Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 748 (since 2010-05-02 23:41:10)


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

Showing comments 748 - 701

  • 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!

    • Page: 7
  • 'Courage is Contagious': Glenn Greenwald electrifies Chicago crowd speaking on Snowden, journalism and the NSA
    • Greenwald doesn't have much to fear regarding David Gregory's suggestion that he should be prosecuted for leaking. I don't think the US government wants to fool around trying to mess with the Guardian, which would also have to be involved if they try to go after Glenn.

  • McDonald's refuses to sell where Ben & Jerry's will -- occupied territory
    • However, this little lie about non-coordination is even better for the good guys, because it means that an Israeli corporation (McD's) has and continues to recognize the illegality of the occupation and is respecting international law. So, I agree with those who think this is a very important gain for BDS, but disagree with Barghouti that its a "courageous decision." It's pure self-interest on the part of "McD International"to avoid alienating billions of Muslims--an instance where self-interest and human rights happened to overlap...

    • "According to Irina Shalmor, spokesperson for McDonald's Israel, the decision was not coordinated with McDonald's headquarters in the U.S. and thus far there has been no word from U.S. headquarters as they have not made themselves available for comment."

      "Not coordinated?" Give me a break!

  • American Jewish leaders are mad that settlement-boosting minister exposed their charade
    • Sin Nombre,

      I think you're totally on target here with your analysis of the situation--well done!

  • 'Palestinians be damned' -- Khalidi explains the American role in the peace process
    • Thanks for this, Phil. I think it's one of the most important pieces that have ever run on MW due to the insight it gives into Israeli thinking about "settling" the conflict. Kahlidi makes clear that when Israelis (and non-Israelis, including many Palestinians) talk about "two states for two peoples," the respective states in question would be very far from equal--a point Jerry Haber notably has made on a number of occasions. It is helpful to have these deeper insights from Kahlidi which afford the larger view and historical continuity of the current standoff (much in the manner Jerry Slater often has). Certainly, Kahlidi comes across as a realist and modestly optimistic, but not that optimistic for the short to intermediate term. The struggle is going to be long and difficult, with Palestinians bearing the majority of the suffering, as I read him.

  • Carl Bernstein addresses 'Florida Loves Israel' convention
    • Anybody know what Bob Woodward's position on I-P happens to be? He has certainly presented himself as a "truth to power" kind of guy...

  • Geyer says 'many Americans' are displeased with special relationship
  • Chuck Hagel confirmed as Secretary of Defense by 58-41 vote (Updated)
    • I agree, lysias

      I think the main intention of Hagel's appointment was to reduce the risk of being drawn into attacking Iran, which could have disastrous results. It is this that Hagel/Obama want to avoid--not unfair treatment of the Palestinians. Moreover, as Steve Walt says in his current article,

      link to,

      Obama is not in a position to push the Israelis now and will not be in the remaining years of his presidency due to the Lobby's grip on congress.

    • Not to be negative, but do people on this board think who will be Defense Scty matters much given the power of the Lobby? Most of us hope Hagel will save us from further grave strategic errors, but can he? He will be one important and reasonable voice. But how would he be able to influence policy more than, say, Obama--who IMO has thus far shown no inclination to step up to the Israeli govt. (and by his inaction led to a worsening of the crisis by essentially offering Netanyahu carte blanche re: the settlements).

  • Argo's Oscar and the failure of truth
    • By way of contrast with the above article and comments (with which I wholeheartedly agree), here's a snippet from respected American film reviewer James Bernardinelli's review illustrating a point made by Kevin Lee about film critics:

      "Argo contains many elements that may make it an Oscar contender. It's a compelling story that keeps viewers on the edges of their seats while delivering the goods. It's based on real events. It's directed with flair and style by an admired actor-director. And the period recreation is impeccable. A lot of movies take us back to the late '70s/early '80s, but few have done it so forcefully and with so little application of kitsch. Argo is a good movie. More than that, it's a smart good movie - something to savor in the early days leading up to the end-of-the-year cinematic feast." [See entire review at: link to

      As Lee suggested, movie reviewers often fail to bring relevant historical context to his/her review. Because the film states that it is "based on true events," that's obviously sufficient for Bernardinelli, who IMO is a pretty good reviewer (but no historian).

  • US must not follow Israel into war 'like a stupid mule' -- says Brzezinski
  • Mahmoud Darwish: 'Silence for Gaza'
  • JVP: It is unseemly for Operation 'Pillar of Defense' to invoke biblical passage from Exodus when Israel is dominant military power in the region
  • Peter 'Powder Keg' Beinart is disinvited from gig at Atlanta Jewish book festival
  • Chris Matthews calls out neocons for endlessly pushing Middle East wars
  • Following poll on Israeli support for apartheid, Gideon Levy says 'making peace would be an almost anti-democratic act'
    • David wrote:

      "Efforts to lead or push or manipulate America to act against its core values will ultimately fail badly. They represent poor policy, and will lead to disastrous results."

