Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 134 (since 2009-12-05 17:24:19)

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

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  • 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 youtube.com
      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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  • 'NYT' concedes Goodman-Kershner relationship has caused some to question fairness of its Israel reporting
    • See Isabel Kershner's piece in the times today (2/10/14) "Israel Orders Air Strikes Against Gaza Militant". Of course the strikes are reported to come, "... amid an increase in rocket fire ... as well as Israeli retaliatory airstrikes against facilities associated with militant groups ... " Then a quote from Netanyahu, "Whoever attacks us or plans to attack us ... etc. ..."; a citation from Israel's Minister of Defense; another citation from a spokesman from the Israeli military; another citation from anonymous "Israeli military officials". Finally Kershner cites Hamas that they have withdrawn from the border to protect the cease fire, then she adds "... meaning to prevent further rocket fire out of Gaza" and then incongruously she writes, "The [Hamas] announcement came days after Hamas had reportedly withdrawn ... in a protest against Israeli airstrikes."

  • Get ready, Kerry will go where no American leader has gone before -- Ben-Ami
    • I disagree with the tone of the "What is a liberal Zionist?" discussion. Liberal Jews have been at the forefront of the American civil rights movement, strong supporters of the ACLU, by far the most active ethnic group in terms of philanthropic giving. The one moral failing has been to suspend the values which motivated these actions when it comes to the State of Israel. Witness Scarlett Johansson. But Jews aren't unique here. Devote Catholics will work in clinics fighting the aids epidemic and then pressure politicians not to distribute condoms. They will march for women's rights but not to be priests. They will set up inner-city clubs to keep kids out of trouble then, to protect the Church, hide the actions of priest perverts leading to the rape of kids. And of course most parents, when faced with some hideous crime by a child of theirs, will hire the best lawyer they can' to get the child off. None of this excuses anything. But it does recommend caution against residing too comfortably on the moral high ground.

  • 'Haaretz' analyst says surging BDS movement may be contributing to falling shekel
    • "... raked over the coals by Jewish News ..."

      Good for you, Annie!! You wrote a clear, thorough report on some effects of the BDS movement and landed squarely in the sights of the typical, ugly, right wing hyperbolists. An honor by any measure.

  • Israelis accuse Kerry of courting rockets, anti-Semitism, and Nobel Prize
    • The Dersh and Foxy have been doing this for decades to anyone who says anything that doesn't accord with the true plan for the greater Israel. Why should a U.S. Secretary of State be treated any differently. I just wish it could be shown on network news along with the yearly price tag for our subservience to Israel.

  • 'NYT' fails to disclose that Op-Ed author arguing Israel's case against BDS is husband of 'NYT' reporter in Israel/Palestine
    • Hirsh Goodman writes that Israel must work with Kerry and accept a two-state situation to escape further boycotts. I hope I'm wrong but I fear that the last and greatest gift from the U.S. to Israel will be Palestine as a Potemkin village of a state having been forced upon the Palestinian leadership, undercutting BDS while the settlers remain and Hamas and Gaza are out in the cold.

  • Scarlett Johansson not only abandons Oxfam but throws it under the bus
    • Hophmi's a sneaky one. He writes, "That’s the price of putting Palestinian advocacy above human rights, labor rights, and peace ..."
      "Palestinian advocacy." That's very clever, leaving out the "for what". Let's see what comes from Hophmi when we complete his thought:
      "That’s the price of putting Palestinian [... rights to live free of being murdered and imprisoned, to work their own land, to rule themselves and to be free of decades of war waged against them...] above human rights, labor rights, and peace ..."
      Hophmi is incoherent here, but at least he's on the right track.

    • I wrote several days ago that I didn't think Johansson was either a bimbo or heartless and I'd wait to see what she would do and why. She's done it and in the process attempted to outsmart Oxfam. Shame on her. Why did she do it? I still don't think she's stupid. I suspect that at heart she's a liberal. She doesn't need the money. What's left is " ... tribe first, principles second ..." We are hardly without precedent in that regard. Still, shame on her.

  • Open Letter from NY Jews to Mayor de Blasio: 'AIPAC does not speak for us'
    • It's a positive development that de Blasio's first political blunder and first political lesson is that there are limits to the extent to which one can suck-up to the Lobby. It's only recently that limits appeared on the scene. Let's hope that Cory Booker is given the same lesson.

  • Foxman says US gov't is conducting 'vendetta' against American Jews with Pollard case
    • Actually I have always thought, in agreement with Foxman, that Pollard's continued imprisonment, in the face of Israeli and lobby pressure, was in fact to deter other American Israel-firsters from doing what he did. But I drew a different conclusion. Imagine if the U.S. government caved in the face of this pressure, declaring that American spies for Israel need only the backing of the Israel PM and/or the Lobby to get easy time. Better put another lock or two on the files.

      .

  • Liberal Zionists support Scarlett Johansson-- and settlements. Why?
    • andybachman writes that the BDS campaign is "facetious". I understand "facetious" as ironic speech striving for humor. So I'm having trouble figuring out what he could mean. The closest I can come is that andybachman is being facetious and is therefore describing the BDS movement as literal in intent and deadly serious, which I think is true.

  • Oxfam expresses 'concerns' over Scarlett Johansson's support for settlement product
    • I should add, though, that this is a major development for BDS and for a middle America awakening. Very important.

    • Okay I'm naïve or, more likely, my brain is numbed by eye candy. But I'm not ready to say that SJ is stupid - she's too good an actor for that, or uncaring - her work with Oxfam counters that. I'll cut her a little slack while she decides what she should do and why she should do it. Then it's "She really blundered but has fessed up" or "She's a bimbo" or "She's a self-centered monster" or "She's something else, human maybe."

  • A double standard on 'terrorism'
    • Hophmi refers to Israel as an American "ally". I'd like someone to explain why any American should consider Israel an ally of the U.S. It was Israel that pulled all its myriad strings to get the U.S. to enter the Syrian civil war to the point where the U.S. had to be rescued by Putin. It is Israel that has told every lie about immanent Iranian nukes and still pressures members of Congress and the President, so far unsuccessfully, to commit the U.S. to a war with Iran. It was Israel-firsters in and out of government who played a large role in committing the U.S. to a failed war in Iraq. It is the required "no space between us" position of U.S. leaders, combined with Israel's inhuman treatment of Palestinians, including sponsoring settler terrorism, that has reduced the U.S. moral position in the world to zero. Perhaps someone knows of a reason to think of Israel as an ally of the U.S.

