Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4262 (since 2009-09-12 00:56:04)


Retired. Married for 24 years to Palestinian-American, Quaker. Myself of Jewish descent, non-religious. Classical musician (cello). Run my own website,, for which I do all the programming (PHP, MYSQL). Favor an international intervention, as a "deus ex machina", to rescue Palestinians, Israelis, and USA from the tail-wags-the-dog AIPAC-et-alius. This probably means doing an end-run around USA's UNSC veto and doing more-or-less coordinated BDS at nation-state level. Non-Action on Global Warming is a far bigger threat to all the world than the 63-year non-action on Israel/Palestine. On this topic, I am truly hopeless: "I cry a tear for the soon to be late humanity."


Showing comments 4262 - 4201

  • Khalidi: It's time for Palestinians 'to get off their knees' and turn to Europe and ICC
    • I always get a kick (of a sort) out of the idea that anyone has "recognized" Israel as a state. Putting to one side that only states recognize other states, a question always arises: WHAT TERRITORY (IF ANY) is one recognizing/admitting/asserting as the territory of the state of Israel when one "recognizes" Israel?

      Perhaps none. In which case, what does "recognition" mean? No guarantee of abny particular admission of any particular territory as part of (or as all of) Israel.

      It's goofy. But it is also dangerous, because Isral could claim (and be widely believed) that the "recognition included recognition of the pre-1967 Israeli territory (leaving to the future the division of WB&G).

      A thoroughly bad idea. And since Israel has recently suggested trading territory (some of pre-67 Israel for some settlements in WB), it makes better sense to me for PLO to say (at most) "We recognize that a state of Israel exists today and is widely viewed as having a certain territory. It is also clear that Israel itself has never made such a claim and in fact -- by its settlement project -- rejects that idea. Therefore we explicitly do NOT recognize any territory (within the former Mandate of Palestine) as legitimately part of the state-territory of Israel, leaving all questions of the state-territory of Israel, as also of Palestine, to the future."

    • I always try to imagine the push for peace -- from Israel! -- that would follow any sufficiently hard push (sanctions, maybe merely proposed or discussed sanctions) from UNSC, EU. or other.

      Although there is no sense counting chickens before they hatch (and thus we'll believe in sanctions when we see them), the so-called "peace process" has finally, I'd say, been shown up. It is a chicken we can indeed count, and after it hatched: it hatched out as a dead duck.

  • Tony Blair's Middle East speech: dangerous and anti-Muslim
    • Blair is sure which side of his bread is buttered. He doesn't recognize that his position is doomed to fail, because his position is not assumed for UK's sake, or for peace, or for decency, but only to keep that BIG-ZION money flowing to his coffers.

      He is thus like so many retired USA pols who continue to merit their continuing receipt of $$$ by demonstrating, again and again, their fealty (a feudalistic term meaning loyalty to a feudal master) to one of the great Barons of our day, BIG-ZION.

      American pols begin earning money from BIG-ZION when collecting campaign contributions. They continue, after they leave office, by collecting handsome speaking fees and such like. These after-office receipts are quite visible to all pols still in office and constitute a sort of guarantee that the bribe-like $$ that flowed to docile pols-in-office will continue to flow in retirement. Blair's appointment as a $$$-paid member of Quartet (yes; what a joke!) is merely an extreme example of a large payout in return for loyalty to BIG-ZION.

      And Mr. Blair is nothing if not loyal to the hand that feeds him.

      Let the poor and oppressed of the world weep and gnash their teeth, Mr. Blair knows what side his bread is buttered on. And where his loyalty lies. As the UK version of the song goes, "With sun-shiny faces, we all know our places", and Mr. Blair knows that his place is defending BIG-ZION -- though the heavens fall.

  • Israel stops US-led peace talks citing Palestinian unity (Updated)
  • A Jew who visited Palestine responds to 'NYT' assertion that Palestinians want to kill all Jews
    • The slur was not in a news piece, as I recall, but in a letter. In a "news piece" it would have been particularly repulsive, for "news" reprots are supposed to be true (or at least truish, supportable, evidence-based, blah-blah).

      A "letter" even if actually (as this may have been -- I don't know) a propaganda piece, can claim to be an expression of opinion rather than of fact, but such a claim must be made explicitly. The letter writer has no business to make a flat-out claim of (repulsive) (hate-speech) "fact" without some basis in fact.

      Had the letter-writer said, perhaps quite honestly, "I've always been taught that all Palestinians want to * * *" he'd have been on sound ground. And he would not have misled any reader. Had he written "It is my opinion that all Palestinians * * *" he'd at least have let readers know that this was not made as a statement of "fact".

      As for NYT, their editors are not required to publish horrors of this sort and should have removed the offensive, repulsive line or declined (as they have over the years declined to publish any number of my letters) the whole letter.

      Either way, NYT is to blame. Perhaps its letter editor(s) have drunk the Zionist cool-aid and believed either that this statement of fact was correct (!) or that such a racist slur was permissible in our otherwise usually politically correct world (!!).

  • Registration of Jews and other human beings
    • As piotr reminded us on another thread, Israel paints itself "adorable" and, because it is, as it says, adorable, it cannot be guilty of apartheid (or, I suppose, of anything else of a nasty sort). As piotr rightly implies, it is the magic of being "adorable" that you are not guilty, of anything.

      (Israel doesn't play "You be frank and I'll be earnest" -- it plays "I'm adorable".)

      And as Israel is adorable, its odd "nationality" registration rules are not racist (as such rules would be elsewhere), because "racist" does not comport with "adorable".

      It's that easy!

