuteronomy 11.

    • The fear of Edwin Montagu (link in another post of mine) was that the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine would be used in other countries as an excuse for expelling Jews.

      Yes, I understand that. The exact wording of that particular safeguarding clause was all over the map. You should download or read the document online that I cited. The various alternative drafts submitted were collated in the attached Appen­dix I I

      It also contained the personal views of six persons in favor of a "Zionist form of declaration" and their individual suggestions:
      1. Herbert Samuel, M . P .
      2. The Chief Rabbi.
      3. Lord Rothschild.
      4. Sir Stuart Samuel, Bart., Chairman of the Jewish Board of Deputies.
      5. Dr. Weizmann.
      6. Mr. Nahum Sokolow.
      And three unfavorable:
      7. Sir Philip Magnus, M.P.
      8. C. G. Montefiore, Esq., President, Anglo-Jewish Association.
      9. L. L. Cohen, Esq., Jewish Board of Guardians.

    • The latest news from the one and only Jewish state: Israel’s minister of religious services says that Reform Jews are not Jews.

      That's okay, you don't have to be a "Jew" to be "Jew-ish". That's why the Zionists adopted the circumlocution in the first place.

      For example, the declassified memo from the Secretary of the British War Cabinet on the various suggestions regarding the wording of the draft Balfour Declaration indicated that the Anti-Zionist Jews rejected the wording of the first draft because it contained no safeguards for the rights of non-Jewish communities or Jewish people living in other countries. Their objections make for fascinating and educational reading. These suggested changes from Nahum Sokolow, the Secretary General and future President of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency for Palestine, underscore the fact that the distinction between "Jews" and "the Jewish people" was quite deliberate and that he even left the door open to the possibility that the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine could indeed prejudice the civil and political rights of Jewish people living elsewhere who harbored "dual loyalties":

      The following alterations, however, in the wording of the declaration I venture to suggest as most' desirable : ­
      (1.) Line 2. " The establishment in Palestine of a national home." I would suggest the substitution of " re-establishment" for "establishment." By this slight change the real character of the movement and its historic basis would be recognised.

      (2.) Line 3. " The Jewish race " I would suggest to be altered to " the Jewish people." The definition of " race " is a much-disputed question. It would also be questionable whether the word refers to all persons of Jewish origin or only to Jews. " Jewish people " is the best definition.

      (3.) I would also suggest in substitution for the concluding phrase, " or the rights and political status . . . . nationality and citizenship," the following more comprehensive expression : "or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country of which they are loyal citizens."

      CAB/24/4 formerly G-164 dated October 1917 link to

  • California students resist authorities’ attempt to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism
    • So just file a Federal lawsuit under 42 U.S. Code § 1983 - Civil action for deprivation of rights:

      Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.

      I don't see how this new anti-Semitism is supposed to work under existing US or California statutes, since Anti-Zionism is still a valid Jewish religious or secular fraternal creed that used to be endorsed by the majority of Secular and Reform Jews in this country, e.g.:

      We recognize, in the modern era of universal culture of heart and intellect, the approaching of the realization of Israel's great Messianic hope for the establishment of the kingdom of truth, justice, and peace among all men. We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community, and therefore expect neither a return to Palestine, nor a sacrificial worship under the sons of Aaron, nor the restoration of any of the laws concerning the Jewish state.

      -- Reform Judaism: The Pittsburgh Platform (November 1885)

      If the California Legislature and the UC Regents can't prescribe the terms of orthodox American nationalism, then it's damned certain that they can't prescribe the terms of orthodox Jewish nationalism either:

      The Fourteenth Amendment, as now applied to the States, protects the citizen against the State itself and all of its creatures-Boards of Education not excepted. ... The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections. ... Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. ... If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.


      The Jewish Defense League has been deemed a right-wing terrorist group by the federal government; The Anti-Defamation League has engaged in illegal domestic spying and intimidation of Arab refugee charities and Anti-Zionist groups; Stand With US has admittedly disrupted Jewish Voice for Peace meetings using pepper spray.
      * link to
      * link to
      * link to

      Israelis and Zionists have utilized California state public meetings in the past to advocate or defend unlawful violent acts that have resulted in serious bodily injury and death to Palestinians and destruction of their communities, based upon their nationality or religion. The US State Department reports on human rights in the occupied territories have highlighted Israeli acts that constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. So it's also important to enforce the statutory legal protections applicable to any person who has an Anti-Zionist religious or fraternal creed. There are 26 such statutes highlighted in the California Attorney General's handbook on "Unlawful Discrimination- Your Rights and Remedies," e.g.:

      Penal Code section 186.21 declares that it is the right of every person, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, or handicap, to be protected from fear, intimidation, and physical harm caused by the activities of violent groups and individuals. (This is part of the “California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act,” enacted in 1988.) ... Penal Code section 11410 (terrorism) expresses the Legislature’s intent that it is the right of every person, regardless of his or her race, color, creed, religion, gender, or national origin, to be secure and protected from fear, intimidation and physical harm caused by the activities of violent groups and individuals. This section also contains the Legislature’s express finding that the advocacy of unlawful violent acts by groups against other persons or groups where death and/or great bodily injury is likely, is not constitutionally protected, poses a threat to public order and safety, and should be subject to criminal and civil sanctions. ... Education Code sections 51501 and 60044 prohibit the State Board of Education and local school boards from adopting any instructional material for use in schools which contains any matter reflecting adversely upon persons because of their race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, handicap, or occupation.

      -- link to

  • Israeli minister proposes building island off Gaza coast so Israel can 'disengage' while maintaining siege
    • While the floating harbor plans have slowly advanced, Katz admitted this remains an extremely unlikely option. “Why hasn’t this happened until now?

      They're still working on the stationary wormhole, the warp drives for the shuttles, and the food replicators.

  • Hillary Clinton promises megadonor she will work with Republicans-- to oppose BDS
    • Well, that’s true but you haven’t met Abbas who doesn’t agree with boycotting Israel.

      No, you're not too bright to bring him up. He is the head of a state that has formally charged Israel with the crime of apartheid in both the ICJ and the ICC. Like Omar Barghouti, he has no other choice but to trade with Israel, since Palestine is a captive state that is under constant belligerent occupation or under siege from Israel. He has gone to the UN Security Council to stop that. If he is unsuccessful there, then the PLO Executive has already declared that it will demand equal rights, including the right of return and the vote in Israel. When that day finally comes, all the efforts of Zionist Diaspora Jews will not be able to help you stop the boycotts, divestments, or sanctions against Israel..

    • Neither are the hundreds of Palestinian Sodastream workers you made destitute.

      That's a fairly bizarre claim, since their "place of employment" had been created through an illegal act that displaced and made destitute the members of the local Palestinian and Bedouin communities. The industrial park was created on occupied land that had been annexed to an illegal Jewish settlement. FYI, if the Israeli government and Sodastream really want to counter BDS, then they should give them work permits and a legal workplace in Israel. P.S. that what they claim to be doing: "We are working with the Israeli government to secure work permits for our Palestinian employees." link to

    • It’s interesting that the article mentions that Orange unwound its deal with Partner Communications, and that Hillary said she opposes BDS, but it doesn’t relate the two.

