Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 103 (since 2009-10-17 23:51:34)

Jim Holstun

Jim Holstun teaches world literature in the Department of English, the University at Buffalo.

Showing comments 103 - 101

  • The sensitive Zionist -- a review of Natalie Portman's new film
    • Ms. Portman's debut was in Luc Besson's truly creeply pedophilic film, Léon: The Professional. Even worse, as a Harvard undergraduate (credited as "Natalie Hershlag"), she was a research assistant for Alan Dershowitz's THE CASE FOR ISRAEL. Perhaps she was responsible for copying out the bits from Joan Peters's FROM TIMEIMMEMORIAL

  • Did dodging foreign policy doom Bernie Sanders?
    • It's a little early to be writing Bernie off. After all, every victory that Trump gains underlines the fact that Bernie can win against him, Hillary can't. Remember to tell all your moderate Democratic friends that, of course, we all want a DLC Wall-Street kissing interventionist thug who cackles at the sight of Qaddhafi being raped to death--but to hold off Trump, they will have to hold their noses and vote for the Democratic Socialist! (i.e., the actual New Deal liberal, as Chomsky said, but that's not nothing). All of this "Hillary is Inevitable" rhetoric sounds like Paul Krugman. And yes, Bernie is cowardly and a trimmer in all kinds of ways, but he probably has a better chance than anyone of being able to cut off the Jewish and Democratic State.

  • NPR's Martin says that Beirut and Baghdad victims matter as much as Parisian ones
  • Minnesota Congresswoman demands accountability for Nakba Day killings
    • The intrepid little blonde Palestinian girl in Nabi Saleh, with the fearless teeth, looks an awful lot like Ahed Tamimi, also of Nabi Saleh, who was featured in amazing photo essay by Ben Ehrenreich (Barbara's son), a couple of years back:

      Ehrenreich's article:
      link to

      link to

      With teeth and guts like these, Palestine will be free.

      Props to Rep. McCollum. She will soon be needing serious campaign contributions.

  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • Alison Weir sometimes makes me queasy--and so does the frequent reference to the "Israel Lobby" or "The Jewish Lobby" (including here at Mondoweiss) which chronically underestimates the role of Christian fundamentalists, military contractors, and oil companies in keeping the Occupation going. But Jennifer Hitchcock's argument is very weak--for instance, her jumping on Weir's piece about Israelis "harvesting" the organs of dead Palestinians. This isn't a "blood libel"; it's simply true, and admitted on tape by Israel's L. Greenberg Institute of Forensic Medicine. See link to The fact that medieval anti-Semites fabricated stories of Jews poisoning wells does not mean that one is an anti-Semite to object to Israeli settlers poisoning Palestinian wells on the West Bank.

      And this is simply slimy: "it is more counterproductive and a waste of time to continue supporting individuals who have repeatedly demonstrated an affinity for racist or antisemitic speech than it is to call out such people whose presence will hurt the movement." Note that Hitchcock doesn't quite have the guts to accuse Weir of this, much less the evidence to back up the claim. Rather, she retreats into an anodyne truism and hopes that sloppy readers will simply make the connection to Weir. No sale. For somebody currently "working on a dissertation analyzing BDS discourse," this is rhetorically unselfconscious. I'm still undecided about Weir; I'm not undecided about this piece by Hitchcock. It's a hack job.

      But of course, Gilad Atzmon is a sure'nuff Jew hater and all-around creep. On that, at least, we can agree.

  • Michael Oren misrepresents 1971 synagogue bombing that changed his life
    • I'm sure Ambassador Oren also mentions and mourns Alex Odeh--blown up, probably, by some of Rabbi Kahane's boys in Orange County, CA. Because, of course, Ambassador Oren is an honorable man.

      Without a conviction, probably best not to assume too much. The Zionist bombings in Egypt (Lavon affair) and the Baghdad synagogue bombings (attributed by Iraqi Jews, with some justification, to Zionists trying to encourage emigration) are too fresh in the memory. So is the Hannibal Directive, whereby Israel kills and then histrionically mourns its captured soldiers.

  • JVP to Obama: 'Shared values' means opposing Israel's systematic discrimination against non-Jews
    • "Making the desert bloom"--i.e., Making the desert Bloom's (apologies to Leopold).

      Noam Chomsky: "If the Nuremberg Laws were Applied...," Delivered around 1990: "If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged."

  • Caroline Glick says there were no Palestinian refugees
    • S. Yizhar's book is magnificent--an amazing book on ethnic cleansing that deserves to be as well known as Heart of Darkness. But its reception history is complicated: many Israelis took it as testimony to the heroism of "dirty hands" necessary for modern nation building. The narrator proceeds with the ethnic cleansing; S. Yizhar proceeded with his literary and political career as an MK and an ally of David Ben Gurion.

  • 'Israel is becoming an isolated ghetto,' says Amos Oz
  • Revisiting 'Graveyard of Numbers': Israel refuses to return remains of Palestinian militants as a punitive measure
    • The practice goes back to Creon of Thebes, who refused to bury his nephew Polyneices--and it didn't turn out too well for him, once Antigone got involved.

      Here's a B'tselem report: Lein, Yehezkel. Captive Corpses. Jerusalem: B’tselem, 1999. link to

  • Does SJP have the right to free speech?
    • What about free speech for disgusting, Zionist supporters of occupation and ethnic cleansing? For out-and-out war criminals? As always, the extreme test case is important. Frequently, occupation opponents stand up and walk out, creating a mild disruption. Sometimes, they shout out, creating a more significant interruption. Does their side get free speech too? I mean, even if their side has just turned the Islamic University of Gaza into rubble?

      Yes, they do. Given that we have the truth and justice on our side, disruption is unnecessary, and it would be more effective in the short run and the long run to study up and ask hard questions. Anything that allows you to feel righteous about not reading more is a clear and present danger.

      The test case for the test case, however, is the increasingly typical quasi-academic appearance, whereby speakers get to screen questions. This is a violation of academic freedom (I have been told by specialists at AAUP). And then, all bets are off. Disrupt away.

  • 'Ethnic cleansing for a better world' -- Richard Cohen says Palestinians brought the Nakba on themselves
    • Really, I prefer this sort of thudding monster to the lachrymose shoot-and-cry of Ari Shavit, whose argument is, at bottom, the same.

  • Schumer is obnoxious
  • Achieving a hudna and ten years of calm in Israel/Palestine
    • While some Israeli citizens would no doubt welcome the calm, the Israeli military state could not survive the experience. One only has to look at how Israel responds, again and again, to periods of Palestinian peace. This is not a minor thing; we will not even begin to have peace and justice in Palestine until we realize that peace is not on the agenda of Likud--or labor either, for that matter.

  • Did LA pro-Israel group conceal right-wing identity from Hollywood celebs and media?
  • As Salaita's case becomes a cause, U of Illinois issues declarations on 'civility'
    • Among the many contemptible things about Wise's letter, this stands out for me: she doesn't say A SINGLE THING about her reasons for breaking the contract. Just some assurances that it had nothing to do with Palestine-Israel (a lie, of course), and some nondescript academico-thuggish words about civility, etc., hoping people will intuit some connection.

      A deeply contemptuous and cynical performance. If there's any justice, Professor Salaita will be employed by the end of the year, and Good Chancellor Wise will be seeking gainful employment elsewhere.

  • Jodi Rudoren loves a winner
    • Professor Slater, the key thing here is not that Jodi Rudoren and Binyamin Netanyahu are acting like Nazis, or almost Nazis, or something like Nazis, or whatever.

      The key thing is that they are acting like Zionists--even those Zionists you finally approve of who accomplished the Nakba. In other words, Jewish opinions and rights are of value; Palestinian opinions and rights are not consulted. And my right to your land is greater than your right to your land.

