Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 835 (since 2011-04-03 12:15:19)

Retired literary agent now living in southern Spain.

Showing comments 835 - 801

  • 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?

  • Netanyahu erases the boundary between world Jewry and Israel in celebration of 'our country'
    • Racism of any kind can be measured not only by the incidence of verbal or physical acts but more broadly by the level of outrage such acts or utterances provoke in a community, which in the case of European antisemitism may well be edging a notch or so towards indifference. Yes, government leaders and others express ritual outrage but that has somewhat the cleansing effect of absolution; a nod of the head in approval of what is said but little emotional response. I think Israel's actions do contribute to the diminution of outrage, a process which may be more significant than the acts or utterances themselves.

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  • Homegrown jihadis and the limits of the Israel lobby
    • @W.Jones

      I didn't mean to suggest it was the trade itself, but trade to China can also be a positive route into the locality, lives and attitudes of a people. In Africa, while exploiting resources, they also put profits back by investing in roads, schools and other social infrastructure where US investment too often bleeds a country leaving only environmental disasters and social deprivation in its wake. This China can do because all investment is in harness with the broader interests of the State. It may well be as ruthless and determined as US-style corporate invasion, but it appears more socially sympathetic and it's certainly more politically coherent. Consider the rare earth mining the Chinese are undertaking in Afghanistan, humming along nice and quiet without a single shot, bomb, drone, or military boot on the ground.

    • @W. Jones

      Israel is a military base in an area significant to US hegemonic interests, it's also a commercial buffer; its mad dog behavior in the area, particularly with regard to Palestine, keeps competing commercial investment at bay. That suits Israel, but it also suits the US for the somewhat different reason that commercial investment, particularly of the kind practiced by China, provides all sorts of 'insidious' possibilities in the form of parallel infrastructural investment and educational and cultural exchange, which could quite peaceably pull the sympathies of the area towards Beijing, Chinese investment serves the interests of the State rather than shareholders. Imagine some of those bright Palestinian youngsters invited and welcomed in China for their higher education. Perish the thought!

  • Naive? At a Jewish spiritual retreat center, I insist on talking about Gaza
    • We can’t ignore the fact that this war would never have happened without American backing and support.

      Israel is a vast US military installation and arsenal. as is most of Okinawa, Bahrain and many other places. South Africa wasn't, so there the US could afford to sport a humanitarian hat. The US will continue to tolerate Israeli abuses just as it does in the KSA and elsewhere while doing anything to keep Palestine from independence for fear of a free and independent Palestine becoming a magnet for external commercial investment and associated alliances and undermining the role of its Israeli military installations next door, the same fears apply to a sanction free Iran. Meanwhile the Palestinians are culled mercilessly like vermin, the conscience of the civilised world is outraged, and Jewish solidarity is contaminated. It was once said that no one could imagine how much it cost the Indian National Congress to maintain Gandhi in poverty, and the same might be said of the price we all pay to keep US foreign policy in the era of the horse drawn carriage.

  • The rabbi at the shitshow
    • I just watched the Megan Marzec video and found it simple, neat, committed, coherent, devoid emotional irrelevance. Raised a smile too, 10 out of 10. As for this lady Rabbi, she puts me in mind of the late Joan Rivers. It's a type. Sometimes funny, mostly disgusting, like graffiti in a rest-room.

  • Yale official barred discussion of Israeli settlements and apartheid at monthly meeting
  • Yale Jewish center to hold 'intellectual' panel on storm over ousted priest's comments-- without inviting the priest
    • Emotions are neither justified or unjustified, they are simply emotions, feelings, raw reactions. It is the mind that sifts them, recognises and ignores them, or triggers other feelings or physical reactions to them. Social. cultural, educational, religious conventions and, of course, personal experience all determine our response to them. It is fanciful to imagine most non-Jewish people would not initially recognise a connection between Jews and Israelis. Most, although the consideration may be too deep for some, will quickly modify that perception with the thought that this is Zionist ideology and that all Jews are Zionists would be a false syllogism. Were Israeli actions confined to Palestine (as white South African actions were confined to South Africa) the distinction would probably hold. However, the aggressive promotion of those actions in the form of aggressive pro-Zionist self-justification through political, commercial and social life outside Israel invokes a completely new level of negativity. I wouldn't argue even that directly provokes latent anti-Semitism but it certainly doesn't help suppress it.

      The Rev. Shipman, who appears a perfectly amiable rosy-cheeked priest, writes ...the best antidote to anti-Semitism would be for Israel’s patrons abroad to press the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for final-status resolution to the Palestinian question. What made that observation so dangerous and unacceptable to Zionists is that it is true.

  • Giving up on the system: Leading Israeli human rights groups reject army request to file investigations on crimes in Gaza
    • Netanyahu is a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, and it's unkind of the NYT to publicise his ravings

    • Nabil Shaath told Ma'an that the PLO would first submit an application to the UN Security Council on Sept. 15 demanding a "timetable" for Israel's withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territory.

      If that request is denied, the PLO will take their case to the International Criminal Court to hold senior Israeli officials such as Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon accountable for Israel's devastating assault on Gaza, which killed over 2,000 Palestinians.

      link to

      This has been in preparation for some time and Obama must know all about it. In fact, I wouldn't put it past him to have given it a wink and a nod. The 15th is Monday. ...the wheels of God grind slowly...

