Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 141 (since 2012-02-16 22:03:16)


Showing comments 141 - 101

  • The list of foreign policy experts Bernie Sanders should be consulting
    • Hey MRW. I listened to the excerpts you provided/suggested. I don't see how they relate, in any way, to what I asked you. Could you explain it to me?

    • Hey MRW. For Bernie Sanders not to know about the Kissinger/Putin relationship terrifies me, and obliterates any support I may have had for him. Absolutely inexcusable. I saw most of the debate last night and saw what I thought was the exchange re: Kissinger. I don't recall anyone mentioning the fact that Bernie was ignorant of the relationship between Kissinger and Putin. I'm not saying he's not ignorant of that relationship, but I don't recall it being mentioned. Are you referring to something else mentioned in the debate, or maybe some other event/thing? I'm interested...

  • 'Let the one-state era begin'-- Tom Friedman explains there will never be a Palestinian state
    • Annie: "...he just makes me grind my teeth. Ha! Exactly. I can see how folks who may be relatively new or uninformed would be taken in by his spiel. But to me, after years of following the issue and hearing/reading his columns and interviews, it's rather transparent that his "balanced/moderate" rhetoric is simply designed to entrench the status quo. And not just on Israel/Palestine. Seems to me he's a major supporter of keeping the status quo on globalization, and thus corporatism/hyper-capitalism/free-market worship/etc...

    • Yes Boomer. Friedman is a (not so) thinly veiled U.S.A. cheerleader. He's a jingoistic, authoritarian power loving one-percenter posing as a "moderate" peace advocate. Friedman is likely the best representative to show how conservative politics and attitudes on the I/P conflict are now being called liberal/progressive, or at best moderate. Phil's above article does nothing but contribute to this slide to the right (Phil is widely seen as "progressive" on the I/P conflict, yet he praises Friedman, opening his article w/ "Hat's off to Thomas Friedman.") What makes Friedman particularly frustrating - aside from his clever-clever, self-amused, glib, and often simply confused style of writing - is the fact that he’s so widespread throughout the media spectrum that you know he’s effecting the minds of a large portion of the population with his transparently Israel-first ideas.

      I’m far from alone in this view of Friedman’s rhetoric and writing. Lawyer, writer for The Guardian newspaper, and author Glenn Greenwald wrote this of Friedman’s writing:

      He literally negates his own principal claim… in the very same column in which he advances it… But incoherence is the least notable aspect of this column. This is to say nothing of the warped imagery Friedman often uses of the invading U.S. as a 'midwife' — as though Muslim countries are our little babies who need and pray for our parental imperial guidance out of their primitive wombs. If I had to pick just a single fact that most powerfully reflects the nature of America’s political and media class in order to explain the cause of the nation’s imperial decline, it would be that, in those classes, Tom Friedman is the country’s most influential and most decorated 'foreign policy expert.' (1)

      Or this from Rolling Stone’s political writer/reporter Matt Taibbi:

      …This is Friedman’s life: He flies around the world, eats pricey lunches with other rich people and draws conclusions about the future of humanity by looking out his hotel window and counting the Applebee’s
 signs… [Re: Friedman’s method of creating an argument or making a point]: “It’s crazy, a game of Scrabble where the words don’t have to connect on the board, or a mathematician coming up with the equation A B -3X = Swedish girls like chocolate.” (2)

      1 - Glenn Greenwald, The Value Of Tom Friedman, Salon, July 25th, 2012.

      2 - Matt Taibbi, Flat N All That, New York Press, Jan. 14th, 2009.

    • "So I don’t think Friedman deserves any credit here..." I couldn't agree more, Donald. Weiss writes, "Hat's off to Thomas Friedman." Really? I want some of what he's smokin'. This Friedman article is just more of the same glib, jokey, status-quo "balanced" B.S. we've seen from Friedman on Israel forever. He's a master of writing/talking a whole lot without really saying much. He's my poster boy for the "Conservative is the New Moderate" movement.

  • 'This is a totally political arrest, they will not thwart human rights!' Guy Butavia tells the courthouse
  • My one word interrogation at Ben Gurion airport
    • Bumblebye writes:

      “Yahud” in Peled’s piece is not being used by Palestinians to reference people of faith or background but as nationality. It is a “nationality” zionist leaders conferred on a particular sector of the population. They could instead, have chosen “Hebrew” (perhaps), a nationality that could have expanded to include people who don’t come from any kind of Jewish background…maybe that’s why they didn’t chose it.

      Iow, the use of “yahud” isn’t done to cast a slur on all Jews, but a consequence of Israeli zionist decisions.

      Yahtzee! Well put, sir/ma'am.

    • Hey Stephen. I appreciate the reply.

      Well... At first I was gonna get all indignant about how that's not what Peled means (that it has to be one or the other), and how could you think blah blah blah... But I guess I can see your point and how someone may read what he's written to mean what you've taken it to mean. And, of course, who am I to say what Peled meant anyway, right? But I don't believe Peled thinks it has to be one or the other like you've implied. The above excerpt from the piece Peled's written may just come off that way to certain readers. But I feel that's a narrow interpretation.

      For me, Peled's “spare them” challenge means that when you have a full understanding of the history of the conflict, combined w/ a deep understanding of the personal experiences of many in the West Bank and Gaza, you can understand why certain Palestinians may (wrongly) see Jews in general as their enemy, instead of more specifically Israelis, IDF, Zionists, etc.

      By that I mean this: Peled writes of “...a Palestinian [saying] the 'Yahud' killed my family, the Yahud took my land, the Yahud put my father in prison, the Yahud forced my family into exile...” It's entirely possible, likely even, that the Palestinian saying those things #1) Did in fact have all those horrific crimes committed against him/her by Jews, and only Jews. And maybe more importantly, #2) Has never met a Jew who wasn't part of the oppressive Israeli soul crushing machine. I would respectfully say that in those instances/contexts (ie: responding to a Palestinian from Gaza who's just told you of their parents deaths in Operation Cast Lead and their brother's ongoing years-long incarceration for being accused of throwing a stone, etc.), it's entirely inappropriate to chastise them for not making the distinctions between Israel / Jew / IDF/ Zionist / Liberal Zionist / Cultural Zionist / on and on and on... This is the context, I believe, Peled is referring to in which we should "spare them." Time and place, man. Time and place. To truly try and understand what they've been subjected to, and by whom. This, I believe, is what Peled is getting at. Or, maybe that's what I'm getting at.

      You write, "Solidarity with Palestinians doesn’t require us to accept guilt for crimes in which we took no part." No. It doesn't. But it does require us to do our best to understand what's happened to them. To empathize with them. And to give them every benefit of the doubt after we understand that we are, sadly, eternally associated with the People who have ruined their lives, stolen their land, killed their families, and perverted their People's history in the eyes of the world. In my book, that will occasionally mean not lecturing them after they say "Jew" instead of "IDF Soldier."

      To be clear... On the other hand, if you're having a conversation w/ a diaspora Palestinian who was born in Queens, grew up in The Bronx, and is currently a Political Science graduate student at Columbia University, then it's all fair game :)

    • Hey Stephen. Since there's no indication in your post, I can't really tell what you're referring to in general. Or if you're directing your question to me, Michael Rabb, Adam Horowitz, or Miko Peled. So I'd say this: I don't understand your question "Is it allowed?" Allowed by whom? And the point of the brief remark you've written has been made by many, to many. Certainly by myself and Miko. Maybe not on this board/forum, but many times in many places to many people. I obviously can't speak for Michael or Adam on that point...

    • That is a tremendous quote, and one I had not read before. Thank you Michael.

  • New Jersey teenager threatened with legal action by high school over pro-Palestine activism (Update)
    • Bless you for this comment, Yonifalic:

      It is delusional to believe that “ethnic identity” correlates with “values”. Does English, German, or Russian identity correlate with “values”? Hitler considered himself an avatar of “German values” against “Jewish values”?

      Yes. The twisted, marketing-like use of "values" is insidious and I personally hate it. It warps the mind, and perverts meaning. I recently felt the need to leave the organization JVP and their use of "Jewish values" as marketing (though I basically have no issues w/ their espoused positions) was part of what drove me away. The letter I wrote to them had a graph about it that is related to your comment here. Maybe you'd be interested in it, Yonifalic:

      Another language issue for me is that labeling your values as “Jewish” hints at the need or belief in attaching some sort of cultural/ethnic/religious ownership to a “value” or set of values. I consistently hear Jewish activists (not just JVPers) state that valuing social justice, equal rights, etc. is a Jewish thing. That they are “Jewish Values.” Well, they're not. They're a conscientious person thing. Labeling these values as Jewish nearly comes off as a type of marketing to me; a kind of “branding” of Jewishness. That's offensive to me and, quite unfortunately, it's rather Israeli-like. Whether it's with conscious intent or not, labeling these “values” as Jewish (or Christian, black, feminist, whatever...) is narrow, exclusionary, self-serving, and maybe more importantly, very possibly counterproductive. It's another way of placing the messenger above the message. And like the word “power,” I can understand someone feeling I'm simply being semantic here about labeling “values.” But the term “Jewish Values” really doesn't sit well with me. And because it's used so consistently, it's a problem.

      Perhaps my thoughts here can essentially be boiled down to something written by Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi. In his Original Sins: Reflections on the History of Zionism and Israel (New York: Olive Branch Press, 1992-1993), Beit-Hallahmi writes about the relatively high level of Jewish success in the modern world, due in part to many Jews' gradual secularization. He points to Marx, Freud, and Einstein as examples of this phenomenon and writes that, “They are Jews minus Jewishness[.]” While I personally represent the opposite of the type of modern success represented by the likes of Marx, Freud, and Einstein, I may have something in common with them yet: Being a Jew minus the Jewishness.


    • "jd65, she was raised in new jersey. and i think her parents were too but am not certain... she’s got israeli citizenship and has relatives there. that’s all i know."

      Thanks Annie. That doesn't make anything more clear, but I guess it is what it is. If this young woman keeps getting attention and keeps up with ideas and information she's putting across, she'll likely sooner or later (I'd assume sooner) have to be clear about her statement that she's "an Israeli Jew." I'd hope/assume that if she keeps getting interviewed by other news sources, someone will ask her if she is "an Israeli Jew," like she tweeted. Or how is she defining "Israeli." Is she using that label as some sort of personal identity marker vs. using it for its normal legal/citizenship type of purpose? etc. Some people might think that this is not an important detail. I'm not one of them. She's young. She'll work it out.

    • I'm confused. "16 year old teenage activist from Fair Lawn, New Jersey studying at Fair Lawn High School..." And then "When Zionists expect me to be in favor of the Palestinian genocide because I'm an Israeli Jew." I probably just missed something in the article, but which is it? Is she an Israeli, or is she from Jersey and currently going to H.S. there?

  • The candidates debate the U.S./Israeli relationship
    • I'm not familiar enough w/ his output and reception to have much of an opinion on whether he's "overpraised" or not. But I would say that compared to other pieces I've seen by Latuff, this cartoon is lazy.

  • Open letter to Rabbi Susan Talve from St. Louis Jews
  • West's war against terrorism is Israel's war, Chuck Schumer says
  • The American colonization of Palestine
    • I also may sound patronizing Yoni. But, to me, your comment here is complete evasive gobbledygook. It seems to be some sort of criticism of the article while making no references to anything specific in the article itself. I don't doubt that you've got something relevant to contribute here. But your above comment, in my opinion, doesn't actually say anything. It's hedging all the way...

    • Bravo Mr. Elmor! You've written a thoughtful, and for its size, reasonably thorough article (re: the U.S. settler/aliyah connection, I'd have briefly mentioned Meir Kahane as well...). You've made some connections, and have used some language, that some folks don't like to see/acknowledge. So depending on how much attention this piece gets, you may receive some relatively ugly communications from reflexive Israel supporters, and maybe even some from folks within the solidarity movement. Don't let it get you down. You're on the right path. All the best to you...

  • Israel gets to use violence. Palestinians don't. That's the rule
    • Good article Donald. This, I think, is particularly relevant: "Yes, Obama has folded, but his position was never as strong as some wanted to think." Bingo. And this parallels the mythification of Israel's past. "Oh, remember when Obama was so liberal and progressive on Israel...," equals "Oh, remember when Israel was so liberal and wonderful..." And as for your question, "Why is anyone surprised by Obama's..." Well, anyone who is surprised by that is simply not truly paying attention. I wrote this, Obama's Hat Trick, about three years ago so I certainly wasn't surprised:

      link to

      It's way too long to post here so there's the link. Maybe you'll be interested. Yeah, that's right: Obama is Oatmeal Man. Thanks for the article...

  • Karmah Elmusa rocks Elle Magazine
    • Keep at it homingpigeon. You're doing the right thing.

    • @ MaxNarr, who writes this:

      "@Annie, the fact that you had to dedicate so many paragraphs to this shows the mental gymnastics you have to do to repress the natural feeling of remorse for your words and deeds. People always accuse Jews of being in a cabal, a conspiracy, paying others to do their dirty work, JIDF and megaphone shills.

      The fact of the matter is, no matter how many paragraphs you use to try to suppress it: Your people are murderers, your co-conspirators are Jew haters, and you can’t even bring yourself to condemn the murder of the elderly and children for the “crime” of living in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people."

      It's a given that on any given day, one can go to the internet and find limitless nonsense written on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Some days it gets to me, others I can somewhat let it go and realize a posting on an internet forum is likely not something to get too worked up over. And I guess I'm having a pretty mellow day today, because right now, reading that post from MaxNarr is actually making me laugh. That shit is so ridiculous you just gotta laugh. I mean just off the charts. What a goof...

    • @ RoHa: "Don’t get so worked up about the Liberty. Yes, it was unfortunate, but it was just one of those momentary mental hiccups I mentioned earlier. [etc...]" I just wanna say that I can't tell whether this this post is supposed to be sarcastic or not. I know everyone has different ideas about humor, and comedy isn't a science. But if this is supposed to be funny, we've got different ideas about what's funny. And if the post isn't sarcastic, that's of course much worse...

    • @ RoHa. Yeah :) I hear you. But it's an expression, so I consider it relatively gender neutral in terms of its meaning and use it broadly (pun not intended). To cite an even more crude example of this type of cross-gender expression usage: Demi Moore in GI Jane, anyone? What can I say? My brain is packed w/ 75% film information, 22% Palestine Conflict information, and 3% miscellaneous. It's funny this came up right now, 'cuz I'm uploading a ridiculous iMovie edit of Colonel Frank Slade laying into Netanyahu to my youtube channel later tonight. Yes... I'm nothing if not ridiculous.

    • Yup. Another good article from Annie :)

      A lot of stuff in the discussion on Palestine-Israel is on permanent loop. So for myself, the last sentence of your article was, in a way, the most meaningful and engaging/interesting: "Thanks to Elle for publishing this thoughtful article." YES! Pardon my french but Elle has huge balls to publish this article. "Brass balls," as Alec Baldwin might say. I'm not aware of any other major fashion magazine publishing anything like this article. It may have happened before, but I didn't hear about it (I don't really keep up on the fashion journalism world...). Giant kudos to them.

