Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 5232 (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 2300 - 2201

  • The Palestine National Orchestra: a view from the violin section
    • I am an amateur 'cellist and filled with pleasure at the thought of this orchestra playing the music I have grown old on (and Palestinian music I don't know).

      As a propaganda measure, the PNO and ESNCM might try to perform the music which was composed and first performed in the 1940s by prisoners in German concentration camps by Jewish prisoners.

      The idea of Palestinians living in permanent prisons (Gaza and WB) ruled over by Jewish guards and playing music (e.g., "Quartet for the End of Time" -- by Olivier Messiaen) written and performed by Jews ruled over by German guards -- might make an impression on any Jews teetering "on the fence" of developing a politically-action motivating sympathy for Palestinians.

  • Land Day protest at Times Square, today at 4:30 PM
  • BDS is endorsed by large Latino/a youth organization at Arizona conference
    • This is great news! We must ALL try to find allies among other post-colonial (or still-colonized) peoples -- especially with any BDS potential.

      What does the Pope say? Can Catholics -- not that they necessarily follow their Bishops' leads -- join with us? East Asians? South Asians (who, in the USA, have experienced intended-to-be-anti-Muslim prejudice and official mistreatment)?

      How do pro-BDS folks find new allies?

  • What Park Slope BDS activists were up against: the full force of the Israel lobby
    • "Say YES to Palestine, say Yes to Israel, vote FOR BDS."

      A slogan for next time. But there must be an explanation, too, to appeal to progressive Jews in Brooklyn. The explanation is this:

      In 44 years (and 22 years since Oslo), Israel has refused to make a peace proposal acceptable to the Palestinians or conformable with the world's understanding of UNSC-242 (1967) which sought peace by a return to the pre-1967 boundaries. The Palestinians have neither military nor economic power. All they have to negotiate with is the world's support of their human and national rights -- just like the black people who lived under South Africa's Apartheid regime.

      BDS is an attempt by Palestinians and their friends and supporters to generate civic force behind boycotts of Israeli products -- not to destroy Israel and not to delegitimize Israel but -- to persuade Israelis to use their democratic rights to instruct their government to make an acceptable peace. Without outside pressure, the next 20 years will be no more productive of peace than the last 20 years.

  • Emma Thompson among group of prominent British actors calling on Globe theatre to withdraw invite to Israeli National Theatre
  • Bradley Burston dips his toes in one-state water
    • It is neither here nor there when anyone, any individual, "OKs" 1SS or 2SS. The reason is simple: until Israel's internal or external circumstances change radically, there will be no democratic 1SS to replace the present undemocratic, apartheid 1SS. Nor, of course, any 2SS at all (unless the Palestinians crumble and accept abject rotten defeat).

      Since I do not expect Israel's internal politics to favor a democratic 1SS (or any acceptable 2SS), I look -- without holding my breath -- for intervention from the international community. With civil-society BDS leading the way and looking to Israel's mad-mad-world attitudes to convince the world to intervene.

  • Another two-stater goes one-state
    • He's right that 2SS is a mirage of the past, but he's right ONLY if the determining factor is internal Israeli politics in today's circumstances. The on-going Israeli-preferred 1SS (apartheid like, profoundly undemocratic, oppressive to Palestinians, and based strongly on a 44 years violation of international law) is and has long been a "present reality" and will be as far as one can see -- unless and until Israel's circumstances change. BDS is the civil-society movement for such change. The UN is the place where the nations -- once no longer cowed by the USA and AIPAC-like organizations -- could do a nation-state-BDS action.

      What's important to realize is that Israel's external circumstances must change either [1] to remove the settlers and end the occupation and make way for 2SS or [2] to change the present-since-1990 apartheid 1SS into a democratic 1SS.

      Each path requires outside pressure. Neither can or will happen without the outside helping. Israel's apartheid 1SS is not going to "morph" into a south African-style democracy without pressure. The 1SS-proponents do not seem to understand this (or understand it and refuse to pronounce the words).

      To see that this is true, consider the 60-years of Tibetan protest against China's take-over of Tibet. I judge that protest against China will not help the Tibetans. Protest against Israel just might work, especially after the next one or two or three major Israeli stupidities (Iran war being the one to -- sort of -- hope for).

  • Wear your support for Israel on your sleeve. And your head, and your coffee mug, and . . .
    • Anybody selling beautiful, red-white-and-blue colored VOTE PALESTINE tee-shirts? END-THE-ILLEGAL-OCCUPATION tee-shirts? JEWS-and-Palestinians-as-ALLIES tee-shirts? HUMAN-RIGHTS-ARE-UNIVERSAL tee-shirts (with a I/P edge somehow in there)? Does JVP sell 'em?

      Should/could I wear one to a NYC city council meeting? Park Slope food co-op when shopping? (Actually, I am not a member).

  • There are two liberation movements
    • The problems are two: [1] how to gain access to talk to the people who need information and [2] how to provide them that information.

      Cecilie tells us, beautifully, how not to "press peoples' buttons" (as it is sometimes said) but rather to enlist their most generous and universal impulses to see the changes that are needed in their own beliefs and behaviors. She does not help so much with the question of how to get access to talk to people.

      My late wife was a member of a women's Jewish-Arab dialogue group in Boston (1980s). One of its activities was to have a Jewish member get a pair (one Palestinian, one Jewish) invited to a local synagogue to talk to people interested in hearing from a Paletinian -- but it was CRITICAL that the Jewish member get the ball rolling and accompany the Palestinian so as to make the audience feel safe. THIS WAS A LOT OF WORK just to achieve "access".

      Talking to AIPAC members -- and appealing to their better and universal impulses -- might be harder. On the other hand, the students at Brandeis seem to have been getting good results inside a Jewish academic community.

      At all events, gaining "access" and securing audiences for "education" is a big problem. It may have been the besetting problem in the Park Slope food co-op election -- because far too few people showed up to vote and "enemies" of fairness for Palestine are always/often more energized than friends.

  • Wrong planet
    • Dear Esteemed Rabbi -- [1] is it allowed for female IDF soldiers to rape or otherwise have non-generally-permitted sexual relations with enemies (or anyone else) during conduct of an IDF war? [2] Is it allowed for IDF male soldiers to rape IDF female soldiers during conduct of an IDF war? [3] How can it be that ALL IDF wars are "mitzvah wars" ?? What determines that special quality for a war and how can you know it in advance? [4] Orthodox Judaism has always condemned the formation of the state of Israel as contrary to a Talmudic teaching (roughly, that mankind must wait for the Moshiach to come on his own and should not lift a finger to bring about the ingathering of the Jews in Zion but rather leave that matter to G-d). This being so, in what way is the government of Israel religiously special -- so as to justify the (as it seems to many people entirely preposterous) claim that all (or even ANY) of Israel's wars are "mitzvah wars"?

      Thank you, Esteemed Rabbi, for your attention. As these are very important questions upon the answers to which many good and decent persons (IDF soldiers) depend for their guidance in conducting extraordinary sexual conduct in wartime, I feel confidant you will make carefully considered answer.

  • 'We must expel Arabs and take their place': Institute for Palestine Studies publishes 1937 Ben-Gurion letter advocating the expulsion of Palestinians
    • Israel will soon have a lot of energy from the Mediterranean gas fields -- some stolen from Gaza and Turkey perhaps. But it will still depend on other countries for markets, and that gives the jiu-jitsu of BDS a chance.

    • This is the sort of threat that Hitler is said to have written in Mein Kampf (I've never read it). Zionists make a big thing about paying attention to the threats of others, even when those others have no power to carry them out (e.g., Iranians and Hamas) and use these threats as excuses to go to war -- wars the Israelis wanted in the first place. The world should pay more attention to the threats of the Zionists.

