Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 939 (since 2011-04-03 12:15:19)

Retired literary agent now living in southern Spain.

Showing comments 939 - 901

  • 'Jewish cow' is udderly superior to all other cows in the world, Netanyahu says
    • A Germanic people who worshipped Mother Earth would take her image hither and yon in a chariot drawn by female cattle. (Tacitus' Germania, XL) Perhaps he has his eye on something like that?

  • Exclusive: Palestine seeks to charge Israel with 'apartheid' and war crimes at The Hague
    • Israel also believes that support for Palestinian unilateral actions in international arenas strengthens the PA resolve to seek a solution to the conflict outside a negotiated forum.

      link to

      ...and that is what, exactly? Not fair? Not sympathetic? An effort to de-legitimise Israel? Anti-Semitic? Actually, it seems to me that to suggest, even by inference, that Israelis only behave as they do to Palestinians because they are Jews is itself culpably anti-Semitic.

  • 'NYT' article on UN's Gaza report strains to demonstrate equivalence in suffering
    • Donald, You are doubtless right. The issue is similar to the Catholic concept of sin which baffles so many. Something is either a war crime or it isn't, that's like saying things are 'against the Law' or that they constitute a sin while not implying they are equal in a world where Laws and moral norms establish the progression from the relatively harmless to the death deserving. Parking in a restricted zone is against the law as is murder, and one has to be able to make that point while leaving the value judgement to a more appropriate authority.

    • They probably also imagine they are in line with the DOS statement on the subject a couple of weeks back.

      MR RATHKE: ...the United States strongly opposed the creation of the Gaza commission of inquiry. There is unfortunately a long history of anti-Israeli bias in UN resolutions and mechanisms, including at the Human Rights Council, which persists in an unbalanced focus on Israel by singling it out with a permanent agenda item, for example. So we’ve opposed the commission of inquiry reports – the creation of the commission of the inquiry, excuse me.

      link to

      However, it is one thing to oppose the creation of the inquiry and quite another to question its findings. The report is and will be covered extensively elsewhere, particularly in Europe, and few if any media reports are likely to follow the NYT into that particular cul-de-sac.

  • The living martyr, a visit to the Bakr family in Gaza
    • Somewhat OT but Annie had a piece a week ago about Israeli soldiers violently attacking an unarmed Palestinian man link to and a couple of days ago I came upon another story in PressTV about a shooting link to which contains this paragraph:

      According to Israeli website Mako, the soldier in the video belongs to the same Israeli military unit whose members were reportedly caught on video brutally beating and arresting a Palestinian man from Jalazone refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah last week.

  • Obama violated US-Israeli understanding by not clearing Cairo speech and Iran talks with Netanyahu --Oren
    • Obama who sets out as a matter of policy and design to degrade the bond intentionally and as a matter of considered policy.

      This claim of Oren's is probably true. I hope it is.

  • UN report catalogs Israeli attacks on Palestinian children, but leaves Israel off child rights abusers 'list of shame'
    • While it is true Israel was left off the 'list of shame', that shouldn't be allowed to obscure the many devastating, detailed and impeccably attributed statistics the report does provide about what has been going on or the significant passages calling on all nations to ensure their businesses are aware of the legal implications of involving themselves in activities associated with the occupied territories. It is also worth reminding ourselves how may nations insist Israel's settlements are totally illegal and its borders remain pre-1967 whatever they do.

      link to

  • 'NY Times' helps Israel whitewash the killings of four boys playing soccer on Gaza beach
    • Part of the problem is the use of the umbrella word 'journalism'. Once it Implied the publication of truths, verified as closely as possible and reported with a high degree of objectivity. The stuff Jodi Rudoren files needs the adjectival qualification of 'gonzo'.

      Gonzo journalism involves an approach to accuracy through the reporting of personal experiences and emotions, as compared to traditional journalism, which favors a detached style and relies on facts or quotations that can be verified by third parties. Gonzo journalism disregards the strictly edited product favored by newspaper media and strives for a more personal approach; the personality of a piece is as important as the event the piece is on. Use of sarcasm, humor, exaggeration, and profanity is common.

      link to

  • Gaza’s al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades prepares for next Israeli war
    • Imagine a journalist obtained similar access to an Israeli military training area and was able to fly-on-the wall their preparations for the next onslaught on Gaza. To consider this issue objectively requires dispensing with abstract notions and looking only at the way the parties live, talk and act.

      OT but look at this from the Guardian link to

  • StandWithUs invests nearly half a million dollars in ongoing anti-BDS lawsuit against Olympia Food Co-Op
    • The principal benefit of such confrontations, as with the FIFA issue, is surely that they bring the I/P debate further into daylight. Having said that, a store will only stock what its customers buy, and if they cease buying them the store will cease stocking them. My view is the origin of all items should be more boldly identified as there are hosts of reasons one might want or not want to buy goods from a particular source. I choose anything from Greece above alternatives because it's a small way to give them a hand. Equally there goods from other sources I won't buy as a matter of principle; I live in Southern Spain and recently a major supermarket was offering oranges from South Africa. I have nothing against South Africa but considering the tribulations suffered by Spanish agriculture as a result of US inspired EU sanctions against Russia, I thought, Screw that! In the end the People have the most compelling influence on moral issues. The Law is double-edged, in this case it sounds like a bunch of Zionists are attempting to use it to thwart the will of Coop members. That's not right.

  • The final straw: The real reason why Palestine wants Israel out of FIFA
    • It's interesting to speculate the effect a new FIFA president might have on this issue, particularly if it is the Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein. Apparently there was some mention of this on CNN although I haven't been able to locate it. There is also another factor coming in from a flank; whether FIFA should insist on certain human rights standards before awarding venues. The primary current concern here is for Qatar's vast workforce constructing the 22 venue, but once 'Human Rights' becomes and issue it has a tendency take root and spread.

    • It is probably not in Blatter's remit to become embroiled in issues with roots outside the closed area of FIFA, particularly with issues not specifically covered by its regulations. Putting the submission to the Congress itself is another matter and probably as much potential leverage on the situation as possible at this stage. I imagine one Israeli nightmare is they might be drawn to play against their Gaza prisoners.

  • International calls rise for FIFA to suspend Israel
    • I have negative interest in football, I was forced to play as a child and mostly remember getting distressingly covered in mud. The notion of Israel being classified as European for qualifying purposes leaves me gob smacked. Israel is no more European than Yemen. That ought to be rectified for starters, and if the reason really is it doesn't want to 'play against Arab countries with which it is often technically at war' then it should make peace with them. Furthermore, if it seriously thinks itself European it has no business claiming Palestine.

  • Why readers interested in balanced coverage of BDS should avoid the New York Times
    • @ Lysias. The Chinese believe the face is a reflection of the soul which might be one good reason for him to favour a US court.

  • Ilan Pappe on the western awakening and what it means for Israel/Palestine
    • A very impressive exchange. It turns up the light making hitherto isolated observations come together. His bedrock message is the increasing public consciousness of Zionism as a dangerous element in the world despite most media lagging behind, and his exposition of that perception with his own arrival at it mirrors the process itself. A piece in Der Spiegel some days back is in line with it. link to . Of late I had begun to despair but having read this I feel better. I envy the students who study with him

  • No Palestinians need apply to new Israeli government-- and American liberals don't notice
    • The only way to encourage people to change their behaviour is to demonstrate the benefits of doing so or the disadvantages of not doing so. As far as Israelis are concerned they are advancing nicely without giving two figs what others think, after all they have vastly extended their population and territory, become significant exporters of the produce of one of the most fertile areas on earth, and built a lucrative market for their well tested armaments. Meanwhile they preserve a symbiotic relationship with the world's superpower, maintain a place in the UN whose laws they despise, and participate in international forums, scientific conferences, sporting and entertainment contests while their high profile critics likely find themselves unemployed and ostracised, and lesser critics humiliated, incarcerated or eliminated. It’s up to the rest of the world to turn on the pressure but, apart from bantustans of worthy opposition, the rest of the world remains somnolent, stirred to open an eyelid only for a Muslim adulteress or 5 thieving murderers sentenced in accordance with ancient Islamic laws.

  • Netanyahu appoints Ayelet Shaked—who called for genocide of Palestinians—as Justice Minister in new government
    • One finds these morally challenged attitudes more or less everywhere, but usually in isolation or in insignificant minorities, Israel seems to have concentrated them to the point where they have become the significant majority. This person's appointment demonstrates that the Israeli political system has become something of a pantomime, and that may provoke some who have been turning a blind eye to pay more attention. Germany, which for historical reasons has long been in a delicate position now has a younger population which no longer feels the same sense of personal responsibility for the actions of the fast distancing past. Der Spiegal has an interesting analysis of this related to Netanyahu's election:

      This puts German politicians in a moral dilemma: How should they deal with a country that is constantly pursuing a regime of occupation and whose treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories occasionally resembles apartheid?

      link to

      The response to this kind of appointment can only serve to resolve the 'dilemma' for them, and where Germany goes others cannot afford not to follow.

