Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 46 (since 2010-07-14 13:42:23)

Austin Branion

Austin Branion is an activist and perennial student of Arabic living in the DC area. Follow him on Twitter at @austiniyaat.

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  • 'Say Hello to Zenobia': A report from Palmyra rising from the ashes
    • Sibriak: "Fact: the author of this article is not 'apologizing' for the Assad regime."

      Ok. I thought about it a bit and, I have to admit, you might have a point here. My diagnosis is slightly inaccurate: what he, and so many others here are doing, is more akin to normalization than apology. It's the normalization of an authoritarian police state turned rapacious, murderous war machine that boggles my mind coming from people who are against normalizing the discursive framework of a rapacious and colonial ethnocratic regime in occupied Palestine. As though states outside of the US imperial orbit, or that are even hostile to it, are uniformly incapable of doing any wrong worth condemning at the top of our lungs.

      That the savagery and agendas of some of the Assad regime's internal and external enemies concern us should not blind us to the 40 years of tyranny, and five years of war crimes, that the same regime has wrought. It's a weird false dichotomy, and one that utterly baffles me coming from this community.

    • merlot, thank you so much for your comments. I used to be a regular reader, and occasional contributor, to this site, but found myself visiting less and less as the Assad apologists started getting published and, even worse, receiving support from a broad swathe of the Palestinian solidarity community. It makes me beyond sad to see that so many people here so willingly employ the same hasbara techniques in defense, or moral obfuscation, of the Syrian regime that they would find deplorable or risible if employed for the sake of the Zionist regime.

      But I'm glad to see that at least one person here has taken the time and energy to spell things out in a way that is ethically consistent with the best values of the Palestinian solidarity community, values that prize dignity and freedom for ALL people from ALL forces that would rob them of their rights, not just the ones that are in the US imperial orbit.

      As an aside, I used to live in Syria myself. I was a graduate fellow at the University of Damascus studying Arabic in 2008-2009. But I hate that this sort of "I've been there I've seen it" one-upmanship is being used here. Thank you for breaking down why that's so problematic.

  • Rejecting collective punishment from Gaza to Syria
    • Sibiriak,

      I do see that this particular author is indeed trying to conflate the two, which is the one part where this piece fails in my opinion. But simply because he is trying to make that conflation does not mean that the collective punishment that the people of Yarmouk are being subjected to is not real.

      A wonderful example of someone who is taking a principled stand on the Yarmouk siege despite what I consider to be her nauseating, ardent support of the Asad regime is Amal Saad-Ghorayeb; Walid posted a link here in the comments to an article she wrote decrying the siege. She's as anti-"revolution" as they come, but at least her intellectual integrity is intact.

    • Wow, Walid, thanks for sharing that article. I really dislike Ms. Saad-Ghorayeb's position vis-a-vis the Asad regime ("we rightly faulted the opposition and its supporters for prioritizing the struggle against authoritarianism over confronting imperialism and Zionism"--ummmmmm, yeaaaaah, don't know about that), but I am pleasantly surprised that she actually hit every nail on the head regarding that awful editorial by Ibrahim Amin and this troubling attitude about the siege coming from the "resistance camp." This actually brought a smile to my face.

    • Omar,

      I assume you've read "While you were neutral about Yarmouk," published here on January 17. If you read my comments on that piece, you will see that I am entirely in agreement with you on this issue of collective punishment, so I won't rehash those thoughts here.

      What I do want to address, though, is what you say in the penultimate paragraph:

      "And why do some try to discredit this revolution by using the claim that there are certain elements that pander to the West and are ripe with corruption when at the same time our own leadership in Ramallah is in bed with Zionist politicians in Tel Aviv and Washington? Should we not clean our house before we tell others to clean theirs? Or do the Syrians not deserve the same moral standards that we apply to ourselves?"

      This is a point I've heard before, and it remains frustratingly common despite its conspicuous fallacies. No one is saying that the Palestinian cause isn't worthy because of the ineptitude and collaborationism of current Palestinian "leadership"--and for what it's worth, I am not saying that wishing to dislodge an authoritarian regime in Syria is a cause not worthy of sympathy (quite the opposite).

      But then again, no one should look at the fractured and rudderless Palestinian national movement, with its venal, collaborationist cronies serving in "leadership" positions bereft of the substance of the term, as being a "revolution" either, and to call it so evinces either an undue enthusiasm for said crony class and/or a shallow understanding of the word "revolution." I am a proud supporter of the Palestinian cause, writing and engaging in solidarity activism in its favor alongside Palestinians who are trying to build a principled national movement that can be the pride of justice-loving people everywhere; I also regard many Palestinian actors in disdain, such as the post-Oslo PA crony class.

