Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 248 (since 2009-12-05 17:24:19)

Retired philosophy prof. Writer. Once in the business of Christian travel to Israel/Holy Land.

Showing comments 248 - 201

  • Warren's out, as list of skippers surges, and White House offers Selma for Iran
    • I doubt that withdrawal of American support for Israel would create a threat to the existence of an Israel that (1) ceased to be a regional bully and (2) recognized that Palestinians were equally deserving of having their rights protected as Jews. What US support for Israel guarantees is that Israel is able to continue as a rogue and apartheid state.

  • White House says Netanyahu offers no alternative but military action (and Liz Warren won't say if she's attending speech)
    • One of the lines you hear over and over by pro-Israel commentators and the MSM is that the present and widening split between the US and Israel is a matter of Obama vs. Netanyahu, there's bad blood, they don't like each other, or maybe that Obama always had it in for Israel, or maybe Netanyahu is an unstable character. This unfortunate spat between the closest of nations stems from the underlining personalities of the two leaders.

      This way of constructing the news story masks the most important point, namely that the interests of Israel and the US are in serious conflict. Israel wants the US to wage war on Iran the American people don't want that. Israel wants the US to support Israel's behavior, no matter how cruel and unpopular. This undermines the ability of the US to press its own interests abroad. To put it bluntly and personalities aside, Israel is bad for the US and bad for the security of the American people.

  • Leading NY institutions discuss the Nakba -- and there is not a Palestinian in sight
    • In his review Filkins writes, "Israeli historians, most notably Benny Morris, have painstakingly documented the exodus of the Palestinians and, more problematically, the causes of their flight."

      It's difficult to think that Filkins wasn't aware of the significance of his use of the term "exodus" to describe movement of Palestinians off their lands and out of their homes. "Exodus", the second book of the Torah, a story of the Israelites' flight from a foreign land toward their purported homeland. This is a rather odd way of referencing the Nakba. To some Palestinians it was a flight, but always away from their homeland. To others it was not a flight at all, but a removal.

  • Netanyahu flips off Harry Truman
    • Thanks, Just. I had never heard to Alison Weir or her blog.

    • Above: “The truth is: Israel never would have come into existence without the United States.”

      Historical counterfactual claims are difficult to argue so I'm not sure. But if this is true then we count use actual historical accounts to take the cause-effect sequence one step back,

      "The truth is that Israel would never come into existence without immense pressure from American Zionists upon the US government to support a Jewish state against its better judgment."

      And too we could ask, "Had the US not supported the creation of Israel and (almost) all of its subsequent actions, the US would not have experienced or engaged in X, Y, Z, . . ." Some of these variables represent obvious negatives, some more obscure negatives and some may even represent a positive or two.

  • Stanford re-votes, divestment passes in a landslide victory
  • Americans oppose Netanyahu invite 2-to-1, but Dershowitz is all for it
  • James Baker to speak at J Street conference
    • Levine: "For decades, the relationship between the United States and Israel has transcended political parties, elections, ethnic and religious affiliations. This is how it should stay. "

      Translation: "For decades the Israel Lobby has scared the pants off American politicians, newspapers, talking heads and academics without regard for their politics, religion or ethnicity. This is how it should stay."

  • The left needs to stop hounding Elizabeth Warren on Palestine, says Warren supporter
    • Gay Americans supported Obama in his elections even though his position was to give equal legal protections to gay relationships up to but not including marriage. He was an impure candidate and his failing was on the issue closest to them. The support of the gay community is very important to a presidential candidate and they gave it. My view is that they were smart to do so, in fact it was the obviously smart thing to do. The situation seems very similar to that of Warren supporters and the Israel/Palestine issue.

  • Warren supporters can't talk about Palestine
    • We now know that Obama fudged on gay marriage as a candidate. The movement continued to gather strength and then Obama did the right thing as President. He didn't do the right thing however on Israel/Palestine. But I can't envision Warren doing what Obama did, standing up at the UN and opposing Palestinian statehood purportedly because it's not good for Palestinians. I think she's tougher and has more character than that. As long as Warren doesn't begin reading from Zionist scripts I'm willing to give her a temporary pass. The movement will gain strength, the Lobby will be weakened, and then, if President, she can do the right thing.

  • I misremember Iraq
    • This is a brilliant and informative essay by Scott Long. Thank you!

      My questioned memory is this. I remember (I think) shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing a local reporter was interviewing a college friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. This was after Tsarnaev had been identified from the tapes, but before he was captured. The friend reported calling Tsarnaev on his cell asking him what was going on and telling him that the President had condemned the bombing. The friend reported that Tsarnaev responded that the President had killed many more people with drone attacks. I have never again seen this report of Tsarnaev's possible motivation discussed. This reminds me of the pre-emptive response to the question of why 9-11 happened, "Because they hate our freedom." God forbid that, as Susan Sontag suggested, they had legitimate grievances.

  • New leftwing anti-semitism is when Jews feel 'attacked' over Israel's conduct
    • RE: "The British institute says Italian Jews agree with Lawrence Summers. It’s OK to criticize Israel, but when you start talking about boycott, that’s anti-Semitic."

      Accepting this criterion makes it pretty easy to sling the ant-Semitism charge. But Summers make it even easier when he accepts the State Department's claim that,

      "[anyone who] applies double standards to Israel crosses the line of legitimate criticism.”

      The effect of this is that unless you first have criticized every repressive regime worldwide, your criticisms of Israel are not "legitimate" and since this idea is stated in the context of defining anti-Semitism, such criticism must be ant-Semitic. This is propaganda in its purest form. There are hugely important reasons why I, as an American, should and do abhor and object to Israel's behavior that do not apply to North Korea or the Sudan.

  • Why now? Story breaks that US teamed with Israel in assassinating Iranian 'agent' in '08
    • Thanks to Phil and Annie for this. I hadn't thought to ask myself "why now?" But as soon as I saw the "why now?" headline I though, "Of course, the Iran talks and the continental drift taking place in US Israel relations." And think how many high-fivers there would be inside the Beltway if a US target got hit.

  • Lawrence Summers says BDS movement is 'persecuting' Israel
    • Further evidence of Summers' intellectual limitation is his concept of "anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent." It's an incoherent distinction, as if one could separate the idea of an of anti-Semitic act from the act's intention.

    • I never understood the attraction of Larry Summers, the claims that he was brilliant, the excuse that he was just a bit impolitic. The claim he made that in understanding the under-representation of women in science we should look at genetic differences was just plain stupid. It was a complete misreading of behavioral genetic research methods, one that he likely got from his bud, Stephen Pinker. Elizabeth Warren's account of Summers' political insider tactical advice likely provides the best insight into Summers' climb to the top. I wonder who Obama was caving to when he wanted him to lead the Fed.

  • Netanyahu speech could allow Obama to 'take on the Jewish lobby' as he took on Cuba lobby -- Indyk
    • Walt and Mearsheimer earned the anti-Semite charge for "Israel Lobby" and Indyk gets a pass on "Jewish Lobby". But note his claim that the US is a "force multiplier" for Israel. What is that, an "army in waiting"?

  • Independent investigation details Israel's deliberate targeting of civilians in Gaza
    • Word meanings slip and slide. A result of my action is intentional if I know the action will cause it, I have a choice and I act. If know there are ten civilians in a building plus an enemy combatant and I bomb the building, I have intentionally killed ten civilians. DoubleStandard doesn't want to call it intentional unless I rejoice in the civilian deaths. If I approve the amputation of a limb to save my life the amputation is intentional. I will hardly rejoice over it. In today's war, very little "collateral" death will be unexpected. So what is the moral difference between deaths from terrorism and civilian collateral damage?

  • Phila Inquirer publishes a lie: 'Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are one and the same'
    • Thank you, Annie, for the clarification that the term 'homeland' was not used. The phrase I intended to paraphrase is:

      "Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist. "

      As I read that, "...their right to self-determinatioin,..." does not mean only the right to vote in whatever country they live but, when accompanied by the final phrase, the right to self-determination as a people. This is likely why the term homeland popped into my brain. It does seem to indicate that someone in the depths of the State Department thinks that anti-Zionism is an example of anti-Semitism. That I disagree goes without saying.

    • Note that in defining antisemitism the US State Dept provides examples, one of which is denying the Jewish people the right to a homeland and for good measure delegitimizing Israel.

  • Menendez bags on Iran sanctions, and congressman says AIPAC demands deference to Israel over US
    • Cheers for Rep Yarmouth an here I thought, paraphrasing a Gospel,"What good could come from Republicans". Is there a Democrat with the courage to repeat?

  • Former Obama aide's thinktank calls for 1/4 of French Jews to move to Israel
    • Israel's bad behavior toward Palestinians provokes Muslims to respond against Jews in European cities. The Israel right or wrong crowd pushes for emigration from Europe to Israel to assure European Jews' safety. Cynicism at its highest level. It's also doubly racist, (1) Jews belong in Israel because they are Jews and (2) The Jews Israel seeks out are Europeans thus to assure that Tel Aviv eclipses Beirut at the Paris of the middle east..

