Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 896 (since 2010-10-06 04:27:13)

irishmoses

I'm a retired civil rights attorney and a writer of both non-fiction and fiction. My interest in the Israel-Palestine issue came from my father's involvement flying Jewish refugees from around the world to the new state of Israel in 1948-49. David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister called my father "the Irish Moses" because of his exploits, hence the name of my blog site -- www.irishmoses.com

Website: http://www.irishmoses.com

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  • Hillary Clinton supported Iraq war because of Israel, say Matthews and Landler
  • Resolution 242 does not mean what you may think it means
    • Per the Moose: "So I guess in that case, there’s no possibility that dwindling Jewish numbers, and the alienation of Zionist support around the world will have any effect, much less any repudiation of Zionism by Jews? Oh well, then I guess it’s pretty much out of our hands."

      I think we're on the same page. I think shaming is a very powerful tool and can provide disaffected Jews with a way of repudiating and opposing Zionism or Zionism-as-practiced. (i.e. tribal self-shaming). There's a new group doing that. Is it "Not in Our Name"?

      I like your new slogan: "“Any two-state plan must leave Israel all the room it needs to shrink.”"

    • As I said, my hearts with you, but my brain is with Shakur. As I said in my longer post above, any change on the ground would need to be imposed by the major powers and at best that would be 67 borders with swaps for close-in settlements, a corridor to Gaza, token refugee return. In the real world, there is no way you're going to ever get more than that. Sad, but true.

      Appreciate your article and all the thoughtful comments it elicited.

    • Per Sibiriak:
      "The idea that a unified international community would put drastically severe, potentially catastrophic sanctions on Israel to force a major violation of its territorial integrity — to give up (not swap) a substantial amount of Israeli territory inside the Green Line is– to put it bluntly, a complete and utter fantasy."

      You misread my post or conflated with DGF's. I see no realistic hope of any partition plan or partial-partition plan outcome. Here's what I said:

      "I can’t imagine anything more than 67 borders and token refugee return being imposed in such a scenario." In other words, a Geneva or Arab Peace Plan solution, probably including swaps of land for close-in settlements.

      As to your severity of the required sanctions argument, I agree although lessor sanctions might take enough of a long-term toll that Israel might comply. Hard to say. Lessor but still severe sanctions might create a lot of internal political turmoil in Israel (and among US Jews) that could cause many to leave Israel and many Jews in the US to withdraw their support. The bloom would be off the rose so to speak.

      My main point is that the Iran nuclear deal provides an existing template for how the international community (with my caveats) could force a compromise solution that would provide some modicum of justice for the Palestinians. It is the only method I see that could work. Certainly, negotiations, BDS, French plans, etc. how no chance except maybe on the margins.

      Good analysis and good examples on your part.

    • Per the Moose,

      "So I guess in that case, there’s no possibility that dwindling Jewish numbers, and the alienation of Zionist support around the world will have any effect, much less any repudiation of Zionism by Jews? Oh well, then I guess it’s pretty much out of our hands."

      That would be nice: an outbreak of anti-Zionism-as-practiced self-shaming. That could do the trick if it caught on. Can't see it happening though. The ostrich gene is too strong.

    • I find my heart is with David Fincham but my brain sides with Shakur.

      The former seems to be saying 'what might have been can still be so', while the latter (Shakur) is saying 'face reality'. The reality is that Israel created "facts on the ground" in 1948 (ethnic cleansing + territorial expansion, again in 1967 (more ethnic cleansing and territorial expansion), and has continued to do the same since (land seizures and settlements in the OPT).

      These "facts" won't be reversed without massive intervention by either the UNSC or the EU, or the US, or some combination, which has so far proved unlikely. The success of the Iran nuclear agreement gives me a faint hope: the international community, faced with the possibility of the chaos that would be created by an Israeli attack on Iran, imposed severe sanctions on Iran to create leverage for an agreement whereby Iran would stop its nuclear program.

      That approach worked and could also work for the I-P conflict given similar unanimity of goals and sufficient resolve by the major powers. I can't imagine anything more than 67 borders and token refugee return being imposed in such a scenario.

      UNSC 242 is pretty much a dead letter in my view other than being useful as a partial justification along with the much stronger Geneva 4 convention articles. What is required is unanimity and resolve by the major powers to impose a solution (a la Iran deal) leveraged by massive sanctions. Without that kind of major power resolve nothing will happen and the facts on the ground will become more and more permanent.

      What's needed is dire enough circumstances for the international community to want to take such extraordinary measures. Unfortunately, Israel has always been clever enough to incrementalize its actions so the changes never appear severe enough to justify such measures. It is also very good at holding out the faint hope of negotiated settlement.

  • The occupation is over, isn't it?
    • rosross,
      The UN is toothless so long as a veto prevents action. To see the potential power of the UN and a US-led concerted effort to end the occupation, you need only look at the first Gulf War and how the UN condemned the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and then authorized the US-led military action to force Iraq to leave Kuwait.

      The two state solution is the only outcome that will work without another mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians or a permanent state of apartheid.

      Moreover, it still remains possible and do-able if the UN is empowered by a Security Council vote and a US-led coalition (a la Gulf War 1). The UN could direct the US to assume control of all occupied territories, remove all settlers, and transition Palestinian territory to full Palestinian sovereignty. The US could enter the West Bank though Jordan and Gaza through Egypt. While Israel could resist, it would be a losing proposition and would cause it to lose any support in the West not to mention total destruction of its military.

      Assuming Israel accedes to US/UN jurisdiction and occupation of the Palestinian territories, what about all the settlements and some 750,000 Jewish settlers? Removing them would be a fairly easy, relatively peaceful task: Surround them, cut off all access, all water, all electricity, and all resupply, and wait them out. Give them a date certain (say 30 days) after which they would forfeit all assets and any right to resettlement and compensation.

      As to a civil war within Israel proper, I think that is unlikely so long as the IDF is removed from the territories and any responsibility for removing settlers. All the settlements would become the property of the Palestinian state and used to resettle Palestinian refugees, both internal and external.

      This is the only solution that guarantees a future democratic Israel (with a 75 percent Jewish majority). No single state solution does that without massive ethnic cleansing of Palestinians or permanent apartheid.

    • Per Fred:
      Is this Occupation? Is this colonization? Is this Apartheid?

      It’s all three. Israel is occupying Palestinian territory; Israeli settlements and the “matrix of control” are part of an illegal colonization project; Israel has instituted an illegal Apartheid regime in Occupied Palestine.

      It’s time to recognize the passage of the “invisible line of history”, lay the term ‘Occupation” to rest…"

      I'm in full accord with Siberiak. At best, you can say the legal military occupation has ended and did so when the intent to stay was demonstrated by the Meron memos and the beginnings of permanent, Jews-only settlements in late 1967. The continuing presence and military rule by the IDF since then constitutes an illegal occupation in violation of Geneva, a multifaceted grave violation which constitutes a continuing series of war crimes, now half a century old.

      What we need to put to bed is the delusion that the occupation somehow remains temporary and legal and somehow worthy of continuing settlement negotiations.

    • Fred,
      Thanks for the reply. I'll respond by number:
      2. Agreed except my point was that the acceptable moral standard and the international legal standards were much higher post 1949 than in the 19th century. Hence, the argument that Israel's conduct is acceptable because we did something similar 100 years before, really doesn't serve as a justification. for Israel's conduct from 1948 on. e.g. the Geneva Conventions on the laws of war (and occupation) came out in 1949 and were ratified by Israel.
      3. I know you weren't advocating that and I should have been more clear. My point was that most people would be surprised to hear that Area C is really a net thrown over the entirety of the West Bank and physically separates the "Palestinian areas into 60+ separate islands.
      4. I agree we can't know the future but if the non-white populations in the US has comprised 70 percent of the total US population, I think it is unlikely US Whites would have been willing to cede equality to all., which is precisely the demographic problem I was addressing in my point. Any concessions toward equality by Israeli Jews will spell the doom of the Jewish state. I also think some forms of government are far less likely to change for the better than others. Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Imperial Japan seem like apt examples. Still, we never know for sure.

      Good article. I hope to read more of your work.

    • Great article. Some miscellaneous points I think are important:

      1. While it's true that "occupation" is no longer a useful description, I think it is more important to recognize that "occupation" was a term used to Zionist advantage as it perpetuated the Zionist PR and negotiating myth that Israel's presence in the occupied territories was only temporary.

      2. While comparison's to US "occupation" and conquering of Native American lands in the 18th and 19th centuries is perhaps informative, there is a danger that the comparison attaches a moral equivalence to the two and provides a useful "moral" justification to Israel's occupation and conquering of the entirety of Palestine. The standards of international law and morality in the 18th and 19th centuries were decidedly different from the standards Israel should be held to in post WW2 and post 1967 Israel/Palestine.

      3. "Area C" is a dangerous concept to throw around loosely. Most will think Israel wants only to annex and control a 60 percent contiguous block of land leaving another separate and contiguous 40 percent for a Palestinian state. In fact, the Area C 60 percent entirely surrounds the entire West Bank and includes the Jordan Valley. The "Palestinian" Areas A and B comprise about 20 large, isolated and surrounded segments of land and another 40 or so smaller isolated and surrounded segments. Israel's Area C weaves its way around and through the entirety of areas A & B. The idea that a viable Palestinian state could be created in areas A and B is ludicrous. Look at a map.

