Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4098 (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

  • Corasanti unknowingly affirms criticism of 'The Almond Tree'
    • Jenin: Well said.

      I agree that more Americans are likely to read this popular book than an academic book by anyone, including Edward Said. If it informs them in a helpful way, then perhaps it is not so terrible that it might have been even more helpful.

      But I also agree with the criticism regarding the author not getting a few (not merely one) Palestinians to read the drafts. Imagine how our (USA) media might be improved if BLACK people, HISPANIC people, PALESTINIAN people, etc., were daily and honestly consulted by the editors of all MSM and NPR, etc. Unless writers are TRYING to hide social truths, they simply cannot rely on their own "takes" to describe the difficult realities of other peoples. Some people even get degrees in anthropology, in the study of which they lean how to know what are their own prejudices and what are more-or-less objective facts about other people. reporters are also supposed to be able to make this distinction. Always more-or-less, I daresay, in each case, but still the attempt should be made.

      When this author lived among Palestinians, as I assume, did she tell them she was studying them to write a book? Might that have changed what they told her, showed here?

      CONSULTING on a proposed text for publication (or earlier book proposal) is definitely the way to go.

  • America has changed in the face of Zionism's frozen grimace
    • Never misunderestimate the power of MONEY.
      AIPAC does not "represent" America's Jews and it doesn't matter if America's Jews love Israel or hate Israel. Or whether anybody else does the one or the other.

      What matters is how political money is spent. AIPAC spends it to support right-wing-Israel. And the USA's pols (black, white, purple -- doesn't matter) know what they've gotta do.

      You've gotta know the territory! And the territory is ruled by the oligarchy. And their names are BIG-BANKs, BIG-OIL, BIG-ZION, BIG-DEFENSE, etc.

      How it is. Maybe be different later. Hard to know who, in 2050, will manipulate the money that AIPAC manipulates in 2013.

  • Contribute to Mondoweiss end of the year fundraiser and receive copy of Max Blumenthal's 'Goliath'
  • Introducing Ms. Marvel (aka Kamala Khan): A superhero to counter Islamophobia?
  • 'New Republic' writer claims Jews have 'self-critical intellectual space' on Israel
    • Nice to be able confidently to align oneself with "everybody".

      Let me try it. "Everybody agrees that UNSC 242 calls for the restoration of the green line with small mutually agreed deviations." Oh, dear, everybody doesn't? My bad.

    • I get it!

      Let's have the Jewish Establishment suppress free speech of Jews but CLAIM that all opinions will be heard in any space managed by Jewish Establishment organizations, such as Hillel.

      Yeah, right!

  • Netanyahu's 'gift' to Pope: book on Catholic church's persecution of Jews
    • OK, I get it!

      The Pope is guilty, guilty, guilty for the persecution of Jews (never mind the Muslims) in Spain in 1492 and THEREFORE (never forget the THEREFORE) the Pope should watch his mouth and not decry Israel's persecution of Christians and Muslims in 1948-3000 (if things go according to Israeli plans and intentions).

  • Eric Alterman's 'I Hate Max Blumenthal' Handbook
    • And now, GOLIATH having been written and all, let us try to imagine the PLAN of the book that Alterman, Slater, and others are suggesting.

      Let's see:

      Chap 1: Why Israel was necessary (1900-1948)

      Chap 2: Why Israel is even more necessary (2013) now that Israelis are staying in USA and Iran and emigrating to Germany.

      Chap 3: Why land grabs, apartheid, discrimination, racism are excellent features of a country -- in Israel's case -- but never against Jews.

      Chap 4: Why saving Jews from oppression is no longer Israel's purpose, but oppressing Palestinians is.

      Chap 5: Why Israelis feel that they are victims of oppression, still, and therefore are not responsible for their own behavior, which is only natural underneath the circumstances -- I mean, wouldn't you do it too if you felt this way?

    • Israel used nasty "means" to achieve the "ends" of creating a super-majority Jewish state in 1948. It is still using (and maybe increasing) those nasty "means" -- this is the subject of GOLIATH.

      At the same time, the justification for creating Israel in the first place (creation of a place for Jews to go to escape oppression and persecution in Europe) is becoming null-and-void as Israelis are moving out of Israel to (of all places) Germany! And of course they are quite ready to remain in many other places without going to Israel: USA and Iran come to mind.

      BTW, the suggestion that anti-Zionism is actually antisemitism is a calculated strategy to support the false idea that Jews are still subject to oppression in Europe.

      And since Israel was created in 1948, it has not abandoned the "means" it adopted to form itself but continued with them so that we have apartheid within green-line Israel and also in the OPTs.

      It is as if the "means" (that created Israel in 1948) were inextricably woven into the fabric of the "ends" (creation of Israel) so that anyone seeking to know whether or not the "ends" justify the "means" must conclude that asking this question requires asking the question, do the "means" justify the "means". Circular. And they do not.

      I've written about all this here.

    • Alterman wrote nine times about Goliath? Well, well. A lot of free advertising (of a sort) from someone who admits that Goliath's facts are mostly true, seems to dislike the book anyway, and also dislikes its author and its defenders.

      I guess Alterman loves Israel (the sinner) though he hates the sin (racism, oppression, violating international law).

  • Corasanti responds to Abulhawa: My purpose in writing 'The Almond Tree' was to shine a light on Palestinian suffering and help bring about peace
    • Annie,

      Thanks for this report. One criticism of "GOLIATH" is that it is predicted that it will turn people off. Any book like "The Almond Tree" that is enjoyable and not outright misleading is to the good, especially if it engages people. No book is perfect unless perhaps it is perfectly awful.

      GOLIATH might be called the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ZIONIST RACISM, persuasive if you read it, but perhaps a turn-off for many potential readers (and REVIEWERS). Who wants to read an encyclopedia anyhow? (I did, but I'm in the "choir"). I loved GOLIATH.

      If young people get turned on to the I/P problem in a helpful way by "The Almond Tree", then all credit and thanks to Corasanti.

      On the other hand, various people suggest that much is wrong in "The Almond Tree", and as I have not read it yet, perhaps peopkle will read Vacy's comment below.

  • Why is a 'Nation' writer labeling Jerry Haber and Abdeen Jabara Palestinian 'cheerleaders'?
    • Alterman, to my mind, in effect, said this: 'Anyone who stands up for Palestinian national, human, civil, or property rights (that is, is in Alterman's view a cheer-leader) ill-serves the Palestinian people.'

      Well and those same people certainly ill-serve Israel (in Alterman's view, I dare say, I dare say).

      So I guess they should remain silent.

      Ludwig Wittgenstein is famous for writing (I think at the end of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus) "Wovon Mann nicht sprechen kann, daruber muss mann schweigen" // Whereof one cannot speak, thereof he must be silent.

      But Max Blumenthal was able to speak. Goliath is a magnificent speech.

      Alterman would wish to say that one cannot speak about Palestinian rights (or Israeli oppression of Palestinians). I think, rather, that he cannot (reasonably) speak about the impropriety of speaking Goliath's truths to power and wear the mantel of any but a totalitarian.

  • 'NYT' article on Palestinian refugees manages to quote Israeli govt spox but no Palestinians
    • Can it be that NYT ("newspaper of record", "all the news that fits we print") can have ignored an important story?

      Sadly, yes.

      150th Anniversary: 1851-2001; Turning Away From the Holocaust
      Published: November 14, 2001
      AND then there was failure: none greater than the staggering, staining failure of The New York Times to depict Hitler's methodical extermination of the Jews of Europe as a horror beyond all other horrors in World War II -- a Nazi war within the war crying out for illumination.

      The annihilation of six million Jews would not for many years become distinctively known as the Holocaust. But its essence became knowable fast enough, from ominous Nazi threats and undisputed eyewitness reports collected by American correspondents, agents and informants. Indeed, a large number of those reports appeared in The Times. But they were mostly buried inside its gray and stolid pages, never featured, analyzed or rendered truly comprehensible.

      So, possibly, Palestine-in-exile is in a form of good company. OTOH, some argue that NYT (and other Jewish-run papers) "hid" the holocuast on the theory that to point at it too vigorously would be bad for American Jews. That theory could also explain the stupid reporting that THIS article addresses.

  • Preaching to the choir: reflections on Max Blumenthal's 'Goliath'
    • Cliff: Right on. In a nut-shell. The problem (often) is writers who are willing to be long-winded in criticizing Zionism but not willing to use the descriptive words whicdh have crept into normal vocabulary due to the horror with which reasonable people regard the originals for those words.

      Zionists do not want people to describe their crimes, sure, but they far prefer long-winded descriptions (that few people will read) to short descriptions which analogize Israel to Nazi Germany or Apartheid South Africa.

      Chomsky is a very great man and we should all be thankful for his (continuing) contributions to the description of American F/P over the years, ditto for Finkelstein and Israel. But they both have differences from many of us and it is easy to suppose that those differences come from some residual fondness either for (perhaps some rather old and purely philosophical version of) Zionism or for "The Jewish People" or the like.

      People (Chomsky and others) are only human, and we should cut them some slack.

      Blumenthal too is only human and his choice for aggressive-unforgiving description of Israel-today (Zionism-in-practice-2013) suits me to a "T" but may not be as productive of a tsunami of anti-Zionist feeling as we'd all like -- if some of the criticism of "tone" and "tactics" are correct.

