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Total number of comments: 434 (since 2009-12-05 17:24:19)

john douglas

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

Showing comments 434 - 401

  • Today's lead 'NY Times' article on the Gaza massacre is a model of dishonesty
    • "We suspect he [Halbfinger] is under tremendous pressure —" What pressure could be great when compared with what he is lying about. Might he get fired? If so he might be able to get a job where he's required to tell the truth. Otherwise, great work, James North.

  • The end of exclusivity
  • Roger Cohen scares his readers: 'the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state'
    • The eye of an eagle, RoHa. Do you hire out as a line editor?

    • Thanks to Joseph Levine for a fine essay. I have one small hesitation.

      Roger Cohen writes, "...“the right of return is flimsy code for the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state”? To which Joseph Levine writes that when the world turned against Apartheid in South Africa, " ... no one ever talked about this as the “destruction” of South Africa."

      Stating the analogy this way obscures an important point. Cohen didn't reference "the destruction of Israel". It's the destruction of Israel "as a Jewish state," a state governed by and for a particular ethno/religious group at the expense of another. In fact almost everyone who who opposed South African apartheid, was opposing a state governed by and for a particular racial/cultural group at the expense of another. That was and is the point.

    • Thanks to Joseph Levine for a fine essay. I have one small hesitation.

      Roger Cohen writes, "...“the right of return is flimsy code for the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state”? To which Joseph Levine writes that when the world turned against Apartheid in South Africa, " ... no one ever talked about this as the “destruction” of South Africa."

      Stating the analogy this way obscures an important point. Cohen didn't reference "the destruction of Israel". It's the destruction of Israel "as a Jewish state," a state governed by and for a particular ethno/religious group at the expense of another. In fact almost everyone who who opposed South African apartheid, was opposing a state governed by and for a particular racial/cultural group at the expense of another.

  • Israel and its Democratic Party friends complain -- Trump gave Syria to Russia 'on a silver platter'
    • The goal here for Israel and its firsters is not regime change, it's failed states. This leaves Israel to take what it wants. The first thing out of Netanyahu's mouth when Syria collapsed was the Golan Heights - all those grapes. No one thinks that if the US were to throw out the mullahs, that a stable situation would develop. It's not the 1950s. What the Israel-firsters want for the middle east is human chaos.

  • Jews and trauma
    • Hophmi's written the usual nonsense about self-hatred. That claim made about someone has no more cognitive meaning than, "Well, I don't like what you write. I want you to feel bad." It's like a kid in a schoolyard, "Your mother's fat!" In any case, even if someone were motivated to say something because he disliked his own ethnic grouping, whatever he said would still be either true or not. The motive for saying it is irrelevant. Freshman logic students know that.

    • Statements that can in principle, even hypothetically, be neither confirmed nor falsified are meaningless. Golda's statements about unconsciously doing this or that were pure blather. Claims that some artificially constructed grouping needs to work out something is wasted breath. Grover's claims about what someone is "really" doing, under the surface, hidden from self and others is pure claptrap. It's all using space and time and energy for no practical purpose. Dr. Freud has no clothes. He was naked from the beginning. Let's get on with business.

  • Israeli snipers shoot 6 Palestinian journalists, killing one--making international headlines
    • As a progressive site, MSNBC is a fraud. It's belligerently pro-war, knee-jerk anti-Russian and silent, deadly silent, on Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people.

      If a news/opinion site or newspaper had been deliberately, calculatedly silent on South African apartheid, would anyone have called it progressive?

      Ditto for the mainstream Democratic Party.

  • 'NY Times' continues to whitewash Israel's crimes on the Gaza border
    • In a Times' piece written by Isabel Kershner and Iyad Adabuheweila there is a photo of the Palestinian encampment that serves the massive protest. The caption under the photo,

      "Palestinians are protesting the more than a decade-long economic blockade of Gaza by Israel, and to demand a right of return for Palestinian refugees to the lands that became Israel 70 years ago."

      Has anyone ever counted the thousands of distinct tactics of lying that the NY Times employs in reporting on Palestine/Israel?

  • Schumer says he opposed the Iran deal because of 'threat to Israel'
    • The college age students, including the amazing Jewish Voice for Peace, are turning away from Israel because, (see Schumer) "The young people in America do not know Israel’s story." Of course, it's exactly the opposite. Through online sites that correct the biases of MSM (Thank you, Mondoweiss) and social media (and the conscience to inquire and the courage to oppose) the youth of the US that was once solidly Israel's is no longer. This is all to the good.

  • AIPAC panics over progressives abandoning Israel
    • An "ethnic democracy". Have there been other ethnic democracies? South Africa pre-Mandela? Or, closer to home, when Donald expresses his preference for fewer Mexicans and more Norwegians? When "white nationalists" excoriate Jews, are they proponents of democracy (with an insignificant limitation or two)? "Ethnic democracy", it's not a slippery slope, it's a bobsled run.

  • AIPAC conference will feature lots of liberal Democratic speakers
    • Moulton entered Congress by defeating long-time Dem incumbent John Tierney, lazy and ineffectual, except that he crossed the lobby a couple of times. Moulton carries a "Vote for Me for President" sign across his front teeth. He's not going to make Tierney's mistake.

  • Skeptics who see Russiagate as warmongering will never get respect in the press
    • One of the many ways that Trump is hurting the US is that progressives are so intent upon discrediting him (as if he hasn't done it himself) that it's made them stupid. They feel an urgent need to exaggerate the import of the cyber tampering so that when Trump is connected to it, they can do him in (and leave us with Pence - that's smart.). One stupidity of the progressives in Congress and the media is the complete lack of context in expressing their horror at tampering from Russia. Suppose Russians did it, suppose even that Putin ordered it. What did they do? They meddled in our elections. Suppose even that they pushed Trump' over the top. Is there no one to point out that this in everyday business for US intelligence operatives. They do it in their sleep. It's so commonplace they nod off while doing it. Funding favored foreign candidates, pouring propaganda into other countries, overthrowing elected and unelected leaders, financing proxy wars against regimes the US likes even less than the regime they fund, invading countries to secure their resources. Vietnam, Nicaragua, Chile, soon Venezuela, Libya, Iran (whom the US might attack when Israel makes the call), Guatemala, Syria, Ukraine. Millions dead. And Russians, maybe officially and maybe not, hacked the corrupt DNC. What utter stupidity to pretend that's a big deal, to pretend US innocence. Rachel Maddow, PhD in hand, either doesn't have a clue or is a gigantic hypocrite. Matthews definitely doesn't have a clue.

  • Colorado congressman's wife encourages messianic Jews to seize Muslim holy site in Jerusalem-- 'Say, It's ours!'
    • Are those "defenders of the Temple Mount" really messianic Jews? When I was in the Holy Land travel business in a previous life, that group, which includes the "Jews for Jesus crowd, was despised more even than the "Arabs."

  • 'NYT' writers slam left for intolerance of dissent-- on Israel panel that excludes anti-Zionists and Palestinians
    • Cohen states, "We don’t want safe spaces in universities. That’s the last thing we want. Universities should be profoundly unsafe."

      I agree wholeheartedly with Cohen. But what a "safe space" he picked to state it in.

  • Former president of Modern Language Association resigns following decision to ban debate on BDS
    • This is amazing. Almost beyond comprehension to this retired academic. A huge academic institution, whose membership will no doubt overwhelmingly self-identify as liberal/progressive, votes to prohibit even a discussion of what is one of the world's greatest, most evil, most systematic system of cultural denial, and cultural genocide. All people of good faith and half a brain recoil at holocaust denial, what about Nakba denial? The worst I've said about the MLA in the past is that too many loonies, with their looney theories, show up at their convention. Let's add to that now that its leaders are hypocrites and liars.