      One could say, "It's just a fashion magazine. It's not a serious publication," and write off their inclusion of Elmusa's piece as inconsequential. And in a way, I'd say that's partially correct. But in a more important way, it's wrong. My assumption is that Elle has a huge readership. Elmusa's piece is readable, short, and on point. It's entirely likely that thousands (maybe tens of thousands...) of people who would have never seen such a thing otherwise, will read her piece. That's important. I emailed Elle to support their decision to publish it. I'm sure they knew what they were getting into.

  • Video: Israeli military tells Palestinian refugee camp, 'We will gas you until you die'
    • @ Kathleen: "Why does the conversation almost always shift to the Holocaust?" I hear you Kathleen. But in this case, folks here are discussing Annie's piece above which quite clearly, and rightly, is about (at least in part) the grotesquely ironic reference by the IOF to their "gassing" Palestinians to death. So in this case, it's the IOF who "shifted the conversation to the Holocaust." People here are simply commenting on how fucked up that shift was made.

  • J Street has nothing to say on 'the current situation'
    • Yo! First things first: Excellent article by Nikles here. He's absolutely right about J Street not being serious about Peace & Justice. They're serious about peace FOR ISRAELIS. But they couldn't care less about justice for Palestine. Nikles points out two major things that make this obvious: their milquetoast "stand" on settlements, and their total opposition to BDS. But Nikles left out what I feel is J Street's biggest tell: Their denial of the Palestinian Right of Return. J Street doesn't fool me for a second.

      As for niass2's mentioning of JVP in his post - It reads to me like it was mistake, and he/she simply meant to write J Street again. Brain fart :) Otherwise, niass2 is just wrong about that. Everyone is wrong about something sooner or later.

      Now for the really important niass2 issue: that Grateful Dead thing... Not sure what's going on there. That band was pretty apolitical as a general rule; aside from of course being broadly "counter-cultural." And as far as I'm concerned, that's as it should've been. They were an occasional much needed break from all this/that crap. Wish they were still w/ us...

  • Israeli gov't used my image for propaganda purposes without my consent
    • @ Mondowise: Well put.

    • Excellent piece Mukarram! Thank you for writing. I'm glad you were able to get where you wanted to go ("where the wind comes sweeping down the plain..."). Welcome to the U.S.! Obviously there are many problems here. But at this site we're all (most anyway...) aware of our country's facilitation in the occupation of Palestine and the abuse of your people there (and here...). But hopefully you are enjoying yourself and are finding that there are a good amount of folks here who realize what's been happening to your country for the last century. We are with you. We wish peace and justice for you...

  • Jewish community must 'welcome' anti-Zionist, pro-BDS Jews, Beinart says-- but Shavit says, Excommunicate them
    • Hey again Ian. I think I shoulda taken my own advice and not engaged in this forum. I really think this type of format - forums generally - is simply not something I function well in. And that's on me. Or maybe I'm just something of an idiot.

      If I tell you I'm "not Buddhist," what does that tell you about my attitude toward Buddhism? Right. Nothing. And it sure doesn't tell you that I'm an "anti-Buddhist." If I tell you I'm "not from Iowa," what does that tell you about where I'm from? Right. Nothing. And I don't think the context of the conversation necessarily changes that. Particularly when we're talking about pull quoting in a piece of journalism.

      Don't really know what else to say, and I don't really wanna spend more time on it. I guess shouldn't've brought it up in the first place seeing as no one has re-iterated any thoughts on the main issue in my mind: a misquote in the TITLE of the article. Peace to you Ian...

    • @ echinococcus: "You are right about Beinart, of course... Thanks for letting' me know I'm not alone in how I perceive Beinart.

      can you imagine any Neo-Nazi Jewish people who are non-Zionist? If there were something more fictional than fiction that would be it." Ryan Gosling in The Believer, anyone? Scary shit...

    • Hey Ian, this reply is coming from my email notification of comments to this thread. I tried to reply to you before after my last post, but the reply function at this site is weird and problematic (as I think/hope others know). Arrrgggghhhhhh... :)

      I touched on your request for me to clarify a little bit in my post to Hostage... (i.e.: "not" isn't necessarily "pro" or "anti." It's just... not. Ha!)

    • Exactly: "...“anti-Zionists” are included as a subset of “not-Zionists.” This is correct. In fact, the subsets of who would be considered "not Zionist" are quite vast. One such subset would be neo-Nazis. And I think it's a reasonable assumption that that particular subset would not be welcome at Beinart's Jewish Community table for a seder. They certainly wouldn't be welcome at mine. So, assuming he didn't mean all people no matter what so long as you're "not Zionist," Beinart would have to "include a caveat" for us to know that he would also welcome anti-Zionists.

      Looks like this is gonna get weird language-wise, so maybe I'll say this: My guess is that Beinart is not comfortable saying that he would welcome anti-Zionists to his table because he believes anti-Zionism is generally "over the line." And this is why he carefully said "not Zionist" and not "anti-Zionist." At the same time I'm admitting that, yes, this is absolutely an assumption on my part and I could be totally wrong. If someone can direct me to something written by Beinart or a talk he has given where he sates that he's ok w/ anti-Zionists I would absolutely want to see it.

      I consider myself to be anti-Zionist; not a "non-Zionist." The prefix "non" is neutral. As in I'm also a non-opera listener, but that doesn't mean I'm anti-opera listeners. And I'm not comfortable w/ misquoting Beinart and making it seem, however unwittingly, like he welcomes anti-Zionists to his table when my guess is that he does not. Again, I may be completely wrong here and this is all conjecture based on listening to many of his talks and actually meeting him in person a couple times. But this all stems from what I see as a misquote used in the TITLE of this article above.

    • Hey Ian, thanks for responding to my post. I guess you're one that feels I'm being "semantic" and "nit-picky." And I gather you feel that the prefixes "non" and "anti" essentially have the same meaning. I don't agree w/ that. At all.

    • The title of this article reads, in part, "[Beinart says], 'Jewish community must welcome anti-Zionist [Jews]." In the article itself (I assume functioning as support for the article's title) Weiss quotes Beinart as saying, "[Our Jewish community]... is going to have to include the Jewish kids who are not Zionists..." Personally, I don't feel that "not Zionist," is the same as "anti-Zionist." Not by a long shot. Call this a "semantic" point. Call me nit-picky. But Beinart is usually very specific in his wording, as we all should be when possible. So I think it's important. I feel that saying that Beinart welcomes anti-Zionists, when he actually said he'd welcome those who were "not Zionists," gives Beinart the appearance of being more "progressive" than he actually is. In addition to, of course, the problem of it being simply incorrect. Or maybe Beinart explicitly stated what Weiss quoted him as saying in the article's title at another point in the discussion? But I didn't find that in the article. Just saying'...

  • Obama says peace talks are pointless because Netanyahu won't see the 'best' in others
    • Wow... As far as U.S. political rhetoric/posturing goes, that's actually pretty solid of Obama. "Solid" as in calling a spade a spade. At the moment I'm impressed. I'm currently pressed for time, so I've only read the quotes in the above article. Will watch the video and see if there's more to it later tonight. Thanks for the heads up...

  • One last appeal before a Bedouin village in the Negev is demolished and a Jewish town is built in its place
  • Why some BDS activists are buying stock in Boeing
    • Nice vid Annie. Who knew Whitman would cave so fast? :)

    • Excellent article Katy! And thank you for embedding my video. I wish it had better sound, but I think it works ok w/ the subtitles...

      Though I was aware that Joe and Kait were shareholders, I wasn't aware of the "shareholder activism" concept/tactic more broadly. Thanks you for specifically fleshing out this concept. I assume I'm not the only one who was not very familiar w/ this strategy having a longer history. Very cool. Sure, I can see why folks may have issues w/ it. But if it gets the job done...

      You mention AntiWarCommittee's participation in one of the "largest demonstration..." marches last year against Protective Edge. Yes, it was huge and inspirational. I followed it from start to finish and uploaded a video of it as well. The vid is intentionally kinda long, and shows the march moving through many different downtown locations, so as to give the viewer a better idea of the scope of the march. Thanks again Katy, and maybe I'll see you 'round Chicago:

  • Losing public opinion on BDS, activists turn to 'lawfare'
    • @ JustJessetr

      This post from you:


      And my friend lost a potential job due to his posting pictures of himself snorting cocaine. It was his legal right to inquire why he didn’t get the position, and when he saw why, he was put on suicide watch for real. He saw his whole life ahead awash in failure.

      If you’re going to do something publicly in the Internet age, expect people to find out about it. So much of what SJP does could be considered hate-speech, any potential employer would steer clear of it. They won’t spend time consulting with lawyers about it either. They’ll just quietly toss the application in the Delete folder.

      As we all know, anything you do on the ‘net stays on the net. You can’t get rid of it unless you’re a black hat hacker. So be prepared all of you for careers in janitorial services if you’ve been posing with kaffieyehs or posting under your real names when supporting Hamas.

      My prediction: any student who publicly supported the SJP in his/her college days will not be using their degree to the fullest because they will face life-long job discrimination. And I applaud that."

      ...makes it quite clear what you're about. Part of me wants me to thank you for your honesty. And the other part of me wants... Well, let's just leave it at that.

    • That's right Kris. Just a couple minutes of looking around this new site reveals it to be in the vein of Geller, Horowitz, Spencer, etc.

      However, this, from its "About" page, distinguishes it from many other similar sites/organizations as being particularly disgusting:

      "We believe in the right of employers to know which potentially threatening organizations prospective employees were affiliated with during their time on campus."

      I do my best to use appropriate language and try not to go over the line. But that is just scummy. IMO Scum is an appropriate adjective here, and I won't apologize for using it. And I'm not a lawyer, but maybe there's actually some legal issues in there. Openly and intentionally doing your best to interfere w/ someone's ability to hold a job and make a living because you disagree w/ their activism on Palestine doesn't seem like an activity that someone should be able to do freely. But I'm not a lawyer. However, I am a person who believes he recently lost job due, in part, to attitudes on the I/P conflict. This site now has my keen interest. Thank you for posting "Peaceful." Free Speech is one thing. Intentionally working against an individual's ability to support themselves w/ a job is another.

    • Hey there a blah chick.

      "If a company or financial institution decides to divest for purely economic reasons (it’s just not paying) how can you penalize them?"

      You have hit on, imo, a key element. From the bill itself:

      "Boycott Israel" means engaging in actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or otherwise limit commercial relations with the State of Israel or companies based in the State of Israel or in territories controlled by the State of Israel.

      So I suppose in theory, if the divestment was done purely for economic reasons, as you suggest, it may not be affected by the bill; according to the bill itself. However, the political atmosphere being what it is in this country, the "trickle-down suppression" mentioned in the above article will, I suspect, pressure some organizations to stay invested in Israel - whatever their reasons may have been for wanting to divest. And the drafters of this legislation know that the passing of this bill adds to that trickle-down pressure - in a big way.

      But the more problematic issue, imo, is that the wording in the quote above from the bill infers that it's ok to legislate against a group/organization/business/or person merely because that group has a different political stance (thought/idea) than that of the ruling government, not because of an action taken. What other reason would there be to place the phrase "politically motivated" into the legislation? If the bill says it's ok to actively boycott for purely economic/business reasons, but not ok to actively boycott for political/ideological reasons (and I do think that's what the bill implies), then the bill is legislating against a thought process, and not against an action. That's, uhhh... pretty messed up.

      'Nother pertinent blah chick question:

      "Will there be some panel that will sit in judgement and decide if your reasons are valid?"

      Yes. It will be called the Illinois Investment Policy Board. But I will refer to it, un-lovingly, as the House Un-Israeli Activities Committee (HUAC - 2.0). The Board will be "retaining an independent research firm to identify... companies that boycott Israel." The Board will then compile a "list of restricted companies." My assumption (seemingly the same as yours?) is that even if the companies that end up on the Board's "list" state that they've divested from Israel for purely financial reasons and not for political/ideological ones, HUAC 2.0 will likely still spend energy and finances investigating this claim to make sure it is the case. It's all so bizarre...

    • Page: 1
    • Hey Cliff,

      You likely knew this, but just to be sure: The quote you pulled, "Those U.S. persons who agree to participate in such boycotts are subject to criminal and civil penalties," is from the 70s legislation, not the current SB1761. Couldn't tell for sure from your post if that's what you meant.

      I agree w/ you that the folks who wrote this current bill would like to criminalize BDS, and other Palestine solidarity activism, and possibly see this legislation as a way toward moving in that direction. That is, of course, conjecture. But I feel that it's a conjecture based on years of observation (seeing the earlier 70s amendments being merely one of many things observed)...

  • Chair of Democratic National Committee opposes Jewish intermarriage and MSNBC showing Gaza carnage
    • I know of no other way to contact operators of this site so I'm using a comment to contact a moderator. I'd like to delete my account from MW and also delete al of my prior comments. Is this possible? I assume my email is in my personal MW profile so you can feel free to use that to contact me about this possibility. If not, I'll check back later in my MW profile. Short of those two options, I guess I'll just suck it up. Thanks...

    • Washerman says of the media coverage of the "war" in Gaza, "Clearly they were highlighting what Israel had done to Gaza and the plight of Palestinians. My first thought was where is the balance, where is the spotlight on what Jewish children in Israel go through from being victims of rocket attacks?"

      Another classic example of the infuriating "balance" card being played. It's difficult/impossible for me to express how angry this sh*t makes me. A classic trick of language that knee-jerk Israel supporters rely on to portray Israel as a victim in the conflict. Pro-Israeli pundits, politicians, and journalists consistently criticize opposing viewpoints (or, as in this case, any news coverage which shows the naked brutality of Israeli aggression) on the conflict as “unbalanced.” What these 'new moderates' like to present as a balanced picture of the conflict is to place equal blame on the Israeli and Palestinian sides of the issue no matter what the circumstances. But in reality, both sides of the conflict rarely deserve equal blame in any specific instance, or certainly in the conflict generally. At best, the new moderates' “balance” talking point is an incorrect use of the idea born out of a misplaced sense of altruism or egalitarianism. At worst, it’s an intentional deception. The picture of reality they’re painting with their “balanced” commentary is nearly always simply inaccurate. The 50/50 “balance” narrative they cram the media marketplace with simply doesn’t exist. It’s made up. It’s a fabricated myth that protects Israel from accepting the blame it’s due. It’s different from what many refer to as a “foundation myth.” It’s something new that allows the inertia of occupation and expansionism to continue its course: it’s a “perpetuation myth” (copywrighted term). And when presented by the media, it’s just more dime store philosophizing than anything resembling actual reporting. Here’s author Miko Peled again on this issue of balanced presentations on this issue:

      “I don’t think a balanced presentation is possible on this issue. If anybody thinks their opinion is balanced they’re either lying to themselves or lying to their audience… This is really not a balanced issue.” i

      If you’re consistently representing both sides of the conflict as equally to blame, and you’re calling that the balanced view, it’s simply a misuse of the word balance. Whether it’s an intentionally deceptive misuse or a misplaced positive impulse depends, of course, on the source. But the result is the same: perpetuating the conflict, perpetuating the status quo.

      i - Miko Peled Talk at Revolution Books, NYC, June 18, 2012.

