Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 2493 (since 2013-01-23 13:17:29)

Showing comments 200 - 101

  • Palestinian negotiators angered as Kerry proposes Israeli demands
    • @Amigo

      Drop this BS Abass and go to the Hague and put some pressure on Israel and it,s criminals and their morally bankrupt apologists.

      The Zionist in me agrees: Oh please Abass, publicly embarrass the President and the Secretary of State by bypassing them and ignoring their process. Make sure that Israel has a free hand until at least 2017 and probably late 2020.

      In exchange they will get the a piece of paper along the lines of, "The following 25 Israelis are jerks and if we had the power arrest them, and weren't terrified of what holding them would mean even if they do accidentally do end up in a place where arresting them were possible we would definitely toss them in jail".

    • @Ivri --

      Exactly! Though of course either side could turn around make major concessions and get a deal, neither side's population is interested in a deal the other's population would accept. The peoples are simply too far apart. The most liberal Israelis (Meretz) and the most liberal Palestinians managed to strike up a good working deal about a decade ago. But the last decade Israel, post Sharon I can't imagine even liberal Israelis support that.

      I think the eventual deal will be more or less:
      Israel Annexes Area C and possibly some of B
      Areas A, Gaza and possibly some Palestinian parts of '49 Israel become colonies though get to be called "a state" as a legal fiction.

      What's happening in the meanwhile is implementation of this on the ground.

  • In response to ASA boycott vote, Lawrence Summers calls academic boycotts 'abhorrent' and then calls for a boycott of the ASA
    • @Annie --

      I'm a bit unclear are you disagreeing with Summers, are you disagreeing with my characterization of Summers argument or are you disagreeing that Summers argument isn't "in effect saying" what Empiricon summarized him as saying?

      As far as that ASA quote let me start off with
      "American citizens are already culpable for allowing such practices, " -- Yeah! Finally someone who believes in moral responsibility. That people in a democracy are responsible for the policies of that government.

      Now a point of disagreement with the content in that Britain and Japan are far more "complicit" than Israel is US policy.

      Finally on the core issue. The ASA is correct that anti-Israeli sentiment as it usually exist is much more politically explosive than just about any other country anti-movement. They are right there.

      Part of this is that the anti-movement for Israel is genuinely different then the rather passionless disagreement one hears about other countries. Who has anti-French sentiment or anti-Italian or anti-Polish sentiment. Imagine if there was a professor who despised Poland and the Polish. Who let's say talked about how he wished the Katyn massacre hadn't just been officers but had been directed at the population: 22 million not 22 thousand. I suspect this would be very controversial. I think this passion in anti-Zionism comes from the fact that many of the participants are Jewish and thus are personally invested.

      This greater degree of passion on the anti-Zionism side doesn't combine well with students. Many Jews in America identify with Israel enough that they often find harsh anti-Zionism personally threatening. So normally you would want to tone it down not tone it up. Because kids can feel threatened the mood changes. Academics are disciplined for anti-black, anti-asian, anti-women, anti-male views that students find threatening. There is nothing unique there.

      Let me just add. I was in college at the height of the anti-apartheid movement that everyone likes to compare the anti-Israeli movement to. The debates on South Africa were far more nuanced between different subgroups of whites: Afrikaner vs. British vs. Jewish, there was understanding of the sort of intermediate roles of the Indians (coloreds in South Africa, but Americans couldn't bring themselves to use that term ever)... People had a wide range of views on both sides with all sorts of nuance. Anti-apartheid was like people's attitude towards Obamacare today with two sides but a ton of views on both and everyone understanding that there was nuance.

      Certainly Americans of South African descent never felt threatened at anti-Apartheid rallies or discussions. Though in all fairness none (or likely few) of them were Afrikaner either, had they been they might have been deeply offended. I never heard revenge fantasies, no one wished for the post-apartheid Afrikaners to be massacred and/or expelled. Though it was often believed that the result would be much less peaceful than it turned out on both sides, both sides agreed this was tragic not something to be wished for.

    • @Empiricon

      "I think academic boycott in principle are abhorrent.... This is worse because of all the countries in the world .... worthy of boycott this is Israel... is outrageous as a suggestion... If there were an academic boycott of a whole set of countries who stunted their population.... I would still oppose".

      How is he even addressing your issues? He pretty specifically states:

      a) Academic boycotts are always bad.
      b) Israel shouldn't be singled out

  • Brandeis profs take side of 'courageous' Al Quds president, against their own president
    • @Ecru

      JeffB: If Israel starts invading Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt to bring Palestinians back to Israel so as to put them in death camps

      Ecru: and you HAVE invaded Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

      Last I checked I'm not Israeli. Anyway there is a conditional in there as to why they are invading.

      As for the list of common characteristics Zionists and Nazis have tons. They both like to pee. But what I had said is missing is things unique to the Zionists.

      blut und boden, lebensraum, uber/untermensch, ahnenerbe, collective punishment etc. All characteristics of Nazi belief, all characteristics of Zionist belief.

      blut und boden: is a rural theology that Zionists haven't expressed in decades. Today Zionism is rather urban and technological. In the 1930s and 40s lots of people advocated those views. Westbrook Pegler a strong anti-Zionist. So I could tag your side just as easily.

      lebensraum: I've never heard any Israeli argue that superior races displace inferior races. Not once, not ever. Israel has welcomed Jews of all races and has aggressively worked to help their Sephardic population ascend social classes.

      uber/untermensch: I don't think that's uniquely Nazi but yes I'll grant they share that ideology.

      ahnenerbe: I have a tough time translating this out of a German context. What would this even mean applied to Jews. If you just mean an exaggerated belief in the importance of Judaism historically I'd disagree strongly. One of the core ideas of Zionism is to move Jews from being crucial actors in the west's theological play to just being another nation. The exact opposite of what the ahnenerbe theology is meant to accomplish. Conversely this AIPAC theology that views AIPAC as secretly controlling the world, is arguably very close to ahnenerbe.

      collective punishment: Everyone trying to deal with non-compliant natives on issues of importance uses collective punishment. Certainly the degree of collective punishment that the Israelis use is well below those used by the Nazis and more in line with non-Nazi powers tending on the low side if anything.

    • @Ecru

      Israeli Jews actually ACT like Nazis and the Jewish community applauds it.

      If Israel starts invading Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt to bring Palestinians back to Israel so as to put them in death camps then analogies to Nazis are appropriate. Until then Israel has done nothing that is unusual or specific to Nazis.

    • FWIW as a Zionists I'd give Sari Nusseibeh the benefit of the doubt given his excellent track record. If he says that the right choice was not to break up the demonstration because of the potential for violence I'm going to trust him. I don't like censorship regardless.

      So FWIW I think measured appropriate criticism of Brandeis makes sense.

  • Bill Keller says neocons are warmongers who trust Netanyahu more than Obama
    • @Ecru

      And the attitude of those swing voters has nothing to do with an EXTREMELY biased MSM now does it……

      That's irrelevant to the point. If Senators are representing public opinion there is no conspiracy. How public opinion is formed is a different issue.

      As for the MSM being biased, with regard to Iran, biased towards what? The Mainstream Media mostly sees its job as helping Americans decide where they stand between mainstream political opinion. All major factions in the United States consider Iran to be an enemy or quasi-enemy of the United States. The debates in the USA are
      between those who favor pressure and those who favor regime change
      between those who consider Iran a high priority problem and those who see it as lower priority than other foreign policy engagement

      I'm hard pressed to think of virtually any USA politicians of natural stature who aren't very hostile to Iran. Iran is a right wing crazy regime which does stuff like hang people for homosexuality so the left hates them. They also undermined internationally diplomacy when they held embassy personnel hostage so even most peace groups view them as a threat to peace. They've attacked American soldiers so virtually everyone hates them for that. The Iranian population in the United States is mostly composed of people associated with the Shah who fled the revolution so they all hate the new government.

      What subgroup of Americans do you think the MSM is not representing?

      Now on top of all that. Iran doesn't engage the MSM like say France or the UK does when issues of Iranian policy comes. They don't have an embassy and they don't have a lobbying firm. If I'm Scott Pelley and I need 3 quotes representing "the other side" for an Iran segment who do I call? The media isn't the one at fault here. Iran as a state trying to avoid war, has an obligation to do so effectually, and that means spending money on diplomacy and engaging the American public. So the MSM often fills in with people like the experts from the State Department being the "pro-Iranian" side. As the joke goes the USA gets exposed to the foreign policy debate between the CIA's left and the CIA's right.

      If Iran has a case they have to come to the court of public opinion and make it.

    • Yes no one is telling the public about the secret AIPAC conspiracy. Everyone is going for the obviously false explanation that the Senate is acting hesitant because tens of millions of swing voters are either suspicious or mildly opposed to this deal and the Senate is accurately reflecting the will of the voters.

  • Shared values: Likud member says Prawer Plan akin to what 'Americans did to the Indians'
    • @Hostage

      I checked into DNA. There isn't much similarity with Jewish DNA. It appears there are a few traces on Y-chromosones common to Jews and that's about it. The genetics community is split on methodology and meaning. But mostly it is pretty meager regardless for any biological definition of Jewish that applies broadly.

    • @Talkback --

      Interesting quote from Wikipedia. I don't remember that being in the book. I'll check in a few days but that seems to me to be the opposite.

      I don't see that as being plausible. I'm not sure what Christians they would mean 640-740 CE. Collyridians (the Christians described in the Koran) never existed in those numbers. Arians I don't think exist after the muslim conquest. Donatists that late and that far north? Who are we talking about?

      The primary Jewish population was gone by 73 CE. There is a remigration of Jews prior to the Muslim conquest but mostly they die off. If they are there in 740CE where do they go over the next centuries?

      I'm suspecting the quote in wikipedia is Parkes quoting someone else to disagree or something. The Jews is plausible the Christians would have left more of a trace.

    • @Hostage

      In other words you were quoting someone out of context.

      What are you talking about? Someone asked for a reference. I gave a reference as hyperlink. You then said I hadn't given a reference and i pointed out that I had and what I'd given the reference to. I'm not quoting them out of context, that is the standard reference for the population groups. I'm quoting the most mainstream book that exists on the topic.

      As for the DNA. All humans share common ancestors, so what? In particular to whatever extent that Ashkenazi Jewish DNA still reflects the arabian peninsula we are going to be related to any population living there in the 21st century. You could run the same test with Syrians and you would also see common ancestors.

      Besides the fact that Ashkenazi Jewish populations have bred with Sephardic Jews over the last 13 centuries as well. We know from history what happened in the 7th century. People could write in the 7th century they told us what happened. It is recorded.

    • @Ecru

      Let me get this clear. Are you really arguing that when the Franks replaced the Visigoths that there was some other population that wasn't either? Why don't any of the writers who we have mention this other population? Why are the Franks and the Visigoths not clearing this population to make room for their own people?

      I still owed you a response on ancient Bulgaria but you are talking dark ages Europe. If you are making the claim that populations didn't migrate then I'd rather argue where we have 100x the evidence.

      So let's start. Under your theory who is being moved, percentages... and who is staying?

    • @hostage

      Why don’t you name just one that does agree?

      I linked to a book that agreed. In literally the line directly above the one you quoted.

      Whose land? A history of the peoples of Palestine by James William Parkes

    • @Cliff

      Why not bring back slavery? Then you Zionist fascists can call all of us antisemitic for singling Israel out since America practiced slavery in its history.

      Good example! There are solid reports of slavery in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Yemen. Why aren't those countries regularly being discussed at the UN? Why is there so little focus on it, that you didn't even know about it when you raised this example?

    • @talkback

      Please provide a source for these “massive population transfers”.

      I don't know any book on the topic that doesn't cover 634-640 for example and the huge changes in policy. Or the exterminations that occured 640-740... I think the best standard text is:

      But I'm not even sure anyone disagrees.

    • @Krauss --

      Of course she wants to be compared to the America when the Indian wars were going on. The same way if she were using a French analogy she would want to talk about the establishment of the Frankish kings and how they pushed out the Visigoths in the 5th century. If she were comparing herself to the Palestinians she's be talking about the massive population transfers that happened in the 7th and 8th century to allow them take the country.

