Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4223 (since 2010-05-31 18:07:51)


American university faculty member born in Poland.

Showing comments 4223 - 4201

  • Hey Jews, listen up, Netanyahu is your leader!
    • Per Beniamin Netanyahu, eia eia alala!
      Per la nostra Patria bella, eia eia alala!

      Giovinezza, giovinezza, primavera di bellezza ...

  • Iran Deal coalition breaks apart, and J Street looks more and more like AIPAC
    • We owe a lot to Israel. Without it we would have to eat Roma tomatoes, or grape tomatoes, or plum tomatoes, or for the want of very durable varieties we would be at the mercy of local farmers and just eat produce grown within 300 miles from home. We would have to use a bit less convenient forms of flash memories. We would stupidly use ceramic pipes for drip irrigation instead of plastic ones. Humus would never become popular without Israeli advise. And so on and so on. But does it mean that we have to have insane and immoral foreign policy?

      Belgium is a delightful country that contributed a lot. Suppose that they had a minor request to support them running Congo Free State in the manner designed by King Leopold. Should we do it?

    • The support of al-Nusra is a toe of a dinosaur of insane policy. Hey, if we can cheerfully support "Jewish National" religious fanatics, why not make a coalition with other murderous religious fanatics in the region, and as we are at it, label all their opponents as "terrorists", "illegitimate" or both, while facilitating recruiting, funding and arming of the kind of folks that we would be terrified to have at home (but out there, there are freedom fighters). In that context, whatever Iran does is "support of terrorists".

      One little problem is that this illogical (besides being immoral) foreign policy is crumbling on its own weight, and here comes Senator Cardin to promote the insanity with rhetoric and serial criminality. Sanctions are mostly theft, while the support of our pet terrorists and barely sane princes (or mostly insane?) is being accessory to mass murder, including high tech used to convert a wedding into a goulash (we had to provide the tools, patiently explain how to use them and assists the deed with "targeting aid").

      News flash to Senator Cardin: it is increasingly hard to view our policies as sane, and our allies suffer more and more from indigestion. If the only way out of that insanity is for nations to get together and oppose USA, eventually it will happen, and I suspect that you will not be pleased.

  • The refreshing bluntness of Ayelet Shaked
  • 'NYT' reporters parrot Israeli claims re cherry tomato
    • From what I know, Christian Poles do not claim bagels. Small breads are highly regional, the only type similar to bagels in my parts was a tiny, shiny ring with very crunchy texture (sushki in the Wiki link). In the south, Jews had bagels and Christian bakers had obwarzanki (singular obwarzanek) link to

      Concerning flash drives, they were invented by Israelis, but this is basically a way to package flash memory, and flash memory was invented and developed by the Japanese, Toshiba company, and there is a large variety of different uses and interfaces. Without Japan, semiconductors would be very, very different, without Israel? Perhaps a bit different.

  • Amnesty: Killing of Hadeel al-Hashlamoun was 'extrajudicial execution'
    • There is always a bad apple, a dirty mind not totally cleansed by brainwashing. Once there was a story in Ha'aretz, one of those "can you believe that!?", about a reserve officer in West Bank who was instructing his troops how to be polite on checkpoints.

    • There was a little discussion why Hadeel did not understand Hebrew. Actually, there is no evidence that she did not:

      He said a soldier had asked Ms. Hashlamoun to open her bag for inspection. “When she was opening at her bag, he began shouting: ‘Stop! Stop! Stop! Don’t move! Don’t move!’ ” the activist said. “She was trying to show him what was inside her bag, but the soldier shot her once, and then shot her again.”

      The activist said three or four other soldiers had raced to the scene and also fired.

      Another witness, Fawaz Abu Aisheh, 34, who appeared in the photographs taken by the activist, said Ms. Hashlamoun did not respond as soldiers screamed at her in Hebrew to step back. A soldier shot at her feet twice, but she did not move, he said.

      “She was like a nail, like she was in shock,” he said. “I was shouting, ‘She doesn’t understand Hebrew!’ ”

      Mr. Abu Aisheh said he had opened a small gate inside the checkpoint so that she could back away from the soldiers. She did so, creating more distance between her and the soldiers. END QUOTE

      You do not need to be a sheltered shy girl with comprehension difficulties to be utterly confused when men with huge guns surround you and start shouting contradictory commands, "Open the bag! Don't move". Actually, sensibly enough, she stopped moving. Abu Aisheh to defuse situation said that "She does not understand Hebrew", which is more tactful then "quiet down and decide what you want her to do". On the photographs, the eyes of a soldiers are almost popping out of his head, as if he was thinking "O my G.d! I will not get out of here alive, she is about to explode!"

      Actually, typically for IDF, it was extremely weird checkpoint. On a checkpoint they should be prepared to check things. There should be a large well visible table, a person to pat (a female person for patting females), etc. Each of us knows the airport procedure. In the photo, we see a strangely placed tiny table, a chair, and a bucket, they did not bring her to the checking area -- there was none? After commanding Hadeel to open her case, the soldier probably realized that he made a blunder, and then his panic could not be stopped.

      It reminds me an incident when IDF shot dead a settler rabbi. For some reason, just before dawn they decided to suddenly make a checkpoint on a road. And they set it in such a way that they were hardly visible in the pre-morning twilight so slowly driving rabbi passed through. Then to stop him they did not use remotely controlled spiked tape or something like that but shot through his car. The next driver nearly hit the soldiers, as they were not visible, but luckily for him (a Palestinian), at this point soldiers were to baffled to shoot. Making and manning checkpoints is the most basic activity of IDF, and yet they are totally ill-equipped and ill-trained to do it. The top command dreams of grand battles with Iran.

    • Some people complain about the designation "extrajudicial execution". It is by no means a euphemism, it is a term for a type of crime that is hardly ever prosecuted because it is performed by the state, covertly or overtly. The more the act is sanctioned by the state, the more it falls under "extrajudicial execution" and less under simple "murder". That just means that responsibility lies mostly with the state.

      Member of security forces, police, military are getting weapons and instruction how to use them in the case of danger, how to recognize the danger and how to use different types of force. And how to concoct evidence in a case things go wrong. So the responsibility lies chiefly with people in command position who organize, instruct, approve etc. In particular, I feel that there is a huge correlation between hysterical killings like Hadeel case and bouts of hysteria emanating from Knesset and the government.

    • Is is possible that Hadeel did understand, but she literally freaked out. Take a random shy girl, surround with several men brandishing huge guns and start to shout.

    • This is a legal term, it is basically "murder under a color of authority". The difference between an ordinary murder and an extrajudicial execution is that it is performed by security forces or military.

  • Settlers gawk as Palestinian woman lies dying at checkpoint (Update)
    • I looked several times at the barrel, it is definitely the same in both pictures, so the knife is not in the original position. It is quite possible that a checkpoint would have a knife specifically for this type of situation.

      After all, Israelis do not use justifications in this style ( yesterday in Baltimore county):

      A Maryland man was shot dead by police after pointing his finger as if it was a gun at an officer. Baltimore County police said they chased a man Wednesday, who was suspected of trying to buy cough syrup with a fake prescription.
      He was “reaching around to the small of his back and abruptly whipping his hand around and pointing it toward the officer, as if with a weapon,” authorities said.
      The incident was recorded on surveillance footage from a nearby business. Police say the video shows that after falling to the ground the unidentified man refused “to comply and keeps reaching into his waistband, as if for a weapon.”

      Read more: link to

      So the suspect have fallen down, as when he was prone of the ground, he "failed to comply".

  • Teenager's killing brings toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces this year to 25
    • The Guardian link above has many photos. But perhaps the most revealing is the quote of the IDF spokescreature: "... so she was shot in the leg. Shen then continued towards the soldiers..."

      and the soldiers were by that time utterly convinced that she is a Zombie or some other creature impervious to normal ammunition. The photographs do not explain how the knife appeared on the scene. It is highly unlikely that the soldiers could see a knife, because the young woman was in a burqa without sleeves, and she used both hands to show her bag (a small suitcase?).

      But if she could walk after having shot-through wounds in her legs, perhaps she had a spare arm as well.

    • link to

      Quite comprehensive coverage of the checkpoint murder of Hadeel al-Hashlamon.

  • The Obama administration needs to own up to the quagmire in Syria
    • Arrest warrant for Bandolero from Grammar Police: confusing misspelling!

      There is no "Tectonic shift" of German policy, but "Teutonic shift", named after a tribe that kept issuing contradicting statements, usually in the same week.

      Apart from that, Germany is indeed curiously dependent on Russian natural gas. I do not have stats at hand, but German government has to satisfy two constituencies that pull in somewhat opposite direction: "sensible economic growth" and Green tendency of opposing carbon emissions AND nuclear energy. So Germany is energetically pushing "renewable energy", quite a lot of wind power installed, many types of sensible energy savings, but there is still a yawning gap that can be filled only with natural gas. Historically, east Germany relied on lignite, a fuel with particularly bad CO2 to energy ratio, and the west on coal with is not as bad but quite bad, while natural gas gives a ratio which is better, if not that spectacular (nukes have much lower emissions). So natural gas is the only way to fix the energy balance, and if Poles and Ukrainians stand in the way, bad luck for them.

      New sources of gas may appear of course, but elimination of coal + growth will use all that.

      Apart from that, Germans know very well to what extend extreme Ukrainian nationalists are Nazi, and to what extend they are not. But since WWII, the impulse to follow American foreign policy, with some necessary exceptions dictated by the economy, became so ingrained that so far, we see "Teutonic shifts" only.

  • Ad targeting Sen. Bennet says Iran wants to nuke the world's children
    • The concept was a multi-lingual countdown, perhaps a bit to subtle (five in Spanish, four in Russian, two in some Slavic language etc.) For that, puppies would not do. The idea was that now Iran will start tossing bombs at Russia, some other Slavic country, a Spanish speaking country, literally, all over the place.

      I think Goldwater ad had an American girl, and the message was clear. Here, I am not sure if "low information" voters would realize what was it about.

  • Which nation spends more on its military: Iran or Israel?
    • About the Bloombergian link given by our friend Laurent Weppe:

      The article reports opinion of experts. I will always remember a lecture on expert systems that I heard on an international conference. "What is an expert?" (meaning, what a program called "expert system" is supposed to do) asked the speaker, Lofti Zadeh, inventor of fuzzy logic. Silence in the audience. And the brilliant answer: "Expert is a person who cannot say: I do not know." And there are multiple ways of using the opinion of experts.

      One way is to conduct championship of experts: who can provide the highest number? The same expert can make multiple attempts! In the cited article:

      (1) On Monday, a spokeswoman for the U.N. special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told me that the envoy estimates Iran spends $6 billion annually on Assad's government.

      (2) Nadim Shehadi, the director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University, said his research shows that Iran spent between $14 and $15 billion in military and economic aid to the Damascus regime in 2012 and 2013

      (3) The Christian Science Monitor last month reported that de Mistura told a think tank in Washington that Iran was spending three times its official military budget--$35 billion annually--to support Assad in Syria. [this seems to be ca. 50% of the total Iranian export]

      Did de Mistura take the lead? Alas, no. Unlike the lowly CSM, Bloomberg Report has such a global presence that it can collect information more directly.

      (4) When asked about that earlier event, Jessy Chahine, the spokeswoman for de Mistura, e-mailed me: "The Special Envoy has estimated Iran spends $6 billion annually on supporting the Assad regime in Syria. So it's $6 billion not $35 billion.

      Syria fields about 200,000 troops who are frequently engaged in combat. USA used roughly 100 billions per year to maintain 100,000 troops in Iraq, so my expert estimate is that Syria needs at least 20 billions -- I assume that the cost per combat soldier is 10 times smaller, 10 being the smallest round number larger than 1.

      However, those numbers are totally fuzzy. They include donations of weapons that are not sold on the open market anywhere,, so one can try to estimate how much it would cost PRC to make such weapons, or for how much PRC would sell such weapons, or how much it costs Iran to extend production runs for weapons that they would make anyway, and so on, with the highest number being "how much such activity would cost in USA". "No arm producer in USA would demean itself to make such a crap". One thing is certain, all those estimate include a lot of guesses. By the way, Tufts estimate was "military and economic".


