Trending Topics:

Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3953 (since 2010-02-17 01:44:49)


Radical dissident. Retired.


Showing comments 1200 - 1101

  • 'Palestinian liberation incomplete without the liberation of all'--a statement on the siege of Yarmouk
    • TOIVOS- “The logic of this letter seems to be that the Palestinians will never find justice until Saudi-Western backed al Qaida forces in Syria overthrow the Assad regime. It is hard to imagine a more cynical use of the Palestinian cause.”

      I agree completely. Is it coincidence that one of the signatories to this open letter is Bekah Wolf? Is this the same Bekah Wolf who is a Mondoweiss contributor and accuser of Greta Berlin? If so, I find this most interesting.

  • Israel's castle
    • SIBIRIAK- “Were they ever nation states?”

      Yes, even though Britain and France carved out the borders in such a way as to exacerbate sectarian divisions so as to facilitate imperial rule, nonetheless, these independent states developed a certain national identity. In Iraq, for example, Sunni and Shia intermingled and intermarried. In some ways, not dissimilar from European history where nationalism was imposed upon the people by force of arms, albeit an internal affair not an imperial imposition. And by nation state, I am referring to the political joining of peoples, not the blood and soil nationalism of pre-World War II Eastern Europe, or Israel for that matter.

      Sibitiak: “Was Iraq easily torn apart because imperially constructed?”

      No doubt the original construction contributed, however, the primary cause is the massive imperial intervention designed to do just that once pacification proved untenable. Empire has a long history of simply destroying countries which it can’t subdue by other means. This is particularly true in Third World countries in which market mechanisms remain insufficiently developed to permit monetary control. Virtually all countries contain various dissident groups which remain marginal until empire decides to fund and support them in order to bring about regime change. Actually, without a militarized society and Arabs to hate, Israel has significant internal divisions which may yet cause significant problems for internal cohesion.

    • MARC ELLIS- Yaakov Amidror says: “What we see now is a collapsing of a historical system, the idea of the national Arabic state.”

      A reasonably accurate assessment, however, “collapsing” would be more accurate as “being smashed to bits by outside forces.” Iraq, Libya, and Syria have all been effectively destroyed as nation states. Empire brooks no dissent and Israel has contemplated this strategy for a long time. Look for Lebanon to also come under Jihadi attack.

      Marc Ellis: “What the Times doesn’t emphasize is what this means for Palestinians. Another decade of wait and see.”

      I rather doubt that the Palestinians will be able to hold out that long. Their situation is sufficiently precarious that I think an imposed settlement is in the offing.

      Marc Ellis: “Like September 11th, the failed Arab Spring has fallen into Israel’s lap.”

      I agree. So, how did a theologian get to be such a top notch strategic analyst? I continue to be impressed.

  • More on Mark Kleiman's appeal to Jews to come out against Iran sanctions
    • MARK KLEIMAN- “I’m a proud liberal, a proud Jew (despite Adelson and Bibi) and a proud American (despite Cheney), and a proponent of both Jewish influence in American politics and American power in the world, both of which, on average, are exerted in a liberal direction.”

      Ah, a liberal imperialist and Jewish chauvinist. Kind of go together, don’t they? Phil, perhaps you are embracing this guy a little too closely? Maybe not.

      Kleiman: “I despise the practice of “counting Jews,”….”

      I suspect that what Kleiman really means is that he hates highlighting Jewish power in front of Gentiles. I also suspect that Kleiman himself “counts Jews.” How else to measure “Jewish influence in American politics?” Did he oppose counting the lack of Jews back when Jews were assaulting the citadels of power? Besides, in a multicultural society how else to detect power imbalances among the various groups? Isn’t that what affirmative action was all about? And didn’t Jews support that when it benefited them? And now oppose “reverse discrimination” when it threatens? Having power and remaining invisible, hence unaccountable, is having your cake and eating it too. It’s all about power.

  • Cary Nelson, the AAUP, and the privilege of bestowing academic freedom
  • While you were neutral about Yarmouk
    • USHPHE- “Since that comment I’ve posted other comments trying to explore people’s views on this subject and test their veracity.”

      You ask probing questions of only one side while agreeing with the other. Your feigning of inquisitive neutrality is an insult to the intelligence.

      UshPhe: “I don’t like Israel. I hate the American empire with all my fiber.”

      Most commenters oppose Israeli actions but do not dislike Israel per se. An Israel as a state of all of its citizens, separated from the American empire and living at peace with its neighbors would be welcomed by most. Finally, in view of your comments, your professed hatred of the empire hardly rings true. You seem curiously supportive of this particular imperial intervention for an anti-imperialist.

    • USHPHE- “I wonder what your views are then on the collective punishment inflicted on Gazan civilians by Israel. Surely you must remain consistent and support that…or else you’re being illogical”

      There is no comparison between the illegal and immoral siege of Gaza with the desperate Syrian defense against outside directed and funded armed aggression. Are the Gazans being massively supported by the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel and others? Has Israel been invaded, causing the death of an estimated 100,000? Are foreign supported Jihadis attempting to conquer Israel and topple Netanyahu? There is no equivalency here. None. And you are quite obviously a propagandist for empire and/or Israel.

    • USHPHE- “no one here who opposes Assad likes Western military intervention…get that through your head”

      UshPhe: “there is no moral equivalence between an army that has fighter jets and barrel bombs and an armed resistance group”

      Sounds to me like you are quite supportive of these Western directed terrorists trying to destabilize Syria and overthrow Assad. All of the death and destruction can be laid squarely at the feet of empire, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel and others who conceived and implemented this. And don’t forget that Israel has bombed Syria twice and the US came perilously close to direct military involvement. And keep in mind that Syria remains under an oil embargo. Syria remains under imperial assault, so don’t pretend that these are poorly armed “resistance fighters” against a powerful military. Here is another quote for you. Please notice the presence of Syria on the list of countries to be overthrown.

      "…in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.... (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).
      link to

      So, UshPhe, if you really oppose Western intervention you would join me in calling for the end of imperial and other support for these Jihadis, and for stopping this destructive imperial destabilization campaign against Syria and Iran.

    • Austin Branion- “…the arguments you deploy in favor of the siege are the same that Zionists use to justify the siege of Gaza….”

      Thousands of Jihadi fighters receiving massive support from the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel have infiltrated Gaza and invaded Israel causing over 100,000 deaths in an attempt to overthrow Netanyahu? There is no equivalence here. None. And your attempt to equate the two is intellectually dishonest in the extreme. You should be ashamed of yourself. The Syrian carnage is a direct consequence of imperial actions as is the siege of Gaza. You liberal interventionists look for any excuse to support imperial machinations. We anti-imperialists oppose US/Israel in Gaza and in Syria.

    • AUSTIN BRANION- “…the occasionally sickening moral myopia and hypocrisy of the progressive left in the name of “anti-imperialism,”….”

      So, you are a supporter of Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and the rest of the imperial juggernaut as they foment strife in Syria to obtain geostrategic advantage? Without imperial support, there wouldn’t be a civil war with all of its consequences. Want to stop the carnage? Somehow get the US, Saudi Arabia, et al to stop funding and directing it. Or are you suggesting an imposed Pax Americana? A liberal interventionist perhaps?

      “Syria -where the bitter rub is for the house of Saud these days- has become a popular destination for a slew of brainwashed, trigger-happy Jihadi fighters eager to meet their maker and claim the lives of hundreds of people in the process; terrorist networks metastasized remarkably in the war-torn country ever since Riyadh took complete hold over the “Syrian Revolution” dossier from Doha and showered these fanatic groups with an endless stream of cash, weapons, logistical support, unprecedented diplomatic clout and ideological guidance.” (Ahmad Barqawi)

      “For about two years, his dear American government has been supporting the same anti-government side as the jihadists in the Syrian civil war; not total, all-out support, but enough military hardware, logistics support, intelligence information, international political, diplomatic and propaganda assistance (including the crucial alleged-chemical-weapons story), to keep the jihadists in the ball game.” (Bill Blum)

      “In late 2006 the United States started to finance an external opposition to Syria's ruling Baath party. Those exiles were largely members of the Muslim Brotherhood which had been evicted from Syria after their bloody uprising against the Syrian state between 1976 and 1982 had failed. In 2007 a plan for regime change in Syria was agreed upon between the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The aim was to destroy the "resistance" alliance of Hizbullah, Syria and Iran….” (Moon of Alabama)

      “With Al-Qaida now among its allies, and US-armed coupmasters secure in Cairo, the US intends to crush the last independent states in the Middle East: Syria first, then Iran. “This operation [in Syria],” said the former French foreign minister Roland Dumas in June, “goes way back. It was prepared, pre-conceived and planned.” (John Pilger)

  • The (Jewish) N-Word
    • ANNIE- “would hitler have risen to power had he existed in another era?”

      Obviously, there were multiple factors involved in the rise of Hitler. Having said that, a key factor was the disastrous state of the German economy as a consequence of World War I reparations. France and England required these reparations to pay down American war loans and proposed to greatly reduce them if the US would accommodate them on their loan payments, which the US refused to do (see “Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance” by Michael Hudson).

      Other factors? “The class confidence of European conservatism was shaken by the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia whose declared aim was to destroy global capitalism. Fear stalked the corridors of power in every capital and the presence of large numbers of Marxists of Jewish origin in both the Bolshevik and Menshevik parties stoked anti-semitism throughout Europe…..British and American bankers and businessmen were in the forefront of arming the Third Reich as a ‘bulwark against Bolshevism’ (as Lloyd George, mimicking Churchill, explained). The Governor of the Bank of England did not mince words: British loans to Hitler should be seen as an ‘investment against Bolshevism.’ This was a common view of the elite at the time.” (Tariq Ali)

      How did Hitler consolidate control? “The Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, at a time when its economy was in total collapse, with ruinous war-reparation obligations and zero prospects for foreign investment or credit. Yet through an independent monetary policy of sovereign credit and a full-employment public-works program, the Third Reich was able to turn a bankrupt Germany, stripped of overseas colonies it could exploit, into the strongest economy in Europe within four years, even before armament spending began.” (“Nazism and the German Economic Miracle,” Henry C. K. Liu, Asia Times)

      It is well to remember that prior to World War II, Hitler was much admired in the US, both for his economic success and for his anti-communism.

