Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 775 (since 2009-11-22 01:46:18)

composer, educator, political, environmental and arts blogger from Wasilla, Alaska


Showing comments 775 - 701

  • Stephen Walt: publishing 'Israel lobby' ended any thought of serving in US gov't
    • I read the interview avidly early this morning. I couldn't have described my impression of Shalev's failure to be fair to Walt any better than you just accomplished here.

      Having just passed the ten-year mark of being falsely and loudly denounced as an anti-Semite, I feel glad that I'm no more bitter about the effects of that smear on my professional life than Walt seems to be. Only, I'll add that when one stands up for Palestinian rights, as Walt, you, I and thousands of others have, one gets the opportunity to meet, respect and know many, many courageous people who have more concern for justice than for religious myths or demographic excuses, and that many of these new friends and colleagues happen to also be Jewish. I've made a few enemies, but a helluva lot of friends.

      link to

  • Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect
  • Adelson would install Netanyahu in the White House if he had his druthers -- Avnery
    • i assume they likely double as israeli government agents. when the candidates get formally vetted by netanyahu they fly to israel. this is just the first step.

      --- paging Max and Rania ....

  • 'A Painful Price': The escalating war on Palestine solidarity at U of Michigan and beyond
    • There are many ways that Israeli apartheid differs from what was practiced in South Africa. There are also many ways BDS movements against South Africa differed from what is now happening regarding Palestine and Israel.

      1. Did P.W. Botha appear before a joint session of the IU.S. Congress and receive a record number of standing ovations, even surpassing the sitting president's for his State of the Union message?

      2. Did P.W. Botha make campaign ads for a challenger to a sitting American president?

      3. Did Ronald Reagan ever have to complain to the President of France that he had to listen to P.W. Botha rant or lecture on the phone every fucking day?

      4. Did a bevy of GOP wannabe prez candidates parade themselves in front of some white South African casino mogul, trying to outdo each other in their support of South African government policies?

      ... and so on. I could make a list like this of differences that would be 100 items long. 300 items.

      The point is that even though the differences are many, apartheid is apartheid.

      There weren't scores of thousands of South African students, black, white or Asian, on U.S. campuses in the late 70s through the early 90s. But that is the case with Jewish students on our campuses now, which is great. And there are scores of thousands of Arab American and Muslim students on our campuses, which is also great. Although a fair percentage of the American or Israeli Jewish students now studying at our universities identify closely with Israel and Zionism, and a fair number of Muslim or Christian Arab students identify closely with Palestinian rights, most aren't as passionate about these issues as are the activists whose conflicts Blumenthal describes above.

      But for those students deeply engaged in this debate, this is deeper, more visceral than was the one over South African apartheid. The South African struggle was not seen to have a major religious component. This one involves rights, land and water use issues in a physical space regarded as uniquely holy by the three Abrahamic faiths.

      You should be surprised the campus struggles aren't more vehement, coarse or violent, rather than obfuscating with your comments to Mr. Blumenthal's essay.

  • Reports: Abbas faults Israel for 'procrastinating,' says Palestine will move to join int'l organizations
    • No damage claims have yet been filed against the Israeli government.

      I've written about NUMEC before. Glad to see this new stuff. Hope there is more to come. I suspect that the environmental damages could be significantly more than $1/2 billion.

      And let's not forget Netanyahu and MILCO.

      link to

  • Boteach stops reporter from videotaping Columbia University debate
    • Boteach first invited me to walk to the bathroom, then disinvited me to accompany him; and he wouldn’t answer the question.

      Will his next book be Kosher Peeing?

      Boteach is friggin' weird.

  • Settler seizure of Hebron house signals gov't effort to splinter Palestinian community
  • UN Human Rights Council resolution warning companies to 'terminate business interests in the settlements' or face possible criminal liability gets watered down
  • BDS' big night: Loyola student government passes divestment, U. Mich votes it down
    • Anyone who wants to watch Max Blumenthal's passionate and articulate presentation can cue to 30:00, where he approaches the speaker's podium. Max always comes off as being a master of the material he is presenting, and he does that again at the U of M meeting. But I've never seen him so convincingly animated. Powerful document.

      These U of M activists will be back soon. They won't lose next time.

  • U of Michigan student gov't meets tonight, amid anticipation of divestment vote
    • Just finished watching Max Blumenthal's 30-minute presentation to the UM assembly. It is very powerful, and passionately presented. After I finished a 14-hour workday. Exhausted, but have to say: this is an important speech.

  • D.C. scribes party with red wine, vinyl, and image of a terrorist
    • First encountered that image last week (March 19th) in the article by Rania Khalek and Max Blumenthal which revealed a lot of meddling and background support by James Kirchick in the run-up to Liz Wahl's on-air resignation on RT.

      link to

      Of note re Max and Rania's article is that it seems to be at least part of the basis of an article published Monday in The Tablet, written by Liel Leibovitz, titled Jamie Kirchick for Abe Foxman!

