Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4043 (since 2010-05-31 18:07:51)


American university faculty member born in Poland.

Showing comments 4043 - 4001

  • 'Patronizing Israeli crap' -- more American Jewish responses to Oren
    • I guess he is a liberal according to Chomsky's view: not standing much for anything except tactically passionate advocacy of the most conventional causes acceptable to the establishment, and that included Zionism. Unfortunately, that also entails taking stands that Geller derided as "pretty", like displaying moments of distraction upon learning of the killing of hundreds of children etc. This is roughly what raised Oren's ire, while Wieseltier was clearly very pleased with himself for penning the offending articles. So we got a clash of mindsets: "How could he stab HIS country in the back", versus "How could he fail to appreciate my subtle feelings".

    • Perhaps we see a bunch of camels with a back problem.

    • I am verklempt. First, Israeli cows produce less milk than Saudi cows. Now Israel was not the first to arrive in Haiti, not the second but something like number 10? What next? Do not tell me that it was possible to have cell phones and computers without Israeli help.

  • Oren's criticism of US Jews earns his book five thumbs down: 'slinky,' 'self-aggrandizing,' 'twists reality'
    • I distinctly remember the phrase "Odessa, the star of our exile" from Odessa Tales, written by Isaac Babel in 1920-ties. And in the narrative, the phrase was spoken as a typical thing than an old Jew would say at the very beginning of XX century.

      The problem is that it was Zionist invention that Galut is juxtaposed with Aliyah, and the former are "down there", while the latter "up here". In that mode of thinking, Galut makes sense only to the degree that it plans Aliyah and in the meantime gives full support and deference to Israel. Amazingly, this point of view was largely (but never universally) accepted by "Galut", and this happened quite gradually.

      However, among the "elevated Jews" of Israel a competition ensued who is a better Jew, or more Jewish, or more elevated etc. This competition also exists in USA, but unlike in Israel, it encounters a certain friction and limitations. Oren cannot comprehend that a Jew could refrain from the chance of ever greater commitment to Israel and ever more slavish deference to "democratic choices in Israel" unless having some abnormal, ulterior reasons.

      This inability suggests that he was never a serious historian. But who needs a serious historian? It does not increase book sales, academic prospects etc. Most rewards go to folks who follow the "dominant narrative", even if it is tribalist, triumphalist, self-pitying and, above all, hostile to attempts at an objective perspective.

  • 'Jewish cow' is udderly superior to all other cows in the world, Netanyahu says
    • After checking, it seems that no-grazing is predominant in USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia, and if anything, there is no particular benefit to it except in places where good grazing pastures are scarce. Digesting grass is healthier for cows, but it is somewhat slower, so you get somewhat smaller amount of milk per cow. Israel and Saudi Arabia probably have no grazing pastures whatsoever, both would save a big bundle by importing milk.

    • I made another check using Google, and this is what I got:

      link to

      Israeli cows are NUMBER TWO!!! And the number one is ... tadah! ... the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    • Perhaps there are indeed deeper, darker reasons, but perhaps you are a cheapskate. A gallon of milk costs 6 dollars in Israeli stores, under 4 dollars in USA and in yet less advanced Poland, about 2.40.

  • 'We are doing you people a favor by allowing you to be seated here,' Netanyahu deputy tells Palestinians in Knesset
    • “No one has the right to make false accusations that IDF soldiers committed war crimes.”

      I do not know the Basic Laws, but I guess one of them prohibits self-reflection. False accusation of terrorism are practically a civic duty!

  • 'Obama coffee' is black and weak -- racist tweet from wife of Israel's vice premier
    • Some here tried to claim that Judy Nir-Mozes is "just one lady", one cannot generalize etc.

      One fact is that she is a fat checkbook carrying member of financial elite, an opinion maker (in the radio) and not a mere "wife" (the money in the marriage is mostly from her). More importantly, every day I can cull even more drastic story from Israeli media, except for the more stereotypical nature of the targets of the racism. The other day I cited the story about a "cinematographer" who lost it when a flight attendant in Muslim scarf told him that his hand luggage has to be checked for the weight limit. It seems that he was hired for something like filming of a wedding, so not much of an opinion maker. But this is fresh stuff from today: the inter-faith comity in the halls of Knesset (Ynetnews):

      Deputy Interior Minister Yaron Mazuz (Likud) caused an uproar in the Knesset on Wednesday when told Arab MK Hanin Zoabi that the State of Israel was "doing you a favor in giving you ID cards" during a discussion on the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law.


      You can check details at the source. A major brouhaha started, with Prime Minister more or less siding with Mazuz. I see a natural progression from "hateful, but sophisticated" to "hateful, and proud of it".

    • I stand corrected. A supposition that many Zionist have a sense of humor is definitely rash. I found many more example of anger than of humor. But I admit that I have a strong observation bias. For example, I did not found anything funny in Arutz Sheva or ynetnews, while regularly there are funny items at +972 (and less frequently, here). But in the former sites I am only making an occasional spot-check of new and comments.

    • This dispels one meme: Zionists lack sense of humor. Some people have a personality that makes it easy to find something funny, some not. The majority of Jewish Israelis claim that they are happy and probably lough easily, many at the joke of Judy Moses.

      One thing is clear: Right wing Zionists, a large majority of Jews in Israel and probably a minority in USA, hate Obama a lot, and this is definitely a wedge issue. And the chief reason is that their worldview divides the world into "the hated ones", "the friends", and few "neutrals". And it takes very little to make right wing Zionists barking and foaming (or inventing distasteful jokes if they have more sunny disposition). My favorite example is that one Israeli soccer player considered accepting Polish citizenship to qualify for Polish national team (his mother was born in Poland and he played for a premier league Polish team). His former Israeli coach condemned him in a public letter as national traitor, newspapers made it a big story, the young man got a ton of hateful communications, he dropped the idea and there was a jubilation.

      And it is not like Poles were lately blowing up some cafes or buses. For some reasons they are the European nation that Israeli hate most, which does not mean that you cannot find articles in, say, Jerusalem Post, devoted to the cultivation of hatred against, say, Norwegians or the Dutch (always beware of the Dutch!).


      Part of it is the provincialism that was bemoaned by David Rothkopf. A lot of folks are racists, xenophobic and so on, but upper classes and urbane people are supposed to express it sparingly and with a modicum of taste. But in a small community, after ostracizing all differently thinking people, there are much to few people who may spread this modicum of taste, and perchance, a modicum of common sense. But part of it is the right wing concept of championing the common man, the real people, those without taste, common sense and so on (most political movements with wide following champion common people, but needless to say, in different ways).

  • Israeli diplomats 'are not allowed to speak' on US campuses, but North Korean diplomats are, Israeli official says
    • I am not as optimistic as you are, echinococcus. It seems to me that Americans by and large accept that as "average Joe's" they are clueless, so they have to follow their betters, the most able and productive citizens, with net worth in at least 10 figures, and thus it is only natural, and by no means regrettable, that any election is preceded with so-called money primary. The politician who find support among at least some of the ablest and most productive can participate in the subsequent primaries. They are attested as "serious mainstream candidates".

      If echonoccus was right, disclosure that for years Mario Rubio would be bankrupt the instance after Norman Braman would withdraw his largest would make him laughingstock. Mrs. Clinton is definitely more financially responsible, but her family owes a lot to the largesse of the rich. And her donor base is quite decent as well, hence, she belongs to the ranks of serious politicians.

      Of course, such rational attitude is insufficiently prevalent among the youngsters, hence some some campus troubles. Really, Israeli diplomats should count their blessing that they are not in trouble among, say, farmers. Then they would need to attend country fairs and speak just before and just after the something like that:

      "Can you call your husband better than anybody else? What about your hog? Fairgoers who think they can do either of these amazing feats will have an opportunity to display their unique skills when the husband and hog calling contests return to the Clay County Agricultural Fair.

      HOG CALLING CONTEST is sure to get a few laughs out of those in attendance. Three judges will choose the best hog call from among the contestants. … come by the J.P. Hall Livesrock Arena Monday April 6, 2015 @ 6:00 PM" (I guess that each competing wife must have a husband and a hog).

  • 'You have to go'
    • “Those responsible for this despicable crime will face the full force of the law." Reminds me the following:

      I was in no mood to trifle,
      I took down my trusty rifle
      And went out to stalk my prey.
      What a haul I made that day.
      I tied them to my fender, and I drove them home somehow,
      Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow.

      The law was very firm, it
      Took away my permit,
      The worst punishment I ever endured.
      It turned out there was a reason,
      Cows were out of season,
      And one of the hunters wasn't insured.

      Read more: Tom Lehrer - The Hunting Song Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  • Does Israel have a toxic personality? Ask Michael Oren
    • That explains why so many Israelis declare themselves to be happy. Allegedly, a while ago a former mayor of Chicago said that he does not know what is fun about baseball (or was it golf), because it that sport "you cannot punch anyone". And Israel provides her favored citizens with tons of fun.

    • Perhaps a minor contribution to the discussion on "Israel spiritual outlook". A member of intellectual elite (cinematographer) was removed from the flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv for unruly behavior and paid a fine of 100 Euros. Excerpts from link to

      “We happened upon a Muslim stewardess who decided to abuse us. I told her: ‘Why do you not weigh anyone’s carry-on luggage but you weigh mine? To what degree can you abuse a person?’ and she said: ‘I learnt it from you people.’ At this point, I lost it,” Davidov told Channel 2 in a clip shown on Saturday evening.

      Davidov’s attorney, Reuven Laviav, said: “My client went to film an event in the Bucharian community in Vienna. On the night of the 12th he called me and said he was arrested along with three other cinematographers. I don’t justify him, but when he went on the plane there was a Muslim stewardess with a headscarf and it seems that because she saw him with a Star of David chain she decided to treat him badly. He was traveling with cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars and he always takes them to the cabin. On this plane, they wouldn’t let him and so he got upset.”

      Davidov was dragged out by airport security, refusing to obey order shouting "I do not understand English", and then "You killed six million Jews and now you want to kill another one?".


      As a matter of personal experience, you can obtain a lenient treatment from an airline by being polite. Before my flight from Brussels to Chennai security check discovered a bottle of liquid in my backpack that exceeded allowed capacity, and I pleaded that this is mosquito spray, necessary to avoid malaria, and a supervisor ask me to spray it on myself, and as it indeed stinked like a mosquito spray (and it was a bottle labeled as such) they made an exception.

    • "The BDS movement is a declaration of nonviolent war against Israel." This is oxymoron. Carl von Clausewitz, in his "On War" brilliantly explained that war is politics by other (violent) means. Hence politics without violence is just that: politics.

  • Israeli leader turns on US Jewish journalists Friedman, Wieseltier, Remnick and Silvers for disloyalty and anti-semitism!
    • It is a bit debatable if the peace process was busted or it was a zombie deprived of the simulacrum of life. Perhaps "busted" is technically good term, as opposed to "killed". The problem with the zombie process was that however harmless to the Zionist cause, it was resented by many as a humiliating aggravation. I guess that in the case of Oren, we can see the results of mental strain induced in a major part by this process.

      The special place of Netanyahu in Israeli right is that he has some modicum of realism, plus mental fortitude to spout some nonsense about two states or stuff like that. Many view this as necessary, perhaps more than admit that. In the last elections his success was to take the votes of "fortified Lidud" parties led by Bennet and Lieberman, and before that, to secure Likud leadership even though rank and file cannot stand even a whiff of the "process" and other forms of liberalism (like letting NGOs exist without being molested). At the end of the day, they appreciate that Israel needs at the helm a face that at least at some occasions is not contorted in righteous anger.

      Mind you, Likud universe has very few such people, as can be seen from their choices to run Foreign Affairs. It became a laughing stock run be zealous idiots, with actual foreign policy run from Prime Minister office.

      By putting together various statements of Oren, one can see that he is surely literate, most probably learned and probably intelligent. However, emotions can take better of him, and venting emotions is a favorite pastime of Israeli right (not that peculiar if you compare to GOP, or Turkish AKP). So on one hand, he finds it foolish to annoy American with untimely requests etc., like Netanyahu's trip to Congress, but on the other hand, he is infuriated that such caution is necessary, while all those rascals like Jews in the media and other prominent positions could do so much more.

      To some degree, I understand Oren. Wieseltier, for all his good works for the Zionist cause, reeks indolence, narcissism and lack of enthusiasm. I wanted to paste his faint critique of the Israeli conduct in the last war in Gaza, but I decided to spare some bytes and nerves of the readers here. Among a usual dollop of propagandistic falsification and a huge amount of empty verbiage, he rather skillfully leads the reader to the conclusions that he, Wieseltier, is the nicest and wisest man, sadly unappreciated by pro-Israeli zealots (swamping him with e-mails).

    • I guess the interesting aspect of Oren's rant was that included Wieseltier among the self-hating adversaries of TODITME (the only democracy in the Middle East) was particularly delusional, but otherwise it is a standard fare, for example the office of Netanyahu once put NYT on the enemy list. Dual loyalty of Jews who have other ideas and attachment besides the veneration of their "only Jewish state" is increasingly perceived as an aggraviation among the political elites of Israel and their approved friends who are free from those "non-Jewish entanglements".

      Assume for a moment that Wieseltier was included because of a simple mistake, like when Honorable Scalia referred to his Honorable colleague Goldberg, who in actuality has name Ginsburg. We still have a group mindset that rejects the possibility that people who disagree can do it for some relatively innocent reasons, like different personal experience, different personal values (which, after all, are personal), or feeblemindedness (most people lack the sagacity and acumen of Michael Oren or our friend hophmi). Instead, those people are either duped by the Dark Forces or themselves are card carrying members of Dark Forces. In recent years, Dark Forces manifest themselves as Worldwide Leftist-Islamist Conspiracy.

    • I have no idea how Wieseltier strayed from the straight and narrow, but Oren should be careful when he casts stones. After all, he himself erred and criticized Netanyahu, and that is not the only sin he committed:

      link to

      Perhaps Oren believes what he wrote, namely that criticizing Netanyahu is a carrier enhancement, and he knows a thing or two about maintaining a carrier. For all I know, it may be true, and that fact should be drummed into all American journalists and politicians.

  • Obscure Netanyahu minister emerges as unsung international hero in latest 'NYT' report
    • I actually find that story surprising and refreshing. Until now, I would never guess that neo-cons or Likudnik (there are differences!!) could see the episode of back pedaling from promises to rain death on Syria as something positive.

      And of course, "Al Qaeda types" are the cherished Hashem's gift to Israel, Netanyahu visits them at the bedside, supports with artillery, airstrikes and probably with supplies and so on. And they did a nice piece of work, disabling Syrian air defenses and degrading the capabilities of Syrian military in general. However, the endgame may turn to be a nightmare for Israel, namely that their favorites are so terrifying to most of the world that massive influx of Iranian troops to Syria will not find any significant opposition. This is how the civil war in Lebanon ended (massive presence of Syrian troops) and this is probably the way the war in Syria will end.