      I agree. The WaPo folks are not doing their job, as usual. Orange and Partner had just concluded a 10 year deal. Now they've announced a new one that allows Orange to withdraw after only two years.

      At the Adelson-Saban anti-BDS summit, Saban pretended that the Orange CEO was in deep legal trouble and called him a liar after hearing that he'd apologized and explained that his desire to terminate the deal wasn't a politically motivated move. link to

      It undoubtedly wasn't politically motivated, since the UN and the government of France had been warning business about either the "legal consequences" or "legal risks" of doing business in the settlements for months on end.

    • In Israel, the Israeli Arabs have a nominal right to vote. It’s just that the representatives they elect are never allowed to have any real political power or to participate in any government.

      They most certainly do NOT have a vote or say in the official state functions performed by the Jewish-only WZO Settlement Division or the appointees of the Jewish National Fund to the Israel Land Authority Board of Governors. So basically no say at all in national or municipal planning or zoning matters.

    • I can remember when similar arguments were made by the defenders of South Africa.

      You don't have to look too far, her husband gave FW de Klerk the Medal of Freedom when he was President, when de Klerk came here begging to have US sanctions lifted. He is still an unapologetic racist:

      Mr de Klerk said he had made a "profound apology" about the injustices wrought by apartheid on many occasions.

      "What I haven't apologised for is the original concept of seeking to bring justice to all South Africans through the concept of nation states (essentially creating two separate states, one black and one white)," he said.

      -- FW de Klerk: not all aspects of apartheid 'morally repugnant' link to

    • Could this have something to do with it? The Hill: Team Clinton ‘worried’ about Bernie Sanders campaign.

      No, it's more likely that Saban is very worried about the warnings from the UN and EU regarding the criminal liability of businesses and individuals that are profiting from the plunder of public and private Palestinian property. His Partner Company appears to be doing precisely that. I've commented about that situation here in the past. link to

  • Michael Oren cannot hide his disrespect for Jewish Americans
    • See, they think of themselves as "Israelis" but the Government of Israel registers them as "Jews". Isn't that a compound identity?

      I know, then there's this "Hebrew" identity from Plan Dalet:

      (a) The objective of this plan is to gain control of the areas of the Hebrew state and defend its borders.

      link to

      So they must have had a map somewhere that showed their armed militias the location of these "defensible borders" they keep shreying about, but they've never been willing to share it with anyone.

  • 'Why this bullsh-t?' Video of Israeli navy flotilla takeover
    • The point is Israel has a right to inspect the ship to make sure no Gaza-bound weapons were aboard the ships; a state of war exists between Israel and the Hamas regime controlling Gaza and Israel need not accept the word of Hamas sympathizers that there is no contraband or war materiel on board the ships merely on their say-so;

      Let's remember that Israel had launched a major invasion of the West Bank during its raid on Es Samu and that it was firing tank shells at construction workers in Syria and shooting down MIG aircraft over downtown Damascus before Nasser announced the blockade of the Straits of Tiran. Nonetheless in 1967, the Prime Minister of Israel cabled President Johnson and explained that Israel went to war because of the “illegal blockade” and "the insolent defiance of the international and maritime community." That's powerful evidence of state practice that operating blockades in international shipping channels or in international waters was no longer considered to be legal at all. See the page on the telegram from Israeli PM Eshkol to President Johnson

      In any event, Israel would only have a limited right of visit and inspection under the terms of UN Security Council resolution 1860. Wherever it chooses to inspect relief ships, it has to permit them and their passengers, and crew to go on their way to Gaza, unless actual contraband has been discovered.

    • My reading of the San Remo materials is that blockaders do not breach international law by enforcing a blockade in international waters as far as they are able.

      The problem with the San Remo materials is that they were not accepted as a codification or incorporated into any IHL treaties. The legality of blockades was disputed by the relatively few number of scholars involved, which included some Israeli participants. Remember that in 1967, the Prime Minister of Israel cabled President Johnson and explained that Israel went to war because of the “illegal blockade” and "the insolent defiance of the international and maritime community." That's powerful evidence of state practice that operating blockades in international shipping channels was no longer considered to be legal. See the page on the telegram from Israeli PM Eshkol to President Johnson

      Unlike the San Remo Manual or the Helsinki Principles On The Law Of Maritime Neutrality, the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, the 1st Additional Protocol, and the UN Charter have each been ratified by more than 160 state parties. Together they guarantee the freedom of the high seas and reserve it for peaceful purposes. A naval blockade against neutral shipping is, prima facie, a violation of freedom of the high seas which belong to mankind. Such efforts constitute a violation of international law if not conducted with the authorization of the United Nations Security Council pursuant to Chapter VII of the Charter.

      It goes without saying that Israel is violating the call for "unimpeded" distribution of humanitarian relief contained in Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) and that it has never obtained Security Council consent under Chapter VII to attack ships on the high seas. In fact the members of the Security Council condemned the attack on the Mavi Marmara and tasked the Secretary General with responsibility for conducting a full, prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards. In short, everything the Palmer Inquiry was not. See "Security Council Condemns Acts Resulting in Civilian Deaths during Israeli Operation against Gaza-Bound Aid Convoy, Calls for Investigation, in Presidential Statement" link to

      As I've already pointed out the Secretary himself has subsequently contradicted the observation that the blockade was a lawful one. The Palmer report itself said that, regardless of its status, Israel had acted prematurely and improperly by seizing the ships in international waters outside the declared coordinates of its Gaza blockade without proper warning.

    • So Hostage, more legalistic gobbledegook to defend the previous set!

      Once again, I'm quoting treaty documents and Court decisions in context. They have either been universally ratified or have been declared to be reflections of the rules of customary international law that non-signatories are legally bound to respect. The SS Lotus decision is really pretty simple. Ships in international waters are considered to be under the territorial jurisdiction of the flag state. Under the rules of customary law, other states are prohibited from employing threats or force against the territorial integrity or independence of any other state. Whenever a state does exercise its powers on the territory of another it must be acting in a previously agreed-upon "erga omnes" capacity in the interest of the international community to prevent piracy, slavery, crimes against humanity, or some other affirmative, "jus cogens" rule of compelling international law. Otherwise it is guilty of a criminal act of aggression. That's why blockades operated in violation of the prohibition contained in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter are considered crimes against the territory of the flag state:

      All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

      -- link to

      Likewise, the laws and customs of war are pretty simple. The IDF cannot use malnutrition or persecution as modes of warfare. It cannot impose collective punishments/penalties to the point that agreed-upon treaty monitoring bodies and medical experts put its officials on notice that they have permanently damaged the health of a significant percentage of the civilian population and then allow them to exonerate themselves without a real independent criminal investigation and trial where eyewitnesses and medical experts can testify and those responsible can cross-examine them and publicly defend or explain their actions. Sham proceedings, like the Turkel and Palmer Inquiries, are actually supposed to trigger the ICC's jurisdiction in accordance with Article 17 of the Rome Statute. FYI, the ICC Prosecutor already determined during the initial evaluation of the situation that war crimes were undoubtedly committed during the IDF raid on the ships flagged by Comoros, Cambodia, and Greece.

