Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3708 (since 2009-11-18 22:41:33)


I'm retired after teaching philosophy for some decades. I am a secular Christian, very interested in biblical scholarship, with decent Greek but must learn some Hebrew. Rather obsessed with ancient multiculturalism and belief that Palestine was always multicultural and multiracial, while Jewish cultural influence in the wider ancient world was greater than is supposed.

Showing comments 3708 - 3701

  • Senator Warren's progressive supporters demand accountability for her rightwing pro-Israel positioning
    • I would interpret this as a politician trying to sense what pressure is coming from the constituency. At Cape Cod she simply made the conventional remarks in support of Israel, presumably expecting that her mainstream audience would entirely sympathise. The response was enough to warn her that a university audience would not be quite so sympathetic to the same ideas, let's hope enough to prick her conscience. The remark by an assistant that she had been taken by surprise at Cape Cod is rather pathetic and frustrating, suggesting that she had scarcely thought about what is after all one of the world's most important problems and was not just expecting audience sympathy but expressing views that seem to her natural and beyond challenge. The tepid change is not enough to justify any hope. We are still in the wilderness. Some forces of public opinion are gathering but they will always melt away if no one gives a lead.
      Pew research reports, which I was looking at in connection with poor Mr. Shipman, seem to indicate no real change in American sympathies for Israel or Palestine - except perhaps for a bit of a shift towards being sorry for everyone - from April to August. Which would mean that the movement caused by the brutality of recent events in Gaza has melted almost literally like snow in summer.

  • ASA statement on Salaita: An 'assault against the Program in American Indian Studies at UIUC '
    • Mind you, the heart of the matter is not discrimination against Native American studies but against an individual and against his opinions on a matter rooted far from American shores. Had he entertained and expressed opinions of the most radical kind against the way in which America was colonised and conquered by people of Euro extraction, and stuck to that topic, he would be probably be admired and honoured, maybe invited to lecture in Israel.

  • Yale president's office was involved from the gitgo in blowup over Yale chaplain's letter
    • A good point from RoHa (below) - maybe my 'comparatively few' would just about survive those counterexamples?

    • You're a model of fairness - nice to meet someone who really lives up to his/her screen name! It will be interesting to see if the Episcopal Church can find another job for him.

    • The Episcopal/Anglican Church seems to have disgraced itself even more profoundly. I'm used to that but this episode may be touching new depths.

    • Not sure that I'd call the response to recent aggression 'anti-Semitic' or 'anti-Jewish' - it's just anti-atrocity even when atrocities are committed by Jewish people. Maybe worth mentioning that comparatively few of history's atrocities have been committed by Jewish people, even though this one has been.

  • US and Canada strengthen economic relationship with Israel following attack on Gaza
    • I don't think that so much money would be spent on lobbying and influencing unless there were some anxiety about what would happen were that influence not applied. That suggests to me that the argument that the West's real interests lie in good relations with the Muslim world, if necessary at Israel's expense, is tacitly recognised as strong (I did not say conclusive) though rarely stated or advanced.
      There is no real contradiction between saying that this influence is vigorously exercised and that the people influenced are in any event thoroughly open to the influence in question. The likes of us have to ask ourselves whether we are so sure, for our purposes as citizens of Western countries, that Israel and all its works don't work in our true interests and that everyone would see this were it not for lobbyists and their accursed money. Our interests might be our genuine interests even if we are morally distressed by them.
      Our interests are presumably defined by the fact that we are, just are like it or not, the main centres of industrial and technological activity, consume the most fuel etc.. We would be concerned if the Middle East, which has so many natural resources which relate to our activity, were united and able to bargain with us 'from strength'. So the question arises: might it be in our interests to set the ME at all kinds of sixes and sevens by any means that would work, including putting some kind of Western-related citadel there?
      This question is answered affirmatively by 'the Bannerman Report'. At this point you may think I am unduly influenced by that insidious old British patriotism of mine (Britain may be abolished tomorrow, you know: this makes me feel quite strange) but I cannot but think, for all my respect for Tariq Ali, that the Bannerman Report is a forgery, existing only on ME websites - no copy in National Archives etc. . You won't find that statement conclusive by itself, I know: I could argue at more length if required. I've never concealed my shame at other aspects of British policy in the ME.
      However, the point for our purposes is not the genuineness of the document but the possible truth and possible popularity of the sentiment. Is it true that we just have, for our own vital interests or even 'existential' needs, to disrupt the Muslim world indefinitely and ruthlessly - sorry, guys, but we've got to do this to you? I've gone on far too long but I think radical existentialism is not true and not really popular in the Western world, even in its political class.

  • US Congressman Danny Davis calls for lifting the blockade of Gaza
    • I second radkelt's sentiment. Davis looks, on stopaipac's showing, as if he is responding to constituency pressure rather than leading it and probably hoping to get away with a rather small response.

    • Page: 37
    • It will be interesting how the constituents of these Representatives react - sympathy? surprise? - and whether their colleagues now begin to come under constituency pressure.
      I think that some of the problem goes back to the days when Martin Luther King was trying desperately to hold his huge, unwieldy coalition together.

  • Five lessons from the struggle to reinstate Steven Salaita at the University of Illinois
    • Well, I found two sources in about two minutes. Neither confirmed 'probing' and I mentioned this. I also mentioned that I had not gone behind the Haaretz paywall but treated - and would still treat - the Haaretz report, full of indignation as it was, as reasonably credible. I think that this is enough to confirm, as jwp also confirms from personal observation, that Salaita's 'likely' is a reasonable word if it implies that any Palestinian using the Israeli airport system has reason to consider sexual humiliation a serious risk. Evil.

    • The Feb.26, 2014 Haaretz headline does indeed say, bold as brass, 'teacher strip-searched', mentioning Eilat. The use I made of it was fully justified. The policy in question does indeed have sexual overtones and is indeed evil. Salaita's 'likely' is false if it implies a more than 50% chance each time, arguably true if it means 'probable enough to cause unpleasant concern each time one travels'.

