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  • Reports of anti-Semitism in Ukraine and Hungary
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 18, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      ''Protecting minority rights everywhere is a desiderata, not a reality yet. ''

      Actually, minority rights are pretty good in most Western nations. Are they flawless? No. But they're still pretty good, and the principle that all citizens are equal before the law is by and large respected.

      Which is more than can be said for Israel, where minority rights are very poor, and growing poorer almost by the week.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      ''I too might want a second passport if I were in Hungary''

      No need for another passport, since Hungary is a member of the EU which means that any Hungarian has the right to live and work in several liberal European democracies. That being the case, I highly doubt that many Hungarian Jews would consider taking up residence in the glorified ghetto that is Israel.

      Given a choice, only a minority of Jews have chosen to live in Israel. This has been the case since the dawn of Zionism.

  • Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 17, 2014 at 9:13 am

      @David Nelson

      ''Collective punishment is not okay against the Palestinians, so why is it okay against the Israelis?''

      Israeli society is collectively responsible for the suffering of Palestinians. ''Ordinary'' Israelis serve in the army, live in the 'settlements', vote for the governments which enact discriminatory (and worse) laws against Palestinians, and broadly approve of the siege of Gaza and every single war in which Israel has ever been involved. In short, 'ordinary' Israelis are part of the problem. There's no point pretending otherwise. Given that the topic of this thread is Max Blumenthal, anyone who's read his book will know that there is no kinder, gentler Israel just waiting to get out. Au contraire. That myth has long since passed its sell-by date.

      Is every single individual Israeli part of the problem? Obviously not. The non-Jewish Israelis are clearly less likely to vote for Lieberman or serve in the army. Then you have the handful - and it really is only a handful - of Jewish Israelis who genuinely want justice for the Palestinians. I'm talking about the likes of Ilan Pappe or Amira Hass, but they are few and far between.

      What's more, I am sure that most of the above would welcome BDS, just like those white South Africans who genuinely opposed Apartheid supported sanctions against RSA. The anti-BDS excuses voiced by 'liberal Zionists' are really, really threadbare, and show what a conundrum they are in.

  • Alleged K.C. killer: 'If Jews can have a state of their own, why can't we have a White Christian state?'
    • This kind of reminds me of the immediate aftermath of the Utoya Island massacre. Certain types of people were waiting with baited breath for the killer to be identified as a Muslim immigrant, and when it turned out he was a white, blonde, Protestant Norwegian, they were deeply disappointed. And yet, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who publicly said that Brehvik acted as he did because he wasn't 'allowed' to criticise Muslims (?) they found a way to blame it all on Muslims anyway.

      Same here. A far-right white Christian goes on a rampage, yet BDS and Palestinians are the problem. FFS.

  • About that special relationship...
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 14, 2014 at 6:46 am

      The way I see it, there are two issues at play here.

      Firstly, Israel, which itself has illegally annexed territory, does not want to condemn another country for doing something similar (although I hesitate to call Russia's annexation of Crimea 'similar' in the sense that there is no military occupation, most Crimeans voted for it, and Crimea was Russian territory until quite recently).

      Secondly, Israel knows that it really doesn't have to 'earn' its 'special relationship' with the US. It's all take and no give. They know very well that they can spy on America, kill its citizens and treat its leaders with contempt, and still every congressman will rush to kiss their feet. With Russia, it's different. There isn't that automatic toadying to Israel. So this could be a way to win favour with Russia, particularly vis a vis Iran. Because these days, it always comes back to Iran.

  • Two desperate anti-Semitism charges, from Foxman and Boteach
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 15, 2014 at 5:29 am

      And people wondered why Emma Thompson was passed over for an Oscar nomination this year.

      Perhaps we may have found our answer?

  • The Jewish community must not embrace Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    • Did you know that Wilders is naturally dark haired? He's a bottle blonde!

      Some have speculated that Wilders - who is partly Indonesian by ancestry - chose to colour his hair blonde so as to look more stereotypically ''Dutch'' and play down his 'ethnic' background.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 13, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      ''If she is from Somalia, it is overwhelmingly likely that she was a victim of female genital mutilation.''

      So in other words, she is like millions of other women in this respect.

      If she was a victim of FGM - and I agree that she probably was - that is indeed unfortunate. But why does her experience mark her out from the many millions of other women who have suffered the same trauma? Her experience is, sadly, far from unique, yet I have yet to see any discussion on Hirsi Ali which does not mention it. How does being a victim of FGM in any way qualify her as some sort of expert on Islam, much less on Middle Eastern politics in general?

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 13, 2014 at 11:59 am

      While I agree with you that religions shouldn't be immune from criticism - even extreme criticism - what Hirsi Ali is doing goes beyond that. She has said, explicitly, that 'we are at war with Islam', and has advocated fighting it by all means necessary - including military means. She has also sympathised with Anders Behring Brehvik.

      So we're not talking about a reasoned, informed critique of a belief system. We're talking about blanket condemnation of over 1 billion people. She is basically saying that the mild-mannered Pakistani guy who runs your local curry house is as much a danger as a member of Al Qaeda. This goes way beyond 'critical examination'. If someone were to do the same regarding Jews, the UN would meet in emergency session.

      And I've asked this question before, but what exactly makes Hirsi Ali an authority on Islam? She has no relevant academic qualifications. She does not know classical Arabic (or any other form of Arabic afaik). She has never even lived in a Muslim country as an adult. All she's got is her much hyped 'tragic life story' details of which may very well be fabricated. Take away her 'native informant' persona, and we've basically got another ranting Islamophobe, no different from Pamela Geller.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 13, 2014 at 10:34 am

      @Piotr

      Good points re the 'courage' of Hirsi Ali.

      Now, I am aware that she has received credible death threats, and that is appalling, whatever one thinks of the woman and her ideas. However, as I said on another thread, plenty of people - Vanessa Redgrave, Norman Finkelstein, the late Edward Said - received death threats from Zionist hoodlums. Yet I don't recall the likes of Denis praising their 'courage', much less implying that 'courage' equalled credibility.

      The fact is that 'courage' may be admirable in itself, but has no bearing whatsoever on a person's morality or credibility. Plus, given, as you say, that Hirsi Ali has profitted massively from her 'apostasy', those of us who don't buy into the 'brave victim Hirsi Ali' myth might say that she's hedged her bets, and not done too badly out of it.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 13, 2014 at 9:51 am

      Has Hirsi Ali ever come out with a single original, sophisticated and thought-provoking comment in her life?

      If she has, I'm yet to hear of it. Though I suppose her claim that Deuteronomy is a person, and that Catholics don't believe in hell, could be described as.... interesting.

    • ''It is interesting that Ms. Ali’s being a (purported) muslim, gives her more credibility when she denounces Islam, regardless of the fact that she is among only a few of the 1.5 billion+ muslims in this world. I am trying to think of adherents of other religions, who may command such credibility and renown when they castigate their birth faith.''

      Exactly. Plus, not only is Hirsi Magan a ''Muslim'', but she's also black, and a native of an African country. Therefore, she's a very useful tool for the Islamophobic far-right, because she can get away with saying all sorts of stuff that they can't - though Pamela Geller comes pretty close. Even though Magan actually doesn't have much experience of the ''Islamic world'' - which she speaks of as though it were one unit (she has lived in Christian countries since her teens) she can pass herself off as some kind of 'expert' with inside knowledge - and how dare anyone, including any of the hundreds of millions of Muslim women, say she is wrong.