  • To counter radical Islam, we must confront our own hypocrisy
    • If an important part of western hypocrisy is the exceptionist idea that Western ways of war = good, other ways of war = evil, then perhaps a first step would be to strip our discussions of prejudicial language, e.g. Jon Kindberg's, "Muslim extremists", "drawn [to jihadism] because of its fury and its uncompromising ruthlessness"; "homegrown French terrorists"; "drawn to the anger and hatred of radical Islam"; "Islamist hot-spots"; "breeding grounds for radicalization" (Do full fledged human beings emerge from "breeding grounds"? Isn't that where mosquitoes and vermin come from?) On the other side Israel is said to be accused of "human rights abuses" in its bombing to death of 500 children. I read in vain if I look for the Paris murderers being accused of "human rights abuses". The point is that the language used to discuss the conflict between Islamists and the West is so riddled with prejudice as to make reasonable discussion impossible and even a good guy like Jon Kindberg comes off as a bigot. The starting point here is the word, "terrorist" is which by definition no state actor can be one no matter how many civilians his decisions kill.

  • Why I am not Charlie
    • I'm not Charlie either. And though I was standing directly across from the second Boston Marathon bomb until an hour before it went off, I don't have a"Boston Strong" bumper sticker. These clever and hollow phrases impede rational thought with nonsensical expressions and rallying slogans.

      Having written that, I don't get the criticisms of Charlie, as if all the opponents and victims of Israeli behavior, the ones whom we of M-W support, are perfect in their virtue. I admire the cartoonists of Charlie in their willingness to take on religion with humor. I understand that they they take on the other two of the Abrahamic fairy tales as well, but I'll settle for just one. Religions perpetuate ancient forms of hatred and undermine the use of reason. Fundamentalist Christianity is a plague on the U.S., undermining education and building a culture of anger. The Catholic Church's politics of sexuality, birth control, abortion and reasonable sex education is just as bad. The American Jewish use of Hitler's atrocities to shut down discussion corrupts American politics and costs innumerable American lives.

      The use of rational argument against religion has severe limitations once the religious demagogues corrupt the confidence in reason. It's here that humor, biting, hard hitting satire, satire not restricted by rules of niceness, satire that does not stop to separate the good guys from the bad since that parsing destroys its sting. We need more Charlies, not fewer and we shouldn't expect them to be perfect in accord with our biases.

  • A tale of two tests
    • Yes. And then rank the number of media and politician words devoted to the horror and loss of these deaths. I expect the correlation is inverse.

      One of the reasons for this, I think, is the assumption that the evil acts of non-government agents are, by their nature and regardless of consequences, more evil than acts of government agents. After all, today's most serious charge of evil-doing, terrorism, cannot by definition characterize governmental military action. What a linguistic coup for those who do evil under the guise of national security.

  • The moral hysteria of Je suis charlie
    • # Klug "But they too have their limits. They just don’t know it. " Klug is critical of the Paris demonstrators for 1. Professing to believe that there are no limits to free speech and for 2. not knowing that they themselves have limits. I doubt that either of these is true and can't think of the reasons that Klug thinks they are.

      My problem with the reaction to the Paris horror is that once again a terrible act is being identified as a matter of "national security", and will be used to further the monetary interests and power grabs of the security state. I have never feared that I would be directly harmed by a terrorist act, and there was never a reason for me to be so. As a threat to human life terrorist acts pale in comparison to smoking, drunk driving, assault weapons, handguns, and every form of dread disease. But I still fear, indeed I dread, terrorist acts for the manner in which they will be used to limit the liberty of all of us.

  • Against self-determination
    • Philip, This is so wonderfully conceived and beautifully written. If I were still teaching western philosophy then in the section dealing with the 18th Century European Enlightenment (a system of ideas I greatly admire), I would include your essay as a concrete application of the three great statements of Enlightenment ideals from Jefferson, Lincoln and M.L. King. I belongs at very least on the NY Times op. ed. section to jab the Zionists into their pathetic hyperbole and teach others that anti-Zionist is a worthy position to adopt Thank you!.

  • Couldn't there be just one 'NYT' columnist who was critical of Israel? (No)
    • RE Kraus: "On issues like Zionism, which are inherently political, everyone has a bias. The Times’ competitors are no different."

      No, I do not accept this. Because an issue is political, it does not follow that all we have are biases. This is a harmful and dangerous idea. Stating that it is immoral and illegal to slaughter 500 children and then blame it upon their defenders is not a statement of bias. It is a statement of fact that is easily substantiate by good reasons. The positions of the Times and it's op. ed. columnists concerning Israel's actions are deceitful, shameful and unprofessional.

      And yes, the NY Times puts out some good journalism.

    • Some good suggestions from Philip. I'm thinking of another. Yes it's a guy, but he's an experienced journalist, evenhanded, never strident, keen analyst, cosmopolitan, writes with a moral compass, the furthest thing from a blowhard or a dissembler, fearless in bucking expectations and a terrific stylist. Philip?

  • Leading rabbi tells Arab ambassador not to 'shlep' Kerry's view of Palestine into discussion of religion and terrorism
    • Perhaps Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt will organize a conference on the role of religion in combatting Colonialism and invite Ambassador Mohammed Al Hussaini Al Sharif to speak at that conference.

  • Chris Hedges is blackballed by Penn after likening ISIS to Israel
    • It's never correct to object to a mere comparison of one thing to another ("Are you comparing Jesus to Hitler!"). Any two things will have differences otherwise they would be one thing. But any two things (the Pythagorean theorem and the Mississippi River) will have similarities (an infinite number actually), both were discovered more than two years ago, for example. So yes, Israel and ISIS can be compared, they both have killed Arabs and both have women members and both (as Hedges writes) are driven by fundamentalist religious convictions. And yes, Hitler and Jesus were similar, they both were human and both had followers.

  • John Mearsheimer: What Mondoweiss Means To Me
    • From John Mearsheimer: " Criticizing Israel or its American lobby is mortal combat for intellectuals, journalists, and policymakers . . . Mondoweiss has been one of the few places where one could speak the truth despite the professional risks. It was the first serious web site that evaluated Israeli policy in an open-minded and often critical fashion, discussed the Israel lobby’s influence, and challenged the reigning narrative about Israel. Other web sites followed in its wake, but Mondoweiss cleared the way."

      It's difficult to over-emphasize how important this point is, and by extension what Mondoweiss has accomplished. Coming from a scholar of John Mearsheimer's stature it is once and for all nailed into place. Many thanks and congratulations to the whole crew at M-W.

  • Boteach says boycotting businesses in West Bank settlements is Nazi-like activity
    • Excerpts from the Official Zionist Dictionary of Hyperbole and Distortion:
      "Mention the 'Aparthied word' = "Vicious, anti-Semitic distortion"; "Sympathy for BDS" = "An obsession with Israel and its Jews"; "Sympathy for 500 Gazan children" = "Support for Hamas Terrorism"; "Use of the term Lobby" = "Reminiscent of a Nazi trope about Jewish power"; "Palestinian proposal for UN recognition" = "An attack upon the State of Israel"; "Jews who criticize Israeli Policies" = "Self-haters"; Non-Jews who criticize Israeli Policies" = "Anti-Semites".

  • U.S. seeks to counter Palestinian UN resolution with alternative offer, says French diplomat
    • It looks like Samantha Power will have an influential role in France's actions on this. In the "New Yorker's" recent piece on Power it's reported that the French Ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud, representing the French delegation, sent Power a note that said, "... you are very beautiful." He is later quoted, "I think she likes me because she knows how to manage me. Really, she has seduced me." Pretty pathetic that Palestine has French testosterone to worry about along with all the rest.

  • You don't have to suffer alone . . . the CIA is here for you
    • There are the trials co-instituted by one of my heroes Bertrand Russell (was Sartre the other?), but no one knows about them.

  • US feels the heat on Palestine vote at UN
    • What does Obama have to lose? Probably nothing personally. But for the party it's similar to what LBJ said when he decided to move dramatically on Civil Rights, namely that it would lose the South for Democrats. And it did. If Obama got LBJ's courage and the Dems in Congress didn't nullify it, it's a lot of Lobby cash to lose to the other side.

    • RE: "The White House appears paralyzed, afraid to appear out of sync with world opinion but more afraid still of upsetting Israel and its powerful allies in the US Congress."

      The White House has a card to play that will shut-up all but the most fanatical Congressional Zionists, a card they've toyed with but, typically for Obama, never openly.

      It is to state that the international costs to the US for its unflagging support for Israel are too great, and in particular that backing Israel's actions right or wrong has incited terrorism against the US and costs American lives, both military and civilian. It takes courage to take this tack, a quality that this administration does not have in great abundance.

  • Caroline Glick melts down with European diplomats
    • This is amazing, Annie. Thanks. I have a few quick reactions. First, Glick is pretty impressive. I wish she were on the right side of this. Second, whenever someone who has strayed from the Zionist line then needs their support, e.g., Samantha Powers or Chuck Hagel, they are required to fawn over the Zionists and their cause so bring on Eli Wiesel or Abe Foxman to hear confession. In this case the Ambassador does the fawning, his statements were really stupid, and she catches him at it. Good for her. He deserved it. He says, You're like us, you're good people so we expect more of you. How many Iraqis are dead because the west wants their oil and the American neo-conservative wanted a beachhead in the ME, to spread democracy? BS. He's sitting with people who cheered the killing of 500 children telling them how good they are. As someone says, "Ya can't make this stuff up!"

  • As Kerry and UN press on occupation, Netanyahu sees a 'diplomatic assault'
    • I don't think the EU or the US is suddenly getting morality here. I think it's more that the ME has become such a frightening mess that people are finally to the point of admitting that the West's support of Israeli and all its behaviors is dangerous. Beheadings are a poor army's Shock and Awe.

