Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 755 (since 2010-05-02 23:41:10)

lobewyper

Age 69, white male, gentile, politically independent, US citizen,graduate degree.

Showing comments 755 - 701
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  • Salaita's hire set off fundraising alarm at U of Illinois, per emails to chancellor
  • Avishai says we misrepresented his views
    • CitizenC, thanks for the Thrall and Siegman links. Both articles are "must" reading for those interested in I-P and provide much-needed context for the current Gazan conflict.

  • First night of Israeli ground operations kills 27 Palestinians; Ambulances come under fire attempting to retrieve the injured
  • 'Haaretz' removes red-baiting headline -- 'I'm not anti-Israel' -- on Steve Walt interview
  • 'Israel is the home of all Jews,' declares a right-wing official
  • Friedman prepares American Jews for a divorce from zealot Israel
  • Simon Schama's Israel whitewash
    • Sean, I generally agree with your views. Yes, militant pro-Israel activists are a definite problem. What I find interesting is the ever-rightward movement of Israelis generally. The predisposition to this movement is to be found, in my opinion, in the Jewish indoctrination that one is different from non-Jews, should in certain matters remain separate from them (e. g., discouragement of intermarriage). and of the widespread perception among Jews that they are often being threatened and victimized (even by Palestinians). I don't know if the latter tendency is common among the highly ethnocentric or not. I would think it would be possible to be ethnocentric (e.g., "Irish and proud") without seeing oneself as particularly subject to victimization. I also agree that ethnocentrism is a natural human tendency (to which IMO we all are genetically predisposed).

    • seanmcbride wrote, in response to my pessimism about the possibility of reversing Jewish indoctrination starting in early childhood and continuing:

      "I had no problem deconstructing my own cultural/ideological indoctrination (Roman Catholicism) and I have known many Jews who were able to undergo the same process of skeptical questioning regarding Judaism."

      Sean, my take on this is that it's not so much Judaism (which has much to offer, BTW), but the sense of one's "Jewishness." The idea that as a Jew, one is different from non-Jews-and, often-superior to them, that non-Jews dislike and mistrust Jews, that the "tribe" is the only real haven of safety, etc. These attitudes affect (should I say, "infect?") most Jews and are only partly associated with Judaism per se. And they are probably very resistant to change, and more so than religious attitudes, per se. I agree that many individuals are "sleepwalkers" using your terminology. I'm merely suggesting that one can sleepwalk to tunes other than purely religious ones, and that one can much more easily free oneself from the blinders of Judaism than from the sense of one's "Jewishness," which entails beliefs of one's specialness, victimhood, and etc. Of course, as you point out, attitudes and habits of mind of the type we are lamenting are far from being limited to Jews.

    • I just wrote about the "deeply ingrained attitudes and beliefs" stemming from early childhood indoctrination--an indoctrination that is reinforced during the entire life-span of many Jews, thus truly rendering it "second nature."

      Where I think some of us go astray concerns the apparent belief that hasbara is always a conscious and deliberate attempt to distort historical reality. While this almost certainly true of some apologists, for many others hasbara IS reality, due to the lengthy and continuing indoctrination in the "us vs. them" mentality. Part of the tragedy (and sometimes overlooked) is that many hasbaratists cannot and do not recognize those aspects of their own personal belief systems for what they are in reality: Hasbara.
      +

    • seanmcbride wrote:

      "I’ve noticed that most cultural and ideological wars revolve around emotional and irrational ego issues that reasonable people should find easy to overcome if they make an effort."

      Thanks for your reply, Sean. I think that the indoctrination most Jews undergo all their lives starting with early childhood which I mentioned (above) is unfortunately more than an ego issue. It's a matter of deeply ingrained attitudes and beliefs--the kinds of things that have become second nature and are thus extremely resistant to change. I do, however, admire your optimism about this.

    • Sean wrote:

      "One would expect Schama to be eager to explore in depth the underlying causes of this peculiar historical phenomenon [the conflict with the nations], but no go — his intellectual curiosity doesn’t take him there."

