Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 2596 (since 2011-01-07 20:19:21)

Showing comments 200 - 101

  • Establishment Jews attack Beinart over settlement boycott call
    • By the way hophmi, I saw you responding to Ronn Torossians nutjob Op-Ed attack on Beinart in the comments' section. For a while, you always seemed like a good-hearted liberal.

      And then I read the usual claptrap you come with. It's the whole 'white moderate' dilemma King wrote about. The whole point is that the Establishment is wedded to the Occupation. Trying to appease them hasn't worked.

      But you know that. Which is why it's strange why you're pushing for more unless you want the outcome that will happen - and I think you're smart enough to understand that at some point, if not already, the settlements are permanent.

    • Phil, here's one I think is very important.

      The reviewer is a staff editor at Foreign Affairs. That is THE foreign policy magazine in the States. It's the essence of the establishment and the organization behind it is the Council on Foreign Relations(CFR), which is a bi-partisan apex of the Foreign policy establishment. And this guy is an editor at their magazine.

      And the review is a non-stop attack. He slams Beinart and all who think like him in the following manner:

      "That's why those who embrace The Crisis of Zionism—especially the young, liberal elites for whom it is intended—risk dooming themselves to irrelevancy."

      link to

      It isn't just the neocons at Commentary. Goldberg is a usual weatherwane. Even J Street went after him.

      It's official: the 2SS is dead. Apartheid is the choice du jour - full stop!

  • As I read this, I cringe
    • There's a grain of truth in that. On the other hand, Israel is supposed to be a Jewish state and thus most of the internal Israeli debate has to be framed in Jewish terms, since the changes will affect the people who live there, and Jews form a significant portion of that population(especially if you're aiming for a 2SS). This doesn't mean I agree with this position but I can see why it's the case of how the debate is framed.

      I would like to say, however, that the author of this piece did a very intelligent and it is so far the best critique that I've read. Beinart is not going to change, and nor should he.

      But as I wrote earlier in another thread, he has been silent for most of his career, certainly when he was the editor of The New Republic(the gatekeeper to Israel in liberal discourse) when Labor went nuts with the settlements. Nor did he do anything particular in the run-up to Iraq.

      I read a venomous comment from a right-wing Jew at some site where he basically wrote that Beinart is a political opportunist. He senses where the wind is heading and tries to portray himself as this brave/serious intellectual.

      But when it actually counted and when the 2SS wasn't on life-support(if it isn't dead already), Beinart was dead silent. His prescriptions may have had a valid and cogent component to them once upon a time but that was years ago, if not decades. Settlements, including East Jerusalem, now contain over half a million. If Netanyahu can't even disbandon migron, who thinks he(or any of the opposition, like Labor who have historically stood for most of the settlement growth and spend their political energies these days reaching out and wooing the very settlers they are supposed to oppose) can do anything about that?

      I'm inclined to agree with some of his critics that his life's work does contain a grain of opportunism. I also think he's way, way late and this is the last gasp of panicked Liberal Zionists who let the neocons(both Republican and Democrat) run the show. Now they see the fruits of blind and passive loyalty and they want their moral compass back.

      Sorry, too late. You sold it a long time ago.
      Why should these people be listened to now?

  • When good intentions aren't good enough: Liberal Zionists and BDS
    • Yeah, a good, intelligent piece on the subject. Without hyperbole but with a clear, moral pejorative piercing through the entire argument.

      Also, welcome to the roster of Mondoweiss, Austin!

  • Beinart calls for boycott of settlements 'to save Israel'
    • I don't know about that, Annie.

      As 'revolutionary' as Beinart wants to appear, the fact is that his Op-Ed in 2010 and his soon-to-be-released book about Zionism isn't that radical. Mearsheimer and Walt were the real radicals, denounced by everyone(including Beinart) as dangerous anti-Semites even though most people now implictly agree they were right by using the phrase of 'the pro-Israel lobby'. The NYT even called AIPAC an 'Israel lobby'(which isn't far from the truth).

      Where was Beinart before Iraq? Where was he during the 90s, when he was editor of the TNR; the gatekeeper of the liberal establishment as Rabin's government massively increased settlements? Not a word from Beinart then.

      It's only at the very end, when Mearsheimer, Walt, Tony Judt, Blumenthal and Weiss have been calling the obvious for what it is(and paid a heavy career price for it, at least when it comes to Blumenthal who is utterly brilliant as a journalist).

      That Beinart now comes out of woods after literally decades of silence smacks of opportunism. Now most liberals agree that Israel is on the wrong track and that the 2SS may be dead or at least on life-support. To come now and write about the 'Crisis of Zionism' isn't brave or revolutionary or radical. It's merely a statement of fact. If his book came 10 years ago he would have been a radical. Or even 5 years ago. But not now. Others have paid a deep, personal price, often through their careers, for him to say what he says now. Without any price. And it's good for his career as he gets presented as this brave peacemaker, "taking on the Jewish establishment". Please.

      Blumenthal's up-coming book will be much more truthful as it rejects the puerile motion that this is somehow all the fault of a few extremists who have 'unfortunately' pressured Israeli governments into a position that they don't really feel that strongly about. When in fact it's been established mainstream policy under both labor and likud.

      But that shatters the myth of the 'Good Israel' that Liberal Zionists like Beinart feed off on. And where is Labor or Kadima for that matter now? Labor has gone up in the polls because it refuses to talk about the Occupation. It even reaches out to settlers(!) as a voting block. How is that upsetting the status quo? And this shouldn't be a surprise. Labor has long provided a liberal fig leaf to the Occupation from within Israel as well as to the Jim Crow status of Arabs inside Israel.

      Beinart is not really that different, because he comes at the very end after a career marked by acquiescence and even here he refuses to deal with the reality that the Occupation draws it's support from across the political spectrum and not from some sort of fringe. Nor is his timing that brave, as he has stonewalled this issue for his entire career and only come out after a lot braver people essentially sacrificed their careers(like Max Blumenthal) for saying the truth, unmitigated and uncensored.

      Let the mainstream media hype Beinart. I want to know more about Max's upcoming book as it will be much more honest with the situation than Beinart will ever allow himself to be, because he craves insider access. That's what fuelled his silence for decades and that is what is making him portray this as somehow all of Bibi's fault and Obama as some sort of bizarre Jewish messiah. It's a fairytale.

  • How important is it to the Times (and us) that Greg Smith is Jewish?
    • Thomas,

      Your reply says more about your own personal prejudices and preferences than what I wrote. Your reply is making it sound as if I want to forbid this topic.

      What I wrote was that I understand those who are uncomfortable with this topic, not that I advocate censorship. This is also why I think Phil would probably write a good book on this topic, because he would be able to balance honest debate and keeping a historical perspective.

      Your angry and, frankly, slightly bitter outbursts demanding that I stand responsible for how 'Jewish power' should or should not be used has a nasty undercurrent to it. And it's precisely for this undercurrent that some Jews are put off on this topic, and as I wrote, I understand them even though I may not always agree with them. Because to some people Jews are a collective hive mind working in concert with each other. I don't think I need to point out that the leap to outright conspiracies are not far behind once you've crossed that threshold. That is neither an indictment of this topic nor a defence. Just a statement of fact.

    • Post by post, Phil, you're getting to a point when you're saying outright that 'Jews control America'(or more nuanced; We have a decisive impact on the media which in a free society is what sets the parameters of discussions on any given topic.). And if America is (still) the superpower of the world and we have a decisive impact...

      I'm telling you that this road is right down the alley of classic anti-Semitism. But the 'myth' of Jewish power has become a reality. So the boundaries of discourse on anti-Semitism has not yet kept apace with the reality of modern Jewish life in Western societies. So maybe you should wrote a book on this topic, 'Jews and Power'.

      I think it would relevant and nuanced coming from a guy like you, a comfortable Jew with self-distance. Beinart's onto something and if Tony Judt was alive I bet this would be his next topic since the discussion on Israel has been opened up and nuanced and he was constantly pushing the boundaries of the discussion to get to the truth, not necessarily what fits a certain ideology.

      But yeah, there is reclusiveness on these topics. And I'm somewhat sympathetic to that view. Anyone with even a scintilla of knowledge of Jewish history should be.

  • Wall Street firm slammed the door on young Warren Buffett for religious reasons
    • Good catch. A man who was facing bigotry became a bigot himself.

      "Every white man is a potential Klasman".

      As for the article.
      I think that the Jewish rise to power was ultimately a good thing. The downside was that the aggression needed for the shattering of the old order meant that Wall St, for instance, became much less benign and less focused on industrialism and more on fast money, creating complex securities and algorithms which could be understood if you had the mathematical ability and time, but in essence, did little for the economy than rob pension funds and gutter the middle class.

      Still, if you look at firms like Goldman Sachs, which were very Jewish and family-owned they were very much patrician and long-term too. The same is true of Paul Warburg and other great Jewish finaniciers who were also long-term industrialists. So I don't think that this dictonomy between the WASPish 'long term model' and the Jewish 'smart, but reckless quick buck culture' is true when some people portray it.

      I think there is a case to be made that Wall St became more reckless as Jews started to gain an equal footing, but I think that was more a byeffect of vengance and the state of the situation. Remember that anti-Semitism was very real in the decades leading up to the 60s and 70s. That hardens people a lot. Makes them aggressive and at times, as the Ben Graham story shows, even mild bigots themselves.

      Still, today Goldman may have a Jewish CEO but it isn't owned by Jews. A lot of hedge funds like Andreesen Horowitz are thoroughly mixed. Wall St and the London City financial district used to have a strict divide between the Gentiles/WASPs and the Jews. That's no longer the case. I think both groups are better off because of that, as well as everyone who isn't part of those two groups who are also starting to thrive on Wall St.

      This is why I think that the Jewish ascendancy, even if it brought a more aggressive(or even destructive) edge to Wall St in the coming decades, was a good thing ultimately; because it brought in meritocracy. Even Graham couldn't ignore that in the end.

      And although Wall St may be reformed, we have Hollywood left where the reverse situation has been a fact of life and where nobody has dared mention a word because of fear of being acused as an anti-Semite! And we need more meritocracy in Hollywood too, and less recruitment based on blood.

  • The evolution of Peter Beinart
    • There's a great interview with Max Blumenthal which really gets down in detail and even if you follow the issue closely you can still learn quite a bit.

      See here:
      link to

      Now how does this fit with Beinart and Adam's open suggestion of right of return etc?
      In my mind, the right of return is a dead issue because it's so transparant. There is a legitimate talking point on behalf of those who are against it in that there are plenty of world examples of refugees who have to adapt to new circumstances, plus you had the ethnic cleansing of Jews on a mass scale from Arab lands when Israel was founded. My point isn't a moral case; merely historical case.

      And it's also a very, as I've just said, transparent attempt to essentially end Israel as a Jewish state.

      Max Blumenthal's focus isn't on these issues but rather on full rights within Israel. In the interview he goes into depth but still manages to keep a bird's view on issues of land, and connecting the Jewish National Fund. The point, with the long litany of anti-democratic laws, is that Arabs inside Israel aren't merely 'second class citizens', they are essentially without basic rights to purchase property wherever they want.

      There are now laws in place which allows Jewish communities to reject Arab homebuyers on basis of 'social cohesion'.

      This is Jim Crow. And I think this is the most potent weapon to use against the Occupation instead of getting tangled up in arcane discussions of historic precendents of rights of return and the inevitable counter-narrative of Jews were expelled too. It isn't a clear winner like this one. And besides, if this narrative of equal rights win, then RoR becomes an automatic choice.

  • '60 Minutes' goes in for casual racism about 'Arabs'
    • I had the same visceral reaction. She was like a horny teen girl in front of her idol, drooling with amazement as she spoke of his violence against Arabs, smiling joyfully as she quoted one racist quote after another. Even calling him Superman with a wry smile.

      Disgusting. And Mr. Dagan had been briefed well. They barely touched upon the fact that a strike would never end a nuclear programme, only delay it. He confirmed that's the case. But they never went into it.

      Leslie's racism was disgusting.

  • MSM jailbreak: Chris Hayes devotes 2 hours to conflict with panel of 2 Zionists and 2 Palestinians
    • It's stunning.

      I saw the whole thing on Youtube. I was grasping for breath. This guy has courage!

      I think the reason for this is because he has ignored the hasbara. He went to the actualy settlements and saw it all for himself. And he understands where Israel is heading if nothing is done. He's doing Israel huge favours for brining back the spotlight to Palestine in this way, but I'm sure the ultra-Zionists are exploding.

      He said a lot of true things. He plainly rejected the fantasy that there is some mythic left inside Israel that will save it from itself if Netanyahu is kicked out. The peacemovement is dead. The other side represents the status quo too, in some ways more so than Netanyahu.

      He didn't mention that Olmert killed far more people in Lebanon/Gaza than Netanyahu ever dreamed of. Nor did he mention that Labor was the party under which settlements increased the most and Mapai, Labor's forerunner, was the party that initiatied the two rounds of ethnic cleansing ('48 and '67) of Palestinians that we've seen so far.

      Still, he flatly rejected the Hasbara of the woman from the Israel Project when she said that 'settlement construction had stopped'. It was a partial freeze and construction continued within existing settlement blocs, and Hayes called her out on that.

      Same with the whole 'Iran tried to assassinate the Saudi ambassador' meme which there is no proof of but a lot of MSM smoke and mirrors.

      He also asked the Palestinians some pretty harsh questions, even one asking(he admitted it was provocative) that 'what's wrong with the status quo?' which Mr. Barghouti demolished with ease.

      I'm not sure if this is a breakthrough for the MSM yet, but it shows that the liberal firewall of uncondtional support for Israel is breaking down. And it's being led by Gentiles. Just like Jews led the Civil Rights struggle back here at home, it seems an outsider is much more capable of brining justice to the situation than most(but far from all) insiders.

      Another important thing that happened is the way the neocons have turned against The Forward for publishing balanced piece on Abuminah and a personal Op-Ed by JJ Goldberg on his friend, MJ Rosenberg. I think they have a point on the Rosenberg piece which was biased but it wasn't a news article, it was an Op-Ed where Goldberg came clean right away and said Rosenberg had been his friend for a long time.

      But Commentary, the highest neocon temple, devoted a long, angry post to the 'limits of pro-Israel discourse'. He usually has denounced any opposition as 'marginal' and 'extremist' but this opposition within the Jewish community is gaining momentum and his privelege is melting away, and he fears it.

      He lashes out against a 'confused' Jewish left which he says doesn't know what it wants. But what he is facing for the first time in generations is a coherent response which isn't on the margins anymore.

      The neocons have radicalized us. The way they tracked down Goldstone all over the world and even crashed his son's Bar Mitzah in South Africa to harass him and denigrate him in front of his closest family members and friends.

      They broke him down and he finally did what they wanted. He went to the Op-Ed pages of NYT, was rejected when they saw what was going on, and then went to WaPo instead and did his whole 'I was wrong on everything, everyone who disagrees with Israel is a suspect character' piece.

      As long as opposition to these right-wing ideologues is scarce they can pick us off one by one. What's happening now is that you're reaching a critical mass. Are they going to call all of us self-hating Jews?

      Things are finally turning around.
      Here's Commentary's attack on all left-wing Jews:

      link to

  • Democratic chair Wasserman Schultz said to cancel speech to Muslim voting-rights group under rightwing pressure
    • Hi LeaNder! It's always slightly amusing, flattering (and if we are brutually honest, a bit creepy too) to be the focus of someone's obsessions. I'm impressed of how closely you read my comments!

      Surely Annie is right. I bring interest to this site(and apparently fanboys too!).

      As for your own comment, it's a mishmash. You complain that you can't 'connect emotionally to me'. This again adds slightly to the creep factor.

      Then implicitly say that Atzmon is an anti-Semite. My comment which you linked is torn on this issue. In some ways he is, or at least he entertains such notions, but on other cases he isn't. My mind isn't made up entirely on that issue.

      But what does strike me as interesting is your absolutist stance. Any other opinion on Tony Judt is a 'misuse', as if it was not a matter of opinion but a purely mechanical matter.

      Perhaps it is in this lens that we should see your attack ('flip flops', 'can't connect emotionally'). Maybe the difference between you and me is that I try to keep my mind open to all viewpoints and not forcefully push all matters into a narrow ideological fold.

      Maybe you'll learn that one can take numerous positions, without regard of how they connect to each other, so to avoid the trap of becomming a narrow-minded ideologue.

      Just a thought!

      (But you're more than welcome to continue to read my comments as obsessively as you do. Mancrushes are cute!)

    • Prejudice or political opportunism?

      I'm not a fan of Wasserman-Shultz so you folks take your pick.

      I casually browsed the website you linked to, Frontpage, and found this ad:

      link to

      I wonder if it's true. Even if we disregard the organization behind the ad; if it is factually true, doesn't this concern you? I'm a bit shocked to be frank. I wonder if it's factually true. If it is, it's a stunner.

  • Advice to Zionists from a fellow loser
    • I'm not convinced.

      Study after study here in Europe has shown that young people are conservative.
      They have much more sex. Young women in Sweden have had an average of 20 sexpartners in the (major) city where I live. Although they were students and students fuck a lot more than the general population.

      Men are getting laid too.

      Yet the family formation of young Swedes are increasingly younger. Children is seen as cool and socially responsible. Nobody wants to be that lonely guy or gal at 39, who has drunk too much, smoked too much and live alone and bitter in the city.

      There was a similar study in Switzerland which showed the same thing, measuring the attitudes among their youths on issues such as monogamy, sexuality, children and marriage. He thought he would uncover the long lost revolution that had been in play since the 60s.