      4. The demographic realities of Greater Israel make any possible future concessions by Israel toward democracy and equality inconceivable. At present, the Palestinian and Jewish populations in Greater Israel are roughly equal, about 6.4 million each. Any recognition of a Greater Israel will immediately raise the question of the Palestinian refugees of which there are about 4.5 million living in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, a million or so of which still live in squalid refugee camps. Another 2.5 million live largely stateless in other Middle East and Western countries. That problem won't go away. Even if Israel could limit the Greater Israel Palestinian population to its current inhabitants, any concession toward full equality and democracy would make the reality of a "Jewish" controlled state an impossibility, hence unacceptable to Greater Israel Zionists. Allowing any right of Palestinian return to even the West Bank portions of Greater Israel would further seal the fate of Jewish dominance and control of Greater Israel.

      So, Greater Israel is a reality (and has been, de facto if not de jure, for half a century). Unfortunately, apartheid is a necessary and ongoing condition of this reality. To argue that things can only get better is to ignore the demographic and moral reality of Greater Israel and its Zionist leaders and citizenry (not to mention its Zionist supporters in the US and the West in general).

      I suspect the Greater Israel Zionist powers that be will look for opportunities for "transfer" of the undesirable non-Jewish inhabitants to neighboring countries under the guise of protecting Greater Israel's Jewish population from the scourge of ISIS and its Islamic hordes. Absent that, they will be forced to continue defending the indefensible, an apartheid state. How long that can last is anybody's guess.

  • Ban Ki-moon keeps woofing at Israel over occupation -- but not a word about sanctions
  • Jewish West Bank settlers are as smug as white South Africans in 1980
  • After 'tepid' welcome at Israeli Embassy, Obama's pro-Israel speech brought down the house
    • Spot on, JWalters. While I'm normally a skeptic on this, it seems to me all your recent examples show rising impatience with Netanyahu and his apartheid-prone gang. If France recognizes Palestine, other large European powers may follow and France and Europe could lead the way to a UN resolution on settlement illegality and resolution parameters which I don't think Obama will veto as Israel and its lobby no longer hold any leverage over him.

      I also suspect there's some behind-the-scenes collusion between the US and the EU to force a solution without having the US lead the way. China's strong pro Palestine statement in Cairo suggests the collusion may be even wider.

      I think the real motivator is the realization by the Europeans that allowing Israel to continue and expand its oppression and brutality toward the Palestinians feeds into the ISIS/al Qaeda Crusader terrorism narrative and the sooner that can be shut down the better.

      We'll see, but I think we've turned a corner.

      I think we are seeing a small ball of snow rolling down the slope which may soon become a raging boulder of snow and ice.

    • Nice try, but that one won't fly.

  • Among the settlers
    • I encountered the same feeling when I was living in a small town in the Deep South in the early 1960s. There was a refreshing honesty in the local middle-aged rednecks as they talked about the race problem which they were a living part of. It's one thing to intellectualize about a problem; it's quite another to live in the midst of it. The moral conclusion is the same, but the feeling, emotional part of it is much different. I suspect there is a lot of similarity between life in a settlement and life in the post WW2 small town south.

    • HarryLaw,
      I read and enjoyed the Morrison piece. It lays out the limitations of the UN and the ICJ very clearly. A worthwhile read. My quibble is with the term 'meaningless'. You seem to be saying that since Israel's violations of Geneva IV as documented in the Wall case, have had no legal repercussions or consequences, the accusation that Israel has violated international law has no meaning and the legal status of the occupied territories remains a valid legal dispute even though you personally feel Israel's conduct to be illegal.

      I think Israel's conduct toward the Palestinians is almost universally seen as illegal and very meaningful in its effect on those millions of stateless, oppressed people. I hope and think that the rising ire of the public will eventually make it politically possible or even mandatory for the UNSC to finally put its foot down and impose severe enough sanctions to force a change. At that point, there will be meaning and consequences for Israel's actions. The UNSC certainly has the power to do so (assuming agreement among the Big 5) as its actions toward Iraq prior to Gulf War I demonstrate.

      I also think Israel's violations of G-IV and the Wall decision confirming same are meaningful in the sense that these are frequently used to provide legal justification for international bodies condemning and sanctioning Israel, like the EU.

    • I don't fault Phil for not divulging his full identity. His purpose was to go and learn what these settler folks are about. Identifying himself as the enemy would have made that impossible and likely would have resulted in his being fed liver (his own) with some fava beans and a fine Judean Chianti. Since he didn't divulge the the identity of those he interviewed, I see no harm and no foul.

      A very brave deed in my view. If some nerdish settler nebbish had discovered the full identity of their humble guest, we might be reading a very different story, a homage to our erstwhile leader.

    • Re: HarryLaw "It is meaningless to describe an action as illegal if there is no expectation that the perpetrator of the action will be convicted by a competent judicial body. In the real world, an action is legal unless a competent judicial body rules that it is illegal."

      I'm sure I follow the logic here. If Israel's actions violate provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention (to which Israel is a signatory), and a court of competent jurisdiction hears evidence and concludes Israel has indeed violated those provisions, why is it "meaningless" to describe Israel's actions as illegal? The law is pretty clear, as is Israel's acceptance of that law and jurisdiction. Israel's own internal government documents show (the Meron memo) Israel's fore knowledge of its pending violation of that law in 1967 and its decision to ignore and intentionally violate it.

      The fact that there are political obstacles that have prevented enforcement of the law doesn't mean those obstacles are permanent. While Israel may offer a convoluted, Charlie Manson-ish defense that the issue is "disputed", the US has never accepted the validity of Israel's position. The only thing standing in the way of a conviction of Israel for violations of Geneva IV is Israel and its US lobby's continuing ability to apply political pressure and extract a UN veto from the US government. There is no legitimate legal dispute anymore than there is a legitimate dispute about climate change or the spherical nature of the earth. The flimsy logic of corrupt naysayers does not a valid dispute make.

      I suppose I'm tilting at windmills since you agree that an ICC or UNSC decision against Israel would be a "slam dunk". What's sticking in my craw is the implication that there is some validity to the "dispute" and that both sides bring equal facts and evidence to the table.

  • 'Why do they hate us?' -- Israeli version
    • Good points. Thanks for the recommendations.

    • Re: Keith: "I would suggest that rather than an assumption of intrinsic Gentile hatred of Jews, what we have is an ideological construct designed to promote group solidarity and cohesion."

      Interesting point although I suspect there is some factual/rational basis for Jewish belief in intrinsic Gentile hatred of Jews. i.e. historical examples of Gentile oppression of Jews. But these examples are not evidence of some intrinsic Gentile Jew hatred. I think it just provides a simpler way of looking at it without having to engage in fact-specific examination of the cause of these incidents.

      The intrinsic Jew hatred explanation for antisemitism makes it easy to take logical leaps such as concluding any criticism of Jews, of Zionism, of Israeli conduct is ipso facto evidence of antisemitic motive, of intrinsic Jew hatred. I've encountered this on MW and on my own blog. It's the ultimate rejoinder: underneath all your clever argument you are really nothing more than just another Jew hater.

      I encountered this in Benjamin Ginsberg's "Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State", a scholarly work on antisemitism in pre-World War 2 Europe and the US recommended to me by you in an earlier less than pleasant discussion we had on another thread. I really enjoyed the book which provides an excellent history of antisemitism and its causes from post-Roman times to the 1990s . Yet, despite the scholarly nature of the book, the author concludes, without any attempt at explanation or justification, that criticism of Israel is per se evidence of antisemitic motive or Jew hatred.

      This dumbfounded me. So I think there may be something in what Ofir is saying, that Zionism assumes an intrinsic Goy hatred based on their assumption that gentiles will always hate Jews for no reason.

      Your suggestion that this is really an "ideological construct designed to promote group solidarity and cohesion" seems to dovetail with Ofir's conclusion that Zionists used this construct as a rationale for a Jewish state or national refuge for the Jews. In other words, it's an artificial device, a simple, clear, uncomplicated narrative that promotes group solidarity and acts as a much-needed justification for the creation of Israel.

      This is preliminary stuff on my part and I need to read more about it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. It occurs to me that we see the same simple narrative applied to the Palestinians: 'There is no such thing as a Palestinian, and, even if there was, they hate us and want only to kill us and push us into the sea.' Simple narratives prevent discussion and reasoned analysis. This is probably a human characteristic that Zionists have mastered.

  • Roger Cohen and Jeremy Ben-Ami go on the road for the two-state solution
    • Annie,

      Per Eva's word-by-word analysis. If I were to say, "Jews are morally responsible for the murder of our lord Jesus," it would arguably be an antisemitic statement, yet, none of the words in isolation is antisemitic. I think the same word-by-word analysis could be applied to any antisemitic statement to deny its antisemitic character which is the flaw in Eva's analytic method.

      As to the rest of your points, my various long responses adequately covered my reasons for feeling the original comment was borderline absent further explanation and clarification. I think this topic has been exhausted, at least I know I am.

      Thanks for your patience in monitoring.

    • Keith,

      I agree we're talking past each other and there's nothing to be gained by continuing.

