Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 235 (since 2010-10-13 04:43:58)



Showing comments 235 - 201

  • Citing MLK, Florida students call on school to divest
    • It would be alienating if it were a kind of appropriation, as in when LGBT activists uncritically and reflexively use the language of black liberation to talk about same sex marriage (which some activists consider as landing somewhere on the spectrum between impolite and downright racist/privileged).

      Annie is right to say that MLK holds significance not just for black students but as icon , that is, his image and words are a kind of cultural currency in the same vein as words like "freedom" and "democracy" or the words of Gandhi. But ritzl, your suggestion is a good strategy to follow in general -taking care not to appropriate is an essential part of any kind of solidarity work.

      Interestingly, I'd point out that SJPs have a rich history of working with communities of color with the understanding that all struggles are intertwined. At UC Berkeley, one of our biggest divestment advocates was the Black Student Union. Nationally, MeChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán) has endorsed BDS.

      And in one of my conversations with a student activist working on his remarks to introduce our divestment resolution to the student senate, he told me that he and a lot of his friends actually make a conscious effort to quote leaders *other than* MLK because of how whitewashed and uncontroversial his image has become -stripped of all potency and relevance to actual liberation. Just some food for thought.

  • What comes next: Why secularism fooled me into thinking the two-state solution was likely
    • This article as nonsensical. The argument does not support the conclusion. In fact the author didn't bother substantiating half of his claim, namely that religious sentiment is driving Palestinian unwillingness to "compromise" (what the hell does that mean anyway?) .

      His only discussion of religion re Palestinians is about Hamas' alleged "intransigent ideology" yet it should be common knowledge at this point that Hamas does indeed endorse a de facto two-state solution. Pointing to its out-of-date charter is not only a hasbara canard but weak scholarship. Political movements develop over time, and Hamas' pragmatism and ideological flexibility are evident to anyone who is paying attention -just look at their history of ceasefires and the statements of leaders like Khaled Meshal. Does the author use google? This list took me about two seconds:

      From 2009
      link to
      "Khaled Meshaal has endorsed the idea of a two-state solution, accepting the creation of a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital."

      From 2011
      link to
      "A day after agreeing to form a Palestinian unity government with rival faction Fatah, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal (pictured above) has told The New York Times that he will work toward a two-state solution"

      "This isn't the first time Hamas has called for a two-state solution. In 2006, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar expressed support for such a plan as a new Hamas-led Palestinian government came into being. Two years later, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter announced that the Islamist movement would accept a two-state solution so long as it was approved by a Palestinian referendum or a newly elected government."

      From January of this year
      link to

      "Khaled Meshal, head of the Syrian branch of Hamas’ political bureau, has reportedly accepted the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has authorized King Abdullah of Jordan to convey the message on his behalf to U.S. President Barack Obama. His new stance marks a dramatic shift in Hamas' position on the long-standing conflict. "

      This isn't to say that Hamas as an organization has a monolithic, fixed view of the two-state solution (or that its ideas of what that means are the same as Israel's). Nevertheless, it is categorically false that Hamas outrightly rejects it.

      At the same time other major players in Palestinian society -the PLO, Palestinian "civil society," the diaspora, and even Palestinian Muslim groups inside the green line, do not use religious arguments to explain their unwillingness to "compromise." In fact, the main currents in Palestinian society either endorse the two-state solution fully or rally around BDS. None of this represents any kind of religiously-motivated intransigence.

      More fundamentally, whether couched in religion or not, (and as many people on this forum have already said), Palestinian claims are completely grounded in law and *even more importantly* in basic notions of morality. That this author would characterize insistence on liberation as an unwillingness to "compromise" says more about him than it does about Palestinians.

      The only impression I get from this article is that its author sees religious supremacism in service of ethnic cleansing as somehow equivalent to (largely non-existent) religiously-motivated liberation ideology, and that he thinks insisting upon one's rights is "intransigent."

      What utter trash.

  • In new era of cooperation, Israeli drone kills '5 jihadis' in Egypt
    • Isn't whether the coup does or not benefit Israel sort of irrelevant from the standpoint of the Egyptian public? I'm still working out my feelings on the issue, and find it really hard to get to the bottom of things. But still, the primary criterion should be whether the changes in Egypt benefit people *in Egypt.* While Palestine is surely a salient issue in Egyptian politics, and Mubarak et al's role in the siege of Gaza etc partly created the animus against him, it surely wasn't the only or even the primary reason for the revolution. Undoubtedly Egyptians shouldn't have to choose between hurting themselves or hurting Palestinians, but when it really comes down to it, the Egyptian people have their own internal politics to worry about first.

      Speaking against the coup primarily because it benefits Israel ignores the importance of ordinary Egyptians in their own politics, in the same way Israel-firsters speak of American politics only in terms of how they benefit Israel.

      The MB was not inherently worthy of support simply because it was ostensibly pro-Palestine for the same reason the military isn't inherently worthy of animus because it is anti-Palestine.

  • McCain and Graham flipflop on aid to Egypt-- after AIPAC speaks up
    • I'm not reading too much into your comment. You didn't think about the implications of your little joke and how it is bigoted. That's the nice thing about being privileged though isn't it? You don't have to think about how your words have a larger meaning and hurt people in a lesser position than you.

      I have a question for you, Taxi. Are you gay? I'm guessing no, but I apologize if I'm wrong. Because here's the thing....if you aren't, you don't get to run your mouth about gay people, whether we do or not. Like black people reclaiming the n word, women reclaiming the word bitch, or speaking freely and frankly about our social condition. People who belong to cultures founded on oppression finding humor in our predicament is not the same thing as a straight (or white, or cisgendered, or able-bodied, or whatever it is) man using his privilege to make jokes at our expense.

      Like I said before, you're an ally. I respect that. You should respect the fact that people who are different from you in myriad ways are also a part of this community and you owe it to them to treat their identies with dignity. We are not here to be the butt of your jokes.

      There are plenty of ways of insulting McCain and Graham without resorting to childish bigotry. Stop being lazy and apply yourself.

    • Taxi, you might just be "dicking" around but it isn't funny. It's offensive. It's offensive to me as a lesbian, as a woman, and as a human being. You were attempting to mock Senator Graham by implying he was female. What, exactly, is funny or insulting about being a woman? Or being feminine? Were you trying to imply his passivity? And if so, what is the link between female gender and passivity?

      Your second comment was even worse. They make a cute couple? What is funny about that? Third graders run around calling each other gay. It's juvenile and bigoted. Grow up.

      Here's a tip. When someone calls you out for being homophobic or sexist, don't laugh it off. Apologize instead. We are all supposed to be allies here, and Palestinians need all the solidarity they can get. So help build a stronger movement by not alienating people.

      And rensanceman, using slut-shaming words like "whore" isn't any better.

  • The evidence that Bradley Manning helped start the Arab Spring
    • Bradley Manning's courage and accomplishment aside, do any of you not find it completely repugnant to try to credit the uprising of millions of brown people struggling under oppression to one white American guy? This reeks of white messiah. I'm not arguing that wikileaks, and by extension, Manning, didn't play a role. But this:

      "Of course, it is impossible for me to establish whether the man whom everyone credits with starting the Arab Spring, the noble fruitseller Mohamed Bouazizi, who immolated himself in a provincial city, read those cables. But they were widely available when Bouazizi lit himself on fire on December 17, 2010. He died January 4, 2011."

      This is ridiculous. Really, Phil? "I can't prove that Mohamed Bouazizi read the cables, but he might have," as if he needed to in order to have the courage or motivation to set himself on fire, as if the entire Middle East were just waiting for Manning and Assange to enlighten them about their own rulers. Insulting.

      And Ratner's comment that manning "actually sparked the Arab spring" is even worse. Talk about overstating your case. How about us white people stop trying to lay claim to everything? Have some damn respect.

      There is an argument to be made about the role of information, including wikileaks, in the Arab spring. But in this overstatement, or more importantly focusing on Manning's role in the Arab Spring at all, you are doing what all colonizers have done to the Middle East -placing whiteness at its center. It's a shameful topic to be obsessed with.