      Sean, no Jew emotionally wants to go there, because to do so would necessitate being "disloyal to the tribe." A good part of this involves widespread Jewish indoctrination of their people with the beliefs that 1) they live in an essentially hostile (to them) world, 2) that the only really dependable lifeboat is the collective (the tribe), and 3) that to criticize the actions of the tribe is disloyal and puts one at risk of "excommunication" and severe punishment.

      Even many of the most enlightened Jews don't want to address your question, because they fear that opening that door would amount to acknowledging that the conduct of at least some Jews during various historical periods has contributed signficantly to the hostility they have historically experienced. So, it's not a question that would easily lead to serious and honest historical examination, and that is a tragedy, because I think that there are important lessons waiting for us-as a species-to learn from the history that you propose we should be examining.

      I would like to point out that no lesser a light than Raul Hilberg (The Destruction of the European Jews, Vols. 1-3) at least tiptoed around this issue, after he discovered that the Italians were especially resistant to giving up their Jews to the Nazis because of the degree to which Jews were "integrated into" Italian society. He did not, unfortunately, explore the specific factors such integration involved. But Hilberg was courageous enough to have at least raised this as a question deserving of historical examination. I don't think Hilberg was ever accused of being a "self-hating Jew" for doing so. Why should not both Jews and non-Jews be able to explore the same issue without being automatically deemed self-hating or anti-Semites?

  • Oren says Pollard 'sacrificed himself for the Jewish people'
    • Nobody seems to make much of the fact that one of our so-called allies bought top-secret information about its chief ally and benefactor. (And did whatever it pleased with that information.) Apparently Israel doesn't much care about the likely views of all this likely held by the average American [were (s)he ever to find out], who for years has been paying out of his/her own pocket more than $500 per year to the average Israeli...

  • AIPAC denies us credentials for its policy conference
  • Sheldon Adelson to honor Sean Penn at neocon ball
    • Pam,

      With great respect for you and your many contributions, I thought Penn was fantastic as the crooked lawyer in Carlito's Way. I disagree with you about his general skills as an actor, and because of that, I'm going to keep watching his movies. (I doubt that there is any correlation between Penn's acting abilities and his political beliefs.)

  • Meet the Jewish students who are taking on the Jewish establishment
    • CitizenC wrote:

      "...Mondo persuades itself (and tries to persuade us) that “the community” is the key arena of struggle. IMO this is quite wrong, “the community” is and will always be dominated by its wealthy Zionist machers and shakers..."

      Here's my take, CitizenC. The opening of Hillel to diverse points-of-view is of major importance because it affects gentiles as well as Jews, and gives both permission to think objectively and critically about Israeli policies without being smeared (as anti-semites or self-hating Jew).

      Yes, the machers and shakers will continue to wield tremendous power, but as the children and grandchildren of these people become more aware of what is happening in I-P, they will in turn influence their parents/grandparents and provoke them to greater objectivity toward Israel.

      I agree with Phil (citations?) that Jews are going to be necessary to create real change by permitting gentiles to think more objectively about what Israel has become and how it came to be that way. (Yes, Walt & Mearsheimer got the ball rolling, but its got a lot further to go.) What better group to start with than college students?

  • Bill supporting God-given Greater Israel comes to New Mexico
    • It never ceases to amaze me how frequently the Israelis shoot themselves in the foot. Do they really think Americans wish to favor their tiny country over all others by showering them with money, weapons, and blantant favoritism? Do they expect the people/elected representatives of this country to resolve, as individual states, their right to "greater Israel?" To thumb their nose at international law? Talk about doing things that bring discredit upon their collective! There have got to be people within the Israel and within the Diaspora that have better judgment than this. At a time when most Americans are struggling, we are supposed to give Israel 3 billion a year in aid? For what purpose? It just doesn't make any sense to me.