      Israel's stealing of land and water and expulsion of people (seeking Palestinian geography without Palestinian demography, as Afif Saffieh puts it) has been written down by leading Zionists from the earliest days.

  • Sullivan unmasks Goldberg as a propagandist for Netanyahu's 'lies, bluffs and deceptions' aimed at getting us into war
  • Boycott measure goes down, 60-40, at Park Slope Food Co-op
    • 16,000 members and 1,600 people turned up. I guess these were mostly the enthusiasts. Means 15,000 don't-cares. So, the pro-BDS was 40% of 10% of the total, and the anti-BDS was 60% of 10%.

      Hard to know what to make of it. Suggests Co-op policy is usually set by VERY FEW members.

  • Ethnocentrism and journalism (Beinart's double standard for Israel and Iraq)
    • The whole thing is far simpler than Phil makes it sound.

      We have all heard of "situational ethics". Well, as Phil points out, the COMMUNITY OF A REPORTER is part of the "situation" that defines his "ethics".

      "Speak no evil of Israel" appears to have been (anbd still to be) a great part of the "ethics" of an ENORMOUS part of the USA's press.

      And now for a word from our sponsor: can the black reporters who pushed the Trayvon Martin matter ALSO push Palestine? Or will the (Jewish?) editors stop them? Or (Jewish?) advertisers? Or (Jewish?) CEOs of the news-corporations stop them? (Or, of course, their own good sense of protective self-censorship?)

  • Jewish establishment-backed mayoral candidates rush to denounce Park Slope BDS effort
  • JNF launches new 'bluewashing' website - PositivelyIsrael
    • Making the dessert bloom by using 80% of the West Bank's water is pretty snappy technology and very progressive for the whole world, though some might mistake it for oppression, usurpation, theft, violations of international law, and even -- perhaps -- something bad.

  • BDS victory: Norwegian retailer de-shelves Ahava
    • Good news. for them as fo Beinart and many others, a full Israel boycott will be harder to come to. Too many memories of the 1940s I suppose.

  • CCR: Israeli excavations continue in Jerusalem's Mamilla cemetery despite Wiesenthal Center claims
  • 'Peter Beinart's offense against liberalism' and the spiritual crisis Zionism has wrought
    • Rabbi Hirsch is quoted as saying:

      The call to boycott Israel – even the lame effort to distinguish between boycotting Israel within the Green Line and boycotting Israel beyond the Green Line – is troubling, in and of itself.

      It is also hopelessly naïve. How one would actually mount such a boycott; how one could limit it to products beyond the Green Line; how it would end at the Green Line and not become a boycott of Israel – these are interesting questions for an academic thesis. It is hardly a serious political proposal.


      I agree! Will someone please tell this to Peter Beinart? No, the good rabbi is absolutely right, and the only thing to do is to PROMOTE a FULL-ISRAEL BOYCOTT -- with a full explanation of why and what is demanded.

      (Can you imagine someone trying to get the USA's attention by boycotting products of Rhode Island only? [apologies to R.I.])

    • Hey! lighten up, you guys. This guy (for me the video has disappeared) appears to be talking -- as so many Zionists do -- WITHIN THE TRIBE, so his purpose is nothing to do with America, nothing. Ignore America! This is about Jews, man! And, from his viewpoint (not mine! I married a Quaker Christian Palestinian, so there!), intermarriage is some sort of a sin.

      The sooner this is over, the quicker.

  • US 'understands' Israel's decision to cut ties with UN Human Rights Council
    • Department of diplomatic ambiguity:

      at: link to

      "U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Monday that "the human rights council … could better go to investigating issues where the facts are not well-known and where they can actually make a difference in bringing a settlement about." "

      Does this mean -- could it mean ?? -- that US DoS understands the well-known deprivations of H./R in OPTs the same way as we do? And concurs, again with us, that nothing can be done about it because of USA's VETOes?

  • Bloomberg warns BDS will lead to 'massacres' as Park Slope Co-op holds initial vote on boycott tonight
    • Did you tweet Jodi Rudoren? I hear she sometimes reads tweets.

      Meanwhile, Bloomberg and other hyperventilators are, like proper little well-disciplined Chicken Littles who know which side their political bread is schmaltzed on, crying "The sky is falling, the sky is falling" ("Israel to be torn apart and everybody to be massacred"), and all the fault of those nasty anti-Semites in Park Slope)!


  • 'J Street' review-- mixed, but positive
    • "If the people in the rooms got to vote on targeted boycott they would carry it by 60-40 or 70-30, was my impression. But they don’t get to vote."

      No. J-Street is not democratic. Of course, we Americans are used to oligarchy, corporate ownership of government, so why shouldn't AIPAC-like (or AIPAC-lite) folks "own" J-Street? sure, they should.

      But the "people in the rooms" and all those who weren't there need a movement to represent THEM and THEIR views. They should jump ship from J-Street and from all top-down dictatorial Jewish organizations and join a group that is EITHER democratic i its workings OR AT LEAST represents their views.

      JVP'd be my guess.

    • "On the main stage, a rabbi named Donniel Hartman, says that Israel lives in a “difficult, crappy neighborhood” ".

      Like Phil, I reject the rabbi's characterization. But allowing it, arguendo, as proof of speaker's attitude:

      My goodness! How ever did that happen? What could the Ben-Gurions of this world have been thinking when they chose this neighborhood? What a surprise! What an imposition!! How could those nasty neighbors have crowded in upon little clean-living Israel! (Little, but growing! And dirtier all the time!) And why do the nasty neighbors hate us Israelis so much, when some (very few) of us lived among them peacefully for centuries (albeit without taking over their country and expelling them -- details, details).

      I guess Israel was supposed to do a job of urban renewal, yuppitudinization on the neighborhood. Cleanliness, which is why [apart from Israel's sinister desire to expel remaining Palestinians by denial of water] Israel uses 80% of WB's water and uses water, per-capita, like Europeans rather than like Middle-Easterners, who have learned over many centuries of living there -- right there! -- (sorry Joan Peters!) how to live with the environment they have available.

      Rabbi, rabbi, what do you answer?

  • Brooklyn’s Park Slope Food Coop to take the first step towards a boycott of Israeli goods on March 27
    • My impression is that once the vote has been taken, and which ever way it goes, the EDUCATIONAL VALUE of this important BDS event will dissipate.

      Let's hope for a BIG anti-BDS turn-out so there can be a noisy (and educational) fight, like the co-op decision and follow-up court case in Washington (with its so-valuable SLAPP result for the co-op which was sued).

      It would be wonderful to find a way to provide BDS education on a continuing basis, keeping the "friction" going so that more people can learn about BDS and, of course, and primarily, about I/P.

  • The Toulouse killings and the false specter of European anti-Semitism
    • How odd that "students" of attacks against Jews do not consider carefully [1] whether attacks occur when particularly atrocious Israeli actions become infamous and [2] whether or not they occur to Jews (as targets) [if any] who openly and noisily profess humanitarian principles for Palestinians and oppose Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

  • Israeli diplomat chased out of Morocco after mass protest
  • 'Be on our side': Bay Area ad campaign features Palestinian and Israeli women calling for U.S. sanctions against Israel
  • It is a Palestinian Call: A response to Finkelstein and Beinart on BDS
    • Nice to hear from IJAZ here.

      What's in a name? Right now, "Zionism" doesn't smell as sweet as a "rose".

      However, I don't like predicting future events based on labels. Will "Zionism" (or will Israel or Israeli Jews) ever act democratically? I don't know. I would say that they fail miserably to act democratically today and have failed to do so since 1948. They discriminate in favor (as they would say) of one of my peoples, Jews, but against another of my peoples, Palestinian Arabs. Could they do otherwise? Of course. Will they? Who knows?

      Until they allow every person to live as a full, voting, resident citizen in Israel (i.e., pre-1967) who arguably would have lived there had the exiles and refugees been allowed to return during or soon after the war of 1948, then they are not, as I see it, democratic.

