Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 768 (since 2010-05-02 23:41:10)


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

Showing comments 100 - 1

  • 60 years ago, first Defense Sec'y said 'Zionist pressure' endangered US security, all the way to Afghanistan
    • Phil, thanks for this piece. Didn't realize Forrestal was such a wise and prescient man. Forrestal foresaw the dangers as well as the political pressures (The Lobby or its equivalent at the time). To be sure, Boobus Americanus (Mencken) has for decades typically failed to be an informed voter and citizen. But Americans for the most part have also trusted their government to speak truthfully. Insofar as I-P are concerned, this trust has been badly misplaced. The answer to the Israel Lobby (and to all others) must be: "The government of the United States is not for sale."

  • Hillary Clinton says we need more intermarriage
  • Fisk: Obama 'grovelling' to Israel lobby for midterms
    • 13 Leper Colonialist July 19, 2010 at 7:10 am

      "Yep, POTUS Obama sure has been disappointing here, but what can one really expect? Obama is a democrat, and democrats are in thrall to AIPAC and The Israel Lobby."

      All members of congress, including Republicans, are "in thrall to AIPAC and the Israel Lobby." This is according to Paul Findley in his excellent book, They Dare to Speak Out."

  • Hirst: Lobby's bigotry and disdain for US interests mean its days are numbered
    • Thanks, kjopp--will check it out.

    • For "kins" in sentence 3 of the preceding post please substitute "kinds of." My bad.

    • Re: M & W's The Israel Lobby, it's a great piece of work. But Paul Findley, a Republican (!) congressman, wrote a very informative book that in some ways is superior to M & W, because he described in great detail the kins political intrigues that the Lobby engages in to influence middle east policy. Findley's book (They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby, 1985 (3rd Ed. 2003). I looked for my M & W to see if they had cited Findley, but couldn't find it... Point: Findley had an insider's view of the whole sordid Lobby MO and presented it simply and clearly. (It is one of most frightening books I have ever read.) However, he wrote the book after he was defeated for reelection (he believes with the Lobby's opposition).

  • Why I'm voting for Eisenhower over Obama
    • Henry Norr (post # 27) notes that Israel's refusal to evacuate Gaza was a central factor behind Eisenhower's address. Eisenhower told the American people that this refusal challenged the founding principles of the United Nations, and after consulting with Congress, the general feeling was that Eisenhower should raise the matter with the US people. From that address (link to

      "This raises a basic question of principle. Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory in the face of United Nations disapproval be allowed to impose conditions on its own withdrawal?

      If we agree that armed attack can properly achieve the purposes of the assailant, then I fear we will have turned back the clock of international order. We will, in effect, have countenanced the use of force as a means of settling international differences and through this gaining national advantages.

      I do not, myself, see how this could be reconciled with the Charter of the United Nations. The basic pledge of all the members of the United Nations is that they will settle their international disputes by peaceful means, and will not use force against the territorial integrity of another state.

      If the United Nations once admits that international disputes can be settled by using force, then we will have destroyed the very foundation of the Organization, and our best hope of establishing a world order. That would be a disaster for us all.

      I would, I feel, be untrue to the standards of the high office to which you have chosen me, if I were to lend the influence of the United States to the proposition that a nation which invades another should be permitted to exact conditions for withdrawal.

      Of course, we and all the members of the United Nations ought to support justice and conformity with international law. The first Article of the Charter states the purpose of the United Nations to be "the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes." But it is to be observed that conformity with justice and international law are to be brought about "by peaceful means."

      We cannot consider that the armed invasion and occupation of another country are "peaceful means" or proper means to achieve justice and conformity with international law.

      We do, however, believe that upon the suppression of the present act of aggression and breach of the peace, there should be a greater effort by the United Nations and its members to secure justice and conformity with international law. Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin."

      Can anybody imagine Obama (whom I voted for) speaking similar words at this point in time?

    • Great post, Phil! As someone noted a while back, Obama is no Eisenhower (unfortunately)...

  • Slater responds to the 'Obamaphilia' charge
    • Prof. Slater,

      Your arguments are eloquent, carefully reasoned, and tactfully presented. Your acknowledgement that you don't have all the answers and sometimes change your mind is most refreshing. Your writings--in my opinion--must be taken seriously by any thoughtful person. I hope to read more of your contributions in the future on this blog.

  • If you look at anything on this site--
    • The behavior of the settlers in this and many other cases is intended to make life so unpleasant that the Palestinians will choose to leave. There can be no other motivation. And folks who protest such conduct are termed "leftists!"

  • British judge says Gaza is 'hell on earth' and jury acquits activists of damaging arms factory
    • VR wrote:

      " is interesting that the condition of the Palestinians on the whole is so horrendous and known now, that all the destruction of property did was highlight that condition, eh?"

      VR, please reread the final sentence of post # 8, above.

    • VR wrote in response to my comment:

      "That is where thinking goes awry, that somehow property is worth more than people. That is the system we deal with, and the concept of the value of property above people, is not only the engine of Zionism (destroying the people for property which does not belong to them), but runs capitalism which is always first and foremost for the property of the few to the detriment of the people. Than they call this twisted view the essence of life."

      VR, my point was not that property's value exceeds that of human welfare. It was that the activists' actions can and will be portrayed by their opponents as "domestic terrorism," which can in turn result in the dismissal of the activists' genuine concern for Palestinian rights.

    • Although I am very sympathetic to the activists' cause, I think they were actually wrong to damage property that did not belong to them. Such actions I think can do more harm than good. Nonetheless, I am glad that their actions called additional attention to the inhumane conditions in Gaza.