      Incidentally, there was quite a trend for 'native informants' in the years after 9/11. By which I mean telegenic Muslims turned 'critics of Islam' nearly all of them women, and coincidentally or not, fans of Israel. I'm talking about the likes of Magan, Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan and Irshad Manji. Of them, only Hirsi Magan seems to have stood the test of time. The others seemed to have faded back into obscurity, which hopefully is where they'll stay.

  • For Miliband, the road to 10 Downing Street runs through Jerusalem and Sderot
    • Zionism is not popular among the Labour voting public, that is true.

      But that does not mean that ambitious politicians like Miliband do not have to pander to the powerful Westminster 'Friends of Israel'. And pander he will. Granted, his rhetoric on this visit has been less obnoxious compared to Cameron's recent visit, and certainly to any American politician. But still, his criticism was limited to generic - and really very mild - tut-tutting about how the 'settlements' are not 'helpful' (he would never dare call them a war crime) and the crap about the ''Jewish homeland'' will be soothing to Zionist ears.

      And not a word about the siege of Gaza. Nothing about the routine killing of Palestinians. Not a peep about the kidnapping and caging of kids.

      Expect nothing from Miliband. For that is what you are going to get.

  • 'Not a single person in this room would accept living as Palestinians do, generation after generation'
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 11, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      ''There’s not a single person in this room, not one of you– not one of you– who would accept to live like that, generation after generation, decade after decade, with no end in sight.''

      I would also add that not a single non-Jewish Zionist would be a Zionist if it involved giving up so much as one square meter of their own land to build the ''Jewish state'. These people are supporters of a Jewish state - on Arab land. If it ever came down to it, they would not themselves make the tiniest sacrifice for that state. They're all for Zionism - so long as it's mere Arabs who are paying the price.

  • Simon Schama's Israel whitewash
    • Zionists would probably argue that that's because Armenians have their own state. Mind you, so do Jews, and yet apparently that's still not enough.

    • Thanks for that. Unfortunately when I looked it up on Amazon.UK, it redirected me to Schama's book!

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 11, 2014 at 10:00 am

      That's a good point. TBH, I think at this stage Schama is more of a 'celebrity historian' like Niall Ferguson or Michael Wood than a serious academic writer. So his specialisation doesn't really matter - he's just a well-known face who can 'sell' assorted popular histories to mostly undiscerning TV viewers and readers. Who knows if he even researches his own stuff these days (Ferguson certainly doesn't)?

      As I said above, my main beef with this is that the series was shown on the taxpayer funded BBC. As a some time UK taxpayer, it irks me that my tax money is being used to fund soft - and not so soft - propaganda for Israel.

    • ''which do you abandon, your ethnocentrism or your liberalism and it is stunning to me how many just abandon their liberalism,''

      Very true. When forced to choose between tribalism and humanitarianism, so many Zionists choose the former - though they concoct convoluted 'rationales' to convince themselves that the two can be reconciled (they can't). It's pretty much at the heart of the ''Progress except Palestine'' philosophy which is so prevalent in the US.

    • Does anyone know of any books/websites (other than Shlomo Sand) which explore Jewish history in a more dispassionate manner? What I mean is that they don't take for granted the notion that the Jews have always been pure victims, for no reason other than the fact that they are Jews, and that gentiles simply 'hate Jews' out of irrational bigotry?

    • I agree. Shades of Jonathan Friedland-esque lib-zio cognitive dissonance here. The writer says the creation of Israel (on another people's land) was justified, and acknowledges that a great wrong was done to the native people of Palestine. Yet if he believes that the creation of Israel was 'justified', then surely he is also saying that the suffering this caused to the Palestinians is also 'justified'?

      Zionism is INHERENTLY disastrous to the native people of Palestine. You can't have one without the other. Lib-zios want to believe that you can, and this is why their writing is always a convoluted exercise in moral evasion and distortion. If it's painful to read - and it is - it must also be pretty painful to write.

    • What bothers me most is that this programme was aired last year by the BBC - an organisation funded by UK taxpayers, of which I am one. A public service broadcaster really shouldn't be in the business of providing a one-sided take on history or current affairs.

      But then, this is pretty mild by the Beeb's standards. This is the channel which refused to air a humanitarian appeal for Gaza, because it was too 'political'. The same Beeb which, at the last minute, pulled a documentary questioning the Zionist myth of 'exile', only to air it months later on the relatively obscure BBC 4, followed by a 'discussion panel' feature 4 Zionists and no Palestinian. This is the same Beeb which recently, according to EI, promoted the view that East Jerusalem is Israeli.

      In other words, the Beeb is about as reliable as the New York Times. And btw, I must have missed out on Schama's 'charm' and 'charisma'. He's always seemed fairly dull to me.

  • 'There's a lot of anti-Semitism out there' -- Johansson reviews her role as 'new face of apartheid'
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 11, 2014 at 8:56 am

      I called Johansson an idiot not because I disagree with her views, nor because she is a blonde 'hottie' or has a 'seductive voice' (I did get a laugh out of that one - thanks!) but because her interviews provide evidence of a lack of grey matter. Take the recent 'Guardian' interview where she mumbled inarticulately - and inaccurately - when confronted with her choice of cash over principle. Take this VF interview - when her only reaction to criticism of her choice to shill for a company profitting from war crimes is to play the 'anti-semitism' card. She is unable to even engage with the idea that those critical of her, or the illegal squats she shills for, might have rational cause for their criticism.

      To me, that is proof of lack of brain power. If it walks like an idiot, talks like an idiot, then it probably IS an idiot. If you have evidence to the contrary, by all means let us see it.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      ''You think she worked at Oxfam all those years in Africa and never heard of the Gaza Prison Camp? ''

      You're making it sound as though Johansson had spent years handing out food parcels at a refugee camp in Congo. She barely 'worked' for Oxfam at all. She simply jetted in - on first class no doubt - and did a few 'concerned looking' photo ops with colourfully attired natives. And jetted back out.

      And yes, I very much doubt she has heard of the Gaza prison camp, or if she has, she'll think it's some anti-semitic conspiracy to blame poor Israel for everything. Johansson is a former child star who has lived in a bubble all her life, being told how wonderful and special she is. She seems to believe her own publicity, and has no idea that she comes across as an insipid, self-obsessed moron.

      This is what happens when film stars are given the chance to spout their inane opinions about international affairs. Best avoided.

    • I KNEW it was only a matter of time before Johansson played the anti-semite card. It was a question of when, not if. I said as much on this site when the 'scandal' broke back in Feb.

      Note that Johansson doesn't go into detail about just how she 'knows' that criticism of a factory built on stolen land in violation of international law is 'anti-semitism'. Nor, of course, does the interviewer push her on this. Shame, really. I've always thought Johansson to be massively overrated, both for her acting 'skills' and for her looks, but have had no reason to dislike her as a person. Until now. She's made it obvious that she's an arrogant, obtuse idiot who is so shielded from reality that she thinks her uninformed witherings are pearls of wisdom.