  • Moroccan government turns to AIPAC in effort to defend occupation in Western Sahara
  • Coalition says investigations into campus Palestine activism chill student speech rights
    • Yep, Brian. You're right, we do chant from the river to the sea. While SJP itself does not feel it has the authority to dictate to Palestinians what a final status solution would be, we are sure about a few things. Palestinian in Israel face second class citizenship. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are under occupation. And refugees have been denied their fundamental right to return to their homeland. From the river to the sea means that every part of this territory will be liberated so that justice will be denied to no one. Some of us think that necessitates a one state solution, one person/one vote, others think if a two state solution included the eradication of ethno/religious Jewish supremacy and a recognition of the nakba then tht would work too. But regardless, the truth remains that freedom, justice and equality are the ideals and goals that drive this movement. And they are so powerful, so animating, and so fundamentally right that so long as we keep fighting we will attain them. From the river to the sea Palestine will be free!

  • When 'J' means 'Jewish' not 'Justice'
    • I understand the thrust of this article but have lingering questions. I don't see the problem with Jewish Values as a reason to engage in activism. I don't see why anyone expects people who identify religiously to make their motivating animus "universal" political principles...why does it matter? What do you have to say to Islamic or Sikh feminists whose anti-sexist work is rooted in what they perceive to be their faith's ethical tradition? What do you have to say to Christian humanitarians who believe they need to engage in social justice issues because of Jesus' message? 'Sorry, go home and try again'?

      And I also don't see how saying something is one's religious value makes any claim to exclusivity or uniqueness. Do unto others and you would have them do unto you is certainly not an exclusively Christian idea, but that doesn't mean for some people it isn't a central part of their Christian identity and the reason they work for justice.

      I see the "special connection" as a produced one that ideally shouldn't exist but as a matter of fact it unfortunately does, because Jews are a target of Zionism in America, that is, the Zionist lobby/community feeds on the Jewish community as ammunition. I personally feel a "special connection" to combating pinkwashing as a gay woman, knowing that that connection is completely artificial and a result of the pinkwashing narrative itself. But since the San Francisco LGBT community is the target of many pinkwashing activities by the Israeli government and Zionist groups, being an active voice of dissent *as a member of that community* is very important.

      I really want to understand all of this more. There has been a lot of discussion and argument in some groups I'm in around these issues and I really feel like I'm missing something. So someone please reply.

  • Washington Post's racism map omits Israel
    • Racism is a hell of a lot more complex than who you want to live next door to. Structural racism anyone? Having a black friend or a Muslim neighbor or a gay nephew doesn't mean you aren't bigoted, that everything is good and fair and there aren't structural barriers to equality that must be addressed. This survey is a b*llshit whitewash of oppression.

  • After all-night debate, Berkeley student senate calls on university to divest from 3 companies profiting from occupation
  • 'Palestinians for Dignity' reject Obama visit as effort to stave off pressure on Israel, placate Palestinian street
    • I don't really know who you think you are, dictating to Palestinians what form their resistance should take. Palestinians are an oppressed people fighting colonization, and as such can choose their own terms of struggle. Whether your opinions on the efficacy of military resistance and your assessment of the reception of such resistance are indeed correct is completely irrelevant. It is not your struggle. You have no right to lecture anyone.

      I should also add that the fact that the use of military resistance would "destroy the enormous international credit which the Palestinian non-violent resistance has accrued as of now" is a testament to the way in which entrenched racism functions in our society. According to this logic Palestinians have no right to resort to violence, even justified violence in the face of oppression, while the Western world revels in the glory of the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, and so on. White people have every right to resort to arms to protect their homes and rights, but Palestinians don't. And you are justifying this view by lecturing Palestinians on how they should tailor their struggle to satisfy it, instead of lecturing others on how they should correct their latent (or manifest) racism.

      In summary, it doesn't matter if your assessment is right. It's not your place to lecture, and the reality is racist anyway.

  • Egypt allows 400 activists to enter Gaza
    • Dimadope, Let me ask you a question. If I locked you and your family in a cage for years, should I still get a pat on the back for giving you dinner while I beat your parents to death?

      Israel is the occupying power, which according to international laws requires that it provide for the occupied population. Israel has flagrantly violated international law in this regard, by instead putting Gaza under siege, causing inter alia a medical crisis where medications and equipment (not to mention electrical power, fuel and clean water) are scant.
      link to
      link to

      The amount of trucks it "allows" to enter Gaza (do you not see anything wrong with that statement in and of itself?? Israel "allows" Gaza to have food and medicine? OH WOW!) still doesn't meet the totals of what was imported before the siege began. See the work of the NGO Gisha to compare truckloads here: link to

      Israel should not be commended for "allowing" people to eat, especially when the supplies are still not enough, especially when Gazans wouldn't need so much medical equipment if Israel weren't attacking an occupied population stuck in an open-air prison with nowhere to run to, especially when Gazans wouldn't rely so much on the goodwill of their oppressor if they were allowed to have a functioning economy, especially when t Palestinians are revolting in the first place because of ethnic cleansing, occupation, collective punishment and the denial of their basic human rights.

      You are absolutely sick.

  • The light doesn't get much greener than this: Obama admin gives Israel the go ahead to escalate in Gaza
    • Denis, no one is implying Obama himself attacked Gaza. What the hell are you talking about? Obama was the president-elect during Cast Lead, and did not condemn the massacre though he commented on plenty of other issues during this time. Israel planned Cast Lead to end when Obama was first inaugurated for political reasons. Here he gave the go-ahead to the Israelis, and leveled primary responsibility on Palestinians.

      WJ postulating that perhaps Obama's staunch support for Israel was a favor to someone (to me this implies Pro-Israel donors, of which there are many with deep pockets, or to the Israeli public who was so against him, or that it was a bone to all of those other neo-cons who attacked him for being "too tough" on our ally) is not a conspiracy. It's a logical question. I disagree with him though, in that I don't think Obama's policy is a favor to anyone, rather it's just what he really thinks and we're seeing it now clearer than ever.

      I don't understand why saying any of this makes WJ a racist, or even a right-winger who wants to "secede." Why are you so intolerant to criticism of Obama's foreign policy positions? And why do you think any one who disagrees with you/him is automatically a right-wing racist? I voted for Jill Stein. I think a lot of people here did too. Even if we didn't, logical criticism grounded in facts or the rational exercise of one's brain =/= racism. Grow up.

  • Is the 'New York Review of Books' afraid of Islam?
    • "One reason is that liberal feminists are wary of Islamism"

      One reason is that liberal feminists don't actually know much about Islamism, Islamist women, Islamic feminists, Muslim women, or Muslims for that matter.

      Saba Mahmood - Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject
      Lara Deeb - An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi'i Lebanon
      Elizabeth Fernea - In Search of Islamic Feminism: One Woman's Global Journey
      Lila Abu Lughod - Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East

      Just to start. As one of those "liberal feminists" this absolutely rocked my world.

      As for the clash of civilizations, Phil...I'm a bit disappointed. I know you're a journalist, and I know where your heart is, so I understand. But please, read more.

  • NYT's Bronner to speak about 'My Israel' on behalf of liberal Zionist group
    • Sibiriak,

      It is a matter of degree rather than difference. Most iterations of the two state solution rely on ethnosupremacism, that is, the idea of a "Jewish" state, the same idea that Eretz Yisrael relies on. The fact that "liberal" zionists believe in the legitimacy of only partial ethnic cleansing (1948) rather than full ethnic cleansing shouldn't satisfy anyone, especially when their rationale for doing so has to do with ensuring a Jewish majority without having to worry about the "demographic threat" constituted by human beings of the wrong religion. The original sin was the creation of the refugee problem in the first place, and it must be atoned for just like everything else.

  • Judith Butler responds to attack: 'I affirm a Judaism that is not associated with state violence'
  • Another morphing Muni ad and a hat tip to Ayn Rand
    • I feel you, American. If you've ever read Atlas, the way she demonizes factory workers will make you want to scream.

