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Total number of comments: 22 (since 2011-04-07 19:57:07)

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  • About Mondoweiss
    • PS Your "snapshot of thought" in 1919 shows how zeitgeist changes. I know that Henry Morgenthau became a financial adviser to Israel. There is content in this fact which makes sense to consider on numerous levels.

    • As a point in fact, not debate, Israel is probably economically self-sufficient enough that it doesn't require any US government aid. (As a point open for debate, it might be wise to sever any US governmental aid.)

      But for the sake of understanding, how large is Israel's annual military budget?

    • Yes. everybody has a family tree. I posted a bit of information for MRW about my family's history, and about general history.

      As far as getting "up to speed', I like my speed just fine, and I'm sure my ancestors, as best I've been able to know them, would approve.

      Is to seemingly viscerally dismiss, reduce and command those you imagine disagree with you on a message board your general quick default response? I don't know you, so I don't know in what context to take your response. This may be something you already know, but I'll take a shot anyway: you might consider that there are less abusive emotional strategies should you have children. (Or do you have children?)

    • You realize you just dismissed me in saying "get up to speed", when what you were addressing was a fantasy, an impossibility? I understand and empathize with your flip, dismissive, reductive response. Only someone who feels they haven't been heard would respond so. Fair enough. I am not interested in combativeness, solely conversation. Your logic suggests that we know more now about what transpired in pre- and post-1948 then did the actual participants in the events of pre- and post-1948. Possibly, through forensics and legal paperwork. Although, having seen property battles with neighbors, I know how legality and morality often don't correlate. And such forensics have a tough time re-creating the emotionally fleshy stories which aren't contained in "information". My guess is that 99.9% of the millions upon millions of individual stories surrounding that period of time have never been put on paper, and have either died with the participant or been told with the embellishment and polish of time to future generations. So, considering that far more of the participants in the pre- and post-1948 period were still alive in the 1970's than today to recall events, I still think my imagined boxing match would be fascinating. PS I don't think my ancestors would appreciate their stories and emotional lives reduced and dismissed as "propaganda".

    • MRW,

      I'll add one more thing: I have family living in what is now Israel for 150 years. History: Napoleon almost created a Jewish State. Never happened. That would have been-what?-1800? Not a political statement, just history.

    • My family came here, both sides, pre- Ellis Island. 1870-1890. I try my hardest to discuss, learn, measure. I am known to debate, but fight that desire with every fiber of my morning breakfast. I usually lose that fight. Polemics? Only when I have one foot out the door and never intend on continuing the discussion.

      I have seen this before (not in some time). I've heard alternatives discussed as to what Israel could have been instead, like a secular state.

      Still, most of my post is unaddressed. How old are most of the posters here? I already know most of the positions I've read here so far. I'm 49. I only wish I could transport some of the zeitgeist of the 1970's regarding Israel to this board and watch the two eras duke it out.

    • Okay. Got why you would want to undo it. Still, you went straight for the academic, the visceral. I don't understand the nuts and bolts.

      As far as "Hope for what"? Well, I trace my ancestry through the book "The Unbroken Chain". My mother is a genealogist. She has over 10,000 family members on computer. Not just the chain; more importantly, the family stories, the myths, the newspaper clippings, the gravestone rubbings, the surprising connections....the clues to the people that once were. The hopes of these people to one day produce me as the inheritor of the best of all that they are. I owe them something by my existence, and my son can someday choose whether to come to this same conclusion.

      So asking me "Hope for what?", this coming from someone who is capable of such moral clarity, has such an immoral, snarky twang to it that I don't think I need to dignify with a answer. You either chill out with the stridency or we have no conversation. I think you know for what I hope.

    • This is my second post here. I left my first just a few minutes ago. I didn't actually see the "about" page until a minute ago. So. I'm down. It's noble. I don't know any of you. Maybe some vague recollections which my ADD neatly dispatched. I have a few guesses the more I think about this. I hope I'm not conversing with people who scold for a profession. Professions have a way erecting walls of invulnerability for the professional. I will not waste (too much) time with proud people.

