Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 342 (since 2009-12-05 17:24:19)

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

Showing comments 342 - 301

  • 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.

  • Bernie Sanders is 'radical' on economic policy but a pussycat for Israel
    • Thomas Jefferson, following Locke, proposed a set of ideas that he most likely believed in but was unable to apply to his own personal ownership of slaves. Those ideals went on to form the basis of today's abhorrence of slavery. Sanders is in the same place. Those of his ideas that a fresh to American politics, if applied to Israeli apartheid, would require its elimination. In addition, what other candidate of either party will state as he did, and be accountable for, that the US policy toward I-P should be even-handed? From the standpoint of we M-Wers he's imperfect. But he's a far cry from the others, certainly including Hilary.

    • Page: 3
  • 'NYT' and 'NYRB' publish important pieces on Jewish terrorism
    • I think there is in fact a good deal of ink consumed in explanation of jihadist terrorism. It's the the ink that spills over into diatribes against Muslims and Islam. It's the claim that Islam is of its nature violent, a bad religion. Would that we could all be Anglicans, whoops, there are those nasty fires with people at the center and ropes with people at the end. Okay, Roman Catholics then, well let's not get started on 1492 in Spain. Okay at least there are the Jews with their expectation of care for neighbors, but even Jesus, a Jew himself, scoffed at that, depicting the scorned Samaritan as more neighborly. And forget all the tribes and nations that Yahweh ordered slaughtered to mow the lawn for his chosen People. Yes Sam Harris is right, if only Islam would go away there would be peace in the valley.

  • 'NYT' misrepresents Iran's prediction about 'Zionist regime' to mean 'Israel'
    • Thank you, James North, for keeping a keen eye on, "the paper of record". I can only wonder how many times, before internet news and commentary sites, I had been misled by its sloppy and/or dishonest writing.

  • AIPAC is going out with a whimper not a bang
    • Thanks, Phil and Chu, for the videos. In the AEI video we have the manly vision of a furious, then pouting, Neocon failing to wrest a piece of cloth from a Code Pink protester, all in the line of his duty to hasten the onset of another war. In the earlier WINEP video we have the manly Clawson proffering tactical advice about how, in order to get the US "in the game" of war with Iran, we need to be just a little more clever. That's "clever" like (George Wallace got one thing right) all the pointy-headed intellectuals in the pointy-headed DC think-tanks who so love to see themselves as shakers and makers of history (always through war and always for the worse).

  • 'Jimmy Carter's cancer is God's punishment,' says leading Israeli newspaper
    • If they are right that it was God's decision when to end President Jimmy Carter's life then we have God to thank for giving us 90 full years for him to carry out his loving good works for those underrepresented and thus preyed upon. This includes, of course, calling an apartheid an apartheid.

  • Ben and Jerry won't tell you who's trying to kill Iran Deal
    • Kay, I share your view of Tom Cotton. And beyond that he's a self-promoter almost to the point of challenging Chuck Schumer's crown in that regard. But it's your final sentence I question. It's not an issue of loyalty to President Obama. I'm disloyal to Obama on the matter of NSA spying. I think he's wrong about that and I won't support him on it. The issue of Cotton's loyalty is a matter of loyalty to his country. As for Cotton loving Netanyahu, perhaps he does and maybe he even loves Israel, but I'd bet he loves his PAC contributors more than either of those.

  • Beinart's fear of 'Israstine'
    • Is Beinart really saying that the inability to imagine an army composed of Palestinian and Jewish soldiers is a sufficient reason to reject one state with equal rights for both?

      Let's imagine then? First, assume that Israstine in fact does uphold full citizenship with equal rights for Palestinians and Jews in what is now Israel + the West bank + Gaza. Assume too that Palestinians have been justly compensated for what has been taken from them. Why would such an army be problematic even if within the army the Palestinians would rather eat with Palestinians and Jews with Jews. Armies are supposed to protect against external threats. What true threats to Israstine would Palestinians not fight against under these assumed conditions? Beinart's worry about the army's unity seems to stem from an assumption that the army will still be repressing Palestinians within Israstine. Finally, someone must have made this same argument in support of maintaining apartheid in South Africa.