      The "objective" concept in objective is essentially that reality exists independent of our observation of reality, i.e. so that it is apart from our subjective consciousness and therefore fundamentally knowable. Sounds like a decent premise, that is, until all of the sudden you're talking about the savage Muslim hordes, and the unequivocal right of big business to poison our food and water with impunity.

    • It's amazing, and embarrassing to me, that I used to consider myself an objectivist. Reading the Fountainhead and then Atlas Shrugged in high school helped me immensely in my battle to come out as a lesbian, to cast off my fundamentalist Christian upbringing, to get some perspective on some abusive family relationships. There was just this absolute cold logic to the entire thing. I own every single novel, play, treatise she's ever written. Every. Single. Thing. I even volunteered for the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, CA.

      But then I found out that Rand, and a lot of objectivists along with her, condemned homosexuality. I was disappointed, but pressed on. Then I realized both books idolized rape, not in a kink kind of way but in a "the only proper place for a woman is in complete subservience to a man" kind of way. I became uncomfortable. Then I found out objectivists denied global warming. I was beside myself. Then I found out objectivists were pro-Israel. I lost my sh*t. Then I found out objectivists were racists. I was done.

      I thought these things were perhaps coincidences, that the issues were with the people who espoused this philosophy, not with the philosophy itself. But I started to understand after a while that that wasn't the case at all. You see, objectivism stirs and strengthens a kind of intolerance in people. You start to cultivate a sense of rage at the world around you. Everyone is the enemy, trying to ruin you, trying to hold you back, trying to weigh you down. They are all ignorant, brainwashed. You lose your ability to listen to anyone or anything that in any way deviates from your already established beliefs. You lose your ability to learn. You lash out at everyone. You become a complete prick. I know, because I did it.

      After a long, long journey I came to understand that this rage, this abhorrence of anything different, directly relates to racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia. I don't know if objectivism cultivated those things in me or if I had them before, but I realize without a doubt this philosophy encourages people's basest tendencies.

      Ojectivism is simply an excuse for self-entitled people to feel even more self-entitled, for racists to justify their racism, for the ignorant to justify their ignorance, for the selfish and greedy to justify their selfishness and greed. It is a way for rich people to absolve their guilt (if they ever had any) and put on the mantle of victimhood. It is a complete and total inversion of morality. And I'm so glad I'm out.

  • Terror war comes home: White supremacist kills 6 Sikhs in Wisconsin
  • Syrian crisis moves into the camps: 20 Palestinians killed in Damascus refugee camp
  • Alameda County, CA proclaims Palestinian Cultural Day despite opposition
    • Loubna, pictured up top, is an important member of and organizer for the Arab Cultural and Community Center in San Francisco. She is a brilliant and tireless advocate for Palestinians, Women, Arabs, and humanity in general. Glad to see her hard work paying off!

  • Travels with a former Zionist in Israel and Palestine, part 2
  • Shamir ordered Bernadotte assassination to save Jerusalem for Jews. But will his obits tell you that?
  • Finkelstein stands by 'BDS cult' accusation, says it's 'historically criminal' to not support the two state solution
    • Oh I get it. You're about ethnic supremacy in general, not just Jewish supremacy. Interesting.

      "Without the demographic distinction why even entertain such a solution?"
      Because it's not about ethnic nationalism, it's about homes. As in people were ethnically cleansed from their homes, and their homes were stolen by other people, and those homes happen to be in what is now called Israel, and they deserve to have them back.

      And on top of that, what about all those Palestinians living inside Israel already? What do we do with them under this "Jewish" state? What happens when, through natural means, the Jewish population begins to wane in Israel? What just solution could you come up for that scenario? More ethnic cleansing? Preferential legal treatment for Jews? Unfair allocation of state resources to encourage Jewish immigration and discourage non-Jewish population growth? Alienation and discrimination of the non-Jewish community? Oh wait, that's what Israel already does to maintain its "Jewish" character.

      Nationalism is wrong in and of itself. But ethnic nationalism is even worse because it is inherently exclusivist, and by definition cannot provide for the needs of all of its citizens because it is primarily concerned with the needs and desires of only one class of people. Why the fuck am I still having to explain this to people in 2012?

    • *didn't spell the end of the United States

    • The end of Israel? Say what you actually mean Fred. Is the weight of too many non-Jews going to force the ground of Israel to crumble into the sea? Will a marvelous earthquake destroy all the buildings, roads, and cars the second a Palestinian grandmother walks into her childhood home? I don't think so. What RoR would mean, maybe, depending on how many Palestinians decide to come back rather than taking compensation, and may happen anyway if the non-Jewish birthrate in Israel outpaces the Jewish birth rate, is that Israel will lose its Jewish majority. Freeing the slaves didn't spell the end of Israel. And rectifying the injustice of the Nakba isn't going to end anything but ethnocracy.

    • Evets - when you say "different demographics" you mean Jewish supremacy, no? And what do you mean by "orientations?"

  • AP investigates the 'Made in Israel' label
    • *"My point is not the sovereignty over the West Bank, but who is the authority that has supervised the product," Palmor told The Associated Press. "Since the products of the settlements are made under Israeli regulations and standards, they are 'made in Israel.'"*

      Fascinating. Who would have thought he would give such a striking articulation of why Israel is an apartheid state?

  • 'We're not waiting for consensus' -- Rebecca Vilkomerson
    • Except, in context, my impression was Halper is just talking about a post-BDS failure of the Israeli state and what kind of society will form in its wake, whether that entity will include Israelis or not. And his idea seems to be that if Palestinian groups are separating from Israeli-led solidarity groups now, how does that inform the future? I think your analysis above is correct, but that Halper is just concerned about whether it's going to negatively impact the future, that is, whether it sets up for reconciliation or repudiation.

    • The ideas at play here are something I've had to wrestle with as a white American trying to become involved in anti-racist or anti-zionist work. I have to understand that as a white person my involvement in the struggle is and should be limited. It is my sense of entitlement and belief that I should be able to access anything and everything (in other words, my privilege) that makes me feel uncomfortable and somehow wronged when I am told I have overstepped by bounds. There are certain meetings I should not be a part of, certain groups I can defend but certainly not speak for, certain actions I can support but not call for myself. Because *shock* this isn't my battle to fight. The same goes for Jewish anti-zionists.

      The point of solidarity is not to lead. The point of solidarity is not to dominate. The point of solidarity is not to save anyone. The point of solidarity is to empower people to save themselves and to clear space for them to do so. To be effective in our solidarity we must be willing to weather any and all valid criticism of the larger group to which we belong. Otherwise what are we doing here?

      With reference to the excerpt you pulled from the Halper article, it is my understanding that he's talking about a slightly different topic. The excerpt falls into a section wherein is talking about the final status of Palestine, asking if BDS were successful what would happen next? He compares the situations of Algeria and South Africa. In Algeria the country was purged of its Frenchmen, whereas in South Africa that was not the case. What he is essentially saying is because of the nature of the conflict, that is, because it is protracted over a period of time in which 2-3 generations of Jews have now been born in Israel, whatever entity is left at the end of this struggle will have to address the reality of this group's existence, just as South Africa did. That's what he means by "inclusive."

  • US to differentiate between 'personally displaced' Palestinian refugees and their descendants
  • Nabi Saleh's Bassem Tamimi convicted by Israeli courts based on coerced testimony from 15-year-old boy
    • This is the best you can come up with? A child was interrogated, lied to, denied his rights and goaded into implicating Tamimi for "organizing a protest" against the confiscation of his land and possibly *gasp* *shock *horror* telling people to throw stones at the very people doing it, and this is your response?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??!?!?!

  • The Messiah's Donkey: Settlers fire on Palestinian villagers as the Israeli military watches
  • Growing chill between Obama and Muslims could prove a headache in November
    • This article raises a lot of crucial points. However, I do not believe Muslims will leave Obama en masse, unless they are willing to abandon the two-party trap or forfeit their participation in the voting process altogether. There is no Republican alternative. Romney is cowing to the right, not the left, and will not be interested in appealing to the Muslim community. If Obama wasn't good enough, and he isn't, no republican will be. So mainstream Muslim voters are left with two choices: 1) vote 3rd party -and that takes a certain kind of person, the kind of person I've realized I personally will be this election; or 2) not vote at all. I don't really think either of these scenarios is likely to occur in the majority.