      I actually agree with you on several points:

      1. The use of the antisemitism charge as a sword to prevent criticism of Israel is one. I've been the victim of that more than a few times on MW. It is a scurrilous device.

      2. Borderline, at least my use of it, is not a charge of antisemitism on my part. I'm just saying it is approaching that territory in my opinion. I've been guilty of borderline comments on MW a couple of times and have been called out on it. The last time was by Mooser, as I recall. In both cases, I ended up agreeing that I had attributed some characteristic to Jews that wasn't a characteristic that was limited to Jews, hence borderline even though inadvertent and poorly framed. I think both you and JWalter could have avoided the current kerfluffle by more carefully framing your arguments, particularly since the arguments were controversial. I make no accusation of antisemitism on either of your parts.

      3. Ironically, you are among my favorite MW participants. You bring a unique, economic view to many of the threads.

      I just received my copy of "The Fatal Embrace", per your recommendation. I'm looking forward to reading it and discussing it with you in calmer times.

    • [THIS REPLY IS TO KEITH'S SECOND RESPONSE TO ME IN THIS THREAD.]

      Keith,
      You made five general points. I'll respond to each:

      1. "To identify a particular miscreant or group of miscreants as being Jewish is to associate Jews with that conduct?"
      No, I said don't attach Jewishness to an alleged societal harm unless you provide evidence linking the harm to the Jews you allege are a major cause of the harm.

      2. “But that disproportionality is achievement-based, not religious-based.” Ah, meritocracy! No other factors involved? I guess that is as good an explanation as any as to why we white folks are more successful than non-whites."

      I think achievement or merit is the best explanation but not the only one. I wasn't discussing white achievement. You seem to feel that high Jewish percentages in finance reflect a Jewish predilection to engage in anti-social behavior, "chicanery". You are certainly entitled to hold that view but for it to be credible, it needs to be supported by logic and evidence not conjecture.

      3. "Who is attributing Jewishness to the cause of the chicanery?"

      Read your first post which starts with "...Jewish financial chicanery...", continues with a laundry list of alleged Jewish miscreants, and ends with, "And make no mistake, Jewish financiers have provided much of the impetus for this whole process which has resulted in our current casino economy." The implication is that Jews are largely the cause of all this harmful behavior. Again, you're entitled to your view and it's worthy of discussion but only if it is framed in a logical, evidence-based fashion.

      4. "The financialization of the economy is an absolute disaster that will get much worse very soon."

      I have no problem with discussing this issue, but you framed it with your largely unsupported allegation that Jewish chicanery was a major impetus and cause of the impending disaster you see.

      5. "...it would be nice if we could simply discuss the political economy without insinuations of anti-Semitism being bandied about. Bad enough from Hophmi, but when others join the amen chorus, we will never be able to discuss the relevant issues due to self-censorship."

      First, you didn't frame the discussion as involving "the political economy", you framed it as a discussion of the harmful effects of "Jewish financial chicanery" on the political economy.

      Second, accusing me as being part of an "amen chorus" alleging anti-Semitism is a thinly-disguised ad hominem attack that is normally beneath you.

      Third, the relevant issues in the discussion were chosen by your and JWalters framing: "Jewish financial chicanery", and Jewish "predatory financiers". You can't expect to enter into an argument you framed and have the responders limit their criticism to only certain parts of your argument.

      Fourth, no one is trying to censor you, self or otherwise, we're (I'm) merely expecting you to support your argument and conclusions with logic and evidence.

    • Re: Keith: "One of the great victories of Zionism is to create an intellectual environment where any mention of Jewish financial chicanery is considered anti-Semitic.'

      Re: JWalters: Jewish "predatory financiers".

      There seems to be two steps in the logic of this argument. Step one is to define a subset of capitalism using a derogatory term (predatory, chicanery). Step two is to associate Jews with that conduct. Now while it is true that some forms of capitalistic behavior (making profit off the sale of goods or labor) might be illegal (e.g. Madoff), other forms, such as making "excessive" profits are not. Hedge funds, credit default swaps, etc. have a valid purpose.

      While it is probably true that Jews make up a larger percentage of those in the world of finance than their percentage of the overall population, their representation in other professional fields, like medicine and law, is also likely disproportionate. But that disproportionality is achievement-based, not religious-based.

      So, to simplify an argument that should be laid out in many pages and cites, an argument about the flaws of international finance or capitalism should be made on its merits not on or related to the high percentage of a particular religious or racial group in its membership. High percentages of people who smoke also drive cars, but, absent strong evidence to the contrary, that doesn't justify the conclusion that driving cars is the cause of cancer. Correlation does not equal causation.

      If you see chicanery in finance or feel some or all financiers are predatory, tell us why and give us your evidence in support of your conclusions. Keep the Jews out of the discussion unless you are willing and able to present strong evidence in support of some conclusion you make attributing Jewishness as the cause of the chicanery or predatory behavior you see.

      Finally, some here seem to think that any defamatory claim (including antisemitism) must be direct to be defamatory. This ignores the role of innuendo in defamation. An indirect false claim, made by innuendo, is still defamatory. That's a whole different discussion but I think it is relevant to a few of the comments made.

    • This reply is for several responders who have no reply button:
      - Keith: I ordered Fatal Embrace. It seems a bit dated (1993!) but interesting and from a credible source.
      - Bryan: Thanks for the links.
      - Mooser: For your predatory humor.

      At least now I can see some evidentiary basis for the claim and do my own research to see if I agree.

    • JW: "irishmoses, I respect your question and your point.

      Thanks, JW. I take your points and I agree about the nefarious affects of unrestrained big money in politics in gereral.

      I think "financiers" is probably the wrong term to use since it generally means someone who loans money. Here we're talking about people who give money for political favors.

      When you combine financiers with predatory I think you are triggering an A/S meme but being a gentile, I'd rather hear opinions on this from Jews.

    • Why do I think the comment was borderline without further explanation and evidence of the existence and negative influence of these Jewish predatory financiers? I guess because it seems to single out Jews as having a powerful, controlling group that wields undue inflluence over the rest of the "pawns". Couldn't the same be said of American , society? If so, why single out Jewish predatory financiers? It seems to suggest that there is a nefarious subset of Jews who are predatory and wield too much influence over the weaker majority.

      Perhaps there is evidence of such a group. If so, the statement should have at least provided a link to such evidence. Now resuming there is such an identifiable group, "predatory financiers", why should just Jews need to divest themselves of this group? Are all financiers predatory, or just Jewish ones? If they all are, then perhaps we need to rid society of the finance function and just do everything on a cash basis to avoid the predation of money lending, of charging interest for the use of money?

      Historically, Jews were the money lenders of Europe because they could charge interest while Christians could not. The meme or image of the greedy, predatory, money lending Jew arose from that function and the resentment borrowers felt. So, any statement about predatory Jewish financiers feeds into that meme and, in my view is borderline without further explanation and evidence.

      The Bernie Madoff example doesn't really work because he was a thief, not a financier, predatory or otherwise.

    • JW: : "Predatory financiers"?

      Could we have a link or two that might enlighten us all on the existence and nature of this group and why and how Jewish predatory financiers differ from your normal non-Jewish predatory financiers?

      Without further clarification, this comment seems borderline at best.

  • Terrorism is an understandable response to west's wars in Middle East, realist and left writers say
    • A fair review. The book has all of those conflicts and more. I found it interesting because it showed that the Arabists were not just creatures of the State Department but also of the CIA and other non-governmental organizations, all of whom were working to keep Zionist Israelis from having too great an influence on US ME policy which all these Arabists felt was bad for the Arabs as well as bad for US ME interests.

      US "Arabism" was genuine but it all fell apart because of growing Zionist influence and political power, and because of Cold War paranoia and the influence of John Foster Dulles who felt any third world leader with liberal or socialist tendencies was a communist threat in the making. Imperfect people and and imperfect book but still a good and unusual read about US Arabists.

    • Hey Gamal,
      [this post belongs at the bottom on my replies]

      13 seconds! His opponent was eyes down from the moment he entered the ring. Lost the mental battle and only saw the punch.

      Once again, you've peeled several more layers from the onion and my simplistic view of the conflict. I'm left with the realization that I don't know near enough to even be bloviating about it. The Western view is so much easier. A CNN paid hand's summary is all you really need, at least until you come along and add nuance and complexity to what seemed like just a simple onion.

      Just read an interesting book from the American perspective: America's Great Game: The CIA;s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, by Hugh Wilford. It shows how there were pro-Arab advocates in both CIA and State (and influential outsiders like Dorothy Thormpson) who were trying to battle the Zionist, pro-Israel efforts and influence in American Middle East policy post WW2. Ultimately, they lost because of Zionist efforts but also due to the interventionist impulses of then secretary of state Dulles. A sad but fascinating tale centered around two of Teddy Roosevelt's grandsons., Kermit and Archibald.

    • Is the email notification of comments function turned off? It doesn't seem to be working for me on this thread even though I checked the "notify me" box.

    • Hey Gamal.
      [This responds to your response to me below which no longer has a reply button.]

      GaeilgeMoses, I like that. Thanks for replying at length to my disjointed post. I always feel like another two layers of onion have been removed from an issue when you intervene, correct, elaborate, and clarify.