  • Netanyahu likens BDS to Nazi Germany
    • Perusing the link to Hitchhiker wikis I found an actual motivation for destroying Earth that suggests that the plan of hyperspace bypass was not accidental:

      " The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Sussex, in the destruction of the planet Earth. Vogon poetry is mild by comparison."

    • By JODI RUDORENJAN. 15, 2014

      Dov Lipman, a rabbi and a sponsor of the bill, has had the word Nazi flung at him. Credit Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times

      JERUSALEM — Israel is on the brink of banning the N-word. N as in Nazi, that is.

      Parliament gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a bill that would make it a crime to call someone a Nazi — or any other slur associated with the Third Reich — or to use Holocaust-related symbols in a noneducational way. The penalty would be a fine of as much as $29,000 and up to six months in jail.

      Wiser heads prevailed, so Israel can conduct its foreign policy as before.

  • How will Sheldon save Israel?
    • Very close-minded answer, dear talknic. I try, within my modest abilities, to learn something before I criticize. Today I learned something new: Sheldon Adelson = "Jews in Denmark, Belgium and France".

  • Why haredi Jews should resist military service
    • I would give the "Rabbinate" (there are several in Israel) a benefit of the doubt that they know how to interpret Rabbinical law. For example, perhaps Maimonides explained why "The universal obligation of military service in times of emergency" is justified. By admission of the leaders of Israel, there is no emergency, to the contrary, the chief danger is BDS, and hard to see how additional IDF recruits can help. IDF needs manpower to harass villagers more effectively, but quite possibly the current level is sufficient.

      Majority of Haredi rabbis are convinced that prayers and Torah studies are more effective in maintaining the occupation than purely military means. Even that can be correct. After all, however secular Israel is, the justifications for occupation and oppression are in religious zealotry. They may also be correct thinking that IDF service can be detrimental to the preservation of medieval values in their communities.

      In short, extracting moral values that are useful in XXI century from ancient religious texts is a hard effort that can well be futile.

  • Netanyahu government ramps up effort to combat BDS
    • 100 million shekels is a paltry sum when existence of the state is at stake. I think the problem is in finding productive ways to spend it.

      Prime minister hinted at two issues. Jews on campuses have to stand tall and proud, plus they have to be armed with facts. Concerning the first issue, some are vertically challenged. I myself use a plastic stool to reach on top of the kitchen cabinets (from Home Depot, 8 dollars = 25 shekels) but while lightweight, it is not particularly portable for a convenient use at a university campus. Concerning the second issue, apparently, more facts are needed. Both issues can be addressed by much admired Israeli arm industry that could produce better stools and better facts. Thus we need to spend 100 million shekels on R&D, and then sell improved stools and facts to proud Jews at campuses.

      However, from engineering stand point, making convincing brand new facts and lightweight, inexpensive and portable stools are both rather complicated, as they have to perform in adverse environment. My stool somewhat resembles up-side down milk crate and it folds to a rather bulky shape, but any attempt to make it fold more would make it weaker, so you would need to use a more expensive plastic and more intricate construction. Making up convincing facts is even harder, as they can be subjected to scrutiny. An argument like "even Rav Shmuley says so" does not always work (I got a number of e-mails from Values Network).

  • Obama says peace talks are pointless because Netanyahu won't see the 'best' in others
    • You are too cynical. Take the most recent war waged on Yemen. Obama chose a principled position: the first priority is to fill book orders of American arm companies. Badly needed manufacturing jobs for American workers, yea! And some profits too. Sometimes I wish that he was more pragmatic, perhaps noticing that this is pointless s..t that can backfire on us.

    • My take is that poor Kerry broke his leg and now just cannot find enough masochism in his body to suffer extra pain of going through pointless meeting and getting all the hate from Israeli ingrates who did not appreciate American efforts to provide them with a smokescreen. In the same vein, Obama should designate a special officer, preferably autistic, who would take care of all calls from Netanyahu or whoever else wants to call from Israel.

  • Goldberg predicts 'civil war' between American and Israeli Jews as Israel is 'defined as an apartheid state'
    • Glass half empty (of theocracy): hophmi calls Israel "largely secular". The right to marry, divorce, refuse divorce, immigrate is in the hands of state paid clergy that use their own criteria, not regulated by the secular Knesset. Some aspect of lives are controlled by clergy, some are not, like in Iran, and granted, the proportions are different. But why the Ministry of Transportation attempted to ban self-service bicycle rentals in Tel Aviv on days of some religious holidays? Simply put, the Ministry was controlled by religious fanatics. In the new government, fanatics of various ilk control most of the government, although haredi fanatics do not particularly like Modern Orthodox fanatics, the former view compulsory military service as abomination, the latter, as sacred duty to take part in the Holy War.

      Concerning "largely British legal system", Israel inherited the most retrograde parts of the British system, lack of the constitution and colonial artifacts like administrative detention (not used in the home country). USA is using something a bit similar in the case of undocumented aliens, but Israel uses it for domestic oppression, which is worse. In any case, USA ceased to be a normative democratic state.

    • "It is remarkable, the degree to which he holds Israel to standards he doesn’t apply to other American allies."

      This is one of the central tenets of Hasbara, a belief shared by Zionist from most obtuse to most liberal. It is also a very intelligent ploy: deconstruction of that belief gives so much fun to a non-believer that it is really, really disruptive. Even so, I give it a try. First, to what degree "Israel is hold to something"? For example, holding Piotr to some standard basically means that if he does not fit to those standards he is fired. But Israel is a sovereign state, so the rules are different. One rule is for non-allies that cannot do much, then we proclaim that they are no good and impose severe sanctions. With luck, that leads to hyperinflation and total immiseration, like in Zimbabwe, or to somewhat stagnant economy like in Iran. Second rule is for non-allies that can do something. We impose sanctions which cause some degree of inconvenience, but we also foment insurgencies and support terrorist movements that they may find inconvenient. Third rule is for non-allies that we cannot do anything about, lest they stop buying our Treasury bonds, or leave us bereft of such life necessities like shoes, shirts, smart phones etc, surely we do nothing, BUT!! BUT!! we mention their misdeeds in yearly reports compiled by a dedicated federal agency.

      And what rules operate with allies? In good old days if an ally was committing a major atrocity, CIA would provide it with a check list, so they would also murder people on that list. Or provide training how to conduct torture and run death squads. However, occasionally those allies would be mentioned in yearly reports.

      So how does Israel fare in the comparison? Especially within "the region" our allies tend to be a wild and crazy bunch, where check and balances have the form of the nephews and uncles of the current absolute monarch, while Israel was, and remains, the most liberal theocracy in "the region". For example, Israel routinely uses a despotic procedure called "administrative detention". For some reason, the highest per-capita use of that occurs in Jordan (a truly despotic regime does not have to use British colonial laws that Brits would be ashamed to use, would they still have colonies, and no record of administrative detention in Falklands, Gibraltar of Bermudas). Advantage, Israel! However, since the sanctions on allied abusers of human rights range gamut from laughable to inconsequential, it is hard to tell if Israel is "hold" to more or less than the others.

  • ‘They said we drink the blood of children’—Netanyahu goes off the deep end after FIFA campaign
    • , the latest culinary advances.

      I got that from the web, but the quoted cookbook is from 1922. Related historical references exists from ancient Greece. link to

    • Dear Mooser, drinking blood of geezers was never subject of a libel, it just raises the question about the taste. Just imagine this picture with roles reversed:
      link to

      I must also admit that I have heard about the "blood libel", but it was about the use of Christian blood (not necessarily babies) in baking matzos. The origin of that folk legend could stem from the fact that it is very difficult to understand why regular matzos are not good for Passover -- I must admit I do not understand it myself.

      Additionally, nobody in the region would drink something that was neither boiled nor fermented, while blood was used in a number of dishes:

      [After you have killed the pig] cook the lungs, skin, various parings and veins with onions, greens and salt until you get a fine broth. Remove cooked solids and cut finely, and use the strained broth to cook buckwheat groats or barley. Groat may be soft, but not mushy.

      Add to the chopped meat and pour the liquid so much blood that the entire mass was not dry, but somewhat thick. Mix all perfectly, add salt to taste, pepper, English herb and marjoram. Stuff loosely in a clean intestines, bind in small section, or fasten with little sticks and simmer slowly for an hour" (F. Gensówna," Little Housewife - kitchen, pantry, medications and friendly advise)

  • StandWithUs invests nearly half a million dollars in ongoing anti-BDS lawsuit against Olympia Food Co-Op
    • Some plaintiffs complained that BDS has nothing to do with the mission of the Coop. However, the coop has this as a part of its mission:
      link to
      One can argue that food produced on land obtained through dispossession of the natives entails oppression, and I guess some arguments of that kind were made. Most importantly, it is only natural that most of 24 thousand active members would be against oppression, and against pro-oppression slogan "stand with the civilized man" (or join us at the Grim Rippers Squad and mow the grass).

    • A question to law literate folks: I understand that the issue is what standard applies to non-jury decisions imposing penalties. Opponents of the boycott are counter-sued as raising a case without merit with explicit intention to create a nuisance. Suppose that Mondoweiss would write in an article about "Piotr who delusionally thinks that he is the Lord of the Universe" and I would file a libel suit, claiming the damage to my reputation and material well-being, since it can decrease the level of devotion and gifts to Piotr with the false claim that he is not the Lord (while he is)". The court can dismiss the case, fine Piotr for making fun of the court or even award damages to Mondoweiss. However, the court has to evaluate the arguments raised by Piotr, and do it in a way that does not impinge on the right of Piotr to have a jury trial.

      So the Washington State stature allowed to dismissed the case under more permissive (and thus apparently unconstitutional) standard, kind of "most people would not believe it" rather than "only few people would believe it". And the judge does not need to present any statistics on how many people in fact believe that Piotr is the Lord of the Universe. But there can be other ways to reason about Piotr's case: if he is indeed the LofU then as a public figure he has no right to damages without submitting the proof that Mondoweiss did not believe in its claim, or his is not LofU and there was no libel.

      I would not be too afraid for Olympia Coop yet.

  • US and Israeli pressure on Nigeria to sell out Palestine at U.N. amounted to 'national security threat'
    • “Israel has been a crucial and loyal ally in our fight against Boko Haram,” Mike Omeri, the chief coordinating spokesman of Nigeria’s National Information Center, told the Jerusalem Post. “It is a sad reality that Israel has a great deal of experience confronting terrorism.

      For all that help, the fight against Boko Haram was going very badly, and it seems to be going better now. Former president was either simply inept, or unpopular in the military. New president is a former general, and apparently the war is more successful. Objectively, both Israel and USA have pretty bad record with counter-insurgency. Of course, if you have almost unlimited superiority in arms and almost total control over the population then even inept leadership and tactics will give a modicum of "positive results", but this does not work in Lebanon or Nigeria.

  • Turning Lebanon into Gaza -- Israel's hole card against Iran deal?
  • 'This land is ours. All of it is ours': Meet the Netanyahu cabinet members focused on fighting BDS & annexing the West Bank
    • Bryan: Finally, outside of the Bible itself their is not a jot of evidence that God has ever engaged in conversation with humans, or snakes, or asses, that God makes promises, or even exists.

      Nothing could be further from the truth. Amaterasu is a very fine goddess and an ancestress of Japanese imperial family, so somewhere along the line there had to be a direct intercourse between a god and a human. Somewhat atypically, Japan was created by gods and then given to the Japanese who did not had to conquer anything. (At least they got central Japan without any problems). I think a god promised Mexico to Aztecs who had to trek from their ancestral Aztlan to get the prize, which they had to conquer. Heracles got the land of Peloponesus from Zeus and promised it to his ancestors, but they were sadly expelled. No worry! Heraclids returned and ruled Laconia, Argos etc. Incidentally, their periods of exile and return are dated very similarly as those of Hebrews. (Spartans were most note-worthy Heraclids and allegedly their story was inspiring to Jews in the last centuries B.C.) Wotan not only speaks to humans, but he also sings very nicely in deep baritone. Indian gods were tramping all around Bharata as avatars. I could fill a library with literary sources, photographs of the respective locations and so on.

      For example, why do we play with a rubber ball? It all started with a ball games between humans and gods of the underworld.

    • I do not think that Hotovely is "ultra-Orthodox". She seems to be Modern Orthodox, which to me is a fascist movement with "religious motivation". Who knows, perhaps her household has two dishwashers, but she struts around with uncovered hair and elbows, poses to photographs etc. She is ultra-nationalist, and clearly an excellent pick for the Ministry of Defiance (formerly known as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

      “Rashi says the Torah opens with the story of the creation of the world so that if the nations of the world come and tell you that you are occupiers, you must respond that all of the land belonged to the creator of world and when he wanted to, he took from them and gave to us.” Is it really an exemplar of Jewish religious scholarship? First, Rashi is surely a revered scholar, but one could expect to consult him on something less obvious than the opening of the Torah. Second, isn't it a bit non sequitur? Creation of the world does not seem very related to deciding who lives where and when. Or perhaps the point is that if the Creator could cheerfully disregard all those fossils and archaeological finds and create the World 5800 years ago, He could also give the Holy Land to Hebrews cheerfully disregarding other folks who live there. My guess is that Tsipi reveres the Torah but couldn't be bother reading more than the first few pages.

  • Netanyahu's new Foreign Ministry aide gets $226,000 from Sheldon Adelson shop in U.S.
    • By the way, Mondoweiss was puzzled why Dore Gold was paid as a consultant by AEI, and that is indeed a puzzle. One of the chief roles of AEI is to support otherwise unemployable right wing folks and give them a label of an "expert" or some such, something that looks good in a business card. However, when Gold got the money he was a full-time President of Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs.

      Similarly puzzling is the fact that was is the President of Center for Jewish Community Studies in Baltimore in the same time.

    • Wikipedia: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

      President: Dore Gold

      Recent initiatives:

      International Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Anti-Semitism

      In May 2015 the center sponsored an event promoting an initiative to make anti-Semitism an international crime through a convention to be signed by participating states. No foreign diplomats attended the event. Of 160 representatives invited, not one chose to attend. The organizers seemed surprised. The Times of Israel reported: "So far, not a single state has indicated that it is considering signing the convention, including Israel.


      The Intitute is located in Jerusalem, but its spiritual home is firmly in Chełm (check Wise People of Chełm).

  • Sam Harris and the dangers of false atheism
    • I guess I am not an atheists because I worship nitpicking. Thus I would pick the following nit: not much evidence was shown for Sam Harris being a "false atheists". That said, I will pick some nits on his luxuriantly hirsute head.

