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Total number of comments: 117 (since 2009-08-11 22:12:02)


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  • Natalie Portman says, Enough!
    • Would have been better if she'd accepted the prize, gave an acceptance speech detailing with great specificity exactly what she found so terrible about Israel's behavior (instead of the anodyne "I'm distressed about recent events"), and donated the 2 million bucks in prize money to the journalists, teachers and nurses of Gaza.

      I know, I know, the perfect is the enemy of the good. But where Phil and James see Portman's decision as a bellwether of significant change in attitudes towards Israel, I see it as a transient blip caused by the grotesque savagery of "recent events". Encase the inescapable brutality of Zionism within the velvet glove of some PR savvy type like Yair Lapid and you get more of the same for Palestinians and not a peep from Ms. Portman.

  • Landmark 'NYT' op-ed by Jewish official blames Israel's leadership for its isolation (not BDS)
    • Annie, I can't be alone in thinking that Phil was encouraged by Lauder's comments. After all,
      he says:

      The news is that a rightwing establishmentarian is voicing criticisms that we know are being voiced behind closed doors by Israel lobby execs.

      Stating them so publicly is a call to action inside the Israel lobby, and a gauntlet to Israeli politicians. It is a real sign that the tide of opinion is turning against Israel in the US Jewish community.

      It surely anticipates a push by American Jewish organizations on the late, great two-state solution. Why even AIPAC was calling for the two-state solution at its recent conference.

      I was not suggesting that Phil endorses a 2SS, but it seems to me that he feels encouraged by Lauder's endorsement of same, as though Lauder's anodyne and specifics-free shout out to the 2SS is a sort of breakthrough.

      Guys like Lauder push for their version of a 2SS precisely b/c it sets in stone Israeli hegemony in the region, for the reasons I suggested in my original comment. I don't see this as "huge" or an instance of some turning point in the views of the the Zionist mandarin class, as Phil seems to.

    • I see Lauder's comments as less encouraging than Phil does. When folks like him talk about a 2SS, they mean a demilitarized Palestine without real sovereignty (i.e., no control over borders, airspace, etc) with the IDF deployed in the Jordan Valley indefinitely, Israel retaining all the colonies that "everybody knows will remain in Israeli hands after peace talks" - that is, the ones with the finest agricultural land, the ones sitting atop the aquifers - and on and on. Disconnected Palestinian Bantustans. And Israeli colonies with sufficient breathing room to expand.

      By promoting a 2SS without these specifics, Lauder can pose as a reasonable man who has seen the light and is throwing in the towel - offering serious compromise (not) in the name of peace.

      If this sort of 2SS is ratified, you will have an immiserated and isolated Palestinian non-state, penned in by its historical oppressor. Nothing that Israel can't live with. Some breakthrough.

      And as far as heaping the blame on the maniac religious settlers, this has always been a favorite ploy of "liberal" Zionists, as though the settlement project was not begun and expanded under Labor governments, as though the brutality of Zionism were not structural, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett having more in common than not.

  • Israeli diplomat calls on American students 'to restore the honor' of vilified word-- Zionism
    • Thanks Dan for this concise and definitive evisceration of Dayan's lesson in fake history. I look forward to your further exposing of this phony's lies.

  • A Jewish 'sickness': Israeli journalist explains young American Jews' support for Palestinians
  • Netanyahu has taken a wrecking ball to Israel's favorability ratings among Democrats
    • The significance of this finding depends entirely on how much Dem disaffection with Israel is due to Netanyahu's incomparably odious demeanor and how much to true political support for Palestine.

      Maybe more than most others, Americans make personality-driven choices in politics - the "I'd like to have a beer with him/her" phenomenon. Obama enjoyed the enthusiastic support of liberals despite his relentless war expansions, Wall St bailouts, unprecedented rate of deportations and whistle-blower prosecutions, etc. Why? Smart guy, personable and charming, matter that his politics were Neoliberal 101.

      Israelis may continue to shoot themselves in the foot (better than shooting Palestinian kids in the face) by voting ever more rightward, but if they wise up and pull another velvet glove over that iron fist with an Obama/Macron type of candidate, I fear we'll see that support for Palestine drop to its former levels.

      Maybe they can't, though - the imperatives of Zionist expansionism and appropriation may now be beyond prettifying. I hope so. But no one's ever gone broke underestimating the political naivete of the US public.

  • Arthur Finkelstein ruined Israel, says Ehud Barak
    • Barak is peddling the hoary origin story that Israel began as the project of robust and right-thinking Zionists, tilling the land and bringing civilization to the jungle. Highly moral and wanting nothing more than refuge for themselves and peace with the natives, Zionists were forced to defend themselves again and again from the depredations of the irrationally violent Palestinians - which they did, of course, with utmost devotion to the principles of Just Warfare. And then, the fall from grace, ushered in by the right-wingers.

      Sheer horseshit, as any reader of this site is aware. And Barak is right that most of the "advanced" world bought this nonsense at the beginning. Trouble is, he still seems to think they were justified in doing so - the tale, he says, was true.

      What would left Zionists do without their right-wing counterparts? ....."You think I'm bad? You should see my cousin Dave!"

      The right wingers are happy to cut your head off. The "leftists" do, too, but they give you a coupla Tylenol first. You should be grateful.

  • Jewish leaders seek to shut down anti-occupation movie in MA because it 'sniffs of Nazism'
  • As battle rages in UK Labour Party, Moshe Machover expelled after asserting 'Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism'
    • Poor Jeff B. He describes a Zionism that is unchanged for 130 years. But of course there were many streams of Zionism from the get-go. Some did not imagine a Jewish state but a multinational one or a confederation, among other iterations.

      If the establishment of Israel had not required the conscious and heartless dispatch of hundreds of thousands of indigenes and the wholesale import of numberless Europeans, Americans et al whose forebears had not set foot in the Levant for centuries (I'm not aware of any other national liberation movement whose beneficiaries had no physical connection to their "homeland") - if Israel had not been birthed so viciously and had not expanded so consistently at the continued expense of its victims, perhaps we could have a reasonable discussion about whether or not the aspirations of (some) of the Jewish people would best be served by a nationalist solution.

      That is, the Zionism JeffB defends is an abstract one; when one fills in the ghastly particulars, it's a different story.

      Finally, when will ideologues like Jeffy understand that conflating antisemitism and antizionism is not in their best interests. After all, if its antisemitic to oppose the numberless violations of basic human rights, the fake, race-based judicial system, house demolitions, confinement without charge, everyday brutality, etc that are required by the current instantiation of Zionism, it would be the moral duty of any thinking person to be an antisemite!

      Happily, those of us who live unblinkered by Zionist ideology and remain committed to antiracism of any sort fully understand the difference between a corrupt political system and a religion/ethnicity and have no problem focussing our arguments squarely on the former.

      But I suspect you know that and are simply floating a bullshit hasbara smear in a desperate attempt to defend the indefensible through deflection. It's not working.

  • Watch the cathartic Vietnam documentary
    • "I don’t care..."

      Sorry, Phil, you should. This series makes it more difficult, not less, to apprehend the meaning of the war, and it does so by foregrounding not only the US viewpoint but also the psychological one. I heard Burns on Boston public radio saying how proud he was at the overwhelming response he got to the disclosure that responses of US and NV soldiers to the horror they experienced was identical. That is, both Vietnamese and US soldiers get scared, lonely, act with valor, act with cowardice, etc. These trivial psychological truisms - who among PBS's audience would imagine otherwise? Who would buy into the idea that we are pure and our enemies not quite human? - count as analysis. We are accustomed to discussing policy questions with appeals to presidential disposition - "Barack's bright and has a great sense of humor what an orator!" - and ignore the war expansion, the deportations, whistle-blower prosecutions, the whole sorry mess. I fear that Burns promotes this turn of mind.

      Imagine a film on slavery taking the same tack. Or on the Iraq war. Apartheid. It's unthinkable.
      White South Africans and Germans know how to acknowledge their utter and complete responsibility for the horrors they perpetrated. The US (and Israel, for that matter), not so much. The best we can muster is some version of the shoot-and-cry, PBS newshour "on the one hand..." bullshit.

      I don't doubt that there is history to be learned from this series, particularly by folks who weren't around when the war was broadcast live. But I worry more about the ideology that's invisibly included in the history lesson.

      After all, check out the graphic at the head of this piece - the series' DVD box. Note the very first line of text - "There is no single truth in war".