  • Obama 'outraged' by Schumer, Gillibrand, & Booker's deference to Netanyahu
    • True that the envisioned consequences of the Menendez bill would apply only if it is determined that Iran acts against the agreement's provisions. The bill is still very dangerous. First, Obama could be pressured to accept an inconsequential Iranian act as a trigger. Second, even if Iran obviously thumbed its nose at the agreement, for example, if a hard-liner took power, the Menendez bill gives Israel the effective power to commit the U.S. to enter an Israel/Iran conflict. This is completely unacceptable for a thousand reasons.

  • 'Economist' pulls cartoon showing Obama shackled to Congress bearing Star of David
    • But the cartoon is far more offensive than even Foxman is aware. Look at the depiction of our president's face, another iteration of the old trope about African-Americans having darker features than Swedes. And the Persian with the burning flag? Still propagating the old canard that Iranians are angry with an exceptional America. Racist, Racist, Racist.

  • Former US citizen, former Israeli ambassador, Oren gets job at CNN
    • I hate to think how stupid I would be, and was, about the ME without MW, its reporters and great commenters. So I second "Thank goodness for MW". In fact it's important enough, in this era of acronyms, to have one of its own. TGMW.

  • 'NYT' says that AIPAC is pushing the 'march toward war'
    • Two articles in one day indicating the damage to the U.S. and its institutions caused by the unquestioned support demanded by, and given to, Israel from Israel's political supporters in the U.S. (1) A call by NY politicians for defunding any college that provides material support to the ASA. (And they have the chutzpah to criticize the ASA on freedom of speech grounds). (2) A push for the U.S. to enter into a war with Iran coming from Netanyahu and delivered by his ministers in the U.S. Congress. Can anyone claim that Israel is an ally of the U.S.?

  • 'Common sense has moved on': Report from MLA debate on Israel
    • Pabelmont is right to draw attention to the phase "national security". It refers to the security of the nation state. In the U.S. case to the security of our way of life, particularly as enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But the odd fact is that at almost no time in the history of the U.S. has there been less of a threat from abroad to national security in this sense. This is not because of the strength of our forces but because of the weakness of our enemies (the use of our forces seems only to strengthen our enemies.) The British sack of the White House in 1812, Hitler's rise in the 1930s and 1940s and Soviet nukes in the 1950s through 1980s were threats to national security. In comparison, fear of terrorists is a genuine national hysteria, fueled by political and economic interests and rivaling the divorce from reality that spread through my home town of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Invoking national security today is the act scoundrels and if there is a threat to national security it originates in the actions of these very scoundrels.

  • Kerry (and NYT) carry water for Netanyahu on 'Jewish state' demand
    • A crock it is, Seafoid. Think of this. Israel has declared itself the Nation State of, for example, every American Jew (Aside: I would think American Jews would rather decide this for themselves.) But if the U.S., formally or otherwise, countenances the idea that Israel is the Nation of all every Jew then then when the U.S. President addresses Americans he will not be addressing Jews. Their leader will be the leader of their Nation State, Israel's PM.
      Looked at it another way, a U.S. recognition of this idea, would institutionalize that Jewish Americans are not dually loyal, they are officially mono-loyal (to Israel) whether they like it or not. Every American Jew becomes officially an ex-pat. Yes, a crock it is.

  • Why are no Democrats coming down on Republicans who are crossing up Kerry in Jerusalem?
    • Isn't there a word to describe U.S. citizens who work with another country to deliberately interfere with U.S. policy, putting American soldiers' lives at stake, for the benefit of that other country?

  • Questioning Obama's nerve, Oren imagines 'massive' bombing campaign to 'flatten all of Iran'
    • When the Lobby is way out of the shadows, will it "play in Peoria"? I don't think so.

    • "Intertwined"? Did Horovitz and Oren say the U.S. is "intertwined" with Israel? As an American I'd say "ensnared". Note the one-step-at-a-time strategy. Insult Obama until he makes a "credible threat" and then hit him over the head with his threat until he orders a credible attack. Americans die and Israel maintains its MI military supremacy. Israel, America's ally in the Middle East.

  • Should dual citizen of US/Israel be vice chair of our Federal Reserve Bank?
    • Krauss: I appreciate your comments, Krauss, but I think you're wrong. The context you provide is misleading in its narrowness. You ask, why shouldn't an Israeli citizen have a high policy-making position in the U.S. Federal Government if a Canadian can have such a position in the U.K. Let's add a little more space to your context, widen it out a bit. Has Canada been pushing the U.K. to go to war in Canada's interests? Have Canadian leaders sought to undermine the peace policies of the U.K.? Does the Canadian government already have a stranglehold on U.K. politicians? Was the Canadian, Mark Carney, a high official in a government that continues to implement a system of apartheid in many ways worse that the South African system. Has the status among nations of the U.K. suffered immensely for its support for that apartheid system? That's the relevant context, somewhat broader than yours, Krauss. Finally, Stanley Fischer is not someone who just happens to hold Israeli citizenship, he is ardently pro-Israel. Putting him in this position inserts him into the social and political culture of Washington decision makers, where his influence will be far wider than his specific job's areas of responsibility.

    • Citizenship implies loyalty. Dual citizenship therefore implies dual loyalty. Stanley Fischer has chosen to place his loyalty in both the U.S. and Israel. What will he do when their interests collide? At a time when U.S. senators are taking their talking points from Netanyahu against the policies of the leader of the U.S., where one leader seeks war and another peace, the issue of dual loyalty is crucial and needs to be aired.

  • The importance of Susan Abulhawa's poetry
    • I eagerly await my copy of Susan Abulhawa's book. This is very powerful.

      "...The man you would have been

      The man you should have been

      Out there

      Riding the family steed

      The thoroughbred mares your grandfather

      Raised and nurtured and loved

      In a Palestine

      Un-raped

      Un-stolen"

  • New York Senate leader wants to cut off cash to colleges involved in American Studies Association
    • There has been discussion lately on MW about how damaging to U.S. interests the U.S. support for "Israel right or wrong" is. Here we have politicians willing to use their control over tax money to harm private colleges for any association with an academic organization that expresses its condemnation of Israeli behavior towards Palestinians. Think of the harm done to the U.S. if this were to pass and become standard policy for legislatures. The next step could be an application of the law to Hillel chapters whose support for the settlement policies is clearly an expression of prejudice against Palestinians.