      But every people deserves a chance to reform itself. So, for me, BDS and so forth are tools to persuade (the Jewish people within) Israel to reform itself. If they do so, then I'd be the very last to deny them the right to describe their reformed system as "Zionism." It's not the name that matters, but the doings.

  • Israel on human rights: It's accountability for Palestinians but 'diplomatic terror' for Israel
    • piotr: ALTHOUGH any and all torture, etc., done by PA or HAMAS at the direction of, or paid for by, or in order to find favor with, USA or Israel is to be deplored AS SUCH AND THE COMPLICITY OF USA AND ISRAEL WELL UNDERSTOOD, * * * nevertheless any bad acts done bu y PA or HAMAS on their own authority -- so to speak -- should also be noted.

      POWER CORRUPTS everyone who has power.

  • Zionism totalled
    • Israel was supposed to make a safe place for Jews to live as Jews. If the Israeli Jews must "circle the wagons" to the extent shown by recent events and described here, demanding (as some Americans do when PATRIOT ACT is criticized, for instance, with little flags on lapels and "American love it or Leave it" on bumper stickers), the new "Israeli expansionism and lawlessness, love it or leave it" described here is a proof -- IMO -- that (at a minimum) Israel is not a safe place (at least for democratically minded Jews) because the fascist tendency is a statement of fear of and attack against civil-rights-human-rights-style democratic tendencies in favor of strict-majority-rule-without-civil-rights-or-human-rights. Sad to see it happen anywhere.

      As it does appear to be happening in Israel, and on the basis of grabbing and holding all of Mandatory Palestine in a non-democratic apartheid-style 1SS, dooming 2SS to the extent the matter is left to purely Israeli determination, it is clear that there is a need for international intervention, and not for I/P negotiation.

      That clarity, and 5-cents will buy a 5-cent cigar.

  • NYPD: Snoops, spies and ... agent provocateurs?
    • These guys have quotas, like other NYPD cops? Is there any metric, any at all, to justify paying salaries to squads of these guys for years and years, in terms of lives saved, whatevers whatevered? J Edgar Hoover did this stuff, spied on that dangerous terror-suspect-?? MLK. Money down the drain as well as a vaiolation, generally, of civil rights.

      USA, love it? Well, not always, not in every way. And now about the $3B/year to Israel * * *.

  • Israeli military shoots 14-year-old protester in face with rubber bullet
    • Quotation alert: words are important and I mark the most important ones with quote-marks.

      The Israelis are perhaps the ideological fathers of the Florida self-defense gun law (deadly force may be used by anyone ("shooter") who feels he is being or is about to be attacked by his "shootee" -- feeling need not be rational, nor need it be investigated by police, to allow the shooter to escape prosecution -- if "shooter" is white and "shootee" is black. [Words having situational meaning?]

      The Israeli military are the ones who decided that kids throwing stones "at" (meaning "toward", not necessarily within a distance to actually "hit" or actually "injure" a soldier) were a "threat" which justified the shooting-to-kill of the rock-thrower, sometimes even by a more distant "sniper" whose job is little distinguishable from "mob hit-man" or "murderer" in that he kills on purpose and not as a proportional act of war.

  • 'I didn't say I liked Beinart's book' -- J Street head sells his star guest out to his antagonist, Goldberg
    • "And all this week, Beinart has been getting hammered by the Jewish right because he's come out, bravely, for a boycott of settlements. The right hates Beinart. "

      Yesa, I think that for anyone in his CAMP, this act was BRAVE. But why, oh why, is he still in that camp, still desirous to remain in that camp? Maybe his old friends who now attack him for this MINOR deviation in the direction of decency-at-long-last will persuade him to go a bit more whole-hog toward BDS-against-all-Israeli trade, culture, academy, sports, diplomacy, travel, etc.

  • Two substantive critiques of Beinart's boycott call
    • As to criticism from the left, Beinart seems (to me) to be doing two things:
      [1] closing his eyes to facts which make his myth (which he wishes tio teach his kids -- good luck!) incongruent with current and past realities
      [2] creating a a "safe" way for other similarly myth-seduced Jews to attack Israeli occupation without (as they would, wrongly, see it) attacking Israel itself.

      A sad consequences is that he (like J-Street) also close the eyes of all but independent thinkers to the various realities which ought to make moral and ethical people shudder to their foundations and then shake the rafters with their condemnation.

      Beinart is not into rafter-shaking.

    • free markets and the quasi-slavery of the 99% to the 1% and its national-security state (which can kill and jail indefinitely w/o old-fashioned and soon-to-be unconstitutional due-process)

  • Peter King hypes Hezbollah threat to US
  • Alternative Water Forum 2012: Israel's national water carrier violates Palestinians right to water
    • This is a central issue. Water is of course scarce in the Middle East, but Israel chooses to live a "western" life-style with large per-capita water consumption -- including lawns and swimming pools in some cases -- and can hardly claim to be in water shortage. Israel is said to use 80% of the West Bank's aquifer's annual outflow. (I don't know if this aquifer is being recharged as fast as it is used.)

      It appears that the Gaza aquifer is intermixed with sea water, presumably from being excessively "mined" both by Gaza and by Israel. If the population in Gaza is too high for the available water, then the people should be allowed to return to their homes before the 1948 expulsions/exile. They are deliberate exiles, but the deliberation is Israel's, not their own. As people begin to die from lack of clean water, it is a crime on Israel's part -- deliberate murder (IMO).

  • The video that pushed Peter Beinart to speak out against the occupation
    • How many years have "we" been complaining about Zionist violence and lawlessness? I started in 1980, when Israel Shahak, an Israeli professor of chemistry, was touring the USA telling audiences how bad the occupation was. (It was not nearly as bad then as now.)

      Where has Beinart been hiding that he is only now discovering all this stuff? Where have all the other don't-confuse-me-with-the-facts Zionist fellow-travelers been hiding?

      Well, glad to have him semi-on-board. The scales are falling from his eyes rather slowly, and he still loves "democratic Israel". But it's a beginning.

  • Settlers aren't freelancers-- Israeli government is behind them all the way
  • Public radio station fires editor who dared to speak out about Israel's 'brutal military occupation'
    • Mondoweiss is our samizdat, but it is direct rather than ironic. Of course, we are not employees of public radio stations. I guess those people have to prop up AIPAC to keep their jobs -- possibly a question of who the major donors are, the folks who put up "matching funds", etc. In NYC I have those thoughts about WNYC-funding regularly.

  • StandWithUs manufactures boycott of Jewish deli in Olympia
    • This very good report makes these things clear: [1] Kitzel's knows about BDS activity and the feelings of the BDSers and the anti-BDSers. [2] It can choose where to buy ingredients and things for re-sale. [3] It is a for-profit business.
      [4] So it could join the BDS position, or fight it. (A bit hard to be neutral unless the business has no reason to buy Israeli products -- which could easily be the case with a European-Jewish-oriented outfit.) I mean, why get into a fight?

      And [5] they could have pro-Palestine programs, pro-BDS programs, anti-occupation programs to balance their other (pro-Israel ?) programs. If they did, would they LOSE ALL THEIR REMAINDER OF THEIR BUSINESS? OR GAIN NEW BUSINESS? A puzzle they will, in effect, have to solve.

  • The Jewish establishment goes to bat for Ray Kelly and the NYPD
    • NYPD has been reading too many episodes of "1984". They've got Big-Brother-itis. And of course they and the FBI like to induce [what might pass for] criminal terrorist behavior [so they can prosecute it and "look good"] and what better way to do that than by looking in mosques for disaffected folks with bad judgment.