  • Three ways Palestinians can hold Israel accountable for Gaza war crimes
    • The ICC is an ace of trumps and at this stage arguably more effective as a threat. Once it's played it will open a series of lengthy processes during which Palestinian rights for which so may have died will be sidelined in what could prove an interminable retributive process. Abbas' approach seems much more useful, threaten that route to obtain a schedule for withdrawal from the occupied territories. That pitches Israel as a nation against a large number of it's military and political leaders. A Channel 2 poll link to suggests some 30% of, presumably largely middle class, Israelis are beginning to feel they can't take much more of it and are thinking about leaving. That sounds like a fairly influential political voice. and likely a growing one, in favour of resolution. The question then facing Netanyahu and others looks more like, Do you really want to continue with what is both nationally and internationally an increasingly unpopular conflict and face imminent arrest under international law with all you dirty linen on display? I've heard that the proposed withdrawal schedule is three years which seems reasonable, compassionate, and practical. If Abbas pulls that one off it will be the finesse of the age, maybe all ages.

  • Israel has three years to end the occupation -- Abbas
    • I've been brooding on this and I really think it is the most sensible, practical and compassionate solution. It restores the 2 state objective, defines the borders and allows Israel time to relocate the illegal occupants which was always a concern because driving them out as they did/do Palestinians is obviously not on the cards. Furthermore, one day, when we are all dust, the peoples of the area may come together as they have in the past, reserving perhaps a single Orthodox Jewish enclave as a centre for international Jewry similar to the Vatican which also once ruled extensive territories and had exceptional influence over distant leaders.

    • Three years is too long unless that would be the date for completion with successive monitored stages from start to finish, like the removal of the Syrian chemical weapons. Abbas is too old, the situation is too static. Time for Fate to roll its dice.

  • Deconstructing J Street's statement on the latest Israeli land grab
    • As an outsider, I find J Street more dangerous than AIPAC because it seems to add one more to the many Jewish positions on Palestine and the rights of the Palestinians to their land and resources. At least AIPAC's position is clear and unequivocal. Once a host of other Jewish voices start arguing for various nuanced levels of compromise there is a danger they will all get bundled together with settlers and extremists and everyone else who defies international law. The immediate desire of most of the world is simply that Israel withdraw to its designated borders and stop harassing its neighbours, and there isn't any 'middle' ground, Why should there be? What is stolen doesn't become the property of the thief. You don't have to be pro/anti-Semitic or pro/anti-Palestinian to wish to see respect for international law. It seems to me J Street muddies the water by seeking to introduce grey into what should be black or white, and my fear is such equivocation may foster a degree of indifference to some less extreme manifestations of racism; a shrug of the shoulders rather than outrage. That is dangerous.

  • Judaism's hijacking by Zionists drives 70% of secular Jews to marry non-Jews-- Koppman at Huffpo
    • You are right, but I did not mean to suggest Zionism is in anyway alone responsible for any Western corruption. Corruption is a broad word. I was thinking of the meaning Steve Koppman was using. Good and evil need to be retained in balance, but balance is only a static state in the abstract, in our real world it is a constant and often bloody struggle. Don't you think that in Koppman's terms Zionist corruption of Judaism is of same nature as extremist corruption of Islam? And the values the Western world sacrifices to support Zionist actions, do they not represent a meaningful extension of that corruption?

    • Two thoughts rise to the surface reading this piece and the comments.

      The first is that Judaism is in an integral element in the mosaic of Western civilisation, and corrupting the one must also corrupt the whole.

      The second is Newton's law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. and I find myself disturbed by the possibility that the doctrine of the IS jihad movement is maybe that law acting in response to Zionism. If you have the stomach for it take a look at the IS English language journal, and its similarities of tone and attitude to active, latent or aspirational Zionism.

      link to

  • Countdown to the next round in Gaza
    • It may not be necessary to 'do' anything. IS is just over the horizon. If the US doesn't soon pull its finger out tell it's Ukrainian chocolate tycoon to sit down with Putin and sort out their differences, and doesn't stop demonising Assad and Tehran it really will have to make good on its promise to defend Israel. I have just been scrutinising the IS English language magazine* and it's remarkable how like raw Zionism it sounds

      * link to

  • Hillary Clinton just lost the White House in Gaza -- same way she lost it in Iraq the last time
    • A broader 'non-positive' response may be to her old style combative, over simplistic manner. It came across unattractive, non-statesmanlike, mildly demented, embarrassing, and left me feeling political survival has taken its toll and she'd do better to retire into history.

  • Despite ravages of war, Gaza supports armed resistance to lift the siege
    • DOS Daily Press Briefing: August 19, 2014

      QUESTION: Can you imagine any circumstance in which the U.S. would not veto a resolution at the Security Council that would call for Israel to be investigated for war crimes by a court --

      MS. HARF: I personally cannot envision a scenario in which we would not veto it.
      link to

  • Hillary Clinton's 11th-hour diplomacy
    • In her interview Clinton blames anti-Semitism for the public response to the massacres, which she also calls “uncalled for and unfair”.

      “You can’t ever discount anti-Semitism, especially with what’s going on in Europe today....

      That is a pernicious and dangerous acquiescence to the Zionist line. The response certainly isn't uncalled for and unfair unless she means the Zionists didn't call for it and consider it unfair. She also calls American values “universal” when they are not even global, unless she thinks the universe is the US and Israel. Strange women. She is only 67 but appears already to have what Australians call “a roo loose in the top paddock”.