  • Israel gets trashed at the 92d Street Y
    • Wow... My reaction in diplomatic mode: Not my cuppa tea. My reaction in honest/truthful mode: I thought that was truly awful, unfunny, and like torture to watch.

      By the way, the clip that is said to start at 60:00 in the article actually starts at 'bout 55:25.

  • Video: Racist Israel supporter films himself attacking Toronto students, urinating on BDS poster
    • This was my first thought as well. Fake. But obviously I don't know that for certain. However, it is certain that whoever it is that did this (batshit crazy dangerous Zionist freak show, or sad desperate misguided Palestinian supporter) is a bad person who deserves some serious punishment. If I was one of the folks who worked in that office I'd be fuckin' scared.

      And PeaceThroughJustice's question "how did the video get published" is the very important and obvious key. That's what should be found out. There's gotta be ways to track that; IP addresses from the youtube uploads account and yada yada yada. Find this asshole and show his face to the world. Shame him for the rest of his life.

      Unless it's totally real and he really is as crazy as you'd guess from the vid, then he'd be beyond feeling shame. Crazy is as crazy does...

  • Occupier’s justice: heads and tails you lose
    • Thank you Mr. Cook. This reminds me of another twisted "legal" scenario in Palestine: Israel's "present absentee." I first learned of this term in your book Disappearing Palestine. Anyone here who doesn't have it should get it. Cook does an excellent job of unpacking the nearly (and intentionally so) unexplainable institutional and legal processes Israel uses to dispossess the Palestinians. He's also personable. When I had a question about his book (Israel's ongoing self-declared "state of emergency" since its inception), he responded to me quite quickly and kindly. Thanks again Mr. Cook. And though it seems you've put up the hypothetical of writing this as a short story only to boost the insanity of its reality, it actually would be good source material for a fictionalized version one act...

  • Netanyahu speech could turn Israel lobby into a political football
  • How a culture remembers its crimes is important: A review of 'American Sniper'
    • Yeah, Michelle. I'm also a big fan of a lot of Eastwood's work. So I immediately thought of those two as well. However, I wouldn't hold your breath for Letters from Fallujah.

      I'm also a big fan of Cooper as an actor. And as ironic as it is, since I have a lot of the same problems everyone else here has w/ this film, I felt Cooper's performance was incredible. Close to perfect really. Sometimes I can divorce politics from art. Sometimes I can't. While I was watching this movie I was able to separate them enough to see Cooper's performance on it's own. Less so w/ Eastwood's direction here as he, apparently, made all the decisions which turned this into a very manipulated propaganda piece. Hard to overlook that. Easier to overlook that in Cooper's performance as he is "just an actor" and doing what he's told to do and reading what he's given. More likely than not, Cooper is onboard w/ the propaganda. Unfortunate.

      That being said, I don't know if I'll be able to see Eastwood or Cooper's work in the future without having the thought "War propagandist" hanging in the back of my head. Like listening to Wagner if you know what I mean... I now have a similar problem w/ actors Chastain and Renner (Zero Dark Thirty, Hurt Locker) Particularly Chasten as Zero Dark was sooooooo out of line.

    • Up today from The Real News and Max Blumenthal:

      Edit: tried to play the embedded vid here and I get a message that the owner disallowed embedding. Go to youtube to watch if interested. Simply type in Max Blumenthal, limit results to "this week," and it'll be easy to find. Worth a watch as Max is, as usual, illuminating, informative, and pulls no punches.

    • Excellent work Eamon. Your phrase "concessions to respectable liberal opinion" and your mentioning of reviewer Denby at the end of the piece reminded me of my reaction to the documentary The Gatekeepers. As absurd as would be, will some/many see American Sniper as a "liberal" film since it doesn't function purely as an over the top, Sean Hannity style U.S. troops cheerleader?

      Since I have no other outlet, please forgive my indulgence. I guess you never know, maybe someone will find it interesting. Relatedly: my thoughts on Dror Moreh's documentary:

      The Gatekeepers of Balance

      The moderate to conservative shift and its attendant “balance” myths aren’t only found in politics and journalism. They’re also found in literature and films like Dror Moreh’s documentary The Gatekeepers; and from Moreh himself. Moreh’s film is built around talking-head style interviews with the six remaining former heads of Israel’s elaborate Shin Bet intelligence agency and was ostensibly made as a critique of Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Moreh and his film were touted across the media spectrum as “leftist” and as representing somewhat radically alternative ideas to Netanyahu’s expansionist, conservative government’s policies. For example, this from a New York Times film review: “It is hard to imagine a movie… more challenging to conventional wisdom on all sides of the conflict,” or this from David Denby’s New Yorker magazine review: “…it is obviously intended, among other things, as a challenge to the Netanyahu regime.”

      However, when looked at in more detail, underneath the blogosphere and marketing geared to present this film as a fiercely “progressive” challenge to Netanyahu, it represents nothing radically different from all the status quo attitudes on the conflict and is not a real challenge to Netanyahu’s rhetoric or even his policy. Nor is it truly any different from the rhetoric heard from the U.S. governments. The fact that these Shin-Bet leaders speak generally about being against the occupation and being for a two-state solution isn’t really different from any of the statements constantly coming from most of the U.S. and Israeli politicians. It’s been two decades now that both governments have been talking about being for a two-state solution through the “peace process.” Without stating, unequivocally and at the very least, that the two-state solution will include Palestine regaining their entire pre-67’ West Bank and Gaza Strip (including East Jerusalem), with Israel giving back all of the Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank with all of their settlers leaving, and with Palestine having control of their own borders, air space, land, equitable water distribution, and of course their own autonomous political system – without this being outlined in detail, simply parroting phrases like “the occupation isn’t working,” or “we need a two-state solution” is just blowing smoke; whether it’s a Shin-Bet head or U.S. president. These phrases and others like them have become crutches that prop up the status quo without actually doing anything to fix what is broken, or return what was stolen.

      Ironically, in his review Denby rightly points out that these Shin-Bet heads “…are all hyper-patriots who would do anything to save Israeli lives and to preserve the Jewish state.” It’s ironic because phrases like “hyper-patriots” who “preserve the Jewish State” at all costs would not generally be associated with being progressive or liberal; yet most reviewers and politicos, Denby included, paint this film as just that: very liberal leaning. Another example of the irony from Denby’s review comes when he writes that the Shin-Bet leaders are convinced “that Israel is turning into a colonial power.” Turning into? Truly left or progressive thinkers and activists in 2013, or for that matter any time post June 1967 (I’d argue long before that…), would never refer to Israel as “turning into” a colonial power. It is a colonial project, and has been since it’s inception. For Denby not to point out this reality, or at least suggest that many believe we are well past the point of “turning,” is a good example of the attitudes coming from most of the media in this country.

      But the most obvious sign that Denby (and every other reviewer of The Gatekeepers that I’ve read) has an entrenched, conservative Pro-Israel outlook is that he didn’t notice the film’s use of the term terrorism. Either he didn’t notice, or worse, he noticed and willfully left out the observation. Throughout the film, the term “terrorist” in one form or another is used to describe Palestinians and their actions approximately 40 times, while it is not used once to describe Israelis and their actions. This despite the fact that Jewish Israeli terrorism was detailed in the film (ie: the plot to blow up buses killing hundreds of Palestinians, the plan to blow up The Dome Of The Rock, the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, etc...). Including discussion of these events in the film does contribute to creating a more accurate picture of the violence in the conflict, but it’s difficult to imagine that in the final edit of the film, and during the filming process of the interviews, it wasn’t noticed that the term “terror” was exclusively used to describe Palestinians and never Israelis. To his credit, Moreh has referred to Israeli Jews who commit and plot these crimes as terrorists in subsequent published interviews. But since the majority of people who experience the film will do so through viewing the actual documentary instead of reading/viewing subsequent related media, most folks will only hear the term as applied to Palestinians in the picture. This creates an “unbalanced” and inaccurate picture of the violence employed in the conflict, which is exactly the opposite of what Moreh publicly states as the film’s goal.

      Although Moreh himself seems to have the best of intentions, and often comes off as having a genuine sympathy for the Palestinian situation, he too seems prone to being a conservative who thinks he’s a liberal when it comes to Israel. His mantra on his film, and in his interviews, is the ubiquitous “balance” concept that all the conservative/faux-moderates put forth as their badge of legitimacy and as proof that they too “sympathize with the Palestinians” or “regret any loss of life.” As mentioned before, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is, in reality, quite out of balance in terms of many key aspects: casualties, power balance, economic stability, resource availability, military strength, U.N. veto power, freedom of movement, etc… All of the aforementioned aspects tip in favor of the Israelis. So presenting the conflict as if things between the parties are “balanced” is inaccurate. This response from Moreh on a Democracy Now broadcast illustrates the typical posture of “balance” from conservative/moderates on Palestine:

      “[I]f there is something that I failed while doing this film, it’s that the whole situation is different shades of grey. There is no really total aggressive person there or aggressive entity towards a very innocent and not violent entity on the other side. It’s both. Both are doing the worst that they can. I think that I can relate to what Abba Eban said once, our former Prime Minister. He said that the Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. I can say that on both sides. Both sides have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

      This response promoting the so-called “balanced” view where both sides are always painted as having equal culpability does nothing to promote true understanding of the actual details of the conflict. A more accurate statement, using the term “both” in a very different way to refer to Palestinians and Israelis, comes from Professor Noam Chomsky: “If you look at them both, you’ll find… the balance of terror and violence is overwhelmingly against the Palestinians.” This truth is almost never acknowledged in mainstream circles.

      Interestingly, the “balance” canard seems to come into play most often on the heels of some serious offense committed by Israel, which is too large to be ignored; as opposed to many of their daily offenses which remain scrupulously unmentioned. Or it comes into play when an unconditional supporter of Israel, or faux-moderate, is simply confronted with the immorality and illegality of the occupation or any number of Israel’s actions and policies. This was the case with Moreh’s response quoted above. It was part of his response to a question about a targeted attack on Hamas military leader Salah Shehade which also killed 14 innocent civilians, including the target’s wife and daughter, and wounding dozens of others. Discussed in Moreh’s film, the attack “occurred just as Shehade was reportedly preparing to sign onto a ceasefire halting attacks on Israelis not in occupied territories.” Although everything Moreh was asked about leading up to his response related specifically to content from his own film, he still felt it wasn’t fair to his film, or to the Israelis:

      “Well, look, I—I have to say that I a little bit feel uncomfortable in the way that you present the things here, because you portray the things as if Israel is the brutal, aggressive all the time, with the Palestinians, that they are like doves. There is reason why the Shin Bet is doing what it’s doing there. And the fact of the matter is that you cannot say—in a way, portray Israel as the aggressive and the Palestinians are the innocent bystander who are always being killed by those aggressive forces. It’s not the case at all, and I think that this is misleading the people that are watching that… If you portray only one side as the brutal, aggressive force and the other one as the innocent naive, you are doing wrong to the truth or to the facts on the ground. And I have to say that this is something which my movie tried to do very, very strongly: to portray the situation as it is. The Palestinians are doing terrorist attack. They have right to do, in a way, something which they want to create their own country, their own homeland, and they oppose the aggressive occupation… [W]hen you portray that as the Palestinians are people that are sitting there, you know, and not doing anything, it’s not the reality on the ground. And by that, you have to show both sides, because I think that when you do that, you portray only one side. And I said that before. It’s—you have to be balanced. And this is something that I felt that is not so much here.”

      I felt it necessary to include Moreh’s response at length here because it’s instructive to see in context. He’s saying his Democracy Now hosts are presenting a biased news report; that they’re not being balanced and that they’re presenting Israel in an unrealistically negative and “unbalanced” light. And just as in his film (40 times to zero), Moreh refers to the Palestinians here as terrorists, but not the Israelis. However, Moreh’s entire reason for being on the show, and presumably the entire reason for his making the film, was to show the negative aspects of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and to challenge its very legitimacy. Why would a person who made a film designed to expose the negative aspects of a military occupation feel that it’s unfair to be asked to speak on these aspects during an interview? I think it may be because underneath all his rhetoric and film-making, Moreh still sees the occupation as more of a retaliation than an attack. Decades of hasbara has done its job. And this is the general position of all Israeli apologists and myth-makers: Israel is “defending itself.” It’s not a coincidence that you could cherry pick this quote from Moreh’s response above: “…the situation as it is. The Palestinians are doing terrorist attack.” It’s also not a coincidence that Moreh uses this phrasing in his interview: “And this is the whole goal of The Gatekeepers. The Gatekeepers portrays Israeli occupation in the last 45 years and basically says, ‘Enough of that. It’s not going anywhere. It’s only tactic without strategy. Where do you want to go with this conflict ahead?’”ix It’s meaningful that Moreh doesn’t flat out say that the occupation is wrong, shouldn’t have happened, or is illegal. He simply says it isn’t “going anywhere,” or, in other words, that it isn’t working. What would a “working” Israeli occupation look like? Is figuring out a way to have a military occupation “work” something a person who is truly interested in equal rights want? Or, for that matter, something a truly “liberal” or progressive person would want? The mindset that feels Israel needs to change course because it’s not achieving its goals of a workable military occupation is a very different one from the mind which feels military occupations are fundamentally wrong.

      Unfortunately, I think this gives us a window into Moreh’s real thinking and maybe even the truer, possibly unconscious, goal of his film. What is purported to be a condemnation of the occupation actually turns into something of a rationalization. It’s not unusual for Israelis to have conflicted feelings over their country. In fact, Moreh contradicts himself right within the above quote. First he says, “…you can’t portray Israel as the aggressive…,” then a moment later he says the Palestinians “…oppose the aggressive occupation.” It seems that he knows on the one hand that, yes, in reality, Israel is the aggressor in this situation. After all, it is an illegal military occupation. But on the other hand, he’s unable to fully let go of all the “Israel has a right to exist/self-defense” propaganda that’s he’s been fed over the decades. So he ends up fighting against himself. The “balancing” of the conversation tends to be used as a way to mitigate Israel’s crimes. Even though it may often be a subconscious technique: When an overtly violent act is perpetrated by Palestinians against Israelis, it’s fine to simply talk about that isolated act. But when an overtly violent act is perpetrated by Israelis against Palestinians (as is more often the case), “balance” must be struck by bringing up past actions by Palestinians to give the discussion the proper perspective.

  • Palestine, an Islamic issue?
    • Reasonable article. I do agree that the “Palestine Issue” is centrally a human rights and colonialist/territorial issue and trying to solve the problem should focus mainly on those aspects. But an article that tries to explain why the Palestine Issue is not mainly an Islamic/Religious issue, while not once specifically mentioning the Islamic significance of Jerusalem, the “Prophet’s Night Journey,” the al-Aqsa mosque, The Temple Mount, or The Dome of the Rock is, I believe, significantly incomplete. Briefly mentioning those issues within an article like this, so as to refute their centrality, would give this article more weight (mentioning "...the assaults on their holy places are firmly understood in that context," is not enough imo). Instead, not explaining them at all, unfortunately, creates the appearance of a “willful omission” in my opinion. No offense intended...

  • Congress invites Netanyahu to rebut Obama on Iran, and White House slams 'breach of protocol'
    • Thanks Maria. Re-tweets, eh? I'm assuming that's a good thing :)

      If I finish the satirical news article based on this Netanyahu invite to congress and it goes up anywhere, I'll let y'all know and maybe we can get that seen too. If I can do justice to my idea, it will be good...

