Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 172 (since 2010-03-19 07:43:58)

I read this blog daily. When, rarely, I find something that I haven't seen on Mondoweiss or allied blogs, I write about it on my own blog on Middle East affairs, called "The situation is very bad."


Showing comments 172 - 101

  • Your support today determines: How much truth?
    • Option A: To sustain Mondoweiss as is, with no increase in content or new channels to reach people, we must raise …….. $50,000

      Does this include bringing back the old content of the comments section?

  • Jewish entitlement, and Jewish populism
    • I think you are the one who is confused, because Phil has written about exactly the same thing, including in the post above. Is your objection to the specific words that Keith used?

      Over the years on this site you've proven yourself what a poor judge of antisemitism you are:
      link to

    • MRW, thank you for pointing this out and explaining so eloquently why this is a big deal. I don't read all the comments on this blog, so it's just by luck that I happened to see your post. Phil or one of the other moderators should really post something about this on the front page. Either that, or some statement below every blog post where comments have disappeared.

    • David Brooks’s son also served in the Israeli army.

      Yes, and let's not forget that it was at the Aspen Ideas Festival two years ago that Brooks revealed this. His interview had been public on YouTube for over 2 months before any of us found out about it:
      link to
      So it's good to see that Phil has learned the lesson that the AIF is worth monitoring. :-)

      It has always been my contention that honesty about the Jewish role in the establishment is not going to spark another Holocaust: because history doesn’t repeat itself, because people already know about that presence, and because Americans have a right to discuss the sociological character of elites, especially if those elites are influencing Middle East policy

      A common complaint I've heard about Alison Weir from Jewish pro-Palestinian activists (and I mean real pro-Palestinian activists: anti-Zionist, pro-BDS) is that she calls out who is Jewish among prominent members of American elites. The activists say that doing so is unfair, because Jewish elites are first and foremost members of the elite, not representative of Jews in general and not exercising their power on behalf of Jews in general, but on behalf of their own elite interests. The activists worry that when non-Jews find out that so many of these powerful people are Jewish, they will take out their resentment on all Jews -- a familiar pattern in history. Now this complaint about Weir didn't make it into JVP's announcement about why they won't work with her, because they know that if there ever is an argument about whether Jewish influence among elites in the United States is pernicious, if you have to tell your opponent that she's not allowed to point out exactly who is Jewish among American elites, then you've lost the argument. Anyone who's taken any kind of diversity training/indoctrination/education is familiar with the idea that when an institution is controlled by (say) men who are white, straight, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, and upper-class, that background will influence their decisions, even when they are trying to be as fair as possible. And so it is with other groups. Saying "their being Jewish doesn't influence their decision-making as much as their being elite does" makes as little sense as substituting "white men" for "Jewish".

  • Anti-Semitism is considered a serious moral failing. But no one calls out anti-Palestinian bigotry
    • Hophmi, when you use highfalutin language like "not supporting the Palestinian narrative", we take it that you are being deliberately obfuscatory. Was this intended to mean "denying the Nakba"? If not, then please explain the difference.

    • The word "Anti-Semitism" means the belief that Jews do not deserve to be treated as white people. This is how the word started being used in the 19th century, and it still means that today when someone is being accused of anti-Semitism. For some people, concern about anti-Semitism stems from concern about bigotry of all kinds. But for others, concern about anti-Semitism stems from concern about maintaining white privilege for Jews.

  • 'Forward' columnist and Emily's List leader relate 'gigantic,' 'shocking' role of Jewish Democratic donors
    • a rich account of the racist anti-Arab/anti-Muslim ideology that has formed the general Western “frame of reference” applied to the Middle East for literally centuries.

      Sibiriak, I am curious, since you are so well-informed about this stuff, is Western anti-Semitism related to this frame of reference? In other words, did European Jew-haters choose to call themselves "anti-Semites" as part of an overall tendency to try to connect Jews with Middle Eastern origins, origins that everyone already viewed as contemptible? Or maybe some of it was the other way round -- the Jews who live among us are contemptible, therefore people from the Middle East are contemptible? I'm not asking rhetorical questions here, just trying to understand the connection, if any, between Western anti-Semitism and general contempt for people from the Middle East.

  • 'NY Times' publishes op-ed writer's blatant falsehood about Palestinians without blinking an eye
    • This is a standard propaganda tactic: if your movement wants to spread outright lies that can easily be checked to be false (by any interpretation), then put them in the mouths of your most junior members. Their individual reputations won't be harmed, because they don't yet have any reputation to speak of. The worst thing that can happen is that this college sophomore gets older and becomes a grown-up spokesman for the movement, and gets asked about the falsehood he had published in his youth. At that stage, he can admit that he had written something that wasn't true, but then he'll ask for some slack because he was only a college sophomore at the time.

  • 'Israel will not have better friend in White House than Hillary' -- Clinton adviser assures NY
    • “If she’s elected president, she will immediately start by reaffirming America’s strong and enduring national interest in Israel’s security and the importance of the alliance. And then she’s going to take concrete steps – one would be to invite the Israeli Prime Minister to visit in her first month in office. Another would be to send a senior delegation from the Pentagon and the joint chief’s to Israel for consultations so we can get on the same page on the array of common security threats that we face. And then, you know, I think, she said at AIPAC is very focused on ensuring that we never allow Israel’s enemies to think that they can drive a wedge between us; that when we have differences, as any friends would have, we will work to resolve them quickly and respectfully.”

      Notice the dog that didn't bark here: a mutual defense treaty with Israel like those with NATO, Japan, South Korea, etc.

  • In NY, Sanders says settlements are illegal and Israel slaughtered 'innocents' in Gaza
  • El Al captain indoctrinates the passengers, but only in Hebrew
    • I've never flown El Al, but I have flown Air Canada a number of times, and on Air Canada, most announcements are in both of Canada's official languages. Do El Al flights have announcements in both of Israel's official languages?