  • I'm blacklisted and banned from Israel, but for many others this is nothing new
    • If someone were to write a book about Zionist rhetoric, the many sneaky little things they do to "make the weaker arguments seem the stronger" there could be a chapter on Emet. Return to "Israel proper"? Where is that? Is there such a place? Proper? "so-called descendents", just slip it in there, no reasoning, creeps argue that way. "those who say they ... were forced out." as if there were doubt. Slippery Emet knows there's no doubt, but wants to cast it anyway. A liar. "There is no consensus ..." about what? Emet doesn't say. There is certainly no consensus among Jewish Israelis about how much Palestinian land to steal. Why hasn't Emet given it up? Joined the human rights campaign. Be a mensch rather than acting like a useless idiot.

  • Open Letter to Ben Jealous: Please take a progressive stand on Palestine
    • This is an excellent letter. It speaks the truth and Candidate Jealous knows that. So now it's a wait to see if he has the character to favor truth over his, or his party's, perceived need to protect themselves against Aipac's wrath and the loss of pro-Israel money. Obama was a disappointment on this score.

  • Why I am not at the MLA
    • As a philosopher and long time admirer of Kwame Appiah, I'm very disappointed in him and, to the extent that he represents other philosophers, in my colleagues.

  • 'We should exact a price' from Ahed Tamimi 'in the dark,' Israeli journalist says
    • I don't know what went on in that soldier's mind after he was slapped. Thinking about it brought to mind the ambivalence in the minds of some the ethnically cleansing gang members in Palestine prior to independence, as described in Yizhar's wonderful novel of that time. If by chance that soldier, knowing what he could expect, simply refused to stoop to harming a teenage girl, then he deserves praise for that.

  • How corporate media tacitly justify the murder of Palestinian children
    • This is such an important point that Steven Salaita is making. In the American media Israeli forces act only "in response to" and so are always justified. Palestinians never act "in response to" and so are always the aggressor. The media purposely enters the story at the point where Palestinians have just acted, denying them the benefit of context, a luxury provided only to the Israelis.
      What does this imply about Palestinians? Their acts are not a consequence of rational or moral deliberation. How, then, shall we understand these acts? Explosions of evil. Blasts of hatred. Unmotivated violence. In any of these cases, they are not the actions of human beings. They are beneath human status. This is what the media leave their readers and watchers with.

  • Bret Stephens equates anti-Zionists with white nationalists in the 'New York Times'
    • Jerry. If the Jews of Europe are correct to include first century, Judean Jews in their "we", and if it is correct that first century Jews were were expelled by Romans, and if a land that a "we" lived in centuries ago legitimately belongs to every present member of that "we", and if that "we" has the legitimate right to expel the "non-we" who have lived there for centuries, then the Jews of Europe would have the right to expel the Arabs living in and around Ur, and the people of Crete would have the right to expel anyone living in and around Philistia., including any actually indigenous Jews who had made war against and expelled them.

  • American Jewry and Israel, unbound
    • JERRY: "You will probably respond by saying, what about the Palestinian’s right of self determination, and I will answer, they are indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula. Let them return to their native homeland. The base from which the Arab expansion began in the seventh century A.D."

      What utter nonsense. Taking the mythological tales of the Tanakh as serious history, where would Jerry have the Jewish people, from Israel and Brooklyn, return to (paraphrasing), "... they are the indigenous people of of Ur (Abram's home town) ... Let them return to their native homeland (Kuwait). The base from which the Jewish expansion began in 1900 BCE."

  • Alternative travel facts from 'the Tuscany of the Middle East'
    • A Palestinian "stealing" a few olives from land stolen from Palestinians. I guess that makes Palestinians "Indian Givers".

  • After article was rejected and publishers yawned, Walt and Mearsheimer dropped 'The Israel Lobby' in 2005
  • Jew and Israeli: Solomon Schechter and Shlomo Sand
    • I appreciate yonah's writing. But the idea that a human being has a "true self" or "essence" based upon some unchosen trait is untenable on its face. First, it is perhaps the most insidious, brutal idea that humans have created. I wonder if any other idea in history has caused more human misery; racism, sexual discrimination, add nowadays discrimination against trans people, nationalist wars, the stupid racialist theories of Nazis and others, slavery. Secondly, it is intellectually indefensible as a denial of individual freedom, of the idea that a person owns his or her own life. Edith Stein joins a Carmelite convent, choosing no longer to be (that is, to "be") a Jew, dies in Auschwitz and is declared a Roman Catholic saint. It was the Nazis who insisted that she was Jewish despite her choices. John Silber, former philosopher and president of Boston University was once asked how discovering late in life that he "was Jewish" affected his sense of himself. He said it did not, and for him to think that it should would be to adopt the discreditable philosophy of the Nazis.

  • 'Irreplaceable bedrock' of U.S. backing for Israel is threatened by -- intermarriage
    • We hear more and more worry these days about the danger to Israel of the loss of U.S. support as a younger generation of American Jews reject identification with Israel. This worry is accompanied by (1) Lists of the dollars the U.S. has given Israel and (2) the frequent diplomatic isolation of the U.S. as it defends Israel against sanctions for human rights abuses.
      In other words, these authors claim that because of the past influence of Israel-devoted American Jews the U.S. has lost billions of dollars and status in the world.
      I thought that charges of dual loyalty lodged against American Jews were signs of anti-Semitic bias. But here they are as commonplace admissions.

  • Banned from Boston transit stations, pro-Palestine group drives mobile billboard in city streets
    • Banned in Boston!! It would be a sad day if the Supreme Court allowed the banning of political speech from a quasi-public, city owned area. Then again, there are the "free speech zones" surrounding political campaigns.

  • The US and Israel: 'An integrated political system'
    • Keith has a point about language that deserves more attention. What is now called non-interventionist used to be called isolationist. But to be an isolationist is bad or stupid or means that the US should have no commerce with other nations. How did isolationist get all those associations. "America First" may mean fix US schools rather than building a school system in Iraq or stop meddling in every corner of the world. But no. It means one is an anti-Semite because someone who once used the term was an anti-Semite. Nationalist could mean someone who stands straight during the "national" anthem. But no, it's now associated with racism and Xenophobia. Populist could mean working to have government serve the people rather than the rich. But it's now pejorative, though I'm not sure what its crime is. Then there is "anarchist" and "communist" and (before Bernie) "socialist". Terrible things all. These meaning manipulations have in common that they are employed to put down attempts to curb the power of elites, including the backers of globalization. The MSM is rife with this.

  • Charges against 'Israel Victory Caucus' protest show dissent is being criminalized under Trump
  • Remembering Jean Stein
  • Michael Walzer wonders if Israel 'will let me in'
    • I don't know how much of the support of Israel by Jews in the US is based on the idea that if things go bad for Jews in the US, Israel is a safe haven. But I wonder why no one has posed the question of whether, in the worst case of anti-Semitism, the doors of Israel will remain open or to which US Jews they will be open. If Walzer wonders now if he is welcome, does he wonder too whether Israel really is a reliable safety net?

  • 'NYT' runs Israeli's op-ed recommending that Palestinians 'emigrate voluntarily'
    • Regardless of the intentions of the NY Times in printing this, there is a potential upside. On the assumption that there are some liberal Zionists who are getting more and more uncomfortable with Israel's racism, lies and brutality, this gives them more reason, the stark truth of what is down the road for Palestinians in Palestine. I could also be true that, among settlers, the author is a moderate. It could be much worse than this.

    • Page: 4
  • 'New York Times' on Palestinians sounds like it's opining about 'Negro Problem'
    • Citizen, thanks for the reference. I had not seen it or any report of white SA deaths at near those figures. I'll need to check it out.

    • I've seen a lot of comparisons between Israel and pre-Mandela South Africa. And they are apt. But when whites lost the majority in SA, they didn't exactly become powerless. The French in Canada are not powerless.