      Israel wants to be, and should be compared to countries that are in the process of forming a nation state. Western Europe was going through that process in the 4th-6th centuries not recently. Africa does present countries that are going through similar processes. Do you think those comparisons are fair?

  • Swarthmore Hillel stands by opening to anti-Zionists-- as int'l org says, not 'under our roof'
    • @Shingo --

      Of course non profits have brands. They own property, they pay salaries, they purchase equipment.

      There are plenty of precedents where non-profits have successfully sued and in fact had people jailed for using their brand. The Federal Trade Commission has a small division which helps prosecute such cases. The Department of Defense has an arm which investigates groups that misuse the brand names of veterans organizations in their fund raising.

    • @W Jones

      I would like to see the court precedent saying this, rather than doing hypotheticals too.

      There aren't going to be exact court cases. There are only going to be analogous situations. What the analogy is isn't even fixed. For example

      The Hillel case is about a national, incorporated nonprofit vs. a bunch of students at a school. I don’t get it. They are not applying for a commercial license or incorporation.

      If they don't incorporate at all then they aren't legally a Hillel. Hillel is just a name they call each other. Nothing is happening, so of course no one can get sued. To get sued they have to do financial things like take donation or engage in commerce as Hillel. The local Hillels I know sell stuff and do incorporate so they can institutionally lease property or institutionally have bank accounts. So if your hypothetical has them doing not any of those things then there is no trademark violation because there is no possibly violating act.

      And what about Cancer Society vs. Cancer Association, where they have opposite views about Cancer. I know of a similar situation. They are not commercial organizations.

      No one owns the word "Cancer". In theory though one could argue they are designed to create confusion and there could be a suit. I don't know enough about Cancer Association beyond that.

      I also don’t get how a club studying Hillel can use first amendment as a reason to name their club Hillel, but another group that bases itself on his ideas can’t.

      The US has very strong 1st amendment protections. But to maintain those strong protections they have to be narrow. The law thus distinguishes between Religious Organizations which have very very strong protections and Religious Affiliations which have few protections. Most of the law is based on Christian concepts, so it doesn't fit Judaism all that well. We don't have sacraments. Arguably we sorta have ordinances but we don't call them that. This whole thing would be a lot easier to understand if it were a Christian group. But it is not so things are messy.

      You saw an example of this with Tea Party groups that argued that they were religious because their aim was to bring America law closer to biblical definitions of God's will... The IRS didn't buy it, because those groups were primarily political. Those groups lost in court. If they had merely been studying how to do these things Theonomy bible study groups then they would have been protected.

      So based on that IMHO a society which studies Hillel can legitimately claim they are primarily engaged in religious worship as Jews understand worship. A society that thinks Hillel was a smart guy and does secular or political stuff can't. It is a judgement call.

      Your claim that Hillel is only Jewish “affiliated” seems strange to me. It’s a Jewish organization with a rabbi. At many colleges it is THE Jewish religious organization.

      If the Hillel conducts worship services, employs a Rabbi... then they are a religious organizations and they can violate all the trademarks they want. They can be the Jews of the True PepsiCola and Pepsi can't do anything about it. The strong religious protections kick in. But... they better be careful about not engaging in non-religious activities or they will get their status pulled and then Pepsi will sue them into oblivion.

      I think we are mostly disagreeing on a question of fact about what Hillels do. All these legal distinctions don't matter until you start getting sued or making enough money that the IRS cares. Then they matter.

    • @W Jones

      showing an unincorporated student group

      To the best of my knowledge local Hillel's are LLCs. They aren't just clubs. It is very simple. Hillel of Iowa State which is unsanctioned takes a lease. What name appears on the lease?

      It doesn’t make sense that a free speech right would exist in one case and not another. .. I don’t get it. Moses is not a Jewish God. He was a main prophet in the religion. But Hillel was a main theologian for the religion too. It doesn’t make sense that a free speech right would exist in one case and not another.

      Hillel's most common usage for an organization is Hillel International. Moses has much a greater range of common usage. Christians know about him, Jesus and Paul both quote him. Moses is a common name in use today like Moses Malone. Moses speaks to HaShem personally, has magic powers, exists in sort of mythic prehistory... Hillel is a real historical figure associated with an actual existent school of teaching and a particular time. I'm giving an opinion here that one is essentially an inherently religious figure and so stronger 1st amendment rules would apply, what I was calling essentially a Jewish God. I understand that Jews are monotheistic and would never actually call Moses a lesser God, but if we were talking Hindus or ancient pagans... we'd classify Moses as one of their gods. IMHO Moses is an inherently religious figure while Hillel is a primarily a brand. They just don't live at the same level, IMHO.

      Most my point is you can't use Moses as an analogy for Hillel. The rules that apply to Moses are like the rules that apply to Jesus or Zeus or the Archangel Michael not the rules that apply to Sam Adams Beer.

    • @Ellen --

      I had exactly this situation with a LLC registration (which includes a DBA in my state). Without getting too specific I wanted the name XY. XY was taken so I had to use XYZ. But... in addition to having to have the Z to distinguish me from XY I also had to be non-competitive and justify that. According to the paperwork had I been competitive my XYZ registration might have been rejected or challenged as being confusing to XY's customers. I suspect no human actually looked, but... XY has been a nuisance more than once on these sorts of forms and we aren't remotely likely to get confused (he sells flowers, I sell computer integration services and vendor management services).

      No, I don't work for Hillel. And I'm pretty sure that JeffB's Pepsi Cola I'd still get sued. Again Apple Records, Apple Computer don't seem remotely similar to me or anyone I've ever met except for the Beatles and several judges. I think most people can tell Paul McCartney from Steve Jobs but it was still rather expensive.

    • @pabelmont--

      Suppose he’d said, Hillel is steadfastly committed to the support of the earth as a flat and decidedly non-spherical entity? can he make the eath flat by being steadfast in declaring it so?

      Yes. If the owner of a trademark wants the trademark associated with flat earth using it to promote round earth views is a tort. B’nai B’rith owns the word. He doesn't make the world round but he makes it the official policy of his group. You can feel free to found your own group and have different official policy.

      One must ask why totalitarianization has such a strong appeal to Jewish establishment organizations.

      Let's cool the hyperbole. The Jewish establishment isn't torturing anyone or setting up a secret police force. They are just protecting their brand. There feeling is (and I understand you disagree) that you can't be legitimately Jewish and anti-Zionist (i.e. actively working to harm Jews).

      To put this in Christian terms... Jews are having a debate about whether anti-Zionism is a non-mainstream view, heresy or outright apostasy. You want it to be a non-mainstream view Hillel wants it to be heresy. And it is long established that churches have the right to prevent others from preach heresies from a Hillel subsidized pulpit.

      It is exactly the same thing the mainstream Jewish organizations do with Messianic Jewish organizations where the Jewish establishment claims you can't be legitimately Jewish and believe in Jesus as the messiah. It is exactly the same thing that Mormons do when they go after the FLDS (a polygamous Later Day Saints Sect which takes a literal approach to Brigham Young's teachings)...

    • @Shingo

      Of course they could claim financial loss. The Hillel version 2 tarnished their good name which resulted in loss of donations....

    • @W Jones

      Is the St. Ignatius International trademark national or state? If so how did the paramedic kids get the DBA for Anchorage St. Ignatius from Alaska? Did they clearly indicate they were potentially competitive, did they indicate that there was no possibility for confusion. Did they fail to check...?

      That's the first step in your hypothetical.

    • @W Jones

      It seems hard to believe that a group of students could not set themselves up to study Hillel and then invite a professor to teach them about him who is anti-Zionist

      Hillel is a religious figure, for his teachings 1st amendment would apply very strongly. Trademark doesn't matter. And I think the "Hillel Study Group" that studied Hillel could make a 1st amendment defense. And if once in a great while such a group invited an nti-Zionist speaker, they still win.

      But as this moves from Jewish to Jewish affiliated then 1st amendment doesn't apply as strongly and....

    • @Ron --

      Calm down. As for Hillel's not having leases, they most certainly do have leases. You are just wrong on the facts.

      As for sinking like a stone. Two days ago you were arguing that Hillel couldn't possibly be trademarked because, "One can’t trademark a word that’s only a component of the name". So you don't know what you are talking about.

    • @W.Jones --

      Pepsi likes Pepsi fan clubs so is unlikely to sue them. Moreover they are using the trademark in a way that's non confusing, they are using it in reference to Pepsi cola. You would be talking something like another softdrink calling itself Pepsi.

      “Iowa University Moses”?

      Iowa University obviously has a say there. Moses is a Jewish God (effectively) and thus the 1st amendment applies.

      I assure you, there are tons of student clubs that call themselves Democrats that have no official relationship to the Democratic Party.

      The legal names of the parties are weird since they are quasi governmental agencies. But even if they were private the democratic party likes those groups same as the Pepsi example.

    • @Ellen --

      I'm having trouble following your logic here. IANAL but my understanding is that a servicemark is a trademark that can be applied to non-packaged goods and rather ambiguous services. So in your theory how does Hillel at Swathmore not get in trouble the moment they sell any kind of service as "Hillel"?

    • @Annie

      B’nai B’rith International owns the trademark on the word "Hillel". So yes they can and do own the word.

      Hillel is not a religious organization it is a religiously affiliated organization. The difference in another context was made clear during the debate on coverage for Catholic Hospitals this year. Hillels don't have the 1st Amendment problem or protections. So it isn't like Moses or Jesus. It would be more like Moses Coffee.

      Anyway Hillel on their own web page says they were "adopted" by B’nai B’rith in 1924. So I'm assuming they are effectively a subsidiary non-profit or something legally. And yes B’nai B’rith would sue a Hillel that wanted to go on using the name and not follow their rules, and they would win.

    • @W Jones

      Yes if college kids call a school club Pepsi they would be in trouble. The moment they try and sign a lease for the building they are in as Pepsi they need to have a legal Doing-Business-As associated with their group. That's a trademark violation. The moment they buy advertising for an event, that's a trademark violation. If they get funds from the school. If they charge admission. If they pay a speaker.....

      Ask Apple computers about Apple records:
      ~ $100m in the 1970s through early 1980s
      ~$26.5m for a mistaken violation in 1991
      $500m in 2007 to buy all rights

    • @Ron --

      It is trademark 74168047. This isn't a debatable issue. B’nai B’rith International owns Hillel in the same way as the Pepsi Co owns "Pepsi". It is their word.

    • Hillel is a registered trademark of B'nai B'rith International. Hillel organizations that don't want to follow the rules have to change their name or they would get sued and they would lose.

  • Protesters ask Target to drop Israeli settlement product SodaStream
    • In the 1940s and 1950s Israel was a much weaker country and despised by its neighbors. The USA was expanding it's oil influence and so was at best mildly hostile. The Soviet Union switched sides in 1951 and began attacking Israel in the UN while arming its enemies. By 1954 the USA went to openly hostile and cut off arms sales. That's delegitimization to a degree that Israel doesn't come close to facing. By 1957 the Israelis had reversed it. They had scored themselves a solid arms contract with the USA and (in all but name) a formal vassal relationship that served her well for 56 years.

      What concretely does it even mean to say "Isreal isn't legitimate" at this point? The state has existed for many decades. Mostly it seems to mean "I want to say mean stuff in public about Israel". People say mean stuff about Turkey, they say mean stuff about Iran, they say mean stuff about North Korea or South Korea. Those states aren't going to disappear because people say mean stuff about them.

    • @Sibiriak --

      it [the sodastream boycott] further delegitimizes the Israeli apartheid state.

      Exactly! It isn't meant to change actual Israeli policy but to express disapproval. It is essentially the governmental version of throwing a tantrum, "I don't like X so I'm going to make lots of noise about it". The government of the UK is not looking to express disapproval they are looking to constructively work towards a solution. Which is why they weren't taking Harry Law's position.

      The UK government wants to engage Israel not delegitimize it. I get you don't agree. But there is no reason to criticize the UK government for not engaging in acts designed to advance a goal they don't desire.