      Well, such efforts have succeeded pretty well with massive support from the American taxpayer for what is now decades. I see little (though some) evidence that this state of affairs is going to change significantly for the better anytime soon. The US of A is very capable of acting contrary to the core values of respect for international law and social justice whenever it sees fit to do so. The USA has acted ultimately in accordance with what it perceives to be (or to have been) its key "interests," not its core values IMHO. Unfortunately...

  • 'NYT' responds to Netanyahu: 'Israelis misled and bullied US' before Sabra and Shatila too
    • Great op-ed! Yes, it speaks volumes and has pushed further open the door to the disgraceful and at times even murderous collusion between the US and Israel. This kind of treachery and total disregard for human life must no longer be a part of American foreign policy.

  • Netanyahu's warmongering spells high noon for the Israel lobby
    • Carowhat,

      Thanks for this info--it is indeed encouraging!

    • Storobin said,

      “My Democratic challenger endorsed Barack Obama and called on people to vote for liberal Democrats to make sure Obama has a Democratic majority in Congress under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi. Well, this is what he got – a President who ignores the Prime Minister of Israel.”

      OMG, impeach that pretender to the throne immediately!!! Nobody, NOBODY who is an official of the US government should be permitted to ignore a prime minister of Israel without paying for it with their position. Where is Alan Dershowitz when we need him???

  • On charges of anti-Semitism and Palestinian solidarity activism
  • Obama's spineless deference to Netanyahu is now perceived by a wide range of Americans
    • O.K., sports fans. Let's talk some sense here. The issue is not whether Obama's testosterone is below needed levels. It's about the Lobby's grip on the entire US government. If Obama "stepped up" to Netanyahu, he would lose most of his own party's support due to their fear of AIPAC and related organizations. There would be calls from Republicans and even some Democrats for his impeachment. We are talking about the POTUS as if he has a free hand to do whatever he wants re: Israel but lacks the courage to do so, which is simply ridiculous. Whatever else Obama may be, he is a realist, and the reality is unfortunately pretty ugly and has been for decades.

  • In caving on Jerusalem, Dems pulled back the curtain on the lobby
    • David,

      I was troubled by exactly the same thing--focusing on one or two delegates in opposition when it was clear from all three voice votes that there were roughly equal numbers for and against the resolution. As if a mere handful of delegates were in opposition to the motion! I was surprised at the strength of the resistance. When voice votes are unclear as these were, you normally vote. The absence of a vote is clearly undemocratic and shows the fear of the Lobby by party leadership. The failure of the major media to discuss this important shift in opinion on the part of many Democratic delegates is one more bit of evidence that the media in this country are for the most part dedicated to the power elite and not to the democratic process. My friends, we are living in what future political historians will consider the dark ages of "representative government."

  • Dems have thrown two-state solution under the bus -- J Street and Beinart say
    • Seafoid,

      They're going to take it as long as the powers that be want them to, through deception, lying by commission, and lying by omission. Please don't hold your breath, because we still need your input.

  • Obama talks to Iran and washes hands of Israeli attack, Ynet reports
    • I'm waiting to see what Richard Silverstein has to say about this.

    • Sin Nombre said:

      "On the other hand however … what’s the use of the U.S. using intermediaries sending this message to Iran if the spokesperson for Obama is then going to immediately and categorically deny that message which he has seemed to do with Carney?"

      I think this sort of thing happens all the time--things are said privately that are then denied publicly. I agree that it's probably a complex interplay of actors/forces that are difficult to grasp due to lack of adequate information. Perhaps Russia and China have been applying counterpressure on the US because they don't want war in the mideast for economic reasons. I think Kathleen is correct about Dempsey's credibility. What has been the reaction from Israel and its supporters regarding his recent comments about "complicity?" Have any congress-people commented on Dempsey or on this report of a deal between Iran and the US? It is well-known that foreign relations can involve bluff and outright lying. I don't see the "no daylight" statements as necessarily invalidating this Ynet report.

  • Jimmy Carter on Corrie verdict: 'The court’s decision confirms a climate of impunity, which facilitates Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territory.'
  • My correspondence with NYT's Rudoren
    • To Ms. Rudoren:

      Please consider inviting Prof. Slater to write an op-ed for the NYT to help stimulate the fascinating I-P debate currently underway.

    • Yeah, a dear old fuddy-duddy, who just happens to have a world-class mind and is one of the most informed people on this planet regarding the matters under discussion...

    • American wrote:

      "But as for readers being bright I’d say a lot are getting brighter considering the comments always show the majority isn’t falling for their bs on Israel.
      But that’s no thanks to the NYT. It’s thanks to alternate sources."

      How true!

    • Jerry, thanks for your response. The single most hopeful sign for me was Rudoren's willingness to allow you to post up your correspondence with her. Maybe I'm underestimating her...

    • Finally, to present Mr. Dayan as a reasonable, wine-loving entrepeneur is to portray him as somebody "just like us." If this is not an attempt to legitimize this man, I don't know what it is. And to legitimize a person is, by implication, to legitimize that individual's political views. The article can, I think, be seen as an indirect attempt to portray the whole settlement enterprise as "reasonable," and such would be in keeping with the general tone of the NYT's position on I-P.