      Has anyone actually produced an argument or prediction about what it would mean to jewish Israelis (at least the ones of good will) if the Arabs (Muslim and Christian) were to reach a population majority?

  • Liberal supporters of Israel slam Trump's 'terrifying' comments-- some saying Jews need to keep a majority
    • Why not tell our Zionist Progressive friends they can have Little Donald. Tell them US Progressives don't want his keep-America-white-and-male politics anyway. It wouldn't exactly be a paradigm shift for him to work on a keep-Israel-Jewish project. Offer him beachfront outside of Tel Aviv for the greatest tower ever built. So big...

    • Well, you tell our Progressive Zionist friends they can't borrow Little Donald until he finishes making America white and male again.

  • Under Trump we cannot expect 'the system' to protect us, but we can protect ourselves
    • I do not believe that speech deriving from hate (or stupidity, or frustration, or foolish religious notions, or crazy ethnic or racial theories, or communist leanings, or disagreement with one's government, or slavish devotion to Israel, or sexual humor or that supports Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood, or is anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, or that is pro-Catholic, pro-Jewish or pro-Muslim, or pro-Nazi, Pro-Republican or that hurts people's feelings or that favors legalized assault weapons or that supports free and open speech) - should be shut down. Speech in all these and many other categories should be allowed to happen. There are plenty of reasons why I think this. And anyone reading this can likely think of more and better reasons; tactical, strategic, historical, intellectual, moral.
      I do believe in loud, angry protest, especially angry protest, confronting comfortable, cowardly, bigoted, stupid, money-groveling political and other leaders. It works. It scares and paralyzes them.

  • Dennis Ross's advice to Trump is 'bullshit, delusional or lying,' to gut two-state concept -- Peace Now
    • Dennis Ross spends his entire adult life making a two-state situation impossible and now declares it impossible. Has he set a date yet for the victory party?

  • Ellison assures Dems he has made up with Haim Saban despite 'anti-Semite' accusation
    • Tom Perez: "I don’t support the BDS movement because I think you look at many of the things that have been said by that movement, and I think they have been very destructive. Rather than forging consensus they’ve torn us apart. . . "

      Who's this "us" Tom? You mean they threaten to tear the Democratic Party apart from the money pot? Both Trump and Bernie showed that the monied influence-buying class is not essential when a campaign strikes a nerve.

  • Obama 'betrayed' American Jews and Trump is a 'swineherd' -- Bernard-Henri Levy
    • I honestly cannot think of one person in all the world, all the galaxies, that is more suited for a pie-the-face than he is. And to watch that guy run from the deadly threat of whipped cream, yelling "Oh no!!" In these dark times it raised my mood.

    • Bernard-Henri Levy is auditioning for Eli Wiesel's. Want to know what you as a Jewish person is supposed to think? Ask B-H. I cringe when I read him referred to as a philosopher, the self-promoting faker. Bring me Camus or Russell or Dewey. Bring me Peter Singer, not this hollow, craven fashion plate who never saw a mike he didn't seek out to fill with the most banal rubbish.

  • Trump 'promise' to move US embassy to Jerusalem stirs international furor
  • Letter to Fordham: 'Have you ever seen an instance where a university gains in the long run from speech suppression?'
  • The truck attack that killed four Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem was not 'terrorism'
    • This is a thorough treatment of Netanyahu's use of the emotional residue of the words "terrorist" and "terror". I have two thoughts. The first is along the lines of what is good for the goose... If Netanyahu wants to loosen the the boundaries of the words, for example by allowing into it the cases of military victims, then others should allow in the case of military perpetrators. What could be the rationale for NOT calling a rocket/bombing program that kills 550 children or a gunboat attack that kills four boys playing football on a beach "terrorism", and NOT calling the IDF a "terrorist" organization.
      The second point is that the use of the word "terrorism" has only one real function, as propaganda in favor of established governments and their established forces, no matter how corrupt, by demonizing that only way of fighting war that the weaker half of asymmetrical conflicts will ever have. It is a linguistic trick used by the powerful to bolster the powerful.

  • There is no such thing as 'Progressive Except Palestine'
    • What are they? Conservative ...": Political labels applied to people attempt to accumulate positions on specific issues into one category, liberal, progressive, radical right, etc. It promotes laziness, if Mary is against legal abortion she's a conservative and so must be for the death penalty and against regulations. This is easily manipulated, as when Reagan besmirched "liberal" so now we have a fresh new "progressive." Nowadays the terms "nationalism" and "populist" are being associated with skinheads and other racists, thus favoring the free trade globalists who are too cosmo to give a shit about their own country. So I think political labels applied to people are to be avoided whenever possible.

    • I think from a pragmatic, rhetorical standpoint PEP is a useful term. It is an objectification of a kind of complacent inconsistency, "I love all poor undocumented people, and Palestinians have no right to be treated like human beings." Secondly, I've never thought of PEP as referring to "Progressives who favor persecuting Palestinians." (I would agree there can be no such animal.) I've thought of PEPs as "persons who have progressive views on how to treat Xs, Ys and all the world, but never when it comes to how to treat Palestinians." PEP is a well deserved slur on such people that could make some reconsider. Some words can have the power to change people and PEP may be one of them.

  • Love in the age of Trump
    • Dinner with friends on the Saturday before new year's of course prompted mountains of hand wringing, jabs, jokes and diagnoses straight from the DSM concerning The Donald (as I knew him during four lost decades living in New York), most of which thoroughly deserved and reasonable. I asked politely if, it being almost a new year, could I mention a small opening for optimism. Snickers followed, but I was allowed, and mentioned the vast forces in the US and EU frothing for a return to the Cold War, with is guaranteed stream of billions for the chosen few, and how under President Hillary this would have been a certainty and how under The Donald it just might, just might mind you, not happen. I was able, because I was right, to beat back a mountain of fury amounting in the end to one claim (ironically modelled loosely on a Gospel quote) "no good could come from Trump Tower."

  • Keith Ellison seeks to placate Israel lobby, by saying he is against BDS
    • What a horror. A foreign country using American supporters to influence elections and policies in the US. Oh, the country is Israel. Never mind.
      Seriously, this is a disappointment. The first of many steps to come that reduce the chance of the Democratic Party's taking clear, moral positions for workers and for people oppressed by those with greater clout. And it's the first public lie. Ellison knows he's lying when he says that BDS will not help produce a two state solution.
      By the way, I don't believe Schumer wanted Ellison to head the DNC. He backs him to gets credits with the Bernie people knowing that the lobby will kill it.

  • When Sanders changed political reality. And hasbara culture slapped him down.
    • Memories of the recent presidential election. Wasn't it widely judged to be terrible that another country, Russia, was trying to influence US politics partly though a politician favorable to Russia? Has Israel ever tried to influence US politics through favorable US politicians?
      And weren't the Democratic centrists (liberal democrat interventionists) cheering at the charge that Trump's is a "puppet for Putin?" But considering the reaction to Bernie Sanders who spoke obvious truth about Israel, wouldn't it be fair (and consistent to boot) to call Bernie's accusers "puppets for Netanyahu?" Fair is fair.

  • Israel supporter refuses to share Bard stage with Dima Khalidi and cites stereotypes about Jews smelling bad
    • Marcus: “For all I know she is a very lovely person. She happens to be the president of an organization that has taken positions because of which I thought that having her in the same conversation would posture the issue differently than I felt comfortable with.”

      I almost can't imagine what he's talking about here and in the other quotes, and it's not just the horribly tortured grammar.

      Maybe he's saying: "I won't talk about whether anti-Semitism is bad or good, Khalidi thinks BDS is good, BDS is anti-Semitic so Khalidi thinks anti-Semitism is good so I won't talk while she is in the room?" There are more than several reasons why that's pretty stupid.