  • The 'folly' of the 'war lobby'-- What if NYT's top-pick comments reflect popular opinion?
    • Imagine if the NYT were a newspaper which gave its readers WHAT THEY WANTED instead of what is wanted by: [1] its advertisers [2] owners [3] the USA establishment [4] AIPAC.

      Imagine! (sigh.)

  • Einstein's crime
  • Rockets are collective punishment
    • I believe that the Gazan rockets may be terrorism (depends on the definition, and depends on whether the rocketeers were shooting AT military (or, perhaps, government) targets. I assume they were terrorism by most definitions.

      But they cannot be "collective punishment" as defined in Geneva 4 because Gaza does not occupy Israel.

      As acts of war they are much like the bombing of WWII, nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and the firebombing Dresden for example. And much like Israel's destructive treatment of Gaza and Lebanon.

      Another point: if the Israeli army or border police are un-disciplined, as asserted, then the officers are guilty of the crimes of the undisciplined actors -- for failure to maintain training and discipline (or, more likely, for giving either direct orders or winks and nods for war crimes).

  • Palestinian human rights organizations call on B'Tselem to withdraw from J Street conference featuring Ehud Olmert
    • Is J-Street (or, for that matter, its conference) something (or some place) especially useful in fights against, e.g., occupation? against settlement?

      OTOH, perhaps B'Tzelem sees the conference as a chance to educate concerned folks. Not a bad idea at all.

  • Israel refuses to hospitalize Hana Shalabi: 'our freedom is even more precious and more powerful than their cells'
    • I give the Israelis credit for not force-feeding the hunger-strikers. USA has done that. Rather painful, it seems, and also stops starvation. probably they simply don;'t give a damn if she lives or dies. Why should they? No one can touch them.

      Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  • Beinart's 'Zionist BDS' will only help entrench the occupation
    • Let those (Jewish liberal Zionists who desire an end to occupation) follow Beinart's lead; and let all others who desire an end to occupation join full-Israel-BDS. something for everyone.

      The real problem is turning around the VOCAL and $$$ Jewish community, and if Beinart can do that, well, I will thank him.

      And if all of us -- J. liberal Z. or not -- could ask the IRS to make non-deductible all contributions which may be used IN WHOLE OR IN PART for the OPTs, then a more than merely symbolic result will have been accomplished.

    • The big lie: "Right now, they have no way to oppose Israel’s occupation without opposing Israel’s existence. Zionist BDS offers them that alternative."

      Full anti-Israel BDS does not oppose Israel's existence. It demands [whatever it demands] and attacks all Israel's trade + culture + academia + sport as a tactic to bring about a change in Israelis' appreciation of Israel's place in the world. When Israel complies with [whatever was demanded], the BDS stops. NOTHING TO DO WITH OPPOSING ISRAEL'S EXISTENCE.

      Even if the particular Full BDS demands (and secures) a RoR for '48-exiles, and even if a lot of them did return (or even if all of them did return), Israel would continue as a state: it would still exist. True, it might not still be majority Jewish, and it might not still be "democratic". But it would still exist.

      Liberal Zionists (like the rest of us, I guess) sometimes exaggerate. Some use the "big lie" knowingly. This one looks more like a big lie than an accident.

  • Pentagon fears Israeli strike on Iran would drag US in
    • Why didn't the WAR GAMESTERS take the line that if Iran, post Israeli attack, attacks a USA warship, the USA will just ignore it (as we did Israel's attack on USN Liberty in 1967), taking it as:
      * a cost of USA's support for Israel
      * but not a reason to get into a wider war.


      (Guess that's what's being developed, actually).

  • J Street and Peace Now organize opposition to BDS
    • How many J-Streeters does it take to develop an idea (i.e., get one of those "light bulbs") for solving the I/P conflict? Well, let me think about that excellent question -- for another 20 years -- until the question itself ("How many") and the underlying question ("What should America do about I/P") are long gone.

  • Israeli academics call for massive attack on Gaza to 'mow the lawn' -- before November election ends the 'opportunity'
    • In ancient times, doctors believed, taught, and practiced that blood-letting was good for the health of the patient.

      Israel has gone one better: blood-letting of your victim/enemy (that is, of the unfortunate people you haver chosen to dispossess and oppress) is good for your own health.

      World reaction to Goldstone Report (among human beings) suggests this view is wrong, but world reaction (among governments) shows that it was not necessarily wrong.

  • As I read this, I cringe
    • Why should Beinart (or NYT) "naturally" speak to Americans but only about "the internal Israeli debate"?

      Why should not the American (not merely Jewish, not merely Zionist, and certainly not Israeli) NYT talk TO the American people about a world human rights problem in which the USA meddles outrageously?

      Is this all merely the politics of getting Jews to "come around" so as to "give permission" to non-Jews to become involved? And an argument that until they do so, non-Jews should "keepa their handsa off"?

  • The flaw of Beinart's conception of Israel's 'flawed but genuine democracy'
    • Adam, If he (1) reads this and (2) believes it and (3) meant his article as TRUTH, then he will be left WITH NO HOPE, NO ILLUSIONS.

      If, however, he meant his article as LITURGY in the (newish) religion of the Jews, the SANCTITY OF (STATE) ISRAEL, then he'll hope his co-religionists brush you off.

      Which religion will win? the reform Jewish religion of Tikkun Olam, of universal human rights, do not unto others, etc. (Adam's) ? or the new touchy-feely religion of NICE ISRAEL (Beinart's, NYT's)?

      There is a third religion, ISRAEL MILITANT (Bibi's) which is allied to the ancient Jewish religion, with all its Amaleks, swords, blood, "it would have been enoughs" -- and its Jews first, others nowhere.

      Beinart appears to be a prophet of the NICE ISRAEL ("it is a democracy, really!")
      but he is allied (as a shill) with ISRAEL MILITANT because he will not believe in human rights and the reality of the Palestinian people and their rights.

  • When good intentions aren't good enough: Liberal Zionists and BDS
    • It must be a problem for Israelis to join a full-frontal-BDS-attack on Israel; or even on the settlements. OK, they are excused! But American Jews and Americans and human beings everywhere are entitled to do what they can to overcome H/R abuses by Israel or by anyone else -- even sometimes, gasp, by the 1%.

      If lefty Israelis are upset by BDS, let them take out their upset by telling Israel what's happening (as if it didn't know) rather than by telling the 99% to quit.

      BDS is not itself very powerful, as we see from the fact that the occupation continues and accelerates. But it is like a match that starts a larger fire. When the nations get energized, a nation-state-level BDS movement may begin which WILL be powerful. That's my goal for BDS.

  • Jon Stewart keeps upping the ante
    • OK, the USA is unexplainedly evil, right, got that. we could change the law but were not going to, and -- always remember -- we're the good guys! (Yes, let's always try to persuade ourselves of that!).

      And the kids were SOOOO cute. Africa strikes back!

      Boffo. Great stuff. (More news than the NYT).

  • Beinart calls for boycott of settlements 'to save Israel'
    • Beinart wishes to support pre-1967 Israel, which he desperately praises as "democratic Israel", while asking American Jews (not Americans generally!) to boycott businesses operating in occupied territories which he calls "undemocratic Israel" (and which in my view includes West Bank, all of East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Golan). He even calls for the USA to remove tax-deductibility for gifts to charities operating in "undemocratic Israel". Well, that last, at least, makes sense. And he asks newspapers to use his new terms, "democratic Israel" and "undemocratic Israel" (not, note, "occupied territories"); it will be interesting to see what terms the NYT adopts, as they say these days, "going forward".

      However, no boycott of the OPTs (and Golan) by American Jews which does not boycott all of Israel makes sense, and this for three reasons.

      First, the occupation arises from all of Israel, not just from the OPTs, and cannot be "rolled back" by Israel unless it is rolled back by Israelis living in "democratic Israel". To energize all of Israel toward a pull-back from the OPTs, a boycott must target all of Israel.