      As Mooser, and likely everyone else was clueless at what I was trying to accomplish in my post, let me try to clarify, hopefully briefly.

      My question was, or should have been, whether you agree that Israel's 67 war triumph was the door that opened the rebirth and appeal of Islamic fundamentalism? In other words, do you see, as others do, a direct link between that victory and the rise and success of OBL, AQ, and now ISIS? I realize we are dealing with gradations of grey, and that decades of western imperialism played a major role in all of this, but is there something unique about the Zionist triumph in 1967 that made others conclude that only the single mindedness of Qutb's approach would work? Was the totality of the defeat the psychological straw that broke the back of Arab secularism, nationalism, intellectualism (I'm struggling for the right term)?

      Is this link (if it exists) the key to where we are today? Krauss seems to feel our present state is a product of both Israeli and US actions and Qutb and his followers' disdain for our values (or lack of). I think the latter stems from the former. To win the war you need purity of purpose.

    • Gamal,

      Peter Bergen, in his The Longest War, says the rise or rebirth of the popularity of Islamic fundamentalism was a result of Israel's overwhelming victory in the 1967 Six Day War. Others have said the same. Bergen calls it the Salwa or Awakening which called into question the then reigning orthodoxies of Arab nationalism and socialism. Qutb, although he was executed in 1966, provided the intellectual basis for the Awakening by showing how Muslims could resist the influence of the Western ideologies of socialism, capitalism, and secularism by adopting an Islam that informed every aspect of everyday life. Only then could they expect to vanquish the armies of the Zionists and Crusaders.

      To attribute Israel's 1967 victory as the cause of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism may seem a bit of a stretch until you look at the physical and psychological extent of the victory. A tiny, newly created country defeats the entire Arab nation (6 directly involved, the rest provided some air support and supplies) which was over 100 times Israel's size and over 25 times its population, and does so effectively in about 3 days.

      To understand the humiliation and psychological impact of such a defeat, it would be as if the Mormons of the state of Utah had raised an army and then whipped the entire army of the US and captured a major portion of the country in less than a week. Dumbfounded we would have been to suddenly find ourselves and our precious Judeo-Christian heritage vanquished by a pagan offshoot of our religion. God, certainly, would clearly have not have been on our side in that one.

      I suspect, liberal atheist though I profess to be, I would have headed back to daily Mass in sackcloth and ashes. Although, the idea of multiple wives might have attracted me to the faith of my conquerers (sort of a version of the 72 promised virgins).

      Humor, and missing quotes aside, I find it interesting that our current state of affairs can be attributed to the phenomenal success of Israeli militarism and (later) US support and US interventionism. In other words, the I-P conflict is part and parcel of and even causitive of our growing current conflict with Salafi-Jihadism, from Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to Bagdahdi and his nascent Islamic Caliphate.

  • Could Syria's revolution have been different?
  • Why do Jewish legislators carry more weight on Iran Deal?
    • Obama now has 41 votes in favor of Iran deal. link to politico.com
      Mary Cantwell of WA is still undecided. It would be nice to have her to provide a bit of a margin for approving the filibuster to prevent Obama from having to use his veto. What's her problem anyway? She's from Washington.

  • National Public Radio annexes West Bank to Israel
    • Exactly the problem. FTM, as they say.

    • Many of NPR (and PBS) major and minor contributors are Jewish. Kerfuffles over issues involving Israel often lead to threats of withholding contributions from some, not all Jews (much as threats of cancelling advertising affect commercial media).

      Follow the money path which will lead you to true enlightenment and wisdom.

    • How about "the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights?"

      I think it's no accident that country names like Syria and Palestine have disappeared from the geographic narrative involving Israel's illegally occupied territories in:

      1. The Syrian Golan Heights.
      2. Gaza, in the state of Palestine.
      3. The West Bank of the state of Palestine.
      4. The international city of Jerusalem.

      Names matter; dignity matters.

    • “We incorrectly refer to the West Bank as Israel’s West Bank. We should have called it the Israeli-occupied West Bank.”

      How about "Israeli-occupied state of Palestine", or "the Israeli-occupied West Bank of the state Palestine" recognized by the UN and some 140 countries, now including the Vatican. Same holds for Gaza which is also a part of the internationally recognized state of Palestine not some ambiguous "territory" that Israel lays a claim to. Words matter; dignity matters.

  • 'For me it is about the houses': A review of Suad Amiry's 'Golda Slept Here'
    • It's available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions. $9.99. Just got it.

      Make sure you look at her TED presentation (above). It's very funny and very inspiring both on an I-P and personal level.

  • 'Turning point' -- Obama defeats Netanyahu and 'destroyers of hope' on Iran Deal!
    • Schumer, Israel's Shomer must be feeling really lonely about now. His vote is sticking out like a sore thumb.

    • You can add senators Heidekamp and Warner to the pro-deal side. They just announced.

      link to politico.com

      It's a good time to announce for those trying to lay low and avoid criticism. Pre-Labor Day weekend.

    • I really like Gwen Ifill who's the best of the best on PBS, but I thought her tweet was way too partisan for someone in her position. Stupid mistake on her part. Hope she survives the very staged uproar.

      Who does she think she is criticizing our nation's prime minister?

    • Corey Booker just came aboard. link to capitalnewyork.com

      That's big, huge. He was under incredible pressure from Shmuley, et al.

      I'm worried about complacency. I think it's critical that there be a big cushion of votes to override a veto because Iran may do something stupid that allows marginally committed senators to change their votes, particularly after seeing the threats from their constituents after making their commitment to the deal.

      I also think there will need to be a healthy cushion for any attempt to prevent the bill from getting to Obama. Those who are marginally committed to the deal may seek to placate their angry constituents by not supporting the filibuster.

      It ain't over til it's over.

  • Leading Israeli journalist says Israel is an Apartheid state
  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • As I've said already in this thread, I think they (JVP, et al) are committed to the I-P issue because it is hurting the reputation of Jews and Judaism and to their limited version of Zionism. I think they want a minimalist solution that has as little affect on Israel as possible and want to avoid all the hard questions that are associated with an expanded, just solution for the Palestinians which they don't support.

      They certainly don't want the discussion expanded beyond talk of a minimal negotiated solution that protects Israel's security, etc. So, books like Weir's, Atzmon's, and Blumenthal's which expand the discussion into embarrassing areas, need to quashed along with their authors because they are opening doors of inquiry that subject Zionism and Israel to greater scrutiny and bad publicity..

      There's no little irony in Blumenthal's books being ignored and quashed when he has condemned Weir as an antisemite and is playing the same game against her that is being played against him.

      As I've said earlier in this thread, this example is a real eye opener that reveals a major schism in the I-P "movement" between the minimalists and the maximalists. I don't think the two sides are compatible as their goals are fundamentally different.

    • I've read it and used it in some of my writings. Her research seems pretty solid. The books she bases her Brandeis and Dorothy Thompson chapters on I own and they're very mainstream and solid semi-academic biographies. Her end notes are often quite long and very interesting to read. The book itself seems to give you a solid skeleton and the end notes fill in the flesh.

      As I've said earlier in this thread, the reason they've attacked her with 5 year old marginal stuff is they want to pin the antisemite label on her so she's seen as suspect and not credible. The last thing they want to do is attack her book because that will create interest in it and specifically all the embarrassing historical stuff they want to keep under the covers.

      That happened early in this thread when Jennifer (?) Hitchcock (?) tried to attack the book before she'd read more than the preface and was savaged by several of us for her efforts. Someone said the Amazon sales for the book took a big jump right after that. I'm sure they don't want to see that happen again.

      Someone should ask A4tech, our resident house Muslim, who claims to read all of Hitchcock's posts and agrees with all of it, what he/she thinks about Hitchcock's statements on the antisemitic qualities of Weir's book. This thread should be centered on what Weir said in her book not on defending her against more spurious claims which she and several others have already responded to.

    • I think we're largely missing the point here by focusing so much on why the allegations against Weir are inaccurate, false, whatever.

      Newbie A4tech, our new and oh-so-earnest but factually challenged "Muslim" friend's late foray onto this thread is aimed at encouraging that miss-focus. It keeps our eyes off the prize, the real reason Weir was attacked, the substance of what she was writing about, both in her book and in her organization. As I said in my last comment, the so-called liberal Zionist powers that be want to limit the discussion as much as possible to finding a minimalist "solution" that get's Palestine off the table and out of the news that is proving so damaging to Jews, writ small and writ large. Read my prior comment to understand my point here.

      While I suspect Weir was always a target, for being way off the reservation, I suspect her recent book caused the heightened attack aimed at excluding her from "the movement". The logical place to start that attack would have been to attack the substance of her book. However, that was too dangerous a tack to take as it would draw attention and perhaps create interest in the various historical events and issues she raises and documents so thoroughly in her book.

      Much better to dredge through everything she's ever said, ever associated with to create a web of half truth allegations or connections that will lend themselves to the antisemite canard and ploy. Defending yourself against that sort of attack is virtually impossible and very, very time consuming and debilitating as we've seen in this very long and very heroic thread. That kind of attack also makes it very easy for those were are involved on the margins, with little time for research, to dismiss her because she has been labeled by responsible movement leaders as a revealed, closet antisemite.