      I read your 4 aims. I get it all but #4.

      I don't get it. I understand imagining all sorts of different hypothetical futures. (I am terrible with hypotheticals with an undefinable number of variables. As an intuitive but empathic mathematician by nature, permutations and combinations and chaos theory tend to overwhelm me and render me unable to make a "best" or even "locus of best" determination.)

      So, how do you un-do Israel? I don't see realism, I see academia and impossible immeasurables all over this discussion. (I have the feeling I've stepped into a hornets nest of pre-discussed assumptions and righteousness. Am I wrong? This is not something I talk about regularly.) Why WOULD you want to un-do Israel? Is America the Jews' best long-term hope, and how do you know? (My family came here, both sides, between 1870 and 1890, pre-Ellis Island.) How can we quantitate or qualify answers that are anything but trendy or bowing to the zeitgeist of the moment?

      And lastly, all politics being personal I tend not to see "aims" and "morals", I see: Freud, Erikson, Freud, Freud, Freud, Erikson.

  • 'LA Times' outs 'NY Times' on Nakba-squat
    • Times change; stories change. How many posters here remember the Zeitgeist pre-intifada? How many posters here spoke with Israelis and Palestinians back in the earlier days of the cold war about their recollections of even earlier events; when stories and alliances were filtered through different fears than today? I have no objective guage of truth. I heard many stories back then from Palestinians and Jews. Not what either "side" here might imagine. All these years later, I'm stupid enough to think I understand economics fairly well, and I look back on many of those stories and wonder who took advantage, who was in denial, who should have known better, who was fair, and ultimately what was right. I had an email debate with Noam Chomsky once. He can make anyone feel like they don't know their ass from their elbow (But I outlasted him, so I won, right?). Anyway, the one thing he could not do was deny what I heard, or at least he could not deny my recollections of what I heard. Well, actually, he did. But I get my hearing checked. Regularly.

      Point is: don't be so sure. Unless you are absolutely sure.

  • Why I’m going to 'Move Over AIPAC'
    • PS I didn't state anything about Hezbollah "pouncing" in Israel. My quote was, "Hezbollah, being backed by the soon-to-be-dominant Iranians, is in the ideal position swipe a huge chunk of whatever society the Palestinian state creates."

      But then I am speaking a different language, my being from another planet.

      I am discussing. I am not debating, I am not polemicizing.

    • Um. You just reconfirmed everything I stated about Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran. An "open desire to play a role in the liberation of the Palestinians" is no olive branch to the Saudis, who to my understanding mistrust if not hate the Iranians more than any other government on the planet (save perhaps Israel). What is "rubbish" about how I portrayed their perceptions?

    • Shingo,

      I am not debating. I am not a polemicist. I am discussing. I am sharing information and my understanding of perceptions and strategy.

      " You are wise to be skeptical; I think it would be wiser to be skeptical about your skepticism.

      You’d be wise to stop makikng assinine comments."

      I worked very hard on that asinine comment. I left out an "also", as in "I think it would be wiser to also be skeptical about your skepticism". Does that help? I am 49, and I consider it wise. I intend for my son to learn this, if he hasn't already. He's 7.

      "It means that all the hysteria about Hezbollah waiting to pounce in Israel is complete BS."

      In a discussion, it's good to support an answer which you state as fact with lots of insight to support that fact. I am guessing that you are guessing, or at best reflecting your well-earned knowledge about the many Palestinians you know across a wide spectrum.

      "Yes we do, because every time Washington or Israel puts out a story about Iran, it turns out to be BS."

      First of all, such binary statements are seldom true (for most things in life). You might say, "a lot of the time", or "most of the time" or even "almost all of the time". None of these would mean you know. But, I've just wasted three sentences, because none of my information on this specific point comes from American nor Israeli sources.

      " I do know that Iraq is wide open to Iran; that every country with a Shia population is being embraced by Iran (with how much success, who knows?).