  • Palestine’s moment of truth for the International Criminal Court
    • Law and Justice are quite separate. Law is rules defining the way identifiable groups agree to abide. Justice is an abstract concept differently perceived by different groups and even by sub-groups and individuals. If a law is overwhelmingly regarded as unjust by the group whose behaviour if defines, it can be discarded or modified, many Western laws against homosexuality would be an example. Obviously Israelis do not consider themselves members of the group to which many international laws are deemed to apply, and they are far from alone in that, and therefore they feel no compunction to abide by them. Nor do they share the same concepts of Justice. Most international laws are loosely or less loosely based on Christian values and Israelis are not Christians. Therein lies the rub, less in any malfeasance at the ICC which must follow the letter of the Law rather than the Justice it may reflect but does not automatically enshrine.

  • EU must take stronger action to sanction Israel following high court decision banning boycott
    • You are right. But the roots of BDS are still in the ground. Corporations divest, not because the CEO has suddenly seen a light on the road to Damascus but because it becomes commercially beneficial to do so or potentially damaging not to, nor are sanctions deployed unless electorates demand them or are buttered up sufficiently to go along with them.

    • The EU is not in a position to institute anything like that. It's not that kind of political organization. It's not its job. BDS is a people thing, it has to come from the public. Retailers could do it, and would if enough of their customers demanded it.

  • David Horowitz gets free rein in 'Daily Cal,' which ignores hate campaign against SJP
    • Positing a threat often actually creates it because it invokes a response to it. This has been known since the beginning of demagoguery. The Nazis were masters of it. Gustave Gilbert link to in Göring's jail cell during the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (18 April 1946)

      Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

      Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

      Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

      The thought has been nagging me for some time but reading all this I see that those like David Horowitz are creating antisemitism, they are conjuring it where it doesn't exist and calling on a knee jerk response to it. I wonder where he learned how to do that?

  • Understanding the Jewish National Home
    • Let those Jews go to Palestine so we are rid of them That is indeed the attitude that dominated at the time. The notion that anyone 'thought' the Zionists would live in peace with the indigenous inhabitants is as fanciful as the 'thought' itself. The process was not thought, it was the abandonment of thought in favour of peace and quiet from relentless importunity. That is how it earned the definition 'the Jewish problem', the problem was not finding them a home but ending their persistence.

      And I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him because he is a friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

      Luke 11:1

      I am old enough to remember.

  • Netanyahu played 'decisive' role in Senate bill aimed at stymieing Iran deal
    • Hophmi, You may be misreading the basis of these negotiations. Iran has ever made it clear they went into them to get the sanctions lifted. That's like buying a house or whatever. The negotiations are about the price, in this case the nature and amount of assurances the other side requires before agreeing to lift sanctions. Either terms are agreed and the sale is goes through or they are not and it doesn't. As for those who harp on about the harm sanctions are doing to the Iranian economy, which nation's economy is not troubled? While the West in simply losing commercial benefits Iranian ingenuity is opening up a whole new set of economic opportunities, so it is will be a pity for them if the sale doesn't go through but not the end of the world. Besides, Europe will probably lift their sanctions, or just let them fall away, so Peugeot and others will be back in Tehran while US corporations pace the hall, helpless as expectant fathers.

  • Obama got Senate to reject 'two of Netanyahu's demands' on Iran (but the 'NYT' won't touch that angle)
    • Shingo, I agree, no one who actually knew anything about Iran's nuclear activities believed they were developing nuclear weapons, but a lot who didn't know anything or deliberately turned facts on their head were insisting they were, as indeed some persons who command media attention do today. To my mind sanctions have ever been to cut Iran down to size as its influence increased after Iraq was clobbered. Then you had the colourful Ahmadinejad, and Iran's alleged involvement with a variety of questionable groups and activities. A great deal was written, and feared, about Israel having a go at Iran and how the consequences would draw the US into a war. That storm threat has largely passed and Western interests, including commercial interests, are now less well served by continued sanctions while much of the rest of the world is increasingly ignoring them and will do so more when the deal is finalised. That would not good for US prestige.

    • it's worth remembering how much closer Israel was to dragging the US into attacking Iran in those days. Ill advised or not, the sanctions did divert that threat. Imagine where we might be now if those bones had not been thrown to the ravenous Tel Aviv.

    • You are quite right, sanctions are double edged. While it may be highly desirable to buy manufactured goods, it can prove crippling not to be able to sell them. The Chinese benefit most and it's not just the business but the cultural influences that go with it. Here's an interesting analysis of the effect of sanctions on the Iranian car market of which Peugeot used to have 26%. link to

  • White House 'trolls' Netanyahu by co-opting infamous UN cartoon to sell Iran deal
    • It's neat. However, unless the sanctions are lifted in a manner that only the UN Security Council could reverse the Iranians won't sign it, and cracks are now appearing in that supposition. The EU has just re-imposed a whole bunch of sanctions for another year. So far, although the Iranians support negotiation, they do not trust the US not to say one thing and do another. If they find confirmation the sanctions will not be lifted they may not even stay the course. They thought that's were the deal was going but the things Obama has been saying since the joint announcement last week are giving them second thoughts. Your 47 Congress persons may have nothing to fear after all.

  • Hurt by the Israel lobby, Obama kisses it goodbye
    • There's an old Spanish saying: If you see your enemy up to his waist in water, help him out. If he's up to his neck, push him under.

  • Now Obama needs to 'compensate' Netanyahu -- NYT pipes Israeli propaganda (Update)
    • Bandolero

      Your perspective raises the question how ready the Saudis might be to fall in line. If you pour highly sophisticated weapons into an area for decades you inevitably call into being a significant new social pyramid, a large element of which necessarily includes an elite highly trained and motivated group of younger men to operate them, a group psyched up to look for trouble and respond to it. Something like an unstable Fukushima may have been created in the area and I wonder if the US alone can stabilise it now it has started to rumble.

    • Denis, There will be no win for anyone. The game is timeless. The only end would be the overthrow of the board and there is only one entity to whom that might even occur.

  • 'She speaks the truth:' Palestinian leftist parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar arrested in early-morning Israeli raid
    • There are some suggestions what we could do here: link to

      a propos Iran deal...

      A final deal “based on this framework would threaten the survival of Israel,” Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu, quoted the Israeli premier as telling US President Barack Obama in a phone conversation.

      An increasing number might view that as another good reason to get on with it.

  • DEAL!
    • It seems to be advancing just fine. It should proceed at its own pace. It would be counterproductive to rush it. There's a great deal more being explored here than just Iranian nuclear activities as Netanyahu knows and fears.

  • A pessoptimistic view of the Israeli elections
    • Pessoptimism, indeed! Voltaire must be turning in his grave.

      The treatment of Palestinian Israelis, and the illegal occupation of land that is not legally Israel are two quite separate issues and, except that they may derive in some way from the same Israeli mindset, they have no other connection. Any effort to try to combine them obscures their distinction as if the main problem with the occupation is that occupied Palestinians live in an apartheid situation. It is, of course, nothing of the kind, it is the flagrant disregard for international law that matters first. It is not necessary to have any particular affection or even sympathy for the inhabitants of Gaza to want to see international law respected. BDS may have made some Israelis consider the direction their society is headed but that is Israel's business whereas ending the occupation is an international matter of dispassionate law. I don't imagine much of the world cares what kind of society the majority of Israelis make for themselves so long as it's not so outrageous as grossly to offend humanitarian norms in the manner of South Africa. What is not acceptable is to pick and choose which bits of international law they are prepared to accept, they do not have that right; it would make for a hideously dangerous precedent. They can defy the law, which is what they do, but they cannot change it to suit themselves, and its progress can be inexorable as they should know from the persisting pursuit and prosecution of WWII criminals.

      We come back of course to the US role in all this and that is where the first real weakness will appear: This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. The Europeans have increasingly had enough of Israel's behaviour; it offends ordinary people and also arouses genuine compassion. It is becoming a serious political embarrassment to European leaders. Furthermore Europeans increasingly question other unconnected US actions; the sanctions on Russia which have decimated areas of southern European agriculture and disrupted important northern European commercial interests. No one I know gives two figs if the Crimean people want to join Russia, or some of the Eastern Ukrainians either for that matter. Then we have sanctions on Iran for it's totally unproven pursuit of nuclear weapons, sanctions which have seen massive losses in European trade more than counterbalanced by increasing Iranian trade with the Far East. What is the point of that many are asking. Now, to add insult to injury, we are expected to accept the policy dictates of a renegade bunch of ignorant US legislators. Shortly we are likely to see a resumption of European trade with Russia willy nilly, and a swarm of European CEOs descending on Tehran in their private jets. When that happens, serious sanctions agin Israel will be appear on the agenda,

  • American Jews are taking back their power from Israel
    • The target of BDS is precisely to get the settlements dismantled. BDS is a peaceful movement, it doesn't anticipate driving the settlers away with tanks and bulldozers but by encouraging socio/cultural ostracism and escalating economic incentives. I see no reason why that shouldn't succeed in achieving serious emigration with no immigration. Whatever happens there will remain Jewish migrants but Palestinians are not likely to seek to persecute them or deny them human rights. There is no Palestinian equivalent to Zionism. In fact no civilized people has anything quite like it.