      Fancy theory of expert piotr: Russia presumably gives some weapons to Syria, and sells some. The sales are for credit (that is certain). Iran guarantees some of those credits, and now that Iran's finances are presumed to improve, Russia may accept larger Iranian-backed credit line, which may explained an increase in supplies.

    • As DaBakr wrote, "Putin is dumping 100s of millions of dollars into arming Assad", in the same time US Congress budgeted 500 million dollars to train and arm moderate Syrian opposition, which resulted in fielding 56 troops. 56 superheroes would be more then enough, as any fan of fantasy and mecha can tell you, but superheroes they were not. Allegedly, four are still fighting after all these days (about a month). But do not worry: there is another class of 120-200 students.

      The most interesting is that KSA sent 1000 troops to Yemen, with the budget of 80 billion, UAE sent 3000 with the budget of 15 billion. So for 30 times less than UAE budget, USA should be able to field 100 troops, which somewhat matches the size of our moderate contingent. There is also some evidence that GCC force in Yemen is quite short of superheroes.

  • Long Island synagogue marks High Holidays with thanks to Israeli soldiers in Gaza war
    • No, in my opinion Zionists argue that because Jews are good and Israel is adorable, whatever the government does is good. Because those are deeds of good people. I have no idea what Grand Mufti Amin al-Husayni is "an important person", least of all, in 21st century, and why he justifies what IDF and the settlers do, except in good versus bad narrative, where it is important to document why one side is good and the other bad. Books were written on the topic. Similarly, Kastner is not particularly relevant today and back in 1944 (I kind of doubt that Nazis and Arrowcross needed much help in identifying Jews for deportation.)

      The logic is that we have to delve into history to establish bad people and good people, preferably linking the bad to Hitler, Stalin can do as well, and once it is done, forever after we know who is to be blamed and who is blameless. If you have found a cure for cancer and subsequently raped a number of prepubescent children, in the light of huge contribution to humanity we have no choice but to trust that you did the good thing. Unless your grandpa's third cousin met Hitler.

      In any case, this is not a logic invented by Zionists. For example, check Wikipedia page "Olga of Kiev". The top illustration is captioned "Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Olga". Her beloved husband was collecting taxes, and after extracting tribute from one tribe, we returned in few weeks and asked for more, irate Drevlans killed him and Olga, the future Saint, avenged him, and her pius biographers described all her deeds (mostly mythological, I presume) with delight and approval, since those we deeds of an important saint. If this was not a saint's biography, those exploits (e.g. fourth revenge on Derevlans) would mark her as a genocidal maniac.

    • Some of you are ignorant of basic moral principles. There is good and there is evil, there are innocent and there are the guilty. Guilty are those who do bad things, others are innocent. Bad things are those who are done by bad people, and good things are those that are done by the good one, especially if it makes the bad ones suffer.

      Thus no one is more innocent that our soldiers. Our soldiers are the best, so every thing what they do should be lauded. Anyone attacking our soldiers is evil, anyone thinking about attacking our soldiers is evil, any one who can grow up to think about attacking our soldiers ...


      This is totally different way of thinking than the one promoted by this site, and from my observations, it is extremely hard for followers of that thinking to understand people like Scott, Roth etc. and vice versa. The dialogue is typically like that: "It is lamentable that so many children were killed, we should work to avoid repeating that in the future" "So you support Hamas? Do you know what they do to gay people?" "So if some people in Gaza do not like gays, it is ok to bomb them and kill their children?" "So you also support Hezbollahs and the mullahs? [of Iran]" "You are you talking about the mullahs when we started about the children?" "Why are you white washing the fact that those children were born to very bad people who supported Hitler and were recruiting Bosnians and Albanians to fight for the Nazi cause"? "Where that came from? How misdeeds of some Bosnians and Albanians 70 years ago justify killing of the children now?" "Because we must realize who is the good side here, and who is the bad side. Plus, why are you so preoccupied with children, do you have a Lolita complex? And why are you ignoring the suffering of Israeli Jewish children who had to run to shelters each time there was an alarm? Why do you hate Jewish children?"

    • A threat to US intelligence? If the well being of the "several states" hinged on the intelligence services, we would be in a very bad shape indeed. The biggest issue I see there is that those agencies are responsible for producing disinformation and the actual information, but the mechanisms to separate the two were irretrievably disabled. This is how the most secret documents are marked:

      WARNING! This page contains true information. You cannot copy it, burn before reading. Would you leak the content of this page, you will be chased to the other end of the world and your kin and your seed will be cursed for seven generations. Your women will be barren, your crops will wither. Your name will be erased from any paper, stone, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, search engines will be forbidden to reported it ....

  • 'New Yorker' says anti-Zionism is 'firmly rooted' in British left, and it's anti-Semitic
    • About the weirdness prevalent in Corbynland: "...archetypal resident of the British far left: a bearded, bicycle-riding, teetotal vegetarian from Islington, in north London. The image is lazy and unjust; in Corbyn’s case, unfortunately, it also happens to be true. "

      What is unfortunate here: the beard, the bicycle, or the lack of ethanol and meat in the diet? Or is the combination singularly obnoxious? Frankly, I have hard time understanding Lane's thinking. I mean, I understand that faced with the unknown that is beyond the realm of his experience he resorts to a bemused and patronizing posture, and regains his mental equilibrium by reciting common wisdoms that was drilled into him (including the bit about "anti-semitic left"), but I have hard time getting any empathy for it.

    • By the way, can one of true liberals (not you, Phillip!) explain what UK gains from purchasing nuclear missiles from USA and operating submarines that carry them? Germany, Japan, Spain, South Korea etc. are doing just fine without them. I would also like an explanation of the superiority of private Amtrak and British railroad companies over French and German railroads.

    • “the honorable traditions of Jewish socialism” was historically anti-Zionist.

      Once I was quite startled. I was web surfing and I stumbled on a web site of ONR, a Polish acronym that is lovingly resurrected from 1930-ties, "National-Radical Camp", in 1930-ties they represented radical right wing opposition to the statist government. And one old-timer was reminiscing about those good old days when his group would collaborate with Betar boys to trash offices of Bund. Betar, Jabotynsky's organization, was perhaps fascist and perhaps not, same as ONR, but both had the habit of beating up socialists and at occasion they were doing it together. I must stress that I knew about it from family anecdotes too.

      Clearly, what confuses Lane is that Corbyn represents the surviving internationalist (contrasting with nationalist), and anti-colonialist strain of Socialism (which in Britain was never truly Marxist). That prompts him to invite the "natives" to present their perspective, and to address them politely, hence "friends". Liberals were never egalitarian internationalists, but applying "properly vile" language to "uncouth natives" drops from their tongues with less ease than for the right wing.

      Liberals are kind of hybrids. They believe in equal rights, but they also believe in capitalist order where the ruling class has their well deserved place, and tries to achieve an amalgam. They feel best as "technocrats", and they absorb elitism that effectively treats the "natives" as subhumans. So, my friend Phillip, you are not a true liberal, you are not a hybrid. HRC is definitely a liberal, Bernie barely makes it. I know that there are appalling quotes about his foreign policy views, but to me it seems that he did his darn least not to be booted out of Democratic Party caucus, or slapped with some type of label like "Caution, an extremist, he bites".

      So to Lane visit to Corbynian England was something of a tropical adventure, "ubi leones". Denizens should be assumed dangerous (e.g. anti-Semitic) and approached with utmost caution. Luckily, he lives to tell the tale and shares his harrowing experience with the readers of NYT. But his mind is still reeling, so the account contains incongruities.

    • Page: 42
  • Could Syria's revolution have been different?
    • Numerically, I am not sure who killed more people, and one parse it in various ways whose atrocities are worse. Some arguments are suspicious, to put it mildly -- the regime is using barrel bombs which are "inherently something". You can use the latest precision munitions and get benefit of American targeting analysis, and as we see in Yemen, that means that you can precisely destroy a hospital, a power station, a gas station, bottling plant and so on. And if barrel bombs are evil because the are so imprecise, we should rejoice that Russians started to supply more of the precise weapon systems.

    • I recall that the term "genocidaires" was used in Haiti, but perhaps I am wrong. So this is how a misguided but not quite tyrannical government may be removed
      link to
      I think that the people responsible for our foreign policy still did not figure out why those methods work so poorly in some regions. Why there is no principle "if you can do it in Haiti, you can do it anywhere"?

    • There are still serious doubts raised how large Russian involvement will become. Probably it will not be small: so far, not many new weapons were reported, but Russian are building two extended runway to enable landing of huge Antonov transport planes. Skeptics doubt if Russia can afford it, but these weapons are almost entirely made in Russia, starting from metals and chemicals used to make explosives. Antonovs can land "almost anywhere", but the airports with new runways are small, so even dirt runways require some earth moving.

      WSJ columnist lives in an alternative universe where civilized high tech America can impose its will on the lesser folks. But shooting down Russian planes is WWIII scenario, e.g. they can nuke Diego Garcia. Shooting down Syrian planes using air force will increase air defenses, and the use of long range missiles can be counteracted with, you guessed that, long range missiles. We just witnessed how much havoc as single "dot" can do (Tochka in Russian). There are no easy alternatives to sh..t that is done already, supplying weapons to proxies.

      But what happens next? "Southern front" advances at regime lines. Well armed, all vetted, Free Syrian Army, moderate to the last men. However, these people are common brigands, loyal to the heads of their smallish units. More often then not, offensive stalls among the losses. Some moderates "radicalize" and defect to al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) and to ISIS, with weapons and ammo. Wash, repeat and turn your head with amazement: how ISIS gets weapons and ammo? My impression is that in South Syria, mostly through defections. In the north, also by direct trucking through Turkish border. Then there is trade etc.

      So these offensives go back and forth, ISIS grows and we wonder why refugees are so desperate.

      Concerning "legitimacy", I would recommend Gandhi to lead Syria as soon as it will be realistic. In the meantime, it is worthwhile to compare "the tyrant" with "our allies". Kerry commended al-Sisi for his strides toward democracy, which makes the fascist leader a bit miffed -- why "progress toward" when Egyptians already have all the rights that they should have! The right to public order is secured by mowing the protesters, and anyone who dares to schlep through the countryside without authorization (like Mexican tourists). The right to be entertained wholesomely is enforced by incarceration of dancers whose videos offended good taste and sharia. The right to sound information is similarly enforced, this time without any references to good taste and sharia.

      No such commendations for progress were addressed to our friendly if temperamental absolute monarchs who could take exception to any suggestions that democracy is a good idea. Here the "warriors for high moral ground" fight with each other quite spectacularly: one camp despises public hanging in Iran, and Iranian PressTV regularly is aghast about all the beheadings in KSA, our most favored absolute monarchy. American official policy is firmly on the side of beheading, burqas rather than chadors etc. (Who do Chinese think about beheadings and hangings, being, partial to firing squads?)

      Ah, we talk about legitimacy. Is there some number of victims of slaughter that would make a leader "illegitimate", even if that leader is friendly and cooperative, like Indonesian Suharto in his days? If so, it has to be close to a million. So the doctrine is that multitudinous imperfect regimes are "free game" if additionally they are neither friendly nor cooperative. But if a leader is unfriendly and uncooperative but otherwise quite democratic, we remove him by gentler means, like unleashing "genocidaires".

    • The goals of American (Western in general) policy in Syria are truly macabre.
      Dan Drezner:

      [T]his is simply the next iteration of the unspoken, brutally realpolitik policy towards Syria that’s been going on for the past two years. To recap, the goal of that policy is to ensnare Iran and Hezbollah into a protracted, resource-draining civil war, with as minimal costs as possible. This is exactly what the last two years have accomplished…. at an appalling toll in lives lost.

      This policy doesn’t require any course correction… so long as rebels are holding their own or winning. A faltering Assad simply forces Iran et al into doubling down and committing even more resources. A faltering rebel movement, on the other hand, does require some external support, lest the Iranians actually win the conflict. In a related matter, arming the rebels also prevents relations with U.S. allies in the region from fraying any further.