      Dear Anti-Defamation League new National Director search committee members,

      I am writing to inform you that you may now stop looking. I’ve found your man: the next Abe Foxman must be Jamie Kirchick.

      Further down:

      Which bring me to Kirchick’s second qualification for the job. This being the 21st Century—the fact is sometimes lost on Jewish organizations—it’s best to give the helm to someone who knows how public discourse unfurls these days. Often, it unfurls online, on Twitter, in interconnected ways that can grow from 140 characters to front-page news within hours. For evidence of Kirchick’s mastery of this new media ninjitsu, google Liz Wahl: by advising the RT anchor to listen to her conscience and quit the benighted broadcasting operation, and by showcasing Wahl’s decision on various platforms soon after she herself announced it on the air, Kirchick delivered a fiery, focused, and proactive campaign.

      And you, dear ADL, are going to need more and more of those to thrive. You’re going to need someone who can deliver the fight to the doorsteps of the biased and the vile. [emphasis added]

      link to

  • 'NYT' music piece strikes false note on Mehta and Israeli politics
    • All I was trying to say is that Arab-Israelis are little more likely to study Arab music than they are Western classical music, and that this should be taken into account.

      What you wrote here does not make sense. Did you mean "a little more likely..."?

    • Arab Israelis tend to view the IPO as an arm of the Israeli government, which it certainly is. I suspect that will continue to be the case.

      If in the Mariinsky Orchestra, the several gay members aren't feeling able to comfortably be public about their sexuality these repressive days, for instance, it would be impossible for one of the Saad brothers (who are or will be of the caliber of musicians who perform with the IPO), for instance, to play in the latter ensemble and hide their ethnicity, or to support an ensemble that is meant to personify the so-called ideals that have led to the imprisonment of their brother, Omar.

      link to

    • Last year, I commented here about comparing the small amount of work UK violinist and ensemble director Nigel Kennedy has done with Palestinian or Palestinian-Israeli young musicians to that being done by Barenboim.

      Kennedy seems to be challenging cultural norms in the iconoclastic events he is producing. Barenboim seems to be molding young minds to meld into the borg of globalization trends in presenting the narrative of so-called Western culture.

    • First and second tier orchestras worldwide have some things in common. In the USA, they survive largely by corporate support. In most cases, these corporate supporters expect the ensembles to reflect the comfort zone of the corporations and what their products represent, and the ideals and aspirations of their typical subscription audience.

      In Europe, Israel, Japan, Singapore, China, Latin America, along with Canada, Australia and New Zealand, there is more government funding involved in ensemble support and activity. Like American orchestras, the ensembles' repertoire is expected to reflect the cultures from which their audiences' perceptions of the fine arts, particularly serious music, have developed. The subscription audiences are mostly drawn from all these nations' elites and 1%ers.

      Orchestras tend to be somewhat conservative in their approach to presenting a narrative of where Western music comes from, where it is at, and where it might be going.

      The Israel Philharmonic may be segregated, but so are Japanese, Korean and Chinese orchestras. It is only over the past 15 years or so that one sees Asian performers integrating into British, French or other northwest European orchestras. It is only since the 1990s that women have made it into most German and Austrian ensembles, and it was a hard battle for them to get entry, including many court battles.

      In the 1950s, the only women seen onstage in any first tier orchestra on the planet was - you guessed it - harpist.

      Mehta, along with the late Leonard Bernstein, can be credited with raising the technical level of the IPO to the top of the second tier. In the NYT article, the author cites the wave of post-Soviet emigres to Israel as important in the orchestra's maturity. She also notes that Mehta has been affiliated with the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra even longer than with the IPO. When Mehta started conducting there, it was all-white, all-male. Just as with the IPO, times have changed, if very slowly.

      Many orchestras have turned to auditioning new prospects who play from behind a screen, so that their gender, race and physical appearance is unknown. IPO does not.

      In regard to nurturing instrumentalists to perform global classical repertoire, East Asian countries have developed excellent music education programs in their schools. Not so much in south and west Asia. The best music education programs directed toward Muslim populations were those of the USSR. In the 1970s and 1980s, cities like Alma-Ata, Samarkand, Tashkent, Ashkabad or Baku had orchestras as good as the IPO then was. Currently, the best music education program directed nationally is that of Venezuela.

      Replying obliquely to hophmi, I suspect that in Israel the best music education resources are not directed toward Israeli Arabs.

      I don't feel the article is as evasive or incomplete as Ira Glunts suggests, or the headline indicates. However, I would not hesitate to picket or possibly get in and disrupt the IPO if it were performing in a town where I was at. Same goes with the Mariinsky Orchestra.