  • Who can save Israel now?
    • This latest confession from Netanyahu about a Palestinian state seems inextricably linked to the Iranian negotiations which, if they succeed, will significantly undermine Israel's quasi-papal role as the US' sole representative in the area.

      PSAKI: Based on the prime minister’s comments, the United States is in a position going forward where we will be evaluating our approach with regard to how best to achieve a two-state solution.

      link to

      Oh, and:

      The defeat of the Zionist Union, ostensibly committed to negotiations and a two-state solution, should not, therefore, be read as the defeat of any genuine desire for peace, but as an increasing desire amongst Israelis to abandon the pretence that they seek anything other than permanent violent colonial domination of the indigenous Arabs.

      link to

    • Phil hits the nail, this does indeed show the world exactly what Israelis have become. Strange they should demonstrate it so unequivocally when others have lost their livelihoods and more for even hinting at it. For years the truth was obfuscated, now the mask has dropped overnight, just like that. Well, he has earned himself another term, but at what a price, talk about cutting off a nose to spite a face. In a way it's a sad outcome but at least the decks have been cleared, Netanyahu's credibility as a participant on the world stage has vanished, and if Western relations can normalize with Iran the whole thing may even work out to have been for the best.

  • Netanyahu's accomplishment: Consolidating support for negotiations with Iran
    • This untidy politicking makes a bad impression on the rest of the world where it tends to diminish respect for US authority. The appearance of Israeli meddling may also contribute somewhat to loosening restraints that hitherto confined latent antisemitism to its kennel and largely kept BDS related preoccupations off the front boiler. Many 'ordinary' Europeans, particularly those involved in manufacturing and agriculture, are far from happy about the effects of sanctions on Russia, and are already disgusted by Israel's oppressions of Gaza. We'll see as the year unfolds.

  • Over one quarter of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress consisted of applause and standing ovations
    • I found myself transported to a time I took my young nephew to a Christmas pantomime; the orchestrated screams of delirious 6 year olds and adults with faces like Nancy Pelosi.

  • Thanks to Netanyahu, Israel support turns into a political football
    • The ovations Netanyahu evoked during his earlier address and his beaming self-satisfaction can hardly (correct me if I'm wrong) have been welcomed with enthusiasm by the majority of Americans whatever they actually made of the whole business. They certainly raised eyebrows elsewhere. The unfolding of these impending circumstances cannot but link back to that occasion. Either by itself might not have meant that much but cumulatively is enough to attract suspicion particularly when other unconnected recent impressions are mixed in the brew. It reminds me of an erstwhile neighbour who killed her husband. She got away with it in a highly ingenious way but will be unlikely to do so if she tries it again.

    • Page: 9
  • How two Palestinian Americans plan to PIVOT the world
    • It is strange but true how oppression can engender positive qualities of compassion, solidarity, ingenuity and determination. I remember this from a child in the blitz when it seemed all London was one family. I just sent Annie this link to another undertaking on the ground in Gaza. link to

  • Netanyahu claims to know 'details' of Iran deal -- and State Dep't mocks him
    • Even if he does know, it's another bit of cheek to flaunt it like that.

      Did you notice what strikes me as a note of dismissive irritation in the DOS exchange Phil quotes above.

      QUESTION: Is it more important to get – for the Administration to get a deal with Iran than it is to have good relations with Israel and the prime minister?

      MS. PSAKI: We think it’s important to get a good deal with Iran and with the P5+1, and that will not only make the United States safer; it will make Israel safer.

  • One-state 'fantasy is very dangerous' because it cannot tell us what the military looks like -- Manekin
    • Walid, Owning property and living in it are quite separate; it's perfectly possible to own real estate in some country other than your own; it can be an investment and you are even free to rent it out so long as you pay the appropriate taxes. Were I Abbas, I would start the drafting of a Palestinian constitution, inviting the widest contributions from all over. What a challenge for the human intellect. And what an Israeli thing to do, divert the debate to a totally different subject. Maybe a Palestinian constitution could achieve what we all hoped post-war Israel would do, provide the world with a blueprint for a coherent, peaceful future.

    • An Israeli could well have bought land, but wouldn't whether he or she could live on it be a matter of residential qualification?

    • If one state included an autonomous region for those Jews who for whatever reasons prefer to live in isolation then the remaining mix would probably work itself together in time. But if that is unacceptable to Israelis then they should simply withdraw behind their borders, and the right of return and treatment of their Palestinian citizens can be dealt with piecemeal later. Finding the 'right' solution doesn't seem to me the issue, the issue is that the Israeli occupation, exacerbated by their actions, is illegal and flouts International Law in much the way Netanyahu flouts diplomatic norms. The BDS movement is not concerned with one state or two but with getting Israelis back behind their designated borders. In effect they are squatters and the fact that many have put down roots is no one's fault but their own. The only thing that calls for negotiation is the time scale for withdrawal and other practical matters of an humanitarian and logistical nature, and that planning should start urgently under international supervision since just because they drove people from their homes at gun point doesn't justify doing the same to them. Indeed the more sympathetically their upheaval can be handled the better its legacy will be. But no further time should be wasted dancing around the issue.

      By the way, the Spiegal interview with Isaac Herzog (referenced by Phil) shows perfectly clearly that Israel will never accept international norms whatever the forthcoming electoral result. In fact he comes across more insidious, and therefore more dangerous, than Netanyahu. A real snake in the grass. link to

  • US and Israel divorce rumors over Iran
    • Kay24, “Have we EVER seen anything like this anywhere in the world?”

      I have long been tantalised by the notion of a parallel between Rhodes/Rome and Israel/US. Rhodes was well sited for Rome strategically, and flourished as a protected ally, the main Mediterranean slave market, and an open trading centre. Polybius describes how after the great earthquake ...not only did they comport themselves in such a way as to receive lavish gifts but the givers themselves felt that a favour was being bestowed on them. However, in the Third Macedonian War Rhodes' absolute loyalty to Rome appeared doubtful and she fell from Roman favour. Unaffected by anything that had passed before, Rome simply encouraged Delos to set up a free port and markets, which pulled the economic carpet from under Rhodes' feet and her revenues dropped over 80%.

  • No one's talking about peace in Israeli election, U.S. liberal Zionists are warned
    • JeffB, Hanin Zoabi addresses this issue in the RT interview linked by Phil above. link to

      Zoabi: The three main political streams have come together in the United Arab Party. No one has given up their ideology or political platforms. Nationalists in Balad still believe in a state for all of its citizens. The communists still believe in two nation states [for Jews and Arabs] as a solution, which we [in Balad] disagree with. The Islamists still do not believe in gender equality.

      We are facing the hardest right-wing political campaign in Israel's history. The micro-level strategic differences are not the most important issues right now. The situation on the ground is that Israel is confiscating land and demolishing homes; Palestinians are enduring violence and poverty; and Arab Knesset members and political activists are being persecuted.

      In a dire situation we all come together whatever our otherwise differences.

  • Dear Mr. Netanyahu, please don't cancel your speech
    • A legislator at a loss might simply send regrets with an apology, and perhaps a promise not to waste a single minute studying the transcript.

  • Ari Shavit pimps AIPAC in Scarsdale
    • @Walid, Beware of false syllogism – that's all.

      Israel puts me in mind of the unsinkable Titanic with Europe the ice flow breaking away from the US. I live in Spain; Southern Europeans are very unhappy about these Russian sanctions; farmers have had just about enough link to

    • PS It's already anti-Semitic to be anti-Israel. How long before it becomes anti-Semitic to be anti-US?

    • @Walid, I take mild issue with the notion that because the Shia are 'as a rule anti-Israel' they are 'by extension Anti-US'. There is a lot of anti-US sentiment in the world and it is growing but I doubt much has its roots in US support for Israel. The US supports all sorts of unsavory regimes and practices, Israel is just another of them. The reason I raise this is that it smacks of the tendency insensibly to claim any negative event or action as anti-Semitic; the list is endless but WWII is the most distressing example (to me) and the Charlie Hebdo slaughter is freshest to mind. It reflects an arrogant, totally unsympathetic attitude of which Netanyahu is increasingly the caricature. The danger is people will begin to find it funny and then we are but a step away from Shylock. Anti-Israel and anti-American may well be passengers on the same bus but there is nothing else that unites them.

  • Finkelstein on Joan Peters's legacy (and Dershowitz's legal troubles)
    • As far as I am aware BDS has nothing to do with either one or two states, rather it calls for the ending of Israel's: occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall. Once that is accepted it would, surely, be entirely up to the parties what degree of compromise or mutual cooperation they chose to pursue.