  • Man who saved Jewish boy in Holocaust acts to save Israel from 'racist... quagmire'
    • Indeed they are not interested, that's where sanctions come in. All the broad public needs to understand is the wall has to come down and all Israelis must leave the occupied territories and start over within their 1947 borders or go somewhere else, and they must to be pressured relentlessly until that comes about. The longer it takes the harder it will be for them. It is unfortunate, untidy and sad that they face this situation, but the rest of us are not responsible and they have been given every opportunity to avoid it. Our burden will be to try to contain the anti-Semitic side effects of their behaviour already alas manifesting on our streets. Blaming Europe for antisemitism is like a destructive drunk blaming the barman.

    • Israel may also have sacrificed the opportunity for compromise directly with the Palestinians. While many thinking people had high hopes these persecuted people in their new home would prove a shining example for the future of the Western world but time has taken most of those from us. In their place are others who grew up with no such idealistic postwar thoughts or for that matter any great interest in Israel, and that has worked in Israel's favour. These recent events, however, are awakening many who may not even have been aware of what Israel has been doing since 1947 and to them the primary objective of the Palestinian BDS, to have Israel dismantle the wall and evacuate all territory taken since 1967 will seem practical, fair, and in conformity with international law.

  • Serving Israel's aim of lowering civilian deaths, 'New York Times' Gaza tally says 15- to 17-year-old's aren't children
  • Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren dropped as CNN 'analyst'
    • Though the mills of God grind slowly;
      Yet they grind exceeding small;
      Though with patience he stands waiting,
      With exactness grinds he all.

  • Israel, your brand is tanking
    • @hophmi
      Come, come. Being opposed to Israeli behaviour does not mean or even imply being pro Palestinian any more than being opposed to armed robbery means or implies being pro banks.

  • How Israel is exploiting the reported kidnapping to weaken Palestinian reconciliation
    • It is worrying that if this is not a Hamas kidnap, then the perpetrators may panic at the extraordinary level of Israeli response, and the kids lives may be further endangered.

  • Israeli army seals Hebron, saying Hamas is responsible for abducted teens
    • Since Israel is increasingly disliked (I employ the word euphemistically) worldwide, it is possible the disappearance of these young men was the work of a group other than Palestinians. For a nation to shoot two innocent teenagers in cold blood was an offence against humanity and then the attempt to wriggle out of responsibility added insult to injury. Retaliatory vengeance could come from almost anywhere, not just the muslim world.

    • The disappearance of these youngsters could well be retaliatory. So, perhaps, was the Brussels museum attack. My hunch is we will see more of this. The collapse of the so called peace negotiations was like the final fall of a man clinging by his fingertips from a roof; in an instant much that might have happened no longer could. Since then we have witnessed a series of Israeli outrages which though minimally reported in the West are extensively covered elsewhere. But the searing event was the slaughter of Nadeem Nawara and Mohammad Daher, bad enough in itself but rendered even more insidiously grotesque by the self defensive response of Israel and its supporters. This climate can inspire almost spontaneous retaliatory acts from individuals or small random groups devoid of any extended allegiance, mentally perhaps closer to those who attack a cinema audience or kids in colleges. Whoever these particular ones are the generative impetus to their actions is undoubtedly Israel's actions.

  • 'Netanyahu won't act without a cane to his ass' -- Erekat says, urging ICC on Abbas
    • DaBakr, I am the other side of the world and I missed your reply. I think you make it more complicated than it is. Israel is in defiance of numerous international laws and the purpose of the BDS initiative is to bring her in line with them. There is nothing in the BDS objectives that requires anything of the Palestinians, just as there was nothing in the South African initiative that demanded anything of the coloured people. If the Palestinians agree to compromise on certain issues, boundaries for instance, and there may be good reasons for doing so, that is up to them, not BDS.

    • Abbas won't be there forever. When there has been a proper Palestinian election I imagine he will be glad to hand over. Also, the more appalling and isolated Netanyahu is seen to be the better the chance of him being replaced by someone more amenable. The problem cannot be resolved militarily, and there isn't any way to enforce international law, therefore the Israeli people have to be driven to resolve the issue; relentless, progressive BDS together with ostracization like exclusion from FIFA or the Eurovision Song fest are the sorts of pressure to give Israelis a wake up call.

    • The fact that some actions are in contravention of international law, even flagrant and repeated contravention, does not of itself provide a means to bring them to an end. Any Palestinian appeal to the ICC could well get muddied up by Israel and become bogged down beyond the point of close international attention. In the end only pressure from the global community acting against the direct interests of Israeli citizens will bring the situation to a head. At this stage the implicit threat of the ICC is arguably just as or more useful to the PA. Meanwhile everything that comes out of the area is cumulatively arousing global opinion against Israel's behaviour. Even this latest disappearance of three Israeli teenagers won't create meaningful sympathy for Israel the nation, which is increasingly viewed as the author of the problems, including this one.

  • Cantor's defeat had nothing to do with religion
    • I think there is disillusion across the Western world with incumbent politicians of all colours into which issues like immigration feed; we have just seen that in the EU elections. Electors everywere are pissed off with them, they got a Gallup trustworthiness rating of 8 six months back, the second lowest of all professionals, just above lobbyists. link to Interesting to see if AIPAC and the 1% now start throwing manure at Professor Bart; just look how many inches are spent on Cantor's defeat and how little on Bart's victory.

