Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3735 (since 2010-05-31 18:07:51)


American university faculty member born in Poland.

Showing comments 3735 - 3701

  • Netanyahu's 'battle for Jerusalem' can't end well for any of us
  • Muslims' beliefs are 'untrue' and 'ridiculous,' 'Salon' author says, offering support for Maher's intolerance
    • Didn't Conflict Kitchen got a death threat about a week ago?

      I am only a hobby historian, but it seems that Quranic idea of "Holy War" was borrowed from Torah, more or less with the attribution. Every religion and every secular ideology has a dark side, and usually the bright side too.

      It is a matter of record that prominent rabbis called for a holy war of retribution, and offered curses for soldiers showing mercy to enemies, while other prominent rabbis cannot stop talking about "unprecedented measures to spare innocent lives" when they discuss slaughter of thousands and massive destruction of human habitation and basic infrastructure. Regretfully, nowadays they are the mainstream of Judaism.

  • Why I confronted Gregor Gysi
    • People who can consume 16 ounce rare steaks should not complain about baking products that are a tad harder than "sliced bread".

    • I think it is a bit more complicated, and a bit weird.

      Die Linke, the party of Georg Gysi, as actually leftist, and Israeli right wing trolls of 972 Magazine occanally call the writers there as "paid stooges of Greens", because the foundation of German Greens gave few thousand Euros subsidy to that on-line magazine, and their political profile is pretty close to Blumenthal and Mondoweiss (there are many writers and the spectrum of their views is wider). On foreign policy, Die Linke tends to be "anti-imperialist", e.g. anti-NATO and against the support of the current Ukrainian government. Opposition to the right wing policies of Israel would fit that profile, and it is doubtful that the party depends much on money from Israelophilic donors. However, Die Linke has a number of fractions, some could not care less about cooperating with bourgeois politicians and some want to participate in "left-of-center" coalitions. You can guess where Gysi is in that spectrum.

      The hosts of Blumenthal and Sheen are members of Die Linke who were passengers of Mavi Marmara and witnesses of the IDF assault. As their party did not condemn them for being arrested etc. by IDF, it became Exhibit One in the book chapter of "Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity" which is devoted to Die Linke (result of Google search, one can long excerpt in Google books.

      To summarize, Die Linke is a linchpin of the global conspiracy of Leftists and Islamists who plot to eradicate Israel and impose a combination of Sharia and soclalized medicine on the humanity (well, Die Linke, being radicals, go as far as advocating free child care), according to the Zionist narrative, so Gysi seems to be a traitor within that plot.

  • Evangelical Christians come under attack as more move to oppose Israeli occupation
    • I would like to make "Appalachian comment" on the frequent Hasbara claim that was presented in the JP article linked here:

      One of the false accusations made against Israel employs oft-repeated Hamas propaganda that says Israel targeted civilians in Gaza. Even if one does not want to believe what the IDF website says about the multiple steps it takes to warn civilians in advance of a strike on a military target, statistics concerning the identity of the fatalities should be convincing.

      According to a July 14, 2014 article titled “Reporting of Casualties in Gaza” on the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America website, “fatalities are disproportionately among young males, which corresponds with the characteristics of combatants.” In addition, “only about 12 percent of the total fatalities are female, though females make up half the population.”

      Here, in Appalachian woods, the biggest annual event is the deer hunt. In my state there are about a million participants, and they kill several hundred thousand deer. There are several seasons for the hunting, and when there is a season to hunt males, the hunters kill very few females. According to the Hasbara logic, hunters act in self-defense, responding to deer aggression and making all steps to avoid innocent casualties. For example, all innocent individuals can learn when and were the hunts are conducted, perhaps years in advance! And if that were not sufficient, there are warning shot! (Very useful to figure out when not to hike even if you did not check the web site of Game Commission.)

  • A reverend sermonizes justice in Jerusalem
  • NYT sanitizes group that wants to 'remove Muslim shrines' from Old City
    • link to

      As if "sanitazation" were not enough, in NYT Op-Ed, Shmuel Rosner depicts Glick and his cause as a modern day saint fighting for human rights. The editorial is weird even if you do not know what the issue is, like one of those articles that argue more or less that "we never tortured, although we should" so "let us at least torture logic". And of course, the Op-Ed commissioned by NYT is heavily bigoted.

      TEL AVIV — Yehudah Glick is a Facebook friend of mine.

  • Ambassador Power to kick off 3-hour event on 'never-ending' genocide of Jews
    • Samantha Power is an imperialist first, and within that category, has "human rights interests". Empires dabble in genocide now and then, and U.S.A. is no exception, but American or American-supported slaughter did not seemed to interest her, revolt suppression in conquered Philippines, Vietnam, "collateral destruction" of Cambodia, slaughter of Communists in Indonesia, slaughter of Maya in Guatemala.

      But still, she was allegedly a scholar, although I do not want to waste coin on her book, so perhaps she tried to define when a slaughter is an atrocity, and when an atrocity is a genocide. Then one could try to define what does it mean "never ending genocide": at least 100 thousands slaughtered each decade? 10 thousands? One thousand? One hundred? Or does it depend solely on the ethnic label of the victims?