      I think a better approach for Alison and for those defending her would be to focus on the substance of her book and repeatedly ask questions of naysayers about whether they've read it, if not, why not, whether or not they agree with it, while forcing them to be very specific about the historical events she describes and document and whether or not the historical people and events she describes are accurately documented or are somehow evidence of an antisemitic motive.

      That approach will scare them to death because they DON'T want to talk about or publicize the substance of her book.

    • I too was frustrated by this very long discussion which seemed counterproductive and draining energy from the main issue, Palestinian freedom. But Marianne's comment turned a light switch: This conversation and thread is very valuable because it highlights the widening schism between the liberal Zionists holding on desperately by their fingernails and the rest of us who are anti-Zionist and see it as an issue involving Palestinian freedom and self-determination in a state side-by-side with a truly democratic Israel.

      The liberal Zionist faction can't abide any diversions from their goal of a very minimalistic Palestinian state and a maximized Israel state. Thus, BDS, RoR, Weir, Atzmon, and other heremites are threats to the simplicity and minimal nature of their goal which is to take the heat off Israel by the getting the Palestine issue off the table with as little impact on Israel as possible. Their cause isn't Palestinian freedom, it's preservation of as much of the status quo in Israel and the occupied territories as possible. They really don't want to discuss issues like right of return, illegality of all the settlements, division of Jerusalem, return to the Green Line borders, status of external refugees, etc. because they don't want any of that. Again, their goal is to get the Palestinian issue off the table with as little disruption as possible.

      Most of the time this gaping schism is invisible and buried in Kumbaya, make nice talk. but occasionally, the liberal Zionist powers that be strike out to silence someone who has deviated from the minimalist goals as did Weir and others before her.

      Wishing and trying to pull the "movement" back together just postpones the inevitable. The schism is there and for good reason. Pretending to be part of some solidarity movement that is so fundamentally flawed and fractured just weakens the cause for Palestinian freedom.

      Time to face up to the reality. The Allison Weir kerfluffle is a much-needed slap in the face. We need to embrace the reality of the schism and quit pandering to the liberal Zionist powers that be that are really undermining the cause of Palestinian freedom.

    • I looked over the Rand ARC proposal several years ago. It was an amazing project. It had to cost a lot to create it. It's probably still available on the Rand website.

    • Your comment made me realize how really uninformed I am. I think the main effort, at least for me, is to attempt to expose what really happened in this country and how we lost control of our own Middle East foreign policy. The current Iran deal debate or disturbance lays out the problem very clearly. If the American public could be made aware of what has happened, I suspect the ship of state could make a pretty rapid turn, which is pretty much what Obama was saying in his speech, which of course was antisemitic in its implications.

      Getting America refocused is a lot to ask but accomplishing that could do wonders for the Palestinians.

    • Mariapalestina, As a former member in good standing of the True Church, I too take offense at this attack on my once and former faith/tribe.

    • Great insight into the abyss of imposing discipline on the narrative. Your Bolshevik inquisition and purges and Great Leap analogies really show the depths or heights of these exercises. The crap we see here is the stuff of rank amateurs but still scary.

      I'd like to be able to diagram the chain of command but it gets real fuzzy above the level of Bargoutti, Abunimah, and Blumenthal. who I suspect are convinced by an upper tier that purges of the loose-lipped are necessary if the movement is to survive. But, that's not the real motivation. I've taken a sheltered, ill-informed stab at what I surmise it is but who knows. The layers of onion skin peel back revealing only more onion and more stinging tears. And, as you point out, none of us really know who our friends and enemies really are.

    • Speaking of the notorious antisemite jazz player, Gilad Atzmon, the rogue has a new article up today analyzing the plight of the newly discovered antisemitic prospective head of the Labor Party, one Jeremy Corbyn.

      Despite the article's obvious antisemitic undertones and subtext, I found it well worthy reading.

      link to platosguns.wordpress.com

    • What, what?
      You say I've been missing, deprived by limiting my culinary ventures to Jewish delis? How can that be? Tomorrow, I shall venture into the rarified world of the Eye-talian deli. What's this sausage stuff? And ham, ham? Is that like Spam (a true delicacy)?

      Thank you Mr. Mooser, but I must warn you that your comment and suggestion reveals a certain lack of loyalty, perhaps disloyalty, perhaps (horrors!) heresy. I suggest you lie low for awhile (like the cows do) and hope "they" haven't noticed.

    • Bornajoo,
      1. Go to my last comment (this one) and click on the highlighted Irish Moses at the top left. That will take you to my comments in this thread and others. Scroll down until you find the one you are looking for (it starts with Danaa). You can read it there or click on the link to see it within this thread.

      2. As to the Great Schism, if I'm right about the different goals between the two factions (Liberal Zionist and Palestinian Justice), there wouldn't seem to be a lot of commonality to build on. Rather than seeking Kumbaya, I would prefer we spent some time hashing out the specific goals of our Palestinian Justice Faction. i.e. What represents true justice for the Palestinians? What compromises are acceptable, what are not? That sort of thing. In other words, let's first start with a definition of who we are and what we stand for and then leave it to the Liberal Zionist Faction to decide whether who we are is acceptable to them. I suspect there are a lot of JVP members who lean more toward our side than the other. I'd like to see a group formed that represents our Palestinian Justice Faction.

      3. I agree with you that this schism may be a ploy to divide and weaken us. Still, there seem to be some pretty significant differences among us. Doctrinal purity (Danaa's reference to the squabbles of the Bolsheviks is spot on) seems to be the goal with damage control being the subtext. All Danaa left out was the ice pick solution. Nonetheless, divide and conquer has a long and ignoble history, starting with the wonderful Brits who used it to great effect during the glorious days of the empire including some of the less-glorious efforts in Ireland and Palestine. The chaos we see now in the Levant seems to be the apex of divide and conquer as practiced by Israel. In fact, it's part of Israeli defense doctrine. Look up Yinon Plan for details. Here's a brilliant analysis by Dr. Stephen Sniegoski: link to mycatbirdseat.com

      4. Alison Weir, a Zionist agent? Bingo, that explains everything. We were looking for love in all the wrong places. What a steel trap mind that Jennifer has.

    • Given a choice, I'd prefer a good old-fashioned Jewish banker to one of those newbie Chicago School neo-lib dogs. I also have an affinity for Jewish philosophers, Jewish delis, but not so much Jewish shrinks (other than the first one that invented it all). How about a Jewish strong safety? Nah.

    • Don't forget that if you click on "Notify me of followup comments by email" after you have first posted a reply on a thread, you will continue to get all comments sent to you even though the thread itself may have disappeared from the MW homepage. This function also allows you to review thread comments as they are made without having it search through the entire thread looking for new comments. It's an invaluable tool which also allows you to reply to a comment even when the reply button has disappeared on the thread page. I don't know what I'd do without it.

    • On this thread they shall be referred to as Weis-cracks.

    • What a wonderful (yet horrifying) story that gives us insight into the essence of Alison Weir framed in the context of the holocaust. And now we are to believe these 4 brave women are antisemites or at least people who associate with known antisemites?

      "Herem the heretics" demands the madding crowd. "We're hungry, we need to be fed, so feed us some of our own."

      What a revolting, disgusting spectacle this has become.

      Mariapalestina, if I were a Palestinian I would adopt you as one of my own.

    • M,
      Read Weir's book, including the last 60 percent which is all end notes and references (the best part IMHO). Then you will discover what I did, that this American really didn't know all he should know about the truly astounding impact of Zionism in the US and its government and politics.

      Read the book, check the many references, then decide. I look forward to hearing your reaction and judgment.

    • Spot on, Echino. No group is entitled to their own special, unique definition of racism. Racism is a generic term that transcends race, ethnicity, culture, and religion. Racism against blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, et al, is still racism, pure and simple.

    • Great post Danaa.

      “Back to the giant elephant now (or is it a shark?) – the Lobby the name of which can barely be spoken because, after all, it’s a lobby just like “any other lobby”. The question I want to ask the elephant is how to make it go away for a while, long enough for the US to at least uphold palestinian statehood in the UN – as a start.”

      And mtorres as well:

      “Again, I say, this is NOT about racism, and it never was. It’s what she exposed in her book. Shouldn’t we all be talking about that, about its implications, what it means to all of us and particularly to Palestine, how to acknowledge it, how share the information, how to get around it, how to stop it?”

      I think there are some critical distinctions to be made in the present “antisemism” kerfuffle (I’ve addressed these distinctions in earlier posts so I apologize for repeating myself). The oh-so-well organized and heavy handed, indeed savage attack on Alison Weir (as well as Finkelstein, Atzmon, et al) is not about either the “Lobby” or “antisemitism”. The attacks on all three came from our side of the fence, the so-called pro-Palestinian side, not from “the Lobby” or dark side. The “antisemitism” charge is not meant to be accurate, it is meant to defame, to label, to diminish to such an extent that banishment or herem is seen as the only logical choice by the target audience who have little time or inclination to sort through the complicated factual inadequacies of the claims.