  • We're all anti-American now
    • Walid, I should have spoken more clearly. I have certainly done things for which I am ashamed, but it was I who did these thing. I have not tortured anyone or given the orders to do so and then lied about it. I am angry about that but not ashamed. I didn't do it. Pride is other side of this coin. For example in WW II, men and women from all walks of life became soldiers for a time, fought bravely, some died, then returned to civilian life. I admired that beyond words. And every one of these people should be proud of what they did. But I cannot be proud of it because I had no part in it. I happen to love the U.S., but only under the proviso that the U.S. is not equivalent to the crooks, bribe-takers, warmongers and liars that run the U.S. on the national scale. What is local is what is great about the U.S., national policy is too often criminal.

    • RE: "Just: I’ve been ashamed for so long."

      Every charge that Phil and others, Just included, makes against the U.S. is true. The U.S. is an oligarchy that wreaks havoc, death, destruction, pain on a worldwide basis. U.S. policies also wreak havoc on U.S. citizens, denying them just compensation for labor while favoring those with hyper-avarice syndrome and a willingness to bribe lawmakers on every side of the isle. I despise this, but it does not shame me. Shame and guilt belong to the evil doers, to the hypocrites and the greedy, to the war-mongers and the liars. Conversely, I am not proud of it, not "proud to be an Amurikan" and wouldn't be even if America were all the things it defenders wrongly claim it is. Show me some of the (many) things I've done wrong or the (many) stupid things I've said and wrote, and you'll see some shame. The converse, pride in country, is not only a philosophically unjustified feeling, based upon false ideas, it's a dangerous practice, a mob emotion, vestiges of tribal nationalism that are far better left behind. Think of the false, vicarious pride felt by American Jews in the face of the 1967 Israeli victories, and think of where that false pride has gotten us, the Palestinians and Israel.

  • Saban confronts Bennett: 'Are you willing to cut commercial ties with Europe?'
    • I can't get myself to laugh at this guy. He reminds me a bit of GW, about whom it was famously said, "Never in doubt, seldom right." How many died in Iraq? For absolutely nothing. A gift that keeps on costing. Yet Bennett makes GW look like a wise rational actor. Whatever the chance that Bennett, and numerous other right wing Israelis, could get his hands on Israel's nukes, they are far too great. Israel's nukes constitute one of the greatest threats to violent human death on the planet.

  • Pssst! Is Israel going crazy?
    • hophmi has a point. With its excessive militarization, its security state, its anti-intellectual right wing, its denial of climate change, its protection of corporate crooks and cops who gun down black children, its racism, and its shipments of arms to Israel to assist in the slaughter of children, the U.S. has veered off into a parallel path with Israel., a fact that is no accident in part given the Zionist pressures on our weak politicians. The consequence of this is not that Israel should be let off the hook by Americans (as hophmi may be suggesting). In my case at least my prime interest in Israel's behavior rests upon the damage that the U.S.'s uncritical, pro-Israel policies and actions have done to my country.

    • @ "... but when it comes to Israel, these same voices remain silent, or hold Israel outside of their normal progressive/liberal standards of behavior. "

      Buckets of irony in this, given the repeated American theme of, "Where are the moderate Muslims when the Jihadists crawl out of their caves?" Yes, and where are the human rights Zionists in the U.S. when 500 children are slaughtered in Gaza?

  • The Minds of Others: An interview with Max Blumenthal
    • He's one brilliant, hard thinking man working out of a complex and thoroughly admirable set of ideas. Marry that to courage and you've got a real force for good. I admire Max Blumenthal.

  • Like an unrequited lover, 'NYT' confesses itself heartbroken over Israel's (latest) betrayal of democracy
    • Do I understand the Times correctly?

      To Israel: Don't do it because it will hurt Israel. How do we know it will hurt Israel? Because slavery hurt the U.S.

      How about instead: Don't do it because it will further the hurt of the people of Palestine. It will make it simpler to kill them, maim them, rob them, humiliate them, violate their basic human rights. It will make it easier to treat them as I they are not humans beings.

      Who would ever claim that it was a good thing to end slavery in the U.S. because the practice harmed the nation state of the U.S.?

  • A handful of Wellesley students are trying to shut down discussion of Israel/Palestine
    • Of course they have no such right, and if they just joined SJP any discomfiture they might in fact have would go away. So their support of an apartheid regime is uncomfortable (at most). But from the perch of the college administrator right is created by might, where might is measured in donor dollars. This explains to me why such discomfited students are sometimes provided these privileges even though they have no right to them. But then, thinking of the Northeastern University case, "Times they are a changing"

  • Wall around Bethlehem is Christmas billboard in Atlanta
  • Pressure on 'The Lancet' for Gaza letter another example of pro-Israel assault on freedom of expression
    • The Zionists have themselves a small victory. By showing once again that bad things will happen to those who publically criticize Israel they will have squelched the speech of a few who are faint of heart to begin with.
      But their loss will be greater than this gain. How would any fair and objective person respond to yet another example of the vicious language, motive insinuation and mendacity of pro-Israeli propaganda (The doctors and scientists align themselves with David Duke? Possibly, potentially, well it's worth wondering if, there's anti-Semitism here.) I think the response is likely to be revulsion.

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  • 'Let the police mow the lawn': Israeli right-wing demands stronger crackdown as Netanyahu increases attacks on East Jerusalem
    • @ Dan Cohen "Thursday morning, I met Jeremy Rossman, a 22-year-old settler from New York ... “If somebody challenges Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, he’s a terrorist.” Rossman said before adding, “I don’t care if a person throwing a rock is 13, 20, 30 or 70 years old — he needs to be taken out.“ "

      What is it with these Americans so-called settlers? Finally they get to be tough guys? "Kill those 13 year-olds" (With the American-financed war machine watching their back.) When Israel's obituary is finally written, it will be Americans who are found guilty of State-cide.

  • Israeli army kills 14-year old Palestinian with U.S. citizenship
    • Thank you Allison for this and all your great reporting. I would rather have the headline refer to:

      "14 year-old American living in Palestine"


  • 'Jewish students were barred from attending' pro-Palestinian event -- Alterman misrepresents
    • Alterman: “I have a lot of titles, but that’s the one [Distinguished Professor ... CUNY] I’m proudest of, and I would hate to see it sullied by this.”

      Sullied? Does he mean by CUNY's grad students demonstrating an interest in human rights (a distinction) or by CUNY's grad students infuriating a rabid group of New York Zionists (another distinction)?

  • The rabbi's fridge
  • Does 'the thief of Jerusalem' deserve US aid? (Update)
  • Europe wearies of Netanyahu's diversions
    • This editorial, coming from where it does, is a good sign. I think it's a mistake however to direct attention to Netanyahu. As a leader he has no center, no conviction. That's why he's there. ush and John McCain, he has a stern father he has to please (even after they have gone their way). Apartheid, the settlements, the killings of Palestinians, the bombing of children is Israel's policy, Golda's policy, Begin's, even the sainted Rabin's. If Netanyahu were to disappear tomorrow, it would still be policy.

  • 'NYT' can't keep its story straight on anti-Semitism in Germany
    • @ Pabelmont "Could be it’s just the price of pudding of course. Maybe they’d think of ASKING the new immigrants why they moved. Ask a lot of them, get a range of answers, I’d suppose."

      Generalizing from tiny samples would be an occupational hazard of journalists were it not for the fact that it's damn near their occupation.

  • The Center for Jewish Life is stifling free speech at Princeton University
    • I'm confused, Just. The Prof. Weiss referred to in Silverstein's link is Hillel Weiss, not Max Weiss. Or am I missing something?

  • Clintonite turns on Netanyahu for trying to bend US 'to his will'
    • "When it comes to the US, Netanyahu is playing a very dangerous game that will never serve Israel in the long run - " Ginsberg

      Okay, this may be a good sign, but two things:
      First If Netanyahu ever takes the advice of all the Liberal Zionists who want to save him from himself, the result will not be that Palestinians are better off, only that Israel will have acquired a little subtlety with which to carry on its treachery.
      Second, I thought Marc Ginsberg was an American. Shouldn't he at least pretend he cares about how much damage the "special relationship" has done to the U.S.? For the Zionists of all stripes it's "all about Israel" and scr#w the U.S.

  • How 'Open Hillel' created a new community by challenging the Jewish establishment
    • The two students with the black tees have my admiration. They are doing, in addition to their studies, exactly what students should be doing. All the emphasis on what job will students get after graduation obscures the fact that students have a job as college students, to apply what they have learned in an analysis of social issues, to push conversations beyond the narrow bounds in which they are invariably framed. The discussions at Open Hillel would never happen in the MSM because they are silently but intentionally excluded. This conference and others like it are grounds for optimism.

  • British Parliament votes overwhelmingly to recognize Palestinian state
    • I'm in Edinburgh for a visit. I read the news on Huffington UK so naturally I came to M-W. It's 1:32am and I'm very happy. This, especially given the margin, will create a lot of pressure on other EU governments, pressure that will come from the streets, that will say, "Why don't you do the right thing as the House of Commons has."

  • Shlomo Sand resigns from being Jewish. Totally. Mostly. Almost
    • Mark Ellis seems to think that, "Once a Jew always a Jew." It reminds me of my Roman Catholic catechism days where the "sacrament" of baptism (like being born from a Jewish mother) creates " . . . an indelible mark on the soul." One that conveys special privileges and duties." Essentialism. The most destructive idea in all of human history. Will we never be rid of it?