  • Israel's Knesset upholds longest suspension in state's history against Haneen Zoabi
  • 'We are in a violent fight with extreme Islam' -- Feiglin leads rightists to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque
    • It is high time to recognize that monoteism was a mistake and to restore the Temple of Jupiter. And if you are a monoteist who believes in the Lord of the Universe, why should the Lord have such strong preference for one spot over another? Clearly, even in their own mythology, people of Yudah did not get Jerusalem right away, during the Conquest of Joshua, but generations later, and when they build a temple there, they did not convince many other tribes that this is The Temple. After a few hundred years, that temple was demolished, restored, demolished once more. While the Universe was there all the time.

      In modern terms, the Noble Sanctuary has its owner, a religious foundation with Hashemite kings as leaders, and the way it is used should be determined by the owner. What religious rites can be performed, by whom and when should be up to the owner. By forcing the owner of the Noble Sanctuary to accept Jewish visitors who want to pray and wank to the vision of restoring their Temple, the property rights are violated. Israel was never great on property rights, but Americans are supposed to be less casual.

  • A visit to Auschwitz
    • “Salt mine tour that bus,” barked a hefty looking Polish woman. “Auschwitz, that bus,”

      Serious mistake. Salt mine Wieliczka is actually very interesting.

  • Update: Why did Netanyahu respond to chickenshit with 'grassy knoll' remark?
    • I think that rather than having a hidden meaning, the reference to "handshakes on grassy knolls" is simply incoherent. Iconography of diplomatic handshakes does not offer many examples of grassy mounds used as locations. For example, Arafat and Barak are shown either indoors, or in a flat, non-grassy forest at Camp David.

      In the context of the full sentence, I would say that Netanyahu is not only paranoid, but he also suffers from acute acrophobia (intense fear of modestly elevated places).

  • Sh*tstirring Jeffrey Goldberg dumps diplomatic sh*tstorm with 'chickensh*t' quote
    • ADL should count their blessing. Anti-rich prejudice is most rampant in USA:

      "Seventy-seven percent of Americans say that too much power rests in the hands of large corporations and a few wealthy people, according to a poll released Thursday from the Pew Research Center."

      This is the minority that is most threatened in USA, even though, so far, it enjoys as much freedom as anywhere else, but that only because of indefatigable efforts to stamp out anti-rich sentiments.

  • Under pretext of restoring calm, Netanyahu government is escalating Israel’s war on Palestinians in Jerusalem
    • "ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant" [where they make desolation, they call it peace] and when they unleash repressions, they call it calm.

  • Kerry just snubbed a gov't minister who calls for segregated bus lines. And that's a bad thing?
    • This is Ashkenazi "sushi". link to

    • On a cynical note, it seems that the war in eastern Ukraine is a much better testing ground for sophisticated weapons. It is hard to see how Israel could "battle test" anti-tank missiles recently, except of providing their own tanks to be tested in Lebanon. Notably, India is not ordering tanks from Israel.

    • Richard Silverstein is an Israeli (voluntary) exile, inside Israel Feiglin is viewed differently: link to

      That made me think a bit what does it mean to be libertarian, and apparently, the Ayn Rand version is exactly that: enthusiastic on Zionism and colonialist genocide, I guess that for those folks Congo Free State is close to the ideal (unfortunately, prematurely conceived before the advent of antibiotics).

    • "Israel is a wealthy society with a western-European idea of itself, and inevitably it exploits Palestinian labor. The settler-colonial model is alive and well. "

      No, it is not well. Israel eliminated the need for Palestinian labor with South-East Asian (and South-East European?) labor, but with even with those polite foreigners there are troubles, and in particular, if they somehow manage to pollute Jewish blood, the resulting offspring would not even look Jewish. For example, ministry of labor developed a plan to eliminate foreign sushi chefs -- just think about the possibilities of crafty Far Easterners seducing Jewish girls by plying them with choice fish cuts and charming banter.

      From that perspective, the labor that returns to its foreign dwellings every night is very attractive, especially if it can be humiliated to the heart content on the daily basis. Additionally, permits can be issued or denied according to the collaboration with Shin Beth and so on. Then again, these folk can also start crawling underground and appear in bedroom closets.

  • 'Village on the volcano' is latest effort to change the subject from the occupation
    • Remember that this is the only safe place for Jews, who should abandon such dangerous locations of their exile like Boca Raton and Toronto and flock to the Promised Land, and bitterly complain that the villa is in the jungle, the village on the slope of volcano, the neighborhood is crappy and so on.

      Apparently, when the spies told Moses that the land ahead has milk and honey they forgot some details, like the surcharge for kosher products.

  • Allegations of anti-Semitism used to cover up anti-Palestinian hate crime in Brooklyn
    • My bad, "civility" is the proper word. As far as role models for Jewish youth are concerned, the standard is (Wiki:) Bnei Akiva, the largest religious Zionist youth movement in the world. You can check the Wiki page for "Controversies":

      In July 2014 Rabbi Noam Perel, secretary-general of World Bnei Akiva [...] wrote on his Facebook page: "An entire nation and thousands of years of history demand revenge ... The government of Israel is gathering for a revenge meeting that isn't a grief meeting. The landlord has gone mad at the sight of his sons' bodies. A government that turns the army of searchers to an army of avengers, an army that will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins". According to Ha'aretz newspaper, he was "alluding to the biblical tale of David, who killed 200 Philistines and gave their foreskins to King Saul as the bride price for his daughter".

