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Total number of comments: 803 (since 2010-04-26 22:40:50)

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  • Thank you
  • Sorry, 'Mother Jones' but you're piping the Israeli narrative of Gaza 'war'
    • I suspect that Gazan women generally have more important problems to deal with than the fact that they can't wear jeans.

      Historically, it has always been the colonizer’s position that the natives, the savages, had to be tamed and civilized. That’s why hacks in the West who tow the Israeli line feel comfortable peddling Islamophobia and stereotypes under the guise of concern for women’s rights.

      Well put, Avi.

      Max Ajl :

      Alterman is afflicted with a serious case of White Liberalism. This disease turns the pseudo-intellectual into a very picky consumer of resistance movements. Not that one, they have funky red beards, and those folk aren’t very nice to their brown women, who we do the honor of bombing without gender discrimination. This complex suggests that resistance movements must fit into the box we construct—white, secular, liberal, Western—to receive principled, unqualified support for ending the suffering of the groups on whose behalf they resist.

      US/Israel : "Bombing and starving your women to freedom, one region at a time"

  • If Houston's Pacifica radio station is concerned about anti-Semitism, it should emulate 'Beyond the Pale'
    • but my suspicion is that they feared conflict on the buses themselves, or some violence to the buses, from both rabid pro-Zionists and rabid anti-Zionists.

      But this is the whole point. They only canceled the non-commercial ad policy after receiving intimidation from right-wing groups and individuals such as the ADL, Christian Zionists, Geller, Horowitz, etc. If this coercion had never been exerted, there never would have been a controversy in the first place, and therefore no reason to fear any kind of "violence" or disruption of the transportation lines. There's no reason they couldn't have simply proposed their ads quietly after letting the first ads go through - clearly this is not what happened.

      What we're seeing here is that some believe that intimidation and bullying are acceptable ways of making one's voice heard and affecting the public debate (there's truth to the saying, "the hardliners always win")
      - the whole idea was to reject that notion.

      Look at the "ads" here, and it's clear that they are far more "inflammatory" and downright racist than those proposed by the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign - THIS is why the campaign was shut down :
      link to atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com
      (sorry for the slightly toxic link, but sometimes one has to put on his hip boots and "bravely go where no man has gone before")

    • It is within the rights of the Seattle Bus system to exclude ads that are inflammatory.

      "inflammatory"
      Unfortunately, reality is sometimes "inflammatory".
      Unfortunately, the reality has become so troublesome that when reality is invoked, it seems outrageous...
      You have two solutions :
      1 : Close your eyes.
      2 : Try to change that reality.
      What's it going to be, Richard?

  • I think Pollard will be freed
    • yonira :

      ...but Iran is out of money because of their nuclear program. Not only are they spending all of their money on it, it is resulting in the sanctions which are now in place.

      This is a perverse "logic". The sanctions now in place are the result of those who have chosen to slap sanctions on Iran and its banks. Period.

      Must stop reading yonira's posts....
      must... stop... reading...

  • Abulhawa: Delegitimization? We are merely drawing back the curtain on child arrests and confiscation of water
    • Good for her. I no longer read the Huffington Post at all, partly because of the latest bit of insipid drivel B-H Levy spat out on their pages.

  • We have received complaints about the words on your T-shirt so we have called the police --Gagosian Gallery
  • Seattle nixes bus ads decrying Israeli war crimes
    • Thanks for the contact page. This total lack of courage made me angry, so here's mine (a little long, sorry) :

      For your edification :

      I have taken the time to write because I was alerted to the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign's current efforts to adorn King County buses with an ad, critical of US foreign policy, by a web site consecrated to bringing to light and solving the problems plaguing the people of the Middle East, and more specifically, Israel/Palestine.

      As regards Israel/Palestine, it has been shown repeatedly by several institutions that the state of Israel is engaging in unlawful and violent behavior against the Palestinian people, especially in the occupied West Bank and Gaza (which Israel has been occupying and illegally transferring its population to since 1967, as several UN resolutions attest to).

      The Arms Export Control Act (PL 90-629) of 1976 contains several passages restricting the flow of arms from the US to foreign countries which engage regularly in human rights violations, and by this is called upon to set an example. The fact that it rarely lives up to this example should not curb any efforts in this direction.

      I equally draw your attention to the Amnesty International report entitled "Foreign Arms Supplies To Israel/Gaza Fueling Conflict", in which it is stated :

      "Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act stipulates that "no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights" which includes "acts of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person." Section 4 of the Arms Export Control Act authorizes the supply of US military equipment and training only for lawful purposes of internal security, "legitimate self-defense," or participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations or other operations consistent with the U.N. Charter."

      also :

      "Amnesty International found that the Israeli army used white phosphorus, a weapon with a highly incendiary effect, in densely-populated civilian residential areas in and around Gaza City, and in the north and south of the Gaza Strip. The organization's delegates found white phosphorus still burning in residential areas throughout Gaza days after the ceasefire came into effect on 18 January - that is, up to three weeks after the white phosphorus artillery shells had been fired by Israeli forces. Amnesty International considers that the repeated use of white phosphorus in this way in densely-populated civilian areas constitutes a form of indiscriminate attack, and amounts to a war crime."

      The report can be found here :
      link to amnestyusa.org

      I equally draw your attention to the UN report, headed by the eminent judge Richard Goldstone, on the Gaza invasion of 2008/2009, in which there was extensive evidence drawn up of war crimes committed by the IDF against the population of Gaza.

      The ads would not have been part of a campaign to spread hatred, but rather the opposite - if this reality shows unfortunate and violent events, then all the more reason to raise public awareness about them, as the US public is partly financially responsible for them.

      The report can be found linked to here :
      link to un.org

      Amidst the growing awareness in the American community of US foreign policy and its nefarious consequences around the world, and the 3 billion dollars in annual aid to the state of Israel, it would be nice if some actually accepted to open the debate and address the problems it presents - especially for the victims.

      In short, we are asking you to follow the law, and to not be afraid to stand up for the 1st amendment. This should not be very controversial.

      Your reaction to intimidation from right-wing groups is revealing of your attitude of :
      “We don’t want any trouble, folks”.

      Silence and keeping the status quo is far preferable to addressing real political and humanitarian problems.
      T.S. Eliot said, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality”. It seems here that it’s King County Metro Transit that cannot bear very much reality.

      It’s a simple, but effective intimidation tactic to raise a big stink anytime something like this is proposed because most people (in America) just prefer to avoid any kind of conflict. In other words, you have revealed the GUIDING PRINICIPLE in the generally spineless American culture as regards foreign policy and politics in general : no cojones.

      Yours,

    • "We don't want any trouble, folks".
      Silence and keeping the status quo is far preferable to addressing real political and humanitarian problems.
      T.S. Eliot said, "Humankind cannot bear very much reality". It seems here that it's King County Metro Transit that cannot bear very much reality.

      It's a simple, but effective intimidation tactic to raise a big stink anytime something like this is proposed because most people (in America) just prefer to avoid any kind of conflict. In other words, no cojones.

  • The world will be a much safer place when American Jews stop believing these 4 bad ideas
    • Jews have a long tradition of emphasizing learning and education...

      I applaud this. It's a good antidote to the laziness and sense of entitlement that many long term residents of a state express.

      In high school, there was an accepted notion/stereotype that the Asian kids were smarter. Of course, it was not due to any genetic predisposition, but rather to cultural factors. I think there is a need for recent (or descendants of recent immigrants) to "prove themselves", and therefore more of an impetus to work hard to attain one's goals.

      "lobewyper" below is falling into the trap of equating "ethnicity" with "genetics". Will read article, thanks !

      Merry Christmas !

    • Please cite the actual research that shows that racial/ethnic IQ differences have zero genetic component.

      Please cite the actual research that shows that racial/ethnic IQ differences have ANY genetic component.
      You must define "genetic component" here, and how some of these genetic markers are specific to some groups and not to others.
      Second, please explain what we mean by "intelligence", and why IQ is a reliable gage of it. It is such a vague concept that it seems almost irrelevant to talk about it.

      Bernie Devlin of the U of Pittsburg has done some work on this, supposedly showing that genetics have a preponderant effect on IQ scores (up to 48 percent, whatever that means). If this is true (and it is doubtful), you still have to show the link between IQ scores and this mysterious entity we're calling "intelligence" (verbal ability, mathematical, spatial reasoning, ability to empathize with others instead of showing strictly self-interest, etc.)

      The fact that "most psychologists" believe that IQ scores are a reliable method to gage "intelligence" (and let's be clear, there will be a difference between someone with an IQ of 50 and an IQ of 200) does not make it so.