      And what's all this about smells? At first I thought he was claiming that Khalidi said that. But he seems not to be claiming that.

      Maybe it's just that he knows that he'll get his backside whupped if he debates an intelligent woman supporting Palestinians and the BDS because they are in the right so he utters nonsensical gibberish as a way to escape. Poor man should find a different occupation.

  • NYC city council anti-BDS bill meets resistance from protesters
  • It's war between Netanyahu and the generals (and the PM may just have lost the corporal)
    • Someone asks,

      "Name the middle eastern country with a government that's not trustworthy, appealing to a mob that needs watching and with an army that monitors it all to assure some brand of moderation."

      Historically one thinks of Turkey, Egypt, etc., but not the USA's 51st State, the "only democracy in the Middle East." Irony rules the day. Then again, if the US elections go one of the two ways, it could describe the USA itself.

  • 'NY Times' rigs a purported news article to push U.S. escalation in Syria
    • And why would Dennis Ross and the Washington Foreign Policy establishment want to kill Assad and reduce Syria to the rubble of a failed state? Netanyahu let the cat out of the bag months ago. The Golan Heights will be Israel's in perpetuity.

      And then, too, there are the defense industry's lobbyists throughout the Pentagon, State Department, law offices and "Think Tanks"of Washington. And don't forget CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX and MSNBC.

      Only on the WEB and a few remaining print publications is a side presented that would actually be good for the US and its citizens. Thanks one more time to James North.

  • Liberal Zionists see 'window of opportunity' for two states in last three months of Obama administration
    • One "gift" would be to refuse any more US aid to Israeli, slated now to be 50 Billion over ten years, until Israel dismantles 50% of existing, illegal settlements.

  • Liel Leibovitz wants to excommunicate most American Jews, beginning with Beinart
    • Sorry, Stogumber. I don't understand your points. Eliminate all human communities?

      John66, Shared blood cannot generate obligations. Eljay is right about that. A grown adult has no obligation to an elderly Father who deserted his family. Tying blood to moral obligation is a recipe for a incalculable injustice. A mother has obligations to her child based not on blood but on the mother's decision to bring the child into existence. An adopting mother's decision to adopt creates the same obligations. All this is the one of the few interpretations of "All people are created equal." that makes sense.

    • The worst idea in human history: Three babies in the neonatal room. Baby A is a girl and so should not be allowed to a career.. Baby B is dark skinned with ancestors from Africa and so has no right to live in my neighborhood. Baby C has parents named Goldberg and Weinstein and so should support Israel. The idea is essentialism, that people are born with differential rights and obligations. It is the source of humanity's cruelest atrocities. It's falsehood is the core of the European enlightenment, of equality under law and rules of acceptable behavior, and has been political dynamite after being articulated by Locke and Jefferson.

  • 'Democracy' and 'terrorism' and the parameters of thinkable thought
    • Great article. I've written somewhere that discussions about foreign policy in the west would clarify and shift if the word "terrorist" were simply eliminated (Hamas fighters rather than Hamas terrorists, etc.). Okay, too much to ask. How about then a campaign to eliminate the free ride that terrorizing governments get from the fact that the standard definition of "terrorism" excludes government forces. The slogan?: "Governments can be terrorists too." Begin by using the term against governments everyone is instructed to hate and let it seep out from there. Frank Luntz would advise it if he were on the right side.

  • Scottish football fans raise over 100,000 pounds for Palestine following flag controversy
    • My father was raised in a tenement as one of nine children in the Gorbals, the most notorious of Glasgow's slums. He was an ardent Celtics fan (until he moved to Boston at age 21 and got a Red Sox hat.) This display of caring and good sense by the Scots makes me proud.

  • Former AIPAC official says Israel should get no US aid without ending 'oppressive' settlements
    • THE $40 Billion out of the pockets of American workers is not an "aid" package because Israel does not need it. It is not a "military" aid package because money is fungible. If we give them $1 Billion in fighter jets that's just $1 Billion they won't have to spend on the fighter jets. It's political extortion money that's used to settle land that's not theirs. Of course it's also a huge welfare payment to the American arms industry, since it assures that Israel will buy from US manufacturers.

  • Sam Harris and the politics of 'good intentions'
    • A small point first. Harris is not a famed neuroscientist. He has made no contributions of any note to that area of science.
      My main point is that one of the reasons Harris places such a great emphasis upon the importance of intention is to hold Israel blameless for the thousands of Palestinians killed by the IDF and Israeli policy in general. His claim is that the "terrorism" of Hamas is evil whereas the "collateral damage" of 500 Gazan children is an unintended consequence of proper behavior and so it is morally acceptable. This hinges on the claim that the suffering by collateral damage is unintended whereas the suffering by terrorism is intentional. But this is untrue. In most cases, and certainly in Gaza 2014, the suffering by collateral damage was predictable and was at best necessary in order to kill Hamas soldiers. It was, therefore, a decision to kill civilians in order to achieve the political goal of punishing Hamas. Except for the fact that the Israeli killers were soldiers (excluded by governments' definitions of terrorism) collateral damage fits the definition of terrorism. The morality of the two is the same.
      Harris' example of the accidental killing of the hostage is therefore unlike collateral damage in that the hostage's death was surprising and unpredicted. This is not true of the deaths of the 500 children in 2014. Or suppose in Harris' example, the shooter used a rocket propelled grenade and killed both and 20 others near them and did it without remorse. The deaths were intentional and morally blameworthy.

  • Sanders delegates recount 'Orwellian' message control by Clinton supporters during DNC
    • When LBJ withdrew as a candidate as a result, I thought at least, of Gene McCarthy, I was furious at Bobby Kennedy for stepping in. I literally ran to the McCarthy HQ in Boston to volunteer. I voted for Bernie in the primary, but in my seconds of good judgment I knew he would have been mowed over by the presidency. The same, for Clean Gene. Bobby was tough. Hillary is tough. Anger at Humphrey gave us Nixon. Wison's pissed. He gave a shit. But there's nothing in the piece that gives me a good reason not to vote for Hillary. She lies. So? She should be in jail. Horse [email protected] Too much is at stake for this nonsense.

  • With no evidence except ethnicity, media declared Nice attack terrorism
    • To be thought a "terrorist" is today an automatic condemnation of the worst kind. The word carries with it immense negative emotion that makes the word's manipulation inevitable, and too appealing not to be employed. A thought experiment: Suppose the word was banned from all media for one month. How would the news read and sound then? Rather bland certainly, in comparison. More than that, without the word, it would be difficult for Israel and the west to project its almost unquestioned moral superiority. "Today a Palestinian killed an Israeli with a knife." "Today US bombs in Iraq killed twenty civilians." Hmm. Not much clout there for the propagandists. Almost sounds like moral equivalence, can't have that. Even worse, suppose the word was required to be used to describe state actors (armies) rather than at present non-state actors. Fair? No. Clarifying? No. But neither is the present use, for example the way the word obscures the moral similarities between death by terrorism and death by careless/intentional collateral damage. World affairs would be far more accurately and ethically reported if the word "terrorist" and its cognates were to disappear. Or as a start, by putting "so-called" in front of "terrorist".

  • Video: 'Gaza in Context' says root of conflict is quest for Palestinian land, without Palestinians
    • This is a clear, well argued piece. I wish two other points had been made. First, that Jewish gangs were killing and displacing Palestinians long before the declaration of the Israeli State. A fact that gave surrounding Arab countries self-defence reasons to war against the newly declared state. Second, that while the press always explains Israeli military actions as a "reaction to" some Palestinian action. The press never considers what the Palestinian action was a "reaction to".

  • BDS is a war Israel can't win
    • Les raises an issue that needs developing. The anti-BDS forces in the US, US citizens almost entirely, are willing to have basic citizen rights - free speech and academic freedom - challenged and perhaps lessened permanently through the precedents they set - in order to protect Israel's program of ethnic cleansing and apartheid. Think New York's illustrious governor. This is Israel-firstism in the extreme.