  • Three score and four years ago our forefathers brought forth on this planet a new nation
    • I turned 18 in 2007, and Obama was the very first president I voted for. I was so excited I cried. Think I'm falling for him again? Not a snowball's chance in hell.

  • Bradley Manning could become the Ellsberg of our age (if the media would just stop marginalizing him)
  • 'Dear activist, first solve the real problems of the region' -- Netanyahu's sophomoric letter to visitors to Palestine
  • Wallace interview with Ahmadinejad was little more than deliberate demonization
  • Iran has 'promised' 'another Holocaust' -- CBS commentator
    • Ben Stein is an anti-choice republican, former speech-writer for Nixon, and most importantly, a rabid science-bashing creationist. You've got to be kidding me.

  • Connecticut Senate hopeful calls congressman a ‘whore’ for AIPAC in televized debate
    • Honestly, while I'm exceptionally happy that she's saying what she is, the feminist in me knows that a slur like "whore" just isn't appropriate, period. She could have made her point so much better, as apt as the term might seem.

  • The 'Jewbags' photo
  • Beinart gets a Jewish conversation going in the media (just don't call us a cabal)
    • "And you can understand the thinking. Israel was a concerted community project in the wake of the Holocaust, in which half of European Jewry was exterminated; and Israel's protection inside the U.S. power structure is such a crucial part of that project that there is the highest community taboo on any American Jew who would criticize it and give fuel to Israel's enemies. "

      This whole sentence annoyed the hell out of me.

  • Video: IDF caught in a lie about Tristan Anderson
    • ProudEthnicCleanser777, at the beginning of the video (around 0:10) you see the soldiers approaching and shooting. The area where they are standing is less than 100 meters from where Tristan was shot. Everyone involved in the investigation knows where Tristan was standing when he was shot, this was not disputed. What *is* disputed, is where the soldiers were. They claimed they were at a farther distance, "at another location on the other side of town" but this video clearly shows they were in the place the protestors described, too close to shoot the weapon, let alone straight at someone.

    • do you know anything about tristan or gabby? have you met either of them, know what they think or feel? did you know gabby's jewish? have you seen tristan?? ever met him or shook his hand, had a conversation with him? he's in a goddamn wheelchair. he is brain damaged because some thug in a uniform on STOLEN LAND shot a tear gas canister DIRECTLY AT HIM and fractured his skull. what the hell is wrong with you? "you can't aim these things"?! sure you can, that's how you kill protestors. it wasn't the first time, and it wasn't the last time.

  • Muslim activists give NYPD chief Ray Kelly the cold shoulder
    • Wrong homphi. Jasser is anti-Muslim because he advocates following, wire-tapping, and otherwise spying on people simply because they are Muslim. If that isn't anti-Muslim behavior, what is?

    • Homphi, why don't you take the time to read the article Alex linked to in his use of the term "anti-muslim" and see who Jasser is.

      An excerpt:

      "Unlike more wild-eyed anti-Muslim agitators like Frank Gaffney (with whom Jasser has collaborated) and Pamela Geller, Jasser comes across as calm, sober and professional. He gained notoriety in 2008, with the release of the Clarion Fund film The Third Jihad, which claimed that a fifth column of Muslim extremists have infiltrated America with the intent of establishing a theocratic state. The star of the film, Jasser helped promote the claim that has ricocheted all over the right—that a single document written by a lone Muslim Brotherhood member in the early 1990s proves that American Muslim charities and advocacy groups are part of a plot to subvert the Constitution and America and install an Islamic theocracy."

      Do you understand this? The man narrated the Third Jihad. The man is a "Muslim" who believes spying on and racially profiling people simply because of their MUSLIM religion is a fantastic model, and one that should be reproduced in other cities.

      Even if you do not consider him anti-Islam, which I do after seeing the Third Jihad, he is absolutely anti-Muslim. Again, he supports spying on people simply because they are Muslim. Oh, and his organization was partly founded by Tarek Fatah, who thinks all Muslim Student Associations should be investigated.

    • So when are we going to sue the NYPD?

  • Reflections After the Harvard One State Conference
  • Barghouthi and Erakat can reach young Americans
  • A boycott of their own? Settlers compiling list of businesses that employ 'Arabs'
    • "If BDS is an ok non-violent tool to fight for a cause, then you can’t complain when the other side uses it also."

      If it's alright to shoot someone in self-defense, then you can't complain when someone shoots you for sport.

    • No, eee.

      "When you say that BDS is a non-violent way to fight Israel and is legitimate, they can say that BDS is a non-violent way to fight the Palestinians and is legitimate."

      Boycott as a tactic is legitimate. That doesn't mean the motivation for boycott is automatically legitimate. Boycotting someone because of their race is wrong, you honestly don't understand that?

      Racism, in any context, is not legitimate. Anti-miscegenation, forced separation, apartheid...these things are not, and will never be, legitimate. How do you sleep at night?

  • Student leader who tweeted about Obama assassination spent last weekend w/ pro-Israel group StandWithUs
  • Police end Wall Street occupation-- for now
  • Romney and Obama battle it out in the primary for the Israel lobby
    • Are you saying that the US has its own legitimate and tangible interest in attacking Iran outside of the framework of benefiting Israel and that all this talk of "do it for Israel" is just pretext? If so, what are these interests, and how are they are own?

  • 'You lost' -- reporters at State say UNESCO vote isolates U.S. from world opinion (and possibly from intellectual property enforcement)
  • Tahrir tells Oakland-- 'Don't afraid, go ahead'
  • Occupy Oakland calls for general strike on November 2nd after police fracture Iraq War veteran's skull
    • I got a call last night from a friend at Occupy San Francisco around 230am. He said rumors had been circulating all night that there would be a raid at the campsite down in front of the Ferry building. I went down there right away.

      The crowd had swelled (usually it isn't as big in the middle of the night) and we were practicing techniques to protect the campsite, e.g., formations and non-violent resistance techniques. I left around 530, after the fear had dissipated and we were confident the camp would be fine. There were representatives from Occupy Oakland who announced the plan for a general strike, and everyone agreed it was a great idea. There will also be walkouts at UC Berkeley (Nov 9th) and SF State University (Nov 15th). Students at City College of San Francisco have set up a donation table to gather supplies for Occupy SF. And I'm currently trying to organize some solidarity efforts on behalf of CCSF Students for Justice in Palestine.

  • Occupy Wall Street movement is making room for Palestinian issue
    • "Analyzing the incredible power of the Lobby is not ‘superstition’. Denying it is."

      The author quotes at length from The Israel Lobby, do you honestly think that constitutes denial of the lobby's power? And just so we are clear, it is the Israel Lobby, not the Jewish lobby. Unlike what the Israeli government tries to do, you should not conflate Judaism with Zionism.

  • UNICEF pressures Israel on child detainees
  • Catch the spirit-- how Wall Street occupiers averted eviction
  • 'Rocks Falling from the Sky': Settlers attack Palestinians and internationals in Dura al-Kara
    • 3e,

      Throwing stones at soldiers with tanks, weapons and riot gear who have occupied your land isn't really on par with throwing stones down upon a village you are angry with because you have yet to steal everything they own. There is no moral or even physical equivalency. You honestly make me sick.

  • Could censorship of children's art prove a turning point?
    • We've been talking about this in class all week. A few students who didn't know much about the I/P conflict went and got an eye-full. I'm so excited that MECA is fighting back. I'm going to check the show out asap!

  • Saudis to US: You're sleeping on the couch tonight
  • Ahmad Tibi rips AIPAC junket in Salon
    • I've been told that apparently expecting African Americans to be sympathetic is racist, this from a group of African American lesbians. The context was articulating the case for same-sex marriage as akin to the struggle to repeal anti-miscegenation laws, and I was attempting to argue that while that the treatment of the LGBT community is mild (in contemporary America) in comparison, you would think that a group of people historically oppressed for an immutable trait would sympathize with another group in the same position, sort of in the same way some utilize the Shoah as a rallying cry for Jewish activism in support of myriad progressive causes. I was told that it was racist to expect anything exceptional from the Black community or to hold them to a special standard. It confused me.