      But the dynamic was in some ways similar to yours. The professor who did the study was an old school cultural radical. He actually found that most of the national youths - including in the big, urban areas - were more conservative than two generations before it(as defined by a decade per generation).

      He denounced the youths ironically as 'traditionalist' and 'bourgeois' when he found out how traditionalist the results were.
      He too is being left behind and nobody will shed a tear at his slightly bitter regrets. The cultural revolution is slowly being undone but not without it's marks.

      Social acceptance of homosexuality, for instance, is at all time highs. But notice too what has happened. Rachel Maddow recently bitterly complained and warned against pushing for marriage too much. She said she liked the 'gay lifestyle and culture' and felt threatned by the fact that most gays are like most straight people.

      They want to live happy, fulfilling lives which have an enduring sense of peace.
      Happyness isn't euphoric. It is deeply felt. It is the base on which your life stands on, even with it's ups and downs.

      What I'd say is that people are moving past bigotry. But even the left in America and elsewhere now admits that the decline of marriage is a problem. Out of wedlock births is a problem. That's a quiet revolution. We should remember the days when the nuclear family and marriage were attacked as 'repressive bourgeois institutions'.

      These days gays are fightning tooth and nail to get equal access to just that, shattering a key demographic component of the radical left. Gays have always been very creative and influtential in our culture. They are the trendsetters.

      So what does their embrace of traditional marriage and the nuclear family lifestyle(with adopted children in many cases, but not always) say?

      Means that even if people may be more sexually open, in some ways that is being moderated. People are re-discovering the deeper sense of family life now that the kinks have been worked out(particularly for women and soon for gays too).

      I can only look at my own circle of friends here in Sweden. Sure, sex is easy, but it isn't cheap. It's done with people you know very well and not with strangers. Usually these people are friends afterwards and sometimes become girlfriends and boyfriends. There is a high tolerance of sexual deviation but a tired sigh of the pride parade. Everyone supports it in principle but even the gays around me are tired of the clichés and the stereotypes.

      We're not dancing monkeys, they tell me. These people are stuck in the 70s. And so their eyes drop a hint of sophisticated superiority.

      I may not know America as you do, but Sweden isn't actually the archetype of sexual or social repression. You'd be surprised, I think, if you would see the future in a decade or two. Bigotry shouldn't be confused with family values, although it often is(on both sides of the political spectrum).

  • Walt and Mearsheimer don't think Israel will attack Iran, and neither will we
    • The GOP right-wing turn was orchastrated from the top.
      Basically, the neocons. They got control of the conservative media and pushed all the realists out.

      You go ahead and ask the folks at American Conservative magazine what happened when they turned on the paleocons in the early 90s. I'm no friend of Pat Buchanan by any stretch but it was a Stalinist purge of just about everyone who didn't sign up 100 % on Israel. That's what it was.

      The base never really was for all these wars, but the rise of the Fox News together with 9/11 have brainwashed a large number of grassroots GOP of the 'totalitarian threat' of Islam; ergo we must have endless wars.

      We're seeing some movement away from that with Ron Paul.
      It's important to seperate the neocons and the Israel Lobby. They often work together but they're not a single unit. The lobby spends more time policing the Democratic ranks.

      The neocons basically have the total control of the mainstream narrative in the GOP on foreign policy. Thank Bill Kristol and his allies for that.

      But because this hold is basically a reality because of conservative media control(Weekly Standard, National Review and so on) which demands use of constant fearmongering of Islam, I think it can be broken. A lot of young Republicans know people who went into these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      And they all saw how it was Paul's opposition to neocon orthodoxy on Foreign policy(especially Israel) that drew the most attacks. The newsletters came later.

      I cannot say I know that much about the Republican party but from what I've noticed, many of his supporters are usually young and quite bright. Paul has an intellectual demeanor, even if you disagree with him, it's hard not to notice that. He isn't a dull Santorum-esque sloganeer. He writes a lot of books and engages his audience in intellectual discourse.

      And these people will form a significant part of the future Republican elite, especially the libertarian side which is very strong in Beltway. And the forming experience for these people will be the Paul campaign and they will remember what was the biggest opposition to his candidacy: he refused to bow to Israel.

      So combine this with the anti-war moods of the Democratic base, especially the younger crowd and you got yourself an emerging bi-partisan concensus coming to sweep the corrupt orthodoxy off.

      As they say in Afghanistan: they got the watches but we got the time.

  • 'Forward' joins 'New Yorker' in embracing MJ Rosenberg
    • I'm agnostic on all these defences.

      Max Blumenthal has spoken well about liberal Zionists. Sure, they do good work(I'm speaking of genuine liberal Zionists like Beinart, not Jeff Goldberg/Alan Dershowitz/Spencer Ackerman and others), but what's the point of attacking right-wing Zionism from a 'moderate' Zionist perspective.

      This fits into the comfortable narrative that all that's bad with today's Israel - that a progressive Jewish élite crowd can't defend - is somehow Likud's fault and their enablers in the U.S.

      Sure, they've pushed this direction the hardest. But it pays to be diligent: Who increased settlements the most? Likud or Labor?
      Where is Labor picking up votes these days? The settlers.

      Under which party did the bulk of the ethnic cleansing occur? Mapai(forerunner to Labor).

      And shouldn't we talk about Ben-Gurion's letter to his son in 1931 where he openly and calmly stated that the Arabs had to be at least partially removed/transfered to make room for Jews? Before the rise of Hitler and ergo nullifying the whole 'Holocaust made us do it, we were psychologically vulnerable' hasbara cover that is pulled up whenever the Nakba is coming up for discussion.

      So let's pretend.
      Let's pretend that Netanyahu is defeated and the Likudniks(both in America and in Israel) lose relative power over the next few years.
      Let's even pretend that the war that Netanyahu and his allies(both the neocons and the Israel lobby) with Iran doesn't come to fruition.

      What's different? Did the J14 protests even touch on the Occupation? It's poison in Israel now. And will Labor, now openly courting settlers, do anything to advance peace, considering that Labor and it's forerunner Mapai stood for most of the settlement activity and ethnic cleansing?

      Half of Kadima could easily be placed in Likud.

      But the Liberal Zionists have nothing on this. They don't want to discuss it. It breaks the bubble. So they blame Bibi and his allies. And they do it from the 'liberal Zionist' perspective.

      But from someone who isn't emotionally attached to Zionism, someone looking from the outside of that debate, what concrete difference will their preferred policies do given the history of liberal Zionism, often a fig-leaf for the same practices but with far softer language. Shouldn't these people remind themselves what the current Kadima party leader said after Cast Lead, gloating that she had demanded that 'the IDF would act like real hooligans'.

      For me, this entire debate is filled with fraud.
      Because even J Street has said that it won't even debate Palestinians on these topics, only Jews. Why? Because Palestinians can't be argued with. Their words are too powerful and sear through any propaganda effort.

      I don't want to be too harsh, J Street and the others do good work. But ultimately, they have no answers to the larger questions. They simply don't want to stare into the abyss and see that what is happening now has been brewing for many decades and it's not an 'extremist fringe' responsible for it, it's been mainstream policy across the political spectrum for generations.

      But that would shatter the illusions and would deprive them of the moral indignation they so desperately crave, so they blame it all on Bibi and his allies.

      But I ask; who are the bigger frauds here?

  • 'Putz' -- AIPAC delegates expressed rage at demonstrators
    • One small edit:

      "It probably affects US foreign policy in small, minor ways(such as Europeans boycotting Iranian oil, but that does weave into the Middle East anyway, so the point still stands) but that’s about it."

      Should be read as 'small minor ways outside the Middle East'.

    • The 'shadow government' smear returns.

      So how much influence does AIPAC have on foreign policy towards China's military activities near Japan and Taiwan? What influence does it extert towards the Australia-US bilateral relationship? Brazil? Cuba?

      What does have it to do with US health care policy, alternative energy, immigration, how high taxes should be, our education policy and who funds our universities, for-profits? How about internet regulation?

      I could go on.

      AIPAC is a powerful lobby determined to shape US policy on the Middle East, primarily, because that's the region that Israel is most affected by. It probably affects US foreign policy in small, minor ways(such as Europeans boycotting Iranian oil, but that does weave into the Middle East anyway, so the point still stands) but that's about it.

      A government's foreign policy is very varied, especially a country as powerful as America.

      And then it has a range of domestic issues which has nothing to do with Israel.
      Using terms like 'shadow government' in a Jewish context ought to be verboten. Blankfort may do it on purpose but Scott should know better.

      Critique of AIPAC is vital, but it should be specific. Playing with anti-Semitic undercurrents, or casually quoting other's use of it, in an approving fashion, does not help critics of US foreign policy towards the Middle East to capture a larger share of the mainstream of America, which I think is possible.

      But it's impossible to ignore the ease into which some people wallow into anti-Semitism, even if they don't mean to.

  • Hasbarapocalypse at Ynet: 'Zionism will only cease being demonized when the West stops demonizing colonialism'
    • Things are starting to become surreal in Israel.
      Entertaining, perhaps, but it's also a clear sign just how little 'they share our values'.


  • 'New Yorker' defends Rosenberg (and use of term 'Israel firster')
    • He left out Jeffrey Goldberg as another faux liberal Zionist. Although he is much more clever than Dershowitz(or at least he used to be but he has become much more rabid recently).

      Now he doesn't even want to talk about the occupation. He only wants to talk war with Iran.

      Another 'liberal' Zionist.

  • Netanyahu says, You also refused to bomb Auschwitz
    • Say what you will.

      Netanyahu knows which emotional strings to play. I watched the speech for pure political effect. I admit I was deeply moved. He knows how to manipulate Jewish emotions very well. I wouldn't be surprised if Phil too had a moment of Jewish pride and defiance if he listened to his speech.

      Still, it's important to remember that a very significant part of the Israeli defence establishment is against a war. A considerable number has gone out publicy in irritation stating that calling Iran an 'existential threat' is over the top. And it is.

      It's a threat, no doubt. But Iran isn't suicidial. This isn't a blanket statement. Most Israeli (and Western) military experts have a concensus view on this. I could list example after example but you get the point.

      If it gets the bomb it won't use it. But it would be de-stabilizing for the region because the threat isn't Iran sending a nuclear missile. The threat is the nuclear arms race that would ensue, as well as nuclear proliferation, unintentional or not, to various Iranian-funded terrorist groups.

      These threats wouldn't be coordinated by Iran, rather the nuclear bomb would set off a chain reaction of events that nobody would be able to control, neither Israel, Iran or the West. Saudi Arabia is already started work on nuclear reactions with the help of the Chinese so it may already be too late.

      Nontheless, Iran isn't an 'existential' threat, it's more of a regional threat to both Western and Israeli hegemony.

      And Netanyahu's incessant use of the Holocaust is disturbing, because it may come a time when such talk is warranted, but if the Holocaust is overused then it may become watered down, leaving people asleep at the wheels. Much like today's overuse of the anti-Semitism charge which has led to a subtle acceptance of anti-Semitic lingo in certain quarters(dare I remind people of yesterday's 'shadow government' discussion?).

      All this is depressing of course, invoking a terrible tragedy for regional power struggles rather than genuine survival.

  • Three harsh critiques of the lobby
    • Response to critics

      Chaos4700 wrote:

      "So how many Roman Catholics are in AIPAC again?"

      I don't think you read my post - re-read it again. I specifically pointed out because AIPAC is a Jewish organization, by using terms of 'shadow government' you're wading into murky waters. Blankfort, who has railed about the supposed duplicity of Jews to their own destruction, is probably not unaware of this. If that isn't blatant anti-Semitism then discussing with you has no purpose if you're not willing to admit at least that. And just to remind you: a government has many priorities, most of them are domestic. Tell me again how AIPAC sets welfare/food stamp policy, immigration policy, our policy on solar panels, health care policy and so forth?

      As I said: critique of AIPAC should be specific. Using broad terms like 'shadow government' in a Jewish context is not very specific, but it has a nasty history. Jeffrey Blankfort knows this.

      jewishgoyim wrote:

      "You sound like you want to take the man down. One fellow at a time. CAP style or MJRosenberg style. You want to ban blankfort from the site. Why do you remind me of a wolf in sheep’s clothing?"

      Actually, it seems you've missed the part where Phil announced that he himself has already banned Blankfort. Why? Precisely because of Blankfort's rantings about Jews being responsible for the rise of Nazi Germany. Phil stated directly that such discussions are a direct source of anti-Semitism.

      Again; this is Phil's autonomous decision. I merely stated that I understood why he did it. So I'm not urging anyone to ban anyone, merely underlining that Phil did the right decision. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Anti-Semitism should be fought when found. And it has a very long history.

      It's true that some politicize it for their own campaigns which is disgusting, but we shouldn't ignore it when it re-surfaces. But apparently there are quite a few here who are at least receptive to anti-Semitic undercurrents. This is disturbing.

      Finally, comparing me to a man who has advocated shoving needles under his opponents fingernails', razing Palestinian villages and openly promoted torture ought to be below you.

      That's a smear and if you have any class, you should retract it fullstop. We can have a spirited discussion but outright smears by comparing me to a torturebooster and a man who openly wants to raze entire Palestinian villages is despicable.

    • This may not be popular to some, but folks like me are dismayed at what AIPAC and it's allied lobbies are doing.

      However going as far as Jeffrey Blankfort and claiming it's a 'shadow government' is basically identical to the Neo-Nazi slur of 'ZOG'(Zionist Occupied Government' and we all know what 'Zionist' is code for).

      AIPAC and it's allied lobbies have tremendous power over Middle East policy. But a government has a range priorities, like the economy, energy, immigration, education, housing, welfare and so on.

      Does AIPAC's influence stretch into areas like those in ways which are central and profound? That is why I reject the notion of Mr. Blankfort of AIPAC as a 'shadow government'. It morphs AIPAC from a lobby, a powerful entity to be sure but a lobby nontheless, to something which basically controls our lives on every issue and topic.

      And that is a conspiracy to me with blatant anti-Semitic undertones.
      And pushing that kind of language(or indeed, hosting the quote on this website) would be the equivalent of armoring your enemy with endless smear lines of further proof of anti-Semitism. And you know, they would be right.

      Talk of 'shadow government' is way too sweeping and deterministic. And in a Jewish context(because it aint the Pastor Hagee types who control AIPAC) that does amount to racism, even if unintentional, and we should be careful with that.

      And anyone who whines can gladly look through my comments on this site. I'm hardly a right-wing troll by any stretch of the imagination but just as islamophobia should be condemned, so should playing with anti-Semitic theories. Whether Blankfort meant it or not is a red herring. He said it and he should know better. So should Phil from quoting him and hosting that kind of conspiracy-peddling on this website.

      AIPAC doesn't control our government, but it has captured(to a large extent) a section of our foreign policy, specifically relating to the Middle East - because that's the region that Israel is concerned about, which makes sense from their viewpoint if you're a lobby on behalf of Israel. But talking in general terms of a 'shadow government' is beyond the pale with deep anti-Semitic historical undertones. And as I already said: Jeff should know better so I don't think it's unintentional. He's been rambling about the 'Jewish responsiblity for the Nazis'.

      I am not surprised why he was banned from this site. So why is Phil keep quoting him?

      Let's be specific of our critique without wading into anti-Semitic territory or we'll lose the argument.

  • Opposing boycott, Walzer shares stage with speakers known for attacking Islam
  • How Tony Judt broke with exclusivist ideology
    • Mooser, you know full well(or I delude myself so at least) what I wrote. Namely: that the Protestant morals of Tim and the women that Judt surrounded himself with sharpened his own Jewish ethics.

      It didn't replace them; merely reminded him of what they are about.
      So stop your vulgar, half-baked attacks. You ought to know better.
      And you're smarter than that.

    • There's something to Tony Judt and Midwestern Protestant morals. I remember reading an interview with him when he was still alive a few years back, I think by an Israeli woman who describes the setting in which she interviewed him. They spoke of Zionism and Jewishness and how they are increasingly contradicting each other.

      Then, abruptly, a student(a young woman) came by. She excused herself but Tony being Tony was always the gentleman, letting her in. As the conservation between the young woman - a Gentile - and the old, Jewish man progressed you could see the emotional bonds he forged. She complained about a boyfriend. A Cambridge intellectual, a physicist.

      Tony then warmly remarked, with irony, that he too knew how it is to fall for people that shouldn't be your type and he specifically mentioned 'strictly Protestant, midwestern women' which he often became tangled up with.

      Tim probably reminded him of those traits.
      I do find it fascinating, because I have a similar relationship.
      Midwestern Protestantism is an offshoot of North European Protestantism, or modern Western liberalism.

      Persecution of Jews were always greatest historically in Catholic countries and lowest in Protestant nations(even if both instances occured). A good example is England compared to France or to the mixed-Germany(Catholic/Protestant, Central European culture). Or look at Scandinavia.

      Liberalism, from John Stuart Mills and many other figures, came from the culture of liberal, North European Protestantism. I think the effect it had on Judt was to sharpen his thinking, his reflections and his moral senses. It's very principal with strong emphasis on morality and humility. I don't think it's a coincidence that many of the most brilliant liberal intellectuals came from this religious background(culturally if not religiously). It's connected.

      And because of this, Tony Judt who is remarkably similar to Orwell in his combination of a ferocious intellect and deepfelt moral sense of the world and his utter opposition to oppression and injustice. His subtle and fearless disposition. To speak truth to power, even when it's uncomfortable. Orwell's 1984 was directed as much to Moscow as it was to his socialist comrades, many of whom were still Stalinist and had quite authoritarian tendencies. Judt's searing into Zionism was similar. Neither Judt nor Orwell were really popular among their contemparies. Judt wasn't really a favourite within mainstream liberalism(such as TNR). Orwell was also despised by many, even if many secretly admired his courage, his morality and his towering intellect.