      The real question is why, what motivates those behind these highly organized, heavy-handed herem campaigns which, after all, are relatively rare. I think the answer is that there are really two factions in the pro-Palestinian movement, the Liberal Zionist faction (“LZF”) and the Palestinian Justice faction (“PJF”), (both my terms). In my view, the overarching goal of the LZF is damage control, curtailing the extremes of Likud Zionism which they see as threatening to Jews. They want a limited, truncated, 2 state solution that takes the I-P conflict and all its bad publicity off the table. Thus, to them, it’s less about justice for the Palestinians, and mostly about damage control, ending all the bad publicity this continuing and accelerating conflict is causing.

      I think there is plenty of evidence of a LZF, as seen in their reluctance to buy into BDS, their acceptance of ill-defined security concerns, and their acquiescence to the “reality” of needing to allow all the major settlement blocks to remain in place for any reasonable 2 state solution to be possible. Their rejection of anything but a token Palestinian right of return is another indication or where their hearts lie. The LZF will pay lip service to Palestinian justice, but in the end they are more than willing to end up with a compromise solution with the Greater Israel crowd that preserves all the large settlements, keeps Gaza as a separate enclave, while conceding very little to the Palestinians for their long-promised state of their own. The real challenge for the LZF is getting the Likud Greater Israel Zionists to accept enough of a compromise that won't smell so bad that the rest of the world rejects it.

      The other faction, the PJF or Palestinian Justice Faction, is the rest of us. Our focus is on achieving justice for the Palestinians within a solution that is fair to both sides and provides security to all. While this faction is Palestinian-centered, it also recognizes the need for some modest level of fair compromise in terms of land swaps, right of return or fair compensation, etc.

      This brings us to the issue of Weir, Atzmon, Finkelstein, et al. These heretics pose a serious threat to the Liberal Zionist Faction because they are going off the reservation and raising issues (and bad publicity) outside the limited bounds of getting some sort of truncated 2 state solution. Each has exposed new, embarrassing areas of inquiry that are creating unnecessary bad publicity unrelated or indirectly related to the I-P conflict. In Weir's case, she and her book have opened wide a door into serious analysis of the history of Zionist influence in the US and all the tawdry associated behavior she has uncovered and carefully documented. That Pandora's Box needs to be kept closed at all costs, as must the Atzmon, Finkelstein, and et al boxes of inquiry. The sins of these heretics have little or nothing to do with the alleged antisemitism of the heretics, but everything to do with the threat their areas of inquiry pose to Jews writ large (in the LZF’s muddled view of the world). It's about bad publicity and how that might undermine the reputation of Jews and their ability to influence events, and, it’s about damage control.

      The punishment for heresy, for heretics, is herem, public humiliation and banishment. This serves three purposes: It defines those straying from the cause as undesirables, as heretics. It isolates them and their work from wider society, making them unpublishable, even unspeakable. Finally, it sets a public example for any others who may be tempted to stray into the dark world of Zionist heresies.

      I think what surprises most of us is that these savage attacks are coming from the so-called pro-Palestinian side of the I-P debate, our side. Hopefully, understanding that there is a powerful, irredentist faction within our side may provide some clarity. That faction (the Liberal Zionist Faction) has very truncated goals, set and zealously defended by those who want to limit the debate to finding a palliative 2 state solution and nothing more. And then there is the rest of us who seek justice for the Palestinians and believe we need to open up all the boxes and see what's really happened here.

      It's within this side of the I-P movement that the real debate, the real battle is raging. Do we want to jam a cork in the bottle, or get a really just solution for the Palestinians? Is this about damage control and ending bad publicity, or is it about obtaining a truly fair solution for both sides and, at long last, real justice for the Palestinians?

      In the words of the old Pogo comic strip, we have found the enemy and it is us. To win this battle, we’ll need to defang and depower the witch burners among us. Naming and shaming seems a good place to start.

    • Stephen,
      Let me add to Roha's comment. What is truly objectionable is the use of the term, antisemitism, as a means of stifling debate or sullying the reputation of undeserving opponents. So it's not just the "poor me" attitude, it's also the crying wolf aspect. The sum of both tends to diminish the impact of the term where it properly should be used.

    • Stephen,
      I take your point on differing definitions. My problem is that antisemitism seems to have a very broad and amorphous definition that can and is often used in hard to define ways. For instance, saying something is antisemitic because it seems eerily similar to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (a recent jhitchcock ploy). How does one respond to that? There's lots of other examples of this technique which I suppose is a sort of guilt by association or guilt by analogy ploy. This and other techniques/ploys are what make defending yourself from charges of antisemitism so difficult. Hence my search for the perfect/simple definition.

    • Annie,
      I'm really astounded by your reaction to Atzmon's piece. While he clearly has an in-your-face style of argument, and sometimes his analogies are a bit OOT, his analysis is usually thought-provoking and well worth reading. I thought his analysis of the rabbi's speech was mostly spot-on.

      In any case, I understand your unwillingness to engage due to time constraints. This thread has exhausted me. I can't imagine its effect on you.

      Thanks again for your efforts and patience.

    • Parity,
      I wasn't offering suggestion on how to make statements not seem antisemitic, I was trying to show how the use of a term, like Zionist, in a statement is not necessarily proof that all statements in which that term is used are ipso facto antisemitic. There's a big difference between the two and I thought I'd made that clear.

    • W. Jones,
      I chose Finkelstein because he was the first I remember who suffered exclusion, based on his book, The Holocaust Industry, plus his very vocal opposition to Israel's actions. Atzmon and Weir have suffered the same fate, as have others like Judge Goldstone. For the reasons I mention in my long post, I think the severity of the attack is due to their going off the reservation and opening doors that these folks want to remain closed.

      I read the post you referenced. It seemed mostly addressed to Henry including whether he thought the movie, The Passion, was antisemitic. I didn't see that movie so I can't respond. Maybe you meant to refer me to a different post of yours?

    • Good points Stephen.

      I think antisemitism should be defined by some universal standard that applies to all forms of racism which would avoid the current problems associated with antisemitism being a moving target subject to all sorts of ambiguous standards and definitions. This is particularly important since the charge of antisemitism is frequently used offensively to stifle debate and intimidate open and free discussion of issues involving Zionism and Israel.

    • Thanks Mariapalestina.

      Are you Palestinian?

    • I realize the examples were Wise's. That doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't engage with me and respond to the questions I posed. They weren't intended as a criticism of you.

      As to your questions:
      1. If I have a worldview some Jews may consider antisemitic whether it actually is antisemitic is not determined by Jewish opinion but by some universal standard of what constitutes irrational prejudice or racism. It's hard to answer this in the absence of facts.
      2. I don't think appearing on a program of somebody who is perceived to be a racist necessarily amplifies racism or hate. It depends on what the interviewee is saying or advocating and how she or he responds to questions or statements of the interviewer.
      3. If her purpose being on the program is to espouse her own views, she may not want to attack the interviewer's worldview. She certainly shouldn't agree with it if it is clearly racist, but she shouldn't necessarily need to mount a full scale attack on the interviewer's beliefs or statements if she really feels espousing her views is more important and more effective.

      Your turn.

    • Parity,
      Thanks for the response and the link. I haven't read that speech yet but here's some preliminary questions:
      Assuming antisemitism is an expressed irrational prejudice or bias toward Jews,
      1. Why would a facially valid criticism directed toward Zionists, or Israeli Jews, or members of the Likud party (all subsets of Jews) be ipso facto antisemitic?
      2. If I were to say, "Three quarters of the members of the Happytown school board who are also members of the Beth Shalom Synagogue, are acting to favor Jewish students over non-Jewish students", would that be an antisemitic criticism?

      I think your first example appears antisemitic because it refers to Zionists as an unlimited class and attributes the criticism to all Zionists. However, if the statement was properly limited, it could be phrased in a non-antisemitic way and still include the term Zionist. e.g. "X, Y, and Z, all committed Zionists, and all owners of major media organizations, appear to be limiting coverage of the Palestinian issue on their networks to favor an Israeli-centric view of the current crisis."

      I see the same problem in your second example which is also facially antisemitic. But I also think it could be modified to be non-antisemitic and still include the term Zionist. Obviously, such a statement would have to include strong factual evidence leading to a valid conclusion.

      My point is that the mere use of a term often used by antisemites (Zionist), in a critical way that may harken to some historical antisemitic meme (or is it trope?), is not necessarily or ipso facto antisemitic assuming it sufficiently limited and contains strong factual evidence leading to a logically valid conclusion.

      The overly-aggressive use of the term antisemitism as a sword to forestall even valid criticism of Zionism or Israel is unfairly forcing many to tiptoe around topics that should be discussed thoroughly and openly.

      I look forward to your thoughts and questions Parity, in the interest of achieving greater clarity in this vitally important topic.

    • Thanks Sibiriak,

      While I agree there's a kind of naive ineptitude to Jennifer's postings, I'm not so sure that isn't intentional. Underneath that, the message remains strong: "We need to eliminate those closet antisemites from our midst."

      As I've said elsewhere, I think Weir, Atzmon, and Finkelstein represent a common threat to the powers-that-be within the Liberal Zionism hierarchy. This hierarchy wants to focus and limit the movement to curtailing the extremes of Likud Zionism which they see as threatening to Jews. They want a limited, truncated, 2 state solution that takes the I-P conflict and all its bad publicity off the table. Thus, to them, it's not really about justice for the Palestinians, it's about ending all the bad publicity for the Jews this continuing and accelerating conflict is causing.