  • Democratic Party leadership lines up against BDS -- and the 'nuts' who support it
    • The idea that Jewish Israelis, because they are Jewish, have a right to engage in apartheid and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians is as thoroughly racist as any other idea I could imagine. To claim that Jewish Israelis should pay no price, however nonviolent, for that behavior, and thus pave the way for them to continue it, is thoroughly racist as well. While politicians, including Sen. Schumer, Rep. Israel and Gov. Cuomo, wail about Trump's racist statements, their opposition to BDS places them as far into the dark cavern of racists as anything Trump has ever spouted.

      To prohibit a person from doing business with the state or federal government because he or she refuses business to Israel out of protest against Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing, is a gross violation of first amendment rights of protest and so is unAmerican as well as racist.

  • Max Boot has perfect propaganda on murdering medic-- but Jeffrey Goldberg is silent
    • The fact that the point made by hophmi was made by hophmi is not a reason to reject it. The horrors that befell the people of Vietnam, Iraq and other places at US hands and for no reason that would even begin to justify them, makes it very difficult to criticize another country's behavior with the phrase, "It would never happen here in the US." Of course there are other critical avenues that are entirely legitimate in condemning Israel's behavior towards the Palestinian people.

  • JM Coetzee and Colum McCann headline 9th Annual Palestine Festival of Literature
    • This is such an impressive and important event, important to counter the dehumanized image of Palestinians that Israel seeks in so many ways to create. Insisting to refer to Palestinians as Arabs (the great mass of others) rather than Palestinians. Manipulating the word used to designate Palestinians who sought to return to the villages they had been forced to leave - "refugees" then "infiltrators" then "terrorists". Trying to trivialize the word "Nakba", using it to describe a sports loss. The constant use of the term "terrorist" even when the one attacked is a soldier (and the attacker is an adolescent). Literature is about language and a love of literature, written and oral, is about being human. I wish I could be there.

  • Saying Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state is not anti-Semitic
    • I the matter of what the UC Regents report concluded, I think Phil has not quoted the final approved document of March 24, 2016. Phil's quote is:

      "Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California."

      I expect this comes from the earlier working group's draft. The final document states something different.

      "Anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism and other forms of discrimination have no place at the University of California."

      The latter is rather innocuous since anti-Semitic forms of anything has no place anywhere. This would explain, I think, why most news outlets emphasized that the report rejected the equation of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. In effect the process pushed by the anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism people left them worse off, poetic justice for instigating a bogus battle from the beginning.

  • Maryland coalition defeats anti-BDS bill in State Assembly
    • This is good news. It is becoming clear that the push for anti-BDS laws can work in favor of the pro-Palestinian movement when the push for such laws are clearly (and truthfully) represented as a threat to the free speech of every American.

  • Sanders's leftwing base made him take on Netanyahu
    • Krauss, That's a really interesting and link. I gives a view of how the Lobby works at a local level with detail that I never knew about about. Before someone even has a campaign manager they need their AIPAC talking points. Thanks.

  • Sanders hires a Jewish critic of Israel, as Clinton gets 'Daily News' nod as 'warrior realist'
    • RE: "Big, fat, hairy deal of a difference, ain’t it?"

      echinoccus, Not sure exactly your point but I think there's an important difference between saying anti-Zionism is by its nature anti-Semitic (which is absurd and the main tactic to shut down debate on BDS) and saying that anti-Zionism is sometimes motivated by anti-Semitism (which is likely true and also irrelevant.) I understand the Regents' statement as a defeat for the anti-BDS crowd who try to shut down BDS by claiming it to be anti-Semitic.

    • PHIL: "In March she denounced the University of California regents’ statement that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism."

      This caught my eye because the Regents did not make such a statement. Zimmerman's tweet urged readers to tell the Regents that anti-Zionism is not racism (and so not anti-Semitism) but was written five days before the regents' statement. So she was not denouncing the Regents' statement, which in fact suggested that some forms of anti-Zionism were anti-Semitic.

  • Attachment to Israel is 'central part of Jewish identity,' Forward editor says
    • During the Vietnam period campuses in the US were afire with anti-American rhetoric. Amerika the fascist, imperialist, racist nation. "Hey hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today." Famous faculty members gave "teach-ins" that enumerated the evils of the war and the national corruption from which it sprang. Leftist students literally could not understand support for the war from conservative fellow students. What did the "Young Republicans" do during this period? Did they demand censorship? Did they complain about not feeling safe? Did they claim victimhood arising from anti-Americanism? Were there commissions to investigate. Did they equate the civil rights movement with anti-Americanism? Did they claim that leftist faculty members could not be trusted to teach? I recall none of that, at least until the rise of the neocon right, which was later.

    • "She [Eisner} endorses the California Regents recent policy pronouncement saying that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism ..."

      I see a lot to criticize in the Regents' Document, but I do not see in there the claim that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. In fact I see an implicit denial of that claim when the document states that there is no place on campus for "anti-Semitism or anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism." Of course there are some who oppose Zionism because they are anti-Semites. But there are others who oppose Zionism out of a commitment to human rights and/or principles of equality. The document, produced no doubt under intense political pressure, does seem to recognize this, even if in a backhanded way.

      By the way, if the definition of anti-Semitism needs a re-working in the light of recent developments so also does the definition of Zionism. Zionism as practiced and accepted by Zionists is not merely an expression of support for the State of Israel. To be a Zionist in today's world is to assert that the crimes committed against the Palestinian people are justified by the creation and expansion of Israel.

  • Shocker: 'NYT' forum on anti-Zionism tilts toward equating Zionism with racism
    • Thanks for this, Phil. I admire your persistent optimism. Cynicism takes none of the energy and requires none of the courage of optimism. And too, I think that on most matters of human justice, and in the long run, persistent optimism is the closest stance to realism.

  • 'Zionism is nationalism, not Judaism,' a former Hebrew school teacher explains
    • The last thing that I would want to see is for someone to disappear simply for having contrary views, which are required to prevent groupthink and preaching to the choir. Insults, motive mongering and trivial snarkiness would not be missed, however, no matter where they come from.

    • hophmi seems like a pretty smart guy/woman. If something well-reasoned or interesting comes out, I'd say respond to it. But usually it's just a gratuitous insult or some trivial snark. I don't know why people bother. Basic Skinnerian principles: if a behavior receives no recognition/consequences, it disappears. I get bored quickly with the hophni sub-threads, though I think some intelligent pro-Zionist commentators would be interesting.

  • Netanyahu and Sen. Leahy tangle over Israel's killing of Hadeel Hashlamoun, 18
    • Eleven members of Congress today, fifteen tomorrow, and then? Congratulations to the eleven.

  • Public Theater made a 'firm commitment' to Palestinian play-- I wouldn't have contributed otherwise
    • The kind of liberals that give liberals a bad name. One can be a deceitful propagandist by means of what one says and equally by what one prevents from being said. Cowards do it the second way and then make matters even worse by trying to worm out of it.

      Those who made the calls are just as bad, your know, "This TFT thing is, well, quite concerning. Of course I support the Theater. How much did I give last year? Oh, it doesn't matter, but I hadn't thought it would be used to, well, in this way. You understand what I'm saying, don't you?"

  • Romney echoes neocons: Trump will lead U.S. 'into the abyss'
    • Just when I had concluded that "Trump would make a horrible president" rivaled "Cogito ergo sum" in its absolute certainty comes this letter recommending against Trump and signed by a unique group of utter losers in the area of foreign policy. Have they been right about anything? Even on what's best for Israel, which they serve always before the US, they are consistently wrong. Should I re-evaluate Trump? Well, no.