      Welcome to planet Earth. While you were away, the US overthrew a leader who stood as a bulwark against Iran and replaced him with Iran backed Iraqi exiles, who are obviously closely aligned with Tehran. Iraq also happens to be naturally affiliated with Iran, given it’s Shiite majority."

      Why, thank you. You are no doubt the welcoming committee. I don't understand you earthlings obviously , for I was making that very point to the nice person Danaa (I'm guessing they're nice) who typed, “As for the supposed “dominance” of Iranians, that’s another scare-mongering trope invented by Israel as a convenient false flag PR.”

      " You don’t think, for example, that Israel can, and maybe wants to, stand on its own?

      Clearly not, otherwise Israel and Israeli lobbyists would not be spending so much effort in policing the narrative in the US when it comes to Isral, or maintaining such a vice like grip on Congress, let alone asking for 20 billion more in funding."

      I can think of many reasons countries "police" narratives. Hearts and minds are important, for example. They are not a necessary corollary with money. So for me, the point still stands open, and I see evidence of much of Friedman's suggestions in policy at present. As far as Congress, it is the President who frames foreign policy, not those guys. They no doubt have sway and some leverage. But the President is more likely to take most of his cues from intelligence agencies and confidants than some of his friends in Congress. It makes sense to theorize that when it comes to foreign policy, all Presidents have a public face and a private one. That they are necessarily duplicitous. That Stated foreign policy and foreign actions don't necessarily match. And this has likely always been true for other countries' foreign policy. And everybody but much of the public seems in on this idea.

      All that said, Israel has energy issues at present. Egypt supplied much of their nat gas, and that relationship is now tenuous, if not breaking (I haven't heard the latest). So it's altogether possible that the dynamic of which I speak is temporarily on hold. And yes, Israel would still be dealing with AIPAC for the near-term. But Friedman persuasively suggests that both Israel and the US would have much to gain from the eventual winding down of funds. For one, the very argument you make about US funding would no longer exist, and the US would at least seem a bit more unbiased (of course this still wouldn't likely be true). And for Israel, well, to quote Friedman:

      "For Israel, foreign aid means far less than close ties with hedge funds do. Israel is quite capable of handling itself financially. What the foreign aid signifies to Israel, which has no formal treaty with the United States, is a public commitment by the United States to Israel. Israel uses that as a card both in the region and to comfort Israeli public opinion [note the suggested duplicitous Israeli foreign policy re its people]. What the United States once got in return for that aid was a stable partner in the region, which could not manage without the money. Now the United States has a partner regardless of the aid. ON the negative side of the ledger, the aid provides grounds for Islamicist arguments that the United States is the source of all their problems, including ruthless behavior on the part of the Israelis. Given that the aid is marginal in importance [$20 billion is NOT marginal, although I don't know over how many years the $20 billion is being asked. Maybe Barak wants a "going away" present. Anyway, Israel's GDP is $217.1 billion (2010 est.).] that price is too high. Giving up this commitment to aid would actually help Israel by eliminating a prime argument of the anti-Israeli lobby in the United States.

      Note again, for you seem to be missing this: I am presenting another's strategic ideas. My interest in presenting them is not as prescription nor reflective of my sense of what is morally correct. For all I know, there is disinformation in them. And if you can refute these ideas, address them where they lay, where evidentiary rubber meets the road . You did so in bringing up the $20 billion. I approve; but I am still unconvinced. Convince me.

    • Was this for me? I know that Palestinians are largely Sunni. The theory I've read (not Friedman), is that although Palestinian Sunni have much hate for Hezbollah, many have expressed disappointment in the lack of support against Israel from outside Sunni in neighboring countries, and have increased admiration for the aggressiveness of Hezbollah in their recent wars with Israel. The Theory (I wish I could remember where I read this. I promise to look.) further states that Hezbollah purposely blocked outside Sunni participation in many of its campaigns (The Saudis believe this), and, backed by Iran, desires to strike at the hearts of Palestinians in any new State. I don't know what this means: conversion, etc., but the theory goes something along those lines.