  • Congress invites Netanyahu to rebut Obama on Iran, and White House slams 'breach of protocol'
  • #JeSuisUnJuifBritannique
    • American. These are essentially inter-sectarian Jewish issues, and most non-Jews are really not bothered about them. Does it matter to Europeans if a Jew juggles divided loyalties? What matters is Israel's defiance of international law in regard to its boundaries and actions. It's like having an anti-social neighbour who has gone too far. Israel forces itself on world attention and is a nuisance, people want peace and quiet. Of course the world is full of evil and unpleasantness but most of it runs in the background and there is little to be gained expending emotional energy on things you can't do anything about, you just have to work around them. I don't think most Europeans conflate Zionists and Jews any more than they do Scots pro or anti independence. The problem is that Israel is an irritant and should be sorted out by the authorities; most of us hope it will be with the steps Abbas is taking and accept that in the meanwhile we just have to put up with it. But we don't have to like it and there is not an iota of sympathy for Israel's behaviour whatever nonsense our leaders espouse. Pieces like this, I regret to say, I put in the same inter-sectarian category. There may be more daubing of synagogues and so on but it's from a small group, certainly not representative of the people at large, and it runs along with anti all sorts of other groups. Suggesting it is somehow exclusively anti-Semitic, or looking at it from an predominantly Jewish perspective, obscures the fact that it is one of many symptoms of deeper socioeconomic maiaise, and by diverting attention from the underlying problems it diverts attention from the malaise itself, and the noise it makes doing so is itself an irritant. I understand this is a forum precisely concerned with the Jewish perspective, fair enough, but the issue of equity and peace in Palestine and the desire for the enforcement of international law would be the same were Israelis other than Jews.

    • Few non-Jewish Europeans like Jews collectively and never have, individually is another matter. That doesn't mean they dislike Jews, simply that there is no special nisus of affection which is what it seems people like Netanyahu demand. It's an absence of the positive rather than anything negative. I don't believe it is peculiar to Jews either, nor do I think polls like this do anything useful by forcing people to give opinions on issues they normally don't think about. The question about marrying a Jew is typical since it assumes anyone gives two figs about such things and overlooks the fact that in the real world the response would depend entirely on the individual and the circumstances.

      Thirty years ago most people still saw Israel as an admirable project of healing and renewal for a people broken by the Holocaust

      Not really. Disillusion was evident long before and rife by the early 70s. The majority of British after the war had no such thoughts either, being less concerned about 'healing and renewal for a people broken by the Holocaust' than simply being able to forget about them and relegate what was referred to as 'the Jewish problem' to the past. A smaller group of largely left wing intellectuals were hoping to see a new social structure arise from the ashes of the immediate past, a kind of blue print for a peaceful. postwar future. Most are dead, only a few linger in the estuary, perhaps just as well or the first would feel frustrated and the second would be deeply disappointed.

  • US calls ICC decision to investigate Gaza 'tragic irony'
    • If the ICC determines something should be investigated then obviously it should be. The US/Israel opposition is par for the course and not worth more than a shoulder shrug from most of us. The approach surely has an effect on middle class Israelis and by extension on the upcoming elections. I confess ignorance of Israeli politics but it seems to me likely to strengthen the Netanyahu stance among some while giving considerable pause to others and thereby become seriously polarising. Since all the Palestinians including Hamas apparently accept the ICC it also raises the broader question among observers, What are the Israelis so worried about? Dirty linen?

  • ICC opens war crimes inquiry into Israel over Gaza war as Palestinians prepare another UN resolution
    • Abbas proceeds step by careful step. Meanwhile in the shadow of the patently illogical rejection of the last application to the UN, and Abbas' current preparation of another, the US, EU, UN and Russia are driven to hold a conference on Israel/Palestine later this month link to For some time I have sensed that Obama is seeking to make the whole thing more an international issue, release sole hold on it. The US is less dependent now on oil imports, Saudi Arabia is heading for a cliff, and many other Persian Gulf states are in the kind of turmoil that cannot simply be rolled back however aggressive their regimes. Day by day Israel offends more of the world arousing askance even from those with no particular interest in Palestine. Impressions are cumulative, babies freezing to death in Gaza...Netanyahu's loutish behaviour before the world's leaders and cameras at the otherwise solemn occasion in Paris. One begins to have a real sense the Zionist days are numbered, precisely what Khomeini predicted when he arrived in Tehran from Paris, “this regime occupying Quds must vanish from the page of time”. One of the most bizarre aspects of this is Netanyahu et al attempting to promote antisemitism in an attempt to justify their actions.

  • Netanyahu crashes Paris unity march, French gov't fumes
    • Thanks, Walid, I suspected it might be just one of those odd things odd people do and quite without further significance.

    • This further demonstration of Netanyahu's ill-manners will do him irrevocable harm in Europe, and it will do so among those don't adopt any particular stance on the problems of the ME. It has probably done more to illuminate the difference between a Jew and a Zionist than all the extrapolations I have ever read anywhere. What civilized European, let alone Jew, could possibly want to relocate somewhere under such a barbarian. Those who complain of a status quo might consider how graphically this event will have changed European perceptions. Those who keep Hollande's ratings down in the 30s still distinguish the man from the role of Head of State which is a national symbol above personality.

    • Walid, I know little about these things but does the perceived offence lie in publishing a picture of a female? If so, removing Merkel could have been little more than not walking under a ladder.

  • Don't let's go to the war of civilizations again
    • I think there may be something going on a bit deeper than civilisation war. The behaviour of invaders has always been bloody and ruthless. Cities were traditionally given over to plunder, rape and pillage, it was a way of 'paying' and otherwise rewarding the soldiery, and was traditional in ancient times, alive and well in the 19th century, going strong in WWII and still evidenced in many places today. Even the victims had no real notion their sufferings were 'wrong' in some abstract moral way, such concepts simply didn't exist. That's why selective passages from Joshua have no relevance today. His has always been human behaviour in war and territorial expansion and still is. What is different today is the imposition of a compassionate humanitarian dimension by outside observers, even enshrined in the Geneva Convention. This is all quite new and may have had its birth in the Nuremberg trials. What it does is split aggression in two, making one half illegal, and by extension open to time consuming debate, while leaving the other free to proceed as before. It's like differentiating between rape with or without a condom. We are more frequently preoccupied by Israeli treatment of Palestinians than their theft of Palestinian land and resources, more desirous of bringing individuals to justice in a remote court than kicking Israelis the hell off Palestinian land. I believe pervasive hypocrisy not only allows the continued oppression of Palestinians, but feeds corresponding acts like the Paris slaughter. Just read the tortuous circumlocutions of Jen Psaki among others responding to almost any question and consider why anyone should feel constrained to adopt abstract moral norms the US clearly eschews.

    • Such a policy is essential, like keeping a cover over honey, else it attracts bugs and spoils.

  • Is Abbas’ war crimes bid against Israel a big bluff?
    • If you might chart global attitudes towards Israel over, say, Obama's term of office would it not show a descending trend approaching the critical?

    • The US, Abbas, and Israel don't have the whole beach to themselves. In fact it's getting crowded and they will be increasingly obliged to pay some attention to others. I sense that Obama has been attempting to relinquish the central role by encouraging Europeans to adopt independent positions. European government debates in favour of recognising the State of Palestine are often described as 'symbolic' but they are part of European parliamentary procedure and an important indication of the way the wind is blowing. Europeans are much less indoctrinated politically and their leaders need to heed them more than may be the case in the US. US inspired sanctions against Russia not only cost Europeans painful sums but they are also destroying important links that took many years to establish. They are not popular.

      Europeans do not like Jews. By this I don't mean they are anti-Semitic, or even that Europeans dislike Jews, simply that they do not have positive feelings about them collectively. I used to think Israel's actions might provoke latent antisemitism in Europe but I now think almost the opposite, that the absence of positive feelings towards Jews makes it easier to focus negativity on Israel, negativity fed, oddly enough, by totally unconnected, burgeoning negativity to the US. It is not necessary to be pro-Palestinian to be anti-American and anti-Israel. I believe Abbas is doing the right thing, proceeding by careful steps in a transparently legal and responsible manner while allowing US/Israeli reactions to be exposed for exactly what they are.

  • How a tweet about Gaza children went viral round the globe
  • State Dep't threatens aid to Palestinians over ICC, but holds out no consequences for Israel's settlements
    • What Psaki would say is 'I am not getting into hypotheticals', which is her standard response to any 'what if' question. The fact is the US does apply double standards in the same way Gadaffi used to break wind vociferously and there is nothing can be done about it. However, blatant hypocrisy is unattractive and it is worth bearing in mind that it is not necessary to be pro-Palestinian to be anti-hypocrisy and by extension its perpetrators. I used to worry that Israel's actions would engender antisemitism but the greater danger is US actions releasing anti-Americanism.

  • Pro-Israel Congress members threaten aid cut-off in response to Palestinian ICC bid
    • The situation is in flux in a Heracletian sense, you cannot step into the same river twice. Abbas may well shortly resubmit the PA bid to the UN link to and Israeli actions over tax, and similar threats from Congress, wont drive any supporters away and can only strengthen his support elsewhere.