      However, even if the tone and tactics had been more forgiving, I cannot believe NYT would have reviewed a book containing THIS compilation of facts. Just saying.

    • Kraus: The defenders do, as you say, criticize of "tone" or "strategy" (almost as if they adopt your goals and are therefore sorry that you screwed up the "tone" or "strategy"). But, actually, they accept the facts (the better Zionists accept Goliath's facts, others probably wouldn't) but certainly are HAPPY that you screwed up -- and, just to be safe, make the claim that you screwed up in order to dissuade queezy-Zionist readers from ever looking at the book. (Another strategy, widely adopted, is to ignore the book so as to do an end-run around the queezy-Zionist readers altogether).

      Goliath is really unfair, from a Zionist POV, because it makes no allowance for the needs (the need to be oppressive, etc.) that are implicit and inescapable in Zionism.

    • Cliff: So right! Most critics of Israel are marginalized or ignored. Into the "memory hole" they go, as Orwell might have said.

      One thing strikes me as funny (in a way): Recall the widespread favorable reception in USA-MSM for Peters' "From time immemorial" -- most of the factual assertions of which were wrong or lies -- and compare it to the near universal ignoring of Goliath -- most of the factual assertions of which are correct.

      We don't need a Stalinist (governmental) censorship here in the USA -- we have a censorship imposed (quasi voluntarily) by economic powers which though not agreed on all points seem overwhelmingly agreed to protect Israel from factual attack (death by 1000 facts?).

    • JS: "Indeed, most of them [liberal Zionists in the USA] will never even hear about Goliath, let alone read it, because Blumenthal’s frequently confrontational or sardonic rhetoric has apparently resulted in a decision by the mainstream media to ignore the book."

      I agree that Goliath does not give an inch of slack to any liberal Zionist opinion which teaches that all is OK in Zion. It is not, it is awful, and Goliath says so. Goliath is not "nice". It is uncomfortable to read. Yes. Perhaps unnecessarily so, given its intended audience? Maybe.

      But I disagree strongly that Blumenthal's "confrontational or sardonic rhetoric" prevents it from being reviewed in USA's MSM. That is the same media that cannot bring itself to mention even one of the daily occurrences that Goliath reports. NPR is silent. NYT is silent.

      Goliath is not being reviewed for the wsame reason that the facts it reports are broadly unknown in the USA -- there is a long-established and well-enforced socialization of silence on Israel's blemishes operating in the USA, and not only among "liberal Jews", whereby people who do not have "iron rice bowls" (that is, people who must earn a living or maintain social relationships) know to keep their mouths shut as to the "warts and all" aspect of Israel's conquest and oppression of the Palestinian Arab people.

      NYT would no more review Goliath than give a lengthy description of the Nakba (1947-2013). According to Noam Chomsky, the NYT refused to mention Sadat's first peace proposal to Israel -- one which preceded the 1973 war and was better for Israel than the actual Camp David treaty -- not only at the time it was offered but even in a huge 2-page obituary for Sadat after he was assassinated.

      In 1971, three years into the War of Attrition in the Suez Canal zone, Sadat endorsed in a letter the peace proposals of UN negotiator Gunnar Jarring which seemed to lead to a full peace with Israel on the basis of Israel's withdrawal to its pre-war borders. This peace initiative failed as neither Israel nor the United States of America accepted the terms as discussed then.

      Neither did the NYT mention Sadat's endorsemant. (wiki/Anwar_Sadat.

      I recall in the 1960s that physics books out of the USSR always began (so I was told by physics grad students at MIT) with a confession of fealty yo Stalin's and Communism's excellences and a declaration that all the physics theories published in the books fully upheld Stalin et al. They had to write this stuff to get published, to get past the Stalinist censors.

      There is no way Blementhal could get past the USA's powerful Zionist censors.

    • JS: "It is beyond the purview of this review essay to go into detail, but at least at the level of motivation (consequences are a different matter), anyone describing Israel in terms of colonialism must also acknowledge that the driving force behind early Zionism was the felt urgent necessity (I would say, objective urgent necessity) to create a haven from murderous anti-Semitism. That must be distinguished from the obvious motives and complete lack of objective necessity that drove Western colonialism– power for its own sake".

      What Slater is saying is that we must consider "ends" rather than only considering "means". Israel's colonialism is not, he says, the same as other colonizers'. Perhaps so. But so what? Israelis who can are now moving tio Germany, to the USA, etc. This means that [1] they are free to go places, [2] they want to go places, [3] they do not regard the world as a dangerous place for Jews, [4] they prefer other places to Israel. Given this (admittedly small) exodus of Israeli-Jews from Israel, why are Israel's "ends" and "means" still unchanged -- or perhaps intensified?

      People often ask whether particular "ends" justify particular (illicit) "means".

      There is much evidence that the Zionist surge (1930s, especially 1945-48) well understood that the Palestinian Jews would need to grab a lot of land not already owned by them and expel a lot of people (Palestinian Arabs). They knew these things and planned for them. The need to do this was not a surprise to the leadership. It was part of their plan. they desired to create "a land without people" to fill with Jewish immigrants.

      So, the Zionist surge -- while it had "ends" in mind -- had "means" also clearly in mind.

      And the fact that today's Zionism continues to usurp land and to oppress (and even expatriate) Palestinian Arab people shows that the "means" were not EVER rejected, not EVER regarded as temporary. Israel has never said it is sorry. Israel has never offered to give any of the land seized back, to allow any of the expelled people back.

      Here's an analogy: a fellow wants to found an orphanage for poor children. But this would cost a lot of money, which he doesn't have. So his business plan -- from the outset -- is to rob the local bank, stealing the money and property of all the local people who deposited these things in the local bank.

      Is he to be regarded as a "philanthropist" (a lover of people) because he built an orphanage, or as a "criminal" because he stole the property of most of the people in the town and destroyed many of their lives thereby (enemy of people)?

      Slater's demand that we look at Zionism's "ends" (rather than only at its "means") is particularly hard for me to credit given that in the USA Israel and Zionism are so THOROUGHLY KNOWN as philanthropic and so very, very LITTLE KNOWN as criminal. "Goliath" sets out to provide a fact-book for establishing some of the "criminal" part of the means/ends dichotomy.

      How, one wonders, are Americans to learn the "means" part of Israel's "ends" and "means" if no-one publishes them?

  • 'What happened there was historic': A report from the American Studies Association boycott debate
    • Universities can do more than pass BDS resolutions. They can hold teach-ins (as happened during the VietNam War). They can convene conferences.

      Imagine that at each university in the USA there were, in 2014, a conference on Israel/Palestine, dealing with the illegalities of the occupation, with what the UNGA, UNSC, etc, can do, etc., convened by PROFESSORS or DEPARTMENTS or UNIVERSITIES or LAW SCHOOLS rather than by SJP students! That would be mainstream! That would stand the speak-no-evil AIPAC and the speak-no-evil Hillels on their heads.

      That is what this ASA meeting suggests to me. Let us hope that the recommendation of this meeting is accepted and confirmed at all higher levels within ASA. The Lobby will go all out to prevent this happening. The Lobby is weaker after "Iran". This is a good time to hand them another loss.

  • What Comes Next: The struggle we are fighting for is the right to assert what our life will look like
    • It is because finding a way to a solution is (now) so difficult that I believe the contextual states (USA, EU, Turkey, and others) should do what is in fact within their own power to do and "kick the can down the road" as far as a "solution" goes.

      What the nations can do -- as individuals if necessary but in coordinated fashion if possible -- is to define a satisfactorily subset of the requirements for legality for Israel's occupation(s) and then demand -- subject to sanctions for non-compliance -- that this subset (this legality) be achieved according to an announced and published Israeli plan and on a tight and well defined schedule. What would be required is a scheduled and uniform removal of all settlers, demolition of the wall and all the settlements, and immediate lifting the siege on Gaza. If Israel failed to produce the schedule or failed to comply with it, the sanctions would be put in place. Israel would presumably make a schedule for removals and demolitions which began as far as possible from Jerusalem and ended nearest Jerusalem. I explain why I would expect this below.

      This program is what the nations CAN do -- insist on legality of occupation, which amounts to saying that Israel cannot act like the owner of the Golan and West Bank and Gaza before there is a peace treaty.

      What the nations CANNOT do (as I see it) is define and impose a peace that will be just and lasting and fair to all concerned. That must be left to the people themselves, Israelis and Palestinians.

      My guess is that a strong enforcement of the demand for legality will move Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians with a view to completing the negotiations before the scheduled demolition (and settler removal) has been completed for the settlements nearest Jerusalem. And that is why I suggest a requirement (as UNSC 465/1980 did) of demolition of settlement buildings. Israel must see that as time goes by, the business of "going back" will either become impossible or vastly costly. Israel must have a powerful reason for desiring to make peace.

      Certainly, today they have no such reason.

      If even a few EU folks are beginning to see the necessity (or desirability) of contextual action (coercion on Israel from outside), then there is at least a chance that such a program would be discussed.

      It is high time, and very late, for the nations to step in to enforce international law. Let us hope they begin soon at least to discuss doing so. Sadly, th EU seem to be tempering or abandoning the "guidelines" they recently announced as to denial of EU money for settlements-related activities. That is motion, but in the wrong direction.