      Sam Harris advances the concept that Noam Chomsky has "dangerous delusions about global jihadism". But what are "sober views on the global jihadism, stripped of any delusions"? That it is a part of a wider international conspiracy aiming to destroy motherhood, apple pie, Second Amendment and all the rest that is good, with Chomsky being one of the main culprits? Or that it is an inevitable consequence of the cult lamentably started by a self-styled prophet in Arabian peninsula, and motherhood, apple pie etc. are in dire danger as long as that cult is not expunged? When you add adjective "global", do you mean that there exists good local jihadism that USA and other Western government can wisely support, like insurgents against Qaddafi, Assad, Russia (in North Caucasus) or Afghan mujahadeens? Or was (or is) the support of any of the above a stupid blunder? It is a fact that fighters in "good local jihadism movements", goodness evidenced by Western support (we would not support bad folks, would we?) were subsequently found as "bad global jihadists". Perhaps jihadism should be considered more comprehensively than the narrow focus on the "global" jihadism, with all arbitrary inclusions and exclusions. Any social study that focuses on "bad folks" as currently defined by the State Department lacks intellectual merit -- why we need Sam Harris if we can read posts on the website of the State Department? Just because we are junkies who need more?

      In other words, the concept of "global jihadism" is not so much delusional as mercenary. tailored to get funding. And throwing invectives like "delusional" is a time-proven mercenary tactic as well. That hints that Harris may indeed be worshipping something. Nevertheless, while the concept is sloppy, what are prescriptions?

      If I understand, the prescription is to focus on the root cause, which is the existence of Islam. This is heavily delusional. Given the numbers of adherents, the dynamics of those numbers and their global distribution, I see no realistic policy based on that assumption. If this is the only way, we should just morosely await the end of our good atheist days, or concentrate on getting some fleeting carnal pleasures while we still can. Or create an international system of death camps to eliminate Muslim minorities in countries where Muslim are not in power (sadly impossible because of carping of lily livered liberals like Chomsky). I do not want to go into details, but outside radical Zionist circles most folks agree that to the degree that "jihadism" is a problem, most Muslim reject that idea, moreover, since "Jihadism" entails mostly Muslim-on-Muslim atrocities, 9/11 being very much an outlier rather than the rule, there is a necessity and opportunity to work with Muslim to reduce it.

      That said, the details are bewildering and crucial (e.g. the support of the fascist rulers of Egypt or absolute monarchies like KSA is not the best way to put it mildly). Rants in Harris style are much more dangerous than any mistakes in Chomskian analysis because they provide surprisingly effective support for very misguided policies. For example, USA supports (with cash and arms) a very bloody and completely fascistic regime in Egypt, and any time there is another news item about, say, hundred death penalties ordered in short proceedings with highly dubious reasons, most commenters approve because the victims are claimed to be "Islamists", And it is not like that fascist regime is "secular", in fact, it is somewhat theocratic, except that this is a form of religion deformed by the puppets nominated by the State.

    • About Turks in ISIS: there was a story about an "ISIS commander" who got wounded and left for his native Turkey for hospital treatment, and nobody bothered him. Unlike policemen who stopped trucks with weapons and explosives that were driving on orders of military intelligence and according to the shipping papers, contained "humanitarian aid"; the poor guys were fired.

      Statistics of ISIS fighters from various countries come from law enforcement in those countries, and zero stat from Turkey does not mean much.

      Concerning reasons for "radicalization and violence", various societies experience crisis situations and "radicalization and violence" is one of the outcomes. And it is a genie that is not easy to put back in the bottle. For example, Colombia experienced something called "Violencia", and it has effects on the society even today. Not much in our media on that. In any case, dependent on the distribution of religions and ideologies during the crisis, you can get "radical and violent" Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Shinto, Anarchists, Marxists, liberal democrats and so on.

  • 'Jerusalem Day' and the sacralization of propaganda
    • Women of the Wall are heretics, as established by the religious authorities in a theocratic state, so they should be grateful that Israel is a liberal theocracy with rather lenient penalties for disobeying the edicts of three chief rabbinates (Ashkenazi, Military and Sephardi).

      "My daughter in her American history class used Israel as a example of a society with freedom of religion but not separation of church and state." Excellent example! Like the lack of provision for any marriages NOT sanctioned by one of the officially approved religions, and that short list does not include Jewish denomination that most numerous in United States. Or reservation of certain type of jobs, including jobs in power stations, to the members of the official state religion. The latter causes problems because the most pius among the Jews do not want to use state-supplied electricity on Saturdays as it is made with Jewish labor on Sabath.

      Could be worse, of course. Imagine being a non-member of the ruling religion in a state where all, the faithful and non-faithful, have to spend one day of the week hopping on one leg.

      I hope that the summary of your daughter was that the separation of Church and State in USA was not one of the mistakes of the Founding Fathers.

  • Adelson primary heats up -- fawning George Bush gives him a painting of his casino
    • While most paintings of "a previous foreign statesman" were indeed showing houses, he also painted landscapes, and city scenes. While he was "third rated", during his time Vienna was one of the world capitals of art, so the consensus is that he was "not so bad" rather than "awful".
      link to
      I dare say that he also knew a thing or two about gaining the support of plutocrats.

    • Page: 40
  • Why readers interested in balanced coverage of BDS should avoid the New York Times
    • I am not canceling my subscription yet. Most of the cases of bias cited in this story are in the experience with reporters rather than the report itself, and to be "unbiased", reporters of Mondoweiss should be a bit more intrepid and get some words on the experience on the Zionist side. As it is, the article is almost meticulously "unbiased", at least formally, with paragraphs citing proponents and opponents of BDS on campus roughly equal in number and length. Additionally, the article is open to comments, and they to seem favor the Palestinian side 2:1.

      That said, some lines were of the kind "should one laugh or weep?" "Medina asked if she could be re-directed to another source that had no ancestral ties to the region, implying that being Palestinian made him an unreliable source. " Presumably, immigrants with no ancestral bias would be less biased. ??!!

      Criticising activism for being "divisive" would question if College Republicans and College Democrats should operate (but this was a quote; even so, Zionist celebrations of campus are as "divisive"). But this was a quote. A more interesting angle is why the college administrators are so united, vehement even. Current situation seems to be: economic, political and administrative establishment: 99.9% pro-Israel, media: 50-70? Students seem 50-50, but Israel is definitely trending down.

      In any case, the coverage of the issues of Israel and Palestine is now less biased than most. Check the coverage of Ukraine.

  • In Israel, racism is standard procedure
    • I think that there is an established church in Wales, although it probably does not mean a lot. I got this web search hit (I guess from 1999):

      In her statement to the House of Commons on 11th December on the Government's proposals for Equal Marriage, the Secretary of State said:

      "because the Church of England and Wales have explicitly stated that they do not wish to conduct same-sex marriages the legislation will explicitly state that it would be illegal for the Churches of England and Wales to marry same-sex couples. Mr Speaker, this provision recognises and protects the unique and Established nature of these churches."

      There is also Church of Scotland, a.k.a. The Kirk, recognized by law as the national church (but not "established"), and the majority of Scots who declare a rellgion "adhere" to The Kirk.

      However, those Churches do not have an "oligopoly" on performing marriages, nor they enforce any kind of religious laws, like sales on Sunday, nor they have the power to imprison people who defy their edicts. In Israel you can be jailed to up to ten years for defying the rabbinates (by not giving so-called "get" to the spouse, one of the most bizarre features of Judaism: by the Law, a divorce requires the agreement of the husband, but rabbis can demand the agreement and in Israel, they can jail you for not heeding them; in my logic either the necessity of the husband's agreement is a good idea, and then it should be totally up to him, or a bad idea, and then this agreement should not be required. Something like that happens when a brother of a deceased husbands offers (as required) to marry the widow and she is obliged to refuse (or not obliged? There may be a difference between Ashkenazi and Sephardim rabbinates). As far as I know, no one was jailed for not offering to marry a sister-in-law, or of not rejecting such an offer, but the State of Israel is obliged to jail at least some people pointed by the rabbis.

      Most crucially, unlike the clergy in United Kingdom, Israeli clerics periodically urge the State to wage a Holy War with no mercy shown to the enemy, sometimes with specific recommendations like "going beyond collecting 300 foreskins", which preceded the last war in Gaza, with the State, ably assisted by the Military Rabbinate, conducting the war as bloodily as the clerics recommended. Then our American Jewish clerics issuing similar recommendations to American government.

      At least I know of no involvement of religious figures in the Holy War in Crimea (but the idea of the Holy War is spread surprisingly widely. For example, Pamela Geller invokes the Holy Writ of Ayn Rand to urge crushing the Muslim infidels, I guess she fancies herself as a priestess of the Randian cult. (Ayn Rand recommended that the "civilized people" should make short work of the "savages", and so does Geller).

  • 'NYT' and 'MSNBC' leave Marco Rubio backer's Israel agenda out of the story
    • The newest on the topic from NYT is a bit surprising:

      Norman Braman, the billionaire Miami auto dealer who is prepared to pour $10 million into Senator Marco Rubio‘s “super PAC,” has an unexpected view of campaign donations.

      He hates them.

      “It’s a colossal waste of good money,” he said during a recent interview in Miami.

      “It’s a shame for any of this money to have to go into politics,” he added. “It should be utilized for much better purposes. There’s too many needs out there for this money to flow.”

      But he sees no way around generously bankrolling candidates like Mr. Rubio, given the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United and the rising reliance on super PACs that can accept unlimited donations.

      “In the world of politics today, unfortunately, super PACs are the name of the game,” Mr. Braman said. “The system has it where you have to have it in order to compete.”

      I see a good attack spot against Rubio: "Rubio - a colossal waste of good money, in the words of his mentor and sponsor". Actually, the problem was already described, namely that most GOP candidates got their billionaire friends, so either those fat cats will get to some kind of agreement or they will waste what Braman called "good money".

    • You can rationalize your ugly prejudice against walrus-Americans by saying that you merely oppose psychopaths, but that conveniently ignores the fact that 100% of public figures in USA that resemble walruses both with their mustaches and favoring mode of communication (loud bellowing) are all psychopaths. (A photo of John Bolton link to )

  • Sanders is leftwing on economic issues, but sees Israel as up against ISIS
    • I am guilty of being eclectic. Like I would like to have more rational domestic policy, and less mayhem abroad. Obama delivered semi-rational health care reform (an improvement of sorts) and less enthusiastic support of the mayhem abroad, but what have we got on his watch? Palestinians suffer more or less a before, ISIS goes strong, additional mayhem in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and Libya where USA is unhelpful AT BEST, and malignant to some degree. Negotiations with Iran are conducted in such a way that I have no idea if Obama wants to fail or succeed.

      On the level of Mondoweiss, ignoring other issues is consistent with the mission, but when we look at the progressive Sanders, and he is "quite progressive", total silence on foreign policy is quite deafening. Apparently, even in the framework of hopeless Presidential run where the only thing he can do is to articulate issues he does not feel that any of those issues should be articulated. Either he does not see anything overly wrong there, or he indeed would rather avoid the entire block of issues as "generators of discord".

    • I checked 12 points of Sander's program. Not too bad, but I would add some points (perhaps removing some redundant ones).

      Nothing about the military, and only implicit promise on foreign policy. The implicit promise is to break trade treaties. But I would add reducing imperialist posture and commitments and make a huge reduction in military spending, perhaps associated with some wider demilitarization. For example, as we insist on antiballistic missile programs and improving missiles, raising fears of "first strike capability" we are getting a renewed nuclear arms race. Annual savings 100-200 billion, and fewer victims of inane policies. (Support for Israel, KSA and terrorist movements would be under "reducing imperialist posture".)

      In reversing global warming, I would advocate substantial carbon tax and international cooperation on that basis. Another 100-200 billion dollars in the budget.

    • I have somewhat mixed feeling. The "constituent" who irritated Sanders was heckling very loudly in a smallish hall, so Sanders had legitimate reasons to get flustered and irritated. However, that happened after one minute of rather inane bullshitting when Sanders enter full demonizing mode, talking about "sophisticated military tunnels". So Israel HAS TO KILL HUNDREDS OF CIVILIANS with 21st century weapons because it was faced with slightly improved Stone Age technology. Number one, it makes no sense. Number two, it revealed the content of his kishkes: barely digested IDF hasbara. Apparently, some people cannot bear the stench.

      And this genuinely raises the question: can you be progressive except on Palestine? USA is ruled by lobbies, and is The Lobby different from all those other lobbies, be them drug companies that loot billions from the sick people (and the healthy ones who are in the same insurance pool or paying taxes), or police unions, or energy companies who want to poison minds to be free to poison the planet? In a way, yes. It used to be that a young girl in a brothel would be initiated to the trade by a "special client". The Lobby serves the role of that client. The habit of unthinkingly absorbing talking points prepared by lobbyists and propagandists becomes overwhelming and governing for the benefit of the majority becomes impossible.

  • David Horowitz to OSU: 'Jews didn't expel the Arabs in 1948' and 'the occupation is a huge lie'
    • Another old geezer here. Back when Howard Dean started to run for president, he had a speech where he mentioned that USA needs a balanced position on the Middle East conflict (there were few at that time), and a large brouhaha followed, from which I learned that "balance" is an anti-Semitic code word.

    • pabelmont: GoUSA constantly reviews and checks the list of terrorists and their supporters. Cuba was downgraded from arch-enemy to still-not-quite-OK, and Venezuela was upgraded. Al-Nusra was approved as a recruiting target (for the "moderate insurgents", but "Khorasan group" was approved as a bombing target, even though no wise person willing to be quoted on record can tell the difference.

    • In my nomenclature, Shavit represents Hasbara piano, while Horowitz is definitely forte. Light beer-type of Hasbara is not proper for the stout throats of College Republicans.

      I am not sure if Horowitz repents anything. Some people are fanatics whatever they do.

      Yonah lacks the taste for undiluted warm bourbon, so he finds Horowitz "unhelpful". Still, the guy runs a well-funded energetic operations that is a part of a major project, making Israel a wedge issue winning votes for GOP. People too deep in "liberal-think" have hard time grasping how it can be helpful, but it is not that mysterious. GOP has a brand image of being decisive, supporting people like us against the other with aplomb and without apologies, and ready for action whenever necessary. Most importantly, when in doubt, one should always ask the most appropriate person for opinion, and it is hardly surprising that this would be the richest person or group that has any opinion on a topic.

      Hence pilgrimages beseeching Sheldon Adelson to bestow a blessing are performed with pride. And if College Republicans are confused why it should be so, Horowitz is always ready to explain Isn't it why his operation is well funded?.

  • 'Israel First'-- for gay couple who hosted Ted Cruz
    • On top of that, the standing of Cruz in republican polls dived, something like 12% to 7%. Contrary to some thinking, not all marriages are made in heaven.

      By the way, State of Israel recognizes only religious marriages, and the list of approved types of religious marriage is short, emphatically excluding all Jewish denominations that approve gay marriages, something that gay Zionist are trained to ignore. Hence, they were ready to ignore little foibles of Cruz.

      The peculiar ecology of GOP politics promotes the wannabe dragons who not so much tell us their views as breath fire. Iran? fry them! then talk to accept the tribute from the chastised survivors? Muslim? fry them! Gays? Frying fellow citizens is less acceptable, hence the search for alternatives, like "religious freedom laws" to deny services to openly gay. Science? Fry them, or at least, fire them! Especially if they badmouth NRA or Israel.

      Now they comment about "fascists of they gay community" who descended on Reisner and Sporn. It always amazes me why they imply that fascism is bad. (It is bad sometimes, like in gay community, but there is also good fascism, like Mussolini before the Pact of Steel, when Betar happily run camps in Italy under the benevolent gaze of Il Duce).