  • 'New York Times' whitewashes poll showing Israeli support for expelling Palestinians
    • I'd like to see the results of a poll of Jews in the US that asks the same two questions about (a) whether Arabs should be expelled/transferred from Israel, and (b) whether Jews should have preferential treatment in Israel. Maybe James Zogby could ask his pollster brother to run it.

  • 'We wasted 40 years talking about nothing, doing nothing' -- Pappe demolishes peace process
    • I am one of the vast majority of American Jews that proudly supports the Jewish State of Israel.

      I find it surprising that you say that you are an American Jew, because just the day before, you had written: " I will vote for Hilary only if she vows to put Max Blumenthal in Gitmo on her first day in office." Isn't that the kind of statement that sends chills down the spines of American Jews and would make them want to have nothing to do with you?

  • Romney echoes neocons: Trump will lead U.S. 'into the abyss'
    • I will vote for Hilary only if she vows to put Max Blumenthal in Gitmo on her first day in office.

      Are you making fun of yourself? If not, could you elaborate on this?

  • Why I support a one state solution and still consider myself a Zionist
    • The people who run this blog live in the United States, as do most of its readers. I wish the author of this piece had made some comparisons between Israel and the U.S., where she herself grew up, because the shared reference would have helped her readers to understand just what she's talking about. For instance:

      But I can believe in a place that allows for semi-autonomy for the Jewish people, as long as the same system and rights are in place for the Palestinian people and other minorities living on this land.

      Is it the writer's intention that we should read that statement as being analogous to a white American saying, "I can believe in a place that allows for semi-autonomy for white Americans, as long as the same system and rights are in place for Native Americans and African-Americans and other minorities living on this land"?

      Or, looking in a different way at that same statement by the writer, does she see the U.S. as being "a place that allows for semi-autonomy for the Jewish people" as one of the "minorities living on this land"? Maybe she doesn't, or didn't, and so she gave up and moved to Israel? She shouldn't make her readers have to try to guess her answers to these questions.

  • Israeli settlers at a wedding party cheer burning of Palestinian baby
    • /Speaking of MEMRI, is there a site or organization dedicated to reviewing the Hebrew language/Zionist press to find nuggets like this so that they can be translated and distributed around the world? If there isn’t, there should be.

      Richard Silverstein does quite a bit of this on his blog, Tikun olam.

  • Karmah Elmusa rocks Elle Magazine
    • Ron Katz, a system architect at Cisco says he would “love to believe there are Arabs who can conduct a civilized conversation and not just talk with knives.” He should get out more!

      Or just look at his own employers. Cisco's new Vice President, Growth Initiatives and Chief of Staff to its CEO is an Arab. A Palestinian, no less.
      link to
      Needless to say, she's used to this kind of bigotry. And as Mr. Katz knows, nothing will happen to him as a result of posting it.

  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • See some common anti-Jewish stereotypes here: link to

      That Fact Sheet on the Elements of Anti-Semitic Discourse says prominently on top that it is written by Kenneth L. Marcus, President & General Counsel,
      The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
      , yet you make no disclaimer about its author, who is a fairly prominent anti-Palestinian activist:
      link to
      Why do you advise us to be wary of Alison Weir's writings because of concerns about her racism, but then recommend that we read something by Kenneth Marcus, without asking us to exercise similar caution?

      I did learn a few things from Marcus's fact sheet, such as how it's an anti-Semitic "aspersion" when "Israel is compared to the South Africa’s [sic] apartheid state."

    • Jennifer, thank you for looking at Weir's book to supply your own critique of it.

      As I have said before, we can select a few facts to support all number of racist and antisemitic views, so even if there have been some examples of illegal activity in some components of the lobby, that doesn’t mean that they are generalizable to the lobby as a whole.

      Someone who says "even if there have been some examples of illegal activity in some components of the lobby" is sending a strong message she is unaware of any examples of illegal activity in some components of the Israel lobby. The AIPAC espionage scandal? Continuing U.S. aid to Israel despite the fact that its nuclear weapons program makes this aid illegal? Plenty of weapons smuggling, from small arms in the 1940s to nuclear triggers in the 1980s?

      And I have a hard time wrapping my head around your idea that if some components of a lobby have engaged in illegal activity, we shouldn't generalize to say that "the lobby as a whole" has engaged in illegal activity. What is the lobby but its components put together? I don't even know why this hard-to-understand idea is even brought up, because the passage from Weir's book doesn't even say "the lobby as a whole" has engaged in illegal activity. Oh, and you are introducing this whole issue by saying, "we can select a few facts to support all number of racist and antisemitic views, so..." which I could understand if what followed "so" were some sort of racist and antisemitic ideas brought up by Weir, but none are actually presented. That makes it a non sequitur.

      Choosing to paint the lobby as “considerably more powerful and pervasive” than others and use terms like “secretive” and “hidden” has strong parallels to the language of antisemitic tropes found in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, one of Hitler’s favorite books for a reason.

      Tell that to Steve Rosen, former director of foreign policy at AIPAC, who according to Jeffrey Goldberg, liked to say, "A lobby is like a night flower: It thrives in the dark and dies in the sun."
      link to

      I do agree with you that the Israel Lobby is not entirely hidden. Probably most of it isn't hidden at all, and you cite prominent examples of its public face. What I would fault Weir for is the rather simplistic language. "The Israel Lobby is considerably more powerful and pervasive than other lobbies." Is it? How does one measure the strength of a lobby? Maybe she's right; there's an academic case to be made there, and it has to be made by applying similar criteria to the various lobbies. And then most of us are well aware that it's factually true that "Components of it, both individuals and groups, have worked underground, secretly and even illegally throughout its history", but on page 1 of a book, it's the kind of language that can turn a lot of people off if they haven't been shown first. So my issue isn't with racist or antisemitic interpretations, but with her lack of skillfulness in leading her readers along the path to greater enlightenment. But what doesn't work for me might work well for others.