  • Peter Beinart misses South Africa's apartheid lesson, Gideon Levy gets it
    • piotr: I love your proofs of adorability, just as I live your entire invention of Israel cannot be apartheid because it is adorable. (Did you forget the pinkwashing? -- but don't ask any orthodoxers.)

      Israeli hasbara is really a replay of the "Picture of Dorian Gray", a portrait/reality dichotomy wherein (as I remember it) the portrait ages with the real person's debauchery whereas the real person continues to look young and innocent. despite his indecent life. When he later destroys the (horrible-looking) painting, his body changes and now it is himself that looks horrible, debauched.

      With BDS and so forth educating the world, Israel is beginning to look (to the general public) as debauched (and non-adorable) as it in fact is.

      Well, Israel points to its good-looking inventions (we're awfully nice to LGBTers, cancer cures, cell phones, hummos, felafel, democracy, sliced bread) but its detractors can only see its bad-looking inventions (apartheid-Israeli-style, settler-colonialism in the age of post-colonialism, the endless occupation, the endless violation of international law "as of right", the "price-tag" pogroms, the over-the-top military attacks on Gaza, Lebanon,

      I think the cute and adorable parts of Israel are perhaps a bit over rated, possibly because I learned about felafel and hummos and zatar from my Palestinian [left in 1944] wife. But I'd be glad to celebrate all of them (even hummos-as-Israeli-invention) if only they'd throw the other baggage overboard.

    • Kay24: Beinart has not gone over to the dark side. He has never come in from the cold in the first place. He is trapped in Zionism. He is conflicted by liberalism, which conflicts with Zionism. He wants a deus ex machina to descend onto this stage of history and make everything all right (meaning, for him, to preserve a racist Israel). We must not forget that religion -- and social conditioning, its cousin -- are powerful forces, in this case for evil. By contrast, liberalism is a weak reed.

    • giladg: See my comment, far below, about the danger of relying on a "bible" (the Torah will do nicely, of course, and is the principal example here) to justify present-day crimes.

    • Levy: "But they [some problems] don’t reduce the enormity of the historic achievement and its lesson for Israel: When a country turns from unjust to just, everything else is dwarfed in comparison."

      Let's quibble: there is/was "enormity" here and there (Israel and S. Africa), viz., the enormity of the crimes and injustices of apartheid. But there is also, in S. Africa's case, enormousness (not enormity) of progress in human rights, societal development, reconciliation, justice.

      I don't know if God ever told the Boers (speaking through their Dutch Reformed ministers, if so) that they had a right to perpetually oppress the indigenous (black) people of S. Africa. Doubtless some ministers quoted God at great length with that import.

      Be that as it may, we know for sure that many teachers of Jewish religion tell Israel that God granted Jews a right perpetually to oppress (or replace) the indigenous (Palestinian) people of Palestine.

      I guess there is much trouble whenever people with guns take the words of fictive bibles -- in ancient times created and back-dated out of whole cloth to solve social problems of the day -- as "truth" especially when those words purport to quote God. (Our news media serve that purpose today, but seldom purport to speak for God.)

      Kinda hard to see how we're going to have a freely chosen and voluntarily adopted reconciliation when the number of Israeli Jews who justify their violence by God's Word is growing and their power in the Israeli State becoming overpowering.

  • Snowden revealed a world of conspiracies I once would have scoffed at-- Bryan Burrough
    • Krauss: You take aim at Terry Gross. Appropriately.

      She attempts to blame Snowden for acting for reasons of "ego" rather than, say, patriotism.

      But whatever else is she herself doing when she protects her standing (with the BIG-ZION community? in her own mind?) by refusing to touch the many true and interesting stories about I/P with a barge pole? Ego? Or is [I would respectfully suggest unnecessary] self-preservation by a huge well-beloved star of NPR something other than a matter of ego-concern? It sure ain't courage. It sure ain't journalism. If she is a dyed-in-the-wool Zionist, then I can understand, but people with truth-suppressive loyalties to ideologies have no business posing as journalists.

      Well, perhaps that's not her pose, journalism. Entertainer?

      Ego, Terry Gross. Shame on you. And you blame Snowden!

  • Bridgegate 2.0: Israeli tech students manipulate traffic patterns
    • Isn't technology endlessly fascinating, powerful, subject to such benevolent intelligence, and so admired (by those who admire such benevolently applied intelligence) that the readily observable ill-effects, if any came to editorial notice, of a particular application are ignored in favor of celebration of intellectual genius at work! Gosh what fun. Little boys pulling wings off flies! Wonderful! Budding entomologists, fer shure.

      Drones and guns aimed by robots (or by human beings suppressing all human qualities in their efforts to pretend to be robots). New robots pretending to be evil human beings. Evil human beings programming evil robots which pretend to be evil human beings. "No Cause for Alarm!" Cause for celebration. Or cerebration.

      Wonderful. Thank you, Israel, 8200, USA's Flame-Stuxnet-command, et al. And can china or USSR (sorry, Russian Fed.) be far behind? Brave new world. Oh Joy, Oh! Rapture!

      And just in time to distract those who are distractible from the one BIG problem we all face, climate change.

  • John Judis's Truman book is a landmark in anti-Zionism
    • As a point of reference, and not a matter of law, so far as I know, when (in 1967) I went to City Hall, San Francisco, to get a Marriage License, the clerk's form demanded to know the registering-proposed-wife's father's "nationality" and since he was born in 1885 in Ramallah, we put down "Ottoman Empire". The clerk returned the form for amendment. We next put down "Palestine". The clerk returned. We then put down "Jordan" and even though this was after the June 1967 war, the clerk thought "Jordan" was OK -- presumably since it was the name of a country in her list of OK countries, and presumably not because of the current de facto authority in the territory in question.