      The second reason is that the occupation is not intrinsically or principally a manufacturing enterprise. It is also a land-grabbing enterprise, a human-rights-denying enterprise, a population-expelling enterprise. If it had no manufacturing at all, it would still be evil. A boycott aims at manufacturing alone and will not affect the principal evils of the occupation.

      The third reason is that a boycott by American Jews will have effect only to the extent it serves as a model and "gives permission" to non-Jewish Americans (the other 97.5%) to join the boycott. A boycott of the OPTs alone is less than half-hearted and models a far too understanding, far too forgiving, attitude toward Israel -- the whole state and all its Jewish people -- who are responsible communally for a great evil. Beinart admits the evil, sort of, but seeks to prevent any but the mildest response. In effect, he says, this is not serious. Dear American Jews, he seems to say, please don't tell the American people at large that it is actually serious.

  • Lerner and Gottlieb have dialogue in New York synagogue
    • In the 1980s, when things were a bit better than today, Israel Shahak lectured about the daily small oppressions of occupation -- not about the large ones: killing, torture, disappearance, indefinite detention, kids being arrested in middle of the night, coerced confessions, coerced denunciations.

      Maybe he was right, because audiences do have a threshold for (learning about) pain. But, in any case, the audiences must be both Jewish and general, and the stories must be told and told and told, and the audiences must understand that their job is to make the stories viral, so that all Americans will soon know what's going on. And, of course, see USA complicity.

      Which, sadly is part of the 1%-99% thing, because the BIG-ZION lobby is merely part of the board-room full of Feudal Barons which the 1% constitute and to which the Congress relates as to feudal overlords.

      Hard for me to see what making nice (Lerner style) has to do with all this except as a delaying tactic. Would "making nice" have cut any ice with Pinochet, the Shaw, the Ayatollah, Stalin, Hitler? Kinda doubt it.

  • NYT buries the lead-- Iranians halted weapons program in '03 and have not restarted it
    • All this talk about "A1" and "A18" makes it seem that the NYT ACTUALLY PUBLISHED THIS ON PAPER. Did they? (So much these days is electronic only).

      The article, wherever published, is typical POLITICAL crap -- meaning different things to different readers. General readers are meant to have their fears increased. Knowing readers (who know there may be an actual story here) look further and get an entirely different POV.

      Since the NYT could easily have led (!) (past tense of verb whose present tense is "lead", no known relation to any neologism, often misspelt as "lead") with the end-material (Iran is not making bombs) but chose not to, this piece MUST BE READ as pro-war in intent and general tendency ("READ", not "RED", isn't English a tear?).

  • The Norwegians, the settlers, the zealot, the olive seedlings-- and the Palestinian's suit against 'Nobody'
    • FOI don’t want it small, they want it all.

      FOI always wanted two things: [1] a predominantly Jewish Israel and [2] a big, big chunk of Palestine (if not more — some of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan).

      No-one in BDS movement (I suspect) would object to a small Israel — occupying (let us say) 10% of Mandatory Palestine — being and remaining predominantly Jewish — because such a small state — while being quite large enough to house all of Israel’s Jews, and being much larger than NYC for example — would not be a target of return to more than about 10% of all the Palestinian refugees/exiles from 1948, and that 10% might well prefer to “return” to the non-Jewish 90% when a right of return was at long, long last achieved for them.

      But FOI don’t want it small, they want it all.

      Israel’s mission, thus and clearly, is not merely to create a Jewish State (whether or not democratic!), but to seize the entire Palestine and dispossess the entire Palestinian people. For that dispossession is a necessary concomitant of taking all the land. The honest (and somewhat frightening) Israeli Jews admit this:

      We, the Jewish People, are embroiled in an ongoing battle for reclamation of our land, our historic birthright, the Land of Israel.

      The Jewish People are, and have been, the indigenous inhabitants of the Land of Israel for over 4000 years. We have been continuously present here, in greater or lesser numbers, despite enforced exile and dispossession by a series of foreign invaders and conquerors – with the Arabs and Moslems only the latest in a long line.

      ; the dishonest and far more frightening ones deny it — while supporting the zealot settlers.

  • Israel to Europe: Palestinians can't have a state because they can't support themselves
    • As Israeli actions (and claims) become more and more outrageous, the anger in knowledgeable people (and governments) must be growing to a boiling point. There are two possible outcomes (assuming steadily continuing grotesque Israeli misbehavior): either [1] the nations finally take stern action against Israel (like the cook turning off the fire under a pressure cooker before it explodes); or else [2] the whole situation explodes -- going from what we have today, which seems manageable, to something so ugly that it cannot longer be ignored, let AIPAC and its European allies do as they may -- something like massive deaths, massive expulsions.

      In other words, as a car drives toward a sturdy brick wall at 60 MPH, it is sure to stop, but the only question is whether it will stop by smashing into the brick wall ([2] above) or by the driver putting on the brakes for a more gentle stop ([1] above).

      Israel's plan, however, is to "boil the frog" (the Palestinians, but also the USA and EU) so gently that the moment for taking stern action is never recognized. Frogs are not very clever in such a situation -- as we've noticed.

    • CigarGod: "Seems to me, Israel isn’t really self-supporting either [USA's aid] …so saying Palestine can’t be a state [because it cannot support itself], is also saying Israel can’t be a state…for the same exact reasons." Love it! (Good point.)

  • Afghan parliamentary team says many Americans were involved in massacre in which army accuses one
    • If we backed out of Afghanistan, how'd we pursue the GWOT? What'd we do with all those drones? How'd we keep the BIG-ARMS and BIG-WAR oligarchs replete with ill-gotten gains (yes, Virginia, we have war-lords here, too). How'd we keep the Muslims and Arabs angry enough with us for them to keep on keeping on with anti-Americanism? And if they stopped that, where would the terrorism come from? Latin America?

  • How important is it to the Times (and us) that Greg Smith is Jewish?
    • "Judt later said that the editors had asked him to insert that phrase. Their logic ws obvious: it gave the piece greater traction inside a dubious Jewish establishment"

      Right, and twice: ONCE a Jew is talking, listen up; TWICE: I am not an anti-Semite.

      Establishment seems full of people who do not want to offend their Jewish friends -- including -- of course -- many Jews.

  • Uygur leads assault on Iran war-- U.S. policy is being 'dictated' by Netanyahu
    • Are all USA's TV-news-readers on the payroll. Well, someone's, for sure:

      link to

      The 2007 return showed 15 people at NPR with the title of vice president or senior vice president. Most made between about $190,000and $260,000. A page on NPR's Web site shows 14 current vice presidents.

      NPR reported its five highest paid employees were:
      1. Managing Editor Barbara Rehm, $383,139
      2. All Things Considered host Robert Siegel, $350,288
      3. Morning Edition host Renee Montagne, $332,160
      4. Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, $331,242
      5. NPR afternoon programming director Richard L. Harris, $190,267.

      The most eye-catching salary ever reported on an NPR tax form is probably the $505,132 paid to broadcaster Bob Edwards in FY2004, the year he was ousted as host of Morning Edition, quit, and went to XM Radio. He hosted his last NPR show in April, five months before the end of the fiscal year, so the half-million dollar salary (presumably including some kind of severance) seems to have been for just seven months work.

  • Brian Williams suggests that Israeli attack on Iran will invite terrorism to London Olympics
  • 'Tablet' describes American veterans of IDF experiencing 'dual loyalty' issues
    • Anyone agree with me (below) that we should wonder a bit about the propaganda that these kids went through before they joined IOF? The Hasbarniki have been busy for many years. Right here in River City.

      I agree about what the IOF has been doing recently, but convinced Zionists (who IMO should be Israelis and NOT Americans if they are THIS convinced) may see a defensive purpose and/or role in the IDF (usual spelling). As a convinced anti-Zionist, I see the role and practices of the IOF a different way, but I wouldn't expect an ignorant brain-washed kid about 1/4 my age to understand all that.