      The fact of the matter is that you must define "intelligence" before having a meaningful conversation about it. IQ tests are something else.

      link to web.archive.org

    • Your point #4, however, is factually wrong and you should stop with it. It’s pretty well established that Ashkenazi Jews have higher I.Q.s than (Christian) whites. I understand the political reasons for denying this but it’s like insisting that we all deliberately believe a falsehood to say it isn’t so.

      Nice example of "pseudoscience" here.
      First of all, it is well known that IQ tests were originally developed to detect mental retardation. Aside from that, they are very a dubious gage by which to measure intelligence.
      Second of all, being that the word "intelligence" is so vague and badly defined (and subjective), it's basically a meaningless endeavor to try to classify people by this criterion. You might as well sort people out by what their favorite color is.
      Thirdly, it could be argued that compassion toward others is a vital component of what we're calling "intelligence".
      We could go on and on, but I'd be wasting people's time.

  • Well at least it's a debate
    • Yes. They threw enough of a temper tantrum for Metro to decide it wasn't worth the trouble (so that's how it works...)

    • It's canceled.

      Thanks to the efforts of the Jewish Federation, and our partners at the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and StandWithUs NW – as well as the many supporters and concerned citizens in the community who contacted elected officials and Metro representatives – we are pleased to share that the County Executive and Metro have announced an interim policy that will not allow non-commercial advertising on buses.

      In light of the recent escalation of events, Metro Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond today asked his advertising consultant to notify the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign that Metro is rejecting its proposed ad, and for the consultant to notify the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the American Freedom Defense Initiative that Metro will not accept their proposed ads, as posing an unacceptable risk of harm to, disruption of, or interference with bus service, as defined under current policies.

      In short, "we don't want you wackos bringing the I/P conflict to Seattle."

      Ahhhh, it's like a gentle slap across the face, a brush up with the "lobby"...
      Oh well

    • I sent a reply too :

      I have taken the time to write because I was alerted to the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign's current efforts to adorn King County buses with an ad, critical of US foreign policy, by a web site consecrated to bringing to light and solving the problems plaguing the people of the Middle East, and more specifically, Israel/Palestine.

      First of all, let me remind you that, as a representative of the community of a particular region of Washington, and the US government, you have certain privileges, but also a responsibility to uphold the law, and to make a good example of the office you are holding. As regards Israel/Palestine, it has been shown repeatedly by several institutions that the state of Israel is engaging in unlawful and violent behavior against the Palestinian people, especially in the occupied West Bank and Gaza (which Israel has been occupying and illegally transferring its population to since 1967, as several UN resolutions attest to).

      The Arms Export Control Act (PL 90-629) of 1976 contains several passages restricting the flow of arms from the US to foreign countries which engage regularly in human rights violations, and by this is called upon to set an example. The fact that it rarely lives up to this example should not curb any efforts in this direction.

      I equally draw your attention to the Amnesty International report entitled "Foreign Arms Supplies To Israel/Gaza Fueling Conflict", in which it is stated :
      Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act stipulates that "no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights" which includes "acts of torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person." Section 4 of the Arms Export Control Act authorizes the supply of US military equipment and training only for lawful purposes of internal security, "legitimate self-defense," or participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations or other operations consistent with the U.N. Charter.

      also :
      Amnesty International found that the Israeli army used white phosphorus, a weapon with a highly incendiary effect, in densely-populated civilian residential areas in and around Gaza City, and in the north and south of the Gaza Strip. The organization's delegates found white phosphorus still burning in residential areas throughout Gaza days after the ceasefire came into effect on 18 January - that is, up to three weeks after the white phosphorus artillery shells had been fired by Israeli forces. Amnesty International considers that the repeated use of white phosphorus in this way in densely-populated civilian areas constitutes a form of indiscriminate attack, and amounts to a war crime.

      The report can be found here :
      link to amnestyusa.org

      I equally draw your attention to the UN report, headed by the eminent judge Richard Goldstone, on the Gaza invasion of 2008/2009, in which there was extensive evidence drawn up of war crimes committed by the IDF against the population of Gaza.
      You must understand that, as you say in your letter, "Messages like these, that lack basic civility" are actually a reflection of reality. They are not part of a campaign to spread hatred, but rather the opposite - if this reality shows unfortunate and violent events, then all the more reason to raise public awareness about them, as the US public is partly financially responsible for them.

      The report can be found linked to here :
      link to un.org

      Amidst the growing awareness in the American community of US foreign policy and its nefarious consequences around the world, and the 3 billion dollars in annual aid to the state of Israel, it would be nice if some actually accepted to open the debate and address the problems it presents - especially for the victims.

      In short, we are asking you to follow the law, and to not be afraid to stand up for the 1st amendment. This should not be very controversial.

      Yours,

    • MRW :
      Congratulations! You will receive one pin model of the classic V-22 Osprey plane to adorn your favorite suit. As well as a piece of history, it also permits the proud wearer to show his/her pride in the new-found resurgence of this very costly and baroque epitome of US interventionism.
      Please indicate full name and address to send gift to.

    • I hope so.
      At the same time, as some polls seem to indicate (I hate polls, but they do shed a little light anyway), the views that Palin, Gingrich, and others espouse are not that far from the views of a large part of the American public (Obama being a "closet Muslim", etc). The very fact that they can even say what they say on national TV (as well as calls for assassination of Assange, al-Awlaki, Iranian nuclear scientists...) is proof that it doesn't necessarily conflict that much with the general ambiance, thanks to the massive propaganda campaign explained so well by Max Blumenthal's recent article.
      Didn't know she was sinking though, that's some good news.

    • My soul just died a little, Philip.

    • Here you have the intellectual level of the people commenting on Geller's "screedsite" - the first comment goes like this :

      Its perfect. American Muslims are basically Nazis who don't shower.

      I think that tells you all you need to know.

      Oh, and there's now a dynamite (read : vulgar) production put out by the Heritage Foundation (cringe) called "Iranium", coming soon to a theatre near you (courtesy of Ali Gharib) :
      link to iraniummovie.com
      Prize awarded to anyone who can actually make it through the whole trailer without tossing his/her lunch.

  • The thinktank of the Obama left is helping... Netanyahu!!
    • I agree with your and Jeff's account of it.
      Duff seems like a whack job, to put it bluntly. There's something that faintly stinks about his articles. We don't need him to tell us that Pollard is a convicted criminal according to US law.
      Veterans Today does, though, produce some fine pieces.

    • OK, thanks.

    • ‘The interests of Israel,’ is a stupid term, eee.

    • The “interest of the US” is a stupid term.

      For once, I agree with you, eee (sorry Chaos!)

    • seanmcbride (or anyone) :
      I'm curious as to what you think about this, as you know about it more than I do. This Neve Gordon article was linked to in an article by Maidhc Ó Cathail on Dec. 20th :
      Spook, Terrorist or Criminal? America’s Mysterious Files on Netanyahu

      Nevertheless, Netanyahu’s files differ from those of most U.S. citizens. The Israeli weekly Ha’ir reports that four requests for credit approval appear in U.S. social security file number 020-36-4537. Under each request one finds a different name: Benjamin Netanyahu, Benjamin Nitai, John Jay Sullivan and John Jay Sullivan Jr.—one man, four names.
      ...............
      Goren and Berkovitch then attempted to examine Netanyahu’s social security file, but were denied access. They did, however, find out that Netanyahu’s file has a different classification than most. They were denied access not merely due to the 1974 privacy act, but because the file had a “confidential” classification. Goren and Berkovitch have explained that such a classification only applies to five categories of people: those who work for one of three federal agencies—FBI, CIA, IRS—or those who are considered to be terrorists or criminals. Since it is unlikely that Netanyahu fits the latter two categories, or that he worked for the IRS, it appears that he was on the payroll of a security agency—the CIA or FBI.

      link to wrmea.com

      Besides the fact that it's disturbing, is this all legit?

  • What does Israel’s non-defense of poor Sderot say about security and policy?
    • Robert :

      Can you back up the statement that Cast Lead had nothing whatsoever to do with stopping Qassam rockets?

      I'll post this cable again here :
      link to 213.251.145.96

      SECRET//NOFORN
      Israeli officials explained that they were going through an unprecedented period of calm due to the deterrent effect of Operation CAST LEAD…

      Quiet on the Northern Border
      —————————-
      ¶16. (S) Israeli officials remain pleased with the “quiet” nature of its northern border — something they attribute to the deterrent effect Israel has built up following OPERATION CAST LEAD and the 2006 war in Lebano.

      General Baidatz argued that it would take Iran one year to obtain a nuclear weapon and two and a half years to build an arsenal of three weapons. By 2012 Iran would be able to build one weapon within weeks and an arsenal within six months. (COMMENT: It is unclear if the Israelis firmly believe this or are using worst-case estimates to raise greater urgency from the United States)

      You could have a kid flinging rocks with a slingshot on the Lebanese border, and could technically argue that an invasion leveling whole neighborhoods was the result of the kid with the slingshot, as some kind of "cause and effect" argument. The argument can be made, but that doesn't mean that it makes any sense.