  • Non-Jewish Israelis remain faceless, nameless, voiceless in 'New York Times' coverage
    • As far as I know, one becomes a Chief Rabbi (there are two, like consuls in ancient Rome) in elections with rules about as transparent as elections for the Supreme Leader of Iran. In the second stage of the process there is a long discussion in the press about the bribes, kickbacks etc. that the newly elected Chief collected while having lesser posts in the past.

      And yes, there are differences. ON EDIT: there are three Chief Rabbis, Ashkenazi, Sefardi and Military.

    • Usually, I thinks that Phil piles to much on Rudoren who tries her best, which may be mediocre but not malevolent. This time she seems to be indeed sloppy.

      The article is illustrated with a picture of a bus on a bus stop in Nazareth, an "Arab town", hometown of Haneen Zoabi. Does that bus run on Saturdays?

      Nazareth to Tur’an
      *Departures from Nazareth, not all stops listed

      Sunday: 09:05, 10:10, 10:45, 11:40, 12:15, 13:45, 15:00, 16:30
      Mon.-Sat.: 07:00, 08:00, 08:50, 09:20, 10:00, 10:30, 11:20, 12:00, 12:35, 13:20, 14:00, 15:00, 15:45, 16:30, 17:00, 17:30
      Route: Nazareth Beit HaYedidut, Nazareth Frank Sinatra, Nazareth St. Joseph’s School, Nazareth Pizza Panoramic, Nazareth Tahbash, Reine Nazareth Illit 754, Mash’had Entrance, Kfar Cana, Beit Rimmon Jn., Tur’an, Tur’an Mercantile Bank, Tur’an Regional Council

      Apparently, Nazareth central bus station is reasonably busy on Saturdays, but Rudoren does not mention it, even though the bus that she shows in the picture (complete with a woman in a Palestinian dress) runs on Saturday. That observation could give rise to some investigative reporting. Arab/Palestinian bus companies do exists in Israel, and presumably they could do business on Saturdays in places like Tel-Aviv (where you can break Shabbat by shopping or going to a restaurant, but not by riding a bus), but they do not. Is it because it is too hard to make it profitable, or because it requires permits that are denied?

  • EU must take stronger action to sanction Israel following high court decision banning boycott
    • This is part of the true cost of "canine devotion to Israel". US is constantly negotiating this or that, giving up some points to gain other, and rather that gaining points in the interest of the citizens, negotiators "protect Israel". And by all means, make a trade war with EU!

    • What EU can do? What kind of organization is it? Some raised those questions.

      Mental experiment: 15 of EU foreign ministers proposed that goods from Lugansk and Donetsk should be labeled as such, as the sum total of all steps detrimental to Russia and those republics. It could be a very sensible course of action, but the actuality was different, wasn't it?

  • The moral hypocrisy of American Muslims for Palestine on the Armenian Genocide
    • Interestingly, Iran chides Turkey for not acknowledging Armenian genocide.

      On one hand, classifying atrocities as "normal", "super", "super-super", "genocide" inevitably has a political element. On the other, rejecting honest recognition of the past is all to often associated with nefarious attitudes. Ukrainian nationalists glorify war heroes who committed massacres and do not cringe from committing "little atrocities", mass intimidation, a flurry of assassinations etc. Turkey is arrested in the past patterns if it cannot acknowledge what went wrong.

      And so is USA. During massacres in Indonesia our government did not "stood idle", instead, CIA passed its own lists of persons who "deserved special attention". Now we have "moderately putrid" policies, and only "outside the mainstream folks" acknowledge the stink. Oh, democracy in Egypt could be improved further. Oh, we should help Saudis to make a more selective target list. Should we support one-sided bombardment for more than two months? Let's think about it after two months! (I thought that Saudis want to show that they do less s..t than Israel in Gaza, but apparently they checked with USA and decided to have more fun after all.)

    • School children should learn basic principles on genocide.

      Principle number one: some peoples count a lot, some less, some do not count at all.

      Thus I read at least two articles with the phrase "Armenian genocide, the first genocide of the 20th century". Herero do not count at all!

      New York Times had an article that Armenians should "get over" dwelling on the genocide, and Washington Post, that they should reconcile with Turkey. Hm. Both articles by Armenians, but were they really representative of Armenian opinion? Still, Armenians may cherish the fact that they deserve more mention that the Herero.

      Concerning Turkey, I am all for reconciliation, but shouldn't Turkey cease criminalizing the writing on Armenian genocide? Or refraining from sh..t like providing staging ground for taqfiris to attack an Armenian town from Turkish soil and expel inhabitants (last year, in Syria)? Or from making movies showing fictional Turkish heroes killing Armenian "murderers"?

  • A lesson from the New York Times on how to mislead with numbers
    • Misleading with numbers is relatively ineffective because most of the public is innumerate. Of course, you can write anything and pick a chart as an illustration.

      More typical is flat-out misleading. An article in today's Op-Ed section, "Iran Won't Give Up on Its Revolution" has this sentence: "Iran’s imperial ambitions are not new. Under the Safavids, the Shah and the mullahs alike, Tehran has vied for regional domination." A naive person would think that since this is in an article written by three experts, it must be true, at least to the extend that is easy to check. In fact, during the reign of Safavids (a dynasty in 16-18 centuries), Tehran was an "unimportant village". In any case, this bizarre article find faults in anything that Iran does, say, not cooperating with Azerbaijan and Turkey in the siege of Armenia: siding with Armenians, how vile one can get! Interestingly, most such dodgy Op-Eds in NYT, including that one, have no option of writing comments.

      So citizens, countrymen, we have bombed Tehran to smithereens cause Tehran was ambitious. How rare! How vile!

  • Understanding the Jewish National Home
    • I think that to understand the "holy writ of Balfour declaration" one has to have some picture of the policies and the way of thinking of the British ruling class of the time. For starters, there was a well defined ruling class, to a degree aped by somewhat less defined ruling class in USA. Balfour himself was born in the palace of his noble family (Wikipedia makes no note of silver spoons, but surely there were some in the household). And one of the functions of that class was to rule and expand the Empire, and to treat subject peoples according to their stations. Five years before the declaration South African Act gave the Whites of South Africa the right to rule the country as THEY see fit (whatever the opinions of the disenfranchised Black who promptly got totally disenfranchised). Three years later, a democratic institutions were provided for Kenia, only whites were represented (I am lazy to check, but 1-2% of the population). Arabs were viewed as a cut above the Negroes, except for the Beduin that were "savages", but below the Jews (who were of course inferior to the British, but unlike the British, they had British friend in good social standing).

      And sure enough, the idea that "welfare of the native peoples" should be mentioned here and there was accepted, EVERY colony was supposedly improving the lot of the subjects, but the idea that one should SERIOUSLY consider that welfare was perhaps reserved for jokes in the clubs and some memoranda destined to gather dust.

      That said, "national home" was intentionally an extremely vague phrase, hardly putting any restrictions on ruling the Empire. Support of the Jewish immigration had prominent backers (including Rotschilds) and some critics as it was creating some difficulties in ruling over Palestine, and the settlers, not being British, did not deserve the deference like those in Kenia.

    • I think that to understand the "holy writ of Balfour declaration" one has to have some picture of the policies and the way of thinking of the British ruling class of the time. For starters, there was a well defined ruling class, to a degree aped by somewhat less defined ruling class in USA. Balfour himself was born in the palace of his noble family (Wikipedia makes no note of silver spoons, but surely there were some in the household). And one of the functions of that class was to rule and expand the Empire, and to treat subject peoples according to their stations. Five years before the declaration South African Act gave the Whites of South Africa the right to rule the country as THEY see fit (whatever the opinions of the disenfranchised Black who promptly got totally disenfranchised). Three years later, democratic institutions were provided for Kenia, only whites were represented (I am lazy to check, but 1-2% of the population). Arabs were viewed as a cut above the Negroes, except for the Beduin that were "savages", but below the Jews (who were of course inferior to the British, but unlike the British, they had British friend in good social standing).

      And sure enough, the idea that "welfare of the native peoples" should be mentioned here and there was accepted, EVERY colony was supposedly improving the lot of the subjects, but the idea that one should SERIOUSLY consider that welfare was perhaps reserved for jokes in the clubs and some memoranda destined to gather dust.

      That said, "national home" was intentionally an extremely vague phrase, hardly putting any restrictions on ruling the Empire. Support of the Jewish immigration had prominent backers (including Rotschilds) and some critics as it was creating some difficulties in ruling over Palestine, and the settlers, not being British, did not deserve the deference like those in Kenia.

  • Obama's long & passionate Monday with Saban, Foxman, Hoenlein and other Jewish leaders demonstrates power of Israel lobby
    • There is some dispute if "Iran is a bad actor", so I was curious if there is any way to resolve it objectively. I applied "google test". The search was swamped with a multitude of candidates, so I narrowed it down to "worst actor" in "image" search -- if they are so bad, the point can be illustrated with a photo. This is the top hit:
      link to
      Importantly, it gives a suggestion that bad acting can be inherited. From Darwinian perspective, it means that in some ecological niches bad acting is reproductively beneficial. Do they mate with worst actresses?

      This second hit suggest how Iran would look like as a worst actor (but the oriental in the photo is actually from India):
      link to

      Can we objectively evaluate the acting skills of Israel as "tiny abused state with millions of square miles of sand seething to exterminate it"? I would say that they lines perhaps stink, but the acting is superb.

    • The formalistic attitude to "expiration date" is not applicable in most situations. Here is an annotation to English translation of "Master and Margarita" by Bulgakov:

      "They supplied sturgeon of the second freshness"

      Sturgeon of the second freshness or, in Russian: Осетрину прислали второй свежести became one of the many popular sayings from Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita after its first publication. It was common in the Soviet Union to classify things into grades, by which the lesser categories could have a positive name anyway.

      That said, only few guests availed themselves of the highly regarded fish (if a little past its prime), and those who did, had reasons to regret. But for those with well trained stomachs, anti-Semitism accusation can be digested without diarrhea, vomiting etc.

  • Marco Rubio and AIPAC allied in effort to insert poison pill into Iran deal
    • The fact is that Pakistan does not recognize Israel, the official position is that they can recognize Israel only after the establishment of the state of Palestine. And it get sales of weapons from USA, plus an alleged transfer of nuclear technology from Israel (in Wikipedia, "Israel-Pakistan relations". I am lazy to check, but I think that Saudi Arabia has the same position.

      Official positions of the three states are quite similar, what is different are unofficial and disputed news about cooperation with Israel.

    • China has a simpler way of forcing Israel to heed to their interests. Recall that there is a racket of extorting money for alleged support of terrorism with Israeli victims, with testimony provided by Mossad. When a Chinese bank was so accused, Mossad did not show up. May have something to do with a certain businessman who could be very badly hurt by, say, investigations into details of running of some casinos in Macao, and who happens to have the prime minister of Israel as his personal tchotchke.

      OTOH, I think that it would be beneficial for USA economy to get rid of the role of the dollar as the main reserve currency. While good for the financial sector, it is a disaster for manufacturing, because USA can never run out of money for imports, while the domestic consumption is to a large extend possible because of consumer credit. The sooner this artificial prosperity ends and the country switches to a larger share of consumption consisting of domestic products made by people getting decent wages, the better.

  • Stanford Hillel defied Hillel guidelines by hosting Gottlieb -- 'and no one burst into flames'
    • This is a complicated issue. Why people crave approval of their communities, say, "Log Cabin Republicans", GOP activists who crave to be approved as gay people by their GOP brothers. It would be to facile to dismiss them "apparently, the gays have their share of masochists as well."

  • Who cares what Jeffrey Goldberg and Netanyahu don't like about the Iran deal?
    • Goldberg proposed modest half-measures. I would start by giving him a veto power in UNSC, as we clearly cannot trust Obama, and other permanent members were disappointing as well.

      The second measure would be to remove lies from school textbooks. So-called "solar system" consists of bodies that rotate around Benjamin Netanyahu, so it should be Netanyahu system. All attempts to deny the obvious truth and brainwash the school kids are simply caused by anti-Semitism prevalent among the leftists in charge of school programs.

      The third measure ... [I am out of ideas at the moment]

  • Iran is 'congenital cheating' 'Islamic power bent on world domination' -- Netanyahu tells US media
    • Well, there is time to weep, and there is time for laughter. Sometimes Israeli police sees nothing wrong with group sex on a city beach, and sometimes they test if your matso sandwitches were made of matsos that are proper for Passover. And what is it? Pastrami AND cheese in your lunch box?

      However, the city fathers of Afula have a real problem. Before Passover you are suppose to sweep away all crumbs of chametz, and then G..d fearing citizens go to the city part to enjoy nice weather and rest after all that pre-Passover cleaning. And their shoes get contaminated with chametz crumbs that are subsequently carried home. So it is not like eating chametz in a public park during Passover is a victimless activity.

      However, what I found truly interesting is that benevolent Interior Ministry impose Chametz Law solely on "Jewish parts of the country", so perhaps there are maps of those parts.

    • This story of carpet seller is not entirely baseless, what I see that it does not support the point at all.

      Should we renounce purchase of carpets, and bomb the merchant (who may be an Armenian, but Jews tend to loath the Armenians so it is fine)? Or invade and take the carpets?

      And how it differs from Israel as a negotiator? The main difference is boorishness, totally uncivil behavior toward the other party (Palestinians) and even the "honest broker", hapless American diplomats badmouthed for "being obsessed" etc. just for attempting to make the negotiations look a bit less like a mockery. Forget about the caps of tea, or ever getting anything, except for a grudging agreement that is promptly broken.

    • According to Catalan, Iran is an economically feebly country, so the loud fear of Iran in Israel is basically a bad case of vapors and paranoia.

      On the other hand, the metrics chosen by Catalan are misleading. Because of sanctions, Iran had to conserve foreign currency, resulting in low exchange rate. On PPP basis, GNP/person in Iran is about 1/2 of Israeli level. Iran also produces many industrial products and has decent agriculture so it can survive the slump in oil prices without a major crisis. Before the slump, Iran's exports were 3 times larger than that of Israel, now perhaps twice larger (and the share of non-oil export is of course nearly doubled).

      Sanctions were a "mixed curse" because the unrestricted access to the global financial system and free trade is a "mixed blessing": ask Greece.

  • Conservative revolutionaries and the echo of German fascism
    • My comment would be that the only reason to stress German fascism and proto-fascism is that it is best known, especially in USA. Interestingly, Revisionist Zionist Movement was initiated shortly after National Fascist Party took power in Italy.

      The combination of social factors in continental Europe in the aftermath of WWI was somewhat unique, the perfect storm condition for radical movements that were usually fascist in nature. However, to me it is more disturbing that USA has its own tradition of right wing radicalism which is different than fascism, milder if you will, but it has strong native roots. I call it ante-bellism, the conditions in the American South prior to the "War Between the States". The prevalent attitudes among Southern Whites were more libertarian than authoritarian, but in the same time, violently intolerant. Abolitionists were the enemies of the free people, their tracts forbidden, removed from mail, speeches violently suppressed, occasionally mobs would cross Ohio river to burn down an office of an abolitionist periodical (say, in Cincinnati).