      The UN bodies, to which Hostage has referred, have already clearly demonstrated that unprincipled bias against Israel by passing more resolutions against it than virtually all the rest of the world’s nations combined.

      There's nothing "unprincipled" about it. The scoundrels who ran the Apartheid regime in South Africa employed the same propaganda talking point. The UN organization's attitude in both cases simply reflects the fact that the international community views states like Israel as lawless nations which do not have a decent respect for the opinions of mankind.

      As I've pointed out on many occasions, the Zionists depended upon the international community of states to impose a permanent servitude on the people of Palestine in the form of their national home. It was part of an international trust territory. Then they asked the UN to authorize the partition of Palestine. Part of the customary rules in such cases is that fundamental human rights were placed under LoN and UN guarantees and the new governments were not allowed to modify or violate them. Israel is one of the few states created by an international organization that has flagrantly and repeatedly violated the human rights it agreed to protect with seemingly limitless impunity supplied by the US veto in the Security Council.

      Judge Lauterpacht addressed the complaints of South African officials about UN bias and the "Cumulative Legal effect" of a succession of recommendations, on the same subject and with regard to the same State, solemnly reaffirmed by the General Assembly and the UN Human Rights treaty bodies:

      '[A] ... State may not be acting illegally by declining to act on a recommendation or series of recommendations on the same subject. But in so doing it acts at its peril when a point is reached when the cumulative effect of the persistent disregard of the articulate opinion of the Organization is such as to foster the conviction that the State in question has become guilty of disloyalty to the principles and purposes of the Charter. Thus [a] . . . State which consistently sets itself above the solemnly and repeatedly expressed judgment of the Organization in particular as that judgment approximates to unanimity, may find that it has overstepped the imperceptible line between impropriety and illegality, between discretion and arbitrariness, between the exercise of the legal right to disregard the recommendation and the abuse of that right, and that it has exposed itself to consequences legitimately following as a legal sanction.

      --See pdf file page 61 of 68 link to

      Hostage has not dismissed the validity of the principle contained in para 18 USC §7 where it refers to “Any place outside the jurisdiction of any nation with respect to an offense by or against a national of the United States.”

      I most certainly have dismissed its applicability to consignments of food, medical supplies, or commercial goods. The 4th Geneva Convention and the 1st Additional Protocol do not permit those to be construed as contraband or offers of relief to be treated as belligerent acts. Whenever a population is not adequately supplied, the parties to the conflict are not only under an obligation to permit free passage, they are required to actively protect the relief ships after they have exercised the right of visit and inspection.

      There were Israeli nationals on board the Marianne – enough reason for Israel to be justified in apprehending the vessel, about to enter Gaza – a state to all intentions purposes still at war with Israel.

      Maybe the reason Israel is still "to all intents and purposes" at war is because it has steadfastly refused to drop its multitude of belligerent claims in accordance with the decisions adopted on its behalf by the UN Security Council? There is no right in rem to impede or seize a foreign flagged relief ship and divert it to Israel on the basis of the exercise of Israel's in personam jurisdiction over one or more of the passengers. Let's remember that Israel is under an international treaty obligation to end all of its "belligerent claims" and to begin repatriating the refugees it has confined inside the Gaza Strip for up to sixty years. It is also supposed to be permitting unimpeded distribution of humanitarian relief consignments into and throughout Gaza, which does not include Ashdod, Israel. See the terms of S/RES/89(1950), S/RES/95(1951), S/RES/242 (1967), S/RES/338 (1973), and S/RES/1860 (2009). link to

    • Should Israel play into their hands and allow this cynical script? It would be utterly foolish to do so ...

      That milestone disappeared in the rear view mirror a long time ago. Being utterly foolish is the Zionist national pastime.

    • Hostage shrouds many misconceptions and falsities with his verbose legalese.

      LOL! Only you Zionist fringe theorists think that quoting the Security Council, the UN Charter, the Geneva Convention and its Additional Protocol, the Definition of Aggression employed by the ICJ and ICC, and the UN and ICRC treaty monitoring bodies verbatim conceals misconceptions and falsities.

      Extraterritorial Israeli jurisdiction applies to the apprehension of a vessel on the high seas for these reasons:
      (1) The passive personality principle, which is jurisdiction based on the nationality of those injured by the conduct. An example is 18 USC §7, a statute by which the U.S. asserts jurisdiction “[a]ny place outside the jurisdiction of any nation with respect to an offense . . . against a national of the United States.”

      That's pretty irrelevant, since 18 USC §7 doesn't make delivery of consignments of food, medical equipment, or offers of humanitarian assistance a criminal "offense against a national" of either the United States or Israel and neither the Geneva Conventions nor the Additional Protocols permit the USA, or any other High Contracting Party, to do such a thing.

      Likewise your long quote from Henry Kissinger about "ships suspected of piracy, transporting slaves, or broadcasting illegally" is completely irrelevant. You've obviously overlooked this part of what he said: "For other crimes, the arresting State must get the consent or assistance of the flag state." That flows from the PCIJ holding in the SS Lotus case which said that "the first and foremost restriction imposed by international law upon a State is that failing the existence of a permissive rule to the contrary – it may not exercise its power in any form in the territory of another State."

      Interdicting a neutral foreign ship on the high seas as part of a blockade does, in fact, violate such a prohibitive rule: namely, the customary rule (the prohibition of aggression) that prohibits states from interdicting a foreign state's ships on the high seas without an agreed upon justification, such as piracy, the slave trade, drug trafficking, etc. Even the Palmer Inquiry pointed out that the IDF acted prematurely and improperly, because it seized the Mavi Marmara in international waters, well outside the declared coordinates of its blockade.

      FYI in the Eichmann case, the Israeli Supreme Court invoked universal jurisdiction by citing the customary obligation to either prosecute or extradite persons accused of committing grave breaches outlined in the 4th Geneva [sic Hague] Convention of 1907 and its Martens Clause regarding "the principles of the law of nations as they result from the usages established among civilized peoples, from the laws of humanity and from the dictates of public conscience." link to

      In 1920 the Versailles Peace Conference report of the "Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and on Enforcement of Penalties" listed usurpation of sovereignty during military occupation; starvation of civilians; imposition of collective penalties; deliberate bombardment of hospitals; wanton devastation and destruction of property; wanton destruction of religious, charitable, educational, and historic buildings and monuments; and destruction of fishing boats or relief ships in its list of 32 recognized violations of the laws of humanity and the dictates of public conscience. link to

      It is also extraordinary that he tries to dismiss the report of the Palmer Commission and the two Turkel Commission reports as political exercises when he himself dredges up stuff from Lancet that is overtly political, as well as being dated.