  • Israeli settlers attack US consulate convoy in the West Bank (Updated)
    • Fascinating interpretation. Almost reads as if the US consular officials should be reprimanded for going about their business without settler clearance.

  • 'You are part of the problem, not the solution': Open letter to the editors of The New York Times
    • Having just read Cohen's piece after reading the comments here, and approaching it expecting it would arouse my ire, I found it otherwise. Obviously he spent little time there but his impressions seem basically sympathetic. The statement that Gaza is 'nowhere' is clearly a metaphorical expression, like saying something is 'in the middle of nowhere' obviously he knows it is somewhere as he is writing about visiting it. While having every sympathy for the lucid author here, I feel he may be overreacting. Cohen, like many, believes the situation can be resolved by conscientious effort and negotiation. Personally I don't, I consider his position naive, fanciful. To me the only solution is for the Israelis to be driven out of the occupied territories by escalating isolation and BDS pressure and anything else is a waste of time and a diversion of purpose.

  • Fireworks in Ramallah, as Abbas signs treaty to join International Criminal Court
    • Walid, I agree. But it doesn't matter much. Retribution is not what it's about. Joining the ICC itself strengthens the PA hand and causes grief in Tel Aviv. It's like crossing thin ice, every move, however small, must take you safely in the right direction. BDS is less of an attack, more an effort to weaken Israel within. Furthermore, this move has actually taken Obama somewhat off the hook without precipitating the storm a veto or even abstention would have provoked. He has been actively trying to get the Europeans to pick up the baton and, teleologicaly, this development might even have been a cooked up between him and Abbas.

    • What is surprising is the expression of so much surprise. Abbas has done exactly what he said he would do in the progression in which he said he would do it, and in consequence he appears honourable, straightforward and reasonable. Oranges are not just for doing business with, they can be eaten.

  • Palestinian resolution fails at the Security Council, U.S. votes against 'staged confrontation' at the UN
    • Even had the effort succeeded there is no one to make it happen. Neither Israel nor the US pay any attention to UN resolutions. The big wide world though will look on this as unfair and that will bolster BDS which is the only sure route to justice. Squeeze them till the pips squeak. When saner or more fearful Israelis begin to emigrate the tide will have turned.

      Meanwhile life goes on. Palestine is playing Japan on the 12th. Jordan on the 16th and Iraq on the 20th in the Asia Cup. It doesn't seem to me those matches will be broadcast by ABC.

      link to

      link to

      but if the team gets through to the quarter finals they will be on:

      link to

  • Israel's upcoming elections and the false nostalgia of Liberal Zionism
    • OT. Palestine playing Japan in the Asian cup on Monday, January 12, in Newcastle Australia.

      link to
      link to

    • It has long seemed to me there are two quite separate issues and conflating them obfuscates both. The first is getting Israel out of the occupied territories, all of them out of all of them. The second is the Israeli treatment of its non Jewish citizens. They should get the hell out of the occupied land, and treat all their citizens equally and I have never understood what there is to negotiate about either. Zionism may well be the motivation for Israel's behaviour but I don't see what motives have to do with it since no motive. not even convinced faith in a flat earth, justifies occupation. Kerry is again rabbiting on about Israel's security, which is absurd as anyone with eyes and ears sees it is the Palestinians' security which is undermined to the point of non-existence.

  • Alumni of the Israel Arts and Science Academy call on others to refuse military service
    • Is there a danger it would lead to an army with a higher level of psychopaths, totally undiluted by even the faintest humanitarian sanity?

  • You're on a roll, Mr. President, so abstain from vetoing the Palestinian bid to the UN Security Council
    • But that is his chosen task. He is President of the United States. No man sits upon a greater throne. Bow before him.

    • It seems to me six of one and half-a-dozen of the other. Whatever Obama does will not be done for the Palestinians or for justice, human rights or any other 'noble' purpose but simply for US interests like everything else. The Cuban manoeuvres are simply a way to abandon the failed sanctions for the recently proven Ukraine regime change route. Looking at the situation in the ME, including the current political frangibility of Jordan, its streets filled with anti-Israel oil deal demonstrators, Obama cannot possibly want to do anything to promote another anti-American Arab state in the ME. On the other hand, the tide is coming in and he can't stop it. He's stuck in the middle, what's known in chess as Zugzwang, a situation where whatever he does will be to his disadvantage. His solution is to seek to void having to make a move at all.

  • Obama took on the Cuba lobby-- when will he take on the Israel lobby?
    • Obama acknowledged that sanctions didn't work, and such honesty seems rare in this world today. They didn't work because they didn't achieve the regime change that was their purpose. By lifting them he obtains greater access to all levels of Cuban life and can better embark on a different strategy to achieve the same end, quite likely the one honed in Ukraine. Watch this space. Dust down La Nuland. It shouldn't cost the US tax payer anything like 5 billion this time.

  • Jordanian-Palestinian resolution to the UN Security Council gives US and Israel wiggle room
    • Citizen, Thanks for that link. Aside from Ali Abunimah's sound reasons, it would surely help the cause to have so much Israeli linen up there on the line for the world to see.

    • If the US does use the veto, I understand Abbas has stated his next step will be the ICC. If he is driven to that he will appear to the world to have bent over backwards to accommodate US and other sensibilities and Netanyahu could well find himself bent over forwards.

  • U.S. seeks to counter Palestinian UN resolution with alternative offer, says French diplomat
    • Right, wrong, legal, illegal, none of these has much to do with the outcome, it's who wields the most muscle that determines such things. The US is weakened and corrupted by politics and war but is still remains the greatest power, its military and economic tentacles reach everywhere and until the US wants the Palestinians to have their land and independence they can only inch their way towards it. At this point I cannot see the US accepting an independent Arab nation in the area whatever the rest of the world may decide. Look what it's doing to Syria.

  • As Kerry and UN press on occupation, Netanyahu sees a 'diplomatic assault'
    • Obama has certainly been sending signals to Europe. For some time the DOS response to questions about Israel's actions has been that the issue is not up to the US alone, that there are many other countries involved. What is that if not a nod and a wink? Of course, Obama can't do anything directly against Israel but he can certainly stand by while others do. It has long been inhibiting pressure on US allies that allowed Israel to act as it has been doing. Once the pressure is released the Europeans become free to respond in their own way and recent Parliamentary votes show clearly what that is. Many call these debates 'symbolic' but they are not symbolic, they are an integral part of European parliamentary systems and date from Roman times when the senate might debate an issue that would be recorded but would not take effect. The process was called auctoritas, the purpose being to declare the will of the senate that something be done.

    • The US, Israel's closest ally, has consistently used its UN veto power to block moves it sees as anti-Israel, but US officials said they drew a distinction between a unilateral step, and an effort to draw up a multilateral resolution at the UN Security Council, which would have the backing of many nations.

      link to

    • Thanks for the cogent update. Curious how US diplomatic concerns have insensibly switched from safeguarding Israel to safeguarding its own reputation.

  • Palestinian minister dies after Israeli army assault during olive tree planting ceremony in West Bank village
    • It may not happen, but just imagine because of outrages such as this the situation evolved to the point the US could abstain in the Security Council vote. Worth waiting for.

    • Annie, I think he's biding his time. Consider how things have moved pro-Palestine/anti-Israel even in the last couple of months. Every day Abbas is closer to the target. He only has one peaceful trump to play and he is old. That pink cloud the other day about the US discussing sanctions against Israel, which was fiercely but not categorically denied, may well have been about European sanctions. I have a hunch Obama has been prodding Europeans to act independently for some time and Abbas is in the loop and biding his time until the moment is right. Any day now...

    • Fair enough, but where is the bus going? At what point do they all get off and go their own ways? And if they are inclined to cooperate, what threat or common purpose do they feel they face? Could they be motivated by anti-Americanism? Sooner of later Israel is going stay out all night having promised to be home by twelve.

    • I begin to get, not just outraged and disgusted, but fearful. These people display the symptoms of religious intoxication, and there are many examples of how dangerous that can be. Monotheists are particularly prone to this kind of dementia because their belief structure has no flexibility, nothing between them and their deity. Polytheists, like the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia, the Greeks, Egyptians and so on can project much of life's vicissitudes onto a variety of deities including Destiny and Fate, the one unalterable and the other unpredictable; this provides them a sort of safety valve. Islam has its prophets, and even Christianity mollified its monotheist austerity by introducing Saints and angels for the masses, and a Trinity for those of a more metaphysical bent. The fact that Israel is armed to the teeth with weapons capable of bringing life on Earth to an end is, it seems to me, in the same category as ISIL precisely because of its total absence of flexibility. There are stories that Israel is assisting ISIL fighters and providing hospitalisation for their wounded. Birds of a feather?

    • Any passage from one event to another must necessarily pass through all the intervening moments. If the soldiers had not sought to prevent Palestinians peacefully planting olive trees on Palestinian land the Palestinian minister would be alive today.