  • Does Obama have Booker? Boteach desperately plays race card and Jewish donor card
    • I agree, Annie, when it comes to the classic, slur-slinging racist. And I think there are commonalities between the overuse of the charges of anti-Semitism and those of racism. However these Republicans as a group are incredibly intolerant of difference. Obama, who is smarter, more dignified, freer of scandal, more analytical, more open to dialogue than they are is still different, he's Black. I think there's a pervasive idea among these politicians ( some Dems too) that he doesn't belong in the (very) White House. It's still hard for me to understand the level of insult of the 29 standing ovations and later invitation to Netanyahu, which in this case was not only a Republican phenomenon. Jackie Robinson stood bravely and with great dignity in the outfields of America as fans shouted insults and threats to his life. Obama is the Jackie Robinson of presidents.

    • The Iran deal is obviously in US strategic and security interests. It seem to me there are three reasons that, either singly or conjoined, impel American politicians to oppose the agreement. The first is opposition to anything Obama proposes, a largely racist motive. The second is a fear of being deprived of or losing Zionist campaign and other money. The third is supporting Israeli interests - as articulated by the Israeli right wing - over US interests, being an Israel-firster. If we look at the Schumer case, he has more campaign money that God and he generally supports Obama's initiatives so there's only one motive left. This ought to disqualify him in voters' minds from elected office.

  • Israeli Banks flipping out over looming European boycott
    • If the EU banks follow through on this and if the Obama trade deal goes into effect what will the US be required to do in regard to trade with the EU? Doesn't that trade deal contain language that seeks to prevent this very kind of thing?

  • It's not bigoted to call out the Israel lobby over Iran Deal
    • Thanks, Annie. I have two questions. The first I don't know the answer to, the second I think I do.
      Has any reporter ever asked Schumer or any other important politician if he or she is a citizen of Israel. This is important because any American who is voluntarily a citizen of another country as well has dual loyalty by definition. I understand there are lists on the WEB of dual citizen American politicians and civil servants, but I understand they are not reliable.
      Second, if no reporter or interviewer has never asked that question, why not? It's ludicrous to say it's irrelevant. And it's a lie to suggest it's anti-Semitic.

  • Senator Blumenthal-- do the right thing and support the president
    • There are only three kinds of Senate and House members who will vote against this treaty: Those who love Israel more than the US, Those who love money more than the US and Those who hate President Obama more than they love the US.

      If these people were gentlemen or ladies, the least each could do is to inform the electorate which of these motives pushed him or her to turn against this country.

  • Defying Obama on Iran deal, Schumer cites Hamas
    • I wish people, including but not limited to headline writers, would not speak of Schumer, or any other Israel Firster, as defying his own President. Schumer has thrived in the United States, elected to high office by Americans of all stripes and no doubt become wealthy in the processd. Yet the very first time he was forced in public to choose between the country that has been so good for him and Israel, he emphatically chooses Israel's interests over those of the US. He has violated the trust that Americans put in him and so has proven himself to be untrustworthy in furthering this county's interests. Schumer has not defied Obama. He has given his middle finger to the United States of America.

  • Reps Deutch, Lowey, and Israel choose Netanyahu over Obama-- and who will bring down the hammer for the Iran Deal?
    • I think the actions of US Senators and Representatives who oppose the Iran agreement are despicable. But the issue should not be framed as a matter of loyalty to Netanyahu or President Obama. It is plainly a matter of loyalty to Israel or to the United States. These elected officials are on the cusp of being traitors.