  • Israel will hear your confession now
    • I wonder what these boys think, if they know what they are being used for. Could it just be an unfortunate intersection of interests? That these kids are really committed to peace and co-existence and were just brought together to be cynically employed in a propaganda campaign? It'd be nice to hear about it straight from them, how they feel about their activity being used as a means to legitimize occupation and undermine BDS, that is if it bothers them at all. If they were to comment, it could undercut the impact of the hasbara campaign surrounding their tour. Someone should ask them straight-up.

  • Pamela Geller says she didn't influence killer, 'Islamic supremacists' did
    • Dan, she is a repugnant human being to be sure. But is insulting her physical appearance really material to the situation? I don't know why people think that it's somehow alright to denigrate women for their appearance when they should be focusing on their ideas instead. I don't see many people doing this to hated male figures, and even if they did it would be totally irrelevant and shallow.

    • So she just essentially validated his point of view. Wow.

  • Marriage equality-- are we fighting to get into a Norman Rockwell painting or for true liberation?
    • GC:

      Your points really aren't "incontrovertible," but I'll let the others pick at the foundation of your argument. If they don't then I suppose we can get into that.

      The truth is, even if we are to accept your premise that marriage is designed to protect the "weak" such as women and especially children, you are still not done making your argument. Correct me if I'm wrong, GC (and you can call me Maggie by the way), but your point is that gay marriage does not protect children or provide for their interests and is thus invalid. We gays are selfish for wanting to get married without considering the effect it will have on our kids. Am I wrong?

      If you look at my earlier evidence I provided testimony from children raised by same-sex parents, links to studies conducted on the physical, emotional and mental health of children raised by same-sex parents, as well as endorsements by major medical associations of same-sex parenting. What's more, I raised the point that *not* recognizing same-sex unions actually damages childrens' well-being. So if it's really all about the kids, as you say, then what is the issue with same-sex marriage?

    • Let's get some facts straight. Firstly, the "gay lobby" does indeed focus on the benefits of same sex marriage for children as well as adults. A quick google search would elucidate this for you. Try looking up some of the pro-ssm campaigns surrounding Prop 8 like this one:

      link to

      As for your point 3 please read:
      The scientific research that has directly compared outcomes for children with gay and lesbian parents with outcomes for children with heterosexual parents has been remarkably consistent in showing that lesbian and gay parents are as fit and capable as heterosexual parents, and their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents,[3][4][5] despite the reality that considerable legal discrimination and inequity remain significant challenges for these families.[4] Major associations of mental health professionals in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, have not identified credible empirical research that suggests otherwise.[6][7][8][5][9] Literature indicates that parents’ financial, psychological and physical well-being is enhanced by marriage and that children benefit from being raised by two parents within a legally-recognized union.[5][22][23][6]

      Since the 1970s, it has become increasingly clear that it is family processes (such as the quality of parenting, the psychosocial well-being of parents, the quality of and satisfaction with relationships within the family, and the level of co-operation and harmony between parents) that contribute to determining children’s well-being and ‘outcomes’, rather than family structures, per se, such as the number, gender, sexuality and co-habitation status of parents.[4][22] Since the end of the 1980s, as a result, it has been well established that children and adolescents can adjust just as well in nontraditional settings as in traditional settings.[22]

      Judith Stacey, of New York University, stated: “Rarely is there as much consensus in any area of social science as in the case of gay parenting, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics and all of the major professional organizations with expertise in child welfare have issued reports and resolutions in support of gay and lesbian parental rights”.[24] These organizations include the American Academy of Pediatrics,[6] the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,[1] the American Psychiatric Association,[25] the American Psychological Association,[26] the American Psychoanalytic Association,[27] the National Association of Social Workers,[28] the Child Welfare League of America,[29] the North American Council on Adoptable Children,[30] and Canadian Psychological Association.[31] In 2006, Gregory M. Herek stated in American Psychologist: "If gay, lesbian, or bisexual parents were inherently less capable than otherwise comparable heterosexual parents, their children would evidence problems regardless of the type of sample. This pattern clearly has not been observed. Given the consistent failures in this research literature to disprove the null hypothesis, the burden of empirical proof is on those who argue that the children of sexual minority parents fare worse than the children of heterosexual parents."[7]
      link to

      Then watch this:
      link to

      Then read these:
      Children of Gay Parents Speak Out - link to
      Please Let My Moms Be Married - link to
      What Happens to Kids Raised by Gay Parents? - link to
      Family Values; Why Gay Marriage is Good for Kids - link to

      Did you know that in MA, the logic for allowing same sex marriage rested partly on the contention that "It cannot be rational under our laws, and indeed it is not permitted, to penalize children by depriving them of State benefits because the State disapproves of their parents' sexual orientation"?

      As for the parallels between civil rights for minorities and those for homosexuals, they abound to say the least. On a legal basis, the exact same rational principles used to rule anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional can be applied to bans on same-sex marriage -and they have, successfully. Read the case brief for the In Re Marriage case in CA in 2008 and then contrast it with Loving V. Virginia and see what you find. You'll notice that the rationale in the former case suggests that homosexuals are a suspect class, meaning that any laws applying to our rights require strict scrutiny. We meet all of the qualifications for this classification, just like ethnic minorities and religious groups among others.

      For the record I don't think anyone here is saying being black in 1965 was easier than being gay in 2011 but simply that gay rights are the civil rights issue of our generation. The fact that our position in society is significantly better is a testament to the evolution of human consciousness. You are right that our lives are better and that we are freer, apparently with no thanks to individuals such as yourself. With hard work and dedication I hope that one day we will live with same rights as our fellow citizens. We get closer all the time.

      Nevertheless, you cannot pretend like we don't suffer to varying degrees depending on which culture, country and religion we were born into. Homosexuality is still punishable by death in many countries and jail time in others. Corrective rape and conversion therapy are commonplace in others. My last girlfriend was Muslim; her parents would have killed her had they found out about us (Have you ever seen A Jihad for Love?). The woman I am going to marry lives in the middle east. She could go to jail or worse if anyone found out before she can get here. Many of us face abuse and abandonment by our families. Still others are forced into marriages we never wanted to appease our unrelenting parents.

      So let's talk about logic. Let's talk cold, hard facts. While you might think the "social purpose" of marriage is to rear children, many married heterosexual couples with no interest in raising children would very well disagree with you. What's more, we gays are perfectly capable of raising children with no adverse effects as a result of our orientation. The only issue with being the child of a same sex couple comes from people like you who try to denigrate and stigmatize our families.

      Lastly, I'm sure lots of us have been confronted with people who have opposing views on homosexuality. In fact, my parents are quite like you. I worry that they won't want any part in their grandchildren's lives because of my orientation (it's not a "lifestyle" anymore than your heterosexuality is a "lifestyle" by the way). How do you think that is going to affect my kids, since you’re so concerned about their welfare?

    • logic-free? let's see, you have zero direct experience dealing with this issue. you are not gay or trying to raise children with a partner without the protection the legal contract of marriage affords. you are not the child of gay parents and do not understand the psychological effects of being told again and again that your family is somehow defective or less worthy than that of your peers. you have no evidence to support the contention that children raised in same sex families suffer any inherent harm, if that is even your point. and i'm the one that lacks logic? i honestly don't even understand your point. do you think i shouldn't allowed to get married, despite praising the institution of marriage and its benefits for the family and society? or do you think i shouldn't be allowed to have children? or both?

      furthermore you clearly no little to nothing about same sex marriage advocacy:

      "the best interests of children are never even mentioned, never even brought up. All the focus is on “equality” for adults." when i get home from work you are getting a barrage of links.

    • "Children are going to get the shaft with gay marriage, mark my words"

      You know nothing about our families and how the prohibition on gay marriage has affected us, our children included.