  • Surviving anti-Semitism smear, Walt and Mearsheimer seem to have influence in high places
    • Well, schlemiel,

      I believe W & M couldn't get their LRB article on the same topic published by the mainstream press in the US due to fear of anti-semitic smears. Call it the lobby, call it the "vigilance" of the MSM, but nonpublication here was spearheaded by powerful Zionists (including gentiles). Don't try to make a straw man to then knock down. Weiss has never implied that all Jews support Israel.

    • @Blownaway

      The Times of Israel is merely offering an opinion (unless it has successfully penetrated the White House, which I doubt). The Times is obviously attempting to prod Obama to obtain greater cooperation from Netanyahu. Why would Obama permit Kerry to go on a fool's errand? If he is so doing as the Times claims, the truth will eventually become evident. Not only would Obama look like a weak idiot, the hypocrisy of American middle eastern policy toward the I-P conflict would once again be made clear in a very public way.

    • Walt and Mearsheimer have spoken truth to power and narrow self-interest, and are winning. They will ultimately widely be recognized as intellectual heroes and patriots.

  • Open letter criticizes anti-boycott bills as threat to public debate
    • I don't know how you folks at Mondoweiss make all the great finds that you do, but I appreciate them very much. Thanks for this article, Alex. Loved that the two profs were on opposite sides of BDS but united in their defense of free speech. Pieces like this help sustain my hope that we Americans haven't totally lost our moral bearings and valuing of principled conduct.

  • 'FT' blast on settlements will strike fear at Hasbara Central (if not among liberal Zionists and 'glitzy blondes')
    • Well, Citizen, it's been a while since I saw it, but I think what I liked was the intense emotional intimacy between the two very different lead characters. Two people each sharing their own overpowering sense of aloneness with each other and needing to do so. Emphasized the unbearable nature of human loneliness (at least for normal humans). Sure, the fact that they didn't wind up in bed makes the story even more implausible, but that fact IMO made for a better and more intense story. I found the film charming and a welcome respite from the crap Hollywood usually dishes out.

    • No disrespect, DICKERSON, but I thought the film was quite good.

  • AP asks State: Why shouldn't folks boycott Israel when your own settlements policy is ineffective?
    • The Lobby is weakening noticeably, and writers are calling it out openly left and right. Any half-way intelligent American has now at least heard of AIPAC and its disproportionate and destructive influence. I still can't believe that the Israelis left themselves open to being portrayed as trying to compel the US into another war. The US economy and its society generally are on very shaky ground right now and have been for several years. For AIPAC and its allies to attempt to coerce the American people into a another war that in all probability would benefit no one and solidify the hostility of Muslims toward the US and Israel for the next fifty years is seriously crazy.

    • If you were prime minister and your supply of Israeli kosher pickles had been threatened, what would YOU have done??? (Who knows, the Israelis may also have warned that the supply of Israeli camels might dry up as well.)

    • "This interview is great. It exposes the utter hypocrisy of the US govt and, by extension, the entire anti-BDS movement."

      It also shows once again that campaign contributions can cause government representatives to knowingly lie to their constituents, an offense which should be prosecutable under the law.

  • Truman always opposed a religious state, but caved to 'fanatical' Zionist lobby
    • Morality should trump everything else, but our presidents and members of Congress have feared alienating the Jewish vote/Lobby for decades. If you want to stick around as an elected official, you simply can't risk taking on the Lobby. The reasoning would be: "If I criticize the Lobby, I won't be electable (or reelectable). If I'm not elected, I can't serve the people as their representative, or be a part of any legislation. Therefore, I will refrain from criticism, because I want to serve in government."

      What is needed are 1) some serious investigative journalism regarding the way the Lobby influences elections that is documented and attributes quotations to the people who uttered them, and 2) some members of congress to speak out about the Lobby and the fear it elicts in our elected representatives. (Maybe, have them be reps that are not going to seek reelection; and, they should do it as a group for self-protection.

    • @lysias

      I believe you are correct--thanks. (Many think Truman used the bomb to warn the Russians to not be too aggressive in post-war Europe.)