      It's also an irony that both are getting their appreciation once they're dead. Perhaps they are safer to deal with that way.

  • Young activist disrupts AIPAC panel about 'Israel on Campus'
  • Scott Brown tries to score points on Elizabeth Warren by calling on Harvard to cancel One State conference this weekend
    • The bigger statement in this story is the non-statement coming out from Warren's campaign.

      The fact of the matter is, the lobby's presence in the Republican party is smaller because it's base is much more pro-Likud than the Democratic base. Which is why there's much more pressure at the top in the Democratic caucus to keep the pols in line.

      Warren is a case in point. She has already been exposed as a hack to the lobby.
      Her campaign's response has put to rest the question whether she was merely misinformed or actually sold herself out in such a blatant way.

      The rot crosses party lines, a rare thing in these polarizing times. Which is why the lobby's so effective. I personally think that MJ Rosenberg will get fired. Most of the CAP bloggers are either gone or silenced.

      The lobby has shown it's powers. This isn't an easy fight but it must be fought anyway.

  • Finkelstein's prescription for a two-state solution is not realistic
    • Great piece, clear-eyed and logical.

      Finkelstein's transformation from someone who has been relentlessly honest to a bit of a fantasy think perhaps begun to take steam in this interview:

      link to

      Mearsheimer's the one who is relentlessly realistic in this piece. I think Finkelstein's denials may be a sign of depression as he realizes that Israel cannot be saved anymore but is now facing the long struggle of Apartheid.

      His recent outburst against BDS as a 'cult' is probably reinforcing that. He fears, rightly I think, that this struggle will increase anti-Semitism a lot because the Israel Lobby will fight to the very end and Mearsheimer & Walt were correct that there was a Christian element in the lobby but the fact is, nobody cares what Pastor Hagee thinks except his minions. Do you think the democratic leadership would crawl around him at CUFI's conferences the way they do of Lee Rosenberg's AIPAC?

      The majority of the Israel Lobby is Jewish and it's nerve center certainly is just about exclusively Jewish. And these people, an isolated elite, have been working overtime to conflate Zionism with Jewishness, with considerable help from reluctant Jewish journalists(I'm talking folks at the Forward, Eric Alterman at the Nation and so forth) so that when Israel's is going to be defend it will not be presented as a struggle for civil rights. It will be presented as a modern-day pogrom peppered with Nazi imagery.

      Truth is, a lot of these people have been complaining about intermarriage/assimilation for a long time. And this presents them with an opportunity to build stronger defences and glue the ranks together again. They might even relish the up-coming fight.

      But meanwhile, however, for millions the accelerating Apartheid continues and the brutal occupation continues in the name of millions of Jews who want no part of it. But we're never asked what we think. We're being told that all who oppose Apartheid is an anti-Semite and/or a self-hating Jew.

      This is a brewing disaster and Finkelstein knows it deep down. Hence his increasingly fatalistic pronouncements which no longer base themselves in reality.

  • Did 'Atlantic' coverage lead to release of Fadi Quran after five days in administrative detention? Updated
    • Who started this debate in earnest(in America)? Walt and Mearsheimer. They made it mainstream. Where was Abe Foxman then? Where is he now, on these issues?

      Who is talking about Hebron, Goldberg or Wright? Who is the Jew of these two?

      It's a sad commentary on the racism in the Jewish community. In the end, too many rather choose the Jewish part ahead of the Democracy part in Israel's creation.

      I admit I'd like a Jewish state. But I want it to be democratic. To choose is a tragedy. But if it has to be chosen there's no doubt in my mind which of the two I will select, no matter what time it is. After all, a true liberal always chooses democracy ahead of blood if forced. If not, then you're not a liberal.

      And Goldberg/Dershowitz are not liberals. I don't care what they think about gay marriage.

  • Gorenberg on why one state is a non-starter: Jews would have to pay higher taxes or receive fewer services
    • There is something else which is overlooked but equally important.
      Goldberg is mentioning Belgium, an extreme outlier. But what about the U.S? Canada? And so on.

      Notice what Goldberg is doing here. He is demagoguing against multiculturalism itself.
      He is, in short, a nativist of the ugliest kind.

      Do you think his liberal creed would allow him to accept, even passively, conservatives to argue for a 'white America' because 'look at what happened with Yugoslavia'.

      This is yet another sign of the tremendous privilege that Zionists inside the U.S. have. They can make the ugliest, most reactionary and racist nativist arguments that would never fly in the nations, like America, that they live in. And what's more, the hypocrisy. Goldberg would call out the white supremacists and nativists, and as well as he should, if they made similar arguments for a 'white America' and then scaremongering of the blood, race war etc that would flow.

      Finally, his argument is that this is middle east and it can't work. But the two nations are now almost completely merged already. His point is moot. The Palestinians already live in a single state, under control by Jews. The only thing the 'one state' paradigm would change is give them dignity.

      Why is Goldberg so afraid of that?

      The mask of the 'liberal' Zionist is ripped off.

  • Surprise-- courageous Elizabeth Warren is craven on Israel lobby
    • This probably solidifies the fact that the Israel Lobby is the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. Wall St is powerful, but you can, after all, talk about it's lobbyists. You can't even mention the Israel Lobby in polite company.

      And you tell me which is more powerful: that which is spoken about or that which is hidden? It's the same with the Koch brothers. The make great villains and I have no sympathy for them. But, really, do you think they are as powerful if they are constantly attacked in the media? The Wall St robber barrons never get profiled. Wall St is just one big gray zone.

      Power is most powerful where it is hidden, or at least silent. I remember a quote from an intellectual.. don't rememeber his name but he is since long dead, and he was most active in the early post-war years all through the late 80s. He said that after all he had seen he had learn that the most powerful people, whether corporate, political or cultural, always explained that they were powerless and in fact the 'real' power was stashed away in some committee or working group.

      People with real power know that it's best not to flaunt it. And the Israel Lobby knows it's much more effective to ban all debate on the issue than allow it. Even if it is strong, by allowing debate means per definition of giving your enemies an advantage.

      So Ms. Warren takes on Wall St. But she dares not take on the Israel Lobby.
      The debate has already been settled for me for a long time, but I think most people who follow the situation closely are increasingly running out of excuses for not saying the obvious: there is no political force more powerful than the Israel Lobby. True, Wall St's reach is wider and in some ways more harmful. But the Lobby's power, when focused on foreign policy in the Middle East simply cannot be strayed or diluted. It is absolute.

      And this discussion has just yet begun. The debate has been shifted. And remember one thing: politicans are not 'progressives' by any standard or stretch. They are reactionary by nature. They want to get elected and please the status quo and the existing power structure.

      So look for progress at universities. That's where the energy should be. And have patience. For this is a decade-long struggle. At least.

  • NJ Star-Ledger runs 'dual loyalty' charge against Rep. Rothman supporters
  • 'Center for American Progress' doubles down with lobby
    • Won't last.
      Podesta is the former Clinton chief of staff. CAP is one of the largest democratic think tanks. These things aren't forgotten by people. Sure, the lobby can hustle it's enemies in the short term.

      But the cat's out of the bottle. I mean, even consider the cover 'Israel vs Iran' in the NY Mag.

      It wasn't the 'West vs Iran' or anything like that. Just 'Israel vs Iran'.
      Which is true of course.

      I personally believe the lobby is trying to goad Iran into attacking first, thereby setting up a casus belli and then basically telling Obama "go for it or the lobby will nuke you on capitol hill". Obama wants to get re-elected. The economy might be in the toilet after a conflict with Iran, but if the lobby wants him out he knows he has no chance. The funding's going to dry up! He'll face a massive media campaign as some sort of Islamic Radical/hater of the West. So he would do what he's told.

      But the thing is...people will ask questions. How did it come to these levels of tensions? Why did Congress pass these extreme bills forcing the President time and time again. Why didn't the President really put up any serious fight, what's he scared of? Why was Sen. Bob Menendez screaming at the administration on Iran, knowing he had the lobby's back full-stop, in a way he would never have the guts on any other issue?

      We know that the lobby and it's media allies will go nuclear on all these questions. But these people don't care about your pension fund. They don't care about the economy, or how well your children are doing in school and their prospects to get a job. All they care about is Israel. All else be damned.

  • Hoenlein says irresponsible 'J Street' threatens Jewish unity (and survival)
    • I'm not so sure if the leadership is that far to the right of mainstream Jews.

      What I know is that Jews of interfaith heritage tend to be more liberal on the Israel question. Jews with parents who are both Jewish under 30 are quite hawkish, a lot of polls show this. Beinart's right that there has been an erosion, but it's in large part due to the decline, across the board, of Jewish life which has meant the increase of intermarriage, assimilation etc.

      But Jews who have interfaith parents intermarry at a rate between 80-90 %. Within a generation or two, most are gone forever from the Jewish faith. And the Jewish population makeup is slowly changing. Among kindergarten children, Orthodox(modern as well as ultra) are a much larger share than, say, just 30 years ago. Estimates vary but I've seen some pretty good numbers pointing to around 40 %.

      And if you look at children in kindergarten where both parents are Jewish, that share increases even more.

      And Orthodox Jews vote republican on domestic politics at a rate of about 80 %. Still, it will take at least 20 years for these changes to wash through, if not slightly more. People in their 20s are notoriously bad voters. The best voters are old people, so this will take time but the change is underway.

      What I'd also say is that you have people like, say, Jeffrey Goldberg who play the liberal role, or Marc Tracy. These people are essentially neocons. The thing a lot of people miss is that the neocons have a Republican as well as a Democratic side.

      After all, if you look at the Republican neocons' position on issues like immigration, abortion and so on, they are actually often much closer to the Democrats. Israel is their guiding star. A lot of them have friends on Wall St so they look out for the oligarchs too, but that isn't a broadbased economic conviction they have, rather than out of necessity.

      Goldberg has quoted Netanyahu's father in positive light. Netanyahu, who is supposed to be the bane of liberal Jewry. His father, who David Remnick(editor of the New Yorker) sat down with a few years ago and had dinner with. His impression? An unrepentant racist and the "biggest reactionary I've met in my life".

      This man is somehow who Goldberg quoted last year or so when on a panel discussion (on Iran, I think, but I don't remember for sure. He was the moderator for the neocon conference organized by FDD, a new neocon outlet) when he said that Benzion had 'deeply affected him'.

      So I mean, it's not like the "liberals" like Goldberg are somehow tricked into this or scared into obedience. He's on it the full throttle.

      Or take Leslie Gelb who, like Goldberg, sometimes does tepid 'criticism' of the Republican side to try to shield his own biases but now his colors are out. He's all but accusing of Iran and the Obama administration of being in cahoots with each other, trying to stop Israel.

      Again, this is the 'liberal'.

      So I'm not sure I buy your innocent-liberal-bystander theory, Phil.
      I wish it was true, but the sad truth is, Hoenlien and co aren't as isolated as people think. People like Eric Alterman, who I consider a true liberal Zionist(with all it's conflicts) don't have any influence with this crowd at all, because he isn't for show. He is for real.

      Beinart's somewhere in-between. He covers for Goldberg and the liberals on a regular basis, in order too keep letting them have credibility in the wider liberal community. It's working right now, but you know there was a time when even Alan Dershowitz was deemed as a genuine liberal. Now all that's gone.

      Goldberg's next to go, he's smoother than the Dersh, but inside it's the same thing.
      The question is, what will Beinart do? The man has genuine liberal instincs but he keeps covering for fakes who don't. At some point, if not already, that will start to undermine him as Goldberg slowly moves from the mainstream. It won't be as abrupt as for Dershowitz, but both have a similar style of ad hominem. Both are deeply in favour of the Commentary crowd. Neither is a liberal.

  • Sanity check on Iran
    • "This piece further undermines the reports by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic in 2010 and Ronen Bergman in the New York Times Magazine that cast an Israeli attack as inevitable and logical, based on Israeli military and government sources. Who were they talking to, and why were they parroting their views? Self-intimidation indeed. "

      Wait, you mean Goldberg et al are not hacks writing for Israeli interests?
      You mean there is actually a much more nuanced debate inside Israel on this issue(which is often repeated but is it really?)


  • Weir criticizes lack of diversity in NYT's Jerusalem appointments
    • I agree, Anthony would have been far too dangerous to the Israel Lobby and it's media allies (like Marc Tracy, Jeff Goldberg and to some extent Kampeas and people like them).

      I mean, just imagine the silent racial undertones when an Arab(!) would be able to cover the I/P conflict. The Zionists would have gone nuts - Arabs can have ingrained biases! This is too dangerous to just play away, would you let an Irish-American Catholic with family in Ireland to be a NYT correspondent in that area when the conflict was at it's worst?

      Yet, when the roles are reversed, the worry isn't the source of a possible bias for Ms. Rudoren but that her bias isn't strong enough...
      I'm reminded by an old joke.. guilt for (gentile) whites is that they are too ethnocentric... guilt for Jews are that we are not ethnocentric enough!

  • Assault on Beinart begins with poll claiming young American Jews love Israel
    • One more thing.

      I have issues in which even the critique is framed in a 'But Is It Good For the Jooos?' kind of way. That's still too narrow and ethnocentric. Israel should be held to a universal(and not a double) standard. And in my opinion, from that point you judge the de facto and de jure Apartheid in the West Bank and increasingly even in Israel proper(denying Arabs inside Israel to marry other Arabs from the West Bank in a clear racial Apartheid law, allowing communities to reject Arabs(but phrased in ways such as 'maintaining the social cohesion) on muddy grounds for muddy reasons in popular votes and so forth).

      If young Jews are comfortable with Israel or not is, in the light of the brutal oppression of racial minorities, disgustingly trivial and arrogant. That is not and should not be the main focus of this debate.

    • The poll that you cited was deeply skewed. First, the sample was really small.
      Second, it had a much bigger proportion of Orthodox students. And third, it had homes which at much higher proportions sent their kids to summer camp and hebrew school.

      The sample was way too small and highly skewed in such a way to give Zionists multiple orgasms after reading it.

      Still, Beinart's case is slightly overstated. I've read fairly good statistical reports that basically lays out the claim that disconnection to Zionism is in large part a result of a disconnect to Judaism as a whole, which means that those Jewish kids who didn't have a 'strong' Jewish background(summer camps, Birthright, hebrew school, mild observance of tradition on a regular basis(if secular) and so on) also didn't have strong feelings towards Zionism. These kids were very often the result of intermarriage.

      But if you look at Jewish kid with Jewish parents on both sides with a fairly strong Jewish background(and not necessarily Orthodox in any shape or form) then you did see a strong support to Zionism.

      So in this case, sadly, the dedication to 'Jewish values' was correlated strongly to outright, often uncritical, support for Zionism. Another example of how Zionism has superceded everything, even Judaism itself.

      It's now more or less an established fact and conventional wisdom inside the Jewish community that anti-Zionism is racism. But if you're anti-nationalist in general, but for all people, why should you make an exception for Jews(on principle) no matter how compelling the historical subtext? Because you know that etno-nationalism(and even more so etno-religious nationalism, which is even more aggressive) leads to violence and, ultimately, facism. Regardsless of which group of people who wields it's sword. So now you're some vicious Jew-hater and/or Nazi-sympathizer if you're a Gentile or a self-hating Jew?

      I think the outburst against Beinart is very telling. Both the neocons on Commentary as well as the masquerading 'liberals' like Jeffrey Goldberg attacked the new NYT beaurau chief's support for Beinart's book as 'more dangerous'(their words) than her casual kindness to Ali Abunimah.

      Beinart is more dangerous, according to the neocons(including the 'liberal' ones like Goldberg), because he's one of us y'know. He speaks our language, he moves effortlessly in Jewish tradition and can point to a counter-narrative in Judaism which is genuine and real and which belies the claim that 'Jewish values' should in any shape or form somehow mandate uncritical support for Israel because the opposite is true. Judaism in it's purest form is question of others but also, perhaps more so, of yourself and your own causes and assumptions dear to your heart.

      And Beinart is, after all, a liberal Zionist who no matter how convoluted in his ideology, tries amiably to draw them together in ways far more sympathetic than the thuggish commisar Goldberg does(who quotes Netanyahu's father's book in favourable light and calls him 'inspirational', the same man who David Remnick of the New Yorker calls a proto-facist. Says all you need to know about commisar Goldberg).

      So Beinart has to be destroyed. Now, of course, I disagree with Beinart's thesis in many ways. But I still see him as far more intellectually honest than the fake liberals, which is why they are trying to tear him down.

  • Foreign nationals willingly gave passports to Mossad
    • Hmm, I'm divided over this one. I agree that you can't really not use any other phrase than the Israel Firster on, say, Sheldon Adelson, Matthew Adler(the newspaper editor promoting mossad to assassinate Obama as 'option C', and many, many others).

      About these people... yes, they're undermining their own national sovereignty, but it is, as far as I can tell, their own identity that suffers. It'd be another thing if they stole the identity of unknowning Gentiles from their homecountries and gave them to Mossad instead.

      These people are in Israel and yes, their 'home'(or previous) countries may not take them in anymore but they have a new national home. And it also sends a message to new Jews who think about becomming an olim - the Mossad might screw up your life!(during IDF service no less).

      I don't think the Mossad would have the nerve to steal the ID of a genuine Gentile, living abroad or perhaps briefly studying in Israel, then you'd see apocalyptic responses.