      Maybe we should learn a little bit about what their parents, friends, relatives, etc., told them about Israel -- all surrounded by enemies you know and fighting for its life daily -- before being so "down" on them. Many a kid's life is pretty hard, future uncertain, possibly feeling something of an outside here in USA too.

    • Some USA Congress-people are deeply committed Zionists (usually Jewish, I imagine). They promote Israeli interests at least from personal conviction and possibly from a sense of representing their constituents.

      Others are corrupt (or one could say "mercenaries") working for Israel for money -- campaign money-- and using the power they have as Congresspeople, to fight Israel's fights in the USA -- much I dare say as they also fight the fights of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, the BIG-PHARMA, BIG-CHEMICAL, McDonnell-Douglas, etc. For these people its hard to have anything but contempt -- except that that is how our system has evolved and they had to get elected and want to get re-elected.

      It's hard to imagine these soldiers as corrupt. Dual loyalty? Sure. And it seems to be legal at least until USA and Israel go to war against each other.

  • Democratic congressional candidate: 90% Democrat, 100% Israel
    • The "revolving door" by which (for instance) bankers move back-and-forth between jobs in USA's Treasury and in Goldman Sachs, and under Democrats and Republicans, is a similar case in point.

      Some of these intensely pro-Israel people may be so from ideological reasons alone, but many must be so as part of a revolving door. My guess is that any 100%-er will be "taken care of" by a job in a pro-Israel think-tank, a pro-Israel corporation (!!), a Jewish organization, AIPAC, whatever, if he needs a job. In the America of today, I cannot think of any enforcement mechanism other than MONEY (to explain the Kalbs and all the so very many others, and all those mostly > $200,000/yr NPR news-readers) to explain why pro-Israel public pronouncements seems to guaranteed.

      Fresh Air host / executive producer Terry Gross: $245,563 in 2008

      This American Life host Ira Glass: earned $170,605 in 2008

      Morning Edition host Renee Montagne: $405,140

      Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep: $356,499

      All Things Considered anchor Robert Siegel: $358,653

      Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon: $364,465

  • Marvin Kalb and Maryland senator join to combat 'venomous' delegitimization of Israel
    • Holy sites of Jews "where Jews were prevented from going until 1967".

      FALSE. FALSE. Only from 1948-1967! So there! Under the Ottomans, under the British, and thus for 500 RECENT years, there was no trouble at all.

      The unprovoked (at least unprovoked in Palestine) decision by Britain to support massive Jewish immigration and by foreign Jews to immigrate and by immigrating Jews (not by the Jews who'd lived in Palestine since time immemorial) to create a new state by bombs and bayonets and bullets was a starting point for strife between Jews and others in Palestine. And IMO unnecessary. A first war-of-choice (illegal aggressive war, especially illegal in the post WWII post Nuremberg era) in a long list of wars-of-choice by Israel.

  • When victims retaliate: A response to Bradley Burston
    • "A boy of 16 who's witnessed his father slaughtered-- why shouldn't he act out? Explain that to me. Better yet explain it to him. And he should be comprehending international law, when that law is not applicable to his much more powerful predator (who is protected by my government at the UN)? Targeted assassinations of people not engaged in combat are forbidden under international law. That law applies to the assassinations your government carried out recently"

      Perfect. If there IS NO I/L, then what the Gazan rocketeers do is not illegal (even if foolish, useless, maybe or maybe not immoral, etc.). If, OTOH, there *IS* I/L, then Israel should be held to it (and so should USA). The USA and Israel have done so much to make I/L (or the part of it relating to H/R under occupation and laws of war) vanish like the "dew in the morn" that it ill becomes Bradley Burston or anyone else to point a finger at the SMALL VIOLATIONS by Gazans when he knows about the MAJOR VIOLATIONS by Israel and USA.

      But we know the real problem, don't we? Gaza has never claimed to be "a light unto the nations" and thus failed to acquire the "right" to ignore the rights of others.

  • Latest expulsion from the occupied territories: 55 Harvard students
    • Israel has continuously "tested" international power to condemn it. Bad behavior has thus become a norm, a habit, a strongly-reinforced-behavioral-system, and what might appear to be hubris is no longer an act of defiance but, rather, an act of ho-hum daily procedure.

      The key to all this is that NO-ONE has fought back except -- perhaps -- Turkey w.r.t. the boats.

      Perhaps Harvard or part of it will "speak up". But don't hold your breath, because the strongly-reinforced-behavioral-system of NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT ISRAEL is now part of American SOP.

      Maybe this incident will be part of "breaking the silence" and, we hope, "breaking the inaction."

  • Elite Israeli 'sniper squad' raids Palestinians in prison, injures 11
    • The horror is plain, but in case anyone would miss it, note the near-perfect DARTH-VADER uniforms the soldiers wear. Of course, that way, no-one can recognize who did what, not even OTHER Israelis.

  • IDF fundraiser at Waldorf Astoria raises $26 million
    • Exactly. And I'd like to stop paying for USA's wars, too. (Values voters take note: I approve birth control and occasional abortion, but not capital punishment (except for torturers) and aggressive war (war-of-choice).

  • Obama rejects a Syrian deal because his team wants F15s (and other stuff I learned at lunch)
    • He's got good points. If you think of I/P as a Palestinian problem (a problem FOR Palestinians), as I do, then you would want to describe all the circumstances of their horrible situation -- including corruption of the co-optation sort by Fatah. (That is widely regarded as one reason for the Hamas electoral victory -- people being tired of Fatah's corruption.)

      If, OTOH, you see I/P as a Jewish problem (bad things being done BY Jews), you will concentrate on the Zionists -- those who do bad thingsa and those who fail to protest those bad things, and on other Jews, non-Zionist Jews, who also by and large do not do much against the bad-doings of the Zionist part of the tribe (if it is a tribe, people if it is a people, nation if it is a nation).

      Finally, one might see I/P as an American problem -- the problem of USA helping Israel do bad things. This viewpoint opens up the whole oligarchy matter, the "Best Congress Money Can Buy" thing, and I/P is in that case only a part and a very small part of it.

      I/P involves all these things. MondoWeiss is big enough (in heart, in intentions, in available skilled writers) to house all these discussions under its one umbrella.

  • Remnick ignores the Nakba's role in Israeli 'democracy'
    • Exactly. Right on.

      The only thing to be said in extenuation of Remnick's article is that it is a BIG MOVE in the New Yorker to go even this far (has NPR done as much in last 6 months?) , and you have to soften up a hardened target by degrees. You don't eat a really, really dry crust of bread until you have soaked it for a while. The Jewish audience in NYC (and the USA) is assumed to be so steeped in traditional Zionist myth that the real truth or anything like it would be too hard to swallow. So, we see BABY STEPS.

      If you think of these things as TRUTH, they fail. If you think of them as moves in a strategic game, manoeuvres in a war, maybe something can be said for them.

  • The evolution of Peter Beinart
    • I don't know anything about modern history of forced permanent exile.

      But Israel may be different in that [1] it was an invasion, not a civil war; [2] the Jewish exiles were so -- if at all -- due to anti-colonial feeling by Arabs (i.e., due to Israel's fighting an unnecessary war-of-choice in the first place) and due also to Zionist black-flag ops to get the Jews expelled from Arab countries. There were Jews in Lebanon and Iran and Morocco long after 1948, so the Arab anti-Jewish feeling was much exaggerated. And there was an explicit UNGA-194 soon after UNGA-181 which was considered Israel's "birth-certificate" by those who wanted something more than "from the barrel of a gun", and UNGA-181 explicitly did NOT call for ethnic cleansing (or for WAR).