    • They aren't boycotted because your country's elected government wants to remain friendly with Israel. Israel institutionally does not recognize the distinction the UK wants to make between west and east of the green line, and has consistently refused to separate economies. So a boycott of the Israeli settlements will have to become a boycott of Israel. To quote Gould your ambassador, "we don’t always agree on everything [settlements, from context] the important thing is that we disagree as friends, and we will stand alongside Israel as a friend." A policy of total rejection of the right of the Israeli people to organize their country's economy as they believe it should be organized is a rejection of their notion that they should be a self governing people. To put it in South Africa terms, your government supports "constructive engagement" not the boycott position of regime change.

      Now you might reject that characterization that the UK boycott party's position with respect to Israel is effectively regime change. Forget settlements, they are more or less asking for an Israeli dictatorship because the positions they want to see implemented (in particular RoR) are passionately despised by the Israeli people. I can't even think of any dictatorships that draw their support from the domestic population (as opposed to being a puppet of a foreign power) that go for policies that widely hated. So the UK government is quite right not to agree with the UK boycott position.

      The government of the UK's position on settlements is that whatever policies are going to be imposed are going to needed to be supported at least by a substantial minority of Israelis if they aren't going to end up becoming a source of instability. The English have a lot of experience with trying to get countries to change their mind by the use of force. And they know it takes a lot of force sustained over a long time. So they are rejecting force. Settlements there is some level of domestic support in Israel but strict adherence to the green line is rejected by the population. The old city and Jerusalem being an obvious example.

      So in keeping with the idea of realistic goals, your government's policy is defacto recognizing the annexation of the large settlements while applying some pressure to prevent the settlements from further spreading which is what the roadmap and other peace process documents have said. Ma'ale Adumim is a settlement I'm sure they would like to see disbanded by Israel. I suspect that they know that the current government would defend Ma'ale Adumim and behavior changes belief. Once the Israeli people had suffered to defend Ma'ale Adumim, they would most likely be even more passionately attached to it.

      Sodastream is under a 1/2 billion dollar company (that's globally not just the UK, and revenue not profits which are a 1/10th that high). A Sodastream boycott is nothing but a symbol. Realistically what do you think a Sodasteam boycott by the UK changes?

  • 'NYT' and Wash Post won't tell us why Dems are hurting Obama on Iran deal
    • @traintosiberia

      The argument being made was that Iran was not engaged in moving towards a nuclear weapons capability. I gave a 1/2 dozen things they were doing that showed they were in fact making progress. The ballistic missile program being one of them.

      You are sort of addressing a series of odd points which essentially amount to:

      Other countries have ballistic missiles and some even have nuclear tips. Which is absolutely true. In general though the United States has tried to prevent those countries from getting nuclear weapons as well. In the case of Iran you have a country which has had lots of low level military flareups over the last 3.5 decades, doesn't have a protector and isn't that powerful. Which is much closer to say Libya or Iraq than the situation with China or India.

      As for whether Israel is friendly or not. The USA government sees them as friendly. The Israeli people see them as friendly. And I think they are right to. Israel has been a consistent and loyal friend, those incidents you mention are:

      a) Somewhat questionably and biased phrased
      b) Mostly a result of times when the USA was working directly against Israeli interests.

      A friend does not mean a doormat.

    • @Eva Smagacz

      The Iran is a uniquely dangerous country in Middle East in the same way as incorruptible and effective law enforcement is uniquely dangerous to Italian Mafia. They threaten hegemony of USA and it’s allies and might introduce a more balanced distribution of regional power.

      Eva. The context here is the US senate. They fully support US hegemony with some degree of disagreement on questions of strategy. So Iran being uniquely dangerous to the USA is still a quite reasonable interpretation of what they mean.

    • @Shingo --

      You are quoting me a bit out of context.

      There is no way Iran can produce a bomb in 6 months, seeing as they cannot enrich above 5% and are not going to be commissioning their Arak Reactor for another 12 at the very least.

      I said 6-18 and I'm going with expert mainstream opinion on this. I don't know nearly enough about nuclear weapons development to have an independent opinion but if you know of good sources who say that 10 years from now under this deal Iran would be say 5 years removed I'm all ears.

      Under the NPT for example, they could continue doing everything they were being before the deal.

      The world community doesn't agree with you. And of more relevance the US senate (which is the body we were discussing) doesn't agree with you.

      There is no such thing [as a pre-nuclear state]

      Of course there is. Japan is a pre-nuclear state. Rwanda is not.

      Too bad. You can’t have laws and treaties selectively applied and the US certainly has no authority to make that call anyway.

      I'm not sure who the "you" in this sentence is. But the US senate most certainly can apply treaties selectively, as they have been doing so for decades. Moreover they US senate is the body we are talking about so yes the US has the authority.

      . And when those who claim Iran is a uniquely dangerous country areasked to explain what they mean, it’s always through the lens of Israel’s interests.

      No it is not. Iran's been hostile to the United States in ways that Israel might very well favor. For example Iran encouraged the sectarian war in Iraq during the Bush administration. Israel was likely thrilled with the sectarian war. It was American that was opposed. Shutting down the gulf and blocking Saudi Arabian oil from getting to market would be great for Israel it is the USA that's worried about that.

      What’s more is the fact they are refuse to knowledge the fact that the entire intelligence community has consistently reported that Iran is not producing nukes.

      That's not entirely true. The reports are ambiguous and mixed. The CIA is concerned with the levels of uranium hexafluoride they are producing. They are doing heavy water research which is hard to find a peaceful purpose for. They are expanding their ballistic missile development program which is certainly not peaceful (though it may not be nuclear). Iran is starting a space program which is always a proxy for long range missile development. etc...

    • @Citizen --

      The original argument was claiming that the politicians weren't representing the US population's opinion. That's what I was arguing against. You are arguing that the politicians are representing US popular opinion but popular opinion is too influenced by propaganda. That may or may not be true, but convincing people of the rightness of your cause is how our system is supposed to work. Propaganda is argument, its just argument you disagree with.

      Pew has good data breaking down the foreign policy ideology of various 7% subgroups of US voters. This is not going to be a simple one size fits all analysis, the public is more diverse than that.

      In terms of trust. Iranian proxies attacked US troops over an extended period of time in our most recent engagement in Iraq. Iranian proxy forces bombed the US in Lebanon. Iran attempt an assassination of an ambassador on US territory. Iran has repeatedly threatened to shut down shipping in the gulf. Iran was opposing our position in Syria when we had a secular opposition.... It has nothing to do with rational. Israel on most issues is on our side. Iran on most issues is opposed. One is friendly, one is hostile.

      As for which one is rational objectively, I knowing both countries reasonably well go with Israel. But that's a more complex argument then the other two simpler ones.

    • @piotr

      The remaining question is if Menendez and Schumer are engaged in “the usual posturing” or in “rank, repellent, irresponsible posturing”.

      I don't think either. I think they have a real substantial genuine policy difference with Obama on this issue. Fundamentally the question on Iran and nuclear weapons is:

      How far from weapons capacity is acceptable for Iran? The Obama deal the way it is shaping up seems consistent with international law and the intent of the NPT. Under the NPT a country has the right to withdraw from the treaty and then 12 mo later become a nuclear power. Under Obama's structure Iran will be 6-18 mo away from a bomb. Were they to want one they would have to announce it publicly because of the oversight structure. So more or less all Obama does is force them to abide by the NPT. It legitimizes them being in a "pre-nuclear state".

      Many people on both the right and the left object to Iran being in a pre-nuclear state. Their feeling is that Iran is a uniquely dangerous country and thus restrictions on Iran should be much stronger than (in their opinion) the minimal restrictions imposed by the NPT. They want Iran say 5 years from having a bomb.

      I happen to think Obama is right. But I don't think the hawks are being totally out of line with America's posture. If Bush were president we certainly wouldn't be talking about Obama's deal. It is generous to Iran. This generosity is why the diplomacy has been successful here.

    • @Shingo --

      I'm not talking politicians I'm talking voters. They aren't in the tank because of donations they are in the tank because they don't trust the Iranians and don't trust Kerry/Obama.

    • @Phillip

      I'd say it is a bit more complex in terms of money. Many of the Democratic money guys are antiwar. But Republican bellicosity is keeping them in the fold fine regardless of what Obama does on Iran, short of war. On the Republican side though you do have large donors that are very strongly pro-war with Iran. If this issue becomes partisan it is the sort of issue that Republicans can raise money for the general off of. Which means that the Democratic position is to muddy the field.

      Support levels among politically interested Democrats are fantastic, well above historic norms. The kinds of Democrats that would care about Iran (again unless we are in a war) are voting. Biggest weakness I see for 2014 is Hispanics, but I suspect we'll see some activities on issues they care about (like immigration) to drive their support level higher before the election. In 2014 most Democrats are going to be running against congressmen that are rightwing kooks. They will have support from the peace caucus.

      I can one way to play this differently which would be making a play for Libertarian leaning Independents. To do that, Democrats should embrace this plan and try and make Iran a campaign issue. They take the financial hit but get clearly on the side of lower defense spending. Very specific to the demographic play. So for example would work well in purple districts in the midwest with a Tea Party congressmen, would work badly in some of those red state senate races. But even if they were going to make this play, all they have to do is vote against the sanction resolution (which will fail). Mostly I don't think it is unreasonable that Democrats could look at that polling and decide they want a voting record on both sides of the issue PDQ so they can distance themselves if it doesn't pan out.

    • How about the political reaction on this issue has little to do with Israel? The Iran deal polls really well among college educated democrats. Once you look at Independents or Republican or once you look at the less educated the polling looks dreadful. College educated Democrats except for after birth of their first child are very difficult to persuade voters, stable for the base. Independents and the less educated are less stable voters they swing elections.

      If the Iran deal doesn't pan out, they might believes this could be a huge political loser. I don't agree, but I can completely understand why Democratic politicians would want to put daylight between themselves and this plan. And nothing would change if this were the polling on a diplomatic agreement with China or a highway spending bill.

      Link to data:

  • Deconstructing Netanyahu's tribute to Mandela
    • @Shingo

      As has been pointed out to you, this is a false argument because the threat Israel fear from the Palestinians is not from violence or retribution, it is from their very existence. When they speak of a demographic threat or demographic time bomb, they are not referring to the threat of violence but the threat to their position of superiority and entitlement.

      If the Palestinians and the Israelis were living next to one another for the last generation in peace we'd have today somewhere like a hundred thousand 1/2 Palestinian, 1/2 Jewish babies. Children who identified themselves as "Israeli" and families that identify themselves as "Israeli" without any of their prior tribal identities. 5 generations from now the idea of a demographic threat would seem as incomprehensible as the arguments made two hundred years ago about Catholic immigration to the East Coast of the United States seem today.

      The way tribal conflicts get resolved is by dissolving tribes into a common nation and that happens by creating a common tribe through sex. People need to live near one another for sex to happen.

      A demographic threat exists when you have two nations trying to live in the same area. That's why Lebanese Christians and Muslims are so obsessed with demography. That's why 2 generations ago Quebecois and English Canadians in Quebec were obsessed with demography.... The relatives of mixed populations don't think in those terms.

      If the Palestinians keep acting like a demographic threat, they will be perceived as a demographic threat and the Israeli nation will defensively crush them further. If the Palestinians act like Israelis they won't be a perceived as a demographic threat and the Jewish Israelis will breed with them and then you have a real viable one state solution because there is very quickly (in historical terms) one nation.

    • @Shmuel --

      How did you get to 1948, ’53, 54′, 56? The time-frame we were discussing was “Ben-Gurion’s early days”, prior to the Holocaust (you refer to “the ones who eventually died in the camps”).

      We were discussing those with respect to Europe. Western Europe Jewry is dead by '45. You started bring up primarily American groups. I'm not sure those people (remember people not leadership) even knew about Ben-Gurion in the 1930s. More importantly polling really starts existing during Truman's time in office. Prior to that no one really knows what the broader public thought about most political issues, the ones that weren't going to decide elections.

      Good try, but that’s not the article I cited (“Assimilationist” not “Liberal”, Wistrich not Laqueur, Jewish Social Studies not Journal of Contemporary History).

      So your argument is openly assimilationist factions disagreed with non assimilationist policy?