      I didn't try to dismiss them, they were not proper criminal investigations that met international standards and couldn't have exonerated anyone accused of a grave breach in any event. In accordance with the customary obligation to either prosecute or extradite contained in Article 146 of the Geneva Convention (see the text below), there has to be a trial by a regular court when that many treaty monitoring body experts have outlined a prima facie case. The collective punishments, permanent health problems, learning disabilities, and premature deaths reported by the UNRWA, the ICRC, the UN OHCHR, the UNHRC, the OHCHR, the Secretary General, and non-governmental organizations, like the Lancet, are not any more "dated" than the crimes against humanity committed during the Holocaust era. They are not subject to any statutory limitations. Those are the same expert parties that outlined the prima facie ' case for the establishment of all the other UN ad hoc criminal tribunals. So what's your point?

      Article 146 of the 4th Geneva Convention says: "The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention defined in the following Article [147 ] .
      Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a ' prima facie ' case. -- link to

    • Kris,
      Simple logic says that if a blockade is legal, then attempting to break it is not.

      Then let's try this simple logic: There is no such thing as an international agreement or convention that legalizes the use of blockades. Even if there were, the customary rules contained in the Convention on the Law of Treaties say that it couldn't create obligations for third parties without their consent or violate a customary norm of international law.

      In fact, the UN Charter prohibits the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity and independence of any state or in any manner that violates the UN Charter. The customary definition of the Crime of Aggression cites both blockades and military occupations in violation of the UN Charter as prime examples of the crime of aggression.

      You guys keep pedaling the false idea that the Palmer Inquiry magically conferred legality on the blockade, but the same UN Secretary General that commissioned its efforts at political conciliation reported his own conclusions on March 14th of this year that the blockade "is a continuing collective penalty against the population in Gaza" that violates the fundamental human rights of the population to an adequate standard of living, housing, food, water, sanitation, health and education (A/HRC/28/45, para. 70). link to

      173 State Parties have ratified the prohibition of collective punishments contained in Article 75 of the 1st Additional Protocol (1977) and the prohibition of collective penalties contained in Article 33 of the 4th Geneva Convention has been universally ratified. The prohibition of collective punishments is also considered a "customary norm" that is binding on non-signatories. See Rule 103. Collective punishments are prohibited. link to

    • You zionist-haters simply want to keep believing the least credible source for determining what and what is not ‘legal’ about a military blockade in general and with respect to Israel and Gaza. You can shimmy around the international and maritime law as much as you like but the UNHRC is not an unbiased source and is not qualified to comment on naval/international law. The Palmer commission as well as international naval bodies determined the Israeli blockade of Gaza in international waters was legal as was the seizure of the Mamara. And surely if it truly was ‘illegal’ as you claim there would have been numerous attempts to bring charges at the ICC. There have not.

      Not at all, even the relatively few countries (only 28 in number) that participated in drafting the San Remo Manual included a number which held that blockades were inherently illegal under international law. All of them agreed that any time malnutrition was a possible side effect, it triggers an obligation to permit vessels carrying relief shipments to gain access to the coasts of the blockaded belligerent, after the right of visit and inspection have been exercised. It is strictly prohibited to declare humanitarian relief shipment a belligerent act or contraband as Israel has done in these cases.

      The UN Security Council explicitly called for "the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment" in S/Res/1860 (2009). It also defined "Gaza" as an integral part of the territory that was occupied in 1967, which does not include "Ashdod, Israel". link to

      All UN member states have a treaty obligation under the terms of Article 25 to accept and carry-out that decision. According to Article 103 of the Charter, in the event of a conflict between the members obligations under the Charter and any other international agreement, the Charter obligation shall prevail. The Security Council just reminded the Saudis that their arms embargo or blockade of Yemen is not permitted to interfere with the free flow of humanitarian aid or commercial goods into the country. link to

      FYI, the ICC Prosecutor reported that it had received hundreds of Article 15 communications regarding the illegal attack on the flotilla and the situation Israel had created in Gaza. The Mavi Marmara and other vessels were flagged by ICC member states and a Pre-Trial Chamber is still reviewing whether these attacks and seizures in international waters are legal. The Prosecutor doesn't need any complaints, since the Court already has jurisdiction over crimes committed on the territories of all its member states. It simply has to wait until the investigations and court cases in states, like Israel and Turkey, have been concluded or appear to be disingenuous shams designed to shield the perpetrators from prosecution. The Prosecutor's report said that war crimes were undoubtedly committed during the raid on the Mavi Marmara and other ships. She doesn't have the final say as to whether they are of sufficient "gravity" to warrant ICC action. The States concerned have asked the Pre-Trial Chamber to decide the question:

      Pre-Trial Chamber I is composed of Judge Joyce Aluoch, Presiding Judge, Judge Cuno Tarfusser and Judge Péter Kovács. Pre-Trial Chamber I has been assigned with the situations in Côte d'Ivoire, Libya, Mali and the Situation on Registered Vessels of the Union of the Comoros, the Hellenic Republic and the Kingdom of Cambodia.

      -- link to

      The report of the Palmer Commission and the two Turkel Commission reports were political exercises, not legal inquiries or fact finding investigations “conforming to international standards.” See the text of the Palmer report itself in that regard and H.C.J. 4641/10, Uri Avneri et al. v. The Prime Minister et al.

      So, the Secretary General’s Palmer Commission was operating under a cloud from the get-go. It’s mandate didn’t allow it to collect its own evidence or hear direct testimony from eyewitnesses. It also took instructions from the two member states concerned regarding the findings contained in its report in direct violation of the principles contained in Article 100 of the UN Charter regarding the operation of the UN Secretariat.

      Neither the Secretary's or the Israeli commissions were empowered to collect or cross examine testimony from the IDF members involved in the raid; the victims on board the ships; or the victims of the blockade in Gaza. FYI, the US had arranged for the Palmer report in order to make the formal reports from the international treaty mandate holders, i.e. the UN OHCHR and UN HRC, “disappear”. Anne Bayefsky and Haaretz spilled the beans about the behind the barn deal that led to its creation because it appeared the Obama administration hadn’t kept-up its end of the bargain:

      August 2, Ban launched his investigation, which got off the ground only because the U.S. pressed Israel to agree, and Israel took American assurances seriously. U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice spelled some of them out: “The United States expects that the Panel will…obviate the need for any overlapping international inquiries.” The overlapping inquiry of the Human Rights Council, she claimed, would go away.

      Haaretz added that the Israeli government believed it had received assurances that “the review panel will not have the authority to subpoena witnesses, including Israel Defense Forces soldiers and officers.”

      link to

      Israel had been accused by the authoritative treaty monitoring bodies (the UN HRC and ICRC) of imposing collective punishments and deliberately using starvation as a mode of warfare by destroying livestock and crops and interfering with essential consignments of food and medical supplies to the point that it caused serious injury to the bodies and health of between 10 to 30 percent of the children of Gaza. That was backed-up by reliable published reports in peer reviewed journals, like The Lancet, e.g.
      * link to
      * link to

      Documents obtained through the Israeli Courts revealed that the responsible Israeli officials calculated the minimum daily caloric intake and the minimum number of trucks needed to supply the necessary imported food, then deliberately prevented that many relief trucks from entering Gaza. That is a grave breach according to the explicit terms of Article 147 for which no statutory limits apply, i.e. Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, ... wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health". link to

      No High Contracting Party can exonerate itself, even by employing a series of bogus "inquiries" that do not meet international standards, i.e. "Art. 148. No High Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself or any other High Contracting Party of any liability incurred by itself or by another High Contracting Party in respect of breaches referred to in the preceding Article." link to

  • Oren's memoir reveals Israel's elite is hyper-sensitive to U.S. criticism
    • I do not think so. Nazi analogies evoke Goodwin law, and indeed, the history is much richer than that. ...The first genocide of XX century (to my limited knowledge) affected Hereros who stood in the path of progress in German South West Africa (today, Namibia). .