    • Thanks Memphis. That's 60 more "followers" than I've got. I just feel that instead of preaching to the choir all time, maybe some "conservative," "right- wing" Republicans who so often refer to our Founding Fathers as sacrosanct might stop their knee-jerk Israel support, even if just for a moment, when they're shown that consistently giving Israel a pass due to our "special relationship" (i.e. - Passionate Attachment) goes against their precious George Washington's beliefs. A belief, in this particular instance, I wholly agree with. Anyway, thanks again Memphis. Real nice of you to oblige. Maybe someone will see it and reconsider...

    • I know there have been innumerable examples in the past, but Boehner's invitation to Netanyahu to address our Congress as a direct rebuke to our own President's intended policies has got to be the most brazen, obnoxious, and obvious example of George Washington's "Passionate Attachment" I've ever witnessed.

      I have a twitter account, but I don't know how to use the damn thing. If anyone here knows how to use twitter, could you tweet "George Washington rolls in his grave: #PassionateAttachment, #BoehnerNetanyahuCongress, etc.."

  • Avraham Burg's Israeli vision, and French passport
    • I think that Burg deceives himself... Agreed, Mhughes976. Ever since I read Burg's piece "Israel's Fading Democracy" in the NY Times a few years back, I've seen him as a typically deceptive self-styled so-called "Liberal Zionist." Self-deceiving and otherwise. All of his observations are filtered through the high powered, Zionist-designed rose-colored glasses you see him wearing in the picture above. I believe they were designed by the, then, newly formed Israeli Records Department of the Ministry of Truth in 1948 to perpetually alter the wearer's perceptions of the sins of Israel's past into not-so-bad, or even wholly moral and ethical, events and acts. They're a technical marvel and were way ahead of their time: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Jewish State. When this thoroughly imagined and cleansed past history is what passes in one's (Burg's) mind for reality, what kind of respect can one have for that person? For me, the answer is none.

  • Book Review: In Our Power - U.S. Students Organize for Justice in Palestine
    • Interesting post and links bilal a. Thanks. The emphasis on economics in the quotes/links you provide mirror my thoughts on the last few decades. They're still "making the desert bloom." Is Israel the current spearhead of Disaster Capitalism? I think so. You write "nationstates... are just window-dressing." Indeed. It reminds me of a movie:

  • David Brooks says 'people from around the world' can serve in Israeli military
    • I disagree. I do think it's inaccurate. Not technically wrong, I guess, but inaccurate. Here's why: compare Brooks's phrase "which allows people from around the world to serve in the Israeli military", w/ this phrase, "which disallows the majority of people from around the world to serve in the Israeli military." Which is more accurate? The answer is obvious. I'm with James and Philip on this one. Accuracy was not Brooks's priority here. Brooks intentionally omitted the detail of having to be a Jew because he knows most folks would find it objectionable. Or at the very least, undemocratic?

  • 'Israel is becoming an isolated ghetto,' says Amos Oz
    • Good piece Phil. I just started reading this Cohen piece from the Times a few minutes ago. I got to the part that reads, "The last Gaza eruption, with its heavy toll and messy outcome, changed nothing. Hamas, its annihilationist hatred newly stoked, is still there parading its weaons." At that point, about one quarter through the piece, I knew I was reading a so called "Liberal Zionist," propaganda status-quo article posing as "balanced" journalism. Conservative is the new Modeate...

  • Caroline Glick melts down with European diplomats
    • MRW: "For my part, she gives Jews a bad name."

      Right on, MRW. I'm with you.

      To borrow/paraphrase from the great Frank Zappa, "You know something people? I'm not an Arab, but there's a whole lotta times I wish I could say I'm not a Jew." Watching Glick is one of those times. She's a consistently grotesque embarrassment: To people generally, and to Jews more specifically. Part of me feels sorry for her because she's so obviously deluded and tormented (however self-inflicted her torment is...). But a larger part of me just gets angry knowing she's got a larger megaphone than people who could do some good. Damn...

    • For talknic and Susan, look below for my post from yesterday to see Vahr's response...

    • Here you go louis2decaro:

      link to

      While it’s of course good that Vahr called Glick out on her infantile equating of opposition to Israeli policy with anti-Semitism, I must admit to personally not being very impressed with Vahr on the whole. His groping at the non-existent last straws of the Two-State Solution is annoyingly “Liberal Zionist” and of course very status quo.

      But more than that, Vahr’s explanation of his “enlightened double standard” as applied to Israel (as seen just before Glick’s tirade in the clip Annie provides in her article above) makes basically no sense to me. Mainly gobbledygook. His attempt at explaining the “morality” or reasoning behind holding Israel to a different “standard” than other countries/states is, like Glick, another manifestation of a person trying to reconcile internalized opposites. Not on par w/ Glick’s epic internal struggle, but nonetheless…

    • Speaking of irony, maybe I should've titled this poem "Ode To Glick" instead:

      link to

      Though she'd likely read most of it as un-ironic. Or should say, un-ironical?

    • Excellent article Annie. However, I slightly disagree w/ you when you write that Glick's "mobile facial expressions and body language...," show " much disdain she has for her adversaries." I'd agree that it does show that, but I feel that more importantly it shows her psychic split. Her internal conflict is wayyyyyyyyy worse than even your garden variety "liberal Zionist." And their's is pretty huge on average already. Though I'm not a fan of analyzing people psychologically in general, I honestly believe there's no possible way that under all her sound and fury, deep down under the massive fortress of paranoid hysteria she's built into her mind and into Israel's culture, way under in the dark she feels the truth buried beneath the lies. Her freakish mode of communication you observe is a result of her inner conflict. And it is epic. She's in a terrible struggle w/ herself and it manifests itself in ways which are audible and visible when she talks about Palestine. By the way, I hate new-agey jargon like "inner conflict," etc... But w/ Glick there's no getting around it. She's a freak show and it's obvious. Pamela Geller on acid and cocaine...

      For anyone interested in some other info/writing on Glick, below is an excerpt I wrote a couple years ago from my never-to-be-finished-published book on Palestine (the video referred to below is the grotesquely offensive "We Con The World" video about the Mavi Marmara):

      "So not only did the Israeli government distribute and praise a tasteless video mocking the freshly murdered activists, but its army edited radio transmissions to paint these same activists as anti-Semitic when they didn’t even know who was speaking in the transmissions, and they also claimed these activists were the most reviled terrorists in the world (al-Qaeda) when they knew no such thing. When you look this stuff in the eye it’s quite unbelievable that it is truly happening.

      The 2nd fact that disallows the shrugging off of this video was that it was produced by Caroline Glick. Glick is a Senior Middle East Fellow at the neo-conservative D.C. think-tank Center for Security Policy, has served as assistant foreign policy advisor to Netanyahu, and most importantly is the deputy managing editor for The Jerusalem Post and a journalist for the right-wing Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon whose editor in-chief, Uri Elizur, is a former chief of staff for Netanyahu. Glick and the Israeli government’s press arm felt it was appropriate to mock the massacred while their bodies were nearly still warm. How she still holds any position at The Jerusalem Post or Makor Rishon is a testament to the pervasive stranglehold anti-Palestinian ideology has over Israeli culture and institutions. No journalist would remain in such high profile (and likely very lucrative) positions in the U.S. newspaper establishment after producing such blatantly offensive and partisan trash. Glick remaining the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post is like Pamela Geller becoming the Washington Post’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief. In a word: scary.

      To open her speech at the 2013 Jerusalem Post annual conference held at the Marriot Marquis in New York City, Glick again showed off her polished comedic skills by stating through a smirk “I decided not to talk about Iran because I don’t think there’s anything more to say except bombs away.” The crowd response to this quip was a mix of laughter, cheers and applause. This type of ultra-hawk rhetoric grants Glick cache in the U.S. neo-conservative community. Her position as a “fellow” at Washington’s Center for Security Policy also allows her to fundraise for her Israeli satiric video production company LatmaTV: “Latma… is an initiative of the Center for Security Policy in Washington.”[xxxiv] So a major think-tank in Washington, ostensibly devoted to security issues facing the United States, spends some its time and energy initiating and indirectly funding an ultra-right, Islamophobic Israeli satiric video enterprise led by Glick which produces content that mocks murdered activists. I feel safer already.

      Here's the Glick/Krauthammer/Israeli line on the Mavi Marmara summarized: The side suffering all of the casualties, the side which had comparatively no weapons or training, the side with widely transparent and publicized objectives which are supported by nearly the entire world, the side which killed not one person during the event: they are the aggressors. While the side which inflicted all nine of the casualties (many by close range shots to the head), the side which was armed with live guns and trained by nearly the most powerful army in the world, the side which itself suffered a total of zero casualties during the event, this is the side which acted in self-defense. This is the logic that was put out for the masses. It’s also the line of reasoning not refuted by the Obama administration. Since all U.S. administrations essentially support Israeli policy and rhetoric by either actively confirming, or simply not refuting it, Obama has tacitly adopted this stance toward the Mavi Marmara.

      Three years after the Mavi Marmara, Ali Abunimah writes of the ongoing blockade imposed on Gaza in his article titled simply Yes, Gaza is still under siege. He writes of the daily electricity blackouts through much of Gaza, the severe lack of freedom of movement in and out of Gaza, the unnecessary and inadequate tunnel economy created by the conditions imposed by Israel, the suffocation of academics in Gaza, etc etc etc…[xxxv]

      Obama’s inaction, as many previous U.S. presidents, allows the occupation to push forward of its own inertia. The absurd ongoing free pass he extends to Israel reminds me of a classic piece by the late great Gil Scott-Heron titled We Beg Your Pardon. To borrow a phrase from Scott-Heron, Obama could be seen as the current incarnation of his “Oatmeal Man.” But instead of Scott-Heron’s indictment of Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon, Obama is just another U.S. president handing out pardons to Israel:

      “We beg your pardon America
      because we have an understanding of karma
      What goes around, comes around
      And we beg your pardon for all of the lies and all of the people who've been ruined and who look forward
      to next year because they can't stand to look at this one
      We beg your pardon America because
      the pardon you gave this time was not yours to give.”[xxxvi]

  • A point by point response to Alan Dershowitz’s 'Ten Reasons Why The BDS Movement Is Immoral'
    • Uhhhhh. Yes. That's quite bizarre. Even for Dershowitz. Could you supply a link? Thanks...

    • Important subject you're posting about Bandolero. Israel's (and the U.S.'s) perversion and strategic manipulation of the international discourse on "terrorism" is stunning when even nominally comprehended. It occurs to me that, here in the U.S., our vague and/or ever shifting, expanding and contracting definitions of the term "terrorist" somewhat mirror Israel's lack of commitment to the defining of their borders. Hmmmmm...

      Here's some decent explication on the subject from a premier expert:

      link to

      And here's a bit more from the great Glenn Greenwald (also referencing Brulin's work):

      "The best scholarship on this issue, in my view, comes from Remi Brulin, who teaches at NYU and wrote his PhD dissertation at the Sorbonne in Paris on the discourse of Terrorism. When I interviewed him in 2010, he described the history of the term — it was pushed by Israel in the 1960s and early 1970s as a means of universalizing its conflicts (this isn’t our fight against our enemies over land; it’s the Entire World’s Fight against The Terrorists!). The term was then picked up by the neocons in the Reagan administration to justify their covert wars in Central America (in a test run for what they did after 9/11, they continuously exclaimed: we’re fighting against The Terrorists in Central America, even as they themselves armed and funded classic Terror groups in El Salvador and Nicaragua). From the start, the central challenge was how to define the term so as to include the violence used by the enemies of the U.S. and Israel, while excluding the violence the U.S., Israel and their allies used, both historically and presently. That still has not been figured out, which is why there is no fixed, accepted definition of the term, and certainly no consistent application.

      Brulin details the well-known game-playing with the term: in the 1980s, Iraq was put on the U.S. list of Terror states when the U.S. disliked Saddam for being aligned with the Soviets; then Iraq was taken off when the U.S. wanted to arm Saddam to fight Iran; then they were put back on again when the U.S. wanted to attack Iraq. The same thing is happening now with the MEK: now that they’re a pro-U.S. and pro-Israel Terror group rather than a Saddam-allied one, they are magically no longer going to be deemed Terrorists. That is what Terrorism is: a term of propaganda, a means of justifying one’s own state violence — not some objective field of discipline in which one develops 'expertise.'"

    • Hey travellerh. talknic is of course correct in stating that "there is no easy shortcut" to understanding the details of the 1967 war. There's really no shortcut to even understanding it generally, and I'm certainly no expert. Here are a couple quotes/sources to add to talknic's post on deciphering Israel's war of June 1967:

      “Brigadier General Mordecai Hod, who directed the aerial assault that broke the Egyptian Air Force in the first three hours of the June 1967 war, was reported by Randolph Churchill and his son Winston to have said that not ten but sixteen years of planning went into that assault. 'We lived with the plan, we slept on the plan, we are the plan,' Hod said. 'Constantly we perfected it.' Brigadier General Peter Young, another British historian of the war, discussed the war plan with Brigadier General Ezer Weizman, the Israeli Deputy Chief of Staff, in October 1966. The Israelis had every last detail worked out, Young wrote. Early in the 1967 war he said in a BBC commentary that it looked to him as if ‘the pattern of 1956 is being followed with an unhistorical repetitiousness.’

      From Israel’s point of view, the 1956 war served as a rehearsal for 1967. The plans for the earlier war were only a year old when they were tested in action. Long before 1967 they had matured to near perfection and, as in 1956, required only favorable circumstances and a political decision to be put into action.”

      - From The Twice-Fought War (1969), Kennett Love

      “After 1957, Israel had to wait ten full years for its flag to fly again over that liberated portion of the homeland (Gaza). In June 1967 we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decide to attack him.

      This was a war of self-defence in the noblest sense of the term. The government of national unity then established decided unanimously: We will take the initiative and attack the enemy, drive him back, and thus assure the security of Israel and the future of the nation.

      We did not do this for lack of an alternative. We could have gone on waiting. We could have sent the army home. Who knows if there would have been an attack against us? There is no proof of it. There are several arguments to the contrary.”

      - Menachem Begin, speech from 1982 - from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

    • Excellent article Samantha. Since I believe Dershowitz deserves pretty much any derision directed at him vis-a-vis his incessantly manipulative and transparent lies regarding Israel/Palestine, I enjoyed this quote of yours the most (I laughed out loud for about 2 full minutes...):

      "Maybe we need to have a talk about what immoral means. I looked it up, and I can tell you that it doesn’t mean 'things Alan Dershowitz doesn’t like.'"

  • Does Hillel Int'l really believe that it can decide what political and ethical viewpoints are Jewish?
    • Wow... What in the world are you feeding that dog?!@#$% I want some :)

    • Hello Mr. Ascherman. We appreciate your participation here. If I recall correctly, I was impressed w/ your comments in Peace, Propaganda, & the Promised Land.

