Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3773 (since 2010-05-21 23:21:46)

I am a lawyer with several degrees in Classics (Greek and Latin).

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  • Registration of Jews and other human beings
    • Actually, if the Jewish state had been established in East Prussia, that would have been in a place where the indigenous German population had already to a large extent fled by 1945, and from which the remaining Germans were very shortly expelled. There were some Poles and Kashubians as well in East Prussia, but they were both relatively small minorities, and most of the Kashubians, who preferred to regard themselves as German, were also expelled.

    • Looks like war is coming closer: oh! oh! oh! what a lovely war!.

      Such ominous developments on the centennial year of 1914!

    • Given Israel's failure to get on board with the U.S.'s Ukraine policy, I think this is one case of crying wolf that cannot be blamed on Israel. I continue to suspect the CIA's hand in this.

    • I thought that the entity claiming separate existence in Donetsk called itself "Донетская Народная Республика", i.e., "Donetsk People's Republic". Yet this document is entitled "Невасимая Донетская Республика", i.e., "Independent Republic of Donetsk".

    • I've read allegations that the fliers were written in Ukrainian. Now that David Samel has provided a clear image of one of the fliers, it's quite clear that it's in Russian, not Ukrainian.

  • Peter Beinart misses South Africa's apartheid lesson, Gideon Levy gets it
    • The present anthem of South Africa includes four lines from Die Stem, which do not strike me as offensive at all: Uit die blou van onse hemel,/ Uit die diepte van ons see,/ Oor ons ewige gebergtes,/ Waar die kranse antwoord gee (Translation: From the blue of our heavens,/ From the depths of our seas,/ Over our everlasting mountains,/ Where the cliffs give answer).

      Meanwhile, it's hard to see how you could extract an inoffensive part of Hatikvah, which is translated: As long as in the heart, within,/ A Jewish (יְהוּדִי) soul still yearns,/ And onward, towards the ends of the east,/
      An eye still gazes toward Zion (לְצִיּוֹן);/ Our hope is not yet lost,/ The hope of two thousand years,/ To be a free people in our land (בְּאַרְצֵנוּ),/ The land of Zion and Jerusalem (אֶרֶץ צִיּוֹן וִירוּשָׁלַיִם).

    • By this logic, South Africa was not an apartheid society before 1970, the date of the legislation that eliminated non-white political representation in South Africa.

  • Snowden revealed a world of conspiracies I once would have scoffed at-- Bryan Burrough
    • Means, motive, opportunity. Many men have been correctly convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence.

      Books like Kugel and Bahar's Der Reichstagsbrand: Geschichte einer Provokation and Hett's new English-language Burning the Reichstag: An Investigation into the Third Reich's Enduring Mystery have proved the case that the Nazis were behind the Reichstag fire, whoever may have set his hand to starting the fire, beyond any doubt. (Hett is a lawyer, with historical expertise. So am I.) Like the books I cited on the JFK assassination, these books utilize mountains of evidence, much of it only recently revealed.

    • Actually, some recent books give us a very good idea of just who was behind the JFK assassination. Three books I recommend are: Oswald and the CIA, by John Newman, a retired Army intelligence officer who became a professor of history and who has expertise in accessing and interpreting classified documents (make sure you read the paperback edition, which has new conclusions in its final chapter); Mary's Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace, by Peter Janney, the son of a high-ranking CIA official; and the five-volume Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government's Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK, by Douglas P. Horne, a retired naval officer who was Chief Analyst of Military Records for the Assassination Records Review Board, a board established by Act of Congress that had subpoena powers. If you look at all the evidence, we may not know all the details of how it happened, we may not know the identities of the individual shooters, but we have a very good idea of who was behind the assassination.

    • The whole use of the phrase "conspiracy theory" to ridicule someone was originated by the CIA, which used the phrase to discount people who doubted the Warren Commission account of the JFK assassination.

    • Snowden has done his best to make sure that the story is about what he revealed, not about himself. It's been the media and our government that have tried to focus the story on him and his alleged flaws.

      If he acted out of ego, there's nobody who has not acted out of ego.