      In other words, "we" want the mayhem to continue forever, and when "we" aid regimes of Syria and Iraq by attacking ISIS, "we" are very careful not to be overly effective. Now "mayhem forever" is also extended to Yemen (American aid GCC coalition in bombing schools, hospitals, other assorted civilian infrastructure, and of course try to soften the "rebels" by massive hunger, but when the latter tactic will show to be too effective, we can expect some short break so supply a certain amount of food.) Worst come to worst, GCC will win eventually, but not before shelling a hundred billion dollars for weapons (hopefully, more).

  • Don't trade a war on Palestinians for a war on Iran -- Berman
    • It is definitely more complicated. First of all, the donations to American campaigns are made by Americans, with USDs, and one could even argue that Israel itself suffers from oversized influence of rich Americans. For example, I did not read about "native Israeli" business tycoons being raving right wingers, as opposed to Adelson and friends.

      Second, American right wing needs imperialism as a wedge issue in internal politics (the liberal wing is weak), so external conflicts are needed and the need to "project power" etc. And like with "war on drugs", and "war on crime" etc. liberals have this cursed tendency of defending themselves as "no, no! we are not weak, see what we do!". Their position in those "wedges" is that doing anything more would be silly. Thus a large part of the pro-Israeli posture is "for free".

    • A cite I have seen today about "deep silliness". Donald Trump sometimes talks about things that he knows about, e.g. from his experience as a sponsor of beauty contests (he said something tactless, but accurate), but this is not always the case. "If Israel attacks Iran, I think -- of course this wouldn’t happen, it wouldn’t happen with me, with Obama you never know -- but we’re supposed to be on Iran’s side if this happens. OK? And nobody knows this and even talks about that point but, basically, we’re supposed to protect them." While the internal confusion here is definitely Trumpian, it is a good example of a wider phenomenon among non-Jewish Republicans to take AIPAC talking points and somehow garble them and thus remove even appearances of sense.

      ZOA silliness is not inconsistent, but quite false: in, a website published by David Horowitz Freedom Center, there was an original article titled, "Traitor Senators Took Money from Iran Lobby, Back Iran Nukes." Several senators voting for the accord accepted campaign donations from IAPAC. Accepting donations from AIPAC is of course kosher, but from IAPAC (Iranian-American PAC) it is treason. Hm. Does it mean that campaign finances should not only be consistent with American law, but should also pass tests of Halacha? link to

    • I would be less optimistic, in shorter perspective, then Rabbi Berman. The iron grip of AIPAC etc. on Congress is still there. But that does not mean that those lobbies can make USA do something impossible or jump in at the deep end. All other members of UNSC and EU made it clear that they prefer a deal, and after very intense negotiations, they accepted it. Our closest important allies (sorry, countries with smaller GNP than Belgium are not particularly important) made it abundantly clear that they will proceed with USA or without USA. Our most important adversaries, Russia and China, also made it clear that they will not cooperate with "war option", and you cannot isolate Iran from Russia and China. Isolated USA does not have "war option" against Iran, when Iran is not isolated.

      Zionists and neocons have a long term intelligent strategy -- intelligent in the sense of being internally consistent. However, it has a fatal flow of being impossible to execute. I want to keep this post short, but one part of the strategy is to keep Iran poor and ignorant until it will have a pro-Western and pro-Israel regime change, perhaps forever.

      By the way of contrast, keeping Gaza and West Bank poor, oppressed and isolated is something that Israel can do pretty much by itself, with a bit of help of fascistic junta in Egypt, so requesting support for that does not have the impossibility stigma, and this support will last quite a while more. However, the battle about the accord with Iran hopefully opened many eyes to deep silliness endemic in Israeli lobby, neo-conia and GOP.

  • Buy tickets now! Only $360 to hear Elliott Abrams and Dennis Ross!
    • "Israel and USA were joined by Australia, Canada , Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Palau."

      This is really interesting. Australia and Canada have politics on the issue that are similar as in USA, Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau have national budget decided by US Congress. I recall that once there was an "important UN vote" while there was "government freeze" in USA, and our friends in Pacific Ocean abstained. So the question is what is Tuvalu doing here, and why there is no Niue, while both nations sell their votes on per-vote basis? Someone has decided that seven votes seem low, but eight is good enough.

    • About the "ridiculous book launched by Alex Cockburn", the most informative review at

      153 of 198 people found the following review helpful
      Putting Things in Perspective
      By Joanneva12a on December 16, 2003 (4 stars out of 5)
      Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
      18 various essays from astute writers explore the recent claim that Anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide. Without a doubt it is clear that most of the authors attribute the new claims of anti-Semitism in response to the heightened worldwide awareness and moral criticism of Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza, along with its special nation status the world's only superpower has bestowed upon it.
      The essays are in no way meant to trivialize true anti-Semitism, and the book does not ignore that true anti-Semitism exists.The real thing is explored and deplored in this book, but the focus is on what should constitute true anti-Semitism with what is merely a convenient way to silence anyone who criticizes Israeli policy, thus threatening open debate and democracy.
      This is not a book you will just breeze through. I had to read several of the essays multiple times because of the varying philosophical and moral perspectives offered. Some were better than others and made very sound arguments.
      A Jewish professor of philosophy inflates the definition of anti-Semitism to include just about anything a philo-Semite could ever hope for, then through a brilliant moral narrative shows us that in doing so, only cheapens and trivializes the real thing.
      A BBC journalist wants to know why a certain actor wants to kill him, and why numerous people who engage in factual journalism are suddenly the object of hate mail so vile it far exceeds any crime they are supposedly guilty of.
      A SUNY upstate professor pulls the curtain away exposing the myth that the right-wing noise machine speaks for the majority of American Jews and writes that ever increasing Jewish organizations are forming to counter the vocal militant minority that manages to bully not only non-Jews, but moderate and left leaning Jews as well.
      A Taayush member in Tel Aviv takes us into a refugee camp in Beit Jalla to remind us what all the fuss is about, lest we start believing that all this supposedly unwarranted and frivolous criticism for humanity's sake is after all true anti-Semitism.
      One essay explores why philo-Semites are no better than anti-Semites, because they hold one group higher in esteem and value than the rest of humanity.
      Perhaps the frivolous slur of anti-Semite aimed at legitimate moral criticism of Israeli policy, is no different than the unwarranted slur of "anti-American" or "unpatriotic" that are hurled at people in this country who either question, criticize, or oppose the morality or soundness of the current US administration's foreign policy. In either case, it is at worst, a blind nationalistic allegiance to a government - right or wrong... and at the very least a departure from thoughtful debate and a sad decline into two-dimensional thinking.
      And finally, a former Israeli Knesset member points his finger squarely at the Sharon government calling it "a giant laboratory for growing the anti-Semitism virus" and claims, that with its crimes in the West Bank and Gaza, is the biggest generator of anti-Semitic feelings today, which implicates not only itself, but its entire Jewish population along with it.

  • Obama gets Wasserman Schultz-- and salutes her 'homeland' with a Netanyahu valentine
    • Chu, Debbie is committing a major heresy from AIPAC point of view, "most staunch ally in the region"? So what is this region? Eastern hemisphere? That is not the normal usage. In other words, Israel is most staunch when compared with Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and perhaps Turkey. I guess Norway is our most stauch ally in its region and so on. The "correct" phrase is "most precious ally" or something like that, without any qualifier, and if it hurts the feelings of Canadians, Britons, French and so on, let them deal with it.

    • By the way, I do not think that Iranian leaders called for the destruction of Israel. The quotes basically say that Israel should cease to exists, but the details how it would happen do not include any attack by Iran, instead, they refer to divine and popular will. Those people are messianic, not unlike religious parties in Israel. This similarity means that they do not crave martyrdom, instead they view improved religious observances (including female modesty, proper fasts and much more) as the principal method. In a nutshell, it is Torah studies versus Islamic studies in twelver Shia tradition.


      Miami-Dade School Board member Martin Karp, who lives in her district and helped organize rallies last week against the accord, said he started seriously considering a run against the six-term congresswoman after potential supporters began approaching him, just before Wasserman Schultz announced her support for the president’s agreement with Iran.

      “These are real serious people with real money and the ability to raise money who talked to me about running,” said Karp, who declined to name any specific supporters. “I’m really thinking about this — thinking about it a lot. It’s a serious decision and this is a big issue.”

      Karp, 50, said the potential backers “include people who support pro-Israel causes, such as AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and other organizations.”

      AIPAC, a longtime supporter of Wasserman Schultz, led the charge against the Iran deal.


      My bet is on Debbie. Either AIPAC will inform Karp gently that he can be left dry, or it will have an egg in its face. Of course, Karp will get support from ZOA etc.

    • SNARK BEGINS: Another deluded leftist idolizing theocracy that hangs people by hundreds, imposes head coverings on women and so on, and try to prevent USA from steadfastly protecting its allies who sensibly prohibit women to drive, and who behead people (much neater than hanging, wouldn't everybody agree?). There is such a thing as good (beheadings) and evil (hangings) and I am not ashamed that my country has the courage to stand for the good. SNARK ENDS.

      PS. I am glad this this article was also graced with the likeness of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Doesn't she look like Aphrodite who just emerged from sea foam and loosely covered her body with a bathing robe?

  • The Iran Deal is an African American achievement
    • "Mama crocodile was in tears, was she?"

      They also bleed, you know? It could be even a political suicide for her (not likely, IMHO) but for sure she will be "Goldstoned". We online trolls sneer at communities, all those chubby nieces, crazy uncles, wacky rabbis (yes, that's you Rav Shmuley) etc. but also the brilliant ones etc.

      I predicted that Debbie will declare support, and while it does not make her a saint, it is a good thing. (And crazy uncles in her district already pre-condemned her.)

    • Hereby, I, hohmi, solemnly promise the go door to door in minority low income neighborhoods if Iran will not get a nuclear weapon in ten years.

      By the way, anti-Palestinian arguments rely on a big dose of cultural racism, so the disadvantaged minorities are largely immune to them. Mind you, people like Justice Thomas, and Dr. Ben Carson amply justify "self-hating" label (more precisely, they despise the majority of "their folks" and made carriers out of it.)

  • Debacle for the Israel lobby: Booker jilts Boteach, and Netanyahu sinks AIPAC
    • link to

      Debbie Wasserman Schultz made "difficult decision", I could object to her statement, but I prefer to note a nice talking point: "the conclusion that we cannot now get a better deal, as I was unable to find a credible source to say otherwise."

      In spite of considerable effort of herself and numerous staff. As we discussed, it should be a no-brainer that scuttling the deal/accord would hardly help Israel and it would hurt USA a lot. Once USA accumulates a lot of nonsense in foreign policy, it may loose support even among the sycophants.

      To cite other on-going nonsense, (1) still no daylight with extremist GoI (2) cooperation with the inhumane war of GCC on Yemen (3) unconstructive, to put it mildly, policy on Ukraine (4) assorted retrograde policies like proliferating the use of cluster bombs, foot dragging on global warming, woeful human right record on Guantanamo and torture etc. But here our sycophantic allies who put up with all of that already signaled that they would go ahead with dropping sanctions on their side regardless of what Congress will do. USA would get itself isolated over Congressional idiocy. Which could be beneficial given obnoxious outcomes of American influence on the above points, but that should prompt the retrograde-minded members of Congress to support the deal.

    • "... a trip that I arranged trusting that he would absorb the never-ending Jewish struggle for survival in a world inhabited by the kind of evil represented by the Iranian regime"

      So how the Jewish people survived their never-ending struggle? Boteach has one giant contribution: good sex (and he keeps displaying his sex partner and numerous results with justified pride, not to mention books, articles and so on). I would strongly recommend him to follow his own advise.

    • "Booker is the big prize of course. He is bucking his political mentor Sen. Robert Menendez and his old friend Rabbi Shmuley Boteach."

      Menendez is damaged goods. And it is not clear that Booker will be interested in re-election: there is a talk that he may be a candidate for vice president, to add youth, color and "ideological balance" to the ticket. For example, right now there is a significant possibility of Ben Carson being the candidate of GOP, and Democrats may need someone like Booker, and the list of possibilities is quite short.

      Out of curiosity: do Zionist view Boteach as an inspiring figure, or rather pitiful and comical?

      About 41 Senators: because of my Polish background, I would strongly prefer 44 Senators. You see, in school we learn some weird Romantic poetry, and thus everyone knows a prophecy of a national savior to come: "Of alien mother, with blood of ancient heroes, and his name will be forty and four".