      *Then you'd have to invoke Godwin's law against the father of genocide studies, Raphael Lemkin. He wrote two manuscripts: “Herero” and “The Germans in Africa”. They detailed the genocide in Namibia, the suppression of the so-called “Maji-Maji Rebellion” in Tanzania and the “Duala Massacres” in Cameroon. Lemkin noted that “the Germans introduced the Prussian military system into their rule of the African colonies, a system of cruelty and oppression” and the continuities to Axis practices in Eastern Europe. The papers are part of the collection at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, the Raphael Lemkin Papers (Box 6, Folder 9).

      *That doesn't mean that other examples of settler colonialism, like the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand were very different in nature. Frequently the bulk of the indigenous populations were massacred, the remainder were segregated, persecuted, and their culture or way of life was destroyed. John Docker wrote a paper for the US Holocaust Museum several years ago explaining that a review of Raphael Lemkin's unpublished research notes and papers revealed that he had come to the conclusion that all settler colonial societies were inherently genocidal, without exception. -- link to

      *Likewise you'd have to invoke Godwin's law against Benjamin Madley. He documented the continuities in “From Africa to Auschwitz: How German South West Africa Incubated Ideas and Methods Adopted and Developed by the Nazis in Eastern Europe”, European History Quarterly, 2005; 35: 429-464

      *The BBC studied the earlier German genocide in the documentary, “Namibia – Genocide and the second Reich”
      *Baruch Kimmerling, Henry Siegman, Israel Shahak, the Jerusalem Post, and Haaretz each documented the fact that Israeli officials, like Ariel Sharon, consciously pursued a public policy modeled on the South African and Namibian Bantustans. See:
      -Kimmerling, Politicide:Ariel Sharon's War Against the Palestinians
      link to
      -Siegman, Sharon and the Future of Palestine
      link to
      -Siegman, Imposing Middle East Peace link to
      -Israel Shahak's Senate testimony and the JPost interviews with Sharon entered as exhibits in "The Colonization of the West Bank Territories by Israel" @ the Library of Congress link to
      -The citation to Akiva Eldar, “Sharon’s Bantustans are far from Copenhagen’s hope”, Ha’aretz, 13 May 2003 in the report of the UN Special Rapporteur
      link to

      The tactics employed to displace the indigenous populations and acquire territory are very similar in every case:

      * 100-Year-Old General: We Razed Arab Villages, So What?
      Brig. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Pundak: If we hadn’t done it, there would be a million more Arabs and there would be no Israel.
      link to
      * 100-Year-Old Becomes Israeli Major-General
      * 100-year-old finally gets rank of “Major General” that he earned 60 years ago. Nearly 60 years later, Pundak sat flanked by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and finally received the long-awaited rank. He was the first person in Israeli history to be raised to the rank of Major-General after retirement.
      link to
      * Gen. Pundak: Kill 500 in Gaza and They’ll be Quiet
      Newly promoted 100-year old general who was Gaza Governor supplies his formula for peace.
      link to

      Don't forget that the methods of racial segregation, oppression, and control employed in the Jim Crowe era in the USA were carried-out after the forced displacement and genocide of the original inhabitants. In many cases the white settlers pursued a living from hunting and fishing, just like their predecessors, but were portrayed as being more civilized or industrious than Native Americans. Officials quite openly admitted the desire to either exterminate them or force them to give up their way of life, and be interned on reservations where they would be required to adopt a new way of life. See Ulysses S. Grant, Second Inaugural Address, Tuesday, March 4, 1873 link to or Roosevelts Fourth Annual Message, December 6, 1904 link to

      The annexation and Judiazation of Palestinian territory has been accomplished through the same methods of forced eviction, deportation, or confinement in small ethnic enclaves as a result of frequent lightning-style military strikes or incremental accession during prolonged invasions and occupation, followed by the imposition of policies and practices of racial segregation and persecution - including all of the constituent acts of apartheid listed in Article II of the UN Convention. These similarities are no accident.

      Count 3 of the Nuremberg Indictment, i.e. “(J) GERMANIZATION OF OCCUPIED TERRITORIES” charged the Nazis as follows:
      In certain occupied territories purportedly annexed to Germany the defendants methodically and pursuant to plan endeavored to assimilate those territories politically, culturally, socially, and economically into the German Reich. The defendants endeavored to obliterate the former national character of these territories. In pursuance of these plans and endeavors, the defendants forcibly deported inhabitants who were predominantly non-German and introduced thousands of German colonists.
      — See pdf page 73 (printed page 63) of The International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, Trial of the Major War Criminals, Vol. 1 at the Library of Congress link to or see the Indictment, Count 3 “War Crimes” at the Avalon Project link to

    • As you know, the amidah is only one of numerous examples. Everything from “next year in Jerusalem ” at the seder, to the oath that every Jewish groom makes, just before he breaks the glass and is engulfed by his new bride’s perspiring uncles, to R. Yehudah HaLevi’s poetry.

      There are people who live in Jerusalem that still recite "Next year in Jerusalem," because they consider the modern city and state to be an abomination and NOT the fulfillment of things that Jews have been praying for all of these thousands of years. For the same reasons, there are very devout Jews still living elsewhere around the globe who feel no religious obligation to make aliyah or help in the Zionist conquest of the land.

      The connections to Eretz Yisrael were always there, part of the Jewish DNA, so to speak.. The modern political movement arose when conditions were ripe, and built on those historic and religious ties.

      Entire volumes have been written about the fact that Israel was founded and continues to be governed by non-religious Jews who simply adapted Jewish traditions and myths, like the ones about Masada, to the propaganda needs of the state. They ignored or discarded the parts that didn't suit their political agenda, e.g. See "Civil Religion in Israel", by Lieberman and Don-Yehiya.

    • Then why did Herzl first suggest taking over Uganda as the Jewish State in the late 1800s?