      And you would anachronistically mangle them in precisely the same way. The traditional prayers are eschatological. The creation of a modern nation-state was not only beside the point, but its fundamental incompatibility with traditional concepts of redemption and the messianic age had to be smoothed over with a little trick called “athalta de-ge’ulah” (“beginning of redemption”).

      The reality of redemption was different from the fantasy of redemption. So what? The reality of the restablishment of Jewish rule under the Maccabees was far removed from the fantasy. The reality of space flight was different than the fantasy too. That doesn't mean that what the Apollo program did wasn't the realization of the 19th and early 20th century dreams. And whatever practical issues need to happen to get men to Mars doesn't mean the space program of say the 2030s that does it isn't the realization of our current dreams.

      Let's play the Ben-Gurion as the messianic king:

      Saving the afflicted -- check
      Let the Jews stand against their enemies -- check
      The Jews become righteous -- miss
      Jewish prayers become more effectual -- ? (I'll score this a miss, but who knows)
      Unite the poor among the Jews under the new king -- check
      Reestablish the Sanhedrin -- 1/2 (I can see an argument for check or miss here)
      Other nations look to the Jewish king for guidance -- check
      Whole world worships HaShem -- miss
      People from all nations attracted -- check

      etc... I don't see the fundamental incompatibility you are talking about. This is pretty good for the consummation of a religious fairytale. And BTW we know Jewish attitudes in the late 19th century, here we do have pretty good information and the majority most certainly did consider this list a religious fairytale.

      but are you seriously suggesting that the chief rabbi of Vienna, the chief rabbi of the British Empire, the Association of German Rabbis (which included Orthodox as well as Reform rabbis), and the many illustrious East-European scholars who opposed the establishment of a Jewish nation-state in Palestine, didn’t understand their prayers?

      If I were to reverse that and ask you the same question about the Chief Rabbis of Israel how would you respond? I think messianicism is a movement of total despair. I think the real messianic promise is to create a Jewry unable to relate to messianicism. The idea of a fantasy mix of Isaiah and David except beholden to the religion our years of defeat... the whole thing is ridiculous. I think what's happening in Israel where Judaism is morphing into a religious of victory again, is messianic fulfillment.

      The question is what the people believed. When you start talking early 20th century easter european Jews you are talking my wife and my family's understanding of those prayers. I knew these people as children and because my wife's family has better genes I knew her family as an adult. No they did not believe in a Jewish super-rabbi. What they were praying for "next year in Jerusalem" was an end to fear.

      I'm saying that religions, political movements, societies in general often don't understand their own fulfillment.

    • @Shmuel --

      Of course that’s what they said, and maybe even believed, but is that really where you want to go with your onus-on-the-victim/logical-oppression argument?

      Where I want to go is to stop using words like "onus" and "victim" which implies a responsibility. And frankly reduces the whole discussion to silly name calling. I really meant what I said that "victim" is just hard left for "good guys" and "oppressor" is no more informative than other insults like "farthead". It is just leftwing name calling. It doesn't mean anything. It doesn't say anything Thinking in those terms is completely not helpful.

      The Jews know that better than anyone. During their few centuries of oppression and especially in the 1930s leading to the holocaust they had a lot of people say really nice stuff about them and say mean stuff about the Nazis in their defense. Cornelius Vanderbilt IV (a great guy btw for doing this) had a huge microphone to advertise how much he really disliked what Hitler was doing. He even made a really good movie about one a huge farthead Hitler and Nazis were and lots of people bought tickets to those movies. What Vanderbilt and all those pro-Jewish groups never did was offer Hitler an alternative he found acceptable. (Incidentally Ben-Gurion did but the British support for the Arab blockade prevented that solution from being implemented).

      The Jews of Eastern Europe that survived learned from that. You are dead all the same if your killers are "righteous defenders of Christendom" or "fartheads".

      What I think is valuable is is that you stop thinking in those terms all together.
      The Israelis are a nation with strategic objectives X1, X2, X3... They are facing the Palestinians a nation with strategic objectives Y1, Y2, Y3.... and have a serious discussion from there.

    • @Walker --

      Gandhi's own ethnicity in Gujarat colonized huge chunks of India starting around 700 BCE. India is Gandhi's country only because of colonization otherwise. All countries are someone else's country.

      The Jat, one the key the key ethic groups that supported Gandhi in Northern India originated in Turkey and pushed the locals out. And that's one of the later ones we know the most about because that migration was happening all during the early parts of the British migration.

      No one is a native of anywhere. We are all living where we live because of murder and usurpation

    • @Shmuel

      Except for the Orthodox, neo-Orthodox, Reform, socialists, assimilationists and even some of the Zionists (did I forget anybody?)

      That's obviously not true. For example Truman in for the 1948 election felt he had to back Israel because American Jews were Zionist and likely to go with Dewey over it. If there had genuinely been opposition as was being claimed that dynamic wouldn't have played out. Eisenhower had the same opinion that outside of New York City most Jews were anti-Zionists and thus didn't care much about taking an anti-Israel position starting in 1953. The degree of Jewish support for Democrats in 1954 (when Jews became loyal democratic voters) and then the poll results before the 1956 election show the opposite.

      The very first paragraph in Zionism and it's Liberal Critics starts with the idea that "nothing could be done about the historical process that led to the dispersal of the Jews." That it was too late, not that the process by which nations formed was so objectionable that Jews would prefer to be powerless pawns in Christian countries.

      “May our eyes behold Your return in mercy to Zion” — not “May we have a modern nation state in Palestine, as envisaged by Theodor Herzl”.

      Where is Tzion? It is just another name for Jerusalem. And people weren't praying for "your return"? What would that even me, HaShem building a house in Jerusalem. There were praying for their return.

      Let us see the consolation of Zion Your city, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem Your holy city, for You are the Master of [all] salvations and the Master of [all] consolations.

      or in other prayers another example:

      Rebuild Jerusalem the holy city speedily in our days. Blessed are You, L-rd, who in His mercy rebuilds Jerusalem.

      I could easily find a 1/2 dozen like that. Yes, Jews were praying for a state in Palestine.

    • @Shmuel --

      Reminds me of Jerry Haber’s tale of Pete and Paul: [snip]



      @Eljay --

      The discussion is over effectiveness, what works and what doesn't. If you want to talk justice, justice is impossible. The Palestinians are in a situation similar to someone hit by a drunk driver and maimed. Nothing that can ever possible be done is just for them. There is no fair amount of reparations. You can pick any number from trivial to completely unpayable and none of them are intrinsically just.

      And what does it mean to hold a society responsible for their crimes? Let's take an example. I don't agree with the Northern Frances crimes in the Albigensian Crusade. I find it really really morally offensive. OK, in your system of collective punishment of societies what should I do to the inhabitants of Paris or Tours to make them pay for their crimes?

    • @Shingo

      So according to your theory, the Nazis would have freed the Jews from the death camps if only the Jews had assured them they would not seek retribution?

      I know you meant this to be extreme, but sort of yes, though you need to replace Nazi with German. If you read Nazi propaganda the Nazis actually portray themselves as defending the Germans from the Jews. The entire basis by which they sold the Germans on the early phases of the holocaust was defensive. Most Germans all throughout the war believed the Jews were being isolated and then "sent east" for their protection.

      I was referring to the latter. Herzl’s idea was not rejected because it did not seem achievable, but because it was a considered a bad and dangerous idea.

      I don't see any evidence for that. I can't think of many people participating in the anti-Zionist debates who were making the case that a Jewish state in and of itself would be bad. Heck, that's what Jews were praying for literally.

      Where do you find that case being made, much being the dominant narrative?

      They supported the idea after they were brainwashed into believing that they were not safe anywhere but in Israel.

      How did Zionists brainwash people in other countries they didn't control and had limited contact? Brainwashing requires extensive contact and control. I find your side tend to use the term "brainwash" as a synonym for "made an argument that X found convincing that I don't agree with". The Zionists created awareness among the Sephardic populations about systematic persecution. The Arab governments and populations decided in the 1950s to induce an upsurge in persecution and this led to mass flight to Israel and a change in political orientation. That's politics not brainwashing.

    • @RoHa --

      The British never intended to drive the Indians out of India. They learned the languages and culture of India (no promotion in either the Army or the Indian Civil without fluency in the local language) and regarded themselves (not always inaccurately) as working for the benefit of the Indians as well as the British Empire.

      Agree completely. Let me do you one better. The British didn't really even want to control India. Ultimately was getting some particular stuff (cotton, opium...) out of India, control was incidental to their objective. Conversely the Israelis in general don't want any stuff, nor control over the Palestinians. At this point they just want them to leave.

      I'd agree, the situations are totally different. The Palestinians face a much worse threat. And direct analogies to Gandhi are silly. That being said though the gain of competent Palestinian leadership in a situation where they aren't going to be able to stop the Israelis from drive them out, is to change Israeli opinion so that they don't want to drive them out. And that means to start looking at the world from the Israeli point of view and identifying with them.

      In some sense, Israel exists because the oppressed Jews of Europe were able to identify with the hassles and annoyances their Christian oppressors faced in running their colonies. I'm not saying identification of the "oppressed" with the "oppressor" is tasteful or easy. I'm saying it is effective and often vital for success.

    • @Shingo

      What do you mean good study? When Herzl came up with his theory, the majority of the world’s Jews considered him nuts. As Shlomo Ben Ai documents in his book, “Scars of War, Wounds of Peace”, in 1906 there were 700,000 Arabs, 55,000 Jews in Palestine , and even of those 55,000 Jews, only a handful were Zionists.

      Believing something can't be achieved and being opposed to what would happen if it could be achieved are very different. For example most Americans didn't believe the Kennedy would achieve his goal of a manned move landing with 10 years of his call to action. They fully supported the goal however despite this.

      As for Jews in Palestine in 1906 they probably weren't Zionists. Zionism arose first among European Jews. Zionism as it existed in Palestine was not a movement for the Sephardic Jews in all but name. The issue of Sephardic Jews really wasn't part of the program until after the state was established. Once Israel / Zionism did start to focus on them they became Zionists. Which I think shows they did support the idea once the option was offered to them. While Sephardic Jews didn't become Zionists until the 1950s now they are far more unapologetically Zionist than the Western European Ashkenazi. They certainly don't agree with your characterization they had it good, they view themselves as an oppressed people rescued by Israel.

    • @Shmuel --

      JeffB: Oppressor / Oppressed dichotomies is the language of NGOs and childish at that, like calling someone a fart-head. It is not the language of people ready to run a state.

      Oppressed: Stop stealing my land and water and livelihood. Stop inflicting collective punishment on me and denying me my basic freedoms and human rights.

      Oppressor: That’s so childish. First humanise me and then we’ll talk.

      That was funny, I"ll score you two points. But what the oppressor says in your dialogue is still true. As a weaker people next to a dominant people your best situation is to have affection on both sides. It is kinda bad for you when the strong side doesn't like weak side much. It can be deadly when the strong side thinks the weak side doesn't like them (i.e. is a threat).

      The weak side knows what will happen if they are at the mercy of the strong side, because they already are. The strong side does not know what happens if lay down their defenses. It is up to the weak side to tell them and make them believe it will be safe. Otherwise the logical, safe course of action is to oppress them.

      We are all descended from the winners of many thousands of generations of these replacement conflicts over the trillion generations of life on the planet.

    • @Shingo

      Most of your other post is you just saying false and then asserting the opposite but this deserves a response:

      False. Most Jewish people were opposed to the idea of a Jewish state, so he clearly did not represented the Jewish people all over the world.

      Most Jewish people were opposed to the idea of moving to a Jewish state personally. I don't know of any good study that shows they opposed the idea in theory. If there is evidence present it. Certainly most Jews thought Palestine was silly and the viable one early on, Birobidzhan which was far less hospitable and the surrounding areas had something like 30k supporters who moved there.

      That being said the opinions of Jews in the early years aren't relevant. Today they agree with Ben-Gurion. Today his positions are fully endorsed. Today Israel has just under 1/2 the jewish population living in it, and just under 1/2 living in an incredibly pro-zionist state strongly supporting it. So Ben-Gurion won the battle of Jewish opinion utterly and completely.