      PS - As long as we're telling draft stories, here's mine. In my second year of college, I began to think about my student deferment. I grew up in lower middle class Brooklyn and many of the guys I went to school with worked in their father's small businesses or became mechanics or worked retail. It bothered me that these guys were subject to be drafted and I, studying logic and the philosophy of science, was deemed too important to the nation's welfare to go, as were my buddies in English Lit and sociology. Seemed massively unfair and another instance of the elites dividing natural allies.
      I decided to not apply for a deferment and figure out what to do - jail or Montreal - if I got called (going to war was out of the question on political grounds). My girlfriend wept with anxiety and fear (I didn't whisper a word of this to my mother, who'd have killed me faster than the VC) and packed a bag in case the Montreal option looked best. I got called, and at my physical, they asked me why I was there if I was a college student. I told them and they referred me to the psychiatrist, a kindly old guy with a Mitteleuropean accent - yeah, really - to whom I gave my lecture about class and war and privilege. He decided I was temporarily nuts and told me he was giving me a 1-Y deferment, the sort of thing you get if you have a broken ankle and need 6 or 8 months to get well enough to die overseas.

      So I went home, trembling the way you do when something terrifying is over, and spent the next 6 months dreading getting that "come on back" letter.

      It never came. Being Catholic, instead of rejoicing that I dodged a bullet, I agonized over whether I was enjoying class privilege anyway by engaging the shrink, and whether or not I should have pressed the issue and insist that I be forced to make the moral choice.

      I didn't, so sainthood was now out of the question. Being nuts, who knows?

  • After article was rejected and publishers yawned, Walt and Mearsheimer dropped 'The Israel Lobby' in 2005
  • Lessons from Finkelstein: a response to Seth Anderson
    • Absolutely brilliant piece. I say this with ambivalence, because for me, the analysis is as decisive as the solution is hopelessly vague.

      After pointing out, with unassailable logic and a firm command of history, that the forces aligned against Palestine are of Death Star proportions, and that the solution must be radically different from the anodyne bleats proposed by the Negotiations Industry, Tony leaves us with a call for...a mass movement from below.

      This reminds me of a major problem with psychoanalysis. After analyst and patient together produce a creative, radical, non-intuitive picture of where s/he is and how s/he got there, the patient is left with "working through" the conflict to arrive at a solution. No one agrees about what "working through" consists in, but, after the thrilling clarity of one Aha! after another, that's all there is.

      I mean no impertinence to Tony, who clearly has enough passion, intelligence and knowledge for any ten of us, and with whose analysis I completely agree. It's just that the argument seems so much more vivid than the solution.

      Maybe I am too tired, maybe my activist imagination is too limited...I just find myself both edified and dejected after reading this piece. What is to be done?

  • Chomsky on what 'everyone knows'
    • "So the world should allow Israel engage in any behavior it wants because they are sick enough to use nukes if they don’t get their way?..."

      It's uncanny how, like Dracula, this trope lives on. Unlike Dracula, though, it survives the normally fatal effects of sunlight. No matter how much you illuminate its flaws, it rises from its coffin again and again.

      I recall speaking to an Israel supporter who opposed BDS on the grounds that Israelis, already shaking in terror at their precarious position vis a vis robust Palestinian military might, will be further driven to the right if they perceive themselves to be besieged by food co-op radicals avoiding their inferior hummus. "Don't annoy me, I may get worse", the classic tactic of a bully.

      The point of this is clear; nothing, absolutely nothing, may be allowed to impede in even the tiniest way Israel's every wish. Stab an occupying soldier? Terrorist. Peaceful march? Unhelpful, probably criminal. BDS? Poking a hornet's nest, watch out.

      Sit down, shut up, go away.

    • And "everyone knows" that Israel will keep the major settlement blocs in any conceivable negotiation, too. This sort of breezy assurance functions to foreclose real discussion.

      First rate article, Jonathan, as usual. Special thanks for reminding us of Benny Morris' quote about displacement of the indigenes as a necessary condition of fulfilling the Zionist dream.
      This is an especially useful quote given Morris' current defense of ethnic cleansing, Ben Gurion-style.

      If the assertion had been made by a justice-minded, civilized lefty, it would have been easily dismissed by Zionists as propaganda. But Morris unabashedly supports the crimes of 1948, on the grounds that the creation of Israel was more important than letting Palestinians continue to live their lives unmolested. Utter contempt for the most basic elements of fairness, the sort most of us become convinced of before high school.

      So, Morris freely embraces Zionism's crimes because, well, "we're more important, so what's the big deal?" He doesn't seem to understand that, for a person of even modest moral sensibilities, his insouciant apologia for ethnic cleansing is horrifying.

  • From 'Avalon' to Madoff: What 'The Wizard of Lies' reveals about contemporary American Jewish identity
    • I see what you did there, pal.

      I could swan about, dropping my own obscure references, but I'll duck out and leave it to others to goose the conversation along.

  • Trump may want a deal, but Israeli Jews are not interested
    • I believe yonah's right. You don't look for Israeli leftists in Jerusalem. You look for them right over there, next to the married bachelors and the unicorns.

  • 100 senators throw their bodies down to end UN 'bias' against Israel
    • That photo at the head of Jonathan's excellent article is really quite disgusting. The grinning baboon Rubio looking right at the camera instead of the person he's raising a glass with. At least the Butcher of Gaza has the savvy to avoid revealing so openly what a callow self-promoter he is.

      But let's face it - who would trust two guys who raise a toast with bottles of water? Back in Brooklyn, we'd kick the lightweight posers to the curb and find a coupla people who know what bourbon looks like.

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  • 'SNL' cracks about man 'so blinded by devotion to Israel he ignores all reason'
    • I don't read the Louis CK bit the same way that you do, jd65.

      The overarching metaphor of the bit reinforces the most damaging trope in mainstream discourse about P/I, namely, that the two parties are engaged in an endless, almost genetic round of squabbling, something that defies analysis - it's just in their bones. This is the ahistorical, no-one's-to-blame fairy tale that underlies the Received Wisdom about the middle east in the US.

      And the collusion with Israel - "here, just let the crazy one rant, if you do, I'll placate you with a missile" - doesn't seem to me to be presented as critique. If it is, the critical part is outweighed by the tacit normalizing of the status quo; the Palestinians are crazy infants, you and I are the mature ones and are capable of negotiation, let's work this out between us....

      To tell you the truth, I think the Vanessa Bayer comment was more disruptive to mainstream perspective than Louis' was.

  • Making Marwan Barghouti a terrorist
    • Jonathan, you are indispensable. Brilliant reporting, lapidary analysis, graceful prose.

      Many, many thanks.

  • UN bowed to 'fearmongering and threats' from powerful governments to cover up 'painful truth' of Israeli apartheid -- UN official's resignation letter
    • More info please. What makes this abnormal? Certainly not the fact that news coverage is often distorted, a fact which obtains across the board.
      What opening? What spin? We've already seen the antisemitism sword unsheathed, as is reflexive in these cases. More unsavory than that?

      You may be right, but maybe you can explain your position a little more fully?

    • Let's be precise. I said Trump's shitcanning of Bharara revealed the bestiality of his administration. It is bestial b/c it ravenously impoverishes the poor as it stuffs the coffers of the useless rich, i.e., neoliberalism on stilts. Bharara made baby steps to address this, which is why Trump wanted him out. Of course he had the right to do so, but we are not talking about his rights; we are looking at what animated his decision to fire this particular individual. In this case, devotion to wealth transfer and a feral hatred of anyone who might mitigate his barbarism.

    • With all due respect to this magnificent woman, wouldn't it have been a much more powerful political statement to simply refuse to withdraw the document and force Guterres' hand into firing her?

      Preet Bharara (whose legacy is not as sterling as his hagiographers suggest, but still...) did just this, refusing to resign and forcing Trump to fire him. This caused much more ink to be spilled on his behalf and therefore publicized the bestiality of the Trump administration more than his resignation would have.

      Nixon ordered Cox to limit his investigation into Watergate. Instead of resigning, Cox refused and Nixon had to go through Richardson and Ruckelshaus (both of whom resigned but, significantly, first refused to carry out Nixon's command ) before he got Bork to do the deed. The sordid episode's notoriety was magnified by the refusals.

      How much more brilliantly would Guterres' contemptible behavior have been illuminated had he been forced on the world stage to fire a brave woman defending the rights of the dispossessed, how much more obvious to the eyes of all the obsequious toadying of the UN to the US and its mideast client....

  • For Purim, costume contest celebrates soldier's killing of a Palestinian (free vacation on the line)
    • The video seems to depict a group of kids enacting an attack on a soldier and a tank. Presumably, the targets were occupying forces in the West Bank. Ergo, no war crime.

      Some of the pics depict a kneeling soldier being shot. War crime.

      Of course, the very idea of kids enacting this sort of violence is tremendously unsavory to me, sitting safely snowed in in my cozy house in the Boston area. I honestly don't know how I'd feel if I had been under incredibly aggressive and brutal occupation for half a century with no end in sight and things getting worse daily.

      I imagine little American boys during the 40s were encouraged to take out some Germans or Japs (sic) in their playtime.