      Let's hope that the seriousness of the moment, together with the encouragement that the Iran negotiations may offer, will produce a sense both of possibility and of urgency.

  • Israel shouldn't rely on Obama's word, says chair of (US) Center for National Interest
    • TNI and AIG connected? Fascinating if true. what it would mean is that in the "oligarchy" which rules America, the BIGs are overlapping so that BIG-ZION (AIPAC and its allies) overlaps with BIG-BANKs, BIG-INSURANCE, etc.

      If true, it goes far to explain why no BIGs (not BIG-PHARMA, not BIG-AGRI, etc.) opposed the stupid wars (Iraq, Afghanistan) that bankrupted the USA and which served no purpose but to please BIG-DEFENSE and BIG-ZION.

      My theory of oligarchy is not complete, not coherent, and probably not true to a considerable extent, but I developed the idea from looking at what the no sufficient number of elements of big-money opposed as well as what elements of big-money called for and got. I'm sticking to my theory. There must be cross-over (interlocking directorates it used to be called) whereby one group of powerful CEOs play-along-to-get-along with other groups of CEOs. And many of them may, in effect, be members of BIG-ZION.

    • Well, the "national interest" has long been CALCULATED as an averaging of the desires of the ESTABLISHMENT, the OLIGARCHY (including BIG-ZION/AIPAC and allies).

      But since Obama is "bucking" AIPAC on Iran, I must suppose that TNI supports him. That means that this bozo is wrong to suggest otherwise. The TAIL no longer wags the DOG but no-one sent him the memo. (Or the meme).

  • ADL connection is suddenly a liability for a court nominee
    • It is well to view all this as ALSO pointing out to the American public that there **IS** "space between American and Israel" (contrary to Biden's constantly sung song) and "on Israel's security" too, although it is Israel than claims the Iran deal hurts Israel's security, and the USA which (I suppose) denies it or just doesn't care.

      Anyhow, what we are seeing (and what we need to be saying) is that there IS SPACE BETWEEN. The hitherto thought-to-be Siamese Twins are, in fact, unrelated.

  • The country that cried wolf
    • Darn it, it **IS** a bad deal -- from various non-USA perspectives. And it looks like (I hope it pressages) a dump-Israel attitude in Obama's white house.

      Now, the fact that various USA-MSM describe the Israeli (and Saudi) reactions (BTW, when is the last time they took note of any Saudi viewpoint since the oil-embargo of the 1970s?) is merely a lingering effect of BIG-ZION (follow the money) operating inside the American MSM. And trying to ope3rate within the american government (and many in Congress seem on board).

      Follow the money. This is Murika, and the gov'mint can be bought up VERY cheap!

  • Palestinians increasingly concerned Jordan may be given control of West Bank in future deal
    • Walid: Glad you mentioned water. Israel's whole (long-continuing) land-grab has been argued as religious, and may seem so to the true-believers, but the Ben Gurion-istas will recognize it as a desperate quest for water (early Zionists wanted their boundary to encompass Lebanon's Litani river).

      If Jordan is broke (and why not? Most countries are broke, and Jordan has little water), then why would it take on new responsibilities and augment a somewhat fractious Palestinian population -- at the moment that those Palestinians are being permanently and finally dispossessed by Israel?

      Follow the money.

  • American Task Force on Palestine finds funding from anti-Palestinian billionaire and a repressive monarchy
    • So, assuming that ATFP was ever pro-Palestine, it must be supposed, now, that it has been co-opted, corrupted, etc. BIG-ZION (AIPAC and allies) strikes again. Sort of like taking over the Hillels. Sort of like bribing Brandeis University to drop Al-Quds Univ.

      We should really keep (and PUBLISH) an up-to-date list!

  • Sydney Pollack, gunrunner
    • RoHa: You ask a good question here. "Robert DeNiro says he knew of Milchan’s activities, and understood. He was fighting for his country." America? And all the people, like DeNiro, who knew and didn't speak up? What of them? Perhaps I've misunderstood.

  • Israel supporters target New America Foundation for upcoming event with Max Blumenthal
    • Adam: " What are they saving for when Goliath comes out in paperback?!"
      Love it! Brilliant piece.

      Isn't it a kick when the protectors of Israel decide that describing Israel's warts (as GOLIATH does) may properly be described as a call to destroy Israel (and therefore, need I say, is VERY BAD) whereas describing Israel as the best thing since sliced bread -- the normal fudge in the USA -- amounts to giving Israel continuing permission to destroy Palestine (and therefore, need I say, not bad in the eyes of the Zionist stalwarts).

      Hope this event does take place and is well attended.

  • Rightwingers say Geneva deal is... Munich
    • Just: The Israelis don't have to accept responsibility for what they have themselves done -- at least not as long as the nations can be restrained (by all the AIPACs, etc.) from acknowledging these facts. If the MSM in USA, EU refuse to print the truth about Israel, then (in an Orwellian sense) it is NOT true. So why worry?

      What GOLIATH does is blatantly state some inconvenient truths about Israel (truths that Alterman at the Nation has told us are, from a factual standpoint, mostly true) and what we need is for a lot of people who matter to read GOLIATH and start talking about it -- and mentioning its unpleasant truths so that the VERY ACT of mentioning these truths becomes mainstream and "liberal" or "progressive", tending thereby to take some of the "EP" out of "PEP" if you will.

      Why, by 2020 Terry Gross -- if still alive and broadcasting -- may even admit some of this stuff. Maybe the NYT as well. who knows?

    • Keep these quotes together. Collect all the Munich analogies.

      And then collect all the Hitler/Nazi analogies.

      And then ask why it is said to be impermissible to use such analogies w.r.t. Israel.

      Double loyalties are one thing, but double standards are quite another. Or do I have it backwards?

      BTW, refresh my memory: wasn't Germany (and not France, England, etc.) in those days the preeminent military power in Europe? And, today, aren't (ahem) USA, Russia, EU the preeminent military powers (and not Iran)? Just asking. Might be germane to the Munich analogy.

  • 'Hill' says Iran deal could alienate Democrats' 'pillar'-- 'big Jewish donors'
    • Be nice if, generally, large donors to Dems (who contribute one imagines because they wish to support some sort of progressive values) CONTINUE to support Dems, and especially Obama (though what is HE collecting money for -- is he running for something?) EVEN AFTER IRAN DEAL.

      However, if they don't (or make clwear that they will not in future) -- Obama becomes outcast and therefore allowed to do as he will without fear of further "punishment". I look forward to his UN Ambassador introducing a pull-down-the-settlement-and-wall resolution-with-teeth (in that case) (or in ANY case, for there are three more years).

  • Klug on Kristallnacht: Opponents in Israel/Palestine debate are locked in an 'acrimonious circle'
    • Thanks for this, Phil. Makes it pretty clear that anybody who seeks to characterize "Jews" is confusing Jews with "Jews" (the ones of the characterization). And that is proposed as a definition of antisemitism. Confusion and group characterization.

      That, to me, extends to the idea that you cannot without antisemitism characterize anything "Jewish". Is a bagel "Jewish"? Is hummus "Jewish"?

      Is Israel "Jewish"? (And this is not the same as the similar question, "Is the Pope Catholic"?)

  • Why do US media insist that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Gulf states oppose Iran deal?
    • Walid: thanks for "Saudia".

      QUOTE: "#Saudi welcomes P5+1 nuclear agrmt w/Iran as primary step towards comprehensive solution to Iranian nuclear program & a ME free of all WMD".

      My take is that Saudia opposed the deal until it became a "done deal" and the USA told them to get with the program. Of course, the USA cannot persuade Israel of anything (except to gracelessly and thanklessly accept our largess, etc.). So whatever the initial opposition, the remaining opposition now seems to be Israel/AIPAC.

      And the USA MSM is just a bit behind the times -- and of course defensive on Israel's behalf. And, you know, the "fact" that Saudia and others also oppose the deal may make its way -- via the circuitous channels of media-land -- into FACT.

      As to Saudia's statement about "a ME free of all WMD", what fun to think the Iran deal is a kick-off to removal of Israel's nukes.

      Yes, Saudia and Israel are indeed fast friends!

  • Et tu, Bill?
    • ToivoS: He's not a diplomat "representing" the USA or anything else, not even NYC. He's a tourist being given a red-carpet treatment. Hence no American flag necessary. But the absence noted.

    • piotr: I guess I am behind these very interesting times. I never imagined a "suitcase bomb". OTOH I have long supposed that Israel moved a (bigger) bomb into NYC (where I live) during the days that cargo ships were not being checked for bombs. The bomb that I imagine was then placed on a rooftop (perhaps among the A/C equipment) where it was ready to be used as a bomb and was -- in fact -- already used as blackmail. Raymondo seems to think this has happened in fact rather than in my fantasy -- or that it could happen later.

      Oh, well, with AIPAC possibly on the decline, maybe Israel needs a more realistic threat.