      I don’t know her and have never met her in person. ...I have to wonder how many times she comes off sounding like she is espousing antisemitism in her public appearances? I am guessing that several examples like that may have made their way into the JVP “dossier” she references. How many times did JVP activists present at one of her talks have to sit through a few poorly worded statements? This is just speculation, of course, but if it was just once or twice, I don’t think JVP would have taken the action they did.

      If you've never seen her in person, then you're probably not the best person to present JVP's case against her.

    • Jennifer, thank you for responding. But you still talk about antisemitic persons rather than what you said this should be about, which is " expressions of antisemitism." Do people criticize Donald Trump for being an anti-Mexican person? No, they criticize him for what he said about Mexican immigrants.

    • Just to pile on about Jennifer Hitchcock's statement, her very first sentence reads:

      The recent decisions by Jewish Voice for Peace and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to end their association with Alison Weir and If Americans Knew has reignited a debate within segments of the Palestinian solidarity movement as to whether expressions of antisemitism and other forms of racism should be tolerated within the movement for Palestinian rights.

      This shows either disingenuousness or a lack of understanding of the situation. The debate that's been reignited by the Weir affair is about what qualifies as antisemitic or racist, and what kind and what degree of these qualities should be tolerated within the Palestinian rights movement. Hitchcock's summary above suggests that members of the movement agree that Weir and IAK have expressed antisemitism and possibly other of racism, and the debate is about what to do about it.

      And then here's the next paragraph:

      Even though both organizations tried to deal with Weir quietly and behind-the-scenes, she chose to publicize their actions, thus compelling both organizations to release statements explaining their decisions. Both organizations also carefully avoided labeling Weir herself as antisemitic.

      OK, these organizations have avoided labeling Weir as an antisemitic person, but the preceding paragraph, the introduction to this piece, said that the debate is not about antisemitic persons, but about expressions of antisemitism. Is there anything that Weir has said or written that these organizations have labeled as expressions of antisemitism? That is the question that is suggested in the first paragraph but is not actually answered here. Not answering an obvious question like that suggests that the writer has something to hide.

      Further down, Hitchock writes:

      In fact, much of her work is completely legitimate and useful,

      This is certainly more positive than JVP's letter and statement, which have nothing good to say about Weir's work, but it is still pro forma. How about naming something that you found useful? The last time I saw Weir, she gave a talk about Dorothy Thompson, a fascinating American from the mid-20th century, of whom I'd never heard before. Is Hitchcock suggesting that I should be suspicious of what I heard in that talk, given the source? That's a serious question. And a couple of people here are recommending Weir's book Against Our Better Judgment. Does Hitchcock have a problem with that book, or is it legitimate and useful?

      Hitchcock writes:

      While reading Weir’s defense of her position and counter-attack of JVP, one is struck by how much she focuses on herself and how little she focuses on the stated goals of Palestinian activists and leaders. White allies need to be willing to defer to the goals and desired strategies of the BNC and other Palestinian activists rather than focusing primarily on their own agendas and reputations. Palestinians don’t need white saviors.

      I am struck by how Hitchcock refers to herself as "one" rather than "I", but her accusation here does have some merit. Weir does not present herself as some kind of "white savior" of Palestinians, but it's true that she does have her own agenda, which is to make Americans aware of the great injustice that is being perpetrated by their own leaders using their resources. Does that mean she doesn't belong in a broader Palestinian-rights movement? Maybe it does, if such a movement wants to have a particular progressive brand, as is being suggested here. But nobody takes well to being thrown out of a movement when they do work that is good but isn't in keeping with the brand.

  • Democrats are 'uncomfortable' with Iran deal because Netanyahu is so 'influential in our country' -- Rep. Ellison
    • Ellison:

      Or if Israel hits them, Are we going to be dragged into backing up Israel once they come under attack, under our mutual defense pact?

      The United States has no mutual defense pact with Israel.

  • The 'bait & switch' politics of liberal Zionism
    • It’s true that in practice, Israel today is an ethnocracy that privileges Jews over all others in many aspects of life.

      You're not going to find disagreement with that here, but then you write:

      But it’s also true that you can buy great croissants and coffee in Tel Aviv during Passover, that most people are not religious, and that Israel is a multi-ethnic nation state, based on a Hebrew culture with 7 million native Hebrew speakers. There is also an Arab culture with 1.4 million Arabic speakers. As Bernard Avishai says, it’s a political place. It is not all one thing or another.

      I don't see how all that would appear to contradict or even add nuance to the first paragraph above. The Israeli government classifies people as either Jews or non-Jews. Those who are classified as Jews are privileged over those who are classified as non-Jews. It doesn't matter what kind or degree of religious observance they have, if any. You write about a "Hebrew culture" and an "Arab culture" and the languages they speak, but a lot of members of the "Hebrew culture" are actually native speakers of Arabic, not of Hebrew. You may be right that "most people are not religious", but it is certainly also true that most people want the country to remain an ethnocracy that privileges "Jews" (by some definition) over all others in many aspects of life.

    • This is pretty funny to see hophmi of all people suggesting that someone be "ignored, rather than being given a platform to go on about his antisemitic beliefs".

  • David Brooks says 'people from around the world' can serve in Israeli military
    • But hophmi, the question is, if you were David Brooks' editor and you knew the facts, would you ask him to change "allows people from around the world to serve in the Israeli military" to "allows Jews from around the world to serve in the Israeli military"? Defending "people" by saying "There’s nothing inaccurate about that statement whatsoever" looks as if you want to hide something from readers.