    • It sounds to me that, on the evidence presented, Salaita's style is rhetorical to the point of being, in certain respects, misleading: which does not exclude the possibility that he draws attention successfully to certain important points which people who write a more dry and more careful style might not convey.
      His citation of four discovered pseudo-incidents may not in itself be enough to justify, without more ado, his use of the word 'numerous': he presumably believes that it is enough to suggest that quite a few more incidents were pseudo-incidents but have not been identified as such. That is at least worth thinking about.
      His statement that probes are 'likely' may convey the impression that any Palestinian traveller has a more than 50% chance of being probed. I had a quick look at stories about Israeli airport security and came up with an entry for Feb. this year in Haaretz about a female teacher from Eilat at whose treatment the Haaretz journalist waxed indignant and another about successful legal action by two brothers who had been subjected to the supervision of a female agent - causing a dispute which became rather sharp when one of them wanted to go to the bathroom. These cases had caused great complaint, but not even they mentioned probes (but then I couldn't read the entire Haaretz article because of the paywall) - which seemed to me to be enough evidence to suggest that the probability of being probed is fairly low: though surely not zero.
      It was also enough to convince me that a Palestinian planning to use an Israeli airport has to prepare him/herself for a thoroughly unpleasant experience - there is sufficient probability to make that preparation reasonable - which may even include an element with rather blatant sexual overtones. The important thing is, of course, that this treatment exists and is a disgrace. The important thing is not that Salaita uses language that might mislead in certain respects.
      The use made of the idea that 'this recalls what anti-Semites have said' is excessive. It is hard to see how any objection can be made to anything done by anyone who is Jewish without in some sense recalling at least some words or ideas used by people who objected to everything done by anyone who was Jewish.
      If I said that the sexual overtones sometimes evident in Israeli treatment of Palestinians at airports recalls the extremely negative sentiments about non-Jewish women found in the Book of Proverbs I would expect to be told that airport security has to be considered on its own merits in the contemporary world - and that it makes no difference whether the Book of Proverbs (whose influence on the situation may well be nil) was excessive in its view of non-Jewish people.
      I do not think we have even the beginnings of a case for terminating Salaita.

  • On the use of provocative analogies (Nazism, fascism)
    • As well as I remember, the conflation of Jews and Israelis was mentioned in the famous 'working definition of anti-Semitism' as an actual indication of anti-Semitic sentiments.

    • Just to add my voice to annie's and Johann's. Our governments have made grand gestures in the way of signing up to legal definitions of 'genocide' - maybe these gestures were in many ways hollow and hypocritical. We push them firmly towards hypocrisy if we laugh off every example as it appears and we give aid and comfort to those who are legally genocidaires if we allow, even encourage, them to use the excuse that there are certain extremes to which they have not gone.
      The extremes to which people go depend on their specific circumstances rather than on their general readiness to break moral rules. The circumstances of WW2 will never recur, neither will the circumstances in which Euros arrived in America, so all future atrocities will fall short of full likeness to the atrocities of those times. Those who perpetrate future atrocities will always state as loudly as possible that they are not doing what those perpetrated the atrocities of the past did - and this argument will always lack logical force. If the moral rules are broken, with massive suffering resulting, massive wrong has been done.
      I would have liked Professor Slater to say what he means by 'fascism' - I can't really see that modern Israel is very like Mussolini's Italy.
      Slater's main point, that in principle oppressors and marauders do not gain the right to oppress, kill and maraud some more just because they meet resistance on the scale of 'rockets on Berlin', is worth making.

  • Ohio University filibuster: harangue or free speech?
    • I too see no reason for shame. If Susie, sympathising with Megan as she does, minimises (ie is careful not to exaggerate) the physical threat that Megan faced, that is a testimony to her objectivity.

  • Yale Jewish center to hold 'intellectual' panel on storm over ousted priest's comments-- without inviting the priest
    • Well, I would think that to hate Germans because of what some of their ancestors did to Jews (or because some other ancestors dropped a bomb within 50 yards of my parents) would be undoubtedly be a form, and rather an extreme form since it involves hatred, of anti-German prejudice. To avoid an accusation of prejudice you need reasons which justify the emotion and the way you direct it to certain targets. To note that someone has some blood relationship with those who have done a bad thing is never a good reason to direct negative emotion at that person.
      My only disagreement with Shipman, who seems to have received even shorter shrift than Salaita, is that the emotions that have arisen as a result of Gaza are not - certainly not by my standards - anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish: they may be directed against people who are Jewish but that is a very different thing. If you say that all negative feelings directed against Jews or Germans or Australians or Flat-earthers are a form of prejudice then you are saying that there is no reasonable objection to members of these sets: ie that Germans, Australians or whatever are impeccable, which (being human) they aren't.

  • University of Illinois trustees vote to reject Salaita reinstatement
    • You probably know the legal terminology better than I do but to my mind there is a dismissal, in the morally significant sense, if someone is being paid and the payment stops - especially if the reason is not that funding for the work has dried up. If the original appointment was contrary to the rules of the institution (which may not have been properly explained) then I suppose we shall - or certainly should - see disciplinary action against those responsible. The person appointed is not particularly responsible for such things and the fair response would be to reopen the appointment process with that person as a candidate to be considered objectively.

    • I've had a lot of experience of university disputes. In the UK universities, at least those with royal charters, have statutes which explicitly prohibit dismissal or disciplinary action on the basis of unpopular opinion. This protection is not confined to a 'tenured' subset and non-renewal of a contract would count under UK law as dismissal. Presumably the situation in publicly funded US universities is not too different? Or is the distinction between tenure and non-tenure more emphatic?
      That said, I can see that the trustees would have thought that if they voted for Salaita they would more or less be asking Wise to resign and would have counted on ending the problem by persuading Salaita to accept a 'generous' settlement - a bit like the Palestinians come to think of it. They have top lawyers and top lawyers can get you out of (almost!) any predicament, particuarly if public opinion is reasonably supportive of your case. Most people in Illinois will, if the media have done their normal job, be thinking of Salaita as an anti-Semite or at least an annoying eccentric.
      When the next case of this kind arises, who will be more deterred? The individual who wants to express solidarity with the Palestinians in fairly sharp terms or the institution that doesn't want bad publicity and a substantial payout?

  • Ohio student leader who dropped bucket of blood for Gaza receives vicious death threats
    • Those who admit to using inflammatory language in public have little right to protest about 'pouring gasoline on the flames' by letting everyone know what is going on. They have made it a public matter. They have fanned the flames themselves.

  • ISIS, 9/11, and the terrorism time loop
    • I think it was Yanukovych not Yushchenko who tried to tilt Ukraine towards Russia - and I'm prepared to believe that he had become desperately unpopular in Kiev and in western Ukraine among people in general, not just among thugs and anti-Semites. Also that Putin is no saint but a pretty ruthless nationalist leader. What happened was nevertheless a Western-supported coup and we cannot sensibly claim against Putin that it is morally imperative for parts of the country where the former government was popular to accept the results of a coup in the capital. However, despite Obama's terrifying dulled eyes in your picture, which make him look like he's been invaded by body-snatchers, I think that United States and western policy has had some sort of moral compass, some of the time, and that the Islamic Statists are fairly horrible. But they exist in reaction to other horrors: we keep forgetting that. The Sunnis in the IS area had become desperate because of oppressive anti-Sunni forces which we are seeking to reimpose in Iraq, though still apparently trying to destroy in Syria. So we are being driven not only into ever-shifting 1984-style alliances but into factional politics so complex and treacherous that we are on both sides at once, and our moral compass has crumbled.
      The root cause of all this is the one consistent thing, our total support for Zionism, in the view of most in the West the overwhelmingly noble, democratic, human-rights vindicating cause of our times.