  • Israel approves 829 new settlement units near Jerusalem
    • The Palestinians are a poor, brown people, so how can it matter to the "civilized" nations of the world that Israel violates I/L daily for 46 years with its settlements? Perhaps it could, but, clearly. it doesn't. Perhaps neither "poor" nor "brown" matter here. Perhaps nations just think that the hard work of enforcing I/L is not worth doing, in any case. I mean, why bother? I don't think the EU countries (unless it be UK) even have strong AIPACs to contend with -- altho they may have the USA to contend with. But still, why bother when you can just makes ethical noises in UNGA every year and feel that you've done your duty.

  • Goldberg's 'willingness to accuse everyone of anti-semitism makes it impossible to respect [him]'
    • Krauss: "He reads tweets by so many journalists. Remember his tussle some time ago when the Times’ Cairo correspondant wrote that the Israeli view of the Arab spring was “ugly”? Goldberg rushed to the defence of Israel and essentially harped until Fitzpatrick walked back his (relevant) criticism. Why? Fear. He knows that if Goldberg wants to, he can marshal a lot of journalists to his cause."

      It sounds as if there is a great colony of very scared (or scarable) people out there who are not personally committed to Zionism but fear, fear, and fear to be criticised for breaking with the crowd-mob. And who are ready at the drop of a hat to
      "be marshaled" into criticising others. I suppose the same of Congress (and the man I thought was the most committed Zionist of them all, NY Sen. Schumer, has been said to have no feeling whatever for Israel but a lot of feeling for money).

      It may be as simple as wanting to eat your salad with the right fork at a fancy dinner: people want to be "with the crowd". So there's your social enforcement.

      Too bad no-one with prominence will point to it and declare that it's stupid -- and that it's time for it to be over. It's nice to hear that people like Goldberg are losing the battle, but couldn't we somehow speed it up?

    • There used to be a joke, ' "Shut up", he explained.'

      Zionists have taken it to heart. You a chicken? You don't want to be accused of antisemitism? Ohhhh! "Shut up, then".

      It's a perfect explanation. After all, as to Zionism, there really is nothing (positive) to be said.

    • Multifaceted is even WORSE than two-faced: it is Multi-faced. I love the idea that un-spell-checked "finger-O"s can lead us to the joys of multiFACED and multiTALONed. too true in this case. poor RUDOREN. I hope she reads all our (ever so cleaver) trashing.

    • WT: You think NYT should let Wieseltier (one of the ancient stalwarts of Zionism in America) review GOLIATH? What a hatchet job that'd be! If not, then, I hear you asking, why did NYT let him loose on ANY Israel-related topic, on Shavit's book? Answer: He's a stalwart, aged MOSS on the WALL of American Zionism.

    • Phil, If you are not a Jew (or not in Jewish Tent), it is because [1] you are willing to challenge Israel and AIPAC and the Israel Firsters and [2] the precious few (or few precious) Jews who say things like "you are not in the Jewish tent" give themselves permission to say that about anybody who (from their precious viewpoint) breaks ranks.

      Don't Hillel groups nationwide cast certain topics "out of the tent" (even if they allow that the Jews who propose those topics are "still in the tent, sorta, kinda)?

      Follow the money! This is politics! There are people who don't think that they "have respect" unless they can (use their money to) prevent democratic discussion on topics they don't like.

      But consider yourself lucky -- he says you are outside the Jewish tent and thereby (ho ho ho) protects you from those antisemites who only attack people who live in tents.

  • (Updated) Senator Chuck Schumer promises more Iran sanctions, vows to 'defeat' Arab world and Palestinians
    • Obama has lots of troubles. No-one ever told him (how) to hire qualified computer professionals to roll-out Obamacare. So -- trouble #1.

      Now he has the usual suspects (Israel Firsters) out to scuttle his deal with Iran. If he gets scuttled, that's #2.

      (However, Larry Derfner at +972 tells us that Israel's intelligence folks like the deal:

      But there are some other extremely powerful Israelis who don’t think the agreement is so bad, and who certainly prefer it to the no-agreement that Bibi and AIPAC were driving toward – and these Israelis make up the country’s military-intelligence establishment.

      So things may not be so bad as all that.)

      If Obama goes in the can, he becomes liberated. He still rules the State department and his ambassador at the UNSC. He could abandon all pretence to be the leaders of the Dems and, instead, start doing statesman stuff -- and I'd like him to start by forcing a roll-back of the settlements. He cannot do that if he is "leader of the Democratic Party" or any sort of fund-raiser. Leave that to others, leave it to Israel Firsters, and make for world peace instead. (Always remembering what happened to JFK and watching his back, of course.)

  • The story behind the deal: Israel kept out of the loop as secret US/Iran meetings took place in Oman
    • A "neat" part is that Biden's own security advisor (or whatever) was part of all this while Biden was assuring AIPAC that there was no distance between USA's and Israel's F/P interests.


      Be interesting to see how the assurances of "no distance" are phrased now, after this diplomacy with Iran.

      It would be a fine opportunity for some serious people not merely to SAY that there are differences, but to elaborate on what some of those differences are.

      For instance, Israel finds value in its settlement program and the USA finds danger there. Time to SAY that and to elaborate the danger, make it "real". And then time to explain to the American "street" why we fail to oppose an Israeli practice that is a danger to us.

  • Israeli soldier discusses killing Palestinian children on Ukrainian game show
    • But wait a minute, here. Are we supposed to believe that Israelis (or, if you like, Jews) are not "crafty" but stupid? Or ordinary? With all that "make the desert bloom" stuff and all the (actually) advanced weapons in IDF armorys?

      Or, as usual, is it always antisemitic to say anything (praise, blame, characterizing, suggesting a characterization, suggesting the suggestion of a characterization, of [1] Jews, [2] some Jews, [3] Israelis, [4] some Israelis, [5] you get the idea?

      Or rather, (well, duh!) is it always a good time for a protector of Israel to suggest antisemitism when the rhetorical need arises, whether the victim of the suggestion was noisy or silent, whatever the topic (well, maybe the topic has to involve Jews or Israelis somehow)?

    • Ever stood in a park and seen parents playing "catch" with 3-4 year old kids? The kids throw very badly. Molotov cocktails? I don't think so. OK, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe those I saw were 1-3 year old kids. And maybe she was wrong. Maybe the ones she shot were 5-10 y.o.

      Seems an argument for killing kids with an easy conscience.

      Of course, we might also ask what sort of occasion it was when there were armed crowds of Palestinians WITH KIDS in the presence of armed (natch) Israeli soldiers shooting at them. Memo: check if the Palestinians were in fact armed.

  • Netanyahu: Israel is 'by itself,' 'not bound by this agreement'
    • By number of wars started, Israel is most dangerous in world (after the USA, of course, hem-hem).

      The gov-USA has never prized human rights (except rhetorically), so it had no duty (from a H/R perspective) to seek justice for Palestine -- and in fact never did so.

      However, the gov-USA has its own interests and getting Arab (and other) concern for Palestine off its back may justify creating some separation from Israel.

      Biden will never admit that there is any air between USA and Israel. Ditto Hillary I suppose.

      But it is one thing for USA to create separation from Israel and another for it to breach decades of practice by REALLY criticising settlements. Of course I'd like nothing better than a USA-led movement to roll-back the settlements and eject the settlers, remove the wall, end the blockade of Gaza, stop the stealing of water, etc.

  • Real estate, racism, and righteousness -- a grim visit to Israel
    • A restatement or alternate view: Originally, Zionism had several "ends" (beneficial at least to Jews) and the taking of Palestine and ejection of the people (taking the geography without the demography, in Afif Safieh's formulation) were merely "means". But over time the need to achieve the original "ends" disappeared and were swallowed up by the need to achieve the "means" -- the "means" had become the "ends". Now safety and rescue are merely talking points, not realities, both having been achieved long ago, but the continuous stealing of land and ejection of Palestinian people are the important, the dramatic, "ends".

      And if originally the "means" were so awful that they required (in anyone's mind) to be justified by the (original) "ends", and (in anyone's mind) were in fact so justified, then such justification no longer works. Today, the "means" and the "ends" are one and the same, and unjustifiable -- except by the familiar slogans from time immemorial (but contrary to the dream of the Charter of the UN): "to the winner go the spoils" and "winner take all" and "How many divisions has the Pope" (or nowadays, "How many nukes have the PLO?").

      And we may ask: shall the children of Zion be exonerated for the sins of their fathers -- because they are children -- or shall they be judged because the crime is on-going and they are taking their places in the ranks? Who should own the stone houses of the Palestinians? And who should own the land (small and large) on which such houses stand?

    • dbroncos: I agree. see my comment above:
      link to

    • Erasmus: You hit an important nail on the head. I hope Phil is listening (or reading). He thinks Zionism is more than a land-grab, but about religion too. Others, seeking a way to avoid seeing thye horrible reality (at least as seen from a Palestinian viewpoint) wished to see "safety [for Jews]", "never again [to Jews]" -- and remember that although early Jewish "aliyah" was religious in motivation, the main "aliyah" was by seculars of the Ben Gurion generation -- and thus couldn't "be" "religious" in motivation.

      My old (1980) model of COMPLAINT against Zionism (when Zionism advances its best excuses -- best as I see them) is this: A "fellow" robs a town's bank, stealing all the money of all the depositors, who are all the people of the town. He uses this money to build and operate an orphanage and in the orphanage he serves (saves) children from disasters that occurred far away, even as the children of the town suffer from the loss of all their parents' savings. Is this "fellow" a robber or a philanthropist?