  • Wiesel lauds settlers for 'strengthening the Jewish presence in Jerusalem' -- and expelling Palestinians
    • I have to say I'm not amazed or disappointed in Wiesel because I am not surprised. I concluded for myself in the 1980s that he, with his drooping locks and basset hound eyes, was a fraud when he proclaimed that a silent, prayerful Carmelite convent near the sight of the Auschwitz horrors would be a "desecration" of the Jewish deaths that happened there.

  • White House is now in open spat with Netanyahu over his 'American values' lecture
    • I've wondered for a while now whether anyone has ever tried to measure the effects, if any, of the practice of obvious hypocrisy by nation states. This comes into play here. Of course Netanyahu is just slinging his usual sh*t in this talk about American values. On the other hand, after Gitmo, waterboarding, overthrowing legitimate governments, destroying nations, torture, sending arms to Israel in the midst of the Gaza slaughter, the Cuban embargo, and so much more, does the U.S. have even a piece of leg to stand on from which to lecture the world about values, American or otherwise? If we extracted American values from American (foreign policy) practice, what would those values be? I for one would rather not say.

  • US gave surveillance data to a country 'hostile' to many Americans -- Bamford
    • @ Philip, "People don’t push wars for the heck of it. They have beliefs about a larger interest. US security, civilizational-clash, remaking the Middle East so that the one Jewish state will be safe– and Zionism plays a role in forming these beliefs. "

      My question: How can we explain, in the age of Obama, the U.S. (1) going back into Iraq after the last disaster, (2) re-making and expanding its nuclear arsenal - NYT today, (3) giving thumbs-up to the vast surveillance state, (4) prosecuting no one for the 2008 crash, (5) defending Israel's atrocities as their 'right to defend themselves', and worst of all, (6) largely ignoring the inevitable dangers of climate change - a development that will come down upon our grandchildren like a mushroom cloud?

      Personal ideology and psychology won't get us there. The analysis has to be structural, a convergence of the interests of the powerful. A good start, I think is in the found in Mike Lofgren's essay, "Anatomy of the Deep State:

      link to

  • ISIS, 9/11, and the terrorism time loop
    • @MHughes976

      Thanks for the correction and comments. On root causes, a tree can have multiple roots that all connect at the trunk but are otherwise causally independent. Zionism is a root but is not alone in feeding our mess in the middle east and beyond. The economic, political and media elite in the U.S., and perhaps more broadly in the west, have vested interests in war and will come to its support rather consistently though never take responsibility when it goes sour.

    • Jones'n for the Long War

      Eisenhower warned us but we didn't listen. Since the end of the Cold War the U.S. has acted like a kid with his first .22 who can't find a living thing to shoot at, no rats, no birds, not even a frog. Noriega had to go. The gangs in Somalia had to be stopped (Black Hawk Down). Then 9/11. Saddam was Hitler, Al Qaeda threatened the American way of life. The Taliban hid bin Laden. A "war on Terror" is declared. Duct-tape and plastic recommended to foil al Qaeda attacks. Generals speak of "the long war" (at last), a perpetual state of Americans crusading to defeat someone. Contradicting U.S. and Israeli intelligence estimates, Iran sought nuclear weapons and should be bombed. Gaddafi had to go. Mubarak was removed. The Muslim brotherhood, freely elected, was deposed. Assad the ophthalmologist used chemical weapons (probably not true) and had to be bombed - lobbyists from the defense industry and Israel insisted. Yushchenko, freely elected in Ukraine, tilted from the EU towards Russia and was deposed, chased from his residence by U.S. backed thugs and anti-Semites. Putin steps up and was surely seeking a new USSR. He must be stopped. That would be a long war (just like the good old days). From nowhere comes IS/ISIS/ISSIL, well not exactly from nowhere, from the remnants of a destroyed Iraq. IS/ISIS/ISIL, our Defense Secretary tells us, threatens every interest of the U.S. It must be destroyed. In the U.S., roads crumble, schools close, food stamps are reduced, manufacturing disappears, climate change may be reaching a tipping point. Off we go to war, maybe even a good long one.

  • I quit my job at the Jewish Community Center over a pro-Israel rally and they called me an anti-semite
    • Charlie Stern,

      I admire you very much for your strength and moral concern. I wish you every good thing.


  • Salaita firing turns into a 'catastrophe' for University of Illinois
    • Phyllis Wise was on a path to a major university presidency: a scientist, a woman, a minority, plenty of big-school experience and, given what we now know, a willingness to please the bosses. She still has all of that but it's been cancelled out by a terminal case of academic Ebola. No major university will touch her now.

  • I see five bears
    • It was months before I found the perfect car for my daughter, a grad student at West Virginia U., a pre-outback Subaru sedan, red, literally a little old lady trade-in. Driving it home in snow and ice, which didn't matter since it had 4-whewl drive, a deer ran in front of the car, I swerved (I think now of Lucretius' rogue atom), and the animal's shoulder took off the left rear view mirror. I got out of the car just in time to see it enter the woods and I gave chase with images of deer strangulation flooding my ridiculous brain. After five or six steps a voice of reason emerged from nowhere, "And what exactly will you do when you catch this deer?" I was defeated and paid the remarkably small $350 for a new mirror.

  • Gaza goyim jailbreak
    • @chris_k

      Chris-k, If as you say you are a goy and the goyim, ". . . can never fully comprehend on an emotional level the significance of Israel to Jews . . . " how are you able to know that you as a goy do not comprehend and, say, Abe Foxman does? Perhaps the trick of the Israel propagandist was to convince people of the (false) idea of the goyim's incomprehension, "You'll never understand so just shut up about it"!

    • @ As Mearsheimer said back in July, “How can any person with a shred of decency support what Israel is doing in Gaza?”

      Didn't Cary Nelson pronounce that Steven Salaita should not work at the University of Illinois for saying exactly this? That it would make Salaita's Jewish students uncomfortable to be in a classroom taught by someone who had said such a thing?

  • Salaita’s stellar teaching record exposes political motivation behind his firing
    • So Cary Nelson never made a student "uncomfortable?" Never prospected for ideas and assumptions that his students held uncritically yet relied upon to make their lives "comfortable" and argued against them? I recall a freshman student proposing that slavery in the U.S. was not really a bad thing because without it the Africans would not have been introduced to Jesus. Would professor Nelson respond with, "Good job, Charles. I see your point." I've noticed that when people create giant rationalizations to buttress their near and dear but false ideas, they often come off saying very stupid things. I've noticed too that the first step in suppressing ideas on campuses is to paint a condescending picture of childish, over-sensitive students who should be protected at all cost.

  • HAMAS made me do it!
    • I was driving on a bridge when a neighbor I'd been tormenting for 8 years passed me and nicked my side view mirror. We got out and I threw him off the bridge. Not only did this terrorist assault viciously devastate my car, it left me traumatized and worse, it made me into a killer so now I'll have to defend myself in the courts, which by the way are proven to be prejudiced against people like me who throw others off bridges.

  • UPDATED: Bay Area demonstrators succeed for **fourth** day in 'Blocking the Boat for Gaza'
  • US branch of the Jewish 'family' owes the homeland 'unconditional love' -- Rosner
    • Bought or scared? Every member of the U.S. Senate based on a recent unanimous vote.

      Any candidate who professes to favor the hastening on End Times through a catastrophe in Greater Israel disqualifies himself.

      To the gun control question, yes, excluded from office, not as you say from participating.

      Why would you want me to name Jewish people rather than Lithuanians? It's irrelevant.

      How should these people who put other interests over the interests they are sworn to promote be disqualified? We live in a democracy, that's a hint. Why don't you take a stab at that one.

    • @Jefff

      Happy to respond. John Kennedy was legitimately challenged as to whether he would act based upon orders front the RC hierarchy or upon the his Constitutional duty. He faced it head on and promised the latter. A Christian has a perfect right to believe in and look forward to End Times including what that means for Israel and everyone else. But he should not be given foreign policy responsibilities. Ditto for anyone who declares unconditional love for a group on nation in conflict with U. S. Interests.
      Of course, JeffB, you misstated what I said. This is not an issue of political philosophy. Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders? All the better. My point was about the national allegiance on those who purport to carry out their oath to serve the interests of the American people.
      Finally, I made clear that this is not only about Jews, as you claim - leaning as so often on the anti-Semitism slur - but about "Any American", including Evangelicals and bought or scared politicians.

    • Any American, Jewish or otherwise, who expresses unconditional love for Israel cannot at the same time call him or herself a full citizen of the U. S. in the moral sense. The interests of the U. S. and Israel are in constant and fundamental conflict. U. S. support for "Israel right or wrong", bought with Zionist money and threats, deeply wounds the U. S.'s standing among nations. When those conflicts calls for choice, Mr. Rosner's "unconditional lover" will tilt to Israel. At very least, an unconditional lover of Israel should be excluded, for reasons of conflict of interest, from political decision making.

  • Palestine mural is unveiled in Oakland, and activists gear up to 'Block the Boat'
  • The West Bank insurrection
    • Allison Deger is the best journalist working in I/P. She's right in the middle of things, providing a small feel of what it's like on the street, yet draws a wider picture of the complex counter-forces. I come away from her reports thinking that I know more.

      Second point: Israel started this war to break up the beginnings of unity between Gaza and the West bank. Irony, it has driven them closer, if not yet among the politicians, certainly in the minds of the people. A lost war so far.