  • Ohio student leader's dramatic act for Gaza
    • The school newspaper's remark about 'self-interest' seems barely literate. A personal commitment going beyond the general views of students, maybe, but an attempt to feather her own nest, absolutely not.

  • Israel's tunnels aim to Judaize Jerusalem and are approved by Supreme Court
    • I have never got the hang of providing links - but yesterday I was looking at a respected website called 'The Bible and Interpretation', which transmitted a report from the Times of Israel saying that the Jordanian royal family had urgently requested that the construction of a bridge, the work of the Western Wall 'heritage' crowd, intended to provide access for non-Muslims to the Temple Mount, should cease or be reversed. The Netanyahu government had immediately acceded to this request: that would be at very least an interesting straw in the wind.
      The purpose of the Silwan tunnels is, I'm sure, not to disturb trees or buildings (except as a slight bonus on top of the main reward) but to find artifacts or inscriptions that would verify Biblical claims about Solomon and create an unstoppable demand for 'excavations' that would completely change the aspect and use of the site. So far they have come up with very little.

  • Three ways Palestinians can hold Israel accountable for Gaza war crimes
    • I don't believe that the divided Palestinian leadership, massively dependent on donors who will be intent on stopping them, will do anything along these lines. The Abbas/Erekat/Ashrawi trio has invested its whole being in fake negotiations. Hamas for its part has had a degree of success with the latest passage of arms but it too is for a while at least in desperate need of outside donations for reconstruction purposes. We in the Western pro-Palestinian minority will be left lamenting, as usual.

  • It's 'bomb or bombing' in Iran inside of a year, Israeli leader tells US pol
    • The 'within a year' stuff is around 20 years old. It has usually been transmitted by eager intermediaries. Do they mean it this time? I think that if they did they would bang a bigger drum.

  • Salaita firing turns into a 'catastrophe' for University of Illinois
    • As to 'anti-Semitism rendered honourable by events' - much depends (I know I'm being repetitious here) what 'a-S' means. But it's misleading in almost any event if it means that a new epoch of honourable or valid a-S has dawned. Either it never has been or will be or could be honourable or valid or it has been valid from time to time in exactly the same way as objection to any other human group.
      If 'a-S' is to be understood as 'prejudice against some things Jewish' then nothing renders it honourable or rational, however badly some Jewish people may behave: prejudice never becomes sensible or acceptable.
      If 'a-S' means 'objection to the actions of some Jewish people' then it would be - and must always have been - honourable and valid whenever those actions are in fact misdeeds. On the assumption that Jewish people are morally just like non-Jewish people, good and bad in the same measure, spirit of the human spirit (which they are), then 'a-S' in this sense must always have been valid from time to time in just the same way as objections to actions by British or Spanish or Protestant or Zoroastrian people.

  • Gaza benefit at Yale was moved off-campus due to backlash against priest's letter to NYT
    • If we have come to the point where a church, which might be expected to discriminate in favour of those orthodox opinions whose proclamation is its purpose, is more open to a certain point of view than a university, which is surely supposed, as part of its essence, character and purpose in life, to be open to all opinions - at very least those protected by the law of the land - things have come to a dire state. I quite agree with ritzl that this is a shocking defeat. I also expect that the superior officers of the Episcopal Church fell into a panic, which is what their counterparts in the CofE would very likely do.

    • I hope that many of us in the UK will feel outraged at the lack of sympathy expressed almost anywhere in the parliamentary system for Galloway, even if we don't share his views or like his style. If a Jewish MP had been assaulted so seriously by someone shouting about deaths in Gaza we know what the reaction would have been.

  • Alvin Rosenfeld's Holocaust complaint
    • I think the photo is of Hedy Epstein. I'd like to think I may live to that age and have such a bright eye.

    • Perhaps I should add - I miss that edit button - that in saying that some people attach high importance to Weininger as a cultural influence I do not by any means mean that they actually agree with either the anti-Semitism or the misogyny for which Weininger is quite famous. My use of the word 'admire' may be rather misleading!

    • I think that the 'Frank Quote' - it may be genuine, though I still haven't found a proper reference to Frank's diaries or papers - comes from people who admire Otto Weininger, a young philosopher of fin-de-siecle Vienna, of Jewish background but converted enthusiastically to Protestantism, who wrote in, or in what were taken to be, anti-Semitic and misogynistic terms and committed suicide in 1903. There is some suggestion that some Nazis regarded him as a noble Jew, or as the only Noble Jew, who killed himself because he came to see that the burden of being Jewish is unbearable, though this is not a very likely opinion in a strong Protestant of Jewish descent. It's also possible that he became very depressed because his book had not at first been well received - it was to sell much better, I think, after his death - and he had been accused of plagiarism.
      I found the exact quote, still as far as I could see without a reference, on a website called Phlogma whose editors regard Weininger as an important figure in 20th Century culture - and I think that there is little doubt that he much impressed another Viennese thinker of Jewish background, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and others.
      As far as I know, Weininger had nothing to with Zionism and his critique of things Jewish was based not so much on the economic role of Jews, though he may have commented on that, but on philosophical theories and ideas about gender, effeminacy etc., the matters mentioned in the Frank-Hitler remarks here. His (?wild) accusations of effeminacy do seem - regrettably - to have stung Zionist consciousness. They are probably part of the background to Leo Strauss' pro-Spartan sentiments of the 1920s which I was mentioning in the article of mine that Phil kindly published on the ancient Jewish appropriation of Sparta and of the militarism that we see currently.
      On the other hand I think Hitler's interest in the pre-WW1 currents of Viennese anti-Semitism, of which Weininger's ideas were an important part, is highly debatable.
      Not that any of this matters much besides the moral grotesquerie of saying you shouldn't condemn a current misdeed because that's what a dead wrongdoer would want you to do.