      Netanyahu is like Livni is like Olmert is like Barak is like Sharon is like Peres is like Rabin is like Meir is like Eshkol is like Sharrett, yea, unto the eighteenth generation, and the sainted Ben Gurion: they all believe their ethnonationalism gives them the right to expel Palestinians from their land.

      Enough with the Nazis already, and enough with the good cop/bad cop distraction of Netanyahu's presumed falling off from the virtue of, say, the virtuous Butcher of Lydda, Yitzhak Rabin. It's more than enough to say "Netanyahu is as bad as Ben Gurion!" That's slur enough, and it's also completely accurate.

      There is no "moral collapse" of Israel. In this, I agree completely with its current leadership.

  • Salaita’s stellar teaching record exposes political motivation behind his firing
    • If lllinois is anything like other universities, then we will find Chancellor Wise herself among the people who signed off on Professor Salaita's appointment there, or at least a senior administrator whom she appointed. So in effect, one has to agree either with Chancellor Wise #1 or Chancellor Wise #2.

      Cary Nelson's contortions continue to impress: now he's concerned that students might not feel "comfortable" in Professor Salaita's classes. Right, Cary, because that's what education is all about: fluffing the pillows and keeping students comfortable. In non-Zionist contexts, Professor Nelson would guffaw at the very idea.

  • The Walzer Problem
    • Even though he continues to support the original ethnic cleansing of Palestine (though he wishes it had been in a gentler form), it is good to see Professor Slater reminding Michael Waltzer of the horror of the Dahiya Doctrine here, and the record of Hamas's offers to negotiate.

  • Is the firing of Steven Salaita the beginning of a new Blacklist?
  • The academic/political context of the Salaita affair
    • The very fact that there is an "Israel Studies Project" as part of the "Program in Jewish Culture" is itself a bad sign. Does UI have a Belgium Studies program? Egypt Studies? A Florida or New Mexico Studies program? an Iranian studies program? How about Mongolian studies? No? Why is it, then, that somebody found the money to fund an "Israel Studies" program? Why single out a particular nation this way?

      A clue: The program is "A collaboration between Illinois and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago." This is the corruption of academic integrity by Zionist money. Studying a culture or a region (Jewish Culture, Judaism, Middle Eastern Studies) is a completely different matter.

    • Referring to "his alleged and apparently ineffectual support (as national president of AAUP in 2007) for Norman Finkelstein notwithstanding." No, Norman Finkelstein himself told me that he had no complaints about the AAUP support of his case, and Cary Nelson spoke to me of his admiration for Finkelstein as a classroom teacher. That Finkelstein lost can't be laid at the door of Nelson or the AAUP.

      Nelson's considerable demerits in the Salaita case need to be judged on their own. In Ali Abunimah's initial interview with him, Nelson more or less disqualifies himself from any hint of academic decency by admitting this:

      "Another example Nelson gave was an 8 July tweet by Salaita, at the beginning of Israel’s current massacre in Gaza, stating, “If you’re defending #Israel right now you’re an awful human being.”. . . When asked if he would oppose the hiring of a person who said that 'someone who defends Hamas firing rockets towards Tel Aviv is an awful person,' Nelson answered: 'No.'" link to

      So, Professor Nelson is a self-confessed Zionist hack and brawler. End of discussion for him. His opinion should be accorded no more and no less authority than those of, say, Martin Indyk or William Kristol.

  • Professor Salaita was fired for disagreeing too vehemently with Professor Nelson
    • While working at AAUP, Nelson worked long and hard to defend Norman Finkelstein's tenure, as Finkelstein himself told me. But his is very much a guild-based vision, directed toward university professors alone. Thus he

      1. Opposes BDS since it moves outside the guild toward the guild actually taking a position on something outside of it: Israeli apartheid. Better to support fully members of the guild in their work to continue fabricating munitions to blow up Palestinian babies than to exercise strictures on their academic work, and their alliances with other babykillers who are members of the guild's Israeli affiliates.

      2. Attempts to destroy somebody between jobs, and therefore not quite in the guild: the Salaita case.

      Where he contradicts himself is in phonying up his own eminently Zionist and pro-massacre beliefs as somehow bearing on the guild: "Salaita might discriminate against Zionist students. . . . He is potentially uncollegial toward potential future colleagues in the guild," etc.

    • No, I was unclear: I was trying to say that, while people in the anti-Occupation community would certainly attack the violent Zionist opinions, they almost certainly would not take the extra Cary Nelson step of trying to get my imaginary malfeasant fired and silenced. That's a difference between us and them.

      And no, I don't think her job offer would be yanked. And Cary Nelson admitted to Ali Abunimah that he wouldn't be raising any objections--i.e., that his defense of "civility" is purely partisan strategy.

      In other words, the contemptible behavior here may indicate that the Zionist haters are at the end of their rope.

    • It would be useful to consider the difficulty corollary. Suppose there were a Zionist professor tweeting furiously this summer, cheering on the IDF assaults on Gaza, writing off the beach killings as an unfortunate accident ultimately traceable to Hamas, retweeting a call to have, say, Ali Abunimah harmed, and offering clear, fact-based classroom defenses of Israel's right to exist as an ethno-theocracy, with special rights (of return, land use, etc.) reserved for Jews, while respecting students' rights to challenge her and present alternative opinions

      Would we argue forcefully that her preliminary conflict be honored? I hope so, and I think we would. Palestine and its supporters have the facts and the justice on their side, so that silencing the opposition is a much smaller arrow in the quill. It's a sign of Zionist desperation that a frequently honorable man like Cary Nelson tosses his belief in academic freedom out the window when it comes to Israelis murdering Palestinians, as he himself admitted ion his interview with Ali Abunimah. And he trembles cravenly behind the inequitable iniquities of the capitalist work contract, proposing to enforce a "civility" that he himself is hardly notable for practicing with his colleagues, students, and others.

      To add to the hypocrisy here: Mr. Nelson is a frequent leftist who has published important semi-marxist studies of fully marxist cultural work, and for him suddenly to start talking like craven university counsel deserves peals of derisive laughter.,

  • Video: Israeli sniper kills Palestinian protester in Hebron
  • Steven Salaita-- unremitting in criticism of Zionism and Gaza slaughter-- loses a job at University of Illinois
    • Just written to Cary Nelson, whom I know. He is quoted as approving the withdrawn job offer.

      Dear Cary,

      "I’m glad the chancellor did what had to be done”? Barthes is right: tautology is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Also interesting to read your references to Steven Salaita's "loathsome and foul-mouthed presence," his "venomous" and "obsessively driven" behavior. Sounds a little uncivil to me, Cary, particularly when addressed to a person and a potential colleague--and not to the murder state that you defend so clumsily, from time to time.

      But even so, I wouldn't recommend your termination, or denial of your academic chair. Indeed, if there were a group empowered Palestinians with the power to reach out and quash a job offer or remove a professor from his job or his chair--I know, I know, stop laughing--I would defend you, even now. You know--there's that whole academic freedom thing.

      "Salaita’s extremist and uncivil views stand alone." Or, "Be civil, or I'll destroy you." And incidentally: no they don't. A new low. Your gross hypocrisy has inspired me to write your chancellor.

      Shame on you--it's not like killing hundreds of babies with artillery shells, but as professorial behavior goes, it's pretty low.


  • Peter Beinart demolishes Gaza hasbara
    • Pretty useful. Still, there's a huge contradiction between the first part of the piece, in which Beinart talks about Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza serving the ends of the Occupation, and the last two paragraphs of the essay, which restore the Hamas Mooslim Boogeyman, which cunningly tricked Israel: "Israel has repeatedly played into Hamas' hands by not strengthening those Palestinians willing to pursue statehood through nonviolence and mutual recognition."

      As if that were ever Israel's goal. Beinart can't admit that its actual goal is a semi-fascist militarized state, dead Palestinians, and a school reduced to bloody rubble.