      This culture of "rugged individualism" had no cult of leaders, but a deep reverence of the elite , the local rich people that privately despised the "white trash" that voted for them. Unfortunately, the political patterns did not evolve as much in the last 160 years as I would wish. One thing which is essential for that political culture are the enemies that require solidarity, resistance and vigilance. And it is not terribly important what those enemies are, so they change over the years. Liberals took place of the abolitionists, but it is not as easy to revile the Blacks as in good old days. But immigrants with darker skins, homosexuals, Muslim etc. can be reviled with more frankness. "Love for Israel" strikes a deep chord, furnishing "good folks" to support and "bad folks" to deride, and per chance, to kill. And why not protect the God-blessed state of Nebraska from liberal attempts to impose Sharia? Anything that can induce the trash to vote for the elite is fine.

  • 'NYT' addresses pro-Israel donors' influence over Congress
    • My theory is that "GoldmanSachs/Citicorp", i.e. major financial companies, investors and executives, is not opposed to a negotiated settlement with Iran. It is not even directly related to increasing or decreasing the supply of oil, they can prosper in either case, or to the improved trade opportunities in the Iranian market that is largely closed to American companies -- not peanuts, but not huge in a global scheme of things. However, proliferation of sanctions -- not just on Iran -- imposes risks of draconian penalties imposed on banks, insurance companies and so on. A leading French bank was forced to pay 9 billion dollars in fines.

      There are even companies specialized in extorting funds from real and imagined violators of sanctions. This is really not good for business. And if the effects are worse in Europe, that is not a lot of consolation to folks who invest globally. Therefore I do not foresee East Side plutocrats suddenly abandoning Democratic Party out of the dismay how the good poor old Netanyahu got treated. Perhaps to believing and practicing Zionists, Mr. Netanyahu is the embodiment of collective will of those Jews who achieved elevated status and to whom lowly galut should bow. To financial plutocrats, Mr. N. is a personal tchotchke of their obnoxious colleague from Las Vegas, a bumpkin who probably could not tell Verdi from Puccini.

      The reason that there exists a modicum of democracy in United States is that "big money" is not united on all issues. Some hate "Obamacare", some appreciate. The very form that that step toward universal health coverage has taken is dictated by the need to bestow a boon on some sector of capital, while getting a vehement opposition to another. We see a similar split on Iran. On Palestine -- I guess, not yet.

  • Now Obama needs to 'compensate' Netanyahu -- NYT pipes Israeli propaganda (Update)
    • I would complain less about Rudoren's piece. This is a report on thinking of Israeli establishment, and while it could present a wider selection of perspectives, it does not endorse any of the described opinions. Personally, I found one passage cryptic:

      The situation reminded Mr. Eiland, the former Israeli national security adviser, of an Old Testament tale in which King David fasts for seven days after Batsheva bears him a very sick son. Once the baby dies, the king asks for something to eat, explaining, in the book of Samuel: “Why should I fast? I can’t bring him back to life.

      Does it mean that Eiland thinks that Netanyahu should follow king's David wisdom and ask "for something to eat" once his beloved baby, nixing negotiations with Iran, died (it was a sickly baby from the start)?

    • I found two things curious.

      One was the seeming total absence of pro-Israeli comments for the article in Guardian, after more careful check, there were two very short comments supportive of Netanyahu (in some way) out of 43. Israel is facing a dangerous deficit of trolls. One possible reason is that there is a number of cabinet positions with hasbara responsibilities, but right now they may be preoccupied with negotiations to form a new ruling coalition. Distractions, distractions.

      The second was a concept that is totally new to me, the proposal to ban some countries from developing (and deploying?) "international missiles". They should be limited to missiles that stop at national borders! It is a fascinating concept, and perhaps it would be even more helpful if Israel decided where the uncrossable borders should be (in addition to one-way borders).

    • Donald: "But it is precisely the logic that has had the US helping our “ally” Israel by siding with them in the UN, supplying them with weapons, and saying they have the right to “defend” themselves when they blow up Palestinian families. There was never any sanity in this."

      This is precisely the way a hegemon deals with cranky vassals who have influence at the court. Note that KSA is another dear ally of USA that is upset, so USA helps the King to sooth his nerves by whacking Yemen. This time, Israel can enjoy the show only vicariously, but they do their best by cheering loudly on the sidelines.

  • When occupation becomes apartheid
    • Israel had one "non-Apartheid year", from ending the military rule over Arab citizens to the imposition the the military justice on the newly conquered population about a year later.

      The very formation of the State has genetic affinity to Apartheid. South African Act gave the Whites of South Africa the right to rule over other folks there any way they please, and five years later another colonial project was promised by Balfour Declaration. The idea that as land can be cleared from weeds to facilitate crops, it can also be cleared from undesirable types of people was of course yet older, and I am not sure if it was seriously criticized in the West before 1950. By "seriously" I mean members of Cabinets and other Established members of society. No wonder that Nakba did not make big waves in Europe and America.

      My point is that Nakba was, to a degree, following de facto international norm back when it was committed. During the subsequent 68 years, the world made some progress, but Israel seems to be increasingly harsh, sharing values with people who long for the good old days when we did not had "these problems".*

      Trent Lott was a Senate Majority leader for a while, and he said those warm words on December 5, 2002 at the 100th birthday party of Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, a long time conservative leader. Thurmond had run for President of the United States in 1948 on States' Rights ticket ("Segregation forever"). Lott said: "When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either."

    • Israel had one "non-Apartheid year", from ending the military rule over Arab citizens to the imposition the the military justice on the newly conquered population about a year later.

      The very formation of the State has genetic affinity to Apartheid. South African Act gave the Whites of South Africa the right to rule over other folks there any way they please, and five years later another colonial project was promised by Balfour Declaration. The idea that as land can be cleared from weeds to facilitate crops, it can also be cleared from undesirable types of people was of course yet older, and I am not sure if it was seriously criticized in the West before 1950. By "seriously" I mean members of Cabinets and other Established members of society. No wonder that Nakba did not make big waves in Europe and America.

      My point is that Nakba was, to a degree, following de facto international norm back when it was committed. During the subsequent 68 years, the world made some progress, but Israel seems to be increasingly harsh, sharing values with people who long for the good old days when we did not had "these problems".*

      Trent Lott was a Senate Majority leader for a while, and he said those warm words on December 5, 2002 at the 100th birthday party of Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. Thurmond had run for President of the United States in 1948 on States' Rights ticket ("Segregation forever"). Lott said: "When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either."

  • The epic season of spinning Iran deal begins!
    • That reminds me a joke about bald men. Some lack hair in front, they think, some lack hair in the rear, they are very attractive for women, some lack hair both in front and in the rear, they think that they have very attractive for women (sorry for a bad translation).

      Of the multitudes of people who think that they are smart, some are actually smart. The average self-assessment of the intelligence in Israel is probably quite a bit higher than in the Exile. Genetic make-up is similar, but the outcomes like smart/stupid are caused more by the environment rather than genetics. In some environments it pays to be smart, in some, it does not.

      Sixty five millions years ago dinosaurs ruled the earth and made large dignified strides, while mammals were rat-like creatures skulking around and hiding in burrows. For the size of their bodies dinosaurs had remarkably small brains, which is exactly what they needed given the abundant resources. Then a comet hit the Earth and no amount of strength was sufficient to secure enough food for the huge bodies.

      Being in elite position or in a ruling majority approximates the conditions of the late dinosaurs. You get strength, strength translates into resources.

  • How Obama won on Iran
    • "Anyone want to host a 'Depend' fundraiser..."

      No amount of diapers will help without proper application. What we observe is a condition in which diarrhea and gasses emerges from the orifice (can you say oral orifice?), so one would have to apply diapers on the head, and just hope that a person that is so completely reversed can breath through anus. But would it really solve the problem, or just prove that the subject can spray around fecal matter from both ends of their alimentary tract?

      I conclude that cheap palliatives are unlikely to work. Instead, I would send the victims of this mysterious malady to high Arctic, so they would cool their feverish heads, and supply with copious amount of marijuana. After several weeks one could move them to more temperate locations, switch to methadone and start behavioral therapy. Full recovery from severe ziocaine addiction may take months.

  • DEAL!
    • The "deal" has a potential of improving Iran's economy, but also the economy of Pakistan and also India. Congress can sabotage lifting unilateral American sanctions, but it cannot re-impose multi-lateral sanctions, and those are the only sanctions that matter. USA was imposing unilateral sanctions on Cuba with rather small effect.

      Iran will play a larger role as a result, and this disturbs Israel, because it improves the position of so-called "resistance" in ways that are TOTALLY unrelated to nuclear weapons.

      Thus the interests of Israel would be served better if there was no deal, even if the deal would include Iran totally dismantling of everything that even smells "nuclear". And the current sketch of the deal indeed includes deeper Iranian concessions than expected, and the government of Israel opposes it, as it would oppose any conceivable deal. However, it stands to reason that regardless of their preferences, government of Israel has to find a way of satisfying the security needs in a way that would not contradict interests of every single permanent member of Security Council.

      That leaves Plan M, which is coming of the Messiah, but Plan M can succeed whether Iran has nukes or not. Consequently, GoI should restore the role of Torah studies to its previous position, and the new members of the Israel Cabinet will have many constructive suggestions how to do it. By the way, Iran has Plan HI (return of the Hidden Imam) which is quite similar, and this is precisely why it does not pursue nuclear weapons.

    • If financial industry was dead set against the deal with Iran, there would be no deal with Iran. I would not worry about the future funding support of Schumer.

      While many harp on "Jewish influence" in finance, the attitude of tycoons like Bloomberg to Israel is quite nuanced. At the end of the day, Israel for them is a cherished hobby, but they also need to make a living.

    • Perhaps giving Schumer a strong chance at the leadership is more astute than I have previously thought. Schumer can sound like (former senator) Lieberman at times, but he cherishes his place in party hierarchy.

      And it is not like his most beloved constituency, the financial industry, is gung-ho for WWIII.

      PS. Lieberman gave impression that given a choice of following the needs of insurance companies (big thing in Connecticut) and Israel, he would not hesitate for a microsecond. And do not even ask about the considerations important to ordinary voters.

    • The mental framework of anti-progressives and progressives is so different that I do not know where to start an answer to hophmi.

      Perhaps with the fact that we should deal with the world as it is, rather than as it should be. Any country has its list of imperfections, and U.S.A., Iran and EVEN Israel have their lists.

      The second is that very, very few wars improved the world, and decreasing the restrains on the movement of people, ideas, goods and funds, more often than not, has positive effect.

      Thus avoiding the "military option" and decreasing the restraints on trade through diplomatic effort is a-priori a good thing, and one needs very solid arguments to object.

      Going away from sweeping generalities to the concrete case at hand, hophmi argues that the singular iniquity of the regime in Tehran should make us cheer all attempts to replace it, be it sanctions, confiscations of property, and outright war, and jeer all attempt to liberalize trade, return confiscated property and eschew war. In the same time, apart from Israel, the closest allies of U.S.A. in the region (warmly courted by GoI) are Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A short explanation how government of Iran is worse than the governments in Egypt and KSA would help understanding hophmi argument.

      Otherwise, my tentative diagnosis is that to hopmi, 'good' means unconditionally supporting Israel, or at least cooperating on the most crazy schemes and priorities, and 'bad' means critical of Israel, and any of the schemes and priorities of GoI, however vile or insane. Whenever GoI and KSA agreed on something, without fail it was something like that.

  • Netanyahu to stage hunger strike against world peace
    • In the aftermath of the DEAL, this April 1 story does not seem improbable. Say, declaring a national day of mourning in Israel, or ratcheting reaction to more extreme, declaring that PM of Israel will not eat ice cream until the vile regime in Tehran is removed from the page of time.

  • Leaked Clinton fundraising memo reveals presidential campaign strategy
    • To me, a give-away is the stress on "information". Like Hillary would be less secretive than Obama. If the "I" was for "inclusiveness" I would perhaps not see anything special in the scoop.

  • Tipping point?
    • If you say that the Guardian has anti-Israeli bias, it explains more about you than about the Guardian -- they actually evade the issue of Israel, but it is hard to report on American politics without noticing it, at least if you want to show some connection of your reporting to reality (however small).

      I think that Edwards has a chance. Of course, it may be easy to exaggerate her progressive position on Middle East. But there exists an interesting indirect connection:

      [Politico]: "Edwards, who’s preparing for a difficult primary against fellow Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, said in a two-minute announcement video that she wouldn’t compromise on the entitlement programs — “no ifs, ands, buts or willing to considers.” It’s a likely preview of the way she’ll hit Van Hollen, who progressives have argued has been open to cutting Social Security because of his support for a federal budget deal like the now-defunct Simpson-Bowles plan."

      The problem with "progressive except Palestine" is all to often that they are not that progressive. Those that loose their virginity in interactions with one well-funded special interest group evolve to veritable tramps.

    • It may explain her dim view on Republicans, although I swear to heavens, I never dated a Republican and my esteem of them is "not as high as it could be." My favorite sub-species are moderate Republicans, who balance the few intelligent planks they favor is a variety of ways: Guliani -- with personal viciousness, New Jersey governors -- with utter fiscal responsibility, with some thuggery added in Christie edition, and so on.

      Then come less moderate cohorts, including "Rednecks for Israel". The latter are almost amusing, because they regurgitate talking points of Zionist extremist (think ECI rather than AIPAC), but they garble them in ways that tell me that they have no idea what is going on. For example, they would proclaim that "we should demand equal rights for all people between the sea and the Jordan river" after being explained that Jews are being discriminated upon, and denied the right to settle in the West Bank. That was when Obama was trying to raise the point of the settlement freeze. Or they would proclaim that Israel should have logical borders, which means, borders described in the Bible. Good luck finding the Wilderness of Zin. (Just because those folks believe every word in the Bible does not mean that they read much of it with comprehension.)

      The few Republicans that have reasonable views on foreign affairs, those of libertarian bent, tend to be total nuts on domestic issues. Some of that is relatively harmless, like gold standard.

      That said, the best thing one can say about Democrats is that a candidate like Donna Edwards actually has a chance. In other words, the reality is "so-so", but the potential is there. Unlike in GOP. I think I will follow Munger's advise.

  • Philosophy prof who likened Palestinians to 'rabid pit bull' ignites protest on CT campus
    • Frankly, the exploits of canine units of IDF are the mildest of all atrocities there. Apparently, the dogs are trained properly and do not inflict grave injuries, which is more that can be said for humans shooting "less lethal munitions" and the frankly lethal ones, deployment of skunk water, etc.

    • I would quibble here. Prof. Pessin's does not give ANY advise to the woman, after all, to him she is a rabid dog. Instead, he totally misunderstands the situation and ponders why the rapist didn't dispose of the unruly female: after all, whatever the risks (which are modest), the rapist enjoys the situation.