  • Brandeis retracts plan to honor anti-Muslim activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 11, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      ''Oh please. My record is quite strong on opposing Islamophobia. Get off your high horse. ''

      You have repeatedly defended an extreme Islamophobe on this page.

      ''Again, I’m making a single point, which is that people here are opposing her based on her extreme rhetoric on Muslims, but have no trouble celebrating atheistic Jews who use the same brand of rhetoric. ''

      Please name the people who have said we are at war with Judaism and called for it to be eradicated by all means - including miltary means. That is an example of Magan's rhetoric. I'm not aware of anyone whose made the same calls with regards to Jews. Please name these people, and say who has praised them on this board.

      ''Being pro-Israel is not the same as being anti-Arab. Give me a break. That is the same thing as saying being pro-Palestinian is being anti-Jewish. ''

      Nice try, but not good enough. You would think you've been on this board long enough to get with the programme. Just as diversion tactics dont' work here, neither does conflating Israel with 'Jews'.

      ''You’re right; I forgot for a moment that there are 57 Islamic countries. Maybe you can point me to ten that have a good record on gender issues, including five in Middle East and North Africa. ''

      What's that got to do with the price of eggs? If you take 'a good record on gender issues' to mean Western style standards on such issues, you'll find very few such countries outside of Europe and North America. But you and Magan want to concern troll for 'oppressed Muslim women' (in Turkey? Albania? Lebanon? Indonesia?) and ignore the genuinely brave women - and men - who have worked hard to help Muslim women on the ground, without any of the wealth and glory Magan has got. If you know of any Muslim women who have been helped by Magan, let us know.

      ''As I said, I’m not shilling for her.''

      If so, you'll have to admit you're doing a pretty good impression of doing just that.

      '' I’m simply asking a simple question: If you’re against her, why aren’t you against Jewish apostates who say nasty things about Jews?''

      Are you being completely obtuse? This diversionary tactic has been addressed by myself and others already. You haven't been able to name ONE person who speaks of Jews in the vicious, hateful manner in which Magan speaks of Muslims - all Muslims.

      Divert, deny, distort might work elsewhere, but it doesn't cut the mustard here. I would have thought you'd know that by now, but apparently not.

    • ''I find amazing that you would take the word of her father and brother against hers on the issue of forced marriages.''

      Thanks for this. You're proving what I said before. Magan's brand of hatred works so well because of the extreme ignorance and bias against Muslisms - especially Muslim men. Who would trust a Muslim man, eh? They're all liars whose goal in life is to subjugate their women.

      This also shows that you refuse to watch any of the videos linked above, or even read the posts. As I said in my post, her brother, mother and aunt all deny that she was forced into marriage. Two women (yes, women!) who knew Magan shortly after she arrived in the Netherlands say that she never mentioned anything about fleeing from an arranged marriage, and she seemed to have good relations with her family in Somalia. Odd behaviour for someone seeking asylum on the basis of being forced into marriage.

      What's even odder is that one fine day Magan's husband showed up on her doorstep in Holland. What did she do? Did she scream for help, lock the door and call the police - as you would expect from someone who had fled to another continent to escape her evil Muslim husband? No. She opened the door and let him in. Him, and several other Somali men. After a while, the men quietly left. No harm done to anyone.

      I know you're not going to watch the Dutch documentary above because it will shatter the image of Saint Ayaan - as the programme is aptly called. But if you did, you'd see that, confronted with the above story, Magan - normally so shrill and glib in her responses - is at a loss as to how to answer. She knows that her behaviour really doesn't fit in with her persona as a brave victim. However, she hearts Israel and pushes the worst stereotypes about Muslims - all Muslims - so as far as you're concerned, what's not to like eh?

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 11, 2014 at 4:19 am

      ''I’m not speaking about you in general. I’m speaking about the site as a whole.''

      ''You in general?'' Makes no sense. Could you elaborate?

      ''Please show with quotes how I am an “anti-Arab extremist.” Exact quotes, please. Don’t make stuff up. It makes you look foolish. ''

      Look at all of your posts. Just about every single one of them is concerned with preserving Jewish colonial supremacy in Palestine, at the expense of the indigenous Arab people.

      ''Please show with quotes how I am not concerned about the plight of Muslim women in Palestine. Exact quotes, please. Don’t make stuff up. It makes you look foolish. ''

      See above. Hasbarist concern trolling doesn't work here.

      ''I’m, again, asking whether you’d be okay if a person who was not an expert on Judaism was brought to campus to criticize the Jewish faith. ''

      I'm not aware that any of these people has called for Judaism to be eradicated and said we are at war with Judaism, as Magan has done regarding Islam.

      But you've been on this board long enough. You must know that the 'don't look at that, look at this'' line doesn't work anymore. This thread isn't about Sand or Blumenthal. It's about Magan, a woman who - you seem to agree - has no expertise on the subject of Islam, and yet who you are praising. Your attempts to divert the topic are not working.

      ''Uh-huh.''

      Glad you agree you're praising a liar and fraud.

      ''And you’re still not going to engage on what she says about the plight of women in Islamic society.''

      Islamic society? So there's only one? So 'society' in Albania is the same as 'society' in Yemen which is the same as 'society' in Indonesia? Do you realise how stupid and bigoted you sound?

      And why should I 'engage' with Magan's bigotry? Tell me one interesting or original thing she has said (other than her belief that Deuteronomy is a person). Why should I 'engage' with her anymore than I would 'engage' with bigots of any stripe?

      Unlike Magan, I have lived spent years of my life in ''Islamic society'' as an adult. I'm not a particular fan of Islam, or any other religion for that matter, but I'm not dunderheaded enough to think that ''Islamic society'' is one homogenous mass.

      ''You’re going to focus on her asylum application, just as a white European racist would.''

      You're not actually playing the race card here, are you? Have you really sunk that low in your defence of a fanatic bigot? And I see you haven't watched any of the videos or, to use your word, 'engaged' with any of the posts above. Magan's lifes and fabrications seem to extend to far more than a fib on her application form. There is reason to believe that her entire persona - the one which people like you so readily believe - is a fabrication. You can choose to ignore this, but that's going to be about as useful as your attempts to get us to talk about Sand rather than Magan.

      Oh and btw, does it make you feel proud to be shilling for a person who sympathises with Anders Behring Brevik?

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 10, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Magan may very well have been subject to FGM but..... not to sound heartless, so what? So have millions of other women and girls, sadly. Why does the mere fact of being a victim of FGM make her some sort of authority on Islam? (I know you are not claiming this, but many are) Lots of women in Africa itself are leading grassroots campaigns against the practice - it is them, not Magan, who doesn't give a toss about real ''Muslim women'' except as a propaganda tool against all Muslims - who deserve our support.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 10, 2014 at 11:32 am

      ''But I think those who consider her an enemy based upon her anti Islamic stance, should realize that whereas Pamela Geller gives off an aura of superficiality and bigotry, the same cannot be said about Ali.''

      Firstly, nobody considers ''her an enemy based upon her anti Islamic stance''. People hold her in contempt because she is a proven liar and bigot.