  • British architects vote to ban Israeli group from industry association over expanding settlements
    • Baruch opens the door to:

      I don't think prison guards can be blamed for government policies

      I don't think cattle cars can be blamed for government policies

      I don't think TNT (or thermonuclear bombs) can be blamed for government policies

      .... and so on

  • Now the US is trying to 'delegitimize' Israel's defense minister
    • Have you stalked her online?

      No. We had a disagreement on-line eight or nine years ago. Later, I wrote a series of columns about her testifying before the Alaska legislature regarding a boilerplate anti-Sharia law bill. She sent me a couple of nastygrams over that.

      She flaunts images of herself in the arms of neocon males often. Not as often as she used to.

    • Such a typical Geller op-shot: She's rubbing up against his back, and doesn't look like there's anything beneath her blouse. Could probably fill an album with her doing stuff like that.

  • Ululating at Vassar: the Israel/Palestine conflict comes to America
  • Netanyahu's map of 'Israel' annexes West Bank, leaves out Gaza
    • I'm reading Embers of War by Fredrik Logevall, about Indochina between about 1944 and 1959. It won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for history. It does an excellent job of describing the backdrop of Dien Bien Phu, as it played out simultaneously with American efforts to try to form an international interventionist group to militarily aid the French, that also included the British. The British couldn't be bought. Logevall's descriptions of the encounters between John Foster Dulles and Anthony Eden are vivid. His portrait of Ho Chi Min is sympathetic.

      Not drawing many parallels between I/P colonialism and French colonialism from the book. A constant between then and now, though, is U.S. arrogance, combined with ignorance. Eisenhower came closer to intervening with nuclear weapons than most people know. Churchill was horrified that Ike thought of the H-bomb as merely "another weapon."

    • What’s he telling us?

      That he's given up on annexing Jordan?

      link to

  • University of Windsor President pressures Student Union to not ratify BDS referendum following demand from pro-Israel donor
    • 1. Why did Mr. Spencer send a copy of his threat to the city's Chief of Police?

      2. Isn't his explicit threat some kind of a statutory violation?

      3. Has his firm received tangible benefits beyond the labor of the young people hired, from past cooperation with the college's engineering department?

      4. Who made the letter public?

      5. Is there any action group within Windsor's Christian community that can respond to Spencer's allegations, particularly "Christian students, too, will feel unsafe because of this intolerant group"?

  • Amended anti-boycott bill in Maryland removes financial penalties, labels BDS as 'racist'
    • from the amended legislation:

      WHEREAS The boycott adopted by the American Studies Association is part of a discriminatory and racist movement known as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions initiated by the enemies of Israel in an effort to rewrite Middle East history and make those avowed to the destruction of Israel appear to be the victims of Israeli aggression, and......

      A very troubling statement in its entirety, or as I slice and dice it.

      Is there some sort of standard in the Maryland legislature in regard to definitions of terms? I know that is very important when crafting criminal and administrative statutes, but how about in context of legislation like this?

      Non-Zionism and anti-Zionism are, in most cases, not racist. BDS isn't either. And Jews are not a race per se. I never have thought of any of the Jews I have known or know as different from me racially because of her or his faith or cultural heritage.

      I could convert to Judaism beginning right now. I'm mostly Norwegian. Would that change my race? No. Would my race be different after conversion, depending upon whether I was then pro-militant expansionist Zionism, neutral to the practice, or against it?

      This legislation, even as amended, is atrocious.

  • Grindr in Hebron: A dispatch from the last debate
    • beinart has 23.5k twitter followers to blumenthal’s 28.8k

      and a google search of beinart’s name garners 574,000 results vs max at 2,470,000.

      learn something new every day.

      Also, I thought “When Zionists debate, they do so over the only issue over which they disagree: Which size cage should Palestinians inhabit?” was an excellent line, with a lot or truth in it.

  • 'NYT' provides frank descriptions of lobby's power in review of Truman book
    • Good for you. However, there is no chance the NYT will review Goliath. There is some chance that the NYRB will get around to including it in one of their reviews that groups a number of books on a similar subject together.

      OTOH, as I've written here and elsewhere before, Blumenthal's best work is ahead of him, and the context of Goliath is not diminishing, it is deepening.

    • chuckcarlos,

      FWIW, I studied the music to that scene back late 1973 and early 1974, when working on the only film score I ever composed (the film never made it through production). The score to Michael Kurtiz's Charge of the Light Brigade was the incomparable Max Steiner's first film music for Warner Bros, after leaving RKO in 1935. The music is much better than the movie itself.

      Hadn't seen or heard it in decades. Brings back bittersweet memories.