      Herzl's diary and letters establish the fact that he wanted to be the head of a worldwide Jewish Empire and that he still planned on acquiring the territory of Palestine and anything else he could lay his hands on. He called Zionists who insisted on foregoing the offer of lands in Africa "Miserable eunuchs". link to

      He employed the Dreyfus Affair for propaganda purposes in Die Welt. After the fact, he revised his initial accounts of the crowds shouting "Death to the traitor" to read "Death to the Jews". See "Did Dreyfus Affair Really Inspire Herzl?" link to

      Other writers have noted that, at the time, coverage of the affair in Die Welt was more concerned about laying the blame for it at the feet of the Jewish establishment of Europe for having been too "assimilationist" and portraying France somewhat inaccurately as a country that had conspired at all military and civil levels of society against the Jewish people. See for instance Maya Balakirsky Katz, "Revising Dreyfus", Brill, 2013 link to

      Never mind that their faith in the French people and assimilation just might have been vindicated in the end by the Dreyfusards, like Georges Clemenceau, who helped exonerate Dreyfus and who managed to rise to power and lead France through WWI. Despite the anti-Semitic elements of French society, the country had a Jewish Prime Minister, Léon Blum, who entered politics in reaction to the Dreyfus Affair and led three cabinets before and after WWII - long before Israel had its own Jewish Prime Minister. It was his successor's foreign minister who concluded the agreement with the Irgun that violated the UN arms embargo by supplying the weapons and ammunition involved in the infamous Altalena Affair. See the interview with Yitzhak Shamir published in the Times of Israel. link to

      I assume that since most of the talkback artists here haven't made aliyah yet, that they agree with these community spokespersons: "Jewish leaders rebuff Netanyahu's call for mass migration" (Netanyahu to European Jews: Come 'home') link to

      There is obviously no Jewish religious obligation to go to Israel.

    • but something physical was busted and is being mourned on the 9th of Av.

      The first Temple and the exile happened inline with the prophecies contained in the Torah itself. The second one was a man made undertaking commissioned by Cyrus that was destroyed on account of "hatred without a cause". Ezra, the Maccabees, and Simon bar Kochba were not Messiahs and neither were Herzl, Weizmann, or Ben Gurion.

    • James North- According to the Pew poll of October 2013 (page 85) link to the number is 43% of American Jews have visited Israel at least once.

      Sounds like a circular argument. In the first place, who put Pew in charge of determining which persons they should include in a poll of "American Jews" and how did they manage to track them all down?

    • How are people who have no religion in a position to comment about the passivity of those who did follow a specific religion?

      I think most Buddhists would complain that you are confusing religion with the god idea. I consider secular humanistic Judaism to be a religion and anti-Zionism to be an independent and valid religious creed in its own right. It used to be de rigueur in the days when the Reform movement officially incorporated it in the Pittsburgh Platform.

    • Why not consider the possibility that the Jews praying for a return to Zion for thousands of years – actually meant what they were saying?

      Why don't you consider the possibility that the Torah doesn't claim that God will answer personal prayers for an individual's return to Zion and that it doesn't command anyone living today to go there?

    • I frankly don’t think they have a clue. They’re far too comfortable here to comprehend it. And regrettably, you guys on the hard left have not raised your voices at all because you’re afraid it will endanger your alliances with Muslim Arabs on issues like Israel-Palestine, and because countries that oppose the United States internationally couldn’t care less.

      What a load of platitudinous crap. The PA "dictatorship" didn't build the concrete wall that was used to persecute the Christians in Bob Simon's report. And of course, it's not like none of us have ever met or worked with any the Christian parties to the Kairos Palestine Document or that we've never condemned ISIS, like everyone else. As usual I don't hear you complaining about the fact that UN observers have formally advised the Security Council that Israel has been collaborating with Al-Qaeda and ISIS in the Golan for months on end, despite the fact that they've massacred Muslim, Druze, and Christians alike in Syria.
      * UN Report: Israel in Regular Contact with Syrian Rebels including ISIS link to
      * UN reveals Israeli links with Syrian rebels: Reports by UN observers in the Golan submitted to 15 members of Security Council detail regular contact between IDF officers and armed Syrian opposition figures at the border. link to
      * New UN report reveals collaboration between Israel and Syrian rebels link to

      I suppose that's because Israeli Jews are far too comfortable and don't have a clue about the fact that both those groups have murdered Jews in Europe. -- 'Competing ISIS & Al-Qaeda place European Jews under greater threat' link to

    • the top secret big crisis is: the Palestinian Authority is applying for state status in the United Nations General Assembly. Oren is ordered to start calling U.S. Congressmen immediately to block the move.

      The Zionists have played the recognition of statehood game brilliantly ever since 1946. Ambassadors Eliahu Epstein in the USA and Golda Meir in the USSR worked with their P-5 members to keep Transjordan, and the new state created as a result of the union between Transjordan and Arab Palestine, out of the UN for nearly a decade (1955).

      The claim that the joint entity "Jordan" was a foreign occupying power appeared to be totally schizophrenic, since their original protest against its UN membership had been that the two areas were indivisible parts of the same mandated Palestinian territory. Here's an example of those tactics in action taken from the official documentary record published by the US State Department:

      In view of application of Trans-Jordan for membership in UN received July 5, we have to establish our attitude without delay and I am sending memorandum to President requesting his views. I should appreciate knowing your thoughts in advance of beginning of SC Committee discussion on membership on July 15.
      As you are aware, we have had correspondence with Senator Myers regarding Trans-Jordan and he has introduced resolution containing request that executive take no action in any way recognizing Trans-Jordan as separate or independent state and that US representative on UN be instructed to seek postponement of international determination of status of Trans-Jordan area until future status of Palestine as a whole will be determined.
      We also have received a long detailed legal argument from Rabbis Wise and Silver [on behalf of the Jewish Agency for Palestine] objecting to independence of Trans-Jordan.

      –See Foreign relations of the United States, 1946. General; the United Nations Volume I, Page 411 link to

      Sure enough, when Abdullah tried to join the UN in 1946, he was turned down. The President of the Security Council cited advice from the US Secretary State that Transjordan was considered an integral part of the joint Palestine mandate, which had not yet been legally terminated. He recommended that no action should be taken, until the question of “Palestine as a whole” could be addressed by the UN. See The Minutes of the 57th Session of the Security Council, S/PV.57 pages 100-101 (pdf file pgs 3-4 of 52) link to

    • the Palestinians love the land. Now the next temptation is to write “the Jews love the land”, which is obviously untrue, because you’re a Jew and you don’t love the land. ... it is easy to look at the key texts and see how a philosophy of judaism would have a special place in its heart for jerusalem.

      You are deploying the usual nonsense. For most of recorded history, there has been no requirement for Jews to live in the ancient land, visit it, or love it. The references to the Land and Jerusalem were treated as allegories that conveyed a spiritual message. That was the state of affairs for thousands of years. In fact, the Torah itself contains the key prophecies which explain why the bulk of the Jewish people have chosen to remain exiled to this very day, including the multitude of literal descendants who you consider to be "assimilated". No British Mandate is capable of altering that situation. According to Jewish tradition, the Shekinah never even rested on the Temple of Cyrus and most Jews remained in Babylon or chose to settle in places like Alexandria even back then. They were not followers of the small number of zealots, like Ezra and Nehemiah, who were responsible for the establishment of the relatively short-lived "Second Commonwealth".

  • In rebuke to Israel, State Dep't says it has no objection to BDS aimed at occupation
    • The US government has never defended or supported Israeli settlements and activity associated with them and, by extension, does not pursue policies or activities that would legitimize them.