    • MARC-B- “German racial policies are not solely the consequence of the rise of Hitler, and those policies are inseparable from 19th-20th European and American ideology and policies.”

      Indeed, I think there is an unfortunate tendency on Mondoweiss to gloss over a lot of shameful US history, and of our allies as well. In some ways, Hitler broke new ground, in many ways he did not. The horrendous World War II death toll was more a reflection of technological improvements in killing efficiency than of any change in ideology.

      “...up to a certain point, the Nazi war crimes consisted largely of inflicting on white Europeans levels of brutality that had previously been reserved only for Asians, Africans, and the native populations of North, Central, and South America.” (Bertram Gross)

  • The self-hating goy
    • YONAH FREDMAN- “Orthodox Jews are already known for fucking through a hole in a sheet….”

      Tell me you’re joking, please! Several comments are in order. First, had I posted that, I suspect that I would be banned from Mondoweiss faster than you can say “Sabbath Goy.” Second, I seriously doubt the accuracy of your comment, and suspect that you have been duped by an urban legend. Third, most Gentiles, when they think of Jews at all, think of secular and Reform Jews, and would be greatly surprised by Lieberman, the light switch, and Gore. I think that it could have a significant impact on the voters. Best not to even mention the sheets. Finally, your final paragraph claiming that not turning on the lights, etc, would be welcome respite from hectic life is just plain silly. What respite? As you state in your response to Sibiriak, there are loopholes to the prohibitions, therefore, instead of a respite, most would resort to an intelligence insulting ruse to get around the prohibitions making the whole business even more tedious and nerve racking. Frankly, I doubt that you are capable of an intelligent discussion on this issue as you are much too defensive.

    • YONAH FREDMAN- “Pointless deception, Keith?”

      Absolutely. Who is kidding who? These deceptions are designed to circumvent the religious prohibition against “working” on the Sabbath. The notion that activating a light switch constitutes “work” is bizarre to begin with. The further notion that it is not a sin if Gentiles perform this work upon receiving “hints” from the pious Jew implies a God who is rather stupid to be taken in by this charade. Is there a Rabbinical ruling in regards to timers and proximity sensors? Computerized instructions written on Friday? This is religious ritualization which has devolved into superstitious ritualism. These are Middle Ages beliefs that most Americans, including secular and Reform Jews, are unaware of.

      If taken seriously, these beliefs can have consequences. Israel Shahak notes: “I had personally witnessed an ultra-religious Jew refuse to allow his cell phone to be used on the Sabbath in order to call an ambulance for a non-Jew who happened to have collapsed in his Jerusalem neighbourhood. Instead of simply publishing the incident in the press, I asked for a meeting of the Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem, which is composed of rabbis nominated by the State of Israel. I asked them whether such behavior was consistent with their interpretation of the Jewish religion. They answered that the Jew in question had behaved correctly, indeed piously, and backed their statement by referring me to a passage in an authoritative compendium of Talmudic laws, written in this century.” (p1, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” Israel Shahak)

      Of course there are loopholes. If refusing aid endangers Jews, for example. Most Gentiles are unaware of these Talmudic teachings or of their status in Classical and now Orthodox Judaism. Many (most?) secular and Reform Jews are also unaware. As my original comment indicated, I seriously doubt that most Jews would welcome a “comedy” on this particular subject. I don’t normally discuss this subject because I think that it has minimal relevance in 21st century America. However, Israel is another story.

    • PHIL- “The self-hating Goy?”

      I think you are missing the point that the group being “spoofed” is the Orthodox Jews who engage in this sort of pointless deception to be able to break the rules without breaking the rules. I seriously doubt that this sitcom is marketable. Also, there could be fallout over Gentiles finding out that someone like Senator Lieberman believed it a sin to operate a light switch on Saturday.

  • 'The Israel I love is increasingly hated'-- Richard Cohen
    • YONAH FREDMAN- “But no one has claimed that these candidates are inferior.”

      When one has a statistically improbable concentration of one particular group in positions of power, it is quite legitimate to inquire as to why. That they may not be demonstrably “inferior” (a subjective evaluation) is hardly an adequate explanation. One explanation could be that they are demonstrably superior. Do you make that claim? And, if so, why would that be? Do you seriously believe that power is somehow distributed by some all knowing entity based upon objectively defined merit? Get real. Power is fought over by ruthless power seekers. Organizational politics determine the winners. And you better believe that “kinship” plays a part, a kind of informal ethnic favoritism. And, to borrow your phraseology, you seem to be inferring that I am an anti-Semite, rather than dealing with the essence of my comment. I might add in passing that the more recent performance of our financial system has been detrimental to the real economy and to our society as a whole while simultaneously benefiting the financiers enormously, hardly indicative of a socially responsible meritocracy at work.

    • PHIL- “So he alludes to bankers Greenspan, Bernanke, and Yellin.”

      Don’t forget Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers, Time Magazine’s 1999 “Committee to Save The World.” Three Yanks! Lets hear it for the good old USA!

      Phil: “I grew up counting Jews, as a sign of our inclusion. Does that mean others get to count them, too?”

      Sure we do, however, it is more difficult for Gentiles because we have difficulty identifying who is Jewish and who is not. Larry Summers, who knew? Also, we can count on the likes of Hophmi calling us anti-Semites and downplaying Jewish power and influence. Question: Do we ever reach a point where Jewish inclusion is tantamount to Gentile exclusion? Just asking.

  • Israeli settlement exports from the Jordan Valley down $29 million in 2013 due to international boycott
    • LIBRA- I had forgotten about your obsession with The Lobby and your denial of empire. I can tell that you miss Dan. Like you, I hope he returns! That would be great fun! However, I am afraid that I am not up to an all night bender since I go to bed at 10:00.Try to remember that there is more to life than The Lobby and that Israel is but a part of a much bigger picture. Take care.

    • LIBRA- “Plus the odd Useless Idiot.”

      Ah, recognition! Thanks, Libra, I feel better already!

  • On House floor, Gohmert says Blumenthal is anti-Semitic Jew who'd welcome another Holocaust
    • I think it says volumes about the state of our democracy that someone like this can be elected to the House of Representatives multiple times. I find him far more frightening than Pam Geller due to his position. This post has profoundly depressed me, and I was morose to begin with.

  • Ariel Sharon, whose political career was unhindered by civilian massacres, dies at 85
    • Bonner says: “The Israelis decided to secure several West Beirut neighborhoods, including Sabra and Shatila, Palestinian refugee camps where the Palestine Liberation Organization had residual bases and arms and thousands of fighters.”

      Bonner is lying. There were no thousands of fighters and the Israeli encirclement of the camps was in violation of the terms of the withdrawal of the Palestinian fighters which had been brokered and guaranteed by the US. The massacre was intended to cause the flight of the remaining Palestinians from Lebanon in similar fashion to what had occurred in Israel in 1947 and 1948.

      The Israeli’s under Sharon orchestrated the Sabra and Shatilla massacres, but when some attempt to hold him and them to account, what is the reaction? “As Mr. Begin said, using the Hebrew word for non-Jews, “Goyim kill goyim, and they blame the Jews.” Imagine that, Sabra and Shatilla yet two more examples of JEWISH victim-hood.

  • Kerry (and NYT) carry water for Netanyahu on 'Jewish state' demand
    • UPDATE: Norman Finkelstein’s interview with Jamie Stern-Weiner has been re-posted. I think it is an interesting and worthwhile read.

      From the interview: “Israel as the state of the Jewish people and its citizens, Palestine as the state of the Palestinian people and its citizens.”

    • There was an interview up at the Norman Finkelstein website which I was going to refer to in which he gave a very pessimistic outlook for what was going on. In it he mentioned the specific phrase which would likely be agreed upon. As nearly as I can recall it was “The nation state of the Jewish people and other citizens.” Perhaps the slightly altered phraseology could be presented as some sort of victory versus the original phrase. In any event, he sees an interim understanding relatively soon based upon US/Israel desires which the Palestinians will be forced to accept. Apparently, Kerry has brokered agreement from the EU and Gulf States to pressure the Palestinians. When I went back to Norman’s site, the interview was gone. When I entered the interview URL which I had previously copied, the interview had been deleted. Pity. I thought his logic was compelling. At this point in time, the Palestinians are in a very weak position and may be forced to capitulate. I thought it worth mentioning.

  • 'Wolf of Wall St' reflects Jewish rise (though Scorsese leaves that out)
    • HOPHMI- “The rate of Jewish poverty in New York City is about 15%. That’s higher than the non-white Hispanic population.”

      From your link: “Although the Jewish population has substantially lower levels of poverty than black and Hispanic populations….”

      You say Jewish poverty is higher than non-white Hispanic, but your link says it is substantially lower. Why is that?

      And let me be clear, Jews are not immune to the consequences of neoliberalism which Wall Street is imposing on the world. All poverty is a disgrace which would not be tolerated in a just society. And the reality is that Jewish elites (not all Jews) are generously represented in the institutions of power which are driving the new global neoliberal imperium which is screwing the 99%. These are the people you provide aid and comfort to when you try to squelch discussion about power relationships. Zionist hasbra has a lot in common with Stalinist apologetics.

    • HOPHMI- It is unlikely that Hollywood will ever do an honest picture on the career of Sidney Korshak. He was a fixer who worked in the shadows. A Jewish lawyer who operated in the no man’s between organized crime and “respectable” society. A mob lawyer and then some.

      I was going to elaborate on the Pritzgers, however, I didn’t already have notes and the reference to the Pritzger family is too extensive for me to review. Suffice it to say that they had intimate involvement with Sidney Korshak and other Mafioso, including loans from the mob and the Teamsters in acquiring properties. One quote to make the point:

      “One IRS informant who was quoted as saying that ‘the Pritzger family of Chicago through their Hyatt Corp. initially received their backing from organized crime” was later identified as F. Eugene Poe, the late president of a bank in Perrine, Florida, and vice president of the offshore tax haven where the Pritzgers hid their wealth known as Castle Bank….” (p138, Supermob)

      A final point I would like to make is the ubiquitous presence of organized crime in our society, the extent to which it is an integral part of the political economy. For example, illegal narcotic trafficking is a major source profit which relies upon the collusion of the financial system to launder the money from drug sales. This is major source of profit for the big US banks as well as liquidity for the system. During the financial collapse, drug money was the primary source of liquidity.