  • Poll: If two-states collapse, Americans overwhelmingly favor 'democracy'
    • Phil,

      I see you will be a participant in the First National Summit to Reassess the U.S.—Israel Special Relationship, at the end of the week. Hopefully, they can adjust the topic agenda to include the results of this somewhat surprising poll.

  • Political Zionism is destroying a culture and a people, and intentionally so
    • Great to see the Presbyterians ignoring Foxman and his intellectual thuggery

      I'm not sure that they are ignoring Foxman. More like they are asserting aspects they view as central to their faith in terms of a set of physical places and people at the core of their belief system. I recently made this somewhat incomplete list for a friend:

      Places where Jesus probably went:

      Bethlehem: birth
      Ænon on the Jordan River: possible baptism
      Betharaba on the Jordan River: possible baptism
      Bethsaida: healed a blind man
      Cana: Jesus’ first miracle
      Capernaum: the beginning of Jesus’ ministry
      Chorazin: rejection of Jesus by Nazarenes
      Gennesaret: multiple healings
      Mount Tabor: transfiguration
      Nain: Jesus raises the dead
      Nazareth: Jesus upbringing, finding in the temple
      Sea of Galilee: prominent in Jesus’ narrative
      Decapolis: healing the deaf-mute
      Gerasa: cast out demons
      Sychar (Shechem): the Samaritan woman at the well
      Bethany: raising of Lazarus; dinner with Simon the leper; beginning of palm progression to Jerusalem
      Bethesda: Jesus heals a paralytic
      Bethpage: where Jesus sent disciples to get the mule he rode into Jerusalem
      Calvary: Jesus’ crucifixion
      Emmaus: resurrected Jesus appears
      Jericho: Jesus heals the blind
      Caesearea Phillippi: Jesus predicts his impending death

      When people like Foxman ask why Christians meddle in Israeli affairs rather than those of Sudan, Darfur, Tibet, Iran and so on (as if they do not!), point out that Israel/Palestine is no less holy to Christians than it is to Jews or Muslims.

  • Citing MLK, Florida students call on school to divest
    • Despite our inactivity in past injustices, there is a current opportunity in which we expect our university to act accordingly with an honorable conscious.

      Regrettable sentence end. Probably too late to call it back, eh?

  • Mohammed Assaf banned from performing at FIFA World Cup
  • After big loss, AIPAC goes... Progressive!
    • Nathan Guttman's article hophmi links to is pretty good. The quotes from AIPAC figures hoping to re-brand AIPAC as liberal seem to expose their unreality in regard to the task at hand. The article includes a link to two youtubes that were produced as part of some sort of a re-branding effort. The second one, excerpts from a 1956 interview Edward R. Murrow held in Israel with David Ben Gurion, is fascinating. How anyone can seek to brand Ben Gurion in that interview as being anything other than callously insincere after publication and availability of his papers, comes from Sarah Palin worship land, or a Ziocaine-fed province of that place. Even worse, the graphics splashed over the screen during the Murrow-DBG interview show poor editing and lack of awareness of how to connect to millennials.

    • Is this a new job slot, or are they seeking to fill a vacancy? Is there a way to get a complete job description?

  • 'Washington Post' runs article denouncing gross censorship by JCC
    • One question I would like to put to them is.. where are the borders of this independent state?

      I ask a version of that question to Zionist friends and acquaintances, when it becomes central to what they try to defend. Few have been able to comply. Maybe I should carry around a map of the West Bank, with details of the wall, settlements, military zones, etc, with a couple of colored pens, to help them in the process.

      Has anyone published a survey in which they offered so-called "Liberal Zionists" a chance to draw a map of the Israel they hope to have?

  • Goldberg and Cohen stoke fears of BDS
    • his [Netanyahu] strategy features Israeli intelligence vowing to expose “their connection to terror organisations and enemy states”.

      This and other such pronouncements coming out of the weekend "ministerial meeting" are troubling. Jason Ditz:

      With so many far-right coalition members opposed to peace in general, that’s not an option, and instead the plan is to have spy agencies dig around for dirt trying to link any advocates to “terror organizations and enemy states.”

      Israeli officials have long tried to paint opposition to Israeli policies as tantamount to terrorism, or Nazism, or anything else that might scare people away from public criticism, but seem to be willing to dial things up with the peace talks hanging on by a thread. Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz is reported planning an international “media blitz” to publicize whatever their spy agencies manage to find or manufacture.

      This is going to get nasty, and could well involve targeted killings assassinations, both of Palestinians active in BDS, and foreign nationals, let alone digging up dirt on prominent activists.

  • Israel's discriminatory system of ethnic privilege is the real threat to academic freedom
    • This is the most comprehensive list of examples of Israeli academic discrimination and oppression I've read yet. Bookmarked, for use when anyone asks for examples of such. I suppose it is incomplete. Hopefully, somebody will add more examples in the comments.