  • 'Kill those who rise up to kill us' -- a prime minister's chilling tweet
    • This particular death threat is a Zionist favorite: “He who rises up to kill us, we will pre-empt it and kill him first” (Ariel Sharon, “Sharon anger over suicide bombing,” BBC News 8 May 2002 available at link to

      As Elliott notes, Netanyahu and Sharon are ultimately paraphrasing the Babylonian Talmud on Exodus 22: 2–3 (David B. Kopel, “The Torah and Self-Defense,” Penn State Law Review 109.1 (2004): 17–42). Of course, that doesn’t make it any less barbarous—or idiotic: if you are going to kill me on Monday because you fear I will kill you on Tuesday, then shouldn’t I try to kill you on Sunday? That’s the murderous illogic of preemption.

      See also that redoubtable liberal idiot, Michael Ignatieff, on “terrorists”: “Against this kind of enemy . . . it makes sense to get our retaliation in first” (‘Lesser Evils: Could We Lose the War on Terror?” (The New York Times Magazine, 2 May 2004, available at: link to

  • Chris Matthews and David Corn defend Israel against 'slander' of apartheid
    • Margaret Sullivan is frequently--how to put this?--a woman of principle and humanity. Complained and received this:

      Dear Mr. Holstun,

      Thanks for taking the time to write. The above comment should not have been published. I am forwarding your note along to The Times's Comment Moderation team in order to get it removed.

      Jonah Bromwich
      Office of the Public Editor
      The New York Times

    • You're right--the question of numerical minority and majority isn't salient to the discussion of Zionism as apartheid. But there probably is a slight Palestinian majority even now, between the river and the sea. And if one subtracts the emigre Israelis--and the Jewish and Democratic State is pretty cagey about providing an actual count of its wandering sons and daughters--the Palestinian majority is even greater.

  • Another prominent liberal Jew runs away from the Zionist label
    • They're dripping something, anyway--Shoah denial, from the smell of it.

    • Good to read, and yet, it puts me in mind of Thomas Jefferson in Notes on the State of Virginia, worrying about the way in which slavery is sure to corrupt the heart of white America. No doubt, but that's not the main thing. And really, let's do drop the Nazi comparison, which is not transcendent. Nobody gets a pass on something just because it stops short of Auschwitz.

      The thing is this: the Zionists are acting like Zionists, and have been, since 1948. Genug.

  • Northeastern U administrator: SJP's suspension is 'not [issue] of free speech or the exchange of disparate ideas'
    • JeffB, whoever he may be, has certainly internalized the authoritarian psychobabble of contemporary university management. "Civility" indeed--the lubricant of choice for this sort of hack. The final reference to "adults" is particularly civil, JeffB. And the word you want there is "perforce," not preforce. Use it right and you'll sound more British, which is to say, civil.

  • On John Judis's 'Genesis,' and its critics
    • "If, however, one accepts the principle of a justified Jewish state" (which entails the necessity for ethnic cleansing to establish the Jewish majority) "then there clearly was a tragic moral dilemma" between establishing a Jewish state and ethnic cleansing. In other words, if one accepts the necessity for ethnic cleansing, then ethnic cleansing is, regrettably, necessary.

      Alas, this is where even the most genteel ethno-sectarian supremacism leaves us: knee deep in tautologous thinking. And Professor Slater has still not established the crucial assumption of his argument: that an ethno-sectarian state founded in ethnic cleansing was the only possible protection for the Jewish survivors of the European Holocaust. In 1997, the Israeli Foreign Minister's office estimated that, of 960,000 Holocaust survivors, 380,000 lived in Israel, 580,000 elsewhere.
      link to

      So Professor Slater is willing to contemplate with equanimity the forcible transfer of Palestinians out of their homeland, but not a modest increase in emigration numbers of Jewish DPs to other safe and welcoming states, or their staying in or returning to their states of origin?

      Palestinians are not furniture: you don't get to move them around at will and expect no consequences.

    • Remarkable to read this in Mondoweiss: a defense of kinder, gentler ethnic cleansing, on the grounds that there were two competing moral claims, with the claim of diaspora Jews to ethnic supremacy in a land of their own outweighing the claim of Palestinians to continue living in their homes.

      It's even more remarkable that Professor Slater feels no compulsion to defend this argument. He simply assumes it, on unexamined ethno-nationalist grounds, while ignoring the myriad alternatives to ethnic cleansing in the late forties--for instance, offering Jewish DPs asylum in the United States, or the other European nations in which many of them chose to remain.

      He states that "to ensure that there would be a large Jewish majority in the new state of Israel, some relatively small number of Palestinians might have had to be expelled ('transferred'), unwillingly but essentially nonviolently, to areas just a few miles away, with essentially the same geography, climate, history, religion, language, and culture."

      Professor Slater and I both live in Erie County, New York, just across the Niagara River from Ontario. If he and I were given six months to prepare for a transfer to already-occupied Ontario, so that the Roma people, long-suffering survivors of the Porajmos, might establish ethnic supremacy in Erie County, then the similarity of geography, climate, history, religion, language, and culture in Ontario would be small consolation.

      There is always an alternative to ethnic cleansing; it is never a grim necessity to be embraced with a quick and sloppy argument in support.

  • Our museum is not allergic to controversy -- director explains Judis's reinvitation
    • "Of course, rescinding an invitation (even one that I was unaware of) is a far different matter than simply not extending one in the first place."

      How craven, and yet revealing: yes, killing a discussion silently and invisibly is much different from killing it publicly. But I'm not sure the difference is something I would boast about

  • Cary Nelson, the AAUP, and the privilege of bestowing academic freedom
    • Professor Nelson's attack on Professor Ferguson for a "conflict of interest" is particularly weak. Here's a definition of C.O.I. by an authority in the field:

      "A conflict of interest is broadly defined as a situation in which an individual or a corporate interest has a tendency to interfere with the proper exercise of judgment on another’s behalf. Those who prefer to distinguish between individual and institutional COI often define the former as a set of circumstances creating a risk that a secondary interest, such as financial gain, may unduly influence professional judgment or actions regarding a primary interest, such as research conduct, teaching, or patient welfare. Correspondingly, an institutional COI occurs when the financial interests of an institution or institutional officials, acting within their authority on behalf of the institution, may affect or appear to affect the research, education, clinical care, business transactions, or other governing activities of the institution. A growing body of empirical research has shown that financial conflicts of interest are associated with decision-making, as well as research, bias. (See the main report for details.) COI may also introduce unreliability into the research process, undermine public trust, and erode respect for institutions of higher education. Disclosure of a COI, even full disclosure with informed consent, fails to resolve or eliminate such biases and other problems."

      An opinion all by itself is not an individual or corporate "interest" that might be immediately impacted by a decision pro or con. It is not "financial gain." For instance, a declared opposition to Israeli ethnic cleansing does not disqualify a scholar from adjudicating or participating in an academic debate bearing on ethnic cleansing.

      Who is the authority I quote above? Professor Cary Nelson (co-author), in AAUP. Recommended Principles & Practices to Guide Academic-Industry Relationships. 13 June 2012. Web. 15 July 2012. p. 17, link to Professor Nelson does not get to redefine "conflict of interest" just because it's a matter bearing on Israel.

  • Boycott panel at MLA draws applause and fearful questions
    • Yes, the MLA is considering a resolution to protest Israel's harassment of and discrimination against Palestinian-American academics attempting to enter Palestine/Israel.

  • 'Haaretz' says many Orthodox are taught to see non-Jews as 'not quite human'
    • The linkage of Hasidic ethnosectarian bigotry and this guy's actions makes me queasy. And the loan sharking (and sexual molestation?) toward members of his own community suggests that the in group/out group argument has some holes. Maybe we should be asking different questions here--like what failings in NYC's housing authority allowed this abuse to go on for so long?

      This is no worse than, but also no better than, an article moving from a Palestinian knifing an Israeli Jew to an examination of some of the ranker bits of Muslim and Christian theology (say, St. John on the "synagogue of Satan"). Why use the story of this alleged scumbag's death to meditate on Satmar bigotry?