      Later Rav Noam issued an apology, it gives bad example to the younglings to take such liberties when quoting the Holy Book (like 300 rather than 200).

    • Any guesses if Prof. Leonard Petlakh will be held to the standards of politeness?

  • An exciting night at the opera: 'Klinghoffer' opening dominated by protest and heavy police presence
    • True liberals believe in universalist ethic, and Zionism as practiced is predicated on tribal ethic, so it a true and non-confused liberal has to oppose the practices of the State of Israel. And if those practices are necessary for the survival of that state, than the whole concept is a mistake.

      Anti-Zionism falls under the definition of "new anti-Semitism", but I do not believe that new anti-Semitism is anything to be ashamed of, unlike the genuine "paleo-anti-Semitism". And paleo-anti-Semites are as likely to admire State of Israel as oppose.

    • Truly liberal Zionists exists, although they are rare -- beliefs are often contradictory, but this is a difficult combination.

      Other than that, Zionist do not care a whit about artistic and academic freedom, using whatever powers that may have to cause dismissal of academicians or censoring art. Of course they complain very loudly when boycotts are advocated, and in those situation they mention freedoms they do not care about, sometimes so energetically that one could think that they are serious.

      In the case of Klinghoffer opera, clearly the New York Metropolitan has to have generous donations from rich and often Zionist New Yorkers. I guess those people (former mayor Bloomberg comes to mind) pride themselves to be sophisticated and a better breed than the radical Zionists who demonstrate against the production.

      The charge of "romanticizing terrorism" is obviously ridiculous.

  • 'Another Jew!' Speakers at 'Klinghoffer' rally blame Jews for promoting anti-Semitism
    • The opera is anti-Semitic in the same sense as refraining from building a monument of Stepan Bandera is a treason to Ukrainian nation (topic or recent violent demonstrations in Kiev). Or specializing in obstetric complication is murdering innocent children (an ostensible reason for insulting the host of debate between Congressional candidates) link to

      All around the globe people of all creeds raise their conviction to ridiculous levels and view everybody less strict as vile creatures (they could be called anti-Semites, non-Muslim, baby killers, Commies and so on).

  • A peek inside the Israeli subconscious as revealed at the King Hussein crossing from Jordan
    • This is not subconsciousness, but systematic indoctrination and prejudice. I visited Israel around 1990, and got a bit lost near Cesarea on Friday afternoon, together with my family, and that means onset of Shabbat and loosing the last ride on public transit. An Orthodox man "saved us", inviting to his home and calling a Shabbat breaking taxi driver (a Ukrainian), and commented that we were in danger, because if we continued walking in the direction we tried, we would reach an Arab community. I could imagine a similar situation in Brooklyn or Queens.

      Even somewhat liberal Israelis would discuss the Israeli Arabs as "enemies", and the Muslim under the occupation are of course "savages" -- at least to the majority of Jewish Israelis who are not "somewhat liberal" anymore.

  • Anti-semitism charge is increasingly being leveled against Israel's mainstream critics
    • I think that contrary to mooser, I would see the following as very salient observation of Yonah Fredman: "I think the Israeli general who said that Gaza’s Palestinians have to be given a carrot, so that they will protect that carrot and not allow Hamas to have that carrot destroyed by the israeli stick is on the right track, but it is not clear that the prime minister and right wing of israel can shift gears in this direction."

      That Likud and Israeli Home would rather cut off their pinky fingers instead of "giving Palestinian a carrot" is manifestly clear, but Kadima and Labor under Barak were not overly proficient in the carrot department either. The hatred and contempt is of such magnitude that even if the concept can be formulated, as Livni, Olmert and Barak were capable of doing, execution is impossible. This is rather typical in conflict zones like Azerbaijan-Armenia or India-Pakistan, so I would castigate Americans and Europeans more than Israel. Israel is not a rational actor here, and policies predicated on rationality of Israel (patiently explain etc.) are themselves irrational.

      A neat contemporary example is from domestic/foreign policy of Turkey. The current government needs wedge issues and accomplishments to differentiate itself from the opposition, and it got the idea of normalization of the conflict with Kurds, extending them political and cultural rights and thus securing domestic peace. Several steps were taken, and it looked promising. However, even though they conceived the plan, the rulers of Turkey are still as bigoted as the Kemalist opposition, and the delivery of carrots to Kurds does not work.

  • Europe wearies of Netanyahu's diversions
  • As Kerry scrambles to prevent Palestinian action at UN, Israeli govt makes clear it will never accept Palestinian state
    • To make clear what I meant by "Zios driven to conniption", here is the description of adequate American diplomatic posture by Rabbi Shalom [whatever] from Atlanta. I pasted it from another page in Mondoweiss, but it deserves a separate quote.