      This is all motivated by a campaign that justifies any means to attack Israel's enemies, and mainly Iran. Israel has always played dirty - because it didn't have any second chances like a Western country like the U.S. does(which is why we keep getting screwed in our foreign adventures because we know we can always come back and won't be wiped out).

      Think I'm repeating hasbara? Well, think about it, what if Israel lost in 1967 or in 1973? Israel as a state wouldn't even exist and we would probably have seen fairly obscene bloodshed(although most likely not some kind of 'second Holocaust' as some right-wingers sometimes say in a hysterical tone).

      So yes, I think there is nuance to this question even if I do think that the Mossad's methods are questionable to say the least, Israel doesn't have the cushions a normal, peaceful Western state can afford.

  • UN official condemns Israel's 'strategy of Judaization' throughout Israel/Palestine
    • I understand it's painful to come to terms that these are indeed 'our' people, seafoid. But they are. And the mainstream of Jewish debate defends these people at every turn. And if you defend their actions then you take responsibility for their actions. In some measure; you become them through your backing of what they are doing, by protecting and enabling them.

      It's we who are the outcast cult. And that's the sad part.

  • Musings on Post-Apartheid Israel
    • Quality intellect, indeed. Very well written.

      This article reminds me of what one of the Palestinian BDS leaders said recently at the Penn BDS Conference. Namely, that just because Apartheid ended did not mean that the legacy of it was ereased. Same thing with the century-long oppression of blacks in America, which is today far lighter than ever before but still a fact of life.

      Ending Apartheid in Israel will be a huge victory; for Jews, Palestinians and everyone who believes in justice and democracy around the world. But as monumental as it will be, it is naïve to think that the day it happens is the end of all injustice.

      Still, I think once the system falls things can only improve. As bad as SA blacks have it today, I think very few would want to go back to the bad old Apartheid days. Life moves on, progresses and improves. Such is the trajectory of life.

  • How Sarah Schulman managed to get 'Pinkwashing' into the New York Times
    • You know, reading this, I think of when everyone is attacking you for talking about the intra-Jewish communal debate that has to get started - I mean really started.

      You talk frankly about the issues Sarah Schulman raises, the 'Jewish politics' at the Times. And yes, it's all there to see. I mean, the NY Mag frontpage plant by Ronen Bergman, the frontpage NYT story about Adelson - without even a word about Israel?

      All these came after pressure was put on the NYT, probably from the higher echelons of the Jewish American community after the fall which did, let's be honest, for once consist of a more balanced and critical view of Israel, from a purely liberal perspective.

      But her story still proves just biased towards Israel the paper of record remains, despite the right-wing propaganda on the contrary. This is part of the reason why the struggle against Israeli apartheid will be much longer, White-rule South Africa didn't have an entire lobby in America, one that extends far into the media sphere, to protect it.

      But that doesn't mean it can't be done, and that that Apartheid should be taken on - without demonizing Jews in general which is also important to avoid.

  • Israeli officials say Iran's 'existential threat' is-- braindrain of 200,000 'best and brightest'
    • I do not wish to be rude, but the notion that Leon Panetta's careful leak to a WaPo columnist about his inner thinking on Israel would somehow be genuine or a real scoop is truly beyond naïve.

      Anyone who has ever read a good book on the Mossad/MI5/CIA knows that all three agencies use Western media to plant storylines on a regular basis.

      Whatever Israel is planning, it's not going to tell Iran in advance what and when it will strike in a U.S. mainstream publication. And Panetta would never leak this if the Israelis weren't on it, and if they weren't, there would be volanic rage in Israel now and there isn't.

      This sort of reminds me when I read Larry Derfner's response to the total propaganda snowjob at the NY Magazine by Ronen Bergman. He was writing as if Mr. Bergman was really independent and not into the whole charade. Again, why would the Israeli top brass let a frontpage opportunity go to waste instead of planting a careful story.

      The whole point of all these stories is psychological warfare. Make the regime scared and think that a strike is soon to come. What the Israelis really plan is a totally different story. My guess is that we'll either see a strike on Iran very soon or next year. Most likely next year. Remember that the head of Mossad said that Iran can't get a bomb in at least 5 years.

      After getting attacked in public through a torrent of leaks to the Israeli press suggesting he's a bit of a loon and maybe even a traitor, Mr. Dagan went underground. When he resurfaced, several months later, Iran was all of a sudden 'very close to getting a bomb'.

      I'm routinely surprised how easy it is to fool people who should know better. Derfner and Mr. Weiss included. The leak to Ignatius serves a specific purpose and should be seen as part of the ongoing psychological warfare campaign, not serious journalism. Ditto for the NY Mag piece by Mr. Bergman.

  • The Iraq war coverup: What did AIPAC do and when did it do it?
    • This is one more reason why I visit this site. Your brilliance is only overshadowed by your courage to face up to the power structure in any given context - whoever they may be, Jewish, Christian or anyone else - and for this you are hated. And for this I admire you.

  • 'NYT' gives Israelis its magazine to make an attack on Iran 'normal'
    • I don't know why you're dragging in the personal investments of Mr. Buffett.
      As far as I know, nobody of us have raied this point so why should you?

      The people who are driving the debate on Iran is the Israel lobby. Nobody wants the war. And Gingrich et al only push for war because their funders and donors want a war, and without those guys, their election chances are gone. It comes with the territory.

      People in the American establishment don't want war because they know it doesn't make sense, the State department, the Pentagon, the military, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and so on.

      If you can get a 100-0 vote in the senate on sanctions which Obama himself doesn't want(and he didn't dare to veto it because he knows he'll be finished then), then that says a lot about your political power.

      It may not be a fun thing to hear, but when it comes to the Middle East, AIPAC and it's allies(both in the media and on the hill) really do control the conversation. That doesn't mean everything goes to their plan or their wishes(like in Syria, or Libya and so on) but when it comes to Israel's interests, more often than that they get their way. Even in such important matters like peace and war.

      It's not pretty and it's disgusting, but face the reality instead of wishing it away.
      Work for change.

    • Something happened between Tom Friedman's Dec 13th column("bought and paid for") and now, but whatever it was, it was effective.

      Probably the same forces who slowly, slowly encircled CAP and forced Zaid Jilani out. The lobby roars. I think the force which they were met with, as the deadline was drawing closer, were shocking them and still does. I think that's part of the reason why Jeff Goldberg, a neocon through and through, but with a domestic liberal agenda, has been so frantic in recent days.

      The piece is notable because it's basically, as you say, war propaganda. You don't get primetime access to Israel's biggest decisionmakers splashed out on 15 pages as a coverstory in one of the defining establishment magazines in America without a lot of strings attached. It's beyond naïve to think that Israel's defence establishment didn't have a clear goal with allowing specifically Mr. Bergman as their vessel. And they should play their hand that way, from an Israeli perspective it's very rational and logical.

      But why should an American paper carry war propaganda on behalf of a foreign nation? That's treason. And that is the real scandal, what are the folks at the NYT doing? Again, contrast the relatively skeptical attitude of the paper in the fall with the slavish submission it now treats Israel's advocates. And this conincides with the snare around CAP's neck, and those around it. As well as the Hitler-orgy at Tablet. All the stars line up. The lobby's scarred and determined to prove who (still) commands the heights of the debate.

      But we would be fools not to call them out on it, as Phil does here.
      The whole 'Israel Firster' debate is a total distraction, aimed at silencing critics ahead of a big war. Ignore it. It's like a wizard, who wants the crowd focused on his hand, while his other hand does something else.

      And that something else is dragging America to war with a country it has no purpose attacking, because the lobby is working overtime for Israel. So we'll have to make a choice: what matters to us, our pension funds, the future prospects of an increasingly beaten down population, especially among the poor, the young and the minorities who all will be dragged down for a generation or more if Iran is attacked and the world economy tanks, or do we care more about the political fantasies of grandeur which is keeping Mr. Netanyahu in thrall?

      Israelis have every right to care about their country, but so do Americans, who may not wish to destroy the world economy and throw their increasingly shrinking middle class into further, destructive disarray and displacement for a foreign power. And shame on those, like Sheldon Adelson, who regret having served the U.S. army or those, like Jeffrey Goldberg, who serve Israel's army instead of America's and takes a national loyalty pledge to Israel(who he now claims he doesn't 'remember').

  • Chris Hayes stunning 'Story of the Week' featuring Sheldon Adelson
    • Let me make a few cynical observations:

      Notice the 'liberal' democrat from New York. She was shifting very comfortably when the discussion about Israel came up, she knows who her donors are. As fast as she got the word, she tried to shift the debate towards generalist 'campaign reform' and blabbing on about judicial proceeds instead of the main issue being discussion; Sheldon Adelson and his ability to move the debate to the right on foreign policy and Israel in particular.

      Second: considerif all these reports would come out at all if Gingrich would be clearly besting not only Romney but was deemed by, in Gingrichian terms, the 'elite media' to actually pose a serious, substiantial challenge to Obama rather than being a bit of an uppity clown.

      The fact that Mr. Adelson himself is portrayed in this way is an improvement, but don't forget the NYT piece a week ago or so - on front page nontheless - who didn't even mention Israel to begin with. Only last day did a new piece on him emerge, which did include some bits about Israel but it was very defensive, his positions were described as 'full-throated defence for Israel', very mild in many ways for a man who officially wants Apartheid.

      What I'd be more interested to know is, what about Romney's donors? Weiss has stepped in these waters, noting that he flew to NYC to meet Wall St titans who are mostly, but not all, fervent Zionists. They might be less colorful than Adelson(who makes a very good bad guy, because he is so brash), but on substance, are they different?

      Yet, Romney's taken much more seriously and I doubt there will be a search on his donors and their motivations. And let's not even talk about Obama. In some ways, I think Adelson's outing, so to speak, was inevitable because the man is larger than life, first, and second he was essentially the only reason why Gingrich was even able to survive beyond New Hampshire in the first place. It was an open goal from the get go, yet it took weeks for the MSM to actually report the issues and often in a muddled way.

      Once Gingrich is cleared out, don't expect any major investigative reports on Paul Singer, one of Romney's main donors who's also a fierce Zionist, but a much more elegent, sophisticated man. Or why not the VP of Comcast, who recently hosted a blockbuster Obama fundraiser, what are his reasons, is he for a war with Iran which would be a disaster for the world economy and could send millions of Americans into renewed unemployment? If the President is relying on people who want a war, the American people should know.

      Gingrich is a clown, who was under special circumstances where it was basically all down to Adelson keeping him alive on life support. But once Gingrich is gone, I don't think we'll see very hardhitting pieces anymore.

  • Robert Reich pretends he's stupid
    • The reason why the Israel Lobby is so powerful is not because of the hard-right crazies like Jonathan Tobin at Commentary. It's the implicit backing of liberals like Robert Reich, Leslie Gelb, J.J Goldberg, Jeffrey Goldberg, Jonathan Chait and so on and on...

      These liberals are the enablers, playing stupid while the neocons burn away.
      The necons would never be as powerful as they are if they did not get this silent backing, contrast this vs the American debate on social issues like gay marriage, where there simply isn't this kind of silent, implicit understanding on the 'left' towards the anti-choice people.

      We'll never break the castles of the neocons, until we realize that the liberals, the moderates are playing along.

      It's kind of like in the movie 'The Help' which focuses on the moderate middle class which defer to the radicals in their Deep South community. These people are not bad people, but they are misguided by a sense of ethnic loyalty and they cannot see their actions the way we can.

      It's just like MLK said(not the "silence of our friends" comment), the biggest threat are the 'moderates', who have misgivings and are not always that enthustiastic, but neverless fall into line when the whip flies.


  • The antiwar movement must rise again. Now
    • Well, I'm skeptical for several reasons. Let me delve into the matter:

      First, there is a blessing on war with Iran in the media. It's not the preferred choice, but it's seen as acceptable, even preferable if sanctions don't bring immediate results and Israel would attack.

      There was no such latent backing of the Vietnam war. The press was simply subdued in earlier generations, but with Vietnam they asserted themselves. With Iran, not so much. A few scattered voices.

      Second, the Republican party has changed. Yes, Ron Paul has shown that there is still an anti-war faction(derided as 'isolationist' by people who should know better on the left) within the Republican party after 3 decades of neocon dominance which has shattered the GOP into a mere ghost of what it used to be.

      Third, Obama is not Lyndon Johnson, he has started all kinds of wars. It means that war itself is now so common that Americans have more or less accepted it as a permanent state of mind. Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq(up until recently), and now Iran is looming.

      Second, the nation is more heterogeneous, not just by ethnic diversity but also by class and common experience. The gated communites are on the rise.
      Aside from things like 'the economy', which everyone cares about, politics have become very much more niched. Hispanics care about immigration, for one, Asians care about affirmative action and anti-Asian discrimination in our culture and in our wider society(especially against male Asians), the situations for blacks are not better.

      Even whites are starting, as they already are a minority among those under the age of 5 and if you discount Jews and Arabs from their population, they already are a minority in the under 18-age range too, to take on more grievances. I think it's just a matter of time before you get equivalent racial organisations. I see 'NumbersUSA' as a mere precursor.

      All this means that it's harder to unite all communities, politics have become much more fragmentized. Another thing: in times of economic decline, people don't tend to want to get engaged with the wider world, as they suffer in their private lives.

      The 1960s was a great decade by most economic means, people could take time to look at our culture or our foreign policy, we could afford it.

      All these internal factors make it hard, but not impossible, for a anti-war left to gain traction and work together with elements of the right to prevent a war.
      But they inevitably have to take on the Israel Lobby in trying to stop a war, because unlike Iraq, where discussion of 'who started what, and when', Iran is a clear-cut case. It's the Israel Lobby all the way, and that means if people start talking about this, the whole 'the left are anti-Semites meme' will resurface again. This is yet another issue which wasn't present in the 1960s when it was Vietnam.

  • New additions to the Mondoweiss comments policy
    • There was a similar post, written by a fairly hysterical non-Jew(I think his name was Donald but I could be mistaken) talking about comments.

      While his post was bizarre, claiming for instance, that it was common to read people expressing blatant wishes for 'Israel to be nuked'(something I have never seen, I've never even seen outright calls for Israel to be destroyed in any shape, merely ending the occupation and at times some are lamenting Zionism as a project).

      However, I did comment in that previous post precisely about 9/11 and how I thought it wasn't the right place for this. Even if I understand there are arguments to be made for this or that positions, I personally don't think it ought to be here and I'm glad the editors have taken this position. This site grows in influence and that means that it's commenters have to think about that too.

      Hopefully, a balance can be struck between following mainstream discourse(where it is warranted and right) and subversive commentary, in order to change the dangerous and reactionary status quo.

      My thoughts on Holocaust/Nakba denial are mostly the same, both events were tragic(although I would say that the Holocaust was far worse in that it eliminated millions of innocents forever. Nakba was tragic, but it wasn't fatal to millions- a key difference).

      Same thing concerns comparisons to Nazi Germany, which was one of the most evil regimes ever, in the history of mankind. Israel may be a lot of things, but it isn't pure evil like Nazi Germany, to suggest that would not only cheapen the lives of those who fell during those terrible times, but frankly, yes, it would be anti-Semitic too in my opinion.

      That would be a truly grotesque case of singling out Israel if there ever was one.

      Discussion should be broad and at times very harsh, limits should be few but when they come they should be based on intelligent reasoning and principle, which I think is what is occuring here.

  • 'NYT' gives big platform to Israeli journalist to espouse Israeli attack on Iran with OK from Uncle Sam
    • The lobby is alive and well.
      They can't use Goldberg anymore, so now they just outsource his work to an Israeli straight away and rid themselves of the theatrics.

      That an Israeli lobbyist, inside Israel, would write a 15-page frontpage propaganda piece for war in the mainstream establishment media outlet says all you need to know about the deficient state of internal U.S. debate.

      Have the higher ups at the NYT been flogged to such an extent by the intra-communal commisars that they now feel the need, I'm thinking Tom Friedman's columns here, to make up?

  • Israel is at the heart of Jewish identity, Gorenberg says
    • Think about how, how many years are we away from the fact that most of the Jews in the world will be in Israel? I wouldn't be surprised if most Jewish newborn were born in Israel already.

      Zionism will only dominate more and more of Jewish life, and this false conflation between Zionism and Judaism is killing me.

      These people, by constantly playing the anti-Semitism card, are debasing it. I am seeing real anti-Semitism emerge, and it scares me. I've become blinded by it, naturally dismissive. I don't even flinch when I read things like "The Jews have too much influence in America, problem is that most American Jews care more about Israel than their own country".

      I wasn't until a good 20 seconds, after I had already closed the page, that I realised what I had read and I didn't even react one bit, until afterwards. It makes you think how much more of that stuff you read and don't even remember reading.

      That scares me.

  • Zbig says Israelis 'buy influence' in Congress and play Obama
    • Has Walt & Mearsheimer been embraced by Jews? Not even close.

      But we're reaching a critical mass in the intellectual class, among those Jews, who do. Joe Klein, Friedman, Remnick(to Haaretz, but not to his American audience).
      They know they cannot embrace them outright, it would be like embracing Soros on Israel, but they are using their language and thus implicitely endorsing their view vs the AIPAC crowd.

      I think this is happening in part because the book W&M released was true way back too but it was released very late, so the deterioation had taken a new, deep plunge after the 2nd intifada and this intensified with the twin occurance of Netanyahu coming to power and Gaza's civilians being attacked.
      The effect was that you didn't need 20 years for a sudden, quiet 'a-ha moment'. The book was proven right not only by the ferocious debate and extraordinary smears thrown at them both, but also in the way Israel handled itself in the last 5 years and America's total inability to do anything about it at all.

