Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 276 (since 2009-12-05 17:24:19)

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

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • '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.

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