    • I don't think you are being at all fair to Truman with your words, above. You overestimate (IMHO) Truman's cynicism, and downplay his basic decency and sense of fairness (and, yes, he still possessed these qualities when he AND his closest advisors decided to atom-bomb Japan).

    • I would guess that Truman had been heavily pressured by members of his own party as well as by the pro-Israel folks...

  • NY Mayor tells AIPAC: 'Part of my job description is to be a defender of Israel'
  • When you watch football, you are complicit in violent assault
    • I totally agree, bijou. Our family recently welcomed its first grandchild Lucas, and if I can do anything about it, there's no way this kid will ever play tackle football. (His parents will not need any help protecting this wonderful new life). The sport is barbaric and should be banned.

  • Dutch pension giant ditches Israeli banks over involvement with settlements
    • This is fantastic! PGGM citing the opinion of international humanitarian law that the settlements are illegal. (Here I had always thought that the WB had been given to Israel by God!) Finally, a major player sets the correct example for (hopefully) many others to follow.

  • Editorializing
  • New York Senate leader wants to cut off cash to colleges involved in American Studies Association
  • 'Huffpo' shames pro-war Democrats, blames AIPAC (and gets lectured by Foxman)
    • Interesting that Menendez looks very much like the Chuck ("Born Again") Colson of the Nixon era.

    • Just,

      I think it's supposed to be implicit. (I assume they didn't mention the Republican warhawks is because they wanted to add party disloyalty to the warmongering charges against these folks.) When you accuse a senator (or congressperson) in thexe days and times of acting in a way that heightens the chances of war, that accusation is far more serious than one of collusion with AIPAC. Agree?

    • The HuffPo is the most visited political blog on the web by a huge margin. Here is some information about it:

      "The Huffington Post is the number one most popular blog on the web, specializing in reporting breaking news from practically every major topic you could think of, including world news, entertainment, politics, business, style and several others. Founded by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer and Jonah Peretti in 2005, the blog was acquired by AOL in February 2011 for US $315 million and employs over 9,000 bloggers who contribute newsworthy written content on a wide range of topics."

      It is far more balanced than the typical "liberal" mouthpiece. To say that it is "influential" would be an understatement. Our side is becoming more and more
      center by the minute.

  • Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi who went on hunger strike for 266 days is freed
  • 'Foreign Policy' blames AIPAC for warmongering Iran bill, but Maddow won't tell you that
    • This action by AIPAC is marking the beginning of its end as an effective force. The hubris inherent in trying to require the American people to join a war of Israel's choosing is seriously crazy--particularly in view of the fact that Americans overwhelmingly rejected the use of force against Syria. This will not go over well with Joe Public, and will call a huge amount of unwanted attention to the influence of Israel and its sympathizers upon our foreign policy. As Phil would say, the wheels are coming off earlier than we expected. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot-- The Lobby apparently invented such behavior!

  • Congress leaves town without passing lobby priority: visa-waiver bill for Israelis
    • Agree that The Lobby still has power over congress. The Lobby is in very dangerous waters just because of its opposition to the Iran deal. If Obama had the guts (as did GHW Bush and Eisenhower) to take this again to the American people and suggest that congress take a referendum on whether to accept the Iran deal without further conditions, I think that the people would speak out again in support of the peace-makers.

      PS:I lOVE the editing function of this website!

  • The unspoken alliance: Israel’s secret relationship with apartheid South Africa
  • American Studies Association national council endorses academic boycott of Israel
    • Next time, read the article (and the resolution it contains) before dashing off a response, hophmi. Exactly which parts of Marez' statement quoted below do you consider to be "anti-semitic" (if any)?

      “The boycott is the best way to protect and expand academic freedom and access to education. Palestinian academics are frequently impeded by Israeli occupation authorities, schools and universities have been bombed by US-supported Israeli military forces, and the Wall blocks educational access for thousands of students. As an association of scholars and educators, the ASA has an ethical responsibility to act.”