  • 'Huffpo' shames pro-war Democrats, blames AIPAC (and gets lectured by Foxman)
    • I see a new thread in the discussion of Israeli behavior toward Palestinians. Previously the issue has been a humanitarian one emphasizing the suffering and suppression of the Palestinian people. I would never want to see this change. But a secondary issue is now coming out, the damage done to the U.S. by virtue of its "Israel right or wrong" support, the "not one inch of separation" claptrap. I am pleased to see this developing because it is so important to the U.S. and because it is the argument most likely to change the allegiances of Americans. Who knows, it might even affect the way Israel and its supporters treat the U.S. and the Palestinians.

  • The Turning Tide: The ASA, scholarly responsibility and the call for academic boycott of Israel
    • Congratulations to Sarah Roberts for her courage in stating her views at all, and so clearly and persuasively.

      As an Assistant Professor Roberts is, I assume, untenured and so without formal protection on campus of her speech. It would not take much nor be surprising for her career to suffer harsh setbacks as a consequence of her stand. Her courage is in depressing contrast to the cravenness of our political representatives who choose to undermine peace talks between the U.S. and Iran, risking war and the horror it entails, rather than lose the support of The Lobby.

  • Senior faculty have 'intimidated' junior faculty who supported boycott measure, ASA caucus says
    • @JeffB

      England WWI, WWII?
      My point was, "No other nation uses its influence ..." "Uses", present tense.
      The undeniable point is that Israel is no friend of the U.S., taking taxpayers' billions then huddling with cowered politicians to undermine U.S. policy in favor of forcing American men and women into a war with Iran.
      Israel is in no threat of losing its existence to Iran or any other country. But the troubles it has in the region are of its own making, clearing and destroying Arab villages, shooting Palestinian farmers in their fields, killing Arab children, lying to the world since 1948 about its intentions, creating a system of racist separation, that's a start. My interest is as an American, that weak American politicians have been bullied or bought into going along, into supporting Israel's bad behavior. This has harmed the U.S. immeasurably. This is why, for Americans at least, Israel is singular and deserves to be singled out until it gets out of our hair.

    • RE: Obsidian. There is another obvious point, one that is in fact relevant. Every American has the right, perhaps the duty, to single out Israeli behavior. The issue is not whether Israeli brutality is the worst. There are more brutal nations. It is that no other country so successfully intimidates our politicians and distorts our foreign policy. No other nation uses its influence to demand that we send American service men and women to die. (The Menendez-Schumer bill would give Netanyahu the decision to send Americans to war.) No other nation is able, through its American supporters, to turn American policy away from what is best for Americans. U.S. support for no other country has cost our country so much in blood and treasure. Israel is singular in these respects and so it's no surprise that it is singled out, singled out is what it should be.

  • David Brooks comes out against the occupation
    • Brooks' argument that Amigo quotes is rather like a defense attorney in a murder trial stating, "This trial is not about justice, it's about using my clients murdering behavior as a pretext for calling him a murderer."

  • Beinart’s (colonial) Jewish (imperial) democratic state
    • I have a different reply to the double-standard argument. I am not by nature a universalist humanitarian. I don't carry the gene that requires a person to suffer because of the suffering of total strangers. I single out the behavior of Israel because of the damage that this tiny country has done, and continues to do, to my country. Because of the manipulation by Israeli propagandists of the consciences of diaspora Jews, primarily Americans, and the subsequence manipulation by the Lobby of policies of the U.S. government in the middle east, the U.S. has been harmed immeasurably. No one can deny this. No one can claim that the Schumer and Menendez bill was constructed to serve American interests, a bill that risks sending Americans once again to their deaths. No one can claim that it was good for the U.S. to have Obama openly lie in front of the entire planet in his speech at the UN, claiming that a declaration of a Palestinian State was bad for Palestinians. The list is endless. Any American has a right to treat Israel differently than Uganda and will have that right until Israel gets out of our hair.

  • For 'NYT', boycott supporters might as well be aliens
    • There's Larry Summers again with his phony, anti-Semitism "in effect if not in intent." As I wrote earlier, is a journalist who uncovers Roman Catholic priest abuse guilty of anti-Catholicism, "in effect if not in intent?" The fact is there is no anti-Semitism "in effect", it's an incoherent idea and Summers knows it..

  • The 'genetic truth' of Jesus's (and Hanna Rosin's) 'classically Semitic appearance,' as revealed to Jeffrey Goldberg
    • I had a Jewish colleague in the States who was born and raised in Hebron, fought with Irgun, imprisoned by the Brits. I recall his description of his youth in Hebron. He was Jewish, some were Christian, most were Muslim, "But we were all Arabs, Arab Christians, Arab Jews, Arab Muslims." It was a revelation at the time to me.

  • Stop the Nonsense: Nobody is proposing a boycott of 'the Jews'
    • What is this business of "anti-Semitism in effect" that Larry Summers wants to push? As best I can figure it's something like this. BDS has the effect of weakening Israel or its policies and therefore weakening "the Jews" of which Israel is the embodiment (Okay, this makes no sense but let's ignore that.). So even if the BDS supporter has no bad thoughts about "the Jews" his or her support for BDS is bad for the Jews in its effect and so is anti-Semitic. Summers is a smart guy, (though I doubt as smart as he thinks he is), but smart enough so that this "in effect" claptrap must be claptrap "in intent" on his part and not just claptrap "in effect". There is no racism, sexism or anti-Semitism or anti-Catholicism without invidious generalization or wishing ill. There can be no anti-Semitism or anti-Catholicism by unintended consequence. Think of the Catholicism case. A journalist who exposes a dozen sexually abusing priests diminishes respect for Church and its leadership. It would be foolish to insist that this journalism is ipso facto a case of anti-Catholicism, either "in intent", "in effect" or in any other way. Larry Summers knows this and is intentionally muddying the waters of discourse to protect Israeli expansionism.