  • After all that buildup-- SodaStream ad was flat
    • 1. There is no poll of the Super Bowl ads in which SS ranks above the bottom 20%.

      2. Johansson's vapid attempt at allure as she mouthed "viral" was the most meretricious use of that term in ad history.

      3. By the time it aired well over half the audience had left because of the impossibility of the Broncos coming back.

      4. My wife was aware of the controversy over SS and Oxham and Johansson, but hadn't yet seen it. She laughed pretty heartily, saying "That was short but awful." Have to admit that as Seahawk fans (we lived in Seattle and Puget Sound before coming to Alaska), by the time it aired, we were into our second bottle of Rosenblum sparkling rose.

      5. SodaStream is down another 2+% today.

  • Scarlett Johansson's new image (grossout alert)
    • I've lost a lot of respect for Scarlett Johansson over the past weeks. Never put any thought about the actress into the same light as Sarah Palin before recently, but couldn't help it, as I live in Wasilla. At least Johansson mostly keeps her mouth shut.

      When the qualities of the many new adds presented at today's Super Bowl are compared this coming week, Johansson will probably be angry at how bad the product (meaning the ad itself) is described.

  • New York Assembly pressured to reject bill targeting Israel boycotters
    • Maybe Max Blumenthal is the Harriet Beecher Stowe figure. .
      Finkelstein may be a metaphorical John Brown.

      Got to be more apt images than those, but you are on the right track.

      Stowe was a novelist, Brown a criminal. Neither were black. Both Finkelstein and Blumenthal are Jews.

      Douglass' autobiography (1845) has episodes similar to themes evoked in Goliath. The earliest account of a fugitive slave, published in 1825, Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave, might be compared to some of Norm's early work. Note how long they were published before things came to a head, or before the Civil Rights Act, for that matter. Things move faster now, though.

  • 'FT' blast on settlements will strike fear at Hasbara Central (if not among liberal Zionists and 'glitzy blondes')
  • Kerry’s billions: US economic plans for Palestine place investment over freedom
  • American Jewish leader calls Iranians manipulative 'bazaaris'
    • I'm not arguing against the notion that Iran has not initiated an expansionist military campaign on its own in a long, long time. But I used to use the same argument as a blah chick until I realized that the 1982 counter-offensives made the argument technically incorrect. This map shows the Iraqi territory they temporarily occupied (marked in light brown):

      link to

    • I have heard that Iran hasn’t invaded a neighbor in 200 hundred years, how many other countries in that region can say that?

      Technically speaking, that is incorrect. Although Iraq brazenly invaded Iran on September 23rd, 1980 (having launched several surprise aerial attacks against Iran the day before), after a series of Iraqi defeats in 1981 and early 1982, that were terribly costly to both sides, Iran counter-attacked, beginning on March 22, 1982. Throughout the spring and summer, the Iranians took back most of their territory the Iraqis had seized.

      In mid-July, 1982, the Iranians launched Operation Ramadan. Around July 16th they began probing Iraqi border defenses east of Basra. The Iranians lost the battle, but remained along the border between the two countries for the remainder of the war. Incursions across it into Iraq were frequent, but not deep. Also, in the northwest, the Iranians occupied two Iraqi enclaves to the north and south of As Sulaymaniyah. After the cease fire, the Iranians withdrew. Their incursions into Iraq were intended to have positive strategic effects, but they never claimed any Iraqi territory as their own.

  • 'You seem to be on both sides of this legitimate/illegitimate kind of a thing': State Dept. spox says neither Israeli settlements, nor settlement boycotts, are legitimate
    • I DO like your idea of the opera ending as she walks into the exorcist's office, hoping to be freed of the delusions eating away at her soul.

      Thanks for the ideas and inspiration, friends.

    • I wrote about Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall and the helldozers already - over ten years ago, and with their familys' permission. Not an opera but a tragic cantata.

      link to

      Third act of this Psaki-Lee opera needs to happen somewhere in DC.

    • I almost feel inspired to write an opera on the exchanges between Matt Lee and Jen Psaki. I think they like each other, or are at least frenemies. They've already written the libretto for the first act and beginning of the second themselves.

      I'd write Jen as a mezzo, Matt as a baritone. In the 2nd act, they will suddenly fall madly, uncontrollably in love. But in the 3rd act ........?

      Any thoughts?

  • Truman always opposed a religious state, but caved to 'fanatical' Zionist lobby
    • MK Nissim Ne'ev is furious, I say - furious!