  • Did the BBC cover up the anti-Semitism of Gaza's children?
    • 500 children slaughtered in Gaza last summer by Israeli bombs and missiles. But wait! Don't you know that Gaza's children are anti-semites? There seems no limit to the stupidity of the pro-Zionist's attempts to change the subject, divert the eyes of the world from the slaughter of children?

      So US drones attack "terrorists" in Pakistan when in fact it was a wedding party. A child who survives says to a reporter, "The Americans killed my family." Do we gloat, "Notice how the child blames 'Americans' and not 'the drone pilots'! That child an anti-American bigot. What utter nonsense!

  • It's time for American Jews to recognize they have been duped
    • Avigail Abarbanel has a powerful voice for reason and for justice. I am grateful for her efforts. Against my better judgment I am optimistic about Palestine/Israel when I read her.

  • Focus on Jewish Democrats as key to Iran deal raises 'loyalty' issue
    • RE: "Alan Lowenthal and another 17 like him will be forced to make the painful decision between loyalty to Israel and loyalty to US President Barack Obama’s Democratic party."

      This is pro-Israel propaganda and nonsense. The choice is not between loyalty to Israel and loyalty to the Democratic Party or to Obama. It's whether for these politicians loyalty to Israel trumps loyalty to the United States of America, that is, whether they are traitors or patriots.

  • Christian Zionists expose their anti-Semitism at conservative summit in Iowa
    • RE: "By way of disclosure, I should add that I grew up in a Protestant Christian family, and as a child I thought it “obvious” that Catholics were mistaken."

      That's great. I grew up a in a Roman Catholic family. When an also-Catholic friend was hassled for his religion by an older 'protestant' boy, I said, "But didn't you tell him that God started your religion and Henry VII started his?" The case was open and shut!

    • RE: "Specifically ant-Semitic? No." This is absolutely correct. To believe in the doctrines of one religion is, by logical necessity, to reject the contrary doctrines of other religions. Religious Jews reject the divinity of Jesus. Does that make them bigots? Of course not.

  • 'One cannot understand conflict without knowing its victims'
    • Thank you so much Allison for your work. I always come away from reading your reports with the feeling that I understand better and at more important level. You don't have an equal in reporting th ME.

  • '16 people were killed in Gaza'-- How the 'NYT' whites out Israeli violence
    • Keep at them, James North. Little by little the "paper of record" will be forced to become a real news source. And thanks.

  • Cultivating megadonors, Clinton waffles on Iran and stands by Netanyahu
    • Saban and the neocons have the money. Mondoweiss and company have the ideas. Is there any doubt as to who is persistently gaining ground?

  • 'A traumatized society is dangerous'
    • Thank you, Avigail. I understand your point about the imbalance and it's important. As an aside, that imbalance between western powers and indigenous middle-easterners is seldom addressed in the MSM and when it is the real meaning is covered over by the barely-coherent military-speak "asymmetric warfare".

    • I don't think the analogy between Israelis and Palestinians on the one hand and abusive husband and battered wife on the other is very apt. The depictions of abused wives I've seen (and this may be wrong) is of women who are battered into numbness and complacency. The Palestinians I've seen (and there are few in that group) do not at all exhibit these characteristics

  • State Dep't report on latest Gaza onslaught itemizes children's deaths for first time
    • This is the State Department report's definitions of terrorism:

      (1) the term “international terrorism” means terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country;
      (2) the term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents; and
      (3) the term “terrorist group” means any group practicing, or which has significant subgroups which practice, international terrorism.

      Implications: Isn't it clear from this definition that assassination and/or torture of noncombatants, scientists for example, by "clandestine agents" are cases of terrorism? And wouldn't these "clandestine agents" sometimes be "subgroups" of governments? So wouldn't governments, as an example of "any group", that employ such agents be "terrorist groups"?

  • Cycles of violence only begin when Palestinians kill Israelis
    • The point that Donald makes about the biased selection of beginnings, always Palestinian actions, needs to be made over and over again until the pro-Israeli press is understood for what it is, a propaganda machine.