      Secondly, in what way is Ali (not her real name) in a different league to the likes of Geller? What gives her credibility and authority? To repeat: she has no academic background in Islamic studies. She is not a Qoronic scholar. She never even lived in a Muslim country for more than a few years. Her own family appear to have been fairly moderate in their faith. Her only 'selling point' (and it's all about the selling) is her - highly dubious - sobstory of being a hapless victim of baaaad Muslim men. Take that away, and all you've got is another bigot consumed by hatred.

      It's debatable whether or not Magan is truly 'courageous' (it depends on whether you uncritically accept her story, as you do, despite the fact that there is reason to be highly sceptical) but even if she is, so what? ''Courage'' does not in itself make one admirable or credible.

      So what, precisely, makes Magan an expert on anything other than self-promotion? I have asked this question at least once before, but I'm yet to receive an answer.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 9, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Yes, here it is:

      Definitely worth a watch.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 9, 2014 at 3:45 pm with 1 replies

      ''And as you can see from articles on this topic, she admitted all of this (including her name change) when she ran for Parliament in 2002. ''

      She 'admitted' this when she was caught out as a liar and fraud.

      ''there’s an obvious question of why she would flee this comfortable Kenyan life if there was nothing wrong. ''

      It's only obvious if you refuse to apply any critical thinking to the Magan sobstory. Living in relative luxury in a third-world country like Kenya doesn't mean that you might not want to live in a first-world country like Canada or Holland. People who are not 'fleeing' arranged marriages or anything else risk their lives trying to get into Europe every day of the week. Thousands of them.

      You do know the meaning of the word 'relative' don't you?

      ''I suggest that you ask yourself whether you’re willing to be this harsh with immigrants from poorer countries who lie on asylum applications, because it happens all the time. ''

      Why don't you suggest Magan ask herself that question? SHE is the one who made a career out of opposing immigration from Muslim countries - except for herself. So she was quite simply hoisted by her own petard when she was exposed as a liar. I have no sympathy for her whatsoever.

      ''You celebrate the work of people like Shlomo Sand, who is not a geneticist, for his polemic on genetics. You celebrate Israel Shahak’s polemical work on Judaism; he was a chemist. ''

      Could you please remind me where I have 'celebrated' either of these people? Exact quotes, please. Don't make stuff up. It makes you look foolish.

      ''You don’t have to be an authority on Islam, nor an Islamophobe, for that matter, to talk about the plight of women in the Muslim world, which is clear and obvious.''

      There's something pathetic about how an anti-Arab extremist like yourself suddenly gets so very concerned over the 'plight' of poor Muslim women - everywhere expect Palestine. And if ''You don’t have to be an authority on Islam'' to spout such talk, why should anyone listen to Magan - who has no relevant credentials - when any ranting street corner neanderthal can do the job just as well?

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 9, 2014 at 2:30 pm with 1 replies

      ''she had to go into hiding for years because of death threats, and still has round-the-clock security. ''

      I always find it amusing when 'death threats' are perceived as giving someone credibility or hero status. Tons of people have had death threats, among them many who have incurred the wrath of Zion. Vanessa Redgrave had death threats. Judge Goldstone had death threats. So did Edward Said, who took them seriously enough that he had a panic button installed under his desk. Yet I've never seen you revere any of these people.

      '' the only people to dispute her claim that she was fleeing an arranged marriage are, predictably, the men in her family.''

      Yes, and who would trust a Muslim man, eh?

      Anyway, you're wrong. If you can find the documentary I mentioned below, you'll see that her brother, mother and aunt all deny - interviewed seperately - that she was forced into marriage. In fact, apparently Ayaan's mother didn't want her to marry at all as she thought she was too young (she was 22) and should finish her studies first. However, because this man was living in Canada and could get a visa for Ayaan to join him there, she was happy to marry him. Now, I suppose you could say it's their words against hers, but we're talking about 3 people interviewed separately, with one of them on a different continent. You'd also have to acknowledge that Magan also has a VERY good reason to create a 'victim' persona for herself, since she has made an excellent living out of it.

      ''what she says about the way women are treated in Muslim societies (which I’m sure you know is true),''

      Or rather, what someone like yourself wants to believe is true.

      Tell me, what makes Magan such an expert on Islam? She has spent most of her life in Christian countries, is not an Arabic scholar, and has no academic background in Islamic studies. Tell me what - other than being a beautiful African woman with a knack her PR - distinguishes her from any of the other ranting loonies on DanielPipes.org?

    • I saw a documentary from Dutch TV (subtitled in English) which completely blew a hole threw Ayaan Hirsi Ali's (real name: Ayan Hirsi Magan) persona of an innocent woman victimised by evil Muslims. Seems she lived in relative luxury in Kenya, where her brother attended a Christian school (that's how fanatic her family were) and there are serious doubts as to whether she was forced into marriage at all. Her former flatmate in Holland said that she never spoke of being on the run from her family - in fact she regularly received mail from them. She also appeared on Dutch TV in a programme about immigrants, which is hardly the way you'd expect a woman in hiding from the Muslim hordes to behave. BTW Magan was interviewed on the programme, and given a chance to respond to their findings - something she did not do at all convincingly.

      In short, Magan is a fraud. She has essentially created her persona. And this really matters because at the end of the day her 'brave victim of Islam' persona is all she's got. She has no academic background in Islamic studies. Other than the trip to Israel which someone bought her, and a few years spent in Riyadh as a child, she has little experience of the Middle East. Her 'thoughts' are about as original, sophisticated and erudite as the spittle-flecked rants of some mad old dude on a far-right march.

      Magan is essentially an unrestrained bigot and preacher of hate - just the fact that a) she's a beautiful, 'exotic', female 'native informant' and b) she fits in with the far-right agenda in the USA, means she is taken seriously rather than mocked as she deserves. I am often dismayed by the number of otherwise reasonable people who believe Magan is an authority on Islam, when in reality she hasn't got a clue.

  • 'For me, Palestine is paradise': An interview with Leila Khaled
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      ''unless the violence is directly strictly at the military''

      Define 'military'. Most Jewish citizens of Israel - male and female - serve in the occupation forces. Jewish men are military reserves until their 40s. Military installations are located close to, or inside, Israeli towns and cities. Half a million squatters - criminals according to international law - live on stolen land in ghettos guarded by the occupation forces, and many of these squatters are themselves heavily armed.

      So while I agree that targetting civilians is wrong, my question is to how exactly one can 'directly target' the military in one of the most militarised states on earth, where the distinction between solider and civilian is a murky one. Particularly when the Israelis never trouble themselves with such trivial distinctions when it comes to attacking Arabs.

  • Liberal schizophrenia and moral myopia: On Ari Shavit's 'My Promised Land'
    • ''The annexations are rejected by the UN''

      Yeah, the UN has a habit of rejecting illegal land seizures. Fancy that.

    • ''most of the countries on the planet support the viewpoint that Israel within its pre-1967 borders is acceptable''

      If you mean governments, then yes. If you mean people, though it's hard to know for sure, I'm guessing perhaps not.

      ''The problem is the occupation.''

      And yet, ''most countries'' don't really see it as a problem, do they? They claim they do, but in reality they're happy to see Israel steal as much land as it wants under the cover of a farcical 'peace process'. And at this stage, calling it an 'occupation' is a bit passe. It's really a de facto annexation. The only reason Israel won't formalise it as such is that it would leave them with the thorny problem of hundreds of thousands of people who don't conform with their notion of racial hygiene. The 'settlements' are fully integrated into Israel's infrastructure and economy. As far as Israel is concerned, they are a part of Israel and will remain so.