      The central point here (again) is that Israel is deliberately creating a climate of fear, belligerence and provocation, which inevitably results in some responses from time to time. This in turn creates pretexts for aggression.

    • Well the latter 1/3 of those comments were nasty.

      You mean, like a particular form of "hazing"... "Get out your paddles for the new guy !"
      I agree. Their factual assertions are correct at the same time, though, it's right to point them out. One of the problems with this issue is that there has been SO MUCH disinformation and misinformation for so long, that those who have taken the trouble to roll it all back and recover the reality (It's like the myth of Sisyphus) immediately recognize factual errors, and one tends to get oversensitive and aggressive.

      Some of Robert's comments were misunderstood. I think the central point here is the divergence between official statements (pretexts) and actions, and how the threats from Qassams (which are real) have always been exaggerated to play up sympathy from the outside world. You can see in videos on the web as well events during rocket attacks in Israel, in which official announcements are hurled over loudspeakers for inhabitants to take cover. This adds to the climate of fear and tension, which is deliberately manipulated by the government in order to demonize the "enemy" seeking to "destroy us".

      What is truly remarkable :
      In the choice between security and expansion, Israel has chosen expansion - not security. The very injustices at the root causes of the rockets firing in the first place are not addressed. So, officials constantly claim that security is a prime objective, while carrying out policies which undermine that very security (discrimination, ethnic cleansing, land theft, assassinations, etc). They clearly need a certain level of insecurity to be able to reach their objectives.

    • Good post.
      For info on the Phalanx/CIWS defense system, look in the comments here too:
      link to forden.armscontrolwonk.com
      and here :
      link to globalsecurity.org
      It seems that most of the shells not intercepting the target would go into the Mediterranean, thereby making it more of a danger for dolphins than people down below.

      You realized of course the total hypocrisy of the declarations pretending to want to shield the population from Qassams. As long as they stay only slightly more dangerous than bottle rockets, Israel is more than happy to keep this threat ongoing from Gaza, and to sacrifice the occasional Israeli, as as long as there is an excuse to pillar Gazans again in the future (hoping they will eventually pour into Egypt when they've had enough) and keeping general threat levels and instability up, generating sympathy from the world population.
      The last thing they want is a missile defense system that actually works.

      I also wanted to post this here, since we're speaking of Gaza :
      "GAZAN YOUTH’S MANIFESTO FOR CHANGE" from Pulse media :
      link to pulsemedia.org

      F-ck Hamas. F-ck Israel. F-ck Fatah. F-ck UN. F-ck UNWRA. F-ck USA!

      It goes on from there. It seems to me the most cogent and intelligent statement about Gaza that I've seen, much more so than those from the fiddling fools and arrogant bureaucrats pretending to do something about it.

  • Secular Herzl sought to use 'mystic elements' to bind Jews to a place they had no living connection to
    • eee :

      An in Israel, gerrymandering is non-existent because of the proportional system.

      Ethnic cleansing IS gerrymandering. Duh.
      You're not learning your lessons.
      link to secure.wikimedia.org
      Again, you're defining "democracy" solely as majority rule and votes. This is not right. It's much more rich than that. It includes a free press, and some kind of representation and reflection of peoples' wishes in policy decisions.

      Now, think a little : if the USG decides that Kansas is to be a white-only Christian state in the union, and all others must leave that state - subsequent elections there could be said to be "democratic" in a very narrow sense if policy reflects the outcome of these elections. A majority rule of white Christians is democratic - for white Christians. Having the power to define who will be a part of that majority is not democratic at all, because those who are to be forced out HAVE NO CHOICE as to them being forced out in the first place ; this decision itself was arrived at undemocratically.

      As for might makes right, isn’t it obvious that this is an important component of middle east and world politics?

      "It's a rough neighborhood, blah blah blah"
      It definitely is the most important component of US/Israeli politics in the region, yes, you are correct. Who defines these politics?

  • Stammering Crowley to Matt Lee: 'I'm going to leave it at that'
  • Mr President, answer Matthew Lee of the AP: 'Why is it beneath the United States to come out and say something about this practitioner of nonviolence?'
    • I'll take the question and see what we know about that case.

      "Screw off"

      We still don't have a clear answer, I checked before I came out here.

      "Screw off"

      I haven't yet gotten a satisfactory answer.

      "Screw off"

      ...still seeking a fuller picture of our engagement with he Israeli government on this case...

      "When are you going to shut up?"

  • Jeffrey Goldberg likens BDS movement to Nazi Germany policies
    • The committment to dialog to the exclusion of action effectively keeps progress from being made.

      Yup

  • Editable comments | Site Improvements
    • eee :

      So a few Palestinians were evicted from their homes in Jerusalem, I am sure that is a source of great dismay to the hundreds of thousands of women that were raped and murdered in Darfur.

      Go.
      Go, my son, tell those Darfurians they are doing the wrong thing.
      Have you got your plane ticket? What are you waiting for?

  • BBC badgers Barak as no American outlet would: What is the US getting for its billions in aid?
    • eee :

      And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Google “stuxnet”.

      Ha ha ha!
      That was good work, apparently.

      As Walid said further down here, Israel seems to have often been using its enemies as guinea pigs, or a testing ground for new martial and lethal technologies, and for developing repressive techniques against "recalcitrant" populations. Those are services they can definitely provide to the US, and have been.
      1. New warfare techniques
      2. Population control / repression

      Now you can add to that list "guided missile"-type software (if it really was a creation of the IDF/Mossad).

  • Slater: What's really wrong with the Goldstone Report
  • Palestinians in Israel would prefer one secular democratic state (but who's asking them?)
    • Yes. My comments was a bit clusmy, as it was a gut reaction. I should have said "we" and not "you", it wasn't directed specifically at Miss Farber. The point I was trying to make is that, if we are advocating for some kind of 1 state solution, and we know that it will entail some violence, we should be very aware of how it will affect people there. Those of us who might not be directly participating (not necessarily her, as she really is participating here), on the receiving end of the violence and will not be put in prison, or having our kneecaps whacked at should know exactly what we are advocating, that's all.

    • Thank you.

      There is more or less collective recognition that one state, though the road is long and hard and probably very very bloody...

      You should be careful with this, people's lives are not chess pieces to play around with. If you actually believe this, then it will not be your blood that will be shed (am I right?) so it's easier to come to this conclusion.

  • Assange is held in cell where they once held Oscar Wilde
    • Yes and no.

      Just for info, the IP address is 213.251.145.96
      so, this will work :
      link to 213.251.145.96

      The fact that there are now so many mirrors
      link to 213.251.145.96
      This means that there is a lot of supporters, and that means that there is no way of really targeting one server to shut it down, and therefore to be effective against it, there will have to be sweeping new rules to define what is "acceptable" and "non-acceptable" internet content.
      This means possibly a much broader clampdown, all across the board (though how this could be done seems almost impossible to me, apart from restricting access financially - raising prices)
      This means download all that stuff, those important articles, important info, leaks, and whatnot, now, and save it to harddisk, if there is even the slightest risk that the honeymoon might be over some day. It's not necessarily going to come to this, but it should not be put off as a crazy idea either.

      Of course, this could also mean that governments will have to be more careful in carrying out their policies, knowing that they will be scrutinized more closely by people who demand that they be a little more accountable to the public?

      Assange :

      Authoritarian regimes create forces which oppose them by pushing against a people’s will to truth, love and self-realization. Plans which assist authoritarian rule, once discovered, induce further resistance. Hence such schemes are concealed by successful authoritarian powers until resistance is futile or outweighed by the efficiencies of naked power. This collaborative secrecy, working to the
      detriment of a population, is enough to define their behavior as conspiratorial.

      .........

      Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.

      Only revealed injustice can be answered; for man to do anything intelligent he has to know what's actually going on.

      cryptome.org/0002/ja-conspiracies.pdf

  • Proportionality: 'Human Rights Watch' files report on Jordanian restaurant turning away Israeli Jews
    • eee, your ideas of "democracy" are somewhat skewed.

      Democracy is not just majority rule, although that's a part of it.

      I'll quote Ilan Pappé again :

      [Young Israelis] learn in the political science department that in order to build a democratic society, where the majority can decide what to do, you are entitled first to define the majority, even by means of killing the other side, so that you would be sure what would be the result of the democratic election.

      If you can use force to decide who is to participate in the democratic process, and who is not, then it is inherently undemocratic. Don't you understand this? End of story.