      There, Supreme Court, FYI.

    • Feathers: you are right, of course, that there are some small wars here and there, and all the time. That is, after all, the USA's joie-de-vivre and the DoD's raison-d'etre. As M. Albright (among I daresay many, many, others) is credited with saying, "What's the use of having an army if you don't use it?"

      And in our splendid Oligarchical Replacement of Democracy, 20th century's greatest perfection of an old idea -- to say nothing of its latest "New World ORDure" -- what BIG-DEFENSE BIG-BANKS, BIG-ZION, BIG-OIL BIG-BANANA, etc. want., BIG-DEFENSE BIG-BANKS, BIG-ZION, BIG-OIL BIG-BANANA, get.

      As to Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Egypt, Israel-in-Lebanon, USA-in-Africa, USA-by-Drones-everywhere: I don't see the USA or Russia allowing these pip-squeak military murder-fests to get out of hand to a point where anyone will refer to them as WWIII. More a matter of boyz will be boyz.

    • Fortunately, no-one fears a WWIII now. Therefore, let the Palestinians go to * * * Halhoul? Human rights for a few is unimportant, it seems, and the Palestinians (oddly) are counted as such "a few", whereas the approximately equally not-very-numerous Jews are counted as "not such a few" (but very many, yessir!) and therefore their human rights transcend. Animal Farm. some few are more equal than others.

      In America the 0.01% are more important than the 99.99%. And those who don't need to pay expensive taxes (because they pay inexpensive bribes) are more important than those who still have to pay taxes.

  • UN peace envoy denied entry to Church of the Holy Sepulchre by Israeli police
    • Q: How do you know if this tweet speaks truth? “UN envoy #RobertSerry shows poor judgment in fabricating an incident out of a non-event, mishandling sensitive issue of religious freedom”

      A: depends on the follow-up by the Pope, the UN, the EU, etc. If as usual Israel gets away with its every provocation, then this tweet will have turned out to have been true.

  • Obama and Kerry are spurred by 'vainglory' in pursuing talks -- Finkelstein
    • ritzl: Was Passover listed on last year's calendar there?

    • Taxi, the earliest I ever heard Finkelstein was in a talk at MIT (1980s) where he discussed house demolition in OPTs. It was a fiercely argued speech. He might not have been anti-Zionist, but he was fierce against the occupation. so it's not only the holocaust-industry he hates, And his take-down of Peters' "From time Immemorial" was good scholarship and consistent with the anti-Zionism which attacks false arguments.

    • Citizen: OK, I forgot. It is (in your analysis, with which I can certainly agree) possible that OLIGARCHY/BRIBERY is playing its usual game here, and Obama is playing to preserve the rich rewards of the presidency, namely, the ridiculously high fees BIGs will pay for speech-making, consultancy (think Kissinger!), or into the pot for a big Italian Marble Presidential Library in Hawai'i (where scholars will flock, at great expense, to study the papers from his 8-years).

      As you recall, I had mentioned OLIGARCHY/BRIBERY in connection with ordinary electoral-fund-raising by Democrats in future which might be lost or reduced if the Dems were perceived to have abandoned Imperial Israel.

      But both your remark and my earlier remark were about the same general topic, OLIGARCHY/BRIBERY -- in this case by BIG-ZION. Not about Obama being remembered as a great man -- or as post-hoc deserving his Nobel Prize.

      And, of course, in other respects as well, OLIGARCHY seems to retain the driver's seat as money is spend uselessly and ridiculously for "Defense/Intel" but not a dime to reduce (to zero, mind) greenhouse gas emission.

    • I think this particular suggestion by the ordinarily sensible Finkelstein (a hero of mine, BTW)-- a concern by these guys for legacy -- is out of the ballpark looney. They do have a concern for the future, and it is not in I/P, but in the Democratic Party's treasury.

      If Obama/Kerry did not care about the enormous contributions of campaign money expected to be given to Democrats by BIG-ZION (money which could always, in a pinch, be given to Republicans instead), he could be speaking out on I/P (as he seemed to do early in his first year) and telling his rep in UNSC to vote against Israel on resolutions.

      But he doesn't. and the negotiations are coming to an end, after dire warnings by O/K. I think O/K have been "making nice" with BIG-ZION. Legacy has nothing to do with these "negotiations". It is all theater.

  • Southern Poverty Law Center takes Blumenthal's side against smear campaign
    • Complicated subject, perhaps, complicated discussion, surely.

      One thing: It is damaging in today's America to label someone an "antisemite". If Pipes titles an article saying MB is an "antisemite" -- perhaps even if he or the writer of the title did so actually ironically -- then one would hope that an action would lie for libel. Such a title can do actual damage.

      On the other hand, "islamophobia" has become, sadly, so widespread and Pipes has (judging by the suggestions above) made himself so eminently worthy of the designation, that it is not libel but truth to label him so. And in any case, for a person of his aspirations, I believe that the label would not be damaging.

      So these two instances of possibly unpleasant labeling are not parallel at all.

      As to which of them served as a motivator for which murderous nutcase, that is quite another thing entirely.

  • Mohammed Al-Azza tells Dublin why Aida camp resists occupation
    • In a much more mild and attenuated way, we who espouse Palestinian rights in the USA and UK and elsewhere exhibit "sumud". We are mostly not at risk politically or in danger of death or disfigurement. Our lands are not being stolen. Our society has not been scattered in some ways and crowded in other ways. And our motivations are not as strong.

      The Palestinians, who have experienced all these things, give us courage to continue by their steadfastness.