      The same can be said for Syria: I detest Asad's rotten autocracy (the nefarious, murderous four-decade history of which many progressives seem to have magically forgotten in 2011) and believe that justice-minded people should oppose it (and ALL other autocracies, be they in the American imperial orbit or outside of it). But that does not mean that the most salient opposition on the ground today constitutes a "revolution" of such moral clarity that it demands our solidarity. Irrespective of the uprising's genesis, what's happening in Syria today bears more in common with the civil-cum-proxy wars that have wracked the Congo for much of the past two decades than any "revolution" in the historic sense (e.g. French, Russian, Cuban, Iranian). And besides, not all revolutions are forces for moral good.

      So anyway.... other than that somewhat tangential (yet important in its own right) aspect, I wholeheartedly agree and applaud you for writing this. We should all reject collective punishment wherever it rears its head.

      (side note: I am apparently inept at using html tags; can't figure out how to block quote to save my life)

  • While you were neutral about Yarmouk
    • Inanna, the point of me bringing up the ideological tendency of Fath al-Islam was to illustrate that the purported wackiness of any antagonist group is IRRELEVANT to the crime of denying a civilian population food during a siege! Jesus. People want to bring up all these factors that are irrelevant to that one simple fact; again, this is reminiscent of Zionists.

      Most of us here probably aren't fans of Islamism of any hue, including Hamas's brand. But do we say "oh, Hamas is full of reactionary Islamists, so Israel has no choice but to put Gazans on a diet!" NO. No no no no no no no no! For all I care, Yarmouk could be fully administered top to bottom by the quintessentially obscurantist, brutal, salafist savages of the Islamic State (and as loathe as I am to use to the word "savage" to describe people, ISIL has earned it), and it would STILL not be justification for starving those in the camp.

      People like you and ToivoS seem to be suggesting that collective punishment is palatable if an enemy is particularly objectionable.

    • Walid: "This doesn’t justify Assad destroying the camp but it explains where the siege came from and that the Palestinians more or less asked for it."

      Ughhhh. Really? "The Palestinians more or less asked for it?"

      I can agree with most of your comment, but that one phrase really strikes me as spectacularly repulsive, not to mention emblematic of the problem that concerns me (and the author).

      The Nahr al-Bared analogy is a good one, particularly because the antagonists don't seem to provoke the same heated emotions that talking about Syria does--while everyone may not be such a fan of the Lebanese armed forces, I think the overwhelming majority of people concur that Fath al-Islam were a bunch of scurrilous Islamist wackos. This does not change the fact that the Lebanese army DESTROYED the camp. I mean, holy shit. They destroyed the place that tens of thousands of people call home in order to neutralize, what, an armed group consisting of less than 200 people? That's awful, and it's almost certain that they used excessive, perhaps criminally disproportionate, force. Do you not agree? They shouldn't get a free pass just because there were actually military targets in the camp.

      But the analogy fails on one major point: to my knowledge, the Lebanese armed forces, while restricting camp residents' movement by security cordon, never actually leveled a siege in the medieval, food-interdicting sense of the word on the camp. The only state forces that have that dubious distinction thus far this century are Israel and Syria.

    • tree, I am not disputing what the UNRWA spokeperson said, and I, too, join others in condemning the armed group in the camp that fired on the UNRWA convoy that was delivering aid.

      But that has nothing to do with the fact that there is a SIEGE that the regime was allowing the convoy to penetrate. The fact that an armed group did something as criminal and reckless as fire on an aid convoy in no way negates the fact that there is a siege on Yarmouk necessitating the delivery of aid and securing of safe passage by the siege's implementer in the first place.

    • Walid, I'm not sure how to read your last sentence; did you mistype, or am I just reading it wrong or misreading sarcastic intent? "Assad, the rebels, and the Palestinian fighters in the camp that joined them are all at fault but it has been shown here that opposition preventing supplies from entering the camp is coming from the inside." It seems like you're blaming everyone at first, but then immediately placing the blame squarely on the opposition. Again, maybe I'm misreading you.