  • Petraeus emails show general scheming with journalist to get out pro-Israel storyline
    • 29 lysias July 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      "We may need a war hero to defang the Lobby. I wonder if Petraeus could do that."

      Maybe, but not if he wants to be the next US president. Consider: political advisors have told him, "The good news is, as of today, you have at least 1 chance in 3 of succeeding Obama in the next election. The bad news is, if you even introduce doubt into how you would approach Israel and the Lobby from here on out, you have at best a 3% chance of being the next president." Is not rationality one of Petraeus's strengths? Who then can fault him for backing away from his initial congressional testimony and trying to calm Boot down (who could well be a loose cannon for him)? Sure, Eisenhower was special and he famously and heroically called out the military-industrial complex, but he did it at the end of his presidency--not at its beginning. My suggestion following more thought: it may be too early to pass judgment on Petraeus...

    • Petraeus was obviously strong-armed by the current administration, which is worried about Jewish support for Democratic candidates in the next congressional election. The damage that our "see no evil" approach to the Israelis is doing to our military and our image in the eyes of the rest of the world is self-evident and stands on its own without the need for Petraeus's endorsement. Nonetheless, I am still disappointed that his emails suggest he is as terrified of the Lobby as the rest of our government officials...

  • Flotilla fallout: What exactly was the U.S. role?
    • VR, I'm glad you're not cynical about the prospects for real democracy in this country. :) (I'll read your links in coming days--thanks.)

    • Well, VR, what's your alternative? We can certainly email and write our government officials even if we don't vote. Voting for the choices we have thus far been presented is, of course, no choice at all--as you imply. The Tea Party movement is an example of what could perhaps be done at some point. Whether or not you share the TP's politics (I mostly do not, BTW), they are exercising their democratic rights to influence their elected representatives via the ballot box. Notice how often the MSM trashes them--it shows how afraid they are that people might regain significant influence on their government's policies.

    • The only workable antidote is an informed, thoughtful electorate--which is the only thing the MSM and our elected officials fear (and not simply informed about the Lobby, but lots of things). It wouldn't hurt to have a few respected and courageous folks who know the truth first-hand about the Lobby's power and modus operandi step up at this point...

    • I don't think the problem is so much Obama, here, but the power of the Lobby. What can an American president be reasonably expected to do without the support at least of the members of Congress that belong to his party? Alienate the Lobby, funnel Lobby money to Republicans, and be responsible for one of the greatest Democratic midterm election defeats in history? Become a pariah to members of one's own party? How to effectively govern under such conditions? It can't be done. The problem is the Lobby's undue and mindless influence without even elementary regard to either Israeli or American long-term interests.

  • Newspapers waffle on 'torture' and 'occupation'
    • And I've believed all this time that torture was merely a type of "serious persuasion!"

  • CNN on the growing cultural boycott
    • Sumud,

      I agree with your sentiments in post # 2, above, and that the clip is another victory for the good guys, because CNN reaches millions of people who until now didn't know that many artists are boycotting Israel due to their treatment of the Palestinians. In the past, CNN would have ended this clip with a segment about deserving Israeli families who would suffer economically from a boycott, but instead, they let Barghouti speak. Don't want to read too much into it, but I think there's change in the wind...

  • Petraeus braintrust says 'pragmatic' and representative Hamas must be included in Palestinian gov't
    • If there is an Israeli attack upon Iran, the value of your stock portfolio is going to drop precipitously--at least in the short term--according to Nouriel Roubini, due to the resulting spike in oil prices...(just an aside).

      It is very interesting that it is the US military that is floating reasonable proposals about the mideast. I just hope that this is not a matter of too little, too late. These ideas Perry reports would amount to a sea change in our middle eastern policy. Perhaps CENTCOM is fed up with unwinnable conflicts that have huge potential downside risks. Someone once said that only the US military has the power to oppose the Lobby in this country, and I think that they may have been right...

    • "The next step is to call out American neocon/neolib officials pushing pro-Israel anti-American policies and force them to publicly justify their views. There needs to be open debate where participants can express their views without fear for the livelihoods."

      Well said, Colin!

    • Wait a minute. Is Perry saying that the ideas of military types make way more sense than those of the Lobby and the Israeli government? How can this be possible? This is totally contrary to everything my civilian leaders have always taught me...

  • Nicholas Kristof: 'The occupation is morally repugnant'
    • One other point: Kristol's article was all about the West Bank, which the US and Israel have been holding up as a model of "positive occupation" while demonizing and collectively punishing the Hamas led Gazans. His article suggests that Israel's treatment of Palestinians generally is morally indefensible, and this is a departure from the usual hasbara.

    • I agree with those who view Kristol's piece as quite significant. It's one thing to report "Israel did this, and then the Palestinians did that" (the old chicken and egg issue). It's quite another to accuse the Israelis of immoral behavior for the past several decades (remember, we are talking about "the light unto the nations," here). Folks have already noted that the the majority of NYT readers' responses is strongly critical of Israel. John Mearsheimer suggested several months ago that, while support for Israel is still fairly broad in the US, it is also shallow and it would not take very much of the truth from the MSM to turn them against Israel and its current policies. This truth is starting to emerge and will eventually (I believe) have the effects that most of us are hoping for.

  • No contest on whether to protect Israel or protect U.S. citizens
    • 12 lysias June 30, 2010 at 7:50 am
      "AIPAC-removed Congressman Paul Findley explained it all in his 1985 book They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby (2nd edition 1989), and I don’t recall seeing even a review of the book."

      Thanks for the reference, lysias. Looks just like what I have been hoping for. As of this morning, there were 91 reviews on Amazon (I recall most ratings were 5-star). I think its now in its 3rd edition... Will read it later this summer.