  • Modern Language Association convention to feature academic boycott panel and resolution slamming Israeli denial of entries
    • Barbara Harlow has decades of experience with Palestinian literature and culture--a translator of Ghassan Kanafani and writer of many essays and book chapters on Palestine.

  • Preaching to the choir: reflections on Max Blumenthal's 'Goliath'
    • In his continuing effort to defend the ethnic cleansing of 1948 and its aftermath, Professor Slater ignores the elementary distinction between metropolitan colonial projects like King Leopold's Congo, and settler colonial projects like the Scots Irish in Ulster, the European settlers in North America and Australia, and the European and North American Jews in Palestine. Of course, most settlers had suffered genuine economic hardship and political persecution; and of course, all of them commenced engaging in genuine economic exploitation and political persecution of the indigenes. Really, there's no room for Jewish exceptionalism here.

      As to the special, non-ethnocentric motivation for Jewish settlement in Palestine: Professor Slater should reread Theodor Herzl, who presents a Jewish Palestine as "a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilisation as opposed to barbarism." See also his discussions--however duplicitous--of how much Palestinian Arabs would benefit from Zionist settlement: sounds a little White Man's Burdenish to me.

      Professor Slater's argument that the key to resolving the problem lies in convincing American Jews to pull back to the lands stolen in 1948 is disturbing, since it derives either from ethnic supremacism (i.e., the tiny minority of US Jews has a special right to determine US foreign policy in this area), or an overestimation of the p0wer of "the Jewish Lobby" (i.e., ignoring Christian Zionists and the enormous stake of weapons manufacturers and petrocapitalists in maintaining the current turbulence in the Middle East). The latter argument is not substantively anti-Semitic, but it is all too open to appropriation by Jew haters.

  • AIPAC's 'unlimited' funds are greatest obstacle to peace, former British foreign sec'y says
    • No, one wouldn't--at least I wouldn't. The occupation is good for Israeli and American business, but there would no doubt be ways to keep things heated up even if Israel retreated to its earlier ethnically-cleansed borders.

      But my point is that overreliance on the myth of the omnipotent Israel lobby can sometimes seep over into something quite noxious, as in Jack Straw's vision of the bottomless moneybag of World Jewry. So what--they have all the money as well as controlling Hollywood and the rest of the media? What a crock. With allies like Jack Straw, and Gilad Atzmon. . . .

    • I think Straw's arguments are mildly anti-Semitic, in a fashion that should not flabbergast us, coming as they do from a member of the British ruling class who has previously opined about Pakistani men slavvering over white girls. Not because AIPAC doesn't have some power and use it assiduously to further Zionist depravities, but because Straw overlooks the massive and continuing support for Israeli colonialism coming from US munitions manufacturers, oil companies, and the employees reliant on them--a network of wealth and power into which Mr. Straw (a gross betrayer of his peasant rebel namesake) is through integrated.

      Follow the money.

  • Nakba in The New Yorker, BDS in Variety
    • For testimonies on the Massacre of Lod/Lydda, see the Israeli website Zochrot. Astonishingly enough, it includes testimony by the Palmach veteran Yerachmiel Kahanovich, who fired the PIAT grenade into the Lod mosque: "Let me tell you what it does – you make it like it was a beautiful painting by an artist. You think. He makes a hole about this big and inside everybody's crushed on the walls from the pressure it makes inside."

      Mr. Shavit might want to have a look.

      link to

  • For Eric Alterman defending Israel trumps longtime friend and employer
    • Professor Alterman asks, rhetorically, "Wasn't Sharon [a peacemaker] before he ended Israel’s occupation of Lebanon?" Ehud Barak ended the 2000 occupation, Ehud Olmert that in 2006. And both times, the withdrawal had more to do with Hezbollah's brilliant and courageous fighting than with a Zionist impulse to make peace.

      Professor Alterman says, "Blumenthal describes Yoram Kniuk’s book about a Jewish violinist who forced to play for a concentration camp commander and then quotes a Palestinian saying 'Our enemy’s existence in this Arab region was justified and is still justified by our suffering by Jewish violinists in the camps.' Nowhere does he mention that Kniuk was a novelist. He wrote, um, fiction." And nowhere does the redoubtable Alterman mention that this novelist's name is, um, "Kaniuk."

      The Blumenthal family is well rid of such a nasty and ignorant friend.

  • The horror: 'Breaking the Silence' releases women's frightful testimonies of occupation
  • Hagel prostrates himself before the lobby, gets votes
    • Mercy, it appears that Max Ajl was right about Hagel all along. Quel surpris! Well, I'm sure that Obama's next nominee for this or that will be the genuine pro-Palestinian, anti-Occupation article.

  • Since when is the left embracing Chuck Hagel, a nationalist, establishment figure?
    • American asks, "Do tell. Explain to us the…… 'structural and economic roots and fundemental world wide continuity of US foreign policy' ….as it relates to the current and most immediate issue of the push by US zioinst and Israel for a US attack on Iran involved in the apointment of Hagel."

      Well, let's start with the enormous power of the US armaments industry and particularly its petroleum industry, who are delighted to have a certain level of tension remaining in the Middle East, and a cartel of mostly Sunni oil-producing countries organized against Iran, artificially inflating the price of petroleum. For more on this, see Max Ajl's excellent recent review essay of Alan Hart's three books on "the Lobby," in Historical Materialism 20.3 (2012) 159–180.

      Your sarcastic concluding comment overlooks who has profited from that enormous US debt: the wealthy, arms manufacturers, and also petrocapitalists, among others. And your reference to "our structural and economic roots" suggests that you remain oblivious to Ajl's powerful critique of the Realists on the Lobby being at odds with "America," with "us," as we seek to advance "American interests" worldwide. Americans of different classes have much different interests. Some will continue to profit from the occupation of Palestine and the sanctions on Iran; most will not.

      Really, given the manifest interest here, Mondoweiss should post Ajl's piece, unless a historical materialist perspective is outside the pale, and perhaps even un-American.

      Elise Hendrick on the Realist photocopy machine is perfect--hurrah for you, madame!

  • Tom Friedman's endorsement of Hagel as the DefSec Israel needs is wakeup call to Bill Kristol on Boxing Day
    • I think that's further evidence for Ajl's case: if the Saudis release more oil at a cheaper price, then the tar sands petrocapitalists plummet. Keep the prices and the Middle Eastern tensions up, and everybody profits, including American arms manufacturers, who benefit enormously from the proviso that a hunk of US aid to Israel go to them.

      If Mondoweiss wants to true diversity of opinion, it would do well to post and link to more of Ajl's writings, which provide a marxist perspective quite distinct from and critical of the Mearsheimer-Walt "realist" definition of "American interests" as "American empire."

    • That Tom Friedman supports Hagel's nomination should have been a tipoff that this is a meaningless controversy. But for a brilliant examination of precisely WHY it's meaningless, see Max Ajl's remarkable piece, "Why Chuck Hagel Is Irrelevant," at Jadaliyya: link to

      Stop looking for "good guys" or "moderately less awful guys"; follow the money.

  • Romney's racist bundler: J. Philip Rosen believes Palestinian society is 'pathological'
    • It's not like the London gaffe, and it's not a blunder: it's an audition for Sheldon Adelson and the other Zionist racists. And he passed with flying colors. What did he gain? Millions for deluging Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, Nevada with xenophobic lunacy. What did he lose? All those people out there who feel strongly that Palestinians are actual human beings who were still entertaining a vote for Romney. I.e., no one.

      But if he's the bad cop, Barry's the good cop, and they're both out to screw the indigenes on behalf of the colonists.

  • NY ads depicting Palestinian dispossession are termed anti-Semitic by 'Jewish community'
    • "He wanted to target Westchester because he was looking for 'high IQ readers.'”