  • John Judis's Truman book is a landmark in anti-Zionism
    • Samuel Untermyer led the movement for a worldwide Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany, until his fellow Zionists doublecrossed him with their Transfer Agreement with Germany, which squelched any prospects of a boycott.

    • When Poland and the Baltic States were created, the government in power in Russia was no longer the government which was allied with Britain and which fought on the same side in the First World War as the U.S. (the U.S. did not even consider itself an ally of Britain and France, but an "associated power"), but the Bolshevik government which Wilson hated, and which he and Western opinion thought had been a quasi-ally of Germany.

    • Russia was also one of the losers in the First World War. And Wilson hated Communism.

    • And both Houses of Congress in June 1922 had very heavy Republican majorities. And the Republicans were the party that was not internationalist. They had just rejected the Treaty of Versailes and the League of Nations.

    • I just read Fredrik Logevall's Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam. Woodrow Wilson was no more sympathetic towards the aspirations towards independence of the Vietnamese (and indeed of all the peoples subjected to Western colonial empires) than he was towards the Palestinians. Wilson, as the son of a Presbyterian minister of Scots-Irish descent, was even unsympathetic towards the aspirations of the Irish (Catholics). Self-determination was only meant to apply to the peoples of the defeated Central Powers.

    • South Africa's dismantling of its nuclear weapons (in 1991), its signing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (in 1991), and its signing the Treaty of Pelindaba establishing the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (in 1996) were of course all connected with the end of apartheid.

    • OT, the Supreme Court is going to rule, apparently, on whether Congress has the power to dictate Israel policy to the executive branch. SCOTUSblog: Court to rule on Israel policy:

      The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to rule on whether the president has the sole power to decide on the nature of the U.S. government’s formal relations with Israel. That issue arises out of a dispute between the White House and Congress over whether Israel should be noted as the place of birth of a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem. At issue is the constitutionality of a 2002 law mandating Israel as the place-of-birth designation in that situation, if requested. (The case is Zivotofsky v. Kerry.)

    • Phil: Your reminding us that Israel is nuclear-armed makes me think of a powerful additional reason for the one-state solution. A single Israel-Palestine state could presumably only be established by international treaty, with other powers guaranteeing the rights of both nationalities. Nuclear disarmament could be made part of that treaty.

      Might be the only way to achieve the nuclear disarmament of Israel, and thus rid the world of a terrible problem.

    • Unfortunately, support for establishing Israel was not just on the left in the U.S. It was also supported not only, as Phil indicates, by Republican presidential hopeful Dewey, but also, incredibly, by semi-isolationist Mr. Republican Bob Taft.

    • Nitpick: Thomas Dewey. John Dewey was the educational philosopher.

  • UN peace envoy denied entry to Church of the Holy Sepulchre by Israeli police
    • Somewhat OT, CBS News: Syria's Bashar Assad visits recaptured Christian village on Easter:

      BEIRUT - Syria's embattled president marked Easter with a tour Sunday of an ancient Christian village recently recaptured by his forces, an important symbolic prize for his government ahead of coming presidential elections he appears poised to contest.

      President Bashar Assad's visit to Maaloula, some 40 miles northeast of Damascus, serves a propaganda victory for his government in its quest to be seen as protector of religious minorities as its civil war grinds on.

      . . .

      Assad promised to defend Christians - who make up about 10 percent of Syria's prewar population of 23 million - and protect churches that he said were part of the country's cultural heritage. Syria's civil war has seen Islamic extremists and radical foreign fighters join the fight and target Christians and their houses of worship.

      Many of Syria's patchwork of minority Christian and Muslim faiths support Assad or have remained neutral, fearing for their fate should hard-line rebel groups seize power.

    • There was actually coverage unfriendly to Israel of Palestinian Christians being blocked from attending the Easter festivities in East Jerusalem in the first, main section of yesterday's Washington Post: Palestinian Christians marking Easter struggle to reach Jerusalem holy site, U.N. envoy says, by Ruth Eglash and William Booth:

      JERUSALEM — Thousands of Orthodox Christians flooded Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday for the annual lighting of the holy fire — a massive Easter event that mostly unfolded smoothly, although there were reports that Israeli police officers created barriers for some Palestinian Christians who were seeking to attend together with a group of high-ranking diplomats.