      But for the sake of being open and honest, a few things here seem to go against what I feel many strong supporters of Palestine (including myself) may think/want/believe. You wrote this above:

      "My full statement indicated that funds withdrawn from corporations directly building settlements, etc (As opposed to a more general criteria that anything supporting Israel’s economy is supporting the Occupation) should be reinvested in something positive in Israel."

      So, the way I read this, your definition of Boycott is to take funds away from the direct support of the occupation, only to funnel those same funds into the body which initiated and upholds this same occupation. Honestly, I don't see any other way to read what you've written. And it doesn't make sense to me. It's like a parent punishing their child by saying, "You didn't do what I asked you to do, and I'm sorry but I've got to punish you. You can't have the Porsche tonight. Take the Accord." Yeah... That'll show 'em.

      There's also this from your comment:

      "This is not relevant to those who not only want to end the 1967 Occupation, but are opposed to Israel’s existence."

      Please excuse the length it will take to parse out this sentence you've written here. But there's no shortcut when language becomes, intentionally or not, this oblique. By "this," in the sentence above, I assume you mean the shifting of funds from going directly inside the occupation, over to the creators and sustainers of that same occupation instead. And by "relevant" I assume you mean not really a very good/helpful idea. If my assumptions of how you're using the words "this" and "relevant" are correct, then I absolutely agree w/ you. It's not helpful. It's essentially delivering through the back door instead of the front. But the second half of the above sentence is where we really get to the problem: "those who... are opposed to Israel's existence." Ah, the "existence" idea/argument/jumble/canard which so easily and quickly spills into the "you wanna wipe the Jews into the sea" nonsense. Rabbi, I'm not saying you fall into this category, but the "existence" argument is generally used by people who don't want to get into more specifics about how Israel actually functions and was created. I already wrote a lengthy comment under another article here on the "right to exist" canard, and I won't do it again here. Suffice to say, you're generally right - but the problem w/ your language is specificity: People who support BDS are opposed HOW Israel is "existing." The desire to change HOW it exists is the whole reason for BDS. Existence schmistence...

      Finally, there's this:

      "Neither is it relevant to those who believe that Israeli opinion will never change or is irrelevant."

      Again, you are correct. Kind of... It's like the analogy I made above where the parent punishes his/her child by taking away the Porsche only to allow them use of the Accord instead. If Israeli opinion is the child's behavior, it can change and it is relevant. But it won't likely change if your punishment for bad behavior is to give it cake instead of ice cream...

  • It's always been a holy war
    • " you think history is over and that having a state is peculiar favour bestowed by God[?] states are rather mundane nasty little things we have many for all the good it does us, and as to God being angry with Jews, have you read your own book?"

      Amen, gamal.

    • Hey Mayhem. I'll do my best to skip the nonsense and get to the point. You write,

      "Let me say that I could well post a heap of suras from the koran that abrogate those posted by jd65."

      Please do that. And my reason for wanting you to do so are briefly explained below.

      I'm not religious. I don't believe in God. But I am interested in the Palestine Conflict. And since a large enough portion of those who speak on the subject in the media (read: a lot of what gets disseminated to the public) portray Islam and the Qur'an as "inherently violent" or "inherently Jew-hating," I felt the need to check it out for myself.

      The first time I read through the Qur'an, honestly, I was mainly bored. Talk about repetitive! Sheeeeeesh. To my mind, it seemed like a pretty generic rehashing of pretty standard (frustrating and crazy) Judeo-Christian tropes. But the Jew-hating angle didn't particularly jump out at me. This was a couple years ago.

      As we all know here, the Islam/Qur'an detractors have certainly not toned it down (to say the least). So a couple weeks ago I decided to read it again; this time taking notes on passages that I personally felt might show the Qur'an/Islam either in a particularly positive, or negative, light. Whichever the case may be.

      I'm only about a fifth of the way through, but so far I've found nothing that specifically states Jews and Christians are to be "hated" for simply being Jewish or Christian, but have repeatedly found passages which state very clearly, and others somewhat clearly, that the Old & New Testament, Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, etc... are to to be considered in the same line as Mohammad and The Qur'an. And that the people who follow those teachings/practices (Jews & Christians) are given the same rewards as Muslims.

      This is all kinda weird for me to be dealing with since, as I wrote above, I'm not religious. I see this conflict as a geo-political one w/ vague, relatively unrelated religious crap thrown into the mix by opportunists desperate to support their political position. Not as a religious one w/ vague, relatively unrelated geo-political crap thrown into the mix. But since the monkey wrench of religious slant/spin is consistently into the narrative, particularly the consistent demonization of Islam in the media by strict Israel supporters, I felt forced to deal with it.

      So Mayhem, I'd be interested to consider some your selections from the Qur'an which you feel abrogate the ones I've posted. Since you wrote that you could "well post a heap of suras from the koran," it sounds like this should be pretty easy and quick for you to do. But please don't post entire suras, as I'm sure you're aware that a sura is an entire chapter. Posting a few representative verses from a sura, as I've done above, should likely suffice to make your point. And of course, I'll read them carefully and place them in context.

      I'm using the Oxford University Press, Oxford World Classics version, reprinted 2010. Please let us know the version you are quoting from. Thanks...

    • I hear you Mayhem. You can find Islam’s, as you put it, "in-built antipathy toward Christians and Jews," all through the Qur'an. After actually reading it, it's easy to see that Allah and Muhammad feel Christians and Jews are much lesser beings than Muslims, and that Muslims believe Jews and Christians will go to Hell.

      Like in 2:62 where it states, "The Muslim believers, the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabians – all those who believe in God and the Last Day and do good – will have their rewards with their Lord. No fear for them, nor will they grieve."

      Or like in 2:136 where it states, "So you believers, say, ‘We believe in God and what was sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and what was given to Moses, Jesus, and all the prophets by their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them."

      Or like in 3:113 where it states, "But they are not all alike. There are some among the People of the Book who are upright, who recite God’s revelations during the night, who bow down in worship, who believe in God and the Last Day, who order what is right and forbid what is wrong, who are quick to do good deeds. These people are among the righteous and they will not be denied the reward for whatever good deeds they do; God knows exactly who is conscious of Him."

      Oh. Wait...

    • mcohen writes: "annie... are you saying that the murder of the 4 rabbi, s was justified, is that what this site is about..."

      I won't presume to speak for Annie or this site.

      But for myself, I see your question as quite rude and plainly disingenuous. It reminds me of someone else's comment from an earlier article here at MW. The commenter stated that one of Steven Salaita's tweets showed that he wanted all the Jewish settlers in the West Bank to be murdered. Anyone taking more than 30 seconds to read Salaita's tweet, place its single sentence in context, and honestly think about it knows this isn't what he meant by his tweet.

      In my opinion, mcohen, you've done the same thing here w/ your comment/question directed at Annie. You plainly know your question is ridiculous and rude. You are as transparent as the day is long. You are an internet troll residing in Hasbarastan. And you are doing no favors for the Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, Israelis, or any other decent honest people who are trying to truly understand this conflict and help it be somewhat resolved. You sir/madam, are the problem.

    • Hey Mooser: "'Even a child born of rape deserves to live.'

      Yes, but I don’t believe it’s customary to give the rapist custody, and make the victim pay child support payments to him. If I recall, an effort is made to catch the rapist and put him in jail, too."

      Yeah. And of course, just to be sure, Ahmed is attributing that attitude toward rape you quoted to "Liberal Zionists." I very briefly met Ahmed Moor at the One State Conference he helped organize at Harvard in early 2012. Excellent conference, though I'm not sure what to say about this above article. But the rape analogy he touches on and that you picked up on is something I've thought about before. In my mind, this rape analogy is directly related to the "Israel has a right to exist" canard.

      What is someone really asking when they ask, “Don’t you think Israel has a right to exist?” They’re actually asking if it had a right to have been born. But the real question they should be asking is about Israel’s conception, not existence. Because if something is going to be “born,” it already exists. So they’re question is gobbledygook. But it’s gobbledygook by design. People who ask that question in the context of a conversation on Israel generally don’t truly want an answer. Rather, posing the “right to exist” question is a technique used (consciously or not…) to halt discussion when that conversation veers too close to getting at any true understanding or explanation of actual root causes of the conflict. And after the question is posed, if it doesn’t succeed in simply shutting down the discussion - and instead, someone actually points out the fact that Israel’s war crimes and occupation and racist practices shouldn’t be intentionally shrouded by some sophomorically existential or metaphysical discussion on “existence” rights – the person will likely simply haul out the anti-Semitism card.

      Even divorced from the question of Israel, the whole concept of the “right to exist” is juvenile sophistry. Rights don’t have anything to do with whether something exists or not. Something either exists or it doesn’t. The question of rights (which are generally held to be FOR PEOPLE, not for countries), apply to real world actions or processes that actually affect peoples' lives; not to some nebulous philosophical conception of “existence” to be debated by Ivy League grad students over English beers during late-night bull sessions intended to impress the wide-eyed freshman babes (“Gosh Richard. You’re so smart! How do you know so much about philosophy and Israel and, like, laws and everything. Here’s my room key…”) Imagine asking if a particular person has the right to exist. It’s so absurd it scrambles the brain. There’s no ‘right’ for a person to exist. He/She exists. That’s it. Period. A person has been born. Full stop.

      Now, if a baby was conceived through a rape, the question of rights enter in terms of the manner of conception: ie: a rapist does not have the right to rape. But the fact of the baby’s ‘existence’ doesn’t lend any ‘rights’ to the rapist. It’s beyond disgusting to imagine a rapist pointing to the baby conceived during his rape after it’s born, and saying, “Do you think this baby has a right to exist,” as if somehow since the baby has a ‘right to exist’ his rape should not considered a crime, or the mere fact of the existence of the baby mitigates the heinousness of his crime, or that because the baby exists his punishment should be lessened. It’s grotesque, perverted logic. Yet this is what Israel does when it beats its detractors over the head w/ the “Does Israel have a right to exist” question. It's truly disgusting. The manner of creation (acts by human beings) can be subjected to questions of rights, but not the actual fact of existence. So asking the question “Do you think Israel has the right to exist,” or simply stating in a discussion that “Israel has the right to exist,” is meaningless unless you’re planning on going into the details of the formation of Israel.

      Zionism is the rapist. Palestine is the Mother. Israel is the baby. Zionism deserves life in prison (sorry guys/gals, I’m against the death penalty without exception). Palestine deserves massive reparations/settlements (pun intended). And Israel… Well, Israel is still a baby. Let its mother decide how to raise it.

  • 'Palestine is an anxiety' for Americans-- Salaita in New York
    • How any of you keep faith that interacting w/ yonah here is time well spent is beyond my comprehension, but hats off to you.

      Also, over the last week or so I've been so frustrated by the commenting/moderation/reply mechanisms of this board that I find myself not wanting to participate. They're really messed up and I don't know why. Very unfortunate as there's some good information and back and forth, but... Am I the only one who is having this experience? I'll write something, then it won't show up until 24 hours later; but something that wasn't present when I made a response is posted many hours before mine. Also, the "reply" function doesn't always show up where maybe it should so posts aren't positioned right. Whatever I guess...

    • I'll be as civil as possible here. In the tweet yonah quotes, Salaita did not mean "i wish all the settlers were stabbed or shot to death," as yonah suggests he did. Salaita meant nothing of the sort, and yonah knows it. Classic Hasbara spinning and trolling. Nothing but sad...

    • Hey just. You write, "an enormous loss for students, faculty, and the greater community of UIUC." While I'm generally not a fan of absolute certainty, of what you write here there can be no doubt. I also share your belief that Salaita will be offered a position at a more open-minded, less "funds-challenged" institution. I posted some of my vids of Salaita's brief speaking tour in Chicago a couple months back under a different article here at MW, but I didn't post the one you see below. It's shorter and goes directly to your point of UIUC's community losing out on a terrific presence in their classrooms. He speaks here (off the cuff in response to a student's question) specifically about how he deals w/ disagreements in his classrooms:

  • It's one state and 'kumbaya' is the way forward -- former Police drummer Copeland
  • Israel sows despair and senseless violence
    • Hey again seafoid. reading this post today by mcohen from another "thread" made me think of my post about Zionism changing/eroding/ruining Judaism under this article. It basically confirms what I, and yourself, wrote.

      mcohen writes:

      "transference of trauma as a method of healing is part of what zionism is in response to the attacks jews have suffered in the past 200 hundred years and therefore makes zionism essential to judaism."

      There it is. Black and white. Crazy sad.

    • I hear you Horizontal. Or as the kids today might say, I feel you...

    • Hey seafoid. You write, “Judaism is being destroyed in the process.” Very sadly, seafood, I agree with you. And by “the process,” I understand you to mean the Zionist project of creating modern day Israel by taking the land of Palestine by brutal force with the intent of creating an ethnically pure Jewish country, or state, or nation, or whatever word you wanna use to designate a geographical location. And all the horror that has resulted from this intent. However much the Zionists, “Liberal Zionists,” or any other Israel apologist wants to deny it, Israel and it’s savagery has now become the default representation/image of Jews/Judaism worldwide. It’s a horrifically sad truth.

      Zionism is destroying Judaism in two fundamental ways:

      1) Jewish religious zealots like Meir Kahane, in tandem with many secular nationalists like Netanyahu, Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, etc…, have succeeded in turning the issue of creating the “Jewish State” of Israel into a central area of concern for nearly all religious Jews (despite the fact that the creation of this ‘State’ is arguably diametrically opposed to a strict reading of the Torah – see ‘Neturei-Karta’ Jews et-al…). This is evidenced by every synagogue that I’ve entered (admittedly, not too many…) having an Israeli flag hanging inside the temple – often alongside an American flag. Just last week I went to see “liberal Zionist” Gershon Baskin speak at a temple in Evanston and greeting me on the lawn of the temple was a big “We Stand With Israel” sign. The issue is now centrally entrenched. (In a perverse/odd way, this manipulative conflation of secular nationalism and religious Judaism parallels the intentional conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism)

      2) Because of the entrenchment of this toxic issue into the temple and into religious Jewish life (not to mention its being forced into secular lives) over the decades, some people born into more secular Jewish families who may have been curious enough as adults to join a temple/synagogue to see if it was for them, never even consider it due to the knowledge that they will likely have to unconditionally support Israel to truly be accepted into the Temple’s congregation. I know this to be true because I am one of these people. And because I know that I am not exceptional, I surely cannot be the only one.

      So not only is Zionism driving people away from coming into Temple due to what’s being taught inside them, it’s no doubt driving people of conscience out of temples they may have belonged to for years/decades due to the corrosion of what’s being learned/discussed within the Temple. So Zionism’s destruction of Judaism is in the form of its corrosive influence on what’s being studied, taught, and emphasized by the temple as Judaism (the justification of colonial terrorism as necessary to Judaism). This corrodes/destroys Judaism itself. Then in turn, this trumpeted moral corrosion results in fewer and fewer people being interested in joining this community. Population destruction.

      So, Horizontal, I unfortunately disagree w/ you that “Judaism is not in trouble.” I understand your optimism that Israel’s crimes may force some religious Jews into some form of religious soul-searching, turning them into more moral religious Jews. And this certainly may be happening. But my feeling is that it is not happening in nearly as large numbers as those who are simply completely turned off and leave. My own family is a decent microcosmic example of all of this but it’s too personal for me to air on a public forum…

  • Kahanists attack school after synagogue killings
    • It's a good question Horizontal. Just's point about the culture in Israel generally (raised to hate/fear the 'other,' taught from a young age that all of 'Judea/Samaria' are is property of the Jews, etc etc...) is valid and certainly part of an explanation. And adele's point about social stigma and economic factors are valid points as well.

