Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 219 (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 219 - 201

  • 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.

    • Page: 2
    • 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.

    • Hostage:

      Yes the lessons learned were codified in the prohibition against the acquisition of territory by war

      acquisition of title to territory through a treaty settlement imposed by or as the result of force or the threat of force

      I'm talking here not about acquiring territory, but a country choosing to give up territory to a new country -- with the result that the people living in that territory acquire citizenship in the new country and lose citizenship in the old country (except for those who choose to leave that territory and move somewhere else within the old country's borders).

    • “transferring sovereignty” – stripping legitimate citizens of their nationality – is unjust and immoral.

      Do you really believe this? Just after WWI, many European borders were changed, e.g., Alsace transferred from German to French sovereignty, North Schleswig transferred from Germany to Denmark, Czechoslovakia carved out of Austria-Hungary, etc. People who lived in Alsace and in North Schleswig, who had been legitimate citizens of Germany, lost that citizenship and became citizens of France or Denmark. Millions of legitimate citizens of Austria-Hungary became citizens of Czechoslovakia. 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.

    • Isn't most of the Triangle in the area that was designated for the "Arab State" in the 1947 Palestine partition plan? We have talknic coming on here all the time reminding us that the legal boundaries of the state of Israel are those of the "Jewish State" in the partition plan. So by giving up the Triangle, Israel would be withdrawing from territory that's not its own, anyway. This is usually seen as a good thing.

    • What would you think about a US plan to gerrymander borders in order to deliberately reduce America’s Jewish population?

      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.

    • The historical precedent with the most similarities to this is the South African policy during the 1970s and 1980s of transferring territory and citizenship to what they called "homelands" (others called them "Bantustans), which S.A. recognized officially as independent countries. If Palestinian leaders were calling for a united Palestine, this would be a perfect example to cite. But Palestinian leaders are calling for a two-state solution, so citing this precedent is more problematic.

    • To someone unfamiliar with the conflict, the case made here doesn't really make sense. In most countries, when there's a region populated mainly by members of a minority group with grievances against the central government, the government refuses to give up that territory, and so there is often separatist sentiment, sometimes even turning into violence, such as in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian-populated region of Azerbaijan), South Ossetia (Russian-populated region of Georgia), Kashmir, South Sudan (before its separation from Sudan), and elsewhere. Now what if the Georgian president announced, "Henceforth, South Ossetia will no longer be a part of Georgia; I am transferring this area to Russia"? This would be seen as a major concession by Georgia, and the Russians would be very happy about it, EVEN IF the Georgian president said that his reason for doing this was to increase the proportion of ethnic Georgians in the population of Georgia. Of course, no government ever makes a concession like this; instead, the major concession is allowing for a referendum to be held in the region at issue, when it is known that separatist sentiment is predominant. That's what happened in South Sudan, and it IS telling that Israeli leaders pushing this proposal aren't calling instead for a referendum in the region they'd like to transfer.

      MW readers know that the real issue is that Israel (enabled by its powerful friend with no daylight between them) will see to it that the putative State of Palestine will be effectively a vassal state under Israeli suzerainty. This is what must be communicated, or else the message is lost on the audience we're trying to reach. I think this "pro-Israel" sentiment among Palestinian citizens of Israel (in a sense, that's undeniably what it is) can even be spun in a way that shows there is hope for peace and a mutually beneficial solution.

  • Chilean soccer team puts Palestine front and center
    • The Palestinians are rich elites in Chile and run large parts of Chile’s industy and banking.

      Careful, Mike! Saying such things about a Semitic minority is anti-Semitism!

  • Roger Cohen (who doesn't live there) explains the need for 'my Jewish state'
    • Notice that the only two people that Roger Cohen mentions as having spoken with are both Israeli Jews, and he quotes them because he agrees with them:


      This issue is a waste of time, a complicating diversion when none is needed. As Shlomo Avineri, a leading Israeli political scientist, put it to me, “It’s a tactical issue raised by Netanyahu in order to make negotiations more difficult.”