      I think Jerry is absolutely correct when he says:

      "When evil, insanity, violence, thuggery, and self-destructiveness reach a certain level, it longer matters how "worldly" or "pragmatic," or personally seemingly genial and pleasant some of its leaders may be, and any discussion of them that focuses on such trivialities is not merely irrelevant but dangerously misleading."

    • NickJOCW,

      Jerry Slater points out that Rudoren is writing what she and others view as "informative" pieces while Rome is burning. It is now generally agreed that the primary obstacle to a peaceful I-P resolution is the settlement enterprise, but Rudoren says little about this crucial issue and instead suggests that Dayan is "pragmatic." Tell us, please, Ms. Rudoren, how it has all "come to this," and how Mr. Dayan explains his enthusiastic participation in an enterprise (the settlements) which many informed and wise observers consider to be a disaster for Israel as well as Jews generally.

      Look, Rudoren is the NYT's Israel Bureau Chief. How is she not going to essentially cooperate with the status quo and wishes of the Israeli government? Her sources would dry up immediately if she were to take a truly objective view. With her appointment, the NYT will continue to play Israel's game.

      As for readers making up their own minds, this is a great abstract idea, but it is highly dependent on what the author chooses to include in his/her article. Most readers lack adequate historical context for what they read and need the essential elements of such to be included in the article itself to reach a sensible conclusion (a point Jerry and others have made before). Do you really believe Rudoren has the knowledge base (let alone motivation) to do this?

      Finally, you say that Rudoren offers her impressions rather than opinions. However, many opinions are entirely appropriate for journalists to share with their readers, so long as they are clearly identified as such.

    • A few thoughts. I'm not sure why Jerry wanted to post up this email exchange unless it was to publicize her supposed "commitment" to objectivity and facts about "interesting and important" issues/people. Somehow, making this exchange public is going to encourage Rudoren to be more fair and reasoned, instead of using the Ethan Bronner approach to history and current events. We shall see, but given the history of the NYT's treatment of I-P (which Jerry has critiqued and documented at length), I'm not going to hold my breath.

      Rudoren's basic response to Jerry is, "I deal only in objective realities and I'm not an advocate. I deal with important and interesting issues and the key players involved."
      So, Ms. Rudoren, you dig up interesting facts about important folks and write about them. Your selection of those facts itself reveals your and all other journalists' sympathies--if not outright advocacy. In this particular article, you cite a few who disagree with Dayan's views, but keep them very general. Why didn't you ask Mr. Dayan how he reconciles WB colonization with international law, stated US policy, and UN resolutions? That would have been more interesting. I'm not really sure of what a good journalist does, except seek the truth. The truth of I-P is horrific as Jerry and others (e.g., Beinart) have recently pointed out, and the NYT is simply not going to foster or permit open discussion of this in their newspaper. You have accepted a position that will punish you for speaking truth to power; ergo, you will not speak truth to power except perhaps occasionally.

      I agree with Marc b. , Colin Wright, and others that your appointment is very unlikely to alter the NYT's biased coverage of the conflict. Your Dayan profile's message seems to be, "Folks, you'll be happy to know that an important settler leader is intelligent, capable of compromise, and far-sighted--i.e., he's not a crazed individual that runs around beating up Palestinians and setting their olive trees on fire."

      hophmi, I seldom agree with you, but I do agree with this:

      "I find in general sending a journalist with no experience and no knowledge of either Hebrew or Arabic to the region to head the Jerusalem bureau a strange idea, but I guess, in the sense that she has more of a chance of going in with less predispositions, it makes a little sense." Me too!

  • Bloomberg says Israel lobby is 'blackmail'-ing US gov't to support Iran strike, but Times is clueless
    • @ YoungMassJew:

      Criticize Bloomberg all you want, but this is one of the very few articles that has dared to mention the hazard of releasing dangerous levels of radioactivity upon millions of innocent civilians. I totally agree with Phil that the NYT is little more than a gutless mouthpiece for Israel uber alles.

    • I think this is a pretty important article. Bloomberg is not the Pocatello, ID Daily News. It would seem like some pretty important folks in the Jewish community (and perhaps so some non-Jewish supporters of Israel) are quite concerned about the Iran attack scenario. I hope some brave White House reporter asks for comment on this. This is the kind of open debate we've hoped for and worked for!

  • Settler Marc Zell talks Jewish identity at the King David Hotel
    • Zell mentioned that some WB Palestinians live in multi-story houses, with the unspoken implication that the rest could do the same--if only they directed their energies toward self-improvement instead of hatred for the Israelis...

    • "Is circumcision a Jewish value? It’s a custom, not a value."

      As a circumcised gentile, I say it's a "valued custom!"

    • The point is, this is what an intelligent settler sounds like when he's not feeling attacked and trying to appear reasonable. Phil wanted us to see the undiluted craziness of his position, and he is sharing it with us for that reason. "Know thy enemy."