      Supremacism is no fun if there are no folks to subjugate. In a rough outline, while Israel nourishes dream of grandeur, replicating the feats of Alexander the Great who turned the Persian Empire into dust, it enjoys Gaza as the shooting gallery and West Bank as the arena for contact sports.

      Pessin's advise is directed solely at "well-meaning liberals" who object to what is going on.

    • Prof. Pessin, know for explosive rhetoric and explosive bathroom...

      That from the quoted report of Connecticut College. I must admit, it is not the first time that I have seen explosive pro-Israel rhetoric, but exploding bathroom turning a guest into a human catapult?

  • As clock ticks in Switzerland, the Adelson primary heats up in the U.S.
    • Why should Bibi handle vexing issues like dismantling or not dismantling Obamacare? I guess that a pledge, of the kind Romney did in 2012 would be almost sufficient: Romney explained that he has no idea what to do in the Middle East, he would simply call Netanyahu and ask. Clearly, given the low level of interest and common sense, it would be rather dangerous to ask that GOP president would also anticipate what Israeli government would wish. However, active recitation of the most recent wishes of Our Most Treasured Ally is definitely a step up.

  • White House will go after AIPAC next -- Newsweek
    • I hope that Obama have seen the light. By most indicators, he does not care about Palestinians beyond some platitudes, but as the mess in Middle East increases every week, a constructive relationship with Iran is necessary. Additionally, prestige of USA is not what it used to be, and confirming the appearance that the foreign policy is in the hands of Israel would be "unhelpful". So I guess that there will be a deal with Iran.

      Contrary to my prior expectation, the government of Israel and all loyal flacks inside US border are in "double or nothing" mode. They co-opted GOP almost totally. Thanks to the recent bruhaha. an agreement with Iran will have to come with some irreversible executive decisions (a resolution of UNSC). This will give GOP a potent wedge issue, like Obamacare, and they can be heavily bloodied in the process, and so will AIPAC.

      The stark question for American electorate will be: do you want another trillion dollar conflict? Recall that in the last elections, Obama himself did not shine too much in the polls on the domestic issues, but on the foreign policy the choice was: wishy-washy or utterly irresponsible. I believe that only a minority wants the foreign policy of Bolton, Kristol and Adelson.

      American power players are not universally enchanted with that bunch either.

    • I would rather ask, which "GOP presidential hopefuls" are sufficiently stupid to have Kristol as their advisors. Perhaps all of them. :-( Frankly, good old Dan Quayle would be a tower of intellect and moderation in that company.

  • Why did Herzog run scared? He fears the Israeli people
    • “In the ideal world”, Herzog replied, “I would like to keep it all.” But ultimately, he added, he would keep the Gush Etzion, Ma’ale Adumim and Ariel settlement blocs, and the Jordan River would be his so-called security border.

      I guess Mr. Herzog should rewrite these lyrics a bit and sing:

      I see skies of blue, and clouds of white,
      The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
      And I think to myself
      What a wonderful world.

      I would list "all" that he wishes, and conclude "And I think to myself what an ideal world". In any case, this is the structural problem of Zionist moderates as they try, feebly, to oppose Zionist right. The only reason that they can see not to be right is that the world is not ideal, it will not "let us to take it all". But they are wrong! As the Congress bows down before Netanyahu (except for a few strays), where is that World that will not "let us to take it all"?

      One could say that it is wise to take less than all, for example because it is morally wrong. Like enclosing the population under control in tiny bantustans separated from each other is inherently morally wrong. But this type of morality is non-tribal, hence, anti-patriotic. There exists an anti-patriotic minority, but, well, it is a distinct minority. So what remains is an argument that the world is actually not wonderful. But they are wrong, so no wonder they loose. Actually, it is amazing how well the moderates did given how wrong they were.

      As long as the world is wonderful for Israeli right, universal morality has little chance to be considered by serious Israeli politicians, so any change is up to the world, and against protests from Israel and her friends, be they vehement or plaintive.

  • Bill Maher justifies Netanyahu's racism by saying U.S. has done much worse
    • "if America was a country that was surrounded by 12 or 13 completely black nations who had militarily attacked us many times" Wake up, Mr. Maher! I do not know how you have arrived at "12 to 13" count, but it is damn close to reality!! In one case, a completely black nation threatened USA so much that it took three brigades to eliminate the threat -- try a web search for "Grenada". Haiti necessitated multiple interventions. And do not give me crap that it is not USA under threat by Grenada and Haiti but other way around.

      How do we know that it was Gaza attacking Israel and not other way around? Because Israel is a civilized country and it would not kill 2000+ folks without a damn good reason. Likewise, USA is a civilized country, and if it send Marines to Haiti, it means that there was a grave danger to our federal state.

      And how many of those black countries surround US of A? Bermuda and Cayman Islands perhaps do not count, being formally British possessions, but they do their best to wreck havoc with our financial system. Then we have Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Grenada, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Bahamas, St. Kitts and Nevis, a nice dozen! And there are also partially black state that are even more threatening! Like Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, recently proclaimed to be a danger to US of A.

      And here Mr. Maher is driven to distraction by threats posed by Mauritania, Bahrain etc. to his beloved Middle Eastern country. Luckily, American police remains vigilant to the black threat, constantly gunning down threatening individuals, but this is a precarious thin line of defense.

      Actually, many soberly thinking legislators and judges do they best to diminish the threat of combined Black+Hispanic+Leftist vote, and their efforts are quite effective. However, it is a constant struggle that Mr. Maher sniffingly dismisses as "not understandable". Romney himself observed that there are 47% of potential internal enemies, and received a lot of shellacking just for telling the truth.

  • 'Do US Jews need a Jewish state for our safety?' debate begins in wake of Netanyahu victory
    • The security of a smallish ethnic/religious group is an interesting question. Some of us know that of historic Hebrew tribes most are "lost". How they got lost? Jewish version is a bit strange: they were exiled at the same time as the Jews (Judah, Benjamin and fragments of priestly tribes), never to return, but some folks forcibly settled in their region converted to an imperfect version of Jewish religion. I is safe to assume that this is merely bad-mouthing of "heretics". In fact, Samaritans, as they were called later, remarkably stayed put, there is scant evidence of a wide diaspora. Later, they did not join rebellions against Rome, so they were not exiled. However, Byzantines tried to convert them to Christianity, leading to rebellions and support of Persia in 6-th century. Eventually, except for a small group, they converted to Islam.

      One observation is that possession of statehood is a very feeble method of ethnic survival, because small states have a bad survival record. By the way of contrast, diasporas, especially those with trading networks, did well. A certain dash of persecution helps. In XVI century there were roughly equal numbers of Armenians and Jews in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, later the percentage of Jews increased several times while there are hardly any Armenians left. Top tier of Armenian got assimilated by Polish nobility, and lower tiers presumably got assimilated with lower classes.

      As a matter of survival in suddenly anti-Semitic USA, I would guess that emigration to Canada or Brazil would be a better bet. Israel, deprived of its powerful sponsor, would be less safe -- even now security is a concern.

  • Netanyahu's victory marks the end of the two-state solution
    • I think this is a good point:

      But we are fighting a US-funded multi-billion dollar cult industry (worse than Scientology)

      Indeed, for all the prowess of Scientology, the public accepts them only because only few people have an idea what is it about. By the way of contrast, most of the public accepts "the case for Israel", and part of that public is beyond reach of leftist arguments. In particular, the idea that lesser cultures and races deserve shabby treatment is widely accepted. Large part of pro-Israeli propaganda is about showing that Israeli (Jews) are adorable and Palestinians are despicable.

      In domestic American context this idea (shabby treatment for shabby people) is deeply ingrained, but there are some chinks. For starters, "shabby people" can vote (at least, most of them), and they are not as soundly rejected by the majority as, say, Arab speakers in Israel. If you starkly list acceptable treatments of inconvenient people in USA, the picture is terrifying. However, there seems to be a renewed energy directed toward making those treatments unacceptable.

      This is why rejection of Israeli policies is more important for Americans than rejection of oppressive policies of Chinese government in Tibet. We do not have wide propaganda that lesser people, like Tibetans, deserve everything they are getting, except for subsidized medical care that they receive even though they do not deserve it, propaganda that reinforces the approval of domestic oppression within USA.

      On the topic of domestic oppression, compare two news items. Last week Egyptian police determined that the death of a demonstrator hit by a police bullet was caused by her being underweight, I assume that it was one of so-called "less lethal munitions". A pleasantly plum lady hit in the stomach with a low-speed and low weight bullet would survive. In Bakersville, Kern county, an unemployed person died shortly after being beaten by eight cops for several minutes, and the autopsy report attributed the cause of death to his heart condition, basically, hypertension shared by most similarly overweight Americans. A lean and fit person would survive the clobbering. So police and security forces should have procedures that would not kill people who are neither underweight nor overweight nor asthmatic etc. This is the standard in Egypt, Israel and USA.

      Of course, the list is longer, "in good mental health, not uppity" etc.

    • My prediction/speculation is not based on what would be better or worse, but on two contradictions that will make the current coalition rather brittle. One is that opposition of National Orthodox (read: settlers and military/militaristic rabbinate) and secular chauvinists to the main demand of Haredim, second is that "decreasing inequality" would require steps that trample over Zionist ideology and powerful interests, not a small bunch of phone companies.

      Of course, security threats are an elixir of power for Likud, but it is not always that simple. For example, it backfired on Olmert and Barak, because they killed significantly fewer "bad guys" than the public wanted. And to kill thousands, you must have some tacit (or even better, explicit) agreement from USA, and from EU. If there will be a new President in USA from Adelson approved list, then indeed Likud may go for exceeding the last round of carnage, but if not then not.

      My conclusion is that there are two years for hard work to remove kashrut certificate from the current brand of "necessary steps of defending Israel". Details of BDS movement do not matter, one-state, two-states, invite Israeli academics to conferences or not, settlement goods or all goods, the true goal is the political climate where "unconditional support of unbreakable bonds" is as ridiculous as opposition to racially mixed marriages or some other ancient conservative wedge issue. "Save human lives and money by buying generic humus". Clearly, not the best slogan, but this is basically the case.

    • Bibi is actually fairly consistent, he just said magic phrase "Palestinian state", but he wrapped it in such a way that his dearest friend Naftali Bennet would not be miffed. As far as radical rewrites of her past are concerned, Hillary Rodham Clinton comes to mind. Once, driven by a sisterly impulse, she kissed Ruha Arafat, then she has spent years erasing that dreary episode.

      More recent swerves were following instructions of her boss and requesting freeze of settlement activity, then "never mind", then sounding outright like a Likudnik in gushing approval of the recent Gaza slaughter. Today NYT has an article "Israeli Election Result Complicates Life for Clinton". Poor woman wants to win Democratic primary, and the mood toward Israel in the "base" is no longer contained in neutral-to-total-love spectrum. How she will nuance her way out of this morass?

      Final paragraphs from the article: "Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, for example, praised Mr. Netanyahu for defeating “the full force of the Obama political team.”

      And he happily exploited the bind in which Mr. Netanyahu’s rejection of the two-state solution and apparent race-baiting on the campaign trail had put Mrs. Clinton.

      “When it comes to Israel, the time for her to stand up is now,” he said, adding that if Mrs. Clinton disagreed with Mr. Obama’s Iran nuclear negotiations, “she needs to state so clearly and unequivocally right now.”


      This is the art of wedge politics. Push an issue so far to the right to force liberals to wince, and even better, to protest, get accolades from the right wing base while not attracting a strong reaction from the clueless center. You cannot respond to it with an artful nuance, either you manage to change the topic or you have an equally demagogic response. For example, that Republicans would not hesitate to risk WWIII for partisan gain and money from certain casino owners beholden to Communist leaders of China. Or that they abandon principles of American policy that were followed, with a very good reason, by every American president in the last 50 years, both Democrats and Republicans.

      So Clinton can try to pretend to be Elisabeth Warren, "I am an expert of social problems and I can comment only very briefly on foreign issues", or to out-reptile Republican dinosaurs, or the lay some punches on Republicans to the cheer of the base, while dismaying some donors. Whatever she does, she will bleed.

    • "The EU doesn’t dare pee before getting prior US clearance."

      This is true if US has a united position on an issue. Administration seems to give green light to BDS (if someone else would do it).

    • Emperor forms a committee to find an acceptable fig leaf, so while proud of his body, he will continue to share values of modesty with his allies.

      In the news breaking interview (with MSNBC? NBC?), prime minister to be said that his goal remains to have Palestinian state, but this state would be a terrorist state, so the circumstances have to change. The interviewing women was very charming and did not ask hard follow up questions: what circumstances, when does he thing that they may change, because his Foreign Minister was tossing numbers like "50 years", and is it not racist to assume that a Palestinian State would be a terrorist state? And he reiterated that USA and Israel share unbreakable bond. That can be interpreted as a confession of love, or as a get refusal (time to hire some resourceful rabbis from New Jersey).

      According to (organ of the top enemy of Netanyahu, Noni Moses, but free online and not as annoying as, say, Times of Israel), Naftali Bennet tries to drive a hard bargain before joining the government, and while he cannot demand many ministerial position, he does demand formal declaration that there will be no Palestinian state (but plenty of new settlements). In my view, Netanyahu is consistent, but I read a title "Netanyahu's flip flop flip".

    • I will be contrarian here. Two state solution was not "alive enough" to die, but the more frank government in Israel may well revive it. For starters, the support of Israel is much less popular in Europe than in Israel, and there were political demands and promises to sanctions Israel for this or that (e.g. destruction of buildings, wells etc. build with the financial support of EU countries, occasional massive slaughter, siege of Gaza, specific insults to European diplomats, the list of particulars is long), while political establishment in almost all cases tried its best to do nothing of the kind. But instead of arguing that how one could even think to side with Muslim barbarians against our beloved only democracy over there, the pablum was that one should give time and space for diplomacy and negotiations.

      It is one thing to claim that emperor has beautiful cloths, and another to keep insisting on that while the emperor is shouting: look at my magnificent body, every inch is for you to see! "I really recall that there was a fig leaf somewhere!". So there is a chatter to create some pressure on Israel, starting with a probably toothless UN resolution (or even UNSC resolution), but potentially escalating, in the name of the two state solution. Then perhaps Israel will be required to stop stealing money from PA, and return what it have stolen, again, in the name of the two state solution. Additionally, a principal reason for favoring Israel in Europe was the conviction that mature politicians have to support USA, so lack of intense support for Israel in USA can release a break for action.

      In the meantime, Likud demolished the more extremist BY and YB parties by promising to do what those parties promise, but with the actual ability to deliver. And now the extremist, both inside and outside Likud want to extract the conditions that expansion of settlements, rejection of Palestinian statehood etc. will be the conditions of the ruling coalitions. So the emperor will proudly insists that his body is free of all that fig leaf nonsense. That may affect the internal politics in Israel: to Israeli Jewish public, the liberals are idiots who for decades were crying "wolf", we can't do this and that because "we will become isolated", and the right wing perceives things clearly. Given that, it is a marvel that the right wing did not corner 90% if the Jewish vote. The explanation is that Likud government did not deliver on some points of social policy.