      And members of the Jewish community have every right to democratically advocate BDS, as voicing one's views on this is part and parcel of what we call "freedom of speech and assembly" in the US. If your argument is that BDS is undemocratic because it targets the Israeli population as a whole, and is therefore a rather blunt instrument, I somewhat agree with you. The point is, though, that they have left the rest of the world no choice. The methods they use are force and coercion, and they have made it clear that there will be no legal recourse for Palestinians, and that they will not listen to reason. So, it is they who have moved the debate to the playing field of force, and power. The rest of us have no choice but to play along, and use force to change things. People like Hezbollah understood this a while ago.

      My criticism is of Phil and David who claim to be Jewish.

      Well, we can start cleaning out the ranks if you want.

      Who amongst us is not pure?!!!

    • Let me give you an example. Say someone believes abortion is murder. There are quite a few of those people in the US. Let’s say he believes that the majority of Americans that support abortions are deluded and morally wrong. Is it legitimate for him to arrange a BDS of the US to force Americans to change their minds? Would he be still playing by the democratic rules of the US if he does so? Quite clearly no.

      Quite clearly, yes. If you frame it as a free speech issue, he has every right to advocate that, and that others do the same (it's not clear what you mean by "arrange" though). The "rules" are the Constitution (which has been taking a severe beating as of late), the Bill of rights, and any case law which has set precedents as to how to think about certain issues (my understanding of all this is rudimentary, but I think I'm not far off). Part of the idea is to defend minorities (which may hold unorthodox views) from a tyranny of the majority.

      (I boycott the US wherever possible, just for full disclosure)

      But it is not legitimate for them to employ BDS to get their way, IF THEY ARE PART of the TRIBE. If they are not, like you, they have no obligations to the other tribe members.

      This is strange to me. How is it that one has no obligations to to the other "tribe members"? I think one does, actually. I do think "goyim" have obligations towards Jews, who have obligations towards atheists, who have them towards Muslims, Flying Spaghetti Monsterists of the Latter Day Mormon Saints Adventists, whatever... Isn't that one of the points of this site, to bring these issues to a larger audience, rather than keeping it within a privileged circle? By speaking of "tribes", etc. you are implying that there a certain arguments which can't be understood by those who are on the outside (as Ilan Pappé says, "it's too complicated").

  • 'The Palestine Cables': WikiLeaks expose European chill on Israel after Cast Lead, and Lebanese advice on defeating Hezbollah
    • link to 213.251.145.96
      SECRET//NOFORN

      Israeli officials explained that they were going through an unprecedented period of calm due to the deterrent effect of Operation CAST LEAD...
      ...
      Quiet on the Northern Border
      ----------------------------
      ¶16. (S) Israeli officials remain pleased with the "quiet" nature of its northern border -- something they attribute to the deterrent effect Israel has built up following OPERATION CAST LEAD and the 2006 war in Lebano.

      ...

      General Baidatz argued that it would take Iran one year to obtain a nuclear weapon and two and a half years to build an arsenal of three weapons. By 2012 Iran would be able to build one weapon within weeks and an arsenal within six months. (COMMENT: It is unclear if the Israelis firmly believe this or are using worst-case estimates to raise greater urgency from the United States)

  • Why is the White House sending its Iran negotiator to a neocon conference in D.C.?
    • To believe that there is a a political bifurcation is a fatal error, because you are constantly being surprised by what occurs.

      Ha, what's that definition of "insanity" that we always hear? : Doing the same thing again and again, and expecting different results?

  • Beinart wants to save Zionism for himself more than he wants to save Israel
    • Great post, thanks

      This condition, of not being credulous enough to be able to plainly articulate one's beliefs, or to admit what one actually believes to oneself, did not obtain even in totalitarian movements of the past. In short, the root of American Zionism's crisis is its inability to understand what it even believes.

      Again, we arrive at the problem posed by the melding of the ideas of "nation" and "state". They are not historically the same thing. The difficulty arises when a "nation" (a group of people bound by linguistic, cultural, and possibly religious affinities) decides to define itself as a state, thus bringing in the idea of geographic, physical boundaries. In order for this "state" to remain true to the idea of the "nation" that brought it about, it needs to enforce some kind of cultural or ethnic hegemony, or "purity". This means it must consist of a majority of the people who make up the "nation" (cultural, historical, linguistic bonds), otherwise it really has no raison d'être at all.

      Either you have an empty vessel, a state, which has a certain set of laws and customs (which can derive from basic, humanistic and logical principles) which are applied to all of its citizens, wherever they come from, OR you have a "nation" which tries to define itself as a state (geographic boundaries), and can only do so by engaging in ethnic cleansing (in order for the state to have any meaning at all as representative of its majority) if it wishes to keep any kind of consistency.

  • The forest through the trees: What the Carmel fire reminds us about Israel's history
    • Yes, this was (sort of) what I was trying to say.

      As we all know, the victors write the history books. If you take, every single event that ever happened, and tried to put it into a book, obviously it would be impossible. So, there is a filtering process involved in the recounting of historical events, and facts will be selected. Anyone authoring a "narrative", as it's called, will obviously try to make oneself look good, and explain that they HAD to do what they did, because, well you understand, "we had no choice"...

      So, it's really revealing that the woman says, that there are only "narratives, and not facts" - she has really no choice, because if she is to recount the facts, the whole thing falls to pieces, and she must rely on a "narrative". Make sense?

    • "I've concluded after years of research that there are really no facts when you discuss this issue. There are only narratives."

      Of course. It couldn't be any other way, really, when what is taking place is so far divorced from any kind of common sense.
      This moves the argument into the realm of force, and persuasion. Those who have the force to bend the historical narrative to their image are the winners, any actual events are almost irrelevant.

      "Winning hearts and minds"
      ("Narratives" in this case is a word for "propaganda".)

  • See Ilan Pappe discuss his new book Gaza in Crisis in Santa Fe, Houston and New York City
    • "I’m not a fan of Ilan Pappe."

      the words thundered down from the mountain, etching into stone their fateful edict for the masses below...

  • Abunimah: The Native American analogy doesn't work
    • Good points.

      Israelis reject the right of return primarily on ethnoreligious grounds: they just don't want too many Palestinians polluting the "Jewish democracy."

      Must-see video by Ilan Pappe on this (especially near the end of video 1) up at Pulse today :
      link to pulsemedia.org

      It really helped me understand a lot, anyway, very clear thinking.
      He basically comes to the conclusion that Zionism as an ideology must be totally abandoned, especially in its more "progressive" or "friendly" forms, in order for there to be any real progress ; and describes his own transformation to an anti- or non-Zionist position, and how it was like the release of a burden for him.
      Highly recommended for those of us who still need some clarification on the issue.

  • The Witch Tree
    • Avi :
      What I mean by "ousting" is that you imply that a set of keys and a property deed are proof of ownership. Now, that means ownership to a specific building, where, if there are current inhabitants, they must leave to make room for the rightful owners. This is problematic because any Israelis living there also surely have property deeds and keys. Clearly this is not the only criteria of ownership we should be focusing on.

      So, there is the distinction to be made between repatriating Palestinians to a certain territory, and repatriating them to specific buildings.

      The point Chomsky makes is that there is a balance of power here, and a threat of violence (nuclear deterrent) which makes such a thing impossible, even if it is just and desirable. This is curious, because it catches him reasoning in terms of power, something which he has often combated. Pappe makes this point in his recent lecture as well (posted elsewhere here), saying that, if we are to reason in terms of the balance of power only, then there's no point in us discussing this at all, because Israel (and the US) has such disproportionate military force over the Palestinians.

      It is this acceptance of the framework of power which is surprising for Chomsky, I think.

    • Avi :

      Actually, Chomsky’s argument is weak because many Palestinians still hold land and property deeds, and the keys to their homes.

      This begs the question as to what "property" and what a "home" is. Surely, the First Nation people considered where they were living as their "home", they didn't need a set of keys to tell them that, but your point is well taken.

      I think the fundamental weakness of the argument is the passage of time. The people dispossessed of their land during the American holocaust are long gone, even though their descendants are still here, while many of those affected by the nakba are still living, and it's all pretty fresh in everyone's memory. With the passage of time it will become more and more difficult to justify the ousting of Israeli inhabitants, descendants, who have no direct responsibility for the ethnic cleansing.

      The ethnic cleansing that is ongoing presently is another story.

      Plus, there is international law now, which was nonexistent then.

    • Here :
      link to youtube.com
      start around 4:40 (and the "Wapanoga Indians returning to Boston" at 6:00)
      Incidentally, to say the he is "against" the RoR is pure propaganda. His position seems to be that you can't promise or propose something (RoR) without finding a concrete way of actually making it happen, otherwise it's just sloganeering. That's quite different. The argument is that the Israelis (in their current configuration and political climate) would threaten nuclear weapons as a deterrent to prevent it. (I don't necessarily agree with this, but it is not an impossible idea).

      Whether or not his views on this are actually self-fulfilling, therefore actually discouraging the RoR by implying that it's "impossible" for the moment, is another question altogether.