    • Zell's basic position is this: The life of Palestinians ("Arabs") generally (oops, forgot about Gaza) has steadily improved since Israel was established. And since the "Jewish way" is not to drive non-Jews out, they are morally superior to Arabs, who have allegedly driven out Jews and others. We're proud of our efforts to improve the life of non-Jews here. They (the Palestinians) would drive us into the sea if they could, but we're not going to let that happen. Moreover, efforts to criticize and "delegitimize" Israel are totally unfair and unwarranted.

      Zell ignores the fact that Israel has ignored UN resolutions and international law (with the purchased complicity of the US government) for years and continues to do so under the guise of "security needs" and "rights to the land." Here, I wish Phil had queried Zell a bit further.

      I personally was not that impressed with Zell, and I think that those who were simply expected him to be shouting "death to the Arabs" with a wild-eyed expression on his face.

  • Trapped
    • A very moving post, Phil. Your despair literally lept off the page at me. International pressure aside, if merely the American people were told the truth about all this, great progress could be made. But who's going to tell them? We're seeing movement (e.g., MW, Beinart), and it's picking up speed, but maybe (as you yourself mention), it's still not going to be fast enough to avoid a major catastrohe...

  • New round of Iran sanctions pressures Obama to move closer to Israel's 'red line'
    • Hilarious--thanks! Time for Dave to do his Netanyahu impression...

    • From: 972 Magazine:

      Wednesday, August 1 2012|Noam Sheizaf
      Netanyahu’s interviews confirm: IDF doesn’t want to attack Iran
      It seems that the prime minister is now trying to get an American commitment to a U.S. led military action in 2013.
      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau gave rare interviews to the Israeli media yesterday (Netanyahu usually prefers to speak to international reportes, who don’t bother him with political issues). Israel’s Hebrew channels and the Russian channel got 15 minutes each, on the condition that they won’t be edited. The messages were the same on every platform, explaining the new taxes, and, more important, answering recent headlines regarding the alleged opposition of the army and Mossad chiefs for a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
      “In the Israeli democracy, the one to decide is the ministerial level, and the one to carry out the decision is the military,” said Netanyahu, and added: “I haven’t made up my mind yet.”
      The interesting part is what Netanyahu didn’t say. At no point did the prime minister counter the now common view – which was the top headline in Yedioth Ahronoth yesterday – that the army’s Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and the head of Mossad Tamir Pardo oppose the attack. Quite the opposite, the prime minister declared that despite other opinions and objections, the decision whether to attack lies with the government. In other words, Netanayhu basically confirmed that the security establishment opposes the attack.
      This is no small thing. With all Netanyahu’s rhetoric on the historical hour and the second Holocaust, eventually both the prime minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are bound by politics. The public image as if it’s only the two of them pushing the attack means that a failure will fall on their own shoulders, since they ignored the opinion of the professionals. It’s not easy to go to war without a national consensus.
      I agree with Larry Derfner that the chances for an Israeli strike are very low, given the objections inside the security establishment. I think that Netanyahu is now trying to negotiate an American promise to attack by a certain date in 2013. An American led attack would eliminate the risk of political fallout resulting from a military failure, and save Netanyahu the need to fight with the entire security establishment (we shouldn’t forget that he already replaced a chief of staff and head of Mossad which were against the attack).
      The window of opportunity everybody is talking about is apparently not a window for an actual Israeli strike, but an opportunity to use the unique political circumstances in the U.S. in order to increase the likelihood of an American attack.

    • I don't think all this will come to war, but I wonder why we haven't heard more from Iran's so-called friends (e.g., Russia). The Iranian leadership can't be willing to sacrifice many of its citizens to protect its right to uranium enrichment. There must be some "red line" for them as well--the point at which an attack on their facilities is imminent--that will trigger meaningful negotiations. In the meantime, they are earning points for standing up to the two most dangerous bullies in the world.

  • Jon Stewart on Romney's painfully oblivious racism against Palestinians
    • Sure, Romney will win--NOT. He won't get any black or Hispanic votes, and no other Democratic ones.

  • One apartheid state, with liberty and justice for Jews only
    • Here's the plan and it's not just that of the settlers: Continue to make life as miserable as possible for Palestinians in the WB and Gaza to encourage as many as possible to eventually emigrate. My Palestinian friends tell me that the younger generation would be happy to leave. Then, when a final settlement nears, Uncle Stupid (sorry, meant to say "Uncle Sugar") and Sheldon Adelson et al. will cough up the necessary funds to accomplish massive emigration.

    • Colin,

      I don't know if you were addressing this to me or to Phil. We are on the same page on this point.

    • There will be one state, but Palestinians will for the most part be confined to bantustans. The Israelis are very fearful of further terrorist/rocket attacks, and will do everything in their power to deny Palestinians full freedom of movement as well as many other basic human rights. What is more, they will do so without the slightest feelings of guilt and claim that it is necessary for "security reasons." It will be deja vu all over again.

    • Colin,

      I think your take on this is correct. This article is a stalking horse. No only that, but it directly contradicts UN resolutions prohibiting acquisition of territory by war (anyone here remember Norman Finkelstein?). If the US government lets this article go unchallenged, it will lose whatever respect I have left for it. I disagree with Phil that this took courage on the NYT's part to publish.