  • Israeli leader justifies force-feeding bill by pointing to Guantanamo Bay
    • Just, CNN showed footage that included the father holding the actual bullet which he found 5 days later in the boy's bloodied satchel. link to He said that PA representatives had visited him and wanted to take the bullet but he wouldn't let them. It seemed he intended to take international legal action and this new autopsy may be preparation for that. He is an educated man whose calm and humanity should be an inspiration. Phil also covered it here on May 22. link to

    • We hear the same inverted logic from some commentators here. It's an unimpeded route back to barbarism. 'Israeli officials are also weary of having a prisoner die on their watch'. I think Alex may have intended wary but it's an illuminating slip.

    • Now, who would do a thing like that!

  • BDS lays the basis for a true peace process
    • Eleven hours later, no answer is an answer. The BDS demands do not ask anything of Palestinians. The days of concession and negotiation are maybe over as the impetus for a resolution passes to the global community. Could there be a danger that outraged Jewish voices here and elsewhere may come to be regarded as one among myriad inter-tribal Jewish differences, where all want to occupy Palestinian land but some prefer to do so with a smile and an extended hand while others go for a gun.

    • ...BDS, the largest international movement in solidarity with Palestinian resistance, demands not only an end to the 1967 occupation, but equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel and that Israel “respect, protect and promote” Palestinian refugees’ right of return.

      The author is obviously right about the role and aspirations of BDS but there needs also an intervening stage when Israelis, uncontaminated by mythopoeic enthusiasm, lend their weight to those demands. This brings me back again to a question I have asked twice before, to no avail:

      Are they also the demands that 'liberal' Jews work for? Yes or no?

  • Palestine unity government to be sworn in Monday (Update)
    • Abbas appears to be proceeding step by step along a path any might have identified since his application to the 15 UN committees which was clearly a warning shot across the bow. In the interim Israel's actions have only made it more widely reviled; the shooting of the two Palestinian teenagers still reverberates, and I cannot be alone in thinking that what is now confirmed as a premeditated Jihadist attack in Brussels a few days later might have been a response; the distinction between different Jewish groupings is too deep for such people and they are not ones to throw comments back and forth, they get up, go out and do serious, serious damage, and there are hosts of them loose in Syria from a wide range of countries, including the US. Netanyahu has not just held off a settlement with Palestinians for his land grab, he's done incalculable collateral damage which holding up Palestinian revenues under the eyes of RT, Ruptly, al Jazeera and others will hardly alleviate. The man is a walking disaster area.

  • Modern Language Association resolution criticizing Israel sparks raging debate
    • Citizen, I am asking a simple question. Does the purpose of Jewish supporters of BDS accept the retirement of Israel behind its 1967 borders in accordance with international law? That's all. Nothing else.

    • Krauss, I have imagined the objective of BDS was, as I have read it on the BDS site, the people who send news and to whom I have donated. There it is says the objective is for Israel to:

      Retire to the pre-67 borders
      Treat all its citizens equally
      Facilitate the return of the refugees.

      The mistreatment of Palestinians is not mentioned in the objectives, I assume because when those objectives are met the problems of the Palestinians will be resolved. The most important disagreement between Israel and the rest of the world is its disdain and dismissal of international laws and norms wherein the grotesque murder and mistreatment of Palestinians is one symptom among many.

      Increasingly I have begun, however, to suspect that many, particularly Jews, have a somewhat different view of the objectives and are calling instead for a sort of à la carte approach. If this is so, BDS could itself dissolve in schism and fail.

      The situation is quite unlike South African apartheid which was a specific thing within South Africa. Here you have a nation playing havoc in land that is not within its boundaries, and what they do in the occupied territories is not apartheid, it's worse.

  • Some important details: Ben Ehrenreich on the Nakba Day shootings
    • The more one is sucked into all this the more I wonder if these young IDF men may be stoned, at any rate high on something, Perhaps even defensively. Is that possible?

    • Dickerson, For a commander to point out a target to a marksman in a 'riot' situation is a normal procedure. The purpose is to select a target whose death will maximise a predetermined effect. Normally to achieve dispersal,

    • Yesterday's DOS Press Briefing...not much commitment?

      QUESTION: Have you gotten an update from the Israelis on their investigation into the deaths of these two Palestinian teenagers?
      MS. PSAKI: I have not received an update, no.
      QUESTION: Well not – I mean, not you personally.
      MS. PSAKI: We. We. Collective we.
      QUESTION: You have not. Do you know if this has been raised again with the Israelis?
      MS. PSAKI: It’s been raised. I’m not aware of it being raised again this week, no.
      QUESTION: All right. Does it remain a concern that disproportionate --
      MS. PSAKI: Certainly, certainly.
      QUESTION: -- disproportionate use of force may have been used?
      MS. PSAKI: The same concerns we had last week.

      link to at 56:15

    • Op. Date: 15.05.2014
      Date Dictated: 1505-2014
      Date Typed: 15.05.2014









      link to

      *The surgeon makes a cut into the abdomen and examines the abdominal organs.

  • But what can a poor boy do, except to boycott Israel
    • You're probably right; I'm a bit of a romantic.

    • I'm a bit too old for t-shirts but I've taken to wearing a keffiyeh (no, on my shoulders!) and it provokes a lot of conversations.