      When I spoke to him in Tel Aviv a few months ago, Yair Lapid, a top government minister, said: “The fact that we demand from Palestinians a declaration that they recognize Israel as a Jewish state, I just think this is rubbish. I don’t need that. The whole point of Israel was we came here saying we don’t need anyone else to recognize us anymore because we can recognize ourselves. We are liberated.”

      That’s right.

      Compare that with the only direct quote from a Palestinian, and Cohen's contemptuous judgment on it:

      Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said the vote “finishes all that is called the peace process.” Such contemptuous characterization of a negotiation from a leading protagonist is ill-advised and bodes ill.

      And the other reference to what a Palestinian is saying about "Jewish state" recognition:

      Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, says no; this “nyet” will endure.

      Is Roger Cohen unaware that Mahmoud Abbas was born and raised in a town that became part of the "Jewish state", but he was forced out as a teenager by the military power of the Jewish state because he wasn't Jewish? Is that the kind of "restored Jewish pride in a democratic state of laws" that Roger Cohen identifies with?

    • His [Netanyahu's] argument is that this is the touchstone by which to judge whether Palestinians will accept “the Jewish state in any border” — whether, in other words, the Palestinian leadership would accept territorial compromise or is still set on reversal of 1948 and mass return to Haifa.

      Roger Cohen is historically misinformed about 1948. The original "Jewish state", so called by the 1947 UN partition plan and affirmed by the Israeli declaration of independence in 1948, delineated particular boundaries, but subsequently the state of Israel has claimed sovereignty over areas beyond those boundaries. As for "mass return to Haifa", the partition plan and the DoI were quite clear in affirming that non-Jews would not be expelled from the Jewish state.

      For Palestinians, such a form of recognition would amount to explicit acquiescence to second-class citizenship for the 1.6 million Arabs in Israel; undermine the rights of millions of Palestinian refugees; upend a national narrative of mass expulsion from land that was theirs;

      Oh, now the mass expulsion of Palestinians from land that was theirs is merely a "national narrative". Just as the problem with Holocaust deniers is that they upend the narrative of the Jewish people.

    • Palestinians [sic] leaders, with zero democratic accountability, and through facile incitement, are not preparing their people for territorial compromise at or close to the 1967 lines.

      The only way to make sense of this sentence is with Richard Dawkins' meme that "religion makes people stupid."

      The PLO and PA have made it very clear in many public statements over many years that they will accept the territorial compromise of having a Palestinian state at the 1967 lines. It's the Israelis and their American supporters/enablers who have a problem with the 1967 lines. Readers of the New York Times should remember that Obama got a lot of domestic flak when his opponents accused him of accepting territorial compromise at the 1967 lines (and Obama responded that he did not accept the 1967 lines, only that they'd be a basis for the boundaries).

      And what is he talking about when he refers to "incitement" by Palestinians [sic] leaders over the matter of territorial boundaries? Incitement is defined as the crime of provoking unlawful behavior. Whose laws is he suggesting that the Palestinians [sic] leaders are provoking their people to break, and what does that have to do with territorial compromise?

      And I get that Palestinians [sic] leaders lack democratic accountability, because their terms of office ended years ago, but what is he trying to say about the relationship between that fact and what he characterizes as their failure to prepare their people for territorial compromise? It sounds as if he's suggesting that if they were democratically accountable, they'd be better at preparing their people for compromise, and wouldn't be engaging in facile incitement. But does anybody seriously believe that? If they were democratically accountable, they'd be more likely to reflect the views of their people.

      And then look at the sentence that immediately follows:

      Then again, nothing in Israel’s actions facilitates that.

      So he's disappointed that "Israel's actions" do not "facilitate" "territorial compromise at or close to the 1967 lines." What a convoluted way to express the well-known fact that Israel is refusing to accept territorial compromise at or close to the 1967 lines!