  • The American Studies Association is challenging a taboo in the American academy by speaking freely about Israel
    • The call for "academic freedom" is literally an incantation in the hallowed American academy used to justify a myriad of sins of omission and commission by faculty and as ammunition against administrators' efforts at accountability. So we can expect these cries to be loud and numerous against the vote of the ASA. More information about the suppression of Palestinian academics and scholars, such as we read about in Professor Shihade's letter, would be a counter to the pieties that we can expect about suppression of speech.

  • On the death of Nelson Mandela: a dissenting opinion
    • "It is an indication of what Mandela was up against that the man who fought so hard and long against a brutal apartheid regime was so completely defeated when he took power in South Africa. That was because he was no longer struggling against a rogue regime but against the existing order, a global corporate system of power that he had no hope of challenging alone."

      It is mistaken to claim that, upon his coming to power, Nelson Mandela was "defeated". He had achieved, I'm sure far beyond his expectations, what he set out to do and that achievement was remarkable. The fact that he remained to focus upon managing his revolution in his own homeland rather than directing his efforts globally in no way implies that he was defeated, even less a defeated man. He was a man of unimaginable courage and heart who engineered the freeing an oppressed majority and managed to establish a democratic nation without retribution against the minority, indeed with a place for the minority in that nation. Briefly scan the revolutions and coups of the last two-hundred years to see if you can find the likes of what Mandela accomplished.

  • Iran deal poses conflict of loyalties for US Jews, say Economist and Haaretz
    • This is very serious business and so I think we should be careful and qualified in discussing it.
      Certainly being a Jewish American does not imply dual loyalty. So Netanyahu's gambit should not in itself create conflict within or among American Jews.
      Being a Zionist and an American does not in itself imply dual loyalty. One can without conflict believe that religious and ethnic Jews have a right to settle and rule the space that is Palestine/Israel without any portion of his or her state loyalty going to Israel.
      What cannot escape a conflict of loyalties is being a citizen of the U.S and a citizen of Israel (or any other country). Citizenship implies loyalty to country (though not necessarily to its government). Dual citizenship implies dual loyalty.
      It is therefore necessarily a conflict of interest for a citizen of both Israel and the U.S. to hold U.S. governmental positions, where the mission is to maximize U.S. benefit. At very least, any candidate or potential office holder should disclose his or her alternative citizenships when being considered for the jobs.

  • 'Hill' says Iran deal could alienate Democrats' 'pillar'-- 'big Jewish donors'
    • "He [Jeff Robbins] said that, in pursuit of a deal, the administration took “crude, petulant and harmful swipes at Israel” that were “difficult to understand from a friend.”
      "crude, petulant and harmful swipes"? More Israel-first hyperbole, a la Foxman. But speaking of Israel-first, from what perspective is Jeff Robbins referring to the Obama administration as "a friend". He and the Obama administration are good buddies? It sounds more like Robbins slipped and revealed himself as, at heart, an Israeli. Or maybe it's simpler, that all the cash that flowed to the democrats from Robbins' efforts is not being sufficiently reciprocated.
      These situations always lead me to wonder how many of the top pro-Israel Americans are also Israeli citizens. Kristol? Schumer? Wasserman-Schultz? Abrams? an entirely legitimate question since by the very nature of citizenship, dual citizenship requires dual loyalty.

  • Iran & the Nuclear Question: Framing the debate, one picture (and one think tank) at a time
    • For most of my long life I've gotten my news of the world in the form of all the news that's fit to print. But now, reading PeaceThroughJustice on Mondoweiss, I don't have to wonder how Mr. Princeton PhD could be so stupid. He's not, he'd just returned from lunch where he got his daily talking points from Eliot Abrams, William Kristol and Max Boot, his co-fellows at tikvah fellowship, known truth tellers all. Is there no end to the list of Neocon propaganda groups? But I still wonder what's happened to the Brookings.

  • American Jews are 'endangered,' says Ari Shavit
    • On the idea that the State of Israel provides a safety valve for American Jews in the event of a pending pogrom on their own shore. Has anyone considered how long the Law of Return would remain in effect, given the politics of today's Israel, in the face of the immigration of seven million secular, liberal Americans?

  • Echoing Netanyahu, Ted Cruz slams Kerry and calls on Iran to recognize Israel as 'Jewish state'
    • This is a very hopeful development. I did not see in the video the same confident man who managed 29 standing ovations from what is supposed to be my Congress. And I'll be very happy if Kerry refutes my longstanding judgment that he is an empty suit.

  • Palestinian-American student denied entry to Israel after being told, 'there is no such thing as Palestine'
    • "Palestine isn’t your homeland – it’s your mother’s and grandparents’ homeland."

      ejay, I too reject the racist idea that blood creates someone's homeland. If it did I, for example, would have three or four more than the one that is mine. But neither does birthplace. The U. S. is my homeland because I choose to live here, identify myself the way I do and take part in its life. If Yara Karmalawy wishes to consider Palestine her homeland, and she doesn't violate anyone's rights by doing so, then there is no reason to claim that Palestine is not her homeland.

  • In Pew poll on American Jewish identity, 'caring about Israel' is way behind 'working for justice'
    • So in the sample, 22% of American Jews descibe themselves as having no religion, but 16% of those same 22% profess that the land of Israel was given to Jews by God. Okay!

  • Nairobi mall massacre makes NPR do a 180 on Israel-style racial profiling
    • Walt has a good column in FP on "threat inflation" as a consequence of the Kenyan tragedy.
      The military/gun/pundit/security/foreign policy/surveillance complex will be all over the story. Billions in dollars to be had for the asking.

  • Putin’s exceptionalism and our own
    • It's not surprising that the three Abrahamic religions are exceptionalist. Each employs a revelation-based theology. If a transcendent and omnipotent god takes time from its busy day to speak to you in a language you are meant to grasp, well, that makes you pretty exceptional. When that god tells you that your brutality, unlike that of the less or un-exceptional, is just, required even, that makes the world a good deal more dangerous.

  • Stewart and Colbert push opposition to Syrian strike
    • What's with MSNBC? On MSNBC today Alex Wagner interviewed Ron Paul who eviscerated the bomb-Syria arguments. She moved on to why Paul is speaking before a Canadian Catholic group that has made anti-Semitic statements. Next came a segment about Florida's Ted Yoho who recently came out against bombing Syria. No mention of that. The segment, with the aid of a headline "Yoho the Yahoo", dealt with Yoho as a Birther. Finally the topic turns to the NRA joining the ACLU in the suit against the NSA domestic spying. But wait, that's not the topic. The issue is NRA hypocrisy because it already keeps lists of gun owners. While I have little time for Paul's social policy or Birthers or the NRA, Wagner's job as a newswoman sems to be to parry at all cost any criticism of Obama's actions.