  • Over 400 Middle East scholars and librarians call for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions (Updated)
    • Perhaps the accusation of genocide, in the sense of the physical elimination of a racial or ethnic group, is overused. I don't know. But what is under-mentioned, and this is where social scientist signatories can contribute, is the act of cultural genocide that has been happening since 1947. Zionists in Israel and beyond have propagated the idea that the Palestinians are not a people, that they have no history and no connection to the land being stolen from them. As part of this Israel has stolen their cultural archives, their libraries with precious books and destroys the records of their habitation in Palestine. All this the Israelis do while promoting demonstrably false myths of "a land without a people ... "; a land divinely bequeathed to the descendants of Abraham (Muslims have as strong a claim - though neither makes any sense ); a land once ruled by Hebrew kings; a Roman expulsion, etc.

  • Inhuman shield: How 'The New York Times' protects US elites from Gaza's brutal reality
    • "As of August 1, 2014 the summary notes “3,834 targets in Gaza struck by Israel” versus “2909 rockets launched at Israel by Gaza,” a ratio of 1.32 to 1."

      Comparing targets struck with missiles launched? This couldn't be inadvertent stupidity. Why not compare targets struck on both sides?

  • Sam Harris defends his silence on Gaza slaughter (or tries to anyway)
    • "It is true that anti-semitism is rife in Muslim countries, as is anti-Americanism ..."
      The correct parallel to anti-Americanism in this context is anti-Zionism or perhaps anti-Israelism. A former colleague of mine who hailed from Haifa and fought with Begin against the British describes a childhood in which "We were all Arabs then, Jewish Arabs, Christian Arabs, Muslim Arabs." He agreed that the Middle Eastern antipathy toward Israelis was more anti-colonialist than anti-Semitic.

  • The experts’ verdict: Every Israeli missile strike is a war crime
    • Thanks to Jonathon.
      The modern manipulation of language in international politics is gets too little attention. The meaning of a word does not pop out of nature, fixed in stone. Meanings are humanly created, often powerful, tools. For example, "Terrorism" and "terrorist" are words of immense negative power that confer evil upon and deny basic rights to whomever they apply to. The definition is generally, "A non-military body intentionally inflicting harm on non-combatants to achieve a political objective."
      It's very convenient for governments, no matter how evil, that this terrible word, "terrorist" cannot ever be used to describe their acts, and can easily be used to describe the acts of insurgencies. The second manipulation concerns "intentionally" and is used to distinguish victims of terrorism from victims of collateral damage. Generally an action's consequences are "intentional" if the person was aware that they would happen and did the action anyway. This distinguished intended from unintended consequences. When the IDF knows that a school contains fifty children as well a five Hamas fighters and knows that shelling will kill many children (in addition to The Hamas fighters) The IDF will have intentionally killed the children. Some would object that it was not intentional because the IDF would rather have not killed the children. But would 9/11 not have been a terrorist act if bin Ladan had thought to himself, "Gee, I'm really sorry that all those people have to die?"
      Conclusion: Government forces by commonly constructed definitions can indiscriminately and intentionally kill noncombatants and never be have the label "Terrorist" applied to their actions. Very convenient.

  • With nearly half a million displaced in Gaza, UNRWA head calls on Israel to take responsibility
    • bijou,

      Thanks for the interesting link. I think the "diet" information came from Wikileaks. And of course the "mow the lawn" is widely known. This still leaves Israel's long term goal, from the 1940s to 2014 to consider. I'm not alone in thinking it is to empty the land between the Jordan and the Med of everyone but Jews. Yes, very few Gaza people can now emigrate but Israel would certainly be open to a mass emigration of all Gaza's people. I was suggesting their (racist) goal is: Make Gaza's land uninhabitable and perhaps the guilty West would offer refuge, though I doubt the brave people of Gaza would accept.

    • I suggested in a comment earlier today that Israel may be trying to force the Gaza Palestinians to emigrate by making their land unlivable. I asked this question, "Will Gaza be able to sustain a human population after Israel is finished with it?"
      Later today on M-W we get one answer from Pierre Krahenbuhl of UNRWA, ". . . Krahenbuhl continued, warning the Security Council that Gaza “will become unlivable in a mater of years unless urgent steps are taken.” Israel can, of course, make it livable after the Palestinians have left.
      I concluded with the question of whether this is a practice session for what is in store for the West Bank.

  • Peter Beinart demolishes Gaza hasbara
    • "It is not about the rockets, the tunnels or even about Hamas. Israel will not stop until Gaza is emptied of most all Palestinians."

      Israel will not live with Palestinians as equals, it cannot kill them all, it cannot deport them all, it cannot maintain an apartheid rule over the long term. It can, however, make their lives unlivable in their land so that they are forced to emigrate or die. Will Gaza be able to sustain a human population after Israel is finished with it? Perhaps what we see in Gaza is a rehearsal for things to come in the West Bank.

  • Video: Mark Regev, deciphered
    • I think that Regev's own words, his so-obvious rope-a-dope avoidance of anything resembling the truth, is more damaging than the subtitled translation. Time and time again he returns to the recommended phraseology and talking points of "the terrorists"; Hamas seeking the death of Palestinians; anyone who's been in a wartime situation; accusing the reporter of trying to deprive Israel of the right to defend itself and his favorite "Let's be very clear (circles are square, Israel wants peace.)"

  • Take the right position on Israel and you can raise 1/4 million, Senate candidate is advised
    • This is why I say, "Thank god for Mondoweiss." And I believe that increasingly Mondoweiss is speaking to a constituency beyond the choir, influencing journalists, media and others.

  • How many would be alive today if Obama had not quashed Goldstone Report?
    • It's so obvious to me that there are strong racist underpinnings to US policies in the middle east and elsewhere. To the US Israel is populated by white Europeans, people like us, people who share our values, people like, well, the English. The Palestinians? There's something foreign and therefore sinister about them and although their suffering is real, it's not like our suffering. It's more normal than ours, more a part of their everyday experience. So it's easier for them to suffer than for us Europeans. Think of the Iraqis, the Afghans, the tortured Gitmo prisoners even today. We couldn't have done what we did to them if we truly felt that they possessed full measures of humanity. It reminds me of the brilliant Rene Descartes who nonetheless stated that dogs had no soul and so it was okay to kick them. They couldn't feel it.

  • Oren's charge that networks showcase Palestinian dead at behest of Hamas is 'obscene' -- Penhaul
    • But you have to understand, Israel had no choice, Hamas made them do it. In a tiny crowded territory, from which Israel blocks any exit, Hamas cleverly hid their weapons rather than locating them in obvious, open spaces. When Israel's humane, pinpoint carpet bombing slaughter's Gaza's children in their places of refuge, Hamas must take the blame. But no, Hamas engages in Public Relations. (Imagine that, a fighting force with a PR campaign. Israel would never stoop so low.) Hamas doesn't bomb and shoot the reporters who show the massacres - that's their insidious PR strategy. Hamas made us kill the children. That's the line that Dermer and Oren are selling?

  • It's time for liberal Jewish bodies to take a stand
    • This is an issue where people should not hide behind a false moral equivalency. Jon Stewart's recent piece got headlines for focusing on how difficult it is to talk about Israel but ended with (paraphrasing) "... and it's the same for Palestinians." It's not the same. Media reporters don't get sacked for being pro Israel, indeed it seems to be their job.

  • Watch: 9 Jewish activists arrested after occupying Friends of the Israel Defense Forces office
    • These resisters are brave and principled Jews. I can't help comparing them to the Israeli rabbis calling for the murder of the Arabs. Rabbi means teacher. These resisters are the rabbis.

  • Nicholas Kristof on how to end the Israel/Palestine conflict
    • "This is what you need to know ..."

      I think it's enlightening to translate into straight talk the language used by those supporting Israel. For example, anyone who pronounces, "Of course the Israelis have a right to respond to attacks from inside Gaza" and who does not also say "Of course the people of Gaza have a right to respond to attacks from outside Gaza" is in fact saying, "The lives of Israelis have value, the lives of the people of Gaza are of no value." It's not possible to say these things without holding to a profoundly racist view of the matter.

  • Federal official fires gun at pro-Palestine demonstrators following scuffle in LA
    • Well, but why not attack? You read the scoop from the LA Jewish Journal that three or four men were "wielding" Palestinian flags? (Side note: How exactly does one "wield" a flag?) Anyway you can be sure that none of the pro-Israelites were "wielding" the Star of David because as the LA Jewish Journal reports it was a peaceful rally.

  • Soul-crushing video shows Gaza father unable to accept his little boy's killing
    • .
      " ... heartlessness and autism of Israel ..." I'm not sure what Maximus had in mind in the reference to autism here, but to describe the brutality that Israel is perpetrating in terms of autism certainly misses the mark and is unfair to autistic people. There are several psychological categories that might illuminate Israel's behavior, but they are serious and dangerous disorders of personality not medical issues of development.

  • Iran wins points from Brazil to State Dep't (even as Bill Kristol calls for another Iraq war)
    • Kerry turn out to be the Realist extraordinaire and to have some backbone to boot. I think he'll keep saying nice things about our "ally" Israel, but I think too that he's written Bibi off for now. I say, for now, because if he can accomplish a "détente" between the U.S. and Iran then the Israelis will have to stop thumbing noses at the U.S. and a solution of sorts may emerge for I/P. If that even seems likely Kerry, contrary to my previous thoughts of him, will be treated well by history.