      I also think that the people getting involved here are folks like Adelson, a supremacist if I ever saw one. This isn't your moderate liberal Zionist who rationalizes away the oppression of Palestinians by lying to himself. Adelson revels in the oppression and asks for more, and I think this lack of at least an appearance of morality, and the fact that Adelson is so close to Netanyahu rips away the liberal fig leaf for many Jews in the media who are both liberal and call themselves Zionist.

      It's just harder for them to stand up for Israel when Bibi is in power and Adelson is the most powerful media figure there, and seeing him propping up the Republicans. Suddenly there is a shock: wait a moment, aren't we all liberals here, or at least moderates? Nobody of us would vote for Gingrich, then why is the most powerful backer of the Israeli PM doing it?

      And after this thought, you get results like Friedman's column and Remnick's despair.

      Still, Tablet Mag smeared Mearsheimer as a quasi-Nazi. Jilani got booted.
      The conversation is moving, perhaps, but still very slowly.

      I don't think it'll be in time to save the 2SS, if it can even be saved by now, which is highly unlikely.

  • NY labor leader says Netanyahu's bad-faith negotiating tactics foster Arab 'contempt' for Israel (and Israeli official talks w/ his feet)
    • Drip drop, drip drop...

      Reading the news today that several MKs want to ban MK Ahmed Tibi from the Knesset for being a 'traitor' and the fact that 'Baby Bibi' Danny Danon wants to introduce a bill that will ban a MK if 75 % of the Knesset votes for it, makes me wonder, in light of the Republican party's official stance as going for a One State.

      There are now almost 750,000 settlers beyond the green line. They'll get beyond a million within this decade.

      So, how much longer? How much longer will the world pretend that the 2SS is viable (and ignore the fact that the only way Israel agreed to it was when they could build settlements like crazy, like Ehud Barak did)?

      When will the narrative shift that we're dealing with a de-facto One State, which denies millions of it's citizens the right to vote and is on the cusp of banning all Arab parties from the Knesset which had a ceremonial token role anyway?

      And what happens when the narrative shifts?

      I'm willing to bet, since I am poor, nothing than for the sake of it, that it'll happen within 5 years. I think that if Iran wasn't going to get attacked soon we could look at a 3 year window, but the Iran needs to happen first and the aftermath has to play out.

      So within 5 years is my baseline scenario, somewhere around 2017. And I'm talking major turning point, even the conservative outlets too(aside from the fantical pro-Settler WSJ) like the British Telegraph, the American National Interest and so forth. Even these people. Not just as a possibility, like now, but de facto conventional wisdom as established truth.

      Anyone want to bet against and/or differently, and if so, why?

  • 'Tablet' calls 'The Israel Lobby' 'an intellectual landmark'
    • No shit :p

      He went ballistic, as did Marc Tracy, who is increasingly revealing himself as a bitter necon by the day. I think his conversion is soon completed. Don't be surprised if he becomes another David Mamet(although a much smarter, more eloquent version)

      Truth to be told, I didn't read Kirsch's screed up until now. I took your word for it(although I did read the Atlantic piece).

      My comment below still stands, but this sort of signifies the entrenching conflict within the Jewish community.

      See this bitter commentary from a Zionist progress(yes, they still exist!) in Britain:

      link to

      She's well-known and a strong feminist at that. Sort of tells you how much ethnicity can cloud someone's behaviour. It also reminds me of your brilliant post on Doris Lessing a few weeks back, recounting the Jewish marxists(who were also Zionist) and saw no contradiction in both these affiliations.

      We ought not demonize these Jews, and let me explain.

      In many ways, I think this struggle will be far harder than what transpired in South Africa. There was no Afrikaaner lobby in the U.S. And they were defensive about this from the beginning.

      And you cannot discount the historical connection that Jews have to Israel, even if you think it's wrong to come back after 2000 years all of a sudden and reclaim the land via outright theft and ethnic cleansing(and I see your point).

      My argument is that because of numbers(Jews are plenty more and can see a logical path to continuing this policy, unlike the Afrikaaners who shrank by the year in numbers from a minority to a pittance of the entire population), religion(something the SA conflict also lacked) as well as history, add to this the siege mentality of Jews in Israel and certain (upper) echelons of the diaspora as well as just plain ol' fashioned Jewish overachievement; then it's easy seeing this dragging on for decades.

      Remember, what's at stake here isn't just land but crucially, it's self-concept. We view ourselves as more moral than other people, not just smarter. Therefore Israel is the knife to a central part of our identity. This would entail we're not worse than other people, but not better, as well as a myriad of other identity issues("A light unto the nations" is a play right out of this book).

      Zionism is increasingly vowen into the general Jewish psyche and even into Judaism, which I think is a disaster, and this means that opposition to Israel isn't just political argument. Many Zionist Jews see it as a frontal attack not just on their personal existance but on Judiasm itself, and what it stands for. After all, if Israel is what it is(and it is), then that means many people believe utter fantasy and have done so for most of their lives.

      People don't like that, and I can understand them. Neither do I.

    • A landmark indeed.

      Sadly, the topic of Jewish power is in a warped state of mind for all too many Jews(and non-Jews).

      I lament this because I'm in one of those phases where I'm really going ethnic in my booklist. I'm reading up on all the great Jewish Wall St bankers at the turn of last century, people like Jacob Schiff.

      There are biographies on him, but even if they are by Jews made for (mostly) Jewish audiences, the things I've pieced together by reading his private correspondance(the little that the family has made public) and other books by contemporaries, often Gentiles, is that so much of these books is censored, probably for fear of stoking anti-Semitism.

      I understand this, I understand the history and I do not underestimate it. But Schiff's efforts for the Jews are extraordinary and other prominent Jewish bankers like Warburg, who both would feel completely alien today.
      Warburg, in particular, was a great industrialist who believed in thrift and social harmony, progressive taxes and work for all.
      He took the long view and saw the needs of the greater society as something above short term profits.

      This is Jew I would hope more people would learn about! But even if there was one new book about him by Niall Ferguson, coming from a Gentile conservative perspective, there is still this fear of approaching this topic and to the loss of the current economy in my humble, and slightly ethnocentric, opinion.

      From an American/European perspective, you can gain a lot by reading the few books on these Jewish capitalists, but these men had very vibrant Jewish identities and strong lives, in an era where intermarriage was an anomaly and Jews, for better or for good, were extremely close and tightknit.

      Therefore, for that Jewish angle you don't get a lot for your time.

      Thinking about their lives and the times they lived in and where the Jewish community was in America at the time, it's nostalgic and emotional, of course, but it makes you sigh for those times.

      Yes, we've risen to astronomical heights, but the price for that has been communal rupture, both intermarriage/assimilation as well as isolation and common scorn, secular vs religious, liberal vs neocon and Zionist vs non-Zionist so forth.
      The Other has become the other Jew.

      Another victim of this rise to power is paranoia about our own success. And paranoia does not make good history books, as I've discovered in recent weeks. Sure, part of me want to gloat for my own childish reasons. But part of me wants to get down to the truth, and I dislike airbrushed books.

      Perhaps I will have to wait until I am in my sixties, a few decades, until I can read splendid history on this epoch.

      It's sad that so much of contemporary Jewish life is driven by fear, guilt and anxiety.
      I understand and empathise with those who follow this path, the education they got instilled this into them, but still, it's worth to lament.

  • Chris Matthews pitches Israel lobby. Ted Koppel keeps bat on shoulder
    • People say politicians are by nature reactionary. Those that have not have tended to be fanatics, demagogues and dictators.

      Journalists is a much more varied profession. You have intellectual journalists, writing for truth and not profit or prestige but these people are a minority and have always been there.

      Orwell had enormous amounts of contempt not only for the established journalist class but also academia, who he saw as giving intellectual legitimacy for the current order.

      Maybe he was onto to something. I'm not worried. Labor is up in the polls again, and how? By reaching out to settlers and haredim. That's right, that's how warped the political landscape is in Israel today. For a 'leftist' party, you want those haredim and settlers in your base.

      Yair Lapid is a vapid opportunist who only wants to raise taxes a little bit. He is on record ranting about the 'leftist media' in a university lecture. His father was an arch-conservative who lives off demonizing the ultra-Orthodox, something Yair himself is starting to do.

      In short: Israel is about to turn even more right-wing. I think that we'll start seeing individual Arab MKs being denied entry to the knesset, culminating to the outlaw of most Arab parties save for a token one or two(but only if they are harmless) or some other way of breaking their influence.

      Matthews can try to avoid the subject all he wants. He'll be forced to raise it but perhaps he'll do so once it's already over. It's too bad because the guy is really clever, and he strikes you as a guy who loves a heated, controversial argument. But deep down perhaps he is a coward, after all, prestige and profit over truth?

  • A regular commenter on this site seeks a more temperate comment board
    • The concensus so far among the commenters seem to be:
      What a silly rant this guy just made. Totally onesided as well as loaded with weird acusations of people intensly hoping for Israel to be nuked - something neither I nor anyone here so far has seen.

      It would be tempting, however, in light of such a flawed article to basically have no discussion. I would actually critique one thing, and that's a pattern by some to veer off into places which are not relevant.

      To avoid falling into the trap that others have made and make no qualifications about that last statement; let me give an example:
      A week ago or so, there was a long, ardous discussion about 9/11. I think (Jeremy?) Blankfort was one of the participants and there were more.

      As it happens, I think all discussions are to be open. I personally do not think that 9/11 was a conspiracy of some sort(even if I agree certain circumstances were weird) but when comment after comment was being devoted to this, and then mentioning give Israelis apparently 'dancing' I just felt uncomfortable, yes, as a Jew.

      These sort of discussions could probably be cut short. Phil has extraordinarily strong liberal instincts on discussions, but as this site grows if there's a bunch of 9/11 truthers in the comments' section then of course that will negatively impact the site.

      Phil has every right to be concerned about this, as this site is marching towards mainstream. I think he has carved out a niche for himself and his fellow writers, writing about Zionism and how it relates to American society, Jewish history in America and Jewish culture, and then weaving that into the discussion of the Middle East. One part of why this website is so successful, I think, is because these links are real. I've often said that Israel's fate is more or less decided by American Jewry, and since the Israel lobby is so powerful, now beating the drums of war on Iran, this discussion is crucial to have.

      Yes, there are more fact0rs wanting to go to war with Iran, but I think one of the primary, if not the primary factor, is the Israel lobby.

      And part of the reason why they'd been able to roam free is because of the opinions expressed by Donald above. His nuke-Israel-now smear disqualifies him, among other issues. His thinly veiled attempt to silence the sociological discussion of the link between the culture of Jews in contemporary America and the Israel lobby as somekind of dangerous 'generalisations' smacks of the all-too-common anti-Semitism card deployed by the lobbies cronies.

      So, in sum, I think his article is exceptionally weak. Having said that, there are areas to improve on, like discussing 'who really was behind 9/11'. I don't think that's relevant on a site like this, even as a liberal I wouldn't want to outlaw the discussion alltogether, I just don't think it belongs here and it would drag down the site.

      So, yeah, that's how I feel.

    • I don't know what you've been reading but I have never come across a single comment - ever - wishing for Israel to be nuked. True, I don't read all comments but I am fairly active. A single nutcase doesn't do it.

      As for generalisations about Jews. It's a fact of life that most Jews in America are Zionist at least in mild principle. Most are also oblivious to the details of the occupation, preferring a cartoonish black/white portrait of the Palestinians.

      This is not an end point, but it has to be the starting point of any conversation about Jews vis-á-vi Zionism.

      I could go on, but your list is just weird. You're not even Jewish either.
      Reminds me of a quote I read that supposedly Lenin once said when it came to the Polish communists helping in the revolution:
      "They are insecure. So they are more Russian than the Russians".

      One last caveat: I've seen genuine outbursts of anti-Semitism here. It doesn't happen often, but at times it does. I always condemn it when it does and when I see it. Your post however, has a net so wide you would essentially be unable to discuss any of these issues from a sociological perspective - at all.

      I hope this post is the last post, one of the most lazy pieces of writing I've ever seen. It's a kind of 'have you stopped beating your wife' kind of post. It assumes you're already guilty of all kinds of things from scratch - and this coming from a non-Jew.
      Heh, chutzpah kid.

  • Today in Pittsburgh, Jesse Lieberfeld, 17, will deliver a hammer blow to American Jewish support for Israel
    • I agree. Beinart's been pushing the 'young Jews dissatisfied with Israel' meme a lot because he is and he wants someone with him.

      Poll after poll has shown that among Jews with two Jewish parents, they are fervently Zionist. This is in part because after 1990 the amount of summer camps, day schools and Jewish activities for the young increased by a very large amount.

      And if you look at the intermarriage rate for young Jews with Jewish parents on both sides, it has actually declined to about 30 %(and that was in 2000, it could be even lower now).

      The young Jewish people who are unhappy with Israel tend to be Jews of intermarried parents, so it's often an issue of Jewish connectiveness. Jewish culture does a great job at tribalizing a young adult. Perhaps better than any other religion in the world.

    • Precisely.

      That's exactly the same thing I went through, but beginning about 7 years or so back.
      Israel is not only becomming a wedge issue in American politics, it's the same among Jews. You get extremes at more frequent rates. Either the auto-response hasbarists, often quick to denounce you as a 'traitor' or 'disloyal'(or the tiresome smear of 'self-hating Jew' because you happen to think for yourself, something they never managed to do in their life).

      Or you have people like me, who in the right circumstances could well become a Zionist, but after almost 3 decades of Likud rule with very few injections and the horizon just shows the permanent hegemony of the Danny Danon and the Lieberman's of the world, Israel is by now a golden calf.

      Judaism and Jews will not fall apart because of it. We've made it for over 2000 years and we'll make it through the next 2000 years. With or without an Israel.

  • Beinart and the crisis of liberal Zionism
    • I can't make up my mind on Beinart.

      The interview on the end of your piece is disgusting. No liberal can say things like that. You cannot say you're okay with apartheid because you want the state to be Jewish.

      On the other hand, Beinart is chillingly effective in his critique.
      I've always been of the opinion that Zionism isn't inherently racist, like any other nationalism, such as Chinese. It has the potential of ethnic chauvinism, like all nationalisms, but it depends how you use it.

      The problem is, however, that Zionism for many decades has now been corrupted by a ruling of a foreign people without giving than any basic rights, including access to clean water at times and electricity.

      Beinart is willing to say that he doens't mind - as long as the state of Israel is Jewish.
      My charitable view of him is that he wants the state to be Jewish and want the occupation to end. He's only willing not to give Arabs full rights while he is waiting for a 2SS.

      The problem is that the 2SS has sailed. In fact, it remains a question to this day if the Israelis were ever serious, despite the media propaganda. Even Barak and/or Olmert wanted the state of the Palestinians without any means of defending themselves and allowing Israel to gobble up all the water and critical resources for themselves.

      So how long can Beinart adopt his position of letting Apartheid happen in his name, as a committed Zionist Jew who claims he is worried about Israel, while he is waiting for a 2SS and the years go by?

      I'll probably read his book. I find him very intelligent and I will be looking to what he is doing the coming years. But I have an inkling that he'll let his deep-seated ethnocentrism rule over his (very strong) liberal instincts. I hope I'm wrong. I truly do.

  • Loury says Iran attack talk is 'anti-Islamic hyper-pro-Israeli genuflection'
    • I think the coverage of RP on this site has been in the general spirit which is so in sync with what goes on here; namely that anything goes and arguments are to be made without namecalling and preconceived notions.

      I personally would never vote for RP, but I think his ideas on FP as well as his staunch protections for civil liberties(from a liberatian perspective), which is why he is intensly against the SOFA and/or the NDAA are all important factors why I think he has relevance.

      The best case scenario is a situation where RP comes 2nd to Romney but with a serious following and then he mends peace but with a vigilant eye on Romney, keeping the base intact.

      The next step is for the long slumber on behalf of the Democratic base is end, and we could have an anti-war alliance crossing both parties. The MSM would go beserk, but why should we let that stop us?

      You have to work with people on common goals, even if you cannot be totally ideologically pure on all issues together, but if you're that kind of purist you'll never get anything done. And America, as the world's foremost military power, this country's foreign policy is seriously in need of actual debate. Corrupt career pols often complain that foreign policy is never debated and voters 'don't care' about it. Voters do care, but the constraints that are being set up for people to debate without being attacked as a dangerous isolationist is what makes people shut off, because without serious questioning that no 'mainstream' candidate wants, why would the average American care?

      Is it a coincidence that Ron Paul blows all other candidates, including Obama, out of the water when you see to whom active military donate their hard-earned money to?

      This is why we need this debate, and why Ron Paul is important. Not as an end, but as a bridge to a wider and more nuanced conversation that takes root in peace and not war as a default.

  • Even 'SNL' is talking about Israel firsters....
    • Well, pretty lame skit in two ways. First, they have to use the cover of Christian Zionists to do this(imagine if Rick was a Jew, this skit would never fly), second, the line 'whether Israel asks us or not' is equally wrong.

      They not only cowards, but it's a deeply flawed skit, but who can blame them?
      They don't want to get Goldstoned.

  • Gingrich got $5 million for saying Palestinians are invented people (lord, why am I so cynical?)
    • Ask Abe Foxman, Phil :)

      I'm reminded by the words of the late Tony Judt. "Apparently your views on Israel trumps everything in life". Look at Finkelstein, the outrage against Kushner, the savage beating of Chas Freeman. Even Soros, hardly an angel in his life, became one of those people euphemistically branded 'controversial' - very late in his life after a long record of a plethora of activities, far from all very benign. All because he ventured into the territory of Israel and anti-Semitism.