  • Incident at Harvard involving donor influence and Palestine event has troubling implications for law school community
  • 'Other ways of being Jewish are available' -- a poetic response to expressions of hatred on Facebook
  • The list of foreign policy experts Bernie Sanders should be consulting
    • Stephen Cohen is a great choice. One of the very first to talk sense about the US's Ukraine disaster and the aggressive policies by NATO, including the US, against Russia. And Cohen's paid for his divergence from the orthodox narrative.

      Kissinger is poison.

  • NY's Public Theater cancels Palestinian production, 'The Siege,' it agreed to stage in May
    • The Zionist's futile attempt to let the people of the US know what's happening in Palestine has turned out to be a full scale attack on fee speech, academic freedom and artistic freedom.

  • Nobody cares that Bernie Sanders is Jewish
    • Clinton seems to have zero campaign enthusiasm outside of the 1970-80s feminists. She can't win on money alone unless she finds a way to pay people to vote for her. In NH there seemed to be a negative correlation between ads and success. Hillary needs young people in her campaign, door knockers, a cheering session, get out the vote chauffeurs. Even to attack Bernie is a risk at this point, but to attack him on Israel, on his lack of support for further oppressing Palestinians, is stupid in the extreme.

  • In yet another effort to revive dream of Jewish sovereignty, 'NYT' cites Thai restaurants in Tel Aviv
    • Is Erlanger a journalist? A reporter? Someone who discovers some fact, makes sure it's true, puts it in context and reports it? He refers to,

      "The return of the Jewish people to their biblical homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty ..."

      What's he talking about? A Biblical story of the United Kingship of Judea and Israel? Is this the sovereignty that has been resumed? It's a story. One with very little historical evidence. We may as well be talking about Atlantis. Ditto for the Roman expulsion. But even if the story resembles in some vague way what happened, it's about eighty years of sovereignty. Add the years after the Maccabee revolt (restricted to Judea), another one hundred. Is this journalism? Does any of this justify the phrase, "... the resumption of Jewish sovereignty?"

  • BDS movement faces attack in six state legislatures
    • If anything like these bills pass and then get approval in the courts it will do serious damage to the freedom of speech in the US, expanding beyond this issue to protest activities of many sorts. Isn't it enough that Israel gets billions in US tax dollars for military aid to squash Palestinians; that Israel drags us into horrible unjust wars; that it forces us, using threats against political parties and politicians, to prostitute ourselves and lie at the UN? The defense of Israel's indefensible actions must also require the watering down of free speech? The cowardliness of US leaders is disgusting.

  • Dennis Ross says Clinton was the only president to stamp down anti-Israel forces inside the White House
    • "Persuasive Definition" = "The manipulation of language to further your own advantage."

      Was the slaughter of 500 Palestinian children in 2014 and act of terrorism? Oh no, "terrorism" excludes violence by state military forces.

      Is Israel's treatment of Palestinians a case of apartheid? Oh no, "apartheid" refers only to a minority violating the rights of a majority, elsewhere requiring it to be a "large" majority .

      Is Israel's treatment of Palestinians "brutal"? Oh no, to be "brutal" an action must be worse than the actions of the people in close geographic proximity. Let's see. Was the anti-Semitism in Poland and Hungary in the Nazi era brutal? Ross, "Oh no, it was no worse than what the Germans were doing."

      I wonder if the AEI has a "Bureau of Persuasive Defining" somewhere in the basement of the Institute for Near East Studies.

  • Updated: Former French Justice Minister should face questions in NY about law barring BDS speech
    • This is not a bad development for BDS or those advocating for Palestine. It threatens people who are acting against an obviously oppressive regime as a matter of conscience and it highlights, explains and publicizes the BDS movement.

  • 'NYT's next Jerusalem chief routinely offers Israel as a model for American conduct
    • I don't know what Baker's intention was in writing what he did, but I don't see much to be upset about in these two comments if we focus on the points he makes.

      In the first, it is that that we should be dealing with other groups and countries to make prisoner swaps, just as others do. I'm happy to see him cite Israel since the right wing critics of the swap would be, by inference, bashing Israel.

      In the second, it is that we should expect terrorist attacks and learn to live with them as we live many statistically minor causes of death. (I would add, rather than allowing the boosters of the deep state to create an hysteria little different from the one long ago in my home city of Salem, MA.)

      Of course Israel does not take Palestinian attacks, ineffectual as they are, as a matter of course. They hype them in order to divert attention from Israeli crimes.

  • Small victories
    • This is a beautiful story, Alice Rothchild. The calm and lack of rancor of your presentation is particularly welcome, and you spirit of listening is is so important. A small victory, perhaps, but an example to others of how such victories can be achieved.

  • Sophisticated Orientalism in the New York Times
    • Thanks, Gamal.

    • I agree with James North that the attempt to explain the Saudi vs Iran divide as a direct consequence of the Sunni vs. Shiite issues of succession and the consequent theologies, histories of massacres and all the rest of the seventh and eight century goings on is both simplistic and condescending. Then too, "arihalli" has a good point, which is that this divide resulted in centuries of class differences between the poorer and more devout Shiites vs. the the wealthier and more secular Sunni.

      Isn't there an element of this in the US between the poorer, more rural and socially conservative Evangelicals cheering on Trump (so much irony there) and the more urban and socially liberal Anglicans (with their liberal Jewish allies), who ruled the US until recently, reacting in horror at what they see?.

  • Krugman's economy: I will spend none of my immense journalistic capital criticizing Israel or its lobby
    • Very good column, Phil. Here is the leading progressive economist, a thinker who has done a great service with his critique of austerity programs, both here and in the EU and a Nobel winner who has has sterling credibility as a progressive. It would be so important if he would address the ways that the US ties to Israel are harmful to the US, presumably his own country. The excuse that he will lose his ability to affect economic trends is lame and untrue. Imagine a Jewish Nobel winner being afraid to be labeled anti-Semitic. The contrast with Jimmy Carter in spinal strength is not favorable to Krugman. At very least he could declare his presumably everlasting commitment to Israel and then use his stature to show how its present path will lead to the end of Israel.

  • Obama wiretapped a cunning and dishonest foreign leader, for the sake of world peace
    • I hope that if and when the hearings take place on the spying, the administration is smart enough to take advantage of the opportunity. Number one, don't be defensive. When pressed, explain clearly why it was necessary? Israel was spying on the talks. Israel spied on The US secretary of State, Israel was attempting to prevent an agreement. The agreement and Iran's actions has already proven itself. Israel was colluding with American legislators to kill the agreement. The security of the American people is the first and foremost responsibility of any leader in DC.
      (Actually I don't believe this last sentence. Protecting the Constitution is the first responsiblity.)

  • Israeli ambassador flings Nazi label at Israeli leaders, after latest authoritarian step
    • RE: (For good reason; we all know that victims model their abuser when they gain any power.)

      I'm not sure about this as historically correct, unless "model" simply means that leaders of revolutions often become harsh people in the process. But if it is true, what does it imply for Palestinians when they eventually throw off the yoke?

  • 'Valentino's Ghost' makes comeback after 4 years of suppression
    • I recall being pleasantly surprised when I saw that the film Miral was playing in a town north of Boston and close by. When I got to the Lowes theater I was turned away. It could not be shown because of a problem in the projection room.

  • Palestinians took over in the afternoon, at the Haaretz NIF conference
    • Shavit: ". . . in exchange for [Israel's} keeping us Jewish, American Jews must support Israel in the U.S."

      What could this possibly mean? Question the Zionist project and you're not a real Jew? Not sufficiently Jewish? Betraying your people? Israeli Jews are the real Jews, American Jews can achieve this status only by supporting Israel?