      So the history of other "cleanings" may not be entirely pertinent. Furthermore, since Israel has been so thoroughly recalcitrant, it6 is clear there will be NO peace unless it is imposed from outside. We may need to wait a while more for that IMPOSITION to occur, but when it does, it will likely be overwhelming and UNGA-194 will be recalled with approval at that time -- if ever it come.

  • Liberal American Jews are giving themselves permission to say goodbye
    • Democracy -- for its Jewish citizens. Kinda true, but not what the catch-phrse "Only democracy in M/E" appears to mean). The Palestinian expellees/exiles of 1948 [including most Gazans and many West Bankers] deserve to return as voting citizens. That'd give Israeli "democracy" quite a revival!

    • Writers are also politicians and must weight just how far they can go. They exist within societies, and societies tend to have "red lines". thus, "denial" can be personal (actual blindness, ideological blinkers) but may also be societal (I can go this far and no farther). Think of all those voices on NPR who never criticize Israel. Personal prejudice? Maybe. Group think, one of the Jewish fraternity? Maybe. I need this job and it pays really well as long as I watch what I say?

      NPR reported its five highest paid employees were:
      1. Managing Editor Barbara Rehm, $383,139
      2. All Things Considered host Robert Siegel, $350,288
      3. Morning Edition host Renee Montagne, $332,160
      4. Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, $331,242
      5. NPR afternoon programming director Richard L. Harris, $190,267.

  • Iran furor masks the real story, Israel's self-destruction -- Tirman at Huffpo
    • The central feature of PUBLIC political TALK by politicians seems to be REFUSAL TO FACE FACTS (in public) AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. Politicians love to hold power and hope for a better day. "After all, the horse might speak."

      Bibi cannot really want 1SS, or undeniable apartheid, and cannot really be hoping or planning for another EXPULSION, but he's acting that way. Why? EITHER because he cannot speak truth to the power of the settler-nationalists (assuming he realizes what's going on and doesn't buy their dreams) OR BECAUSE he cannot even realize the truth which conflicts so far with his own settler-nationalist ideology. Ostrich!

      OBAMA cannot tell the USA the truth because AIPAC forbids it. Ostrich! How bad do things have to get for the USA in order for the USA to fight-back against AIPAC? Maybe attacking Iran was a measure of "how much".

      What the Harvard conference and this TIRMAN article and others similar (one hopes for a positive deluge) do is to give "permission" to the wall-flowers and fence-sitters to smell the coffee speak up in public and also to INFORM those so silly as to have believed all the AIPAC-style propaganda offered them with their breakfast cereal all these years.

  • Exclusive Excerpt: Miko Peled's 'The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine'
    • This is a brave and honorable man. I met his father, peace-touring America in the 1980s, and liked him, too. The sad part of the story is that personal bravery on the war-making side is wide-spread in Israel, but bravery on the peace-making side is so rare.

      My late wife, a Palestinian, was asked in a TV interview in 1988 (Israel's 40th anniversary, celebrated on a Boston TV station), could she imagine ever celebrating Israel's birth? She was thoughtful, took a moment of time (on TV!) and then said, yes, but only after the Palestinians also had their state.

      It seems that the far-and-away dominant trend in Israeli (and, sadly, American) politics is to deny the Palestinians a chance (on those terms) to celebrate Israel's birth. The Peleds are on the right side, but not, so far, the side of history.

  • 'I refuse to join an army that has, since it was established, been engaged in dominating another nation': Interview with Israeli refuser Noam Gur
    • "I’m not sure if it’s possible. I think we’re at a place of no return. I really do think that if we want to change anything in the Israeli society, the pressure needs to be really, really strong from outside. That’s why I support the boycott, divestment and sanctions call. It’s really going to be hard to change it from within. I think it’s kind of impossible." (EI on same subject).

      She wants the military policy to change and cannot believe (any more than I can) that it will change without STRONG PRESSURE FROM OUTSIDE, e.g., from the USA.

      This is a major disapproval of her society, a sort of rejection of it.

    • If there were ten such brave people, would it save the world? Noam Gur, I am in awe.

  • MJ Rosenberg: why he is trying to stop the next war
    • I'm troubled by the concept "Israel Firster". America has become a place which celebrates (all too much) the individual, his/her wants, desires, pleasures, opinions, etc. Why shouldn't a person, any person, be a champion of Israel's interests -- ahead of anything else which THAT person champions (and in THAT sense, Israel First) and ahead of anything which his neighbor champions? Isn't that what politics is all about? ME, MINE, MY GROUP's, MY CLASS's (even if the 1% claim to be above class-warfare, I don't and I think the 99% are wising up)? So why not Israel?

      Unless and until -- events show Israel's demands and "asks" to be contrary to a widely agreed-to view of the American National Interest (for example, if we were at war with Israel, we'd not expect people still to be sticking up for Israel; recall the Japanese in WWII, and the internees -- who didn't een stick up for Japan!).

      But THAT day has not arrived yet. Obama hinted at it. Our interests are different he said, suggesting that there IS a USA national interest, and he knows what it is, and it is NOT always to do what Israel asks.

      The question of whether or not it is "in the USA's national interest" to go to war soon with Iran is STILL AN OPEN QUESTION, and the Republicans have not yet backed away from demands for war. So it is too soon to say that Israel Firsters (in th normal sense) are traitors.

    • If he backed down, still, it is better to live to fight another day, and better to win the war even if you must lose a battle.

      Coaxing wall-flowers into the dance, winning allies from fence-sitters, is the purpose of what we do, not writing epistles to God or letters to be put in bottles and floated in the sea.

      I try to imagine a person who really loves Israel (or his/her idealized Israel, myth, whatever) who reads MJR and learns something, gets a bit shaken, and says -- I love Israel but not this dreadful occupation, I even love Israel FIRST, but not this dreadful occupation, and these dreadful settlers make me puke. Be a pity if THIS person were put off by a phrase, "Israel Firster". Might just raise his hackles.

  • Beinart: Time for a Jewish conversation about Jewish power and responsibility
    • Mooser: Inside and outside. Really, it's OK for Jews to talk to other Jews, and Beinart is doing it (even if others listen in to Zion Square). Please to notice that the EU and all other counties/bloks have NOT intervened against Israel/USA/AIPAC. The outside needs help from the inside.

      By all means, outsiders should do what they can (BDS) to promote enforcement of international law, end occupation, etc.

      But while they take their baby-steps and steps-backwards and doing other stuff (economies, Greece, making nice with USA), it's OK for Beinart to talk to other Jews. And to hope that others listen.

  • MSM jailbreak: Chris Hayes devotes 2 hours to conflict with panel of 2 Zionists and 2 Palestinians
    • MSNBC / Up w/ Chris Hayes has a CONTACT at:
      link to

    • I wonder if the pogroms in Russia and Poland against Jews were regarded as local crimes of individuals or raised to the level of crimes BY the whole people or BY the government. One test is whether the police tried to stop them or just watched or even participated (as Israeli police and army seem to do).

    • Civil war in Israel? Of course not. They simply will roll over and play dead, letting the settlers do what they want. (Just as USA rolls over to AIPAC).

      If Israel is ever to get out of the occupied territories, it will need HELP, and that help will be a very tough international coalition which changes Israel's EXTERNAL SITUATION (trade, travel, diplomacy, culture, sport) until the ONLY DEMOCRACY's voters see the light. Not exactly voluntary, but possibly avoiding civil war. think major, major BDS.

    • talknic: "He is wrong in his numbers for illegal settlers." Indeed. 60-80,000 is making a VERY pro-Israeli word-painting, a viewpoint based on a voluntary Israeli adjustment (of course, not a voluntary adjustment that Israel can make, with the settler political power being what it is). The true number of settlers, including east Jerusalem (and perhaps Golan Heights) is 650,000.