      "It's a big problem. As the prime minister of Israel and the Jewish people, [Netanyahu] must display national responsibility via the values he presents inside his own household. I bet it pains him. Any Jew who wants to maintain his roots wants to see his son marry a Jewish girl. There is no shortage of beautiful, successful girls without sowing in the fields of others." emphasis added

      link to

  • 'NYT' publishes Holocaust trivia on front page
    • Coming up on Christmas 1975, I was crab fishing in Alaska. Headed down to Seattle for the Holidays, three or four friends asked me to get them pet rocks down there, and bring them back for girl friends, sisters or moms. Guys didn't buy pet rocks for other guys, and women did not buy them for men. It was so fucking stupid, vapid and time sensitive. By the time I got back to Cordova, the craze was over, and nobody bothered to ask why I hadn't gotten a rock for their whatever.

    • There was always reluctance in the USSR to put the Jewish Holocaust on some sort of a pedestal, so to say. Alexander Werth, in his book Russia at War, touched upon this. Essentially, several major works on the 3rd Reich, dating back to the 1950s assert that had the Nazis managed to win their war, the Jews would have been followed immediately by others deemed unfit to live with the master race.

      This comment is not meant to criticize awareness of how truly awful the Jewish Holocaust was, but one might consider a coffee table book with the word "Russian" or Soviet citizen" written somewhere between 21.8 and 28 million times. It might break the table. Had the Nazis won, the book would probably have had the word "Soviet citizen" written 45 million times. Or more.

  • Calls grow for Oxfam to drop Scarlett Johansson following her defense of Israeli occupation
  • Scarlett and Oxfam chat over Palestinian land loss
    • KQED Radio has just announced they will no longer use SodaStream products as gifts to donors:

      After careful consideration, KQED is pulling SodaStream from its pledge thank you gift offer. The decision to provide SodaStream to our members was based on the product’s positive impact on the environment, an issue near and dear to the hearts of our members and part of KQED’s commitment to sustainability. However, the controversy surrounding SodaStream would undermine the spirit of our impartiality and unbiased mission, therefore the product will no longer be offered as a thank you gift to our members.

      EI is covering it:

      link to

    • I'm sure there will be a post up here soon - Scarlett Johansson has issued a fairly brief, vague statement at Huffington Post:

      While I never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream, given the amount of noise surrounding that decision, I'd like to clear the air.

      I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.

      That is what is happening in their Ma'ale Adumim factory every working day. As part of my efforts as an Ambassador for Oxfam, I have witnessed first-hand that progress is made when communities join together and work alongside one another and feel proud of the outcome of that work in the quality of their product and work environment, in the pay they bring home to their families and in the benefits they equally receive.

      I believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them. I stand behind the SodaStream product and am proud of the work that I have accomplished at Oxfam as an Ambassador for over 8 years. Even though it is a side effect of representing SodaStream, I am happy that light is being shed on this issue in hopes that a greater number of voices will contribute to the conversation of a peaceful two state solution in the near future.

      link to

  • Oxfam expresses 'concerns' over Scarlett Johansson's support for settlement product
    • I agree that she is an impressive actress, and has played several roles that required a fairly high degree of intelligence and perception. And her work with Oxfam should be lauded. However, I have no sympathy for her having gotten herself into this situation. It is hard to believe she was totally unaware of Oxfam's long-term work in Palestine, or of the NGO's position on the illegality of settlement products.

      Her agent has certainly acted negligently if that person was supposed to spot any potential problems in an SS deal. It will probably be easier for her to pull away from volunteer work with Oxfam than from a lucrative product endorsement set to debut at the Super Bowl. However if Soda Stream's agent in negotiating a contract with Johannson was aware she was being set up for a conflict with Oxfam by signing on the dotted line without informing or advising her of the upcoming shitstorm, her attorney might be able to back out of the contract and sue SS for damages.

  • Obama 'outraged' by Schumer, Gillibrand, & Booker's deference to Netanyahu
    • Sen. Mark Begich, one of the Democratic senators up for election this year from Red states that signed on to the Kirk-Menendez resolution, is in Alaska this past week. I tried to set up an interview with him on this, but it didn't pan out. Speaking with his campaign manager last Friday, I got the feeling he's counting on this not coming up for a vote, and taking in extra campaign donations for having gone along with what his campaign manager, Susanne Fleek-Green, says "he believes in." I told her, "Yeah, right."

      When I spoke to her, she claimed to be unaware of the Jon Stewart and Chris Hayes segments that ran last Thursday. I sent her links to them. Word is that if this comes to a vote, it would be linked to a July 21 effective date.

  • More on Mark Kleiman's appeal to Jews to come out against Iran sanctions
    • where does he come up with opposition to war with Iran is almost certainly more prevalent among Jews than among non-Jews. ?

      Maybe by listing the two groups and comparing them?

      Maybe by enumerating them on separate lists and collating them?

      Maybe by putting a pile of articles against Iran intervention or sanctions by non-Jews and placing it next to a pile of articles on the same by Jews, and measuring the two piles?