  • Beinart hits Silverman video, but not all that hard
    • Austin,

      I've now read and reread your review. I found it interesting, but difficult to understand in places and filled with scorn for Mr. Beinart's book. I consider the latter to be undeserved. Due to time considerations and home remodelling, I've not been able to finish reading the book, but I have copied M. J. Rosenberg's review of it on Amazon, which is far more consistent with my own opinions so far.

      A book for people who care about Israel, March 27, 2012
      By M. Rosenberg "MJ Rosenberg" (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
      (REAL NAME)
      This review is from: The Crisis of Zionism (Hardcover)
      Two kinds of people will hate this book. The first is the political right which supports the occupation and believes it can be sustained forever.
      The other is people who despise the very idea of Israel.
      Peter Beinart is a Zionist. He opposes the occupation primarily (although not exclusively) because he believes it is destroying Israel. If there is one message that comes through in this book (I read a review copy)it is that Beinart wants the Israel he grew up on (one that he understands was far from perfect) to be there for his children.
      He thinks that the continued occupation will ultimately either destroy Israel's soul or even its physical existence.
      Those fears clearly drove him to write this book.
      Reading it, I kept thinking of my father-in-law who survived the Holocaust and how much he worried that Israel's leaders would let it be destroyed.
      He used to say, "These Jews from Poland and Russia figured out how to create a Jewish country from nothing. What did they know? But sitting in Warsaw and Lodz, they figured out how you create ministries and embassies and a whole government. They figured out how to build an army. But I'm afraid that their children aren't so smart. They take it for granted. They will lose it all unless they get smart."
      That is what Beinart thinks too. An old Jewish soul in a young American man.
      This book can change history. That is why it is creating such a ruckus. The noise you hear are the moans of those who are devoted to the status quo and worry that Beinart is challenging it.
      It's a great book and a pleasure to read.
      Not to sound too much like the late 1960's person I am, Beinart's plea reminds me of the quote Bobby Kennedy always invoked. I think it's Tennyson.

      "Some people see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask "why not."

      That is what Beinart is doing.

      MJ Rosenberg

    • Colin,

      Here are a few quotes from Beinart's book:

      "At exactly the the moment that Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip made it essential for American Jews to reckon with the ethical challenges of Jewish power, American Jewish leaders began insisting that to even acknowledge the misuse of Jewish power was to deny Jewish victimhood and thus victimize Jews anew. The argument caught on: in the 1970s, victimhood, especially as a strategy for defending Israel, supplanted liberalism as the defining ideology of organized American Jewish life." (P 38).

      "...American Jewish organizations are not accountable to the mass of American Jews. ... Today... as the pool of donors to specifically Jewish causes has shrunk, and escaling income inequality has left rich Americans exponentially richer, America's major Jewish groups have come to resemble the "American Jewish peerage" that Wise warned against. Far more than in the past, a small number of large donors now sustain American Jewish groups, and far more than in the past, they set the agenda.
      As a result, American Jewish leaders can afford to dismiss--and even mock--the opinions of most American Jews." (P 43)

      "Ignorance of Palestinian suffering breeds indifference, if not contempt. Call them 'Arabs, not Palestinians,' instructed the pollster Frank Luntz in a 2005 repot to American Jewish leaders. 'The term Palestinians evokes images of refugee camps, victims, and oppression,' while "Arabs says wealth, oil, and Islam,'" (Pp 43-44)

      BTW, I disagree that Mearsheimer and Walt cringed and whined.

    • Well, maybe Beinart deserves criticism for his performance. Yet, I'm left with the feeling that Mr. Glunts has missed the forest for the trees with this piece. To wit, I have read about 60 pages of The Crisis of Zionism, and he does NOT pull any punches. Beinart says things even Mearsheimer and Walt didn't say. It is definitely a "must read" for Mondoweissers.

  • In three cities, pension fund TIAA-CREF urged to end complicity in Israeli occupation
  • Backer of NY ads exposing Palestinian land-loss says response has been 'astounding' and news 'coverage is pouring in'
    • American,

      I've read parts of it and am quite impressed with Solzhenitsyn's book. While it may not be the last word on the subject, I totally agree that it should be available in English. No group has the right to prevent open and honest debate about anything, and efforts to suppress discussion should be strongly called out by all members of any society.

    • I generally agree, but in militant Zionism we have a relatively small number of folks who are willing to set the middle east aflame, kill thousands (including Americans), and unleash potentially huge amounts of dangerously radioactive material on hundreds of thousands of innocents for the sake of a preemptive war that no one else on this earth wants. In this sense, they are "dangerously important."

    • There is a big difference between honest inquiry into the causes of historical trends and events, on one hand, and anti-Semitism, on the other. I agree with you, Colin. There are a number of matters still in serious need of illumination. As you note, things happen for reasons.