    • 'Quotes' are 2 a penny these days - whether Frank said it, let alone whether Hitler said it, is not easy to determine when there is no reference even to the writings of Frank. Trying to give authority to an argument by citing an unverified quote is a miserable rhetorical trick. More important, to say that any human beings are freed from the responsibility of protesting when they consider that something immoral is being done by considerations of racial solidarity is dire. Can it really be less important to raise a voice against oppression than to avoid saying anything that might have gratified a dead evildoer? That is an abnegation of moral thought.
      For what it's worth Frank's Nuremberg testimony began by saying that he had little contact with Hitler.

  • Being Palestinian got me barred from visiting Palestine
    • Amanda appropriates some terms we hear from Zionists in this context - dream, exile, return, (ancestral) home etc.. I'd just like to consider how words and symbols can seem to turn things that are in reality the same into things that are different or opposite.
      Amanda's arrival is of course treated not as a Return but as a dangerous intrusion or a foolish piece of political theatre, to be repelled by interrogators and men with guns, surrounded by symbolism which is as significant as their actual behaviour. Yet her ancestors did live there as much as anyone's did. When others 'return to their ancestral home' their action is treated as so normal, human and beautiful that denying or disliking it would be immoral, near inhuman. Yet in themselves these are just the same actions.
      Dreams and yearnings are taken, when some experience them, to be expressions of the best and noblest side of human nature. Our language - 'I have a dream!' - works by treating dreams as beautiful until we are reminded that many of them are frightening and misleading. When others have the same experience we have other words for dream and yearning, like fixation or refusal to move on: so instead of finding admiration for your beautiful nature you are treated like someone in need, at best, of psychotherapy. Yet the experience of very much and painfully wanting something is in itself the same, whoever wants and whatever is wanted. The same whether it's Amanda, her interrogators or me.
      Religion didn't come into the dialogue but just to add that when the claim 'God is on our side' arises we sometimes react by stressing the faithfulness, commitment and sheer humanity of the believer, so the claim seems noble, rather charming. Sometimes we stress the sheer logical difficulty in showing that God has spoken, so the claim, completely the same in character, seems this time to be arrant superstition and rather ugly.

    • I surely felt that the immigration officer detected that thought in Amanda and decided, for good and all, to disabuse her of it.

    • Well, Amanda, anyone would think from your attitude that you thought you had a birthright in the Holy Land.

  • Thirteen arrested as protesters tell Senators Menendez and Booker: 'No more blank check for Israel's crimes'
    • Successive Israeli governments, offered what the world in general seems to think is a way of establishing an intact and prosperous Israel without the problems of occupation, have reacted as if Mooser is completely right and the world in general wrong: no 2ss proposal is on the table, presumably because it would lead or seriously risk leading, in their judgement, to the dismantlement of Israel. Which makes me think that Mooser is a perceptive kind of ungulate.
      Finkelstein's analogy with Mexico seems very strange to me. It's not as if the United States had been holding California etc. under occupation since 1846. In fact there has been a 1ss in that area since the 1846 conquest, which by now has come to meet the basic human rights of all the inhabitants and is a reasonably successful real-world model for the 1ss that many would like to see in the ME, not by any means an illustration of the absurdity of 1ss after conquest has taken place.
      Finkelstein may prove that the 2ss is just half as dead as the 1ss. But I think that if you're just half as dead as Julius Caesar you're dead.

  • Elizabeth Warren says killing Palestinian civilians is 'the last thing Israel wants'
    • My memory is of very passionate pro-Israel commitment, couched in at least apparently progressive terms, in the afterglow of 67. I agree with Walker that it's hard to imagine that sort of language being spoken now as it was then, with little fear of contradiction from anyone else considered or claiming to be progressive. But it survived in quieter, seemingly more reflective, forms - Walzer's book on Just Wars set some of the tone and the general sentiment in the academic world did not change that tone - Israel is part of our civilisation, we'd much rather be there than anywhere else in the ME etc. and so on and on - until the last decade. The general view of the educated middle class is a more diffuse version of the same thing - we don't want to think about it too much, we don't want to admit we made a terrible mistake. Above and beyond all, we don't want to be, or think of Jewish acquaintances for a moment thinking of us, that we're anti-Semitic. That's what I meant by inertia - the fiery impetus of 67, itself the product of many decades of horror at anti-Semitism, has weakened but not been reversed. Among the political class there are, as indeed you say, mechanisms to keep this situation going - anyone who even thinks (thank you for the info that Warren had once ventured to think this) that maybe the Palestinians deserve a better deal gets slapped down.
      On the other point - I would think that language is not sexist if (at least at first sight) it seems that there are obvious ways of referring with the same effect to members of both genders. If I had called George W Bush a 'conquering king' that would not have invited you to sneer at men or masculinity.

    • My distant impression of Warren is that she is not a powerful personality and will not change things very much. Clinton is a powerful personality revelling in her warrior queen persona who might change things a lot but often for the worse.
      They are indeed both politicians caught in the iron wheels of an electoral machine. But it's not only that - they are both heirs of decades of conviction among the mass of progressive people that Zionism was a triumphant force of liberation, justice and enlightenment. It is we who are arguing for a new look at things, they who can see no reason to question the assured results, as they seem to be, of so much sincere progressive thinking. The law of inertia is on their maddening side as they refuse to see what should be plain as a pikestaff.

  • Ceasefire deal after weeks of fighting in Gaza promises easing of blockade
    • If this is really true then Netanyahu may deserve some credit and the beginning of the end or at least the end of the great impasse may be in sight. I'll let myself believe that for the moment.

  • Israel's decades-long effort to turn the word 'terrorism' into an ideological weapon
    • It cannot be denied that innocents are menaced and injured, sometimes maimed, by government efforts to suppress insurgencies. At that rate most governments and most political forces sometimes resort to terrorism: which raises the question of whether terrorism can sometimes be justified. The rhetorical ploy is to keep that question open when these things are done by Us, closed when they're done by Them. AAll parties will of course say that they never murder only kill with justification

  • 'We want to exchange our personal experiences of war, Sir'
    • Perhaps this resolution against silence should be transmitted, for consideration, to the Muslim-Jewish food and music group in St. Louis which is reported on another thread.

  • 'NYT' journey to Israel/Palestine to be led by Israeli 'expert' who called on countrymen to 'kill and kill' Palestinians
    • It would be interesting to see if there is a verified remark by a Nazi academic, quite so blandly and unconditionally stated, about the need to kill Jews.
      I suppose that the call is not for all existing Palestinians to be removed from the world but only for enough of them to be removed in that fashion for the rest to relocate to Kuwait or London, where presumably they can live and even make a demographic contribution. London is part of the world, you may say - but the idea of the Palestinians' biological descendants being no longer Palestinian but Kuwaiti or English in identity is the idea of removing something from the world in a very drastic way.