  • Kerry wants to imprison West Bank with massive security fence along Jordanian border
    • Under any sane definition Israel is no longer an occupying power for Gaza: it left, it is doing nothing to manage the internals, it aims for minimal contact

      Come on, Jeff, the Gaza Strip gets all of its imports throughIsrael (other than what is smuggled). The Israeli PM said a couple weeks ago that he was making sure that "we control the material that goes in and out of Gaza."
      link to
      Israel also controls the Gaza Strip's population registry, contrary to what you say about Israel's "doing nothing to manage the internals".
      B'Tselem has a page about how Israel controls the Gaza Strip:
      link to

  • Beinart’s (colonial) Jewish (imperial) democratic state
    • Marc Ellis writes:

      The last thing the Jewish prophetic can abide is the possibility of calling a state democratic and Jewish when it permanently oppresses another people.

      Why not just "other people"? Why write "another people"? Maybe this terminology is intended to dignify Palestinians, but it gets the hasbarists into red-herring arguments about whether or not Palestinians constitute "a people", as if there's some difference between oppressing "a people" and oppressing "people".

      Henry Siegman had an otherwise good piece today in Haaretz:
      link to
      where he uses the same expression:

      I challenge critics of the BDS movement to identify another democracy from among those that do not hold another people under near-permanent occupation (no other democracy does) that receives the massive economic, military and diplomatic support lavished on Israel.

      ... there is no more egregious violation of elementary democratic norms than a predatory occupation that denies an entire people all individual and national rights, confiscates their properties, bulldozes their homes and dispossesses them from their internationally recognized patrimony east of the 1967-border.

      At least he mentions "individual rights", but Siegman suggests that as a member of "a people", an individual from Jaffa, say, has a "patrimony" that's somewhere else.

      BDS supporters would have had no reason for their initiative if Israel had not been favored for that support even as it disenfranchises and dispossesses another people under its occupation.

      Academics love to talk about "the other", and here Siegman essentially calls Palestinians that, when he could have just said that the Israeli government disenfranchises and dispossesses people. Siegman lived in Germany during the 1930s, when the government there was disenfranchising and dispossessing Jews, including members of his own family. Would he accept it if someone said that the German government was doing this to "another people"?

    • The BDS movement’s call for “respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties” denies Israel’s right to set its own immigration policy.

      Back in 1999, NATO called for respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Kosovar refugees to return to their homes and properties. It backed up that call with actual bombing of Serbia. I don't remember hearing anyone say that NATO was denying Serbia's right to set its own immigration policy.

      So does the movement’s call for “recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality”, which presumably denies Israel’s right to maintain the preferential immigration policy that makes it a refuge for Jews.

      Beinart presumes too much. There is an obvious comparison with the Federal Republic of Germany, which maintains a preferential immigration policy that makes it a refuge for persons of German ethnicity -- and it has taken in millions of them from Eastern Europe. A call for recognizing the fundamental rights of the non-ethnic-German citizens of Germany to full equality does not deny the country's right to maintain the preferential immigration policy that makes it a refuge for ethnic Germans.

  • Students at George Mason University organize graduation walkout on Apartheid profiteer Shari Arison
    • I this discussion, I’m not justifying anything. Before even discussing Jewish right to the land of Israel, I’m saying to you, all of you in the New World are CURRENTLY occupying lands which are not your own, and that doesn’t bother you one bit. It is unjust, immoral and every bit hypocritical that you’re now pointing fingers at others, and screaming occupation, when you yourself are guilty of this very crime.

      Mark, you're completely missing my point. To talk of the "occupation" of Judea and Samaria by the Jewish state is not an "accusation" of a "crime", and not "pointing fingers", but an expression of a simple fact. On this factual matter, what better authority to accept than the Jewish state's Supreme Court, in a decision written by Aharon Barak, about whom Alan Dershowitz says a lot of nice things in The Case for Israel?

      Mark, think about what you're doing. Let's say you admire some celebrity, a man who happens to be openly gay. Then some homophobe posts some diatribe against him for being gay, and you get all riled up about this "accusation" that he's gay -- even though he IS openly gay. I don't think the celebrity would appreciate your attempt to defend him. This is essentially what you're doing with Israel and its occupation. It's not that you're denying there's an occupation, it's that you insist that anyone who mentions it is saying something bad about Israel!