      “Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations' drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.”

    • HOPHMI- Let me add a few things to my 1/10 @ 11:18 comment.

      First of all, how many non-Jewish moviegoers were aware, based upon the Godfather movies, that Mr. Roth (as he is addressed in the film) is based upon Meyer Lansky? Or that Mr. Roth is even Jewish? Or even that his first name is Hyman? Or that Moe Greene represents Bugsy Siegel? Or that Moe Greene is supposed to be Jewish? The names Roth and Greene are definitive indicators of Jewishness? Get real. The Jewish connection was downplayed to the point of being mere occasional hints. Compare that with the rest of the series. The Corleone family background, including their Sicilian roots, is emphasized.

      An interesting and related story concerning the role of Michael Corleone is that Coppola’s first choice for the role, Al Pacino, was initially unavailable for the role per MGM. Sidney Korshak was brought in and one phone call later MGM released Pacino to do the film. The actual phone exchanges are fascinating, but a little to long and colorful to quote, but you can check it out. (p385-6, Supermob)

      So much for ‘The Godfather.” I will make a later comment concerning Korshak and his influence, including the Pritzkers and others with early mob connections, but that will take a little time to compile.

    • HOPHMI- “Well Keith, just about everything you said about the Godfather is inaccurate, so I’m forced to conclude that you’re just not well-informed about this subject.”

      Really? Why don’t you take a stopwatch and review all three movies then inform us all about how much time is devoted to the Italian Mafia versus how much time is devoted to the Jewish Mafia. Are you seriously claiming that the Godfather series emphasized Jewish organized crime? One of the things which characterizes your comments is the complete lack of objectivity. You are a Zionist cadre to the core, yet another defense lawyer for Israel who shrieks “anti-Semitism!” at any and all criticism.

    • YONAH- “They are Jews and opposing Jews is part of Mondoweiss’s credo.”

      No offense, but you seem paranoid. And your reaction represents a defensive reaction which has been cultivated by Zionist ideology. When you see that people identified as Jews are criticized you take it personally and rush to the defense of the tribe. When the movies and TV portray gangsters as Italian, do you feel similarly threatened? Your perceived threat of anti-Semitism reflects more on your perception of what gentiles are like than on current minimal threats of anti-Semitism. It is not rational, however, it is effective in promoting Jewish/Zionist solidarity. This solidarity is important to American Jewish Zionist elites in achieving their objectives.

      A critically important part in the manufacture of consent in the governed is how they perceive reality which, in turn, is overwhelmingly influenced by how the doctrinal system represents reality. With this in mind, we should be aware that the media, news and entertainment, present a highly skewed depiction both of Israel/Palestine and of American Jewish power and influence in shaping perceptions and policy. Continually minimizing Jewish power and influence in shaping events and imperial policy, and of continually reinforcing the image of Jewish victim-hood while downplaying other victims, particularly victims of Jews, creates an enormous bias which acts to inhibit essential change in US Middle East policy, a worthy goal of Mondoweiss. Additionally, the breakdown of Jewish tribalism is important in its own right. It is clearly dysfunctional to have the most successful ethnic group in the world consider themselves victims, and the rest of humanity their enemies. From my perspective, Jewish anti-Gentile chauvinism greatly exceeds anti-Semitism.

    • HOPHMI- “What. in my argument, is chauvinistic?”

      That you can even make that statement says volumes. This is yet another of your chauvinistic attacks on any and all criticisms of anything or anyone Jewish. You are incapable of even acknowledging that the media downplays negative news about Jews while simultaneously radically overemphasizing Jewish victim hood. And when Phil tries to provide some small amount of balancing information, you go on the attack like an angry wasp (no pun intended) defending your nest. You are a loyal Zionist cadre to the core, totally lacking in insight yet claiming to be far, far more self-critical than others.

    • HOPHMI- “You mean Francis Ford Coppola?”

      Oops! I should have referenced “Goodfellas” not “The Godfather.” A minor point and your only valid criticism.

      Hophmi: “…the Hyman Roth character in Godfather Part II, which is based on Lansky….”

      A relatively minor role in the series, hardly proportionate to this criminal legend. Here is but one example from among many. “According to confidential sources, the prequel to the new scheme occurred when Meyer Lansky helped elect Aleman the president of Mexico in 1947 by advising him and paying for his campaign. Lansky’s quid pro quo was essentially ‘You become president of Mexico and the first thing you do is make sure that they do not try legalizing gambling in Mexico.’ Lansky was merely trying to assure the success of the nascent Las Vegas, where he was bankrolling Bugsy Siegal, among others.” (p338, “Supermob: How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America’s Hidden Power Brokers,” Gus Russo)

      Hophmi: “The mafia was a organization that was not only dominated by Italians. It was an organization that originated in Italy, and was closed to non-Italians.”

      From the book: “These members of the future Supermob concluded that there was no future without some accomodation and/or alliance with the post-Capone outfit, which seemed to hold a vice grip over Chicago and a powerful influence in many cities to the west, all the way to Los Angeles. Soon, associations would also be forged with East Coast boss Lucky Luciano and his ‘shadow Jew,’ Meyer Lansky. Noted New York Police organized crime expert Ralph Salerno wrote, ‘There is a happy marriage of convenience between Jewish and Italian gangsters. It represents the three M’s: Money, Moxie, and Muscle. The Jews supply the moxie, the Italians take care of the muscle. And they split the money between them.” (p25, “Supermob…”)

      Hophmi: “Jews do not “dominate” Wall Street.”

      That isn’t part of my comment, however, I find it interesting that you continue to downplay Jewish power and influence on Wall Street, and their leading role in the financialization of the political economy.

      As a Zionist, I am sure you will be pleased to know that “Sidney (Korshak) was a very strong supporter of Israel- he contributed a lot of money. Sidney never hid his Jewishness, never tried to assimilate.” (p264, “Supermob…”)

      Hophmi: “You’re just an ill-informed bigot.”

      Ah, name calling. The reflexive response of a Zionist scoundrel.

    • PHIL- “Item: Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner both destroyed promising careers for lack of discipline.”

      Weiner may be a jerk but Spitzer was destroyed after he took on Wall Street.

      “While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an ‘escort’ $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush’s new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators…..Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers’ bordello: Eliot Spitzer.”
      (Greg Palast)

    • HOPHMI- “It’s just amazing how much of what you say boils down to an anti-semitic caricature….”

      It is amazing how much of what you say boils down to Jewish chauvinism.

      Hophmi say: “In fact, I would say that Jews are FAR, FAR MORE LIKELY to be self-critical than just about any other successful ethnic group that I know of.”

      An almost perfect example of self-parody. Mr. Meritocracy!

    • “To do otherwise might give the movie a whiff of anti-Semitic caricature. Scorsese feels much safer depicting the Italian-ness of his violent mobsters than the Jewishness of his greedy con men.”

      Had Martin Scorsese treated Jordan Belfort’s ethnicity the way he handled Vito Corleone’s ethnicity, he would surely have been pilloried as an anti-Semite and run out of Hollywood. Please note that the referenced article appeared in the “Jewish Journal,” not in any publication widely read by Gentiles. Even Phil’s referencing the article is provoking the usual defensive hysteria by the usual suspects.

      Furthermore, speaking of Mafioso, movies about organized crime usually focus on the Italians, not on the Jews such as Sidney Korshak or Meyer Lansky who played pivotal roles. How many are aware that the Bronfmans and the Pritzkers had (have?) links to organized crime? Plus, remember that Penny Pritzker had a questionable career involving sub-prime mortgages, yet is now the US Secretary of Commerce thanks to her fundraising for our beloved President.

  • Roger Cohen (who doesn't live there) explains the need for 'my Jewish state'
    • NORMANF- “But for most of their history, Jews lived as oppressed, persecuted and despised people….”

      That is the myth, however, “…during the whole of the classical period the Jews, in spite of all the persecutions to which they were subjected, formed an integral part of the privileged classes.” (p52, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion,” Israel Shahak)

      See also “The Jewish Century” by Yuri Slezkine for a discussion of historical Jewish privilege.

  • Should dual citizen of US/Israel be vice chair of our Federal Reserve Bank?
    • HOSTAGE- “The Board of Governors is simply one of many examples of a fee-funded government program run by officials of our federal government.”

      The Board of Governors are appointed from the private sector, usually having been deeply involved/enmeshed in the financial institutions, and establish monetary policy in technocratic isolation. I don’t consider them “officials of our federal government.” They are, in effect, representatives of the financial system to whom governmental authority has been delegated, just as money creation has been delegated to the private sector. That they cannot be concurrently employed by the member banks is a minor concession to propriety.

      Hostage says: “They take an oath of office and are no more independent from the Congress than the Judiciary or Executive.”

      The reality: “Once appointed, Governors may not be removed from office for their policy views.”

      As for their oath of office, I wouldn’t place too much emphasis on that. They are appointed from the private sector to set monetary policy and they do.

      Hostage says: “The salaries of the Fed governors are set by the Congress.”

      Yes, an absolutely minimum requirement to avoid overt thievery. However, a board member who serves Wall Street faithfully can probably count on some sort of deferred compensation. Alan Greenspan, who primarily served the interests of The Street, seems to be doing quite well in retirement.

      “People With Money reports on Wednesday (January 1) that Greenspan is the highest-paid economist in the world, pulling in an astonishing $58 million between December 2012 and December 2013, a nearly $30 million lead over his closest competition….
      The American economist has an estimated net worth of $185 million.”

      Hostage says: “On at least one occasion the House entertained impeachment resolutions for Fed Chairman Volker and the entire Board of Governors. H.R. Res. 101 and H.R. Res. 102 (1985).”