      Uhh, say again? "Rich" = "high IQ"? Have you ever actually TALKED to anybody from Westchester? Dumberna sack'o'hair.

  • Finkelstein's critique misreads the special relationship and misunderstands political mobilization
    • Dear American,

      You're absolutely right. As someone recently said, "The question of the temporary or final resolution of the conflict is for Palestinians to decide" (Max Ajl, this column).

  • Let's praise Zengerle's profile of Beinart
    • "If we don't get rid of chattel slavery soon, it will corrupt the very core of Southern American democracy!" (Andrew Johnson).

      I made that up. But you really did get lots of moderate white Americans talking this way before the Civil War.

      The purely intra-Jewish quality of this whole article conveys a touchy-feely ethnic supremacism. And the reverential appearance, yet once more, of ex-prison camp guard Jeffrey Goldberg is a very bad sign. (Incidentally, that's the proper etiquette for referring to old Jeff, each and every time: "Ex prison-camp guard Jeffrey Goldberg." Really, he loves it. Trust me.)

  • Video: right-wing groups attack U.S. professors over Ilan Pappe speaking tour
    • The account for video production seems to be getting a little skimpy these days--to burnish the lie about Cal State Northridge (1:10), they should at least have cropped out the bit about USING THE CSU NAME to endorse a political action, which is not exactly the same thing as allowing someone to come on campus at CSU and endorse a political position. Also, the proportion of scarey-jihadi-Muslim Persian-Ayrabs to scarey-self-hating-diabolical Jews here (2/2) is getting a little low.

  • Ynet: Support for Israel on American campuses is kerplunking
    • It's certainly true on my campus, the University at Buffalo. The campus chapter of the ZOA imploded a few years back, and the local cadres of Zionist students and community members have sat out recent talks by Ilan Pappe, Ali Abunimah, Don Wagner, and Norman Finkelstein--making for a quieter but welcome dynamic. They seem to be circling the wagons and railing at the islamo-fascist-hamastinians in private.

      I'm not sure what to attribute this to: age, for one thing--the local haters are older every year, and their ranks are not being swelled by new recruits. Frankly, they seem a few bricks shy of a load--a couple years back, they thought it was a swell idea to invite the war criminal and racist Effie Eitam to campus, and they got their asses handed to them on several fronts.

  • Linda Gradstein: 'I'm not an Israeli citizen, but that being said, I'm part of Israel.'
    • Thanks for this piece, Pat--beautifully written and very important. As disgusting (and as expected) as NPR pandering is, it's interesting to hear that you weren't hissed for your question.


  • The 'special relationship' and the arms race
    • Mr. Blankfort's desire to disagree with Max Ajl seems to be independent of what Mr. Ajl has actually written. Ajl writes that the Israel Lobby "does indeed have something to do with . . . the 1996 Iran Libya Sanctions Act," and Blankfort proceeds to correct him by agreeing with him. Ajl says the Israel lobby has been arguing for "ratcheting up aggression against Iran," and Mr. Blankfort says he doesn't mention the Jewish political establishment has been propagandizing for an attack on Iran.

      Mr. Blankfort seems to be identifying "the Israel Lobby" with "the Jewish political establishment" and "the leading spokespersons and institutions of American Jewry." Though both Abe Foxman and Pat Buchanan might agree, most critics of the Israel Lobby note that it incorporates gentile neocons, politicians, defense contractors, Christian Zionists, and others. And many anti-Zionist Jews deny that neither the Israel Lobby nor the Jews who partly comprise it speak for them.

      Of the center of Mr. Ajl's argument about the relation of arms sales and American military capitalism to the occupation, Mr. Blankfort has nothing to say except that it's "otherwise worthwhile." Indeed, he seems to think that the purpose of "military spending" has been to provide "needed jobs," but that has never been the case. Its purpose is profits--enriching military capitalists. Blankfort doesn't understand where he agrees with Ajl, or where he disagrees. He just doesn't get it.

  • 'People who promoted the Iraq war ought to be so discredited that no one listens to them any more'
    • Richard Witty says: "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."


      JC: "Mother, sometimes you REALLY PISS ME OFF!"

      Mr. Witty: yes, after a megadeath and the destruction of our economy, those who lied and cheered Iraq and us into this horror might well want to look for a job other than "pundit" or "foreign policy adviser."

  • Jennifer Rubin's fast track to intolerance
  • Americans who support Palestinian cause must be willing to lose friends
  • Don't just stand there, let's get to it, strike a pose, there's nothing to it
    • Tilda first caught my admiring eye when, playing Queen Isabelle, she bit out the jugular of one of King Edward's young lovers in Derek Jarman's amazing EDWARD II. I began loving her when she played Hope Kurtz in STRANGE CULTURE, the film about the federal persecution of my University at Buffalo colleague, Professor Steve Kurtz, who was absurdly accused of "bioterrorism" in the midst of the crazy days of the early oughts, which are still with us, of course.

      Make no mistake: by doing this, she loses jobs and loses real money. She won't starve, of course, but it's a genuine, principled stand. Any bets on who will follow? I'm giving odds on Viggo Mortensen.

  • Muslim and Christian cemeteries desecrated in Jaffa on eve of Yom Kippur
  • Bronner speech at Duke reveals deep bias and yet another ethical lapse
    • Now that the NYT is charging for online subscriptions, they are more vulnerable to boycotts. How would they respond if 5 or 10% of their readers told them they would not be renewing their subscriptions until Bonner is fired, because of his clear unfitness to cover Palestine-Israel? Bring BDS home, and hit them where it hurts. Setting this up wouldn't take much--a little coordination among Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada, Codepink, the US Campaign, etc. Set it up, keep it going for a year, hurt the Times, and send Ethan packing. Maybe he could join a seniors occupation brigade and serve alongside his son.

  • Ajl on the social origins of the tent protests
    • Wonderful for showing how the fractures in Israeli society come together with the occupation and Israeli militarization. Walid, I don't think Max is saying we should feel sorry for the protesters. Rather, we should try to understand what their protest means for the struggle. The point is not to damn the wicked and bless the just; the point is to win, and end the occupation.

      This piece shows why Max Ajl is one of the most important American commentators on the occupation of Palestine. Rather than making the classic mistake of saying, "Political liberation first, then class," he shows how class is a crucial part of understanding how any political change will come, and how its consideration will help create genuine liberation, not yet another neocolonial state. Picture Netanyahu and Abbas shaking hands and agreeing to come together in exploiting workers of all faiths and ethnicities--i.e., a one-state version of what we already have.

      Hats off, Max!

  • Libidinous pro-choice aide who toiled for rightwing Republicans admits her motivation came down to one issue
    • Huh?

      Ah--INHERITANCE! is that Edmund Burke I snuff?

      Yes, British civil and criminal law has a glorious tradition--ask the boyos in Belfast, and Kenya, and Malaya, and Hong Kong, and India, and Egypt, and Jamaica, and. . . . well, Palestine as well. Gorblimey, I believe there was a time when the inheritors of British Law believed that was their property, too, to be disposed of as they saw fit. And so they did. A whiff of grapeshot for the uppity Jacobins and Reds and fedayeen/fellahin who haven't learnt the sacred rights to property.

      Perfide Albion!

    • No, the police in downtown Moscow in the 1930s weren't very much into revolutionary social movements. Try thinking about something cooked up in the 1970s by Ghassan Kanafani and George Habash in West Beirut.

      But how could we possibly wish any less than a social revolution for the Palestinians--one that would allow them to control themselves, the land, and their own labor? Surely they've suffered enough from the ruling-class ministrations of "notables" and PA plutocrats and gangsters. What would you want in its place? I understand the pleasures of red-baiting, but the issue is serious and deserves serious discussion.

      I'm not certain, but I think "Western system of control" means "capitalist imperialism" (heard of that?), which is headquartered in the United States and Europe, with fawning national bourgeois functionaries in Tel Aviv and Ramallah.