      Bottom line, don't compare violence by aggressors to violence by their victims. Sometimes using a double standard serves justice more than using a single standard does. This fact is uncontroversial - kids and adults, cops and civilians, we recognize that applying a single standard to these unequal groups would do violence to reality.

      Here's my suggestion: instead of getting yourself riled up by the pretend violence visited upon representations of your soldiers by schoolboys, you'd do well to aim that outrage towards the actual soldiers who actually threaten, imprison, sequester and kill those schoolboys.

      Doesn't that make a lot more sense?

  • How to love Israel: 'Sometimes it'll hurt-- bad, but I will not walk away! I will not let you go!'
  • Mostly-Jewish golf club is roiled by a prospective member's stance on Israel-- Obama's
    • That photo! Shorts and socks??!!

      So much for Obama's being the "cool" president...

      And, oh yeah, golf. Dude can croon "Let's Stay Together" all he wants, it's not gonna work.

  • More than half of US aid 'to entire world' goes to Israel and it ignores our warnings on settlements -- Kerry
    • "and if it’s not biased and unfair?"

      Oh, Annie, Annie....any resolution of which Israel disapproves is by its nature biased and unfair.
      This is not an empirical matter, it's definitional. That is, it's logically impossible to mount a serious and meaningful criticism of Israeli policy that is unbiased and fair. Can't be done.

  • US Senate quickly passed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act
    • Israel neither HAS a right to exist nor LACKS a right to exist. The question itself is poorly formed.

      States are not the sorts of things to which rights apply. Humans have rights, some think that animals have rights...but how on earth can a civil/political entity like a state be said to have rights? Israel exists or it doesn't exist. I suppose you could legitimately ask if it ought to exist or not. But appealing to the language of rights does nothing to clarify the issue.

      Most of us believe that people have certain rights; to have a say in who governs them, to be free from the intrusions of arbitrary power into their lives, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's nonsense, though, to apply similar notions to states.

      It's reasonable to claim that the Zionist regime ruling Israelis and Palestinians is corrupt and to promote its change or downfall. That is not the same as saying Israel has no right to exist, anymore than saying that South Africa had no right to exist. We correctly said, in that case, that the apartheid regime was racist and undemocratic and needed to go. No one said anything about South Africa having no right to exist.

      It's important to note that this linguistic mutation was engineered by the Zionists themselves, and a clever move it was. How can anyone assert that an entire country has no right to exist, a formulation that, given its wholesale and categorical nature, can't help but bring the nazi holocaust to mind? And this, of course, is the point; another cynical and shameless manipulation of the memory of those who suffered so horribly.

      If you own the language, you own the argument. So, no more referring to "settlements", with the cozy and domestic associations that term has for so many; they're illegal colonial outposts. And no more being snookered into the senseless "right to exist" debate.

  • It is time to imagine how one state-- one person, one vote-- will work
    • "9. Name/ Character/ Public holidays / Symbols and flag: Careful thought and creativity with input from both sides is required to have these elements reflect the desires of both communities without exclusivity or discrimination against the other. Click here for a survey of selected plans incorporating some of these elements."

      When I clicked on the link, I got nothing but a message that "this domain has expired".

      And how.

      Look, I admire what these guys are doing and I certainly agree with the premise that the 2SS belongs in the same atlas in which Candyland and Mordor may be found. But I'm not sure about what seems to me a zionist-friendly cast to some of their proposals.

      The army should be Jewish-run to assuage the fears of Pal/Isr Jews? Like the Palestinians have no legitimate concerns about the "defense" forces responsible for their half-century of occupation, expropriation of their lands, jailing, disappearance or murder of countless of their countrymen...any reader here may fill in the numberless other blanks.

      Good start, resubmit with corrections.

  • Broadway club cancels 'Black Lives Matter' benefit because of movement's stance on Israel
    • I think that Phil is frequently guilty of reflexively celebrating the silver lining while ignoring the cloud. But this makes me see things more from that perspective.

      Don't be sad that BLM lost a showcase. I think it's a fine thing to reveal the contradictions implicit in the coexistence of liberal sympathy for BLM and antipathy towards the rights of Palestinians. The fissures were there - let 'em spread. It's good to know who your real friends are.

      Consider this a solidarity-building moment. Lose one evening at 54 Below, gain a stronger bond between two groups half a planet apart but joined by the experience of systematic, toxic racism.

      Silver lining!

  • France's burkini ban is a dangerous, Islamophobic assault on feminist values
  • 'The Forward' fails to find source of anti-semitism hoax that its reporter concocted (Updated)
  • Sam Harris and the politics of 'good intentions'
    • Hasbaristas often make the claim that their wanton murder of children in Gaza was merely the regrettable and unintended consequence of the Gazans stubborn insistence on living on their land. Military targets exist among the general population, it'd be too costly to send IOF forces on the ground to wipe 'em out, so imprecise artillery shelling is the way to go. Mind, the intention is to take out the bad guys. Those civilians? Too bad they were in the way, but they weren't our intended targets (although their demise was absolutely predictable). And by the way, it's Hamas' fault for putting them in harm's way (i.e., not evacuating them to Switzerland.)

      Compare: An IOF soldier is riding in a bus loaded with Israeli civilians. He's a legitimate target of occupied resistance. The intention is to take out the soldier. But he's usually in a heavily fortified facility or surrounded by well-equipped comrades. The resistance has an opportunity to get him, but the window is narrow (how often has this been offered as a reason that Israel tearfully had to demolish a bldg. full of civilians to get a wanted target?). So they bomb the bus with the intention of getting the soldier, and they do so, along with the inevitable and predictable massive loss of innocent life.

      But intention is everything, right? So, no biggie.

      How's that for a thought experiment, Harris ?

  • Israeli flag is wielded as weapon against Berlin protesters of apartheid
  • Clinton's 'infatuation with war' and neoconservatism stirs misgivings on the left
  • Brexit vote leaves progressives suspended between nativists and neoliberals
    • Let's recall that northern Europe's recent wave of immigrants has been created by US adventurism in the Middle East, Ukraine, and the Balkans, enthusiastically supported by the EU/NATO and similar US Trojan horses. While some of the European reaction to the swelling numbers of refugees is undoubtedly due to racism, it's sort of shortsighted to fret about much of the working class being concerned re the refugees instead of embracing them in the Warm, Universal Cumbaya Hug of Solidarity, and it's unfair to deny that vast numbers of newcomers, in a climate of neoliberal austerity economics, represents a legitimate threat to impoverished Europeans.

      US militarism creates refugees, EU neoliberal economic policies immiserates Europeans, then you put them together. I think you can explain most of the reaction without reference to racism. Finance capitalism thrives on workers of all colors, ethnicities, etc being at one another's throats.

  • Viral video says BDS supporters want to shoot the bible and Dannon yogurt
    • This foolish video implicitly endorses the kindergarten notion of BDS that suggests everything remotely connected to Israel must be foresworn. If you use a Mac, they say, you're being a hypocrite.

      BDS is political, not some Leviticus-like cleansing of the unholy from our lives. The idea is to make Zionists uncomfortable, not us.

      The older of us may recall Cesar Chavez and the UFW boycotts. We did not avoid every head of broccoli, each spear of asparagus despite these being picked by the same immiserated workers who got our lettuce and grapes to the table. Chavez wisely chose a few items to represent the struggle and to cause economic distress to the growers and did not expect his supporters to deny themselves every particle of produce. A political act, not one of moralistic self-denial.

      Oh, and that's a shotgun, not a .22. Not only is this cornpone hasbarista ignorant, he apparently can't knock out a carton of yogurt from 10 feet with a single bullet.

  • Park Slope Food Coop holds vote aimed at staunching boycott of Sodastream
    • The "divisive and hostile" objection to Palestinian solidarity efforts like BDS have become the hoariest trope of desperate Zionist apologetics.

      A friend of mine belongs to a Reconstructionist congregation whose members observe a polite silence amongst themselves re Palestine /Israel lest the sweet bonds of brotherhood they enjoy be riven by...different opinions. Some fellowship, that can't endure dissent. I mean, guys, you're not some starched WASP family whose scary fissures are just barely held in check by denial and alcohol, right?

      If you want to savor a good, self-righteous fit of nausea, search for a Stand With Us video called something like "Why BDS Scars Don't Heal", a smarmy little slice of agitprop detailing the woes that befell the pro-injustice community when the satanically devious agents of BDS descended upon Olympia, Washington's Food Co-op to sow their seeds of discord among the happily Edenic folks. Much sighing and weeping about long-term friendships dashed on the shoals of those pesky demands for decency towards an occupied people. How perfectly awful! Cynical BDSers, looking for a happy pack of friends to tear apart and then moving on, atop their camels with scimitars held high, once their damage was done.

      Grow up. You can't handle some of your friends thinking differently from you? Threatened in the absence of unanimity?