  • Israel arrests Palestinian youth leader invited to State Dep't training session
    • Another example of the fact that the Israelis have absolutely no respect for the ablity and/or inclination of the American government to do anything but cave to Israeli arriogance.

  • Help fund new Antony Loewenstein documentary on disaster capitalism
    • Done. Thanks for the heads-up, Phil. This is a crucial part of what journalism will come to look like as an alternative to corporate directed MSM.

  • Bacevich in 'LA Times': Camp David ushered in 4 decades of US militarism in Mid East
    • I agree with Partick on this. There is also the issue of attributing a single cause to a myriad of complex events. If my arm was twisted to do this, I would suggest, "follow the money." The U.S. is literally addicted to warfare, more specifically the elites who run Washington get super rich from the federal money doled out to combat phoney threats to U.S. security.

  • Alice Walker reinvited to speak at U of Michigan, which regrets her dis-invitation
    • As a former provost and chief academic officer I could easily envision something like this happening for two reasons. First, the academic leaders in higher education today are rarely excellent scholars with firm commitments to the values that should drive education. It's more like the high school principal who has "moved up" from assistant varsity coach. Second is that universities in both public and private education need their boosters and donors and will do nothing to rattle them. Why else would the athletic department tail so often wag the academic dog?

  • Librarians group calls for boycott to stop 'erasure of Palestinian culture and history'
    • Once again, it is librarians who step up where others fear to tread. In the manufactured national hysteria following 9/11 with its infamous "Patriot Act", it was the librarian community that resisted where it could the invasions of privacy, in the face of FBI threats, that the law called for.

      Little old ladies shushing us to be quiet they certainly are not. Bravo to the librarians!

  • Chomsky says 'Snowden should be honored' for 'telling Americans what the government was doing'
    • I wonder if anyone has ever seriously studied the consequences of blatant hypocrisy by a government upon its foreign policy goals.

      The U.S. cannot now, without hypocrisy, criticize others for torture, arrest without trial, assassination even of its own citizens, violations of the most basic human rights due to its material support for Israeli opprsssion, lying to its own people and to other branches of its government, corrupt support for the wealthy, legal bribery of politicians by the wealthy, a tax system that does not require the wealthy to pay at the same level as the middle class. The list is huge and when the president gets on his holy high horse and lectures about rights and fairness everyone, inluding him, knows that he is excepting himself and his government, which is the definition of hypocrisy.

      How can someone achieve anything on the world stage in this situation except by brute force? At least GW's neocons were honsest about it.

  • 'J Street' says Jewish state 'hangs in balance' of failed negotiations
    • It's been clear since at least the 1970s that (in 1970s terms) if Israel annexes the West Bank it will self-destruct. So now the options are: 1. one Jewish oppressive state, or 2. one non-Jewish democratic state, or 3. two states, one of which is Jewish, or 4. make the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza so miserable that they will, to borrow a phrase, "self-deport", leaving one Jewish democratic state.
      In the 1970s, during a discussion of this in a college I worked at, one colleague said, "Well maybe they'll have to expell the Palestinians into Jordan." Could it be possible that some Israelis believe there is this 5th option?

  • Snowden/Greenwald show: left and right must overcome cultural differences for work ahead
    • I believe that my first introduction to Mondoweiss came through a link on Antiwar.com, which comes out of an old-style, Barry Goldwater libertarianism. Justin Raimondo is a very good writer and a solid thinker. The interesting thing about antiwar.com libertarianism is that it does not make a fetish out of property rights to the exclusion of others. And it is solid on the I/P issues.
      The Pauls, pere et fils, preach the nonsense of government as enemy of private property, regulation as bad, taxation as theft, guns as good, but they also take the rights of security from one's own government seriously.

  • Former Yale official accuses Yale 'unequivocally' of anti-Semitism
    • Rhetorically, trying to smear anti-zionism as a new form of anti-semitism is a two-edged sword.
      It could lead people to think as planned:
      1. Anti-semitism in any form is a horrible thing
      2. Anti-zionism is a form of anti-semitism
      3. So, anti-zionism is a horrible thing
      Or not as planned:
      1. Anti-zionism, based as it is upon principles of equal rights, is not a horrible thing
      2. Anti-zionism is a form of anti-semitism
      3. So, there is at least one form of antisemitism that is not a horrible thing

      If I were in the hasbara business I'd avoid the tactic as dangerous.

  • The MSM tries to distinguish between Manning and Snowden. Don't let them
    • RE: "Richard Haass is wrong."

      On "Morning Joe" the briliant Glenn Greenwald reduced Haass to almost-silence. Greenwald ended his segment with the hope that eventually the Amercan people would reject this level of surveilance. I think I saw a smile on Haass' face, or perhaps a look of self-satisfaction, when he was able sneak in the last word, "Until the next terrorist attack." It was chilling.
      When will someone whom people listen to make the case that terrorism, or "terror", is not, and never has been, a national security threat. Never a threat to U.S. freedoms or democracy or way of life. There are such threats, though: Corporatism, Oligarchy, Russia's remaining nuclear-tipped missiles and, by far the greatest such threat, the use and manipulation of terroist activities by the federal government to limit our freedoms and spend taxpayer money on a vast, useless security network.

      Activities of terrorists are a threat to individual citizens, but the risk is miniscule compared to drunk drivers, smoking, drug abuse, type II diabetes, air pollution, handguns, street crime, mass killers, iatrogenic illness, ... etc. And of course, as small a threat as terrorism is, it would be far smaller if U.S. foreign policy did not inspire young men to dream of attacking the U.S.

      Only a bamboozled nation of cowards would give up an iota of liberty to protect against this threat of 'terror'.

    • "... we are all being treated as if we're all in Gitmo ..."