      In other words, it's time to stop with the intellectual and moral dishonesty of the ''I support Israel but I oppose the occupation'' line. There is no Israel without the 'occupation'. It's time to choose which side you're on.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 4, 2014 at 6:10 am with 1 replies

      ''The next big wave of immigration the Soviet Jews did not like being subject to ethnic discrimination their life was not rich and satisfying.''

      Other than for a few oligarchs (a very large proportion of whom were Jewish btw) life was not 'rich and satisfying' for anyone in Yeltsin's Russia. Most Jews who left did so not to escape 'discrimination' or from a commitment to Zionism, but because they wanted out of the corrupt, impoverished mess that was Russia, and Israel was the only place they could get a visa. If they'd had the chance to go to Europe or the US, the vast majority would likely have taken that rather than go to Israel. Indeed, many of these Jews have since returned to a more stable and comfortable Russia.

      ''The Jews fleeing Venezuela in the last decade didn’t do it because Venezuela was wonderful to its Jews. ''

      Many people of all religions 'fled' Venezuela in the last decade - most of them rich folks who didn't like the fact that they couldn't exploit the masses as before. And can you tell me how many of these Jews who 'fled' Venezuela ended up in Israel? I'm guessing very few.

      At no point during the Zionist project have a majority of Jews who had a choice about where to live, chosen to take up residence in Israel. Israel has always been the last resort for the majority of Jews. Given other options, most Jews prefer to take their chances with the gentiles.

  • Reports: Abbas faults Israel for 'procrastinating,' says Palestine will move to join int'l organizations
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius April 1, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      I'd love to be as optimistic as others on this discussion, but I'm willing to bet this is pantomime from Abbas. He wants to appear 'tough' for the sake of his domestic audience, many of whom see him as a collaborator. But in the end, there's no way he's going to follow through on his 'threats'. The Americans know it. The Israelis know it. Everyone knows it.

      I'll be very happy to be proved wrong on this, but something tells me I won't be.

  • Christie steps in deep doo-doo, promptly apologizes to Adelson. Whew!
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      ''The term refers to lands in which Palestinians live where Israel maintains a military presence, including the West Bank.''

      Positively rolls off the tongue, does it not?

  • Saudis don't care about Palestinians, say American commentators
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 31, 2014 at 4:01 am

      Of course not. Actually talking to real live people, in private, in confidence, and hearing the same opinions expressed time and time again, means nothing. Instead we must await the results of a 'poll' conducted in one of the least democratic and most oppressive nations on earth, where people get imprisoned for opinions expressed on Twitter. Because people in such nations really speak their mind openly to pollsters, don't they? Especially when it comes to saying something their government might not want to hear.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      If I'm not mistaken, the Saudis were the last to join the oil boycott, and the first to end it.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 30, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Didn't you bother to read the posts you're replying to? I lived in the Kingdom for several years and in that time discussed the issue of Palestine with many Saudis. Like I said, I don't claim it's a scientific poll but it is my first hand experience with 'ordinary' Saudis.

      In future, you might like to read what people say before you 'respond' to it.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 30, 2014 at 3:43 am

      ''Not that they love Israel – the Saudi leaders used in the past to exercise all the pressure they could on the US to promote the Palestinian case, up to sharp and open rifts (so you are also wrong here)''

      That is total and complete rubbish. The Saudis have NEVER put real pressure on the US to obtain justice for the Palestinians. Never. Sure, they've put forward the pretence that they have - and it seems you fell for it - but in reality the Saudis have only ever seen the Palestinians as an irritation to be neutralised. The only real difference is that now they (the regime that is, not the people) are no longer really pretending to care. But in practice, it makes little difference to what they are actually doing - or not doing.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 30, 2014 at 3:40 am

      The Saudi public, obviously, since it's the subject of this discussion.

      And I'm asking you just how you know what the average Saudi thinks about anything. There is no free press in the Kingdom, and public gatherings of more than 4 (yes, 4) people are outlawed. So how, precisely, can an outsider know what the Saudi people think? I base my opinion on having lived in the Kingdom for several years and discussing these issues - in private - with many 'ordinary' Saudis. I'm not claiming it's a scientific poll - not that polls are very informative in an authoritarian state - but it's about as much as you can ask for given the absence of channels for ordinary Saudis to express their political views.

    • ''Palestinians are not anybody’s priority except for the Palestinians themselves.''

      While that may be true - it's human nature to care most about what concerns you directly, not what's happening in another country - you could say that's always been the case and nothing has really changed. When the Saudis were swimming in oil wealth and complacency, they weren't too bothered helping the Palestinians either. But having lived in the Kingdom, I know for a fact that they DO care, although they rarely put their concern into action.

      What HAS changed is that the Saudi government, along with the other Gulf states, is now actively trying to play down the question of Palestine, to tell them that Iran is the real enemy, and that the I/P problem is basically a 'swings and roundabouts' thing with 'good and bad on both sides' with the Palestinians being to a large extent responsible for their own plight. This is evident from the Saudi controlled media, even in its English language versions. However, it doesn't seem that they've succeeded in brainwashing the populace - yet.

    • What 'public'? If you're talking about the Saudi 'public', what way do they have of freely expressing their opinions and concerns in this most oppressive society?

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 29, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      ''That is why they have a law in Saudi Arabia that prohibits them from becoming citizens.''

      Are you in the habit of posting on things you know nothing about?

      Obtaining Saudi citizenship is all but impossible for foreigners, including Muslim Arabs, unless you're a billionaire like the late Rafiq Hariri. I know Arabs who have been living in the Kingdom for three generations and have known no other home, yet are still on a residence visa - which can be cancelled on a whim at any time - just like any expat who's there for a few years. So please don't try to act as though there's something special about the case of the Palestinians, and that's it all about 'hate' for poor little Israel and Jews. Nobody's buying your narcissistic desire for victimhood anymore.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 29, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      ''Note that Haass is very keen on trying to decouple the conflict’s importance.''

      This is very common among the US elite. Many of them have gone out of their way to make the ridiculous claim that Israel had nothing to do with OBL's hatred of America, for example. This despite the fact that he is on record as saying that Israel's 1982 aerial bombardment of Beirut made a huge impact on him as a young man.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 29, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      As As'ad Abu Khalil pointed out, the US has a track record of denying visas to those (mostly Iranians) of whom they disapprove. So they really have no business getting on their high horse here. Which won't stop them, of course.

      link to angryarab.blogspot.com

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 29, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Exactly. It's also ironic how Hass brushes off Palestine as a 'local issue' which the Gulfies consider irrelevant. If that's the case, why is America, on a different continent on the other side of the world, so intricately involved in a mere 'local issue' in the East Med?

    • If he's talking about the government - and the elite Saudis he deals with - then he's right, the Saudis don't care about Palestine. But that's not new news. They have never cared about Palestine, though from time to time they've attempted to use the Palestinians for their own purpose.