      Remember: (1) A Palestinian family is blown-up on a beach by Israeli gunboats then (2) Hamas lobs rockets into Israel then (3) Cast Lead begins killing hundreds of Palestinians.

      The free press in the US: Why did the murderous Cast Lead begin? "Israel has a right to protect itself from Hamas rockets." Why did Hamas lob the rockets? "They're terrorists."

  • Jewish community must 'welcome' anti-Zionist, pro-BDS Jews, Beinart says-- but Shavit says, Excommunicate them
    • I will concede the possibility (and only that) that I am not able to understand Shavit because I'm American and he's Israeli. I'm from French-Canadian and Scottish parents whose ethnic identities I care little about and he adheres to a tribalist (and so by its nature a discriminatory) sense of himself and the Other.

      Conceding the possibility of this barrier to understanding, I still find it hard not to marvel at the utter superficiality and/or cynicism of this,
      "Shavit said what was needed was a new partnership between American Jews and Israeli Jews that would change Israel’s image in the world. He called it the David challenge: “We have to convince ourselves and others that we are the David. We cannot be perceived as the Goliath.”
      The project is not to change what "we" (the Goliath) are doing but to convince ourselves and others (contrary to obvious facts) that 'we' are not doing it. Is this really what he is saying? It's an exhortation to self-deceive and propagandize.

  • Dershowitz spills the beans: Supreme Court's Jerusalem case impact on Iran deal
    • My first reaction to the ruling was, "I very much like the result but I wish it could have been settled with language that did not strengthen the hand of the president." It was the first time SCOTUS has judged the president to have the "exclusive" power to recognize governments. Since the time of Gingrich the Congress has been a disaster. But presidents have been only a little better, except for GW who was worse than congress. Obama has extended his powers (sometimes for the good, mostly not) way beyond most prior presidents. Granting any an part of government an excusive power is looking for trouble.

  • Untold Stories: First-ever US Nakba Museum opens in Washington DC
    • This is wonderful for hundreds of reasons. I just wanted to comment that the initial image that accompanies this article is absolutely stunning. I wonder who the artist is.

  • Schumer says Jewish and American interests on Iran deal differ but he has 'to do what's right for U.S.'
    • Sounds to me like Schumer is creating an image, "I'm an America firster, but I do love Israel (got that Sheldon?)" As preparation for higher office? I admired the young Schumer who led many good battles against the gun lobby. Now, I don't think he's an Israel firster, just a Schumer firster.

  • Israel can handle any threat in the Middle East, but it will go down without young American Jews -- Shavit
    • Shavit: "The only way to win Jewish minds and hearts . . . is to prove that Israel is a benign Israel, that it’s fully democratic, that it’s America’s small endangered sister, that we are frontier democracy supported by your great democracy."

      To "prove" these things?? What is blatantly false cannot be proven, it can only be propagandized and believed in error. What he means is, "To fool American Jewish minds into thinking these things." Could he really mean this? Watch him praise Ben-Gurion for, ". . . always appearing to be looking for peace." Appearing! Let's hand it to the guy, he doesn't mince words. Next step? "We need to lie as expertly as Ben-Gurion or we're doomed."

  • Supreme Court slam dunks the Israel lobby on Jerusalem, 6-3 (and Rubio, Oren, and Engel are angry)
    • I am very pleased with the result of this ruling, that Jerusalem not be handed over to Israel by a bought and paid for Congress.

      But I am wary of the reasoning behind the decision, which leaves little recourse for Congresses in the future to act as bulwarks against bad executive branch foreign policy decisions. So if in the future there is an overwhelmingly rational Congress and a Marco Rubio president, the Congress could do nothing but sit on its hands while Rubio rules for Israel and collects multi-millions in contributions.