      My prediction (or a bet) is that for all his impressive victory, Likud will again rule for two years or so; one source of conflict will be what to do with Haredim: they want subsidized apartments, stipends for Torah studies and recognition that those studies are a valuable part of the national defense, while Modern Orthodox Jews can grudgingly subsidize apartments, wince at stipends for Torah studies and are positively in rage on the issue of avoiding the sacred service in IDF.

      The second source of conflict is that something should be done to slow down the growth of apartment rents, which is easier said than done. In part, necessary actions are to some extend against Zionist principles. Government controls big majority of the land, so it could conceivably quickly increase the supply of apartments in greater Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem etc. But the Zionist principles dictate that Jews should spread evenly across the country and territories, bonding with the Land, so all the new apartments should be planned in the nooks of the Land where there are not enough Jews (and given only to Jews), rather than in places that actually have jobs. Non-ideologically, all folks who invested in the apartments would loose hugely. So I expect that discontent in major urban area may be growing.

      So if you satisfy Haredim, BY and YB will be unhappy, and vice versa, while Kulanu has slim chances to deliver its promises. Thus there may be a new election in two years.

    • Advise from experience: while kitten are typically not aggressive, their defensive behavior can shred your skin to narrow stripes. As a student, I had a friend who tried to console a kitten that was scared by other students on a party; when he took bandages off after several weeks, I could see what the kitten did with its claws out.

      Freezing assets of Naftali Bennet is quite meaningful, as he does have assets to freeze. Criminalizing all charities that support illegal settlements would be more logical and better, but at least Beinart moves in the right direction.

  • Who can save Israel now?
    • I can see folks in Lugansk People's Republic hanging those words on the wall.

      By the way, Declaration of Independence is a very good motivation for Israel: "the Rights of the People" clearly did not cover Negroes or Native Americans. Similarly, "Safety and Happiness" of Arab residents of Jerusalem are pretty low on the list of Israeli priorities.

      "And non French citizens can often be more French than people who in a legal sense hold citizenship." I met a number of people with French mother tongue, but non-citizens of France would insists that they are Belgian, or Swiss, Canadian etc. Bad example.

    • Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulated Netanyahu on his win, tweeting that Canada is looking forward to working with the Israeli government, once it is formed. “Israel has no greater friend than Canada,” Harper tweeted.

      If only that were true! USA should clearly relinquish this honor.

    • John Calhoon (b. 1797) was a United States Representative from Kentucky. He was born in Henry County, Kentucky in 1797. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, and practiced.

      Are you sure that he was a Mizrahi?

    • The coverage in NYT today is quite ominous. Administration is issuing what passes as stern warnings to Israel:

      And with Mr. Netanyahu’s last-minute turnaround against a Palestinian state alongside Israel, several administration officials said that the Obama administration may now agree to passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution embodying principles of a two-state solution that would be based on the pre-1967 lines between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip and mutually agreed swaps.

      Most foreign policy experts say that Israel would have to cede territory to the Palestinians in exchange for holding on to major Jewish settlement blocks in the West Bank.

      Such a Security Council resolution would be anathema to Mr. Netanyahu. Although the principles are United States policy, until now officials would never have endorsed them in the United Nations because the action would have been seen as too antagonistic to Israel.

      “The premise of our position internationally has been to support direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” a senior White House official said. “We are now in a reality where the Israeli government no longer supports direct negotiations. Therefore we clearly have to factor that into our decisions going forward.”


      Netanyahu’s Win Is Good for Palestine
      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
      International pressure and sanctions on a right-wing government is the only thing that will change Israel’s behavior.

      It is also worth to mention the "chatter" that a Security Council resolution is being prepared to abrogate the UNSC basis for Iran sanctions. It seems that in the negotiations with Iran the tricky remaining part is how the sanctions should be lifted, and the letter of 47 senators was quite helpful: Administration cannot stick to promises of the kind that "if you will behave nicely for few years, we promise to do this and that." The letter proved unambiguously that this would be worthless, only an irreversible executive action has a tangible meaning. And unfortunately for neo-con, it is possible because UN Charter is a ratified treaty, law of the land in USA pretty much like a Constitution (you cannot change it with a simple Congressional bill), and a UNSC would remove multilateral sanctions. Unilateral sanctions by USA do not have much bite in any case.

      Defiant Israel is just another state, not "the closest ally", and balance of power policies require, well, balance. Stronger Iran is good for USA when allies in the region go bonkers. Would Iran go too far, the support for the allies can be increased, unless they still go bonkers. "Holy war against Shia heretics" is not in the interest of Western establishment, even if neo-cons and Israel are on board. Israel, from "realistic policy" point of view has to be treated like Turkey and Gulf monarchies -- supported only up to a point.

      And domestically, "fervent support of Israel" becomes a wedge issue like health care reform, with quite fickle poll numbers, and good chances for a change that we here would view as positive.

  • Israelis go to the polls today--and nobody knows who will win (Updated)
    • My calculation is that Zionist Union with allies and external support of UAL should have 53 seats, Likud with allies (Shas is not certain) should have 58 seats, "king maker" Kulanu, 9 seats. Except I do not understand is the "shared seat" of Kulanu and Yisraeli Beitenu goes to YB (more surplus) or to K (more total vote).

      This means that Kulanu remains a king maker.

      By following historical precedents, Netanyahu will form a government that will last exactly two years.

    • Frankly, I root for Herzog only because I would like Netanyahu, Bennet and their squad of Valkyrien to by unhappy (and Adelson, Cristol and many other folks I would rather see in depressive mood rather than manic). Every poll at this moment shows Kahlon as a kingmaker. So what will he make?

      Sign of hope: Miri Regev from the right wing Valkyrien declared that Kahlon is a traitor. Does she know something, or just shoots her mouth?

      PS. There are constructive reason to wish that Herzog would make some meaningful concession to Israeli Arabs and Palestinian under the occupation, and economic policies beneficial to the middle class, allow for the civil marriage etc. etc. and who knows … refrain from periodic wars and make peace? But my heart is full of hope of schadenfreude.

    • "Israel is softer than Russia".

      I agree. My theory is that some nations have mentality of "small nations", and some do not. A big nation is more oblivious to what other nations think. I would put in that category USA (most oblivious), China, Russia, India and Iran. Interdependency in Europe makes UK, France and Germany less oblivious. Israel is a special case, as long as they feel sure of American support they may be oblivious to what other nations think, and the rhetoric of the National Camp is definitely like that, but I do not see sincerity in those slogans. And it is not like Russia and USA that you can get more than 80% accepting that Idea (we do not care what they think). Otherwise, what sense it would make for Netanyahu to show before the election how influential he is in D.C.

      The grand strategy as described by people like Glick is to realize that in the long run, Israeli project runs counter to liberal values, sissy as they are, as it is a supremacist colonialist project. Their solution is to enter a stable alliance with political forces that despise liberal values and LIKE colonialism and supremacism, like Senator Cotton. From that point of view, liberalism is spent political force, so latching the fortune to the bandwagon of the right is a win-win: your allies do not badger you to "improve", plus they are the winning team.

      As GOP got both chambers of Congress and has a good shot at the clean sweep in 2016, this may seem to be a brilliant strategy. This is were activism like Mondoweiss becomes more crucial than before. The notion of "mainstream" in USA is dynamic, and frank support for colonialism and supremacism is declining. In actuality, it was feeble for a while, but the public could remain blissfully unaware of the nature of Israel, "amazingly diverse democracy" etc. As various "traditional values" wane, GOP keeps finding new wedge issues and quietly ignores the old ones; not so long time ago opposition to gay marriage gave GOP a number of political victories on state level, and right now this issue is a clear winner in Alabama and few other places. It is quite amazing how GOP could get considerable political capital on the opposition to the health care reform, I predict that this will last only few years. So now Senator Cotton loves Israel, but what will happen in few years?

      Importantly, the issue of gay marriage was an extremist issue, "outside the mainstream". Luckily, USA is not like China or Russia, groups outside the mainstream influence what becomes "popular common sense". Even in China carping about the environment that came from the outside of the ruling elite influences the government.

      Whoever will form the government in Israel, the word "Likudnik" regained its extremist luster. Netanyahu, in a brilliant maneuver, rescued Kahanists from the sinking ship of Yachad and robbed Jewish Home of several seats, the newest wave of relative moderates left, the concept that this is a "centrist movement" got buried. In USA, Zionist extremists got into a serious spat with non-extremists over Iran (et tu, Schumer?). I see it as the end of AIPAC domination "on both sides of the aisle" and in the "mainstream media".

      Sorry for the rambling. My summary is that as Zionist (and American) right is progressively more insane, the establishment becomes split on the issue of Israel, and thus open to new ideas. But the establishment will not generate these ideas, BDS movement is as important as before. Personally, I would hope to keep the dispute of 2 State versus 1 State to the minimum, or at least, to keep it at a high level of civility.

  • Why I hope Netanyahu will be crushed tonight
    • Somewhat hilarious. "Axis of progress and democracy: Likud and Gulf monarchies". Marriage made in heaven!

  • The farewell party of the mezuzah-kissers
    • It reminds me a story of my late father, imagine Warsaw around 1930, conversation in Yiddish. A customer to coal seller: (this is how folks heated apartments, with coal in stoves) "This is outrageous, this 50 kg basket of coal weights at most 35 kg!" "Nobody puts more than 40 kg in 50 kg basket! Why you make such huge noise for measly 5 kg!"

      Nobody reports history with accuracy better than 1000 years! But if you intend to be picky, according to leading historians/archaeologists, formation of first Hebrew tribes occurred between 1200 and 1000 BC, after a period of almost total collapse of sedentary life in Palestine away from the coast (that became populated by the Philistines). As there were no inhabited villages and town, there was no conquest, just indigenous population returning to sedentary life after 100 years of drought, with new techniques (so they were archaeologically recognizable). Then some tribal states were created, with David and Solomon surely being tall story adding grandeur to royal ancestry (contemporary Greeks preferred to have Zeus or Heracles among the ancestors), so-called "united monarchy" is simply a legend to "prove" superiority of Judah which was not possible around that time -- Judah was settled after more northern regions, as the drought ended there later. So the "history of Jews" has some legendary periods, plus 3000 years, at most.

      Of those years, we have to subtract Babylonian exile, so surely well under 1000 years of dwelling in Judah before almost all Jews departed, The idea that you can schlep around the world and then claim "ancestral lands" as your own is bizarre beyond comparison. Anglo-Saxons to Saxony and Angeln (allegedly, also northern Germany) to accomodate Welch diaspora returning home and recreating Arthurian kingdom. Bring back the Camelot!

  • Herzog and Netanyahu are likely to share power -- because Herzog won't share it with Arab List
    • I think that United Arab List will not agree to join a government, nor there would be enough Zionist parties that would agree to that. However, some list of requirements can be agreed upon in exchange of "external support". Even that would raise fury of the extremists. It could be like year 1922 in Poland -- president elected by both chambers of the Parliament, with narrow majority including all representatives of the minorities. Elected on Sunday, killed on Saturday.

      However, what can change the arithmetic of coalition forming if either Yachad or Yisrael Beitenu fail to get enough votes. Both polled on the borderline. In particular, the demise of YB would be a delicious irony (Lieberman promoted the idea of increasing the requirement). Besides changing the outcome, it would be a symbolic blow the the far right.

      Additionally, Likud is a veritable vampire of a party, except of Bennet, all its coalition partners were loosing support, Labor went through that, YB and Yesh Atid. That may give a pause to the idea of "grand coalition".

      Alternative scenario is that the National Camp will not loose seats by the collapse of Yachad or BY, and they will make enough concessions to the religious parties to form a majority. Which would be umpteenth time of Israel forming the most extremist government ever, a scenario that offers some positive outcomes.

  • Netanyahu flails against int'l conspiracy, as liberal Zionists seek orange revolution against 'fading strongman'
    • What I liked in Likud ad was that it was concrete. It listed achievements of the current government, and that allows one to make a reasonable judgement: are they really so great, are they what I wanted, etc.

      The "envelope ad" was lyrically alluding to issues without spelling out what the opposition wants, what achievements it wishes to accomplish. And in fact, proposing something new to accomplish always offends those that do not like the goal or do not like the means. But I would wish politicians to take the stand and explain their case. It is possible that "normal voters" do not like that, so one can overdo it. Still, I increasingly believe that the modern essence of liberalism is not standing for anything too much. At the end of the day, Obama did not sell health care reform after letting it to be moderated to a monster so complicated that computers choked when they had to apply rules automatically. Moderately tuned imperialist policies. Delicate pressures on unruly allies (it is not just Israel), with no explanations why they are applied or why the attempts are abandoned. (Israel builds apartheid state, Turkey and Gulfies support the worst terrorists in Syria, while we sprinkle the same individuals with drones in other locations, Egypt applies death penalty to political opponents in four digits etc.) The liberal pattern seems to be to give hints of recognition of problems with right wing policies and then doing very little to improve the situation.

      So Zionist Union seems to follow this pattern, and the ad supports that suspicion. Some delicate compromise between "lower your expectations" and "abandon all hope".

    • Concerning "de-Zionization", I experienced it on a receiving end. In Poland, the main target was "revisionists" that were combined with "Zionists" as "philo-Zionists", and there was a quite extensive purge, wave of protests, and more purges. As a scout in elementary school (it would be middle school in USA) I have seen all Jewish fathers sacked (mine and classmates), and most of our scouting cadre arrested, to mention few elements.

    • "nye ubral" is not "nie usunięte" (not removed) but "nie usunął" (he did not remove)

      Grammatical endings are more important in Slavic languages than in English, leading to totally mangled Google translations, like

      kurwa kurwie łba nie urwie, a jak urwie to po kurwie.
      glory of Google translate
      whore whore does not tear off the head, and as it breaks off after a whore
      more correctly
      whore will not tear off the head of another whore, but if she does, whore is gone

      It is a good slangy version of a political commentary, like "We Jews have disagreements, as we are a rambunctious democracy (the only one in the region!), but nobody will hurt another Jew too badly, except for self-hating kapos and Judenrats, and we know how to finish off those black sheep."

    • Frankly, I liked Likud ad better. In part, because it was understandable: we made magnificent Iron Dome. we closed the hole in the fence (when I read it I thought that this is an anti-Likud ad, but what nice fence it is! even the gravel on the road along the fence is selected to have a nice color), we cut the distances by making new highways and railroads, and the only thing you can do is to carp. (Russian subtitles are a must!) And I could not get any idea from the ad above.

  • Even if Netanyahu loses, he can still win
    • Exactly, seafoid, don't those girls deserve three years without pregnancy? A deal would be that any Jewish couple must have at least one person that serves or served in IDF -- better yet, ANY couple, including cohabitations. Pregnancy while in service would be prevented. There would be special nursery units, so couples with small children could provide servicepersons too.

      Sounds a bit outrageous, but the slogan in Israel is "sharing sacrifice", and this proposal is very much in that spirit.