  • Only sanctions against Israel will end occupation -- Gideon Levy
    • @ Citizen

      Judging from the recent tone of comments around the net re: Israel's opposition to Iran and to the Obama administration's peace initiative towards Iran, they masses are in fact far more informed as to the truth of the situation than we sometimes give them credit for...

    • I don't think sanctions will be necessary, if the American people can be awakened to the tragedy that the Israeli people and its US supporters have allowed to unfold for now decades. The potential end of US support, especially--weapons and spare parts for same--is the only thing I can think of short of war that the Israeli government truly fears. If Americans were to know the truth of what Israel has become, they would turn against her very quickly, IMHO. The internet was an entirely unforeseen factor by past Israeli governments, and it has greatly expanded knowledge of the truths of the I-P matter.

  • Preaching to the choir: reflections on Max Blumenthal's 'Goliath'
    • Citizen,

      I agree with you about the people's need for accurate and truthful information to guide their choices and support for their elected representatives. The I-P issue would have been settled justly years ago had the truth been available to the general public. To me, this country's preoccupation with, for example, Miley Cyrus, while people are mistreating others in criminal ways is incomprehensible. Why the Seymour Hershes of the USA have not exposed the fact that in a real sense, this democracy is (and probably has always been) for sale should have been a wakeup call before now that something was badly wrong. As for finagling campaign finance reform, I hope you're wrong, but know in my heart you are correct.

    • joemowrey wrote:

      "Coddling the centrists (and the so-called Liberals and Progressives for that matter) in order to try and bring them around to a rational point of view has proven to be a failed strategy in relation to so many causes. It is a form of compromise which results in the capitulation of our core values; it diminishes the desperate reality we face. The fact is, there just isn’t time to “gently” persuade the self-absorbed and willfully ignorant masses around us to wake up and smell the coffee."

      "Rude slaps in the face" are off-putting and somewhat insulting to many readers, because they imply the reader is unable to see the point of what is written without assistance. Moreover, the use of sarcasm and other harsh language suggests weakness in the writer's positions. I'm back to the suggestion that the Seymour Hersh approach is better.

      Jerry contends that American Jews must support pressure upon Israel to achieve genuine progress. I agree with him, in part. Here's what I think. Some members of the israeli, Jewish diaspora, and gentile communities are contributing a great deal of money to "buying" pro-Israeli influence from the elected representatatives of the United States. Unless that slows down dramatically or stops, nothing is going to happen. It follows that it doesn't matter if most Jews or their supporters are not converted to our cause. (Sure it'd be great if they were, but it's by no means essential.) My $.02...

    • hopmii wrote:

      "You’re right. It’s an illusion, Annie, because the vast, vast majority of those in that 98% who care agree with us American Jews, by a factor of 8 or 9-1."

      Hophmi, suppose a survey of Americans (e.g., Gallup) asked the respondent the following:

      1) "Do you agree or disagree with the United Nations' resolution No. 242 passed in 1967 after the Six Day War that it is illegal according to international law to acquire territory by war?"

      2) "Do you agree or disagree that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Golan Heights are illegal in the view of international law?"

      3) "Do you agree or disagree that the international community (including the United States) should require Israel to withdraw from and return any and all territory it currently occupies as a result of the Six Day War as part of any final settlement with the Palestinians?"

      Hophmi, I'm going to ask some folks I consider to be "centrists" how they would respond to the above and report the results back on these boards. Any predictions as to the results?

    • goldmarx wrote with respect to Jerry's criticism of Goliath's "tone":

      "It does not speak well for ‘centrists’ that they are so thin-skinned and emotionally fragile that they need to be coddled like babies, but what the hell, let’s give it a shot!"

      A lot of comments center around this issue, which is actually an easily answerable empirical one. Ask someone to tone down (Seymour Hersh style) the first 50 pages of Goliath. Then, ask 30 people selected at random from those without strong opinions either way to read it and rate its persuasiveness. Another 30 read Blumenthal. Again, rate the persuasiveness. Settle this issue once and for all!