      Go be Amish, then, and stop whining.

  • 'Little Jewboy' moment highlights coming divorce between US Jews and Israel
    • Here's my question: many US Jews, younger ones especially, are rightly horrified by the overtaking of Israel's political establishment by monsters and thugs. Fine. But what happens if "Zionism with a human face" returns to Israel? Livni, Shavit et al, all far more consoling to US Zionists despite their being more in line with the current crop of fascists running Israel than not on the most basic issues.

      Obama extends the wars against Muslim countries, prosecutes whistleblowers, is cozy with the financial establishment, yet b/c he's a law professor and hip and intelligent, he gets a pass from liberals that they'd deny to the coarser, dumber Bush. This is not to say that there's no difference between the last two presidents, only that their commitments to the deep structural military and financial requisites of the US establishment are very similar.

      In the same way, if the Israeli electorate were to sweep the current oafs from office in favor of "liberal Zionists" like Shavit, far cuddlier than the ex-bouncer from Belarus and the other ogres who populate the Netanyahu cabinet and Knesset, would that change the US Jewish disgust/disillusion the article cites?

      Of course, there's no reason to believe that Livni or similar wolves in sheep's clothing would make one particle of difference to the lives of Palestinians - same ridiculous commitment to the "peace process", same double standards regarding Jews vs Palestinians in the WB, etc.

      The problem is Zionism, and I guess I fear that US Jews and US gentiles both would be placated by an Israeli government that proposed a gentler version.

      That is, are folks getting fed up with Zionism, or are they getting fed up with the barbaric yokels who are running the joint for now?

  • For the high holidays, Bernie should bring his presidential campaign to Tzedek Chicago
    • Marc, how many 73 year old people with what appears to be a lifelong, quasi-religious (i.e., non-rational) commitment to political belief are successfully persuaded make a 180 ?

  • Reps Deutch, Lowey, and Israel choose Netanyahu over Obama-- and who will bring down the hammer for the Iran Deal?
    • Thanks for that. Please tell my wife, who's not so sure.

    • Am I being too cynical in supposing that those Dem congresspeople who oppose the deal have no illusion that their opposition will kill the deal but instead know full well that it's gonna pass and simply want to keep their trough filled? "Hey, look, AIPAC...I did my best!"

  • 'I love Obama' 'You're infatuated' (The argument on the left)
    • Phil zero, Michael 1. Game over.

      By the way, Michael, it's "Money doesn't talk, it swears", not "screams".

  • AIPAC taking all but 3 freshmen Congresspeople to Israel in effort to sabotage Iran deal
    • Well, for what it's worth, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, who's going on the junket, announced a day or two ago that he would support the Iran deal.

      Wonder if it's too late for Israel to void his ticket?

      Congressman Joe Kennedy (not a freshman) has bravely announced that he will spend the next few weeks waiting to see how the wind's blowing....ummm, I mean, studying the contents of the bill to be sure it's sufficiently robust before he makes up his mind.

      The guy's a lightweight of the most flimsy sort, attended the Netanyahu sneak attack on Congress, reflexively kneels towards Tel Aviv whenever a Palestine/Israel issue rears its head. Disgraceful.

  • The BDS Movement at 10: An interview with Omar Barghouti
    • Well, thank you so much, ivri, for your concern for the Palestinians, who are apparently in need of your insight to see where their true interests lie.

      How foolish of them to be unaware that the Ramallah bubble, with its perks for a small number of connected Fatah apparatchiks, is the template for all of Palestine. Soon, I'm sure. Who shall they believe, you or their lying eyes?

      Poor Palestinians. So enthralled by the honeyed tales of Barghouti and others that they can't see the great benefits the endless Israeli occupation confers upon them.

      Spare me your "concern" for the Palestinians.

  • A racist country with too much influence over US -- Israel's new image among Democrats
    • I fear that this tilt away from Zionism is actually a tilt away from Netanyahu, whose bald mendacity and coarse disregard for niceties, as much as his policies, turn away liberal elites.

      Take a smoother operator like Lapid or Shavit, whose commitments to Zionism's principles are similar enough to Netanyahu's, and watch the tide turn.

      Articulate constitutional lawyer Obama, with his alluring spouse committed to better nutrition for poor kids (while her hubby promotes ghastly agricultural policies), looked so much better then failed oilman Bush, who could barely string a sentence together.

      Looking at Obama's record, though - punishing whistle-blowers, TPP, more renditions, wars all over the place - and maybe the differences aren't so stark after all.

      The Israelis wise up and elect a palatable Zionist whose policies are largely indistinguishable from the current ghoul in charge, you'll see this tidal wave of opposition turn to gentlest ripple, lapping up to the shore with less force than a baby's sigh.

  • Israeli lawmaker wants to force foreign-funded NGO officials to wear stigmatizing i.d.'s
    • "Question to readers: What should the special badges (worn by reps of left-leaning NGOs) look like?"

      How about a halo?

  • Obama says peace talks are pointless because Netanyahu won't see the 'best' in others
    • Scott -

      Stop with the psychologizing. Israel acts as it does b/c it profits them to do so, not b/c they're in thrall to some mass neurosis.

      Why would the 2SS be good for them? Right now, they're getting the land, the water, the resources for very little in terms of national pain. Most Israelis don't feel the colonization at all.

      When the time comes that BDS expands enough to cause them real distress, when enough nations step up and say "Enough" as they did with South Africa and follow through with real economic and political penalties, Israel will see the disadvantages of being a colonizing force. Not before.

      After all, can you think of a time in history when a colonizer with almost unparalleled military supremacy over its immiserated victim, with a first-world economy and the support of the world's reigning hegemon, when such an unequal conflict resolved via the beneficent concessions of the aggressor, absent any immensely disruptive internal or external force?

      With a supine PA doing its policing for it and the US Godzilla providing support, Israel can live with the occupation just fine.

    • Robert Henry Eller -

      1. Obama has some leeway as Chief Exec to act on matters not requiring congressional approval. He also has the mantle of leadership which provides a symbolic push to matters of justice as in Palestine. He's failed on both counts b/c he's a phony progressive, an empty suit.

      2. I'm tired of the various iterations of this "sure, you immature types want him to don a keffiyeh and deliver the next State of the Union address in Arabic, but he's got to be realistic". It's false when Norm Finkelstein disses BDS on similar grounds ("it gives the naive a warm feeling but has no effect") and it's false in your version.

      3. Obama has gotten pass after pass from some people who should know better and more who don't, just as Clinton had gotten - "he's doing his best, those troglodyte Repubs are tying his hands", etc etc. This tactic has pushed the Democratic party as a whole to the right.

      4. As far as Obama "skirting closer to the edge than any US politician" goes, not even a teeny bit true. Eisenhower made sure Israel left Sinai - he went directly to the US public when a recalcitrant Congress resisted pushing Israel on this issue. His words are worth repeating; their applicability to Israel's colonization of the West Bank is unmistakable:

      "Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory in the face of United Nations disapproval be allowed to impose conditions on its own withdrawal? If we agreed that armed attack can properly achieve the purposes of the assailant, then I fear we will have turned back the clock of international order.

      If the United Nations once admits that international disputes can be settled by using force, then we will have destroyed the very foundation of the organization and our best hope of establishing world order. The United Nations must not fall. I believe that in the interests of peace the United Nations has no choice but to exert pressure upon Israel to comply with the withdrawal resolutions."

      Bush One tried to withhold loan guarantees to Israel. Bush Two actually did withhold some aid over colonization activity.

      Can't recall Obama doing anything nearly as substantive.

  • Hurt by the Israel lobby, Obama kisses it goodbye
    • I admire Phil for closing this piece with the Donald Johnson quote, which presents a far different interpretation from the one Phil proposes.

      I'm afraid Johnson's analysis rings truer.

  • Abunimah's book on justice for Palestine soars in readers' poll
  • How a Washington state teacher is bringing Palestine into high school classrooms
    • Have a look at PTT's materials, available online. In the section listing speakers that may be available for talks at schools, Linda Bevis includes the odious Stand With Us.

      One side bends over backwards to be fair by including its most feral critic in its list of resources, the other registers domain names to keep them out of the hands of their opponents in an effort to silence them.

      If you knew nothing else about these groups, which would you trust?

  • Dershowitz named in lawsuit alleging abuse of underage sex slave
    • Surprised that no one's mentioned it, but whoever found that photo of Dersh and chose it to illustrate this story deserves a raise. Priceless.

  • NY Times says a Palestinian majority would 'endanger Israel's democratic ideals'
    • "...and any fool knows that I can move to Israel tomorrow because I’m Jewish ..."

      I'm not so sure. I can imagine Israel's stalwart airport monitors Finkelsteining you, Phil.
      Keep yer US passport and bring a toothbrush - I hear amenities in those airport holding cells are not up to snuff.