      As for the Israelis, it seems to me that they are not in danger (other than self-made) of being killed or disfigured or having their property stolen (or even much danger of having it reclaimed by its more proper owners). Israelis as such have not had their societies scattered and are not in danger of having their societies either scattered or crowded (except in the sense that they might be required to evacuate illegally settled lands).

      The Palestinians offered to make peace along the green line in 1988 and thereafter, and have not so far as I know ever rescinded these offers. If there is no peace, the Israelis can thank their leaders and the settlers for it.

  • 'Haaretz' removes red-baiting headline -- 'I'm not anti-Israel' -- on Steve Walt interview
    • The USA-Israel S/R need not end, but surely needs to change shape from the present pseudo-slavery of the USA to something more adult:

      [1] USA and Israel have some similar interests and some different interests (just as each country has with other countries) and we need to fit our relationship to accommodate those differences as far as possible rather than to pretend the differences don't exist or don't matter.

      [2] It is in the USA's national interest that Israel's continuing occupations should end soon and, until then, that they be conducted legally according to international law, conventions, agreements, and human rights norms. The settlers must be removed. The wall and the settlements must be dismantled. The siege of Gaza must end.

      [3] USA will continue to assist Israel on security matters and expects that Israel will reciprocate in kind. The S/R can continue with that cooperation. The matter set forth in [2] above need not stand in the way.

  • On Easter, costly Jews - and costly Palestinians
    • Jesus crucified by "the Jews"? By "The Jews"? Come on!
      But, of course, shorthand rules when you're in a hurry,
      Jesus' followers were Jews. He swam in a sea of Jews. The LEADERS (the AIPAC of the day) were also Jews, RICH POWERFUL Jews.

      Maybe, likely, it is correct to say Jesus was crucified (in part, don't forget the Romans) by RICH POWERFUL JEWS. Just as Palestinians today are crucified (in part) by AIPAC, BICOM, etc. (Don't forget Israeli government, settler crazies, and and other citizens).

      But, I know, shorthand rules when you're in a hurry, and its so much fun to blame "The Jews". Or "The Jewish Bankers who rule the world". Hmmm, and it appears that Goldman Sachs always appoints the American SecTreas, and G/S appears to be controlled by RICH POWERFUL JEWS, or as some would say (by way of abbreviation) by "The Jews".

  • 'Israel is the home of all Jews,' declares a right-wing official
    • piotr and LeaNder: yes, humor in a jugular vein.

      Jews must need to kvetch because, if there were no need, where would such a delicious word have come from? And anyway, who can doubt the need, word or no word?

      But Jews of a certain memory are tired -- tired I say! -- of living in a miserable shtetl, or small ghetto, even if they willingly crowded in to get there; and so they cannot abide with living so crowded in the tiny pre-1967 Israeli territory. "Too small" is tattooed on the arms of all those who did have numbers tattooed there already. Some use "not enough". Some even have the more life-affirming tattoo "never enough".

      And although the older tattoo generously supplied by Germans -- ever needy themselves for order and thus needing to enumerate and identify -- was not appreciated by the Jews who possessed them, the newer tattoo is eagerly adopted.

      "Doesn't tattooing hurt?" you might ask, and the answer seems to be, "Who cares, we need to express our most basic aspirations here."

      They say "peace, peace", but they aspire to the "enough" expressed by "never enough". It's a tough one out there!

  • Reports of anti-Semitism in Ukraine and Hungary
    • Foxman: "We strongly condemn the anti-Semitic content, but also all attempts to use anti-Semitism for political purposes.”

      Glory be! Next year in Jerusalem! Of course, I'm not sure what he means. Or of whether he means it at all. The constant repetition, by Zionists, of the story of the holocaust seems to me rather close to using antisemitism for political purposes.

      And someday will Foxman condemn the use of anti-Palestinianism for political purposes?

  • The Book of Exodus and the Book of Palestine
    • For many years -- so I have been given to understand -- orthodox Judaism forbade Jews from making any effort to gather the Jews into Palestine. FORBADE. The work of ingathering the Jews was understood (and taught!) to be God's work, and definitely not man's work.

      Indeed, even praying (so I read somewhere) for the ingathering was forbidden because praying was done by men, not by God.

      In the context of those teachings, "Next Year In Jerusalem" is a strange thing, not a prayer (I suppose, such a prayer being forbidden) but the expression of a hope, the hope that God would find it (at long last) appropriate to perform this miracle, the ingathering.

      The creation of the modern imperial colonial Israel is man's work, no question, and not God's work. No more than the construction and operation of certain facilities at Auschwitz can be said to be God's work. (Not a comparison, just saying.)

      I know little and (therefore?) usually care less about religion. This essay is wonderful. I don't know what relation religion bears to what Ellis calls "the prophetic". If anything can rescue religion from what it has become, I dare say it is "the prophetic".

      I was a slave and now am free. Now I keep slaves. Happily and without any notion of contradiction. Hmpfff.

  • Stephen Walt: publishing 'Israel lobby' ended any thought of serving in US gov't
    • Kathleen -- thanks for Juan Cole's essay, a lovely essay and photos.

      There was indeed a Palestine, it died (in a way), its body was removed from the tomb (in a way), but it lives on. The deniers (of Palestine, of Nakba, etc.) deny in vain. And they build on sand who do not build on the rock of decency, human rights, truth, and justice.

    • American: If you want to charge loss-of-service-of-good-men against The Lobby, then the list becomes quite long. All the academics who were denied tenure and jobs. The terrific nominee for National Security Advisor, Chas Freeman, and I believe other nominees for high posts. All the nominations never made in the first place.

      And looking to other lobbies, all the great economists not appointed to SecTreas because they did not bear the imprimatur of Goldman Sachs. Etc., other lobbies.

      Oligarchy does not produce good government, only predictable government.