    • He did. His argument is about moral consistency, one of his big issues (along with hypocrisy), and he does have a point. The argument does break down somewhat under scrutiny, though, as there are far less Native Americans left (after what was probably the largest holocaust in recent human history - regardless if it was attributable to disease or open aggression - if I'm not mistaken). And what is happening in Palestine is happening now, not several centuries ago. But there is an argument to be made, it's not completely irrelevant.

      I think sometimes Chomsky overreaches with regard to American politics, because there is such a huge tendency for massive hypocrisy in US media and intellectual discourse, that he reflexively tends to try to immediately root it out. I agree with him most of the time on this.

  • The American Jewish belief in the endurance of anti-Semitism is at the core of the problem
    • You really are very arrogant. Stop blocking the wheels from turning, you're not the Contremaître.

  • Would this work? You get to keep all your letters, and it still sounds like a Jewish state--
  • Double your donation in December, get two gifts!
  • 'Wikileaks' cable drop is a giant power move for the left
    • You seem a bit confused, and I don't think you got the gist of my comment. No problem.

      You implied that the cables that have so far been leaked, and the order in which they have been leaked, reinforce the neoconservative calls for war against Iran ("the ridiculous US Military/Zionist/War-on-Terra narrative") in the press. Is this correct? If so, my point stands. The fact that you interpret this as "support" for it (strikes on Iran) is proof that you accept the words of these diplomats and the dutiful reporters' stories on it as some kind of "argument". It isn't. No matter how many diplomats and op-ed propagandists scream on the front pages, or advocate something, it doesn't give their arguments any more weight, and it doesn't mean that most people support it.

      I don't think the folks at Wikileaks have much control over how the leaks are presented in the press (although it stands to reason that the Guardian and der Speigel will be more objective than the NYT, and they surely know this), and they can't dictate to propagandists how the material will be spun.

      Plus, some of the cables seem to contradict what you were implying, namely, from Turkey, Syria and China :
      link to lobelog.com

      Secondly, the fact that Saudi rulers don't like Iranian power is not news necessarily to everyone, but that was not the point. The fact is that there IS some new information in these cables, but you have to dig through it to get to it. Some has already been given to you, and there will be more.
      link to pulsemedia.org

      Thirdly, You seem to be waiting for a magic bullet to reveal some ultimate secrets (maybe there are?), and all with the world will be right again, with the dragons slain. I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. Those in power have almost unlimited means at their disposal, and they'll use it to keep that power. The diplomats and others contained in these cables are PART of that power, so why are you surprised that all of them don't speak out against that very power that sustains them and provides them their livelihoods?

    • ...it is unlikely that Manning would [...] have been in a position to access any of this sort of material.

      Why is that? From what I understand, it is fairly easy to access this information (most of it low-level) for a private in the Armed forces. They simply take an oath to not disseminate it.

      And given that virtually everything he has so far released has helped mainly to further the US/Isreali/War-on-Terra narrative...

      This is a total misconception. Are you speaking about the NYT picking up on Saudi Arabian leaders supporting action against Iran? If so, you are falling into the trap of accepting the fact that some corrupt leaders would like to see Iran weakened is somehow an ARGUMENT supporting military action. It is an authoritarian argument. The simple fact is that diplomats are in the corridors of power, and their views do not necessarily represent those of the general population. Do you accept the view that if a diplomat says something, it must be true?
      The release of these cables are invaluable, not necessarily for the information they all contain, but as an insight into how the diplomatic process operates. The fact that some are implying that strikes on Iran would be a good idea are precisely proof of that.

      Keep in mind also that the majority of the documents has not been released yet, so there will be a lot more to say.

    • In the Guardian today :

      Time magazine last week claimed to have been given details of the attack from "a western intelligence expert with knowledge of the operation" and asserted that it "carried the signature of Israel's Mossad".

      and :

      The Israel Hayom news website remarked on the occasion of Dagan's retirement: "[He] will be leaving an organisation that is far sharper and more operational than the organisation he received, and all of the accusations from Tehran yesterday are a good indication of that. Iran will be the focal point for the next Mossad director, too."

      link to guardian.co.uk

      As for the "thug" epithet :

      As recently as March 2009, Zvika Ben Shabat, Yaacov Avitan, and Tzuri Roka requested visas to attend a ‘security-related convention’ in Las Vegas.

      link to original.antiwar.com

      Now, it seems to me that there is little difference between :
      1 : setting up a highly sophisticated car window bomb plot
      2 : any mafia-style assassination
      3 : terrorist activities

      In other words, I fail to see the distinction between any secret service targeted assassination activities, mafia targeted assassination activities, and terrorism. It's all birds of the same feather.

  • Walt: tribalist Goldberg is smearing us because 'goyim' aren't allowed to criticize Israel
    • AIPAC allows and welcomes non-Jews to SUPPORT Israel

      Of course, the fact that they may or may not be genuine anti-semites seems to be totally irrelevant, as long as they send some cash. One of the victories of Zionism, it seems to me, has been to so irrevocably intertwine the idea of Judaism with a plot of land (the counterweight to European criticisms of Jews not having a "connection" to the soil, or the clichéd stereotype of the "wandering Jew"), that the plot of land and the nationalistic chest-thumping have become more important than anything else (Judaism, for example).

  • Sullivan combats anti-Semitic smear by Goldberg
    • So Israeli belligerence is bringing about huge investment by GCC states in US weapons systems

      Duh. Yes, you nailed it, Sumud.

      It puts the $3 billion in aid to Israel (and the QME – Qualitative Military Edge) in a whole other light. If the return on $3 billion is more than $70 billion in weapons sales to Gulf states, the US has made a wise if completely immoral investment…

      Unfortunately, "wise" and "immoral" are not mutually exclusive here, they often go together.
      "City upon a hill"? Hmmm... I think "A darkness unto the nations" is a more apt description for the time being.

  • This beats turkey and pumpkin pie
    • yonira -
      Even if the allegations against Assange turn out to be true (which I doubt - I suspect a fair amount of cash changing hands is at the root of this smear campaign, hence the woman (Ardin) inquiring into whether or not she could be prosecuted for false accusations after the fact , though that's just a hunch) , it just has nothing to do what Wikileaks is doing , or whether or not they will be exposing criminal activities, or whether or not it's a trustworthy organization. There's no relation between the two things, it's a distraction. They're hoping that by discrediting Assange , people will be less prone to leak information to them, thereby neutralizing Wikileaks.

      The real reason, of course, that Wikileaks is targeted is that it is threatening to those representing powerful interests. They're not going to let that happen if they can prevent it, and they'll use any means at their disposal.

    • From Wikileaks twitter account, 13 hours ago, for those who don't follow it on twitter :

      Now is a good time to download some "history insurance"

      link to thepiratebay.org

    • I guess Julian Assange gets it.

      Well, he is going to get it someday if he's not careful, maybe something worse than the "sex scandal" smearing. Now's the time to hit that "donate" button for Sunshine Press.

  • When hope is lawful
    • The majority in Israel prefers “enough Israel” NOT “greater Israel”.

      When you've actually thought about it enough to be able to quantify how much this "enough" means, and where, give a ring, Polonius!

    • maximalistNarrative :

      I fully agree with eee in all of the points he makes.

      Good, now that our champion is back, he can speak for you, so you don't need to post... correct?
      (Although I'll miss your particular brand of humour)

  • NY activists confront Hebron Fund director Yossi Baumol
    • hophmi
      You're taking up space again, (vertical space, anyway, a valuable resource). And you're mobilizing good and smart people to riposte your comments. What's the point?

  • Huffpo gives platform to Israel lobbyist's claim based on 3000-year-old artifacts
    • Of course, you hit on a central point here, but you are using logic (tisk, tisk, tisk). There is also the question of the decision of a cutoff point in the past ; why 3000 years ago, and not 10,000? The argument would go something like, "well, the only real society we have any record of begins at this time", thus giving people the right to define what a "society" and what a "culture" are...

      The only valid "logic" in this context, however, is force, coercion. It can be dressed up in many pretty ways, but its essence is, I think, the same.

  • Israel's ashkenazi elite, not Russian immigrants, are responsible for the country's ever increasing racism
    • In French there is an expression :

      Remettre les pendules à l'heure

      It can be translated as : "Resetting the clocks", meaning, setting things straight.

  • Put it down and walk away?! (an exchange over BDS, and Israel, between 2 Jewish lawyers)
  • Judge Goldstone needs to report on the U.S.
    • Badr Abu Ayyash, 42, a farmer and local politician in the west Bank, was arrested by the Palestinian Authority’s Preventive Security unit on September 14. Aside from two brief and apparently supervised phone calls, his family was denied all contact with him.

      “He looked very different,” said Ms Abu Ayyash, a mother of four.

      Yeah, no shit.