    • @ American wrote:

      "Hersh didnt have 65 years of propaganda ‘to overcome’ on the Vietnam war or My Lai like Israel critics do with Israel. That makes a difference in what kind of ‘shock treatment’ you need to apply to get people’s attention."

      Unlike many of the disagreements on this board, this one could easily settled empirically. We have someone re-write the first 30 pages of Max's book in more moderate language (but making the same basic points) and ask 25 of 50 centrists to read and rate its persuasiveness. The second group of 25 would read Max's own 30 pages and do the rating. I predict the former group will rate the writing as more persuasive. (Actually, studies like this have very probably already been done in different venues.)

      Allow me please to make a tangentially related point. If the average American (who believes in social justice and opposes gaining terrritory by force of arms) knew the that the treatment Palestinians receive from the Israelis was not a direct response to Palestinian terrrorism or the threat thereof, (s)he would be shocked at the massive violations of human rights and support for Israel would evaporate. Why else does the MSM so often fail to publish the truths of the situation?

    • @irishmoses: Well said and thanks for extending my argument nicely to the non-choir members!

    • Here's my take for what it's worth:

      1) I totally agree with Jerry that Max's writing style is off-putting. When I read such writing, I automatically discount the author's arguments, because I view him/her as having to use sarcasm and innuendo as compensation precisely because the facts of his/her argument are probably weak. Although I am part of the choir, I didn't like this aspect of Max's book.

      2) I congratulate those posters who disagree with Jerry as well as Jerry himself for mainly sticking to the arguments and not resorting to insults. This is the way adults exchange views with one another. And thanks to Jerry for his detailed responses to the major questions raised about his views.

      3) So far as the possible need for "strong words" is concerned, may I remind you of Seymour Hersh's writing with respect to the My Lai war massacre? I don't recall his use of anything but typical reportorial language, but the impact of his writing was nonetheless huge, and probably the more so because he avoided Blumenthal's style.

      4) I think that Max's righteous indignation contributes heavily to his writing style. I offer this not as a justification of his style, but as an explanation-in part-of it.

      5) Although it is a little bit off-topic, I've always wondered why the United Nations (as well as most member-states at the time Israel was created) did not insist and has not insisted that any Palestinian state should be a genuine state with its own military, airspace, etc. What we seem to have had until fairly recently is a two-states for two peoples approach in which only one of the states is real, while the other will be a pretend (quasi) state. Of course, this "little detail" has never to my knowledge been openly presented in the MSM.) Moreover, I wonder why I have so seldom heard anyone on these boards express unhappiness that the "two state solution" would actually be a "one and one-half state" (if that) resolution.

      As for Jerry's forthcoming book, I can heardly wait!

  • Palestinians bring plight of Wadi Foquin to Capitol Hill audience
    • You can be a decent human as much as you like, but if you speak out against Israeli policy, you will definitely not have a long career as an elected representative of the USA. Say that you are a caring, concerned congressperson, and you know you are better than the competition. To preserve your own elected position, you have to betray your belief that land theft and many other injustices should be strongly opposed everywhere, and especially in countries that are our "friends." Furthermore, if you chose to speak out against the Israelis, your own constituents would vote you out of office, given the impact of the mass media's pro-Israel bias. So, Woody, what would you do if you were in congress?

  • Friedman says lobby's power to stymie Obama on major foreign policy opening stems from 'Jewish votes and donations'
    • I agree that Tom Friedman deserves a great deal of credit for publishing this piece. He has come a very long way from his orginal positions re: I-P. The fact that he has means that it is possible for most people to eventually acknowledge the truth of the matter, which to me is most encouraging. John Mearsheimer once said that the American people's support for Israel is broad but not deep. Continued and even accelerated recognition of the ugliness of Israeli policy will further and further erode the Israeli position. If the POTUS had the guts to tell the truth about the occupation, the people's support for Israel would drop like a feather in a vacuum!

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