  • Salaita's hire set off fundraising alarm at U of Illinois, per emails to chancellor
    • Are there any other donor groups who behave like this? Are American universities in general such warm and comforting places that everyone of every background and persuasion would expect to leave every discussion of every controversial matter feeling at least a warm and gentle glow about the background or persuasion in question?

  • My life during the war
    • Everyone concerned is indeed human, so everyone equally should have normal human rights. It would be quite a step forward were that truth acknowledged. It would be strange to worry at the moment more about what Hamas thinks than about what Israel does.

    • I'm not sure, having read the ME Monitor report,that Ben Yair is likely to have any inside knowledge: he is raising a question rather than providing an informed answer, I think. The question comes very late after the 'Hamas breaks ceasefire' story has had free rein for days, at least in the Western media.

    • It has proved extremely difficult, as the Universities and Colleges Union has found to its cost, or its relief, to reconcile boycott of Israel with UK anti-discrimination law.

  • Mr. Netanyahu, what is your endgame?
  • 'NYT' op-ed calls on Jews to abandon liberal Zionism and push for equal rights
    • At least I didn't say, though I was tempted, that Jesus, in Crossan's view, visited Jerusalem only once 'prolly'.
      I presume that Crossan, whose book I have not read, thinks that the visit by the 12-year old Jesus, recorded by Luke only, is fictional, written for the theological purpose of establishing whom Jesus meant by 'my father'. For what it's worth, I think that Freyne's book is quite good and brings us reasonably up to date with the discussion, though is maybe a bit conservative: I believe he gave up the Catholic priesthood for an academic career, though retreated to the pews at the back of the church rather than into unbelief. A scientifically objective account of the career of Jesus (if there was a Jesus; this is denied by some) is agonisingly difficult to find. That the subject has been caught up in the Jewish-Christian debate for near 2 millennia makes it an outlying, though not irrelevant, part of the problems we discuss here on Mondoweiss.

    • An attempt at understanding Jesus' relationship with Jerusalem by the late Professor Sean Freyne:
      'He too was [in my view] committed to Judean claims about the divine presence in Jerusalem...even when his interpretation of how that presence should function ...varied considerably from that of the...establishment. Not everyone [agrees with me at this point]...John Dominic Crossan writes that Jesus probably only visited Jerusalem once and that he was so incensed by what he encounteres there that he launched the protest against the temple and the holy city that would eventually lead to his death...[Indeed] the emphasis in recent scholarship...has given rise to a serious danger of a non-Jewish Jesus [the product of nineteenth century anti-Semitism] emerging in another guise.
      'The Jesus Movement and its Expansion' 2014 p.135.

  • Democratic Party leader echoes Netanyahu's new theme: Hamas equals ISIS
    • Sorry, that should have been Foreign Secretary (Philip Hammond) and former head of the Army (Lord Dannatt).

    • Our Defence Secretary has just remarked that he couldn't possibly contemplate (which means he is contemplating) an alliance with Assad, though someone influential - I think Lord Dannatt, former head of the armed forces - is urging it openly.

    • However, the Western media now have a Muslim villain again and the indignation will far surpass anything that the likes of us can raise over the Gaza horrors.

  • 'Common Dreams' website traps Hasbara troll spewing anti-Semitism
    • A few comments pop up on Mondoweiss which can, despite the care of the moderators, be suspected of trying to induce replies that can be advertised as anti-Semitic. They seem to think we're something between storm troopers and neanderthals with a touch of blood-guilt mania. Perhaps they're young and impressionable and that's what someone's told them. I hope that if they stay around to see the results of their labours they begin to get a fairer picture of us.

  • In Gaza havens are far, heavens are closer
    • Then again, they've all read their Bibles and heard the sermons saying that it's God's will and they've all heard the stuff about democracy in the ME. Kay asks how the Congress people get a good night's sleep - I'm sure they've internalised all that stuff and it comes to them in their dreams. It must also be convenient, of course, to have what amounts to a basic public subsidy - aid for Israel returns, one way and another, as aid for them - to give their careers a bit of stability. When the people who are now attending universities and who have been exposed to fewer sermons and more scepticism about one and only democracies, the mindset will be different - but decades are a long time to wait and even then the people who are students now will have many temptations offered to them before they become leading citizens. By then the Palestinians may have dwindled to the staff of the best attended museum in Jerusalem.

    • You think, Walid? Isn't it the mindset as much as the money?

  • Ari Shavit calls out every brutality, except the ones Israel is complicit in
    • I'm not George Orwell's greatest fan but maybe the ever-shifting alliances of Animal Farm and 1984 provide some illustration of the way in which ideological politics routinely produce situations that, from the point of view of the proclaimed ideology, make no sense.

  • 'Lesson: The Jews will defend themselves even if it means killing children'
    • The Haaretz paywall conceals the context here, but it seems a bit racist. The sacred mission to make the world, so far as we are able, a somewhat better and more just place is for all of us, Jewish and non-Jewish, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

    • I do quail at the thought of the price paid in innocent lives, rapes and general acts of destruction in order 'to get rid of Nazism'. Both the end in view and the alternatives available need to be assessed with intense care, even with agony.
      If you make everything but everything depend on the end and purpose you cannot condemn any means or methods absolutely and in themselves - not even the much-condemned terrorism and massacre. If you remove that sort of condemnation the moral universe becomes very dark, somewhat infernal.
      I used the word 'demonic' yesterday in reference to Katie's cartoon exposing the horror of the 'human shield' argument and would use it again faced with that pulse of exultation in 'even if it means killing children'.

  • Amid fierce debate, members of German think tank take a stand on Gaza
    • In view of the report we have about 'some members' of the RLS coming out in support of Gaza, are things changing in Germany?
      A few months ago I was talking to an academic from Germany, living in England. She was saying how she couldn't stand nationalism. I asked her view of Zionism - she replied that as a German she could not comment, at least not negatively, on anything Jewish. I replied, rather too quickly, 'that's inverse racism', whereupon I got into a lot of trouble with English and American persons present. So I haven't been expecting things in Germany, or indeed here in England, to change that quickly.

    • Me too. Why are massive things not seen and obvious truths ignored?

    • Those with a sense of closeness to those who were responsible for something evil - and we all have that in some degree - should indeed take care not to support new evils.