      You may have noticed in my first comment that I, too, pointed out that the UNRWA convoy was fired on from within the camp, and I consider this point to be an omission that the author would have done better to include. I also consider this criminal, repugnant, reckless action to be smaller on the scale of injustice than the implementation of a food-denying siege on a civilian population by the regime, and I do not consider it hasbara to point out that so many ostensible allies of Palestinians are using Zionist-esque rhetoric in defense of the siege (referring to the ongoing war as a "revolution," though... yeah, that has a touch of hasbara about it, but is ultimately immaterial to the central purpose of the article).

      That being said, you should also notice that there ARE people here "actually supporting Assad [and] his sieges," like ToivoS.

    • ToivoS: your comment is suffused with exactly the sort of rhetoric that this article, and I myself, take issue with.

      I find it rather amusing that you would call my tone "hysterica[lly]... pro rebel," but I'll leave that aside for now since it is irrelevant to the issue at hand, one which you and so many others here continue to deflect: the fact that the Syrian regime has laid siege to Yarmouk camp, and that the arguments you deploy in favor of the siege are the same that Zionists use to justify the siege of Gaza--a siege which, I presume, you deplore.

      It is difficult for me to understand how this intellectual/moral inconsistency is not readily apprehended for being just that.

      Unless, of course, you support sieges that deny civilian populations food in other circumstances as well. That would be morally deplorable, but at least intellectually consistent.

    • Donald, your questions about the casualty statistics are valid and ones that I share.

      But how is that relevant to the siege of Yarmouk? It's not.

      I suppose you may be thinking that, like the somewhat inchoate casualty figures--the true number of which we'll probably never know--almost everything about the war is obfuscated by proverbial "fog."

      The siege of Yarmouk is not one of those things.

      No one disputes that Yarmouk is under a siege that is not only keeping its people trapped--which, in some cases, may be judged as a temporary military necessity--but is barring any supplies from entering. Some children have actually died of hunger. This isn't Zionists putting Gazans on a "diet," horrid as that is--there are people in Yarmouk that are, literally, STARVING. And here's the kicker: not even regime apologists dispute these basic facts; instead, like Zionists, in the face of conspicuous facts that shock the conscience, they have to result to morally sickening arguments justifying collective punishment.

      Moreover, Yarmouk isn't some far off locale in the Syrian countryside, subject to the vicissitudes of ever-shifting battle lines where the regime has lost its grip. It's practically a part of the city of Damascus. I've been there myself. Yarmouk is on the regime's doorstep and they are fully responsible for laying SIEGE to it.

    • I really think Talal did a great job with this piece overall. I'm really annoyed, not to mention disturbed, to see so many people that I consider fellow-travelers in solidarity with the Palestinian cause (especially commentors on this site) reproduce justifications for a brutal SIEGE that could come straight out of a Zionist handbook. I say bravo, Talal.

      I have a few quibbles, though.

      When it comes to the nature of sieges in general, the Yarmouk siege in particular, the relentless criminality of the Asad regime, false equivalences, the occasionally sickening moral myopia and hypocrisy of the progressive left in the name of "anti-imperialism," and the problem of neutrality, Talal hits every nail on the head.

      I have two problems, though. One is the use of extraneous, politically immature, and intellectually lazy language about the Syrian "revolution." Referring to the ongoing civil-cum-proxy war as a "revolution" is vapid.

      The second problem is a much lesser one of omission: while there is no equivalence between the warring parties, UNRWA employees that were set to deliver food aid noted that they were fired on from within the camp, a senseless crime perpetrated by an insurgent group. Of course it pales in comparison to the crime of actually leveling a medieval siege that makes the prison of Gaza look like a playpen by comparison, but a crime worthy of condemnation nonetheless.

  • Two-state advocates are on the defensive in debate on Capitol Hill
    • Phil: I was actually there in person today, and yeah, you misheard; both Munayyer and Ben-Ami spoke of a minimum of 100,000 settlers being removed, not the full 600k+.

      Also, and I think this is important, I was actually a bit surprised to hear Ben-Ami actually say that he thinks that this round of peace talks under Secretary Kerry is the LAST round wherein a 2-state solution is possible. He quickly added after that that he thought that there may be a years-long impasse and people may eventually return to talk of a 2-state solution later on, but it was as close as I've come to hearing a committed liberal Zionist basically say that 12-18 months is basically the end of the road for the "Jewish and democratic" dream. It was perhaps the only concession Ben-Ami made in the course of the discussion, and I think a large part of the audience, like me, thinks he sounded downright delusional next to the cold analysis of Munayyar and Lustick.