      You ask why there isn't a "similarly large anti-war movement in Israel" compared to the movement in the U.S. during the Vietnam war. I'm not knowledgable enough to know that. in fact, there isn't. My understanding is that there are a good number of "refuseniks" who do jail time instead of fighting for the IDF. And since Israel is of course much smaller than the U.S., I have no idea of the comparative numbers of Israeli refuseniks vs. American Vietnam draft dodgers. This would make an interesting, and difficult, study.

      I'd offer another main aspect to your question: Ultra orthodox Jews (many of whom are settlers in the West Bank) can be exempt from military service on religious grounds. So while officially being a member of an Armed Forces unit is off limits to these holy men and women, terrorizing and occasionally murdering their indigenous neighbors as pious civilians is permitted by Yahweh. And again, as far as the numbers/percentages of the population that takes advantage of these exemptions is beyond my knowledge.

  • Why I confronted Gregor Gysi
    • Thanks for responding Lefty. Glad you thought my little vid about the issue was worthwhile. And since it's not my goal to create these little things in a vacuum, I really appreciate you having "tweeted about it." Thanks.

      Yeah, agree to disagree on Sheen's intent/meaning is fine. When I get a chance to interview him I'll grill him on the issue of "Germans not being able to disagree w/ Jews" for ya :)

      I found the latest article by Evelyn Hecht-Galinski you mentioned. Unfortunately, I don't speak/read German and the "Google Translation" of the page was basically crap. So I can't discuss that one. This argument you say she makes: "German politicians and journalists are non-Jews. That’s why their definition of anti-Semitism is incorrect. I am a Jew. That’s why my definition of anti-Semitism is correct." It's obviously ridiculous. And, if she's a smart woman, as you yourself say she is, it's hard to believe she'd have written such blunt nonsense. But I'll have to take your word for it...

      Next time any Jew, Zionist or not, tells you he/she has the right to define anti-Semitism and you don't because they're Jewish and you're not, simply ask them to to give you their own quick definition of it. Dollars to donuts you get a deer in the headlights look for 'bout 5 seconds, then a request to change the subject...

    • Hey German Lefty,

      I understand the point you’re trying to make (and I agree w/ the sentiment), but I think you’re overstating it. I don't think that Sheen is saying “a German must never disagree with a Jew,” as you write. In fact, the very first line of the pull-quote you chose from Sheen says quite plainly “any person.” Not only Germans. And, of course, Gysi didn’t merely “disagree” w/ Sheen. He sided w/ people who publicly smeared him as an anti-Semite and, from a position of power, played a large role in canceling a planned speaking event - inhibiting his right to freedom of speech. Quite a far cry from simply disagreeing...

      Sheen points out (I purposely use the term “point out” instead of “singling out”) the players in this event as German, Jewish, Israeli, etc… because they (along w/ the Americans) are the main players in the conflict. All four of these groups play different roles in the conflict; too varied to go into in a little internet posting. I’d bet Sheen doesn’t believe that it’s “worse” for a German, as opposed a Peruvian, to slander him. Just that it carries w/ it a certain irony in this case. Or maybe that these four groups (Jews, Germans, Israelis, Americans…) have a certain responsibility regarding their prominent roles in the conflict.

      Anyway, I of course agree with you that any person has the right to disagree w/ Sheen’s ideas, conclusions, etc… But don’t agree that it should be forbidden to point out the fact of a participant in the conflict being German, Jewish, etc… As long as you’re not pointing these things out as a means to simply shutting them up; which I don’t think Sheen was doing here.

      Also, thanks for linking to those other Blumenthal videos above. Tremendous. He's a hero in my mind. A human hero. And a Jewish hero. And an American hero. I’ve made a little video detailing some of my thoughts on this “Toiletgate” event. Interested in your thoughts as well:

    • "Somehow Hoppie’s LOL does not ring true." Absolutely right Kay24. He/She used the same acronym responding to me on USS Liberty article page. It's obvious intentional button-pushing. There's nothing funny, really. What a drag...

  • Sea change down under: Ex-Australian Foreign Minister announces himself a 'Friend of Palestine'
    • Yup. Agreed totally w/ Krauss and Horizontal above, and "just" below.

      Sorry. “Sea Change?” Really? Carr is retired, right? The current Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, just the other week met w/ the directors of AIJAC and AJC who, “express[ed] [their] heartfelt gratitude and admiration for the country’s indispensable alliance with the United States and steadfast support for Israel,” to Abbott. And the current Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, believes Israel’s settlement building isn’t illegal; going so far as to have her U.N. representatives abstain from voting on resolutions against their being built, saying the resolutions against Israeli/Jewish settlement building were not “balanced.” Ah yes, the “balance” canard. Gross...

      So even though the current Australian administration is in lockstep support of Israel, a retired F.M. now in academe says a few critical things against Israeli policy and this constitutes a “sea change” in Australian politics? He’s retired. Reee… tire.. d. This means, essentially, he doesn’t have a meaningful/substantive role in policy-making, right? It reminds me of GWB’s press secretary’s book “What Happened” (Scott McLellan). It/he got the expected knee-jerk praise for being “brave” to write such a critical book. But it was all after the fact; after his real opportunity to actually do any good at the time of crisis. It’s relatively safe to be critical after retiring. These former officials can play the part of the unabashed, outspoken radical… But only after it won’t cost them their job.

      This all reminded of a small part of the brilliant (and truly brave/timely) Colbert Correspondent's Dinner Roast w/ George Bush back in 2006. I uploaded the 20 second clip (see below) that relates to the above article and my comment here. While watching it, simply substitute “Foreign/Prime Minister” for when Colbert says “General,” and substitute “Israel” for when Colbert says “Rumsfeld.” Same shit, different year/country.

  • Al Jazeera investigates the USS Liberty attack in 'The Day Israel Attacked America'
    • @ Hophmi:

      "...this conspiracy theory is repeated and repeated by the Arab lobby and their tiny cohort of American supporters..."

      Are these the Arab Lobbyists you're referring to:

      Thomas Moorer: Chief of Naval Operations from 1967 to 1970 and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1970 to 1974

      James Akins: U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from September, 1973 to February, 1976

      Dwight Porter: served in the United States Marine Corps 1942–45; Assistant Secretary of State for Administration from October 2, 1963 until March 28, 1965; United States Ambassador to Lebanon, from June 22, 1965 until September 12, 1970

      George Ball: Under Secretary of States in the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

      Ward Boston: served in World War II as a Navy fighter pilot; also special agent for the FBI; chief counsel to the Naval Board of Inquiry during the investigation of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty

      Admiral Isaac Kidd: Supreme Allied Commander of NATO's Atlantic Fleet; headed the court of inquiry into the bombing of the USS Liberty.

      How very un-American of you, Hophmi, to speak so disrespectfully of the U.S. Gov't/Military. Why do you hate America?

      Or this:

      "...there have been far more American murdered by Islamic terrorists than there have been Americans killed on the USS Liberty."

      Ah, the numbers game. When it suits you, Hophmi, you can cherry-pick some numbers and say, "Look, those Muslims kill so many people." But when other numbers/statistics are brought up in debate (ie: the wild disproportion of casualties in essentially all Israeli attacks against the Palestinians), you'll brush them off as "unhelpful" or "misleading" or somehow unimportant to the wider issue being discussed. And, of course, if we're talking sheer numbers of people killed, I can't imagine anybody beats the USA if you add up all the deaths from Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Native Americans, African-American killed due to slavery policies/transport, Central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, etc...), deaths resulting from sanctions against Iraq, attribution of at least a portion of Palestinians killed by IDF due to their connection to US funding, etc etc etc... If you wanna bring up numbers, Hophmi, you should first make sure the people you're talking with are uninformed. Else you're liable to come off as... how shall I put this... not credible.

    • Unfortunately, Annie, I'd have to fully agree w/ Amar here. The fact that Israel's attack on the U.S.S. Liberty was deliberate has been known (w/ public information available to prove the point relatively easily accessible) for maybe a couple decades now. At this point, for an honest documentary delineating the full story on the subject to be taken seriously by the American public it would have to have been produced and narrated by Sean Hannity. I think we all know how likely that would be. In Hannity's documentary on the Liberty Bombing, Israel would be portrayed as having saved American lives during the event...

      And Horizontal: "What does that say?" It says your in the minority who can separate the wheat from the chaff, my friend.

      Trustworthy Americans... Even if folks disagree w/ his ideas of how to govern and many of his other ideas, I think the majority of Americans who dislike Ralph Nader would still admit that he's trustworthy, extremely well-informed, and not a liar. It's essentially undeniable. Even w/ that being the case, the Israel issue is so corrupted that even this titan of decency and integrity cannot break through the Zionist Iron Wall of Hasbara and into the vast majority of Americans' minds. From 6 years ago:

  • Dempsey bucks Obama line by praising Israelis for Gaza tactics
    • The headline of this article ("Dempsey bucks Obama line by praising Israelis for Gaza tactics") is nauseating. Someone (read: nearly the entire U.S. public...) relatively unfamiliar w/ the conflict and the U.S. lockstep support and aid of Israel, would read it and think Obama and our administration is "tough on Israel." Sorry to not be a cheerleader here, but I see that headline as irresponsible. Approaching B.S. really. Sure, you can point to a couple things said here and there by a couple U.S. officials that seem to be harsh on Israel. But in the wider reality, Dempsey's remarks here (unlike what this headline suggests) are not out of step w/ what this administration and current government says/does. I'd copy and paste a bunch of links into this comment showing officials making statements completely backing Israel during Protective Edge, but we all know that'd be easy to do, right? Won't waste my time. Or maybe I'm just in a bad mood today?

  • Chickenshitgate: A dissenting view
    • Agreed. This is one of the best articles up on MW recently.

      And to Horizontal - your question: "[H]ow can Israel’s duplicitous policy (which Murphy correctly points out in the above article was built on trampling the human and national rights of Palestinians) regarding Palestinian statehood be so crystal clear to so many of us, yet such a murky mess to the political establishment, who all ought to know better?" My answer (possibly the same as your "depressing" one) is, "It's not [murky to them]." They simply talk one way, then walk the other; just like Netanyahu does. Their rhetoric doesn't match their actions. And it hasn't for many decades. And, yes, it's depressing.

      Murphy writes in the article, "There’s no excuse for US officials not to know this by now [Israel's true designs/goals]..." I'd be interested to ask Murphy himself if he actually believes "US officials" aren't aware of Israel's true goals of completely controlling the entirety of "Greater Israel" and disallowing Palestinians any actual sovereignty, or right of return, on their historic homeland. Does he really believe Obama, Kerry, Hillary, etc... aren't aware of this? Since at least the mid 80s, it's been apparent to anyone who has done even a modicum of honest, diligent research. Even w/out Murphy coming out and saying these people know but aren't forthcoming about it, this article is tremendously great.

  • A Palestinian actress in NY describes the end of belief in Oslo
  • Ambassador Power to kick off 3-hour event on 'never-ending' genocide of Jews
    • Ethno-narcissism for certain, MDM. And I'd offer that one of Finkelstein's major titles sums up the problem of their marketing techniques in a rather pithy manner: "On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History." I assume this abuse has been going on since First Zionist Congress, but most certainly since 1917.

      You say you "believe that these people do genuinely believe in the narrative to some degree..." For me, the key in that sentence is "to some degree." I don't believe that it's to such a degree that these folks are being honest when they speak out on Israel's "security issues," or when Wiesel recently accused Hamas of "child sacrifice" and called them (and by inference all Palestinians) "barbarians" in a very public statement (marketing), or Shmuley's equating Hamas w/ ISIS (in public advertising). Sorry. I don't buy that these people are actually that dumb. I'm fairly certain Elie Wiesel knows how to read...

      It's the same kind of problem I had over a decade ago when people constantly joked and wrung their hands about how "stupid" GW Bush and the rest of his administration was for their bungling of Iraq. That, too, was letting them off the hook (and laughing while doing it, 'cuz gosh golly it's just so darn funny how dumb they all are. by gum, hardy har har...). Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Rumsfeld, Bremer, etc... Those guys were not stupid (Well, maybe GW...). They're arrogant, self-serving elitists who believe the U.S is entitled to run the world (PNAC, anyone?). There's a difference. It's, of course, possible to be both arrogant and stupid, but you can also be just one or the other. They knew what they were doing. And so do Netanyahu, Shmuley, Power, Wiesel, etc...

    • Calling this event and the folks putting it on "paranoid" due to the theme of the event lets them off the hook. It’s not paranoia. It’s marketing. They know the theme of the event is bullshit. They cynically use this crap to market Israel. It's just one of their many methods of branding (likely the oldest one...). Nothing new here. You wanna call me paranoid for thinking this, that’s fine. I’ve got 15 years of seeing this shit in action; almost daily it seems. And that’s, of course, nothing compared to the Palestinians who've lost their lives/livelihoods to this grotesque, exclusionist marketing monstrosity for over 70 years now. And for what? What a disgusting sham…

  • Israeli army kills 14-year old Palestinian with U.S. citizenship
    • American: You've reached into my mind and written down my thought.

      You've also written the only two questions which still need answers (most other important questions have been answered by people like Ilan Pappe, David Hirst, Jonathan Cook, Nur Masalha, Edward Said, Michel Warschawski, Chomsky, Abunimah, Deek, etc...):

      1) How much longer? 2) What's the answer?

      Many say the answer to your first question would be something like, "Not much longer now." Witness the article just posted here today @ Mondo on Chomsky (I no longer need police, pro-Palestinian sentiment is spreading through the youth, etc...). I've heard optimistic talk like that since I started studying the conflict 15 years ago. Yet from what I can surmise (and I'll admit I'm no expert...), things have gotten nothing but worse on the actual ground for Palestinian Land, it's non-Jewish population, or its diaspora refugees. Part of me agrees w/ the optimistic sentiment and, yes, I can feel it here when I go to talks, read articles, etc... It just doesn't seem to help kids from getting shot and killed by the IDF for fucking throwing a stone, or from children getting bombed and killed for playing on the beach. And it doesn't seem to help non-Jewish people in Palestine get equal rights in their lives. How much longer? Hell if I know... Too fucking long.

      And my suggestion of the only real answer to your 2nd question: What's the answer? I can't print it.

  • Israel's Dead Soul: Steven Salaita's critical scholarship explains his dismissal from the University of Illinois
    • Hey Gracie. That's a good, concise video. But it's not even close to the whole event. If anyone wants/needs the full statements from Leiter and Abunimah they can be found on my youtube channel (see my comment above). Leiter's statement is 3 times as long as the one up @ EI, and Abunimah's full statement runs 20 minutes, vs. 12. The entire statement from Bassem Tamimi, who came from the West Bank, was not included. Also, Salaita's talk was virtually the same as the one I've posted above from Columbia College the following evening which runs 24 minutes, vs. 10. There's also additional worthwhile Q & A. Again, LaborBeat did an excellent job w/ that video. I'm just sayin'...