      When the war began, the President of the United States, the leader of the Free World, should have immediately, instinctively invited to the Oval Office, the leading Democrats and Republicans of the Senate and the House, his cabinet and all significant Washington political players. Every domestic and international news organization should have been notified and the following talk broadcast across the planet. “Fellow Americans – a crisis has erupted once again in the Middle East and I have been told that the war between Israel and Hamas is complex and nuanced. I have been told that our great nation must be evenhanded- but I am here to say with no equivocation, with no hesitation, this war is not complex. This war is not nuanced and we will not be evenhanded in this confrontation of good and evil, of right and wrong, of civilization and savagery. We Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives from sea to shining sea, stand together in unshakable support of Israel against foul, corrupt, murderers who sacrifice the lives of children in their pursuit of power. To Israel we say – do whatever you must. To Israel we say, take whatever time you need to crush this vile enemy and whatever you require, you can count on us. To the world we say, Israel is fighting for all of us – for our values, for our principles, for our civilization. Support her efforts, as we do, in every way possible. I will not tolerate any words of disparagement against our greatest ally and friend in the Middle East. God bless Israel and God bless the United States of America.”

    • The short summary of American policy is that some fiction of negotiations should be maintained, but ultra-nationalistic GoI does not want them, so the Administration displays the sharpest arrow in its diplomatic quiver: "If you will not behave better, Mommy will be sad," which is countered by domestic chorus of AIPAC-trained politicians, "how can you be so cruel!!". So Mommy is forced to smile, and that drives Zios to conniptions, because the smile is not sincere enough.

      That may be OK, because the last remaining superpower can afford to be crazy and survive, but of course it has a price. When USA wants allies to behave "nicer", say Saudis, Egypt, Turkey or new adorable pro-Western democrats in Ukraine, they take the cue.

  • 'Progressive' rabbi ascribes Roger Waters's concern with 500 Palestinian child victims to rocker's alleged drug use
    • Personally, I found Waters behavior disturbing, but rather than casting unrelated aspersions concerning substance abuse, one should focus on the real problem here and put him on trial.

      Good morning, Worm your honor.
      The crown will plainly show
      The prisoner who now stands before you
      Was caught red-handed showing feelings
      Showing feelings of an almost human nature;
      This will not do.

  • Hamas is Nazi Germany and Israel is valiant and desperate England -- explains Canadian Jewish leader
    • Frenchman Mehdi Nemmouche, suspected of killing four people at Brussels' Jewish Museum in May, was remanded in custody for another three months on Friday, judicial officials said.
      Nemmouche, 29, of Algerian origin and who spent more than a year fighting with Islamic extremists in Syria, has been charged with "murder in a terrorist context" after an Israeli couple, a French woman and a Belgian were shot dead at the museum in central Brussels.

      There was also a surprisingly similar case in Toulouse. Two young people, obviously socially maladapted, seek foreign adventures to "realize their potential fighting for a noble cause", a cause that was heartily supported by their government, toppling the "anti-Muslim tyranny of Assad", and return with good marksmanship and totally messed up minds. This is what war does to people.

      Thinking about violence (that includes war, but also terror, torture etc.) somehow also messed people's minds, not merely actual combat (or personal participation in torture etc.) But really, getting crazy in Montreal and Atlanta, isn't it really too much? Or in NYC, I really expected better of Gitlin.

      By the way, I like to observe "eternal truths". Like "nobody is more innocent than our soldiers". Hence, "Rise of global anti-Semitism". A perplexed naive person could ask: didn't it risen a while ago? It is alway, "now, more then even, Israel needs your help, and so do the suffering Jews of Montreal, Atlanta and New York City". Actually, reports of eyewitnesses are inconclusive. Natalie Portman claimed that NYC is the only non-anti-Semitic place in USA, while she also lived in Boston and in DC. In the same time, Gitlin reports from NYC hordes of anti-Semitic leftists who single out Israel in their criticism, and Tablet reporter writes how he suffered through snide remarks of well educated WASPs.

  • British Parliament votes overwhelmingly to recognize Palestinian state
    • By the way, anyone wondered why Sweden recognized Palestine?

      I recall that Swedish minister of education visited Israel about a year ago, and he was reputed to be the most pro-Israeli member of the Cabinet. As his Israeli counterpart was insisting that Israeli school children should take excursion to Hebron, he decided to make such an excursion too. However, he was in the company of Lutheran activists who invited a local Palestinian to provide his perspective too. On the famous Shuhada street a settler women noticed that and attacked the minister. Nothing happened to the minister because his Swedish body guards were effective, but the military patrol threw them out for having a Palestinian in a non-Palestinian zone, so the exhibit of Apartheid, extremism of the settlers, the support of the military to the extremists, and the obnoxious attitude of GoI were all nicely exhibited.

      Sweden is not the only country that got exposed to Israeli arrogance, sabotage and insults, so perhaps what we see is a dam leaking.

    • The Guardian is a weird newspaper: they got an ambition to present a "fresh voice" in the American territory, and that necessitates the most stale attitude to Middle East, and foreign policy in general. So who comments on the vote to recognize Palestinian state in Guardian?

      "Dr Azriel Bermant is a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. Twitter: @azrielb". The freshest Hasbara, straight from the oven! It is a piano Hasbara, strictly for export. Some concern for the peace process. But it is the conclusion that is the most delicious: "Britain would probably do better by taking its cue from the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who has a stronger grasp of the realities in the region, and has called for a revival of the Arab peace initiative of 2002. Netanyahu has acknowledged that the recent Gaza war demonstrated the new possibilities of cooperation with potential partners in the Arab world."