      This hierarchy will pay lip service to Palestinian justice, but in the end they are more than willing to end up with a compromise solution with the Greater Israel crowd that preserves all the large settlements, keeps Gaza as a separate enclave, while conceding very little to the Palestinians for their state of their own. The real challenge for the Liberal Zionist hierarchy is getting the Likud Greater Israel Zionists to accept enough of a compromise that won't smell so bad that the rest of the world rejects it.

      This brings us to the issue of Weir, Atzmon, and Finkelstein. These three pose a serious threat because they are going off the reservation and raising issues (and bad publicity) outside the limited bounds of getting some sort of truncated 2 state solution. Each of these is creating new areas of inquiry that reflect badly on "the Jews" by creating news areas of bad publicity unrelated or indirectly related to the I-P conflict. In Weir's case, she is opening a door into serious analysis of the history of Zionist influence in the US. That Pandora's Box needs to be kept closed at all costs. Same with the Atzmon and Finkelstein boxes.

      I think this explains the intensity of the attacks on Finkelstein, Atzmon, and now Weir. It has little or nothing to do with their alleged antisemitism, but has everything to do with the threat their areas of inquiry pose to Jews writ large (in their muddled view of the world). It's about bad publicity and how that might undermine the reputation of Jews and their ability to influence events.

      I think what surprises most of us is that the attacks are coming from the so-called pro-Palestinian side of the I-P debate,our side. What this amazing thread has shown me is that their are different goals within our side of the movement, and 2 separate sides: There is a side that has a very truncated goal set and zealously defended by those who want to limit the debate to finding a palliative 2 state solution (what I would call the Liberal Zionist side). And there is a side that has open-ended goals, the rest of us who want a non-truncated solution for the Palestinians (the Palestinian Justice side) that says we need to open up all the boxes and see what's really happened here.

      It's within this side of the movement that the real debate, the real battle is raging. Do we want to jam a cork in the bottle, or get a really just solution for the Palestinians. Is this about damage control and ending bad publicity, or is it about obtaining a truly fair solution for both sides and justice for the Palestinians?

    • I think most of us on MW have ears tuned to overt antisemitism. I've called people out for what I thought were antisemitic comments. Usually it's something said in anger that's too inclusive. I've made the same mistake and recently called myself out on it. I think moderation has really cut back on the antisemites. You moderators make a big difference and work your tails off. But that's why you make the big bucks.

    • Henry,
      You're trying to reason with the bearer of the hatchet.

    • Eva, Eva,
      Antisemitism is not a fixed, definable term. It is amorphous in its simplicity, sort of like post-modernism, the definition is in the eyes of the beholder. "I can't tell you what it is, but you should know it when you see it." One good way of recognizing it is if you are reminded of a particular toothy passage from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (must reading) then you are likely looking at antisemitism. Or, if the prospective antisemite is criticizing any Zionist doctrine or practice within the Jewish State of Greater Israel, you can safely conclude antisemitism is afoot.

      I hope this helps. Maintaining a status of nonantisemite is not easy and requires much diligent study.

    • Per jhitchcock:
      "As I argued before, her language choices here, including words and phrases like “considerably more powerful and pervasive than other lobbies,” “secretly,” “illegally,” “unique influence,” “hidden nature,” and even “unimaginable cost” come off sounding eerily reminiscent of the language use of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion."

      Why, Jennifer, are you devoting all your time to joining in what is mostly a witch hunt for alleged antisemites where the evidence is marginal at best, and the alleged perpetrators are actually major, long-time contributors to the I-P cause? Why aren't you willing to cut them some slack, based, if nothing else, on their life long achievements to the cause?

      Don't you find it a bit odd that that all this emphasis on alleged antisemitism of important figures in the Palestinian struggle ignores far more brutal and widespread overt racism on the part of many or most Israeli Zionists and their US Zionist supporters? Where are your priorities, moral and otherwise?

      You seem to be either a witting or unwitting tool of those at JVP central who are managing this witch hunt. For instance, you've taken the time to prepare a link of the entire first two chapters of Weir's book which you claim is the stuff of the Protocols of Zion, yet,

      1. You make no effort to tell us which protocol or specifically why there is a similarity. Instead, you just throw out the inflamatory claim hoping it will somehow stick.
      2. You skip Weir's 5 page Preface in which she sets forth her background and detailed reasons for writing her book, and the methodology she uses.
      3. You cherry pick the wording of Chapter One and Weir's claims and ignore her statement that proceeds the claims you object to, "As this book will demonstrate..." In other words, to give a fair test of her claims, you would need to read the entire book.
      4. You totally ignore and leave out the three footnotes Weir provides in Chapter One which comprise 3 and a half pages (94-97) in which she provides a wide variety of citations to works written primarily by Jewish authors in support of the very claims you are objecting to.
      5. You ignore an additional 22 footnotes in Chapter Two that take up 5 pages and provide a wealth of cites in support of her description of the beginnings of the Israel Lobby in the US and its relationship to political Zionism. Again, most of the sources and authors cited are Jewish including some Israeli authors and some Israeli publications such as Times of Israel and Haaretz..

      You claim to be an accomplished academic and researcher, yet you base a major part of your scurrilous claims against Ms. Weir by citing isolated statements by Ms. Weir while ignoring the footnotes and cites she offers in support of her statements.

      If I thought you were doing this unwittingly, I would say you should be ashamed of yourself. Instead, I think what you were doing was intentional as your goal was to do a hatchet job on Ms. Weir and others, including other publications. Hatchet jobs don't require much in the way of academic research. Detailed footnotes and cites can be ignored as mere fluff interfering with the noble work of the hatchet.

      If you intend to dispute my conclusions, please start with your analysis of Ms. Weir's footnotes on pages 94-107 and tell us which of your former claims you now feel are no longer valid or at least worthy of further academic research.

    • Thanks Henry,

      After looking at the trailer, I've revised my earlier expressed views regarding Ms. Hitchcock's genuineness. She's clearly been actively involved in the I-P issue. The full documentary is also available at the link you provide. I plan on looking at it when I find the time.

      I'd still like to know what motivated her to come down on the side of those who oppose Weir and her activities. There seems to be a real schism between those who see antisemitism in any variance from the normal narrative and those of us who feel people like Weir, Atzmon, Finkelstein, et al, deserve some slack, not to mention fair treatment.

    • Unfortunately, the later, edited version of my comment was apparently lost in the ether, I guess because I took too long to hit the enter button.

    • Tree,
      Let me join in your thanks to Phil and Adam for providing a forum for this important issue and to Annie for reviewing all the posts and most of all for acting as a balanced, thoughtful moderator on what may have been the longest thread on record for MW (507 comments). It was quite an event and very illuminating about the I-P movement.

      Some miscellaneous thoughts:
      1. I think there may be more going on with "Jennifer" than meets the eye. She put on a very effective defense of JVP and attack on Allison Weir that started as a full-on hatchet job in her first letter and continued into nasty attacks on Counterpunch, Atzmon (as well as several others) and then did a hatchet job of Allison's book. She then parried all the counterattacks with ambiguous apologies that suggested mere oversight or carelessness. She never allowed herself to pinned down and always exuded an almost naive niceness suggesting she was a mere amateur venturing into the jaws of the lion. Amazingly (and suspiciously) she seemed to be the only spokesman for JVP and its position and managed to dominate the entire thread. While I'm not one for conspiracy theories, I smell a troll or a plant of some sort. She got in, did the maximum amount of damage, then carefully got out leaving behind the thought that it really probably was antisemitism and that we should all work together (singing Kumbaya with Dillon, no make that a Palestinian) to make the world a better place and stifle all those antisemites among us. I think we were had. She was treated with kid gloves when she should have savaged. Incidentally, she is no college grad student ingenue. If she was born in the late 70s, as she said, she's in her late 30s.

      2. I've been trying to figure out what's really going on here. Why was it so important to savage and ban Allison Weir? My answer is that she, along with Gilad Atzon, and Norman Finkelstein share something in common: All three have made dangerous forays outside the limited world of bad Israelis oppressing poor Palestinians, and the only effective way to stop these forays in their tracks is with harem, banishment, public humiliation.

    • That too, but I thought the comments indicated the other two. Maybe I attributed someone else's comments to him.

    • Roha,

      I presume the learned Mooser and gamal meant "espouse". link to merriam-webster.com

      I also detect a missing comma.

    • Hah. I'll need to pour myself a dram of Red Breast to reflect on that. Just spent a couple of weeks in Dublin and environs. Lovely people, lovely time.

    • And, we can blame the notorious Noam Chomsky for his role in preserving the so-called, [snort] "discourse studies"

      I have a wife of many decades who can and will wax poetic over the intricacies of the bilabial fricative given half a chance. Grounds for divorce if you ask me, although I've been known to howl in derisive laughter at her frickin bilabials in response. She is never amused by my wit as she too is a member of the discourse study crowd. A humorless bunch if there ever was one.

      I'm probably just jealous as I can't even master Roha's Rules for proper comma usage let alone high-falutin shit like discourse studies.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

    • I did some research on the Parushim (sorry, no link) and I recall it was disbanded after about a year and Brandeis' role was very minor at best. Plus, we're talking World War I time frame. I think it is interesting but a bit too much is made of it. It certainly wasn't the focus of Weir's book.