    • Annie Robbins and everyone else: before you point fingers and blaming other nations for “occupying someone’s land”, ...

      Mark, I don't understand why you make the implicit assumption that occupation is necessarily a bad thing for the people who experience it.
      First, there's no need for anyone on this blog to "point fingers" or even "blaming other nations": Israel's own Supreme Court declared in 2004, as part of background to one of its decisions, that "Since 1967, Israel has been holding the areas of Judea and Samaria in belligerent occupation."
      link to
      And second, the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria benefit from Israel's occupation, don't they? (Except when they choose to respond to Israeli generosity with suicide bombers, etc.) If you were a Palestinian, wouldn't you prefer to live under the rule of what you would surely agree is the most moral army in the world, rather than suffer the alternatives of despotism or anarchy? Mark, if you can't see the beneficence of the Jewish state's belligerent occupation, you may need to think about whether your judgment is clouded by anti-Semitism.

  • 'It's hard to see why Israel won't follow white South Africa's road to extinction,' says 'Forward' writer
    • Is it just me, or do other people also find it strange, from the content of Gerald Skolnik's column, that at the end of it you find a byline describing him as a rabbi and "spiritual leader"?

  • The 'genetic truth' of Jesus's (and Hanna Rosin's) 'classically Semitic appearance,' as revealed to Jeffrey Goldberg
    • Shmuel: Thanks for the links. I'm familiar with that part of the Law of Return and have heard of cases like Brother Daniel's. But I haven't heard Zionist apologists actually defending this policy. They like to talk about the right of Jews to live in the land of their ancestors, and they also like to talk about freedom of religion in Israel. But there's an obvious contradiction there. It's also a little strange to explain to someone why the Israeli government actively embraces openly avowed atheists of Jewish ancestry, but excludes anyone of Jewish ancestry who accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. That's something that might be hard to sell to Americans. I once heard the local head of Stand With Us talking about how his organization's position is that Jews are not a religion, but "an ethnic group". Is there any other ethnic group that a person can be said to have left if they convert to some religion?

      JeffB: My (a) and (b) were points I've heard from both Jews and Christians from different perspectives who were talking to different Jewish or Christian audiences about the history of that period that they'd studied. Your conclusion here sounds dubious:

      As for continuity remember that Palestine gets devastated in 3 wars, one in each generation starting with 69 CE. There is no continuity of population.

    • This reminds me of the distinction in biology between "typological thinking" and "population thinking".
      link to
      People have had a tendency to use typological thinking -- the idea that an organism is a member of a class of idealized forms -- and it took Darwin to show the problems with this and to introduce the idea of population thinking. And here is Goldberg talking about the classically Semitic form.

      Most Americans these days who live in the areas where Jews are concentrated are quite familiar with dealing with other people as individuals, rather than as members of particular racial/ethnic groups, and are certainly brought up to believe in this as the liberal ideal. BUT if we're thinking about the other side of the world, where we don't know any individuals, I suppose it's easier to fall back into typological thinking. When Jeff Halper asks, "How come I'm allowed to live in my house, but my neighbor, Selim, is not?" the simple answer, "because you're Jewish", wouldn't be taken seriously in America, but he lives in a place that's far enough away that different intuitions apply when we think about it.

    • It is also not disputed by anyone, Jewish or Christian, theologically liberal or conservative, that
      (a) Christianity originated within the boundaries of what later became the British mandate of Palestine; and
      (b) during the first two centuries of Christianity, the majority of its followers were of Jewish origin.

      What happened to the descendants of the Christians living in Palestine who were of Jewish origin? The most natural answer would be that these people are those who call themselves Palestinians today, either still Christian or Muslim (after conversions in the 7th century or later). Even if you buy the argument that all Jews have a right to live there because their ancestors did, you still have to say the same for Palestinians. I have never heard Zionists say outright that by converting from Judaism to another religion, one gives up the right to live in one's homeland.