      Why did they do that? What came of it? Did it have anything to do with the consequences of the “Volker shock?” Basically, Fed Chairman Volker restricted the money supply allowing the Federal base rate to rise from an average of 8% in 1978 to over 19% at the beginning of 1981, not consistently returning to single digits until after 1984. (p81, “American Empire and the Political Economy of Global Finance,” Leo Panich and Martijn Konings, ed). The net effect of this was to both cause a recession (goodbye Carter) and to establish American financial hegemony. “Here the reports indicate that the Fed’s centrality and power were becoming increasingly clear, that the Volker shock had in fact worked to the advantage of the American empire.” (p82, Panich and Konings)

      Does this sound like the work of some mere governmental regulatory agency? Volker acted independently to cause a restructuring of the entire global financial system. If that isn’t power, then the word has no meaning. Was he impeached? You tell me. Did Wall Street and the empire approve? I would imagine so.

      What I have been trying to do in my short comments on the financial system is to call attention to the fact that our financial system is a private, debt based system. Congress has delegated money creation to the private banks and system governance to private sector appointees who demonstrably favor the financial institutions over the real economy and the public welfare. The financial system is an absolute mess where financialization has replaced real economic activity as the primary source of profit seeking, and neo-liberalism is ultimately leading to massive debt servitude and a form of neo-feudalism. Yet, you seem determined to downplay all of this, to act as if the Congress and/or the Executive have things under control. I wonder why?

    • HOSTAGE- “But the Board of Governors are part of the US government.”

      Well yes and no. The Federal Reserve Banks are private banks, while the Board of Governors are an independent federal agency which has quasi-governmental authority while operating independently. They create money on their computer keyboards which they then loan to the US government by buying US Treasuries. They are the ones who determine monetary policy independent of Presidential or Congressional input. Arguably, Alan Greenspan helped elect Bill Clinton by raising interest rates and tanking the economy just prior to the election. But yes, if there was a rule or policy against a dual national on the Board of Governors, Fischer wouldn’t be eligible.

      “As an independent federal government agency,[5] the Board of Governors does not receive funding from Congress, and the terms of the seven members of the Board span multiple presidential and congressional terms. Once a member of the Board of Governors is appointed by the president, he or she functions mostly independently.

    • RUSTY PIPES- “A higher-level government employee should not be a dual citizen of America and any other country — including Israel.”

      Alas, the Federal Reserve is not part of the US government, even though the President appoints the chairman and the vice-chairman. In a monumental blunder, the congress delegated its money creation power to these private bankers. While a central bank is necessary, it should be located within the US Treasury, the whole banking system run as a public utility. Many, if not most, of our serious problems stem from our dysfunctional financial system which is based upon unpayable debt.

    • The fact that Obama is even considering nominating this militant Israeli Zionist anti-Iranian neoliberal to be vice chairman of the Federal Reserve says volumes about Obama. We don’t already have too many staunch pro-Israel Zionists in the US and global power structure? Neoliberalism hasn’t caused enough economic damage? Zionist banksters running the global financial system? A further indication that dark times lie ahead.

  • Simon Wiesenthal Center calls Falk, Walker, Waters, Blumenthal and ASA anti-Semites
    • IRA GLUNTS- “I began seeing reports of the “quenelle” and antisemitism a few days ago.”

      Over at CounterPunch, Diana Johnstone has a good analysis of the phenomenon.

      “To invent a pretext for destroying Dieudonné, the leading Jewish organizations CRIF (Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France, the French AIPAC) and LICRA (Ligue internationale contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme, which enjoys special privileges under French law) have come up with a fantasy to brand Dieudonné and his followers as “Nazis”. The quenelle is all too obviously a vulgar gesture roughly meaning “up yours”, with one hand placed at the top of the other arm pointing down to signify “how far up” this is to be.

      But for the CRIF and LICRA, the quenelle is “a Nazi salute in reverse”. (You can never be too “vigilant” when looking for the hidden Hitler.) (Diana Johnstone)

  • What Would Jesus Do (on his birthday in Jerusalem)?
    • MARC ELLIS- “…the sad reality is that they are occupation-enablers.”

      Are you sure you want to get into this? As I suspect you are aware, historically religion has always been an important component of the ideological glue which binds a society together. A religion at odds with the power structure will be either destroyed or co-opted. Look at what happened to liberation theology, a one-time return to the original scriptures, quickly abandoned by the Catholic Church following the death of Pope John XXIII, and crushed by US counterinsurgency. Likewise, missionaries have always been enablers of imperialism, a function now performed by NGOs.

      “What would Jesus do in Jerusalem, on his birthday no less?”

      Probably similar to what he did 2000 years ago with comparable results and consequences. He didn’t exactly run the Romans out of Palestine, did he? Those who defy empire usually pay a heavy price, life after death not exactly a sure thing.

  • Guilty on Christmas
    • MIRIAM6- “No such respect was afforded the Jews of Europe by the Christians.”

      Yes, due enlighten us with tales of the humiliation of the Rothschilds by Christian Europe! Below is a quote and a link highlighting their suffering at the hands of the Catholic Church because of the charge of deicide.

      “However, in the early 19th century, the Rothschild family of Naples built up close relations with the Vatican Bank, and the association between the family and the Vatican continued into the 20th century. In 1832, when Pope Gregory XVI was seen meeting Carl von Rothschild, observers were shocked that Rothschild was not required to kiss the Pope's feet, as was then required for all other visitors to the Pope, including monarchs.”

      Christ on a bike, Miriam, when are you going to stop the BS?

    • MIRIAM6- “I mean – try this empathetic test for once and try to imagine what it was like to be Jew in Christian Europe for all those centuries with the charge of deicide hanging over Jewish heads ?”

      Your version of events is based mostly on Jewish mythology, not actual history. The “charge of deicide” didn’t prevent the Jews from being above the Gentile peasants, whom the Jews despised.

      “…during the whole of the classical period the Jews, in spite of all the persecutions to which they were subjected, formed an integral part of the privileged classes.” (p52, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion,” Israel Shahak)

      See also “The Jewish Century” by Yuri Slezkine for a discussion of historical Jewish privilege.

      Much of history is a tale of brutality and suffering. Did some Jews suffer persecution? Of course! Did many non-Jews suffer persecution? Of course! Putting the Holocaust aside, have Jews historically suffered more persecution than non-Jews? No! Looked at in context, Jews have always been somewhat privileged, now extremely so. Even the Holocaust is but one of many historical examples of mass-murder. Of course, lumping all non-Jews together tends to obscure the European treatment of the Blacks and indigenous peoples whom they conquered and enslaved. I find your depiction of Jewish victim-hood more than a little disingenuous.

    • JEFFB- “No Keith, I don’t think it was your obvious intended meaning.”

      Are you seriously going to claim that you thought that my reference to “the other” referred to non-human animals such as Chimpanzees? And that you want to discuss these issues, not sabotage the discussion? That my use of the phrase “fellow human beings” was “strong terms” which “shouldn’t have been used?” This will probably be my last comment directed to you. You are an irritant, nothing more.

    • DJINN- “Have read this three times and still can’t get the connection to the war of ideas in the middle east.”

      Since Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, and is supported by organized American Jewry, surely you can acknowledge some relevance?

    • MIRIAM6- The short answer to your several questions is that someone can be assimilated to the degree that he/she views those not of the group as individuals with whom he/she can interact without significant prejudice, and with whom one can work with for mutual advantage. A hard and fast boundary between “us” and “them” precludes assimilation, regardless of the group in question. In fact, it would appear that the 1% views the 99% in a rather hostile manner. How else to explain the vicious class war now in progress?

      An additional observation is that being a member of a group perceived as being singled out for abuse tends to foster a sense of defensive group solidarity.

      My whole point to Phil is that assimilation is a state of mind, not of marital status. You disagree?

    • JEFFB- “I’ve never met any Jews who believe gentiles aren’t human.”

      Never met any Jews who thought of Gentiles as “the other?” Who drew a sharp distinction between Jews and non-Jews? Who believe that Gentiles exhibit eternal, irrational anti-Semitism? Really?

      I find it interesting how you twist my words to distort my obvious intended meaning. Seems to come naturally to you. Perhaps you have an unstated agenda?

    • PHIL- With all due respect, I think you continue to place too much emphasis on intermarriage as both a criteria of assimilation and as proof of assimilation. I disagree. A Jew doesn’t have to be married to a gentile to be assimilated, likewise being married to a gentile is no real indication of assimilation. The key to assimilation involves a Jew’s attitude concerning Gentiles. Do you view Gentiles as your fellow human beings, or do you view them as the other? For example, any Jew who views Gentiles as irrational Jew haters is not assimilated. Integrated perhaps, but hostile to non-Jewish outsiders.

      Weiss: “I’m proudly Jewish, formed by Jewish tradition….”

      Perhaps you are not as assimilated as you claim to be. Your feelings of pride bespeak of a longing for some sort of tribal kinship. Perhaps not that significant, but nonetheless an ethnic boundary of your own making.

  • Stanley Fish and the violence of neutrality
    • “By examining its language and assumptions, we acquire greater understanding of how Zionism functions in the institutional spaces that both inform and comprise state power.”

      A key to understanding Zionism is to understand that Zionism is the unifying ideology of an exclusivist, power-seeking collective. Look at the ascendance of Zionist Jews into the global power structure. Stanley Fish is a member of this collective and a member of the imperial intelligentsia which shapes the doctrinal system to achieve elite objectives. Now that we are ruled by money instead of Kings, the sky is the limit for the right people.

  • Palestine's chief peace negotiator characterizes Israeli attack on Gaza as 'terror'
    • SIBIRIAK- “More to the point: what direction do you think Fischer would try to take the Fed that would be different than that of any other mainstream neoliberal who might be appointed to that position?”

      Are you serious? You have no qualms about this Zionist, Israeli citizen, advocate of tough Iran sanctions, recent Governor of the Bank of Israel becoming the second in command at the Federal Reserve, the de facto global central bank? We don’t already have too many staunch pro-Israel Zionists in the US and global power structure? Here is a quote and another link for you to ponder:

      “Fischer’s long-term boosters, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), likely want to accustom Americans to openly dual citizens circulating between top roles in the U.S. and Israeli governments.” (Grant Smith)

  • Israeli rap warns vulnerable Jewish women about seductive, dangerous Arab men
  • Kerry wants to imprison West Bank with massive security fence along Jordanian border
    • SIBIRIAK- JeffB says: “Until you can name a world power who is willing to take on substantial risk of war to stop Israel no one is stopping them.”

