Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 164 (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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  • 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)
  • Responding to the (de)humanization of Palestinians (Updated)
    • An incisive and very human letter. Ms. Joseph's comments were inaccurate and potentially damaging in just the ways that Mr. Atshan describes.

      In addition he raises a point that gets much too little analysis. To restrict the emotional negatives of the word "terrorism/terrorist" to non-state agents is little more than the well-armed definitionally justifying their own slaughter of civilians. Governments do in fact terrorize and kill civilians, most often with full fore-knowledge of what their actions will reap, while writing off the civilian suffering as "collateral damage" rendered necessary and excusable by some political objective. Why should that escape the horrific associations that rightly surround actions that are "terrorist"?

  • 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 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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