    • Wouldn't it be great if several courageous former congressmen/women and senators held a joint press conference and explained to the American people exactly how the Lobby corrupts the democratic process?

  • Mearsheimer says 'apartheid is despicable system at odds with American values'
    • Sanctions are one issue--and they may well harm US interests as PG suggests, but an Israeli attack on Iran is a totally different deal. I don't think China will be very happy if the price of oil doubles...

    • 3 Psychopathic god June 29, 2010 at 10:23 am wrote:

      "What are the implications for a US-Israel attack on Iran? If Iran is attacked, it will have extremely negative implications for Jewish Americans."

      In an April, 2010 article, Nouriel Roubini lays out the implications of an Israeli attack on Iran. He argues that the price of oil would skyrocket and plunge the developed countries into a major depression (see link below).

      link to

      My point is that it is not in the US interest for Israel to attack Iran, because such an action would almost certainly cause a great deal of financial hardship in the US and many other countries. (Mearsheimer alludes to this with his comment that such an attack would have "terrible consequences" for the USA). An attack would not only have very negative consequences for American Jews, but Jews generally as well as all Americans. It would also mobilize world public opinion massively against both Israel and the US.

  • Lawrence Wright: 'most ideal outcome of entire flotilla episode' would be.... release of Gilad Shalit!
    • Richard Witty wrote:

      "The failure to maintain the discipline of non-violence on the Mavi Marmara was seen. IF the discipline had been maintained, even if the result of that was no dramatic confrontation, the focus would remain on Gazan civilians. Additional flotillas would be able to maintain that focus."

      Doesn't the evidence show that one or more activists were shot from above even before the commandos reached the ship's deck? Sounds to me as if the commandos lost "discipline" first...

  • 'Commentary' attacks labor (because Israel always comes first)
    • The choice is "whether to be politically American and affirm American policy stances, or to adhere to a radical posture that subverts national boundaries and delegitimizes national character." I forgot: Violence is as American as apple pie...

  • ANC is PNG on NPR's ATC
    • Donald wrote re: NPR's All Things Considered:

      (I don’t listen that much to “All Things Considered” and when I do, it really is for the soothing tone of the commentary. If you set aside any political convictions you might have and just listen, there’s a weirdly comforting vibe about the show. If a 10 km asteroid were on a collision course with Earth and there was nothing we could do about it, I’d tune in to NPR and probably feel better about the whole thing.)

      Hilarious, but spot on!

  • One possible framework for a single state in Israel/Palestine
    • 7 decentjew June 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm wrote:
      "I don’t buy it. The idea of Israelis living in peace and harmony with anyone is simply too far-fetched to seriously entertain. I also think that the similarities to the South African case have blinded many to the substantial differences, in terms of demographics, relations with the US, propaganda apparatus, economic realities and so many other features."

      I agree, and former S. African president Thabo Mbeki has spelled out some of these differences (see link to his full article below):

      link to

      "However, if I may, I would like to say that it would seem to me that some of the elements that differentiate the two situations, namely the South African and the Palestine-Israel conflicts, are that:

      though there appears to be an agreement that the negotiations should result in a ‘two-state solution’, there is in fact no agreement on this fundamental issue, as the current government of Israel has not agreed to respect the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem serving as the capital of independent Palestine: The so-called security wall Israel has built on the West Bank and the settlements it has and is building objectively create new facts on the ground that militate against its recognition of the 1967 borders. Thus while the South African belligerents could and did agree on what was most fundamental regarding the future of the country, this has not been achieved in the Israel-Palestine context;
      The peace movement Israel is not strong enough to present an effective challenge to the broad Israeli political and security establishment. Thus, whereas the South African liberation offensive grew to present such a challenge, obliging the then ruling establishment to accept the need for fundamental change, this has not happened in the case of Israel;
      thirdly, the Israeli political and security establishment seems to be more at ease with and finds it more comfortable to confront a violent threat rather than a concerted political-diplomatic offensive. I would hazard the guess that this is because it has absolute confidence in the power and effectiveness of its security organs loyally supported by the military establishment in most Western countries, despite the 2006 debacle in Lebanon and the political complications that have arisen as a result of its punitive 2008 military offensive in Gaza, and therefore prefers a confrontation in the area in which it is strongest and believes it is assured of victory. To the contrary, with regard to the political-diplomatic sphere, she knows that she would find it very difficult to argue against the justice of the passionate plea that President Obama made in Cairo last year, lamenting the desperate plight that has confronted the Palestinian people for 60 years, and therefore prefers not to engage a contest with the international community based on what President Obama said.
      fourth, the people of Palestine are faced with the challenge that they have not achieved the unity and cohesion that the oppressed in South Africa largely did: This creates the possibility, which, despite the deadly violence that did occur, we largely avoided, of a fratricidal conflict that weakens and detracts from united action to achieve the common strategic goal, in this case the birth of a viable and independent State of Palestine;
      fifth, the establishment of such a state is a matter of urgent necessity for the people of Palestine, while the majority of the Israelis seem convinced that this outcome can be postponed indefinitely, given that their strategic objective, the establishment of the State of Israel is an accomplished fact, with their principal strategic task being the defence of this State: Thus they believe that time is on their side, and can afford to use it so to change the facts on the ground that any future process of negotiations would not oblige them to enter into any meaningful compromises. Thus it views the negotiations as a zero-sum game, aimed at them dictating a solution to the Palestinians, rather than a process that should secure the amicable outcome of a secure, peaceful and successful State of Israel and a secure, peaceful and successful State of Palestine, both capable of and willing to cooperate with each other for mutual benefit;
      sixth, Israel, itself a small state entity, enjoys major international support on the basis of a perspective it has elaborated and marketed in the rest of the world: This gives it the assurance that whatever it does, it will never face the danger of international isolation, especially by the major world powers, and will therefore always ensure that regardless of the rhetoric, its interests and aspirations will always occupy the first place in the strategic considerations of the major world powers, with those of the Palestinians being dealt with as a peripheral irritation which, nevertheless, but within the context of an immutable strategic paradigm, cannot be ignored. Therefore there would always be much publicised diplomatic activity targeted at resolving the Israel- Palestine conflict, which would give hope to the Palestinians, while putting the Israelis at ease because of the certainty that this activity would produce no result to which they are opposed, communicating the message that the activity is itself the result;
      seventh, contrary to the South African situation, historical circumstance has dictated that necessarily the peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict should be achieved with the direct involvement of external mediators, especially the United States, and this has been accepted by the two sides. All negotiations require that the negotiating parties should accept and believe genuinely that the mediator is an honest, neutral and disinterested broker, ready to facilitate a balanced outcome that accommodates the fundamental interests of the opposed belligerent parties. Without this, it is not possible for the mediator to facilitate a lasting agreement, lasting because of the genuine willingness of the negotiating parties fully to own the outcome, and therefore take responsibility for its implementation. If unfortunately this is not the case, this imposes an obligation on the negotiating parties each to engage in a second and continuous task to participate in a contest to persuade the mediator to lean more towards their side rather than towards the other. Historically, successive US administrations have dealt with Israel as a strategic partner. However, President Barak Obama has, in addition, and as you know, said clearly that the equitable resolution of the Palestine-Israel conflict is equally a matter of strategic interest to the United States, saying when he spoke at Cairo University on June 4th last year, that “America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own…For peace to come, it is time for (the Israelis and the Palestinians) - and all of us - to live up to our responsibilities.” Thus did the mediator of the Israel-Palestine conflict commit himself and his government to act as an honest broker, to facilitate an agreement which both the Palestinians and the Israelis will accept as their own, because it will have addressed the aspirations and the fears of the contending parties concerned, as the South Africans did when they voluntarily took ownership of the agreement they had negotiated without a mediator, and therefore accepted that it was their common responsibility successfully to implement the agreement."