    • Phil, I would be very grateful never to encounter in print again the phrase, "fellating Ari Fleischer." For the sake of the nutrition of those of your readers who may recently have eaten, there are some basic standards of decorum we must uphold. And I believe there's something in the Fourth Geneva Convention about the inappropriateness of that phrase in particular.

      I don't think Max Ajl or most other marxists would deny that "religious and cultural affinity are [sometimes] more important in human affairs . . . than economic class affinity." Rather, the point is that an argument that tends to focus exclusively or primarily on cultural and religious matters will be lacking in explanatory power, and may in some cases (for instance, Gilad Atzmon) tip over more easily into rancid and racist religious and cultural explanations.

      This is even more true regarding the prospects of future change: as Ajl keeps saying--very persuasively, to my eye--the racist and economically-exploiting occupation of Palestine will end only when it becomes more costly for Israel to maintain it than to end it.

      And apropos of nothing in particular, hurrah for Mondoweiss!

  • Help Mondoweiss stay afloat with a voluntary subscription
    • Maimonides on the eight levels of blessedness in giving (link to

      Level Eight: Giving grudgingly, with a sour countenance.
      Level Seven: Giving less than you can afford, but doing so pleasantly.
      Level Six: Giving generously, but only after being asked.
      Level Five: Giving before you are asked.
      Level Four: The recipient knows the giver, but the giver does not know the recipient.
      Level Three: The giver knows the recipient, but the recipient does not know the giver.
      Level Two: Giving anonymously, where the recipient does not know the giver and vice versa.
      Level One: Helping someone become self-sufficient.

  • U.S. State Dep't to American flotilla passengers: Drop dead
    • Look at the slimy language: "Previous attempts to enter Gaza . . . resulted in the . . . death . . . of U.S. citizens." Oh, really? I thought it was the bullet fired into Furgan Dogan's face that resulted in his death. It's nice to know the truth: he was responsible for his own death by trying to enter Gaza. Live and learn.

  • Hafrada today, hafrada tomorrow, hafrada forever! (Party like it's 1963)
  • Challenging anti-Semitism must be rooted in opposing racism, not defending Israel
    • Really, the ADC is a toothless dead dog, with the disgusting Zionist quasi-comedian Ray Hanania on its BoD, and propped by money from Saudi Arabia and the oil emirates. So obliging are they that they cancelled a performance by a Syrian-German composer and musician because it might have bruised the tender sensibilities of the ADC's Syrian moneymen.
      link to

      For more on the ADC, see the ever-delightful link to

  • Even Sandra Day O'Connor (in NY Review of Books) sees damage to US interests in 'vast disparity' of Israel's power
    • Frank Carlucci? Yes, when Patrice Lumumba's alleged assassin shows up on your side, kind of, it's time to check your wallet and think harder about what that side is.

    • But look at the concrete provisions: "The US believes both states must enjoy strong security guarantees. In this context, the US will support the establishment of a NONMILITARIZED PALESTINIAN STATE together with security mechanisms that address legitimate Israeli concerns while respecting Palestinian sovereignty. The US will support the presence of a US-led multinational force to oversee security provisions and border crossings."

      What is this other than racism or chauvinism? Is there another nation on the face of the earth that does not have the power to defend itself, however symbolically (given the preponderance of US and Israeli offensive forces)? Given that states are nasty things, why is it that only the sovereign state of Palestine must take the lead in disarmament?

  • White Shirts in Jerusalem cry 'Butcher the Arabs'
    • I'd like to hear the translation confirmed--I don't hear "aravim!" here.

      But it doesn't really matter. This is a distraction. As long as we keep flipping back and forth between fascist Zionists who want to expel or kill Israeli Palestinians and steal more land, and liberal Zionists who just want hold onto the land they've already stolen while the refugees rot forever in camps, nothing at all will happen. Horror shows like this give liberal Zionists an occasion to proffer their lousy bona fides.

  • A (half-hearted) defense of the Congressional Democrats
    • Dear Professor Slater:

      You said that American must act to save its liberal values and rationality by acquiescing to the current situation. From where I sit, those American liberal and rational values are hard to see. Among the values it has worked assiduously to preserve are those of the Israeli occupation. And you are in effect defending those here.

      And oh yes, the anti-semitism card—my absolute favorite! But no score this time, I'm afraid. And, a emeritus professor of Political Science who writes constantly about the Middle East should recognize the origin of those adjectives—namely, those notorious anti-semites Yahweh and Moses:

      Exodus 16:1-2. "And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness."

      Exodus 32:9-10: "And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation."

      Try harder next time.

    • Right, Jerry, appease the annointed race: that usually works out just fine.

      Yes, and it's crucial to do so in order to save Obama's liberal values and rationality: war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya; drones; assassinations; support for the liberal and rational Israeli occupation.

      Let's see the Jewish and democratic state try to tell the rest of the world to go to hell when it's suffering under an embargo of goods, technology, intellectual exchange. That stiffnecked and murmuring people might discover a new flexibility.

  • Chris Matthews is in, and up to the hub! Taking on AIPAC
    • If Palestine's hopes rest with Chris Matthews, they are seriously out of luck. But Chris is my favorite media stumbletongue, bar none. Two favorites:

      1. "As Robert Blake said, 'Tiger, tiger burning bright / In the forests of the night.'"
      Right--and as William Blake said, "Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time."

      2. Referring to George Allen's racist implosion in calling an Indian-American cameraman (duh!) "macaca," a term he presumably learnt in the arms of his Pied Noir momma (a Sephardic Jew from Tunisia), our Chris referred to this as a "pinot noir expression."

      It just don't get no better'n that, nossir.

  • First they came for Norman, then they ate the hummus
    • I think it would just be wrong for anyone to spread the rumor that a secret anti-occupation activist in the SABRA production chain regularly urinates in batches of the product.

  • Flotilla massacre all over again? Israel kills 8 Nakba demonstrators at borders
    • Israel shot people on THE OTHER SIDE of the border? If so, that looks Israel would have to accept Lebanon and/or Syria bombing Ben Gurion Airport, sending tanks over the border, killing 1300 Israelis, mostly civilians, reducing Haifa to rubble, and saturating Northern Israel with cluster bombs. I mean, anything else would smack of a racist double standard, and one should never accuse the only democracy in the Middle East of that.

  • 'Geronimo EKIA'-- as Indian wars continue in Palestine
    • The history of colonial New England is full of analogies between white English coming to Algonquin territories and the Hebrews coming to Canaan. It's simply everywhere. See any decent history of New England: for instance, Perry Miller's The New England Mind and Errand into the Wilderness, Alden Vaughan's New England Frontier.

      For more versions of the analogy, see the inimitable Benny Morris, Indian Killer: “Even the great American democracy could not have been created without the annihilation of the Indians. There are cases in which the overall, final good justifies harsh and cruel acts that are committed in the course of history.”

      For the other side, see Mahmoud Darwish's "Speech of the Red Indian" in ADAM OF TWO INDIANS.

      Why do you think Ariel Sharon invited Dubya out to his "ranch" in the Negev?

  • Bloom for the misbegotten
    • "As a gentile literary critic, I wouldn't object to Harold Bloom being given an honorary degree by CUNY either, despite his ridiculous tendency to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. . . ."

      Maybe it's time to lose the "As a . . .," as if who you are could make a bad argument better. It's almost as bad as Bloom basing his argument on the fact that he knows Kushner and Schmidt.

      Oh, I actually do think Kushner should get his honorary degree, despite his appalling "shoot and cry" script for "Munich."

  • On 'Arna's Children' and the question of armed resistance
    • "We" may all be aware of the occupation, but "we" sometimes forget to mention it, as "we" wallow near-sightedly in the violence it causes--for instance, intoning "suicide bombing" as if it dropped from the sky.