      I may be only an amateur of history, so I do not know a contemporary leader who would be as complete fascist as Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Cult of personality, massacres of opposition, murderous judiciary, grotesque censorship, all in the best traditions of Mediterranean fascism. Given that Revisionist Zionism has the same intellectual pedigree, the cooperation is only natural.

  • British Parliament to vote on recognition of Palestinian state on Monday
    • Can a British participant comment on the fact that more than 350 MPs abstained?

      And why the vote was symbolic? Is it because the resolution was structured to be symbolic?

      In any case, it shows that Israel has support in Europe that is thiner than paper, but over there, the inertia is most powerful force of them all. Hard to predict when we will see any impact.

  • Ofra Yeshua-Lyth and the case for a new Israeli left
    • It is definitely a "bomb throwing" way to put it, but it does not make it untrue. Clearly, you can have a different state with the same territory and inhabitants as before. We cover a discussion about those issue on a TV program where an Israeli pretended to be a guest from some entity not known to geographers and travellers, and which could be called TODITME, The Only Democracy In The Middle East. He claimed TODITME not to be Jewish but a secular state that does not pay the official priesthood to determine who can be a citizen a who cannot, who can marry to whom, and issue curses to those who would rent or sell to infidels, and urge a Holy War. Besides being secular, TODITME also exhibited "amazing diversity". In partial congruity, one could try to create ADITME, "A democracy in the Middle East". ADITME could support other democracies in the region, while TODITME has to support dictators and hereditary absolute rulers, lest it looses its "The Only" status.

      One can imagine that our imaginary TODITME would recognize that Lebanon is a democratic state and that would be the end of it. Good bye, TODIME, welcome ADITME.

    • Page: 37
  • American airstrikes and the universal 'language of force'
    • I see that some people succumb to logical but ultimately, simplistic conjectures like "Clearly, air strikes against IS will achieve nothing. The IS has already turned into a flat, horizontal structure with no Hqs, no command-and-control centres. " [off topic, is it written in British English?]

      While there are many historical analogies and precedents, the current situation is perhaps uniquely confusing. ISIS, like Taliban in Afghanistan before, represents the second phase of a civil war. In the first phase, regime malcontents are supported from outside with scant attention to viability of the country in the event of their victory. The result is a country (or a large part of it) ruled by a chaotic motley of petty local warlords and brigands. This Hobbesian world can be "saved" only by the most organized and cohesive group, which also happens to be most (?) ruthless and fanatical. In Afghanistan the "moderate" mujahadeen were squabbling, backstabbing and venal, perhaps most so in Pathan areas that later form the power base of the Taliban, while in Syria, the "moderate opponents of the regime" were, well, squabbling, backstabbing and venal. In the same time, the ruling clique in Iraq has a serious case of SBV as well. Backstabbing, the B in SBV, is of course a figurative term, since usual tools are typically firearms and explosives.

      What is quite new is that the most standard tool of statecraft apparently reached its limit and the Western power and allies have to admit, tacitly or sincerely, that what they did so far makes very little sense. That standard tool is to pick a faction as "our bastards" and support them through thick and thin, lest we, the Civilization, the West or whatever, loose our face (credibility?). But the most recent crop of "our bastards" is too terrifying, so it is time to support opposing factions, which include Syrian regime, Iranian regime, Shia militias in Iraq and Yemen, and PYD, a Marxist (?) Syrian Kurdish group thoroughly hated by the government of Turkey, our precious NATO ally.

      About two years ago, our strategic geniuses concluded that the only satisfactory outcome of Syrian civil war is that it will never end. But it is exactly the unending wars that produce Taliban, ISIS etc. while were are terrified that alumni of those wars are getting back to their Western homes. They left them inept and disturbed and some return capable and thoroughly disturbed.

      To conclude, bombing willy-nilly is of course ridiculous (eradication of "Khorasan"???), training "moderate Syrian opposition" is a ridiculous idea that has only one positive feature, allowing our regional allies to save their faces, but tactical support of Iraqi troops, Peshmerga and PYD actually makes sense.

  • Fineman and Robinson blast Sam Harris and HBO for promoting ignorance about Islam
    • Perhaps "Greek domestic terrorists" are frat boys engaging in "date rape", although once they made also a riot in my home town, due to the shortage of alcohol. However, most Greek organizations are relatively harmless, with puzzling habits (like starting weekend drinking on Thursday).

    • Is Debbie Schlussel a simple moron, or she can be witty as well? She wrote "A little more about the Druze. Their religion is secretive, and they believe in the transmogrification of the soul."

      transmogrify: to change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect

      transmogrification of the soul: reincarnation as Debbie Schlussel

  • Bill de Blasio ruins the liberal Zionists' glorious hour
    • It is easy to get confused, for example, with "Jerusalem is a town in Yates County, New York in the United States. The population was 4,469 at the 2010 census. " As the town is next to Keuka Lake, the listener could think that you are next to Keuka in Jerusalem, NY.

    • I think that Friedman is right and Israel is a rational actor, therefore the prime minister is both fanatic AND a weasel, rather than a more pure species like Danny Dannon, Naftali Bennet or Moshe Feiglin. So they push and pull (and readers of Israel National News bitterly complain), but under the circumstances, they mostly push.