    • I was lucky to have the time to be able to do it. And thank you for the article. I feel this specific aspect (stifling speech and debate on Israel/Palestine on campus) of this wider issue is crucial. And the Salaita case, possibly to the demise of a good man, is bringing it to the fore. After seeing him speak 4 days in a row, and watching him thoughtfully answer a wide array of questions from the audiences, and from speaking to him a few times briefly, my impression is that Mr. Salaita is a very knowledgable, thoughtful and thorough person. All qualities which would make him an excellent instructor.

    • I was able to attend all of Professor Salaita's talks/events in Chicago last week and was permitted to videotape them. If anyone is interested, here's some of the footage:

      link to (Talk at Columbia College)

      link to (University of Chicago Law Professor Brian Leiter’s Introduction of Salaita)

      link to (Revealing Q & A from U of C; also includes response from Ali Abunimah)

      There's a bit more from these events on my channel if people want to see more.

  • Obama says Muslims bear responsibility to counter radical Islam (so are Jews responsible for Israeli violence?)
    • "Obama says Muslims bear responsibility to counter radical Islam (so are Jews responsible for Israeli violence?)"

      Does anyone else see a problem w/ this article's title? It's glaring to me...

  • Photo of six shoveling secretaries needs a caption
  • No justice, no peace -- in Gaza or Ferguson
    • Bravo Shireen Tawil. One of the best pieces I've read here in a while. Thank you. This sequence was particularly powerful (referring to Nixon's 'This is a test' phrase), "Nixon’s language also begs the question: What is he testing? Whether Black Americans can behave well enough to be rewarded with respect? Whether they can follow directions to stay home during curfew, and thereby merit the rights they are accorded as fellow humans? Whether they can be ‘good’ citizens and stop vocalizing their outrage, and then the police force might address its trigger-happy tendencies?" Damn straight. Those four sentences should be printed as a letter to the editor in every paper in the country...

    • Agreed Robert. When speaking about their relationship with the Palestinians and the countless lives they've ruined and snuffed out, Israeli spokespersons tell us, at best, quarter truths. They've spent so many decades perfecting their language of aphoristic lies and obfuscations ("only democracy in the Middle East," "right to exist," "right to defend itself," "most moral army in the world," "we made a very generous offer," "they want to wipe us off the map [ie: kill all the Jews]" etc etc etc...) that they now can't see that people are starting to (slowly) recognize their language for what it is: Gobbledygook. They just keep spewing it in hopes that nobody will notice. Some noticed right from 1948 and earlier. A few more started noticing after 1967 (USS Liberty, anyone?). More noticed after Lebanon, 1982. Now, after Operations Cast Lead and during Protective Edge (there's more of your Orwell observation right there in the namings of their operations, Robert. Truly a grotesque perversion of reality) it's possible that a majority of Americans may notice. Notice what?, you ask. Notice that the problem is Israel. Israel is the problem. That can't be said enough times: Israel is the problem. Israel is the problem. Israel is the problem. Israel is the problem. For the love of Pete, how long can they get away with it?

  • Daily News publisher, Gov. Cuomo, Yankees president, and NE Patriots' owner are latest to rush to Israel's side
    • "Randy Levine and his wife, Mindy, hosted the future soldiers at Yankee Stadium on Sunday prior to the game against the Cleveland Indians." Future IDF soldiers hosted by the team that's getting ready to beat the Indians. That's fitting, I guess...

  • In light of renewed call for boycott following latest Gaza attack, Verso Books offers free download of BDS anthology
    • That's an excellent question/suggestion Atlanta, and I hope someone here can do so. The obvious ones are Ahava, Dead Sea, and Sabra. But I'm sure there are a bunch more that maybe a lot of us use unwittingly. I did a little research a while back and thought I found that another hummus brand, Eat Well Embrace Life, was also Israel based. Which sucks because the stuff is well made. There's a fast food falafel place in the food court of the mall I work in called Maoz and I've wondered about that place as I did a bit of digging on that one as well and found some connections. Also, I'm not sure but I think I've seen some Dead Sea mall kiosks w/ "Deep Sea" labels on their products now instead of dead Sea. It reminds me of huge Oil Companies changing the name of their companies after giant oil spills or other controversies to hide their identity. Don't go buying any caterpillar bulldozers...

  • Democrat Eliot Engel appears at pro-Israel rally featuring anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller
    • For me, Geller is a grotesque caricature of the self-absorbed, Jewish conservative, Israel First crown. She'd be a joke to write off if she didn't have a bullhorn and a stage so often. Her own quote she refers to in the short speech above in this article from Alex (civilized, savage, etc...) is of course from the racist and offensive ads she took out two years ago. Back then I made a short video mocking her grotesqueness. Maybe of interest here:

  • Massacre in Gaza: At least 60 killed in Shuja'iyeh, over 60,000 in UN shelters
    • Hey Maximus. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you read my postings which included these excerpts:

      "I will say absolutely that their deaths are completely their own fault and responsibility; and also the fault and responsibility of the Israeli government and, yes, the U.S. government. I would lay approximately 0% of the blame on Hamas for their deaths."

      "[Zionism and Israel] are all bad. One of the most horrifically ironic historical events/facts in the history of history. Truly disgusting."

      "[Maximus], no doubt, shares the same anger we have against Israel’s grotesque policies, colonization, and killing. I understand his inability to care about Israeli casualties."

      Assuming you read that stuff, you were still able to aim this at myself:

      "It’s quite interesting that you seem to have a lot more to say about occupation soldiers killed in battle than about the hundreds of Palestinian civilians who were their victims."

      Implying that I value Israeli/Jewish lives more than Palestinian lives, without knowing the first thing about me aside from these few posts here, is so extremely offensive to me that I certainly won’t be engaging w/ you any longer. Your implication is unfortunate, wildly incorrect, and quite frankly, gross.

    • Thanks Elisabeth. Yes, I totally understand and share your incredible anger. For me, Cast Lead was the breaking point. Maybe "Protective Edge" is yours. I no longer see any good coming from "Zionism" or the creation of Israel and it's make me sick as an American jew. It's all bad. One of the most horrifically ironic historical events/facts in the history of history. Truly disgusting. However, even w/ all my anger, and even w/ all the facts about Israel's total culpability in the events occurring right now and all along this conflict since the early 20th century, I can still muster the intellectual ability to understand that saying you "don't care" about a person being killed - even if this person is a soldier on the wrong side of history - is morally wrong. From your post in response to mine it would seem you feel the same and for that I'm happy. From Maximus's response above to my post, it would seem he does not feel the same. He, no doubt, shares the same anger we have against Israel's grotesque policies, colonization, and killing. I understand his inability to care about Israeli casualties. But I don't share it...

    • Exactly right, Sumud. Over and over again I've made this point to Israeli-firsters/Zionists/Conservatives/whateveryouwanncallem and 100% of the time they will say something like, "Well, I don't wanna talk about numbers." Of course they don't. It's like forcing them to look in the mirror...

    • To Elisabeth and Maximus: It's your right to "not care" about the dead Israeli soldiers. But I do care about them. It's awful that they died in this conflict/conquest. However, at the same time, I will say absolutely that their deaths are completely their own fault and responsibility; and also the fault and responsibility of the Israeli government and, yes, the U.S. government. I would lay approximately 0% of the blame on Hamas for their deaths. But that's just me, and yes I do care about them as human beings.

      On a colder, more practical note, I feel that you two (Elisabeth and Maximus) should take more "care" in what you write. I'm certain you are aware of the giant, relentless and manipulative Hasbara machine. And I'm sure you are aware of its importance in the continuation of the occupation/conquest. Comments like yours out here in the internets are helping them w/ the Israeli PR war/campaign. They can point to your comments and simply say, "Look! They don't care about Jews dying. We have to defend ourselves against the new anti-semitism, look what what we're up against, blah blah blah etc etc etc..." Whether they're being simplistic in their criticisms (of course they are...) of your comments or not isn't the point. You're giving them the opportunity to say it and people eat it up. Is that what you want? Not trying to come off harsh, but I honestly feel that comments like yours are helping the israelis and that's the last thing I personally want. I assume the same for you two...

  • Israel is in a pickle
    • Hey Annie and American. I agree w/ both of you to an extent. I agree w/ Annie that this ground invasion feels a bit different than other Israeli military aggressions; a bit more "blind," desperate, craven and self-aggrandising than others. But, of course, that's not saying much. The Zionist Israel project has always been all of those things. But I also agree w/ American when he/she says that as long as Israel can broadly influence world governments (The U.S. particularly) to support their actions (ie: slaughters...), there will be no major "pickle." Annie: your mentioning Hezbollah, combined w/ the issue of Israel being horrified of any legitimate peace initiatives being proffered by a unified Palestinian coalition government (Fatah/Hamas), reminded me of the PLO and 1982. And this goes to American's point - Our U.S. government bends over backwards to make it look like we would do anything to keep defenseless Israel safe from all the scary Arab World countries into which it decided to insert itself over a century ago. In reality, if the U.S. ever truly withdrew unconditional diplomatic support and military funding, Israel would be more isolated than ever and would lose much of its military edge, forcing it to deal diplomatically with Palestine on the world stage. This is something in which Israel has consistently shown no interest, as evinced by Israeli military analyst Avner Yaniv’s classic description of the PLO’s willingness to engage in diplomacy toward a two-state solution as a “peace offensive” which needed to be neutralized through the brutal invasion of Lebanon in 1982. U.S. protection allows Israel to put off true diplomacy indefinitely. This is exactly what is happening this moment. Israel, the U.S., and Britain are fighting against the "peace offensive" that was (is?) the Palestinian Unity Government. They're scared. Are they in a pickle? I don't know...

  • On the photo of three Gaza brothers whose parents were killed by an Israeli bombing
    • Hey Citizen. I agree w/ you that most Americans can't process the information. Pardon the long post here, but the processing of media information on this conflict is something I wrote a little about a while back. This article, and your comment, reminded me of it. I summed up my thoughts after detailing how I think our media (and government...) manipulates and clouds our population's perceptions of these events. I have no other outlet so I'm hoping this is allowed here. Yes, it does relate to the photo above and the concepts in the excellent article. Maybe of interest to some below:

      This clouding of the nature and reliability of sources, and the general erosion of any faith in the integrity of media and politics, creates an environment where seemingly no information can be trusted. Add to this the increasing polarization of the political “right/left” narrative within the media, publishing worlds, and throughout the culture. This polarization mirrors, and widens, the same gap of attitudes within the Jewish community toward Israel (not to mention the polarization between the rich and the poor). Publishing houses and news organizations put out increasingly conflicting content. So conflicting now that it’s to the point of complete opposites. This is certainly true of content relating to the Israel/Palestine conflict, but maybe the more obvious example of this phenomenon familiar to all Americans would be the case of the Bush II administration. We have thousands of books and reports on their war crimes, impeachable offences, intentional deceptions of the public, improper justice department firings, legalization and acceptance of torture (not unlike Israel), corporate welfare, etc… We also have a huge amount of publications praising this same administration’s moral authority, the legality of their tactics in their “war on terror” and their necessity to the world’s safety, their fair and honest tax policies that allow businesses to grow and hard-working people to reap the fruits of their labor, etc… Leaving aside the validity of either side’s argument, there can be no debate that they are essentially opposites. And like the physical acoustical properties of opposite signal waves, they cancel each other out. When people are confronted with so much wildly conflicting information, the natural impulse can be to shut it all out. Trying too hard to make sense of so much polar opposite information could literally drive some to experience serious, prolonged, and unresolved cognitive dissonance. This could lead to major behavioral problems, so ignoring this information can be a survival mechanism. But when people decide (or are led) to ignore information, they become susceptible to being manipulated solely through their emotions. This opens up the floodgates to mass manipulation. The inability to trust the media and publishing houses, coupled with the reflex of shutting out conflicting reports with polar opposite spins on the same realities of major issues, is the end of information. The “Information Age” has imploded and has left us with its evil twin: The Age of Disinformation. In 21st century technology-speak, it’s as if the whole of our news/media/mass information system is one large corrupted file.

  • Joining Graham, Schumer calls for end of Palestinian unification for sake of Israel's 'survival'
    • From the above article: "Does the survival of that state require slaughter?" The answer to that question is yes. If we're talking about the state that the founding Zionists envisioned and wanted, and leaders like Netanyahu want, then the answer is yes. There are many well known quotes showing that men like Dayan, Jabotinsky, etc... knew slaughter would be necessary. And they moved forward with it. They are still moving forward with it. It's happening as we speak. That's why Israel is such a grotesque reality to be existing today; let alone when this sort of colonialist slaughter and repression was more the norm.

  • Missing Israeli teens found dead near Hebron; Netanyahu: 'Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay'
    • Robert G. Sugarman... and Malcolm Hoenlein: "[These murders] cannot be met by indifference or pro-forma expressions of sympathy. For too long the threats against Israel, including missiles and terrorism, have elicited limited responses, with the roles of victims and perpetrators inverted. It must stop.”

      This may be the most disgustingly ironic statement I've ever read. I've not been this terrified for the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank since Cast Lead. No words to express my frustration and anger right now. This is a very dark day.

  • 'J Street has to change or die': Divestment battle exposes tactical rift among liberal Zionists
    • Thanks seafoid. I wish it was shorter, but it is what it is and I hope you get through it (I'd suggest headphones for helping you find 'quiet'). It's basically clips of the J Street sponsored speaker at a showing of The Gatekeepers and my responses cut into them. There a few other supportive clips added as well (Chomsky, Amira Hass, Beit-Hallahmi...). What does the "J" stand for in J Street, anyway? So many options...

    • Ah, J Street. I'm something of a broken record on this subject. I don't buy the term "liberal Zionist." And I don't buy J Street. The article I wanted to have published here a couple years back made my thoughts clear on it, but that didn't work out. I've made two videos (over a year ago) on this topic: one short, one long. The long one is the better one and it's also about Dror Moreh's film The Gatekeepers. Movies such as The Gatekeepers and organizations like J Street are of a piece.

      I'm under no illusions that folks here will be too interested in these, but if anyone actually watches the entire longer piece, I'd be interested in any thoughts. J Street is not an organization that is attractive to anyone who believes in universal equal rights:

  • Israel announces identity of suspected kidnappers, still no evidence of abduction made public
    • If Abbas did dissolve the partnership due to these, as yet unconfirmed, kidnappings, he and Netanyahu would say that it would be "to end the sweeps/home invasions/killings," as you say. But after a brief period of "relative calm," I assume the sweeps/home invasions/and killings would continue just as they have for decades and decades. The dissolution would stop nothing, really. Maybe if we got Scarlett Johansson to interrogate Gary Oldman w/ some enhanced interrogation techniques at Gitmo, we could get some solid intel on these three Jewish Israeli teenagers...

  • The Ramallah bubble just popped: Reflections on a city under siege
  • After ADL says opera is 'biased' toward Palestinians, Met cancels broadcast, citing rising anti-Semitism
    • "some local Zionist friends suggested I change it to give it a neutral point of view..."