      However, if he's talking about your average Saudi man or woman on the street - none of whom Richard Hass has ever spoken to - he's dead wrong. I lived in the Kingdom for several years, and can say with certainty that the question of Palestine is VERY important to the Saudi people. And this is despite the fact that their government controlled media has for some time been trying to persuade them that Iran, not Israel, is The Enemy. The Saudi people, to their credit, are not buying it. And neither is anyone else in the Arab world. As John Pilger said, Palestine is STILL the issue.

  • Liberal Zionists are the new front line against BDS
    • ''It’s funny how “liberal” Zionists become remarkably similar to Likudniks once sufficient pressure is applied and they can no longer afford to play their kabuki theater.''

      Well put. ''Liberal'' Zionism is gun Zionism with a veneer of sophistication. If there's ever even the teeniest hint of Jewish privilege in Palestine being threatened in any way, they're scarcely distinguishable from Avigdor Liebermann.

      They're really in a quandary over BDS, that much is evident. For years they've been lecturing Palestinians over 'renouncing violence' and 'adopting peaceful resistance' and now that the ultimate form of peaceful resistance finally shows signs of having an impact, they find excuses to oppose that too. The reality is that they don't want Palestinians to oppose Zionism in any way, shape or form, peaceful or non-peaceful. They are psychologically committed to seeing Israeli Jews as the only victim, or, at the very most, this is a 'tragedy', where 'both sides must compromise'. Any narrative which sees this as oppressor and oppressed, with the Palestinians being the latter, is simply intolerable. They just don't know what to do with it.

    • ''As for Ireland, its true that they give favors based to people of Irish ethnicity who want to immigrate, but not once you gain actual citizenship.''

      No, that's not really correct.

      Ireland's citizenship laws favour people of Irish DESCENT, not Irish 'ethnicity' (whatever that is). In other words, anyone who can prove that a descendant of theirs (going back to grandparents I believe) was an Irish citizen can be granted an Irish passport. That includes Catholics, Protestants, atheists, and of course Jews who can show that they have a parent or grandparent who was/is a citizen of Ireland.

      So it's even more different from the Israeli situation than you suggest. Ireland doesn't really recognise the concept of ''Irish ethnicity'', just Irish citizenship, which is in line with most Western democracies. How the Zionists get away with still comparing that to Israel's blatantly discriminatory 'law of return' is beyond me, but I suppose that's the way things go with them.

  • Columbia debate on Israeli policies features 3 Zionists, no Palestinians
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 25, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Note that for The Guardian, a plan to deport millions of people is merely ''controversial''. Would the erstwhile Manchester Guardian be so sanguine if a high-ranking politician anywhere mused about the 'legality' of deporting its Jewish population?

      The Guardian is a shadow of its former self, cowed and browbeaten by Cif Watch.

  • Israeli embassy pressured Amnesty to cancel launch of 'apartheid' book -- Ben White
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      David Hirst is my very favourite writer on Middle East affairs. His two books ''The Gun and The Olive Branch'' and the more recent ''Beware of Small States'' are superb. If only we saw more journalists like Hirst in the English language media, instead of the cowardly uninformed drones who pass for 'journalists' most of the time.

      BTW seafoid I disagree with you completely about the Guardian. It caved in big time to CiF Watch about 2 years ago, and is now extremely cowardly and BBC-ish. Their 'reports' from the OPT - rare as they are - are essentially Zionist press releases. And don't even get me started on the censorship, sorry, 'moderation' on CiF threads.

  • Netanyahu's map of 'Israel' annexes West Bank, leaves out Gaza
    • Particularly ironic was hearing NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen drone on about his 'fears' of Russian 'expansionism' and the need to protect the 'integrity' of nation states etc. You'd never guess - or maybe you would - that he was PM of Denmark when that country joined the 'coalition of the willing'. I suppose some states' 'integrity' is worth more than others. And while sanctions mean unacceptable 'delegitimisation' with, ahem, *some* countries, they can be imposed with alacrity upon others.

  • 'NYT' covers Palestinian generational divide over the two-state solution
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 20, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      ''So far in general Palestinians (Israeli Arabs semi excluded) have firmly rejected accepting the obligations towards the state implied by citizenship.''

      I'll say much the same thing here as I said about Scarlett Johansson on another thread: If you are not in fact stupid, you're doing a pretty good job of pretending to be. So now people under military occupation have 'obligations' towards their occupiers? Are you being serious, or are you taking the proverbial? For the sake of your sanity, I'm hoping for the latter.

  • Johansson got career boost from 'comic farrago' over SodaStream -- 'New Yorker'
    • I think it's too early to say if her career will be boosted. As I said on another thread, her career is unlikely to have too long a life anyway, since she can't act and the public will quickly get bored of her and turn their attentions to the new doe-eyed flavour of the month. I also think that outside of America - and even within certain demographics in the US - her selfishness and lack of principle will harm her. Zionism just doesn't sell like it did a few decades ago. Even in America.

      However, I do think it's pretty outrageous that the magazine referred to the SS debacle as 'comic'. Could you imagine them using such a word for any other political controversy, whatever their views on the rights and wrongs? Would they have used the same word to refer to an actress 'caught up' in a controversy over boycotting South African goods back in the day? I doubt it.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 18, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      “I think I was put into a position that was way larger than anything I could possibly—I mean, this is an issue that is much bigger than something I could just be dropped into the middle of.”

      I really love this. Poor Scarlett was forced to enhance her image, sorry, 'support a humanitarian cause' by becoming an Oxfam ambassador. She was them forced to accept millions (?) of dollars for arching her eyebrows in an idiotic ad that looked like it was designed by a 14 year old. Finally, she was also forced to give up her association with Oxfam because she preferred the cash.

      I can see why Scarlett and Zionism would understand each other perfectly. No matter what the circumstances, she is never responsible for the consequences. Always, always the victim.

  • Scarlett Johansson parrots SodaStream CEO in attack on Oxfam
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 18, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      Except that Johansson didn't make the argument you are helpfully attributing to her. Given that she can't form a coherent sentence, articulating any kind of 'argument' would be beyond her. Even when the argument is as bogus as yours.

      ''So if you’re going to argue that Israeli civil society should be subjected to a boycott for these indirect relationships''

      So working on an Israeli government project is an 'indirect relationship'? I wonder what your idea of a 'direct relationship' is?

      ''even though academic institutions may take no position, or even an anti- position, with regard to the occupation''

      Can you provide details of all the these institutions which take an 'anti-position' (sic) on the occupation? While you're at it, could you also detail the practical measures these institutions take in support of their 'anti-position' on the occupation?

  • Johansson sees greater wrong in Oxfam than Israeli settlement
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 18, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      She cannot string together an articulate sentence, even when the talking points were handed to her by Sodastream.

      If Johansson is indeed intelligent, she's certainly going out of her way to pretend otherwise. And giving a far more convincing performance than in any of her lousy films.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 18, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      A lot of people find Zionism to be a noxious idea, wrongheaded policy, discriminatory in nature. There are people who do not drink the Zionist Kool-Aid.

      You were really asking to be parodied, weren't you? But you just made it way too easy for us.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 18, 2014 at 3:58 am

      It's been quite interesting - and perhaps encouraging - to observe the commentary on Johansson's SS debacle. I've looked at a few celebrity/entertainment sites with mostly American readers - ie not the type of place you'd expect to find much anti-occupation feeling - and the reaction to Johansson's decision has been mostly negative. There's a general feeling that an already extremely wealthy woman chose the $ over human rights. The only ones who defend her are the usual gang of on-call Zionists. And these, as I say, are American readers. I doubt you would have seen such a reaction even 10 years ago, certainly not in the US.