      Let me begin by saying that I thought that overall your comment to JeffB on 12/28 @ 6:01 am was excellent. Having said that, rather than being unstoppable, I think that Israel is extremely dependent upon empire for military and diplomatic support, without which Israel would have to significantly modify its behavior.

      Sibiriak says: “U.S. opinion will not change quickly enough, if it ever does, in order to turn U.S. policy around. Nor will the system of US campaign finance be significantly altered so as to “take the money out of politics” and neutralize “the Lobby”. Won’t happen.”

      Perhaps not, but I see too little effort in trying to call attention to AIPAC and empire’s role in this whole rotten business. It is my belief that American Jewish Zionists are the primary beneficiaries of Israeli militarism, Zionism the ideological unifier of the disparate Jewish organizations, and of highly successful Zionist power-seeking. As long as it remains a useful tool for the power-seeking activities of Empire Jews (Marc Ellis’ useful term), nothing will change. And while I support BDS, ultimately the fate of the Palestinians will probably be determined more by attitudes and strategies emanating from New York and Washington than from Tel Aviv. Ultimately, the situation in Israel/Palestine cannot be remedied without ending imperial support for Israeli actions.

  • Snowden's Christmas address
    • CITIZEN- Exactly! Safety lying in keeping a low profile. Protest and you and your friends are in trouble. Incidentally, there is a somewhat similar process at work with student loans. Increasing tuition requiring bigger loans (not subject to bankruptcy relief) requires the graduate to be dependent upon a job for debt service, hence, always fearful of loosing employment by “making waves.” We are entering the age of neo-feudal debt servitude, yet another form of coercive social control.

    • I’m not sure how deeply I want to get into this, however, what should be mentioned is that this massive data mining is not spying in the classical sense. Unless I am misinformed, for the vast majority, there will be no real time surveillance. Perhaps for selected individuals, and a crude algorithmic sweep for the majority, but by and large, nothing which could conceivably be of use in stopping bona fide terrorism. What you have is a mass of data on everyone which can be accessed for those individuals identified for analysis. Those will likely be the leadership of movements opposing neoliberal imperialism. This is all part of the plan to repress domestic dissent, just as occurs in China or Egypt under al Sisi, but at a much more sophisticated, all-encompassing manner. Neoliberalism has eliminated the carrot, all that is left is the stick.

  • A Jewish Christmas message to the unsaved world
    • MARC ELLIS- “The corruption of life is endless. Our inheritance is so often covered with blood it’s difficult to find a place to stand without being overwhelmed by the stink….With salvation ringing in our collective ears, we are tone deaf to our own injustice.”

      Powerful stuff, Professor, but is anybody listening? Or is all they see a shining city on the hill? It is easy to believe what is convenient to believe, and self-deception is the rule, not the exception. But do keep it up, you are Mondoweiss’s voice of moral clarity.

  • Zionists saw themselves as part of a Jewish liberation struggle
    • MARC ELLIS- “If you ask Americans about American imperialism today, most will have no idea what you’re talking about.”

      And that is part of the problem, isn’t it? When myth becomes reality, understanding actual history becomes impossible and prospects for meaningful change become nil.

      “We live entangled in webs of endless deceit, often self-deceit, but with a little honest effort, it is possible to extricate ourselves from them. If we do, we will see a world that is rather different from the one presented to us by a remarkably effective ideological system, a world that is much uglier, often horrifying.” (Noam Chomsky)

  • Hedge fund billionaire funds group with eyes on Islamic holy site in Jerusalem
  • Beinart’s (colonial) Jewish (imperial) democratic state
    • DAVID SAMEL- “Could I have let your insult pass?”

      Insult? I make a one sentence comment regarding something Beinart said which you quoted and you are insulted? In spite of my assurances that I was referring to Beinart, the author of the quote, you insist that I am “smearing” you? Jeez, are you for real? Let me put it to you this way, had you called to my attention that my formatting may have caused a third party to mistake the Beinart quote for something you said, I would have likely apologized and made sure to be more careful in the future when quoting a quote within a comment. However, having been called a liar and a turd who is smearing you, I feel that, on balance, I am the aggrieved party. Permit me to rephrase the original comment to eliminate any misunderstanding.

      “DAVID SAMEL- Beinart quote: “But I’m still glad America stopped genocide somewhere.”

      “Clearly a defense of “Just War Theory” by Beinart, a member of the imperial intelligentsia.”

      Of course, had I had any inkling of your reaction to my comment, I wouldn’t have bothered to make it. Nor will I ever again bother. As for insults, you seem to toss them around in cavalier fashion, my reaction to effectively being called a liar of little concern to you. This has gone on long enough. This is my last comment on this thread.

    • DAVID SAMEL- “…you are explicitly quoting me, or in this case, erroneously quoting me.”

      Your name appeared at the front because I was responding to your comment. More specifically, your quote of Peter Beinart which I copied. I am aware that you didn’t agree with Beinart on Bosnia, however, my comment referred to Beinart, the author of the quote, not to you. Although my reference was obvious to me at the time, with the benefit of hindsight, perhaps my brief comment was somewhat ambiguous and I should have inserted Beinart’s name in the one sentence. However, let me assure you that I have never thought of you as a member of the “imperial intelligentsia,” although you and Chu seem to find the reference plausible. Two things I find interesting is that you can’t believe that I was referring to Beinart, not you, ambiguity inconceivable. The second is the extreme umbrage your are taking. Perhaps, I have made a comment in the past which offended you and left you disposed to misconstrue. If I tell you that I was referring to Beinart, why continue to, in effect, call me a liar? If you feel that my use of quotes was misleading, why not simply point that out without the rancor? Your over-the-top response to my one sentence comment suggests something more is going on.

      David Samel says: “I hate to have a personal spat with a stranger on a website that is devoted to pursuing justice for millions of people, but you’re acting like a turd.”

      An interesting closing statement from someone who tries to avoid “personal spats.”

    • DAVID SAMEL- “Seriously, Keith? You think I authored those words and consequently am a “member of the imperial intelligentsia”?

      No, I think that Peter Beinart is the author of those words and a member of the imperial intelligentsia. I was responding to your quote of Beinart which you found “quite impressive.” Obviously, I did not, at least that part which justifies some imperial military interventions as a good thing. And, generally speaking, Beinart’s opinions will always be tainted by his imperial bias.

    • “…denies Israel’s right to maintain the preferential immigration policy that makes it a refuge for Jews.”

      Refuge for Jews? There are few Zionist myths more blatantly dishonest than this. How many Jews or their parents came to Israel because the Zionist kept them from going to their first choices, the US and Britain? Same with the last batch of Russian Jews (and non-Jews) where the legislation permitting their emigration specified only Israel as the final destination. Far from being a refuge, Israel has had to recruit Jews to keep Israel a Jewish majority state.

    • DAVID SAMEL- “But I’m still glad America stopped genocide somewhere.”

      Clearly a defense of “Just War Theory” by this member of the imperial intelligentsia.

  • This is the most dangerous peace process of all
    • “…the end game is finally in sight. With or without signing a document, Palestine’s fate is clear…. realistically rather than euphemistically speaking there’s no way out for Palestinians.”

      Sad, but true. It seems that the Egyptian coup by el Sisi may have been the straw that broke the Palestinian back. Some Arab spring.

      And the Syrians have it even worse. Who could have predicted that Al Qaeda terrorists would be utilized as empire’s middle eastern intervention forces? Obama’s scorched earth diplomacy. There is a method to the madness just as surely as there is a madness to the method.

  • 'It's hard to see why Israel won't follow white South Africa's road to extinction,' says 'Forward' writer
    • “…white South Africa’s road to extinction.”

      Road to extinction? Political apartheid was replaced by economic apartheid as blacks got poorer, average white income improved, and the transnational corporations and economic elite (now including corrupt black officialdom) made out like bandits. Worse than before, but no longer considered a pariah! I suspect that the Israeli economic elites and the corporations would be most pleased to see a South Africa solution implemented in Israel/Palestine. What stands in the way is the fanaticism of the some of the Zionists who will never willingly give up even one inch of the sacred soil, their fundamentalist ideology trumping rationality as it usually does. None of this bodes well for the Palestinians.

  • Israel's real fear is BDS and 'delegitimization,' says Goldberg
    • TOKYOBK- “My guess is many people will not accept any form of Israel, which will remain hated in any form….”

      Isn’t it interesting how two people can evaluate the same situation differently. My perception is that most anti-Zionists would welcome a state of all of its citizens. What would there be to hate? Perhaps such a state would be hated by American Jewish Zionists as a betrayal of their needs, that is, as a militarized warfare state which functions as an American Jewish tribal unifier. And, with all due respect, I can’t help but wonder if your opinion that “many people will not accept any form of Israel, which will remain hated” is, in fact, a variant on the “irrational anti-Semitism” meme, protestations notwithstanding. Israel, the Jew among nations?

      Quoting Norman Finkelstein: “For Israel’s new American Jewish ‘supporter,’ however, such talk bordered on heresy: an independent Israel at peace with its neighbors was worthless; an Israel aligned with currents in the Arab world seeking independence from the United States was a disaster. Only an Israeli Sparta beholden to American power would do, because only then could US Jewish leaders act as spokesmen for American imperial ambitions.” (Norman Finkelstein)

  • Settler siren channels Miley Cyrus in bulldozer vid
  • 'NYT' and Wash Post won't tell us why Dems are hurting Obama on Iran deal
    • DAN CROWTHER- “I should have said “was very well respected” with regard to Israel Shahak.”

      You were right the first time. Although deceased, he remains very well respected. As to why the different reactions to him versus Atzmon, when he was alive he was attacked viciously by (primarily) American Jewish Zionists who tried (unsuccessfully) to get him fired from Hebrew University. Perhaps the difference is not so great, particularly considering that Shahak was a scholar and wrote accordingly. Atzmon, however, sometimes goes out of his way to shock and offend his critics. Finally, Shahak stayed in Israel where he was not a threat to Diaspora tribal anti-Zionists, whereas, Atzmon is a thorn in their side.

  • Mandela and the responsibility of activism
    • PABELMONT- “…strangely, to my thought, for he will never again be a candidate and has no need to collect money from AIPAC or the BIG-BANKs or BIG-OIL, etc….”