  • It sure pays to support Israel!
    • “Mission

      Inspired by Judaism’s commitment to justice, American Jewish World Service works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world.”

      Try starting next door. In Palestine.

      I googled AJWS's website for mention of Palestinian territories, and most of the links were to pages where you enter your address to make a donation, and one of the choices for your Country is actually "Palestinian Territory, Occupied". I wonder how many contributors they have from there!
      link to

  • Do Palestinian-Americans get to register an opinion on academic boycott?
    • Just considering American history, if the State Department were to have a special agency to monitor and fight hatred against members of some particular group around the world, it would make the most sense for the group to be Blacks, i.e., people of African descent, no? And this wouldn't just be inventing a problem where none exists, because there are plenty of anti-Black hate crimes in several European countries, even if we ignore Israel.

      But if we were just considering American history, it would make a lot more sense for the middle of the nation's capital to have a museum devoted to African-American slavery (which there isn't) than one devoted to mass murder of Europeans by Europeans in Europe (which there is).

    • Citizen, thanks for pointing this out. Some of this is written in such a way as to be deliberately incomprehensible.

      Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist

      What does it even mean to deny "the Jewish people" (why not simply "Jewish people"?) their right to self-determination? Are we supposed to read this the way we'd read it when some other group is named? Does any American understand the meaning of such concepts as
      - "denying the Swedish people their right to self-determination" (Huh? Would anyone actually feel threatened by such denial?)
      - "denying the Cuban people their right to self-determination" (Hm, sounds like one of Castro's formulations of grievances against the U.S.)
      - "denying the Quebecois people their right to self-determination" (Sounds pro-separatist)
      - "denying the Mormon people their right to self-determination" (Er, um, I guess we don't really believe they have such a right)
      - "denying the Christian people their right to self-determination" (Don't really want to go there)
      - "denying the African-American people their right to self-determination" (Yikes, trouble!)

      And then there are the classic weasel words about "denying Israel the right to exist". Is that supposed to be like denying the Islamic Republic of Iran the right to exist, or is it supposed to be like denying Iran the right to exist? If I deny Israel's right to give preference to foreign Jews over its own natives, does that mean that I deny Israel's right to exist? What if I say Israel doesn't have the right to keep out its forced exiles? Does that constitute denying Israel's right to exist? If somebody who lives in Israel advocates turning Israel into an Islamic state and changing its name to Palestine, are they denying Israel's right to exist? What if they advocate the same thing but without the name change -- are they then NOT denying Israel the right to exist?

  • Bill Keller says neocons are warmongers who trust Netanyahu more than Obama
  • Deconstructing Netanyahu's tribute to Mandela
    • And that is something that I think would serve the Palestinians very well, leaders who constantly reassure Jews that he accepts the legitimacy of the Jewish people part f the heritage of Palestine. But that position, is as far as I know, not only not embraced but completely rejected by Palestinian leadership and for that matter Arab leadership.

      The PLO in its official statements does accept the legitimacy of Jewish people as part of the heritage of Palestine. Even Hamas does. They just don't accept the legitimacy of Zionists, who started arriving around 130 years ago and ended up taking over the place, to the detriment of the non-Jewish population.

      It's the same distinction as there was in the region a thousand years ago between recognizing the legitimacy of Christians in Palestine and recognizing the legitimacy of Crusaders.

    • He was ... a freedom fighter who rejected any violence.

      “I know that’s not true”
      It’s true for the last twenty years of Mandela’s life.

      Come on, hophmi. The last twenty years of Mandela's life were divided into three stages:
      (a) 5 months of being the universally acknowledged front-runner in a presidential election campaign;
      (b) 5 years of being president of his country;
      (c) 14 and a half years of post-presidential retirement.
      Where does "a freedom fighter who rejected any violence" fit in to that 20-year period?

      Do you think being haughty and uppity has helped Arab leaders be better governors of their people?