  • Notes from the Munayyer-Beinart debate
    • pabelmont: You're right about TPP being a disaster. And you're right about the power of international Corporations, including the ones we think of as American. Marx was right that while the Bourgeoisie (the class of powerful owners of capital) preaches patriotism they have no allegiance to any nation-state or anything else other than capital and more capital. Such people are today writing the TPP rules that will govern all trade. Still nations (dictatorstans, democrastans, all equally Plutocrastans) are important at very least as a pretext for maintaining the constant war and security footing of developed economies; think of the conniption fit the US had when the Europeans negotiated a truce over the Ukraine with Putin; the campaign to demonize Putin; the lobbying by Israel and the "defense" industry to bomb Syria, etc. Israel is a big part of this alliance of nation state leaders and war mongering corporate profiteers, the latter buying outright the former.

    • For an American at very least it's an easy matter to answer the double standard argument (Justify yourself! Why do you focus upon Israel's bad behavior and not first upon the worse behavior of Dictatorstan. Isn't it because you're an anti-Xite?). My answer: If Dictatorstan and not Israel controlled in the US a coterie of Dictatorstan-firsters in Congress and outside of Congress: buying Congressional support for Dictatorstan, resulting in billions of US tax dollars supporting Dictatorstan's bad behavior; a President lying to the world at the UN to protect Dictatorstan; US policies in the Middle-Stan damaging the US reputation world-wide; creating and promoting false narratives of the origins of Dictatorstan; threatening politicians who are not sufficiently compliant to the demands of Dictatorstan leaders in Dictatorstan and supporters in the US, etc., then I would ignore insignificant little Israel and support the battle against Dictatorstan.

  • Sam Harris and the dangers of false atheism
    • Two points about Harris's "End of Faith".

      In the section on the evils perpetrated by religions in contemporary times, of course Islam gets slammed for terrorism, Christianity gets off with Bush's interference with stem cell research (not the tens of thousands killed in Iraq), not a word about Israel's use of Biblical texts to impose a system of apartheid upon Palestinians.

      Second, he considers the possibility that Palestinian terrorism is motivated by Israeli behavior rather than by the dreaded Islam. That gets rejected by an argument of great and subtle reasoning, "If it's not Islam at fault, why don't Christian Palestinians engage in suicide bombing?" As if there is no other difference between the two groups except what they understand concerning a certain Nazarene.

      Harris claims to be a philosopher. The closest he gets is to the Sophists as presented, probably inaccurately, by Plato.

  • Hundreds of academics call on State Dept to revise its definition of anti-Semitism, respect criticism of Israel as protected speech
    • RE: “. . . applying a double-standard to the State of Israel.”

      Israel deserves to have a different standard applied to it by Americans. What other oppressor country: buys then bullies US legislators to send it huge amounts of money, to lose world status by defending its crimes at the UN, to curtail free speech to protect it against legitimate criticism, and so much more.

      Different standard? Damn right!

  • What if the Times had sent Rudoren to Selma in 1965?
    • There is one way to write the truth and a thousand ways to write lies. Jodi Rudoren writes lies. Of all the forms of lying, the one I hate most is lying through the use of loaded language.

      She writes, 'Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian leader among the throngs who fulminated over Ms. Shaked’s new role, said it “is not only a threat to peace and security, but generates a culture of hate and lawlessness.”'

      "Throngs" = Crowds, but crowds that are uncontrolled, overcome, crowds that are not fully human. This is racist.

      "Fulminate" = Charges that are not rational, not coming from a full human being. Racist.

      Has anyone ever heard Hanan Asharawi fulminate? She is smart, elegant, dedicated and rational. Rudoren doesn't come close. She prostitutes her profession to function as a shill for the Likud.

  • Matthews says Bush is pandering on Israel to get 'huge money', but his guests won't help him out
    • "Can't anyone give him some back-up?"

      Perhaps someone just did. Matthews is a staunch Catholic. Reports today that the Vatican has recognized the Palestinian State. Having the Pope even in the vicinity of a Catholic's view can firm up a spine.