      Perhaps he is planning for his retirement. I understand that since leaving office, Bill Clinton has done quite well for himself.

    • CITIZEN- “…he said his original inspiration towards a political career was Mandela’s fight.”

      I wouldn’t take too much of what Obama says at face value. It is interesting, however, that the enduring legacy of both may be imposing neoliberalism on their deluded followers.

  • Honor Mandela by viewing Palestine with the same moral clarity as apartheid South Africa
    • Those who hold up South Africa as a model for Palestine would be well advised to consider the actual consequences of the end of Apartheid and the concurrent introduction of neoliberalism.

      “South Africa’s democratization was profoundly compromised by an intra-elite economic deal that, for most people, worsened poverty, unemployment, inequality and ecological degradation, while also exacerbating many racial, gender and geographical differences.” (Patrick Bond)

      The outlook for the Palestinians appears to me to be quite grim. Perhaps a South African solution is the best they can hope for. In any event, they will not be well served by embracing the mythology while ignoring the reality. The creation of useful mythology is, after all, an integral part of the doctrinal system and of social control. Mandela the myth diverts our gaze from unpleasant truths.

  • Fallows: A free society must reckon with Blumenthal's book, as it did with 'Grapes of Wrath' and 'Gentleman's Agreement'
    • WOODY TANAKA- “better a Democrat I disagree with than a Republican I REALLY disagree with…”

      Ah, the ‘lesser of two evils’ rationale. But what if the lesser evil is demonstrably the more effective evil? More importantly, how bad does a corporate flack have to be before you won’t vote for him/her? Won’t provide electoral legitimacy for anti-environmental, neoliberal war-mongering policies?

      Right now our elections occur within a system of capitalist democracy in which one dollar is roughly equivalent to one vote. An oligarchy where money rules and elections are marketing extravaganzas where a couple of well funded corporate candidates hire Madison Avenue marketeers to scare the electorate into voting against their opponent. Not a rational citizenry voting their best interests, but the manufacturing of consent within the electoral market. People voting for someone who will work to disempower them, yet feeling good about it because they think that they have staved off a worse disaster. Our ‘winner take all’ system erroneously blamed for a phenomenon which occurs as frequently in a parliamentary system. Look at Tony Blair. Look at Stephen Harper.

      So my comment to Citizen is meant to question the deeper significance concerning the possibility of progressive change in a capitalist democracy where the citizenry is easily deceived and manipulated and eager to go along with elite control of the political economy. I have given the matter considerable thought and am deeply pessimistic.

    • CITIZEN- “Yep, and 3rd parties in USA go nowhere.”

      Quite true, but the question is why? One cannot even attempt to change the political economy unless this phenomenon is understood, at least on a preliminary basis in general terms.

  • On the death of Nelson Mandela: a dissenting opinion
    • ADELE- “Mandela was rehabilitated into an “elder statesman” in return for South Africa being rapidly transformed into an outpost of neoliberalism, prioritising the kind of economic apartheid most of us in the west are getting a strong dose of now.”

      Yes, and a major reason why Mandela, once treated as a terrorist, is now lionized by the doctrinal system is the invaluable service he provided in enabling the relatively smooth introduction of full-blow neoliberalism into South Africa. Simply stated, South African blacks are worse off now than under apartheid, their so-called liberation leading to black politicians implementing the corporate agenda. And Nelson Mandela was critical to the process, his black face and iconic status serving to defuse resistance to neoliberal globalization. Perhaps there is a parallel with Barack Obama who also has smoothed the way for structural adjustment, American style.

      Over at Counterpunch, Patrick Bond has a detailed account which I recommend. Some quotes followed by the link, but first, I can’t help but think that all of this hero worship is encouraged by the media as a subterfuge to keep us from thinking in systemic terms. Forget looking for the next Gandhi, etc, it is the system which needs changing, not some new hero needing finding.

      “The self-imposition of economic and development policies – typically at the behest of financial markets and the Washington/Geneva multilateral institutions – required an extraordinary insulation from genuine national determinations: in short, an “elite transition.”….This policy insulation from mass opinion could only be achieved through the leadership of Mandela.”

      “South Africa’s democratization was profoundly compromised by an intra-elite economic deal that, for most people, worsened poverty, unemployment, inequality and ecological degradation, while also exacerbating many racial, gender and geographical differences.”

      “As a result, according to even the government’s own statistics, average black African household income fell 19 percent from 1995–2000 (to $3,714 per year), while white household income rose 15 percent (to $22,600 per year). Not just relative but absolute poverty intensified, as the portion of households earning less than $90 of real income increased from 20 percent of the population in 1995 to 28 percent in 2000.” (Patrick Bond)

  • Corasanti unknowingly affirms criticism of 'The Almond Tree'
    • SIBIRIAK- “What exactly is the problem?”

      Basically, it is Corasanti trying to be something she is not, namely, an honest spokesperson for the Palestinian perspective. If you haven’t already, suggest you read Susan Abulhawa’s critique, including her link to Vacy Vlazna. There are plenty of examples of distortions of the Palestinian reality to easily disqualify Corasanti as a Palestinian spokesperson. Not surprising in view of her superficial exposure to the Palestinian reality she had while a student in Israel. Surely her experience qualified her to write from her perspective of a sympathetic Jewish woman observer to the abuse, but not from the perspective of the male Palestinian victim of Israeli apartheid. Alternatively, she could have simply written a romantic fiction without the pretensions of authenticity. Jewish American Princess studies in Israel, meets Arabs, marries a Palestinian math genius in an Arab wedding reminiscent of 1001 Arabian Nights complete with a sword and a veil (and perhaps a carved ice camel?).

      Based upon the critiques, I have some real problems with her book, particularly when her perfect Jewish woman Nora “is later killed in a brazen insensitive event stolen from the life and murder of Rachel Corrie.” Try to wrap your mind around that one. She has attempted to transform Rachel Corrie into a Jewish martyr named Nora! A Jewish American Princess crushed by a bulldoser! Are we talking authentic or what? And, no, I haven’t read the book either, however, I have it on order and intend to do so. Keep in mind, Sibiak, that a big part of the complaint is from people excluded from media access who can’t get their story told unless it is told by one of the elites, that is, distorted by the doctrinal system in support of elite social mythology.

    • ANNIE- “keith, to begin with, you’re making a lot of assumptions i wouldn’t make”

      I am simply making logical inferences from the facts as presented. Since she brought up this stealth wedding, someone from Mondoweiss should press for details rather than you concocting preposterous excuses. Your fanciful description of her supposed wedding was a wild flight of imagination based upon no information whatsoever. You seem remarkably uncurious as to what actually happened that she tried to hide but now reveals. She brought it up, I didn’t, hence, she should be prepared to back it up. And don’t tell me that a hot-shot lawyer can’t take a book critique without wilting. I don’t buy it, nor your excessive deference to her. She came from a Zionist background, she went to school in Israel, she returned to a Zionist home. I see nothing in her objective background to suggest that she is a champion of the Palestinians except, perhaps, her self-serving narrative. Of course, I could be wrong. Easy enough for you to contact her and get the details, along with her opinion on Israel as a Jewish state.

    • ANNIE- “Moreover, my Palestinian groom in fact received a scholarship to Hebrew University.”

      Thanks for reminding me of this significant discrepancy with her official biography. Is she planning to update her bio?

      Since she is claiming that her story is authentic based upon her time as a student in Israel, her actual history is critical in assessing her claims. Her scene with the Palestinian groom lifting the bride’s veil with a sword has been ridiculed both by Abulhawa and Mondoweiss commenters. In her defense, she cites “Wedding in Galilee” by Palestinian film-maker Marcel Khelifi which apparently has a similar scene. From this I infer that her wedding scene is strongly influenced by the movie for its dramatic appeal at the expense of authenticity. She makes additional references to Arab literature which influenced her work, once again at the expense of authenticity. She seems to be cobbling together various fictional sources to tell a fictional story far removed from any authentic Palestinian narrative.

      Yet, she feels the need to claim authenticity. Hence, the startling revelation that “Furthermore, I am quite familiar with a wedding in a Palestinian village in the Galilee because, unlike Ms. Abulhawa, I actually had one.” Here she is claiming that on her personal experience, she is more knowledgeable about Palestinian weddings than Abulhawa. This is critically important and needs to be pursued. Married to whom? When? Where? Did the groom lift her veil with a sword? Did she meet him at school? Was he the son of a high ranking Palestinian official? Was the marriage legal in Israel? In the US? Annulled? Divorced? Too personal? Not when she brought it up in defense of her bona fides. We already know that her biography is calculated to show what she wants shown and hide what she wants hidden. This is a Harvard trained lawyer with twenty years experience, not some naïve waif.

      Getting back to Corasanti’s official biography, We know she came from a Zionist family, studied for seven years in Israel, had what appears to me to be superficial exposure to the trials and tribulations of the mass of Palestinians, may have been married to an unknown, unnamed Palestinian who later disappeared, returned to the US and got multiple degrees from Harvard, interned at her father’s law firm where she met her current husband and settled down for twenty years before reading “The Kite Flyer.” Let us be honest here. Looks to me that the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree. She may have landed slightly to the left, but what does that indicate? Perhaps a liberal Zionist? In addition to more details about her startling wedding, someone from Mondoweiss should ask Corasanti whether she supports Israel as a Jewish state or Israel as a state of all of its citizens.

      Another thing, this first novel (with the help of 6 editors) seems to be getting a lot of promotion, already having been translated into several languages. Is this the type of response one would expect from a novel seriously critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians? Ask Max Blumenthal. No, if this highly promoted book proves successful, expect Michelle Cohen Corasanti to begin appearing on talk shows as a representative of the Palestinian perspective.

    • ANNIE- “however, she mentioned in her article here she had a wedding in at an arab village in israel. so i’m not sure her experiences were primarily based on being an israeli student.”

      Yes, an Israeli student invited to an Arab wedding. Perhaps one of her classmates. Still, an observer. Nothing wrong with that per se, but hardly a significant defense of the wedding scene in her book involving the groom lifting the veil of the bride with a sword which she more or less admitted that she plagiarized from a movie.

    • “Michelle Cohen Corasanti’s response to Susan Abulhawa’s critique of The Almond Tree proves Abulhawa’s point about the book coming off as informed by white privilege and the white savior complex.”