    • The neo-cons pretend to want Obama to be strong, a real leader; strong as in getting American troops killed and maimed and further alienating a potential ally, Iran, achieving nothing for the U.S., all to advance Netanyahu's corrupt vision for Israel. Who in the mainstream will be the first to call them traitors?

  • Chris Matthews and David Corn defend Israel against 'slander' of apartheid
    • Chris Matthews is always blathering on about his alma mater Holy Cross College, a truly great liberal arts college, where he was a year behind me. I once wrote to its president to defend Matthew's right to be commencement speaker in the face of anti-abortion attacks. But what a disgrace he is. If not the greatest PEP in the world certainly the loudest. The word 'whore' keeps trying to push its way onto my keyboard, but I resist.

  • Boston subway ads are shocking-- 'and so is the reality on the ground'
    • Thanks, Annie.

      I can only take a stab at what it's like to be a Palestinian in the face of Israel's systematically random cruelty. But I'm pretty sure that the sort of public support represented in Boston, and the general western awakening about it, brings heart to an already courageous people.

  • #Assaf360: Palestinian Singer Mohammed Assaf & Grammy-Winning Producer Rodney Jerkins create song for World Cup (Update)
  • 9/11 museum is the Fifth Misuse of the tragedy
    • The attack upon the World Trade Center resulted in one of the greatest tragedies in U.S. history, second certainly to the war between the states and perhaps some others. Of course it created horrible personal misery for the families of the victims. But the national tragedy was its use as cover to create a bogus "war on terror" and the consequent loss of liberty and privacy and rule of law that has been inflicted upon American citizens and others, equally by the Bush and Obama presidencies, in the name of protecting the nation state. Let's be clear. The threat to U.S. citizens of terrorist activities is miniscule in comparison to the threat posed by drunk drivers, medical malpractice, back yard swimming pools or cigarette advertisers. The collapsing twin towers, with all its horror and drama, provided an opening for a monstrous increase in state power and the politicians fell all over themselves in rushing through that door.

  • Rothkopf's jailbreak from the Zionist captivity is sure to embolden others
    • Oren writes to Rothkopf, "I agree that we cannot afford to lose elite opinion in the United States…. Israel must treat the attitudinal and generational shifts you mentioned not as an image problem but as a strategic threat."

      Oren isn't in the same ballpark with what Rothkopf is writing. Does he imagine Rothkopf to be writing strategy about how Zionism can beat back the human rights hordes? "We need to cement the elites, Michael, or we'll lose Greater Israel for another two thousand years!" Is that what he took from what Rothkopf wrote?

  • Right-wing group's new vendetta: Demonizing California professor critical of Israel
    • This is a great letter that Prof. Gorelick has written. I agree that it should somehow be widely distributed on campuses, especially to administrators who quake in their loafers at the thought of losing a nickel of donor money.

      It is only recently that the academic sphere, so vociferous against racial discrimination in the U.S. and apartheid in S.A., has taken up the issue of Palestinian rights. I admire Shery Gorelick and wish I knew her.

  • Hailing Snowden, two NSA whistleblowers say he had no choice but to go outside the system
    • Just one consequence of what government spying is doing. Could there ever be a truly reformist president? A president for example who promised to get the military/security economy under control. Has he or she ever seen a psychiatrist, a hooker, voted for a socialist candidate, had an abortion, had a mentally ill parent, gotten someone pregnant in high school, been pregnant in high school, cheated on an exam, signed an anti gun petition, had a DWI, taken Das Kapital out of the library, you get the picture. It would be open season. So Karl Rove now states that Hillary might be mentally ill. Imagine if he had a source in the NSA.

  • Open recriminations begin over failure of peace talks
    • I agree with TRAINTOSIBERIA that Israel is a thoroughly militarized state but I see the explanation for not reaching an agreement this time around differently. The only function for Israel of all the various peace processes was to buy time while the entire region between the river and the sea was populated with Israelis. As that process nears an end, Israel will no longer need to play the game. More and more we see them coming clean about what they think of the U.S. and of playing fair.
      As far as the U.S.'s "long war", for example hyping the threat or "terror" or propagandizing that the Cold War just might be back, I see that not so much as seeking a hegemonic end as simply serving the interests of what Ike warned the U.S. about, the money interests of the defense and security economy.

  • Long faces at Israel's birthday party
    • These are pretty amazing statements. What strikes me is the sense of loss, that WE have lost OUR dream, that Our nation have turned sour. I wonder, though, if the idea that Israel belonged as well to American Zionists, that it was theirs as well as the Israelis' was not itself smoke and mirrors. When the American money dries up, when the Lobby loses its clout, when the U.S. no longer humiliates itself by supporting Israel's treatment of Palestinians, I wonder if at that time the Israelis won't announce to American Zionists, "What's this we, Yankee? You chose your homeland, Israel is ours."

  • Mourning the age of Netanyahu
    • Congratulation, Marc Ellis, on receiving your author's copies. I hope you allow yourself to enjoy the sweetness of that always-special occasion. I can't think of a more important message from the Tanakh to teach than the place and importance of the Hebrew prophets. During my inadequate attempts to teach freshman students some little about this, I was sure about very little except for the fact that this tradition of courageous critique was a cornerstone of the later ideas of freedom of speech.

  • 'NYT' terms Islamic Jihad's 4 percent support-- 'new traction in Gaza'
    • Jodi Rudoren reports for the NY Times:

      "The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found 5 percent of Gaza residents supporting Islamic Jihad in December and 4 percent in March, up from 1 to 3 percent in recent years."

      The actual report states:

      "Palestinian Public Opinion Poll No (51), 20-22 March 2014. Total size of the sample is 1200 adults interviewed face to face in 120 randomly selected locations. . . Margin of error is ... [+/-] ... 3%."

      Okay, given the margin of error, the real December number could just as likely have been 8% (that would be the +3) and the real March number could just as likely have been 1% (that would be the -3) in which case there would have been a drop in support for Islamic Jihad from December '13 to March '14 of 7%. Some 'traction" that is.

      But Jodi is comparing these two numbers not to each other but to "recent years". What were the margins of error in these "recent years"? Anyway, there is no more reason to believe in Jodi Rudoren's traction toward than to believe there's a stampede away from Islamic Jihad.

      Finally, since the sample testing was through face-to-face interview, in a region of intense conflict within and from outside, I would expect that the margins of error are quite greater.

  • Kerry's cowardly apology on 'apartheid' is giant blunder for Israel's propagandists
    • I'm no big fan of my former senator, John Kerry and can never forgive Kerry for allowing the deserter GW to best him, a decorated soldier, in the patriot/manhood rigmarole. But I do not think that he has retracted what he recently said, only the use of the A-word in saying it. He said that a failure of the two-state solution risked leading to an apartheid state and affirmed what Olmert, also an A-word user, had said as PM. Kerry denied saying that Israel is an apartheid state and in fact he, like Jimmy Carter, did not say that. So after his pandering, his statement remains.

      He's still not off my hook, however, as result of his assertion that Israelis deserve a Jewish state, which can mean nothing other than deserving a state that discriminates on the basis of religion and/or ethnicity. No one can deserve such a thing.

  • 'NYT' scrubs 'analysis' that Hamas is 'seen in West as the devil'
    • @JeffB

      When I mention "The West" or Italy, Croatia, etc. I refer to people. Do the people of these countries revile Hamas? Doubtful. Governments create terror lists for all sorts of reasons, according to all sorts of criteria, under all sorts of pressures. It's mostly about sticking a word connoting something horrible onto people or groups they want others to hate. Hamas is on some lists but the "Settlers", despite the terror they systematically and intentionally create, are not. That's an example.

    • " . . . Hamas, the militant Islamic group that is widely reviled in the West."

      Which "West" is that? Widely reviled in the UK? Italy? Croatia? Scandinavia? Maybe it's to mean the West Wing? But I doubt it's even true in the upper West side. Perhaps it's the West facing windows of the Times building.

  • Racism in service of a pro-Israel agenda-- two 'NYT' editors reveal a bias
    • Note that Netanyahu "... was emphatic ..." It could have been "stated", "claimed" "asserted" or, if this were in the anti-NY Times, "pretended", "repeated the old saw that" or just "lied".

    • Thanks, Ira. In Camus' novel "The Fall" the main character has a voice on his shoulder that scoffs whenever he lies (mostly to himself). Mondoweiss and its dogged commenters too numerous to mention increasingly has the NY Times' writers and editors looking over their shoulders. It makes a difference.

  • John Judis's Truman book is a landmark in anti-Zionism
    • "- what BIG-DEFENSE BIG-BANKS, BIG-ZION, BIG-OIL BIG-BANANA, etc. want ...[they] get."

      True enough, Pabelmont. The U.S. is addicted to war. It's the crack cocaine that flows up the national nostrils and through the body politic. Profiteers fatten off it, the media proudly stenographs it, reporters embed in it, pundits blow smoke about it, politicians milk it, fake narratives explain it, citizens excite about it, heroes get forced to the front of it, insiders trade in it, PTAs knit socks for it, bones get smashed by it, democracy shrivels from it, flesh rips apart by it, boots crush rights for it, loudspeaker shout fear for it. It moves money, channels wealth and, even in defeat (Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon), it accomplishes its goal.