    • They don't book venues themselves. I doubt they even know or care where they go.

      What day is it?
      Thursday? This must be Tel Aviv. Where's that?

      My guess is they'll back out. Not in sympathy with the Palestinians but to avoid hassle.

  • CNN showed 'blatant' bias when Blitzer aired Oren saying 2 killed Palestinians may not be dead -- Munayyer
    • In the same issue The Guardian carries a report* that suggests the Belgian authorities suspect the attack may be other than the manifestation of the random anti-Semitism the rabbi author proposes it to be as he veers off piste onto his 'straw man' subject of circumcision! In fact the piece could serve as a text book illustration of that particular logical fallacy.

      * link to

    • I just posted a comment in The Guardian pointing to the possibility that the Brussels museum attack could have been a response to these teenagers' deaths. Back like a ricochet comes an accusation of anti-Semitism. link to

  • The Pope in Palestine
    • The Guardian is scarcely and arbiter of grammar. A pope, the Pope. a king, the King, a president, the President. Simple.

    • Alas, Just, it could well be in response to the slaughter of the two youths at the Nakba Day protest. Even the DOS has demanded an explanation from Israel. It takes a saint to turn the other cheek and there are few of them around.

    • Ellen, It started before, the official Vatican itinerary for the visit contained this announcement

  • Notice who is welcoming the Pope, and who is outraged
    • Matthew is supposed to have been composed in Aramaic around the end of the first century. The concept of judgement by a ruler is as old as society but I imagine few rulers or their delegates earned the reputation of Solomon, so an earnest desire for just judgement was perhaps less a personal wish which 'righteousness' somewhat suggests than a societal one. Righteousness is a very mediaeval Catholic concept.

    • Quite right. Righteousness is a mistranslation

      Mathew 5 vi

      μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην, ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσονται.

      Beati, qui esuriunt, et sitiunt justitiam; quoniam ipsi saturabuntur

      δικαιοσύνην and justitiam both carry the sense of just judgement

      The French got it right as well

      Heueux ceux qui ont faim et soif de la justice

  • 'National Interest' readers mutiny over Israeli exceptionalist argument
  • Welcome to Bethlehem, Pope Francis -- now shut down the checkpoint for 3 days
    • RoHa, Your informant is under a misapprehension. The word derives indeed from the Latin emereo -ere meaning to obtain by service. The past participle, emeritus, was applied to a Roman veteran, a soldier who had served his time. The connotations are honourable.

    • amigo, Thanks.

    • It distresses me greatly to encounter such blind prejudiced comments from this side of the fence. Dragging Pope Benedict in is the sort of thing so often dismissed in your hasbarists. I am certain the Pope is far from ignorant or unmoved by the situation of the Palestinians. The official papal itinerary reads:

      link to

      and from The Guardian:

      The first thing the pope will do when he enters the Israeli-occupied West Bank is to call on "the president of the state of Palestine". The wording is significant: Francis is announcing that he is visiting an entity that Israel, like the United States, insists does not exist.

      link to

  • John Legend derides portrayal of Palestinians as 'demographic challenge' in speech at Penn
    • These sentiments have been echoed down the ages from isolated voices many of which have been brutally silenced. They are salutary and ever welcome.

      One thing is baffling me and someone here may clear it for me. The ever growing nisus is towards escalating global BDS. The BDS objectives as I understand them are

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

      They appear unequivocal enough and yet Derfner the other day link to and many other liberal voices seem to assume that Israel will be able to pick and choose to which bits of the above it will accede. I am thinking particularly of the existing settlements where it seems to be accepted by those voices that some or all will have to remain. Why? Derfner mentioned the difficulty of moving 170,000 but surely many more indigenous Palestinians have been dispossessed, and isn't that the point. I don't see why the Palestinians should be expected to compromise but if they do choose to, then surely that should be their decision not Israel's. Or is it thought that BDS should modify its objectives? If that is the case then should they not be modified now before too many others join the movement only to find themselves sold short and disappointed?

  • Democracy and divestment -- DePaul and UCLA students try to thwart Israel lobby
    • I don't know about trips to Israel but this overt and ugly outside interference in students' freedom to debate and act on moral issues should prove highly educational.

  • BDS is the only means of ending the occupation -- Derfner
    • Asked why he made his sculptures so thin (maigre), Giacometti answered J'enléve tout ce qui n'est pas nécessaire*. Applying this principle to Derfner's proposition, he would appear to be suggesting using BDS to encourage internal Jewish division to resolve the issue.

      *I remove all that is not necessary.

  • What’s wrong with the ADL survey and how it could be improved
    • The whole issue is irrational. There is a great deal of prejudice around, as most comment threads in popular media readily illustrate. It's exacerbated by the assumption that we must all have opinions about everything and there is by extension something disturbing about those who might say they have no opinion. I know this myself because it's my most frequent reply when asked for an opinion on things I haven't studied or people I do not know. But you must have an opinion. Why? Head shaking bafflement.

      If people feel obliged to have opinions then it more or less follows they will fall broadly into being 'pro' or 'anti' and once that is determined they can become as passionate as supporters of this or that football team. The only realistic assessment of anti-Semitism seems to me the incidence of anti-Semitic actions, desecration;, virulent abuse. etc. And even then it can only be meaningfully judged when assessed against other forms of the same behaviour directed against other groups. Taking Jews alone while ignoring everyone else provides for obvious distortion and the fact that groups of Jews and some of their supporters do this quite deliberately is simply perverse. Much historical 'anti-Semitism' arose not because of what Jews were but what they were not. The expulsion of all non-Christians from Spain at the end of the fifteenth century is an obvious example and there are many others. We appear to be witnessing the latest version of the McCarthyism of the Fifties, but this time fostered by it's supposed victims!