  • Roger Cohen and Jeremy Ben-Ami go on the road for the two-state solution
    • Roger Cohen: "Onward to Britain where, at least when I was growing up, it was fine to be a Jew, but preferably to be a Jew in a whisper….. Everywhere one went there was this slight unease. And Herzl was right: half acceptance into Christian Europe was more dangerous than non-acceptance. …. So Jews need a homeland; they need the modern state of Israel.

      Is he really saying that Jews can live a very good life where Jews are a minority (e.g., England - where just about everyone seems to be a minority), except for that "slight unease" and, because of that "slight unease" there must be a Jewish controlled State, it must be in the Middle East, so there must be a permanent Palestinian diaspora, so the AD 1948 (and before) expulsions by Jews must hold but the (likely mythica) AD 70 expulsions by the Romans must be undone?
      Roger that?

  • Terrorism is an understandable response to west's wars in Middle East, realist and left writers say
    • An important element of this is linguistic. Whoever commits an act of terrorism is evil. The two terms "terrorism" and "evil" are linked so closely that to identify an act as "terrorist" requires no further proof that it, and its perpetrator, are evil, deserve death, do not deserve human rights, justifies killing the innocent to kill the terrorist. Once that's established, all that's necessary is to NEVER allow any of your own acts to be associated with the word, "terrorist", no matter how many they kill and maim, no matter how many children are set afire or blown to bits. It's not terrorism, it's, well, collateral damage.

      Terrorism and collateral damage. Both kill and maim noncombatants, mothers, small children, grandparents, whole extended families. Both are done for military and political gain. In neither case is the misery of children and mothers a surprise, certainly not in terrorist acts where the victims tend to be physically closer to the perpetrator. But when a rocket propelled grenade is fired into a house containing several terrorists and an extended family, both known to be there, there is no surprise. The killing of the grandfather of that family is as intentional as a doctor's sawing off a leg for a greater good. The main moral difference between collateral damage and terrorism is that the techniques of the former are so much more deadly. There is no way to calculate how greater is the misery caused by we non-terrorists over the misery caused by terrorists. We call a fourteen year old wielding a bread knife against a soldier in Kevlar a terrorist, and shoot the kid. But a drone operator who willingly kills a whole family to get one terrorist is a soldier. I may be proven wrong, but I've yet to see a good argument for the moral superiority of collateral damage over terrorism. Shouldn't we just bite the bullet and admit that the tactics used in war by the west are terrorist? Or maybe it's, collateral terrorism.

  • 'Untenable one-state reality' is taking hold, Kerry tells Israel supporters
    • JWalters: "It’s like trying [to] disarm a madman who could blow up the whole neighborhood."

      A brilliant way of putting an issue that should not be ignored.

    • The dream I referred to was not that of the founding Zionists. It was the dream/myth of an Israel where the desert was made to bloom, where the Jews of Ethiopia were magnanimously rescued and brought to their homeland, an Israel that Jews world-wide could rely upon for safety and where the defense forces of Israel could kick-ass at will (though always and only in Israel's defense). American Jews of my (advanced) age were raised on that dream/myth and are having difficulty seeing through it to reality.

    • I guess I have a different view about Kerry's speech. I don't know if he really believes the 2SS is still possible. But even if he doesn't, that speech was the the smartest way to talk to that crowd. What American politician has ever publicly described to a group of very influential American Jews in such clear terms the predicament that Israel is in and has brought upon itself by its settlement policies? I can't think of one. I don't mean that these conference goers didn't know it already, but this seems like the first time the secret has been brought into the open. There was a dream, a Jewish and democratic society. It was, as a dream, exclusionary and essentially undemocratic to be sure. But it was the dream of those Jewish Republicans. Kerry is saying to them, "You're on the verge of destroying your own dream." I think that's a big step in the right direction - which won't be the 2SS, that time has passed.

  • 'Absolute scum' -- Trump's frightening speech
    • I think Krauss has a point about the left's inability to connect with white blue-collar workers. The qualifier is that they be non-union. The left doesn't stir even union workers but the union leaders know where their bread is buttered and mediate the two. Hardhats loved Wallace and Agnew, who railed against the pointy-headed left and DC bureaucrats. Trump has the capacity to rally the same against the "elitists", the "intellectuals", the "liberals", with all the association that Reagan gave to the word. Biden could have been Obama's Agnew - given a couple of good speech writers. It would have worked, turned blue-collars against the right, but either no one asked or he refused.

    • It is true that shortly after becoming Secretary of State Hillary rather forcefully supported Obama's demand for no more settlements and an agreement along the lines of the 1967 borders.
      That brief shining moment ended when the Lobby coughed and H and O tripped over each other trying to sneak out the back door.

      But Hillary will do what's good for Hillary. If the pro-Palestinian voices get loud enough that there's something to gain (e.g., her legacy) by switching sides, she will. It's not a lost cause.

    • I agree, Trump will not be the candidate. But he has so dumbed down political discourse, dunked it so deep in poisoned mud, that his rivals could easily be mistaken for moderates. It was supposed that he would destroy the right wing by becoming its reductio ad nauseum. He may turn out to be its rescuer.

  • LSE chills Palestinian students' speech on 'intifada' under pressure from Israel lobby
    • I'm confused. Isn't the whole point of the occupation: the demolitions, the destruction of villages, the massacre of Gazans, the settler shootings of Palestinians, the burning of olive groves, the harassing checkpoints, the incarceration of children, the torture of prisoners and all the rest, an organized campaign to make the Palestinian people "go missing"? Salaita wishes it on settlers. Israel does it to Palestinians. And Salaita's the bad guy?

  • 'Foreign Policy' says 'Israel lobby' donors are making 'pro-Israel the new circumcision'
    • So Netanyahu has told Kerry there'll be no new building permits for Palestinians unless the right of Israel to create "settlements" is internationally recognized. What reason could any US official have to meet with Netanyahu for the purposes of promoting peace talks now? I wish this would get wide MSM attention, but I doubt it.

      Anyway, tomorrow is a day around here for thanking, and one of the things I'll be thankful for is Mondoweiss, all its great editors and brilliant commenters.

  • Protesters stage citizen's arrest of Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely at West Coast Ha'aretz conference
    • Jews in the US have traditionally been at the forefront of movements for social change and the expansion of rights to those deprived of them. These demonstrators follow in that tradition. But it takes an extra level of commitment and courage for Jews to do battle with Zionism, which so many believe is the most important expression of Judaism and Jewishness in general.

      I have the greatest respect for these activists.

  • Posters linking Muslim students and BDS activists to terrorism appear on college campuses in California and Washington, DC
    • Cool Booker White. Is that a Hound Dog resonator he's playing?

    • The temptation is strong to find a way to ban the posters or discipline their promoters, with lawsuits, etc. This would be a tactical mistake. Whatever rationale that succeeded against the posters could be turned against pro-Palestinian groups, think of claims that Jewish students feel "threatened" by criticism of Israel (speech is a threat) or the CA legislature's attempt to list criticism of Israel as an anti-Semitic act (speech could lead to another Holocaust). The anti-BDS crowd wants nothing more than to censor criticism of Israel. Freedom of speech is the strongest weapon of the BDS movement. The best offence against lying speech is never to shut it down and always to create more and better speech.

  • CAP runs deceptive article blaming settlement project on rightwing Christians
    • So right, Phil about dating oneself. In story I wrote for my writing group recently I had a character address another as "shit-for-brains". They thought it was the coolest thing.

  • Netanyahu brings neocons and liberal Zionists together again
    • I read a somewhat larger figure in the settlement. It's good news for principle. But Salaita's compensation for the unjust loss of a tenured job at an otherwise good university seems very small. After expenses, perhaps it would come to 3-4 year's salary/benefits.