  • Obama and Kerry are spurred by 'vainglory' in pursuing talks -- Finkelstein
    • Obama and Kerry are motivated in their ME ventures by ..."personal vanity" writes Finkelstein. There are four or five million other possibilities, feel free to write here whatever you want them to be motivated by.

      First, most people, myself included, are clueless about what they themselves are motivated by, (Why did you become a philosophy prof they ask. I make something up. Why does Finkelstein speak out? He makes something up.)
      Second, in any case what motivates Obama and Kerry is entirely irrelevant to the issue of whether what they are doing is worth doing or not.

      Zionists are addicted to motive mongering - although the list of motives they attribute is so short it hardly qualifies as a list.

  • Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect
    • Alex, This is an amazing piece of reporting and writing. Thank you. These kinds of charges have a way of becoming urban legends and so have to be taken seriously. That's what you did.

  • Amid 'climate of fear' at Vassar, president comes out against 'action and protest' re Israel
    • Every active Zionist, whether in Israel or some evangelical church or a student at Vassar is complicit in the oppression of a people.

    • What is this "climate of fear" fear of? It's not violence. There have been no threats of that. Threats of loss of later jobs? Only the pro-Palestinian rights protesters have that potential to look forward to. Of expulsion? Ditto, only the protestors - see Northeastern U. No, it is none other than a fear of ideas. Or perhaps a fear of not being able to counter the ideas. A fear of having one's mind changed by superior reasoning. So we have a college president objecting to speech (protests are protected speech) that might require her students to confront new ideas. Wonderful!! Of course what she is actually protecting is her donor base. Shameful.

      There is one other object of the fear in "climate of fear". It is a terrifying fear of loss of the privilege of oppressing a people different from one's own.

  • 6 DC heavyweights tell Kerry, Netanyahu in West Bank is like Putin in Crimea
    • Exactly, Donald. But there's danger as well in further demonizing Putin by using him as the measure of evil. Looks now like someone's trying to pin the Boston marathon bombings Putin. That's war talk.

  • Australia opposed Palestinian UN bid because foreign policy was 'subcontracted to Jewish donors' -- report
    • Bob Carr claims that Australia's 2012 position on Palestine's UN status was motivated by what was best for the politicians' fundraising among Jewish citizens. hophmi claims that discussing this is anti-Semitic. If hophmi is correct then he has identified a case where anti-Semitism is not only appropriate but required. I don't think hophmi is correct.

  • Chris Matthews gives Adelson and the lobby a pass
    • Kraus is right on the money here. My take Matthews' fear vs. Hayes' courage has been that Hayes sees himself as having more options than Matthews when the pink slip arrives after speaking truth about Israel. Matthews dearly loves his job, being able use commentators as an excuse to spout off his indignations at the right wing, remembering the glory years of Tip and JFK. Kraus gets further into it.

  • Because Rep. Jones voted 'present' on Israel aid, lobby group runs attack ad with burning flag
    • One Republican Congressman may not seem like much but even one unseating attributed to The Lobby can be milked for years as a threat over the cowardly necks of U. S. politicians. People still talk about Charles Percy's loss, supposedly at the hands of the Lobby.

  • Where is Sarah Ali?
  • Ehud Olmert's JNF-sponsored tour nixed after corruption conviction
    • Netanyahu was twice legally charged with corruption around the time he was politically charged with being soft on the Palestinians of Hebron. Rabin was killed by a right wing Jewish Israeli during the time he proposed dealing realistically with the I/P issues. Sharon relinquished Gaza and was talking about dealing with the settlers when a stroke cut him down. Olmert described realistically the quandary that right-wing Zionists had made for themselves through the settlement policies, even used the A-word, and was charged with corruption and forced out. Only Netanyahu survives, but as a tool of the settler movement. Quite bad luck for the Palestinian people.

  • Oren says Pollard 'sacrificed himself for the Jewish people'
    • Oren is a mirror of Netanyahu. Raised in the U.S., slick, well-spoken, handsome, rejects his Western name the way Malcolm X rejected his slave name and in his racist heart derides the U.S. as a nation of easy marks.

  • 'A Painful Price': The escalating war on Palestine solidarity at U of Michigan and beyond
    • Great reporting! Max Blumenthal uses the word "war" in describing the Zionist campaign to close off truthful criticism of Israeli actions and legitimate civil rights protests against them. I wish this war could be catalogued, pulled together and described as a historian would. Reporters and historians have different jobs to do, though many, like Max B. can do both. A history would provide in one place the hundreds of interconnected and financed fronts on which the war is being prosecuted: university group suppressing, education policy manipulating, news media contracting, politician purchasing, cyber infiltrating, child indoctrinating, "leadership" grooming, art exhibit suppressing, foreign policy slanting, entertainment hasbaring (Keifer Sutherland all alone against the Muslim menace), anti-Semitism charging, to name just a few. Something like Judis' recent book about Truman. What's happening now, as Zionism loses its grip, is of great historical significance.

  • Liberal schizophrenia and moral myopia: On Ari Shavit's 'My Promised Land'
    • Shavit wants to be able to embrace a systematic brutality while still coming out of it an honorable man. He writes in effect,
      "I am a truth teller, an honorable reporter, look how well I report the atrocities of those who made my homeland possible, I hide nothing, and even greater than that is my honor because I say to you, difficult as this is for me as a man deserving of admiration, 'I am glad they did it.'"
      What cr*p, this is, the idea that a man can take part in the murder of thousands (his book is a strengthening force for Zionism) and come out morally okay because first he comes clean about it and second he admits he's glad he did it. Alex Kane's word, schizophrenia, is perfect. But too, there's a hint of socio-pathology.

  • The Israel lobby’s trojan horse: ‘Reforming’ education laws to defund Middle East studies programs
    • Recalling from a distant past, "We had to destroy the village in order to save it from the Viet Cong."
      Now we have, "We have to destroy the universities (with their nasty notions of free a exchange of ideas) in order to save them from stumbling upon the truth about Zionism."

  • Boteach stops reporter from videotaping Columbia University debate
    • Thanks, Philip, for sticking it out as long as you could. It's infuriating to be confronted by hypocrisy, where you know they're lying (sure, the reason they didn't want you to video is that they didn't want college regs to be broken), they know they're lying, the kid with the "get the hell out" knew they were lying and it comes down ultimately to who has the security forces. A perfect Zionist miniature.
      Anyway, thanks.

  • A British Jew warns US Jewish orgs to heed rapidly-shifting world opinion
    • Seafroid, "He’s right. especially this : “Europe used to hate Jews because of anti-semitism, now they have a reason to hate us”

      Seafroid is usually right, but not here. Assuming "Jews" refers to European Jews, or any Jews for that matter, no one is right to hate any individual Jew or "Jews in general" (whatever that means) on the grounds of what any other Jew or any Israeli does. The Israeli government behaves abominably toward the Palestinians, exhibiting racism and cruelty. The responsibility for this rests with those who do it and those who support those who do it.

  • Obama's European message-- self-determination, equality, dignity-- is null and void in Palestine
    • amigo: " ... he makes me sick listening to his hypocritical self serving prattle."

      Exactly the feeling I have. I can't listen to him speechify any longer. I was happily verging on old-age, "seen it all and it's all bad", cynicism until he came along. Measured by the expectations for him he is by far the greatest presidential failure during my life. By objective measures of defending the constitution and doing the right thing for the American people he has been a very, very bad president.

  • Columbia debate on Israeli policies features 3 Zionists, no Palestinians
    • Following pabelmont, there are many phrases that could alternately reside in the question, resulting in interesting discussions. For example,
      "... in light of ...

      ... the Biblical claim that Yahweh gave greater Israel to the Jewish people."
      ... the Bible's often morally bankrupt and imaginative story telling."
      ... the fact that Israel has turned Gaza into a prison of 1.7 million inmates."
      ... the fact that the settler movement is too powerful to dislodge."
      ... the fact that that Zionist preference for Jews over Palestinians is racist."
      ... the fact that with nuclear weapons, Israel has no security threat."
      ... the fact that ...

  • Iymen Chehade fights Chicago school's cancellation of his class
    • The Lobby has done a great deal of damage to the U.S. in many areas. One of them has been to use pressure to establish a tradition of violating academic freedom in higher education. Attempt to suppress expression during the late sixties, concerning the war and civil rights were easily brushed aside. But in the case of pro-Israel pressure to suppress ideas and speech a pattern has been set. It could spread to other issues concerning evolution, the environment, climate change, police behavior, free market economics. That would be yet another tragedy.

  • US desperate to keep futile peace process going a little longer
    • J. Cook "A humiliating failure in the peace process would add to perceptions of him as a weak leader in the Middle East, following what has been widely presented as his folding in confrontations with Syria and Iran."

      During his reign, Obama has folded more often than the boys at their Friday night poker game. But I don't think that not bombing Syria and Iran are either examples of that phenomenon or perceived generally to be so. Excepting for the our own Israel Firsters in and out of goernment, those decisions were met with a collective sigh of relief and for those in the beltway know, Obama showed some backbone in the face of The Lobby.