      Today, noting that there was more money in the bank to be stolen and that the "fellow" continued to rob the bank for 65 years, without ever ceasing to rob, but did stop receiving new orphans, I had to reluctantly conclude that either the "fellow" had never been a philanthropist or had, over the years, abandoned philanthropy and gone whole-hog over to robbery as a life's work.

      The French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in his 1840 book What is Property? once said that property is theft. The theory of "old money" is that the theft is forgotten if the theft occurred long ago. A good question arises, then: when does continuous theft become property? And when does continuous crime wipe out any and all good intentions -- if any -- of the criminals?

    • Israel "manages" the problem of Palestine -- or manages to ignore what it wants to ignore.

      USA and much of the world do the same.

      USA and much of the world (the rich world, the capital-dominated world, perhaps China as well, a new capitalist even if a communist-capitalist state) "manage" (or "manage to ignore") the horror being brought upon us all by CLIMATE CHANGE, much as many ignored the early indications of the Holocaust. Think of all the stories of European Jews who might have "got out in time" but failed to do so. Of course, they couldn't believe that their lives would be wiped out if they failed to act. So they were passive and failed to act. Elected not to act. When there was time to salvage, if not everything,, then at least their lives.

      The USA is not passive but actively belligerent toward CLIMATE CHANGE and also toward Palestine (but not toward Israel). Well, most likely, the problem of Palestine will at most inconvenience a few Jews and all Palestinians, and why should the capital-dominated USA care about that? Both are small peoples. Ignoring climate change may soon show what dangers lurk in the failure to act when action is called for.

      In my book, the moral price to be paid by USA for each, climate change and Palestine, is immense.

  • The wisdom of Ari Shavit
    • Shavit: "The Geneva mind-set resembles a Munich mind-set: It would create the illusion of peace-in-our-time while paving the way to a nuclear-Iran-in-our-time.”"

      Well, well, always pleasant to compare people to Hitler (provided, however, that the person doing the comparison must ALWAYS be a hardline-Israel promoter".

      But he seems to forget that "Munich" was a deal done in the context of a supremely powerful re-armed and belligerent Germany. Whereas the Iran case is one of a supremely powerful America (and its allies) punishing a weak and already weakened -- but still for all that peaceful -- Iran.

      The message of "Munich" is "don't deal with the3 very strong" whereas the message of Shavit and Israel is "don't deal with people that we don't want you to deal with." Quite different.

  • Boston Globe reporter defends absence of Bedouin and Palestinians from article on water in the Negev
    • Nancy Murray has supported Palestinian rights since the 1980s. Glad to see she is still active.

      I imagine that water-supply in I/P is roughly a zero-sum game: If Israel takes it, Palestinians (somewhere) must thereby lose it. It may be true that you can "make" water via energy-expensive desalination from sea water, but the mere possibility does not mean that anyone is doing it. It certainly does not mean that Israel is making water (at high expense in energy) and then giving it to Palestinians. Giving? Where is such "giving" written? Maybe selling. It wouldn't surprise me if Israel was stealing surface and ground water from Palestinians and then selling them water -- maybe the same water just stolen !! -- even from desalination.

      The very idea that Israel would permit and encourage the growing of water-hungry trees, or cotton, or various other crops in a land chronically short of water is per se appalling. But that they would do so when Palestinians are so desperate for water is criminal.

      And add to that Israel's "management" of water in the West Bank -- destroying Palestinian water tanks, destroying Palestinian wells, limiting the depth of Palestinian wells while not limiting the depth of Israeli wells ("water apartheid") -- all are part of the poisonous oppression by which Israel seeks to depopulate Palestine.

      And the USA supports all this. When asked, they say they oppose some of it. But there is precious little evidence of even lip-service to such American opposition to Israeli oppression of Palestinians. Makes one ashamed to be an American.

  • In Avnery's 'Battle of the Titans,' will anyone bet that the dog wags the tail?
    • Henry and Dan: My take is that the USA's "Establishment" (the narrow group among whom/which alone democratic policy making on an issue takes place in the event that any of them care about the issue) decides to go with ANY (even any SINGLE) "BIG" -- as I call the oligarchs -- unless there is dissent among them.

      In the event of dissent among the oligarchs, some sort of balancing occurs (democracy of a sort among the oligarchs). As to issues which none of them care about -- abortion, gun control perhaps -- democracy shifts outward from the oligarchy to The People.

      On this structural view, AIPAC and its allies (BIG-ZION) are enough to determine the USA's I/P policy (and to support Israel's occupation, settlements, anti-human rights out the wazoo) because there is no dissent. Corporations have no brief for international law, human rights, etc. Why should they? Where is the profit in that?

      I also believe that some BIGs (perhaps BIG-BANKs) are controlled within the oligarchy by CEOs who are also (at heart or by behavior) members of BIG-ZION. Hence the Senate's Banking Committee as the locus for recent anti-Iran moves.

      Obama's seeming refusal to go to war with Iran strongly suggests that there is dissent within the oligarchy, with BIG-ZION supporting war and some other entity or group of entities opposing war. It's all rather opaque so we can see the result but not the process. But since the USA continues to support the occupation, etc., it seems that the dissent within the oligarchy is limited to the issue of war with Iran.

      BTW, I suspect that Chomsky would accept something like my "oligarchy" theory of American governance. And I think we can ALL lament that no-one important in the USA is pushing strongly for action on Climate Change -- an issue far more important to far more people than our dear issue of Israel or Palestine.

      I'd be happy to hear other views.

  • In 'naked attack on free speech,' Harvard Hillel bars Avraham Burg
    • Brandeis, then Harvard. Presumably for the same reason: funding -- or as it might be called a determination not to rile the moneyed old guard. Years ago it was Vanessa Redgrave, a famous actress, being hired -- but then fired -- by the Boston Symphony, due to funding concerns,

      The universities and Hillels and Symphony Orchestras (and "public" radio stations and NPR and so much more) should stand up on their legs and say NO NO NO to funders who seek to control their programs. If everyone said NO to this sort of tyranny the big-money folks would have nowhere else to spend their money and, if they desired to see their names on a building, would have to grit their teeth and give to organizations which promoted free discussion.

      But just as the Congress is "owned" by AIPAC, so too the universities are perfectly ready to allow themselves to be "owned" as well.

      I don't expect to hear many rabbis speaking out against this decision from Harvard Hillel.

  • David Cameron and liberal Zionist groups try to shore up support for Iran deal
    • BTW, MJR echoes this post, (seeming to intend to nail Sen. Kirk), saying that the pro-Israel vote includes Christian Evangelicals but the pro-Israel money is all Jewish.

      And it’s not like there would be anyone to take their place on this issue. The only interest opposing an Iran deal it is the lobby and its euphemistic cutout, the neocons. The Christian right opposes it too but, unlike Team AIPAC, it does not give campaign contributions based on this issue and it has zero influence among Democrats. On matters related to Israel, only the lobby matters.

    • Sen. Mark Kirk: "AIPAC wanted this legislation written because it has such a potential for bipartisan support in the senate banking committee”—one of Kirk’s assignments."

      I've often wondered how America's oligarchy actually works -- oligarchy, "The Establishment", which I call The BIGs (BIG-BANKS, BIG-OIL, BIG-DEFENCE, BIG-PHARMA, BIG-HEALTH-INSURANCE, BIG-ZION, etc.). In particular, I've wondered if there are cross-relations between them. Why, I might wonder, would BIG-BANKs support BIG-ZION?

      Could it be that the CEOs of the BIG-BANK membership are also members of the BIG-ZION group? And use the BANKs' money to support hardline-Israeli causes? Or is there a reason why pro-Zionist senators might flock to the Banking Committee?

      (One wouldn't think Sen Kirk would wish to lend support to old antisemitic canards about Jews and banking, but isn't Sen Kirk just about doing it?)

  • Israel to build security fence in the heart of the West Bank
    • Sounds disgusting. Pure evil, undisguised. Discrimination and ill-treatment of people for the sake of discrimination and ill-treatment, and nothing more.

      The gloves are off. Israel is openly flouting the good opinion of "the world". When is "the world" going to respond?

      This (as described above) makes no pretence to be done for the safety or security of anybody, nor yet for military necessity. Purely and blatantly illegal. Tell it to your rabbi if you have one. this must be denounced, and so must the rest.

  • Did the U.S. undermine democracy in the Maldives because it wants to set up military bases there?
  • 'The new Zionism': Nefesh B'Nefesh urges young American Jews to leave 'exile' for the Negev
    • Israel buys political support from Congress, and buys new immigrants (from the USA, in this case) with offers of benefits.

      To live (in this case) in the Negev where they will -- not so virtuously -- replace the Bedu who have lived there since time immemorial.

      Israel's slogan: "Long live the Nakba, long may it continue." (tm) © ®

  • Buckeyes take their stand for Palestine
  • American Jews are 'endangered,' says Ari Shavit
    • What do we mean when we speak of "Jewish Culture"?

      The thing that I don't get, that does not come through for me from what we-need-to-save-the-Jewish-culture folks say is -- what, precisely, is the CONTENT of this "Jewish Culture" which they are at such pains to declare the need to save?