      What Israel is definitely not is a moral actor. Of course, nations are not really moral actor, but what is morality after all? A certain manner of discourse and conduct in multilateral interaction. However, the entire discourse in Israel (barring some radicals with black sheep status) is "what is good for Israel". And multilateral interaction with other nations are all latched to having a powerful patron, USA, and nothing else matters too much.

      Because of that, people like De Blasio have blood on their hand. Why did Israel kill 2000 in the last operation and not 200 or 20000? Why did they spend lives of 60 soldier and not 3 or 200? They were totally in control how to develop the situation, when to accept informal ceasefire etc. GoI had some political objectives that required a little war, and to show that it is "serious", meaning, killing a lot, and the meaning of "a lot" was what they can get away with. The more "unshakable support" is exhibit in USA, the more Israel can get away with and more people have to be killed to exhibit seriousness and appease blood thirst in the population.

      And the end of the day, all those seemingly empty political gestures are translated into death and destruction.

  • Why I removed my synagogue's Zionist prayers on Yom Kippur
    • I would have a minor objection that taking the prayers out of the Temple was pointless and perhaps unethical. Chabad rabbi may have a point here. Basically, if you wanted to distribute leaflets for a good cause in that way, you wouldn't like the distribution to be sabotaged in that way, so Hillel (or Golden) rule is applicable. Chances are, if you witnessed your opponents doing it, you would chide their spitefulness. Doing bad things (here, not that bad, it is hard to see it as a theft because they were for everyone to take) to bad people is still bad.

      Clearly, ultra-pacifism is untenable, but if you violate Golden Rule you need a good justification. But all objectives were fulfilled by unquestionably correct actions, posting the prayer and the polemic reply. Israel is not just Jewish state as an ethnic state, it is religious Jewish state and the state variant of the religion glorifies Holy War, and this variant is imported to USA. And the prayer you have shown us is just a tip of an iceberg (or just an edge of a pile of something much less smell-neutral than ice).

      Top rabbis urge the state to use the military for the sake of vengeance (including colorful Biblical analogy to collecting Philistine foreskins) , top military cleric admonishes soldiers to offer no mercy to the enemy, our moderate American rabbis urging global merciless Holy War and so on. They are all the same, they are all Amalek, caedite eos (sorry, my Latin is bad but Hebrew is worse).

  • Read the genocidal sermon a notable Atlanta rabbi gave this Rosh Hashanah
    • It is somewhat tangential here, but the phenomenon of Holy War is present in more places than I have thought. There is Israeli Holy War, a bunch of Islamists Jihads, Christian-Muslim coalition against ISIS (with such a contradictory agenda that it is a marvel that they managed to destroy several pickup trucks), but there is so much more that diligent web surfing can uncover. Some of you already know about Buddhist extremists of Sri Lanka and Myammar, they even coordinate and invite each other. But this was a surprise:
      link to
      Guerra Sagrada en Crimea!

    • You mean that Ziocaine and all necessary paraphernalia are now legally sold in Washington?

    • Some ideas are embroidered in a misbegotten way but have a worthy kernel. Recall "bell curve", intellectual capabilities have some distribution, perhaps similar to Gaussian bell. If so, Einstein and von Neuman were clearly at the far left side, and Rav Shalom a bit right of center. Strong community ties have a certain Gleichschaltung effect, it is safe to say that Marx, Einstein and Freud were not deeply connected to their communities.

      Concerning opera, CAMERA proudly reported Zionist demonstrations agains Metropolitan Opera. Orthodox rabbis are against listening to female singing (would castrati be OK?), their views on art are quite in line with Shia (more liberal than Salafi, more liberal than Haredi, but that would be it, no Mona Lisa for you).

      Most importantly, preaching Holy War in not a very convincing way of proving that a religion that promotes Holy War is bad. My Holy War is better than your Holy War because G..d is with us, not with you! But other guys say the same thing! By the way, what is the percentage of Jewish cleric with Holy War views? I really think that it is way more than 5%, but is it 75%? 90%?

    • I like that atrocity spotted and reported by Rav Shalom: A young man from our shul on his 1st day of university was taught by his PhD, tenured professor that Israel committed ethnic cleansing in 1948… -

      Shouldn't first day of a course be devoted to syllabus, grading policies etc. leaving actual subject matter for later? And shouldn't intro courses be taught by student instructors?

      Apart from ideology or hatred, this sermon is some really serious raving. The tide of evility that prevents us from taking Listerine onboard an airplane. Hm. I would recommend a sleeping car of Amtrak, there is a direct train from NYC to Atlanta; a bit slower but you can have an entire suitcase with Listerine, or even something actually drinkable. Then a lengthy passage about Osama Bin Laden, where Rav Shalom Socratically asks why no one took 25 million dollars offered as a bounty for Bin Laden. "The answer is simple. These Islamist criminals are unlike us in the most basic of ways and we have yet to accept and understand their total immersion in moral debauchery." Totally baffling indeed! When Jews were in similar situations, they sold each other for trifling money, what was it, 30 silvers? Or take Stella Kuebler...