  • Obama doesn't talk to Jimmy Carter -- because of Israel
  • Kerry isn't satisfied by Israeli minister's non-apology for calling Obama a wimp
    • The contrary of "weak" is "tough". We've been blessed with tough presidents in the recent past. JFK, LBJ and RN were good old boys, cold war hawks, and the defeat in Viet Nam, after unimaginably tragic effects, trails their wake. Reagan was a man's man, rode on horseback for the cameras, 241 Marines and sailors killed in Lebanon in an instant of time and he skedaddled away on ships. But Ronnie was not a man to run from the good fight so he gave us instead "Operation Urgent Fury", the invasion of Granada. GW cleared brush on the ranch and cinched up his flight suit crotch while his good buddy Cheney missed the birds and shot his friend in the face. Enough said. We got the war against Saddam following the unrelated September 11th horror and left bin Laden to live it up in Pakistan. Iraq was a thoroughgoing defeat judged by any of the proffered reasons for its beginning. GW's daddy had failed to get Saddam but gathered up his gonads when he put us into Somalia, leaving it to Clinton to get us out with mission unaccomplished. Then there is the "war on terror", which we must decimate civil liberties and cross over to the dark side to wage, a war against an enemy whose weakness is matched only by mighty Granada. And yes, Obama stubbornly refuses to bomb Iran and/or Syria, leaving the Israelis inconsolable, but he's proved his grit on this battlefield. For every drone-slaughtered terrorist we mangle, we kill far more civilians and create far more anti-America fighters. Perhaps we should set aside the question of "tough or weak" in favor of "wise or stupid".

  • Ululating at Vassar: the Israel/Palestine conflict comes to America
    • yonah, My reading is that the protesters were in the classroom before the class began. I don't have an issue with that. But rather than bemoaning that her students felt "harassed and bullied", I would have liked to see her educate the students about the need for disputation as a way of getting ideas right and perhaps supply them with some basic tools in how to engage people with whom one disagrees.

      '“What crossed the line,” Friedman said, was when she walked in to her class February 6 and was greeted by posters telling people to “drop the class, it’s not too late,” and “Indigenous Palestinians don’t want you to come.” Her students felt harassed and bullied by the reception.

      And worse, as Friedman went into the class, “I was greeted with this noise.” The dark-haired professor put her head back and wailed in a high aggressive tone for a few seconds, wagging her head to give it a sharp rhythm.'

    • I'm not sure what to make of this talk about students and others feeling bullied and intimidated. Students at Northeastern were intimidated by clearly marked facsimiles of eviction notices; the Vassar student put off by the "charged language" of the phrase "Israeli apartheid"; an experienced teacher threatened by students urging others to drop her class; the discomfort with a meeting in which ideas different from one's own are passionately asserted. Part of this is fakery, for example from the ADL - itself a gusher of hyperbole - in its attempt to shut down criticism of Israel. But a larger part, I think, is the false idea that college is a place to go to feel comfortable, a place where, well, "Can't we just all get along?" "Do we have to discuss this, it's so, ... important?" One small segment of the ivory tower takes a stand passionately for what is urgent and right and the other side runs off to file harassment charges. A sorry state. As a student advocate and speaker, Mario Savio still impresses.
      link to
      Finally, there have in fact been real threats and bullying: of protesters with suspension and of weak administrators with a withdrawal of donor cash.

  • Video: SodaScream -- Bubble trouble
    • One area of relevance of the Ukraine/Crimea/Putin flap to the ME is that if it poisons the U.S./Russia relationship much further then Russian cooperation on Syria and Iran might disappear. We could be back to Obama's red lines in the sand and other foolishness.
      For what it's worth I can't see that the U.S. has any dog in this fight except to create yet another fake Hitler-like threat (see, Saddam Hussein, Quadaffi, Iran, Chavez, international terrorism, falling dominoes, etc., and now Putin the Terrible) to justify throwing more defense/security spending down the drain. Stephen Cohen from NYU has been talking sense about the West's sabre rattling but few others.

  • Kerry tries to get out of Jewish-state trap set by Netanyahu and the lobby
    • "...retreating to where they belong."

      Sorry Annie, it was irony. I was hypothesizing a possible Israeli move in the event that Israel was recognized as a Jewish state with the hasbara that would accompany it, that is, "We Israelis now have our Jewish state and the Palestinians have their Palestinian state, so what are the non-Jewish Palestinians doing here." It's a possible consequence of Israel being recognized as being for one ethno/religious group and no other.

    • Perhaps the "Jewish state" business is an Israeli insurance policy. If ever the Israelis are forced to concede stolen land back for a Palestinian state (however Balkanized) wouldn't the Israelis then have a rationale for a transfer of (non-Jewish) Palestinians out of what all would have recognized as a Jewish state and into what all would have recognized as a Palestinian state. It's just a matter of everyone retreating to where they belong.

  • Shira Robinson explains the DNA of Israel
    • This is a wonderful interview, Philip. Shira Robinson reveals herself as such a careful and honest scholar and the program of reading the early history through the lens of citizenship is very instructive.
      One thing that occurred to me as I read your interview was the parallel between how recent Israeli government have used what we now call the settlers to do the dirty work of making Palestinian life unbearable and how Ben-Gurion and others used the Irgun and other extra-governmental groups to do their dirty work.

  • Obama warns Israel about delegitimization, and Oren suggests annexation
    • Obama states "... the strong condemnation that its received…indicates the degree that Russia is on the wrong side of history on this."

      I wish Obama and everyone else would ditch this business about being on the "wrong side of history." If history progressed inexorably and always for the better then being on history's wrong side would be a problem, but history is not determined to do what it does and it often changes for the worst. Maybe Obama just means that Putin is bound to fail, but it's not always a bad thing to take on causes that seem likely to fail. In this sense environmentalists, in their head to head with unregulated capitalism, have been on the wrong side of history since things have continued to decline since TR's day. My point is that the expression just clouds understanding and so would be better discarded.

  • 'NYT' dismisses Wieseltier attack on Judis as tempest-in-a-teapot
    • I am unconditionally opposed to judging ideas based upon features of the person who argues for them, and that's that! Then again, how can I take seriously any ideas that emanate from what's underneath Wieseltier's coiffure? No, delete that. I didn't write it.

  • Photos: Israeli police threaten international journalists at gunpoint
    • Two small things about how the reports in the blocks are worded:

      (1) "Police had barred men under the age of 50 from attending prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, in order to prevent disturbance..."
      How does the reporter know that the motive/rational for the age limit is "to prevent disturbance?"

      Note the reverse of this below.

      (2) "The army said some 200 Palestinians began throwing stones at Israeli forces, who used “riot dispersal means” against them..."
      Whenever Israeli forces do something, it's always "in response to" or "in order prevent disturbance" or simply "following". What was the stone throwing "in response to?"

  • 'New Republic''s literary editor attacks its senior editor as nasty, ignorant self-hating Jew
    • It occurs to me that the selections from Wieseltier's piece could well be employed as the official definition of "Zionist argument structure."

      P develops a line of reasoning intended to prove a conclusion C, where C is critical of Israeli action and/or Zionism.

      Reject C because P is an anti-Semite.
      Reject C because C, although not anti-Semitic in intent, is anti-Semitic in effect.
      Reject C because P hates himself.
      Reject C because C is 'reminiscent' of what a terrible people who did horrible things once said.
      Reject C because terrible people today use P's argument for their own evil purposes.
      Reject C because P argues for C in order to work out some inner personal turmoil.
      Reject C because P is not an expert about C.
      Reject C because C is vicious, dangerous, evil, malignant and risible.
      Reject C because P is a modern day Q, a person who once said…
      Reject C because the families of those espousing what C critiques were horribly persecuted.
      Reject C because believing C increases the likelihood that the horrible persecution will reappear.

      Where is it written,

      Reject C because P's line of reasoning fails by virtue of false premises and/or logical structure?

  • Settler leader's vision for peace: millions of American Jews must move to Israel and Palestine
    • "When the Soviet Union opened its gates, allowing Jewish emigration to Israel, Arafat begged them to prevent Jews from coming to Israel."

      I think Wilder leaves out an important point here about Jewish emigration from the former Soviet Union to Israel. In the 1970s through the 1980s, with the Cold War raging, there was a PR push from the U.S. Government and American Jews to "Free the Russian Jews". When the Soviet gates were opened Soviet Jews flew to Italy or Austria where they caught planes for ... where? Between 1970-1990, with the U.S. intent upon freedom, Soviet Jews were free to come to the U.S. and about one-half did. see: "Israel Affairs" Vol. 17, No. 1, January 2011, 7–20. I recall pressure then from Israel and American Jews for the U.S. to restrict Soviet Jewish immigration (so that they may be 'more free' to choose Israel?) In 1990 the U.S. withdrew automatic refuge status for Soviet Jews (the Germans did likewise) and the 'freedom' to choose Israel was total. I don't know if Arafat begged as described, but there was definitely begging going on.

  • 144 Irish educators pledge boycott-- as Karmi says, We gave up waiting on governments for help
    • As a retired academic (philosophy) I am proud that the academic community is taking a stand that political leaders in the West and especially in the U.S. are too spineless to take, a stand for undeniably simple justice. This process has illuminated for me personally how brave and steadfast the Palestinian people have been in defending alone, with no national allies, their lives, their land and their rights against the overwhelming power of the Israeli/U.S. axis.

  • 'NYT' reporter treats boycott as immoral and anti-Semitic, reminiscent of Nazis
    • I agree that Rudoren did a reasonable job covering the issue of Palestinian labor in the occupied territories. While I read Rudoren's piece, the word "slavery" stuck in my brain and wouldn't leave. First use water rights, settler terrorism, home and village demolition, etc., to destroy Palestine's economy then offer Palestinians work in illegally constructed Israeli factories. To intentionally create a situation where a person has only one work option, the option that benefits you, what has that worker become?

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