  • Ceasefire comes to a close -- Mohammed Assaf's 'Raise Your Head High'
    • I'd think that there will, in spite of everything, be 2 states one day, the vital question being on what terms. If both are genuinely sovereign - with control of borders, right to raise armies and form alliances, free trade and economic cooperation - then they will move gradually towards unification. If one is wholly subservient, so that bits of it can - as excuses arise, as settler population becomes available, as western countries submit to pressure to pay the cost - be bitten off then the Zionist principle, that non-Jewish people have no right to be there in the Jewish ancestral homeland - will slowly but surely be put into effect.
      The importance of full sovereignty as a Palestinian right is high. That's why Clinton took care, as I remember, to say recently that it was 'damn right' - demotic tone adding sincerity - that they shouldn't ever get it.

    • Anyone with friendly, or even objective, attitudes to Palestinians would say, for a start, that they have rights equal to anyone's and deserve to be fully enfranchised citizens of a fully sovereign state with frontiers determined by a normal procedure.

  • More Orientalist insinuations in the New York Times
    • That is an interesting statement, thanks. I am not quite sure who is stating that the term 'hudna' indicates recognition of the other party's existence, Hamas or Associated Press. I rather think that the Ottoman Empire in its high days operated through a series of 'truces' with its Christian neighbours and that the intention to attack Vienna on that famous occasion was indicated by a renewal of the truce with Russia but not with Austria - in later times there were treaties of a more normal nature. Whether this is an encouraging precedent I don't know.

    • I am sure that all Palestinians think that they have a right which is not dependent on any special divine donation but on generally recognised principles of morality, to be, where they live, enfranchised citizens of a fully sovereign state whose borders are determined by tradition (history of peaceful recognition) or treaty. They're not wrong.

  • Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney dodges Gaza question (and how long can he get away with that?)
    • Cliche and paraonoia deserve a less kindly phrase than 'well-crafted' if you ask me.

    • I don't think Joan's ask was evaded, it was brushed aside with unambiguous scorn. Security is paramount, Israel promotes security, your views oppose Israel, therefore your views have to be disregarded. Quite tight logic, really.

  • HAMAS made me do it!
    • The shocking baby cartoon - there must be grandparents in Gaza, as affectionate as our Bumble colleagues (to whom all good wishes), who feel its force personally - will disturb my sleep. It captures the spurious, demonic idea of 'defending oneself against someone carrying a human shield' better than many words could.

    • It is not always wrong, surely, to respond to a crime by an action that would have been criminal in the absence of provocation. That's when the rule of proportion kicks in.

  • Witnessing Gaza
    • Well, what is this right of self-determination and how does it apply to all concerned?

    • As to real meanings - to me (for what that's worth) 'anti-Semitism' means 'significant prejudice (or worse) against at least some things Jewish'. To others, including most Zionists, it means 'significant opposition to at least some things strongly supported by Jewish people'. I keep saying a bit boringly that meanings are not real things and that we can all use words as we like provided we make ourselves clear and speak consistently.
      A Zionist would think that I am an anti-Semite even under my own definition, since to him/her only prejudice can explain rejection of Zionism: I would deny this and would claim that rejection of Zionism is rational. A Zionist would also claim that, since Zionism has strong Jewish support, I am certainly an anti-Semite under the Zionists' own definition - which is quite true: there's nothing I can do about it, except say that under this definition, unlike mine, there can be forms of anti-Semitism which are justified.

  • Hillary Clinton's 11th-hour diplomacy
    • That a war with Iran is not in Western interests is probably true and probably the majority opinion in the West. Lysias is reminding us that war has a way of not really working out for anyone, never really being in anyone's 'best interests'. That doesn't mean it isn't ever the only remotely bearable option available - I was brought up on the interpretation (of course, questionable) of UK history where we should have found a way to avoid WW1 altogether but should actually have started WW2 sooner, rather than disgrace ourselves at Munich. Israel's embattled, militarised existence may make alternatives to war unbearable at some junctures of events and may make wars fought by someone else, eg United States v. Iran, highly advantageous. I'm being a bit wordy but I suppose that it is indeed arguable that that sort of war was in Israel's interests at the relevant time.

    • I don't know how far what you say contradicts what I said, though I'm always ready to accept clarification! I would have supposed that there is a certain chance that the Republican candidate will be superlatively pro-Israel and will hope for Romney-style Israeli support and that Clinton, who is I think famous for acting with great calculation, wishes to foreclose that possibility even at this early stage. If you ask me to accept that there she may also, for all the calculation, be completely sincere in what she specifically says, I cannot deny that she may be. I'm sure you're right to say that she has a long relevant record. She does come from a generation of progressive (maybe 'progressive') thinkers for whom Israel was a good example of much-desired social progress. Whether she is entirely what she seems I don't know.

    • So who will be Caesar?

    • I was mentioning on another thread that Clinton seems, per the polls, to be all but nominated before the nomination and elected before the election. I suppose she fears that the one thing that could destabilise her is a powerful rhetorician from the right able to secure Israeli backing, so readily offered to Romney last time. There may be a quiet smile on Netanyahu's face at the thought of this militaristic ultra-Zionist in the White House - even so, I don't think he can trust her.

  • Gov. Cuomo annexes Jerusalem to Israel -- and 'NYT' echoes him
    • I've just looked at the Real Clear Politics presidential polls, giving Clinton a massive lead over all comers. She does look very like the future - also very like the past as far as the ME is concerned.

  • Knight in shining armor?
    • Not sure that the victory would be unalloyed. There will be a nagging sense that the siege was at least partially broken by resistance.

    • It will not be unalloyed victory for Abbas if the ending of the blockade was in significant part due to resistance rather than negotiation.
      We who call for Palestinian rights have hoped that the day was coming when the futility and hypocrisy of all the 2ss negotiations hitherto would become too obvious to deny and that this clearance of the air would force the liberal Zionists off that comfortable fence of theirs. But I think that Obama and Kerry are now in a strong position not to solve the ME problem but to polish their reputations by insisting on a resumption of the 2ss roadshow with the same old songs and dances.

  • Social worker, 45, among 3 killed by Israeli soldiers at one protest in Beit Ummar last month
    • An even more interesting compilation than usual, Kate. I was suggesting on another thread that the calculation in Gaza, just as it was in countries subjected to bombing campaigns in WW2, must have been that political unity would probably just about survive the onslaught. The cautious critique of Hamas that you mention indicates that this calculation is open to question. The Independent today reports that in the negotiations are moving towards lifting some of the blockade restrictions, which would be a great Hamas triumph, plus giving the Abbas crowd a greater role in policing Gaza's borders, which would be a serious Hamas setback.
      I was also interested to see the endless little niggles and provocations surrounding the Temple Mount, but it is interesting that they seem to stay at the level of niggles and pinpricks.