  • Memo to Sen. Warren: More young Dems want US to side with Palestine than Israel
    • Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Annie. But here's why I'm not convinced:

      1. I agree that grassroots mobilization is important, but I also believe what has become a steady drumbeat of a meme here at Mondoweiss, one which I imagine you endorse, namely, that our politics is corrupted by the influence of money. From the national level to the municipal, from college campuses to cultural institutions. I dream of the moment that the political will of progressives may counterbalance this, but I'm not holding my breath.

      2. "Progressive" covers a wide spectrum. I'll bet that virtually everyone who voted for Fauxbama described him or herself as a progressive, this despite his voting for funding the war, being in the pocket of the finance (particularly credit card) industry, pushing nuclear power, etc etc. His lack of progressive bona fides was far outweighed by the elation most of us felt at the cultural touchstones he represented. Which is to say, smart progressives are no less influenced by image than dumb old conservatives; we just go for the "cool urban basketball guy" more than the "porkrind-eatin' brush clearing cowboy" one.

      3. I'm not sure why you believe that the progressive community will abandon Warren if she falls short on the mideast (who am I kidding? If? She's already done so). I haven't seen a coordinated message to Dem candidates that "THIS is where we draw the line" from liberals on virtually any issue. Fer chrissake, Clinton threw women off welfare and bombed the shit out of country after country and his picture's hanging in the living rooms of liberals alongside the pix of JFK and MLK. Obama's rendered more people, committed more drone murders than Bush, and liberals are "disappointed".

      The best trick Dems have up their sleeves is "if you don't vote for us, they're gonna be hanging gynecologists and branding our kids with crucifixes by next Thursday". So, the Dems feel no pressure to move leftwards and, ineluctably, the conversation moves rightward, so center-right neoliberal interventionists like Clinton and Obama now count as leftists.

      4. You do yourself a disservice by saying you're not an unusual voter. Flying across the country, going to're freaking spectacular. Ordinary? Puhleeeze.
      You may be right about Warren not being able to mobilize the troops. I fear her role will be to fire up the leftish wing of the party, then close ranks and urge her supporters to get behind the Mediocrity of the Moment. Sorta like Kucinich did with Edwards and Obama.

      5. I am with you re withholding support from the Dems if there isn't a robust swing away from the mideast status quo, but I promise you there won't be, not from the Dems. And I think you're just as non-ordinary re this as you are re your commitment to travelling in the service of mobilizing folks. That is, I don't think Israel/Palestine will figure highly enough in most liberal Americans' electoral calculus to swing them away from whatever bum the Dems throw at them. Would that it were so.

      This is why I feel that election reform, proportional voting and multiple parties must precede any meaningful change in substantive issues. I know, I said there's only one issue -finance reform. Sue me (it's still the most important one, though).

    • I have to agree with those who've pointed out that the sympathy for Palestinians evinced by a majority of young Democrats will not mean a pinch of shit to Warren since those young Dems don't have the bucks. They will vote for her anyway, since a majority of Dems, young or old, believe that showing some spine and voting for a true progressive is "throwing away your vote". And the money will flow to her, too, b/c she shuts her mouth re Palestine.

      The Dems have moved steadily to the right over the years - I'm talking to you, Barack - b/c the left will not penalize them for their perfidy to progressive principles.

      There is one issue in US politics now. One. Not health care, not Palestine/Israel....campaign finance. That's it. Nearly every outrageous turn in our political life may be placed at its door.

      Progressive, educated types idealize the notion of nuance - "well, it's not so simple, you've got to look at the other side..." etc etc. This is helpful on a case by case basis, but not as a universal prescription.

      In this case, it is simple. People who pay the provider typically get what they pay for.

      As I say, one issue....

  • 'What is your religion?' question surprises two American visitors to the occupation
    • This, from Wikipedia:

      "... jackdaws are voluble birds. The main call, frequently given in flight, is a metallic and squeaky chyak-chyak or kak-kak.....(the)jackdaw can be trained to speak, and whilst it can copy the human voice well, it is usually limited to just a few words or phrases."

      This guy chose his screen name well, it seems.

  • The Center for Jewish Life is stifling free speech at Princeton University
    • Weiss, meet Salaita. Salaita, Weiss.

      Of course, the outrageous sidelining of Prof. Weiss isn't as bad as the retraction of a job offer, but still, branches from the same tree.

      I am appalled at the shabby treatment Prof. Weiss received. Never fails to astonish me that otherwise sober and intelligent people can spin such ludicrous apologiae for what is transparently nothing more than the erasure of inconvenient opinion. From a renowned expert. At a university.

  • White House is now in open spat with Netanyahu over his 'American values' lecture
    • A spat? Really? I see a defensive recitation of US fealty to Israel, and I see a doubling-down on the "only way to a resolution is negotiation" nonsense, which is exactly Israel's position and, given the recent announcements by Abbas and Sweden, seems directed at Palesine more than Israel.

      I want good news as much as the next guy, but the reality principle really ought to govern.

  • Israeli military demolishes West Bank dairy factory benefitting orphans despite court appeal
    • Sorry, Moose, no sale. You could say the same about every imperialist, expropriating, illiberal or despotic state around. Saudi's crazy, the US is does this add to what we know about political criminality, its origins and its downfall? All you get is the warm satisfaction of denouncing policies you don't like - "Boo, Israel!" - without much of a program.

      I guess you could say that all states act sociopathically, in the sense that perceived state interests take precedence over other considerations. What state has ever given up an advantage b/c it's the right thing to do? But who cares? Makes not a whit of difference to how one goes about challenging the policies of this state or that.

      I'm sort of a vigilante on this issue - the insinuation of psychological narratives into political discourse. Obama's by nature a consensus-builder, Clinton defended his poor mom and so became a defender of the downtrodden - rubbish.

      Ninety-five percent of these guys' actions - and those of Israel - are perfectly adequately explained with reference to ordinary political categories. I'll give you psychological motivations for the other 5%. Call it my innate Arab generosity...

      Israel's policies are reprehensible not b/c they're crazy, but b/c they are fabulously unjust and patently criminal.

    • I call for a moratorium on using the concept of mental illness to account for Israel's crimes.

      First of all, it does a disservice to the mentally ill, who are by and large not criminally aggressive and who are not reponsible for whatever transgressions they might commit.

      More important, it removes the discussion from the arena of politics, where the possibilities of collective action flourish, and places it instead in a psychological narrative, essentially individualistic, which pulls for therapeutic, not political, correctives. Not an alley progressives should want to go down, in my book.

      For an activist, how does calling Zionists crazy change anything? What if they're not crazy, just acting on political imperatives that decent people must challenge?

      I think the discourse of mental illness adds nothing to political thinking. As much as I enjoyed that book/documentary from some time ago which described the modern corporation as essentially a sociopathic entity, it really offered no guidance to activism.

      Politics is politics. Psychology isn't.

  • Our new look
    • Would you guys please, please at least include an option which simply lists each days stories, a la the old format?

      Let me play on your white guilt and assure you, as a full-blooded Lebanese, that the Arab people as a whole will thank you.

    • Sorry to be a wet blanket, but I don't care at all for the new format. I never felt that the site was wanting in any way, certainly not in its format, and I prefer to see a list of the day's stories headed by the date, period. Why you've placed them into categories (which overlap anyway) I can't see - adds an extra unnecessary step to get to where you want to go.

      By the way, "change is good" is one of those empty mantras, like "be true to yourself" or "have a happy day" which does no one a bit of good, and is false to boot. Some change is good, some isn't. Leave the bromides to the fortune cookie industry and stick with insightful, honest, funny, touching, surprising, angry reporting, which you've nailed, happily for us all.

      And ditch this freaking format, at once!

  • The member of Knesset who called for genocide -- against the mothers of the 'snakes'
    • "Lipsky, said by the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to have “the most interesting mind in journalism,” likens Israel’s Gaza dilemma of 2014 to the situation the US found itself with Japan in 1945..."

      Well, yes, the two are similar, although not in the way that Lipsky intends.

      The decision to drop the two atomic bombs on Japan had absolutely nothing to do with shortening the war, sparing the US the cost of a land invasion or defending the US from the (bankrupt and helpless) Japanese.

      We used the atomic weapons to cow Russia, to make sure no one thought to challenge our brand-new hegemony, that is, for political purposes (Counterpunch had a piece up a day or two ago making this argument, citing work from Alperowitz to more recent studies).

      Israel's most recent terror assault also has nothing to do with finding kidnapped teenagers or stopping rockets or keeping Israelis safe. It is being performed for political purposes - to scupper the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, primarily.

  • State Dep't says it 'remains shocked' by Abu Khdeir beating
    • Annie, isn't "nationalistic" the term Israel uses to distinguish ordinary street crime from politically-based attacks, which they would call "terrorism" if committed by Palestinians?