  • Shalom Modi: India and Israel look to deepen ties following victory of the Hindu right
    • PS, Much of the 8 billion in trade derives, I imagine, from the infelicitous application of science, much better applied, many may think, to the aid of Mankind, and the custodianship of our ever more fragile environment.

    • Indian/Israeli trade appears to be increasing, which is a process not likely to be affected one way or the other by this election result; commercial activity doesn't come under the UN and it is Israel's blatant defiance of UN resolutions that will really unite people in active impatience, while Palestine is the most obvious focus there are others including the nuclear business where some believe Israel has already employed a small such device against Syria link to Conspiracy theory? Heaven knows, but there it is out there. Nations are inanimate, they are like containers, what matters is what is inside and I cannot imagine Indian citizens of any religious persuasion wishing to resist broad condemnation of any nation defying international law.

  • Inspiration on the quiet streets of Palestine
    • Come, come. There is no blind hatred, nor is the site for Palestinian supporters only, Israeli supporters are frequently to be seen displaying their contorted logic and mythopeic enthusiasms. What you interpret as hatred, is simply impatience with their repetitive nonsense, but you do have a point, we can all try harder to guard against appearing too impatient with the intellectually or morally challenged.

  • Report: Germany cancels military subsidy deal with Israel following breakdown of peace negotiations
    • Palikari, not liking someone or something doesn't mean disliking them or it. There's a big gap between the two. Indifference is one concept that occupies roughly the centre, 'having nothing against' is another. Saying, 'They're OK, I suppose' is yet another, there are innumerable. Is there any particular reason why Germans or anyone else should actively like Israelis?

  • 'NYT' publishes unvarnished ADL propaganda: 93% of Palestinians are anti-Semites
    • If such a large percent are defined as anti-Semitic by an outfit that 'sounds' bona fide, doesn't that open the door to the ill informed to feel, Well, that's OK then? I mean if so many take a particular position in a contentious issue some may feel disinclined to be appear in the minority. I read somewhere that when one citizen in a thousand defies a law it becomes unenforceable for logistical reasons.

  • Jerusalem authorities ask Catholics to take down banner welcoming Pope Francis
    • Ellen, No one prays to the Pope, we pray for him, for his well-being and for God’s help and guidance in his task. However, we are straying into philological matters, we’ll be late for tea..

    • Ellen, the word 'venerate' means to revere, value, prize, regard with respect, reverence, heartfelt deference, etc. That I would suggest is exactly how Catholics regard him. Of course, as Walid reminds us above, such respect is not restricted to Catholics. What he is not is 'worshipped', nor are prayers offered him, either of which would be grotesque heresy.

    • Please do, Annie. I was really thrown by the lead story. Over a billion Catholics venerate the Pope in a manner hard for others to understand these days.

  • Open recriminations begin over failure of peace talks
    • Looking on the bright side, the nine months seem to me to have been something of a success. The Israelis have built a lot of settlements which is all they really wanted, BDS has made vast strides, Abbas has set the UN process in motion without US opposition, and Obama has found a formula to unhinge the US from AIPAC: 'Poof' > Indyk > Newsweek... . None of this would have been at all possible last summer.

  • Israel's unending settlements 'mortally wound idea of a Jewish state' -- Indyk
    • Ultimately the settlers are expendable, meanwhile they absorb pretty well all the flak, literally and figuratively. One day I imagine they will leave with much wailing and tearing of hair, and a successful orthodontist in Tel Aviv won't be overly sorry to see them go.

  • A cruel fantasy: 'NYT' sets hopes on US principles for a peace deal
    • Whatever Obama may be up to counter AIPAC (Matthew Taylor two days ago link to ) one cannot seriously expect him to do it on the White House lawn in a pink tutu. Does anyone believe anonymous leaks to Newsweek exposing Israel's spying on US commercial interests caused him great astonishment. link to

  • Obama outmaneuvers Netanyahu, at last
    • Pabelmont, What you suggest are the objectives of the BDS movement.

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

      link to

      I think the only thing that needs doing now the US has put it on autopilot is to garner support for the movement in every way possible. Not as Jews or gays or Brits or whatever, just as people.

    • I think Matthew's analysis is correct, but I believe Obama's broader target may be the cleansing of the stables on the Hill. The way to do that is to emasculate AIPAC etc., and the way to do that is to pass the Palestinian predicament to the global community, and the way to do that was to let it deteriorate in broad daylight with blame clearly seen to lie with Tel Aviv. What intrigues me is to wonder how much Abbas may have been in such a loop. He is, after all, a sort of Palestinian Pétain. I also imagine he and Obama get on quite well and it's perfectly possible there has been the sort of behind the scenes activity we later learned had been going on with Tehran. It may seem a tortuous route taken at the expense of the Palestinians but if it works it could solve many problems more peaceably than might otherwise have been the case.