  • Rabbi slams 'militarization' in St. Louis but when it comes to Gaza-- the press 'loves underdog and suffering'
    • It would indeed be nice to know that the Press loves underdogs and sufferers! In fact it has taken suffering on a gross scale to penetrate the defences of the Western information machine. The routine suffering caused by the blockade - one of the things that got me involved years ago in this argument was an article in the Economist (which does not have mass readership) claiming, as well as I remember, that there were deaths in Gaza, at least one a week, caused by various blockade related pressures - has never received mass attention.
      'Israel would have to respond': even if you grant this point exactly as stated, the necessity for the mighty response that came is not demonstrated. The dilemma for Israel was that a near-proportionate response would certainly not end the rocket fire, therefore not end disruption to normal life - a serious danger to political unity, whereas an extreme response (actually chosen) might (maybe it didn't) suppress the rockets but would cause worldwide horror. The position in Gaza, I suppose, was that normal life has already been disrupted so hideously and for so long that more desperate suffering could probably be endured without breaking political unity.
      Neither side was unconditionally determined that those telegenic deaths should occur, both were ready to take the risk (which rapidly approached certainty) that they would.
      It should be obvious - but I suppose it's not, given what I think of as our underdog-hating and underdog-fearing media - that in these circumstances those ready to inflict the deaths (and use the horrible term 'telegenic' for them) are on a worse moral plane than those ready to endure them.

  • Question for the American Jewish Establishment: Where does Zionism end and Judaism begin?
    • Sorry, there is a reference by an earlier Assyrian king, Tiglath-Pileser III, to King Jehoahaz of Judah, which must come from around 740. I was momentarily misled, to attempt a thin excuse, by Pritchard's index, which omits that page reference (p.264). Main point stands, I think.

    • 3000 is plausible enough for the Kingdom in Jerusalem, though I suppose this thread is about the religion more than the polity of that place and time. Whether the religion(s) practised by the royal family in its temple and/or by the mass of people on its 'high places' would be recognisable as early forms of 'second Temple' Judaism is a very complex question.
      In the James B. Pritchard 'The Ancient Near East' anthology, the standard work at least for those who can't spend a fortune, the earliest references to 'Judah' come from the inscriptions of Sargon of Assyria around 700 BCE and it's interesting, slightly ironic now, how often they are paired with references to 'Palestine', a name which the Assyrians were using a century earlier.
      Pritchard himself uses 'Palestine' as a name in modern parlance for the relevant geographical area in ancient times. On that usage, the inhabitants of Jerusalem in 700 BCE belong among the Palestinians.
      The non-Judaic cultural legacy of ancient Palestine has been obscured, though that Tyre had some importance as a centre of religious thought is fairly clear even from the references, respectful or satirical, in the Bible. As to the real high antiquity, rather than convenience in modern usage, of the name 'Palestine' I hope my article here on MW last June might sometimes have a few readers.

    • There is no evidence of significant cultural discontinuity between Israelites en masse and other Palestinians at least before the Persian period, ie from around 540 BCE. The historical narrative of the Books of Kings makes a point of saying that the mass of people in earlier centuries had refused to differentiate themselves and that most of the kings at very least failed to insist strongly enough. Whether an early form of what was to become Judaism existed 7 or 8 centuries before, said to be the time of Moses, is very debatable!

    • I'd be interested to know what the basic terms mean to you. Does Judaism = belief in a divine being best understood through the Hebrew Bible and Talmud? Zionism = belief in exclusive Jewish rights to sovereignty in Palestine?
      I hope that your dissertation will become available soon - specifically well in advance of June 2015 when I'm to deliver a talk to my local Classical Association on the ancient name 'Palestine'.

  • How to respond to thoughtful people who can't help saying 'but Hamas'
    • Quite agree. I'm sure that one of the reasons for proposing the 'swiss cheese' model for Palestinian enclaves was that they could be cleared one by one at a gentle pace with relocation schemes that would be advertised as utterly unprecedented, barely imaginable generosity on the part of the conquerors but actually be paid for mostly by taxpayers further west.

    • British Fascists were interned (not interred!) in wartime under the famous Defence Regulation 18B. The novelist Nancy Mitford pressed the Goverment to intern her own sister Diana, saying that she was far cleverer and more dangerous than her husband, the nominal Fascist leader Oswald Mosley, also interned. They were released, I think, when the worst danger had passed: itself an indication that internment is at best a regrettable necessity in civilised countries - and expulsion would even more regrettable, therefore leaving something to be put right as soon as possible. I would certainly think that the descendants of Jewish people who left ME countries under pressure should have full restitution of identifiable property. I think that refugees who accept citizenship elsewhere lose their absolute and unconditional right of return - but it might still be fitting to offer restored citizenship to the people concerned in this case.

    • I was saying on another thread, re A. Sullivan, that there's a question about what rights Palestinians have because of the wrongs done to them - rights which Hamas, being elected by them, may have the right to direct them in invoking. In what circumstances and to what extent are they allowed to resist as well as object? When objections and demonstrations of a non-violent nature have been attempted but met with a lethal response? When attacks are delivered only in ways that offer a reasonable chance (but what is that?) of hitting a military target?
      To stop people saying 'But Hamas...' I think we have to direct attention away from 'Hamas' to 'the Palestinians' and get people to think on Sullivan's claims that it is not vicious to resist violent dispossession without saying 'Those who resist can do no wrong'.

    • The main problem with usage of words like this, I think, is equivocation between neutral and value-laden forms. The neutral form permits relevant actions to be justified, at least in the extreme necessities where people claim to find themselves. The value-laden form forbids this, so is all but always used for the actions of the other side. People never say whether they are effectively leaving open, or effectively foreclosing, the possibility that the actions they discuss can sometimes be justified.

    • An interesting video! But I don't think that Voltaire, or anyone in the early modern period, when it was fairly obvious who had to be treated with respect, said that.

  • Israel's foundation in a 'terroristic campaign of expulsion, ethnic cleansing and murder' is the 'deep wound in that part of the world' -- Sullivan
    • If strong resentment of the imagined French conquest and colonisation of southern England - reasserting the rights established by William the Conqueror and betrayed by his successors, I presume - would not, per Sullivan, be bigoted anti-Frankism what would it be? An entirely justified foundation for violent resistance? Or only for a campaign of propaganda calling for equal rights for the English in England? Or for violent resistance when (but only when) that sort of campaign meets with a lethal response?