      Is it a definite item? Is it a changeable thing? Has it changed in America over the years? Is it different in orthodox societies than in reform or conservative societies (to say nothing of secular Jewish societies)?

      Is it a memory of Yiddish? Russian-Polish-German cooking? And if it is these things (or MUST HAVE these things), is it in fact preserved in Israel? Or has Israel collected the Jewish bodies but destroyed the Jewish Culture -- replacing Yiddish with Hebrew and replacing Russian-Polish-German cooking with Hummus and felafel (those quintessentially Israeli Jewish foods, as Chow Mein is or was a quintessentially American food)?

    • " But it raises a simple question for American Jews: Do you feel unsafe here?"

      Well, that is not quite the right question.

      The right question is: "Can you imagine (sometime) feeling unsafe in the USA but then (thereafter) feeling safe in Israel?"

      Because, if Jews become unsafe in the USA, then The Lobby will become ineffective and American support for Israel will be gone and then Israel will be far more endangered than (if at all) it is today.

      BTW, I think I hear the guys in the conversation above decrying the settlements (and maybe also the occupation) and (almost) asking for them to end -- arguing that ending them would be the ethical thing to do which would be a good thing to do not because it is ethical but because it would tend to make Israel more acceptable to young American Jews (who, oddly enough, still have ethical bones in their bodies).

  • Friedman says lobby's power to stymie Obama on major foreign policy opening stems from 'Jewish votes and donations'
    • Obama could just distance himself from electoral concerns. Let the Dems and Reps toe the Israeli/AIPAC line, as they do have electoral concerns.

      Of course, as someone wisely said, PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARIES are an invention to keep ex-presidents "in line" -- the darn things cost a lot of money. and then there are the speaking engagements.

      Now you'd think that if Obama cut the ties that bind and went on a solo path on foreign policy (say refusing to use the UNSC veto for Israel any more), that as an ex-president, later, he'd get lots of remunerative speaking engagements from all those "realists" and "antisemites" who, each for his own reasons, wants to stop following the Israeli line.

      Maybe there aren't enough of them. Or maybe he still has a legislative agenda -- like fixing Obamacare.

  • The Mondoweiss Guide to Accessorizing for Israel
    • Love it. So funny.

      Maybe protesters should wear this stuff outside AIPAC offices (etc.) to do a take off on the smaller (more "tasteful" !?) emblems of USA/Israel co-operation co-optation.

      BTW, is wearing a two-flags emblem (USA and Israel flags) a statement of dual-loyalty? Just asking.

  • Beinart demands equality for the Cheney sisters, but is 'willing to compromise' equality of Palestinian Israelis
    • Beinart: "I’m not even asking it to allow full, equal citizenship to Arab Israelis, since that would require Israel no longer being a Jewish state."

      A lot of people say stuff like this. But what do they mean by it? Do they in fact mean anything by it, other than magically to substitute these words for another set of words: "I do not wish to tick off the Jewish citizens of Israel and my Zionist friends in the USA"?

      Could they conceivably mean that a "Jewish State" necessarily denies equality to non-Jewish citizens? Necessarily? Non-Jews MUST HAVE poor garbage collection, bad roads, less electricity, and NO BUILDING PERMITS, or else (GASP!) Israel will no longer be "Jewish". Not "be" "Jewish". Do they really mean that to be "Jewish" a state must, necessarily, discriminate, deny equal civil rights and human rights to non-majority folks? this is "necessary"?


      I guess this formulation is a stop-gap for the day -- may it come soon! -- when non-Jews in Israel constitute such a large voting block that Israel (forget about OPTs and Golan) must decide between discriminatory-democracy and out-and-out-apartheid.

      One question for Beinart and others on Israeli "democracy": UNDER TODAY'S LAWS AND JUDICIAL OPINIONS, if a non-Jewish political party (call it a Palestinian political party) forms under a declared program of Zionism and fealty to Israel as a Jewish and Democratic state -- can the MKs of the party (assuming they have any) vote to repeal the Law of Jewish Return?

      Any lawyers out there?

  • Jews who protest settlements are 'mutants' who should have been aborted, says ZOA leader
    • Some creep calls opponents of settlements "mutants"? Well, one may suppose that people who say things like that are the result of in-breeding, not so much mutants as recrudescences, throw-backs to an earlier time, a time before the notion of "human rights" occasionally (at least) took precedence over "dreams of conquest".

      Imagine sitting in the USA, bags packed and El-Al ticket in reserve, imagining that when the time comes (if it comes) that it becomes dangerous to be his kind of Jew in the USA, that Israel would be a place of safety! (Masada anybody?)

  • Ari Shavit's Zionist revival is a hit in New York
    • At least, Shavit is saying it: Israel is brutal to Palestinians. Orthodox preeminence (as to marriage for example) is brutal. Zionism-as-practiced is a system that works fairly well if you admire (and if you are willing to allow to continue in perpetuity) brutality.

      Shavit says: I live in Israel, I'm stuck. You do not live here -- see the brutality. Help us, for w cannot help ourselves.

      Help us, for w cannot help ourselves. Amen.

    • "So we need a Jewish state not just because the gentiles want to murder us but because they want to marry us." (Terrific line!)

      That is, to be more correct, because we want to marry them.

      And because we want to escape the smothering prison of a not-so-old but nevertheless life-denying religion -- Zionism -- which sees its role as coercing our complicity in its on-going (and completely unnecessary) crimes (never mind its past crimes).

  • Winning the world and losing our (particular) soul
    • In the "race for survival", the "religion" that we need to "dump" is trust in Capitalism as a replacement for democracy.

      The problem is the out-sized growth of modern corporations (and the wealth of very wealthy individuals) as APPLIED to politics. Politics (and media) have become commodities, and, in effect, are "owned" by the BIGs (big banks, big oil, big defence, big agriculture, big pharma, big Zion, wealthy individuals like the Koch brothers, etc.) -- together the "oligarchy" or the "establishment". Will Rogers said, many years ago, that the USA had the "best Congress that money could buy" and he couldn't have imagined how far things would go.

      The Constitution is imperfect, to be sure, but in 1780s they couldn't have predicted the wealth of multinational corporations or the effect of big money on politics, but the Supreme Court, presumably (in effect) on the pay-rolls of the BIGs, has given us a series of decisions which in effect deliver government over -- lock, stock, and barrel -- to the corporations. "Original Intent" my off foot.

      If religion is involved, it is the "religious" belief in the beneficence of capitalist arrangements. Control of government by big corporations -- each with its steely eye on near-term the price of their own shares, on the near-term growth of its own bottom line, on a time-line of 1-year or 5-years at most for its own profits -- is not a rationally chosen mechanism for solving problems with a time-line of 100-years.

      And it was not chosen rationally. It is a form of modern piracy. But it is what we've got.

  • Another AIPAC man joins State Dep't negotiating team
    • J-Street is calling folks asking them to call their Congressperson asking said CP to vote for HR 365 (apparently recommending 2SS)..

      WELL! If Indyk and Makovsky are likely to push things the way bad-baby Bibi wants them, then what's the point **AND** is it good or bad (for I/P peace with justice etc.) to call your CP to vote for HR 365, or **NOT**.

      Any chance that (say in the next 50 years, or before climate change is believed in even by the whoever inherits the mantel from the Koch Bros.) a US CP will float a proposal (or merely say out loud) that USA should require Israel to roll-back the settlements, etc.?

  • Iran deal could result in 'nuclear suitcase' in US city in 10 years -- Naftali Bennett scares NY
    • I'd be very surprised if the USA (maybe NYC where I live) is not already "host" to an Israeli nuke. Israel has nukes and to spare, and it needs to wield power over the USA (and in fact seems to do so). There was a long period when the USA was not even making a pretence of checking cargoes arriving in our ports by ship. Easy as pie.

      Also, Israel delights to accuse others (usually Palestinians) to acts which Israel has already done. Thus, accusing Palestinians of planning to overrun Israel by use of "salami-tactics" which, as we know, is Israel's own favorite tactic for overrunning Palestine.

  • Aberrational Judaism
    • In today's news, Pope Francis has come out as anti-fracking. Maybe, of course. The Pope is a politician, whether he likes it or not.

      Assume it's true. Well, that's some progress. If he were strongly against the burning (and also perhaps against any other use) of fossil fuels, it'd be a stronger statement.

      This is religion coming head-to-head with the global economic juggernaut. Could be part of what Marc ellis is talking about.

      That said, I join "American" in discomfort with Ellis's conclusory statements about other religions and their adherents.

      My own view? The great religious teachers had very important and valuable messages for all humanity. Their early adherents understood their messages only somewhat -- which is one problem -- and created social organizations for the propagation of the messages (as understood or misunderstood) which led to power-politics in the societies and the "capture" of the teachings by those best at exercising the power (not best at understanding the messages).

      So all the religions got a lot wrong and some right -- I suppose. And there is a lot of room for religious people to move toward [1] truth, justice, and peace among men and [2] a much less destructive interaction between humankind and nature (with climate change as a most noticeable but far from only horrible consequence of human activity on earth).