      I'm afraid you and Phil's Anonymous American Friend will have to go further than "feels like." Given that the entire premise of the film is tragically to connect these young children acting in the theater to the corpses they become, it's an incredibly bad interpretation of the film to see it as a celebration. P.A.A.F. seems to be particularly upset at the idea that Palestinians might defend themselves with weapons. The allotted role of the Palestinians is to die quietly, without making too much of a fuss. Could all of this be a "reaction formation" on your part--i.e., seeing a film that refuses to condemn Palestinian resistance, then recoding it as "celebration" of terrorism?

      "Manohla Dargis called it 'insulting to every Palestinian who struggles without a gun in hand.'" Another painfully bad NYT film reviewer: like all the morons asking, "Where's the Palestinian Gandhi?" she seems not to have noticed all those Palestinians in the film who struggle without a gun in hand, and whose attentions seem to be more on the corpses of their loved ones than on the fact that they fought back. Indeed, Ala's mother seems to combine pride in her son's resistance with mourning for his loss--a human complexity that may not register with people unused to seeing Palestinians as human.

    • What of that lad? Well, a damned horrible shame for his victims, and for him. But put the horse before the cart, Matt, if you're interested in ending the killing: does occupation cause suicide bombing, or does suicide bombing cause occupation? The former, evidently, since Israel occupied Jenin from 1967 until 1994, when the first Palestinian suicide bombing occurred. That's 27 years for Israel to find its way back over the Green Line.

      Again and again, the same old story: avoid a discussion of the underlying structural violence of occupation by turning to the more photogenic violence that results, and if at all possible, differentiate the beastly and uncaring violence of the Palestinians from the reluctant and measured retaliatory violence of the Zionist army.

    • Dear Phil's American Friend,

      What an astonishing response! "Arna's Children" is the greatest documentary ever made about Palestine, showing the tragic effects of occupation, house demolition, and growing up amidst rubble. It shows Arna's therapeutic theater of love and resistance. Correcting Mohamed al-Bakri's excessive emphasis in "Jenin, Jenin" on victimization during Israel's vicious invasion of the West Bank, it shows Alaa, Zakaria, and other veterans of Arna's school resisting this assault, and paying the ultimate price for it. It shows how an Israeli tank shell explodes a little girl and turns a laughing boy into a suicide bomber.

      "Where is Palestinian agency?" Palestinian agency is right there in front of your face, though it may not be the kind of agency you like to think about. You can see it when Alaa gives his life for his mother and his friends and his people.
      You invoke Dargis's revolting review that demands even-handed sympathy for the invader and the invaded. But of course, she says not a negative word about the psychopaths in the Merkavas, while clucking her tongue ruefully about those who dared to resist the invasion. Dear Manola and Phil's American Friend: Alaa died in his country defending it from an invader, while that Israeli soldier was invading somebody else's country. That's the difference. Get it?

      So you see the boys at the end singing a song of resistance and a willingness to be martyred, and you hear "incitement"? Instead, why not think back to the boys in the theater at the beginning of the film (that's what it's asking you to do), and think about how Israel and Israel's Enabler can avoid turning them into martyrs the way we did with Ashraf, Youssef, and Alaa.

  • Battle of the trenches: academic boycott versus... 'Israel Studies'
    • The worrying thing is the "studies" part. Of course, a school like SOAS should have courses on Israel (including, of course, a focus on Mizrahim and Palestinian Israelis), as it should have courses on other nations in the area, and transnational programs. But the minute you tack on "studies," then the expectation is of Zionist money in, Zionist money out. Is there an "Algerian Studies Program" at SOAS? No, of course not. Have a look: link to This will be the first "studies" program focusing on a single nation. No Botswana studies. No Lebanon Studies. No India studies. But Israel studies.

      Is the Pears family going to continue its support if there are courses on Ashkenazi supremacism? On the Palestinian Israeli critique of Zionism from within? On Israeli race policy? Of course not. The specter of money withdrawn will be enough to produce the appropriate legitimization.

      Money talks, and academia folds, as sure as gun's iron.

  • Bill Maher asks Michael Oren whether 'being an Occupier has changed the Jewish people,' but
  • Jon Stewart strikes again
    • This is a crucial point. The Enlightenment held that PEOPLE had rights; the reactionary degradation of the Enlightenment under late-Romantic thinkers like Herder held that PEOPLES had rights--i.e., rights to sovereignty in a land, to subordinate other peoples and people, and expel them if need be. Rights for people leads to democracy; rights for peoples leads to ethnic cleansing.

  • Libya/Gaza
    • Mr. Witty, you are delusional. From late June 2008 to November 4th 2008, Hamas rigorously maintained a ceasefire, as Mark Regev himself admitted, despite numerous Israeli violations of the ceasefire agreement. The Gaza War began on the night of November 4-5, when a death squad of Israeli militants entered Gazan Palestine and killed six Hamas soldiers. Hamas responded with some rocket fire, and later, with pleas to continue the ceasefire, such as it was. Israel responded with industrial murder.

      The facts are easy to find. Check them out, and stop speaking falsely.

  • We planned the Purim party, then my partner actually read the Book of Esther...
    • Long Live Israel: actually, some survivors of Sabra and Shatila report having heard Hebrew speakers among their killers. And it is certainly the truth that the Israeli Army and Ariel Sharon provided logistical support--sending up flares so the happy Lebanese killers could find more Palestinian throats to cut.

      It's a horrible little book, isn't it? Note that it also points to the continued dependency of Jews on a foreign great power. This has medieval European echoes, but also Israeli ones: Zionists negotiating with the Ottomans, the British, the Nazis, and now, of course, the great American Ahasuerus, which gives leave to slaughter the goyim.

      Still, a prune hamentashen is mighty fine: it's a tri-cornered hat, like those the Tea Party dweebs wear.

  • Dept of Education opens investigation into anti-Semitism at UC Santa Cruz following events protesting the occupation
    • Ms. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin says a UCSC instructor had used the class email list to encourage students to participate in a demonstration against Israel's 'destructive actions' in Lebanon and Gaza outside the Israeli consulate in San Francisco." If the instructor had done that, then it would have been bad teaching and bad politics.

      But just follow the links and you'll see quickly that it is a forwarded email from three groups: Break the Silence, Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for a Free Palestine. There is NO endorsement by the instructor. There is no encouragement to attend, and the characterization of "destructive actions" is in the original email, and is not the instructor's phrase, as is implied. It's the sort of thing that a good teacher might forward just to let people know about contemporary, passionately-held incidents of the subject matter.

      I have to keep reminding myself: always, always, always check the evidence (we might call this "the Norman Finkelstein watchword"). Desperate, cornered Zionists will lie and mislead like there's no tomorrow, and like we're too tired or lazy to check them out.

  • Brooklyn-Jenin: On concentration camps and Yonatan Pollack
    • Ah, and it was just last week that Hophmi was telling us that "Amalek" was an arcane reference used only by the far-right religious, which may well be true (link to

      But the catch is that the far right religious are now running the state, in collaboration with the secular "left." If they decide to work together to fill the camps with Palestinians, perhaps the latter can affix some secular label to the Palestinian internees: "existential threat" has a nice pedigree.

      Much admiration to Udi Aloni for this piece: if a new binational future has any chance, it is forming in columns like this one and in the demonstrations at Bil'in.

  • Giffords wasn't shot because of her Judaism, ADL says
    • No, "blood libel" is reserved for libels directed against Jews--even when they're not libels, like the factually-true story about Israeli doctors harvesting Palestinian organs without permission:

      "organ-harvesting" plus "Israel" plus "blood libel": 17,800 hits.

      link to

  • Remnick takes another step-- the occupation is 'deeply wrong'
    • Israel’s biggest recruitment tool is that Jews can only be truly safe in Israel, so Israeli emigration (“yerida”) is deeply embarrassing—particularly when it ends in Germany, a recent favorite! So

      I’ve found some widely varying estimates:

      link to
      107,000 people living in the US who claim “Israeli” as their first or second nationality.

      link to
      “The policy of the Interior ministry has so far made it difficult for people to give up citizenship, requiring them, among other things, to prove that they have been living outside of the state of Israel for a long time.”

      link to
      Andrew Kilgore, “Facts on the Ground: A Jewish Exodus From Israel,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March 2004, pages 18, 20 Suggests as many as 2.2 million Israelis living abroad.

      link to
      Gideon Alon, “760,000 Israelis have left the Promised Land,” Haaretz November 19, 2003 ().