    • I have a broader view of quasi-religion. For example, some segment of American population is deeply religious, and they are devotedly sticking to principles like avoiding socialized medicine and the right to bear concealed firearms. And "Randians", ostensibly secular, also share those beliefs. Some Randians are Zionist extremists, which explains why they plied slogan "stand with a civilized man" (initially I was stumped where they got it from).

      Concerning anti-Haredi Israeli Jews, cutting various subsidies, changing the education toward more job oriented (and not just shehita inspectors), etc. seems perfectly rational to me. Trying to mold Bratslaver Hasidim etc. into disciplined IDF troops, not so much. Personally, I would apply conscription to Haredi girls (they are not obliged to study Torah, are they).

      In any case, Haredi parties are currently counted in "National Camp", but that will be subjected to very strenuous bargaining, and some members of the "secular National Camp", particularly the religious ones, may object a lot to concessions that will be demanded.

    • Netanyahu is warning that neither BY nor Kulanu rejected participation in a government of ZU. I really do not see how Lieberman could join ZU, but Kulanu was studiously ambigous.

      Religious block is against sitting with Yesh Atid, because Lapid called for criminal sanctions for Haredi draft dodgers. I guess that getting them to support a government would require to recognize Torah studies as a kind of national service or something like that, and that is against the convictions of National Orthodox like those who run YB. This is one of the issues which is totally puzzling to an outsiders -- it is not like drafting Haredi Torah students would allow Israel to conquer Iran, isn't it? It is more like military service has some religious or quasi-religious significance to most of Jewish Israelis, and to many of them avoiding the service is like a heresy -- one true faith has to be defended whatever the cost.

      Between all those issues (draft, high rents, Iranian danger) and parties, Israelis are quite confused. That may explain why Netanyahu gets high percentage as PM candidate and Likud polls quite low. Hard to tell where he gets 49% from? Is he so popular among the Haredi? I though that they would not care.

    • Actually, many news headlines are about "panic" in Likud and decline in the latest polls. I think there will be no more polls.

      One interpretation of the latest polls is that Likud will form a government with three religious parties, two not-that-religious parties, YB and BY, plus Kulanu, Likud offshoot for Likud voters that would like economic policies addressing the problems like increase in apartment rents.

      But if Kulanu or Shas flip toward Zionist Union, or Yachad and BY collapse (Yachad in particular is close to the threshold), or Yachad collapses and some MK defect from Kulanu, PLUS Arab List gives the support to Zionist Union, then Likud is out.

      My projection is that the negotiations to form the government will be quite protracted, and "bitter choices" will be necessary. For example, the last government enacted some laws deeply displeasing the religious parties that may be necessary for Likud. But YB and BY can be sharply opposed to concessions that will be demanded. There can be some bidding war of the two camps, reminiscent of a situation years ago in Turkey when the government expanded the number of ministerial portfolios to seventy, one freshly minted portfolio for every defector from the opposition. We will also see if Kulanu was a vehicle to keep economically motivated voters within Likud fold, or to extract portfolios for former Likud underdogs, or an outright Leftist Trojan horse (after all, their economic views are rather Left, to the degree I understand them at all).

  • UC Berkeley Israel group wants to ban imaginary word rhyming with intifada as 'triggering, terrifying'
    • Besides salmon, Norway also produces outrageous figurines of Hasbara Trolls with ugly but recognizably Semitic features (dark hair and skin, very exaggerate proboscis).
      link to

    • "As Alex Kane reported here at Mondoweiss, Kredo turned to Kenneth Marcus, the founder of the right-wing Brandeis Center driving the campaign to defund Middle East Studies departments across the country, to link the slicing of a pineapple to neo-Nazism. According to Marcus, the anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne “had associated the pineapple with Zionists and Holocaust denial.” Marcus went on to speculate that “the pineapple may be the closest one can get in a Michigan grocery store to a Sabra,” a fruit historically associated with early Israeli settler-colonists."

      I really felt uneasy after reading it. You see, lately I am slicing Sabras every day, because they had a good sale on persimmons in a local Korean store and I got a box. And these persimmons are Israeli persimmons called "Sabra" -- indeed, missing from the supermarkets here. So, number one, I lapsed in boycotting Israeli goods (I do it only with very good discounts, but...) Number two, my fruit salad preparation gets sinister explanation, rather than slicing a fruit reputed to repel the tigers I am slicing symbolic equivalents of Israeli settlers.

    • I think "canon" is directly from Latin. and in Latin, from Greek. Perhaps qanun has Latin/Greek origin (the Greek/Latin meaning was model/standard), Aramaic people were under Greek rule since Alexander and could adopt some political and legal terms.

  • Neocon meteor Sen. Cotton is funded by Abrams, Adelson and Kristol and loves war a little too much
    • I think that treason charge, while resonating emotionally, is wrong. For example, it should not be the duty for a legislator to approve of Constitution, after all, legislative branch can use a procedure to change the Constitution. It is also not clear if Logan Act is constitutional.

      It is more clear that the letter was stupid, and undermining the position of USA. In that respect, it was good, because USA has too strong position for its own good, breeding the way of thinking that it is up to USA to define, for the enjoyment and gratitude of the World, what does it mean "good" and "evil". In other words, the more clearly stupid American politicians are, the more clever their successors will have to be. And few of the august solons at the Capitol Hill are more stupid than the junior Senator from the great state of Arkansas. Does he partake in meth, allegedly abundant in his home region? Read and weep:

      link to

      That said, the charge of stupidity and ignorance is difficult to made, as it sounds elitist, while the charge of treason is more appealing, Additionally, Democrats are prone to get ensnared in Zionist grandstanding and are in need of counter-grandstanding to rally around their President. As so it came to pass that even the senior senator from the State of New York rallied behind the President, even as he heartily clapped when a certain prime minister gave a speech in his presence. What a view to behold! I must admit that I could not resist and gave 150 to DNC. Usually, a bunch of "working girls", but they do have some good moments.

      The question arises: what are those other 46 Senators, also idiots? Not necessarily. The goal could be grandstanding, cultivating an issue that reliably differentiates the patriots (who are for) from the treacherous elitists who just get hives whenever they encounter something good and decent (and thus they are against), a.k.a. wedge issue. Give me a few good wedge issue and the great State of Arkansaw is mine! And with enough state, the whole Union is ours, and with that, the World!

      For true and clever Zionists making a wedge issue like that is not a good idea. But people like ECI could not care less about "bipartisan support". They have their axes to grind, and they hate liberal Zionists anyway (if for nothing else, because they are liberal on SOME issues, even if not on Palestine)/

    • "47" did not remove anything. Not everybody knows that, but

      -- by US Constitution, ratified treaties are the law of the land

      -- UN Charter is such a treaty

      -- resolutions of UNSC are binding by UN Charter

      -- the executive branch decides how to vote in UNSC

      -- a deal with Iran would entail removal of UN sanctions, i.e. replacement of the respective UNSC resolution

      A future US president cannot go to UNSC and tell that he/she wishes to retroactively change the vote on a past resolution. In other words, Zarif knows better than Cotton, as in SOME countries it actually takes some expertise to become a diplomat.

      Then there is this "innocent" question of what is a "super-verifiable good deal". This dog will not hunt. Everybody knows that a country needs secrets in its military installations and in other matters, only the immediate threat of war can make a country to agree to an "extremely intrusive inspection regime". And when that happened, we invaded ANYWAY, so no one will ever fall for that trick again.

    • “My first four hours in basic training was in bayonet training. And we’ve used horses in a number of special operations.”

      Perhaps that was a sensible suggestion! Rather than ships, why not procure more horses and bayonets? Do you know how many horses and bayonets one can buy for the cost of a single destroyer? Imagine how smoother the campaign in Grenada would be with properly trained mounted troops traversing hillsides of the island. Horses are also good during snowstorms etc., and we could supply them to Ukrainians (together with bayonets).

  • Israel's Foreign Minister calls for beheading Arab citizens and it's not anywhere in the New York Times
    • link to

      Some readers were suggesting exactly what you wrote, Israeli National News did not report the full speech, but it seems that the context was the good old favorite of Lieberman, the plan to chop off towns with Palestinian population from Israel. Besides, he advocated using axe for those who "are against us".

    • Ah, never shall I forget the cry,
      or the shriek that shrieked he,
      As I gnashed my teeth, and from my sheath
      I drew my Snickersnee!
      --Avigdor Lieberman, Lord high executioner of Titipu

  • 'NYT' reports 'surge of hostile sentiment against Jews' nationwide -- on what basis?
    • Roth is a frequent Jewish name, but in itself it is a German name and there are many non-Jewish German Roths. There are also Roths native to Britain.

    • Are Satmars invisible? As we are discussing miracles like slaying 5000 Moors after mere 800 years of being dead, now come 100,000 invisible Satmars. On edit: probably few Satmars at UCLA, and even less in Hillels anywhere.

    • Sorry, Matamoras is named after Matamoros, and it is a village in Pennsylvania at the state line with New York as you travel on Interstate 84 -- a good method to get to New England from Pennsylvania without much traffic.

      If Saint James son of Zebedee was fictional, it is a separate question. In IX-th century his tomb was discovered in Galicia, then part of the Kingdom of Asturias, and few years later he appeared, as a posthumous miracle, during the totally fictional battle for the noble cause of abolishing the Tribute of Hundred Damsels. The apparition killed 5000 Moors and thus gained the name Matamoros (mata means kill in Spanish). You must remember that a Saint has to have witnesses to three miracles, and Saint James son of Zebedee had quite a bit more than this bare minimum. For this reason it is hard to logically comprehend what happened to him.

    • "Being Muslim…"

      As I drive from my home state to New York state, the first town after crossing the state line is Matamoros, "slay the Moors = slay the Muslim". I wonder how long a village Judentoten would last without a name change.

  • Israeli soldiers set attack dogs on teen -- 'Bite him' -- and rightwing politician cheers
    • Today there is also a piece of news at ynetnews (they displayed it more prominently, but now it is tucked deeper in the election coverage
      link to
      Zoabi participated in pre-election discussion at an Israeli university, and following the urging of a fellow-candidate for a Knesset seat, certain Baruch Marzel, currently in "Jewish Power" party (in a coalition with Yachad, splinter of Shas, hence with chances to get to the Knesset) a drink was poured on her head, and Marzel gladly posted on his party website "We kept our promise. We wiped her smile away". This is nothing less but physical intimidation of political opponents, which unfortunately happens all too often in this time zone (that also includes Turkey, Georgia and Ukraine).

  • Factchecking Netanyahu: An annotated guide to the Israeli P.M.'s speech to Congress
    • The Levant for centuries was a ground were armies of the King of Kings were fighting the Emperors. Traian had a decent success, but alas! the Empire was backstabbed by recalcitrant sectarians who raised in heinous and murderous rebelions (see Kitos War and Bar-Kochba).

      Borrowing the book from Parthians, now is the Empire turn to support murderous sectarians (taqfiris AND others). But another tradition was that in the aftermath of armies being wiped out in Mesopotamia, the Empire was reducing the presence in the region for a generation.

    • To me, the best analogy is Mikado and "his daughter in law elect"

      MIKADO: In a fatherly kind of way
      I govern each tribe and sect,
      All cheerfully own my sway

      KATISHA. : Except his daughter-in-law elect!
      As tough as a bone,
      With a will of her own,
      Is his daughter-in-law elect.

      MIK. : My nature is love and light
      My freedom from all defect

      KAT. : Is insignificant quite.
      Compared with his daughter-in- law elect!
      Bow Bow
      To his daughter-in-law elect.

      CHORUS: Bow Bow
      To his daughter-in-law elect.

      President: Mikado, Israel: Katisha, Congress: Chorus

  • Pelosi blasts Netanyahu speech as 'insult to intelligence of U.S.', Amanpour calls it 'dark, Strangelovian'
  • Bipartisanship is dead, as Netanyahu, AIPAC, and GOP square off against Obama over Iran
    • I guess it his hard to tell if "bipartisanship is dead" (the creature sometimes appears fleetingly near Potomac river, but it is hard to tell what type of an apparition it is), but it is clear that some folks want to get rid of it, and that it suits them just fine.

      Fanatics can be intelligent too. If you read Glick and her ilk, however polite the "Left" may be in some times and places, it is organically unable to adequately support Israel because it is tainted with multiculturalism and anti-colonialism which prevents sincere solidarity with a colonial project aimed at preservation of tribal identity. The Right that readily accepts colonialism and cherishes its won tribal identity and recognizes the virtues of cultural superiority is a natural stable partner. It is an unfortunate accident of history that American Jews are predominantly associated with the Left (Communists, Democrats and so on, differences are superficial in any case), but the cause of ZIonism requires a double re-allianment, domination of the Right in the internal politics among the Jews and an the American political scene.

      To achieve such realignment one has to use wedge issues that would reveal inadequacy of the Left to the Jewish and American public. A major obstacle is utter spinelessness of American Left, especially Democrats. Wedge issue number one: expansion of the settlements, it worked for a few months and then they rolled over. Wedge issue number two: pathological insistence on the peace process, intolerable pressure on Israel to produce some peace proposal, again, Kerry whined a little bit but then Administration committed itself to "never mind" attitude and that is not sufficiently wedge. With Iran issue it seems that finally Zionist Right hit the pay dirt.

      Let the Democrats whine! They lost both houses, and they will lose Presidency as well.

      This is a fairly logical strategy. I hope that it is wrong. The top reason why I think that it will not work is the history of Republican wedge issues. Almost every one looses its popularity, and the party replaces the old line up with new idle on the regular basis. A wedding with GOP promises as much of eternal bliss as a wedding with Ron Perelman (ir Donald Trump). Even more hopefully, GOP has a knack of latching onto issues that fade away quite quickly.

  • Rightwing rabbi seeks to pit Power against Rice on Iran ahead of AIPAC speeches
    • Sorry, "edit" does not work for me, so please figure out my grammatical mistakes.

    • "These splits don’t amount to much: no matter how totally, certifiably insane the leadership, those who make a career of it as well as the emotionally involved foot soldiers continue to obey in lockstep."

      I beg to differ. You cannot "march in lockstep" if your leadership forms a circular firing squad. Good folks of UC Hillel branches toil to keep BDS in check, and what do they get? First, boys and girls of David Horowitz paste incredibly inflammatory posters on campuses, and when they object to retain credibility, his lordship Horowitz is enraged and calls the delusional Judenrats. And Boteach is on the same team which we may call "A-Zionist" or "Team Adelson".

      The fact that "Zionist Unity" could exist in spite of huge differences is not particularly natural. Most American Jews are either not religious enough or under-educated enough to swallow gladly the mix of weird religiosity and obscurantism that permeates GOP, and when they do support Israel they do their best not to notice such stuff over there. But Team Adelson that includes Boteach, David Horowitz, ZOA, and EIC makes it harder and harder.

      To appreciate consequences for "Brand Israel" imagine that the leadership of Coca Cola corporation is splits and one part issues statements like "Diet Coke is a terrible swill" and the other "old-fashioned Coke is a perfect drink for those who want to be obese". Where is the lockstep? Where is the brand image?

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