      Whether it will damage her career remains to be seen - as others have said, it certainly won't do her any harm with the powers that be in Los Angeles and New York. Au contraire. Then again, seeing as Johansson isn't much of an actress, and is better known for her product shills than her 'acting', her appeal is in any case likely to fade as soon as her looks do, and the next non-threatening blonde (there's always another one) will take centre stage. So the point is rather moot.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius March 18, 2014 at 3:52 am

      I agree. I'd be the last person to ascribe to the 'dumb blonde' stereotype, but Scarlett seems to live up to in in spades. Worse than that, she seems entirely lacking in empathy or compassion, as shown not only by her - bumbling and inarticulate - comments on SS, but also regarding Dylan Farrow (whatever one thinks of the allegations against Allen). Johansson comes across as being exceptionally shallow and self-centered. She can't even articulate the PR lines fed to her by SS articulately. If ever there were an argument for celebs staying out of politics, this is it.

  • 'When I go into the class, I am preparing tomorrow's citizens for the next war'
    • How is this brief piece 'hyperbolic'? It simply describes the page and offers the opinion that it's rather depressing. I see nothing 'hyperbolic' about it.

      And if you think that - in perhaps the most militarised society on earth, with near-universal conscription for all Jewish citizens - this 'teacher's' job involves nothing more than teaching kids ''to protect themselves against incoming missiles, etc'' then you are very naive.

    • Hyperbolic? Have you ever read any of the crap that's spewed about the ''Palestinian education system''? It's not so intense these days, but a few years ago you could barely pick up a newspaper or surf the interwebs without reading some US politician wringing their hands over how ''Palestinian children are taught to hate'', usually with some creatively translated snippet from MEMRI thrown in her more emotional impact. Didn't Hilary Clinton make a statement about the vileness of the Palestinian curriculum a few years back?

      If a Palestinian resistance group boasted on FB about training children for the next war, complete with a photo of a uniformed officer in a classroom, I can assure you it would be all over the mainstream newspapers, not tucked away in a blog like this. 'Hyperbolic' wouldn't even begin to describe it.

  • BDS and the purveyors of Israel's democratic image
    • ''Israelis like their standard of living and if forced to decide they will make choices.''

      Exactly. JeffB seems to have swallowed the line about how all Israelis are fiercely loyal to Zionism and will fight to the last man/woman. In reality, with Israel enjoying probably the greatest period of security in their history, many of Israel's best and brightest are emigrating, preferring to take their chances with the gentiles than live in the Jewish ghetto. Large numbers of Israelis are looking for any excuse to get out of their compulsory military service. And even when they do sign up, at the first sign of real danger (stone throwing kids don't count as 'danger') they run away. See Lebanon, July 2006 for the most obvious example.

      So while no doubt there is a hard-core of Israelis who will put up with genuine hardship to defend what's left of Zionism, it's a fair bet that your average suburban middle class Israeli values a comfortable life above all else, much like people all over the world. That may not fit Israel's macho image, but it may well turn out to be the truth.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius February 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      Al Waleed will say this sort of thing to the American press, but he would never dare do so in the House of Saud's own media outlets. Remember when Shimon Perez addressed some meeting of the Gulf league last year? The Saudis were absolutely furious when news of this leaked out, and it went unreported in the many news outlets controlled by House of Saud.

      It's true that these outlets have been trying to coax the Arab people into thinking that Palestine is no longer the issue and that Iran is the real enemy - with of course lots of nasty sectarianism thrown in - but for the most part they have been unsuccessful. Even the spoiled Gulf Arabs know who the real enemy is, and continue to despise Israel. There is still no way that any Gulf state will openly ally themselves with Israel, even if they have been chummy behind the scenes pretty much since the day the state of Israel was founded.

    • ''For example what level of sanctions do you believe it would take for France to willing and voluntarily allow their country to be over run and then governed by Germans?''

      Come on Jeff. You KNOW that is a totally idiotic comparison, don't you? And you know you're dealing with an informed readership here, don't you? So are we to take it that this is the best you've got?

      It is, isn't it?

    • Exactly. That's what I've been saying too.

      For as long as I can remember, 'liberal Zionists' have been telling us that they'd, you know, just LOVE to support the Palestinian cause, but could not, in all conscience (!) do so when Palestinians were attacking civilians. Why couldn't they Palestinians try non-violent resistance, they would say? Think of how much support they would have then!

      And now, when Palestinians DO try non-violent resistance, and when it DOES show signs of working, and when they DO gain worldwide support, the 'liberal Zionists' just don't want to know. They find more excuses to oppose it because, deep down, they don't want the Palestinians to resist occupation at ALL. Violent or non-violent really has nothing to do with.

    • I agree, but it's not just the two of them, is it? As I said, Israeli embassies and lobby groups all over the world are taking concerted action against BDS. I read somewhere - though can't confirm it - that the London embassy has a staff member whose only job is to oppose BDS.

      I hardly think all of this effort is simply down to wounded egos or a sense of alienation. I think the Israeli political/business elite are genuinely worried about the financial impact of BDS. True, it's not going to bring Israel's economy to its knees overnight, but given the swift pace at which BDS is growing - its gone from fringe to mainstream within months - they have good reason to be afraid.

    • If, as this article claims, the impact of BDS on Israel's economy is likely to be minimal, why are the likes of Netanyahu and Bennett - ie hardly 'liberals' - and Israeli embassies and lobby groups the world over so terrified by it?

      While I agree that BDS isn't going to cripple Israel any time soon, and that for the time being at least, the chief impact will be psychological, I think the author is too pessimistic. I'm sure there was a time when South Africa felt its economy was unassailable too. And SA had and has a lot more to offer than Israel.

  • Scarlett Johansson's 'scholarship' and 'intelligence' cited by Mike Huckabee
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius February 21, 2014 at 9:11 am

      I agree completely. I think Max Blumenthal wrote an article about how, back in the 70s or even later, being openly Zionist was tres cool in Hollywood. It was a bit like being a supporter of gay rights today - the ultimate safe cause, and a great way to show how right on you were.

      But how the tables have turned. While it's still true that most of the Hollywood elite are either supporters of Israel, or at least toe the line, being Zionist is no longer a boost to one's liberal chic image. Quite the opposite. Even an avowed 'liberal' like Johansson is now receiving only stony silence from Hollywood, and gushing praise from Neanderthals like Huckabee and Liebermann. The old tropes just aren't working anymore.

    • When it comes to Palestine, there's little or no difference.

      However, Johansson has recently spoken of her 'liberal' upbringing, has campaigned for Obama, and no doubt considers herself an oh-so-modern and liberal metropolitan type. So she'll be none too happy about having far-right anti-woman Neanderthals sing her praises.

      But hey, what did she expect when she ditched Oxfam for war profiteering?

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius February 20, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      ''several people who work for the UHWC and UAWC were once in the PFLP.''

      Pretty much everyone in every Israeli government ever was once a member of the occupation army, many of them at the rank of general.