      Absolutely. Reading Corasanti’s response to Susan Abulhawa’s critique, I was remined of a line from “Portnoy’s Complaint” regarding his father making “Jewish confession.” That is, the curious phenomenon of denying something while simultaneously providing enough information to essentially substantiate the critique.

      Basically, we have a high-achieving Jew from a Zionist family who spent seven years going to school in Israel, the first two of which were at a Hebrew boarding school during which she had a Kahanist boyfriend. Her initial awakening seems to have occurred one summer while partying in Paris with some Lebanese elites. She returns to Hebrew University where she rubs elbows with some Arab Israelis and hears of someone named Mohammad. She becomes aware of Israeli racism. The intifada affected her. She returns to the US, gets her Masters in Middle Eastern studies at Harvard, continuing on for a Law degree and a PhD. She met her husband at her father’s law firm and lived happily for twenty years until she read “The Kite Runner” and decided that she could write a Jewish cum Palestinian version based her experiences as a student in Israel.

      Had she simply written a work of fiction based upon her observations of Israeli racism and discrimination, that would have been fine (at least with me). But that wouldn’t have been the kite runner, would it? To write something comparable, she has to speak as a Palestinian victim of Israeli anti-Arab racism. Trouble is, the more authentic her account, the less literary license she can take to create her updated version of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in Palestinian kite runner guise. Also, the less marketable her book will be. What to do?

      Corasanti claims that based upon her experience she didn’t need Palestinian editors for feedback. I agree. If the goal is to overlay “The Kite Runner” onto “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” as told by an Ivy League Jew in Palestinian drag, she had ample material to work with. The key is that she wants to create a Palestinian version of “The Kite Runner,” authenticity of little moment. And since she is a successful, well-connected member of a well-known kinship group, she has had considerable initial success, her CV now even more impressive. Has she contributed to elite mythology? You better believe it. Is Susan Abulhawa justified in her critique? Surely she is. Is the system fair? Of course not.

  • Interview with Dr. Haidar Eid: 'The Palestinian struggle is not about independence -- it is about liberation'
    • ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE! Gaza is in crisis right now and this interview with Dr. Haidar Eid focuses on an ideal solution in the distant future! Pontificating when the house is on fire! This is a self-indulgent diversion. Might not be a bad idea to de-emphasize the “Jews for This, Jews for That” point of view and talk to the Palestinian representatives from the Free Gaza Movement to see whether they want to emphasize getting relief NOW, or focus on turning the clock back to 1947 at some distant point in time. Below is a quote and link to a Gaza update from Ramzy Baroud:

      “The latest punishment of Gaza may seem like another familiar plot to humiliate the strip to the satisfaction of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, and the military-controlled Egyptian government. But something far more sinister is brewing.

      This time, the collective punishment of Gaza arrives in the form of raw sewage that is flooding many neighborhoods across the impoverished and energy-chocked region of 360 km2 (139 sq mi) and 1.8 million inhabitants. Even before the latest crisis resulting from a severe shortage of electricity and diesel fuel that is usually smuggled through Egypt, Gaza was rendered gradually uninhabitable. A comprehensive UN report last year said that if no urgent action were taken, Gaza would be ‘unlivable’ by 2020. Since the report was issued in August 2012, the situation has grown much worse.” (Ramzy Baroud)

  • Corasanti responds to Abulhawa: My purpose in writing 'The Almond Tree' was to shine a light on Palestinian suffering and help bring about peace
    • HOSTAGE- “I believe that I’ve pointed out that Susan Abulhawa starts off with a false proposition and that she doesn’t exactly make an unblemished defense of it.”

      I fail to see how this relates to my comment other than you felt the need to reply yet had nothing substantive to say.

    • HOSTAGE- “So Twain wrote from the perspective of the protagonist, the antogonist, and all of the other characters in the book.”

      All of which are presented from the perspective of a white boy, a rather elementary distinction which you seem incapable of understanding. Nothing wrong with Susan Abulhawa giving dialogue to Jewish characters, which is totally different from her pretending to see things through their eyes. You have a conclusion which suits you and gather evidence to support your bias. You seem incapable of understanding why, for example, black people might not be thrilled with Al Jolson appearing in black face.

    • ANNIE- “Moreover, my Palestinian groom in fact received a scholarship to Hebrew University.”

      Say what? Below is a link to her bio in which there is no reference to this alleged wedding. Either she is less than honest there, or less than honest here.

    • TOKYOBK- An insightful comment which, regrettably, Cliff doesn’t appear to understand.

    • GAMAL- Very interesting comment.

    • IRISHMOSES- “Somewhere, outside the din of all the clever banter, are the victims whose voices rarely appear, and then only briefly.”

      How true. And how arrogant of us to think that our clever banter is of any real significance. I have commented in the past that Mondoweiss could benefit from more commenters who better represent the average person rather than being dominated by the “clever banter” of the well-educated.

    • There is something about “The Almond Tree” which continues to bother me. Why did Michelle Cohen Corasanti write from the perspective of a fictional Palestinian male? Why did she attempt to portray herself as a Palestinian who has experienced Palestinian victim-hood, rather than as a privileged Ashkenazi Jew who has merely observed it? There seems to me to be a certain dishonesty here. A masking of radically different backgrounds and experiences, and, yes, a certain inherent bias. Had she written from her own perspective of a privileged Ashkenazi Jew who spent seven years going to school in Israel where she rubbed elbows with some Palestinians and was appalled by the racism she saw around her (but did not experience in the fullest sense of the term), that would have been much more intellectually honest than for this Harvard trained lawyer to pretend to authentically represent the Palestinian narrative, which is what she has done. To my perspective, Corasanti has primarily added another achievement to her elite CV to the cheers of the doctrinal system which confines the Palestinian narrative to the safety of the Jewish tent.

    • HOSTAGE- “Oh for God’s sake listen to yourself. You are acting like Corasanti’s book has overcrowded the universe and pushed someone else’s book off the shelves….” (Hostage)

      You have willfully missed the entire point. Susan Abulhawa’s critique of Corasanti’s book provided a point of departure with which to critique the overall doctrinal system in which it is quite predictable that a book from the “Palestinian perspective” would have to be written by a Jew to be successful. What do you think my reference to Cornel West and Ishmael Reed were intended to show? Those at the bottom generally silenced, “their” voices interpreted by white liberals at the top.

      “No, she even told other Palestinians who were willing to listen to that advice to shut-up.” (Hostage)

      Yet another willful distortion. What she actually said was: “I asked her sit down if she was going to try to squash this discussion because he, the director, should be able to answer uncomfortable questions.” Not an unreasonable request if the goal is to have an honest discussion. Or is she not entitled?

      “Taxi I'm in a foul mood because Susan is using Mondoweiss to spread hate and discontent over the use of idealized fictional characters in works of popular fiction, when she deals in the same stock and trade herself.” (Hostage)

      Once again, an outrageous distortion of what Susan actually said and a telling overreaction on your part. You seem unduly disturbed that Mondoweiss would provide the means for Susan to critique a doctrinal system of orientalism writ large, where she and other minorities have their narratives interpreted for them by the elite intelligentsia. Better than nothing, I suppose, but that isn’t the point is it? Yet, it angers you mightily. Feeling threatened perhaps?

      Commenter Rich B said: “As was stated in the review we need to avoid the White Savior Complex. Michelle’s response screams white privilege.” That, to me, is the point. Not that Corasanti’s book may not have merit, but that the system strongly favors her perspective over more authentic ones which may tell a different tale than this privileged Ivy Leaguer.

    • HOSTAGE- “Susan has two articles here at Mondoweiss and the other one says that liberal Jews don’t have the right to criticize or even offer advice to Palestinians.”

      My, what an interesting distortion of what Susan Abulhawa actually did say. She complained about being LECTURED TO by an Israeli about what the Palestinians SHOULD DO in order to discharge THEIR OBLIGATION to rectify one of the many injustices suffered during the Nakba. This, in spite of the ongoing injustice and failure to correct any of the past crimes. Hardly a rejection of criticism in general, more like a criticism of the director’s attitude on this one issue in a film she generally praised.

      I agree with her. The article you linked was beautifully written and made the valid point that part of the Nakba and ongoing dispossession of the Palestinians involves the erasure of the Palestinian culture and narrative, and the substitution of a Jewish narrative, including a Jewish version of the Palestinian narrative. This is a common phenomenon in racist societies. That is why her quote is so telling: “I’m a black man. You know how many do-gooder white people have tried to lecture me on everything wrong in the Black community and what we need to do to fix it?”

      That is the whole point. The people who benefit from racism rarely think of themselves as racist or acknowledge the role of racism in their relative power and privilege. I recently read an article by a black intellectual (I think it was Cornel West) which I can’t locate in which he complains that he was consulted by several white authors concerning their commissioned books about Richard Pryor, but that he who knew Pryor was unable to generate interest in his book about Pryor. Ishmael Reed tells a similar tale about white authors telling black stories. And most of us whites can’t even conceive of this as a problem. Can’t conceive that a non-white person might validly interpret reality different from us. Liberal Ashkenazi can’t conceive of themselves as biased and Judeocentric, the suggestion itself deemed anti-Semitic. And Michelle Cohen Corasanti says: “I didn’t need a Palestinian editor because I lived among the Palestinians inside the green line for seven years and saw with my own eyes the Palestinian reality.” And who better to interpret Palestinian reality than a Jew? What arrogance. What blindness. Had she written from the perspective of a liberal Ashkenazi woman who lived in Palestine for seven years, that would have been fine, more honest. But to write from the perspective of a Palestinian seems to me an attempt to commandeer and profit from the Palestinian experience at the expense of the more authentic narrative.

  • Preaching to the choir: reflections on Max Blumenthal's 'Goliath'
    • TREE- “His own bias and bigotry towards non-Jews goes un-examined in deference to a learned but ingrained sense of Jewish exceptionalism.”

      Well put and spot on! Silver lining? At least it allows all of us non-Jewish whites to get a feel of what Black people must feel when they hear whites talk about a post-racial society and assail affirmative action as reverse discrimination!