      Hophmi, do you think being haughty and uppity has helped Jewish-state leaders be better governors of their people?

      Yes, forgiveness is generally a part of reconciliation. For a leader who did not forgive and what resulted from it, see Robert Mugabe next door.

      Can you think of any unforgiving Jewish-state leaders and what resulted from it?

      “You know, over 300 years of robbing and destroying native South African lives cannot be called ‘racial hatred’.”

      Wow, Susan. You seem like one angry lady.

      Well, she's Palestinian, and therefore non-white. White people don't have that kind of historical baggage to get angry about. Take Jews, for example: Jews are white people, and we never hear Jews complaining about racial hatred in the form of anti-Semitism, or the destruction of Jewish lives in the form of holocausts or what not.

    • Note what Netanyahu is not doing in this message. He is not drawing a parallel between the liberation of black South Africans and the liberation of the Jewish people, which is what he tells everyone his "Jewish state" has achieved. He could have given a reminder of how Jews of his parents' generation fought for their freedom, and freedom is a wonderful thing, and now it's great that South Africans have their freedom too, thanks to the leadership of Mandela. Think of Raul Castro's speech, which mentioned Cuba's history of African slavery. But Netanyahu chooses to say not one word about Jewish history at all. Instead, he's speaking the language of the powerful, whose concern is about threats from the less powerful, as Susan Abulhawa notes here. He even includes an outright lie [*], saying that Mandela "rejected any violence." When a politician lies, there's always a reason for it, and in this case it's to propagate a myth among his American audience (it's always his American audience) about someone they admire, for the reasons Susan gives above.

      [*] I'm being charitable here in calling Netanyahu a liar. If he sincerely believes that Mandela rejected any violence, then he is utterly out of touch with the world.

    • JeffB:

      The Zionist Gandhi: David Ben-Gurion. He led the world to accept the fact that Jews like other peoples should enjoy equal rights to sovereignty.

      What an absurd formulation. The world accepts "equal rights to sovereignty" for the inhabitants of defined territorial areas, whether those inhabitants have a collective sense of being "a people" or not. When 37 men and women sign a declaration of independence of a state of a particular "people", and 37 of the 37 belong to that "people", and 36 of the 37 are themselves immigrants to the state's territory, and the majority of the territory's native-born population are not members of that "people", and these signatories declare a goal of bringing in other members of their "people" from hundreds or thousands of miles away, the world calls that colonialism.

      You might as well talk about Eugene Terre'Blanche as the Afrikaner Gandhi for trying to get the world to accept the fact that Afrikaners like other peoples should enjoy equal rights to sovereignty. He wanted to set up a separate state for Afrikaners in southern Africa. He failed, but unlike Ben-Gurion and the Zionists, Terre'Blanche and most of his supporters had deep roots in South Africa, their families having lived there for a couple of hundred years.

  • Butler: ASA boycott resolution pressures Israeli and US institutions supporting occupation
    • Kathleen, that story was broadcast this morning, and then this afternoon, NPR had a story on "Assessing The Fallout From A Hezbollah Commander's Death" with another sin of omission:
      link to
      At time 1:44, host Arun Rath gives a brief history of Hezbollah:

      It was formed as a militant resistance group to fight Israel, and now controls significant parts of Lebanon.

      Now listeners are shaking their heads, wondering why those crazy Shiites were organizing in militant "resistance" to fight Israel -- why couldn't they just mind their own business and let Israelis mind their own business? The host does not tell us that the Israeli military was controlling significant parts of Lebanon at the time.

  • In 1990 'Nightline' town hall, Jewish leaders call Mandela 'hypocritical' and 'amoral' over support for PLO, Koppel warns it isn't politically wise to upset lobby
    • Did you notice that when the audience cheers Mandela's pro-Palestinian comments, we are NOT shown the reactions of Siegman and Cakewalk (Adelman)? This is irresponsible journalism, because Mandela is responding to questions asked by these two public figures, and the TV audience deserves to see how THEY feel about his response. Are they cheering along with everybody else we can see? Or sitting on their hands? The second is more likely, of course, but the program's editors choose not to let us know either way.