      Again, I stated a theory. I haven't deny Palestinians anything. Or were you just stating "you can’t deny the Palestinians their self determination" for some effect of which I should be aware?

    • You seem to suggest that I prefer the Saudi system to a Caliphate. I don't. I didn't. I posted part of an analysis regarding the forces that will likely shape the near future of Middle East dynamics.

      I know as much about Islamic history as most college kids caught up in the zeitgeist of our present times; probably a bit more, since I've had an extra 28 years or so more to soak up some extra tidbits and relationships.

      But that was a pretty post.

    • Danaa,

      "Just because Saudi sunnis believe it (if they actually do) does not make it so. "

      You are wise to be skeptical; I think it would be wiser to be skeptical about your skepticism.

      "Actually, the entire “Hezbollah is coming” meme is getting tiresome, for it being so out of kilter. "

      What does that mean?

      "As for the supposed “dominance” of Iranians, that’s another scare-mongering trope invented by Israel as a convenient false flag PR."

      This I have have from many non-Israeli, even anti-Israeli sources, like the Saudis. How much is intel or counter intel I have no idea, and you don't either (Or do you?). I do know that Iraq is wide open to Iran; that every country with a Shia population is being embraced by Iran (with how much success, who knows?).

      "Your post, while meritorious on a few points, does unfortunately show the same woeful ignorance of what Palestinians are and what they want. "

      I am posting the views of another.

      "Now I can’t tell you what Palestinians “are” since they are a diverse group, like any other, and I certainly can have no claim to know what’s in their “heart of hearts” or even in their heads."

      You then go on to do just that:

      "I kind of doubt Palestinians, as a whole are one tenth as greedy as the Judean population of Israel is. Neither is it likely that they will sheepishly fall into the waiting jaws of predatory Hezbollah."

      I am discussing perceptions. You are being a polemicist. I do know many many Palestinians personally; I have so since the early 1970's. You have no idea what Palestine will become. Nor do I.

      And I shouldn't post Friedman because, "we are not exactly crazy for Friedman around here"? I assure you I had no intention of hurting your feelings. My point was that it seems our President is subscribing to his play book. And many of his assertions sound like they have validity. You don't think, for example, that Israel can, and maybe wants to, stand on its own?

      You seem anxious to be offended. Is this the beginning of a love affair?

    • This is my first post on this site. I will probably ruffle a few feathers, not because I'm pro present Israeli/American policy toward Palestinians- I'm not- but because although I'm old in so many ways, and although I'm Jewish, I don't possess faith. At least none that I can find within. And I keep looking.

      I abhor oppression. I am ashamed that we, the Jews, who hold Tikkun Olam above all, can accept degradation by our own actions.

      But I would certainly like more insight into what the specific economic plan is for the imagined Palestinian State. So much time and energy is being put into the moral fight for independence, but either I am woefully ignorant about the tremendous number of specifics of such a plan, or the plan doesn't exist which will satisfy the economist in me.

      Also, I disagree with, "The U.S. hesitated to condemn the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak during the Egyptian revolution, because it was well aware that a genuine democracy in Egypt might not be beneficial for Israel." This may have been one reason, but just one for the benefit of public perception. Obama also had to weigh the angry reaction of our self-interested relationship with the Saudis. As it is, they have chilled to the US in a way unlike ever before in our relationship. They blame Obama for selling out Mubarek. They are presently pursuing new alliances with China and others. The Saudis are convinced-and I am Switzerland on this- that wherever there are Shia, you can bet that Iran is fomenting unrest. The Saudis believe that Iran doesn't want Democracy, they aim for a Caliphate. Or a bigger chunk of the Middle East. Which they will get. I suggest you read George Friedman's new book, "The Next Ten Years". He's the founder and CEO of STRATFOR, the likely news arm of the CIA. So far, it appears as if Obama is following this plan (I am no conspiracy theorist, but who the heck knows if there's disinformation in the book). Meaning that: the US is already distancing itself from Israel (evidence that although you say Obama "hesitated" condemning Mubarek, they none the less didn't fight for his remaining, something different than the past 30 years relationship with him), Israel is believed by the US to be more than able to stand on its own without US funds (so the Palestinian "issue" is but a pawn in a much bigger power grab. Also the cold war, which was our reason for funding Israel so much in the first place, no longer exists), is creating a secret entente with Iran (as they know the Iraqi war was a mistake which essentially gave influence over the country to Iran, and they can't stop this fact, so they instead have to embrace it. Never fight a land war in Asia...or the Middle East), will see the emergence of Turkey (Both it and Iran have 70 million people, far more than other ME countries) and a new Iran/Turkey dominance over the region with Israel and some Saudi configuration on the fringes.