      Why use their euphemisms? It wasn't a "nationalistic revenge killing", it was terrorism.

  • Glib, simplistic, and extreme -- the world according to Richard Landes
    • "Similarly, the allegation of Arafat “shocking” Clinton with his rejection is presented without the faintest concession to subtlety (see link)...."

      Link appears to be broken. Fix please, I'm curious.

  • After ADL says opera is 'biased' toward Palestinians, Met cancels broadcast, citing rising anti-Semitism
    • So Abe Foxman thinks it's fine to suppress the broadcast of this opera on the grounds that it may stimulate haters to commit terrible acts?

      He must have had a change of heart. Here he is gassing on about the Danish Mohammed cartoons:

      " In a democratic society, newspapers need to be free to publish controversial content without fear of censorship or intimidation of their writers and editors."

      See, controversial content must be protected, without regard to the possible mischief that it might cost.

      Except, of course, when it mustn't.

  • Modern Language Association members condemn Israeli border policies, but vote is not ratified
    • "...And you wonder why people don’t like you."

      What is this, junior high?

      Anyway, I asked my wife, and she says people like me just fine. So there.

  • SodaStream stock loses fizz amid 'boycott fears'
    • Sodastream trades on the NASDAQ exchange. The NASDAQ composite index gained 21% over the past year. Sodastream lost in the vicinity of 40% in the same time period.

      How great is it to enjoy one's schadenfreude without a particle of guilt?

      Thanks, Sodastream.

  • On the day two Palestinians are killed, 'NYT' reporter flashes snark
    • This makes me recall how so many on this site felt (cautiously) buoyed by the appointment of Rudoren to the post of Arbiter of Reality in the Levant, as though the Times' reportage depended on the individual decency or wisdom of any particular person. As though the issue were psychological rather than political.

      No one can achieve Rudoren's position and be expected to report accurately re the Middle East. This is axiomatic, only a little less certain than "All triangles have three sides".

      Fool me once, shame on know the rest.

  • America's rabbi hoovers celebrities
    • Pretty hot? Yeah, and Einstein was kinda sharp.

    • Boteach, Geller, Jackson and Sharon; was that pic Photoshopped, or did such a superfecta of mendacity, sleaze and corruption actually coincide in meatspace?

  • Avigdor Lieberman claims transferring Palestinian citizens is perfectly legal
    • RoHa, I thought the context made clear that I was talking about Israel when I commented that nationality and citizenship were different things.

      Thanks for correction re Lieberman's scheme - you're right, he wants to evict the Palestinians from Israel via gerrymandering (Liebermandering?), not by shipping them across the border.

    • Complicated. According to Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, acquisition of nationality (sic) by birth is granted to:

      "Persons born outside Israel, if their father or mother holds Israeli citizenship, acquired either by birth in Israel, according to the Law of Return, by residence, or by naturalization."

      This suggests that the children of those Palestinian Israelis in your Toronto example would have citizenship, but their grandchildren would not. Also, the Ministry's website seems to use nationality and citizenship interchangeably, which, as I have suggested above, they are not.

      Either I am wrong and nationality and citizenship are coextensive in Israel (but I am not wrong - the Israeli Supreme Court settled the question in 2013, citing the danger to Israel's character the acceptance of Israeli nationality would represent), or else the Ministry is being purposefully coy to disguise the profoundly premodern nature of the nationality/citizenship distinction in The Only Democracy in the Middle East, or the Ministry has hired very sloppy scholars to compose its pronouncements.

      Shall we have a vote?

    • "And as Dakwar notes, the plan could conflict with international treaties like the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which states: “A contracting state may not deprive any person or group of persons of their nationality on racial, ethnic, religious, or political grounds.” Israel is a signatory to the treaty..."

      I believe that there is no such thing as Israeli nationality - nationality and citizenship are entirely different things. If this is so, the Convention cited above would appear to be irrelevant. The odious Lieberman's wet dream of simply shipping the inconvenient Palestinian Israelis out of Israel would not constitute depriving the victims of their nationality, but of their citizenship, a situation about which the Convention appears to be silent.

      The fascism just effervesces out of this Moldovan punk - a veritable human Sodastream of thuggery.

  • Democrats have no problem with Israeli envoy addressing GOP group opposed to Obama
    • "Ron Dermer gets around. The former Floridian who is now Israel’s ambassador to the United States had price of place with Hillary Clinton..."

      You probably meant "pride of place", but come to think of it, "price" may be the more revealing word in this case.

  • Ramaz says, Jewish high schoolers can handle Beinart, but Khalidi would overpower them
    • Shaviv's hysterical panic at the thought of his tender charges being exposed to the wiles and pomps of the Other reminds me of the reactions of 50s white parents to rock and roll. These poor kids, unprepared to resist the jungle drums of Palestinian independence.

      Rashid Khalidi, our very own Chuck Berry, duckwalking those teenagers into enlightenment.

      How scary!

  • Knesset member endorses settlement boycott
    • "Knesset member endorses settlement boycott"?

      I can't imagine that Haneen Zoabi doesn't endorse the boycott, so isn't that headline a little misleading? Maybe "Another Knesset member...." or "a non-Palestinian Knesset member..."?

  • Remnick asks Shavit whether Zionism is a historical mistake
    • Before some hasbarista with bad intent hops on you for it, talknic, your comment that "...Jewish Israelis can marry anyone from anywhere and cohabit in Israel. A Palestinian Israeli cannot..." is not exactly true.

      As I understand it, no Israeli, Palestinian or Jewish, may bring a spouse from the WB or numerous other forbidden zones into Israel.

      Of course, few Jewish Israelis are looking to marry and cohabit with WB Palestinians, so in effect the law is precisely the filthy racist horror that you suggest. But it's always best to be precise.

      Anatole France famously remarked that "The law, in its majesty and equality, forbids both the rich and poor from stealing bread and sleeping under bridges" or something like that. Same thing with Israel's ghastly marriage laws (and many of the other "democratic triumphs" about which Usurpia ceaselessly boasts) - a thin veneer of democratic boilerplate barely concealing a system of the rankest racial privilege.

  • The woman on the plane
    • Wonderful story, beautifully told.

      On the Tel Aviv nuts dilemma, I don't think you have a thing to worry about. They were already paid for, your consuming them adds not a particle of aid to the oppressors. You may feel funny, but that's just psychology and BDS is political, not personal. It's about changing the behavior of an unjust actor, not enjoying the feeling of camping out on the ethical high ground (or, as may be more likely, suffering the guilt of consuming politically suspect filberts).

  • American Task Force on Palestine finds funding from anti-Palestinian billionaire and a repressive monarchy
    • Ibish has been a disgrace for some time, a shameless Uncle Tonoose, tirelessly peddling his "not so fast, they might get angry, maybe if we ask politely" brand of toadying for years.

      And to think, he used to co-author pieces with Ali Abunimah supporting the right of return. Guess he figured out what side of his bread the hummus is on...

  • Boston Globe reporter defends absence of Bedouin and Palestinians from article on water in the Negev
    • I believe Erin Ailsworth has another piece in the works - it's about the magnificent technological advances developed in the southern US in the 18th and 19th centuries allowing for unprecedented increases in cotton production.

      Piece should be forthcoming soon, unless perhaps an editor hips her to the peculiar social relations underlying these "advances".

  • Ari Shavit's Zionist revival is a hit in New York
    • Shavit's working Benny Morris's field, only with a shinier plow.

      Morris, too, acknowledged Zionism's crimes and said, "So what?" - after all, they were committed for the greater good.

      Plus ca change...

  • Netanyahu says Iran threatens US mainland, and AIPAC and Congress cowboy up for war
    • "...As I’ve written before, I believe that he allows Israel to do whatever it wants to in the West Bank to make it easier to say no to attacking Iran. All his appeasing of Netanyahu is designed to build up the credit with the Israeli people, if not Netanyahu, so he is both able to resist Netanyahu’s pleas that we go to war and to forbid Israel (our largest aid recipient) from doing so itself...."

      I disagree with this.

      What's this with getting the Israeli public on his (Obama's) side? Like Netanyahu and his coven, already practiced at manipulating that (increasingly smaller) portion of the Israeli public that doesn't automatically sign onto his paranoid and bellicose worldview, will be challenged by an Israeli electorate grateful enough for Obama's imprimatur to efface the Arabs from Palestine that they will ignore their leadership's cheerleading for war with Iran? In what world does this sort of hondling with a national public actually exist?

      "Gee, Obama doesn't give us grief about the checkpoints and the colonies. I guess he's not an antisemite after all. So if he says Iran's off limits, that's good enough for me".


  • Meet Mr. Palestine
  • The MSM tries to distinguish between Manning and Snowden. Don't let them
    • "...And his revelations involve US, the average American, who cherishes his or her privacy..."