      Where is Israel meaningfully opposed by Jews? The 3rd most populous country (France) Jews have fled the left over anti-Zionism. The 4th most populous (Canada) Jews have US style opinions. The 5th (the UK) the Jews are quiet. But when surveyed they are incredibly Zionist:
      90% see it as the “ancestral homeland” of the Jewish people,
      86% feel that Jews have a special responsibility for its survival

    • @Shmuel --

      Yes, there is a conflict here that needs to be resolved through negotiation, but there is also oppression, domination and a rejection of the fundamental humanity not of the oppressor (which takes what it wants anyway), but of the oppressed.

      Sorry but I think the rejection of the fundamental humanity of the "oppressor" is what led to the rejection of it with regard to the oppressed, and continues to do so. Language like "oppressor" / "oppressed" isn't all that helpful IMHO either. By using humanizing language negotiation becomes easier.

      Use the word "crusader" and Israel is just an implant from Europe and like the crusader states will fall within two centuries.
      Use the word "colonizer" and Israel is just a western power that can be overcome by popular struggle (i.e. Ghandi).
      Use the word "immigrant" or "mass migration" and like Ghandi you are starting to deal with the reality of the situation.

      The lack of humanity coming from the Arab side, is destructive to their interests. Time and time again their rhetoric has caused them miscalculate. And this BTW is one of the core ideas of Ghandi, one that the Palestinians have rejected, to not engage in demonization because it prevents one from seeing reality. Ghandi humanized the British. And because he humanized the British he was able to appeal to their ethics. Same as Mandela.

      Take for example 1947. The Arabs used the crusader / colonizer language. When they actually engaged the Jews what they discovered was an army with sky high moral fighting for their lives. The Jews 1% of their population 47-9 (on par with losses in the US civil war for example, much higher than any other American war) and never even considered surrender. Any colonial army would have given up with 1/2 maybe even a 1/10th those loses. If they had used humanizing language they would have understood the Jews were fighting for their lives, while their own armies moral was piss poor since their soldiers were fighting for a people they didn't care much about. Given that both sides equipment wise had a relatively on par army the willingness to endure massive causalities guaranteed Jewish victory. The Arabs would have understood that, they wouldn't have walked into a buzz saw and from there history is totally different.

      Oppressor / Oppressed dichotomies is the language of NGOs and childish at that, like calling someone a fart-head. It is not the language of people ready to run a state.

      I don't know if the Palestinians have any more plays. Camp David may have been their last chance. But if they do have more plays that kind of thinking does nothing but help them make bad ones.

    • @Peter --

      So that's like what 1% of the population they recognize the legitimacy of? Close enough to 0, that it presents a fundamentally different approach than Mandela's and that was my point. Mandela always considered Afrikaners as part of South Africa he never called the colonizers the way you are with your analogy to crusaders.

      The crusader states when they fell, the population was mostly ethnically cleansed. So if you use those analogies then the implications is the old Jewish "want to push us into the sea" are 100% correct. The fact that they would let say 1% of the population live on as an oppressed minority in a muslim state doesn't meaningfully change that.

    • @Shmuel

      Do you really think that is what the question “Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?” means?

      No. I think “Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?” comes from people using the term "colonialism" for Israel. Basically they are asserting that non-violent resistance is what is needed. I think they are wrong.

      There is also another sense that Gandhi recognized common humanity. I've seen the news coverage and there were quotes from Mandela from the 1960s, "I reject white oppression. And I reject black oppression." or "We are one people". All throughout his tenure he constantly communicated that he recognized the legitimacy of the Afrikaners. Anything from Afrikaners history that was non-racist he embraced enthusiastically. He constantly strove to send the message that he was not looking for Rhodesia.

      I think in some sense the accusation means that as well. And that is something that I think would serve the Palestinians very well, leaders who constantly reassure Jews that he accepts the legitimacy of the Jewish people part f the heritage of Palestine. But that position, is as far as I know, not only not embraced but completely rejected by Palestinian leadership and for that matter Arab leadership. What anti-normalization means is a total rejection of accepting Israel as part of the middle east. This is the popular position.

      I remember talking to a Syrian friend about the original King Faud plan. This was an Arab peace plan that I, at the time a rightwing Zionist, would have said "yes" to. She was shocked that I was so enthusiastic about things like joint transportation projects, cultural exchanges and cross border business would get me to drop the settlements when bombings wouldn't even get me to consider it.

      I don't think I was alone in this. The IDF can buy Israel territory and the IDF can buy Israel cold peace. But the IDF can't buy Israel a warm embrace in the region. The Palestinians could potentially help with that. And I think that's what's ultimately meant. That the Palestinians use path of love and negotiate with the best card they are holding.

      Ultimately the Jews faced wholly different problems from the world than the Indians faced from the British and the Palestinians face wholly different problems from the Israelis than the Indians faced. Any analogy is going to be bad.

      But yes I think Ben-Gurion is the closest thing the Jews have to Gandhi even understanding he isn't that close.

    • The people that Ben-Gurion represented in his early days were the Jewish people all over the world. The ones who eventually died in the camps. The ones in the arab countries who were eventually driven to Israel. The ones in latin America some of which only recently driven out. Israel was the vehicle by which he set them free.

    • @Marc B:

      The Zionist Gandhi: David Ben-Gurion. He led the world to accept the fact that Jews like other peoples should enjoy equal rights to sovereignty. He also lived long enough to help his infant state through its first very rough decade of life.

  • Obama and Kerry drop talk of Palestinian state for 'state institutions' and 'transition'
    • @Hostage --

      You are ducking the issue. Israel did not agree to the arbitrator. That's it both parties have to agree to an arbitrator. This stuff about minorities is a change in subject.

      That being said, material circumstances changed between the time of 181 and the time of Israel's non abiding which Vienna does allow for. But even if I were wrong, since then Israel has unequivocally repudiated their acceptance five and a half decades ago. Action needs to be taken at the point of repudiation. Article 66 of Vienna allows for 12 months not until the sun burns out.

      181 is long over.

    • @Hostage --

      I agree there is some desire for some level of symbolic actions against settlements in the EU. I don't think it goes beyond that. If they wanted to impose sanctions they don't need the UN they could just cancel the EU-Israel Association Agreement for starters. They don't. They've doubled their trade with Israel in under a decade, that ain't a sign that they want sanctions.

      To pick an example that's exist for a generation the non-recognition of Jerusalem and locating embassies in Tel Aviv makes communication complex results in constant silliness. That's about the level Europe seems to want. They aren't doing anything like arming rebels in Jerusalem or taking really strong action indicating they disagree with the annexation.

      That being said, I was talking Security Council 7, a breach of the peace which would then lead to a call for military action which no one would act on.

    • @Hostage --

      Correction: Zionism isn’t a nationality.

      No it is a nationalism not a nationality. That's why I gave the analogy of Carthage. The Romans didn't just want to destroy the Carthaginian nationality they wanted to destroy the very idea of Carthage. That's why they killed everyone including the slaves. As Scipio put it, "For the removal of a perpetual menace" which is language very much like what 3379 called for. They didn't want to destroy Israel, they wanted to destroy the very idea of Tzion, David's city, arising again as a beacon of hope. That's Zionism that's much more than a nationality. The nationality could die out and the nationalism could live on. 3379 was not a resolution to merely destroy Israel but rather to destroy forever the very idea of Jewish self determination as a blot against humanity. That's why the US ambassador to the UN at the time said of it, "The United Nations is about to make anti-Semitism international law." And I should mention that as an American I'm proud we stood so strongly against that evil.

      The UN's history when it comes to Israel is repulsive. Its hard to know if 3379 was the low point but it certainly is a candidate.

      The UN did not single out poor little Israel. It has refused to recognize a number of secessionists states, like Biafra and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

      That's true I'm not sure how that matters. Israel at the time of 3379 was already a state and had been for two decades. The situations aren't at all similar. Moreover not recognizing Biafra is wholly different than classifying the existence of the Igbo as a self governing people as an international crime. TheUN while indifferent to the Ibgo being slaughtered didn't actively encourage it. 3379 was an attempt to actively encourage the equivalent fate, though thankfully long after their opinion mattered. What the Igbo however shows is why the Jews/Israelis/Zionists had to conduct themselves as they did in 47-9. The fate of the Igbo show what defeat (at best) would have meant.

      As for Cyprus here I disagree with the analogy. This is mostly a classic territorial war between Turkey and Greece. UNFICYP shows that the UN does recognize the humanity and rights of the Turkish Cypriot community not to live as Greeks. Though I'm surprised you put it in this direction because if (when?) the fighting resumes I suspect it will be the Greek Cypriots that will be leaving.

      As for its own legitimacy.... A government is legitimate if it represents the people living within its territory. Virtually every government on the planet wouldn't be illegitimate if mistreating minorities stripped a government of its legitimacy.

      As for the broader question of the UN determining legitimacy , I'd reject that. The UN didn't recognize the PRC as legitimate either. Mao didn't care and went right on governing his territory. Israel thankfully reacted much the same to 3379. All 3379 did was establish the UN as a formal enemy of Israel's, rather than the informal enemy it has and continues to be. Jews will hold their state until their army falls. If the UN wants Israel they can pry it out of the Israeli's cold dead hands. The days of Jews living in fear of papal bulls, excuse me UN resolutions, are over. They are just mostly meaningless paper now. And that's the point. Because the UN doesn't have the ability to enforce its will on Israel, Jews no longer need to fear. Israel is what ended the fear.

      To call the desire not to live with that fear racism just shows how truly evil the UN often is.

    • Walid --

      The Palestinians have won their case in the international arena again and again and again and again. They have nothing to prove: the UN really really likes them and really really hates the Israelis. That's established. And BTW they had much better resolutions a few decades ago like Zionism is Racism (UN 3379), which called on all nations to eliminate Zionism. Huge victory. People considered the Iraq resolutions harsh but they never said anything like member nations should eradicate the entire concept of an Iraqi nationality. That's Rome vs. Carthage kind of stuff.

      The US is mostly only blocking security council resolutions. They do not want to create meaningless article 7 resolutions that no one intention of enforcing. That's a good thing. Security Council resolutions should carry with them an obligation to enforce which is why the membership should rotate a lot more selectively than it does (but that's another topic). The USA doesn't hate the Palestinian people they just aren't willing to fight a war for them. And short of a war the only way they are getting a state is if it is Israel's interest to give them one.

    • Arbitration requires both parties to agree to the arbitration process and submit to the arbitrator. The security council and the World Court more or less have ruled, the Green Line is the legal border. Both states can change it by mutual agreement only. A very pro-Palestinian ruling. So nothing is missing.

      Israel's position has been to submit to the arbiter but instead a consistent and unequivocal rejection of that arbiter. This ruling ain't worth the paper it is printed on because the IDF is a first class army and Israel doesn't agree. So unless someone else with a first class army cares enough to deploy it to "impose a settlement" there is no imposing a settlement. Borders are wherever armies say they are.

  • Kerry threatens to delay Palestinian prisoner release if PA refuses US/Israel demands
    • @Process --

      Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela were dealing with societies dependent on the labor or the populations they represented. Mostly in the early days of the 2nd intifada, but also before that the Israelis restructured their economy so that they were no longer in dependent on Palestinian labor. Literally every Palestinian could disappear off the face of the planet tomorrow and Israel would at worst experience a moderate recession and might experience a boom to lower costs. King and Mandela weren't confronting that sort of structure.

      The PA no longer has the option of civil disobedience because the Israelis don't depend on their cooperation. For the PA to have the options that King and Mandela had the first thing is the Israelis have to trust and like the Palestinians more than they do now so that they utilize them economically. What the Palestinians call "normalization" or "being colonized". By successfully resting that the Palestinians don't have the same options.

      The Palestinians tried violence in the 2nd intifada. The Israelis having a much better army, responded with far more force and the Palestinians lost. Hamas tries it once in a while with little to show for it.

      Abbas and Erkat aren't holding good cards. You may not like that fact, but those are the facts.

  • Fallows: A free society must reckon with Blumenthal's book, as it did with 'Grapes of Wrath' and 'Gentleman's Agreement'
    • @Citizen --

      Yes absolutely. The mainstream media's job is mostly to cover the mainstream political debate. The mainstream policy debate is the debate between politicians. Ideas that don't yet have viable political support are too immature to be discussed by the mainstream.