      Robert H. Serry, the United Nations’ special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said he and several other senior diplomats had joined with Palestinian Christians in a special procession to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is built on the hill where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried before rising from the dead.

      But despite earlier assurances of unhindered access to the church for the Saturday of Light ceremonies, Serry said in a statement, Israeli police refused to allow the group entry, saying they had orders to that effect.

      . . .

      Restrictions of the kind Serry described are not unusual this time of year. For the past eight or nine years, one of the annual rites of spring for Palestinian Christians is to complain about their access to the holy places during Easter Week — and for Israeli officials to deny they are doing anything wrong.

      Also this, in today's FT: Israel’s silence on Ukraine puts country at odds with US: Relations already under strain over Iran and Palestine issues :

      Benjamin Netanyahu is not known for the subtlety or restraint he uses when finding the words or – as needed – crudely drawn cartoons to express his views on international issues.

      But as western countries join forces to oppose Russia’s annexation of Crimea and apparent efforts to destabilise eastern Ukraine, the normally blunt and astringent Israeli leader has been demure – even downright dull.

      When pressed on the topic on a visit to the US last month, Mr Netanyahu told Fox News: “I hope the Ukrainian thing is resolved quickly, amicably, but I have enough on my plate, which is quite full.” He then quickly changed the subject to another talking point: a ship carrying Iranian and Syrian arms Israel had seized on the Red Sea off Sudan a few days before.

      Israel also did not show up for a March 27 vote by the UN General Assembly in which a large majority of countries voted to condemn Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

      While Israeli officials later attributed the no-show in New York to a foreign ministry strike that has since been resolved, their country’s official silence on Ukraine puts Israel, a country which sees itself as both a part of the developed west and the Middle East, at apparent odds with the US, its closest ally.

      Haaretz, the liberal daily newspaper, reported recently that White House and state department officials had “built up a great deal of anger” over Israel’s neutrality on the crisis

      I think a sea change is occurring in the media.

  • Obama and Kerry are spurred by 'vainglory' in pursuing talks -- Finkelstein
    • Isn't there evidence that AIPAC coordinates its actions with the Government of Israel? Doesn't that make it a foreign lobby?

    • Wikipedia piece on the Battle of Aleppo has a map of the situation in Aleppo as of April 2014. Sure looks to me as if the city is divided half and half.

    • As someone who has worked as a naval officer in the E-Ring of the Pentagon just a few doorways away from the offices of the Secretary of Defense, allow me to express my doubts that you will find many high-ranking military officers who agree that Israel is a strategic asset.

    • Syria’s most populate city is still under rebel control.

      According to Wikipedia, control of Aleppo is divided:

      In late July 2012, the conflict reached Aleppo in earnest when fighters from the surrounding countryside mounted their first offensive there,[62] apparently trying to capitalise on momentum gained during the Damascus assault.[63] Since then some of the civil war's "most devastating bombing and fiercest fighting has taken place" in Aleppo, often in residential areas.[62] In the summer, autumn and winter of 2012 house-to-house fighting between rebels and government forces has continued, and as of spring 2013 the Syrian army has entrenched itself in the western part of Aleppo (government forces were operating from a military base in the southern part of the city) and the rebels in the eastern part with a no man's land between them.[62]

  • 'Israel is the home of all Jews,' declares a right-wing official
    • That was typical British hypocrisy. Britain wanted Jews in Palestine for imperial reasons: to provide a local force that could help to defend the Suez Canal and British rule in Egypt, it it came to that. And indeed, when the Palestinians revolted in 1936, the British armed and trained the Jews in Palestine, who then helped to suppress the Palestinian revolt.

    • Jews must need to kvetch

      Do Israeli Jews kvetch? Hasn't Israel done its best to suppress Yiddish and the humor which is inherent in that language?

    • Marcel Ophuls's movie Hotel Terminus (an excellent movie) has a great deal to say about the close connections between Barbie and U.S. Army counterintelligence in the immediate postwar years.

    • I can't help being reminded of Rudolf Hess's words at the 1934 Nuremberg party rally, as shown in Triumph of the Will:

      Dank Ihrer Führung wird Deutschland sein Ziel erreichen, Heimat zu sein... Heimat zu sein für alle Deutschen der Welt.