      As a member of Avaaz, I strongly disagree. Apparently the IRS never got the memo, since it's still allowing Zionists to write-off their contributions to the illegal settlements. Likewise, the Justice Department is permitting tens of thousands of US citizens to reside in settlements acquired and maintained by plunder, murder, and terror, and to return or visit the USA without fear of prosecution. See "Why Are US Taxpayers Subsidizing Right-Wing Israeli Settlers?" link to

    • The statement of the Wiesenthal Center is intentionally deceptive, hyperbolic and factually false. The arrogance of it, and the contempt it assumes toward its readers is jaw dropping.

      So, just business as usual then?

    • Did Congress, by passing this provision, and AIPAC, by drafting it and pressuring Congress to pass it, force the administration to take this stand?

      No, since the weasel wording of the statute only applies to boycotts undertaken for "political" purposes, not ones undertaken by governments or individuals for legal purposes. If you've read the ICJ findings in the Wall case or the dozens of UN Security Council resolutions on Israel's illegal annexations and the demographic changes brought about by the implantation of settlers, then you already know that all UN member states are under a legally binding UN Charter obligation not to recognize or facilitate those situations in any way. Article 103 of the Charter stipulates that:

      In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present Charter shall prevail.

      -- link to

    • Phil: The statement was a special clarification of White House policy on the new fast-track trade bill, which contained a provision that Congress had included at the urging of Israel lobby groups: to punish European companies and governments that support BDS of Israel– including Israeli activities in the occupied territories. The legislation purposely sought to protect settlements; and yesterday the Obama administration said it isn’t buying.

      a blah chick: I’ve never understood the policy of just going after the settlements. It’s the Israeli government that puts them there and sustains them, but whatever.

      No, you are quite correct. The BDS movement includes people, like myself, who are boycotting Israel on perfectly legal, not so-called "political" grounds, regarding its fundamental human rights abuses on either side of the armistice lines.

      For example, "the right of displaced persons “to voluntary return in safety to their homes or places of habitual residence as soon as the reasons for their displacement cease to exist” is regarded as a rule of customary international law (see Rule 132 of the ICRC Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law) that applies to any kind of territory. ... The Court considers that the mere fact that peace negotiations are on-going does not absolve the Government from taking other measures, especially when negotiations have been pending for such a long time. In that connection the Court refers to Resolution 1708 (2010) on “Solving property issues of refugees and displaced persons” of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which, relying on relevant international standards, calls on member states to “guarantee timely and effective redress for the loss of access and rights to housing, land and property abandoned by refugees and IDPs without regard to pending negotiations concerning the resolution of armed conflicts of the status of a particular territory”. -- Sargsyan v. Azerbaija link to

  • Netanyahu issues 'welcome letter' as Gaza flotilla is seized by Israeli navy
    • the source of all evil lies

      Haaretz and +972 both have articles which call into question the absurdity of the contradictory claims contained in Netanyahu's letter, i.e. claiming both that “There is no blockade of Gaza." while seizing the ships and passengers for "attempting to violate the blockade".

      * Netanyahu to Gaza flotilla: Did you mean to sail to Syria?
      link to
      *The Orwellian logic of Israel’s blockade of Gaza
      It goes like this: There is no such blockade, and if you violate it, you will be arrested.
      link to

  • Sniper shots and mass arrests: UN Gaza report also documents Israeli abuses in West Bank last summer
    • Yet another UN report, giving us terrible crimes committed by Israel. Like others before it, it has been dismissed by Israel, and it will not be held accountable for atrocities and violence against MOSTLY civilians who died by the hundreds. The US will shield Israel at the UN, if it decides to pass any resolutions against Israel, and the Israelis will live on uncaring, to inflict more pain on those they occupy.

      Oh no, the US and the UN Security Council are mostly irrelevant. This UN HRC report is in the public domain and anyone can incorporate it by reference in their own Article 15 communications with the ICC. The ICC Prosecutor already has Article 12(3) declarations in hand and an Article 14 state referral from Palestine. The Office of the Prosecutor has scheduled a team to arrive in Israel in just a few days from now as part of its preliminary examination to see if any crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC have been committed. Never mind that it has dozens of Article 15 communications from governments and NGOs, like the Arab League, HRW, AI, et al reminding it that the ICJ advised that Israel's wall and settlements violated portions of the Geneva Convention that are reflected in Articles 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute.

      It's time for Palestinian Solidarity activists to get serious about applying political pressure on the Prosecutor. Despite all of her public denials, she and her predecessor have played politics and employed jargon and sophomoric legal nonsense to avoid taking action against Israeli officials. If she drags her feet yet again, we should start demanding that she be removed from office for a “serious breach of duty” in accordance with Article 46 of the Statute and Article 24 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence: i.e. "Repeatedly causes unwarranted delay in the initiation, prosecution or trial of cases, or in the exercise of judicial powers."

    • Worrisome during reporting that Palestinians were referred to as the “people of Gaza” all of the time. As if the West Bank did not belong to Palestinians and was not occupied.

      From the standpoint of the crime of apartheid, the Netanyahu regime has been totally successful in pursuing its goal of divide and rule over isolated ethnic enclaves. The Israelis didn't wait until the summer to throw a tantrum, they started applying sanctions and withholding customs revenues the minute the new unity government was sworn into office in the Spring. That was another violation of UN Security Council resolution 1860 (2009), which stressed that Gaza is an integral part of Palestine; called for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including food, fuel and medical treatment; and encouraged tangible steps towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation, including support of mediation efforts of Egypt and the League of Arab States.

      The reason that Fatah and Hamas have worked out five or six unsuccessful unity agreements is because the Palestinian people will not accept the legitimacy of either party governing alone or in isolation from the other and its constituents; and because Israel is still illegally interfering in the exercise of the Palestinian right of self-determination in violation of international law.

  • UN report on Gaza war is 'tepid,' 'unserious' and exhibits 'anti-Muslim bigotry' -- Finkelstein
    • A post to which you’ve had no answer essentially but picked and selected to convey your own meaning, and that is true of all your responses.

      No, I've responded to the distortions contained in the comments made by yourself and Giles and the readers can decide for themselves. Chomsky and Finkelstein have never denied the power of the Lobby and it is no exaggeration, total diminshment, or negation to point out that purely American priorities have quite frequently prevailed over those of the Israel and Jewish Lobbies and have dictated key foreign policies regarding the location of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv; the decisions not to use military force against Syria and Iran; the decision not to enter "Jerusalem, Israel" on US passports; the decision not to include Israel in the visa waiver program; the Bush Jr decision to offset US loan guarantees by the amount spent on constructing the Wall; the Bush Sr administration decision to tie loan guarantees for Israel to a freeze in settlement construction; the Reagan Administration decision to sell AWACS and F-15s to Saudi Arabia; & etc.

      On the issues of US loan guarantees and foreign weapons sales, the private banks and Wall Street players or the defense industry players, like Citi Bank, Goldman Sacks, General Dynamics, Boeing/McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, et al have invariably urinated higher on the wall than the Israel Lobby during any political pissing contest between the parties concerned. Mearsheimer and Walt do not disagree with Chomsky on that score, only people who haven't actually read their book claim that they do so.