      Oh, another bit that was news to me: Ben-Ami mentioned that his family were among the first Russian settlers in Palestine in the late 1800s and that his very own father was in the Irgun. How crazy is that?

  • NYT article raises questions about possible US allies in Syria as rebels ransack Christian village
    • Annie: first of all, thank you for taking my concerns seriously.

      Second, I hope it was clear that I in no way meant to impugn Walid. I am fully aware that he is a longtime, valued commenter on this site, and have myself appreciated his commentary in the past. That being said, the problem that I had here was the fact that his comment was being cited in a manner that seemed to imply it was primary REPORTAGE, as though he is in a position to do so; a claim that he himself never made, but that is obscured by the fact that you posted his comment without attributing it to the source that he himself was attributing it to. So, to be clear, it was not the substance of Walid's comment in and of itself that I was concerned with (although, actually, it bothered me slightly), it was the framing of it and lack of [secondary] attribution within your post.

      Also, for what it's worth--Taxi, you should pay attention here--I happen to know quite a bit about Syria. I really don't like to play the "who has more street cred" game (a.k.a. the "appeal to authority" fallacy), but since Taxi saw fit to attack me in a way that had absolutely nothing to do with the substance of my rational, tempered complaint in my previous comment, I will note again that, one, I in no way sought to impugn Walid's qualifications--indeed, my point is that they are unknown, and that is NOT to say I automatically assume that he has none. Two, unlike what I imagine to be the vast majority of people commenting on Syria-related stories on this site, I have actually lived in Syria--I did my graduate studies in Arabic language at the University of Damascus from June 2008 - June 2009 (oh, and there's another thing; I'm fluent in Arabic).

      Three, in addition to my personal connection to the country and its people, it is actually my JOB to monitor the media activities of jihadist militants in Syria and elsewhere, and I do this using primary Arabic sources, not secondary ones; it is my professional responsibility to be fully acquainted with their messaging, world view, and the public spin that they put on their activities. I think that gives me some degree of qualification, Taxi.

    • Bandolera, your comment does absolutely nothing to address the two specific points I raised in mine.

    • I'm a little taken aback by the way that Syria is being talked about on this site. To be specific, as regards this post:

      1.) I find it irresponsible to quote a source like Al-Manar without noting that it is the media outlet of one of the parties to the conflict in Syria, Hizballah. You guys certainly wouldn't devote such a large amount of uninterrupted space for a quote from, say, Israel HaYom without noting that it's owned by arch-Zionist Sheldon Adelson, or noting its political bias more generally.

      I mean, the language of the Al-Manar article itself (which is obviously translated from Arabic) is indicative of its pro-regime bias, particularly the last sentence: "qualitative military conduct," ("conduct" here is almost certainly a mistranslation for what should instead say "operation"). This tone (particularly in the Arabic original) is almost only used when describing the actions of a party to which one feels some affinity.

      2. Why in the world are we quoting Walid as a news source? Is he there on the ground? Has he been able to interview those that purportedly carried out the attack in order to discern that they are, in fact, "takfiris?" I have no idea what Walid's qualifications are to be quoted as an authoritative voice on a specific attack as though he's reporting it himself, but whatever the reason for appealing to his authority is I would like to see it in the text of this post.

  • Young people with American accents declare they won't be ethnically cleansed from their 'native land' (Jerusalem)
  • Potemkin Village in NY: Dersh and Beinart hold second debate over whether Zionism is in crisis
    • I try to refrain from commenting unless I have something original to say, but I have to let you know that I am totally in love with this comment of yours. You hit the nail on the head.

  • Making privilege an axiom, 'Economist' says Israel's Jews won't do what South Africa's whites did
    • Thank you; and not only that, but Christians in Gaza CONTINUE to live peacefully in Gaza under Hamas rule. Which, of course, is not to say that they, or other minorities, do not and will not face problems in the future--but claiming that they will inevitably have to live in the land "on sufferance" is a bit rich given the evidence.

    • Thanks!

  • 'NPR's bad geography
    • Honestly, I'm hard pressed to believe that Syrians would even think of going to Israel. Homphi is, for once, probably right on this one. True, Israel would probably shoot them at the border if they did come, but seeing as how Syrians have much closer ties to its other neighbors, especially Lebanon, it only makes sense that they would choose those places for refuge. Frankly, most Syrians I know (and I know quite a few, I lived there for a year) would probably rather die than go to Israel.