    • Eisner notes there's been a little bad blood between the US and Israel the last six years, " . . . ever since these two very different men assumed office within months of each other and set off a turbulent relationship that careened from testy to good to horrible. And now good again… "

      Is she dense in making the tensions about two unlike boys throwing sand at each other in the playground. Or is she blowing smoke to distract from the fact that Israel is an albatross around the neck of the United States.

      Oh well, they're buds again, the parents have made up, all's well that steals, imprisons, humiliates and murders well.

  • 'NYT' op-ed blaming 'Facebook' for violence parrots Netanyahu and gets push from ADL
    • I attempted but failed to copy and paste the visual that the NYT place next to this Op Ed, at least on its website. A black hand gripping a black knife dripping with black blood. All the news that's fit to print. Below is my contribution to COMMENTS>

      Perhaps the morale is that terror begets terror. Any account of the knife attacks by young Palestinians that does not mention the following items must be considered at worst pure propaganda and at best willful ignorance: 500 children slaughtered in Gaza, decades of land theft by "settlers" backed by the Israeli government, the killing of hundreds of non-violent Palestinian protesters by the IDF and/or "settlers" and the imprisonment of the entire population of Gaza accompanied with a policy, reported by the US State Department, of keeping that population at "near starvation" levels.

  • Karmah Elmusa rocks Elle Magazine
    • Thank you, Annie. Ms. Elmusa's article accomplishes two things. It demonstrates the humanity of a Palestinian woman, despite all the propaganda to the contrary. And it attracts to the surface the racism that allows the rulers in Israel (and their American supporters) to treat Palestinians as they do.

  • When Palestinian 'protection' stands in the way of equality
  • Israeli society is crumbling under the weight of occupation
    • Thank you, Michael Marder, for this analysis using Hobbes. I would add that the words of Jefferson, et. al., (from Locke) are also instructive, and more familiar to an audience in the States. The Declaration of Independence notes that there are Unalienable Rights that every person has simply from being a person and that a government is legitimate only if it protects those rights and,

      "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it . . . "

      It is the "Right of the People." This is followed by a list of Colonist grievances against the English King that look like children's play when compared to what the Palestinians have endured at the hands of Israeli gangs and then governments.

  • Larry Summers holds forth on subjects he doesn't know about
    • If arrogance is pride in oneself that vastly exceeds any rationale, I agree he's arrogant. What has he done to deserve his own overly- large self-regard. A failed economist given the terrible consequences of merging commercial and investment banks under Clinton; a failed President of Harvard given that he barely escaped Cambridge before he got a good, and well-deserved, tar and feathering; and a failed advisor to Obama for his work on bailing out the bankers while only pretending to do something for their victims. I think, to borrow a phrase from elsewhere, "There's no there there."

    • This is a very fair article on Summers, perhaps too fair. It takes the position that he's not a conscious liar in his defence of Israel and its behavior, just ill-informed. I doubt it. The concept of an action that is anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent is patently incoherent. It implies that an earthquake in Tel Aviv, which has no intent to harm Jews, is anti-Semitic in effect. Since Summers disagrees with the actions of Netanyahu, presumably because they are bad for Israel and/or Jews, Netanyahu's actions must be anti-Semitic "in effect if not intent." He knows this and yet repeats the formula. That makes him a liar in my book.

  • Netanyahu did everything but use the 'n-word' against Obama to stop the Iran Deal -- Susan Rice
    • Phil reporting on Dennis Ross's article, "Donilon would have smoothed things over with Israeli PM Netanyahu and assured him that the US would use force against Iran. But Rice and Obama didn’t want to use force."

      Ross actually means this as praise for Donilon, where "use force against" means bomb the Iranian people based on a non-existent nuclear threat, yet another Muslim nation with tens of thousands dead at US hands, and assuring deadly responses from Muslims worldwide. This man actually represented the US in "peace talks" between Palestinians and Israelis. Incredible!

  • 'Third intifada was launched,' Palestinian law student posted before carrying out fatal attack in Jerusalem
    • I can't say I understand this situation very well, but it occurs to me that the Israelis acts at el Aksa are to provoke the Palestinians to take the fight to Israel's strength. Hamas and Hezbollah defeated the IDF in Gaza and Lebanon by remaining on defense (as Pericles led the Athenians to do against overpowering Sparta, sorry for the pedantry). The Palestinians have had many victories, BDS for example, by using violent means only in defense.

  • Parents of slain Palestinian teen say Israeli forces planted knife
    • Thank you for this report, Allison. The photographic record with its commentary, the father's comments and finally the professionalism of your reporting really illuminate this awful crime.

      If someone was looking for a photo shot that represents the situation between the Palestinian people and the Israeli government it could be photo seven, a seemingly anonymous woman in religious dress silently facing an immensely complex, deadly weapon pointed at her heart. What could she have been thinking? What was happening in the mind of that soldier?

  • Anti-WASP tropes in the 'NYT'
    • Thanks, Kate. You corrected a long-held misconception of mine. A gift.

      From wiki:

      Family origin[edit]
      The Boston Brahmin Cabot family descended from John Cabot (b. 1680 in English Channel Isle of Jersey), who immigrated from his birthplace to Salem, Massachusetts in 1700.[1] Though other individuals with the last name Cabot may descend from Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot, the Italian explorer who came from England to North America in the 1490s), the prominent Boston Brahmin Cabot family descend from the former.[1][2][3][4]

    • This is an amusing discussion. Growing up Catholic on the North Shore of Boston, my girl cousins had Catholic coming-out parties (at which I was an "escort", we raced sailboats in Marblehead from an alternative yacht club (the Jews had one too.) My Catholic college, Chris Matthews' beloved Holy Cross, was deemed by Time magazine as "wall-to-wall" Irish in a cover story about the "Catholic Ivy League" and I had a Catholic acquaintance from my Catholic prep school who claimed to be, unlike me with my immigrant Scotch father, a Catholic Blue Blood. I sprayed trees during the Summer wandering freely through Beverly Farms where the Lowells spoke only to the Cabots and the Cabots (originally the Caboti family from, I think, Bologna) spoke only to god (that divinity remains without caps since it couldn't possibly have been the "Supreme Being" of which I learned in the Baltimore Catechism.)

    • It loses a bit of its irony with the correction.

  • Being in exile from oneself
    • The first paragraph raises the prospect of something interesting. What assumptions form the basis of the the idea of the Jewish exile or, alternately, the diaspora. Suppose, for the sake of this, that people with red hair and freckles trace back to Ireland. Would we say then that there is a red-haired diaspora? That I, having lived with my red hair and freckles always in the US, live in exile? Hardly. Of course many such people were forced from Ireland by a famine that was the responsibility of the landowners. And many of those who left were persecuted in their new land. Is Ireland mine? My true home? No. A home truer to me than to present inhabitants? No. Of course I could move to Ireland, as Jews mover to, and lived among, the indigenous people of Palestine. But it would be morally ludicrous for me to organize a group of like-minded, red-haired and freckled thugs (see the recent NYRB) and declare Ireland to be the State of Douglas, flag and all. But there was no Irish Holocaust! Why? Did not enough people died at the hands of the landowners? Is Holocaust a matter of degree? Is the Nakba a fraction of a holocaust? Anyway, the ideas of Zionism, exile and diaspora, long preceded the Holocaust as did "Next year in Jerusalem." This is not likely what Professor Mardor wrote. It's what I wrote in response to the question I found in the first paragraph.

  • Everyone's kicking AIPAC now that it's down
    • A major event in holding the Democratic line for the Iran deal was Obama's statement to the effect that he would not be carrying out his duty as President of the US had he acceded to the demands of Netanyahu. This was a brilliant move that highlighted the conflict between what served US interests and the position of Likud. Message: What applied to Obama applied as well to Democratic senators. The statement was a clear challenge to Democrats, a threat perhaps, that dual loyalty is a real political issue, one that could do greater harm to careers than Aipac was capable of.

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