  • Obama hired Clinton as sec'y of state by reaching out to Israel supporter Hoenlein -- NYT
    • hophmi, you are misunderstanding the point of this post. This isn't Phil saying, "Hey, did you know that Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State just because Malcolm Hoenlein gave her a call? It's right here in the NYT, so it must be true." No, the point is that the NYT is saying this.

      Now tell us, hophmi, what do you think it says about the NYT that it is printing something that is false, and fits Mondoweiss' agenda? We have seen that you are not afraid to call out antisemitism when you see it; is this an example in the NYT?

  • 'Racist, fascist bullshit'-- Marcel Ophuls exposes Islamophobia in Israel
    • Since you're extending this sorting of people into categories, hophmi, and you post on this site to opine on Israeli policy, in which category do you fit? Israeli Jew? American Jew? Palestinian? Western leftist? Person living in Israel?

  • A defensive Netanyahu announces elections hours after firing opposition members Lapid and Livni
    • The headline is embarrassing to the site: "Netanyahu ... firing opposition members Lapid and Livni"? These were not members of the opposition, but members of other parties in the governing coalition, as the article itself says. The headline doesn't even make sense, because the prime minister doesn't have the power to "fire" opposition members.

      This article also says:

      During the 50-day war in Gaza Lieberman said his Yisrael Beiteinu party was splitting from the ruling bloc.

      The linked JPost article makes it clear that Yisrael Beiteinu was splitting from the Likud, but would remain in the governing coalition. So the next part of the article above doesn't make sense to me:

      The loss of the hard-right group was a damaging hit for Netanyahu as he remained the majority leader by only one vote. Similar to the British parliamentary system, if an Israeli Prime Minister’s cabinet does not represent a ruling majority in the Knesset, or there is a vote of no confidence, the government will dissolve ushering in new elections. In order to maintain his position after Lieberman left, Netanyahu needed the support of Lapid and Livni.

      Lieberman did not leave the government.

  • It's always been a holy war
    • seafoid writes:

      There was a bot in the Guardian when the 3 teenagers were kidnapped saying Jews couldn’t bear the news since it reminded them of Europe and wasn’t supposed to happen in Israel.

      And of course, it didn't happen in Israel, it happened in what the Government of Israel calls disputed territory whose future status is subject to negotiation.

    • ivri, if I read you correctly, you seem to be suggesting that when a colonial power takes over some territory and allows mass immigration of people from outside that territory without the locals' consent, then typically the locals accept the newcomers as fellow residents, instead of fighting against them. Where in the world, and when, has this happened?

  • UN commemorates Palestine's long journey
    • Walid writes:

      I don’t think it has to do with butt-kissing, oldgeezer, it’s mostly about his religious convictions, the second coming and so on, so he’s very sincere in his devotion of Israel.

      Yes but Harper also has religious convictions opposing legal abortion, but he's done nothing in that area. Can you really deny that there's a financial interest? Historically, some rich Jews have been major funders of the Liberal party, and Harper has been pretty open and active in trying to get them to switch to the Conservatives, with Gerry Schwartz as most prominent catch. Finally, consider that parliamentary inquiry into anti-Semitism in Canada that Harper set up a few years ago, when everyone knew there are other ethnic groups in Canada, such as blacks, who face more discrimination and victimization than Jews do, but have never had similar parliamentary inquiries about them. That wasn't specifically about "devotion to Israel" (although Israel certainly did come up); it was more transparently an appeal to Jewish voters (and funders).

  • 'I observe that you are a fascist' -- Zahalka to Feiglin
    • yonah, if you are correct and it was not at all common even for Arab Palestinians to call themselves "Palestinians" between 1948 and 1967, then what did they call themselves more commonly instead?

  • David Brooks's romance of community
    • But no one says anything about it coming out of Aspen.

      What happens at Aspen stays at Aspen……?

      Actually it seems that the video has been on YouTube ever since July 1. It appears to have been public since the very beginning, as evidenced by the presence of random people's comments that are 3-4 months old.

      I think the lesson here is that someone should have been following David Brooks's online presence the way Ali Abunimah did with Ethan Bronner. :-) Seriously, probably a lot of us on this site wish we had happened upon the video and had the scoop long before Haaretz.

  • ExxonMobil and Apartheid South Africa have 'no right to exist,' Gitlin says
    • When Ronald Reagan was president, he called the Soviet Union an "evil empire." Did he say it didn't have a "right to exist"? No, that wasn't part of the debate. Even the Soviet Union's leaders didn't say it had a "right to exist." In 1991, new leaders there decided to disband the Soviet Union. They didn't say it had no "right to exist", and their opponents who wanted to maintain the Soviet Union didn't defend their position by saying that it had a "right to exist". When I hear people speaking of "Israel's right to exist", I ask them whether or not the Soviet Union or Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia ever had a "right to exist", and when and whether those countries lost that right. I never get a coherent answer, and it becomes obvious that they've never thought of the general concept of a country's "right to exist"; they're just repeating a pro-Israel slogan because it tests well in focus groups.

  • Netanyahu at the United Nations: Hamas, Iran, ISIS and 100 cheering Israelis
    • According to the lunch menu linked by piotr, the only veal dish on the menu is this one:
      Rigatoni with Chicken & Veal Bolognese
      slow cooked, hearty veal and chicken ragu with white wine, tomato and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

      Definitely not kosher.

  • Hamas is ISIS for dummies
    • Hamas and ISIS it’s the same. They want to achieve their political goals on the backs of terror. They want to deny the state of Israel’s right to exist.

      When American politicians sound alarms about threats to the U.S. from a group like al-Qaeda, they say that the group aims to kill as many Americans as possible and eventually to take control of the country. But in Rep. Engel's rhetoric, killing Israelis and taking control of Israel are not as frightening as -- get this -- denying the state of Israel's right to exist!