  • Mark Halperin excommunicates Rand Paul, over Israel
  • 'NYT' abided by Israeli gag order even as 'EI' scooped it repeatedly
  • Reports of anti-Semitism in Ukraine and Hungary
  • Stephen Walt: publishing 'Israel lobby' ended any thought of serving in US gov't
    • Allen Dulles on the American people:

      Allen Dulles summarized his opinion about the American public at a Congressional meeting: "But nobody reads. Don't believe people read in this country. There will be a few professors that will read the record... the public will read very little".

      If people actually read the 9/11 Commission Report, complete with the footnotes, they would see that all the commission's account of the operational details of carrying out 9/11 rests on the testimony of detainees, some of whom we know were tortured, all of whom we know were subjected to severe pressure. Anybody who reads that cannot escape concluding that this is the reason why torture was used. Torture is notorious for eliciting the testimony that the torturers want, not for eliciting truth.

    • Paul Craig Roberts, a professional economist who is not employed by an academic institution, goes on and on in his recent book The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West about how corrupt academic economists and academic institutions in general have become in their pursuit of dollars from donors and donor institutions.

    • Paul Craig Roberts has a great deal to say about our degeneration into plutocratic rule by lobbies in his recent book The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West , which I am currently reading. Of course, he constantly mentions the business lobbies, given the subject of his book, but he also frequently mentions AIPAC when talking about the lobbies.

      (Oddly enough, although the author is of course an American, the book first appeared in German, as WIRTSCHAFT AM ABGRUND. Der Zusammenbruch der Volkswirtschaften und das Scheitern der Globalisierung , in July 2012, before the English-language version appeared in America in February 2013. Roberts happened to mention in that English-language version that his book was just then also being translated into Chinese.)

    • Interesting item from New Yorker piece on Elizabeth Warren:

      In 2008, Warren joined a five-person congressional-oversight panel whose creation was mandated by the seven-hundred-billion-dollar bailout. She found that thrilling and maddening, too. In the spring of 2009, after the panel issued its third report, critical of the bailout, Larry Summers took Warren out to dinner in Washington and, she recalls, told her that she had a choice to make. She could be an insider or an outsider, but if she was going to be an insider she needed to understand one unbreakable rule about insiders: “They don’t criticize other insiders.”

  • Resurrecting Passover?
    • True enough. But causing the deaths of all the first-born sons was a serious enough matter.

      In any case, Passover is the current festival.

      Both stories serve to justify abominable treatment of people that do not happen to enjoy the favor of God.

    • Speaking of Passover, doing evil, and the angel of the Lord, I've always felt that what happened to the Egyptians was very wrong.

  • Friedman prepares American Jews for a divorce from zealot Israel
    • Another sign of a change, an article in today's Congressional Quarterly, Fears of Israeli Spying Underlie Reluctance on Visa Waiver Program (subscription required):

      Lawmakers and staffers on two House committees are concerned that admitting Israel to a program that eases entry of foreigners into the United States would increase the risk of Israeli espionage, congressional aides say.

      For several years, Israel has sought admission into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, which comprises 38 nations whose citizens may enter the United States and remain for 90 days without first obtaining approval for a visa at a U.S. consulate.

      Until now, U.S. officials have said they have refused Israel’s entry into the program only because the Jewish state does not meet specific requirements for inclusion, including a rate of refusal for Israelis seeking U.S. visas no higher than 3 percent and reciprocal courtesies for U.S. citizens visiting Israel.

      Several senators are pushing a bill that would effectively waive those requirements for Israel.

      But this is the first time congressional aides have indicated that intelligence and national security concerns also are considerations in weighing Israel’s admission into the Visa Waiver Program.

      “The U.S. intelligence community is concerned that adding Israel to the Visa Waiver program would make it easier for Israeli spies to enter the country,” a senior House aide said.

  • About that special relationship...
  • Amid 'climate of fear' at Vassar, president comes out against 'action and protest' re Israel
  • 'No decision has been made on Jonathan Pollard,' says State Dep't
    • If Israel really doesn't support America's stance towards Ukraine and Crimea, then for once I agree with Israel. Stopped clock, and all that.