  • Mamdani's 'holistic' challenge: Anti-Zionists must persuade Jews they can only be safe by dismantling the Jewish state
    • Comparing Israel and South Africa overlooks one fundamental difference. South Africa was a clearly defined geographical area and all the inhabitants, whatever their colour, were South Africans. Though mirrored elsewhere their apartheid was an entirely local struggle. Israel on the other hand is acting outside its borders and outside international law. BDS seeks for Israel to vacate Palestine. The safety or otherwise of Jews is an entirely separate issue. The US has sworn to protect Israel's security and I can imagine no scenario where that promise would not be kept. The simple fact is that Israel has no intention of vacating Palestine and that is why we need BDS. Once its purpose is achieved, all sorts of political agreements are possible and perhaps future generations will have an open border with free passage for everyone and everything. But first things first. Israel non legibus solutus est.*

      *Israel is not above the law.

  • Israel has no answer to BDS, Barghouti tells packed hall at Columbia
    • Just calls me kind- hearted, alas it is not so; my concern, I can see it coming, is the propaganda they will make from the evacuations, the media they have with which to promote it and the compromises, practical and emotional, they may ring from it. That's why the UN or some other international body should address this issue with a pre-emptive plan.

    • Annie and Mooser, I am sorry. I was precisely asking about what will happen to the settlers, and I meant that I hadn't expressed myself in the tones of the quote entirely accurately pasted by Mooser, I was eight. It was adults I heard expressing themselves that way. My stepfather was Managing Editor of a major UK media group and on several government committees, our house was always filled with politicians, artists and media people and they discussed everything and talked their heads off. My main duty was mixing dry Martini so I listened a lot. What disturbs me, and it isn't meliorated by some of the comments here. is the prospect of hundreds of thousands of settlers displaced from their illegal settlements and abandoned to their own devices. It doesn't matter how horrid they are, it should be possible to anticipate such an eventuality and plan for it. Susan asked me what my solution would be and, perhaps foolishly, I suggested Israel found a daughter colony somewhere. This is what the Greeks and others did all over the place, the founding city remained the mother-state (μητρόπολις , mother+city, from which we get the word metropolis) and the bonds were as close as the word suggests.

    • Mooser, I assure you it's not the way I put it. I was eight, too young to have opinions. But it's the way I remember people talking. In the local Regal cinema I had seen the Pathé News pictures of the opening of the concentration camps when they were that week's news, and the images are burned into my consciousness. What do you expect, 60 million had died including my 19 year old brother and an uncle burned so bad he had lost an eye and all his hair and his skin looked like red porridge. People had other things on their minds. They knew something had to be done and they hoped the new Israel would be a beacon, an example of the way a nation could rise from horrors and show mankind how to live in the post war world. More fool them.

    • I am not suggesting the victims solve any problems but their own. The human race has to determine what's best to be done in these circumstance. After the war, which I am old enough to remember, it was: What on Earth are we going to do with all these Jews? And an unfortunate decision was determined. Now the same question comes round again. Why can't humanity try to find a workable solution this time, or are we going to face this millennial old problem until the seas run dry.

    • There's a whole special vocabulary employed in these statements. Like the difference between a 'military take over' and a 'coup', as in Egypt, because a coup automatically restricts arms deals and take over doesn't. Sanctions won't effect Israel's security. The issues sanctions would address are not even in Israel. BDS didn't undermine South African security, the two are quite separate and Israelis know it. It worries them.

    • Susan, I simply hope the cycle stops and it seems to me more likely if some responsible group has considered the post occupation logistics. As for a solution, if it were my decision I would have Israel found a colony somewhere in South America or Africa and people it with its excess population. It's what peoples have done since the beginning of time.

    • Just, Of course I accept the BDS is not responsible for settlers, BDS is a tool, an evolved form of ostracisation. At least, from your reply, I understand that you at any rate don't expect the settlers to be able to wangle some sort of compromise. The US certainly appears to, why else do they keep rabbiting on about negotiations when the only thing I see needs negotiation is a time frame for evacuation.

    • No, no. You are washing your hands of it all. If the BDS succeeds then it must have an answer for this, a coherent pre-planned workable answer. Obviously worked out with Israel but a humanitarian responsibility of everyone. What we don't want, surely, is to see weeping and wailing settler women holding up their babies to CNN cameras, tears streaming down their distorted faced, Even if we accept that it is Israel's problem we must be assured Israel takes it seriously and doesn't just let the proverbial hit the fan.

    • What I have long wanted to know is what exactly will happen to the vast number of illegal settlers? I know the BDS movement wants Israel ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967... but has anyone considered where the settlers are to go and by what means persuaded to vacate their illegal settlements? The greater the success of BDS the larger this issue looms. I have long suspected that many Jews subscribe to a vaguely defined notion that the Palestinians will be happy to share their land with hundreds of thousands of residual colonists. But Barghouti seems pretty clear about the right of return and that has to be return to their own lands and homes. I don't suppose anyone wants to see them treated as the Palestinians were/are treated and driven forth at gun point. It's one thing for Jordan and other Arab states to accept, however reluctantly, waves of dispossessed Palestinians, but Jewish settlers? Unless this issue is faced I see one ghastly humanitarian disaster simply replaced by another.

  • A defensive Netanyahu announces elections hours after firing opposition members Lapid and Livni
    • Off topic, but in addition to the Belgium vote recommending their government recognise the State of Palestine, we had the UN General Assembly calling on Israel to join the NPT. The full report of the meeting is here:

      link to

      I just spent a while doing a ‘find’ on ‘Israel’ to see exactly how and with whom it voted one each of the numerous issues and found it highly illuminating, well worth the few minutes it takes. Here's one item makes you wonder.

      Next, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution on the Prevention of an arms race in outer space (A/69/438 [L.3/Rev.1]) by a recorded vote of 178 in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Israel, United States)

    • It may be a bigger job than one would think. These things come off the shelf and this one may simply not offer an edit button. A bit like buying a suit without a waistcoat. Should have thought of it before.

  • Israel has always been crazy
  • Activists block Jericho road to protest East Jerusalem land grab
    • @ivri You miss an important point. I used the adjective tectonic because the shift is deep and structural. Israel is like a house of cards and all the webs you refer to cannot hold it up once it starts to fall. Almost everything Israel does encourages attitudes of negativity, attitudes that in most cases have little or nothing to do with Palestinians but arise more broadly from what people see as arrogant defiance of moral norms and international law. Back in October Miriam Margolyes, interviewed for the Radio Times, said inter alia
      I don’t think people like Jews. They never have. English literature, my great love, is full of greasy and treacherous Jews. ... Antisemitism is horrible and can’t be defended, but Israel is stupid for allowing people to vent it. link to

      That people may not much like Jews is not the same as anti-Semitism, rather something closer to disaffection. But put in a shaker with increasing negativity towards Israel and you have an environment in which anti-Semitic attitudes may not attract automatic odium so much as something between disapproval and shoulder shrugging indifference. If you have ever seen the film Chariots of Fire you will know what I mean.

      As for your dismissal of PressTV, it was simply the first place I found the item. Look here if it makes you feel more comfortable: link to

    • Absolutely, Annie. I hope we get to a point where the US alone vetoes the Arab League proposals. You can bet Vitaly Churkin will have a field day and we'll see Putin back on his charger as a champion of human rights and international law. It's often thought that nothing is really changing or things are getting worse, but a tectonic shift is building up in the background and this UN business may well set it off. Meanwhile the tensions within Israel are also escalating. I caught an extraordinary example of this a few hours ago. link to . I thought it a bit over the top at first until I realised the 'victims' were opponents of Netanyahu's racist plans.

  • Palestinian flag is an 'enemy' flag-- Netanyahu's latest crackdown
  • Muslims' beliefs are 'untrue' and 'ridiculous,' 'Salon' author says, offering support for Maher's intolerance
    • So each outward thing derives from an inward reality. Just like objects of the physical world and Socratic forms. Awe inspiring.

  • Yad Vashem
    • Thank you for a courageous account. Emotional responses to Yad Vashem can be multi-layered. I found the architecture itself, it's layout and construction confusing and oppressive, something I felt must be specifically for Jews, and that made me feel uncomfortable like I was intruding on someone's private grief so I left after barely ten minutes and wandered back to my taxi. It was February 1971. The young Israeli driver was immersed in a book and clearly surprised to see me back so soon. To avoid discussing the monument, I asked him about his book and he said he was reading up on the 'history and geography of our new territories'. That reply melded with my recent experience and for a moment I felt a cold dark premonition. I still felt it a bit when I got back to my hotel where I found an invitation to attend a dinner with Golda Meir. Almost without thought I composed a polite reply with my apologies, and felt better.

  • Why I confronted Gregor Gysi
    • just, The Bundestag building belongs to the German people; it is a national symbol of their democracy, a place to be respected, not a place for this kind of behaviour, which has the potential to reflect badly, and not perhaps only on him. C'est tout.