  • National Public Radio annexes West Bank to Israel
    • I would add "Of course, if you foresee a need for several million dollars in your legal defense fund, please kindly disregard this letter."

    • Perhaps shame would not work with Tories, but it worked with Labour. Churchill, the hero of Netanyahu, hated Gandhi. The great hero spoke

      It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a campaign of civil disobedience, to parlay on equal terms with the representative of the Emperor-King.
      Commenting on Gandhi's meeting with the Viceroy of India, 1931


      Churchill raged that he "ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back." [I guess he was also disgusted with the current Viceroy]

  • Max Blumenthal is an un-person in the 'New York Times'
  • 'Turning point' -- Obama defeats Netanyahu and 'destroyers of hope' on Iran Deal!
    • It is not like China and Russia were absent from Iranian market. It was reported that a Chinese-owned car factory in Iran is closing, in part anticipating competition from Volkswagen, Peugeot etc.

      The biggest loosers will be probably taqfiris in Syria and Iraq.

      AIPAC is definitely down but not out. Strategically, the fight about the negotiations and ultimately, the deal, with Iran is almost unrelated to the true interests of the current government, (hard to tell what an "objective interests of Israel" is). The main focus is apparently the expansion of settlements, and protecting the settlements from any whiff of dangers, like peace talks etc. "Iranian threat" was very useful, and it may remain so. "We cannot make any other security concessions" will be the slogan, and I am sorry to say, many proponents of the deal will be receptive. Let us call it "AIPAC Plan B1".

      AIPAC Plan B2 will be to collect some scalps, contribute to electoral defeats of insolent Senators and Congressmen. I think that the might of AIPAC is in a large part caused by a few scalp collecting successes. Only when that fails AIPAC will weaken. And while there are good chances that the electoral pendulum will swing to Democrats, even if it is far from certain yet. The collateral damage would be an official split of the "pro-Israel lobby", e.g. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has a chance to become a hero of J-Street.

  • Pro-Israel Jews have 'inexcusable prejudice' against Obama -- Sandy Berger
    • The major point is that in Polish context, "good luck paintings" are just a weird superstition that even usually touchy Israelis decided to let it be. But in Norwegian context, it was worthy of official protestations and an article without any attempt of nuance. There are two actual reasons: Polish government is generally indifferent to whatever Israel is doing, unlike the Norwegian one, so there is a little industry, a dedicated website and so on, documenting moral iniquities of Norwegians. The second reason is that finding symptoms of anti-Semitism in Poland is terrifyingly easy*, and Poles are touchy on the subject, as the article that I cited actually shows (why THEY cared?), so overdoing protests could actually backfire quite badly.

      [By the way, you pasted Google translate which is weird in places, so the proverb is "Jew in the entrance, money in the pocket", personally, I never heard about it]

      Easy way of finding "paleo-anti-Semitism" in Poland and general hatred of Arabs and Europeans in Israel: go to a news site and read comment sections. Although in the case of Israel, one can simply stick to reading articles, comments are not necessary.

    • To combine the logic of Friedman and Boomer, we should allow our politicians to make their own money to remove their dangerous dependency.

    • "As usual, you’re a little too blind to see the hypocrisy in your philosophy here. Because coddling, rather than antagonizing, is exactly the approach you would counsel for Iran, and it’s one defense of the Iran deal offered by the Administration, which argues that sanctioning the Iranians, far from leading to a diminishment of their nuclear capabilities, has only led them to further pursuit of nuclear protection. "

      I would really ask you to provide a citation for this claim. What member of the administration, where and when claimed that sanctioning Iran was wrong (perhaps it was, but you made a claim about some alleged statements)? Their claim basically is that sanctions are not something could and should be maintained forever regardless of the concessions that the sanctioned state offers. And the test for what concessions are sufficient does not lie in the halls in Washington, D.C. but in the international arena. I am all for applying a similar treatment to Israel, say, forbid all money transfers to and from Israel until it removes all settlements illegally created on the territory occupied after 1967 and lifts oppression of Palestinians, like prohibiting construction, movement of people and goods, etc. Foreign banks engaged in prohibited transactions could be fined, as we did in the case of Iran. And by all means, we should be ready to drop sanctions regime after negotiations.

      The chief reasons sanctions against Iran were criticized were that they were a response to alleged violations of NPT, in part on the basis of dubious and malicious intelligence.

      More on our topic, effective negotiations with Israel indeed require some form of embrace, but a headlock would be more effective than following the advice of Indyk and Miller.

    • "But hook nosed Jew characters ..."

      Why should I feel bad about being "hook nosed" (there are more polite expressions, by the way)? Why is it a negative stereotype that many Jews do not resemble Nordics? So are money a negative connotation? It is pure whining. And it is not particularly innocent whining, as you can see in pretty hateful comments. The general spirit is "everybody hates us, lets hate everybody", including Obama, of course.

    • As I skimmed some on-line newspaper, I have seen this talk-back in "the most offended [angry?] nation in the world". The piece of news was that in Auschwitz-Birkenau the management installed a misty water curtain, to provide relief in sunny hot weather, and Israeli tourists were offended because gas in chambers was also sprayed.

      I checked, and the anti-Semitic offense of the day was from Norway, another favorite culprit:

      Norwegian bank prints anti-Semitic portrait on credit card

      Offensive card showed a tallit-clad, long-nosed figure in front of a background of gold coins; bank claims it was the result of service allowing clients to design their own cards.
      Itamar Eichner
      Published: 09.02.15, 10:02 / Israel News

      DNB Bank, the largest financial institution in Norway, has issued a credit card featuring a blatant anti-Semitic portrait.

      Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

      The card, featuring a long-nosed Jewish figure wearing a tallit, with gold coins in the background, caused uproar online.


      The design was supplied by the customer. As a proud owner of a long nose, I do not see depiction of such a feature as deregatory, and neither is tallit. Is association of Jews with money deregatory (or unfounded)? And few weeks earlier, there was a story on that theme from Poland, where you can buy paintings with somewhat similar design (I guess without the tallit, but the necessary feature is that the Jew must count the coins). Surprisingly, on that occasion there was an intelligent discussion, namely, the motivation for buying those picture is to have a "good luck" symbol. As putting a picture of a Jew on the wall for good luck anti-Semitic or not? Somehow, the conclusion in the report was that it is hasty to make a negative conclusion. It is totally clear to me that Australian customer also wanted to have a "good luck" pattern on his credit card.

      link to

      The point is that a serious newspaper in Israel has a special section and a special team of reporters to regularly produce stories about any conceivable mistreatment of Jews or any possible crime thoughts concerning the Jews.

  • The 'Pallywood' smear: Viral images of Palestinian boy's brutalization brings backlash
    • He rarely frequents pubs, but he is frequently raring to go there.

    • Haaretz artcile is well meaning, but misleading. Eric Garner was a "domestic Palestinian" of NYC and he himself engaged in our domestic form of "Pallywood", first breaking the law, then trying to emotionally distress defenders of the law, and when half-measures like complaining that he cannot breath did not work (obviously, the complains were fake, how he could complain without breathing), he caused his own death by becoming asthmatic and overweight. It took heroic and distressing effort by the government lawyers to put all facts together properly and remove blame from the foot soldiers of the law, but the psychological scars of all involved will remain forever. And then cunningly collected videos are used by our domestic "Fakestinians" to continue protests etc.

      Sadly, Haaretz writers know only the biased liberal reports on those facts.

  • Ben and Jerry won't tell you who's trying to kill Iran Deal
    • link to

      Interesting article. Short summary from NYT: intrepid reporters could not finds opponents of the agreement with Iran in Europe, with semi-exceptions of members of Zionist Jewish organizations in France who knew better than go public with their "private misgivings". And really, even if someone was rich enough and stupid enough to spend millions of Euros (or pounds etc.) on ads, it is hard to imagine any positive effects. Further east, in the lands where "paleo-anti-Semitism" is not on endangered species list yet, the effects would be outright toxic. So "no few just men" in the old Continent. It is quite possible that rejection of the mutually negotiated agreement could have serious consequences, namely a continental consensus that USA is in the hands of weirdoes and whackos, necessitating some new ways to render them harmless.

      It is not that the deal is of paramount importance to Europe, but USA reneging on the common position would add another stinking pile, and there is only so much that this camel can bear.

  • You'd think Wasserman Schultz would lose DNC job for bucking Obama on Iran Deal
    • "and more insipidly" -> "and more insidiously"

      DNC tilting the rules for the most established candidate is insidious, but hardly a novelty. My perception is that Democrats feel defensive after big losses in elections and one tactic is to keep disagreements to minimum and on a maximally polite level. Conversely, GOP is feeling ascendant, and that feeds the silly season in the party. Debbie is not a mastermind which acumen and charisma to devise rules for limiting debates and impose on the majority of DNC delegates. [Full disclosure: I have very little interests in Democratic debates this year. O'Malley is a cypher to me, Sanders may be marginally better than Clinton, the party must have an option of ditching the lady but right now there is no rush. Observing the Zoo on the other side of the aisle works just fine.]

      On the issue of Iran, I perceive an ingenious strategy to eat the cake and have it. Opposition to the deal is actually dangerous to American interests, and sophisticated Zionists understand it. However, there remains the issue of "sensitivity to their concerns". Those would be offended if all Democrats jumped to supported the deal with the alacrity of Bernie Sanders or even of the slightly slower HRC. Thus we have all those Solons taking their time and announcing support "after much thought". I would invite wagers if Debbie will announce her decision with visible tears (my bet) or not.

      The report in Politico seems more like exercise in finesse than insidious manipulation:

      But as buzz built on the floor, Cecil R. Benjamin, a Democrat from the U.S. Virgin Islands, stood up and made three motions: to allow for more Democratic presidential debates, to call for cheaper hotel rooms at the Philadelphia DNC next summer and to support the president and the Iran deal. Benjamin had no formal resolution in hand, Democrats say.

      Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter responded by raising a point of order, mainly about the convention hotel issue. Zogby said Wasserman Schultz took up the three motions as one.

      “It’s out of order. It’s late. We can’t do it,” Zogby recalled Wasserman Schultz as having said. “In any case, Jim Zogby is circulating an open letter to the president and if you want to sign it you can sign it.”

      Zogby and Pelosi were thrilled with the response from members, 169 of whom signed. He thought his strategy of not making the issue controversial had paid off.

      “Discretion is the better part of valor,” Zogby said.

    • By the way, there is a denial that Debbie blocked a resolution, apparently it was proposed in the last moment in a packet of three motions, and there is a committee that decides what goes to the vote, not just the chair. Quite importantly, the resolution was substituted by a letter signed by most DNC members. Cynically, Democrats want to show their Zionist donors that they did what they could, given that they could not do much in this case, and without further donations the party could be taken over by a truly radical mob, folks who care not just about effectiveness of the foreign policy, (the deal is part of the Big Game, not a marginal ME issue) but even about ethnic cleansing and oppression.

      In the same time, some of those radical scary folks actually donate to DNC, so they have some influence.

    • Les is over-simplifying. There is no huge difference between establishment media that are "Jewish owned" and not. Compare NYT and Fox News, Fox News is presumably more supportive of ethnic cleansing "for a good cause" (I do not watch it, so second-hand information).

      In the case of political money, Jews are about 2% of the population, but apparently much more in somewhat misnamed "top 1%", but quite crucially, the rich Jews have much smaller proportion of GOP donors. Part of the effort of ZOA, ECI etc, the Adelson wing of the lobby, is to get it down to almost zero. Structurally, Democrats are less enthusiastic supporters of the most rich, and reciprocally, they are supported much less, and they have to value their sparser political money more. So, can one explain why Debbie Wasserman Schultz, very nice but not the brightest member of Congress is the chair of DNC? Her role is to be inoffensive team player who is effective fund raiser. Same with Schumer, although he does not pass the first test. But why is DWS effective?

  • U.S. is even more implicated in Israeli settlement project than we thought
    • "Exceptionally well"? As opposed to some other minorities that were subjected to pogroms and exile?

      Israel sells arms to Azerbaijan which is in conflict with Armenia, and thus other western state refrain from selling arms there. And acrimonious attitudes to Armenians in Israel are documented. Thus those issues are quite related.