  • A response to the 'Washington Post' blogger who calls me an anti-Semite
    • "You should be proud of that piece..." Just got that right!

      What brought out David Berstein in the first place was the honesty of your piece, Philip, in conjunction with its insight and its deep truth. These are not characteristics that we find nowadays in any political discourse, let alone from the professional sophists who will tell any lie to promote Likud policies as they lurk in our country's newspapers, "think" tanks and television media.

  • Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: An argument
    • Thank you, Jerome. This is very well-argued and factually informative.

      On the point about whether states can by definition engage in terrorist acts. States always demand a monopoly on physical power and will do what they can to enforce this. The words "terrorist" "terrorism" carry immensely negative emotive power, which States harness to fortify their interests. To make sure that this power is never used against them, States simply define away the possibility that they can be terrorists. Unfortunately it seems they've got away with this. They've also got away with the idea that "collateral death" to noncombatants is just an unfortunate necessity in the course of doing good.

      Perhaps most people think collateral deaths occur as a surprise. However, thinking about Gaza 2014 as an example, the collateral deaths were entirely predictable, meaning that the deaths were not accidental. They were part of the means to achieve the Israeli objective. Were they intentional? Certainly painful treatments to fight a child's cancer are intentional and so therefore is the pain.

      Some would argue that collateral damage to noncombatants is not intentional because the state actor wishes that it wasn't necessary. But no one would withdraw the terrorism charge from a restaurant suicide bomber upon discovering that he felt sympathy for those he was about to kill.

      Upwards of a hundred thousand noncombatants were killed or injured in the US's Iraq adventure, one that began with an assault named "shock and awe". If there is no moral distinction between terrorist vs collateral deaths then in general the latter have created greater evil since the means of killing are of such greater power.

  • The grave danger of derailing the Iran deal -- an interview with Chas Freeman
    • It's so good to read someone as informed and experienced as Mr. Freeman talking straight about the ME.

      Reminds me of Stephen Cohen on US Russian and Ukraine policy.

  • Marco Rubio and AIPAC allied in effort to insert poison pill into Iran deal
    • The definition of a political hack is a politician who legislates or decides on the basis of personal/political interests over the good of those he or she represents. Rubio, Cotton, Lindsey Graham andMenendez are illustrative examples of the circle of hacks. Jeb Bush and Chuck Schumer each has one big toe still outside of it. Give them time.

  • Does Schumer have any idea how angry his constituents will be if he torpedoes his president on Iran?
    • RE: Kraus. "So I don’t blame Bibi for going all-out to destroy the deal. I would do the same in his place..."

      You would do the same if you were in Netanyahu's place only if you shared his goal of a 'greater Israel' at the expense of the persecution and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people and so needed the financial and diplomatic cover that the US provides.

    • You are right to focus upon Schumer. His is a strong voice and it has not been coy about his support for Israel. If he undermines US policy and gets away with it, other national politicians will feel more comfortable to do so.

      I do not know if Schumer is an Israeli citizen (or any other national politician for that matter), but I believe very strongly that I have a right to know. Dual citizenship means dual loyalty. There is no way to avoid that. As long as the myth held that US and Israeli interests were co-extensive this issue could be avoided. But no longer.


  • French philosopher who shut down Paris BDS event as 'anti-Semitic' and one-sided will lecture in NY on 'Free Speech'
    • Thanks Philip,

      RE: "I wonder how Canto-Sperber will address her own suppression of the discussion of BDS in her lecture in the ballroom of the French consulate . . . "

      At very least she should invite Philip to be there to dispute her when she addresses it. If not, it would be one-sided discourse and therefore should be suppressed.

  • As clock ticks in Switzerland, the Adelson primary heats up in the U.S.
    • Thanks Philip. I would include the full page ad in the NY T: Obama as Chamberlain; Khamenei as Hitler; and ending with a quote from Churchill making it clear the unnamed ad writers are seeking a US war with Iran.