      Maybe by remembering incidents and anecdotes about the two groups' positions in his head, and calculating the totals?

      Surely not by "counting," though, eh?

  • Cary Nelson, the AAUP, and the privilege of bestowing academic freedom
    • Spent four hours reading the whole report. It does beg to be reprinted in the Journal of Academic Freedom.

      Phan Nguyen's efforts on behalf of Palestinian rights are now into their second decade. This is merely the latest example of a growing body of superbly detailed investigative articles by this assiduous author. They stand at the peak of what we try to do to educate people on the inner workings of the machinery of the Zionist expansion experiment.

  • Eric Alterman declines request to debate Max Blumenthal at Brooklyn College
    • I pray for Max, but no more than for any other writer or journalist out there doing her or his job reporting the crimes of the very powerful. I've watched Max handle gun nuts in Wasilla who loved you-know-who, and knew he was investigating her. He did it better than I usually do, and I know these guys and live here.

      Max confronted Palin's cult in Alaska more like Gandhi than like HST.

    • I would have been surprised if Eric Alterman had accepted the invitation at his own workplace-academy to debate Max Blumenthal. He will not debate Max anywhere, any time, for anything short of $50K or so, perhaps not even then. Does he have a price?

      We could probably make a list of other so-called "experts" on WTF is going on in Israel or with the Zionist experiment, who are unwilling to debate Blumenthal. We already know that Terry Gross or her producers have declined to have Max back for this book, unlike their quick and full interest in his first one.

      Max is going to be around for a while. His most important work is ahead of him. The people and institutions who have neglected him on this book will be forced to deal with Blumenthal again and again in the future, as his new books roll out. The next one will probably be about the rise of Far Right extremism and neo-Fascism in Europe:

      I am not sure where I’ll go next in terms of journalism but I think the rise of the xenophobic right-wing in Europe might be one area I will explore.

      link to

  • Jon Stewart plays 'Let's break a deal' with AIPAC
  • The (Jewish) N-Word
    • Michelle Goldberg just linked to a Times of Israel article that headlines "Israel’s anti-Nazi censorship law would jail half the cabinet."

      link to

    • I carefully avoid making any comparisons between Israeli policies or actions and anything having to do with the Third Reich - to the point that I'm reluctant to even comment on it at this essay. Such comparisons are not usually apt, and often show sloppiness or lack of historical awareness on the part of the accuser(s).

      That being said, this Knesset legislation proposal is another example of onerous Israeli laws designed to limit freedom of speech that is critical of the State.

  • 'The Israel I love is increasingly hated'-- Richard Cohen
  • MLA delegates pass measure against Israel denying entry to academics
    • Good outcome to a reasoned approach to the subject of selective, even random denials of academic freedom by Israeli authorities to people seeking to participate in the same "global academy" Dr. Kenneth Waltzer was so adamant about defending here last week. Hope he shows up at this thread to voice some of those same arguments he so fervently posed.

      link to

  • On House floor, Gohmert says Blumenthal is anti-Semitic Jew who'd welcome another Holocaust
  • White House calls out warmongers in Congress, as lobby turns screws on Wasserman Schultz
    • Last week, I got this email (I've edited out a couple of names):

      Hi all,

      I had a request from [deleted] this morning that I said I'd share with other folks that I thought might be interested. The first "Begich Breakfast" will be Wed. Jan. 22 at the Dena'ina Center in Anchorage at 7:30 AM. The recommended donation is $125 a seat. They would like the MatSu Democrats to have a table of ten. If we could come up with ten folks that have $125 to spare for Mark's reelection campaign and can be in Anchorage by 7:30 in the morning, she said we'd get a "shout out" at the breakfast.

      Any takers? Let me know. If we couldn't quite fill the table, maybe we could take a couple seats out of the treasury to fulfill the $1,250 total. We can talk about that at the retreat on Sat. If possible, she'd like to know before then, which is why I'm sending this to all of you.


      My response (my wife and I contribute a lot to local progressives):

      If you can get in touch with his staff and ask them if I will be allowed to devote five minutes to an exchange with him on why he supports the AIPAC-inspired Senate resolution to screw Obama’s Iran nuclear initiative, and get an ironclad guarantee from them, I’ll buy the whole fucking table. Otherwise, I probably won’t want to be there.

      Phil Munger

      The only responses I've gotten were sadly defensive or negative. Nobody came forward in support of my proposal, even after Begich's staff was brought in. I doubt there will be an agreement.

  • Dershowitz steps down from Harvard to spend more time with what he loves -- Israel
    • I doubt Prof. Dershowitz was put under any pressure to retire. He's 75 years old. Not many faculty where I teach approach that age. One of my close colleagues at UAA retired at 74, and he was far and away the elder on our faculty. I'm 67, and thinking about two or three more years - starting my 43rd semester next Tuesday.