      Which if you think about it makes sense. If on policy area X there are 100 ideas it makes sense to let the specialists narrow that down to 3 before it goes to the interested. The interested then group and classify these foreign policies into cohesive packages of policy and those packages go to the mainstream which then decide between those packages.

      Neoconservatism is a package. The Realist school of foreign policy (think Bush-41 or Eisenhower) is a package. Wilsonian Idealism is a package. Isolationism is a package.... Those are very complex discussions even at that level of generality. Which is why the interested, i.e. the parties select packages to be represented by their policy choices.

      There are ways to bypass this process with things like protests. But ultimately the protests at best get you an audience with the policy makers. They still have to decide the idea is acceptable otherwise protest just becomes crime.

      There is a concept called the Overton window that talks about high ideas filter:


      The American people aren't doing anything with I-P that they don't do on 1000 other issues when they say "if you on the far left can't even convince Nancy Pelosi, why is your idea worth me thinking about?"

    • @Hostage --

      Where have you been? The much vaunted IDF air attacks depend upon your opponents not having anti-aircraft missiles. That didn’t even work with the Egyptians back in the era of the Yom Kippur war. it never was applicable to the Russian fleet.

      The US has overcome anti-aircraft batteries. In Serbia and in Iraq. If you are saying the Russian fleet is willing to deploy to the Mediterranean they would be likely be capable of enforcing a sanctions or a blockade against Israel. My primary question is what would cause the Russians to do such a thing? Of course the USA would have to permit it.

      The Soviet Union was much more hostile to Israel during much of the 60s and 70s than Russia is today though they never went this far. Russia has not indicated anywhere near that level hostility to Israel. In 2010 they signed a long term military agreement ( ) and the first contract has been Israeli Aerospace Industries is Russia's supplier for UAVs (drones), locating a factory there.

      I'd say your Russia scenario is unlikely. The Palestinians don't have good drone technology to sell.

    • @Sibraik --

      part 2:

      Your argument has a fatal flaw. The world is not static, and the norms by which nations are judged are not eternally fixed. Standards have changed. What was once widely considered normal and acceptable is no longer so considered....

      You understand those are "is" claims not "ought" claims? They are simply not true. Through all the history we have the process of national formation horrified people who witnessed because it was so disruptive. The process was one of the arguments for colonization that colonial administrators could prevent the bloodshed. The argument before that was the argument for Christendom and the Church's right and duty to regulate wars between Christian kings and how peoples were governed. Before that there were various Gothic assemblies, which were mostly unsuccessful in stopping all out tribal wars. Before that this was the core moral argument for the Roman Empire. Before that the argument for the alliance of states under the various leaders of the Roman Republic. There is nothing new about these objections.

      Now there is another side of your argument, though. You could argue that while attempts to stop this process have existed in the past, this time we really mean it. In which case we would expect to look at the modern processes of national formation and not see the age old process in effect. So for example we have the 3 main ethnic groups in the mid Africa: Abatutsi (Tutsi), Bantu (Hutu), and Twa fighting to determine borders and layout of populations. Were this no longer the norm we would expect this process in Burundi, Rwanda and Congo to be democratic, humane with a high degree of respect for human rights. Is that what you see?

      I'm not sure if you are willing to count these countries since they started their nation formation process a generation and a half earlier but if you are willing to count Israel's neighbors you can also see the process playing out. From the humane way the Muslims and Christians resolve their problems directly to Israel's north is Lebanon, to the democratic process we see evident in Syria to the respect for human rights in Arabia one is awed by the effectiveness of the new standards. Even in Europe we had we had the Serbians, Croatians, Macedonians and Albanians going at it in Yugoslavia. So my question is: how can you possibly say what Israel is doing is not the norm?

      I'll stop being tongue in cheek. Certainly there are examples like Czechoslovakia being peacefully dissolved and I could point to examples from two hundred years ago as well of peaceful state formation. But that happens rarely and seems to be caused circumstances leading to lack of conflict and inclinations of the peoples to avoid conflict much more than any change in norms.

      So, if we put aside aside your misguided and untenable moral nihilism, a valid way to pose the question would be: is Israel being held to a double standard when it comes to contemporary international law and human rights norms? And the answer is a clear “no”.

      No the answer is a clear yes. And that's the problem. No one questions that the Hutus should remain in the region even though they don't get along with the Tutsi in Rwanda. The UN doesn't even want to extend further jurisdiction over the issue. There are no constant resolution every year about how Hutus suck and they should be nicer to Tutsi.

      The attitude of the world is: stuff happens, toss 2 dozen people in jail and move on.

    • @Sibiriak

      First off let me thank you for a polite challenging response. You handled your disagreement in a way that is classy (I'm not being sarcastic here at all I mean what I'm saying). So thanks for that.

      Do you think “facts” alone can lead you to moral judgments? Do you think you can derive an “ought” from an “is”?

      No I don't. However what's being debated have been "is" questions. There have been assertions that what Israel did in its process of state formation was uniquely bad. That this state went through a creation process totally unlike other states. That's an "is" question not an "ought" question.

      The ought question that acknowledges that Israel follows the usual pattern of state formation but that people would prefer a different system be followed is going to be a lot more measured. So if we can move past the "is" to discuss the "ought" I think that's real progress.

      In terms of ought, we are in a more complex issue because we get right to heart of how human societies should be organized and what is the nature of proper government. I don't agree with the UN's positions on this. I think their positions are often poorly thought out, create perverse incentives and undermine many of the objectives I'd want for human societies. Their "ought" is not terrible, but it is significantly flawed. So, I have problems with the "ought" of the UN's position as well as the "is".

      no ability whatsoever to provide a *moral* justification for Zionism and Israeli policy

      The moral justification for Zionism is rather simple: Once the Jews of Israel thought of themselves as a nation, formed a culture and language they became a nation. Israel has the right to admit immigrants who want to live there the same as any other state and thus the right to admit Jews and thus further expand the nation. People occupying a territory have the right self determination and thus the right to a Jewish state.

      There is no moral justification for putting that Jewish state on top of the Palestinians, a different location would have been better And that was a great moral issue in the 1890s-1930s. After the 1930s it ceases to be a moral issue and just becomes a historical fact. At that point it just becomes a classic tribal war and each tribe is morally obliged to either make reasonable peace or to win.

      As for Israeli policy, Israeli policy can be evaluated morally on the basis of middle state formation. I have no problems with rational evaluations of Israeli policy. There are things about Israeli policy I don't like. But I think an evaluation that starts with the notion that state formation is inherently immoral isn't an evaluation of Israeli policy it's just pure hatred independent of the underlying acts.

      I'll respond to the 2nd half in my next post.

    • @Ecru

      You’d have the entire planet a “colonial enterprise” to get Israel off the hook wouldn’t you.

      Why does everything have to be motivated by Israel. Why can't it be that having read history I'm overwhelmed by migrations and the rise and fall of societies. That having seen that I find this dialogue about "colonialism" and "oppression" which depends on view the world as static and societies as eternally fixed to be completely inconsistent with history.

      I disbelieved the dialogue completely independently of my love for Israel. There are many things I wish weren't true about Israel but am forced to believe. I would much rather that the IDF never engaged in petty cruelty and certainly not vandalism. That strikes me as more like schoolyard bullying than the behavior of a great nation. I wish that Israeli culture were more polite. I would much rather that Israelis didn't support the idea of a state religion and that legalized discrimination against Reformed Judaism were an unpopular / unacceptable position to them, but that ain't so.

      I believe the facts wherever the facts take me. And this colonial dialogue is an attempt to hold Israel to a standard that no other country has to face.

    • @Citizen --

      It’s not a mere matter of who cares what the Israelis do to the Palestinians, but that US taxpayers enable Israel to do it, and US veto in UNSC immunize Israel from any accountability for what it does to the Palestinians.

      Let me hit both of those briefly.

      On subsidies... they aren't really that high anymore. Mostly what helps Israel is technology transfers and the general feeling of support they get from knowing the US Army has their back. Israel's natural interests and the USA's natural interests are very dissimilar. What the USA is buying is Israel doing what we want on issues on which it would otherwise naturally have very different policy. We also avoid Israel freelancing in search of weapons suppliers. However dangerous Israel is now to world peace, imagine if it were a free agent: proliferating weapons including nuclear technology to win friends and get natural resources, pursuing its natural interests in support non-Arabic / non-Muslim Middle Eastern people's in gaining independence, and trading intelligence as it saw fit. That's one alternative. Another alternative is that Israel immediately finds another sponsor like Russia, China or India and starts aggressively supporting their aims for the region against US / European interests. Etc...

      I'd ask you in what way is our military relationship with Israel different than say our relationship with Japan? Japan and Israel are both vassals of the United States. Japan and Israel are both rather racist in their legal policies. In the case of Israel there is a huge lobby that complains in the Japan no one questions the right of the Japanese to reject anyone but their own ethnicity settling long term on their island.


      Now in terms of the UN. You tell me. Assume the USA doesn't use its veto but doesn't change its military relationship nor is it willing to enforce sanctions. How do they get enforced? The very basics. Who is going to put a navy in the Mediterranean Sea capable of handling IDF air attacks (and the IDF's air capacity is no joke) and capable of stopping or even monitoring shipping to and from Israel?

      The UN hates Israel. If having the UN say mean things about you had consequences Israel would be barren radioactive crater where nothing could grow for millions of years. The only thing the UN can do is authorize people with real armies to do stuff. What country with a real army is ready to take on the IDF? If the answer is none, then there is nothing the UN can do but send Israel really hurtful letters.

      Don't get me wrong. Israel is sensitive and the UN seems capable of hurting their feelings quite a bit which is why the Palestinians like this weapon. But in the end, the UN issue is stupid. If anyone wanted to take on Israel they have plenty of UN authorization to do it. What the US is doing is not letting the Security Council become like the General Assembly or the Human Rights Commission with routine anti-Semitism with no pretense to being implemented being discussed as if it were meaningful policy. The USA is saving the Security Council from just becoming another debating society that likes to debate how much Jews suck.

    • @Hostage --

      No, I don't know it isn't so. I don't think the American population is split between people who think like delegates to the Democratic convention and "couch potatoes". For example, there are delegates to the Republican convention who are young and active but have very different political opinions. There are people whose are issue focused not party focused and thus play an important role in our political system but not in party machinery. And there are many many people who are interested voters that follow the news and have strong political opinions but for whom politics is a secondary or tertiary concern and that group is many many times the size of delegates.

      The Northwestern Mutual World Challenge golf tournament was this weekend. Golf fans probably are representative of many of the donor class in American. They have influence on politics. I could poll them on Jerusalem and it would be an equally unrepresentative sample.

    • @Hostage

      It is hard to find a worse representative population of Americans than the delegates to the Democratic Convention.

      #1 they are uniformally Democrats. Moreover they are way more liberal than average Americans. Being a democrat and being a liberal correlate negatively with support for Israel.

      #2 they are politically enthusiastic. After all most of them spent something like 2 years deferring their careers to work for political campaigns or they are planning on going into politics. Which means they tend to believe strongly in the political process as a way to resolve problems as opposed to say using economic forces, culture, religion.... They are much more likely to support the UN peace process and its parameters than the average American.

      #3 they are disproportionately young. Which also correlates negatively with support for Israel and positively with support for Palestine.

      I'm going to rely on broader polls, and elections to gauge public opinion.

    • @Sibiriak --

      But what do that 59% think US policy on Israel actually IS? (This poll result was not in your link, I believe).

      I'd assume most liberals in the USA are rather ignorant about what our policy is. For example if I were asked the question about whether the USA should in the PRC/ROC disputes: lean more towards People's Republic of China (China proper), lean towards the Republic of China (Taiwan), leave things alone or don't know.... I in my ignorance would probably say that the policy seems pretty good and I should know a lot more before advocating a shift and thus leave it alone. OTOH if I were a virulent anti-Communist with the same level of ignorance I might very well side on a pro-Taiwan position. If on the other hand I though war was likely with China, even with my level of ignorance I'd throw Taiwan overboard and side with the PRC.