      The issue of the role of UN HRC and the ICC in armed conflicts is no different. There are overriding US priorities that would dictate its response, with or without the Lobby.

    • Hostage: “There’s no tribal monopoly on the related dialectical traditions in Greek, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and even Secular Western philosophy. ”

      Aiman: Actually there is Hostage. By you yourself. My response was triggered by your own contention of tribal monopoly when you remarked to Giles: “I would also suggest that you get a translator to assist you in deciphering Jewish dialectics, hyperbole, and idioms.”

      Make up your mind: do people need to hire a translator to decipher Jewish verbal gymnastics or there is no tribal monopoly?

      That and the rest of your post is simply more dissembling bullshit. I said that he should get a translator to assist him in deciphering three things "Jewish dialectics, hyperbole, and idioms". There's no claim of monopoly there, since I assume he would be just as clueless if he encountered almost identical modes of expression in instances of Islamic dialectics, hyperbole, and idioms. There's nothing exclusive or tribal about it.

    • “I think anyone who has seen the films, video, and controversial statements he made in regard to Mearsheimer’s and Walt’s thesis is that he actually said that: sometimes the Lobby takes priority and sometimes it does not on broader non-regional issues, like US international criminal liability.”

      No, it just proves NF is inconsistent.

      No, that proves that you are not swayed by either the facts or the readily available evidence and are an unreliable source of information and analysis on the subject of his views.

      I think you’ve let your paranoia, to put it most politely, get the better of you. ... the idea that the US is not interested in prosecuting Israel because it is itself mired in sins or prevented by law is a common argument on the Jewish Left.

      Bullshit. There was a solid Gentile majority who voted to adopt that very idea when the Congress and the Executive Branch signed the so-called "American Servicemembers Protection Act of 2002" also known to the rest of the world as "The Hague Invasion Act". The law authorizes the use of military force to liberate any American or citizen of a U.S.-allied country being held by the International Criminal Court, which is located in The Hague. Among other things, the statute itself defines "covered allied persons" as military personnel, elected or appointed officials, and other persons employed by or working on behalf of the government of Israel. For a complete listing of US client states, see: TITLE 22 / CHAPTER 81 / SUBCHAPTER II / § 7432, paragraph 3 of the current US Code link to

      FYI, I was raised in a secular Jewish household in Kansas by grandparents and parents who were Anti-Zionists and Eisenhower Republicans. I pursued a career in the US military for 21 years. The idea that the US government, US arms manufacturers, and US corporations violate international humanitarian and human rights laws in the same fashion as their Israeli and other allied counterparts is widely shared among government experts and scholars of nearly every ethnicity in the international political science and legal communities. It's a recurring theme among contributors to online forums that specialize in international criminal law, like the European Journal of International Law Talk!, Lawfare, Just Security, Opinio Juris, Lawgirls, & etc. - including more than a few non-Jewish former White House, DoS, DoD, and Congressional legal staffers.

      So unlike Chomsky, I was never an anarchist or part of the American Zionist Movement and unlike Finkelstein, I was never a fan of Trotsky or Chairman Mao.

    • False. Point out where I misstated C’s and F’s stated positions on the matter of the Lobby.

      Surely, in your very first endorsement of Giles comment ("Professor F is a brave and moral man, a great man, but has a blind spot when it comes to the power of the Lobby.") on June 28, 2015, @ 11:36 am. You said:

      Excellent point Giles. By that standard, why did the U.S. Govt use Saddam Hussein’s crimes as an example when it has done much worse or the same? Because there was no Iraq Lobby except for charlatans entertained by Bernard Lewis’s school of journalism and politics. As you rightly pointed out and Prof F ruled out, it is the Israel Lobby and I’m afraid it’s not on the blind spot but right in front for the world to see. Chomsky’s pupils will continue to diminish this fact even if as in the case of Prof F they are moral and great persons.

      As I've pointed out, neither Chomsky nor Finkelstein deny the power of the Lobby. There's oddly no mention in your comment about the fact that the US threatened to topple the Provisional Government of Iraq when it tried to ratify the Rome Statute during the US occupation; that the US threatened to move NATO headquarters over a Belgian indictment of General Tommy Franks for crimes he allegedly committed on the territory of Iraq; the fact that Germany and France registered formal protests at the UN over continued US requests from the Security Council for waivers of ICC jurisdiction after evidence of torture and prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison came to light; the fact that DoD Secretary Rumsfled reportedly authored a memo agreeing with the Bernard Lewis school of journalism and politics that described how the USA was going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran; and the fact that the USA insisted on a local tribunal to handle the cases of Sadaam Hussein and the members of his regime in accordance with municipal laws.

      It is well known Chomsky never took much interest in the subject of the Lobby till W&M came along.

      That's because is was known as "the American Zionist movement" before W&M wrote their book and Chomsky had written all about his own involvement in it. He noted the fact that, unlike its leadership, the rank and file was opposed to a Jewish state and did not officially endorse the idea until 1942.

      NF for his part closely stuck with Chomsky at first though gives a few grudging murmurs now and then.

      I take it that his remarks in the video and in the film that I cited discussing the power of the Lobby and condemning the warmongering members of American Jewry were not obtained either grudgingly or under duress.

      There is no “dialectical pairing”. Let’s not enter into the realm of non-Zionist or anti-Zionist tribal mysticism aka absolute bullsh*t.

      There's no tribal monopoly on the related dialectical traditions in Greek, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and even Secular Western philosophy. The latest UN report, like the Goldstone report before it, contains a separate subsection on the West Bank and East Jerusalem which fall completely outside the scope of Finkelstein's logical {because [AND] NOT because} pairing in this instance:

      “The US will of course side with Israel, not because of the Israel lobby, but because whatever Israel did in Gaza, the US routinely does around the world on an infinitely greater scale. ”

      The US has obviously prevented the adoption of sanctions over Israel's annexation of Jerusalem and its colonization of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, even though "it is not currently doing those same things around the world on an infinitely greater scale". For example:

      “As I’ve already said, fundamentally I think that’s mistaken,” he said. “The U.S. supports Israel when it’s useful to U.S. fundamental interests. However, and here I have to be a little bit more settled in the argument because that’s what the evidence requires, I do think it’s the case that the U.S. supports Israeli policy in the occupied territories due to the lobby.”

      Finkelstein clarified his statement, saying, “When it comes to broad regional fundamental interests, Iraq, Iran, South Arabia oil, it is U.S. national interests that take priority,” he said. “When it comes to a local question like Israel and occupied territories, there I think it is true that it’s the lobby that is destroying U.S. policy because the obvious question you would ask yourself is, I think, ‘What does the U.S. stand to gain from the settlements that Israel is building?’ The answer quite obviously is nothing.”

      -- link to

      Anyone with a modicum of reading comprehension knows that NF is discounting the role of the Lobby to put it most politely if not outright denying it.

      I think anyone who has seen the films, video, and controversial statements he made in regard to Mearsheimer’s and Walt’s thesis is that he actually said that: sometimes the Lobby takes priority and sometimes it does not on broader non-regional issues, like US international criminal liability.

Showing comments 10607 - 10601