      I know there are profs at most universities older than Dershowitz. Noam Chomsky is 85. My last conducting prof, Stanley Chapple, taught into his mid-80s too, and worked his butt off inspiring us. But the norm is to retire at the Dersh's age or earlier.

      Good riddance!

  • Chilean soccer team puts Palestine front and center
    • That is the old version, Walid.

    • At the time the club was founded - 1920 - that WAS a map of Palestine.

      Interesting how large the Palestinian community has become in Chile. From one of the articles linked to above:

      Chile is home to one of the largest Palestinian communities in the world, with about 350,000 immigrants and their descendants.

      From Wikipedia:

      In the 2012 Chilean census, 16,294 Chilean residents listed their religion as Judaism. The actual Jewish community in Chile is estimated to be slightly larger.

      Not indulging in counting, but 350,000 out of a Chilean population of 17.5 million is significant. Wikipedia states, in the Demographics section of their main article on Chile that "Roughly 500,000 of Chile’s population is of full or partial Palestinian origin." And the wikipedia article on the Palestinian diaspora, using the same 500,000 figure, lists the Chilean-Palestinian population as the fifth largest group in the world, following Palestine, Jordan, Israel and Syria.

      Learn something new every day.

      I don't see where the incitement claim has any legitimacy.

  • Netanyahu: 'There’s a problem the Palestinians are [in the West Bank] . . . I don’t want a binational state, and I don’t want them as citizens or subjects'
    • My favorite "invented tomato" is the Green Zebra, invented (bred) by Tom Wagner, back in the late 70s. It has since become popular, because of its incredible taste and bright, delightful appearance. In early February, I'll begin planting them, and some other "invented" and heirloom varieties.

      link to

  • Jewish establishment slams MLA boycott panel for not including Israel advocates
    • I do give Prof. W some credit for keeping on coming back. But you're right about his ad hominem tactics being designed to change the subject away from my questions.

      I wish there were a better way to make progress when an exchange like this occurs here.

    • Give me a break, Dr. Waltzer. Are you indicating that Ms. Yeager's observations I quoted above are false? I don't like her, and I don't feel comfortable around Alison Wier, either.

      However, once again you have failed to address the inconsistency in your appearance here. Have you ever done anything on behalf of Dr. Chomsky to try to get the travel ban against him lifted? Did you do one single thing on his behalf when he was refused entry back in May, 2010? How about when Dr. Norm Finkelstein was denied entry to Israel in 2008? Or when Richard Falk was denied entry later that same year? Can you cite any examples of your having come out in support any scholar, student or former academic who was critical of Israeli policies or actions, after that person was denied access to an event, program or other such academically-related activity (as defined by you above)?

    • I'm not going to so far as salute Dr. Waltzer. I posed a difficult question to him which he refused to answer. Paraphrasing - when is he going to step out there and defend his colleague Norm Chomsky for having been barred from what the former has here defined academia to constitute? Rather than defending Chomsky, who has been barred by the rogue state U.S. scholars are considering sanctioning, Dr. Waltzer has attacked his colleague in the past. And he is accusing commenters here of wanting to "bar Israeli scholars," when that is not the case.

      This was noted last April by Carolyn Yeager:

      Another organization connected to Israel that he serves is Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. He has written four attack-dog articles for them since 2009, functioning in a sort of Abe Foxman-pitbull style.

      In Nov. 2009, he attacked Alison Wier as another “know-nothing” because she speaks up for Palestinian rights on college campuses, where she is popular.

      In May 2010, he went after John Mearsheimer for calling Israel “an apartheid state” and also took out after Noam Chomsky, Norman Finklestein, and “the crackpot Phil Weiss.”

      Also in May 2010, another target was Judith Butler, who campaigned at the Berkeley campus for the university “to divest from companies making military weapons which Israel employs to commit war crimes.”

      In August 2011, he wrote on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, arguing for Israel’s interests to be well and strongly presented on college campuses.

      Prof. Waltzer is posing at this thread solely as a defender of the integrity of the global Ivory Tower. Yet in his own past efforts, he has not shown he actually believes that or lives it past his whitewashed room in the small fief in the borg his institute has become through his sometimes magnificent, sometimes unfinished or questionable work.

      However, I don't believe he does this intentionally. He is almost like a fervent Lysenkoist Soviet Academician in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Although "neo-Lysenkoism" has already been defined, Waltzer's views on how to mythically fix the problem of apartheid in Israel and the Occupied Territories might be a competitor for use of such a term.

      Still waiting for your kind and considered response, Dr. Waltzer. My phone number is in the local book, if you would rather carry this on somewhere else.

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