      ISIS is based in Iraq. Does ISIS deny the state of Iraq's right to exist? There are plenty of other people who wield some amount of power in Iraq (especially in the Kurdish region) and some in the United States who deny the state of Iraq's right to exist.

  • Settler group demands segregated bus lines out of fear for security
  • Judaism's hijacking by Zionists drives 70% of secular Jews to marry non-Jews-- Koppman at Huffpo
    • "The synagogue is continually debased by regular prayers for the welfare and triumph of the occupying army, whose central mission has become subjugating Palestinians in perpetuity"

      I don't think this is quite correct, about what the occupying army understands its central mission to be. Its real central mission is to encourage Palestinians to leave Palestine, so that there won't be any more Palestinians there to subjugate. About half of the Palestinians are already living in involuntary exile outside of Palestine, thanks to the power of the IDF, and the Haganah before it. But Koppman's article doesn't say anything about ethnic cleansing.

  • Being Palestinian got me barred from visiting Palestine
    • fredvern, to say "you do not possess an automatic right to enter anywhere you choose" is missing the point. Amanda is a U.S. citizen, and these border guards are employees of the country that is the #1 recipient of U.S. foreign aid. Why do we pay the Israelis so much if they treat us this way when we try to visit an Israeli-occupied area, even if it's for the purpose of seeing where a grandparent used to live? And then the contrast with Israeli officials constantly promoting what they call "Birthright" trips to Israel for young Americans who are of Jewish ancestry but may or may not have any ancestors who lived in Israel. AND don't forget that the Israelis are pushing for an agreement with the U.S. for visa-free tourist travel (with much allowance for "security" exceptions for Americans entering Israel): what do you think of that, after reading Amanda's story?

  • The checkpoint is burning
    • JeffB writes:

      @Peter in SF

      The USA has no “agree to be assimilated” requirement for immigrants to have full equality.

      Of course it does. You just need to look at immigrant communities. When immigrants first get here they don’t know how many systems work ...

      I was responding to what you were saying about the laws and government policies:

      I think the people of Palestinian ancestry should have a legal opportunity for equality. I think part of getting that equality is agreeing to assimilation. There is no contradiction. They have to agree to be assimilated and Israel should offer full equality early in the process to those people being assimilated. Same thing the USA does with their immigrants.

      You also ignore the fact that Palestinian citizens of Israel go to different schools than their Jewish fellow citizens, and mostly live in separate towns and neighborhoods. The leaders of Israel like it that way.

      And of course the analogy is deeply flawed because Palestinians are not immigrants, they are the indigenous population.

      How does that flaw the analogy? The society of Israel isn’t theirs.

      It flaws the analogy because we're not talking about people who have moved somewhere else and should be expected to make some adaptation to the society living in the place where they've moved to.

      Extension of legal equality to Native Americans in the USA did not come about because they agreed to be assimilated.

      Yes it did. For 3 centuries they fought assimilation and there were the Indian wars. Once they agreed to the most basic aspects of assimilation, that the government of the United States would have the right to broadly allocate property the Indian wars stopped.

      First, I question the phrasing that the Indian wars ended because Native Americans "agreed" that the United States would have the "right" to allocate property. But second, you call that "the most basic aspects of assimilation"?

    • JeffB writes:

      I think the people of Palestinian ancestry should have a legal opportunity for equality. I think part of getting that equality is agreeing to assimilation. There is no contradiction. They have to agree to be assimilated and Israel should offer full equality early in the process to those people being assimilated. Same thing the USA does with their immigrants.

      The USA has no "agree to be assimilated" requirement for immigrants to have full equality. And of course the analogy is deeply flawed because Palestinians are not immigrants, they are the indigenous population. They didn't move to Israel; Israel moved to them. Extension of legal equality to Native Americans in the USA did not come about because they agreed to be assimilated. You're going to have to come up with some different examples to demonstrate your point. I honestly don't know what you might suggest: maybe, Tibetans should have a legal opportunity for equality in China and can get to that by assimilating to Chinese culture?

  • Our new look
    • and i was a little surprised today after reading one of our articles and having this bold print – that appeared to be the following paragraph. it didn’t take much time to figure out what is was, but a breathing space might be nice. especially for the writers who might not want it to appear as tho this was the last paragraph of their article.

      Yes, spaces between those headlines are essential, but why are they there anyway? There is no explanation, and they link to articles that are months old.

    • Yes, the old format was better with the chronological list of articles, newest on top, grouped by date. Now I look at the main page and don't know what was posted when. Is it possible to get a chronological list of all articles? And I don't know about other readers and commenters, but I never chose what to read based on the category keywords of "Israel/Palestine", "Activism", etc.

  • Salaita's hire set off fundraising alarm at U of Illinois, per emails to chancellor
    • Another said: “As a Jew, I do not feel comfortable knowing that the University of Illinois allows and supports this sort of behavior. I am currently an incoming senior, and while this is not the first time I have felt anti-Semitism at the University of Illinois, this is by far the most extreme and hurtful case.”

      Notice that this student tries to draw attention to an existing problem of anti-Semitism at Illinois, but doesn't go into any kind of detail except to say that it is by far less than these tweets from Salaita.

  • 'NYT' op-ed calls on Jews to abandon liberal Zionism and push for equal rights
    • Right now, David Samel's comment is still the #1 Readers' Pick and has been recommended 128 times. You have to go all the way down to the #11 Readers' Pick to find a pro-Zionist critique, by B. from Brooklyn, recommended by readers 38 times. I'm surprised that the Hasbara brigades can muster only 38 accounts on the website of America's newspaper of record, just to press a button, not even to copy talking points. How long can this last? All AIPAC has to do is ask each one of its employees to click on "Recommend" for the likes of B. from Brooklyn, and then B.'s comment will beat out David Samel's handily. Are the Hasbarists deliberately holding back?