    • On a slightly related note, there is some stink that congressional ethics committee nixed an investigation of a large group of congressmen who accepted a lavish trip paid by a foreign country, namely the very friendly government of Azerbaijan. There is a surprisingly strong Azeri-Israeli connection, as both hate Armenians.

  • Israeli minister says IDF should have fired on unarmed Palestinian protesters for humiliating a soldier
    • From the supper-annuated perpective, Miri is still as comely as they come (in her age cohort). link to

    • It is easy to take it light. I see a thoroughly confused conscript, briefly trained how to harass villagers, and then loosing helmet, loosing contact with other troops, basically disoriented and lost. But psychologically primed for action.

    • Just a word of news: apparently some authorities in Iran noticed that Barenboim is an Israeli citizen, and nixed the visit. Over there, culture is under "parliamentary" branch of the government, and justice (and visas?) under "theocratic" branch.

    • JP made a mistake, Daniel Barenboim is the musical director of Staatskapelle Berlin which in turn is in the same company as Berlin Opera, not Berlin Philharmonic.

    • It was a busy week for Ministerin Regev.

      European news outlets are reporting that the Berlin Philharmonic and the Iranian government are in talks about a concert that would take place in Tehran. The rumors of a possible performance are the latest sign of growing cultural and economic ties between Iran and the West, since the signing of the nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 powers last month.

      When word of the possible event reached the local press, Regev reacted angrily on her Facebook page.

      “The conductor, Daniel Barenboim, a citizen of Israel, will perform in Iran together with the Berlin Philharmonic,” Regev wrote. “Barenboim has taken an anti-Israel stance and he makes sure to slander Israel while using culture as leverage in order to state his political opinions against the State of Israel. This is a mistake by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.”

      Regev said she intends to write a letter to the German government, urging it to intervene in the matter.

      I imagine that Regev must be frequently irritated, as she hears the word "culture" every day. link to

      “Daniel Barenboim’s concert in Iran hurts Israel’s efforts to prevent the nuclear agreement and boosts the delegitimization efforts against Israel,” Regev wrote.

      “Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism,” she continued. “It supports Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas, and its leaders have blood on their hands. I believe that Germany would do the right thing if it would cancel the performance.”

  • NY's Center for Jewish History to host Ayelet 'Little Snakes' Shaked in conversation with Bret 'Hiroshima' Stephens
    • Yes, it's too bad. A videotape of a more adversarial panel would help satisfy my curiosity. Does Ayelet bat her eyelashes when she talks about exterminating little snakes? Does she pout when she is accused of racism? And does she believe, as a reportedly secular person, that Eretz Israel (all of it) is an eternal gift of G.d to the Jewish people?

      OTOH, what sane and a moral person would be a panel partner of Minister Shaked?

      PS. Concerning "Jewish IQ", in the age of Trump it sounds a bit unfair. More generally, what does an institution have to do to have "gravitas"? AEI is highly cited etc., and Minister Shaket would fit there very well (although not in the department of theology and free enterprise, being secular).

  • Etgar Keret sometimes worries about what's happening to Palestinians
    • I would not sneer at Israelis that much. For that matter, Americans have their "Palestinians" as well. While there are signs of second thoughts about "war on drugs" and brutal policing of the poor people (disproportionally Black and brown), so far. they did not add to a lot. For example, before Ferguson, there was an incident in Fresno when a sporadically employed man, against the law was sleeping on a sidewalk and police have beaten him to death (the beating started after he was awakened by a police dog and was "uncooperative"). For a short time, NYT was interested in the story because of one "disturbing aspect", namely police confiscated cell phones of people who used them to record the incident. But the rest was "normal", coroner have found the police to be innocent because a person with more robust health would survive the beating, and the story went into oblivion.

      Similarly, one can imagine a self-indulgent witty stories written by a New Yorker who is totally oblivious to the horrors on Rikers Island. (I would bet that one can find them, and if not, there is always Woody Allen.) As a small measure of progress, for a change, NYT reports on them more regularly, but did those stories create a mass moral anxiety among the more fortunate inhabitants of the city?

      That said, it is a mark of a good writer to rise above the predominant myopy of his milieu and notice more than petty incongruities of daily life. By the way, did Fyodor Dostoyevsky ever get a literary prize?

  • Netanyahu Asks GOP Candidates: What kind of contortions will you do for Israel?
    • While funny, I am afraid that the cartoon represents something disturbing, something darker. Like deep-seated hatred for Orange-Americans. While it is true that no one is born with that color, and it is a result of excessive time spend on golf courses or on board of yachts, with insufficient application of sun screen, and while it is true that this is not good for you, as I said, it can signify something darker.

  • 'There is no Jewish terror': Conspiracy theory that Palestinians committed Duma firebombing spreads among Israelis
    • It is important to distinguish a fringe of a society from the ideas spread by the state. Israel has a statist mentality and most people trust the wisdom of the security officials. And various security officials, police and military, for years were telling stories of Palestinians hurting each other and accusing the innocent Israeli state and the Jewish public.

      It is hard to quickly find links, but two examples that I remember are instructive. Several cars were burned down in a West Bank town, and Israeli police made it public that it investigates the theory that it was motivated by insurance fraud (rather than price tag). In second example, a young Palestinian women died of tear gas inhalation during a protest. The only truth presented by IDF spokespeople was that she was "not near to the demonstration" (IDF saturated a huge area with tear gas). The first theory offered by IDF was, you may guess! honor killing. The second was that she died of cancer. Finally they admitted that she died after inhaling tear gas, although a healthier person would not (she had asthma) and they further mitigated the responsibility of IDF by voicing an opinion that she would be saved in an Israeli hospital (she was treated in a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank).

      However, the list of such stories from police and IDF is huge, so this is definitely a state-driven phenomenon.

    • I got interested in the martial arts in IDF after Mavi Marmara massacre. There an elite commando unit landed on board and met some Turkish martial artists and it ended rather ungloriously, so IDF commanders and commandoes got really really mad, landed again with loaded guns and made a number of executions.

      Exhibit two was the video of Lt. Col. Eisner "disciplining" bicyclists with his own hands. On the video we could see him smacking the bicyclists with a machine gun, and then he reported a broken finger. Swinging a heavy metal object can lead to self-injury if you do not know how to do it.

      And I compared it with incidents involving other military forces. Korean military cultivates martial arts and their Coast Guard uses them when intercepted Chinese fishermen resists them. There is a bit of a fishing war there, and fishermen sometimes resists with crowbars and even knives, taking the fish from fishermen tends to irritate them. It seems to be takwaendo vs kungfu in the waters of the Yellow Sea. Obviously, martial arts are important for Korea because they do want to enforce their interpretation of their economic exclusion zone without a major confrontation with China. And since Israel was never interested in fine points of that nature, nobody takes krav maga seriously.

  • Churchill, Iran & 'Duck Dynasty': Mike Huckabee brings his presidential bid to the Israeli settlements
    • On some points Huckabee was obviously wrong, like Russia is not in Soviet Union anymore, and Jordan is not a hostile nation. But on some he was correct. Churchill was a homicidal racist maniac, e.g. using poison gas at unruly Arab tribes in Iraq, so a comparison of Netanyahu to Churchill is not that farfetched. (Although one needs to check if Chamberlain was also a bloodthirsty colonialist.)

  • End of lockstep US Jewish support for Israel is a triumph not a tragedy
    • From Jewish Political News and Updates (JPNU):

      According to the YouGov poll, 49% of Americans say it was appropriate for Schumer to take a position against the foreign policy of a President of his own party, while only 24 percent think it is inappropriate. Among those who support the deal, a plurality – by a 47-35 percentage point margin – say it is inappropriate to defy the president. More Democrats also feel the same way (43-27).

      The poll also shows that while a plurality – by a thin 37-34 percentage point margin – support the deal, almost half of Americans (48%) think a better deal could have been negotiated, while only 35% think this was the best outcome of a diplomatic solution. A plurality (40-28) also want Congress to override Obama’s veto if Congress rejects the deal, including 21% of those who want Congress to support the agreement. 19% of Democrats also want Congress to override the veto.


      The article spins the numbers as showing that the fight against the agreement has hope, but it actually suggests the opposite. Big portion of the public has quite confused views, and for myself, faced with a question "could a better deal be negotiated", I would have to answer "How can I know"? And I know some history, and I followed news. For the sake of the poll I would answer "no", because it is clear that the priorities of all states at the table with the exception of USA were to have a stronger Iran, both as prospering market in the world where there are not many new expanding market, and as a military power in the region where "Sunni axis" is literally going bonkers, wrecking havoc in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, while Israel latches to their war wagon. To consider a better deal, one has to define "good", and keeping Iran destitute and ISIS + al-Qaeda rampant is apparently what some regard as good. Including the writers of JPNU.

    • One can call Gog and Magog absurd myths, but it can be disputed. What easy to read books can help? It of course depends on your reading level. For example, this is quite popular and available as an eBook (paper copy not available due to high demand?):

      The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Bible, 3rd Edition
      by James Bell Jr., Stan Campbell

      There is also something like "Cretin's guide to Biblical Prophesy". What is also relevant in our context is that Judaism in its form that is popular in Israel and to an extend in USA is chock full of prophesies and commands, so Netanyahu and other officials keep trying explaining the "nations" that Eretz Israel is an ETERNAL gift of G.d to the Jewish people etc., but those are most anodyne parts of their cooky beliefs.

    • I made a mistake by 10 (Senate has fewer seats than Knesset!) so the opponents need 11 more (got 2).

    • Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the fourth-ranking Senate Democrat, has officially endorsed President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.
      Though Murray had long been expected to line up behind the agreement, her formal announcement on Tuesday brings the Obama administration closer to the 34 votes needed in the Senate to sustain any veto of the resolution of disapproval on the nuclear deal.

      Read more: link to

      If Politico is correct, Obama needs 5 more senators (and he got 29 so far), and opponents of the agreement, 21 more (and they got 2).

    • "Color revolutions" got a bad name, but this is not a priority of the Jewish/Israeli lobby. If anything, their newest priority not directly related to Israel is the support of "Sunni axis", including the support for taqfiris in Syria and the support of "making a parking lot from Yemen". It would be a huge stretch to call those "color revolutions". Soros is not an angel, but one has to see differences between billionaires.

  • Does Obama have Booker? Boteach desperately plays race card and Jewish donor card
    • I suggest an experiment: take a piece of metal of plastic, spread jam on half of it and check it after a week. Mold will figure out which part has more nutrients. This is roughly the level of intelligence that is required.

    • I agree, Bill Clinton was white and it did not do him much good in that respect.

      "Resolute opposition", conceived (or put in action) by Newt Gingrich is simply a good political strategy. A large segment of voters values resolute politicians, while following details is genuinely hard. If Mr. X says somewhat boringly that doing Y is better than not doing, and Mr. Z says vehemently that doing Y is a disaster, that would sway many toward the position of Z.

      The only limitation to that method is that real life provides some information to the voters as well.

    • Dear Kay24, in American politics, 333,376 is peanuts. Arguably, it is a tip of an iceberg, but a campaign in NJ requires 10-20 millions in my estimate. If there were no business interests supportive of the deal, Obama would not go for it. I can imagine Obama mentoring Booker: with your looks you can be in my seat one day, and it is OK if you whore to business, but you must have some memorable progressive votes. Place your bets wisely.

    • Booker is an old friend of Boteach, back to years when he was a student in Oxford. But he has to think about climbing in Democratic ranks and about his primary, while "Jewish donors" are currently busy propping legal defense fund of Sen. Menendez. Booker clearly benefited from the friendship and donations, but his re-election comes in 2019, and perhaps he does not plan to have major legal problems before that time.

      On the level of crass political calculations, GOP mastered the art of villifying worthy legislation, like Obamacare. However, when a reform works, they simply go after another issue, ACA software was initially disappoining but now the program works and it gains vested constituents etc. The same will probably happen to the deal with Iran which, if nothing else, decreases gas price at the pump by nearly a quarter, more than two bucks on each tank, and there is also a good chance that Israeli will not go to ovens before 2019 (personally, I am ready to offer 1000:1 bet). In other words, tangible benefits are certain, and promised disasters are highly unlikely.