    • Your argument confuses me.

      I'm 21 and gay. I may or may not want to get married in the future, who knows. But arguing for my *right* to get married makes no normative prescription about the institution itself. Does fighting for the right to go to work outside of the home mean that no woman can be a housewife? no. Does fighting for the right to sit at the front of the bus mean that all non-whites must sit at the front? no. The fight for marriage equality is about my ability to exercise my constitutionally guaranteed rights, whether I choose to or not. There is a difference between "you shouldn't get married" and "you can't get married."

      The same goes for gays in the military. I abhor the idea of being a soldier in the American armed forces. Nevertheless, no one has the right to tell me that I am defective or incapable simply because of who I sleep with. It is a fight for equality of opportunity, not advocacy for military recruitment. Not everyone shares your political convictions, namely homosexuals who desire to serve in the military. They shouldn't have to suffer under the weight of discrimination because of it.

      When you say, "Why aren't these groups fighting to end all job descrimination?" I'm a little stunned. You seem well informed, so why don't you mention HRC's advocacy for the employment non-discrimination act *as a compliment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act*, which ALREADY exist?

      As the commentor above stated, your logic sounds strikingly similar to "why single out Israel?" Well geez, I dunno, maybe because this particular issue affects me directly, just like Palestinians single out Israel for BDS because Israel is their occupier? Or maybe because it's unfair and while there might be other things that are indeed more unfair, just like there might be other comparatively worse human rights violators in the world than Israel, this is what is important to me and my allies and there is nothing objectively wrong with that.

      Furthermore, what you call "assimilationist" I call a marketing strategy...and one that is clearly working.

  • Hillary gives Israel green light to 'defend' itself from flotilla
  • Arab LGBT Movement: "We are not victims in need of a white male savior working in London..."
  • J.J. Goldberg uses Bob Dylan to make a perfect argument for the cultural boycott of Israel
    • I saw him in 2007, one of the most boring nights of my life and I'm actually a fan...or rather I was until I found out about that "Intifada" album. He didn't talk, muddled through the painful set and then took off. Sounds about like what he did in Israel.

  • Open letter to Gaddafi supporter Cynthia McKinney from disappointed Palestinians
    • What is with the false dichotomy? It is not Gaddafi or NATO, just like it isn't Israel or Iran. The fact that we do not support the atrocious actions of this dictator does not necessarily mean we DO support NATO bombing or other foreign intervention. Honestly things like this make me's the exact same situation as Iran. One should be allowed to point to legitimate evidence for human rights abuses without being called a war hawk. This is utter nonsense. The fact that so many people here have resorted to being apologists for injustice is really quite disheartening. You do not need to delegitimize the suffering of the Iranian or Libyan people in order to come out against US/NATO/Whoever intervention. Their abuse is inexcusable. There just happens to be an unfortunate intersection of interests between those who demand their rights and those who would exploit this opportunity.

  • At Netroots, Rep. Keith Ellison supports Palestinian statehood initiative at UN
    • Yes, everyone wants "peace." It's only what kind of peace that we all tend to differ on. And when it comes to the kind that offers Palestinians some semblance of rights...well all of the sudden everyone in our government, democrats included, runs in the opposite direction.

  • Some thoughts on the fake gay blogger from Damascus....
  • Why I fell so hard for 'A Gay Girl in Damascus' (and why the hoax makes me angry and conservative)
    • That's the thing that's so damaging about this...Phil, if you're wondering about these things, go find out. Try to find these women. Give them space to speak for themselves, to tell you about their lives, their *authentic* experiences. Read about them. I just picked up a few books from the library about Arab female novelists, about feminism and Islam, about gender and identity in the Middle East. I'm excited to read them, to learn more. The best thing you can do is go out and talk to real live people. As much as people like "Amina" give credence to the idea that these women can't speak for themselves and need white men to do it for them, or to make up their experiences, they exist.

      I would encourage you to seek out Haneen Maikey from Al-Qaws. She is a great Palestinian feminist LGBT organizer, always up for a chat. She could probably put you in touch with some amazing women.

  • 'Gay Girl in Damascus' deceit has damaged the cause
    • What bothered me the most is that he is a white man. He calls others orientalists but is apparently under the impression that there are no lesbian Syrians who can speak for themselves. Either that or he is too lazy/ignorant to find them, in which case how on earth does he think he is qualified to speak on their behalf? Utter bullshit. He has no idea what it's like to be a lesbian, no idea what it's like to be a woman, and surely no idea what it's like to be Arab. I'm not Syrian, but I am an out woman, and I know very well how frequently even straight, feminist allies get it wrong. I do not need anyone to appropriate my experiences, they are my own. What I need is a space to be heard. What this man did, even if his intentions were good, is utterly ignorant.

      When I went to a a talk called "Queer Palestinians Talk Politics" (which I blogged about on Mondo) one of the most valuable things I heard from the activists there in their comments about pinkwashing was that they do not wish to be saved by the great pro-LGBT western messiah. Winning the fight that way would be meaningless, because it reduces agency. These are their battles to fight, their societies to transform, their struggles to overcome. If we continue to impose our one-dimensional analysis, our western assumptions, our "enlightened-we-are-better-than-you" attitudes, we are no better than those who think they can bomb other countries into democracy. What we can do is stand with them, give them the platform they need to be heard, treat them like actual human beings.

  • Challenging anti-Semitism must be rooted in opposing racism, not defending Israel
    • When the author says "I was pointing to the tension between nationalist opposition to racism and humanist opposition to racism" I thought he was talking about the institute at Yale, not about zionism.

  • Has J Street abandoned the two-state solution? (and why the liberal Zionist vision for two states is not morally justifiable)
  • Bassem Tamimi to judge: 'Land theft and tree burning are not just. Your military laws are not legitimate. Our peaceful protest is just'
    • actually isn't it the opposite...occupying powers cannot impose civil law on territories they control...which is why Israel extending its domestic laws onto the Golan and East Jerusalem are a kind of de facto annexation?

  • 'Haaretz' report suggests Arab villages were targeted before Nakba
    • War is Peace. Up is down. Intelligence gathering used to implement a plan of ethnic cleansing is self defense and anyone who stands up to the idea of ethnoreligious-supremacist land claims is just a dirty anti-semite. Noted.

      Have you ever read The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine? You should.

    • Indeed. Reading Pappe's Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, this comes as no surprise. There is nothing new about the article's contention, and to bill it that way undermines the great work that's already been done on the subject. We've known what we know for a while now and the record is solid; we can't let anyone have the excuse of saying that they weren't aware until now.

  • Nakba Day, in the Atlantic no less
  • Lupe Fiasco raps about Gaza, discusses Obama and the War on Terror on the Colbert Report
  • Kushner's 'It was a mistake' quote, and its context
    • This is why I find the idea that one must recognize Israel's "right" to exist rather than Israel's existence ridiculous. To say Israel has a "right" is to legitimate ethnic cleansing. I'm not saying *people* don't have a right to exist, that is an inviolate principle I strongly cling to. But an occupying, colonialist *state in the middle of Palestine?* I surely think not. Recognizing reality, sure. Buttressing nonsensical claims of parity between the rights of indigenous people and their conquerors? No, no and no.

    • If I may...

      1. according to law; lawful: the property's legitimate owner.
      2. in accordance with established rules, principles, or standards.

      There is nothing legitimate about the establishment of Israel. There is nothing legitimate about the establishment of the United States. "Unchangeable" perhaps might be a better word, "Irredeemable," "fixed in time," you get the idea. Just because we can't undo something it doesn't suddenly become right ex post facto. That's a load of nonsense.