  • Rabbi slams 'militarization' in St. Louis but when it comes to Gaza-- the press 'loves underdog and suffering'
    • Egypt cut off the militant Hamas and in their economic desperation they escalated the terror of missiles launched at Israel knowing that Israel would have to return the fire and cause the kinds of heartbreaking casualties in Gaza that turns public opinion and brings in money for aid.

      I haven't heard that theory before. Of course, there's no evidence for it, plenty of evidence against, and the more you think about it, the less sense it makes. Does she believe this herself, or expect that anyone else will believe it?

  • Israel's foundation in a 'terroristic campaign of expulsion, ethnic cleansing and murder' is the 'deep wound in that part of the world' -- Sullivan
    • You are compounding Harris’ error by using it yourself in your closing example and inadvertently tarnishing Islam in the process.

      Sorry about that, I was only trying to describe Sam Harris's way of thinking, and not assuming that his thinking is based on real understanding of facts.

    • Also note that when Sullivan talks about the "Likud charter" calling for a Jewish state from the river to the sea, he links to an article in Mondoweiss. :)

    • Speaking of rabbit holes, I was astounded that in the original article Sullivan mentioned and linked to some info. on the USS Liberty. He immediately qualified it with “If true,…” but he did say it, which is amazing.

      It was Harris, not Sullivan, who first brought up the Liberty in the conversation, which makes it even more surprising.

      Harris says that "If true, this was an outrageous crime." So this was no way to treat Americans. What about when Israel built nuclear weapons, breaking Ben-Gurion's promise to JFK? All he says about that is:

      Do you lose any sleep over the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons?

      JFK did.

    • Not even the Israel defenders here in the MW comments section would say this:

      Harris: The Israelis have successfully minimized the consequences of Palestinian terrorism – building the Wall, for instance, and creating the Bantustans you object to – and now you are holding this very success against them as an unconscionable act of provocation.

      Oh, and then this part, from Harris:

      The people with whom the Israelis must negotiate, even the best of them – even Yasser Arafat after he won his Nobel Peace Prize – often talk a double game and maintain their anti-Semitism and religious triumphalism behind closed doors. They’ll say one thing in English, and then they’ll say another in Arabic to their constituencies. And the things they say in Arabic are often terrifying. In fact, there is a doctrine of deception within Islam called taqiyya, wherein lying to infidels has been decreed a perfectly ethical way of achieving one’s goals. This poses real problems for any negotiation. How can Israel trust anyone’s stated intentions?

      Well, who broke the cease-fire last month? How can one anyone trust Israel's stated intentions? Ah, but there's the difference: when Israelis say one thing in English and another in Hebrew, and when they lie to gentiles, they're doing it for rational reasons, not religious ones, so in Sam Harris's book, that's OK.

  • The Walzer Problem
    • Thank you for posting this. I had seen Walzer's TNR article and knew he had many of his facts wrong, because they contradicted other sources I'd read, so it is helpful to see it debunked in detail.

      About this part:

      Sometimes Hamas has continued to stress its commitment to the “right of return” of all Palestinian refugees to Israel, perhaps the most difficult obstacle to a permanent settlement—but at other times it downplays the problem and generally indicates, like Abbas, that in the context of an overall settlement it will accept a symbolic resolution of the issue.

      Is it a good thing or a bad thing if an organization that claims to fight for the rights of Palestinians is willing to concede what is considered to be one of their basic human rights by the likes of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch?

  • Claim that Hamas killed 3 teens is turning out to be the WMD of Gaza onslaught
    • As far as public information is concerned, this is not Rosenfeld going against the official line, it's Donnison saying that Rosenfeld is going against the official line. Does Donnison have a recording of Rosenfeld saying these things? If not, expect Rosenfeld to deny it.

  • Berkeley rabbi mounts a soapbox in my living room
    • Rabbit Creditor was a guest on a talk show this morning on the local NPR affiliate:
      link to
      When a caller asked about the siege of Gaza, he said there is no siege -- because Israel supplies tons of food for the residents of Gaza.
      He also said that it isn't true that Israel has engaged in "expulsions." So he is a Nakba denier.

    • Merely the facts: Country A is sending rockets into Country B causing Country B to scurry into shelters and send airplanes and kill hundreds in Country A.

      If you are trying to state facts, then "Country A" is inaccurate. You mean "Territory under military occupation of Country B."

  • 'Survival and well-being of the Jewish state' is a national security interest of U.S., Indyk says
    • Well, for those of us living in the real world, Israel lies in a strategic region, and is the only stable state in that region. Thus, it is far more reliable than any other state in the region, and it’s in the US interest to protect it and see that it remains stable.

      Those in the cult will probably not understand this basic political analysis.

      According to your basic political analysis, it's in the US interest to protect the Islamic Republic of Iran and see that it remains stable (rather than do the opposite).

    • Why would this ‘security interest’ exist? Presidential opinions don’t really prove its existence, since they could have been motivated by domestic political concerns.

      People who make this kind of "argument" are appealing to Americans who like to think of themselves as "moderate". Just show how we've always supported Israel, and then the rest of the argument doesn't need to be stated because it's understood: if we've always done this, it must have been the right thing to do, and we should continue it, no point rethinking it. It's the same kind of rhetoric that was used against Chas Freeman: the neocons complained that he had said things that went against long-standing US positions. They didn't even try to justify those positions, but just figured that this kind of line would turn enough "moderate" Americans against him.

    • That someone wants to deny Jews the rights afforded to all other people is much more frightening

      Someone wants to deny Jews the rights afforded to all other people in the US? Or someone wants to deny Jews the rights afforded to all other people in Israel? Or in some other country? This is a drive-by one-liner that doesn't even help readers to know what you mean.