  • From birthright to boycott
  • Non-violence is not a principle, it is a tactic
    • P.S.: syvanen, don't quit your day job to become a full-time psychologist
      just yet.

    • syvanen June 13, 2010 at 4:37 pm:

      "Kevin McDonald not only appears to be openly racist but is racist. His disciples occasionally show up here and do sound reasonable for awhile. But eventually, like with McDonald, the racist stench becomes unbearable."

      Sure he's a racist. Lots of people are. He is also sometimes spot-on about what's happening in the I-P conflict--even though his primary interest is returning WASPs to their "rightful" position in American society. To dismiss everything he might have to say because you don't like his politics seems to me both unwise and undemocratic.

    • Jeffrey wrote:

      "As for Lobewyoer’s comment that the US “wanted the Israelis to be free of any serious armed resistance to the occupation so that they could devote their full attention to any US middle eastern concerns that might arise,” I am surprised that anyone can believe, let alone write this after the major efforts it took by both Bush administrations to keep Israel, and Israel alone, out of both Gulf wars. The fact of the matter is that NO Israeli soldier has ever lifted a finger on Washington’s behalf and as Ariel Sharon once told Israeli army radio, they never will, and that the US knows it,"

      Jeffrey, I'm embellishing a point here that Norman Finkelstein has made on a number of occasions. I think your point is a good one, and I wonder what Finkelstein would say about it. I think I recall that it was the Arab countries that were the main impetus for allowing Israel to sit out the Gulf wars, but I'm not sure. (I think we wanted as broad an Arab participation as possible.) Thus, it still seems possible that the US has viewed Israel as a strategic asset, but maybe not in quite the way I implied...

    • Hey, teahee, I try to wype my brain daily, but my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be. What do you think of the point I tried to make earlier, which I repeat below:

      In sum, I think the value of nonviolence in this particular case depends upon how the rest of the world reacts to Israel’s use of violence against Palestinian nonviolence. The Israelis don’t appear to care about Palestinians, but look at their panicky response to Goldstone (i.e., world opinion).

    • Walid, I don't know the history so can't really respond properly to your contentions. What I think I do know is that United States governments since 1967 have wanted the Israelis to be free of any serious armed resistance to the occupation so that they could devote their full attention to any US middle eastern concerns that might arise. Thus, viewing Israel as a strategic asset, the US has understood that the best way for Israel to deal with such possible resistance is by colonization, and covertly encouraged it. The flotilla murders have galvanized world opinion and led several countries to demand an end to the blockade. Two intifadas later, Israel has blockaded Gaza for several years and occupied ever more of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. My main point: we need to remember the role of the US government in what has been done to Palestine, and oppose that role.

    • As I see it, the problem with violence is that it allows the oppressor to argue that it is a victim of terrorism, and that victim status justifies further both violent and nonviolent oppression. The sympathy of the rest of the world is a central factor here, and the spectre of non-violent resisters being shot or "Merkava'ed" is pretty powerful--especially when pictured. The world press needs to be present at these confrontations and broadcast them live. (We can be pretty sure that "lunch counter" provocation will need to be a part of nonviolent resistance, however. ) Kevin McDonald (link here: link to ) has written a very interesting critique of Mearsheimer that includes arguing that nonviolence cannot be used effectively against Israel. In sum, I think the value of nonviolence in this particular case depends upon how the rest of the world reacts to Israel's use of violence against Palestinian nonviolence. The Israelis don't appear to care about Palestinians, but look at their panicky response to Goldstone (i.e., world opinion).