  • 'Mondo' editors to speak tonight in Oakland
  • America's self-righteous celebration
  • 'So you come to take Amina' -- a loving Syrian father saves his gay blogger daughter from the security services
  • 9/11 and western prejudice fostered the Arab revolutions --Abdelkader Benali
  • Christian Zionists are wrong; this is not a religious conflict
  • Two upcoming Goldstone events in Chicago & the Bay Area
    • Annie that's a shame; I would have loved to meet you finally considering we live so close. I'm stoked to meet both Phil and Adam though!!!! Can't wait to see you guys in Oakland :)

  • New database reveals weapons to Israel, impact on Palestinians
    • "This new website is designed as a complement to our sister website How Much Military Aid to Israel? which reveals the budgetary trade-offs involved in arming Israel. On that website, viewers can use our interactive map to find out how much money their city, county, Congressional district, and state provide in weapons to Israel, and which unmet social needs could be funded instead with this money. "

      What a fantastic tool, and one that I intend to use in my organizing work. I am about to start a new SJP chapter and have been brainstorming effective ways to bring this issue to campus. Just a few weeks ago a group of activists staged a walk-out to protest deep bugdet cuts to California schools in general, and San Francisco's cuts to our campus in particular. Piggybacking on the movement with this website's information is going to be amazing. Thanks for the post.

  • Solidarity with the Enemy: An Egyptian’s Passover message
    • I was unaware of/unconcerned by Nabil's personal views. Needless to say I am quite unimpressed. However, the only thing that matters here is a person has been imprisoned for their thoughts. This, in any circumstance, no matter how intellectually sound, morally bankrupt, justice-oriented or utterly contemptible their arguments are, is unacceptable.

      I'm very happy with this: "As I stand in solidarity with Maikel and feel unthreatened by his incomprehensible worldview" and this: "The credibility of Maikel Nabil’s grip on reality should stop there and then." What a wonderful stance to take. I love the idea of being unafraid of opposing voices, standing in full confidence of the truth of one's convictions, and it was wonderful to see you articulate that position so well. :)

  • Figure of 66,000 civilian deaths in Iraq is 'far too low'
    • "Comparison is everything"

      I kill 10,000 civilians, you kill 100,000. I should just get off since you're more evil than I am? And anyone who doesn't agree is just making excuses and hates me? uh....

  • Goldstone's daughter was 'furious' with him, Times reports
  • New project seeks to protect Gaza fishermen's rights and livelihood
    • is it your contention that palestinians in gaza should not allowed to possess weapons? tell me, eee, why is that? perhaps you are going to say that it is clear they intend to use such weapons to harm civilians, an illegitimate form of resistance to occupation? if we are operating by the criterion that those who clearly demonstrate a pattern of using weaponry to harm civilian populations should not have access to them…….do you see where i'm going with this?

  • The meaning of Helen Thomas
    • I definitely advocate digging deeply. This is a discussion that needs to be had and I appreciate Phil using his privilege to facilitate it. There's just something about broad strokes, ie "jews are ___; muslims are ___; the problem with blacks is ___; all ____ are ___" that rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps I shouldn't fault quebecleft since, as you point out, English clearly isn't their first language. I suppose I have an issue with unqualified statements such as this because they imply an assumption about an entire group of people. I understand of course that we shouldn’t shy away from drawing insights for the sake of political correctness, but especially when the conclusion is a negative one, it’s important to choose one’s words carefully.

    • "One of the big problem with jews is that they are thin skin"

      something about a statement like this makes me very uncomfortable.

  • 'Move over AIPAC' conference to honor Helen Thomas
    • Totally off topic, but Tom, how do I get in touch with you? I go to school in the bay and want to start an SJP on my campus. I have a couple of questions I think you'd be able to answer...or at least you could tell me who I should be trying to find?

  • From Arrigoni to Bernadotte to RFK to 9/11-- how much global damage has this conflict produced?
    • Yes, Jon, "life threatening." Just like robbers are in a life-threatening situation when they break into a homeowner's livingroom.

      Why don't you people fucking read?

      Furkan Dogan: All of the entry wounds were on the back of his body, except for the face wound which entered to the right of his nose. According to forensic analysis, tattooing around the wound in his face indicates that the shot was delivered at point blank range. Furthermore, the trajectory of the wound, from bottom to top, together with a vital abrasion to the left shoulder that could be consistent with the bullet exit point, is compatible with the shot being received while he was lying on the ground on his back.

      İbrahim Bilgen: a 60 year old Turkish citizen, from Siirt in Turkey, was on the top deck and was one of the first passengers to be shot. He received a bullet wound to the chest, the trajectory of which was from above and not at close range....The wounds are consistent with the deceased initially being shot from soldiers on board the helicopter above and receiving a further wound to the head while lying on the ground, already wounded.

      Ali Heyder Bengi: There are several witness accounts which suggest that Israeli soldiers shot the deceased in the back and chest at close range while he was lying on the deck as a consequence of initial bullet wounds.

      Cevdet Kiliçlar: At the moment he was shot he was standing on the bridge deck on the port side of the ship near to the door leading to the main stairwell and was attempting to photograph Israeli soldiers on the top deck. According to the pathology reports, he received a single bullet to his forehead between the eyes.

      Cengiz Akyüz and Cengiz Songür: They had been sheltering and were shot as they attempted to move inside the door leading to the stairwell. Cengiz Akyüz received a shot to the head and it is probable that he died instantly.

      Çetin Topçuoğlu: There are indications that the victim may have been in a crouching or bending position when this wound was sustained.

      link to

      The IDF: pirates, cowards and criminals.

  • An open letter to our rabbinical colleagues
  • Livni pushes int'l code to police Arab elections and bar some parties (hint: Muslim B'hood)
    • Exactly. Advocating violent revolution by participating in the political process peacefully makes absolutely zero sense. It's right up there with ideas like "lawfare."

      It sort of reminds me of this one time I engaged with a hasbarist on twitter. He told me I was a nasty anti-Semite and should stop advocating the destruction Israel. I said that I wish Israel to be a state for all its citizens. And for the record, not all zionists are Jews and not all Jews or Zionists. His reaction: "THATS WHAT THEY ALL SAY!" Yes, yes, all anti-Semites believe in human rights and equality for everyone. Just like violent revolutionaries like to participate in peaceful processes that operate within the system....

      Witty, doesn't it give you a headache to think like this? It sure gives me one trying to untangle your bullshit.

    • Says the woman who, according to the Palestine Papers, hates international law.

      From Annie's comment above, Livni says some of the "conventions" that parties must abide by are "commitment to the rule of law and to equality before the law, and adherence to international agreements to which their country is bound."

      Wouldn't that exclude basically every Jewish Israeli political party? The list of International Agreements the state of Israel has, with impunity, violated is as follows:

      * The Hague Regulations; (394)
      * The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; (395)
      * The Convention Against Torture; (395)
      * The Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials; (398)
      * The Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials; (398)
      * The Declaration on Human Rights Defenders; (421)
      * The Universal Declaration of Human Rights; (407)
      * The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; (421)
      * The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; (434)
      * The 1995 Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information among others(493)

      (These page numbers refer to the Goldstone Report -the actual report not Adam/Phil/Lizzy's book)

      As for fostering equality before the law, that too would exclude the majority of Israeli parties would it not? At the very least, how about Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu with their recent barrage of racist bills. Anyone who has looked at Adalah's publications knows the extent to which Israel discriminates against its non-Jewish citizens before the law. Hell, even the State department is aware of this. From an article quoted just a few days ago here:

      An annual report by the U.S. Department of State on human rights in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza paints a stark picture of human rights conditions among minority populations in Israel, and Palestinian populations in the West Bank and Gaza.

      “Principal human rights problems were institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against Arab citizens, Palestinian residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip… non-Orthodox Jews, and other religious groups,” begins the segment dealing with Israel and the Golan Heights.
      link to

      According to Yesh Din, when it comes to settler violence in the occupied West Bank:

      * More than 90% of the complaints and files in which the investigation was completed here closed without indictments being submitted.
      * 96% of the files on trespassing (including all the cases of harming trees) in which the investigation was completed were closed without indictments being submitted.
      * 100% of the property offenses in which the investigation was completed were closed without indictments being submitted.
      * 79% of the assault files in which the investigation was completed were closed without indictments being submitted.
      * About 5% of the complaints filed were lost and apparently were never investigated.
      link to

      Does Livni call this equality before the law? Unless Kadima plans to run on a platform that dismantles this injustice, her own party should be banned under the laws she proposes. How can you even have equality before the law in a truly "Jewish State" without rendering the "Jewish" part functionally meaningless?