  • ADL connection is suddenly a liability for a court nominee
    • W JONES- At the time, I didn’t pay attention to official Israeli policy in regards to Yugoslavia, however, I do recall that Ariel Sharon made negative comments about it. American Jewish support was overwhelmingly liberal, many were critics of Israeli policy in regards to the Palestinians, however, this was mainly directed at the Likud government and of a partisan nature, Democrats/Labour versus Republicans/Likud. In other words, a play by liberal American Jews to demonstrate that they were the more effective empire Jews. This would be entirely consistent with the right turn of the Democratic Party led by Bill Clinton.

    • KRAUSS- “When we reach the day when a hateful organization like the ADL is no longer given the cover of a ‘civil rights group’ we’ve come a long way.”

      Another example of ADL perfidy was in August of 1992, when the ADL, The American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress demonstrated outside the UN and placed an ad in the New York Times comparing the Serbs to the Nazis. This, in spite of the fact that during World War II, it was the Croats and Muslims who were aligned with Hitler’s Germany, and the Serbs who comprised the bulk of the partisan resistance. Furthermore, it was the Croats who ran the Jasenovac death camps where hundreds of thousands of Serbs, along with Roma and Jews, were exterminated. But the empire wanted to intervene, so the Zionists performed their usual facilitating role.

  • Klug on Kristallnacht: Opponents in Israel/Palestine debate are locked in an 'acrimonious circle'
    • SHMUEL- “I think inviting Klug was a step in that direction.”

      I am not particularly concerned about Klug being invited or that he attended and spoke. I am more concerned about Mondoweiss’s apparent obsession with anti-Semitism. Had Phil not made this post, I would have known nothing about Klug’s speech. Phil’s pretext for this post is that Klug was accused of anti-Semitism by Israeli Zionists. Seems to me that aspect of this could have been dealt with briefly and succinctly, no need for yet another long dissertation on anti-Semitism. Better to review the results of the Libyan “humanitarian intervention” which, as I recall, Phil supported. Better to accept responsibility for current and ongoing imperial crimes than claiming never-ending victim-hood status. I provide a link to a recent update on the results of empire’s Libyan Kristallnacht analog:

      “Who will protect Libyans now? One of the darkest and most shameful chapters in Western military intervention continues to play out in spades in Libya. Recent news from Benghazi revealed that one of the (literally hundreds) of murderous militias opened fire on peaceful, white-flag-bearing protesters (protesting militias), killing at least 20 and wounding over 130. And they didn’t use just small arms — it was rocket propelled grenades, machine guns and even an anti-aircraft gun. It was, even for a horribly violent context, a disgusting slaughter of innocents.” (Murray Dobbin)

    • STEPHEN SHENFIELD- “Given that false charges of anti-Semitism are so widely used to discredit criticism of Israel (or of other Jewish institutions, beliefs or practices, e.g. circumcision), we have to address the question of what real anti-Semitism is and how to distinguish it from phenomena falsely described as anti-Semitism.”

      Anti-Semitism is such a minor phenomenon in the US that we should not be spending a lot of time discussing it or focusing on the Kristallnacht or the mythical 2000 years of irrational anti-Semitism. This obsessive Jewish navel gazing is a waste of time and a distraction from more important things which should concern Americans such as the actions of empire. For example, imperial complicity and responsibility for the genocide in the Congo.

      “The United States has financed and given overall direction to the worst genocide since World War Two, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since 1996, Washington has drenched Congo’s eastern provinces in the blood of over six million people. The governments of Rwanda and Uganda, the direct perpetrators of this holocaust, are in every sense of the word agents of U.S. foreign policy, who operate with impunity under the imperial umbrella.” (Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report)

    • SHMUEL- “He spoke on the subject of anti-Semitism at an event organised by the Jewish Museum of Berlin to mark the anniversary of Kristallnacht.”

      Yes, he along with the Jewish Museum of Berlin are part of the “Jewish victim-hood” industry which continues to promote the Judeo-centric over-emphasis on various aspects of historic anti-Semitism taken out of context to emphasize Jewish (Ashkenazi) uniqueness. It is an unwholesome, exclusivist attempt (apparently successful) to stoke and maintain tribal solidarity. It is also a huge distraction from current reality, some aspects of which are leading to increased racism and sectarian conflict, of which anti-Semitism is but a small part.

      “I can’t think of a more relevant time or venue for such a talk.”

      I think Jews should have stopped even thinking about the Kristallnacht before now. Time to move on and deal with the here and now. Of all of the problems confronting us now, anti-Semitism is way down on my list of concerns, yet, Mondoweiss and some commenters continue to obsess on the topic.

    • Just because Brian Klug has been vilified as an anti-Zionist purveyor of anti-Semitism doesn’t make him necessarily worthy of praise. While he appears not to be part of Norman Finkelstein’s Holocaust Industry, he strikes me as someone with an overly developed interest in anti-Semitism. He is Judeo-centric to the core, with his emphasis on the Kristallnacht, an event of dubious current relevance in view of current pressing problems. He talks about anti-Zionism sometimes a mask hiding anti-Semitism, yet, has he even considered that charges of anti-Semitism are a mask to hide anti-Gentile chauvinism? There is also a question of power here. As Voltaire wrote, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” Reckless charges of anti-Semitism by the gatekeepers of public discourse are a manifestation of Jewish power, not weakness.

      This emphasis on sniffing out “whiffs” of anti-Semitism is a distraction from other infinitely more important issues. The planet seems to be on a downward spiral that may well threaten the survival of the species. The problems are numerous and very serious, each potentially catastrophic, together apocalyptic. Just today, Ellen Brown has an article over at Counterpunch discussing the TPP, GMOs and the use of food as a geostrategic weapon (link below). To me, anti-Semitism is a relatively minor problem that is receiving way too much emphasis.

  • Goldberg's 'willingness to accuse everyone of anti-semitism makes it impossible to respect [him]'
  • In Avnery's 'Battle of the Titans,' will anyone bet that the dog wags the tail?
    • DAN CROWTHER- Nice comment! You seem to be one of the few Mondoweissers who actually understands what empire is about. I think there are a lot of liberals here who actually believe in American exceptionalism, that our numerous murderous interventions are for the best, or at least we had the best of intentions. That our worldwide network of bases were built to defend against the ruthless “other.” This is particularly true of the more successful liberals who have yet to feel the effects of neoliberalism coming home to roost. Myths and self-deception are difficult to overcome.

    • DAN CROWTHER- “I wish someone would actually accurately describes Chomsky’s view on the subject….”

      I think we need to cut Uri Avnery some slack on this. Israel is so utterly dependent upon the US for support, that their media go overboard in trying to reassure them that an all-powerful lobby has things well in hand. Even Israel Shahak succumbed to this exaggeration. The reality is that if the Lobby was as powerful as claimed, they would be much less visible, pulling strings in the shadows rather than engaging in bluster. And Netanyahu would act humble and discourage attention getting congressional standing ovations. Also, having Israel getting the credit/blame for US Middle East policy may well serve the interest of both countries. I end with a Kissinger quote:

      “Israel is dependent on the United States as no other country is on a friendly power…. Israel sees in intransigence the sole hope for preserving its dignity in a one-sided relationship. It feels instinctively that one admission of weakness, one concession granted without a struggle, will lead to an endless catalogue of demands…. And yet Israel’s obstinacy, maddening as it can be, serves the purpose of both our countries best. A subservient client would soon face an accumulation of ever-growing pressures. It would tempt Israel’s neighbors to escalate their demands. It would saddle us with the opprobrium for every deadlock.” (Henry Kissinger, quoted in “Straight Power Concepts in the Middle East” by Gregory Harms)

    • HENRY NORR- “…wouldn’t a settlement that ensured peace and a modicum of justice make it much easier for US imperialism to pursue its interests in the wider Middle East and the rest of the Muslim world?”

      With all due respect, Henry, you are superimposing liberal mythology onto imperial motivation and questioning why empire doesn’t behave the way you think it should. All empires, past and present, exist at the expense of peace and justice. No exceptions. In the Middle East, polls consistently show that the people believe that the US supports dictatorships and monarchies in order to control their gas and oil. Since this is essentially what we do, we are unlikely to win the hearts and minds of the Arab street. As far as Uncle Sam is concerned, secular democracy in the Middle East responding to the peoples’ needs and desires would be an unmitigated disaster. Look what happened to Mossadeq in Iran. Worldwide, we emphasize militarism and economic exploitation. An astronomical military budget and emphasis combined with IMF structural adjustments.

      And when we talk about Zionism and the Lobby, American Zionism needs an embattled Israel as an emotional unifier of organized American Jewry. It is Israel and Zionism which enabled American Jews to shuck the socialist label and enter the corridors of power in unprecedented fashion. Therefore, I agree with Norman Finkelstein when he says:

      “For Israel’s new American Jewish ‘supporter,’ however, such talk bordered on heresy: an independent Israel at peace with its neighbors was worthless; an Israel aligned with currents in the Arab world seeking independence from the United States was a disaster. Only an Israeli Sparta beholden to American power would do, because only then could US Jewish leaders act as spokesmen for American imperial ambitions.” (Norman Finkelstein)

  • Did the U.S. undermine democracy in the Maldives because it wants to set up military bases there?
    • WOODY TANAKA- “Sadly, I find it not very extraordinary at all. It seems to be the SOP of the US government and has been for a long time.”

      I agree completely. Actually, the only thing I find extraordinary is James North feigning shock. Surely, he is not so naïve as to be shocked by imperial realpolitik.

  • American Jews are 'endangered,' says Ari Shavit
    • DONALD- “The problem is the idea that for some utterly mysterious reason, Jewish culture is endangered in America in some way that requires the existence of a Jewish state several thousand miles away….”

      I seriously doubt that any of these guys are concerned about Jewish culture. Zionism is primarily concerned with the use of an amalgam of blood and soil nationalism with religious symbolism to recreate and maintain Jewish tribal solidarity endangered by the enlightenment and assimilation. This group solidarity is a key factor in assisting the rise of the Jewish elites to their current lofty status. It is all about power. Any and all threats to Jewish tribal solidarity, hence the Jewish (primarily Ashkenazi) elites’ power and privilege, is phrased as an existential threat to Jewish (tribal) survival, hence, unacceptable to the Ashkenazi intelligentsia

Showing comments 1200 - 1101