  • These 'Times' demand Robert Mackey
    • decentjew,

      That's why I blog, in hopes that I someday will have that fainting spell!

    • To echo decentjew, Jerome Slater has blogged extensively on the bias of the NYT and I believe he would agree that "claims of Times' objectivity are transparently ludicrous." The point at issue seems to me to be this particular blog and ensuing commentary by Mackey, and I think he has been much more objective than the NYT has been historically. If so, he deserves some credit.

  • Report: Obama to call for independent inquiry of flotilla raid
    • Potsherd wrote:

      "But Israel doesn’t control the US government."

      I agree-in part-but most of the elected (and appointed) US government representatives compete to see which of them can better "support Israel," in order to ensure continued and even increased funding by The Lobby. Thus our government is not really free to avoid unwise involvement in Israeli policies. In this sense, then, Israel does control our government, in my opinion.

    • I knew the Kristol report was too good to be true, as other posters have already suggested. I think Annie is probably right--a way to pressure the White House not to have the UN do the investigation. The possible plus for our side: there must have been some folks in the current administration pushing for the UN investigation.

  • Pillow talk: 'NYT' correspondent's husband says Israel is in a war against critical information
    • Hirsh Goodman says in his blog:

      "It seems that a major reason for withholding the pictures may have been the concern in the military that their disclosure would lead to demoralization in the army... In consequence, the military, with appropriate government approval, withheld the videos, a correct decision perhaps from the army's perspective..."

      Hey, I thought these IDF types were supposed to be pretty tough hombres. But, no, Hirsh implies that the poor, psychologically fragile troops are going to require a psychotherapist for every brigade to provide crisis counseling--should a soldier be so unfortunate to see a wounded or dead comrade. Give me a break, Mr. Goodman! Sounds to me that the greater risk is that the pictures could lead increasingly brutal treatment of unarmed old men, women, and children by the IDF, and that such treatment will ignite still another firestorm of justifable criticism.

  • 'J Street' publishes an 'I am scared' letter from an Israeli
  • Israel's 'self-defense' narrative falls apart
    • Paul wrote:

      "The Netanyahu government’s political strategy for grappling with the latest international crisis it has triggered has been rooted from its inception in the outlook that molds the Israeli psyche: whatever happens, Israel is always the victim. ... Out of a national unwillingness to rise above this unremitting sense of victimization, Israel’s leaders and its population have rendered themselves incapable of accepting responsibility for their own actions."

      I would be interested to know whether the average Israeli sees Israel as the victim. This victim contention seems to me a transparent and calculated attempt to deflect criticism by non-Zionists.

  • Israeli Foreign Ministry acknowledges Gaza is occupied
  • Judt: Who lost Zionism? Who lost Turkey?
    • Notatall,

      Wouldn't you agree that the following excerpt from Judt's piece is pretty strong stuff?

      "Along with the oil sheikdoms, Israel is now America’s greatest strategic liability in the Middle East and Central Asia. Thanks to Israel, we are in serious danger of “losing” Turkey: a Muslim democracy, offended at its treatment by the European Union, that is the pivotal actor in Near-Eastern and Central Asian affairs. Without Turkey, the United States will achieve few of its regional objectives — whether in Iran, Afghanistan or the Arab world. The time has come to cut through the clichés surrounding it, treat Israel like a “normal” state and sever the umbilical cord."

  • Adviser without portfolio, Walt tells Obama how to get back his Cairo form
    • Significant and open American involvement in breaking the blockade would amount to political suicide for the current administration--both now and in the coming elections. NO WAY will democratic congressmen/women support or even permit such an action, however many of us would like it to happen. Someone once said, "Individuals have moral principles that guide them; nations have only interests." How true...

  • 'Tablet' runs groundbreaking Luban piece attacking liberal Zionism's Jewish narcissism
    • Brilliant! Thanks, Phil: "There is only one thing to be said about Daniel Luban’s breathtaking essay on liberal Zionist narcissism in Tablet: Read it."

  • In 'WaPo', Obama administration distances itself from Israeli raid
  • Bless her heart, Andrea Mitchell seems upset by Gaza blockade
    • I didn't hear the broadcast, but it sounds as though Andrea is to be commended. What she did was courageous. Whether she can consistently keep it up may not depend merely upon her moral fortitude. What I think is important is that she put another crack in the armor. If she can keep it up consistently, all the better!

  • Were Israeli photos of flotilla 'weapons' faked?
  • 'Huffpo' stakes out new frontier in the liberal discourse (Welcome home, Barney!!!!!!!)
    • Great, Phil! Here's what I don't understand: why does a person have to be a "liberal" and/or a "leftist" to believe in democracy, individual rights, social justice, and the rule of law? When was the safeguarding of these concepts given to "us?" Don't rightists" subscribe to these concepts, too?

  • It's up to Obama whether the siege of Gaza continues
    • I have heard Korean war veterans talk about how the Chinese and North Koreans would avoid attacking Turkish positions when given a choice. At least back then, the Turks were ferocious fighters. While I applaud the support of the Turkish government for the Palestinian people, this Gaza problem may have very serious consequences if the Turkish and Israeli navies face off.

  • Israeli version of events doesn't pass laugh test
    • The truth re: the incident will eventually be revealed, and the Israelis are going to wind up with much more than egg on their faces.

  • NPR, the CIA, and the settlers: a detective story
    • Please substitute the word "fairness" for "failure" in my previous post. Thanks.

    • Well done, Sir!

      P.S.: I have been most unimpressed with the failure of NPR's coverage of the Middle East generally.