      This is the thesis of Friedman. Far more calculating, and far more cynical, than the humanist and empathic cry you are making. If he is correct, then AIPAC is becoming a marginalized force. But he also suggests that Israel will not change its Palestinian policy, because from a "security" point of view, it is working. And Israel does not need AIPAC anymore.

      Anyway, how the hell do I know what the truth is on this. You want more Friedman cynicism? This is something the Saudis (Sunni) already believe: Hezbollah, being backed by the soon-to-be-dominant Iranians, is in the ideal position swipe a huge chunk of whatever society the Palestinian state creates. So of course Israel can't allow this.

      Anyway, I'm tapped out, I'm tired, I agree with your fight because it is right, even if I have no faith that creating a Palestinian state will create less degradation and killing.

  • Comments Policy
    • It is factually false to say "what THE Zionists did to the Jews ". Most Jews were Zionists or became Zionists who were Nazi victims. As a comparison in this forum, it would be false to use the phrase "the Palestinians" to describe the actions of specific Palestinians. Had you stated what specific people did to other people, I can accept the facts; I can't accept attempts to re-write history. In your small inclusion of the word "the", you make the huge implication that those who followed Zionism, just as those who followed Naziism, were responsible for the deaths of Jews during the Holocaust. Accuracy matters. I assume you would take offense to being called a Holocaust denier.

      I do agree though, that the forum should stay open to all discussion about past events.

    • "not Israel. as usual Israel is willing and eager to pressure the US into another war so it can get on with their land theft and ethnic cleansing. there’s nothing modest about that. it’s theatre all right, just not the kind you’re envisioning."

      Ha! As I stated, countries do what is to their own self-interest. It is certainly modest when all parties know a war won't happen. The countries are not likely biting on any of this; only the public mob. It's illogical on any deep strategic level for the US to attack Iran when the Straits of Hormuz are indefensible. What you have done in your first sentence is jump past the first modest move (pressure on the US), and assume an outcome without logically entering the innumerable counter-moves which make up the chess match that is foreign policy. Every party involved has a similar "fantasy" outcome which by your definition would be immodest.

    • An admirable thought. From a purely geopolitical point of view though, it's clear that Iran has been granted a huge post-Iraqi war opening and is doing what all countries do given such: act in its self-interest. There are 70+ million Iranians, met only with a similar number of Turks. All the other countries vying for influence in the gap opened in Iraq are much smaller in population.

      What I'm getting at is that no matter what "concessions" Iran presently makes, they have no time limit on their goal of nuclear capability. Every government knows this, including Israel. What is happening in the region right now is theater, the intended hope on each party's part of being some modest advantage going forward. MAD is a stand-off; only madmen would act on it.

    • I think David was answering my rhetorical question, "This IS a progressive blog, no?", Annie.

    • I would think this would be a great blog for a Zionist. This blog was started with 4 aims, and I would think that nothing would be more healthy than non-provincial perspective. I am reminded of WWII films taken from the Japanese point of view.

      This IS a progressive blog, no?

    • I read defensiveness by both Avid researcher, but even more so by his detractors. There is no trust, and there is no conversation. Instead I read creations generated to justify one's polemics. No ideas have been considered valid by each polemicist, and so this is fighting. Both sides each trying to verbally silence the other.

      I wag my righteous, know-it-all finger at you. Do you have rooms you can all go to?

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