    • I may be wrong, but doesn't he claim he is 'potentially banned'? To me that means some perfectly understandable process has been, or may be, initiated to examine the circumstances surrounding these undignified events, and such a process might result in a banning from the premises. The unsavoury attacks the man and his family suffer in Israel are not the responsibility of the Bundestag and can be no justification for chasing a member of the German parliament into a Bundestag rest room while belabouring him in a foreign (English) language. I imagine such an event would result in an inquiry in any civilised country, particularly in a case where instead of apologising to those responsible for public order in the premises he publicises his version of the event on You Tube. I sympathise with his predicament but his was not an appropriate response. In fact. regrettably, it represents the kind of behaviour that might indeed stir latent anti-Semitism.

  • ICC believes Israel may have committed war crimes in flotilla attack, but not of 'sufficient gravity' to justify formal investigation
    • The Prosecutor is probably right, and in any event she has quite pointedly left the door open. She has obviously studied the matter closely and must understand full well its implications and significance. An ICC investigation would probably need to consider the incident in isolation, a particular group of Israelis involved in particular events at a particular place and time. Questioning whether this is a matter of sufficient gravity for a full ICC investigation seems fair, and deciding that it is not in no way mitigates Israeli actions. When the PA joins the ICC and raises Protective Edge, which hundreds of millions watched in horror, is surely the time to go for the jugular.

  • 'Take your Ebola ass and get out': L.A. confrontation highlights relationship between Zionism and anti-black racism
    • The anti-Palestinian and anti-black racism festering in these Israel supporters also manifests itself in a virulent Islamophobia. They presumably know that there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, but use the racialization of Islam to present themselves as brave warriors, combating “radical Islam”—this phrase, of course, meant, through this series of connections, to refer to the Palestinian people.

      I have referred to this phenomenon elsewhere. It's insidious and particularly dangerous when adopted by the less less well informed seeking a simple, immediate way of relating to the IP issue. This particularly applies to inhabitants of countries like China who fear potential threats from terrorist groups and can encouraged to imagine them inspired by groups 'like Hamas'. The connection is invalid, of course. but it is beliefs not truth that determine attitudes and actions.

  • Sh*tstirring Jeffrey Goldberg dumps diplomatic sh*tstorm with 'chickensh*t' quote
    • The pejorative is authoritative and dismissive and could only come from someone to whom the word comes easily. Look for someone 'senior' who talks in that off the cuff, speak first think later, way. Biden is certainly a candidate. In which case it was likely the spontaneous expression of a more general view that many hold but avoid expressing openly. Anyway the comment has taken flight, will get a thumbs up and a smile all round, and no amount ofapology will get it back in its cage.

  • Israeli army kills 14-year old Palestinian with U.S. citizenship
    • Annie and American, A military solution is certainly the quickest way to respond but it is not going to happen. It's fine to dream about it but it's like dreaming of a lottery win. It is unfortunate but the only way out of this grotesque and horrifying mess is step by careful step. No Western power is going to start bombing Israel. Abbas has, I understand, seven of the nine votes needed to put his pitch to the Security Council. When he has two more he will do it. A veto would look very bad for the US. The US is powerful but this situation is a festering PR wound and undermining US standing more or less everywhere. You cannot imagine Obama is happy with the situation and not intent on solving it. Americans can help by lobbying their representatives either to end the subsidies to Israel or subject them to detailed public scrutiny. This is not a problem liberal Jews can solve alone. Who knows how long it will take or how many more will be martyred before it is solved, but I would guess quite a while and quite a few. Israel has to be persuaded to withdraw from all the occupied territories. This demands two prongs, Law and BDS. US support for Israel is not ideological, ideology doesn't come into US foreign policy. Once some other means (Iran?) of securing US influence in the ME is in place support for Israel will retreat like an ebbing tide.

    • @American, The solution must be found by legal means, supported by BDS, and global public pressure on democratically elected legislators. Resorting to guns and bombs would be disastrous. Our world needs urgently to find some way to deal with global crises and enforce moral norms, and it may be the resolution of this particular situation will provide the model. But it has to work, it cannot afford to fail. Each one of these actions, particularly when the victims are children, strengthens opposition to Israel's occupation among the ideologically minded, and they are covered much more widely than Americans may realize, even the Chinese media covers some, albeit in a dispassionate manner. The galvanizing of international support, however, has at all costs to avoid the issue becoming militarized or one in which Israel can be interpreted by some as acting against Muslim terrorism. There are nations with substantial Muslim populations who are quite capable of seeing it that way. This, I believe, is why Hamas and others should be very quiet and let the Abbas' approach to the UN, and the BDS movement play through. The first is a purely legal path, while the other is moral and ideological; and neither has anything to do with terrorism, ethnicity or religion. And that's the way it should be.

  • 'Village on the volcano' is latest effort to change the subject from the occupation
    • The business of burying Israel/Palestine in a broader anti Arab terrorists picture so that Israel is the good guy facing off terrorists is clever and dangerous but not new. Back in July in The Diplomat had a piece about China vis a vis Israel with this paragraph.

      By contrast, the group that supports Israel argues that the terrorist threats faced by China are controlled and implemented by extremist groups like Hamas. They believe such extremist groups are connected to Chinese terror cells, and may be responsible for luring in a small number of Chinese Muslims. They argue that Israel’s intense attack on this group will help China’s own fight against terrorism.

      link to

  • Israeli president's diagnosis -- 'Israel is a sick society' -- doesn't go viral in the U.S.
    • It's unimportant to outsiders, like me, how many Jewish people support or reject this or that aspect of Israeli behaviour or what they think about Israeli society, and there is no particular reason why any aspect of either should become 'viral' anywhere but in Israel itself and among committed cognoscenti. All who support a state for Jewish people on what is someone else's land fall broadly into the same objective category. Israel was designated an area by the UN and as far as most of the world is concerned that is all there is to it; the principle Palestinian BDS demand is that Israel withdraw from all occupied land. The only 'negotiation' necessary to achieve that would seem to be over a practical and humanitarian time-scale. As I understand it, this is the path on which Abbas and others are embarking via the UN, and it has nothing to do with the actions of the IDF, the settlers, or rockets from Gaza. The brutality and ugliness are not the reasons for ending the occupation. The reason is it is illegal and conducted in defiance of international laws, and if Israel disagrees with that then the UN is the place for their legal experts to rehearse their opinions; slaughtering people by the thousand in full view of the world's media shouldn't effect any UN decisions, but can hardly be expected to help Israeli arguments. Charges of antisemitism are similarly irrelevant. Appearances are reality today, and Israel's appearance is steadily worsening while many of those who have adopted ambiguous attitudes in the past are now feeling the need for a bit of window dressing, which I imagine was behind the recent Gaza reconstruction meeting in Cairo, as is Kerry's 'situation unsustainable' comment. I wouldn't go so far as to say President Rivlin's statement is in that category but it is in sympathy with it. There will be more, it's what happens in the interstices of any progressive development, and as with cracks extending in a dam there comes the point when the dam is beyond saving and those too close make sensible decisions.

  • As Kerry scrambles to prevent Palestinian action at UN, Israeli govt makes clear it will never accept Palestinian state
    • Is Kerry really scrambling to prevent Palestinian UN action, or is he just pretending to? Also, is the Palestinian stall the result of pressure from Kerry or could it be a pragmatic response to Sweden's recent vote, so swiftly followed by the UK debate, and Spain, Ireland, and probably soon France stirring to move in the same direction. Each one of these national debates is widely covered and rehearses again and again Israel's inhuman behaviour. Two days ago I caught an item on the Japanese news program, NHK, which included an interview with June Kunugi, UNICEF special representative in the State of Palestine, who was in Gaza both during and after the attacks, her account of the effect of the bloodbath on the children was scarcely to be watched. She described how they cling to their parents, shake if left alone, can't go alone to the toilet, wet their beds, are totally traumatised and disorientated. Her account was given in a half screen with the other side showing film of devastated classrooms and hospitalised children with appalling wounds. A storm is brewing and in the few weeks of the stall how many more significant nations will have got off the fence and voted to recognise the State of Palestine.

  • British Parliament sends a message to Obama: the people see Israel as a 'bully'
    • I am overwhelmed with admiration for the effort Phil has put into this comprehensive coverage.

      The general use of the word 'symbolic' is unfortunate. The word means something standing in for something else. The debate was not 'symbolic' since it was exactly what it was. Debates of this kind are an integral part of the UK parliamentary process and that word demeans it by implying that it was not really what it was.

      First we had the White House criticizing Israel in a forthright manner and making the point that it’s not just the United States, it’s the international community who will respond strongly to this kind of continued activity.

      That opened the stable door: Sweden, the UK, France* ...and looming ahead the UN (did you see this)
      link to

      *Yesterday “From the moment that we say there must be two states (Israel and Palestine), there will be a need for recognition of the Palestinian state, that goes without saying,”Laurant  Fabius told the French lower house (National Assembly) on Tuesday, as quoted by AFP.