    • I find it quite satisfying that Johansson - who likes to think of herself as a super liberal, Democrat voting New Yorker - is being lauded by extreme right wing misogynists.

      You know what they say, Scarlett, when you lie down with the dogs, you get up with fleas.

  • Transcript: Netanyahu calls on U.S. Jews to fight BDS-- 'eerie' anti-Semites 'on the soil of Europe'
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius February 18, 2014 at 5:45 pm

      ''We’re not talking here about conquering territory.''

      Well, that's a nice change.

    • ''The founders of the BDS movement make their goals perfectly clear. They want to see the end of the Jewish state. They’re quite explicit about it. ''

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know the BDS Movement takes no stance on a 1SS or 2SS. In any case, BDS is a broad-based grassroots movement - it's not like one has to sign up to some manifesto or become a member of a group in order to support BDS. So what Netanyahu is saying is just plain factually incorrect. Now there's a shocker.

      Oh, and notice how he goes from saying that BDS is this great anti-semitic threat, while then adopting a 'nothing here to see' attitude, referencing supposed Israeli business successes. That's typical of how Zionists respond to BDS - either it's a new Holocaust, or it's simply a harmless annoyance, a bit like a dripping tap or a buzzing fly.

  • FIFA: Mohammed Assaf invitation to perform in World Cup opening ceremony 'still stands' (Updated)
    • Which doesn't change the fact that - correct me if I'm wrong - there is still no confirmation from Shakira's camp that she refused to perform at the WC in solidarity with Assaf.

    • Was there ever any confirmation from Shakira or her spokesperson that she had refused to perform in solidarity with Assaf? I don't think there was. I'm not even sure she herself had been confirmed to perform in the first place.

  • Goldberg slams Kerry for mentioning boycott-- though he saluted it as 'smart strategy'
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius February 17, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Good question. Isn't France fully signed up to the sanctions on Iran?

      And btw I don't think BDS advocates a blanket ban on dealings with ALL Israelis (''members of national groups''). If an Israeli - Jew or Palestinian - is known to oppose the occupation they are usually welcomed by Palestinian solidarity groups. Certainly, that is the case in the Palestinian solidarity group I'm most familiar with - from time to time Israelis attend and speak at our meetings. I'd be interested to know how such a law would stand up under scrutiny by the French courts.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius February 16, 2014 at 6:26 am

      Indeed. I said exactly the same thing in my post below.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius February 16, 2014 at 6:22 am

      ''I think Goldberg’s double standard reflects the fact that it’s OK to be Jewish and saying these things to a Jewish audience– a lot of straight talk falls into that special category.''

      That's certainly part of it, but not the whole story, imho.

      Rather, Goldberg is typical of those 'liberal zionists' (if such a label can be attached to a person who went out of his way to serve as an IDF prison guard) who for years have been wagging their fingers at Palestinians and telling them that, if only they went for non-violent resistance, they would enjoy so much more support and goodwill - even from the 'liberal Zionists' themselves. It wasn't Palestinian resistance which these people objected to, it was Palestinian violence. Or so they wanted us - and perhaps themselves - to believe.

      But even in the few months since last October, BDS has become considerably more high-profile and mainstream. And all those 'liberal Zionists' who were happy to tell us they would support 'non violent resistance' when it was something vague and non-threatening, are now, to use Goldberg's word, terrified. 'Non-violent resistance' was great when it was just another way to lecture Palestinians, but now that it's a reality, and becoming more powerful almost by the day, they're forced to dig out the old excuses about 'targetting Jews', with a nice bit of Holocaust emotional blackmail thrown in for good measure. In reality, these people don't want Palestinians to resist occupation at all, in any way, shape or form. The success of BDS is forcing them to admit that, which is really no bad thing if it finally puts an end, once and for all, to the myth of 'liberal Zionism'.

    • @amigo I agree completely. This argument about how we need to mollycoddle Israelis into 'compromise' and not scare them away just does not work. Israel is now 'enjoying' more total dominance over Palestinians than at perhaps any time in its history. Months can go by without there being a single Israeli casualty of Palestinian violence - though the reverse is not true at all. Yet, far from putting Israelis in a mood to 'compromise', this relative peace and security is making them even more right-wing and even more anti-Palestinian.

      Why are Israelis so precious and so sensitive that we have to tiptoe around them in case we 'terrify' them? Enough already, as the Americans might say. It's time for a change - BDS and more BDS.

  • Mohammed Assaf banned from performing at FIFA World Cup
    • So do you think Assaf may not have been formally invited in the first place, but rather was one of several applicants (so to speak) who was not chosen to perform?

  • At Sochi Olympics, Israel is in... Europe!
    • Maximus Decimus Meridius February 14, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Australia was also 'conceived and founded by Europeans'. The percentage of people of European descent who live there is higher than in Israel. Unlike Israelis, Australians are also mostly Christian and speak a European language. If Israel can be considered 'European', why not Australia?

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius February 14, 2014 at 6:40 am

      ''Those countries that object to playing against Israel should be expelled from FIFA, which is run by a bunch of mealy-mouthed apologists.''

      Oh, I completely agree. Israel should never have been awarded the junior tournament in 2013, given its appalling human rights record.

      ''No doubt this abusive treatment of Israel explains why it is courted in Europe''

      ''Courted in Europe'' eh? Well, I suppose it's a change from us being told how anti-semitic and 'anti-Israel' Europe is.

      ''You didn’t hear how Israel U-21 defeated England last year?''

      No, actually, I didn't, because nobody takes these junior tournaments too seriously, which I suppose is why Israel was granted the right to host one. Fact is - not 'bias' - that Israel almost never qualifies for major tournaments, and on the rare occasions when it does, gets knocked out almost immediately. But if you want to say that one victory in a minor tournament makes up for the fact (again, fact, not 'bias') that Israel hasn't qualified for a World Cup since 1974, feel free. It would hardly be the first time a Zionist has preferred illusion over reality.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius February 13, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      ''They claim they are prevented from being part of the Middle East and just want to welcomed but it appears they also want to be part of Europe.''

      Exactly.

      Plus, they say they have the better claim to Palestine because they are the direct descendants of the Jews who lived there two millenia ago (yah sure!), yet still they are ''European''? Which is it?

      Never mind that about half of Israeli Jews are of (recent) Middle Eastern origin, and that the Ashkenazi Jews probably have very little genetic linkage to the region at all.

    • Europe has no legal boundaries (remind you of anyone, eh?) but the generally accepted idea is that Europe ends at the Ural mountains. By that definition, all of the mentioned countries are in Europe.

      By NO definition is Israel in Europe. It doesn't even border a European country. It is, unambiguously, a part of Western Asia. If Israel is in Europe, then so too is Jordan and Lebanon. But somehow, I don't think that would go down too well, do you?

    • ''Why is Israel in these European competitions and federations and not with the other Asian countries?''

      In the case of football, at least, it's because several of the countries in the Asian federation refuse to play against Israel. Under FIFA rules, every country has to be allowed to play international football in one federation, so I suppose UEFA seemed the obvious one. In a way it's a good thing though. Israel is crap at football, and so they hardly ever qualify for major tournaments when up against the likes of Italy or Germany, and usually go out at the first hurdle when they do. They might manage it against minnows like Jordan, but they haven't a chance in European competition because they're so rubbish.

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