      Would that it were so, Phil. According to Pew, 56% of our fellow citizens are just fine with the NSA telephone snooping. When the question is whether or not one endorses the government actually reading our email, the numbers are a little better, but not much - 45% say go for it, Barack.

  • The three whoppers of Alan Dershowitz
  • Wrong t-shirt
  • '5 Broken Cameras' co-director's boycott call angers Israeli consul, who brags on the doc
    • Don't know about iTunes or Amazon or Google, but Five Broken Cameras is available for streaming on Netflix. If you're not a member, they offer a free trial period.

  • 'Jewish Press' piece sees 'Gatekeepers' as evidence of rising Jewish anti-Zionism
    • I had the surreal pleasure of attending a Dershowitz/Chesler dog and pony show in Cambridge MA many years ago. The latter had just published her risible "The New Antisemitism" and was flogging the hell out of it with the help of the contemptible Dersh, who'd just opened a Jewish deli in Harvard Square (the food even worse than Dersh's politics, if you can imagine. Even the deli-starved denizens of Cambridge knew they were being hustled and the place shut down quickly).

      Needless to say, the performance was odious. Palestinians were the new nazis, any minute now the trains to the camps would be leaving from South Station, blah blah blah. Just a symphony of paranoia and delusion.

      I recommend a look at Chesler's website when you're feeling blue. Her outright lunacy and teenage girl diary prose - "methinks" this and "dear reader" that - is bound to cheer you up. Complete hoot.

      And if you're still not smiling, remember - according to Phyllis, India's an Arab country and Aung San Suu Kyi's a Muslim. Priceless.

      If only all the crusaders of Zionism wore such big red noses and enormous shoes...

  • Video: Israeli Foreign Ministry film on Jerusalem features the Dome of the Rock being replaced by a Jewish temple
    • Is there any Israeli spokesman more odious than the ghastly Ayalon?

      You'll note that the horrid little bit of agitprop includes a shot of an Arabic man in beard and keffiyeh, included to underscore the palpably false claims of harmony Ayalon is selling, the Brooklyn Bridge already being under agreement.

      Interestingly, the list of cast and extras at the film's conclusion includes no recognizably Arabic names. So what do you think - Ayalon couldn't find a single Palestinian willing to sell out so completely as to appear in this thing, or he is so terrified of any Arab presence that he had to outsource the job to a moonlighting yeshiva bucher?

  • Exchange on anti-Sephardi racism on the left
    • If the question is "Are 'Israeli' dishes basically variations of those found in Mediterranean/Arab cultures", the answer is decisively "yes". There was no Israel prior to 1948; there was hummus prior to 1948. QED.

      And of course Sephardic Jews prepared the same (or very similar) dishes as the Palestinian/Lebanese/Syrian Arabs did. These were Palestinian/Lebanese/Syrian dishes, after all, and Jews from those places unsurprisingly enjoyed what their neighbors did (with their own variations, of course, and loyalties over minor differences can be fierce. I can still see my Lebanese Christian mom sneer when her Syrian brother-in-law would bring hummus adorned with - gasp! - cumin. Might as well have placed a small turd on there.)

      In fact, I would argue that there is no such thing, as yet, as Israeli cuisine, except in the trivial sense that Israeli cuisine is the stuff they eat in Israel. Succotash and pemmican were not "Jamestown colony cuisine", despite their being adopted by the raiders over time.

      I agree that the Sephardim have been slighted by their Ashkenazi brothers in many ways, and that the term "Arab" has been used as though an Iraqi is about the same as an Egyptian, etc etc, Arabs in this view being an undifferentiated mass of human-like Others. This notion of the essential fungibility of Arab cultures gives rise to mischief like, "Those Palestinians! They have all those other Arab countries to go to! Why can't they let the Jews have one?"

      So, maybe there will one day be an Israeli cuisine, but it ain't felafel and it ain't cholent, either. Food takes time to culture. It may be meaningful to talk about Israeli painting or literature - these things can happen in 50 or 60 years. But cuisine? Nah.

  • For Lena Dunham, Palestine is invisible
  • Not skipping a beat, Israeli embassy alludes to 'another Gaza' over Palestinian UN bid
    • In the second video ("Waiting on a Guest"), various world leaders are depicted around a table, each with a name card in front of him or her; "Obama", "Clinton", "Blair" et al.

      The card in front of the UN Secretary General? "Ki-Moon". It should, of course, read "Ban", following the established usage of using the family name for each guest's card.

      The Embassy of Israel isn't aware that Korean surnames appear before given names?
      Way to go. A real diplomatic powerhouse, that Israeli embassy.

  • France's Hollande slams Palestinians for getting uppity at UN
    • "There is the temptation of the Palestinian Authority to seek at the UN General Assembly that which it fails to obtain through negotiation..."

      Remind me, Hollande, you feckless wimp, did Ben Gurion negotiate with the Palestinians or did he go directly to the General Assembly in November 1947?

      Take your time, I'll wait.....

  • The cycle of violence-- set to 'Exodus' anthem
    • I appreciate the thoughtful comments (especially Rusty's insightful comment about the significance of the "Exodus" theme), but I'm a little mystified by them as well.

      All I'm saying is that the film presents the I/P struggle as the latest instance of an eternal struggle over that piece of land. This strikes me as analytically useless, and has become a talking point of the apolitical -"what can you do, these people have been at it for centuries...".

      The struggle for Palestine is the result of a specific late 19th century colonialist political movement, in concert with imperialist forces, to acquire land from an unwilling population. Getting into quasi-metaphysical notions of interchangeable armies having the same battle over and over adds not one photon of illumination to understanding the problem, nor to figuring out how to solve it.

      I understand that no text provides its own analysis, so of course my reading is only my reading.

      But I'm pretty sure it's the right one.

    • Inanna, why would you say that? I think you misunderstood me. To be specific, right side =Palestine, wrong side =Israel.

      Also, I'm not pissed off at all. I offered my reading of a film which I believe offers an incorrect view of the sources of struggle in Palestine, that's all.

      And I believe that Jews have neither the only claim nor the superior claim to Palestine.

      And of course, I believe that Zionists have NO claim to Palestine, if that helps.

    • So what's this? A clever way to repeat the tired trope that the present problem in Palestine is nothing more than the latest expression of an eternal, anhistorical, apolitical struggle that mysteriously has plagued this region since the beginning of time. Another version of the "equivalence" analysis; one side's interchangeable with another. Palestine and Israel? Just the latest iteration of Assyrians battling Hebrews, etc. Plus ca change...

      What can one do but throw up one's hands?

      Not my view, nor, I think, the view of most posters here. I think Palestine and Israel struggle for specific and unique reasons, not because they are the latest actors in an eternal drama.

      And I think there's a right side and a wrong side.

  • Was Obama just doing the rope-a-dope last night?
    • Citizen, we're on the same page. I don't think my comment suggested any support for Obama, for whom I have utmost contempt.

    • "I understand that's Romney's strength: He knows how to be upbeat and concise. In an ADD age, upbeat and concise will always beat out theoretical and longwinded."

      This is unfair and smacks of poor loser-ness. Being concise (and, more to the point, substantive,as Romney was, never mind his being incorrect) is a virtue, particularly in a debate. No need to reference an "ADD age" to explain why Romney's presentation was more persuasive.

      What if the points Romney presented were true, instead of the lies so many of them were? Put another way, what if Obama had presented his analysis in as similarly powerful fashion, the only difference being that you agreed with most of it? Would that count as pandering to attention-deficient Americans?

      Progressives need to be less sneeringly dismissive of their opponents (if Romney scored, well, what do you expect from a nation of slack-jawed Honey Boo Boos?) That attitude works for getting Bill Maher a TV show; it doesn't work for coalition building.

      Obama came across as feckless and uninspiring compared to Romney because he performed poorly, not because of some shortcoming of the electorate.

  • NY state senator puts on Israeli uniform to play soldier on Syrian border
    • Reminds me of poor Mike Dukakis in his helmet peeking out from a tank.

      This Storobin is the guy involved in trying to get a mosque in Sheepshead Bay deep-sixed. Now, it's "fight 'em in the Golan before they take over Canarsie", I guess.

      GI Shmoe.

  • Alameda County, CA proclaims Palestinian Cultural Day despite opposition
    • Maybe I'm just a glass-half-empty kind of guy, but I'm more struck by the concessions the Palestinian community had to make in order to wring this entirely benign proclamation out of the board of supervisors than I am by the "victory" the proclamation represents.

      The power of the JCRC and its allies to demand - demand! - that a national group had to alter its language ("many religions", not "Muslim, Jewish, Christian"; the need to insert "cultural" into the official title of the proclamation, so that the Palestinian identity may be safely rendered as consisting of embroidered dresses and olive oil and none of that nasty nakba business) is what jumps to the foreground for me.

      Incremental change? I don't know....