      Further down in your article, this may be important :

      The US, fearing an Islamist takeover of the west Bank, has provided much of the training for Mr Fayyad’s security forces.

    • The prevailing view in Washington seems to be that we should move on, but such wrongs cannot be forgotten.

      Yes, the hypocrisy here is mind-shattering. Those who espouse the Obama Doctrine ("forward not back") do so from the point of view of the administration. Of course, for them, it IS wiser to look forward and not back (not to mention the longer history of CIA torture techniques that would be more open to scrutiny if this first domino were to fall... ). They don't seem to realize that those who were tortured themselves have a much harder time forgetting.

  • Unfair to Chomsky
    • So, ignore the confrontational tone above.

      We're only getting started, but this thread is ancient history for most people reading, and they don't care anyway.
      What I find interesting is that you went through some of my past comments and decided I was on "your side", and so any animosity was calmed, as if the arguments themselves didn't matter. "I'm OK" now, right?

      Who are key players in the "Israel lobby"?
      - You cannot define "key players" in a game which is not defined clearly. This is a meaningless question. But, may I suggest Walt and Mearsheimers book, "The Israel Lobby"? for starters? Then try Jason Vest's article "The Men from JINSA..." from the Nation, from several years ago. Now, ask yourself, what do these people want. Who are they funded by, and are they funded for ideological reasons, or for purely monetary ones? You, and Jeff, are attributing some "defense" of some sort of lobby on tribal, or ethnic grounds. This is only one part of the picture, and is revelatory that it is the only part of the picture that you seem to pick up on...

      How does having a "Greater Israel" benefit them? In short, "cui bono"? (If you've watched Colombo, you understand this!!!).

      For an excellent essay on nationalism, read this :
      link to pulsemedia.org

      I have the sense from reading your comments that the Israeli lobby's machinations hurt your sense of pride, and Palestinians can go to hell. Is this right, or not?

    • Ooh, this is too good to pass up.

      Do you have any cultural biases that we should know about?

      - Not that I know of. Immigrants from northern Germany several generations ago, and there is some Gyspy there too, I think, but we never talked about it because this was never a topic of discussion in our family. You see, I like to look at what people do and say, rather than where they come from. However, I can look everything up and offer you an online pedigree (with certificates and all) if you like. (Oh, and no, not Jewish, if that's what you wanted to know).

      Obama quickly collapsed, and is now groveling and humiliating himself before the Israeli government, Likud and AIPAC, without achieving any successes in advancing the Mideast peace process.

      Obama doesn't CARE about "advancing the Mideast peace process." He wants to get re-elected. Period. He will do what it takes to ensure that. Whoever will throw more money at him will enjoy his graces. Why do YOU want to advance the "Mideast Peace Process"? What does this even mean for the people living there?

      Does the fact that Obama (the President that will not close Guantanimo, has authorized the assassination of American citizens, escalated the war in Yemen, denied health care to American citizens) "groveled" bother you? Why?

    • I don’t know if the Israel lobby is “insurmountable,” but it has just brought an American president to his knees

      This is total BS, sorry for being blunt.
      Obama has abdicated on most of the lures he sent flashing - closing Guantanamo, health care, pursuing Bush/Cheney/CIA torture, financial reform, etc. He was on his knees already from the banks the moment he took "power", to pretend that it was the lobby that put him there shows a fundamental incomprehension of how American politics works.
      Did you really believe he would do anything?

    • Jeff -
      In fact, all along, I wanted to say that your painting of the "lobby" as something "insurmountable" is your worst crime. You have to think about this. The lobby you are talking about is probably relatively easy to turn around. Jewish opinion in the States can be mobilized and influenced. In this sense, it is not something insurmountable.

      The rub will come when popular Jewish opinion in the States will no longer be reflexively supportive of Israeli policies. What then? What will be the next step? Will everything fall into place for the Palestinians?

    • To put it in a more direct way, it seems you and others would rather be clusterf----d by a red white and blue d--- than one wrapped in the star of David. Is this an honest assessment?

    • Jeff -
      I have some basic points to make (not much time), and since you mention the little conversation at Pulse, (I was a small part of it - "Rob") , I have to say that if anything, you are persistent - I don't know if this is always a good thing, but it is a quality to have.

      1. The fact that this debate is still ongoing is actually some proof of the fact that the idea of the "lobby" is somewhat unclear and ill-defined. Otherwise it would have been settled long ago. This does not mean it doesn't exist, or that it doesn't have power. The fact that you can't distinguish these two things (acknowledgement of the lobby's power, and what it IS exactly, how it functions) speaks volumes.
      2. Characterizing those who are unsatisfied with the traditional, vague idea of what the "lobby" is as ""followers of Chomsky" is rather insulting and juvenile. As far as I know, he has not been the only or the first person to recognize the inadequacy of the "lobby" thesis , and it takes away any credit from those who don't agree with you totally, as if they didn't have any ideas of their own on the issue. Shame, shame. There is a difference between "defending Chomsky", and simply pointing out weak arguments.
      3. To say that C. doesn't recognize the power of the "lobby" is totally false, anyway. I don't know where you get this idea. In a recent talk I heard, he seemed to say that the Jewish community had "considerable clout" acting through the "lobby". I can get it for you if you want, but then again, you should be able to find it on the web (recent talk at a "Gaza mental health" event)
      4. I sincerely think Max's arguments are going over your head. I don't say this to be mean, it just seems to be the case. I think you should try to reread some of it. To think that "american Interests" are not seved by Israel is just blatantly false if you consider "American Interests" to be the financial and high-technology and armaments sector. They love the place. Is this in the interests of the rest of us? surely not - neither are the interests of the Health Insurance lobby, or the Oil lobby, or most any other lobby, because they are by definition special interest groups. They don't care about the rest of us. that's what they do. the best way to protect "American Interests" in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, is to get them the hell out of there where they shouldn't be in the first place. Why is this hard to understand?

    • The acid test is “do you support Palestinian right of return?” He does – but he thinks it is impossible. His working hypothesis is what can we do to help alleviate suffering right now.

      One could debate whether or not thinking something is "impossible" could actually be interpreted as a lack of support in this case. His case for the impossibility of implementing the RoR is the fact that Israeli elites would ultimately resort to the threat of nuclear weapons, if they had to, to block it. "Deterrence capacity", anyone?

    • But what is the consequence of this? Delete Israel?

      ???
      I don't understand this, but I don't know which comment you are referring to. This is reminiscent of the "Israel's right to exist" argument. Of course, states exist de facto, no one acknowledges their "right to exist" (whatever that means - except the UN in this case, but somebody like "talknik" or Avi know certainly more about this than I do), they're simply there. Does anyone acknowledge Russia's "right to exist"?

      Your response (if it's a response to Chomsky's refusal of the idea of a Jewish state) is revelatory of the possibility of idea of Israel existing only as a Jewish state (or Saudi Arabia as a Muslim state), and not simply a democratic one, as if when you take away this qualification ("Jewish state"), it would somehow cease to exist... It doesn't make sense to me.

    • This was in the last thread. In the paradigm Chomsky assigns ultimate blame to the US.

      Yes, he goes do this, although I would shy away from using "the US" and just say Washington. Chomsky is a self-described anarcho-syndicalist. This means that his critiques of world politics tend to be seen through the lens of power systems (who has power, who doesn't, how is it exercised). Too much power concentrated in one place just tends to be a bad thing because its actions have exaggerated repercussions throughout the world (look at the recent banking crisis, that put many out on the streets, affected Greece, now Ireland).

      This also means that he has the tendency of concentrating on Washington, and less on the responsibility on others for their crimes because he thinks that with a snap of Obama's fingers the other governments will fall in line and follow orders. This has been the case in the past (Indonesia in East Timor among others), but it may be a bit oversimplifying. The responsibility is of course shared, but those who have more power to influence events (especially when they are participating in them) share more of it.

      As to Chomsky being a "Zionist", he has stated over and over that he is against the idea of a Jewish state (for whatever that's worth).

      The idea and obsession of Chomsky being somehow a "shill" for the "lobby" is one of the more silly ideas I've seen on this subject (but there is a lot of silliness...). The fact is, as is stated in the Tablet interview (and I think rightly), I think he is more interested in general, underlying principles than in details. This makes sense, as he is a cognitive scientist and philosopher. This doesn't mean that he's always right.

      And I don't think that Phil was being unfair at all, I disagree with him there.

  • Q: Does Chomsky feel Jewish responsibility for Israel's crimes?
    • PG :
      You may be right, I know nothing of that history. I would make the distinction though between classical antisemitism in Europe and elsewhere (persecution of a minority community for who they are), and the legitimate reaction to aggressive, militaristic colonialism coupled with ethnic cleansing.
      In this sense, Zionism seems to me to be almost the mirror image of antisemitism.