  • Corasanti responds to Abulhawa: My purpose in writing 'The Almond Tree' was to shine a light on Palestinian suffering and help bring about peace
    • Danaa, you are making a serious charge that fnlevit is violating the comment policy by impersonating someone.
      link to

    • Inside joke for MW readers: I wonder if the physics professor Menachem Sharon is based on our commenter fnlevit.
      But seriously, fnlevit, if you're reading this, have you ever had a research assistant, or even a student, who was a Palestinian (or "Arab-Israeli" if you prefer)?

    • I am curious as to whether the author has been back in touch with her real-life inspiration for the character of Ichmad since she started writing this book. Her author biography page gives enough clues about him that match the CV of an eminent scientist who is now living in the United States. I don't want to violate his privacy, but if the book does become "one of the best sellers of the decade", as the author hopes, this man will certainly become something of a Palestinian-American celebrity, whether he's prepared for it or not.

  • 12,000 Cherokee, 40,000 Bedouin -- Don't let history repeat
  • 'NYT' article on Palestinian refugees manages to quote Israeli govt spox but no Palestinians
    • It's not Danish, it's Norwegian, which is very similar. The title is "Some of the major refugee groups in the world in the last 75 years." The word "flyktninger" means "refugees". The first three are Palestinian, Jewish, and German. I like how it shows that the Iraqi, Sudanese, and Afghan refugee numbers will drop to zero around 2025, and Syrians around 2030.

      How are these refugee numbers declining? Let's consider the case of Afghan refugees, who according to this chart were second in number to Palestinian refugees over the period 1980 to 2010. The UNHCR website reports that as of 2013, "More than 5.7 million refugees have voluntarily repatriated to Afghanistan in the last 10 years, of whom more than 4.6 million were assisted to do so by UNHCR."
      link to

  • Rightwingers say Geneva deal is... Munich
    • The 1993 Netanyahu op-ed cited by Max includes this bit:

      Within nine months, Israel is to withdraw from all West Bank cities. Soon after, it will transfer to the Palestine Liberation Organization all remaining land save Jerusalem and the settlements (roughly 5 percent of the territory), although it is obvious these Israeli islands, isolated in a P.L.O. sea, will not last long.

      Twenty years later, we see how prescient Bibi was.

  • Klug on Kristallnacht: Opponents in Israel/Palestine debate are locked in an 'acrimonious circle'
    • This reminds me of how, soon after the Breivik massacre, Pam Geller posted a photo of members of the Norwegian Labor Party Youth Movement, with the caption
      "Note the faces which are more Middle Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian"
      link to
      Change "Norwegian" to "German", and the exact same thing was said by the Nazis about members of the German Communist Party. It's really interesting how anti-Semitic themes are taken up today even by Zionists who strongly identify as Jews.

      Oh, and looking at the screenshot of Geller's page that I just linked to, I love the irony of a Zionist condemning Norway's Labor Party for "flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate, who commit major violence against Norwegian natives, including violent gang rapes, with impunity, and who live on the dole... all done without the consent of the Norwegians."

  • Why do US media insist that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Gulf states oppose Iran deal?
    • Really frustrated how the MSM keep bringing up the Israeli reaction to the deal, but then pointedly refrain from making any aside about Israel's own nuclear weapons program, or asking any of their spokesmen or experts any questions about it.

      Last week, Aaron David Miller was the guest on Michael Krasny's radio call-in program here in SF, talking about the negotiations with Iran:
      link to
      To Krasny's credit, he accepted a number of calls and read a number of emails from listeners who brought up the Israeli nuclear program, and despite spouting some unconvincing boilerplate about "shared values", Miller was quite clear that (a) yes, Israel has nuclear weapons; and (b) yes, we have a double standard, but that's our prerogative as a great power.
      It's a sign of progress when media people like Krasny can ask the questions using "our listeners" as cover. But when will we get to the next step, when they have the courage (or maybe just the sensibility) to ask these questions on their own?