      I'm freely admitting I don't understand the dispute. But that sort of ignorance is the nature of public opinion. This is what you find on any question of public policy.

      "What would public opinion be if the public were broadly informed on the issues?" is a very different question than "what is current public opinion". Because there would have to be a context to inform the public broadly. Say for example if Hamas were to hit the USA with a chemical or nuclear weapon in retaliation for US support. Or if we were about to go to war with Israel to save the Palestinians. Then I think we'd get a more informed public opinion. On the other hand we'd also be having a much more emotional debate so YMMV.

      They likely believe that the U.S. is pretty much an “honest broker”

      "Honest broker" sounds nice. Rephrase that to "indifferent to the outcome of negotiations, just focusing on the process" or "completely neutral" and you would get a lower percentage. Ultimately if you strip away the language issues, why would Americans believe we were being neutral / fair? Everyone knows we like Israel a lot and trust them. They also know we don't like the Palestinians much. Older people remember 70s Palestinian terrorism direct against Americans. Why would they expect us to be an honest broker?

      (thanks to, among other things, the brilliant propagation of the “Myth of the Generous Offer Rejected by Arafat”

      Let me just point out, I am pretty knowledgeable near the top of what people who don't focus on this as their primary issue know and I don't it is a myth. I happen to completely believe that given the situation as it existed it was a very generous offer, near the best that Arafat could have hoped for and he should have accepted the Camp David offer. I would have in his place. Moreover, I think Arafat might very well have put the Palestinian people on a road to unavoidable destruction when he rejected the Clinton Parameters. The election of Arial Sharon was something a smart leader would have worked very hard to avoid.

      So, I'm an example of someone who believes this. When we talk public opinion it can be hard but don't confuse "doesn't know the facts" with "doesn't agree with me".

      they also likely oppose expansion of settlements in the West Bank

      We know that's not true. Huge percentages of Americans support equal housing laws. You may be to young to remember when people of different ethnicities couldn't safely move into neighborhoods but many Americans aren't and even if they don't remember directly they oppose the idea. Many view the Palestinian demands on settlements this very similarly to the Klan's position in many southern locations that Jews shouldn't be allowed to move into White Christian neighborhoods.

      Again picking myself as an example of someone who isn't ignorant... I want peace in Israel,. For that to happen there needs to be lots and lots of 1/2 Palestinian 1/2 Jewish babies. People need to live near one another for that to happen. So I'm all in favor of intermixing the populations. Putting an end to settler on Palestinian violence as well as Palestinian on Israeli violence is key to that. And key to putting an end to the violence is people stopping caring about internal borders as if they mattered.

    • @Woody

      Whose support? The support by US politicians is significantly bought and paid for. Most Americans want the US to treat the israelis and Palestinians in a way which does not favor either side; the US politicians support everything the israelis do. “corruption” is a pretty tame way of describing that situation.

      Do you have any evidence that most Americans want a US policy of neutrality? The statistics I've seen show pretty strong support for Israel broadly in the public. Among them huge chunks of the public want Israel to take an even more violent position towards the Palestinians. A similarly sized chunk wants the USA to be mostly indifferent and uninvolved. I see almost no support in the USA population for your position that the USA should threaten a close ally with a nuclear arsenal a first class intelligence service on an issue they consider core to their well being because the UN wants us to. So where is your evidence that the US public supports that? I've never seen it.

      As for peoples vs. states I don't know what you are talking about. I can see a moral basis based on nationalism for not allowing affinities to foreign states/peoples. I can see a moral basis based on humanism for allowing affinities to foreign states/peoples. I can't see any moral basis for despising affection for foreign states while adoring affection for foreign peoples. The way governments interact with foreign peoples institutionally is through their states. There may be cultural or interpersonal interactions that occur at non-state levels but the governments engage those by either encouraging or discouraging those interactions.

      If Guinea, Dominican or Belarus was a European colonial project, like israel

      Belarus is of course a European colonial project, just like all of Europe. The Bandkeramik cultures were weakened by Asian invaders and so the first the Baltic peoples then the Slavs pushed the natives out and moved in. That's who lives there now.

      The Dominican Republic is quite literally where Columbus setup his colony. The native population died from European diseases and the population that lives there are all from the European colonial project of the triangle trade (slave trade) that the island of Hispaniola focused its economy on. Of course the Dominican Republican is a European colonial project! As is just about every country on the entire continent it is a part of.

      As for Guinea, it was a Fulani colonial project not a European one. I'm not sure why that matters, but evidently you think it does. OK but since these aren't Europeans let's look at this state, one you are likely to be less emotional about. So given you are opposed to migrations, what should happen to the population of Guinea? They did destroy the society, language, religion and culture of the indigenous population. The Berber states (where the Fulani originated) no longer exists but Algeria does. Should they be forcibly moved back to Algeria? What do we do with the current inhabitants of Algeria that they would displace?

      More generally how would doing this be a good thing? Why should I be opposed to the population of Guinea when every country, every society on this planet is the result of mass migrations what you want to call colonialism? Why not just accept that peoples are not stable and they migrate around the masses of this planet trying to build homes. Certainly some societies rise and others fall as a result. But that's the cycle of life.

    • @Piotr

      That does happen. All the time in commerce or defense there are discussion about aligning with the EU/NATO. For the EU in particular the term is "Brussels" which happens to be in Belgium. :)

    • @Hostage --

      See my response to piotr. I agree the public supports Obama's peace making. There is a long way from that and Krauss's original point about public support for American anti-Israeli actions.

    • @Piotr --

      Let me start off by saying there is a huge range between:
      a) I like country X so much I'm willing to fight a war because they think it is a good idea.
      b) I dislike country X so much that even know I know there are a nuclear power I'm going to risk destabilization and possibly war to pressure them into a policy they despise.

      My argument is that a tiny fraction of Americans are anywhere close to (b), or persuadable to move to option (b) regardless of what bad stuff they hear about the Israelis doing to the Palestinians. (a) OTOH is a level of support we don't extend even to governors of states much less leaders of foreign countries. Canada is the country that Americans are most affectionate towards and we didn't back their play over fishing with Spain. Nor do we care that Canada also hates the Iranian agreement.

      I think most people who follow politics even slightly are aware that Israel wants war with Iran and particularly want the USA to be in a war with Iran. They are aware that Iran hates Israel, sponsors terrorism against them and Israel considers them an enemy. They aren't going to find it shocking that Israel wouldn't be happy about the USA reaching an agreement with Iran. They fully understand that war is likely much more in Israel's interest than the USA's. So sure they understand and they don't care, your option (c) but I wouldn't read too much into that.

      As long as “sympathy” means telling that I would prefer to park my car next to someone from such an adorable country rather then some savage, Israel wins in spades.


      But on such central issue like settlements Israel has hardly any support.

      I don't think that's true. At this point 55% of American Christians believe the land of Israel was given to the Jews by God\, 64% among Protestants only, 82% among evangelicals only:

      If you ask questions about the settlements you get weird results. So for example most Americans seem to regard East Jerusalem construction by Israel as legitimate. I haven't seen much data that involves non-Jewish Americans but I'm think we are getting garbage data when you talk public polls from people who don't understand the question. Your point about Florida T-party being a wonderful example.

    • I agree with you regarding Israel. I wish that it was treated proportional to its size and so the world thought about Israel as little as they do about Guinea, the Dominican Republic or Belarus. I think the excessive focus is bad and frankly anti-Semetic.

      But given the excessive focus I don't think what Kerry is doing is disgusting. Neoconservatives are firmly of the opinion that war with Iran is objectively good for the USA and peace with Iran objectively bad. One of the primary arguments being raised by neo-conservatives so as to influence other conservatives is that the Iranian agreement is anti-Israel. There are people in the United States that are not naturally in favor of USA imperialism but do see Israel as a vital natural interest, and are influenceable by neo-conservatives most especially Christian Zionists. I think it is Kerry's job to counter such arguments. That's democracy to debate the issues. Support for Israel is not a property of corruption it is a deeply held value.

      Moreover if one doesn't believe Americans should care about the welfare of alien peoples then who cares what the Israelis do the Palestinians? That counter argument undermines most of the topic here. The whole reason there is a Palestinian question as an international question is because people do care about the goings on in that alien state.

    • @Krauss

      Put American on a scale from 1-7 with 1 being liberals, 3 being blue dogs and 7 being Tea Party. The entire debate about BDS is happening within the 1s. From 2-7 the only positions one sees is isolationism or strong support for Israel.

      So for example if we restrict to self identified Democrats the most liberal 1/3rd of the population
      59% think current US policy on Israel / Palestine is the right balance
      25% have no idea and/or don’t care
      16% are split 9/7 either wanting a more Pro-Palestinian or Pro-Israeli policy.

      which is to say there is a roughly even debate among the liberal 1/3rd, but note the very high level of satisfaction with the current poolicy. Go right and you don’t see this at all. If we look at Republicans, the most conservative 1/3rd,
      Republicans are split differently
      39% want a more pro-Israeli policy
      30% don’t know or don’t care
      24% think current policy is right
      6% want a more Pro-Palestinian policy

      there the debate is a large minority that want a more pro-Israel position against a larger but less idealogical group that things the current policy is appropriate.

      If you look at Americans as a whole:
      47% of Americans like the Israelis
      40% of Americans don’t care
      13% of Americans like the Palestinians.

      The entire BDS discussion takes place on liberal terms. In the BDS debate:
      Culture / governments exist to serve their populations never the reverse
      People from all over the planet together struggle against common enemies like capital and racism. You never hear much blatant nationalism or religious identity.
      Anti-colonialism is taken as a given

      That’s not what you see in a mainstream political argument. Get outside the liberal sphere and that entire paradigm starts to collapse because people don’t share your presuppositions about the nature of the good. Moderates evaluate Israel based on criteria they care about: are Israel’s interests compatible with US interests, does Israel support US multinational interest, are Israel’s enemies mostly US enemies, can Israel be made to work within the US system…? Or going further right does Israel advance the interests of the west against the other hostile cultures which aim to eliminate or undermine the west?

      Even among the 1s, the most liberals you have a problem that Zionist Jews are often a huge percentage of the supporters for most liberal causes. Many 1s do not consider foreign policy their dominant concern. What percentage of Americans whose number one charity is: PETA, the Sierra Club or Gay Rights do you think are pro-Palestinian? Would those groups risk losing 1/5th-1/3rd of the activists and donations to support BDS, a cause that even if they support they consider tertiary to the causes they really care about? The next time the Sierra Club is protesting logging or drilling would they want credible mainstream liberal Democrats identifying them as an anti-Semitic hate group and advising other Democrats not to listen to them? It would be devastating to other liberal causes not so much because of the loss of liberals but because of the loss of activists and donations if Jews in America shifted right, fleeing anti-Zionism. Look at French Jews what had this problem, and imagine the effect on liberalism if American Jews became a conservative voting block.

      Foxman isn’t in the endgame he’s doing fine holding the line. Americans broadly support the policy he advocates. It may not seem that way though if you are selective in your reading.

  • Netanyahu ducks Mandela memorial
    • Mandela was a great leader for South Africa and a good humanitarian. Israel was strongly on the side of the Afrikaners and mostly dislikes the ANC government that Mandela brought to power. This sort of thing happens all the time to countries. The USA liked the Shah and allowed him to die here. The new government has hostile so the USA didn't attend Khomeini's funeral.

      Speaking of Khomeini, if I were going to pick most important world leader to die in the last 4 decades Mandela wouldn't make the top 20: Mao, Khomeini, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Leonid Brezhnev, Osama bin Laden... are far more likely candidates. World leaders command global forces, and have broad effects for decades or centuries after their death. Mandela was mostly symbolic even in South Africa. Mandela is a really spectacular human being, a secular saint, but putting him at number one for the last 4 decades is a gross exaggeration.

      Anyway, Netanyahu doesn't want to be De Klerk. De Klerk at the end of the day was the leader who worked out reasonable terms of surrender. He protected his people but lost his country. I suspect if there is an analogy Netanyahu wants to be more like Scipio the Great who ensured the Republic would thrive for generations. Israel is secure but still has many powerful enemies in the region.