  • Deep political differences became the elephant in my therapist's office
  • Evelyn Garcia welcomes a debate on US Middle East policy -- not smears and misrepresentation and hate mail
  • The therapist blurts
    • Citizen,

      The article by Jessica Kraft to which you link suggests that her admiration of Jewish contributions to psychotherapy and psychology generally has crowded out her better judgment. She mentions talking out disturbing feelings with family, rabbi, and friends as a way of reducing stress and restoring tranquility in a manner that suggests Jews were the first to discover this approach. Research on primitive African tribes that have never had contact with modernity shows that they do exactly the same thing. To suggest that one needed to be Jewish to go against political correctness and speak of childish sexual impulses toward parents is patently ridiculous. (I only wish that I would be in a position to make a major tho politically incorrect discovery re: human personality as was Freud. Believe me, even though I'm a gentile, I would jump at the chance.) Kraft is a hasbarist that tries to show the rest of us how indebted we are to Jews while subtly suggesting that Jews are intellectually superior to non-Jews. My $.02, and thanks for the interesting read!

    • Citizen,

      Psychotherapy's obviously not everyone's cup of tea. When the client has emotional conflicts that are mainly if not entirely unconcscious, cause distress, and lead to maladaptive behaviors/feelings, then he/she does usually need a therapist to help get past his/her defenses and down to the heart of the matter. I think my fairly extensive reading of clinical books has been somewhat helpful, but nowhere near as much as my therapist.

    • Thanks, proudzionist--appreciate it! I know that it has been and continues to be helpful.

    • Citizen,

      I'm not sure which of my comments you're referring to, but the psychology I favor differs substantially from Scientology--I'm basing my opinion here on Hubbard's book.

    • So, you're a Jewish psychotherapist, know as much real I-P history as the average American, and your client says he feels the Palestinians have been given a raw deal for decades. You smile back, know you're supposed to be neutral and non-judgmental, but subconsciously because of your tribal indoctrination, you feel that the patient must hate Jews and want Israel to be wiped off the map (but you can't really ask to be sure). Odds are, you will unconsciously retaliate despite your professional training--which in any case is far weaker than the typical Jewish sense of loyalty to the tribe. If you as a client have feelings for the Palestinians, check out your therapist's position and if he strongly disagrees with you but then tells you that "there's nothing to worry about," find another psychotherapist!

    • Colin,

      I generally agree with your points. Personality disorders (e.g., Borderlines, Narcissistic personalities--there are several others) generally should not be doing therapy without first undergoing successful treatment. Other disorders (the neuroses) are often far less disabling and better contained, but should still be treated. Training programs should carefully screen applicants for the necessary minimum skills and counsel out those who don't meet them.

      Another part of the equation is the quality of training and mentoring, which is often inadequate.

      Being an effective therapist isn't easy. Consider: you can be one heck of a dentist, mathematician, or surgeon and not be particularly well adjusted just to mention a few of the myriad of professions that are less emotionally and psychologically demanding than being a therapist.

      In the final analysis (pun not intended), psychotherapy is caveat emptor as with most other services we seek. If you're not comfortable for ANY reason with your therapist, address the matter directly with him/her. If his/her answer is not and continues not to be satisfactory, seek another therapist.

      P.S.: It's been my impression that a fair number of psychologists/psychotherapists/psychiatrists are pretty together folks who do good work.

    • Back to the point. The risk seems to me substantial that a psychotherapist who supports the Israeli regime could act out in destructive ways toward a client (i.e., manifest "negative countertransference") who had a clearer picture of history, past and present. Avoid such a therapist--thanks, Phil, for calling this important consideration to our attention!

    • Hi All,

      A couple of things. First, I was in the market for a psychotherapist several years ago, and in the first session with each of the two Jewish practitioners I interviewed (one a psychiatrist, another a psychologist), I mentioned that I didn't approve of Israeli conduct toward the Palestinians. One said nothing, and the other agreed with my remark, "I hope this I-P problem gets resolved fairly, and soon." He agreed. (He was also the therapist I have seen since with what I consider very good results, but not merely because he was sympathetic to the Palestinians--see below.) So, what happened with Phil's friend and me was, we were testing the therapist's ability to remain non-judgmental (and not see anti-Semitism where it didn't exist) which is of course necessary for good therapy. Note that in one important sense that the therapist actually "did the right thing." By his challenge to your friend (why not Syria, etc.?), he clearly communicated his own biases, which then allowed your friend to make the correct decision, which was to not continue with him.

      Now, as a psychologist (not therapist) myself, let me say a little about psychotherapy, because I see that several of you consider it to be helpful brainwashing at best, and a complete fraud at worst. Some assert that a good friend is an adequate substitute for a therapist.

      I suppose you could see me as a "Freudian," in the sense that I believe that disturbed behavior is the result mainly of unconscious drives/conflicts, tho I am really partial to a much-modified version called "psychoanalytic object-relations theory" well set forth by Otto Kernberg and others. (We have learned a great deal since Freud, thankfully.)

      To reveal these unconscious factors by therapist (and patient) interpretation takes a great deal of time, exclusive focus on you the patient--so it's not like occasionally getting good advice from a friend or clergyman--although such is often invaluable and typically not available from one's therapist. Therapists usually try to help the patient reach greater self-understanding, and through such, greater awareness of self and others, and better self-control and personal relationships.