      Justin Raimondo has a great piece on this, comparing the NSA's vision of the USA to Bentham's prison design, The Panopticon, a glassed-in circle with guards in the middle who can "see everything". Link:
      link to original.antiwar.com

  • Approaching 60, Norman Finkelstein reflects
    • It's a blight on Harvard that the self-serving propagandist Dershowitz still has an academic title and position. It's a blot on DePaul University, with its money grubbing cowardice, that Norman Finkelstein does not have an academic title, something his research and writing thoroughly justifies, nor the right to do what he loves, teaching.
      Norman Finkelstein is a pioneer. He deserves all that is good.

  • A Jew, Jesus and Justice for Palestinians: An interview with Mark Braverman
    • Thanks to W. Jones and Hostage for their elucidations. The issue of Paul's role in loosening the requirement of circumcision is parenthetical, but the Jerusalem Council's focus on it is important. I do, though, think that it was Paul's actions and writings in regions outside of Palestine that brought the issue to a head in the council. The existence of the issue as an important focus of the council indicates an early realization that there were different roads that the Jesus movement could take, one of which, often associated with James, was to remain solidly within the traditions of the Law while accepting Jesus as a central rabbi. This was not the road taken and Paul seems to have one out, the idea of a replacement covenant being one eventual consequence. The circumcision issue was in a sense a proxy for that wider discussion. Or so I've thought.

    • This may be the most incisive and instructive piece I've ever read on Mondoweiss, and there have been many. It gets at the deepest foundations of the conflicts in Israel/Palestine, of what following Jesus might have meant, of what it could mean to be a Jew, of what could have been if Jesus hadn't been hijacked. (Paul may have been the villian there. Recalling that it was he who stopped requiring circumcision for gentile males to join a Jesus commnity. In fact there would not have been "Christ"ian communities since all that Messiah stuff - where the term "Christ" = something like "Messiah" - would not have developed. The discussion illustrates the depth of the definitional muddles, and so the confusions, that arise in trying to bridge the sides. Congratulations to the three you for an amazing interview.

  • Story glorifying US tourists' gunplay in settlement is denounced as AIPAC propaganda by angry NPR commenters
  • The 'double standards' issue and moral judgment of Israeli policies
    • Why do I take more interest in the aggressive and oppressive policies of Israel than those of other states? The stock pro-Israel answer is self-hatred or (in my case) antisemitism. In fact for me there is no other country whose inhumane policies distort American politics and foreign policy. What other country's leader can extort nearly thirty standing ovations from our bought-and-paid-for Congress. What other country can maneuver the U.S., against its own interests, to alienate the world's most oil-rich region. What other country can get the Amercan President to declare that it would not be in the interest of Palestinians to have the UN declare a Palestinian State, a claim that all the world knew was a lie and knew that the President knew was a lie. What other country can drop cluster bombs or Lebanese civilians without critcism from the U.S. government. What other government can have it as a stated policy to keep a people, in this case of gaza, in a state of marginal starvation without a peep of criticism from the U.S governmant. The leader of the democratic party states that she goes to work every day (in the U.S. Congress) thinking of the love she has in her heart for Israel. (It made me wish at very least that she had two hearts.) The greater interest that I have in issues surrounding Israel than in other despotic regimes rests upon the harm that the U.S./Israel pact has done to my country, the U.S.

  • Shared values?
    • Catholics have not been without sin when it comes to marrying outsiders. When I brought my Episcopal bride-to-be to the priest of the parrish of my alter boy days, he did his vetting and then was prepared to sign a document attesting that she did not pose an "undue threat of pollution". We were married by a justice of the peace.

  • Israeli minister: Google decision to recognize Palestine 'pushes peace further away'
    • “ Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu" thinks this is "unfortunate", why? Because it, "creates among the Palestinian leadership the illusion that in this manner they can achieve the result.” They are wrong to believe that there can be a Palestine? And in what manner is he speaking about? Did the Palestinians, with their immense, world-wide money and political influence pressure Google to recognize the obvious?

  • Post-Boston vulnerability will at last force Americans to consider 'why they hate us'
    • After the Boston bombings I heard a reporter recount that very soon after the bombers' pictures came out a high school wrestling friend of the younger brother talked with the brother on the phone and the topic of Obama's remarks at the ceremony came up and the brother is reported to have said something to the effect that Obama does all the time what the bombers did. That seemed to me to be a big story but I never heard it repeated.

  • Kerry likens Boston victims to 'Mavi Marmara' victims
    • Into John Kerry's mouth went his foot and out of his mouth,by some miracle, came the truth. Too bad he'll be forced to to choke on it.

  • Extremists & traitors
    • Adam, This is a wonderful post. As a retired philosophy prof., I find so much good philosophy here. Reading your piece I thought of King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," written to liberals, Christian and Jews specifically, who support his goals but not his methods. He's off the liberal reservation, doing rather than chatting. Here's a bit.
      "I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who . . . prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; . . . "

  • Dialogue doesn't mean inviting someone to spew 'racist hatred' -- Jews Against Islamophobia coalition
    • I’m still with J. S. Mill that the correct response to speech we don’t like is not to squelch but to answer.

      The use of the relatively new and ill-defined label “hate speech” is most often to repress rather than answer speech. In that way it resembles the older label “anti-semitic.”

    • I'm still with J. S. Mill that the correct response to speech we don't like is not to squelch but to answer.

      The use of the relatively new and ill-defined label "hate speech" is most often to repress rather than answer speech. I that way it resembles the older label "anti-semitic."

  • In 'NYT' lecture on intermarriage, Stanley Fish says religious difference is 'deep and immovable'
    • I find the use of the term "faith" in contemporary discourse to be confused and superficial. We should think of faith as an an action rather than a particular belief content, as the decision to go along with something prior to any proof that it's the right thing to do or believe. Everyday human life is filled with acts of faith: That my bride or groom is the right person, that what I teach my students will be good for them, that my candidate will do what I hope, that my children will choose correctly if I give them the chance, that Mondoweiss will make justice in Israel/Palestine more likely. Everyone who lives honestly and with care is a member of a "faith community" whose values and beliefs are as dear as the preachings of a certain Nazarene, the words of an angel memorized by a desert dweller in a cave or the requirements of the pharasees. As usual, Stanley Fish is sloppy in language and thought leaving readers to wonder what he said or where he stands.