    • lycias: Very interesting. Here's my comment. I believe Summers was a Goldman Sachs agent in government (and at Harvard).

      Joseph Stiglitz couldn't believe his ears. Here they were in the White House, with President Bill Clinton asking the chiefs of the US Treasury for guidance on the life and death of America's economy, when the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers turns to his boss, Secretary Robert Rubin, and says, "What would Goldman think of that?"


      Then, at another meeting, Summers said it again: What would Goldman think?

      See: link to

      In a sense, ALL lobbies act against the national interest. If the lobby wanted what everyone else wanted, there were no need to impose a view, there would be no need for the lobby to exist or to act.

      So: Look at BIG-BANKS (possibly aka Goldman Sachs) which seems always to cause to be appointed one of its own to USA Sec Treas. And look at the horror of the debacle that began with the securitization of mortgages, progressed to the real estate bubble and the horrendously unjustified issuance of [yikes, variable rate] mortgages to people unable to understand them or, more importantly, to make the payments, and onward to the invention and massive issuance (by AIG) of pseudo-insurance-like derivatives which ended with the crash of 2008. Thanks you BIG-BANKS, a lobby.

      So BIG-ZION is not alone in acting against the USA's national interest, the lobbies all do. That is the oligarchic nature of big capital these days. It was once said that, "What's good for General Motors is good for America". I doubt anyone would say that today for ANY of our large industries, sending jobs to Asia and refusing to pay taxes.

      But this is not to diminish the evil that is BIG-ZION.

  • Resurrecting Passover?
    • Passovers, like birthday parties, are a good time to get together with friends. But, as to Passovers, don't read the minutiae of the (food) label too closely. Agri-poisons, over-used antibiotics, palm kernel oil, all disguised with "natural" labels. Feel-good while doing ill.

      The overall sense of your essay is correct.

      Feel good while doing evil (for those who do evil in Palestine). Feel good while enabling evil (for those who actively support Zionism from afar). Feel good while ignoring evil (for those who refuse to know, refuse to hear, demand to be left to old dreams).

      The Ultimate Disastrous Feel-Good

      BTW, I'd say that I/P and the "Fate of the Jews", the truths and falsities of Christianity and Judaism, and almost any other traditional concerns are of minuscule importance in the greater scheme of things wherein all of daily life, when carried on without active concern and action to divert climate change (the on-rushing whole-earth holocaust), is like a feel-good Passover Seder. But the angel of the lord is not going to pass over the earth or its inhabitants if we don't divert that angel. The signs are not good.

  • Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect
    • Ellen, somewhat to defeat your defense of Burg --

      Most boycotts and sanctions have been aimed at non-democracies. Although I call America an oligarchy (ruled by the big-money boyz), it is still in some fashion a democracy and Israel (as far as I know) is more so.

      Of course, democracies may be run by racists, crazies, oligarchs, etc., but they have a chance to respond to pressure. The people, injured, have a chance to set things straight. tThey may not do it. They may get their backs up instead and dig in their heels. (Backs, heels, the mixed metaphors!) But in non-democracies where only the people are hurt, the people have no chance to re-direct their government.

      Israeli citizens and/or businesses -- if hurt by boycott and sanctions -- could decide to end the occupation (or, a bit less, to call back the settlers, etc.).

      I favor a general boycott and, later, general sanctions.

    • If Pipes, no slouch at it himself, claims that Max was raving, he should give examples of the raving. Perhaps he means to say (I do not for a moment seek to defend Pipes) that Max told only the seamy 1% side of rosy clean-as-a-whistle (Oh how I love ya!) Israel. That is not how I read Max's book.

      To me, accepting Max's assertions as facts (and helped to this view by Alterman's saying the book is “mostly technically accurate”), I saw it as a general denunciation of the Israeli society as a whole, not a selective peek at dirt (however black) under small corners of a large, clean rug.

      So, Pipes, where are the ravings? Or is the mere act of criticizing Israel res ipsa loquitur "raving"?

    • McBride: You amplify part of my point.

      I guess what I was after, more than facts, was meta-facts.

      What is reported and what is ignored? If reported, how is news characterized? And how do various publications stand up as reporters of ALL the important (to me) news as opposed to being reporters of what suits their owners' prejudices or propaganda programs.

      All this hoo-ha about the murder of three people even though on a racial/religious basis sits ill (with me) considering the general ignoring of years of Israel-done terrorism/horror. (It is, of course, par for the imperialist-apologist course, as NYT probably did not make much of Iraqi and Afghani and Yemeni and Pakistani deaths and dismemberments as a result of USA's free use of terrorism (thinly disguised within the USA as a war-on-terror)

    • seafoid, If you are right, and Guttenberg has been vilified (but talk is cheap, does vilification make a villain of a person?) then are all people who read anything in print villains? And if so, does the act of reading the hagada at Passover make one a villain?

      Just checking.

    • Well, Max B, rest (and be active) in peace.

      On the KKK front, it strikes me that you can count the present-day instances of KKK-type violence (call it terrorism if you must, but definitely call it hate crimes) in USA on the phalanges (phalanxes) of one finger of one hand, but you cannot count the number of KKK-like attacks by Israeli settlers (and police and border guards and IDF) on Palestinians on all the phalanges of all the fingers of all the hands in the Israeli Knesset (when in session, of course).

      Go figure. And are these KKK-like events reported in Ha'Aretz? in NYT? More likely in the former, but still . . . And are they characterized as KKK-like (or any recognizable equivalent)?

      And isn't "phalange" a happy echo, in this context?