      I just can’t get a straight answer to these two vital questions, and would appreciate some help from anyone who knows:

      1. “How many Jews are now living inside the areas military occupied by Israel, including Israel, the Occupied Territories, and the Golan Heights?

      2. “How many people whom Israel counts as Israeli citizens are Jews living abroad?

      There are two interesting corollaries to all this:
      1. “Strategic Ambiguity: Just as Israel refuses to say whether or not it has nuclear weapons, and just it refuses to declare borders, so it refuses to say clearly how many Jews are living in Israel.

      2. Just as there was an enormous Jewish population living outside of Palestine in the Roman world at the time of the Disaspora (Shlomo Sand), so there is an enormous Israeli population now that has decided it can do all right outside the Promised Land.

    • Note the order of priority: "I oppose the Occupation because it's bad for Israel, bad for the region . . . and bad for the Palestinians." Jewish supremacism in a kinder, gentler form. These liberal Zionists and conservative Zionists are still holding onto two state delusions: or pretending to in order to maintain apartheid.

      That boat has sailed. "Israel" (call it "Palestine" if you will, or "Canaan") now has a Jewish minority, as even Israeli demographers admit. This is even clearer if you subtract the million or so Israelis living outside the country.

      "What!? How can you do that! These people are Israelis too!"

      OK, have it your way, but we're also going to count all eleven million Palestinian Israelis, including those living in exile, in refugee camps and elsewhere.

  • War and Michael Walzer
    • How very, very silly, eee. All my thought experiment asked you to do was to think about the war from the point of view of the Egyptians, on the hypothesis that they, too, are human beings with rights (try it on, just for a while: say to yourself, three times, "Egyptians are human beings with human rights and political rights, just like Israelis!"). If the Israelis have a right to pre-emptive war, then so do the Egyptians. If you accept Israel's right to pre-emptive war on the theory that Egypt might have attacked, then a fortiori you must accept Egypt's right to pre-emptive war on the grounds that Israel actually did attack.

      I know this is hard for you, since it requires you momentarily to put aside tribal bonding and think about things from the point of view of ethics and human rights. But really, give it a shot. You may be redeemable. No, really, try it!

      Oh, "cognitive positive feed back loop" is gibberish. And of course, the Europeans did not have the right to their anti-Semitic violence--I don't think so, and you don't think so either, so why are you trying to defend Jewish Israeli racism on the precedent of Jew-hating progromists? God, what a stink! You really do tend to lose control when your logic caves in: "By my account and that of the majority of Jews, it was justified. If you think otherwise, that is your problem." This is Israeli chauvinism, and Jewish exceptionalism, which is to say, "racism."

      Unfortunately, Zionist racism is not just my problem; it is primarily the problem of the Palestinians whom Israelis view and treat as untermenschen, and the Lebanese whom they periodically murder. But not for long: from the river to the sea, Palestine will soon be free. And Jews, Palestinians, and assorted immigrants will live together in peace, with not a little dialogue: intellectual, sexual, and otherwise. Horrors! Grow up, and get used to it.

    • Ah, eee, you are a klutzy hasbarist to the bitter end: “In June 1967 we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him. This was a war of self-defense in the noblest sense of the term. The Government of National Unity then established decided unanimously: we will take the initiative and attack the enemy, drive him back, and thus assure the security of Israel and the future of the nation." (Menachem Begin, leader of Gahal Party, cited in New York Times, Aug. 21, 1982, link to

      Notice that Begin" uses "self-defence" in the same way as eee: it doesn't mean defense against an attack; it means "destroying the enemy." Only a cretin defends preemptive war, because of its manifest, built-in hypocrisy: it's POSSIBLE but unlikely that Egypt was about to attack Israel on June 4, 1967, but it's absolutely CERTAIN that Israel was about to attack Egypt on that day. Thus eee, if you're not a despicable chauvinist Zionist, and still want to argue, Walzer-style, for the justice of pre-emptive war, you will have to admit that Egypt had every right to attack Israel on that day. Ya see?

      Remember: Hitler's Operation Barbarossa, and EVERY SINGLE AGGRESSIVE WAR EVER LAUNCHED has been presented as an pre-emptive war against an existential threat.

  • Brutalized
    • What happened before, eee? The Zionists stole their land--I think you can pretty much be sure of that.

      You remind me of an ex-friend who said that, if you saw the whole videotape, you could really understand why the LAPD had to beat Rodney King to a pulp.

  • US gov't official: Israelis ignore everyone in the US except Tom Friedman and Jeffrey Goldberg
    • Oh, come now, Hophmi, don't be coy. Anyone whose impulses are as tribal as yours knows what happens to the Amalekites (1Chron. 4:42-3). See Shulamit Along in Haaretz: "I recall the essay by the late Rabbi Israel Hess, the rabbi of Bar-Ilan University, who wrote in the university newspaper that 'we are all obligated to carry out genocide,' because he did research and discovered that the Palestinians are descendants of Amalek, the tribe that the Torah commands us to destroy (and that has become a symbol of evil for Jews). Rabbi Prof. Emanuel Rackman, who was then president of the university, brought about his dismissal. It's no coincidence that in the settlements the Palestinians are called 'Amalek,' and the intention is obvious to everyone" (link to

      The crazy-ass rabbis quote the bloodthirsty bits of the Hebrew scriptures; the kinder, gentler liberal Zionists shoot down old Palestinian men and say "boo hoo, we're so sorry, stop making us kill you, please!" (link to

    • hopmhi--that's right: no squabbling in front of the goyim, because the important thing is Jewish solidarity, not justice for the sons of Amalek.

  • In the 'Forward,' Pogrebin condemns the 'un-Jewish' smear campaign of Goldstone by Jews
    • I like Ms. Kneedler's non-sectarian conclusion here. I always feel queasy when I hear progressive and humane sentiments defended along the lines of "This ostensibly Muslim sentiment is actually anti-Muslim," or "This hyper-Americanism is actually un-American," or "This Zionist outrage is actually anti-Jewish." I understand the need for people inside some faith or community or nation to define and fight for their vision of the best that community has to offer, its truest principles, etc. I do that too, and find myself saying or thinking "That's not American!" or "That's not marxist!"

      But people outside those communities have the right to look at actual history and see, for instance, the Muslim sectarian cleansing of each other in Iraq and of Copts in Egypt, the American anticommunist megadeaths in SE Asia, and the Stars of David on the sides of those F16s waging Jewish holy war on Palestinian peasant children. All too often, even the most righteous contemporary Jewish Jeremiah denouncing the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, in a blazing jeremiad, and in the name of True Jewishness, still preserves some hint of an implicit double standard.

      Pogrebin names Goldstone, the "Eliezer of his age," and laments the dirt done to him as a fellow Jew; this is deeply felt and very moving. But Pogrebin doesn't name or talk about Mustafa Khader Saber Abu Ghanima, a sixteen-year-old boy, listed in the tally of the Gaza dead compiled by the Palestine Centre for Human Rights, or christen him with a biblical epithet. This excerpted essay is moving and important, but I am more moved by Max Ajl's passionate intellectual and bodily solidarity from Gaza. link to

      I'm not sure about what I've written here, and I know how important religious conviction is in whatever we have of a left in the US (as Alexander Cockburn has noted). But there's nothing keeping people of faith from using universalist arguments and rhetoric.

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