  • Israeli report: Kerry proposed long-term Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley
    • I’ve seen said reports too; some say Israel won’t even consider international and/or American peace keepers unless Israel is in charge of them.

      You don't need to look at reports, that's been Israel's position for decades. That's why the UN hasn't sent in peacekeepers already. UN peacekeepers are not peacemakers, while they have light arms they aren't setup to fight an actual army that opposes their presence. So the first step in a peacekeeping presence is asking local armies if they agree to the peacekeepers. Israel on the record has been saying "no" for decades.

      They will not tolerate a UN force on their territory or near their territory. I don't blame them. I live in New Jersey I wouldn't want a UN force in Pennsylvania if there is an army there I want the US army. They might tolerate a USA army. That's one of the carrots the USA has. The USA is one of the only possible peacekeeping force that is strong enough to scare the IDF and at the same time one they won't find so threatening that Israel would still be capable of moving in a peaceful direction.

      OTOH to make that happen means the US has to have strong domestic support for this peace deal which can't happen with a UN deal....

    • @Hostage --

      None of that has ever stopped a government from killing its citizens in the past.

      Yes it has and quite often. Governments that have tried to take on powerful well armed minorities have generally suffered devastating defeats.

      And moreover here is where the support of a foreign army comes in. The Palestinians can't win a hard fought battle. They win a battle and it becomes a massacre for Israel which then has no choice but to intervene. Remember the Alamo?

      . They don’t have an air force or army with aircraft, APVs, tanks, or the heavy artillery support they’ve grown accustomed to.

      Why wouldn't they? They would have excellent smuggling operations. Remember they are literally bike riding distance from a friendly army, whose members are going to be leaking arms to them, probably with full support of their government. They have a huge support network in the United States. They have support networks with other people like the Kurds. The Israelis know how to do this. Under much worse conditions they did it in the 30s and 40s facing a full on arms embargo that was widely support, and they did it to great success.

      You can also assume that any peace agreement will require the IDF to collect the small arms and equipment it has issued to the settlers and turn over its bases to the Palestinians.

      What agreement? In your hypothetical there was no agreement the Palestinians were just governing the Jewish residents after some sort of magic UN sanctions got the Israelis to withdraw.

      You can't have it both ways. This hypothetical there is a hostile withdraw forced by some world power (let's say the USA). Palestine is next to a country that despises them. Before it was merely a land war, now the Israelis really hate the Palestinians. Israel views itself as defeated in your hypothetical and lusts for revenge. They are going to be doing everything they can to destabilize the situation. Think at the very least what Iran was doing to the USA in Iraq or what Pakistan does in Kashmir. You can't assume the IDF is helping, they are harming.

      You can assume the IDF is being monitored by say the USA with a peacekeeping force. But tick-tock-tick-tock the US population doesn't like long occupations. You only have a decade or so before they leave.

      If there is an agreement, the Palestinians are not going to be crazy enough to try and govern an armed hostile population with a foreign sponsor who is far more powerful than their state. The agreement is going to be stuff like safe passage for Palestinian officials, and agreements against downing Palestinian aircraft. Not right to tax.

      The Palestinians in your scenario get to be the colonizers with all the problems colonizers have in the very worst circumstances.

    • I imagine that Palestinian economists and lawmakers already know how to collect business license fees, property taxes, income taxes on foreign income, and the various ways they can employ their own and other courts to return stolen assets.

      If the Palestinians are governing the settlement blocks they are going to be governing a people that all have military training, have arms (and likely much better arms), have strong ties to a foreign power. What makes you think they will ever submit to a confiscatory tax regime? Heck I have serious question whether they would ever submit to any Palestinian tax regime.

      Those Jewish areas are going to be part of Palestine in the same dejure but not defacto way that western Pakistan territory is under the sovereignty but not control of the Pakistani (Eastern Pakistan) government.

  • Obama's Mandela eulogy -- moving, and hypocritical
    • Obama ran in 2008 on a diplomatic rapprochement with Iran as a core foreign policy goal. Getting a better relationship with Iran allows for things like playing Iran off against Saudi Arabia or not having to depend on Pakistan to deploy American forces in Afghanistan.

      He's never expressed much interest in Israeli settlements. I don't think he likes them but unlike Iran he wasn't willing to battle the right (and his own party) over Israeli policy in and of itself. He's perfectly willing to oppose Netanyahu on Iran because he really cares about Iranian policy.

    • If I had to guess I'd say it was Mandela's generosity in victory. Mandela worked very hard day in day out to make sure that his country didn't become Rhodesia / Zimbabwe. Anti-Zionist rhetoric has a long consistent history of encouraging street anti-Semitism. Mandela wanted to keep Jews onboard.

      Also remember that Mandela in the early days had a right wing Afrikaner terrorist organization (the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging) which was friendly to Israel. If he were attacking Israel, Israel could start arming Israeli friendly anti-government forces as a way of exerting pressure.

  • Human rights orgs: Israeli obstruction of UN Human Rights Council shields Israel from accountability and undermines human rights
    • I remember in March Israel raised objections to the membership being biased and the UNHCR's belief that settlement activity is an automatic human rights violation. I think the best thing for the UNHCR would be to listen and respond in a fair and balanced manner to charges of bias. Israel is officially on record as rejecting the UNHCR institutionally because of bias. The last thing in the world they would want to do is take a firm and uncompromising stand.

      Once the relationship has deteriorated to the point of official rejection as a matter of policy what's the point of being uncompromising? The point, unless the goal is cheap mockery, is to get Israel reinvested in the process.

  • Kentucky paper publishes piece describing Palestinians as 'chosen people'
    • There is an upswing in Christians challenging Christian Zionist teaching and I think it’s going to reach a tipping point

      Darby and Scofield have been challenged by mainstream Christian teachers for 2 centuries. There is no upswing the denominations that rejected Dispensationalism and more broadly Premillenialism. With Pentecostalism likely to overtake Catholicism (which is Amillennialist) as the dominant form of Christianity on the planet within the next generation I'd say you are dead wrong about any move towards rejection.

      I don't want to get into debating Christian theology since I suspect neither one of us believes it, but no it is not easily refuted. If it were easily refuted it would have been refuted a long time ago, there certainly have been plenty of people who have tried.

  • Could the Israel lobby's unending battle to stop Hagel hurt the lobby?
    • I think there is a bit of confusion here.

      There is an Israeli Lobby which consists of Americans who want strong relations with Israel. Hegel made peace with them.

      There is a lobby that wants war with Iran. Sheldon Adelson originally went after Romney until Romney agreed to more or less promise war with Iran. Hegel and Obama are both opposed to that. That's not really the Israeli lobby though there are a lot of members of the Israeli lobby in the pro-war with Iran column, Adelson being one of them. No question that lobby attacking Obama this openly is a very risky play.

      This lobby if already much Republican. The Democratic party under Obama has more or less adopted the old "realist" school of foreign policy while the Republicans have become hawks. I don't think the Israeli lobby is going to want to get identify too much with this. Ultimately Israel right now enjoys broad bipartisan support with stronger support from American Jews and stronger support from Christian Zionists. I don't see any reason they would want to damage that over Hegel. So I suspect what happens is mainstream Jewish groups distance themselves from the Hegel issue.

      Israel can be somewhat more hawkish than American Jews but they can't be attacking the policies that 85% support. But even if I'm wrong and they do let this play out, becoming partisan probably means they lose influence. Like how the NRA went from non-partisan to partisan and thus lost influence or how environmental groups lost influence when they went partisan in the other direction. But it doesn't definitely mean that, the energy companies since they went partisan have done rather well.

      I don't see any reason they would take that chance, so my money is still on Adelson end up isolated.

  • The latest existential threat to Israel? Those Russians the world was implored to free
    • @W.Jones

      What if some of the scamming, illegal immigrants were “willing to move to Israel, adopt the culture, language and major traits of the religion as well as fight Israel’s wars”?

      Then they aren't scamming anymore. They are Israeli.

    • @Annie

      Funny I don't see any decorations for the Palestinians:

    • @The Hasbara Buster --

      You got me on that one! I found another link which argues that at the doses likely to be delivered via. shrapnel Hadassah Hospital trauma surgeon Dr. Avi Rivkind actually said it would be a therapeutic dose.

      OK 2 points for you.

      If you’ve been duped on this, on how many other things may you have been brainwashed? Think about it.

      I do think about it. I'm not thrilled that the Israelis lie so much either. And I do my best to wade through the BS. And sometimes as this example shows I get it wrong.

    • @Hostage

      An apostate is not someone who doesn't obey religious dictates. It is a person who converts out or formally disaffiliates. So no Israelis that identify as Jewish but don't, "believe in the God of the scriptures or observe the commandments" are not Apostates. As for the derivation of Islam, it isn't relevant. Judaism has been unequivocal for 1300 years that converting to Islam constitutes apostasy. And the Jewish religion is whatever the Jews say the Jewish religion is.

      In terms of the actual history, I agree with most Muslim scholars, that Islam originated from Collyridian Christianity. Collyridianism never had any ties to Judaism and whatever ties it may have ever had hadn't existed for centuries by the time Islam was founded.

    • @Klaus --

      Someone who is willing to move to Israel, adopt the culture, language and major traits of the religion as well as fight Israel's wars is a convert in my book. Ruth becomes a convert through oath of allegiance sealed with intercourse not rabbinic teaching.

      I think for most all of these Russians they are genuinely Jewish, the spouses of Jews or the direct descendants of them. But for the few who joined up voluntarily and meant it, welcome to the tribe. If it was purely a scam then put them down.

    • @WJones

      But the State has for a long time recognized only marriages performed by official “Orthodox Judaism”, forcing many liberal and reform Judaists to seek marriage abroad. Yet this has not seriously stopped the intense support by adherents of those denominations, despite a big percent of Israelis being non-religious and its supporters in America belonging to other denominations than the official one.

      Americans do object to this and when Israel is at relative peace this issues come up. Like it did in the most recent elections. This is a point of tension between American and Israeli Jews, Israelis are aware of it and Israelis don't like that it is a point of tension. At the same time Israelis secularists think of American denominations the way lapsed Catholics think of Protestantism. The expression for Israelis "the synagogue they don't go to is Orthodox" is true.

      These sorts of issues have come up, and most Israelis know there is going to need to be a revision downward of conversion standards. At the same time ultimately the right is going to present a barrier.

      But in terms of support. Most everyone in Alabama has different views that the people who died in the World Trade Center. That doesn't stop them for volunteering for the army to fight the people who blew it up. Al-Qaeda was targeting Americans not New Yorkers. In the same way that when Hamas blows up an Israeli bus they are targeting all Israelis.

      I may disagree with Haredi on conversion standards, that doesn't mean I want to see their flesh ripped off their bones using shrapnel laced with anticoagulants to help them bleed to death if the original would doesn't kill them. And the Haredi feel the same way about secularists.

      Early Zionist leaders, like former president Ben Zvi knew that Palestinians were descended from Jews, and this has been confirmed by research at Hebrew University.

      I don't buy that I think they mainly descended from later immigrants. But even if one did believe that, how does that help the situation? Given your theory the Palestinians aren't gentiles they are actually full bore apostates who converted out. Now even knowing that they should be children of the commandments, even given huge material advantages if they return to their rightful faith, they prefer to worship foreign gods. How exactly would that be an argument in their favor? No religion likes apostasy.

    • What was the persecution that Jews were facing in modern Russia?

      * Social discrimination which was oppressive and sometimes violent
      * Often diminished grades in school
      * Education quotas
      * Job quotas once they completed education
      * Discrimination in employment over and above the quotas
      * Housing discrimination
      * Heavier travel restrictions

    • @Krauss --

      I had the exact opposite opinion. Likud is clearly a cross ethnic party. Shas is losing support among Mizrahi Jews. You saw how everyone reacted negatively when Shas played the race card in their anti-Russian commercial regarding conversion. I think Israel has a racial problem (internal) but they are doing far better than they were a generation ago.

      That and even the hard right ran on a very inclusive slogan: "No matter where you live or how you dress this is your home", which appealed to younger people across the ethnic divides.

  • Israeli election revealed 'a total lack of political mobilization against' the occupation

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