      More on crass political calculations. My theory is that above certain income level people compete with "tchotchkes", who has more impressive one. E.g. this is my very own US senator. In that category, majority ownership of Israeli PM is a tchotchke that causes a lot of admiration, deference, but also envy, and there is a bevy of folks who would gladly wrest that trophy from the hands of Sheldon Adelson. The deal with Iran is a good step in that direction and Booker can count on some fat Jewish contributions.

    • Boteach is not the only person who is afraid for millions of fellow citizens.

      Jul 21, 2015 - Ted Cruz's worst fear about the nuclear deal with Iran? That “millions of Americans will be murdered by radical theocratic zealots.”

      However, the easiest way to kill millions of Americans with a smallish nuclear bomb is not 100% terrifying: bomb Social Security Administration.

      The inspector general did not say how many benefit checks were sent to the 6.5 million Americans whose Social Security accounts should have been closed out years ago.
      But the IG's report, just one page in length confirms only that payments have been 'terminated' for 410,074 of the affected accounts.
      Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton told Daily Mail Online in a telephone interview that he was outraged by the possibility 'that there are dead people getting government checks.'
      'Now we've got 6.5 million walking dead,' he said, 'and frankly – are these Zombie Americans voting? are they working? Are illegal immigrants using their SSNs to get jobs?'

      So one can believe that more than six million Zombies walk around cities, towns and villages and get Social Security payments to boot, with the only consolation that they do not use Medicare. But some of them eat brains, which is another explanation for Rav Shmuley and Sen. Cruz.

  • Danny Danon 'would only make Israel look more extreme' -- former Israeli ambassador
    • My English comprehension problems strike again. "Danny Danon ‘would only make Israel look more extreme’ — former Israeli ambassador". What does it mean "only"? Like in "It is only a mosquito bite, nothing to worry about"? Or like in "It is only a minor change in packaging, inside you have the same good old Chocozilla cereal your children loved for years".

      Perhaps branding gurus decided that what Israel needs is a new fresh image that would appeal to college age demographics while avoiding any offense to the friends among Christian Zionists. link to One could photoshop Danon's visage here: link to
      and Huckabee here (with Masada below): link to

    • A rightist who opposed the two-state solution, Danon would only make Israel look more extreme, I knew, which is perhaps what [NYT editorial page editor Andrew] Rosenthal wanted. “Hold off on Danon,” I urged the editor. “I’ll get you the Peres piece in time to go to press tomorrow.”

      ??? Did Oren promise to write "Peres piece" himself overnight? Actually, that very evening, because printed copy of NYT is distributed around midnight. I have no doubt that Oren could do it.

    • Until they use Samson option.

  • Saban says Iran Deal is a done deal, as Netanyahu and Bush play for 2016
    • Israel is paranoid of "Second Saladin", a charismatic popular regime creating a coalition of many Muslim countries that could pressure Israel militarily (e.g. shooting down Israeli planes, retaliatory strikes if Israel bombs something, and even pressure when Israel performs another "lawn mowing").

      To avert that, tyrannical regimes have to be cultivated and propped and in their absence, civil wars have to be fomented. Granted, Israel has limited ability to accomplished all that, but the government tries to contribute as much as it can. Of course, the more successful they are, the more resentment they accumulate and civil wars and tyrannies do not last forever.

      In other words, this is Macbeth strategy. Until a hero not born of a woman appears and the Forest of Birnam moves, there are no security worries. And yet...

    • Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson will still be in the 2016 presidential race months from now, former GOP candidate Herman Cain predicted Tuesday.

      "They are proposing bold solutions and they are tapping in to the anger that's on Main Street America," Cain told Fox News' "Fox & Friends." "That's why I believe they are moving up in the polls, so Trump, Fiorina, and Carson are in my 'pick six,' as I call it, who will still be standing."

      link to

      This year, the color in GOP primaries is provided by the lipstick of Fiorina, orange tan of Trump and natural skin color of Carson.

    • Republicans and Democrats do not chat about politics all that much, but there are many women that think like, say, Michelle Bachman. It is hard to believe, but hard facts trump Aristotelian logic.

      That said, at the moment no. 1 GOP candidate is a laud mouth with stupendous negatives, no 2. is a younger brother of G.W. whose best ability is burning incredible amounts of campaign money with modest effects, no. 3. is an eccentric Black surgeon (each GOP campaign seems to have one of those), followed by a circular firing squad of nincompoops. It reminds me a sentence in a history book "Once more, the history showed that while a war needs troops, above all it needs the man" (Athens sent an expedition to Sicily, and Sparta sent one general, and guess who fared better).

    • "Netanyahu has resisted the buyout that the American government has offered him (tons of arms) over the Iran deal so that he can wage a long game, to try and burn down Obama’s Democratic (donor) base and get a Republican in the White House in 2016"

      That would be my dream. Democrats forced to do without the help of super-rich donors. First of all, we know it is possible. There are few millions Americans out there who want politicians representing "grass roots" and relying on those "grassroots" and who can collectively give, say, a billion dollars for campaigns. Reliance on a small rich minority is twisting all aspects of American policy, not just the Israel-Palestine issue.

      And the grass root money does not have to match billionaires dollar for dollar. If that was the case, neither Sanders nor "relatively poor" Trump would not get anywhere as high in the polls as they got. OTOH, people like Saban probably also think that this may happen, but this is not their dream at all.

      By the way, NYT had a positive story on Iran, namely that the way kidney transplant issue is organized there is much more effective that in USA, basically eliminating the need for dialysis that consumes a lot of money and leads to premature death (in the absence of kidneys to transplant). While Iran is a state with obvious problems and less known achievements, to most Westerners it is kind of the land of Gog and Magog, but that will hopefully change.

  • In latest thrust at Obama, Netanyahu names UN ambassador who trashed him and said Palestinians can have 'Facebook state'
    • I do not see how one can see David Horowitz as "centrist". He launched Times of Israel as an alternative to quite extreme Jerusalem Post, but the differences seem purely stylistic. So Yoghurt Ambassador represents a stylistic offense to his sense of aesthetics.

    • Nationalism (more accurate here than racism) does have gradation and it can be combined with progressive platform. I currently follow affairs in Turkey where left Kemalists (CHP) seem to be evolving away from extreme nationalism and are increasingly diverging from right Kemalist (MDP) who are basically fascist. On national issues, the history of Kemalists is quite ugly, so their evolution shows the positive potential of progressive-nationalist combination. Of course, you can evolve by being less and less progressive as well.

      Thus the fusion represented by Beinart and J Street is not a stable construct, so rather than treating them with "structural derision" one should watch carefully, appreciating both positive and negative aspects. The central point of nationalism that you care only for "your people", but you can learn to understand it in a more Epicurean sense, namely that doing good for others makes you more happy. Anti-Epicurean nationalism sees the misery of the "enemies" as a happy outcome by itself.

      Those I my private theories, but they have a lot of explanatory power. For example, "centrist Zionists" like Senator Schumer are resolutely anti-Epicurean, the misery in Gaza and Iran is the outcome to be cherished even if does not help anything "in the short run". The fact that sanctions make Iranians poor is the most happy part of that policy, and letting get more resources is the worst part of the deal with Iran. And the same pertains to Palestinians and "domestic Palestinians", folk on the receiving end of "tough on crime", "broken windows" or those who cannot afford medical insurance due to their sloth in managing personal finances (google "Schumer Obamacare mistake").

    • Israeli diplomacy is still rather subtle, but they are quickly learning from North Korea. The Foreign ministry was alternating with the leadership of Avigdor Lieberman and Bibi himself, now it is under Bibi. Since he is surely very busy (I have seen a lot of news of him visiting hospitals or attempting to visit one, the efforts are sometimes not appreciated), day-to-day management has to be conducted by deputy Foreign Minister, currently Tzipi Hotovely.

      This lovely lady (still slim at 36) in 2011 gained useful advise from the Lehava organization (Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land) that she invited to a discussion on their tactics in preventing romantic relationships between Jews and Arabs. The advise apparently yielded fruits, two years later she got married and now she has a one year old daughter. Hotevely is a bit of a veteran as a deputy minister, being responsible for Transportation and Road Safety for two years. Her program is to made foreigners aware that Torah gives Jews the ownership of the full extend of the Holy Land.

      By the way, now Lehava is accused by the government of supporting terrorism, so Tzipi should be commended to get their advise while she still could.

      PS. I like how the ambassadorial nominations are balanced, between the gaunt and the chubby.

  • If I Were an Israeli Looking at the Iran Deal (to the tune of 'If I Were a Rich Man')
    • The top worry of the friends of Israel

      If Israel
      Was bigger
      And fatter
      And stronger,
      Or bigger
      Than Iran,
      If Iran was smaller,
      Then Iran's bad habit
      Of bouncing at Israel
      Would matter
      No longer,
      If Israel
      Was taller.

    • Totally wrong, John. This is a major scoop, and it consists of the material that was not included in NYT editorial with the same title due to space limitations. The juicy Friedmanesque advise for world leaders was there, but it is protected by copyright and very good lawyers.

      I cannot claim to fully grasp that advise, but two pieces stood out. One is to give President ETERNAL authorization to attack Iran. It is not the next six month but ETERNAL vigilance that will be all-important. The second is to "contain, amplify and innovate".

      This is what I pasted from by mistake:
      A security official in the West Bank said [Meir] Ettinger quickly rose to dominance. "In one incident, we were watching him while he attacked an Arab shepherd’s flock of sheep. He stoned one sheep, and then slaughtered it right in front of the shepherd. It was terrifying, he was possessed with some sort of madness. That is when we realized that he was very active and very radical."
      "Strangely enough", Ettinger was sentenced to six months for gathering intelligence to be used against IDF, but not for that incident which seems worthy of a few years away from the society. Now he was subjected to "administrative detention" as the suspected leader of a group that committed Duma atrocity, but clearly he could be arrested for destruction of property, cruelty against animals and terrorizing.

  • Front page 'NYT' story is rigged to suggest donors for and against Iran Deal cancel each other out
    • The "money balance" is harder to figure than James and Phillip suggest. Adelson's wing of Israeli lobby is rabidly partisan so they would not contribute to war chests of Democratic candidates in any case. What I would call "ZOA wing or Adelson wing" of the Lobby made a bet that GOP is a natural ally of Israel, and additionally a perfect representation for their other causes, e.g. bashing trade unions, keeping taxes low, preventing any actions to decrease the use of fossil fuels and so on.

      One could also defend NYT that it is natural for journalists to focus on novelty and accentuate the unusual. And the split in the Lobby is a relatively new and important phenomenon.

      That said, expecting NYT to give a "full picture" is naive, and I understand the need to complement that picture (I mean, "add to", not "praise"). The other fact is that the "leftwing Israel Lobby" has a record of collaborating with the nixing of the settlement freeze, fights BDS and so on. They merely recognize that a success of AIPAC/CNFI would by Pyrrhic, or perhaps an outright "own goal".

      By the way, according to Russian Spring, Kerry said that rejection of the deal with Iran would collapse EU support for sanctions on Russia. Their motto used to be "Only verified information" but lately it is "continuation of the project" (they changed the web address), but I am lazy to verify it.

  • Jeffrey Goldberg's melodramatic apology for Chuck Schumer
    • Goldberg claims in passing that he supports the deal, and basically, his position is semi-logical. He claims that opposition is futile, and sketches the strategy for the "day after". E.g.

      Proper implementation does not simply mean the maintenance of a strong inspections regime, as well as zero tolerance for Iranian cheating. Proper implementation requires an eyes-wide-open American commitment to countering Iran’s nefarious terrorist activities across the Middle East, and it means that American leaders must have a properly jaundiced view of their Iranian adversaries, including a properly jaundiced view of their intentions toward Israel. This is why questions concerning the Obama administration’s understanding of the regime’s ideology are so important, and it is why I keep raising the matter with the administration.

      This characteristically verbose paragraph has two repetitions of "properly jaundiced". According to a dictionary, that means "properly affected by bitterness, resentment, or envy". That pretty much sums up his argument. And it sums up his milieu: full of bitterness, resentment and envy, and proud of it.