  • Ari Shavit has a selective memory for war crimes, Khalidi says
    • The thousand cuts! Yes, in 1948 Israel tossed away the whole salami (or 85% of it) (the salami being the Palestinian residents of green-line Israel) but now slices the remaining salami very thin and tosses away these very thin slices on a daily basis. This time it's not so much the exile of people as the talking of land, and a little displacement of people and some torture and imprisonment and demolition of housing and killing.

      "Salami tactics". Death by 1000 cuts on the salami-slicing machine.

  • Israel and its apologists can no longer defend the country on its merits, instead they must try to suppress debate
    • Israel cannot "defend on the merits its apartheid policies toward Palestinians."
      How true. And in the unlikely case that the settlement program is not an instance of apartheid, it has the signal honor of being a violation of various elements of international law.

      Now I really wish someone would ask the President (or a WH spokesman),

      In regard to USA's policy on Iran, the USA has recently indicated that its national interest and Israel's (and Saudi Arabia's) do not coincide. As to Israel, this is rather a new occurrence. But, of course, the USA should conform its F/P to America's own national interest.

      From that point of view, can you explain: Although it has long been said that protecting Israel's security was in the American national interest, how is it in the American national interest for the USA to continue to fund Israel, support Israel militarily, and defend Israel in the UNSC in light of Israel's long continued and illegal settlements program? Does the USA hold that the settlements program protects Israel's security? And if so, why did we ask Israel to stop expanding them?

      In the same line of questions, how is it in the American national interest for the USA to merely ask that Israel refrain from building NEW settlements -- rather than requiring Israel to remove all settlers and the wall and all the settlements?

      And finally, assuming that Israel's settlements do not advance USA's F/P or the American national interest and are in fact harmful to them, why has the USA never acted (with the other nations, as it does on Iran) to require and force Israel to roll-back these illegal programs?

    • Usually, at this point, a group gets up a PETITION for us concerned citizens to petition the CUNY (or whoever) asking that they CONTINUE to support free debate and lectures ON ALL SIDES of the Israel/Arab/Palestine conflict. Let us know.

  • Kerry is smeared by Israel and its friends as 'pigheaded' adversary of Jewish state
    • Gotta love the idea that Israel calls the USA NOT an honest broker, The BLACK kettle is calling the pot WHITE? wouldn't Dennis Ross be surprised, after all he's done (as a dishonest broker) for Israel? But Dennis Ross is a practitioner of NewSpeak and knows the Israeli blow-hards are also speaking NewSpeak.

  • Another rabbi laments young American Jews' 'alienation' and 'anger' re the country they should love
    • Rabbi: "I love Israel anyway" (in spite of her faults). Fine for you, I guess. But why should it be universal?

      You also

      If someone is upset for a good and legitimate reason, it is worst [sic] than counterproductive to pretend that the person is wrong to be annoyed. Once the source of the ill-feeling is validated, it becomes possible to move on.

      And one way to "move on" as to Israel is to oppose its settlements, oppose its occupations (and alleged annexations), oppose its ever-blossoming racism, and finally (if you are so moved) oppose its existence even within the green line.

      Validating ill-feeling can lead to recognizing an evil for what it is, not necessarily to forgiving it.

  • 'Pro-Life? Pro-Israel?': Israeli anti-abortion organization reaches out for US support to fight demographic war in the Jewish state
    • Nor should it be construed as an affirmation of the propriety that all Israeli Jews will convert to Christianity in the event of a war involving Megiddo (or other indications of "End Time").

    • But, jeez Louise, isn't the Israeli formula (for women):

      Kinder, Küche, Kirche

      (so to speak, and of course rendered in flawless Yiddish, sorry, Hebrew). Das Vaterland needs those Jewish babies!!! In part, to be sure, to occupy all that newly acquired Lebensraum.

    • Maybe I am wrong -- the "demographic problem" is not about voting at all but about either the reality or the appearance (I don't know which) of a Jewish minority ruling, discriminating against, dominating, oppressing (take your choice) a non-Jewish majority.

      I mean, I really don't know how these people think (or feel)!

      Why get all touchy about the reality or the appearance of a Jewish minority ruling, discriminating against, dominating, oppressing (take your choice) a non-Jewish majority -- when you are not in the least touchy about its near-cousin, the reality or the appearance of a Jewish minority ruling, discriminating against, dominating, oppressing (take your choice) a non-Jewish possibly-non-majority.

      You see how confusing the "threat" "facing" Israeli-Jews of arising from "demography" turns out to be?

      Of course, as many have said, Israel always (from before the beginning) wanted "the geography" of Palestine without the "demography" of Palestine. so, from that perspecitive, the "threat" is the possibility that Israeli-Jews, having pushed themselves into a (relatively) huge territory, find they don't want to live among the people who live there, especially not if those people are a majority. See, it has nothing to do with voting at all, but just with a ghetto mentality -- Israeli-Jews want (on this view) to live inside a ghetto (from which non-Jews are substantially excluded).

      You can take the Jew out of the ghetto but you cannot take the desire to live in a ghetto out of the Jews?

      Or is the "demographic" "threat" "facing" Israeli-Jews something else entirely?

    • Isn't hasbara (P/R) wonderful? Full marks for this campaign.

      On the side of logic, however, one "strand" is very strange: how does Israel "face" a "demographic danger" when it openly discriminates against all non-Jews, and especially against the Palestinians living as refugees (1948, 1967) and/or living inside OPTs (many are in both groups)?

      Would Israel need to offer citizenship and the (unrestricted) vote to all these Palestinians in the event that they out-number Israeli-Jews? Nonsense! Indeed, some reports have it that the Palestinians who live today within Greater Israel already outnumber Israeli-Jews, and no harm done (that is to say, "so what?" from the perspective of Israeli-Jews "facing" a demographic problem). The Israeli-Jews greatly outnumber all non-Jews among the voting population of Greater Israel.

      Maybe the fearmongers think that a heavily Palestinian majority will somehow energize the international community of nations to "get on board" the BDS movement (which already has broad support among the citizens of those nations). How silly! Oh, well, some people will worry about anything!

      Why would the community of nations -- which has ignored international law and international human rights standards for 46 years begin to attend to these inconvenient subjects (nasty, nasty inconvenient subjects) just because the Palestinians have a few more kids than the Israeli-Jews?

      But the ads, all told, are really swell! If I were pro-life or pro-Israeli-Jew, I'd appreciate them at an emotional level rather than only at an ad-technical level.

      And this morning on NPR, there was a discussion of China relaxing its one-child rule which (discussion) omitted to wring its hands over the dangers of world overpopulation. So Palestine is not the only "forbidden topic" on NPR! And a few more Greater-Israeli-Jewish (or Greater-Israeli-Palestinian) babies will be less than a drop in the bucket compared to the first year's increase in Chinese births. From the international viewpoint that is. Perspective is everything.

      After all, it is precisely because perspective is everything (everything except reality, of course) that the great international corporations which rule the USA (via the oligarchy of corporate CEOs) have prevented action to oppose global warming: their perspective is short term profits, not long term life on earth! Cheerio!

      And I love kids! So, what, me worry? The ad is good!

  • Senators and Kerry battle over who's on the phone to Israel
    • I join the Congress when it says (from whose mouth the actual words came doesn't matter) "I believe in Israel". Now that's significant, in my case, because I no longer believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, etc. Of course, I don't believe anything Israeli politicians say. And I wouldn't think of supporting Israel. But it is a good deal more "real" in some important than, say, the American Congress.

  • 'NYT''s Dershowitz reviewer lately participated in 'celebrate' Israel mission
    • Well, OK, maybe she can also review "Goliath" for NYT. Objectively, of course, and squeezing out tears of frustration that Israel is being presented in such a harsh light. Or, NYT could get Joan Peters, author of "From Time Immemorial" to do a review. Or The Dersh (tm). A fine writer as he himself blushingly admits.

      Or NYT could let Rashid Khalidi or another Palestinian intellectual do a review, so that when a FOI reviews The Dersh (tm)'s book, it is right and fitting that a FOP review "Goliath".

      But -- faced with such a richness of choices -- we expect NYT to decline to review the book at all, or ever mention it, to the end of time.

  • Ben White brings 'apartheid' talk to Brooklyn College dep't (which hasn't hosted Dershowitz in 39 years)
    • Blaine -- Thank yo very much for the quote.

      I join you in wishing that there were more muscle, more energy, more OUTRAGE in the pro-Palestine movement. We see, we feel, we know the occupation (begun, as some see it, in 1948) as OUTRAGEOUS but we often mumble our protest. I suppose this comes from the general discomfort people experience in making ANY protest about a dominant national policy. Also the discomfort we feel about getting too close to expressions of antisemitism (as we are often accused of doing).

      So, yes, in my view, it would be better if we were (on the whole) MORE OUTSPOKEN and more OUTRAGED.

      I hope many will read what you have written and by moved by it in that manner. Those who criticize you for knocking the demonstrators shown above (second picture) also have a point -- let us encourage each other, not knock each other. We need all the allies we can find.

    • Israel: "The Jewish State"? "The State Which Borders Jordan and Egypt and Lebanon and Syria (and Palestine)"? "The Apartheid State"?

      At least the last two are accurate. At least, I believe there is no other state well known as an apartheid state. Maybe Israel is only (oh, the disgrace!) "An Apartheid State".