  • Please no applause! Sketching the Russell Tribunal, Day 1
    • I was there this weekend, and I have to say that I was thoroughly annoyed that the audience could not obey the simple "no applause" rule, an annoyance that was compounded by the fact that some would giggle when reminded of the rule. I was further embarrassed when it was pointed out that audiences elsewhere had no problem complying. Leave it to us Americans to have shameless disregard for instructions.

      I was also lucky enough to have a French friend sitting next to me while Galland made his opening remarks, acting as my own personal interpreter :) On that note, overall I felt that the tribunal had quite a few organizational failings, which dampened my enjoyment of its great content.

  • Beinart hits Silverman video, but not all that hard
  • Theater review: In 'Food and Fadwa,' the occupation is the elephant in the room
    • I'm not so sure that this is a problem. Granted, I've never been to Palestine, but I've spent my fair share of time with people living in tough conditions in the Middle East, Palestinians included. The fact of the matter is that most people living in appalling situations do, in fact, just try to get by; life goes on. If the playwright wants to tell a family-oriented story about Palestinians, does she HAVE to cram the occupation down our throats? Would Palestinians in the intimacy of their homes necessarily speak of it regularly in stirring, political terms? Part of me doubts it--why would they have to, since they all live it and know what it's about? I, for one, hate it when movies or videogames have lines of dialogue between characters that are not representative of how people who KNOW one another actually talk but rather serve as clumsy tools to explain things to the audience.

      I'm reminded of a Syrian friend of mine who lives in Damascus that I recently spoke to. Her father died in February after a painful, four-month battle with cancer. Last week, she had her first child. Such personally tremendous moments were the focus of our conversation, even as her country is being torn apart and car bombs strike uncomfortably close to her neighborhood. She knows that I know, and she doesn't have to explain it to me. It seems that I'm the only one who's apprehensive about calling, wondering what I could possibly say to my friends as I see their country rent asunder on Al Jazeera and YouTube. For them, life goes on.

  • 1200 rabbis threaten an end to interfaith harmony if Methodists support divestment
    • Will you be volunteering in Tampa? I'm gonna be there.

    • A quick clarification, Phil: the Methodists aren't considering divesting "from Israel" as a whole (not that I would be against that, but that's a different story); I think you unwittingly play into the resolution's enemies' hands here.

      In fact, the resolution is much, much simpler and more direct: it is to divest from three specific companies--HP, Motorola, and Caterpillar--because their products are directly used in service of the West Bank occupation and in violation of the rights of Palestinians there. The United Methodist Kairos Response people that are leading this effort are to be commended; they really went for the lowest common denominator, the most obvious and symbolically meaningful corporate enablers of the occupation's most conspicuous wrongdoings (HP products help inhibit Palestinians' freedom of movement, Motorola sells security systems to Jews-only colonies built on stolen land, Caterpillar products destroy homes). Their messaging has been spot on and, in my opinion, has appeal to the broadest base possible without sacrificing moral clarity. Even those of the "liberal" Zionist variety who condemn the '67 occupation while ignoring the '48 one should be able to get on board with this. They're not even Israeli companies, for goodness sake!

  • 'What do you want from a 5 year old girl? She threatens your state?': Israel raids a house in Nabi Saleh
    • Feel free to contact me for real translations instead of Google translations! The YouTube description says:

      "Occupation forces stormed the village of Nabi Saleh after midnight, raiding and ransacking the house of photographer Bilal al-Tamimi. They withdrew after the outbreak of clashes with village youth and the pelting of IOF vehicles with stones."

      What's really interesting here is that Google apparently translates what literally reads "occupation vehicles" as "IOF vehicles." While that just so happens to be correct in this context, I wonder how would they know what occupation is being talked about? And it's kinda funny that whoever wrote this description says "the pelting of IOF vehicles with stones" without attributing it to the "village youth," as though it mysteriously happened.

  • 'When I put this on my website, some people will say, Those people are just terrorists.'
  • 'NYT' and 'NPR' treat occupied East Jerusalem as part of Israel, no problem
  • Hasbara in 1988: 'despite difficulties, South Africa is a vital, progressive state with much to admire '
    • What can I say, David? I'm gifted. On that note, I'm currently reading a book called "There Goes My Everything: White Southerners in the Age of Civil Rights, 1945-1975." The rhetorical similarities and concerns between Zionists and those in favor of the Jim Crow status quo ante--talk of "extremists on both sides," "outside agitators," "you can't really understand unless you've been here," "white southerners may be reasoned with but they're not going to accept outside pressure or imposed solutions"--is mind blowing. I may steal Phan's idea and do my own version, "Hasbara in 1954."