    • Philip,
      I read your two articles. You seem to be saying that her writings on the history of US Zionism are shallow and that she's an antisemite. Have I got that right?

      Have you read her book? If so, did it modify your opinion of her as a historian, and did it modify your belief in her antisemitism?

    • jhitchcock said:
      "How important and helpful is it to write a book focusing on how a Jewish “elitist secret society” allegedly pressured to US government to support Israel’s founding? Even if it was true. Of all the things we could be focusing on and talking about to raise awareness of Israeli oppression of Palestinians? For example, maybe it would be more productive to write a book about the right of return and its basis in international law and historical precedence to help justify and clarify this right since it seems to be the most widely misunderstood part of the BDS Call."

      Having admitted you haven't found the time to read Ms. Weir's book, you then say the book focuses on the Parushim and how it was used to pressure the US government to support Israel's founding. First, the Parashim section of the book takes up about 3 and a half pages and is certainly not the focus of her book which is a history of US Zionism and its influence on the creation of Israel. Second, everything in her book is extremely well documented using sources that appear very credible. Of the 240 pages, far more than half are devoted to detailed end notes and works cited.

      You then say it would have been more useful for her to write a book about Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. What you fail to realize is that Israeli oppression of the Palestinians has been largely supported and funded by US Zionists and that US Zionist influence played a huge part in the success of the Zionist venture from Balfour to the present. Ms. Weir addresses and documents this influence with great detail and great care and provides us all with an invaluable history of US Zionism and valuable insight into why it has such a deleterious influence on US ME foreign policy today. Ms. Weir's book is very useful and anything but antisemitic.

      As others have said on this thread, the problem here is that some faction of liberal Zionism wants to limit the dialogue to just Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, and mainly the post 1967 history. Any variance from that is judged antisemitic because it focuses on Zionist misbehavior outside those time constraints. While I can understand their (your) reluctance to open up that Pandora's Box, much of what's in that box is highly relevant to Israel's current oppression of the Palestinians. Trying to close the box with an antisemitism hammer simply won't work and diminishes their (your) credibility.

    • Let me add my thanks that MW is addressing this important topic about a person who has made a significant contribution to the history of Zionism (particularly US Zionism) and its impact on the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. Her recent book, Against Our Better Judgment, brought two important topics to the forefront: First, the astonishing role and impact Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis had in creating the groundwork for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Second, the amazing story of Dorothy Thompson.

  • Iran Deal Latest: AIPAC lies and, in a first, Schumer runs from the cameras
    • Ghotbzadeh was tried and convicted of attempting to overthrow the government by force. He was executed. Banisadr was impeached. He then attempted a coup with others but then fled the country. He was not executed. In the chaos of revolutions, executions are often commonplace. e.g. Irish revolution and civil war. Same for Russian, Chinese, and others.

      By your standards, we should never have become allies with Stalin, nor should Nixon and Kissinger have attempted a rapprochement with Communist China. God knows why we ever considered diplomatic ties with the terrorist thugs that had just thrown 750,000 Palestinian Arab civilians out of their homes and country.

      I would never have trusted a revolution/civil war/ as bloody as that even if it has evolved to harmlessness. Oops, no, I don't believe Israel has evolved to harmlessness.

      You are indeed not a rocket scientist.

  • Obama tells Americans it is 'abrogation of my constitutional duty' to defer to Israel on Iran Deal
    • Per Hophni,

      "Spoken like one who is fooling himself."

      You're probably right, Hops, but then again, he has nothing to lose, no more elections, not going to get any donations for his presidential library from those folks, and Congress is a lost cause for any decent legislation. So all he has left is foreign policy and a mess in the Middle East he could have some impact on. Plus, he has a lot of time left.

      He's also been showing some moxie-ish signs. e.g. Cuba, and some of his executive action, plus he's had some significant victories from the courts. He's kind of on a roll and the Lobby has no leverage with him anymore.

      He's in a great position to get some important things done and could use his bully pulpit and speaking skills to great advantage.

      I may be dreaming, but there's at least some basis for my optimism.

    • "Abenaki"

      That's gotta be Yiddish too. Where's Mooser? He knows this stuff.

    • "Moxie"

      I would have guessed a Yiddish origin. In fact, it's got to have had an origin other than a soft drink name. Why would you pick Moxie unless it had some other association or meaning? Gotta be Yiddish.

    • Good comments, Bandolero. A bit too much MW optimism.

      I'd point out that Obama will likely hold off on really strong criticism of Israel and Netanyahu until the agreement is ratified. Once that happens, we can hope he'll cut the cords and work on redoing US ME relationships while ending the entangling one-way alliance with our so-called great ally.

      He'll be in a great position to do so if he has the moxie. If he does, he'll go down as one of the great presidents.

  • Time Warner executive moonlights as speechwriter for Netanyahu
    • My understanding is that DOJ refuses to release the file on that investigation and also refuses to make public any subsequent investigation. The same happened with various cases involving allegation of providing secret docs to Israel. Case closed, file sealed.

      I believe FARA is playing same game. Won't investigate why someone failed to file and also won't say why.

    • OK. Having reread my original post from very late last night (above at 11:59pm), I found my use of profanity, snarkiness, and sarcasm embarrassingly inappropriate. Let me rephrase in the light of a bright new morning and attempt to focus on the real issue of whether the actions of pro-Israel lobbyists in this country are doing severe harm to US interests:

      I suspect Mr. Ginsberg is an honorable, patriotic guy who voluntarily provided his services to Prime Minister Netanyahu because he feels a strong connection and affection toward Israel, as do many, if not most, American Jews, indeed maybe most Americans. I also suspect Mr. Ginsberg believes in good faith that the interests of Israel and the US are identical, so what is good for Israel is also good for the US. For that reason, I think he likely believes that the Iran nuclear agreement would be bad for both Israel and the US and disagrees with President Obama entering into that agreement.

      As with any American citizen, Mr. Ginsberg has the right to voice his opinions and advocate for any cause he chooses even though people like me may disagree with him. Obviously, my angry response reflected my own opinions and disagreement with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s vocal opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement.

      My anger at Mr. Ginsberg was directed at his assisting the prime minister of Israel in his attempt to convince Congress to reject the Iran nuclear agreement which I believe would be very harmful to US interests as well as to Israel’s. While I too am entitled to my opinions, it was inappropriate for me to express my opinions using snarkiness, sarcasm, and profanity particularly when the subject of my remarks didn’t have an opportunity to respond. I regret stooping to that level and apologize for my incivility.

      My references to the FARA foreign agent registration requirement reflect my opinion that this statute was designed to allow the US government to keep track of those who are acting as agents of foreign countries so it can limit that conduct when it is deemed inappropriate or illegal. The FARA registration requirement appears to apply even for actions done for the benefit of an ally such as Israel, and even though a US citizen may be performing the services, and even though the services provided may be quite innocuous such as promoting US tourism to a foreign country. I gave the example of former CIA Director Porter Goss who recently registered with FARA because he is providing lobbying services to Turkey, an ally of the US, like Israel.

      While in my opinion, Mr. Ginsberg’s actions on behalf of Israel’s Prime Minister constitute actions on behalf of a foreign government that should trigger the FARA registration requirement my interpretation of the FARA statute may be incorrect. In any case, Mr. Ginsberg fully disclosed what he was doing and that he was doing so voluntarily and without compensation.

      My anger or frustration is more directed at the fact that US pro-Israel individuals or organizations who act on behalf of Israel, including lobbying members of Congress, and organizing donations to members of Congress, aren’t being required to register as agents for Israel as I think is required under the FARA statute. In my opinion, this failure is depriving the FARA agency of its ability to screen the activities of those acting as agents for Israel, some of whom may be acting directly against the interests of the US. This failure is also depriving Congress and the US public of the public knowledge of persons and organizations acting as agents for Israel, and the nature of their activities.

      Whether or not Mr. Ginsberg is required to register as a foreign agent for Israel under FARA, his actions represent only a very insignificant part of what I believe is a much larger problem, that US pro-Israel lobbying efforts on behalf of Israel may be doing significant harm to US interests. That’s a discussion worth having. Mr. Ginsberg’s actions on behalf of the Prime Minister of the state of Israel are at best tangential to that discussion.

      The issue isn’t whether Americans on either side of this issue can debate and advocate their views. They can. The question is whether the state of Israel is using its influence through US lobbying organizations and individuals acting as its agents which would be illegal. I’m of the view that this is what’s going on and that it should be subject to disclosure, discussion, and debate.

      What I’d hate to see is this debate not taking place until after Congress rejects the Iran nuclear agreement, plunging our nation into the diplomatic chaos such a rejection will cause..Better we have that debate now.

    • True, but Ginsberg's Jewishness isn't really relevant to what he did or whether it was right or wrong. It would have been wrong and illegal (IMHO) even (horrors!) if he were Irish.

      I don't think you could argue even that his Jewishness was a motive for his actions unless you could demonstrate he was motivated by his support for Israel. But even then, his Jewishness isn't really relevant because there are plenty of non-Jews who support Israel. For the same reasons, I think my snarky rhetorical question in my original comment, "Is it because he’s Jewish and the law doesn’t apply to him?" was also borderline inappropriate.

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