      Not all troubled people are the same. Neurotic folks are relatively high-functioning (well put together) from a clinical standpoint and benefit from a variety of therapies.
      More seriously ill individuals can often benefit from the "uncovering" approach advocated by psychoanalysts or "psychoanalytically oriented" therapists.

      Unfortunately, there are too many therapists that are poorly trained, not well-adjusted themselves, and sometimes lack the personal qualities needed for really good therapy (empathy, objectivity, warmth, good memory for what you tell him/her, etc.). So, like the song goes, "You gotta shop around." Find someone you have good chemistry with and helps you feel comfortable!

  • DNC member resigns after emails faulting Israeli 'aggression' and Palestinian burden for Holocaust
    • Some day in the future, people will look back on these incidents and their underlying causes, and wonder, "How could the people have permitted these things to happen in a democracy?"

  • Yasser Arafat 'poisoned with Polonium' -- Al Jazeera
  • NYT dares to answer a vital question: 'What does Adelson want?'
    • Hophmi,

      Would you not then agree that AIPAC is "outside of the mainstream?"

    • Let me add in conclusion that I think Adelson has made the rational choice for folks in his position. If the Democrats win the election, chances are he and his buddies are going to lose a great deal of money to future taxes. Therefore, with the election a toss-up at this point even without his millions, why not support the Republican candidate heavily? Seems like a pretty sound risk-reward strategy on his part. What we should start talking more about is how come it's possible for the rich to massively avoid taxation and why we don't have meaningful campaign financing reform!

    • The Time editorial says:

      "[Adelson] is even further to the right than the main pro-Israeli lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which he broke with in 2007 when it supported economic aid to the Palestinians."

      The central problem with the editorial IMO is that it doesn't call out AIPAC and similar groups for having bought and paid for US middle eastern policy. However, it definitely skirts the issue...

    • I agree with Phil that it's "a beautiful editorial," but I read it somewhat differently than he did. The emphasis is not so much on "Israel, first, last, and always," although Adelson's support for an extremist policy toward the Palestinians is certainly mentioned.

      The main points of the article for me were:

      a) The fact that wealthy people have by virtue of their campaign contributions the ability to sway elections enormously out of proportion to their numbers (which seriously undermines the democratic process), and

      b) rich people can shelter their wealth and allow the rest of us to pay higher taxes for necessary government services.

      Actually, I think the main point of the editorial was (b) and only implicitly (a). The fact that Adelson's position on Israel was mentioned in the NYT no less and singled out for criticism is huge-totally agree with Phil on this. The willingness of the Times to call out the rich generally on their tax avoidance is very courageous in my view. Some of the previous comments focus principally on Adelson and a few others. My take is that this editorial's scope [see (a) and (b) above] goes far beyond criticism of a few very wealthy individuals and represents a general critique of the role of money in American politics and foreign policy (at least toward Israel). It will be very interesting to see reader comments to this editorial. My $.02 worth...

  • Help Mondoweiss continue to push Israel/Palestine into the mainstream
    • How many times do I have to tell you guys? Find just one rich donor who believes in truth-in-packaging re: the Middle East! In the meantime, I'm going to donate a bit more while you find that person...

  • The things I miss (confessions of an activist)
    • Oleg,

      Your commitment to social justice and international law is simply amazing! They indeed broke the mold after they created you.

  • US Embassy to American in trouble in Israel: 'You're not Jewish? Then we can't do anything to help you'
    • The failure of the US government to act on behalf of Ms. Tamari, an American citizen, is not merely diseriminatory but borders on the criminal. We should be demanding a congressional investigation of this incident!

    • The reason:

      The gypsies were too poor and disorganized to buy a few members of the US Congress...

  • Another op-ed headline you won't be reading any time soon in the US press
    • Israel sounds like a cool place to live. I'm going to forge my family history, buy a yarmulka, and move to an apartment near the Tel Aviv beach.

    • This is powerful writing by Levy! How sad that it is so true...

  • Slater on Beinart
    • Well, Libra, here's a thought: why not support lawsuits by highly respected employees who lost their jobs because they criticized Israel? How about adding the ACLU to join in such suits due to obvious violations of these employees' freedom speech (first amendment) rights? (There should be plenty of such cases to choose from.)

    • I dunno, Libra. The key to me are the subset of American Jews (and their non-Jewish allies) whose money buys off our government representatives and muzzles our media. Even if a substantial Jewish majority publicly repudiated along the lines you suggest, I don't know if the key (and wealthy) players would be affected. This whole matter ought to be investigated and the results made very public, but that doesn't seem very likely. On the other hand, tremendous gains have been made since Walt/Mearsheimer and continue to be made (e.g., Beinart). One measure I would support and think could help is serious campaign financing reform...

    • Libra,

      Slater may be many things, but he is not a coward. I would amend your statement somewhat:

      "Because the Israeli government--through its influence upon the American Jewish community--dominates foreign policy bearing upon Israel of the US government (and hence, the West), the likelihood of such sanctions is close to nonexistent."