      All these events are interconnected, and they all draw a common source.
      A fear of history and the complex issue of Jewish identity.

      I discussed Israel recently with one of my cousins, himself right-leaning secular Jew who supports the 2SS intellectually(but perhaps not in his gut).
      He told me, in mid-conversation, that Dutch Jewry were among one of the most free in the entire Jewish diaspora for almost 300 years. At the breakout of WWII, the Nazis were more than helped by the civilian population and 85 % perished in 4 short years.

      This is why you were told through much of your career by Jews, who were dead serious, that a pogrom could happen in America.

      This is why Abe Foxman can get away with his behaviour, and why your comment, while at face-value is obvious, after further introspection becomes almost banal and meaningless, of course through no fault of your own.

    • Joel Stein wrote a piece on this topic - albeit on Hollywood - a few years back in the LA Times.

      "How Jewish Is Hollywood?"

      link to

      The column is probably mildly applicapable to the general media.
      Look, this is the story of Jewish ascendancy in America postwar, it's a glorious and beautiful story. And it wouldn't be worthy of discussing if it wasn't for the question you raise - in relation to Israel and why Gingrich gets 5 million dollars two weeks or so after he calls the Palestinian an 'invented' people(and just one week after Adelson himself strongly agreed with him on a Birthright gathering recently) and why the media has a total blackout on these issues.

      As I jokingly asked, if Jamaica was the country everyone had to dance a little jig around everytime it's mentioned - and it so happened that the media is absolutely stacked to the brim with Jamaican nationalists in senior positions, would it be unreasonable to ask the question if there is a correlation here?

      Of course, if Jamaica would be as peaceful in that scenario as it is today, it might still be interesting to have the discussion, but from an academic point of view. If Jamaica's internal lobby would be a driving force for war with Iran - which would have devastating consequences for the world economy, despite the fact that senior brass (which have either quit or been fired) from the Jamaician military have all warned against the hyperbole, then the question wouldn't be so unimportant anymore.

  • The trespassing Jew
    • New Hampshire? :)

    • As strange as it sounds on a site so focused on the Middle East, this is probably one of my favourite themes on this website. You're a gifted writer; better yet a storyteller.

      I wouldn't mind having these small recollections gathered by tags so you could revisit old stories you liked but forgotten when you're feeling bored or just wanting some inspiration for writing a piece yourself.

  • Is Paul a precursor of a more presentable candidate in 2016?
  • Spouse of 'NYT' correspondent calls on Israeli gov't to wage 'war' on int'l threat to its image
    • This is a prime example of what happens when ethnocentrism comes to play. Obviously Mr. Goodman never felt very much part of the South Africa that he was born into to fight for for preserving the racial order, and instead fought against it(because he didn't identify with it as a Jew) and rightly so.

      But he does not have that queasy feeling when it comes to Israel, instead he is totally morally blinded and completely devoured of his racial/religious identity and essentially taking a position many reactionary and racist South African Whites took, defending the indefensible.

      Look no further to see the corrosion Israel has inflicted on Jewish morality than this sad travesty of a Jew, went from opposing Apartheid to feriociously defending it, lashing out at everyone who disagrees as an 'anti-Semite'.

  • Jewish power + Jewish hubris = 'moral catastrophe of epic proportions'
    • His comment, quite accurate, is simply confirmation that much of our mythology on Jewish exceptionalism(concerning morality) is a hoax.

      Jews are not more evil, but we are certainly not morally superior. This detachment is missing for the simple reason that Palestinians are The Other. In the end, most Jews kvetch for politically correct reasons but do nothing. They are passive and letting this happen in their name, in the name of the Jewish state for Jews based on supposedly Jewish values.

      As for Haber's asseration that it's somehow good to fear the gentiles, I just disagree. I'd rather not fear anyone and precisely for that reason that I do not want Sartre to be proven right when he wrote that the anti-Semite defines the Jew.

      Jews are many things, but we are not devoid of writers, intellectuals and cultural icons who are filled to the brim with moral fortitude. We need to tap into that rich legacy, and not rely on outside pressure, even if sadly it seems for each day that that is what will be needed. All the while when so many of us, confused as they are, will scream 'anti-Semitism' when challenged to uphold truly Jewish values.

  • Arendt: Born in conflict, Israel will degenerate into Sparta, and American Jews will need to back away
    • PressTV is the state television of Iran. Just that we ought to be careful trusting papers like Wall Street Journal, thinking the propaganda arm of the Iranian regime is a source worth listening too is a tad naïve.

    • I admit to recently having sat down and read Gilad Atzmon's screed, blurbed by Mearsheimer (and he was condemned for it). I was ambivalent, because Gilad Atzmon is an uberradical, but I never felt any hostility towards Jews or Judaism. He is more of a 'world citizen', but prone to extreme statements.

      After I read a book, I watched a video interview with him. In the same interview he at once described himself as a 'self-hater' and 'indestructible' as well as 'the world's foremost expert on Jewish identity'. A man with tons of contradictions, which is why I read his book with an open mind.

      He mixes pure crazyness and statements that can easily fall into anti-Semitic territory with flashes of pure brilliance. His take on Zionism is intertwined with his views of Judaism.

      He views Zionism as the opposite of it, for reasons too long to delve into here, and if you look at hardcore 'Torah Jews' many are opposed to Zionism. Indeed, many haredim view it as an illegitimate state.

      He also analyzes Judaism as an 'exiled religion', it's setup as to set yourself apart, which is why religious Jews do just that. See Eliot Abrams' comment on the need of Jews to be 'seperate in the socities that they live in'.

      Everything from kosher food to holidays, if you follow a Jewish lifestyle it ensures that you remain a part of the fabric of the society but still retain the outsider status, Gilad credits this as a key reason for why Jews have been so successful; we have the sociological knowledge of the society but because of our (historical) detachment we see things others cannot see. This is not only related to issues of social justice but also cultural traits that can be clearly seen by us(and exploited by us) among many other factors.

      But this exiled state, when put into practice and becomming Israel creates this inherent tension. Atzmon writes that Israel has grappled with this and found a solution. In the diaspora, it's easy for religious Jews to come up with a plethora of reasons to resist assimilation, because Judaism is in many ways tailormade to avoid melting away into the society you live in, to become part of it, get the sweet fruits but retain the outsider status to both have the edge of the outsider but not at an extent to ailenate yourself from the structures of that community.

      In Israel, it's much harder, and therefore it has created a ghetto for itself. It has walled off itself from it's neighbours, to keep the exiled balance needed. It has created it's own shtetl, but on a massive scale but within Israel(further segregation with Arabs) but also with it's neighbours. See the West Bank wall. The wall to Egypt has just been completed. They've just begun on a third wall to Jordan.

      Because Judaism is in so many ways created and upheld as a Diaspora religion, Israel has to create conditions remniscient of the Diaspora within and outside of the nation in order for Zionism to work.

      It's an interesting take. There are many other thoughts I found remarkable, but the price of this creativity is the pure crazyness and borderline anti-Semitism always under the surface. He said in his interview that one of his mentors, a Jew by the way, told him that he should write like he makes his music; never plan and never think, just letting it flow out. That way, even if some thoughts come out which may be uncalibrated, that is the price you pay for the insights needed that can only flow out without forcing. Gilad then made the comparison why so many Jazz musicians take drugs, because they want to reach that subconscious state of mind, just having it all flow out without mitigation, because that is where the best music is made.

      He has a similar style when writing. He is highly gifted but again, I view some of his thoughts as utter crazyness and even dangerous, and other thoughts as quite remarkable, even highly perceptive. I wouldn't go as far as to recommend the book outright, but if you're feeling bored and want a new perspective, even one you at times radically disagree with(at least I did), it can be worthwhile for the simple reason of intellectual development, to meet his arguments and think about them, even if you end up disagreeing, without preconditions.

      I'll look into Arendt's writings too. And just for balance, I'm going to read Jabotinsky again, it's been a long time since I've devoured his writings and that of his followers. i remember I was blown away by his talent, and disturbed by his right-wing radicalism, bordering on fascism. But an agile mind is an agile mind, whether we talk about the far-left like Atzmon or the far-right like Jabotinsky.

      Middle of the road fence-sitters bore me.

  • More responses to Ron Paul's surge
    • I read some quotes from Abe Foxman, a thug and a hoodlum, on Ron Paul via a Forward article. He basically called Ron Paul's supporters 'extremists and anti-Semities'.

      Notwithstanding that this is an insane way to talk about the issues, it's also strategically idiotic.

      Ron Paul has huge groundswell support from the modern conservative movement's youth, who are way ahead of it's ossified Neocon Establishment. One ironic part: David Frum's been sanctimonious lately and dismissing the Neocon Establishment as a bunch of zombies with no new ideas and with little tolerance for discussion. This is true, but he avoids mentioning that he himself was part and parcel in building this atmosphere after going after the realists in the National Review purges to make it 100 % neocon and thus braindead in the process. The realists fled to American Conservative magazine, National Interest and the like.

      The neocons may have the cash and the current top positions of influence, controlling the National Review, the Weekly Standard and so on, but they do not have any grassroots traction. If the Ron Paul supporters who are young see this backlash, and they are smart Phil, they are truly smart, coming from Neocons/Israeli lobbyists/firsters then that will cool off their attitude towards Israel by a lot.

      The young democratic base is also moving away from Israel. The Jewish community sometimes worries that support for Israel may become a one-party issue but if this continue it may become a no-party issue. Foxman's insane comments will only make the situation worse.

      In the end, I think Romney will get the nomination. He has made sure to please all the wealthy neoconservative donors, often combining a neoliberal agenda at home to make them richer and an ultra-right agenda abroad to protect Israel's every aggression and attack Iran. But Romney, even if he is corrupt to the bone, is anxious. And he sees where his base is slowly, slowly moving among the young.

      He has calmed down the rhetoric on Israel in recent weeks, refusing, as the only GOP nominee, to promise to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He called Gingrich's 'invented' remark foolish.

      He's even said to CNN he would vote for Paul if Paul won the nomination.
      Is the support for Israel crumbling? It's too fast for that, but the signs are there. The young generation today will be different, on both sides of the aisle.

      Israel and it's American lobbyists are worried, and they should be.

  • Thanks, my enemy. I love Palestine
    • Well done, you're linking to the site of a man who has denied the Holocaust and claimed that there is no need to denounce the Protocols Elders of Zion 'because American Jews already control the world via proxy'.

      There are some strange people lurking on this site.

  • Muslims ban Christmas and rape white women, in latest Latma satire
    • I can link you how many articles you want.
      But it's all in Norwegian but if you insist, just let me know.

      I'd like to make a clear line that it's one thing to buy the whole crazy 'Eurabia' fanaticism, and another to point out statistical facts.

      After controlling for socioeconomic factors like povery, education and income rapes by muslim immigrants and even those born in Europe is far higher than for the general population. Again: after controlling for socioeconomic factors. There's a simple reason for this: misogyny.

      The same is true for anti-Semitic attacks. I'm not going to excuse rapes or anti-Semitism, and neither should anyone on the left. You can fight both islamophobia and anti-Semitism, as well as misogyny, even if it comes disproportionaly(but not solely) from religious minority groups.

      Here's some links, by the way.
      link to
      link to

      I can give you more, if you insist of talking out of your a** on matters you do not know one iota about.

    • This is a huge post, and it's well crafted but let's cut it down into smaller, more easily congested pieces?

      Phan is a gifted writer so I'd like to see her(?) continue her articles.
      As for the topic, muslim rape etc, there's actually very good evidence that there is a huge overrepresentation when it comes to rape-assaults on strangers.

      Rape is still most common in the home(which shocks some people who do not know this). In Oslo, 100 % of all the rape-assaults on strangers in the last 5 years have been by non-Westerners, often muslims from Africa or the Middle East.

      Source: link to

      I have loads of mainstream news articles on this issue to back it up.
      The phenomenon is the same in Sweden, where I live, but here it's much more covered up. There has been a big uptick in anti-Semitic attacks in Sweden, on Jews, especially in Malmö but it's spreading.

      The head of the Jewish community in Malmö has minced words for many years but came out in an anguished op-ed the other day and specifically said that all anti-Semitic attacks he has witnessed and other Jews have been subjected to were by muslims.

      It's one thing to stereotype all muslims as violent, sexually crazed barbarians as the far right does, but the reason why they are on the rise in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Austria and so on is because this is how it looks like for most people. There's more than a grain of truth to it. There's no 'myth' about this, and if you disagree you're more than happy to come over here and wear a kippa or watch someone who does for a day or two in our major cities and see what happens.

      Or look leaked statistics in Sweden or in the case of Denmark/Norway it's official but the pattern is the same. This isn't what people want to hear, but anti-Semitism and rape are both rising big time in Europe for the last few decades and it's a direct correlation to immigrants from Africa/Middle East, often with muslim background.

      LATMA may be crude and overly stereotypical, but anti-Semitism in Europe is far harsher than in America and rape-assaults are on the rise too, and in both cases muslims are way overrepresented in accordance to their population even if you control for socioeconomic factors like poverty, class and income.

      Did I wish it was so? No, of course not. But this is the reality and that's that.
      I know it's not what some people want to hear but I live here and I see the attacks, the racism and the hatred towards women and gays with my own eyes.

      Incidentially, the Arab world is one of the least developed in the world with one of the worst track records on human rights, especially for sexual and religious minorities. Now there are these microcosms in Europe brewing.
      On this issue, the Left has no answer. Which is why they've gotten steamrolled without interruption.

  • Israeli intolerance: Palestinian citizens are 'barred' from governing coalition
    • Israel behind the '67 lines is Jim Crow in the South.
      Beyond the '67 lines, in the West Bank it's Apartheid South Africa but perhaps even worse.

      The 'liberal' Zionists must understand that even if Israel ends the occupation, the discrimination inside the green line is enormous. The occupation is the worst atrocity, but is not the last.

  • You don't write, you don't call (Ron Kampeas version)
    • Kampeas is an old-school kind of Jew. He has the guts to admit he has an apartment in East Jerusalem. He covers stories that are controversial and even in those like the Economist piece saying it's fair game to point out the Jewishness of the neocons as an answer why they pushed the war in part of their love for Israel(quite a few probably thought it made sense from an American point too), even in those where he disagrees he tried to be fair but still firm on his side.

      If you look at the 'Capital J'(the main political blog of the JTA site) section it's filled with Ron Paul blogposts. Again, notice the focus on the Old Right, old school Jewish stuff.

      Kampeas is too sophisticated to fall into a 'Israel-right-or-wrong' trap, but he has these sensibilites that you air the differences 'inside the family' and if you must go public, do so in a measured, limited way as to not inflame the situation.

      In one some strange way, I have sympathy for him, in part because his way of being reminds me of a more peaceful time in the Jewish diaspora, when things were not easy but at least they weren't existential in the way they are now, where we have huge rifts inside the Jewish family, Jews calling other Jews self-haters, anti-Semites and the rest. Jewish families not even daring to talk about Israel during the family dinner because it will rip apart the fabric.

      In the end, however, I think his approach is doomed. Israel is moving beyond him, way beyond him, and so are the Gentiles. The attitude of Kampeas is the reason why the neocons were able to dominate. People like him were silent or insecure, and revert back to the Jewish 'ghetto' so to speak where he awaits for the community consensus.

      Those days are over, in part because the concensus has been ripped apart.
      This is where Mearsheimer, yet again, was right in his 2010 speech where he outlined three main groups. The New Afrikaaners(Malmcolm Hoenlein, the Commentary Crowd, Jennifer Rubin, Alan Dershowitz and perhaps even Abe Foxman), the Righteous Jews(Weiss, Naomi Klein, MJ Rosenberg, Glenn Greenwald, Joe Klein, increasingly even Tom Friedman and so on). The third group, the biggest group, was the 'great ambivalent middle'. That's where Kampeas, like most Jews, currently fit in.

      In time, the dynamics will shift towards the Righteous Jews, but the New Afrikaaners still have the power in the top positions in the community. See how harshly they attacked J Street, which is actually AIPAC lite in many ways, then imagine how the rift will grow in the coming decade.

      At this point I'm less worried about Israel than I am about World Jewry. In the end, Israel or no Israel, we got on fine without it for thousands of years. In an ideal world where Israel truly would live up to it's ideals, and not denigrate them each day, I might be a Zionist. But in the end, what matters to me is the fate of the Jewish people, not the Jewish state.

      And because of that, Kampeas sitting-on-the-fence approach just doens't cut it anymore.
      There has to be initiative now, you can't just wait for a concensus that will not come, in part because the rift is becomming so vast between the sides. Kampeas has a duty to air both sides, instead he is obsessed about Ron Paul.
      He's a somewhat decent human being but in some ways encapsulate everything's what wrong with the average Jewish journalist in America today. So anxious.

  • AIPAC-championed amendment pushes Obama into a corner on Iran
    • He wants to find a way, but the question is if Israel will let him?
      And he knows very well that if Netanyahu decides to attack, Bibi will drop the idea mere weeks(at best) before it commences and then the lobby will force Obama to help out, or he'll be smeared by just about everyone in the media as a muslim convert, an anti-Semite and worse.

      Of course, Obama isn't a hapless victim. He knew who his masters were when he was sworn in. He serves the corporations in the first place, the Israel Lobby is more of a sideshow in his administration. But of course, since his administration has gone beserk on wars more so than any other administration, even he is vulnerable and that proves the enduring popularity by Ron Paul.

      If you look at the latest polls he has kept his numbers or in some cases even increased them. Granted, republican voters are very stiffnecked who view any contempt shown by the MSM as a badge of honor, so in some ways the smear might actually have given Paul a backhanded upward push.