    • hophmi :
      First of all, I apologize for starting conversations around here that I don't have time to finish lately (and other vague, off-the-wall analogies with physics I seem to remember...). Not very wise, I know.
      As to the neoconservative mindset, read this article from Jim Lobe, it sums it up obviously better than I can :
      link to ipsnews.net

      When I say, "Manichean worldview", I mean the tendency to see the world as a sort of battle between "good and evil" - and Israeli elites' fear of separation from the US (representing military power) in confronting its Arab neighbors. From the beginning of Zionism, zionists have sought out the protection of a great world power (first Britain, then the US) in order to keep Israel (even when it was nascent) from being isolated in what they saw as a "hostile" environment - of course this is true, but the reason why this environment would be hostile in the first place is of course glossed over...

      When I say "psychology", I'm referring notably to saint Richard Perle who stated something like "The Holocaust is the defining moment of our generation". Now, the logic goes something like, if some Hegemone (in this case the US and its mercenaries) were somehow enlightened and actually used its force to do good, benign acts, it could prevent such horrors from reoccurring. It could be the "good" which could prevent "evil" from gaining ground under the leadership of some dictator seeking to overstep his bounds (the fact that it is almost always this Hegemone who is actually overstepping its bounds all over the world since President Wilson, and most notably in the middle East, often enacting the very "evil" that they want to prevent doesn't even occur to them, or doesn't matter). It's sometimes called "American exceptionalism", which just means in plain English that it can do what it wants without fear of being held accountable, and if you don't like it, "f-ck off" because it carries the big stick and wields financial veto power over much of the planet (although this has been changing in Latin America recently)...

      Israeli elites have successfully transformed the discourse in intellectual (I use this word lightly) culture about Palestinians, such that, in many Americans' minds, who often know nothing about the region or the people in it, the word "Palestinian" has become synonymous with the word "terrorist", almost as a Pavlovian reflex. Since before the first intifada, if I'm not mistaken. The "war on terror" was declared by Reagan, but since the 9/11 blowback, it took on new meaning, and this characterization of Muslims (never mind that all Arabs are not Muslims, and all Muslims are not Arabs - but who needs such details, right?) as "violent" and "shahids" in service of some imagined death wish became very frightening for many Americans (who, I repeat, are very ignorant of the region and the people in it). This very real fear and incomprehension on the part of Westerners as to how some people could actually come to such a point of desperation as to wanting to explode themselves for a cause (see also the Iran-Iraq war, in which Iranians sent out people to explode the mines laid by Iraqis in order to clear the battlefield) deepened the divide between "us" and "them", and further feeds the "clash of civilizations" nonsense bandwagon that you see opportunistic goons like Geert Wilders, Aznar, and others jump on.

      This climate of fear of an external enemy has always been used by powers (mostly far-right) to clamp down on dissent and to rally behind their leaders in order to protect them (again, protection). This can be likened to what was called the "Strategy of Tension" used by Italian right-wing groups after the WWII. See also the "Gladio" group in Italy after WWII, which was partly formed and aided by the forerunner to the CIA - using what was called "stay behinds", SS soldiers who stayed in Italy who were kept in place in order combat Communists should they try to invade Western European countries :
      link to tinyurl.com
      (look especially at part two, for the "Strategy of Tension")

      Finally, for a good discussion of the "lobby", neocons, MIC, etc., read this (by our very own "Evildoer", unless I'm mistaken) :
      link to dissidentvoice.org

    • Walt and Mearsheimer’s view the dirty neocon Jews are responsible for Iraq.

      This is not their viewpoint, have you read it?
      That being said, US secular Jews (especially in the press) seem to predominantly figure in the neocon movement, and its Manichean worldview, and there is a psychology behind it. This is a statement of fact.
      There are many currents coming together (to think that theres is one cause to all this is ridicuulous), and many in the intellectual community don't seem to mind that, as the new Hessians, the US is becoming basically a rent-a-soldier agency for corrupt governments in the middle east, among other things.
      Have little time to comment, very busy these days, otherwise there is more to say...

  • $3 billion in fighter jets to Israel: reward or bribe?
    • I’ve shown some of the conflations on the “MIL” with JINSA here, and I’ve shown how pro_Israeli groups defeated oil groups and overrode military and industrial figures.

      Are you sad that "pro-Israeli" groups defeated "Oil groups" (in your opinion)? Do "oil groups" represent you?
      (I've read the Jason Vest article, it's very good)

    • How do you define "Pro-Israeli"?
      Are "establishment concerns" relevant to most people? This is very vague. What do "establishment concerns" represent, and whom?

      When you're finished valiantly "thrusting paradigms" and "conflating structures", help me because I'm at a loss as to what this all means, bob !

    • I find it strange that both Max Ajl and Evildoer are talking about the “upper-class” issue, while ignoring the lobby.

      Avi :
      This all may seem academic and ultimately unimportant for actually resolving the problems plaguing the Palestinians, and others, but I do think it's important to know what we're up against, and it can ultimately have real consequences. I think part of the point they're making is that the "lobby" IS part of an “upper-class” issue, in that it is a smaller subset of a larger picture and could not operate the way it does were it not for - big money. They are not arguing against the lobby thesis (which is hardly controversial)
      Edward Said spoke of it well before WM, and I'm sure there were others - though rather vaguely outlined even if it does exist (think about the slave trade in the 18th-19th centuries, there was no "slavery lobby", it was simply accepted as normal behaviour by European standards - the question as to whether the lobby idea does apply in the media, that is if there are some egregiously using it to influence the general public is still another question).
      Think of it this way : in physics (a very simplified and superficial view of it, anyway), Isaac Newton's universal law of gravitation was used for a long period of time because it worked for most purposes in predicting certain behaviour, as long as it was not pushed into extreme conditions. So, it worked fine. Einstein's theories of special and general Rel questioned general assumptions and his theories could account for certain behaviour beyond what Newtonian physics could do. In this way, it encompassed Newtonian physics, but went beyond it by fundamentally re-framing certain ideas. In the same way, viewing the "lobby" as something which operates autonomously, on its own, is actually "missing the forest for the trees". The problem is not about its power or existence, but rather seeing it through the right lens and in the right context.
      First of all, to think that the "lobby" benefits Israelis is a major misconception. Does it? All of them? Which ones?
      Second of all, I object to the fact that many seem to resent it not because it ultimately injures Palestinians (and Israelis, who will more and more be used for target practice if the expansion continues), but more out of some sort of injured sense of national pride (see even Hitchen's recent article in Slate).
      Thirdly, "international capital" is not any more of an abstract concept than the "lobby". There is money flowing to and from certain places, and it can be followed to some extent - this seems to be pretty concrete to me.
      Fourthly, do you really think that Netanyahu and his gang really believe that they need more of these expensive lemons in order to "protect" themselves? (from what?) Of course not. They're trinkets, used to show off and intimidate. So, how is "Israel" - in this sense, as a collectivity of people with a common purpose - actually benefiting from these arms deals?

    • I'm sure Lockheed-Martin has no problem with this whatsoever.

  • Jewish Values vs. Israeli Policies: Why five young Jews disrupted PM Netanyahu in New Orleans
    • I knew you were going to say that (not a critique, Richard).
      You are privileging form over content, thinking that people won't be receptive to certain ideas or movements if their appearance is disagreeable.
      One thing this event/skirmish/assault achieved was to make you post a comment.
      Another was to create something that would not have happened otherwise, and, regardless of how some at the event thought it distasteful, will have sparked some thought in peoples' heads : "Why would they do this? Maybe there's something to what they are saying, let's examine it further..."
      I have a lot of respect for the CODEPINK people, for example, as they are often thought of romantic, naive crusaders and party crashers - but in reality, much of the rest of the world is often secretly waiting for these types of movements to do the work for them, and reap the benefits afterwards (as "responsible" people do - a pretty irresponsible position if you ask me - I'm not disqualifying myself from this, by the way)

  • Alienated affection: Israel relationship is costing the U.S. its alliance with Turkey
    • "...drastically reducing U.S. influence and power in the Middle East...

      This would probably be good news for the people there, if true.

      ...the reality is that Turkey has become so disillusioned by the U.S.’ inability to fulfill its role as the dominant player in the Middle East that it has decided to forge its own path, independent of the U.S. and its NATO allies.

      Good.