      So, you don't think Slater would agree? I think he would agree. I don't like to bet small, so how about ten million lbs. of gefilte fish?

    • Slater has in the past been roundly insulted by some of the commenters on these boards. And, now, he is again attacked for responding in kind??? Give this man a break and take his arguments seriously, while trying to use a little tact, please.

    • Phil, thanks for this. Slater's piece is simply brilliant and a "must-read!"

  • Feeling the hate in Long Island
    • "He comes from Chicago, from a very confusing background... It's still not known."

      I always wondered what was wrong with me--good to know it's just my Chicago background!

  • The awakening: Missouri paper runs a Jew's call for equal rights for all
    • Thanks, George. Succinct and wonderful article. The tide is turning and we are gonna win this!

    • This piece and others like it are so encouraging to me as an older man. It is very easy to become cynical and hopeless in times like ours. We need people who will speak truth to power like George here and Phil and Adam and the rest of the Mondoweissers and Walt/Mearsheimer, Beinart, etc. to give us the strength to fight on for peace and justice until those battles are won.

  • WaPo's Walter Pincus says US is 'going above and beyond for Israel'
    • The same WaPo that permitted hundreds of comments about Tiger Woods's latest temper tantrum a few weeks ago closed comments after 9 had been posted to this important piece. Is there something wrong with this picture? BTW, Congrats, Mr. Pincus, for speaking truth to power!

  • More 'magnet than a mallet': RAND Corporation warns against striking Iran
    • Annie, it's in your response to my initial post, where you suggest the RAND position may have "impacted this amendment."

    • The link to

    • Annie, I can't get to your link, above. Is it my computer or the link? Thanks!

    • This statement by RAND is hugely important, in case those of us distracted so completely by Oleg haven't noticed...

    • "It is really pitiful when you have to have some big name think tank explain something that common sense would tell anyone with an IQ of 100."

      Well, half the population has to have an IQ less than 100, right? Why not the members of the US Congress?

  • At Ohio State, a week of events on the Nakba and apartheid
  • Foxman says Google and Facebook are on his team to combat 'internet hate'
    • I like Foxman's approach, and am going to start using it in my daily dealings with others. If I do something to hurt or offend someone else and am called on it, I'm going to call them a hater and brush that hate right off my shoulders!

  • Thousands march across the West Bank in support of the prisoners' hunger strike
  • Michael Scheuer says Israeli lobby has tied American gov't down like Gulliver
    • Pixel,

      Thanks for the Edmunds website. I will check it out!

    • Robert,

      This position of yours that Bin Laden died in Dec., 2001 implies that many individuals in the US government (not to mention Bin Laden's own family)as well as Al Quada itself conspired for now 11 years maintain the "fiction" that he didn't die until last year. (The CIA station chief's July, 2001 visit, if true, took place of course BEFORE 9-11.) While I have no doubt our current government is capable of essentially any falsehood, it defies belief that such as conspiracy could be maintained in these "information age" times. The scenario you outline would make Bin Laden a complete traitor to his fellow Muslims (all of them), and according to Scheuer and others, the man took his faith pretty seriously. So, show us the evidence you're right about this, please.

    • O.K., I'm going to try this again. Scheuer's point is that UNLESS the US mends its ways (i.e., attacking Muslim countries, supporting repressive pro-US Muslim regimes (e.g., Saudis). supporting Israeli repression of Palestinians, etc., etc.), there will eventually be a major bloodbath in the course of which we will have to kill a lot of Muslims (including innnocents who often cannot be distinguished from asymmetrical combatants). He is convinced that the US is a target for Muslim radicals primarily of our foreign policies, and that they need to change, but won't in time due mainly to our dependence on cheap oil and our being the Lobby's servant. I don't see him as deserving of all the criticism that has been levelled at him here. My $.02.

    • I think there's a whole lot of confusion here about Scheuer's position. As I understand it from his book Imperial Hubris, he seriously criticizes US policies toward the Muslim world (support for Arab dictators, exploitation of Arab oil resources, suppression of Arab dissent in friendly-to-us regimes, unqualified support for Israel, etc.). He argues that from a Muslim perspective, the preceding amount to an attack upon Islam generally, and thus justify a defensive jihad against the US.

      He goes on to say that because US leaders have no discernible intention of mending their ways, our only remaining choice is to fight it out. In this fight, we will have to be ruthless and kill many innocents simply because it is often hard to distinguish non-combatants from combatants. And all this will be sad but necessary for our ultimate security.

      The implication of all this is not that Scheuer wants to satisfy some blood-lust he harbors toward Muslims. He would prefer that we change those of our policies that are viewed as hostile to Muslims to keep the bloodshed to a minimum. He just doesn't expect the US to be able to recognize the need for changes.

      Scheuer is not a crazy, nor do I suspect he is in the misinformation biz. He is rather blunt-spoken, and may not have been totally consistent at all times since he began publishing. But to suggest that he was "a dupe" at the CIA seems extreme. (I post this with confidence that any errors I have expressed here will be swiftly and surely corrected by my fellow Mondoweissers!)

  • 'Death of a Salesman' came out of an intermarriage

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