    • Brilliant! This is such a great idea for an article series, I can't believe I haven't seen something like it before. It's always helpful to counter Zionist talking points using applicable analogies from oppressors in other times and places who've already lost the argument. I'm excited for the next installments!

  • Another campus walkout, this one at Wayne State speech on Palestinian child suicide bombers
    • I agree: I much prefer the idea of walk-outs to disruptions, which strike me as counter-productive and, well, embarrassing. Woe betide the day that Zionists decide to "mic check" a pro-Palestinian event and the audience freaks out or responds in uncouth fashion. Abrasive disruptions are a ticking time bomb of hypocrisy.

  • 'The Crisis of Zionism' and the contradictions of Israel as a liberal democratic fantasy
    • "Don’t count on Beinart to 'move in the right direction' when the ass in him is leading the way. You’re giving him way too much credit as a human being."

      ...that's a bit mean, don't you think? He is, after all, just a human being. He's been raised a certain way with certain beliefs, and it's hard to dismiss something so dear to you, even if it's wrong, in one fell swoop. We can't just foreclose the possibility that erstwhile Zionists may see the error of their ways. As far as prominent Zionists go, I'm more hopeful for him than any other.

    • Hey EVSW,

      Well, that depends on what your interests are! If you're interested in learning about the construction of the American Jewish establishment and how it came to be subsumed by anti-Palestinian politics, then you should definitely give the book a read. If you're interested to learn about how President Obama has been influenced by Jews, give it a read. If you're interested in Palestinians and their struggle against Zionism, however, you should read something else.

    • Word.

    • Beinart talks at length about victimhood, how the American Jewish establishment has used it to shaped Jewish identity, and its terrible consequences. He really does a good job of talking about that issue, but it was one I didn't have room to talk about in my review, which is really limited to just one aspect of the book. While it has its problems, some of them very serious and frustrating, I still say its worth a read.

    • You hit the nail on the head with your criticism of Labor, which is equally if not more responsible for the most egregiously unjust Israeli policies.

    • Thanks! I struggled to keep this piece to a reasonable length; there's so much that can be said about Beinart's book, but I decided to keep my review focused on the issues that I'm most knowledgeable about (as anyone putting their opinions out in public should!). I also really take issue with the way he talks about Palestinian refugees, which I didn't address here.

      I think the book needs a series of reviews, not just one. I actually learned quite a bit from it about the history of the American Jewish establishment and Obama's relationship with Jews. I also think he had some interesting insights into the Obama administration's embarrassing conflicts with Netanyahu's government. Still, for the reasons I describe in this piece, it was one of the most frustrating things I've read in a long time. I'd love to read what you have to say!

  • Those who criticize Israel join campaign to 'slaughter the Jews en masse'
  • Sullivan forces American attention on the settlements
    • I saw and briefly chatted with Beinart at a promo event for his book this past Monday, and I just finished reading it yesterday. Both were two of the most frustrating experiences I've had so far this year (although, like you, I think you gotta appreciate the fact that the mainstream discourse is shifting). I plan on writing a review that will be from a decidedly different angle than Sullivan's, that's for sure!

  • When good intentions aren't good enough: Liberal Zionists and BDS
    • Bill, I'm trying to remember you... did you speak on the panel about South Africa alongside Cobban and Fletcher?

    • "who ever heard of NOT boycotting because the other side will just suck up energy complaining about how you don’t like them? that is basically the same logic." Exactly! It seems like such a simple and obvious point, but it's one I don't recall seeing in counter-anti-BDS articles.

      And, truth be told, I do think that the movement should consider a blanket boycott, South Africa style, at some point in the future. I'm mulling over the arguments now, maybe I'll write something on it in the future.

    • Thank you both! I especially thought that that SNCC article was interesting, that's a good bit of history to know.

    • Thanks Annie! I was just soooo irritated by Paiss's article that I couldn't let it slide. Btw, not sure if you remember me, but we met at the Penn BDS conference: I was the black guy in the "Boycott Israel" shirt who gave you a hug 20 seconds after meeting you :)

    • Thanks for your compliment! You know what's funny? This segment from King's letter is one of the things I read while debating how to phrase the point about "liberal" allies; or, to be more accurate, debating whose words I would borrow to make the point. Carmichael's were more concise, although people like Plaiss and Beinart should keep King's letter in their desk!

  • Chris Hayes stunning 'Story of the Week' featuring Sheldon Adelson

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