      Nontheless, Paul's not important here; it's the deep resentment of war in America.
      In the story on Paul at the Forward, where Abe Foxman essentially dismisses all Paul supporters as 'extremists' and 'anti-Semites', there were a lot of Jews in the comments' section saying they supported Paul.

      The American Jewish establishment is slowly going out of step with your average Jew, even if it's a slow-moving process. Many are still trapped by Zionism(the new 'Golden Calf'), but more and more have stronger and stronger affinities for America at the detriment of Israel. I'm not predicting a huge surge of support for Paul among Jews here, but I was surprised by the mixed reaction by people in the (left-leaning) Forward. I expected the usual claptrap about 'nazi Paul' and other gibberish.

      I think what the nation needs now is a Reagan-esque president, only this time coming from the left of Obama, going to war against the Wall St lobby, the Israel lobby, the Big Oil lobby, the pharmalobby and basically saying, it's not enough to pass a few crap laws here and there. We need to root out money out of our system alltogether. Glass-Steagall needs to be reinstituted, foreign wars closed down and the rest of it.

      I think the country is ready for a genuine populist, an intelligent(which sort of makes the candidate more wittier than Reagan) but also a very charming candidate who doesn't lack conviction or pure balls to go after the special interests. If the people are behind him/her, the lobby would lose in the end, even if the fight would be pretty bloody and brutal.

      Paul for me is a bridge - at best - he can never solve the problems facing this country but his foreign policy would be a huge bonus on the Obama disaster we now have. And this shows yet again in how he kowtows to the lobby without even fightning. I can understand if he loses after a long, hard fight. If the lobby simply gets the best of him, but he doens't even try. He hardly raises an objection, just meeks a little bit and then folds in a flash.

    • Sort of proves that the Israel Lobby is even more powerful than Big Oil, which is saying quite a bit about it's power. NRA may be totally dominant in it's sphere of interest, but it's still a very narrow, domestic concern. The Israel Lobby acts on the foreign policy on the Middle East but it also acts as an enforcer of the debate in the domestic media, smearing people as anti-Semites when it is feeling threatned.

      Bill Clinton called it the most powerful lobby group on the Hill.
      I'm inclined to agree. Both it's power and scope is supreme, but not unbreakable.

    • Eli Lake, the reporter who wrote the piece on Iran, is a known neocon but even more so than Ben Smith (at Politico, the one who wrote the inital smear job on Media Matters and the CAP bloggers who also took a lot of background sourcing from the now tarnished Josh Block).

      The role of Eli Lake is similar to Ben Smith's, present a calm, bi-partisan facade while in fact having a highly biased neocon temperament and leaning. Both men act as a channel for the neocons when something is in the pipe, like now.

      Eli got his foot into the establishment via the Washington Times(ultra-right paper) and do you remember the 'scandal' when it was unearthed that J Street had in fact been funded by Soros? Do you remember the Lobby hounding J Street for 'escorting Goldberg around the Hill'? Both stories came from him.

      When Friedman wrote his now notorious Israel Lobby-column on Dec. 13th, Rothman reacted as many of us remember. On Twitter, Michelle Goldberg responded in jest that it 'proves the Lobby's existance'.

      Eli Lake, the same guy, was immediately on her and asking her to explain herself.
      This guy is a known neocon source, and a reporter specializing on 'national security'.

      The report doesn't say anything, it's just a propaganda piece aimed at pressuring Iran. But that it comes from him is more significant; the neocons are starting to coalesce on an attack but of course, as Alex pointed out, when Josh Rogin talked in vague terms of the Obama admin. being 'forced' he didn't say by whom.

      Neither is anybody pointing out the background of Eli Lake, both very important facts to understanding the background here. Again, the lobby trumps the MSM and most people won't comprehend what is happening here.

  • Israeli ambassadors say they are 'increasingly hated and unwanted'. But not Oren!
    • On a private note, I've always wondered about the moral paucity of, say, South Korea.
      Everytime I see their ambassadors I just see them smiling sucking up to the Israelis.

      I think it may be part of what Jeff Goldberg once referred to as the phenomenon when 'when you're philosemitic in a certain way, you're anti-Semitic'.

      He meant this in the way when foreign diplomats from places far away come up smiling to Jews and say, without irony to malevolance, that 'we know you Jews run this town, we want to be friends with you. What can we help you with?'.

      It's meant as a good gesture, but the underlying assumptions are the same as that of an anti-Semities(even if I think recognizing Jewish power does not necessarily mean you hate Jews, it depends how you use that knowledge and if you moderate it, or if you think that the Protocols was a mild version, which would be another thing).

      I have whiffs of this when it comes to several Asian nations.
      They just do not care about human rights. A case can be made that neither does the U.S., but South Korea is not America. It's more like a mid-sized European country and I found some of those countries to be far better on human rights, like Spain for example(even if it has flaws too, of course).

      And where is the civil societies of these countries?
      Is there even a BDS branch there? Is there even any interest?
      I wouldn't be surprised if these Asian nations continue to trade with Israel as if nothing's happening if Apartheid goes into hyperdrive 10 years from now or so.

      Am I stereotyping Asian nations? I hope not, I hope I am wrong.
      But then again, I just read that S. Korea bought up 75 % of all the farmland in Mocambique for themselves to feed their population for the next 99 years.

      As bad as the invasions of Latin American countries were by the U.S. to gain access to the bananamarkets and whatnot, even that would seem like a blow that America would not do; essentially starving the population and grabbing the farmland for themselves.

      And besides, America is a superpower, who tend to be corrupt, like China. What excuse does S. Korea have?

      A digression, perhaps, but nontheless a point to be made if BDS is really going to go global. Someone ought to take a look at the OECD parts of Asia and ask if there is something to be done, because those societies are very much navel-gazing from what I can see. Certainly their governments does not care one iota about Apartheid and neither do their civil socities. Is it a lack of education? I do not know.

  • 'Haaretz' columnist says 2-state solution is dead--and global community must help us toward equal rights
    • "Do you mean that Jews are more likely to trust Western strangers than non-Western strangers? If so, this is odd, since it was Westerners who carried out the pogroms and the Holocaust".

      I know, it's a paradox. But where do Jews live these days? Almost exclusively in the Western world. It's says a lot about where Jews are most comfortable - and hence feel most secure - in the world Diaspora, and that happens to be Western, largely Christian nations.

      We could have a seperate, probably very fascinating, discussion about the paradox that you raise and why it's a fact, but that's another discussion. I stand by my words in that comment, that comment you quoted as well as everything else in there.

    • I do not think the piece is very good at all, and definitely not exceptional and here's why:

      While under the standards of the Israeli press(and certainly even more so the mainstream American press) he goes a very long way to understanding what is happening.

      The problem is that he is saying now, John Mearsheimer was essentially saying almost 3 years ago.

      Another part which I noted is his defensive, incessant ethnocentrism and hostile posture. I mean this is one of those liberal Zionists who fantisize of 'The Other Israel' that apparently the 'mainstream' in Israel is about but that somehow never rears it's head and allow themselves to be pushed around by a tiny fringe(settlers).

      The intellectual bankruptcy of these words were exposed - again - this week as the chief rabbinate of Israel has thus far refused to condemn the haredi extremists that spat on the girl, instead wallowing in language 'let's all obey the law' and other generic talk.

      It's quite simple really; was Barak really serious? It's hard to believe it, because settlements increased most under Labor in the 90s. Despite what the propagandists claim, settlements are very much so a part of the problem and anybody who says otherwise is flatly against the 2SS. And if Barak was supposedly for it, why did he build like crazy to make it as a hard as possible to make it happen?

      Netanyahu, as Strenger points out, attended rallies that had obscene posters on Rabin, as well as bragging that he 'killed it'. (Netanyahu was also filmed saying that 'America is something can be easily moved' but that's another part of the story).

      There just was not any intention for a 2SS, it was never a serious consideration. It was a fantasy. Ben-Gurion wrote even before Hitler came to power to his son that the objective was to expell all the Arabs and claim the land of Israel for the Jews.
      From the river to the sea.

      Strenger has ignored this and fooled himself otherwise.
      He still thinks the situation can be turned around. It cannot. As long as he maintains his fantasy of 'The Other Israel'(neatly represented by Meretz, about 5 % of the population) is somehow this mammoth sleeping, he is not part of the solution, he is part of the problem.

      Mearsheimer's 2010 speech about the 'New Afrikaaners and the Righteous Jews' (with the third, largest, group in the middle, the ambivalents) is much more relevant.

      Mearsheimer & Walt, but especially Mearsheimer has been way ahead of the curve the entire time. He essentially says that Apartheid Israel is now a fact, a reality in the Occupied territories and as the creeping annexation comes along, it will become more and more formalized. After that, you have a fullblown civil rights struggle and a bi-national state in the end, although it's likely most Jews will have fled by then to other western countries, especially America.

      I do not think the 1SS is workable, too much bad blood and Jewish history simply doesn't allow very easily to trust strangers in such a way anymore, at least in the non-Western world.

      The next few years will gradually crush the illusions of most so-called 'liberal Zionists' but some may never quite understand and will become increasingly bitter.
      Then of course you have Finkelstein who started out in a clear path and then have moved further to the right on Israel as the years go by to taking on a position that is easily a 'liberal Zionist' position, adding that palestinians should 'calm down' in their civil rights struggle.

      That Gentiles like Mearsheimer are routinely more correct on Israel than the overwhelming majority of Jews, even the left-leaning ones, is not strange. Outsiders tend to have a more dispassionate eye on morally corrupted socities/communities.

      Jews used to have that role, but as a sign of our ascent; no more.
      Thus, Gentiles are increasingly more relevant in this discussion, which of course drives some Jews of a certain generation absolutely nuts. Strenger's muddled column proves this. He is closer than most, but at this point he is several years behind where he should be.

  • Ron Paul and the left
    • I agree with a lot of critical comments on this, in essence, hatchet job.

      In normal circumstances, in times of peace, Ron Paul would be gently dismissed.
      But in comparison with hundreds, if not millions(a lot of people went under in Iraq), of people falling victim to the neocons, an Arab world in much hostile territory and now Iran being aimed at, is the ranting of some newsletters 20 years ago, which he didn't even write himself, more important?

      If you think so you are grossly incompetent.

      That being said, I wouldn't wish Ron Paul to be president. His domestic agenda is the antithesis of everything I believe. But he is important because he is today the only antidote to the war agenda in America. He isn't the answer, but he can be a bridge to better candidates. If he gets to become Goldstoned we will all be poorer because of it, and many, many people will die and millions will become unemployed because of the neocon agenda and the ME will be in flames again.

      Can anybody look in the mirror and say that they would allow this because of the horrible newsletters that were published in Pauls name(which, again, he did not write and former top aides have come forward lately and said he is personally not a rascist or a bigot, even if he was cynically allowing others to write bigoted stuff in his name for money)?

      If the worst Paul can be acused of is cynism, then compare that to the agenda of the neocons, which spell war and bloodshed on a massive scale, and then to freak out is the height of hypocrisy.

  • 'New York Times' implies anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic
    • It's very easy, Sean. One group has power, and legitimizes it's own destructive tendencies when persuing nationalist directives. The other has not any power, in any organized form, and as such it's destructive tendencies are not on full display since it cannot persue what a segment of it's population would want to persue.

      There is no moral argument here, just a different in power.

  • The gift of the Jews
    • I tried to take the dispassionate position, that you so clearly value and I too on closer introspection, and look at the position of Jews in America and the Establishment over the course of 70 or so years.

      I do not think it is an understatement to say that we changed America.
      Harsh critics of the social order is not enough.
      Overthrowers, even peaceful revolutionaries, of the social order is more apt.

      I have noticed in myself that like you, one of the reasons why I focus so much on my own people is precisely because I share the chauvinist streak. I believe in Jewish power, I truly believe in it. If Jews as a group overwhelmingly decides to do something, or to prevent something, I deeply believe that we can be more successful in that area than virtually any other group, even one which is a hundred times larger than us.

      But one of the issues that I keep thinking about today is, for a lack of a better word, purity. Purity of purpose, more specifically. Did we overthrow the old order primarily on moral rightouesness or for a greed of power? Both? And if so, how much of each?

      I remember your story on the Winkelwossen twins, the true creators of Facebook, and then how Zuckerberg essentially swooped in at the last minute, stole their source code, hacked their site and was protected by the Jewish Harvard president, Summers.

      Facebook's not typical of the Jewish experience, but it holds a clue to the question I am grappling with. The racial taunts that Zuckerberg posted, and that were in some ways overmatched in the following Vanity Fair article mirrors what I think about the post-60s movement.

      I'll be frank: I think that one of the main factors that we today basically view racism as something mainly due to white people(meaning, European Christians) is the battles we had with them before. I think that in events leading up to the fifties and sixties, there was a lot of racial animosity towards the WASPs. A lot of that was hidden because the WASPs were morally bankrupt themselves, not least in their treatment of blacks.

      But as I look onto the American scene today, it's uniquely suited for racial minorities. If you are a minority, you can always claim persecution. Again, the flipside of my chauvinist streak is the attribution to Jews powers that we may not have, but it bears thinking about anyway. I felt, like the woman in the Beinart discussion at the GA recently, that I had been lied to. She had been lied to, she felt, about Zionism. I was growing up with very dark descriptions of my neighbours. We were not just smarter. We were more pure. Morally superior and culturally sophisticated. They wallowed in material wealth, but they were simpletons, brutes and worse.

      As I've grown older, so much of what I was told has turned out to be a lie.
      I now ask how much of what I was told was the result of my parents' own bigotry?

      This is why, I think, many Jews read anti-Semites. It's a dirty pleasure, because it stokes our narcissism and gives us a way to think forbidden thoughts; to escape the condemnation of the self-hating Jew. And it's reflected in jokes like the two Jews who are reading the newspapers during WWII and one Jew is reading the Nazi paper with misplaced, even bizarre, glee. Tired of all the bad news, he enjoys reading how the Jews are doing everything right and having supreme power.

      There's an element of this, I think, in the discussion I briefly mentioned and I want to seperate it, the childish narcissism, from genuine self-reflection. Why do I talk about the WASPs? Because their downfall had a lot to do with us, and if we see and look carefully what happened in those struggles we may, but for a brief moment, see if there are any commonalities today - how much was actually a critique of the society we lived in, in many ways horrible, and how much more was motivated by our own bigotry, was it motivated, and perhaps even, dangerous as it is to ask, our greed and lust for power?

      If the answers to these questions are not as straightforward as I fear... then that may in some ways respond to the conflict vis-a-vi Israel/Palestine, where the solution ultimately rests within America's borders and none so more than with us, the architects and enforcers of the Israel Lobby. The enablers, at it's worst, of Jewish apartheid.

      Yet, as you note, our history is filled with contrarians. We are told time and again, that to be Jewish is to be questioning. That there is an inherent value in argument and skepticism in it's own sake. We are told, and we believe, that we are smarter. That we can self-regulate better than anyone else. And for much of our history in the diaspora, that was true. But here is the worst question of them all: what is that was because of our outsider status, not because of our internal values(or at least not sufficiently supported by them)? What if we had no choice to be the overthrowers of the social order, in part because that social order prevented us equal opportunity - and yes, power?

      And now that we are part of the Establishment, and in many ways driving it, have we lost that ability? Is Israel the clearest manifestation of that? That we can be harsh towards others, even destructive, but are not simply up to our own mythologies of our supreme morality?

      Have white conveservative Christians really changed that much in their basic world outlook, or is our alliance with them on Israel, even if superficial, a symptom of what I am talking about? That indeed it was us that changed. Or even worse, and nothing that Philip implied, that perhaps this was within us from the beginning but it was hidden from sight to others and even to ourselves as long as we were excluded? That is what I fear.

      So Israel stands as the test to my questions. How much opposition to the old order was based on moral righteousness? If what we were told as we grew up was true, why then is Israel acting in precisely the way which we condemned the WASPs for, and now we cover it up amongst ourselves? Israel acts as the knife to the heart of Jewish exceptionalism.

      It shows our thuggish side. The brave Cohen brothers have no power in Israel or even(!) in the Jewish diaspora. They are attacked as self-hating Jews.

      In the Jewish state, the rulers are Avigdor Lieberman, Bibi Netanyahu and Danny Ayalon and the ultra-Orthodox religious establishment.

      The questions I asked in the beginning are still with me, because they torment me:
      How much of what we saw in the 30s, 40s and 50s, as Lessing documented, was righteous?
      How much was hypocrisy, even, G-d forbid, naked self-interest ? What about the Communist Zionist in her book, is he a sign of this? Communism is opposed to nationalism, yet Ben-Gurion was a marxist and a nationalist. So were characters in Lessing's book. We took exceptions to our own cause.

      This is why I kept bringing up the WASPs, why I think Philip himself returns to the WASPs so often on this site, they are a key to understanding ourselves and how we deal with the world. The WASPs, together with Doris Lessing's book raise the same question but from different angles, when contrasted with Israel and the total support for it's apartheid: Can we only be truly moral when attacking the Other?

  • Israeli army policy of calling West Bank 'Judea and Samaria' ups the likelihood of religious conflict
    • I think the Arab Spring will become in some ways an extended lifeline to Israel.
      Israel may not longer claim to be the only democracy in the Middle East. However, it may now claim to be the only secular (and to some extent liberal) democracy in the Middle East. Surrounded by a sea of Islamism, it will make the case that whatever it's fault the other guys are worse.

      And to some extent that's still true. At least within Israel proper, it is. The occupation will continue to tear away at the fabric of it's society but I do not actually think that the BDS movement will be that successful in the short run.