  • What Comes Next: Five Palestine futures
    • Richard Falk writes:

      the Hamas Charter calls for the total removal of the entire Jewish presence from historic Palestine

      Is it really correct to say this? True, the charter does say some nasty things about Jews, but it also includes this:

      Article Thirty-One: The Members of Other Religions The Hamas is a Humane Movement
      Hamas is a humane movement, which cares for human rights and is committed to the tolerance inherent in Islam as regards attitudes towards other religions. It is only hostile to those who are hostile towards it, or stand in its way in order to disturb its moves or to frustrate its efforts. Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security.

      link to

    • I've heard about this proposal before and I'm deeply skeptical of it -- are we talking about two militaries, too? how are we going to start with those "nondiscriminatory land laws agreed to between the states" when Israel is so segregated to begin with? -- but when it is summarized this way:

      Each state would govern its own population on personal and cultural matters, such as marriage, but on matters concerning the shared territory, decisions would be made jointly.

      that's an awfully small sphere that each state would govern. Marriage is not a good example, because that problem has already been solved in the way that this proposal suggests: as most of us know, the state of Israel delegates marriage to the religious establishment of each community.

  • Reform Jews offer no proposal to end occupation, says Jewish Voice for Peace
    • Peter Beinart has this story:

      After the talk, a woman asked Obama to sign his autograph for her two sons. While he wrote, she began sounding out their names: “Meyer, M-E-Y-E-R,” she spelled, and “Heschel, H- . . .” Obama interrupted her. “Like Abraham?” he asked.

      link to

  • 'About 60,000 Americans were murdered' by Palestinians in Israel, says Shmuley Boteach
    • meaning that Israeli lives are quantifiably 41.6 times as valuable as their American counterparts.

      Yes, even the most charitable reading suggests that when he says "the equivalent of 60,000 Americans", he is assuming that one Israeli is "the equivalent of" 41.6 Americans.

      One way that this math makes sense is that Israel is 80% Jewish and the United States is 2% Jewish, so a random sample of Americans has to be about 40 times larger than a random sample of Israelis in order for the lives in the two samples to have equivalent moral value. You can apply this calculation to other countries to work out similar equivalences.

  • Right-wing news outlets attack U. Mich's divestment drive
    • DaBakr says:

      We all know the conflict is boiling down to one huge PR campaign by both sides with major funding on BOTH sides and major exaggerations on both sides.

      What exaggerations on the pro-BDS side are you thinking of? And what evidence or rumors of evidence do you have of "major funding" on the pro-BDS side?

      As for the photo? Its ridiculous. He’s a kid. But its no more ridiculous then posting a video of another drunk-ass Jewish American kid spouting of his drunken bigoted ideas in a TA street.

      That would be actual bigotry. This is self-mockery. Not parallel examples.

  • 'NYT Book Review' owes readers an apology for printing blatant racism about Palestinians
    • by word and deed, Palestinian Arabs have avowed as their goal the killing of all Jews.

      I think it is important to understand where this is coming from. If you asked the letter writer how he knows this, no doubt he'd point to the fact that the Palestinian Arabs (the ones in the occupied territories) freely voted for Hamas in their most recent election, and he'd echo what people like Michael Oren have been saying:

      “The [Hamas] charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the destruction of the Jewish people worldwide ... It's a genocidal charter. It's not just in writing; Hamas acts on it.”

      link to

      Where does the Hamas charter call for destruction of the Jewish people worldwide? The document is here:
      link to
      It does refer to "Our struggle against the Jews" and "the fight with the warmongering Jews", but the part that is claimed to call for killing of all Jews worldwide is in Article 7:

      "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).

      Of course, Michael Oren et al. don't quote the part of Article 31 that says:

      Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions - Islam, Christianity and Judaism - to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Past and present history are the best witness to that.

  • At MLA, boycott opponents paper chairs

      These sound like slogans devised by some PR agency that thinks it knows how to ingratiate itself with the MLA. Maybe someone can show evidence to prove me wrong, but I suspect that MLA members themselves don't talk like this to other MLA members when they have internal debates over contentious issues.

  • DC Jewish Comm'y Center to stage panel on 1948 history -- without Palestinians
    • The title of this series, Embracing Democracy, is curious.
      link to

      Join the Washington DCJCC in a community-wide conversation with leading experts exploring the relationship between the American Jewish community and Israel, its history and its politics. Through panels, literary, film and theater programs, we will begin to bridge the polarization that has beset the American Jewish community around Israel.

      Is the DCJCC proclaiming its advocacy of embracing democracy in Israel? Or is the title intended to suggest that this is a series about how Israel is embracing democracy? Or maybe it's about embracing democracy in "the American Jewish community"?
      A sidebar on the page says, with boldface in original:

      The Washington DCJCC stands firmly in support of Israel as an independent Jewish state.

      Adding to the mystery:

      The programs of Embracing Democracy are sponsored by an anonymous donor who has provided a challenge grant to generate support for this community undertaking.

  • What if Obama wanted to transfer Miami to Cuba so as to lower percentage of Jews in U.S.?
    • In this case, Israel would only be withdrawing in order to retain settlement blocks that were also part of the territory designated for the Arab State.

      Certainly true, but a withdrawal is a concession nonetheless, even when offered only for the purpose of trying to get a concession from the other side.

    • Ask Afif what he thinks about the importance of recognizing Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, that there should be at least one Jewish country in the world.

      If you ask Afif if there should be a Jewish country called Israel that is the nation state of the Jewish people, I doubt he'd put up much of an objection if you told him this state would be in Argentina or East Africa or Poland or Florida.

      When the Palestinians discover the courage to embrace these points, they will then be able to put their own Mandela forward.