      I really think that Rav Shalom drank an entire quart of Listerine before writing his sermon.

  • 'Ethnic cleansing for a better world' -- Richard Cohen says Palestinians brought the Nakba on themselves
    • Leading Israeli archaeologists view Conquest as a myth. Around 1200 B.C. Kana'an was severely depopulated in the aftermath of decades of a drought, and there were hardly any settlements in the future area of Hebrew kingdoms, and when the climate reverted to normal, the number of settled villages was increasing exponentially for more than 200 years. This resettlement was associated with agricultural and architectural, and of course, religious innovations that appear fully native, with only slight Egyptian influence (as there was always trade with Egypt). Even "united monarchy" of David and Solomon seems mythical, although by that time undisputably Hebrew settlements are archaeologically evident -- but on a modest scale.

      My private theory is that Hebrew myth makers tried to make sense from the past that was forgotten during the "demographic bottleneck", and created the past according to cultural patterns of Assyria: it is pius and glorious to be a merciless conqueror, but we too are glorious and merciless!

  • Netanyahu at the United Nations: Hamas, Iran, ISIS and 100 cheering Israelis
    • Fact check: Adelson teaches that Palestionians do not exist.

      By the way, someone raised the issue that there is a group that sues every possible bank that can be tied with "having an account for Hamas", and they sued a Chinese bank. Israel refused to cooperate with that lawsuit, although they helped suing a Jordanian bank. I was wondering what did Chinese do to squash that irritation? It would be somewhat complicated to whack Israeli commercial interests in China, perhaps it would be simpler to threaten Adelson with Putinesque investigations of his casinos.

    • This is very offensive to people from my parts. Central Europe, central! Plus, didn't they found ancient pottery shards in Israel with "Milikowski" scribbled on them? Or was it Milevicius, as they would spell it now in Lithuania?

    • link to

      This is the link to the lunch menu in that restaurant. Prosciutto, crab cakes, calamari, buffalo milk (perhaps kosher, but rather suspicious), veal may be kosher but I suspect that not in that restaurant: why bother with kosher meat if you serve prosciutto and crab cakes? Shame on you, Mr. Adelson! But Adelson had to foot the bill for 30 body guards, and that eliminated more expensive places. Although for lunch one can get very good kosher knishes, I guess you can feed 30 for 100-200 bucks. But you can't possibly sit more than four people in the place that was recommended to me, it would need to be a takeout.

  • NYT's opening to a 'fringe voice' excites rage from Israeli army, journalism, business leaders
    • About self-awareness: a valiant troop of Hasbara front line fighters called CAMERA rebuts the "untruths" detrimental to the Zionist cause, and they had a nice catch with Zonszein. She incorrectly wrote that comedian Orna Banai was fired because of a controversial statement, while in fact she was fired because a few days later she made an even more controversial statement. link to

      This is a classic case of what I call "Hasbara forte" (as oppose to the piano version of Ariel Beery). Beery had enough common sense, self-awareness if you will, that he did not dispute the facts cited by Mairav. CAMERA's GI (this is the signature, while on the frontline of the war of ideas you cannot risk your full name) was duly ordered to uncover "untruths" in Zonszein's article, and in the process got so mad at this horrible, horrible leftist Orna that he (she?) did not notice that there is no refutation there.

      By the way, the previous entry on the blog is this:

      Over a Thousand Protest the Met's Obscene Opera

      As The Metropolitan Opera opened its season on Monday, September 22, over a thousand people gathered at Lincoln Center to protest the company’s upcoming production of “The Death of Klinghoffer,” an opera that romanticizes terrorists and maligns Jews in the guise of “art.” CAMERA first made this a national issue and did not let up on The Met, even after the planned international simulcasts were canceled. Now the protests are keeping the heat on the company.

      To sum it up, we intimidate only those that are so vile that they have to be intimidated, the wretched leftist lowlifes like Banai, Zonszein or Metropolitan Opera.

  • 'Only a suicidal country doesn’t recognize the Bedouin problem': Israeli minister seeks ways to lower Bedouin birthrate
    • Haredis were also called a demographic threat. Neither Haredi, nor Beduins (with few exception) want to serve in the Army, so no country that relies on massive conscription, like Eritrea or Israel, could tolerate it.

      IDF's needs for manpower are vast. For example, why an "elite intelligence unit 8200" has to rely on reservists? Because to survive, Israel has to analyze conversations of millions of Palestinians, and perhaps Beduins too. Haredis are unfortunately Jewish, which means that they cannot be intimidated as readily.

  • The summer of small Jewish thinking
    • BOYCOTTS: And, as I was asked over the summer, why pick on Israel for such actions? Why not organise boycotts of Syria, or ISIS or Russia? “Surely this disproportionate focus on Israel is a manifestation of anti-Semitism.”I’ve tried to explain that BDS against Israel is a workable tactic for change against a country that relies on international trade.

      Everybody depends on international trade. The biggest difference is that when a country is a subject of American (and other) sanctions, advocating a boycott is a useless act of conformism.

    • "Some Rabbis are better than others."