  • Obama praises Israel to high heavens as Israeli and American elite cement 'unbreakable' alliance
  • 'NYT' landmark: Jewish philosophy prof says we 'really ought to question' Israel's right to exist
    • I think that optimism concerning the end of Israel as a Jewish state, that is, as a state that assures greater rights to those who are ethically or religiously Jewish, should be tempered by a worry. The worry is the status and potential use of Israel's weapons, especially including nuclear weapons, when the hoped for end is near and afterwards. It takes no great imagination to construct cataclysmic scenarios.
      Also open for discussion therefore should be whether the undemocratic two-state solution might not be morally preferable as a goal.

  • 'Guardian' reports Israeli shootings of Palestinian boys. NPR reports, Palestinians want to kill Israelis
    • Pro-Zionist bias is pretty much a culture at NPR. Think of Terry Gross's roster of interviewees and the fact that she never challenges even the most obvious pro-Zionist distortions.

      On "ends and means", clearly the benefits of an action sometimes justifies it and on other occasions - particularly when the action violates human rights - the intended end, even if a good, does not justify the means. A blanket, "The ends don't justify the means," is simply not true.

  • Two social critics who used Nazi analogy-- Mark Rudd, Betty Friedan
    • I take Prof. Slater's first paragraph as the operative one. The rest is beside the point. Mondoweiss, to its great credit, creates a free market for ideas on I/P in a world that tries its best to shut down any such an exchange. Whether this or that analogy will win or lose friends is a rhetorical question. The point of the debate is not persuading (sophism), that's Dersh's thing, it's about saying what's what's true and finding reasons to prove it.
      The point of an analogy is to clarify. When we knew more about the solar system than the atom we looked at the atom as if it were a small solar system. If that helped understanding fine, if it didn't then drop the analogy. But it wouldn't make much sense to say, "Well you can't compare an atom to a solar system, one's bigger than the other." Nor would it make sense to say, "Don't compare them or people won't like you."

  • 'Commentary' says some elected Democrats 'pledged' to protect Israel
    • The Lobby, whether it's the Israel, Jewish, Zionist or Likud lobby is way out of the closet now. It will be interesting to see if and how it tries to hustle back in. I think the door's clanked shut and locked behind it.

  • In Jerusalem, even the dentist lets you know who's in charge
    • Thank you Ms. Murad for this story. The focus of these issues is rarely on the very specifics of the occupatioin. It's about "the region", or vile American politicians, or whether Iran is a threat. But the specifics, the minute to minute, is where the suffering is to be found. Pamela Olson is so correct, it's hard to imagine the courage it must take to live in those minute to minutes. I believe that the story is getting out and as it does the courage and the dignity of the Palestinian people will move to its center. How then will the Israelis appear in comparison?

  • More on SNL's fellate-a-donkey for Israel skit
    • NPR reported today (in Boston at least) the scheduling of the committee vote on Hagel and noted opposisition to Hagel "even from Democrats" based upon some of his foreign policy statements ABOUT IRAQ. (Emphasis added)

      What happened to the NPR of David Mamet's claim that NPR stood for National Palestinian Radio?

  • 'Odious and wrong' -- politicians threaten to shut down Brooklyn College boycott debate
    • Every biographical sketch of the life and work of the philosopher/
      logician Bertrand Russell writes with incredulity about his retracted contract to teach at City College, unfit according to the famously blockheaded NYC politicians of 1940 because he advocated for the wisdom of living together before marrying.

  • Hagel's homework
    • How can this not bring to the mind of any thinking person all the Inquisitions and totalitarian processes throughout the ages that have forced dissenters to recant their ideological failings and humble themselves before the alter of coerced opinion.
      It's a pathetic display. And the fact that no colleague of Hagel's rises to demand of the interrogators, "Have you no shame?" is a pox on Right Wingers and Progressives alike.

  • Rebranding the War on Terror for the age of Obama: 'Zero Dark Thirty' and the promotion of extra judicial killing
    • JFK was already James Bond's biggest fan when his CIA began concocting plans to assassinate Castro (poisoned cigars, ballpoints with hidden hypodermics). Cheney was gleeful in his promotion of the racist, pro-torture "24". I wonder if President Obama has been following the bloody exploits of the assassin, Mitch Rapp via Vince Flynn's novels.

  • Exchange on anti-Sephardi racism on the left
    • -- I’d only quibble with blaming “evolution” for it. I don’t think it’s her fault. Nor are our little essentialisms universal with mankind. So there’s hope. --

      Mooser, Thanks for the comment. An honor. I was thinking more of the evolution of ideas, where a notion gets solidified because it has a use value but doesn't disappear even when changed circumstance renders it dangerous. Essentialism likely had its survival benefits in tribal times as did many other morally terrible ideas. In any case the fact that something came about through evolution, even the genetic kind, is not in itself a reason to think it would be universal (think, fair skin) or immutable, (think skin color again).

    • Thanks to JennieS and RoHa for their comments. I agree that some use 'Arab' as designating a culturally definined group. But I disagree with the assertion, if I understand it correctly, that the term is not on other occasions used to designate a group that shares physical lineage. It may be that JennieS and RoHa are saying that even though some use these terms in a shared physical lineage fashion they are wrong to do so.
      In my own case, if 'essentialism' is the idea that different people born into different classifications (woman/man, white/black, gay/straight, Jew/Gentile) have different rights and obligation based upon their classification, then I reject essentialism and consider it to be one of the most dreadful and damaging ideas that evolution has bestowed upon us.

    • ---No. “Arabness” is not genetic. It is cultural. Your Arab Jew colleague was brought up speaking Arabic in an Arabic culture. That makes him an Arab---

      Thanks for the comment, but cultural and genetic/lineage criteria have long competed to classify human groupings, in both the pre and post-DNA days. And ideological reasons often determine the use of one over the other, witness the recent ciation of DNA markers to solidify the nationhood of the Jewish people. This is also true, historically and today, of the grouping of Arabs, the oldest tradition defining Arab as a descendent of peoples from the region of the Arabian pennisula.

    • I have probably missed it, but I don't recall seeing the expression "arab jews" before on Mondoweiss. "Israeli Arabs", yes, but not "arab jews". It reminded me of a long time faculty colleague who was a child in Haifa and later fought with the Irgun and was in a British prison for the 1948 war. I found it at first shocking and then clarifying when, during one of our coversations, he said something like, "When I was a child we were all Arabs. I was a Jewish Arab and I had friends who were Muslim Arabs and others were Christian Arabs." So, if indeed the Israeli Jews from Russia, Italy and Poland share genes with that tribe that emigrated from Ur, expelled the people of Philistia from their land and was itself expelled by the Romans, mustn't every Jewish Israeli be an Arab?