  • The Algeria model -- a conversation with James D. Le Sueur
    • Saying that stopping the violence is an essential step is like saying a stricken plane must land before the passengers can disembark; I rather share the view of Phil's Spanish friend at the UN that the prospect of a peaceful solution is passed. Indeed I suspect violence will escalate before it subsides, but it could well be that any violence between, say, Israelis and Palestinians will, as time goes on, become increasingly overshadowed by violence between settlers and other more adaptable Israelis. It already appears that many Israeli soldiers are only under government control to the extent the government countenances their actions, and they can be pretty cheeky about that as Annie's contribution two days ago well illustrates link to On the other hand the government does in the end need to be elected and it is not difficult to envisage the interests of the non-settler electorate and the settlers drifting apart under external pressure. It would scarcely be the first time internal dissensions brought that particular house down.

      To my mind, designating Israeli behaviour 'colonisation' dignifies it somewhat. It is in fact flagrantly criminal, corrupt and corrupting. It is much more offensive than white South Africa or Algiers which were localised, as is what goes on in Bahrain and elsewhere; it has already contaminated the US political system and much of the rest of Europe, and by extension the UN, or rather what the UN still stands for in the minds of many as the future supra national administration of a post empire global community. Those who see it that way are not necessarily saints nor will they necessarily share any particular concern for the indigenous Palestinians; their concerns may be much deeper and this particular application of BDS could well prove more an intervention by the WHO than the Red Crescent.

      By the bye, I recommend this by Susan Abulhawa in yesterday's al Jazeera

      link to

  • Red Card for Racism: Activists demand FIFA kick out Israel
    • @ Zach S. The issue is not about Qatar but about Israel. You are kicking the ball off the pitch, through an open window, and claiming a goal. Yours is a classic example of familiar false reasoning, something that appears convincing but isn't. It even has a name Straw Man, you will find an extensive description of it in Wikipedia.

      The so-called typical "attacking a straw man" implies an adversarial, polemic, or combative debate, and creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent's proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition...and then to refute or defeat that false argument instead of the original proposition


      link to

  • John Kerry was right to say 'apartheid' -- more voices chime in
    • The meaning of a word is not determined it's interpretation. How Israel treats the non-Jewish populace is what we are talking about, and the word 'apartheid' expresses it perfectly adequately for Kerry and the rest of us. Perhaps those who object to the word would like to propose another that would express the same thing while not offending their so delicate sensibilities.

  • It is 'full-fledged apartheid' now but Americans can use a familiar term, 'segregation' -- Mustafa Barghouthi
    • There is no single point where a nation becomes 'apartheid'. It is more a process of objective interpretation, some have viewed the situation as apartheid for some time, some are just getting round to it and some are still far off. If you read the whole exchange of Matt Lee's persistent quest for Kerry's meaning it becomes clear that Kerry meant exactly what he said but wished he had expressed it differently in the light of such vociferous attempts to have a go at him.

      link to

      To my mind he was clearly anticipating a time when the majority consensus becomes that Israel is running an apartheid state, and the consequent practical reaction takes off. Obviously he might have said just that. To him as to most of us the issue is not some technical definition of apartheid but what is happening and likely to go on happening on the ground and what the world may soon do about it.

      From another direction NAM, Non-Aligned Movement, which represents over half the global population has weighed in with condemnation of the occupation and expressed a purpose to pursue sanctions.

      link to

  • NBA owner Sterling reportedly sought to justify his racism by citing Israeli racism
  • Khalidi: It's time for Palestinians 'to get off their knees' and turn to Europe and ICC
    • Views of an outsider. The last nine months has seen inexorable expansion of illegal settlements, innumerable illustrations of barbaric Israeli behaviour played out against a background of their devious intransigence and insults enough to take one's breath away, but little more than rocket fire and the odd Israeli death from Palestinian actions which, however distressing, are clearly not state sponsored. What will in the end effect change is less questions of law than global opinion reaching a certain threshold of impatience, and considerable progress in that direction is what Abbas' patience has bought. He said he would hold his horses and coöperate in debates for nine months. And he has done just that. Even before the end of the period Netanyahu moved the posts yet again by refusing the agreed release of prisoners. Abbas responded, firing a warning shot across his bows by applying to join fifteen UN organisations. Netanyahu ignored that warning. Now Abbas has announced a potential unification in Palestinian political divisions. Netanyahu still doesn't see it. Next, we should observe the emergence of a single Palestinian authority arising from transparent elections. With that in place and under the now opened eyes of a much more attentive world, Abbas (or his successor) will progressively approach the courts and other supra-national authorities. Up until now it has been possible to view this as some sort of game forever moving in Netanyahu's favour. But that is now over. Netanyahu is clever but Abbas is wise. The clever are good at getting out of tight corners, the wise avoid getting into them. I have little knowledge of engineering but I imagine settlements take less time to pull down than to construct?

  • Registration of Jews and other human beings
  • Snowden revealed a world of conspiracies I once would have scoffed at-- Bryan Burrough
    • oldgeezer, You are right journalism is a job, most journalists cover what their editors assign them. There is always a 'slant', Left or Right or whatever, and influence from the proprietor. It's easy to romanticise the past, we all do it, but after nigh on 80 years in this vale I don't see any great changes in public, private or governmental integrity.

    • What does that say about some people’s almost religious belief in their own government and their innate need for an authority to tell them what to think?