      The first is a hope for some folks, a fear for others (Palestinians, for example), and a falsehood for others (simply because it ignores 20% of its own population).

      Is America a "Hispanic State"?

  • Blumenthal's book draws ire of a one-time Kahane-supporter (and Dershowitz)
    • PM: I love it! " I think the Israelis probably have a pretty good intelligence service. "
      What is the CIA, "chopped liver"? Does Kirk (who's Kirk?) think the Constitution was daft when it left F/P to the President? What shall we make of years-and-years of being told that the President knows more about [whatever] than other people know, so shut up and leave the President to deal with [whatever].

      And, just curious Mr. Kirk, have intelligence services never lied, even ones which are "pretty good"?

      PM: Hope all is well with you in from-time-to-time snowy, wet, dry, fiery Colorado.

  • Crossing Qalandia checkpoint, day after day after day
  • Ruebner says boycott is essential because 'we’d be mad to leave this to politicians'
    • Let's hear it for Columbus, Ohio. As for "Peace comes from justice; justice depends on equal rights for all, enforced by international law", while I agree, I would also emphasize a different formulation: Peace comes from Justice, and Justice comes from Truth, so the obligation of all decent people is to seek "Truth, Justice, and Peace, and in that order".

      Reubner's book, his talk, and this website all serve the goal of disseminating Truth.

  • Richard Cohen's racist ABC's: Arab culture, biracial children, Chirlane McCray's sexuality
    • When I was young (1950s), Jewish kids (in San Francisco) seemed to be the smartest kids and also did best at classical music. Or perhaps I thought so because of the company I kept. More recently, and not only in San Francisco, the smartest kids seemed to be those of Asian immigrants.

      My guess is that children in families if STRIVERS who work hard (and especially if exposed to reading at an early age) do well. My parents' parents were Jewish immigrants and I would assume were strivers. Nowadays, symphony orchestras (and UC Berkeley) are showing a huge tendency toward Asians.

      The newer immigrants.

    • American: The (presumed) fact that social conservatives hold tight to various prejudices does NOT mean that they all practice what (many of them) preach. think of all those congressmen who preach "family values" (which seems to mean (often violent) "male dominance within the family" and a need for a "great leader" (or at least a "decider" such as Bush-shrub) but get caught with mistresses etc. On the other hand, deviation would usually be done in secret. Hmmm.

    • HB: "Europe made them the gift of Enlightment, freeing them from the yoke of religion".

      Indeed. Great point.

      I bet Freud and Marx would agree! And the composer Mendelssohn. And the European invention of "nationalism" came just in time for Herzl. All these 3 were, I believe, not religious.

      You thought that, maybe, Jews invented banking? No sir. Not even that.

    • " To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all." Well, perhaops that's true.

      But, then, the first question: Why does he care? Why is he writing to "cultural conservatives"? And, second, does he share their values?

      And the third question: why does he put ANY of this in a newspaper?

      I'm not sure the columnist should be fired. Maybe it's the editor or the owner of the paper.

      We'll see how the paper owns up or hides on this one.

  • New Israeli film profiles the soldiers who carried out the Nakba
    • The Israeli-Jewish fear of being expelled is interesting. Think it's called "projection".

      Psychological projection was conceptualized by Sigmund Freud in the 1890s as a defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or persons in the outside world.[1] For example, a person who is rude may accuse other people of being rude.

      There are so many mirrors in I/P.

      Israeli-Jews accuse Palestinians of thinking about doing what the Israeli-Jews are in fact doing.

      The Israeli-Jews accuse the Palestinians of wishing (or planning) to expel them (into the sea) and then methodically (and without seeing any harm in it) expelling the Palestinians. The Israeli-Jews accuse the Palestinians of planning "salami-tactics" (first the West Bank adn Gaza, next the Galilee, etc.) and then apply "salami-tactics in the gradually slicing settlement project. The Israeli-Jews complain of Palestinians teaching hate, but apparently they teach hate (and fear) at very age level, especially preparatory to the army. (The landlord is a good Arab, not the sort you fear.)

      The propaganda pictures of Jews (in Germany, 1930s) are detested by Israeli-Jews, but the propaganda pictures of Arabs (and the manner of speaking about Palestinians and other Arabs: "cockroaches in a bottle") seem to mirror what the Israeli-Jews claim to hate.

      Be comforting to suppose there was a peaceful way out of this mess.

  • George Bush set to speak to Christian End-Times group that calls for conversion of Jews
    • When there are no more Jews (or no more Jews in Israel), will there remain an argument for a Jewish-and-democratic Israel? Well, YES: the Endt-Timers will see that as a wonderful outcome, and continue to ignore the forced removal of most of the native Christians of the Holy Land at the hands of these newly-converted-from-Judaism Christians.

  • Liberal Zionism ends with a pinch
    • The "compromised ideal" says that the guy who stole all the money in the bank to found an orphanage for disadvantaged kids is (on the whole) a philanthropist rather than a criminal. He is, really, both.

      But when he shows by his behavior that he continues to rob banks -- apparently without limit, and using maximum viciousness in the doing -- many people are going to stop valuing the philanthropy so highly and consider the criminality a bit more.

    • W Jones. Not bad, but consider that whereas Palestinian nationalism is reactive to the threat (1930s til now) of loss of the well-defined homeland, Israeli nationalism began and continues as a get-what-you-can without a well-defined national homeland. Thus, some Israeli Jews believe/feel/wish that Israel == Mandatory Palestine, others believe/feel/wish that Israel == Mandate-plus-Jordan, others Israel == whatever the most expansive Biblical definition was.

      No Israeli Jew believes that Israel == ONLY ancient Judah or ONLY ancient Israel. (These are too small).

      Some Israeli Jews would accept Israel == Green-Line Israel.

      NOW: What would make the existing Israeli government STOP expanding and actually retreat back to green-line (or beyond)? Not Israeli morality, for sure, because just look -- it may exist for all I know but it doesn't persuade in that direction. Big international pressure could obviously do it. But that has not manifested itself. Not yet. Only hope.

      So Palestinians must wait and encourage international pressure on Israel. My guess? It'll be a long wait, but as Israel gets more and more hubristic territorially (and more racist and fascistic internally), the bubble will burst, international pressure will descend, and the purpose and goal of the application of that pressure may well EXCEED a roll-back of Israel to green-line. WHY NOT? By that time the world's people and governments will be well and properly outraged (as some of us are already). If International pressure EVER manifests itself, it may be more like the Philippines Typhoon than like a Sunday afternoon breeze.

  • Why Israel wanted Arafat dead
    • Excellent analysis. Israel has long been comforted by a world viewing Palestinians as terrorists, and Hamas has been branded as a terrorist organization. The Fatah/Hamas split was thus useful to Israel. Was it also necessary? Not in my view.

      My take? Nothing the Palestinians do -- whether armed struggle using the means so far apparently available to them (but if drones can be defeated, what next?) or economy-building (and how much of this is entwined with political and diplomatic corruption?) or ?? state-building ?? on the postage-stamp-sized territory to which they have been limited -- can avail them; what alone can "work" is outside intervention, and that depends on Palestinians and their friends educating the people of the world and encouraging them to put pressure on their own national governments to act to enforce international law.

      Without countervailing pressure from some direction, Israel will persevere, quite contentedly, on its policy of expanding to Judaize all (or very nearly all) of Mandatory Palestine. That direction cannot be from inside powerless Palestine, as 46 years of occupation have shown.

  • Gwen Ifill, USA Today question Israel's influence in US politics-- even as David Gregory beats Netanyahu's drum
    • Warner and Ifill. I don't know who they are, but they BOTH broke the rules of political correctness (AIPAC's rules). Good to hear it. It could have been more pointed, perhaps, and perhaps it will be another time -- if they both survive the fall out.

  • Israel plans 'unprecedented' settlement expansion, 20,000 new units in the West Bank
    • Israel consistently acts as if it either "owns" the OPTs or has an irrevocable option to purchase (price unspecified) those lands. In fact not only does it have neither, but I/L says (independently, and for different reasons) that [1] the settlements are illegal (because the land was taken for an improper purpose) and [2] the settlers are present within the OPTs illegally (because moved there by intention of the occupying state, violating I/L).

      This latest settlement expansion plan is SOOOOOO blatant that it reminds me of a teenager who "acts out" in order to force his parents, who have set limits, to enforce them. Well, Obama and Kerry and France and Germany and UK, where's the enforcement? I/L already sets the limits. ICJ and UNSC 465 have said so. when will you act like responsible adults (if not exactly parents) of bad-baby Israel?

  • Netanyahu's greatest fear: Linkage
    • The end of the S/R? Wouldn't that be nice! Tell Congress about it when you have a chance. And tell AIPAC to turn out the light when the last AIPAC lobbyist leaves. (So to speak.)

      But if you are looking for a signal, how would this be as a short speech from Kerry:

      Israel has been building settlements on West Bank land since 1967 much as if it owned the property or at least held an option to purchase. In fact it does not own the West Bank, or East Jerusalem, and has no option on it. This'll come as a surprise to the settlers (other than the lawyers among them who know international law). soon, it will be time for the USA to insist that the settlers move out and even that the settlements come down. Think about it. Iran is not Israel's biggest problem -- its foolish settlement policy is.

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