  • Friedman prepares American Jews for a divorce from zealot Israel
    • DN: Yes, fighting the big-money boyz (America's oligarchs, BIG-DEFENSE, BIG-ZION., BIG-OIL, BIG-BANKS, Monsanto, etc., etc.) is much more important than I/P. Why? Because the USA is prevented from dealing with Climate Change by the oligarchs. If the whole world dies (due to Climate Change), no-one will be left to remember who "won" on I/P.

      As to BDS against America. if you can see how it might happen, go for it! I've always supposed EU and then others could be moved to sanction Israel if BDS were sufficient. I doubt anyone could successfully sanction or boycott the USA.

    • The Zios never count the settlers in (and near?) so-called (vastly expanded) Jerusalem when they count the settlers in OPTs. That is because [1] they like to keep the count low, [2] they think they will keep undivided Jerusalem no matter what else happens, so since it will later be part of Israel it may be considered part of Israel today. This is the argument parodied in Mikado for saying that a man not yet dead is dead:

      When your Majesty says, " Let a thing be done," it's as good as done, practically, it is done. Because your Majesty's will is law. Your Majesty says, " Kill a gentleman," and a gentleman is told off to be killed. Consequently, that gentleman is as good as dead; practi-
      cally, he is dead, and if he is dead, why not say so?

    • AIPAC isn't going away. If the $3B (or $6B or whatever it really is) is already voted by Congress, then so be it. However, if the president can ever break loose from the trammels of AIPAC (i.e., Obama is lame duck and needn't be personally concerned with any BIGs including BIG-ZION), he can use UNSC and public speaking (speaking truth to power) to get something started.

      If he were going to do that (speak truth to power), I'd prefer he speak out in favor of a constitutional amendment denying the right to non-humans to conduct or pay for political action. If it works, it'd allow work on Climate change and also on the much smaller problem of I/P.

    • Powerful thinkers often fail to be powerful as militarists. Give them 3 years? Give 'em hell! But words alone, independent of the speaker -- even UNSC and ICJ -- have never moved Israel.

      Words alone have never moved Israel.

      Words alone have never moved Israel.

      So we wait. BDS by its name (which includes "S" for "sanctions") implores the nations to act, to create a reason for Israel to cave in on settlements, occupation, anti-democracy, and continued exile of the exiles of 1948 and their progeny.

      So do I. But I ask the nations to enact and enforce sanctions -- economic, sport, culture, academic, travel, diplomatic, total -- to do a limited job which I believe the nations could agree to (because they already have, mostly: see UNSC 465/1980): goal: remove all Israeli settlers, dismantle the wall, and dismantle the settlement buildings -- again, all: residences, businesses, government, university, etc. Give Israel 6 months to publish a schedule to accomplish these removals and dismantlements in 2 years and then apply sanctions if Israel fails to publish the schedule or thereafter fails to keep to the schedule.

      This is a plan.

      But in my mouth, it is mere words.

  • American citizen, translator and student—Mariam Barghouti arrested and detained in West Bank
    • Mariam Barghouti and other translators (and reporters) should learn from this. Those who can should approach demonstrations with their (dominant) hands handcuffed behind their backs (or to their cameras, microphones. etc.). This would (or at least might) create a hardship for the IDFniks who'd have to think up a different story to tell the police and the judges. Rock-throwing would (or might) seem prima facie unlikely in this scenario.

  • Let God's people go -- and return, too
    • Marc Ellis -- Thanks so much for a beautiful re-interpretation. Indeed, with so many seeming contradictions, there is room for every "religious" leader to find what he wants to find in any religious book.

      For instance, Who (in a Jewish view) are God's people?

      At a seder last night (Monday) there were so many hagada books, and therefore so many versions of everything, that it was marvellously confusing. One thing was surprising and pleasant: In some (or all?) books, God used "my people" both to refer to Jews (as it seemed) and also to Egyptians ('Do not celebrate the suffering of my people Egypt').

      Well, as you suggested, since Christians are a very moral people, therefore the horrible Crusades (and Pogroms?) were, of necessity, moral. And since Jews are a very moral people, therefore the creation of Israel and all the horror for Palestinians that followed and still follow from it, to the extent done by Jews anyhow, were of necessity moral.

      Or something.

      Also the horror for Americans (we suffer AIPAC, but not only AIPAC, due to the Supreme Court's ever-so-moral interpretation of our "religious founding document" the USA's constitution: the S/C's interpretation that "money is wisdom" being the preferred version of the more usual "money is speech", both being very inventive, even Talmudic or Jesuitic, I suppose, and, oh yes, "corporations are people".

      If you liked religion, you'll love the law.

      As Kurt Vonnegut said, "And so it goes."

  • Roger Ailes demands NY village official take down 'Facebook' post. She says no
  • Palestinian writers bring Gaza's hardships to American audience
    • Israel's policies of allowing/disallowing travel are a disgrace. Perhaps there is a sort of silver lining.

      Before 1948, Gaza and West Bank and Jerusalem were part of one country, one state, Mandatory Palestine. One government (not democratic), one currency, one postage stamp, one passport.

      Then came 1948 and then came 1967. Now Israel treats Gaza and West Bank/Jerusalem as separate somethings, separate states, separate nations, whatever. This seems to give Israeli legal cognizance to the fact that Gaza was controlled by Egypt and WB/J was controlled by Jordan after 1948 and until 1967. SO THEREFORE Israel recognizes that they are now occupied! Cognizance has been given to the 1948-1967 control of those territories by OTHER states.

      Of course, Israel likes to pretend that these territories are not occupied (a legal concept as to the application of which within the former Mandatory Palestine the world has no question) but merely (what?) recovered and "disputed" with disreputable people who have no business disputing anything with a super-power like Israel. But this keeping G and WB/J separate speaks to me a recognition that the occupation(s) are seen as such by Israel.