  • Washington 'sits shiva' for the 2-state solution
    • What must we say about Jodi Rudoen's honesty and journalistic professionalism when she uses the words "... Netanyahu's momentary ..." rejection of a Palestinian state? Momentary? Can an entire career be momentary?

      And what about the concern the US might cease "...protecting ..." Israel at the UN? Protecting Israel against what? As if the UN was a threat needing protecting against.

      I always take it personally when someone lies to me through clever and mendacious word choices.

  • Why I hope Netanyahu will be crushed tonight
    • I don't see a tight connection between a Netanyahu loss (or even a collapse of the right wing in Israel) and the decline of the neocons. The neocons clearly did Likud's bidding and did so with vast money supplies. But there are vast money supplies that support the warfare economy, the security economy, the anti-environmentalists. Neocons have sophisticated and effective ways to infiltrate government and influence or control US foreign policy. I don't see that not being bought and paid for by someone.

  • Barney Frank says Israel and AIPAC lobbied Congress to support Iraq war
    • Barney Frank has a powerful voice, which until now he has never used in criticism of Israel or the Lobby. For that reason I was happy to see him leave Congress. Now, I'm not so sure.

      On the other topic, it's possible that the Open Hillel movement could generalize into a rejuvenation of a connection to Judaism among younger Jews, a return to moral roots. It's foolish for the older generation to rant against them.

  • Bearing witness in Gaza, Kristof can't see the bigger picture
    • Kristof's journalistic niche is to get among the sufferers and make the reader suffer a bit too. He's done some good things with that. In this instance, however, his case of terminal PEP takes over. Below is a post I put yesterday in the comments section of his article:

      "I'm pleased to see someone at the Times expressing the idea that the people of Gaza today as well as the 500 slaughtered children are human beings. But the column repeats the old trick of picking the "first cause" of an event to bias the understanding of it. Was the attack upon Gaza a response to Hamas' rockets? Why don't you ask what the rockets were a response to? Why don't you ask that? Forcing Gazans to live in an open prison where just enough food is permitted in, according to the US State Dept, to keep them at "near starvation" levels? Or was it caused by the three Israeli's tragically killed? If that then why not go back just a couple of weeks to the two Palestinian teens shot in the back, with video to prove it, by the IDF?"

  • On 'Birthright,' a checkpoint is called a tollbooth, and Jews have E-ZPass
    • I admire the minds and the courage of Julia and Chase. Whether they choose to be Americans or Israelis is entirely their decision. They are neither "by nature". But I'm so happy they seem to have chosen to stay. The values they exhibit are the very ones we so badly need more of in the US.

  • 'NYT' reports 'surge of hostile sentiment against Jews' nationwide -- on what basis?
    • I'm wondering if there isn't an end-of-Israel, end-of-the-dream anxiety floating around among American Jews. Just a feeling, no real evidence.
      But I was with a friend last evening on the M train to east 86th Street in NY. I was telling her of a Israel group-travel company owned by a close non-Jewish relative of mine and her Jewish husband and how, when they broke up, they split the existing groups into Jewish and Christian. There was a young man facing us seeming to take an interest in what I was saying, though I doubt he could pick up anything more than occasional words. As I walked out of the train he came quickly past me from the rear, looked over and said, "You better be careful what you say about Jews because I'm one Jew who'll kick your ass," and walked on. I twice called him back but he rushed out. Somehow he formed the idea that I was dissing him or his Jewishness. He didn't at all seem like a punk. I couldn't help the impression that something had him deeply scared.

  • Pelosi blasts Netanyahu speech as 'insult to intelligence of U.S.', Amanpour calls it 'dark, Strangelovian'
    • The Republicans (and some Democrats) were very happy clappers. It was no act for them. They were thinking, "This time we can really put that black so-called President in his place (even if their preferred white one is an Israeli war-monger.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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