  • The trap
    • 399 seanmcbride May 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm
      "I am increasingly convinced that Mideast political controversies are not about political problems, but *psychological* problems. Many of the participants to the controversies have deep-rooted psychological “issues.” Seriously. The levels of irrationality that one encounters in this domain are mind-boggling. Some of you know what I am talking about."

      Not to mention the level of incivility...

    • 391 annie robbins May 30, 2010 at 1:45 pm
      Thank you lobewyper.

      You're most welcome, Annie! Somehow you have managed in your post that started this thread to touch upon some extremely responsive chords in people. I don't think I've ever seen so many reponses to a posting on this site in such a short time period. Maybe you should go into the psychology biz? :)

    • Some of you might be interested in this piece by Thabo Mbeki, former president of S. Africa, on several factors impeding a just settlement of the I-P conflict. I found them rather sobering...

      link to

    • Ms. Robbins,

      Your insights (and hasbara detector) are much appreciated! Thanks for posting.

  • Some conspiracy theories are true -- Cockburn
    • Several writers have noted McCain's infamous temper and capacity for self-righteously blowing off his critics. The man is not a model of psychological health (not even close, IMO), and should not ever be in a position of great power (i.e., president of the US). Yet, he came very close in this last election and would probably have won with a better vice presidential running mate. Say what you will about Obama--he's a much more tightly wrapped and psychologically together individual.

    • Tommy wrote:

      6 tommy May 29, 2010 at 11:31 am
      "Do not forget, Sen. Kerry was the chair of the committee charged with covering up the betrayal. McCain was just a member. Milquetoast moderates are just as dangerous, if not more, as rabid neo-conservatives or POW carpet baggers when it comes to destroying lives. Many of Congress’ most dedicated militant Zionists are moderate Democrats."

      The problem is, as I see it, that the forces that governments can mobilize against the exposure of unpleasant truths are sufficiently powerful to deter even the best of elected representatives from doing so. It's not merely the Lobby and those in our congress who are militant Zionists. Almost all of them toe the party (Zionist) line, and recognize that doing so is a necessary cost of doing business. They toe the party (government's) line on many other matters which the government doesn't want to reveal, such as the abandoned POWs. What reporters need is something like tenure in the universities. Without tenure, do you think Mearsheimer and Walt would have ever written their book? It is very important to expose attempts by Zionists and their sympathizers to suppress criticism of Israeli policy on college/university campuses. But reporters working for the MSM don't have tenure or anything resembling it, and hence are highly susceptible to the temptation to shade the truth in ways demanded (implicitly or explicitly) by their employers.

    • Sorry for the link duplication, above.

    • I think Colin's mention of the "possibility" that the US govt. knowingly abandoned POWs and then lied about it is likely to be a certainty. Take a look at the articles linked below:

      link to

      link to

      I would like to raise the larger problem (as does Phil) of discovering governmental lying. We have journalists that are dependent for a living on cultivating government news sources. If they then publish an unpleasant truth, they are likely to be punished by losing access to governmental officials and even by losing their jobs. Sure, we all think that discovering and telling the public the truth is the moral thing to do. But what would you do if you suddenly lost your livelihood? Government is a bureaucracy, and like all such, it has self-protective mechanisms that are quite effective against even heroic investigative reporters. (Another example is the public school system.) And yes, the internet is one way around the censorship we see in the MSM. But how much hope should we place in it? The bottom line is changing public opinion, but most of the people who use the net surf the MSM sites for their news. I would really be interested in a large-scale study of public opinion on, say--the I-P conflict--to see the degree to which non-MSM sites have actually influenced opinions on this issue.

  • The thrilla in the Mediterranean won't be coopted
  • More on the Gaza flotilla-- and a call to demonstrate
    • 2 yonira May 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm
      lefty war-mongers….. only on mondoweiss

      Yes, those Hamas folks are going to cleverly fashion suicide bombs out of flour, rice, and cement, and hundreds of innocent settlers are going to die.

  • Could Flotilla bring sea change in Washington attitude to Gaza?
    • Richard Witty wrote:

      "Absent international supervision, critical supervision, not Ging’s UNRWA approach, there is the possibility of import of military materials, which will escalate tensions more than relieve suffering. There is no sovereign Gaza or Palestine, so the pretense of inspections of materials violating anyone’s sovereignty, is false."

      Not to worry, Richard. The Israeli armed forces are very good at this inspection thing. I can assure you that no Stinger anti-aircraft missiles will be delivered...

  • 'Commentary' calls Walt an 'intellecual terrorist' and Khalidi an 'anti-Semite'
    • We should never forget that there is nothing so terrifying as an idea whose time has come...

  • FDR had vision
  • Zuckerman insists Israel is strategic asset
    • James,

      Thanks for the link to Joel Stein's article. He seems to me to be saying, "Of course Jews run things [i.e., are over-represented] in Hollywood. So what? Jews are over-represented in lots of creative endeavors, one of which happens to be the movie industry. They're also over-represented in cancer research." O.K., he's talking about the movie industry, and not the news media. (BTW I believe a case could be made that American movies very frequently present Jewish characters in a favorable light. I also think that WASPs as well as Arabs and Germans are disproportionately shown in an unfavorable manner, but that's merely my opinion.)

      Back to the news media. Stein might say the same thing about this: "Sure Jews are disproportionately represented and hold powerful positions in the MSM. We're good at that sort of thing." But you and I know that the facts seem to indicate that Israel is portrayed far more favorably than is justfiable than the facts on the ground suggest. And innocent Palestinians (as well as some guilty ones) are and have been seriously suffering due to Israeli human rights violations and territorial seizures. And the MSM media is substantially responsible for this suffering by its failure to tell the American people the truth. What do you think Mr. Stein have to say about that?