  • Fear of Arab-Americans in the public square
    • seafoid: "Daddy, daddy, anti-GW/CC activity is making me fearful, they must stop! Stop them, daddy!! Stop them!!" And when should I sell by BIG-FOSSIL stock which has been going up, what with the wonderful success of fracking -- fracking the best invention since sliced bread. Making us energy-independent as well all die

    • Kraus:

      Not sure I've got the argument. Yes, the Zios on campus claim to find themselves in a climate of fear. What is the "fear" that they claim to be newly and unpleasantly enveloped in?

      [1] The claimed fear might be wholly illusory (that is, a lie); [2] it might be the fear of the Liberal Zionist who finds his position as such untenable both internally (conscience) and externally (cannot explain his stand to others); [3A] it might be a fear of the loss of power of pro-Isaelism, a power-position until recently which is now threatened by BDS; [3B] it might be a fear of walking among decent people and knowing or fearing what they think of you because of your deliberate association with Israel; [3C] it might be fear of antisemitism, because these folks have been taught that outrage at Israel is a form of antisemitism.

      Has anyone ever asked these folks what they are suddenly fearful of? Someone should. Might get several different answers. Be interesting.

      But I cannot for a moment believe that the "fear" they claim to live in (due to BDS) is fear of being "outed" as fraudulent "outsiders", and the Jews of conscience on campus are not claiming to have become fearful due to BDS unless it be fearful of anti-BDS authoity -- they have joined hands with BDSniks including Arabs and Muslims. The Loyal Hillelniks are "fearful" (if at all, because it sure sounds like crying wolf to me) of being recognized for closet KKK-niks (if price-tag and IDF and Border Police are like KKK) and this fear is very uncomfortable.

      Now, of course, I hope that Jews who've for so long been comfortable wrapped in the flag of Liberal Zionism will open their eyes and lose the scales. But they are faced with regaining conscience at a big cost -- admitting to and rejecting, perhaps in public, previous membership of a KKK-type. to say nothing of affronting their as-yet-unreconstructed friends (some of my best friends .. . . ).

      So maybe there is fear of losing preeminence in the USA, but I doubt it.

      The fear as I see it is a fear of being outed as being current-KKK-types, as BDS paints Israel and LZs have not yet dropped their defense of Israel.

  • Alterman says BDS is helping Netanyahu
    • And although Altman's idea that some BIGs might not want to be associated with BDS (sometimes considered antisemitic), might have some merit, here or there, does he point to any instance of a BIG opposing settlement of occupation BEFORE BDS came on the scene?

  • Passover for Palestine
    • BTW, eye-for-an-eye sounds bad, but it was a liberalization from the older practices of over-the-top revenge. It meant "only an eye for an eye, not more".

      Comparing this to Israel's practices today shows that Israel (nominally a country whose people are religiously aware) has retreated away from this particular liberalization. I think the USA has too.

      On the other hand, perhaps Israel and the USA (or their governments) have allowed themselves to drift into the mindset that they ARE God (or that they ACT FOR God) -- that God being an old-testament type. So if the God that is described rescuing the Jews from Egypt with such horrible plagues then modern Gods such as Israel and USA give no thought at all to limiting their own excesses. I imagine Hitler and Stalin and Mao harbored some feeling of kinship with God: when you've got all this power, doesn't that mean you have a free hand to use it anyway you like?

      Beware the free hand that wields a sword, especially when it is your own.

  • Alleged K.C. killer: 'If Jews can have a state of their own, why can't we have a White Christian state?'
    • He wants a white country for white separatists to live in together safe from contamination by horrible, awful "people of color" (not his quotes) and, of course, "Jews". Wonder where he stands on Catholics. So, for him, killing Jews is not a sign of dissing Israel.

      He and his friends have got a lot of killing to do if they'll make the entire USA or even a big chunk of it a "white" nation. But if that's a part of what was cycling around in his mind, then this killing was not entirely "senseless".

  • It's time to reveal the Israeli role in the US surveillance machine
    • Nancy, great article. I love the WaPo diagram, labeled "Top Secret ... NoForn" and apparently blasted on the front pages even despite all the governments "men" Stuxnet? Flame? HeartBleed? -- Intelligence?

      Still, one must make a small moue at mention of a USA/Israeli MOU which shows the ?? unintended breadth of NSA surveillance:

      The MOU requested Israeli intelligence to “destroy upon recognition” communications going to and from “officials of the Executive Branch (including the White House, Cabinet Departments, and independent agencies), the US House of Representatives and Senate (member and staff) and the US Federal Court system (including, but not limited to, the Supreme Court)” as well as communications of civilian and military personnel on official business of government.

      When I think about the thousands of NSA employees who must be presumed to have access to all emails, etc., and then think about the thousands more of employees at private corporations -- whether Israeli or otherwise -- who have the same access; and wonder at the security "vetting" of these folks, perhaps especially of those not part of the USA's "intelligence" aparat, I do wonder that American NSA honchos are so sanguine about illicit use to which such info might be put.

      And, of course, if blackmail is part of the general pattern of things here, then might not the Justices of the US Supreme Court be just as much subject to blackmail -- and thus to the will of NSA, Israel, and the oligarchy in general -- as any lesser mortals?

      Oh, well, a little blackmail and theft of secrets and stealing from bank accounts [by non-government folks, I mean!] must be regarded as a price we agree to pay (who agrees to pay?) for safety and security (from which enemies again?).

      Could it be that this giant stethoscope on the communications of the world exists, perhaps even primarily -- apart from empire building and making money, the usual reason for things -- to allow Israel to blackmail the USA into supporting its policies such as settlement and de facto annexation? After all, if Israel got seriously angry with USA, what damage could they not do?