    • Sorry for slow thinking. "empowering actual anti-Semites at home" focuses on the anxious ones, not Goldberg himself who keeps sang froid. In other words, "America, home of the anxious."

    • I guess I can answer one of JJ Goldberg's questions:
      Why does it seem to a growing number of people (I count Chuck Schumer in this group) that an administration professing—honestly, from what I can tell—to understand Jewish anxieties about the consequences of anti-Semitism in the Middle East does not appear to understand that the way some of its advocates outside government are framing the Iran-deal fight—as one between Jewish special interests, on the one hand, and the entire rest of the world, on the other—may empower actual anti-Semites not only in the Middle East, but at home as well?

      First, copious but deficient education increases the appetite for increasingly convoluted phrasing. A good teacher, of which there are fewer and fewer, would slash this monstrous sentence with a thick red pencil and put a number of emoticons next to it (crying sad face, wilted flower etc.) This monster, both stylistic and logical, can cause severe anxieties in anyone who reads it carefully. Alas, a growing number of people does, thus inducing anxiety, followed by self-medication, thus substance abuse and incidents of near-fatal Ziocaine overdose that induces even more anxiety.

      The reference to the Middle East in the sentence posits a rather old phenomenon, namely that in a number of countries in the region, including KSA, Egypt and Jordan, one can frequently find anti-Semitic utterances, but most of all, deregatory statements about "Zionist entity". However, the current government of israel claims that it goes along famously with the governments of those countries, so anti-Semitism (as defined by Goldberg, it includes hostility to Israel) in the Middle East is not what worries the author of the sentence but "empowering actual anti-Semites at home" (I am loosing track where Goldberg sees his home, but it seems that in USA) by "advocates outside government". In early 20th century masonry was a universal boogie man, now, BDS.

      Still, how does it explain Schumer's rejection of a perfectly reasonable agreement by HIS GOVERNMENT? Anxiety caused by BDS folks OUTSIDE GOVERNMENT? Did Schumer became an idiot, perhaps because his parents forced him to spend excessive time on SAT preparation (note to parents: light touch is recommended)? Why is this idiocy reaching an epidemic? I hesitate to put blame on Kaplan.

  • Dear Freshmen Members of the House of Representatives
    • It is really depressing that our representatives always go to the same countries, out of 189 possibilities (and some notable territories like Greenland, check this: link to !!!)

      For example, Slovakia
      link to

      By the way, the photos are most probably from Slovakia, but the description is not. For sure there are many more vegetables in Slovakia than "cabbage, especially sauerkraut". High Tatras are not "dotted with villages", villages are around the mountains. In other words, representatives have many things to check for themselves.

      Or, could they even identify the continent here: link to

  • Israeli Banks flipping out over looming European boycott
    • link to

      I wonder if they will also make a "separated beach" on Seine, and if they do, will it will be open for women or for men (as you can read in the link, the "separated beach" is open three days a week for the religious men, three days for the religious women, and on Saturdays, for the non-religious.)

      Actually, given that there may be a number of religious folks in Paris that could wish for a segregated beach, this should be a permanent feature, say "Jerusalem/al-Quds beach".

    • Indeed, threatening EU is an idea circulated in Congress, but it is a totally futile idea. In a nutshell, EU is good in one thing only: protecting the members in an event of a "trade war". Competent bureaucrats would compile the list of affected EU companies and a list of American companies that can be affected by counter-sanctions, with attention paid to what states and Congressional districts would be affected most, and issue those counter-sanctions. This happened a few times and worked like a charm.

    • "One nation (forget which one) also announce opening an embassy of sorts."

      Perhaps we can narrow the possible candidates by listing countries that already have an embassy in Tehran.

      Australian Embassy in Tehran, Iran
      Embassy of Austria in Tehran, Iran
      Embassy of Belgium in Tehran, Iran
      Embassy of Bulgaria in Tehran, Iran
      Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Tehran, Iran
      Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Tehran, Iran
      Embassy of the Czech Republic in Islamic Republic of Iran
      Royal Danish Embassy in Tehran, Iran
      Embassy of Finland in Tehran, Iran
      Embassy of France in Tehran, Iran
      Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Teheran, Iran
      Embassy of Greece in Tehran, Iran
      Embassy of Hungary in Teheran
      Embassy of Ireland in Tehran, Iran
      The Royal Netherlands Embassy, Tehran
      New Zealand Embassy in Tehran
      Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tehran,Iran
      Embassy of Poland in Iran
      Embassy of Portugal in Tehran, Iran
      Embassy of Romania in Tehran, Iran
      Slovak Republic Embassy , Iran
      Embassy of Slovenia in Iran
      Embassy of Spain in Iran
      Embassy of Sweden in Tehran, Iran
      Embassy of Switzerland in Tehran Iran,
      Embassy of the United Kingdom in Iran

      I skipped Bosnia. I did not see Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Luxemburg, and Malta, so the plans to open an embassy could refer to them. Perhaps they could rent together a smallish building in a less expensive neighborhood.

    • The narrative in Mariv (and elsewhere, Mariv is not the first) is NOT that European regulators are not poodles, but that this dog may learn new tricks from the master. The master already have shown what to do when a bank performs transactions deemed illegal:

      link to

      BNP Paribas is the latest big bank hit with a massive multi-billion dollar penalty...
      [...] 8.9 G$ [...] The penalty comes as regulators found the bank breached U.S. sanctions against Sudan, Iran and other countries transferring billions of dollars there.

      Loans for illegal activity are as much of penalty targets as money transfers if not more. The amount if the penalty does not have to be related to income from the transactions, but the settlement is normally conditional on the promises not to engage in further violations, alternatively, with no such promise (that would probably be illegal in Israel), the penalties may be hefty. Israeli banks could loose their properties in Europe and be barred from performing any transactions there, that would cost a bit.

      EU bank regulators could also go after Israeli banks in other markets as well.

      The price of the stock of Israeli banks will reflect assessment of that risk, and so will be the price of their bonds, in other words, the cost of raising money.

      Part two of the conundrum is why would the poodle do the trick learned from the master. The nightmare of Israelis is that the master can issue a silent command, audible only to the dog (is it called dog's whistle?). There is also a possibility of the dog actually enjoying the new trick and performing it as long as the master does not command otherwise.

  • The enemies list
    • I think this is "unbecoming modesty". "Mondofront" is dreaded in some circles. (But only 2790 google hits for "mondofront"? in part, this is because it is an invective used by trolls in comments, and the search engine does not go through comments).

  • Photos: New Yorkers rally for, and against, Iran Deal outside Schumer office in midtown Manhattan
    • Foreign Policy has a biting piece on Schumer.

      Chuck Schumer’s Disingenuous Iran Deal Argument

      The good senator from New York may be voting his conscience, but he’s got the facts all wrong.

      By Jeffrey Lewis [Jeffrey Lewis is director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.]
      August 9, 2015

      A veritable gold mine if you are searching for well-phrased arguments. To those who cannot reach beyond the paywall link to I paste some paragraphs.


      “Sharing a media market with Chuck Schumer is like sharing a banana with a monkey,” Corzine was quoted as saying in New York magazine. “Take a little bite of it, and he will throw his own feces at you.”

      On Thursday evening, right in the middle of the first GOP debate, Schumer reached back, took aim, and heaved a large one. He penned a long piece for Medium that some anonymous hack described as “thoughtful and deliberate.” Uh, ok. Maybe compared to Mike Huckabee’s outrage about “oven doors,” but good grief our standards for political discourse have fallen. Schumer’s missive came across a bit like your crazy uncle who gets his opinions from talk radio and wants to set you straight at Thanksgiving.

      Davis makes short work of Schumer's arguments but concludes optimistically:

      But let’s not be too critical of Schumer’s insincerity. Despite having repeated these and other arguments against the Iran deal, Schumer, although a member of the Democratic leadership, has gone out of his way to signal that other caucus members should vote their conscience. Congress has a long history of members voting against agreements while working to pass them. Sen. Mitch McConnell, when he was minority leader, openly opposed the New START agreement, while paving the way for a small number of Republican senators to cross party lines to secure its ratification. Schumer appears to be doing something similar in this case, stating his personal opposition but not whipping votes against the deal.

      That might be something less than a profile in courage, but it’s how Congress works. And I think it’s a pretty good reason not to let these characters anywhere near foreign policy. But then again, I would have advised the president to veto the Cardin-Corker bill that established this farce of a process. But Obama signed it and here we are.


      Perhaps everything is safe. I get the same feeling as when my family stopped to have a view into the canyon of Little Colorado River. Next to the highway Navajo Indians were selling their crafts. The canyon was a narrow chasm with sheer half mile drops. Navaho children were playing on the edge.

      The very fact that the children were on top and no bloody splats were seen at the bottom argued that they know how to play safely. My wife did not find it reassuring at all.

  • It's not bigoted to call out the Israel lobby over Iran Deal
    • link to

      NYT reports that a number of "generous donors to Democratic Party" got active in lobbying for the deal, many (most?) of them Jewish, while other lobby against. Basically, until now, the extreme right of the "Jewish lobby" accomplished a kind of leveraged takeover with appeals to ethnic solidarity and shared fears, "we need to be together" etc., but the Iran deal can be their undoing.

      It is still the case that the super-rich have disproportional influence, and on the issue of Israel, non-Jewish super-rich do not care much which gives the field to the Jews and their friends. This allowed the Israeli lobby to have oversized influence, and the ugly example was how Obama was forced to fold his initial plan for peace process that entailed forcing settlement freeze upon Israel. The lobby won, the peace lost and many lives were lost.

      But this time there is a huge difference between "Jewish" and "Israeli" lobby.

  • Rightwing Israeli violence on the rise as leader calls for arson attacks on churches
    • Explosion destroys vehicle of Kiryat Yam mayor
      Municipality claims attack motivated by hate after David Even Zur condemns stabbing in Jerusalem, arson that killed Palestinian baby.
      Ahiyah Raved
      Published: 08.02.15, 10:39 / Israel News

      An explosion rocked Moran Street in Kiryat Yam early Sunday morning when Mayor David Even Zur's vehicle went up in flames, allegedly caused by an improvised explosive device placed under the driver's seat of the car.


      There were complains that they do not teach practical subjects in yeshivas, but apparently some engineering skills are learned. I wonder why the reporter used word "alleged": is there also a suspicion that Even Zur's car simply spontaneously exploded, or that the explosive device was not improvised but purchased off-the-shelf?

    • Mooser, The Christians never yielded to the “temptation to impose a belief system on the population”. I can think of few instances. For example, the life of St. Olaf.

    • If I were a women, the fact that I am not allowed to bang my head against some particular wall would grieve me no end. Why would I wish to bang my head against that wall? In the immortal words of George Leigh Mallory, "Because it's there."

  • Shocker: 'NYT' runs front page press release for AIPAC warning Obama to cool his jets
    • Chemi Shalev: ... be that as it may, the fact that these and countless other terrorist incidents- including scores of attacks in which people were maimed and property was destroyed but no one was killed - were carried out by Jewish Israelis who were either settlers, or Orthodox, or right wing, or any combination thereof, doesn’t prove a thing.
      Attaching significance to such a random though admittedly overwhelmingly emphatic list is a time-tested leftist method of casting aspersions on true Israel-loving patriots. The fact that a Likud-led government has been in power throughout most of these years also means nothing: there are many other problems that it hasn’t managed to solve as well.

      I guess sometimes we need to explains how to tell snark from propaganda. Look for phrases that a propagandist would never use. "Casting aspertion" is a lightweight hint, Propagandist or a true believer would write "Slandering". This sentence is almost copied from typical wingnut rants, but using an effeminate turn of phrase, one could almost add "Those bad people made you cry! Come to Mama! Chu. Pain, pain, fly away!"

      "These and COUNTLESS other terrorist incidents..." A propagandist or true believer would not mention any, and at best obliquely refer to isolated, rare incidents, with no examples.

      Defending Likud government that it cannot be blamed, because it was not able to solve any other problems either is more of "twisting the knife" than a defense.


      My own interpretation is that the normative extreme Zionists like Naftali Bennet have zero against the ordinary "price tag", like uprooting trees, burning crops and cars, defacing buildings with grafitti, and even occasional mild arson, but the true murderous violence should be reserved for thr proper organs of the State. They are Statists and the extreme settler fringe is kind of Zio-anarchist. Thus some of the protests that they raise are genuine.