      People should JUMP DOWN HIS THROAT when he says 60-80,000, because it is a SNEAKY WAY to attempt to palm-off an Israeli view, NOT a legal view.

      the law, of course, doesn't make much difference, because USA's thumb is on the scales of justice; but if that thumb ever came off * * * the 650,000 number might become a REALLY big problem for Israel. (Hope it does, someday.)

  • Israel is sucking up all the oxygen in the White House
    • "My point to Phil was that the costs to the USA in pushing so hard to defend Israeli interests was beginning to seriously deplete our hard-power and soft-power assets (as defined by Joseph Nye). "

      As to such an idea, my question is a simple one. All along many people have supposed that the USA is run by the BIGs, among which is BIG-ZION (AIPAC). OK. To say that a "cost" is too big for USA inseparably includes the idea that it is PERCEIVED as "too big" by one or more BIGs. If BIG-ZION itself sees it as too big, then Obama is home free. Otherwise, some OTHER BIG (BIG-PHARMA? BIG-OIL? BIG-COAL?) must weigh in and say, "AIPAC, move over -- this is costing too much" and the USA must be willing to change horses after many years upon hearing this complaint from a rival BIG.

      What have I misunderstood? Have I been wrong all along about oligarchy, the BIGs, running most everything here?

    • seafoid -- you paint an interesting picture. Here, above, Thomson has painted a USA gov't staffed throughout with AIPACniks, and now you paint an Israeli gov't packed with semi-rabid YESHniki. OK so far.

      But why do you suppose "The relationship with the angel investors is beginning to deteriorate"?? Aren't AIPAC solidly behind WHATEVER the GOI (you know who that is) is calling for?

    • What else have the by-oligarchy-inserted-aparatchniks been doing than bad foreign policy?

      Oligarchy including BIG-ZION but also and maybe more significantly BIG-ARMS, BIG-WAR. With some or much overlap, doubtless.

      Recall the $-billions spurlos versenkt in Iraq War and presumably in Afghanistan as well -- lost, stolen, or strayed -- seem to have been mislaid -- but at whose hands? the BIG-WAR people: Military, Mercenaries, repair-the-deliberate-and-unnecessary-damage-to-infrastructure-of-unnecessary-war (Halliburton, et al.)

      And who designed a system, a make-war-machine, in such a way as not to have obvious financial controls? Was it the businessmen inserted into government by Bush -- who must have believed (or at least said) that a government runs more efficiently if run by businessmen?

      May it have been the government folks? Those who decided to make the war and to generate the profits? And are those people the pro-WAR and pro-Israel and neocon folks inserted as government apartchniks? In the earlier case, Bush's apartchniks. Today, unless fixed, Obama's.

      Summary: those stolen billions (OK, smaller than the BIG-BANK bailouts) were stolen by a make-war machine peopled by a government infested with apartchniks inserted by the various (overlapping) elements of the oligarchy, which together and severally have the power to insert high-level and mid-level appointees (aka apartchniks).

      Maybe not all appointed by BIG-ZION, but Thomson makes a good case that many were at least vetted by BIG-ZION.

    • Mr. Wolman: Have you any way to [1] discover if your views are shared by CEOs of disadvantaged USA industries; or [2] to put your views before them and ask them to push the issue in Washington? It might sometimes work.

      OTOH, many CEOs (say in Hollywood) may be Zionists (or, worse, right-wing Zionists) and be willing for their industries (of which they are disarmingly known as fiduciaries if the industries are widely-traded corporations) to suffer for Israel's sake. This would be, if true, another example of the corruption of USA society (this time within corporations instead of because of corporations).

      Wouldn't it be a hoot if the shareholders of BIG-FILM and BIG-TV specifically directed their CEOs to use corporate political-spending to FAVOR their own industries by getting pro-industry folks into Washington jobs IN PLACE of any placemen who are NOT pro-FILM and pro-TV (even if they are, e.g., pro-Israel)!

  • Obama victory over Netanyahu gained support, time
    • This once, one small step for mankind.

      But Obama -- showing that living in Washington DC is like living on Mars or in a Cave -- says, "Palestinians must abandon violence" where the proper formulation, on the facts and on ethics, is:

      a few Palestinians must abandon illicit violence and the very numerous and far more powerful government of Israel, its army, its police, and its [civilian] settlers must (also) abandon (illicit) violence.

  • New 'Daily Beast' blog on Israel/Palestine features 'the cousins'-- no US realist
    • This new "Zion Square" should be judged by the single test for all I/P politics: Does it advocate international interference, pressure on Israel for the purpose of enforcing international law, human rights laws, and thus for removal of settlers, wall, siege, possibly, like UNSC 465 (1980) dismantling of settlements (buildings), and ultimately, for imposing a peace along the lines of UNSC-242 (1967) (and territorially along the lines of May 1967)?

      If it says, "keep your hands off Israel", then it is useless. In that case it is yet another "feel good" effort to comfort liberal Jews. They don't need comfort. They need to be made vastly uncomfortable by the fact that "truth, justice, and peace, and in that order" is not being realized and the push for publication of truth and achievement of justice is being frustrated at every hand by pro-status-quo (and pro-settlements-growth) money-power.

  • Warning to Obama: 'The Jewish community will remember in November'
    • Sand: Thanks for the economist link. It says THIS that we don't often read:

      But Israel has even less control over its own destiny than Portugal or Britain do. The main reason is that, unlike those countries, Israel refuses to give up its empire. Israel is unable to sustain its imperial ambitions in the West Bank, or even to articulate them coherently. Having allowed its founding ideology to carry it relentlessly and unthinkingly into what Gershom Gorenburg calls an "Accidental Empire" of radical religious-nationalist settlements that openly defy its own courts, Israel is politically incapable of extricating itself. The partisan battles engendered by its occupation of Palestinian territory render it less and less able to pull itself free. It is immobilised, pinned down, in a conflict that is gradually killing it. Countries facing imperial twilight, like Britain in the late 1940s, are often seized by a sense of desperate paralysis. For over a decade, the tone of Israeli politics has been a mix of panic, despair, hysteria and resignation.

      No one bears greater responsibility for the trap Israel finds itself in today than Mr Netanyahu. As prime minister in the late 1990s, he did more than any other Israeli leader to destroy the peace process. Illegal land grabs by settlers were tolerated and quietly encouraged in the confused expectation that they would aid territorial negotiations. Violent clashes and provocations erupted whenever the peace process seemed on the verge of concrete steps forward; the most charitable spin would be that the Israelis failed to exercise the restraint they might have shown in retaliating against Palestinian terrorism, had they been truly interested in progress towards a two-state solution. Mr Netanyahu believed that the Oslo peace agreements were a mirage, and his government's actions in the late 1990s helped make it true.

  • Fact checker fact checker find me a fact
    • Language police alert! Avoid GOV-SPEAK. GOV-SPEAK is a euphonious circumlocution to remove the bad odor of something disreputable. Call a spade a spade.

      "Rubber bullets" is a GOV-SPEAK code for, "We are not bad people." Doesn't that "rubber" make you all warm and cozy? Aren't you sure that no harm was done by such fuzzy bullets? That's what GOV-SPEAK is for.

      Saying they shot "rubber bullets" does not answer three questions: WHY were they firing and WHAT did they seek to accomplish by firing and WHAT did they in fact accomplish by firing.

      When WE talk, we should avoid GOV-SPEAK code words. We should even avoid using the so-called "live ammunition" phrase, itself a weird GOV-SPEAK code for something (which might even embrace the worst sort of ammunition, dum-dum bullets) with the word "live" thrown in, I suppose, to suggest to the unknowing that being hit by one leaves you alive, and to suggest to the knowing, "A-ha, live ammunition, we -- the knowing folks -- know what THAT means, ho-ho-ho".

      I'd just say, "Soldiers shot bullets at people." Don't engage in GOV-SPEAK.

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