    • James,

      Thanks for your comments. I might add that many American Jews (especially, younger) seem almost indifferent to Israel based upon surveys. So, I agree that in your sense of the term "ownership," "the Jews" don't own the US media. As you note, some Jews (and gentiles) do own important media outlets and allow their pro-Israeli bias to affect their reporting and hence, public opinion. (There are also many Zionists who abhor the Israeli government's policies. For example, one Judge Richard Goldstone.)

    • James Bradley wrote:

      "Saban and Zuckerman act as individuals even if they think they’re acting on behalf of a wider community. They make decisions without consulting the wider Jewish community and in the end act in a manner that is selfish and individualistic even if they may think their actions are altruistic. The Jewish community of America has very little say in the business decisions of Saban, Zuckerman, and others and thus it cannot be said that “Jews own the American media” merely because many American media conglomerates are owned by individual Jewish identifying people."

      I see your point, James--but as you know--the evidence suggests that the American media strongly favors the Israeli over the Palestinian position and tends to minimize or even not to report news that presents Israel in an unflattering manner. The fact is that many of these media are Jewish-owned and hold Israel and its wishes in high regard--as Walt & Mearsheimer and many others have pointed out. I have read somewhere (maybe Jerry Slater?) that the NYT is flooded by mostly Jewish complaints whenever a story appears that seems to favor the Palestinians. The NYT is a business, and must show consideration for its readership. In this sense and in at least some locales, some individual Jews acting independently appear to be influencing the news. Others have noted that publishing unflattering material about Israel can result in very real financial hazards (such as losing ad revenues). So, even gentile media owners are being pressured to not tell all sides of the story...

    • Les, I agree. We Americans pride ourselves in having refined democracy to levels never dreamed of before. Instead, we have only taken betrayal of the public trust and manipulation of public opinion to levels Machiavelli would have admired.

    • For me, the issue of the damage that Israel does to our image far outweighs any strategic advantage it may provide. By "our image," I don't mean merely our image to others, but also to ourselves. How can Americans maintain an integrated sense of moral integrity while tolerating Israel persecution of an innocent population? Moreover, I suspect that Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt would let us use their bases in an emergency. So long as we indirectly support a repressive and illegal occupation/ colonization), we are rightfully seen as hypocritical and quite willing to sacrifice human rights and the rule of law for our own (and Israel's) selfish ends. The Great United States of America, whose elected representatives can be bought for a few thousand in campaign contributions...

  • Israelis made 'strategic theft' of ISM's video cameras
    • "This just doesn’t make any sense. Everyone knows (or has been told) that the Israeli Army is the most moral army on the planet."

      E. g., the IDF recently took morality to the next level by issuing its soldiers portable bullet sterilizaton kits...

    • This kind of behavior, if it occurred, does not surprise me. The Israeli government and its minions have shown that they view any response (whether or not lawful) to criticism or perceived threat as justifiable and beyond reproach. Included in such responses include targeted assassinations, kidnapping, home demolitions, imprisonment without due process, torture, and many other morally repugnant and illegal acts. And then they wonder self-righteously why they are being "delegitimized"...

  • I drove four hours to hear about the Gaza flotilla
    • I think Yonira has raised an interesting and important question. How much of what is posted on this website reflects concern for the Palestinians, and how much reflects other concerns? I suspect Yonira sees those other concerns mainly as anti-semitic rant. Personally, I see several other possible factors, including:

      1) Fear/anger in response to Israeli behavior, such as murder, unlawful detention, torture, collective punishment, etc.

      2) Anger at Israeli hypocrisy (e. g., attempts to suppress free speech, ban critics) while parading itself as being dedicated to democracy and freedom of expression.

      3) Anger at the Lobby and elected US officials for having permitted the corruption of the US democratic process.

      4) Anger at revelations of Israel's (and its US supporters) role as advocate for the Iraq war, and now for agitating against Iran, which could lead to some very unpleasant consequences for the USA.

      5) Anger at the US media's mostly successful effort to suppress criticism of Israeli policy.

      The above is a partial list, obviously.

    • Madeline,

      I congratulate you for your efforts on behalf of social justice for and fair treatment of the Palestinians. Keep up the good work!

    • Miss Dee Mena wrote:

      "It looks like Israel might be planning to shoot itself, yet again, big time in the foot. This will receive massive international publicity. The Israeli navy will have to arrest hundreds of people and if they use too much force and people are injured or boats are sunk the Israelis will have more publicity problems."

      It is my hope that the convoy will indeed draw massive publicity--maybe even US MSM will cover it. It would have been nice if there had been a couple of American ships participating, because that would have created more pressure for US media coverage. If the Israelis try to blockade it, I hope they will have not only publicity problems, but legal ones. Isn't the convoy's planned journey entirely in international waters?

  • When it comes to war with Iran, says Perle, Netanyahu outranks American generals
    • It is certainly "heartening" to learn that Mr. Perle believes that the failure of an Israeli go-it-alone strike against Iran would be more to be feared than the mere deaths of thousands of innocent Iranians! With friends such as he, we don't need enemies... Actually, I think such a failed strike might have very positive consequences for both Israel and the US--it might bring the Israelis to their senses and lead to a more sensible and just I-P settlement.

  • The Wiesel industry
    • "... How does a professional moralist acquire $45 million to invest with Madoff?..."

      He's not a professional moralist. He's a professional spin doctor that tries to justify every unpleasant action of the Israeli government and its minions. A professional moralist would not ignore or even attempt to deny that millions of non-Jews have suffered mass murder and/or genocide... Wiesel only cares about Jewish suffering, and hence is a moral particularist.