      In the same time, the Statists adore the "free Jewish spirit of bonding with the Land" represented by those Zio-anarchists, an let them develop separate settlements, where all neighbors share the same extreme views and the same hostility to the State. Additionally, as it was explained in +972, the troops detailed to the protection of settlements have to obey security coordinators of those settlements, hence they function to obey they whims and preserve immunity. At some occasions, IDF would protect Palestinians, at other, it either looks away or cooperates with the "unruly settlers", by adding 2+2 I conclude that we have some troops instructed to be subservient to the settlements, and some operating directly under the regional command. Because of the way the settlements of the extremists are formed, normal investigations are hardly possible. Normally, these settlers are more hooligans then terrorists.

      I actually do not know a proper English world, Polish "bojówkarz" (a deregatory variation of bojownik = "figher", in dictionary translated "raider" , but it actual usage restricted to "unruly young people" attacking ethnic and political opponents for the purposes of "good cheer" and intimidation, and they can be affiliated with a fascist party or other extremist movement. And from time to time they get lethal. Some of them become (not-so-)lone wolves.

      I would guess that the murderers in Duma were of "bojówkarz" variety, but they got a "bit overenthusiastic" and spilled to much gasoline, and in a dangerous manner. They were expected to splash lightly the houses fro outside rather than throwing a bundle of Molotov cocktails through the windows or whatever their arson method was.

    • link to

      I do not know how it is in the print version, but in on-line NYT a commentary chiding Schumer for being wrong appeared on Op-Ed page immediately after his position against the Iran deal became public. And the front page frames the issue as follows:

      Fears of Lasting Rift as Obama Battles Pro-Israel Group

      The president accuses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, of spending millions on advertising to try to defeat the Iran accord, as well as spreading misinformation.

      Schumer’s Vote Won’t Doom Iran Deal, Democrats Say

      For Obama, Golf, Then a Busy September


      A dub for AIPAC and Sen. Schumer? Bunker shot?

  • University of Illinois Chancellor steps down as judge upholds Salaita lawsuit against school on 1st amendment grounds
    • A comment on pragmatic usefulness of anthropology etc. Engineering departments can contribute to the design of marvelous gismos that can be used for the national defense and offensive projects. Lack of understanding of the culture in various regions can lead to trillion dollar waste, partially spent on those gismos.

      Just an example pertinent to today's announcement of Senator Schumer, that seems deficient on "anthropology". Iran cut the funding for Hamas, which has to rely on Qatar, which is a part of Sunni axis that Israel strives to join. Moreover, Israel may need to rely on Hamas to keep most fanatical Islamists in check (those that are attracted to Islamic State and set bombs near Hamas offices and may do the same in Israel). Note to the Senator: Hamas angle makes no sense. Yes, the deal will not modify Qatar's behavior, but so what? A few anthropological mistakes and can get another trillion dollar war.

  • Iran Deal Latest: AIPAC lies and, in a first, Schumer runs from the cameras
    • Wikipedia: Charles Ellis "Chuck" Schumer (/ˈʃuːmər/; born November 23, 1950) is the senior United States Senator from New York ...

      Political style[edit]
      Schumer's propensity for publicity is the subject of a running joke among many commentators. He has been described as an "incorrigible publicity hound".[25] Bob Dole once quipped that "the most dangerous place in Washington is between Charles Schumer and a television camera",[26] while Barack Obama joked that Schumer brought along the press to a banquet as his "loved ones".[27][28][29][30]


      To see the day when Charles E. "Chuck" Schumer runs AWAY from cameras is astounding. What next? All nations of the Middle East joining their hands together and sing of harmony and peace? Is there ANYTHING impossible?

  • Defying Obama on Iran deal, Schumer cites Hamas
    • link to

      Bad Decision by Senator Schumer
      By CAROL GIACOMO AUGUST 7, 2015 12:27 PM August 7, 2015 12:27 pm 558 Comments

      A paragraph: Any opponent of the deal bears a responsibility to propose a credible alternative but Mr. Schumer has repeated the same fanciful talking points that Mr. Netanyahu and the Republicans have espoused. “Better to keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be,” Mr. Schumer said. Such suggestions ignore the fact that the major powers are more likely to abandon the sanctions altogether if the United States reneges on the deal and to refuse, along with Iran, to reopen negotiations.

      Toto, we are not in a unipolar universe anymore.

  • Obama ushers in the crisis of the Israel lobby
    • Just a thought: Debbie Wasserman Schultz is still "undecided". I e-mailed to DNC that as a donor, I expect DNC leaders to "stand with the Presidents". After all, they have those "Team Obama" graphics on their main page.

      Of course, I am a minor donor, but Democratic campaigns need people like us, because they cannot win "billionaire primary", so a few thousands e-mails can make a difference.

      PS. That in the past Schumer supporting Bolton for anything, even a township dogcatcher (I think it is called Animal Control Officer, I had to contact one when a cow roamed on my bike path) decreased my opinion.

    • "Was surprised by Gillibrand’s decision. She generally falls into line when it comes to all things having to do with Israel." Basically, AIPAC no longer defines what the line is.

      In the larger picture, Washington no longer defines what the line is. "The deal" is between Iran and the combo: EU (three largest economies represented), USA, China and Russia. If a minor state can change the course of USA, USA ceases to have a credibility as a power that can negotiate anything. And even the "war option" is not there if Russia and China choose to be seriously against it.

      In somewhat smaller picture, Democrats need good issues to stand on, and healthcare + peace for everyone is a decent combination. "Schumer alternative" is pleasing a selected group of special interests while carping that "Obamacare was a mistake" and so on, for all his intelligence (1600 SAT as a kid) he is a machine politician with no imagination whatsoever. Not to mention that even investment bankers are for the deal, the opposition is a pet cause of a fringe (and some few minor countries, Bahrain and ... now I do not remember all countries in that region).

    • It reminds me when I lived in Germany and I wished to have an account with interest, and young lady in my savings bank branch could not understand why I think that my account was too boring. What does it mean "interest", and "same interests"? Clearly, Israelis are interested in soccer, Americans -- when their daughters play the game (and fathers watch something else).

      Americans want their politicians to bring pork back to their districts, Israeli do not have districts, and I have no idea what do politicians bring there, falafels? Polish politicians are a bit closer to American, because they are promising "electoral kielbasa", but this is actually different, that kielbasa is supposed to grow on trees, like increasing the benefits and cutting deficit in the same time, also, kielbasa can be thrown to both dogs and humans to their satisfaction, which is much more hygienic than raw meat -- but again, what can be done with kosher folks? Let them eat latkes? Sadly, I do not know.

      So in Israel the popular belief has it that sanctions on Iran combined with the "military option" are beneficial. Similarly, in Poland many (well, not THAT many) believe that you can get more money by purchasing an oil painting of a Jew counting money and hanging it near the entrance, and in a case of financial setback, hanging it upside down. Perplexed Israeli reporters try to figure out if this is anti-Semitic. It is very complicated to assess if such strategies are effective. There is a strong placebo effect: with sanctions or an oil paining in place you gain confidence that can translate to genuine or at least perceived success. In fact, the decline in confidence was one of the demerits of the deal with Iran that was discussed.

  • Following fatal settler attack, Israeli army raids Dawabshe family homes in the West Bank village of Duma
    • Mind you, it is easier to notice the unusual than the quotidian. Looking from across the ocean, it is unusual to see a ranking officer beating up folks with his own hands while he is surrounded by regular troops who should do the manual work. link to But perhaps this "hands on" approach is indeed the usual procedure, so the behavior of the officers could be remarkable.

  • Obama tells Americans it is 'abrogation of my constitutional duty' to defer to Israel on Iran Deal
    • Israel surely know how to deal with Hezbollah threats. Quite recently, Israel killed some senior officers of Hezbollah and Iran. Two weeks later, Hezbollah killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded several more in Shebaa Farms (Israel views them as a part of Golan, Lebanon views them as a part of Lebanon), so Israel decided to (a) have the last shot and (b) avoid dangerous escalation. Thus they killed a Spanish UN peacekeeper. Spain announced that they are miffed, and thus the situation was de facto resolved.

    • Abierno: "positioning the U.S. for the upcoming fall of the current Likkud government" ????

      It is not easy to make a coalition without Likud, given the abhorrence that center-left has for relying on Palestinian votes. In any case, Zionist Union and Yesh Atid differ a little on that, most probably they would oppose the deal with Iran less histrionically, but who knows if they would be more effective (and what should we care).

      The only changes that I could see is an anti-haredi coalition, but it is not easy (and what should we care). And on "cottage cheese" issues it is hard to tell if the center-left has any edge.

      For Palestinian issue, there will be no immediate changes, but the habit of automatic deference to Israel will most probably be gone. I expect that pretty soon the media establishment will discover that this pinnacle of deference to our "most important ally" was not all that long, definitely less than 20 years. It is the nature of the Lobby to always claim a crisis and always fight for more, and if the fight (and donation) would stop, the sky would most assuredly fall. The effective intelligence level of Iran strategy of the Lobby was about the same as among micro-organism moving toward a higher concentration of nutrients. Those that do not move in such a way loose Darwinian competition.

  • Reps Deutch, Lowey, and Israel choose Netanyahu over Obama-- and who will bring down the hammer for the Iran Deal?
    • link to

      I am not sure if "taking orders from Israel" is a good description. It is just sticking with your friends who will stick with you in the time of need. Menendez defense fund is allegedly almost all pro-AIPAC (he is not such a good investment for regular lobbyists).

      By the way, Menendez is not commenting on the deal with Iran right now but "reviewing in depth". Will he wait until his defense fund reach five million?

  • Why is Wasserman Schultz, Obama's surrogate, holding out on Iran deal?
    • link to

      There are other songs about conflicted feelings. In this song the lyrical narrator describes how she shares love and interests with "zhulik" (I guess that means minor gangster) but also spends time with "fraier" who attends to her needs (especially when "zhulik" is incarcerated).

      Debbie has to delay declaring her intentions as much as possible, to avoid premature alienation of potential donors to DNCC.

    • Actually, there are some instant economic effects of the deal. A Chinese car factory in Iran will be closing down due to low quality and thus inability to compete with companies from West Europe that are about to enter the market. The national car company is also in danger.

      Longer term effects seem all benign. Opinion polls in Iran predicted that moderates will gain popularity. The efforts to combat ISIL in Iraq seem to be picking up and forces trained by USA and by Iran cooperate better. One can hope that Gulf countries will modify the most obnoxious policies, and perhaps Israel too. Placing Saudis and Israel in the position of automatic "moral high ground" is simply a moral hazard, and that results in humanitarian catastrophes and waves of refugees that reach Europe (and to some extend, Canada and USA).

  • Cruz says Iran could set off Electro Magnetic Pulse over east coast, killing 10s of millions
    • Upon careful reading, Cruz should be decried as anti-Semite, or one of those gentiles who try to spread Hasbara but have terrible time understanding the message that they try to spread.

      Here you have the Senator belittling the (potential) suffering of Israel that is about to be brusquely loaded by Obama into the Iranian oven, [so far so good, I mean, he delivers correct lines], and then adding that American suffering would be even greater (a suffering larger than Jewish suffering?!?? I dare you to show me what is it exactly, you almost anti-Semitic moron!!!) because ... because ... because they could have a power blackout!

      Excuse me, Senator. As a Canadian import you may be excused to be ignorant, but your constituents survived quite a bit of worse in Alamo. As a denizen of the Eastern Seaboard I have experienced a blackout that covered a major part of NY state. My family was on vacation trip, and luck had it that we had full camping gear, so we could make tea, cook dinner and wait until gas stations would become operational. But do you think that less prepared citizenry was dying in droves? Nothing of the kind.

      Finally, consider the worst case scenario, some people actually dying on the Eastern Seaboard because of long blackout, ineptitude, lack of guns (hungry? why not shooting some squirrels?), in general, being effete liberals, recent studies revealed that those are not REAL AMERICANS (some are even Jews), unlike honest folk in the South, Midwest and so on. Again, something not known to a Canadian carpetbagger.

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