      I also feel doubtful about a two state solution because I don't trust Israel. But it would be the world's foster child and, who knows, future generations of Jews may well be prepared to look to peaceful accord their neighbours.

  • Deconstructing John Kerry's address to the Gaza Donors Conference
    • American, Having read the article and your two links, my feeling is that the whole thing is a cosmetic exercise in anticipation of the PA's threatened UN move. Kerry and Israel look like ruffians putting on a clean shirt and tie before facing the judge.

  • British Parliament votes overwhelmingly to recognize Palestinian state
    • 'Non-binding' is the correct term, 'symbolic' is journalism. 275 supporters represents 95.8% of those present and 42.15% of all members of the UK parliament. Netanyahu should put that in his pipe and smoke it.

    • @pabelmont, The sense of being fooled is a compelling eye opener. Most of Ottaway's generation (I am somewhat older) were deeply affected in the aftermath of WWII which killed 2.5% of the human population and left the UK with rationing that didn't end until 1954 and a debt of over a thousand million pounds to the US not finally paid off until 2006. The overwhelming feeling then was that there had to be another way. Israel offered hope, a singularly oppressed people starting a new life from scratch in a new nation would surely show the world how it could be done. The disillusion was slow to spread. Rather like Obama's peace purposes, we are ever reluctant to face the fact some real hope was all wishful thinking and we were fooled. Most who had those dreams are now dead, some like Ottaway (born in 1945) and me (1937) inherited them ready formed and it has taken a while to discard them. I lost mine on a visit in 1971 when I found there were Arab Jews who were not provided equal education and housing with others, and their young men were in consequence forming anarchic gangs. I asked Teddy Kollek about them and his response was far from sympathetic. It was snowing in Jerusalem that day and I remember walking from the King David in a sadly contemplative state. I visited a kibbutz near Jericho and, although I am doubtful about such socialistic experiments, what really gave me pause was that the main source of income there was long stemmed roses grown for Manhattan flower markets. Later, after a visit to Yad Vasham, I found my driver engrossed in a book which he told me was all about 'the history and geography of our new territories'. Bear with Richard Ottaway, he has been stripped of a big chunk of his life.

  • British Parliament to vote on recognition of Palestinian state on Monday
    • I have never really understood this negotiating business. Israel should retire within its 1967 borders. This is certainly what the Palestinian BDS movement seeks to achieve. The only thing I can see for negotiation is an humane time scale for the removal of Israeli's illegal settlers. Once that is achieved there is no reason why, over time, the two states should not enter into any number of agreements to their mutual interest and benefit. Anyway the debate starts in less than three hours so we'll keep keep our fingers crossed.

  • Israel and the g-word
  • American airstrikes and the universal 'language of force'
    • Rationality is having the ability to reason. It is a tool, not a dogma. Like mathematics or chemistry It has a lot of uses but is not of itself any guarantee of moral or any other behaviour.

  • The Titanic of the occupation -- SodaStream (Update)
    • the scarlett effect on the company this year. Also, Annie, the future effect on her as a brand ambassador; even a company as pure as driven snow is hardly likely to want to re-visit that can of worms. Salutary also for other celebrities tempted to hire themselves to Israeli companies.

  • Where is the antiwar movement?
    • My perspective.

      The US is determined to control the Middle East come what may by any means necessary. This involves peopling it with subservient puppet rulers (like Egypt) or leaving it in political, social and infrastructural chaos (like Iraq). Anti-war activities are responses to the methods employed rather than the purposes. Paint the 'enemy' brutal enough, and dilute opposition to the relatively anonymous areas of remote bombing and drone assassinations and you keep war itself largely off the agenda, particularly if you co-opt others and conceal your real purpose behind veils of humanitarian/democratic mantra, and, of course, have the media in your pocket. Zionism is a parasite on US ambition in the area. Syria is the primary current target and might well have been subdued before now but for Russia's chemical weapon disarmament finesse. This time round the US first largely eliminated Russia from the game by tying her up it in the Ukraine diversion; but now it's back to business.

  • Israeli rightists wave ISIS-style flags in protest of African asylum-seekers
    • I see that several hundred anthropologists have joined the call for academic boycott, which is odd in a way as one might have imagined Israelis a perfect study for that speciality. link to

  • Read the genocidal sermon a notable Atlanta rabbi gave this Rosh Hashanah
    • PS I prefer to confine myself to mild distaste for split infinitives.

    • How can Muslims be expected to continually cope with these double standards? It isn't just Muslims, we all have to cope with it. I hate this business of keep dividing people into ethnic or religious groupings. That's where all this starts.

    • With all this passion flying around, it may be worth reminding ourselves of the mild words with which the Palestinian BDS movement defines its objectives:

      Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall.

      Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.

      Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.s

      and the central aspiration in the draft the Palestinians are preparing to put to the UN Security Council

      an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable state of Palestine living side by side with Israel in peace and security in borders based on those before the 1967 Mideast war.

  • Netanyahu's 'poison' -- latest settlement will distance Israel's closest allies, State Dep't warns
    • Sweden becomes the first EU country to break ranks. link to What odds others follow?

    • There is another interesting exchange further down that briefing.

      QUESTION: But based on your – this is contrary to Israel’s stated goal, you’re condemning it, you say it poisons the atmosphere and calls into question their commitment, what’s the consequence of that? Is there one? Is there any?

      MS. PSAKI: Look, I think, Matt, that it’s not just the United States, it’s the international community who will respond strongly to this kind of continued activity.(/blockquote>

      I may be reading too much into it but that seems to suggest the US may be ready to let the International community pick up the baton, which would imply that it's not going to interfere with Abbas' next steps.

      link to

  • 'Ethnic cleansing for a better world' -- Richard Cohen says Palestinians brought the Nakba on themselves
    • From these extracts it appears to be one half of a dialectical debate, the sort of thing students engage in to develop a capacity for logical argumentation by arguing an issue one way and then the opposite. It can be fun if well done but in this case, and at his age, it comes over as a self-indulgent bit of showing off, and a shade silly.

  • Modi and Netanyahu's NY bromance
    • I have experience of India. Indians try to please. They will always tell you things and act in a manner to please you now since now is their only immediate concern. When will this or that happen? Shortly, Sahib. Will it rain tomorrow? Certainly not. They always tell you what you would like to to hear. This is not a criticism but simple recognition of a cultural reality, and comforting when you get used to it.

  • 'Jews Against Genocide' take the blood bucket challenge at Yad Vashem
  • Abbas calls on UN Security Council to end the occupation
    • President Abbas' speech today included offensive characterisations that were deeply disappointing and which we reject. Jan Psaki State Department Spokesperson.

      That response encapsulates what the real problem has ever been. What Abbas has done now is shift the issue out of US hands. That's no mean achievement, and it is arguable that it could only have been accomplished after an event of the magnitude of the recent slaughter, watched before the eyes of by the entire world. That horror may prove to be a 'Twin Tower' event for Palestinians and galvanise world opinion behind them. Furthermore, whatever spokespersons may say, I would not be surprised to discover that Obama has been kept abreast of this plan and 'looked kindly on it'. After all, Abbas and others have made no secret of it, Hanan Ashrawi confirmed it in her moving interview on ABC news. link to . Events appear to be proceeding according to a definite plan and in that sense Abbas is using the ICC option.

    • Annie, the situation is evolving. Consider how different the picture is now compared with five years ago, how many have been awakened to this issue despite such a multitude of distractions. The Palestinians have been variously ousted from their land and restored to it again for 3500 years, generally because the powers that subdued them were in time subdued themselves. Why should it be different now? Abbas is a Palestinian, he has patience. So have the other Palestinians, you see it behind their pain and suffering. OK we are talking about 60 years but the US constitution was signed less than 250 years ago. That's why many Americans fail to understand people like Palestinians. and nations like Iran whose recorded history goes back 2500 years, and that only if you start with Cyrus. Patience will win. The Zionist regime will disappear, it is already a pariah and showing signs of internal decay. It simply cannot last indefinitely. If Abbas actually goes to the ICC, then the future will be much more ugly for the Israelis and particularly for the settlers. If, on the other hand, an accommodation can be reached then isn't that better? Yes, the settlers and others are deeply offensive but, like it or not, they are human. It may be romantic but would it not be preferable to achieve a change of heart, repentance, restitution and mutual forgiveness, however difficult, than retribution. I don't know Hebrew but our KIng James, Deuteronomy 32:35 has: To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.

    • For Abbas to achieve a boundary agreement and an exit schedule in a diplomatic manner is worth infinitely more than a series of long drawn out sessions at the ICC which would be retributive, sure, but would not of themselves secure an end to the occupation. The threat of the ICC is the most important, if not just about the only, bargaining tool Abbas has aside from increasing global sympathy; much more useful for that purpose than for actual implementation. Netanyahu in particular appears to have psychological characteristics that make it virtually inconceivable he would ever allow himself to be called to account in an international court. Slowly, slowly catchee monkey?

Showing comments 939 - 901