  • Elvis Costello cancels Israel concerts: sometimes it's 'impossible to simply look the other way'
  • Kattan: Truman administration threatened sanctions against 'brutal' Israeli stance on refugees
    • The excerpt below suggests that the U.S. government at least in the distant past took seriously human rights and social justice. Would that I will live to see that day again!

      On 29 May, Ben-Gurion received a letter from James G. McDonald, the first US Ambassador to Israel, by which the US President informed the Government of Israel that it was "seriously disturbed by the attitude of Israel with respect to a territorial settlement in Palestine and to the question of Palestine refugees". The letter continued:

      "As a member of the U.N. Palestine Conciliation Commission and as a nation which has consistently striven to give practical effect to the principles of the U.N., the United States Government has recently made a number of representations to the Israeli Government, concerning the repatriation of refugees who fled from conflict in Palestine. These representations were made in conformity with the principles set forth in the resolution of the General Assembly of December 11th, 1948, and urged the acceptance of the principle of substantial repatriation and the immediate beginnings of repatriation on a reasonable scale which would be well within the numbers to be agreed in a final settlement."

      The letter reiterated that the Israeli Government "should entertain no doubt whatever" that the US Government expected it "to take responsible and positive action concerning the Palestine Refugees". It then concluded:

      "If the Government of Israel continues to reject the basic principles set forth by the resolution of the General Assembly of December 11, 1948 and the friendly advice offered by the United States Government for the sole purpose of facilitating a genuine peace in Palestine, the United States Government will regretfully be forced to the conclusion that a revision of its attitude toward Israel has become unavoidable."

    • Phil--Wonderful post! Mondoweiss rocks!

      I have always believed the essence of the quote below from Bernadotte's memoir:

      "To take one example: the Israeli Government had had a very great opportunity in connection with the Arab refugee question. It had missed that opportunity. It had shown nothing but hardness and obduracy towards those refugees. If instead of that it had shown a magnanimous spirit, if it had declared that the Jewish people, which itself had suffered so much, understood the feelings of the refugees and did not with to treat them in the same way as it itself had been treated, its prestige in the world at large would have been immeasurably increased."

      Is it too late to turn the Israeli government's ship around? Show a little "magnanimous spirit," and see what develops.

  • Chomsky and Zionism
    • The barring of Chomsky was covered 5-17-10 PM by NPR. Chomsky was interviewed and during it asserted (in his calm, reasoned way) that, yes, Israel actually does resemble apartheid South Africa in several important respects. I was amazed NPR broadcast this with little or no protest from the interviewer...

  • Israeli soldiers drag, beat and kick Israeli woman
    • Why are we sending American troops to Iraq and Afghanistan??? A brigade or two of the IDF and border police would be more than equal to the task...

  • Dersh the knife
    • Kennedy's is one of the most devastating, yet polite, rejoinders it has ever been my privilege to read! You go, boy!

  • Six retired generals and admirals don't buy Israel lobby's security plaint
    • Traintosiberia,

      Kevin Mc Donald reviews evidence in his book, "A People that Shall Dwell Alone" that comes to a very similar conclusion to that of Netanyahu's father you note below:

      "Father of Nethanhoo ( isareli PM ) wrote a book on inquisition. Reading first 60 pages give you a glimpse of the thinking that goes into the mind of the zionist. He traces it all the way back to Hellenistic period.
      Paradigm rests on the unrestricted access to the rulers or the ruling class and a symbiotic existence between the two at a cost to the majority of the ruled population."

      However, this thesis surely cannot describe all Zionists, and perhaps not even most...

    • "Can someone explain to me just what these common, shared, Western values are and why these values should take precedence over the stratigic interests of the U.S. Whatever these values are, Israel certainly does not consider them important enough to take precedence over grabbing more Arab land in East Jerusalem. "

      The shared values are shared primarily by members of the US Congress, and include campaign donations, favors, and staying in office by pleasing the Israel Lobby, the proxy for the Israeli government here in the states.

    • Phil,

      Sorry, but I don't get it. It sounds like the 6 American generals did not object to the Israelis' pointing out the dangers that Israel (in contrast to the US) faces (e. g., less margin for error, etc.). I don't read it as showing that the Petraeus viewpoint is gaining traction. Am I missing something here?

  • Who put charming the Israeli public at the top of Prez's To-do list?
    • Obama (whom I voted for) has been a major disappointment so far, and his groveling toward the Israeli government is one of the central reasons for my discontent. Thanks for reminding us of how a real American president should be acting.

  • In the Chicago Tribune, Mearsheimer explains why 'the Zionist dream' is in danger
    • "Israel is negotiating now on a two-state solution with America as a mediator because the Palestinians refuse to talk directly with Israel. The real obstacle is the Palestinians’ rejectionism in refusing to accept the legitimacy of Zionism."

      I thought the problem all along has been that the Palestinians have been objecting to the continuing theft and colonization of their territory and Israeli human rights abuses in the Occupied Mearsheimer and others have suggested.

    • The following assertion by Mearsheimer is a principal reason why he and J Street will NOT be making common cause anytime soon. Quotation from Mearsheimer article "Saving Israel from Itself" at:

      link to

      "Americans of all persuasions are becoming increasingly aware of what Israel did to the Palestinians in 1948 and what it has been doing in the Occupied Territories since 1967. Consequently, Israel no longer looks like the victim; it looks like the victimizer, and a ruthless one at that. This situation is sure to get worse if Israel turns itself into an apartheid state in full view of the world. "

  • 600 people readying to sail to Gaza on 8 ships, including 'MV Rachel Corrie'
    • It is now time for an American aid ship carrying both Jewish and gentile activists to join the convoy to Gaza. Why do Americans wanting a just middle east settlement have to be upstaged in this matter by Greece, Ireland and Turkey?

    • dsfs

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