  • For Miliband, the road to 10 Downing Street runs through Jerusalem and Sderot
    • One does wonder why no press in any English-speaking country has been willing to publish Solzhenitsyn's 200 Years Together, about the history of Jews in Russia/USSR, in English-language translation. Not in the U.S., not in the UK, not in Canada, not in Australia, not in New Zealand. Not only that, but also not in Ireland, not in South Africa, not in any of the West Indies, not even in India or Pakistan. What's up with that?

      You can order the translations into German and French (which appeared promptly after the Russian-language original) from and Amazon in the U.S. even sells the Russian-language original, but not an English-language translation.

      What could better illustrate the power of the Lobby throughout the English-speaking world?

    • Circa 2008, I had the dubious pleasure of attending a reception at the British Embassy in D.C. in honor of a visiting Labour M.P. who was a big shot in educational policy (hence my invitation to the reception as a former Marshall Scholar). Shortly before the reception ended, I happened to overhear the British Ambassador arrange with the guest of honor for their visiting the AIPAC meeting, which was then in full swing in D.C.

    • Israel has done its best to suppress the Yiddish language. Not only is it associated with the allegedly weak, unmilitaristic Jews of Europe that Zionism and Israel have repudiated, but it is a language with a sense of humor.

  • 6 DC heavyweights tell Kerry, Netanyahu in West Bank is like Putin in Crimea
    • Lieberman has been making noises about cozying up to Russia, especially if the U.S. distances itself from Israel.

    • The Russians moved into Ukraine by Stalin want to be part of Russia. The Israelis moved into the WestBank by Israel want to be part of Israel.

      Can you please write that in English? I have no idea what you are trying to say there.

      I think the idea of keeping people trapped in states they hate and reject is grossly immoral and a true danger to world peace.

      Which would seem to imply that it would have been grossly immoral and dangerous to force the Crimeans to remain in Ukraine after the coup in Kiev, and that it is now grossly immoral and dangerous to force the Palestinians to remain under Israeli rule.

    • The Polish aristocrat Brzezinski is never very rational about Russia.

      I knew the Polish Jewish historian Richard Pipes at Harvard. When it came to Russia, he was equally irrational.

      Both of them hated/hate Russia, whether it is Communist or not.

  • Aussie media focus on Carr's assertion that Israel lobby had 'direct line' into Prime Minister's office
    • Didn't the Aussie Israel lobby play a big role in deposing Kevin Rudd as PM and replacing him with Gillard? (Not to downplay the also important U.S. influence to the same effect.)

  • State Dep't tries to clean up Kerry's 'Poof'
    • Also yesterday Kerry met with Avigdor Lieberman and said that the U.S. friendship with Israel is unbreakable.

      Which is as much as to say, it doesn't matter what Israel does, the U.S. will always remain Israel's friend. What a pathetic thing to say.

  • Because Rep. Jones voted 'present' on Israel aid, lobby group runs attack ad with burning flag
  • 'NYT' readers who objected to calling Abbas 'defiant' have a point, public editor rules
    • When apartheid was ending, there was a lot of fear of a civil war in South Africa, with hard-line Afrikaners rebelling. It didn't happen, because Mandela, who had learnt Afrikaans in prison, met the hard-line Afrikaner leaders and charmed them.

    • And Jesus. And Spinoza. And Karl Marx.

    • If the NYT's reputation could survive all the pro-Stalin mendacious reporting by Walter Duranty, I doubt if I/P dishonesty is going to sink the NYT.

      If the NYT changes its line on I/P, will it continue to get all those advertising dollars from the NYC department stores and from the lines of clothing?

    • Some of the best reporting Mencken did was of the 1948 party political conventions.

  • The crisis that Israel adroitly manufactured
  • Boteach posts censored videotape of Columbia debate
  • Let Pollard go. But first get answers from Tel Aviv
    • Pollard is no innocent. As a naval intelligence operative, he was trained on the significance of the information that he sold. Remember, he also tried to sell secrets to apartheid South Africa.

  • Pollard was in it for money, and sold so many dox Cap Weinberger wanted the death penalty

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