  • Two desperate anti-Semitism charges, from Foxman and Boteach
    • BTW, now there are "vendettas" against the mad bombers who blew up this and that right here in the USA. For some reason, hard to fathom, killing people with bombs (aka "weapons of mass destruction" unlike guns which spray bullets at 3/sec) is called "crime" and the pursuit of such "criminals" is called "law enforcement" whereas , in some deeply troubled circles, pursuing and punishing people for disclosing box-car loads of state secrets is called (by them) "vendetta" and "vendetta against the entire Jewish people". Isn't linguistics fun?

      Well, this Jew (if he be a Jew) declares it as his considered opinion that holding Pollard in prison (aka 'durance vile") for his life-time is not a "vendetta" against anyone but mere "law enforcement".

  • Amid 'climate of fear' at Vassar, president comes out against 'action and protest' re Israel
    • Phil: follow-up reporting:

      If the trip happened, what happened during the trip? Whom did they talk to, what did they see? Was it basically a white-wash ("La-la-la-la, isn't Israel wonderful?") or was it a deep exploration of inequalities within the societies of Israel and/or under occupation, or both; and modes of governance?

      We need to know what happened. We need to know if Vassar was instrumental in determining, in advance, what happened, including choosing the professors who led the trip. Were there other professors, with other POV, that could have led the trip? Did Israel dictate the itinerary?

  • The Jewish community must not embrace Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    • We have seen various people "silenced": Norman Finkelstein and others denied tenure, speakers dis-invited, etc ad naus.

      OK, that was due to "the people" speaking I suppose, "the people" in those cases being big-money folks.

      Did the Tablet, The Forward, The NYT, The NPR, The Presidents of blah-blah raise their voices, collectively or severally, to condemn all this silencing, all this anti-academic-freedom-ism?

      But here they (or some of them) raise their voices to condemn (as if on a matter of principle) in the case of a woman being dissed (as to an honorary degree only -- she did not lose a bid for tenure and was invited to speak later, so she was not precisely silenced).

      Some matter of principle! Jews OKing the silencing of other Jews but condemning the not-really-silencing of a person of Islamic upbringing who had complained rather fulsomely of all Islam (without exception, as I read somewhere).

      Why is this honorary degree different from all other honorary degrees?

  • Florida university president who condemned boycott has financial ties to settlements
    • She wouldn't misbehave wso badly for a miserable $10,000 investment, surely. However, she wouldn't make that $10,000 without strong pro-Zionist feelings, adn there is the COI on the matter of the vote to divest.

      She should get out of the way, and the students should call for her resignation. By her actions, she has disqualified herself from running a university.

  • 'No decision has been made on Jonathan Pollard,' says State Dep't
    • Putting Palestinian politics to the side, Marwan Barghouti is in jail because -- or so I imagine the Israelis would say -- he committed (or planned) RETAIL killing of Israelis. Now Begin-Shamir-Sharon and many other Israelis committed WHOLESALE murder of Palestinians and were not imprisoned by Israel.

      A point to consider.

      I like calling for his release (and the release of all other political prisoners held by Israel or by the PA (and who knows by how many other splinter "security" organizations and disorganizations [think of USA's CIA's prisoners])), because I'd like to see a robust politics among the Palestinians -- and the PA/PLO's apparent permanent election-free capture of governance (away from the people and away from HAMAS which I also champion and for the same reason, democracy) is horrific because it is undemocratic.

    • Exactly: let Israel "win" on a really outstandingly awful one -- one so obvious that rank-and-file Americans can "see" it and react to it and then, under suitable guidance, to the entire AIPAC operation.

      Might even have some positive vibes in the long fight against oligarchy -- the ownership of governments by the super-rich.

  • For Miliband, the road to 10 Downing Street runs through Jerusalem and Sderot
    • SO: some follow-up questions: Does Miliband feel close to any other group of people than Jews? to any other country (outside UK) than Israel? Has he demonstrated (or created) his foreign policy creds or experience by visits to any other country than Israel? Is it his Zionism which is basic to him or his liberal (questioning the settlements) feelings?

      My guess is that UK has its own AIPAC (BICOM?) and that it is very nearly as puissant as our own, our very own, American, our dear, our precious AIPAC, bless its twisted heart. That's how politics works in a world of global-governance-capitalism, global oligarchy. If international corporations and rich-guys control USA, why not everywhere else -- at least everywhere else that governance has been made a commodity?

      It is often reported -- perhaps merely hopefully -- that the UK "street" is finding the message of BDS persuasive. If that is true, how soon before that message makes its way up the flagpole to those who govern (or aspire to govern) UK?

      Maybe Miliband's Zionism doesn't matter. DeBlasio did even worse and he's probably not personally a Zionist. And Miliband did condemn the settlements.

  • 6 DC heavyweights tell Kerry, Netanyahu in West Bank is like Putin in Crimea
    • ZB is intelligent? Maybe. But Israel has been playing its games for a long time and he has been (I imagine) rather quite or approving of USA support for Israel.

      Until today. Gee. what's up? (Crimea? USSR redux?) (A sudden need for consistency as to annexation?)

      People change and situations change. ZB was not, I dare say, always against the settlements,. not always, I dare say, ranting about (the lack of Israeli) "morality", etc.

      So what's interesting here is not to test ZB or the others (imperialists all, I dare say) for consistency, or for hating Russia, or loving Israel (or not): but to test them for showing that there is a change going on (or might be) in USA's politics of knuckling under to Israel and AIPAC.

      Shall we say, thank you Gospodin Putin?

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