      The truth of the matter is she has no intention of applying these standards to Israel. I wish she would. In fact, the ideals behind these standards, ie the understanding of the importance of non-discrimination and international law, are at the heart of BDS's stated goals for Israel:

      1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
      2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
      3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

      Each of these principles is anchored in international law, in resolutions Israel stands in direct violation of, as well as in the principle of true equality for all the citizens of a state. So if this is what Livni really wants, why does she support the Knesset bill criminalizing BDS? Oh, because she's a hypocrite cynically employing mechanisms for justice that she doesn't actually believe in as a tool to keep parties that aren't sympathetic to Israeli aggression from government.

      I also find it interesting how the protesters in Tahrir Square were contrasted with the Muslim Brotherhood in the same way Haredim were contrasted with secular Jews. So does that mean that the sharia boogeyman is on par with the halacha boogeyman? And we can finally stop acting like the Brotherhood is on par with Al Qaeda?

  • Arrigoni: I came here because my grandfathers fought fascist occupation in Italy
  • Raji Sourani says Goldstone's reconsideration highlights need for equal application of int'l law, from Libya to Gaza to Bahrain
    • The last time I saw Goldstone speak at Stanford he closed his remarks by answering a question the moderator posed to him about the nature of international law and what needs to be done in the future. He said that while the body of international law has expanded exponentially over the past half century (and this is a very good thing), this development is meaningless without a framework of enforcement . Not only that, but the application of this framework MUST be universal for the exercise to be valid. Otherwise international law simply becomes a political tool for the powerful (and the allies of the powerful) to use against the weak. The moral giants at PCHR clearly share this view, and it's ironic to see them use Goldstone's own convictions to argue against his retracted "retraction."

  • Truth Matters: The Vanguard Leadership Group is wrong
    • "Annie, did you have the same reaction to the Gazan Youth Movement a few months ago?"

      As a matter of fact, quite a few regulars on mondoweiss were at first skeptical of GYBO based on the first iteration of their manifesto, which they later edited to reduce confusion about their motives. But you don't really care about facts now do you?

      Also, I don't recall (and can't seem to find) Annie using the phrase "Jewish money." What she did was ask who was funding these students. Based on their involvement with AIPAC I would say that it's already pretty clear. Your attempt to gag any discussion of these students' motives is intellectually dishonest and you know it. You can't shut up everyone with accusations of anti-semetism. Time to start teaching the pony another trick.

    • "VLG successfully lobbied the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County, Georgia to divest its pension funds from companies doing business in the Iranian and Sudanese energy sectors as a protest of those regime’s policies"

      is there much wrong with that in principle?

    • I am also very interested to know whether they actually believe what they're saying or not.

    • What baffles me is the demonstrably false points this advertisement raises. They're simply lying, as Yaman clearly shows. Why can't hasbarists ever make real points? Doesn't it bother these people that the only way they can maintain their views is to shut their eyes and ears and then lie through their teeth? The worst part is some uninformed reader will see these advertisements and buy in. Isn't there some psychological principle that says humans tend to believe the first thing they hear about any issue? And hearing it repeated increases that believability? This is so dangerous.

      I think what gets to me most is the blatant hypocrisy. These people say that anyone fighting for justice is standing in the way of an end to the conflict. Really? Me, the one trying to stop house demolitions and land theft and the killing of innocent civilians, the one trying to help purify drinking water and rebuild cities, to increase access to education and basic services, the one promoting equality and democracy over ethnic/religious supremacy...I'm standing in the way of peace? And they, the apartheid-apologists, the ones who enable the continuation of codified racism by pretending it doesn't exist, are the champions of resolution? What a joke. The only "peace" we're standing in the way of is one that institutionalizes the status quo, guarantees the subjugation of non-jews and entrenches the occupation. What kind of solution is that?

  • State Department h.r. report doesn't mention killing of Dogan, and exaggerates two 'deaths'
  • Roger Cohen's excellent piece on Goldstone reconsideration
    • where do you get off denigrating things you haven't even bothered to properly appraise? pathetic.

    • RW: "Again, if the scope of the war effort is determined to be admissable, then the whole cascade of assertions that you quoted above as inadmissable fall in dominoes."

      what on earth are you talking about? the scope of the war? do you mean to say that if it was admissible (yes, you spell it -ible, not -able, remember that) to attack gaza then it was alright to deliberately attack civilians? or by "scope" do you mean the scope of the destruction? if so, that doesn't seem to make any sense. you'd be saying that if israel were legally allowed to do the damage that it did (war crimes) then accusations of war crimes would be irrelevant, no? that is a bit tautologous, isn't it. in other words if war crimes were legal they wouldn't be illegal. uh...

      i'm having trouble untangling your words. please explain. but more importantly, read the damn report and stop making everyone hold your hand through paragraph after paragraph while you ask questions you would know the answers to if you weren't so lazy and/or cowardly.

  • In January, Goldstone said bombing that killed 29 civilians was inexcusable. In April, it's a 'difficult battlefield decision'
    • I was at the talk at Stanford. The ferocity and conviction Goldstone displayed was astounding. I was honored to listen to him, impressed with his principles and intellectual honesty. I just don't know.

  • Ratner & Horowitz talk Goldstone on Democracy Now
    • great job, guys. concise and clear points, well-articulated. you're right that goldstone's "retraction" has gotten more press than the actual report. what a horrible realization.

    • do you find it entertaining to simply make things up?

      go read the goldstone report, richard. after that, read the report that goldstone uses as the source of his op-ed. then read his op-ed. then think long and hard about what words goldstone actually uses, not the words you think he wanted to use. try to discern from those words what his written conclusions are, again not the conclusions you think he wanted to come to, not the conclusions YOU came to from your exercises in imagination. until then, until you actually confront reality, all of the "implications" you've drawn are simply ignorant.

  • 'US Boat to Gaza' organizers respond to Netanyahu charges against flotilla
    • RW, do you think it makes you open-minded, liberal, and unbiased to criticize victims AND victimizers equally? if so, let me enlighten you. it doesn't. it just makes you an apologist and an ass.

    • RW, you sure do talk a lot while saying nothing at all.

    • it's amazing how entirely uninformed most hasbarists are, isn't it? i think they have to be that way to remain zionists

    • This is a stupid question, because you're attempting to malign the use of violence as a legitimate means of self-defense. How dishonest of you.

      Do you support my right to walk down a public street if and only if I commit to "non-violent civil disobedience" in the event a thug tries to steal my purse or rape me? If I carry pepper spray, or openly admit that I intend to use my car keys as a potential weapon if I am attacked on my way home, do those actions nullify my right to be on that street?

      What you don't understand, Richard, and what so many of you hasbarists seem to forget, is that the flotilla is sailing in international waters. Israel has no jurisdiction over international waters, and the flotilla is not heading to attack Israel or come into its sovereign territory. Just like when I'm heading down the street to your neighbor's house, I'm not on your private property. If Israel boards any of the flotilla ships it is doing so illegally. Israel will be initiating violence. Anything the flotilla members do to defend themselves, whether violent or non-violent, is self defense. Flotilla members have a legal right to defend themselves from an act of aggression, in the same way that I can pepper-spray you if you attempt to force me into your home as I walk down the street to my friend's house. Now if I shoot you in the head, that's not a reasonable form of self defense.

      What you're trying to do is intellectually dishonest, Richard.

    • I agree that the UN should focus on Palestine, but I can't really say I've honestly looked into the idea of "bias" against Israel. Maybe it's true, maybe it isn't. The fact doesn't change that it's entirely irrelevant.

    • I've seen Goldstone speak. He truly believes this. When the HRC refused to investigate Sri Lanka he was absolutely livid. But to be frank, this is sort of beside the point. Goldstone doesn't challenge the substance of criticism against Israel, only that Israel gets quite a lot of attention. This in no way reflects on the content of the resolutions Israel violates, and no one in their right mind could honestly argue otherwise.

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