  • Dennis Ross says US must undertake 'new military deployments' against Iran and support Israel if it strikes
    • "Israel's lawyer" will be speaking at UC Berkeley's law school in two weeks:
      link to

      Lecture on "Prospects for Peace: An Assessment by Ambassador Dennis Ross"
      November 14, 2013 (Thursday)
      105 Boalt Hall, 4:00 pm
      Counselor, Washington Institute for Near East Policy
      Former White House Special Middle East Envoy
      Former Special Adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia

      There's a link to a FLYER that says "Following his talk, Ambassador Ross will speak at a dinner open to all students, to be held at Berkeley Hillel."
      Kind of an unusual locale for a dinner with students, for a person who is advertised only as being a member of a non-sectarian think tank and former U.S. government official. People might get the idea that, you know, Jewish students might be more welcome than gentile students in such a place, especially when the guest of honor happens to be Jewish. As a diplomat, Ambassador Ross should have thought of this.

    • Yes and what about calls on Israel to get rid of its nukes?

      Back in 2007, I asked Dennis Ross that question, starting at 43:25 on this program:
      link to

      In response to my question, "Isn't it in America's interest to have a nuclear-free Middle East?", he answered, "Well, it is in America's interest to have a nuclear-free Middle East, but ..." He continued that all the Arab leaders have long known about Israeli nukes but "none of them" felt compelled to build their own; but now they "all" feel compelled to have one because "they see Iran developing one". Also, "the Israelis made it clear, when we were in the negotiating process, that they were in favor of a nuclear-free zone." But this must come only after "real peace" is achieved. Oh, yeah, and there was stuff about how the Israelis feel it's necessary to have an ultimate deterrent because of "the kind of neighborhood" they live in.

    • For people who may be puzzled what is JINSA, it is helpfully explained that this is Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, chaired by Makovsky himself.

      I assume it was the L.A. Times that added that explanation, because the authors neglected to include it in the text of their article. It might also have helped if they had included JINSA's slogan, which is displayed at the top of every page on its website: "Securing America, Strengthening Israel".
      link to

      It would also have been helpful if the editors had informed readers that before and after he was a senior Middle East advisor to Obama, Dennis Ross was, and is, co-chairman of the board of the Jewish People Policy Institute:

      The mission of the Institute is to ensure the thriving of the Jewish People and the Jewish civilization by engaging in professional strategic thinking and planning on issues of primary concern to world Jewry. Located in Jerusalem, the concept of JPPI regarding the Jewish People is global, and includes aspects of major Jewish communities with Israel as one of them, at the core.

      link to

  • What Comes Next: We must enter a new Israeli discourse based in equality, justice and freedom
    • But the voting pattern of Israelis who continue to give power to the right is completely determined by what the Palestinians and groups like Hezbolah have done (and are doing) after Oslo. We trust them less and less and what is going on on this and similar blogs is a part of the proof that Israeli voters are right.

      Could you inform us of what part of what is going on on this and similar blogs you're talking about, and how this is a part of the proof that Israeli voters are right?

  • MJ Rosenberg owes Ali Abunimah an apology for false accusations of anti-Semitism
  • Einstein letter, on sale at Ebay, blamed Jewish terrorists for risking 'catastrophe' in Palestine
    • If a group of Palestinians (say Hamas soldiers) were to attack Israel today, they would probably be called “terrorists” even if they attacked only soldiers.

      There was an example of that on the front page of the Jerusalem Post just last week. October 18 headline: "IDF troops kill terrorist entering base on tractor". The article itself used the word "terrorist" three times but didn't explain why this Palestinian who drove a tractor into an IDF base in the West Bank was labelled a terrorist. The implication, then, is that his reported actions made him a terrorist.

  • What Comes Next: If the goal is to change U.S. policy, American Jewish opinion can't be ignored
  • And now for something completely different
  • Report: Summers rejects Netanyahu offer to be top Israeli banker
  • Journalists should tell their readers if they're Zionists

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