  • Jewish Federations acknowledge Israel's 'paradigm shift,' then circle the wagons
    • "association of Israel with the heinous policy of apartheid"

      link to mrzine.monthlyreview.org
      Part II of an excellent and clearly written article on the apartheid question , and comparisons / contrasts with current Israel , definitely worth reading for whoever has the time (h/t Max) :
      Israel/Palestine and the Apartheid Analogy:
      Critics, Apologists and Strategic Lessons (Part 2) :

      ...* This system of migrant labour opened up a contradiction between political and economic imperatives. To fulfil apartheid ideology, it broke down families and the social order, hampered efforts to create a skilled labour force, reduced productivity, and gave rise to crime and social protest. To control people's movements, it created a bloated and expensive repressive apparatus, which put a constant burden on state resources and capacities. Domestic and industrial employers faced increasing difficulties in meeting their labour needs. From an economic asset (for whites) it became an economic liability. It simply had to go.
      * The economic imperative of the Israeli system, in contrast, has been to create employment for Jewish immigrants. Palestinian labour power was used by certain groups at certain times because it was available and convenient, but it was never central to Jewish prosperity in Israel. After the outbreak of the first Intifada in the late 1980s, and under conditions of globalization, it could easily be replaced by politically unproblematic Chinese, Turkish, Thai and Romanian workers. In addition, a massive wave of Russian Jewish immigration in the 1990s helped this process. The externalization of Palestinians, through denial of rights, ethnic cleansing and 'disengagement', has presented few economic problems for Israeli Jews. There is little evidence of the contradiction between economic and political imperatives that undermined apartheid South Africa...

  • Rabbi Gordis once gritted his teeth over discrimination at WASPy school-- and now urges Palestinians to learn that lesson
    • That Jews have retained their identity over such a long period of time, and during periods of more pressure to leave, or to be assimilated into another dominant identity, speaks for the substantive depth of the importance of that identity.

      I applaud this. Now then, why a Jewish State Richard?

  • Joy to the world, David Broder says Obama can rejuvenate the economy by going to war with Iran
    • Sorry to correct you Shingo (this is probably the only time that will ever happen), but UPS has contacts in Yemen :
      link to ups.com

      From your link :

      "Qatar Airwayscan confirm that a recent courier consignment was carried aboard one of its aircraft from Sanaa to Dubai via Doha International Airport," it said in a statement.

      Sana'a is the "capital" of Yemen, I think

      WSJ
      link to tinyurl.com :

      Allowing the U.S. military's Special Operations Command units to operate under the CIA would give the U.S. greater leeway to strike at militants even without the explicit blessing of the Yemeni government. In addition to streamlining the launching of strikes, it would provide deniability to the Yemeni government because the CIA operations would be covert. The White House is already considering adding armed CIA drones to the arsenal against militants in Yemen, mirroring the agency's Pakistan campaign.

      and :

      Yemen has allowed the U.S. military to carry out a series of strikes on al Qaeda targets over the past year. But in some cases, Sana'a has delayed or objected to U.S. operations. A shift to the CIA would streamline U.S. decision-making, giving the White House more direct control over day-to-day operations.

      - in other words, "screw off, we do what we want".

    • It relies on a national interest that does not exist. There is no national interest; that national interest is determined by people with power.

      Exactly. The idea of some vague, undefinable "national interest", aside from its rather troublesome patriotic and nationalistic undertones, is to by put away next to the tooth fairy. To pretend that Boeing, GE, Intel and others are acting in the "national interest" is naïve at best.
      It's difficult for some to make the distinctions between the lofty concept of "country/nation", the governments and corporate elites in control of it, and the people actually living inside its geographical borders, but they can be very separate things which need to be separated in order to have a clear picture of reality.

      At the same time, Max, I think you also need to make room for the irrationality in even stupidity in human behaviour which can make them do very strange things, and for purely ideological reasons, and not only cynical ones. I'm sure many of the Christian Zionists and Jewish right-wing ones in the States really do believe that they must support Israeli expansionism at all costs (not necessarily for the same reasons), and will do anything to put pressure on our "representatives" in order to get what they want. As we all know, the best way to do that is to slip them some cash, or promise them a reelection...

    • What a vapid and contentless article. Impressive...

      ...a showdown with the mullahs...

      Here's your "showdown" :

  • When brown shirts attacked my father
    • I see the face of Fascism here in the US as right wing pundits seize on the political climate of high unemployment, fear of the future, loss of power, loss of homes and hope. Americans who feel abandoned and exploited hear right wing rhetoric, words that terrorize and manipulate and then vote against their interests.

      Truer words were never spoken. This is the technique most often used, fear is a potent weapon. It's really the political class preying on the American populace while its guard is down, exploiting a momentary weakness in order to pass policies that they would normally reject.

      In addition, a nationalistic identity of moral superiority, closes off the potential to reflect and consider one’s actions

      It's worthwhile to consider the distinction between the words "nation" and "state", and the way the two have been confused throughout history, and how the concept of "nation" has slid over to become synonymous with "state". I'm reading a book by Pierre Maugué (Against the Nation-State) which traces various nationalist movements from 18th-Century Europe up to the present, marking the difference between national liberation movements (generally without military power to represent them), and established states, which seek to absorb the less powerful nationalist movements into themselves by enforcing a kind of linguistic hegemony.
      It's also interesting that in France, journalists often refer to Israel as "l'Etat Hébreu" ("the Hebrew state"), defining it by a specific language. I'd conjecture that Israel more closely resembles a nation that a state, and all the baggage that can go along with it ("loyalty oath", affirming a certain cultural and ethnic identity, etc.).
      All of this tends towards the exacerbation of nationalist tendencies rather than the building of a veritable state which defines itself more by the rule of law which is to be applied to all of its natural born citizens, regardless of their ethnic, historical or religious affiliations.
      I agree we're treading in dangerous territory here.
      An occasion to cite one of my favorite quotes, from the Justice William O. Douglas :

      As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such a twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air - however slight - least we become victims of the darkness

  • We live in dark times
    • “…these military operations meet […] objectives of an economic nature […] the major economic objectives are oil and natural gas […] from the eastern Mediterranean to the Chinese borders and the Caspian Sea, South of Saudi Arabia […] the Middle East-Central Asia. This region —according to statistics— contains around 60 percent of the world reserves of oil and natural gas.”

      relevant to this, a very informative article :
      Pepe Escobar : Pipelineistan's New Silk Road, October 12 on TomDispatch :

      Few in the U.S. may know that last year Saudi Arabia -- now (re)arming to the teeth, courtesy of Washington, and little short of paranoid about the Iranian nuclear program -- offered to supply the Chinese with the same amount of oil the country currently imports from Iran at a much cheaper price. But Beijing, for whom Iran is a key long-term strategic ally, scotched the deal.

      link to tinyurl.com

      Regarding Chomsky's so-called "optimism", I think there is a certain way to understand it, and that is, if we don't think that what we are doing will have positive results sometime in the future, exactly why are we wasting our time at all on this? Let's just go have lunch...
      Here is an interesting talk he gave at Boston U., in which he refers to discussion on the "one state" solution as misleading, in that it generally ignores what is actually happening - annexation of parts of the West Bank, to leave the rest as cantons to be left to their own devices, without any responsibility taken on the part of Israel. It's also worth watching for the J-Street representatives (vociferating against BDS) and hasbaristas putting him under fire during the Q and A session after the talk, and how he deals with them. Highly recommended :
      Noam Chomsky at BU Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) :
      link to bu.edu

  • The plan
    • You have to admit, they don't give up, they just keep plugging away. The stones one these people are impressive (if one forgets that they are not the ones who will be shedding their own blood). As if by barraging the public with constant disinformation, they'll eventually wear people down to the point that they just don't care anymore.

      ...not Lebanon at all. But Hezbollah land.... Where is this? As if Hizballah does not represent a legitimate armed force dedicated to the defense of southern Lebanon.

  • There are two transformative Jewish communities in the world
    • WJ, thank you for your post and thanks to Phil and/or Adam for adding it to the debate.
      As for Professor Finkelstein's mother, you seem to have some sort of obsession. This comes off as rather disrespectful to me, sorry.
      For those wanting to know about the person constantly referred to here (and, in my view, rather incomprehensibly) in WJ's musings, you can learn about her here :
      link to normanfinkelstein.com
      That's all.

  • Scientific paper shows that Israeli attacks merely perpetuate violence
    • "Psychologists have long known that people tend to understand their own behavior in terms of the external situation they find themselves in, but another person's behavior in terms of that person's inherent character,”

      - This is very important, as it illustrates the thought processes that authorize atrocities and injustices. One wants sympathy for one's own transgressions (as outgrowths and natural results of the difficulty of one's own living conditions), but the transgressions of others are to be condemned, and are deserving of no sympathy whatsoever - "they're like that".

  • Halper: American Jews (and the Congress) don't want an Israel at peace
    • Halper is little more than (yet) another tedious left gatekeeper who barely disguises his unerring efforts to preserve the exclusive tribal nature of the Zionist entity

      No, he's not. As well as acting on the ground, he gives talks, educating people about what he does, illustrating the point that he's not only someone who engages in direct action, but who takes the time to explain those direct actions.
      Your comment is rather strange.

  • Notes on my racism, part 3: 'My people'

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