      Whatever we may otherwise disagree on, it's patently clear that the liberals have lost - and lost bigtime. The vote of the Islamists have ranged from 40 % to 70 %. In every country where there have been semi-free elections, without any exception, the single biggest party has been an Islamist party. Often, the second-biggest have been one too.

      If you're opposed to something, you need something to latch onto. What can the muslim brotherhood give? People on the left should not underestimate the other side. The most influential is Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the muslim brotherhood and their leading intellectual on religious matters(which makes him hugely important as they are a religious party).

      link to

      He has praised Hitler and made comments that he thinks Jews have lied about the Holocaust to gain the sympathy of the world.

      I could go on and on, but my point is that in the Middle East you are increasingly going to get two sides that are reactionary, but Israel will be able to play the Western game better than the Muslim Brotherhood and come across as much less so.

      And if the left doesn't spend time on the muslim brotherhood in equal amounts then the Zionist right-wingers will claim - with some justification - that there is a bias. Naturally, I admit to being much more interested in Israel for both personal and cultural reasons, but the point still stands.

      The pessimists were proven right. The Arab Spring basically empowered the Islamists and not the liberal secular forces. It remains to be seen if these liberal secularists can grow more powerful in the years to come, but I highly doubt it. If you look at the history of the Arab world since the 50s, secular nationalism has had it's rise and fall(and they weren't exactly very friendly to Israel to begin with), and from the 70s onwards Islamism has gained ground at a steady pace.

      We're now reaching the long arc of Islamist domination of Middle Eastern life. Iran will not remain a nutty outsider but increasingly the norm. Some may be more moderate and others may be more crazy, but the pattern is the same.

      And against this backdrop, Israel has a golden opportunity to smear their neighbours. Whatever Israel's faults, it's unlikely that a larger mass of people in the Western world will side with the Muslim Brotherhood, whose influential intellectuals praise Hitler and the Holocaust - and then expressing hope that Muslims will carry out the next Holocaust.

      I'm sorry, but it just won't happen, people won't be able to support that, and frankly they should not either or they would be morally bankrupt. As bad as Danny Ayalon is, he isn't exactly praising Stalin's purges and Pinochet's mass executions.

      So will Israel be a paragon of virtue? Of course not, but the Arab "Spring" will give it ample cover for at least several years down the road. If there's a war in Iran, look for a 1948- or 1967-style ethnic cleansing of the West bank and/or Israel proper.

      This is like a burning building with no exists. There isn't a way out here, because as bad as Israel is, the alternative is Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood. All those who seek liberal democracy will lose, on both sides. At least in the next decade and perhaps beyond.

  • Liberal thinktank sacks Block, saying 'Your actions cause many to fear' criticizing Israel
    • You betcha'.

      Also, notice the tone and tenor in the piece. Ben Smith is a reliable neocon source in the MSM. He even admitted using Block as a source in his original smear story. But his smear is careful, just like this article is. It's essentially taking on the form of 'she said/he said' but he doesn't delve into specifics. He opens up for a counter-attack, detailing the worst the other side said(in the original piece) and letting Block get off the hook.

      This time, Block again gets ample of time to defend himself(notably before the email Kleinfeld even sent, so to get his version first and thus taint her email later). By the time you get to Kleinfeld's email(which he just fragmentically quotes compared to Block's response), your mind is already set up.

      He also strategically sets up Duss' comment on Friedman as if to show "see, even Matt Duss thinks he went too far". Damage control.

      Just take this phrase:

      "expelling a member who criticized the Center for American Progress for breaking with Clinton Democrats' traditional staunch support for Israel."

      That Block went far beyond any reasonable criticism and basically called them anti-Semites - as well as collaborating with neocons hostile to progressives he was supposed to side with, is never mentioned in Ben Smith's piece. He makes it sound as if they are borderline anti-Semities who expelled him for no other reason than being pro-Israel. He never mentioned the smears and the secret collaboration with the neocons.

      Ben Smith is a very skilled partisan lawyer, masquerading as a journalist. I often read COMMENTARY and other neocon outlets. He is often quoted in their articles.
      And I can see why.

      Nontheless, it'll be interesting to see how this debate opens up. And we'll see how many genuine progressive sources Smith will have left after exposing himself as a neocon sympathiser and a Block protector. Maybe not only the Democratic party will have this Glasnost. It's long past time that progressive/liberal media usher away the PEP's too(Progressive Except Palestine).

      Politico might fashion itself as 'independent/centrist'(even if Ben Smith clearly sides with neocons vis-a-vi Israel time and time again). But I remember the Daily Kos essentially smearing Mondoweiss as Stormfront. That's a shanda. Those kind of loonies belong at the fringes on the right. Pyjamas Media and other totally unserious vulgar neocon rags. Not at the Daily Kos.

  • 'This is awful,' Bush said, coming into Bethlehem
    • Pat M, there are several inaccuruacies in your comment.

      The first being that the Balfour Declaration came into being in 1917, not 1830(you're off by almost 100 years, well done).
      The second part is that while he was once a PM, when the Declaration was made, he was not PM. He was the Foreign Minister.
      Again, well done for getting your basic history right.

      Third is that he was relentlessly lobbied by various Israel lobbyists(at that time little else than a few interconnected yishuvs), almost all of them coming from Jewish organisations.

      Finally, there was and continues to be a Christian Zionism, but it is not and was never merely as organized as it's Jewish big brother, which is far larger and totally eclipses the Christian Zionist lobby.

      Only in recent years have it grown, and grown explosively, but the people who lobbied Balfour and Truman(that was Chaim Weizmann, a true Christian Zionist. Remember him?) were not exactly Christian Zionists in an organised form, which is the distinction I make. There was and remains a broad strain inside Christianity supportive of Zionism, but it has historically been passive. Again, if the Christian Zionists were so zealous inside the British cabinet, then why did they stop Jewish immigration to Palestine at the outbreak of WWII?

      Because they had a different national interest. Yet this is one of the prime reasons why organizations like Irgun even got any traction at all within the wider Jewish society at the time. Christian Zionism has been a passive force for most of history, and when it has been useful to Israel, like the Balfour decleration, you have strong efforts by Jewish Zionists who have toiled for years, often tirelessly and with little pay or public appreciation, to have gotten to that point.

      One final thing, if you even get the most basic history wrong it's hard to take you seriously. But this post is useful for me as a reference to quote in the future whenever this topic comes about. It's a keeper.

    • If Bush had displayed a scintilla of intellectual curiosity he wouldn't have to be dragged - almost literally - by his secretary of state to see the situation. He could have -gasp - picked up a book by a non-neocon, which includes a lot of liberal Israeli Jewish intellectuals, which would explain the situation to him.

      Nontheless, for all the talk from likes like Abe Foxman and others about the supposed 'horrors' of the occupation, they always fight back when Israel has to give even an inch away. They are simply pro-settlements and what Bush stated as horrible is actually the result of careful and dedicated toil over several decades of major Jewish organizations. The Christian Zionist lobby is merely a few years old, even if the debate in the MSM sometimes gives the impression that they've been around forever and are omnipotent.

      This is the legacy of Zionism and it's why Israel can not fight the delegitimization no matter how many PR firms it hires or how many lobby-sympathetic journalists in the media it can count on.

  • Two critiques of Norman Finkelstein
    • I don't think Finkelstein or anyone else is incapable of being wrong.
      I happen to agree with much of what he writes about in general, but on Israel/Palestine he is increasingly veering off into semi-bizarre positions. There are many reasons for this. To name but one of several is because he believes, without irony, that Cheney's official biography is a serious place to start if you want to get to the truth about the war in Iraq. Go figure.

      To be fair to Finkelstein, he didn't openly say he thought Walt/Mearsheimer were anti-Semites(and when pressed, I think he would not have made those charges either), but he certainly conveyed the sense that he was uncomfortable with the notion of the Iraq war and the Israel lobby.

      The ironic part of this is that as he was closing his long assault on their thesis, he actually changed his mind and stated, yes, in fact the lobby had it's hand in the invasion and it was not insignificant. But that does not mean it was solely responsible.

      And that is the exact position Walt/Mearsheimer have taken too. It was a driving force among several forces, but it was not alone in pushing for the war. They went a step beyond and said if it wasn't for the lobby, the war would not have happened. I would qualify that and say if the lobby was indifferent it would probably have happened. If the lobby, for whatever reason, was against it; it would most likely not have happened in my opinion. Similarily, if only the lobby was for the war, but nobody else, I do not think it would have happened. I think this is a nuanced position to take and it's very close to the Walt/Mearsheimer position too, which Finkelstein at the end of his assault basically endorsed.

      Yet it's hard to discount and ignore his initial unnuendo which made him fall quite a bit in my eyes. It was just a bizarre attack.

      So Finkelstein, after conveying clearly that he thought there was a minor element of anti-Semitism(he specifically talked about Jews, not neocons, and in such a way to make the point nakedly clear) in the more accurate description of the lobby then turned around 180 degrees and basically agreed with the Walt/Mearsheimer(who, again, were much more nuanced than his crude 'Jews' comment) thesis of the lobby vis-a-vi Iraq.

      Finally; whenever I hear anti-Semitic innuendo when talking about such plain issues like the war in Iraq and the Israel lobby I would expect it to come from Bill Kristol or the Commentary crowd. Coming from Norman Finkelstein?

      This unstable pattern doesn't exactly inspire confidence in a man who is increasingly drifting away into irrelevancy(quoting Cheney's official biography as a source of truth on Iraq, telling Palestinians to be 'reasonable' in face of violently hostile Apartheid and suggestion anti-Semitism as innuendo) on this discussion and it breaks my heart to admit this.

    • This is some excellent critique. I'd like to add several points.

      First, let me state my genuine and deep appreciation of Finkelstein. I do not believe he has any agenda, simply that he is wrong. Let me give several reasons.

      He has shown incredible naivité of how the world works.
      For instance, in a recent talk with Chris Hedges he sort of semi-attacked the notion of the Israel Lobby. As he went on in his attack, you sort of saw how he moderated his stance. First he claimed that the lobby only exists in the narrow I/P sphere.

      He gave a not-so-subtle hint that he thought the talk of the excessive influence of the neocons, demonstrated time and again, beyond merely I/P had a whiff of anti-Semitism. The reason for this, he thought, is because the supposed architects were Cheney and Rumsfeld. But why did he think so?

      He read their official autobiographies.
      So he actually thinks these sanitized propaganda books are a genuine relfection of policy. I was astounded to hear this, but I believe this is key to understand him.
      For these reasons I do not believe he could ever have thought of the Israel lobby. It requires a certain sense of realism, even cynism, about the world. To understand the world beyond national borders and strict national interests. To understand what motivates people beyond money. In short: ethnocentrism, guilt, shame and feelings of revenge are very powerful and can steer people well beyond the rational. So too with the Israel lobby.

      Curiously, as he was ending his longdrawn attack on Walt/Mearsheimer, he switched position. He no longer excluded the Israel lobby from having a role in Iraq, but essentially took their position: that it's a cofluence of factors. They never stated it was the only force, but that it was one of several major forces. Had it not pushed very hard for it, it is doubtful(but not certain) that the war would have happened.

      The lobby isn't just AIPAC, but also sympathetic journalists like the kind you find on the staff of TNR, to name but one example. Or the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal.

      There is a second aspect, which is connected to this, that also bears thinking about. In a recent interview with Mearsheimer and Finkelstein(read here: link to, Norman basically shot down everything John said as nonsense, more or less, or overblown.

      He basically stated that if America wanted to, then Israel would secede from the territories and end the occupation. Easily. This mirrors Chomsky's quote that when the Israelis went out of Gaza, it was 'merely a show for the goys'. In fact, it was dressed up as a gesture of peace when it really was a way to do the inevitable. And thus clear the way to bomb Gaza as the cost of protecting 10,000 fanatical Jewish settlers was too much and Sharon understood this.

      But to think you will end a 44 year old occupation with approaching 400,000 Jews firmly rooted in settled towns is a fantasy. There are entire political parties devoted to stop this. Settlements is a national concensus and no major party is different on this score.

      This again shows the incredible naivité of Finkelstein. He just does not understand the situation at it's core. He has amazing knowledge, but it's how he interprets it that is the problem. He believes, without blinking, the official hagiographies of people who could easily be tried for war crimes as uncontested truth. He dismisses the notion of the Israel Lobby outside a minimal interpretation and even injects innuendo that suggests there is anti-Semitism in it's more accurate description.

      He seems to believe the propaganda that it would be easy to dismantle the settlements when it's de-facto Israeli policy for almost half a century. Israel would essentially face civil war, many IDF commanders are more loyal to their rabbis and would never allow Jews to convict Jews from what they believe is their holy land, promised by God. That Finkelstein takes the Chomsky approach of 'it's just a show for the goys' again underlines how shallowly he understands what is happening.

      I will always have the deepest respect for him as a moral and just human being. But part of the price for that morality, it appears, is stunning naivité that he has not been able to shake off. It also doesn't help that he thinks that people should be worried about not upsetting Apartheid. As one commenter aptly stated, that would be like telling blacks in the 50s to 'calm down'(and many did to Martin Luthor King) and be careful not to upset whites and 'be reasonable'.

      Sadly, he is more and more proving to be irrelevant in the discussion.

  • Ben-Ami: I advocate for Israel, Palestinian groups should advocate for Palestinian human rights
    • Ben-Ami is yet another Jew who has been Goldstoned and never quite became the same again. He was crushed by the attacks and now toes a line which is basically the same as AIPAC's, but dressed up in nicer colors.

      Do not forget J Street supported the veto against the creation of a Palestinian state at the UN by the Obama admin, after incessant pressure from the lobby.

      Even if Ben-Ami has publicly chided other 'pro-Israel' groups for saying one thing(oppose settlements) and then in practice support them and rushing to strike down anything that the Palestinians do.

      Now he is in the same boat and this report doesn't exactly make the picture prettier.
      His organization could once be called a 'bridge to a better place'. Not anymore. He is firmly in the status quo now. He wants to be accepted and given a seat at a table more so than he wants to be on the right side of history.

  • The Ron Paul moment-- bad and good
    • Ron Paul did not write them, but he was aware of them and did nothing because he got 1 million dollars per annum for them.

      I think he just didn't think that they would do harm - and they didn't. But of course it's a flaw. But Obama was close to Jeremiah Wright - for 20+ years! And he has given a continual stream of fodder for anti-Semitism.

      But does that make Obama an anti-Semite? No, but rather casual around those who espouse it. The difference is that the newsletters went out for 5 or so years. Obama was around Wright for over 4 times as long.

      Ron Paul is still a better candidate than Gingrich/Romney, but he has flaws. All candidates do.

      But his domestic program is a disaster in waiting. I could never vote for him, but I hope his rise will help change the debate on foreign policy. The neocons fear him, and that is reason enough to be mildly hopeful he gets as much exposure as possible while I privately hope he does not become President(I wouldn't mind him becomming GOP nominee, even if I think it is unlikely, and then losing to Obama).

      Hopefully this will spur a change in the right direction in the GOP. There is already warweariness among the Democrats. If the neocon grip of the Republican discussion can be weakened, we can see a joint Dem/Rep alliance between the bases of the parties in revolt against the corrupted elites. Preferably with help from supportive intellectuals and journalists. People like Glenn Greenwald, Finkelstein and others.

  • Israel says it's 'disgusting' for world to take stand on 'domestic affair' --settlers
    • There is something even more important than this tidbit.

      Ehud Barak, the 'moderate' according to the Hasbara men in American media, basically reprimanded the ministry.

      Why? Because they were wrong?

      No, because of the tone and timing. He said that they were right but they did it the wrong way if it was made into a headline.

      Source: link to

      Again, this goes to show that the 'settler fringe' is actually a centrist, concensus position in Israel. When Barak is telling the Lieberman crowd that "you guys are right, but you have to be tactical" you essentially see, for a brief moment, just how extreme the political concensus is.

      I believe his exact phrase was 'it's not enough to be right - you have to be smart too'.

  • Thomas Friedman finds Al-Qaeda in Iraq
    • Thomas Friedman does not want to be Goldstoned.
      This article proves that the attacks got under his skin.

      Nontheless, the situation in Iraq is very alarming.
      Someone complained about this section of his column:

      "With the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from Iraq, we’re finally going to get the answer to the core question about that country: Was Iraq the way Iraq was because Saddam was the way Saddam was, or was Saddam the way Saddam was because Iraq is the way Iraq is"

      Whatever the phrasing, it sums up the situation. If you people haven't been following the situation in Iraq, you ought to do that now. The current Iraqi PM is showing extreme dictatorial tendencies and that country may spin out of control.

      But the reasons for going into war? That's just a sloppy apology to the lobby.
      Someone once said that he is a quissential Establishment columnist.
      This article proves why.

      If it were fashionable to talk about the Bolivian lobby tomorrow, Friedman wouldn't be far behind.

  • Naming Weinstein and Comcast chief as bundlers, 'Forward' wonders about 'Jewish influence' on Obama I/P policy
    • The other's give too, but giving to political parties isn't exactly philanthropy.
      It's conceited self-interest.

      A polite man's way of bribing a politician. You get these funds for your campaign and you vote the way I want to.

      I never cease to amaze the way some people delude themselves for their own(or their favoured individual's) corruption, even patting themselves on the back for supporting a corrupt system of bribery.

      How about taking money out of the equation completely and letting the American people decide by elections instead of lobby groups? That you think the problem is too little corruption than too much speaks volumes of your warped mind.

      Even castigating other Americans for not being corrupt enough.
      Would be sad in a way, if it wasn't so hilarious at the same time.

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