      You can't be neutral on a moving train. You are right Philip to not "neutralize" yourself. Your Zionist friends' suggestion of neutrality is the same technique as the "balance" canard in the media. Creating an image of balance out of an obviously unbalanced situation is simply inaccurate. Be neutral? That's like standing with a bucket of water in your hand next to a man on fire and opting to wait for it to rain 'cuz you don't feel you should "interfere."

      Prediction: This cancellation of Adams's work is so outrageous that it will have repercussions many years into the future. Adams is a giant figure in American music, and in music history generally. This is a MAJOR event. The Met fucked up. But big...

  • Don't let Pamela Geller speak for American Jews
    • Not a bad article. I think most informed, reasonable people know that Geller is completely [fill in the blank here w/ favorite relevant pejorative]. Related specifically to Rachel Roberts's subject above, I made a very short vid a couple years back on Geller's [fill in the blank here w/ favorite relevant pejorative]. Enjoy:

  • Don't destroy our dream-castle Israel! (Why the Jewish establishment shut out J Street)
    • "J Street is controlled opposition. They never came into being until acknowledgement of and criticism of the Israel Lobby began to be seen. They are the wolf in sheep’s clothing." Giles is exactly right. Except that the word "opposition" is too strong. Understudy, perhaps?

      I attended a J Street event a few years back. Disappointingly, my impression from this event was that J Street is simply another example of the prescience found in Chris Hedges’s Death Of The Liberal Class. Hedges writes that the true left/liberal class in America - the one that used to fight for universal rights and justice through the beginning of the 20th century (many of whom were Jews incidentally) – has been diluted to the point of being a useless shadow of the moderate/conservative “center.” Over the last century, true liberal values and activism have been neutralized in this country and replaced with pseudo-liberal organizations like J Street. Progressive ideas live on in diluted rhetoric but not in action. Instead of a sincere emphasis on the need to end the illegal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank (to my memory, the word illegal was never used in reference to the occupied territories during the event), with concrete and specific policies toward that end, J Street and Ben-Ami presented the same old UN bashing, military worshipping, “right to self-defense, right to exist, right to self-determination (for Israel), right of return (for Jews only)” Israeli-centric blather. Truly progressive, liberal attitudes place “Jewish rights” as a subset of “Human rights,” not above them.

  • 'NYT' self-censors, axing headline blaming Israeli settlements
    • Good piece here. And, as always, excellent work from Representative Press. If anyone here is unfamiliar w/ the man being interviewed by RT at the end of the vid, I suggest googling four words: "Miko Peled Revolution Books." The first hit will be an excellent, long talk given by Peled. It will give you a good idea of where he's coming from and why he should be amplified when/if at all possible. He doesn't shy away or sugarcoat in any way the fact that, at the root, Israel is to blame. As he says, this is not a balanced issue. So he doesn't give balanced talks. To give a "balanced" talk, as defined by nearly all mainstream media (ie: NYT, CNN, ABC, Fox, NPR, etc...), is to be inaccurate. Balance? Oy veh...

  • Canadian groups press Neil Young not to play Israel
    • i think we can all guess pretty accurately what hophmi's thoughts might be on the video considering his referring to the BDS movement as "anti-jewish," which it, of course, is not. However, as good as the intentions are w/ this video, and while i whole-heartedly support the idea of trying to convince Neil Young to cancel his concert in Israel, i think this video is approaching trash. i think Independent Jewish Voices would be taken much more seriously by Young had they simply stuck to showing him the facts of the situation instead of using Young's own music (presumably without permission) in a lazy video that makes all too broad "connections" between Young's topic in the song Ohio and Israeli oppression and Operation Cast Lead. it trivializes both events (particularly OCL). the stringing together of relatively random violent images w/ phrases against Israeli oppression, then saying "look Neil, it's like Ohio" is not helpful. i'd assume it is likely the opposite. and i understand that some would say these images are not random, i'd say they do come off somewhat random unless the viewer is already very aware of the particulars of OCL and are already a supporter of the Palestinians; which Young apparently, sadly, is not... yet. and if this video's intent was to "inform" Young about Israel's lack of human rights for all citizens, war crimes, lack of constitution, illegal settlements, etc etc etc..., it's a bogus attempt. good intent, very bad execution. if i was Young and was relatively uninformed about Israel's track record of daily oppression of the Palestinians, their war crimes, and the U.S.'s aid in their war crimes and Apartheid, i'd've taken one look at this video and said to myself, "Wow. That video sucked, the IJV abused my music and I don't really know why. Maybe I'll add another tour date in Israel." bummer...

  • Eric Alterman continues to justify lack of Palestinian voices at 'The Nation'
    • thought you should know that when i read this, "I think Eric feels reality is some kind of anti-Israel plot, and he’s getting increasing pissed off about it," i laughed out loud. no, seriously. out loud for about 10 full seconds. i think it bothered my neighbors. thank you :)

    • I wrote off Alterman as a major league jackass after witnessing his idiotically misplaced venom heaped on the great Ralph Nader in the documentary "An Unreasonable Man." If Nader wasn't a Lebanese-American who openly criticizes Israel when they deserve it, I'd bet Alterman wouldn't've blamed Nader for Bush winning the election and subsequently for all the ills caused by the that administration. He is a Jackass and one of the best examples of the so-called PEP.

  • Reactions to Ariel Sharon's death over social media (Updated)
    • all the predictable reactions from all the usual players are of course nauseating.

      however, i wouldn't say i'm happy he's dead. but then, i'm certainly not happy that he was ever alive either.

  • J Street's leader will debate two-state-solution with Munayyer and Lustick on Capitol Hill
    • hey kayq. i'd say phil is partially right: imo J Street isn't "becoming" part of the lobby establishment. they always have been part of it. J Street is a trojan horse. here's a small vid i made on them:

      link to

      there's a longer vid on my channel that deals w/ J Street a bit more in relation to the film Gatekeepers...

  • J Street's keynote speaker was ambassador for Gaza slaughter of '08-'09
    • "I ask again: Why is a liberal American organization hosting someone who played such a prominent role in a war targeting civilians?"

      Because J Street is not a "liberal" organization. They spend a lot of energy creating the illusion that they are liberal when they are actually quite conservative/status quo. If my piece on J Street had been published here I'd be able to refer folks to my thoughts on that here at Mondo. Anyone who is interested can see it here:

      link to

      Scroll down for the piece on J Street...

  • Was James Gandolfini sucked into Tony Soprano's fierce dream?
    • Is this short article intimating that James Gandolfini is dead because he played Tony Soprano? Wow. Wildly disrespectful and, imo, intellectually childish. James Gandolfini was a great actor and, from what I've seen, a great person. He obviously had some unfortunate health issues coupled w/ some bad choices. But his death had nothing to do w/ his playing Tony Soprano. WTF? Gimme a break.

      If you haven't yet seen it, I would suggest seeking out and watching "Romance And Cigarettes" for anyone interested in Gandolfini's gift. Great, great actor. RIP.

  • 'NYU' business school and 'Think Progress' endorse businesses that operate in occupied West Bank
    • Oh snap! Didn't know this was up here. I was directed here yesterday after I received info from a tweet by Max B. I think... Thanks Annie :)

    • had a video "contest" recently for ads countering the sodasatream super bowl ad. i found out a bit late and only had half a day to put mine together, but here it is anyway:

      link to

      i assume there's no way to embed video here so click on the above link if interested. some of the other vids were worth a viewing as well. maybe some folks saw them and thought twice about buying sodastream afterward. a guy can dream :)

      too bad we didn't have 3 million dollars to waste like sodastream did to buy time actual air time during the super bowl...

  • Day after Israel rejects ceasefire, bus explodes in Tel Aviv outside IDF Spokesperson office
    • agreed American. the second i heard about this bus bombing i thought the same. i guess we'll see.

      and by way of showing this kind of thinking is not what simpletons would label "conspiracy theory," from David Remnick’s “The Vegetarian” in The New Yorker magazine, 9/3/12:

      “[Reporters] Yigal Sarna and Anat Tal-Shir once investigated a story that, before the Israeli’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon… Meir Dagan (former Mossad director) led a secret unit across the border whose mission was to instigate terrorist events that would justify an incursion. Military censors killed the story..."

      and this - from a 1976 interview where Moshe Dayan talks about a relatedly devious Israeli technique (used just pre '67 6-day war) in provoking hostilities while making it seem like the Arabs/Palestinians are responsible for the escalation:

      "We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn't possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that's how it was..."

      we don't know yet about the bus bombing. but since there has been no claim of responsibility yet, and considering the above historical facts/anecdotes, thinking it may have been administered by the Israelis themselves is in no way an absurd idea.

  • Segregation in the 'democratic state' of Israel
  • J Street sells its soul, completes evolution to AIPAC lite
    • Hey seafoid. I assume the "Nice try" was for me? That reads to me like some kind of accusation of me trying to justify Israeli actions (ie: Operation Cast Lead) or of my trying to play down the war crime that was OCL. You have no idea how offensive that is to me.

      From my understanding the generally accepted/agreed upon number of Palestinian civilian casualties during OCL is approximately 700-800. This means, B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, etc… While I understand the argument that the number may be higher depending upon differing classifications of “civilian” vs. “combatant” (police, etc...), making a blanket statement like “All 1,400 were civilians…” is not useful. Why is it not useful? Because it gives Israel apologists something to point to and say crap like, “Look! The Israel haters lie w/ their statistics to justify their hatred of Israel. Why do they hate us?!” You’re giving them ammunition. And so is Rosenberg by putting it in "print." Don’t give them the chance to say that shit. Isn’t the conservative estimate of 700 civilians killed, 300 of them children, horrific enough? Of course it is. And since it’s accepted, it can’t be argued against. It was a massacre even by the conservative estimate. I say stick w/ that for now and don't give the apologists a chance to evade the truth of the crime by giving them the chance to focus on some other detail.

    • Decent article by Rosenberg. Except this:

      "...I say tell that to the people of Gaza, including the 1400 civilians (300 kids) who heard all about that context in 2009-2010."

      This seems to be referencing Operation Cast Lead (OCL), right? With the numbers that are used, the dual-year date marker "2009-2010," and the specification of Gaza - Rosenberg must be referencing OCL, right? What else could he possibly be referring to? I agree w/ his point about "contextualizing," but with an event this historic, he's got to get his facts right. And since Mondoweiss put this article up on their site (presumably having read it through), they need to get it right as well. It wasn't 1,400 civilians killed in OCL, it was approximately 700. 1,400 is the number of total palestinians killed (I use the word massacred). And it wasn't 2009-2010. It was 2008-2009.

      Sure, some people could say that parsing numbers and details like these is unimportant. I'm not among them. Get it right.

  • American Jewish relationship with Israel is debated at New School
    • That being said, I would be interested to read your longer take on J Street. Perhaps MW could give you my email address (fine with me) or forward your essay to me.

      I'd be more than happy to forward/send you the little essay on my J Street experience. That's nice of you to be interested. But I don't know how :( I'm totally new to the board here and it seems there is no way to "private message" another member on the board. Maybe I'm missing something simple? At the moment I'd prefer to not put my private email up here. However, I have listed my little youtube channel address in my personal info here at mondo. If you have a youtube account maybe you could message me over there?

    • Hey David (and Mondoweiss…).

      General info: while the New School may have recorded the event, there was a gentleman there from C-Span as well who told me that it would be up on their site shortly.

      I also attended this talk/debate and like you, David, was also very impressed w/ Baltzer.

      There was disagreement over the term Zionism. Norman argued that it should be avoided, because it means different things to different people… Anna responded that we have no business telling or advising Palestinians not to use the word…

      This awesome exchange brought us the most hilarious soundbite of the afternoon from NF: “For most people, Zionism is a hairspray.” Priceless! While I agree w/ NF about the currently confused nature of the term “Zionism/Zionist,” by no means should anyone be told not to use the term. If you’re speaking w/ someone who uses the word, and you’re not sure what they mean by it, simply ask them, “What do you mean Zionist?” NF should not be in the business of trying to restrict someone else’s language but simply holding them accountable for how they use it. Many words are slippery and broad in meaning – shifting in specifics from context to context. People have different views of the term/word “Jew.” Is it a religion, a race, a culture, a nationality, etc… Should we stop using that word as well? Or should we simply demand clarity when it is needed? I, and it seems Baltzer, side w/ clarity and not the unnecessary narrowing of language. This is particularly personal for Baltzer as she is, from what understand, involved w/ IJAN (Internat’l Jewish Anti-Zionist Network). Somehow this reminds me of an old SNL mock TV commercial: “It’s a floor wax – No, it’s a dessert topping. Wait: It’s both!”

      Anna had an excellent line about J Street. While expressing her differences with the organization, she called it a “gateway drug,” explaining that Jews who are attracted to its message as an alternative to AIPAC could be persuaded to move further along and leave J Street behind

      While this may have worked for you David, I’m personally skeptical. I had a very negative experience w/ JStreet and feel they may even be harmful. I wrote up a JStreet event I attended a while ago, but it was unfortunately too long for publication here a Mondoweiss. (I’d be more than happy to send my little article to anyone who is interested. Just lemme know). The “Gateway Drug” analogy for me is suspect. JStreet puts itself across as a “Progressive/Liberal” organization representing the majority view of American Jewry. From where I stand, it is no such thing. But American Jews who hear the words “Liberal, Progressive, Majority” and want to start learning about the conflict may join because they consider themselves to be progressives. My fear is that people starting out learning about the conflict from JStreet will be convinced that JStreet’s stance is actually “progressive” because that’s what they’re being told. This contributes to the general deterioration of the true “Liberal Left,” similar to what is detailed in Hedges’ “Death Of The Liberal Class.” JStreet is a very slick scam imo.

      The last question selected by Shatz for the Q&A happened to be from me. And, imo, Shatz showed some chutzpah for choosing it. It brought up the issue of the ubiquitous Two State Solution vs. the increasingly proposed One State Solution. For me, this is where I have the biggest issue w/ NF. He is completely and immediately dismissive of even discussing the possibility - to the point of close-minded condescension. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve read a good amount of NF, seen him speak twice and have a HUGE amount of respect and admiration for the man. I don’t see that ever changing. But I feel on this issue he has something of a “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” syndrome happening. He’s been focused like a laser beam on the Two State Solution for, what, 30 years now? After all that time and professional/emotional energy spent, switching from that to a quite different attitude could be, dare I say, near impossible and maybe too much to ask. Though I disagree w/ him on his dismissiveness of the option, I can understand his inability to wrap his head around its possibility. As for his spoken justifications for the Two State Solution being the only solution worthy of consideration, I may try to write something more on that after the video is published. He has a very specific reason for his argument, and I have a very specific reason I disagree w/ his argument.

      Hello Mondoweiss ☺

    • u-s-officers-in-israel-for-military-exercise

      Time said Washington had reduced the number of military staff going to Israel, as well as the number and strength of missile defence systems that would be used during operation Austere Challenge 12.
      Of the initial 5,000 US troops lined up to take part in the exercises, only up to 1,500 will take part. US Patriot missiles will be sent as originally planned, but not the crews that were to operate the batteries, Time said.

      In addition, only one of two Aegis anti-missile cruisers is bound for Israel, and even this is not certain, according to the magazine.
      Raw Story (link to

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