  • Citing growing division among Australian Jews over Israel, cartoonist refuses to apologize for likening Gaza to Nazis' victims
    • "And, yes, there are hateful Arabs and Muslims who would erase Israel from the map. Why do the Israelis keep empowering them?"

      If there had been a way for Israel to occupy an entire Palestinian-free "greater Israel" other than by forcing Palestinians to flee their homeland in order
      to have work, food, medicine, education, safety from bombing and every other basic human need they might have chosen it. As it is, they seem willing to ride out the negatives until the job is done, confident that over the long term all will be forgotten.

  • Israel could only survive by 'killing all the Arabs'-- Netanyahu's father
    • Beware of the politician with something to prove to dear old Dad. See George W. Bush, John Kennedy, John McCain, George Allen and now Bibi.

      And isn't it odd that, regardless of how the name "Bibi" is received in Israel, a man who grew up in the U.S. would accept it as a nickname?

  • US engagement fostered rogue Israeli policies, but Tom Friedman can't say so
    • Mark Braverman makes the point that (paraphrasing) since the U.S. enables, indeed promotes, the mess that is militaistic Zionism and the consequent suffering of the Palestinian people, it cannot walk away now. But, first what would be the effects of applying that ethic to U.S. actions everywhere that it has meddled, e.g., Iraq, Syria, Iran, Chile, Nicaragua, Cuba, Vietnam, and more? Or is the U.S. relationship to Israel again to be held "special"? Second, might not walking away, a policy of benign neglect (no more military aid, no more diplomatic cover, no more military cover, no more phony "100% behind Israel's right to defend itself") be the most effective way to force Israel to dismantle its system of theft and oppression, unleashing international courts, EU boycotts, diplomatic isolation, UN recognition for Palestine and more?

  • 'This is travesty of American criminal justice': Supreme Court denies Holy Land Five appeal
    • The damage to the civil liberties of everyone, Americans and all others, by the bogus hysteria that is called the "war on terror" as prosecuted now by two Administrations would have been unimaginable just days before nine-eleven. Spying upon citizens, indeterminate detentions without charges, kill lists, assasinations by the American government of Americans without charges or verdicts, the militarization of law enforcement. Generations of children will grow up where this overreaching by government will seem commonplace, where people will wonder at the NSA's tapping of their phones, "What's all the fuss?" With that, it's difficult to envision ever returning to a time when courts protected individual liberties and the government respected the Constitution.

  • Alice Walker and Desmond Tutu endorse upcoming Russell Tribunal on Palestine in New York City
    • I do as well. I was driving home from having taught an evening philosophy class in the early 1970s when I heard of Bertrand Russell's death. I was surprisingly sad then and I miss his presence now. He was a man in full.

      John Mullen

  • Geller's 'savage' bus ad meets strong resistance from the Bay Area
    • The ad is offensive, false and intended to hurt. But even if it didn't backfire, as it seems to have, it should not be suppressed. Every suppression of speech, no matter how loathsome the speech is, increases the likelihood and perceived acceptability of suppressing more speech. What has happened as a result of this ad demonstates Mill's axiom that the remedy for speech you don't like is not suppression but simply more speech.

  • Announcing a new partnership between Mondoweiss and Salon
    • Mondo going mainstream. Terrific news. It's recognition of the great writers, researchers and thinkers on Mondoweiss.

      Well done!!

      John Mullen

  • 'Death of a Salesman' came out of an intermarriage
    • Philip,
      Thanks for great thoughts about Miller's masterpiece. I recall seeing it while in grad school and the guy I was with said as we were leaving something like, "I think I have a clue about how the Greeks felt after seeing a tragedy." His father, like mine, was a salesman, but that's not in any way an advantage as the themes are so universal.
      I taught the play for years in Intro to Philosophy relating it to Marx's early ideas about alienation: from labor, self, others and nature. It fit perfectly though I doubt Miller intended it.
      You are a great writer!

      John Mullen

  • My spirit is American (a religious manifesto)
    • One of the most heartfelt and beautiful tributes to the America that good people seek that I have ever read. Thank you, Phil

      John Mullen

  • Dershowitz wants MJ Rosenberg fired for daring to stop Iran war push
    • M.J. Rosenberg is a courageous man. Imagine the pressure he's under. I salute him.

      If I were forced to come with an alternative to "Israel Firster" to describe the likes of Dersh (and don't forget Senators Leiberman and Casey) I'd consider "Israel Onlyers".

  • 'Tablet' says writers who talk about Israel Firsters are channeling Hitler
    • As a former logic prof, I like to spot patterns of reasoning. Here's one:
      Critic A (of Likud policies) states "X" or uses the phrase "Y".
      Past antisemites have stated "X" or used the phrase "Y"
      Therefore: Critic A is an antisemite

      Recall Dershowitz's minions culling antisemitic websites to find ideas or words that Walt and Mearsheimer had stated or used. Ackerman links to an article that dredged up earlier uses by antisemites of "Israel firster" so Philip Weiss will be convinced never to use the phrase. Do I dare announce that I'm hungry? It's surely a stock pronouncement of David Duke. My goodness, I'd be channeling David Duke!

      The logical fallacy of evaluating an idea by its "pedigree" (as Ackerman put it) appears in every logic text and will be easily spotted by any freshman logic student.

  • Thank you!
    • Congratulations Philip and Adam. Even more, thanks for your great work and your human spirit. There's nothing like mondweiss.

      John Mullen

  • Welcome Annie Robbins as Writer at Large
  • 'If Rosa Parks could have called a press conference it would have looked like this'
    • Thanks, Annie.

      You are wonderful and these young people are so incrediblt brave! It is very inspiring.

  • 'NYT' correspondent in Israel is 'thoroughly Israeli'
    • I'm not so much concerned with reporters from the countries they report on. I am concerned with U.S. government foreign policy and military decision makers who hold citizenship in additional countries. Does anyone know how many G. W. Bush and/or Barack Obama advisors and decision makers hold Israeli citizenship?

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