  • Liberal Zionism has lost its refuge-- a plausible two-state solution
    • The basic principle of Zionism as applied to Palestinians is that they just have no right to be there except by grace and favour, which can be granted only to the point where the security of the true heirs is not threatened. It's their misfortune, not shared with any other human beings, that they are so much in the wrong place: which calls for some humanity and discretion though in the end the basic principle, like all basic principles, simply has to be honoured. But a small, decorative remnant, with a museum of their very own, would be quite acceptable.

    • And perhaps the pro-slaughter crowd are, as ex-Professor Salaita might say, rather awful people. Perhaps just going through a rather awful phase and will grow out of it.

  • Accounts of Israeli war crimes in Khuza'a, Gaza pile up
    • Just to mention to James that I think that Nakba denial - or trivialisation that amounts to a kind of denial - is rife round here.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 1, ducks question on Gaza, 2, plans trip to Israel, and 3--
    • We have advanced in the last decade from a situation where the cause of justice in Palestine was negligible in the West - the Generous Offer story had full run, there was no other - to a situation where our lot are at least noticeable. The responses of the Zionist media representatives, with their offended tone, are sufficient indication of this. It must be said that enormous credit goes to a courageous handful of Jewish journalists and academics, not least Phil Weiss, for this change. What we need now are political people. Even one or two could create a body of opinion - those people who say something like the right thing in opinion polls must, at least quite a few of them must, be ready for joining in that opinion - that would move us from being noticeable to being significant. At that point the thing that has hitherto been our only advantage, that we're in the right, would become something very strong, and could not be negated by (if that's the word) machine politics with its loud reiteration of the same talking points. Loud talking points aren't the same once they're being loudly answered.
      Of course the personal attacks on anyone who tried to take a political lead on our side would be of the most incredible intensity. Anyone might quail.

    • Well, I suppose 'No comment' is better than 'No daylight between me and Netanyahu', though it's still a bit depressing. A considerable section of public opinion in the United States seems, on the poll evidence, not to be lapping up the Israeli story uncritically but things will hardly progress until someone with some prominence and a voice that is listened to is prepared to give a lead. I suppose that they know that if they do this early their nascent careers will be snuffed out and that if they think of doing it later they find that they're too committed to draw back without looking dishonest for what they said before.

  • Reading Salaita in Illinois—by Way of Cary Nelson (part 1)
    • While I understand that teachers should create an environment where no one feels scared to speak out that should not mean that they make people feel that they can be sure of leaving the discussion without any deep or uncomfortable disturbance to their existing ideas - and of course they should expose themselves to this risk also. Ideas are dangerous, can't not be.
      That said, I'd try not to use terms like 'awful person' - making the holder of the idea, rather than the idea itself, the subject of discussion - face to face or even in electronic communication. However, it's better in the very end to let arguments be stated in full if that seems necessary, with all their personal implications, than not to let them be stated at all. There are awful people in the world and there are arguments that claim to identify them - we sometimes need to look those arguments in the eye, I suppose. If the price of protesting against the murder of babies is serious discomfort in social situations or classroom situations far away then I suppose that price may have to be paid.
      I don't trivialise this matter: the entry of personal feeling into what could have been constructive discussion is not a trivial thing. I accept that the 'J'accuse!' style of rhetoric can be a little self-satisfied.

  • The Walzer Problem
    • O mi God, is it that bad, gracie? Are we not only not gaining but actually losing ground?

    • Very interesting! So he's moved from setting an almost impossibly high standard to setting an extremely permissive one, generously dependent on subjective assessment of military value of targets.
      The earlier standard would rule out the blockade, wouldn't it?

    • The examples you mention would qualify as 'asymmetric' in my book - that is they were fighting with fewer soldiers and fewer weapons yet able to make at least a serious impact for various reasons. The term 'asymmetric', coming as it does from mathematics, would in most people's usage be neutral on the level of morality, so we don't know whether there was a just cause or acceptable methods simply because of the lack of 'symmetry'. The most natural thought is that it's the bigger army that is morally suspect, other things being around equal - more likely to be working on the 'might is right' principle.

    • Yes, those are good words from Walzer and blow away, if read with any attention, a multitude of falsehoods.

    • You must inflict casualties, says Walzer, in proportion to the military value (eek, ugh) of the target. Surely this must mean in proportion to the ability of the people or objects to inflict damage on your side, so massive disproportion in casualties, which we have here, is massive disregard of the principle of proportionality even as Walzer states it. Everyone knows this, of course.

  • Have I failed to acknowledge Palestinian violence?
    • But let us not say 'In invasion or conquest you can do no right, in resistance you can do no wrong'. It is obviously natural for those subject to oppression and cruelty just to lash out but I suppose, facile as it seems for us at comfortable distance, we have to ask them to set limits.

  • US branch of the Jewish 'family' owes the homeland 'unconditional love' -- Rosner
    • The family analogy isn't as one-sided as Rosner makes it appear. It's natural for families to have disputes and for outsiders to have at least some awareness of the problem, though those caught up in disputes may well say that they love one another in spite of everything. At that rate, the love of Western Jewish people for their counterparts in Israel will not stop disputes and reproaches, though it may moderate them. By the same token, the love of Israeli Jewish people for their Western counterparts may moderate or limit, but will definitely not (contra Rosner) abolish their special concern for what the Westerners feel. They would also logically feel concern over the impression made on outsiders, since family disputes are not usually unknown and the fact that some objections are coming from within would add power to them.

  • Watch: Young Israeli Jew at Western Wall calls for 'another war and another war and another war and another war'
    • I keep mentioning Xenophon's portrayal of the Helots and Inferiors in Sparta, subject to relentless exploitation, restriction, contempt and even legalised murder - 'they want to eat the Spartans raw'. Oppressors too have a mindset which, though often very fastidious and self-consciously civilised, must lapse into some violent fantasies. Neither of these two are the same as - cannot mellow in the same way as - the normal bravado and occasional militarism of young males everywhere.
      We don't, as Kay says, have to 'find' that the natural reaction to cruel treatment is not idealistic yearning for justice but vengefulness, fury and fantasies of raging destruction. We do have to expect it.
      Of the two, I would think that the violent state of mind of the oppressors is the worse one: oppressed people are at least reacting against something bad, the others reinforcing and supporting the same bad thing.

  • A month of solidarity in London -- does the BBC get the message?
    • No Palestine or Gaza related item on BBC teletext news service as I write. We'll see how things go from here.
      I note the prominence given to the Mandela statue. Still, Mandela managed to spread something of a mist over his views of Zionism: he was not unequivocally on 'our' side. He never brandished the placards put into his statue's hands.

  • 'We are all Palestinian'

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