      Krauss: Has this not always been the case. The world has ever been divided between those in pulpits and those in congregations. The application of Reason, and the ability, never mind the inclination, to question the scenarios of suits and pontificals is understandably limited when you consider the fate that may await those who do; think of those in history obliged to recant (Galileo) or go to the stake (Gordiano Bruno) for their non-hierarchical views of the universe, or those today whose career expectations may be trashed or truncated (Stephen Walt) for diverging from accepted dogma.

  • Passover for Palestine
    • tokyobk, This is scarcely the place to pose such a question. If you follow a religion, approach your priest or spiritual adviser and ask there.

  • Simon Schama's Israel whitewash
    • Simon Schama has never impressed me as an historian. He is an history populist, distinguished from a true historian by being one who starts with a concept and scissors and pastes selected bits of evidence to fill it in. He is very successful and provides a good read which is his purpose, but it is not history. This is is not the place for a dissertation on what makes an historian, suffice it to suggest it is closer to what makes a good detective, someone who eschews the obvious, nags at assumptions and coaxes alternative interpretations from the evidence by exercising an ingenuity closer to the methods Poe gives Dupon in The Murders in the Rue Morgue. Schama wrote a best selling account of The French Revolution without, as he later confessed, ever having come upon the Journal d'une femme de 50 ans, readily available in English as The Memoirs of Madame de la Tour du Pin. This did not in any way affect the success of his undertaking but perhaps it illustrates the methods with which he contents himself. His work is closer to faction or the historical novel than History and needs to be viewed that way.

  • Australia opposed Palestinian UN bid because foreign policy was 'subcontracted to Jewish donors' -- report
    • MHughes, Racism (antisemitism, prejudice) may be anti-social, immoral, illegal etc., but that doesn't make it irrational. Reason is simply a thinking tool. It's dangerous to equate rationality with right and wrong; the world overflows with the bloody consequences of applying reason as an end in itself, unmitigated by compassion, humanity or guilt.

  • Distracted by the peace process: What really happened during the talks
  • Apathy in Ramallah as negotiations with Israel dive
    • Annie, I have rarely encountered such nonsense as Mayhem spouts.

      He only does it to annoy because he knows it teases

    • That last sentence, by the way, does not mean negativity, just an absence of positivity.

    • Kay24, Yes, but it's spilt milk. As demonstrated almost daily now, the European press is more balanced, which essentially means pro-Palestinian since you can't really be balanced towards law breakers. Fortunately, perhaps, not that many people involved themselves with these issues, which largely went on in the background with a lot of other noise. Now, when they begin to take an interest they come relatively open-minded and will quickly get the point. Furthermore, since I know folk here don't like me mentioning latent antisemitism, let me just say there exists no underlying affection or sympathy for Israel and its populace.

    • I think he is defining in simple terms what the world should concentrate on. 'Peace process' is too vague.

    • Brenda is quite right, I've always felt the impetus would come from Europe. What intrigues me is the suspicion that Obama has long known this and has been working towards it by gently taking his hand off the brake while no one was watching. Israel's security is a military matter and doesn't include the security of its illegal actions against a BDS onslaught. That's what Ya'alon and others have come to realise and why they are so pissed off with Kerry. Just look at the unequivocal way The Independent reported Abbas' actions a couple of days ago.

      The troubled peace process broke down this week over Israel’s failure to release a total of 104 prisoners in accordance with its commitment when the talks were launched last July. Mr Abbas responded by signing applications for Palestinian admission to 15 international treaties and conventions, something he had pledged to refrain from doing in exchange for the prisoner releases.

      link to

  • Adelson would install Netanyahu in the White House if he had his druthers -- Avnery
    • And the Treasury Department just issued licenses for Boeing and GE to sell stuff to Iran. link to

    • Apropos Iran,

      Obama has so far been resisting all sorts of pressure and temptation to take advantage of the fluid situation in the Levant to help rollback, or at least contain Iranian influence in the Middle East. He furthermore avoided doing anything that might upset rapprochement with Iran. While he was reluctant to arm the Syrian opposition fighting to topple the regime of Assad, he was quick to arm the pro-Iran al-Maliki government with state-of-the-art military technology, including the Apache attack helicopters.

      link to

  • Oren says Pollard 'sacrificed himself for the Jewish people'
    • Kay24. I think it's less what the Palestinians did than where it could lead that unnerves them. I am inclined to wonder if the Obama people are not in on this. The NYT said 'US and Israeli officials appear to have been taken by surprise', but that may simply point to their source. And Abbas could not have selected a better group of UN outfits to rock the boat while not overturning it.

    • Kay24, DOS briefing yesterday:

      QUESTION: Has there been any call from members on the Hill to suspend the aid, to follow the law?
      MS. HARF: Well, I know there’s been calls from Hill members on quite a few things. In terms of the 15 conventions the Palestinians signed, it’s our understanding that they don’t – they wouldn’t trigger the cutoffs because they’re not agencies. But again, we’re talking to the folks on the Hill.
      QUESTION: On that (inaudible), I think I had asked you about that yesterday...
      MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
      QUESTION: -- and you had said that the lawyers were reviewing it. They have now reviewed it, and that is indeed the answer?
      MS. HARF: Uh-huh.
      QUESTION: Good. Thank you.

      link to

    • American, Cultists divide into two groups, those who can't see what's before their nose, and those who can't see anything else.

    • Woody, Talking of Sheldon Adelson, I came upon a lovely piece of vitriol in my y'night's insomnia link to

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