      Hey, wait a minute: Mandela was best known for being the leader of a national movement of liberation against oppression. Are you suggesting that Palestinians are oppressed? By Israelis?? Meaning, by the Jewish people?? I sense a whiff of anti-Semitism by this implication.

    • Walid, are you sure that the land Israel ceded to Jordan was designated for the Jewish state -- rather than being a part of the designated Arab state that was occupied by Israel? If you are right, then maps like this one are wrong because they show all of the land of the designated Jewish state as being located inside the area controlled by Israel during 1949-1967:
      link to
      If you can find a map of the 1947 partition that shows the Jewish state including a south Hebron hills area that became part of the West Bank, let me know.

    • It seems to me that a principle of democracy in the post-WWII international framework is that all citizens of a state should be treated equally. If one portion of a citizenry is especially subject to de-nationalization solely because of their ethnic/religious identity –i.e.they are explicitly singled out on the basis of that identity–then that is a clear violation of the principle of equality under the law, imo.

      Denationalization can officially be based solely on residency in a particular area, and not on ethnic/religious identity. The reality is that Israel is so segregated that almost all of the people living in the area to be ceded are Palestinians. There are so few Jews living in that area, there wouldn't be much of a problem for them to move to another area that remained in Israel.

      In my (slightly maligned) post-WWI example, when North Schleswig was transferred to Denmark, each individual living there was given the option of (a) staying put, becoming a Danish citizen, and losing German citizenship; or (b) retaining German citizenship but moving out of North Schleswig to some other area that remained part of Germany. This passes your legitimacy test because there was no disparate treatment of ethnic Danes vs. ethnic Germans. Israel could get away with something similar and be seen as doing something legitimate.

      But in Israel’s case, the transference of a particular ethnic groups’ citizenship is the motive for the transfer of territory, not vice versa, as your formulation suggests.

      Yes, you are right, but as I suggested above, if the president of Georgia were motivated to get rid of a troublesome ethnic minority group in his country, he could simply announce the cession of South Ossetia. Now in this case it's probably true that most of the people living in South Ossetia would prefer that South Ossetia secede from Georgia. But before Russia went to war with Georgia over that area, I'd be surprised if the Russian government didn't begin by telling the Georgian government that by giving up South Ossetia, Georgia would be acting in its own interest by reducing the proportion of ethnic non-Georgians in its population.

    • I wrote:

      The US does not share any borders with the Jewish State, but I would think that if it did, and gave up some of its territory to a Jewish State in order to reduce the American Jewish population, Zionists would be very pleased.

      Hostage responded:

      making the final clause read that there would be no prejudice to the “rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
      That applied to the Jewish communities in neighboring Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt.

      If there happened to be a sliver of Syrian land along the border with Palestine that contained villages that were populated mostly by Jews, then I am fairly sure that the people there would petition for their area to become annexed to the Palestinian Jewish State -- with the full expectation that they'd lose their Syrian citizenship if it were to happen. And if the people there were not convinced that they wanted to be included in the Palestinian Jewish State, I'm absolutely sure that the Yishuv leadership would want them to be included, and would do everything it could to encourage them to have their villages annexed to the Palestinian Jewish State.

      It would be a different matter for Jewish communities living in areas that did not have a Jewish majority, or for areas that did have a Jewish majority but were far enough away from the border with Palestine that they couldn't practically be annexed to the Palestinian Jewish State.

    • >> Do you really believe this?

      Yup. I find it interesting that you consider something to be just and moral simply because it occurs.

      Huh? What did I say in my comment:

      While we might disagree with some of the details of how and why these borders were moved, if there is a transfer of territory from one sovereignty to another, then transferring the inhabitants’ citizenship seems eminently sensible to me.

      You think there was something "unjust and immoral" about stripping legitimate German citizens of their nationality in 1920, even though the borders were moved so that the places where they lived were no longer in Germany? Was it "unjust and immoral" that all the people of South Sudan were stripped of their Sudanese citizenship when South Sudan split off from Sudan? A few years ago, there was some Quebec separatist leader who told Quebeckers that if Quebec became an independent country, Quebeckers would not lose their Canadian citizenship. He was roundly mocked throughout the rest of Canada. However, this separatist did not go on to say that Canada would be doing something "unjust and immoral" if it dared to strip Quebeckers of their citizenship in the event that Quebec became a separate country with its own citizenship.

    • talknic:

      Statehood is irrevocable except by the self determination of the people. In order to cede state territory the legitimate citizens of that territory must agree (self determination).

      Yes, that's what I was getting at when I said that there's usually a vote among the inhabitants of that territory, as there was in South Sudan. But once South Sudan became independent, the people living there (and who chose to stay there) lost their Sudanese citizenship. Although when this kind of thing happens there are usually cases where some people who are "from" one side are living on the "other" side and might become stateless because the criteria for citizenship are not equivalent in the two countries, those are edge cases, and the general idea of people losing citizenship when borders move is not controversial. This isn't to say that movement of borders isn't controversial: it is almost always controversial. But if the transfer of sovereignty of some area is considered to be just, the transfer of citizenship of its people is also considered just.

      ” then transferring the inhabitants’ citizenship seems eminently sensible to me”

      I’m sure it does to someone who isn’t going to lose their citizenship because of the idiotic ideas of some criminally insane f&*kwit zionist

      I think you have hit the nail on the head. Most people are not familiar with criminally insane f&*kwit zionists. You're essentially admitting that although ceding territory (and together with it, citizens who live on that territory) seems like a reasonable Israeli proposal, even a generous one, the problem is that it comes from the idiotic ideas of some criminally insane f&*kwit zionist. I really don't think that kind of argument sells well. To be clear, I do see something wrong with the proposal, but it has to do with the built-in power imbalance between the two states.

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