Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 219 (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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  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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.

      IS SCHUMER A CITIZEN OF ISRAEL?

  • 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.

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