  • Liberal Democrats casually smear the Muslim Brotherhood
    • Memo to Islamofascism Central:

      My brothers! The Zionists are on to our Manchurian Journalist P Weiss. Somehow, their almost supernaturally powerful intelligence gathering has triumphed again. They have uncovered what had been our ace in the hole, a compliant Jewish writer whose hatred of his own people is matched only by his dewy-eyed adoration of medieval Salafism.

      How do they do it? Well, there's an upside to all this - we now kick Weiss off the payroll and save the...hey, Ahmed, how much does this guy get?.....we save the 2 million he's been costing us. Maybe we can give Beinart a raise.

      Death to the West, etc etc,

  • NY ads depicting Palestinian dispossession are termed anti-Semitic by 'Jewish community'
    • "I mean, I don’t really think of Egyptians or Jordanians as benign rulers themselves. The Israelis must really like to poke sticks in people’s eyes or something."

      Yes, little things like demolishing infrastructure and moving in hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews while displacing Palestinians go a long way towards pissing off the locals. Unless I misremember, there were no ever-expanding enclaves of Egyptians or Jordanians set up in Palestine during the time those countries held the territory.

      I checked out the link to the original article. Seventeen comments. Fifteen sympathetic to the ads, two opposed; one full of desperate hasbarisms ("There was no country called Palestine!!!"), the other full of lunatic rantings re biblical prophecies coming to pass.

      This is good.

  • Netanyahu implicated in nuclear smuggling from U.S. -- big story in Israel
    • Look, Israel murdered a bunch of US military personnel and nearly sunk their ship at a time when there was a hint of diversity in US official opinion re the US' relations with that pirate nation. Johnson actually had to ignore or threaten countervailing and discordant voices to quash the investigation.

      Now, with a harmonized choir of castrati at the helm, how likely is it that anyone will be distressed Netanyahu's decades-old treachery?

      I don't know how to relate to the conviction held by so many of the site's regulars that we're at a turning point vis a vis US/Israel relations. Sometimes I'm heartened by the positivity, sometimes it seems naive.

      If this story picks up one tiny particle of traction in the mainstream US press, and if it eventuates in even a burble of official action (from, you know, a government which acknowledges without shame its inconsistent standards re Israel and everyone else), I'll fold my cynicism t-shirt neatly and put in on the back shelf.

  • A random photograph
    • Colin, Keith -

      Who cares about Obama's psychology? Who cares if he's "truly a liberal"? His actions are all that should matter. If he is frustrated progressive just aching to let his inner Dr. Jekyll free, or a standard-issue amoral corporatist flunky, his political behavior is all that need concern us.

      Even discussing this unknowable question - "what's in his heart?" - is a useless distraction, an example of the sort of naive psychologism that passes for political analysis in many quarters.

      That said, I'll put my money on "ideology-free opportunist".

  • Peled: The only way forward is 'transformation' of a racist apartheid state into a democracy
    • "Who are we to tell the Palestinians not to forget their expulsion inside their own lifetimes?"

      I think you want to lose that "not".

  • The political context of the arrests in Jenin
    • I'm confused. An earlier post suggested that Nabil Al Raee, identified as Artistic Director of the Freedom Theater, was arrested by Israelis. This post says that Zakaria Zubeidi, identified as Director of the Theater, was arrested by PA goons.

      Is there some mistake, or was this a coordinated effort by the Zios and their quislings in the PA to disappear two people simultaneously?

  • Beinart's spiritual errors
    • Cliff -
      Daniel Bernard, who was at the time the French ambassador to the UK, referred to Israel as "...that shitty little country..." (he didn't say "Levantine").

      American -

      I would add to your definition of "golem" that several iterations of the fable include the element of unintended consequences. Rabbi creates golem to defend Jews from antisemites, golem becomes more and more powerful and uncontrollable (being, after all, an amoral and soulless creature), golem wreaks havoc until it is deactivated, by which time both Jews and gentiles have fallen victim to its unslakeable thirst for destruction.

      For the purposes of critiquing Zionism, these aspects of the story are especially relevant.

  • Oren-Asali photo leads to call for Asali to resign from American Task Force on Palestine
    • How do guys like Hussein Ibish sleep at night? Shilling for the ridiculous quislings at Americans Tasked with F*ing the Palestinians, assuring us that Asali's gladhanding a monster like Oren should trouble no one, inhabiting his Unicorn World where just a little more bowing and scraping to Congress and the White House will open the ruling class's eyes and counterbalance gazillions in Lobby moolah.

      Poor Ibish. His risible website has been "closed for maintenance" for a couple weeks now - at least that's how long I've noticed the (welcome) closure. Could've been longer. Wonder what's going on? PA money drying up?

      And to think, he used to collaborate on pieces with Ali Abunimah! How things change...

  • Bono in Jerusalem: 'Hope Is Like A Faithful Dog'
    • "i believe it’s a plagiarism of Dennis Ross’s famous poem, “The peace process is a happy pony”"

      Happy unicorn, Phil. Unicorn.

  • Jewish food fight (at Park Slope Co-op)
    • "...As to all the countries that persecute minorities, Adler is right, and the Palestinian solidarity left probably doesn't say enough about them. But some of us do, and more to the point: This occupation has been going on for 45 years, there's a reason that it demands attention..."

      No, Adler is wrong, and I think your reasoning leads us astray, Phil. Once you bring up the occupation's duration to justify your position, you're accepting the bizarre notion that political commitments follow from some simple political calculus - if it's long enough, or involves more people, it follows that it's a legitimate political concern. If not, your commitment smells fishy.

      No one -absolutely no one - is expected to justify his or her political actions with reference to this slapstick notion of permissible activism EXCEPT supporters of Palestinian rights.

      Can you imagine anyone insisting that a feminist justify working for equal pay when the far worse crime of FGM still occurs?

      You didn't come to focus on Palestine/Israel because you performed some calculation that resulted in assigning P/I the highest spot on the Infamy Index, and nor did any politically interested person on any political issue.

      The Bizarro World picture of activism implicit in Adler's et al has nothing to do with real human beings and their convictions. I say don't give an inch - not a centimeter - on this.

  • 'We are you and you are us,' Netanyahu says-- but Obama thumbs him with talk of Palestinians and diplomacy
    • Why is it that so many progressives will more or less ignore Obama's unbroken history of obeisance to the lobby on every substantive matter as they take heart from the microscopic parsing of any phrase which may conceivably, by some mixture of hope and wish, be understood as standing up to it?

      As for Obama becoming free to challenge Netanyahu once he's in his final term, not a chance. It's not just his own viability as a candidate that's of concern to him, it's also his place in the Democratic party. It wasn't until years after his presidency was over and it was clear that he had become a non-person that Jimmy Carter spoke up.

      Obama's not going to cloud his post-presidency opportunities by suddenly developing a conscience.

  • Responding to commenters on recent bannings
    • The feckless Witty elicits endless impassioned replies from folks here despite the lack of novelty, thoughtfulness or profundity in his comments, and it's his fault? Apologists for Zionism who would gladly construe a preference for mayonnaise on one's roast beef sandwiches as evidence of antisemitism pile on Blankfort, and it's his fault?

      Right. And did you see that short skirt she was wearing? She was asking for it.....

      I get the idea that you don't want to open the site to criticism that some may find more compelling than the boilerplate bullshit you get from the haters, but isn't it too late for that? Do you think that any critic of Mondoweiss will be mollified by the exclusion of Blankfort? ("We used to think that Weiss was a self-hating Jew and his site a nursery for antisemites, but now that he's banned Blankfort, we see the error of our ways").

      If you believe Blankfort's an antisemite, I can understand banning him (although I do think there's an interesting conversation to be had about that), but banning him because he may make you look bad to those who would undoubtedly hold you in low regard anyway?

  • The social fabric
    • Asperger's, eh? The problem for me is that this option removes the notion of agency or motivation from the equation.

      Phil's ignoring social cues because he lacks some cognitive ability most of us have? Maybe.

      Or maybe expressing his aggression in this way serves a purpose; he gets to flip the finger at someone who puts him off and still disavow his hostility - "Who, me? You really think I was being nasty? Gosh....I had no idea."

      I hasten to add that I don't know Phil from Anna O., so of course I'm being totally speculative.

      It's just that, for the most part, I believe human behavior is driven by meaning and motive and, yeah, I'll say it, we remain unaware of some of what drives us.

      Of course some of us suffer from Asperger's, but it's a mistake, I think, to try and subsume an increasing range of human behavior, from outright autism to extreme oddness to simple boorishness to plain old luftmensch distraction, under the mantle of a mechanistic model. Besides flirting with fickle diagnostic fashion, this approach erases the possibility of learning something about how those annoying repetitions that we should, fer chrissake!, after all this time!, how many times have I told already!, might be performing a service for us.

      But I see our time is up.....

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