      I would rather focus on the role of "mainstream" rabbis, those that influence policies of the State of Israel and the politics of the Diaspora -- which in turn influences those policies as well. My impression is that they formulated the attacks on Gaza as a kind of Jihad, or Holy War. In 2009, the most notable example that I remember is the head of IDF Chief Rabbi Rontzki stated that religious troops make better soldiers and that those who show mercy towards the enemy in wartime will be damned for it. In Rontzki's words, "In times of war, whoever doesn't fight with all his heart and soul is damned - if he keeps his sword from bloodshed, if he shows mercy toward his enemy when no mercy should be shown."

      Rontzki's remarks came during a ceremony to celebrate a new Torah scroll at the yeshiva. [quotes from Ha'aretz]

      This year, I read two entries in the "Holy war" department. In July 2014 Rabbi Noam Perel, secretary-general of World Bnei Akiva since 2012, urged the Israeli government to deploy the Israeli Defence Force as an instrument of vengeance: "An entire nation and thousands of years of history demand revenge ... The government of Israel is gathering for a revenge meeting that isn't a grief meeting. The landlord has gone mad at the sight of his sons' bodies. A government that turns the army of searchers to an army of avengers, an army that will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins".

      Perel issued an apology, which is understandable: the Bible mentions David (before he became the King) killing 200 Philistines and delivering their foreskins, not 300. Taking such liberties in quoting the holy book gives a bad example to the youth (Bnei Akiva is a youth organization).

      Then there is an ad published as a defense and support for this year massacre, by Wiesel who was spiritually advised by Rav Boteach, casting Palestinians of Gaza as ancient pagan Kana'anites who were sacrificing their children and thus deserved the wrath of the Almighty and the Jews.

      So we have rabbis who fuel Israeli Jewish hypernationalism and egg the state to be as murderous as possible, veritable rabbinate of the sword, a large majority of other rabbis who basically go along, and heretical few rabbis who oppose. I do not know if the hyper-holy-war rabbis are good, and Judaism is a crappy religion, or bad, and Judaism is a normal religion after all.

  • Schumer is obnoxious
    • In Polish we eat, no dining or lunching. But in NYT, they dined in the morning, which seems tad too early (in Polish we say "ździebko za wcześnie"). No wonder that Schumer, who had breakfast at the same time, got flustered.

    • I got curious why Schumer was familiar with the face of Richard H. Anderson. Can he recognize any commoner who accidentally breaks his fast in the Senate eating nook? Apparently, nearly three years ago, Anderson's corporation initiated direct flights between Syracuse, New York, and La Guardia, and for that it needed to swap landing slots of USAir, and that was achieved through personal lobbying of the senior Senator from New York, who was very proud of relieving the privations of his constituents who had to suffer through connections. link to However, in the meantime, Delta cut the number of flights per day from 5 to 3, and charges a lot for what remains (the price is closer to what I paid to go to California from Pennsylvania than to a connection flight). So Schumer could make a ruckus on behalf of his constituents. Now, THAT would be strange.

    • "One morning last month [July], Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, the minority leader, was dining with Richard H. Anderson, the chief executive of Delta Air Lines."

      I understand that the wording of that sentence was decided by the Lords of NYT. However, as a non-native speaker, I am perplexed. Is "dining" used for whatever food intake you can have in a dining room, or it is specifically the act of consuming dinner? "My cheek is pink, my hair is sleek, I dine at Blenheim once a week".

  • Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders get off Israel bandwagon, for once
    • I hope that Senators Warren and Sanders recognized that you cannot be "progressive except Palestine". PEP is a good way of having a tepidly progressive agenda and yet get enough plutocratic support to finance an effective election campaign. That gives a mandate for various micro-initiatives and "triangulation", i.e. to make awful policies rather than goddam awful. Once a virgin looses his/her virtue to one lobby, there will be a long line of paramour: foreign policy by think tanks and military-industrial lobby (with Middle Eastern details penciled in by you know whom), nutritional policies by food companies, financial policies by banks, energy policies by oil and mining etc. etc. Thinking about it, forcible defloration of politicians by AIPAC may be in the interest of all those other lobbies precisely for that reason.

      If Warren has any wider ambitions, being somewhat youthful clone of Hillary will not cut it, because Hillary is not that old. In Democratic primaries there will be definitely room for "anybody but Hillary", but only for candidates that can get grass root money first, and then get "progressive plutocrats" on board.

  • Obama says Muslims bear responsibility to counter radical Islam (so are Jews responsible for Israeli violence?)
    • Is it repugnant to say that "The Middle East has moved steadily backwards in time in the post-war era on most social issues"?

      Well, it includes Israel, "Haredization", but indeed, such sweeping statement is much to broad.

      Consider the example of graduation photos in Cairo, presumably from this article: link to

      This is not a "post-war" phenomenon, instead, dating after 1980 or perhaps even after 1990. Recognizing the temporal limitations allows to see that it is not particularly inheritant property of religions of the region. Additionally, there is a huge different in external relationships of the region before 1980/1990 and after, when Western influence was no longer checked by Communist block, and sadly, the local darlings of Western influence happened to be socially very backward.

  • US elites are vulnerable to donor pressure on Israel question
    • I do not like the framing "US turns blind eye", although I understand what you mean. It is more "US media institution turn blind eye to unhealthy pliability of academic institutions to financial and political pressure". And this happens at any time when corporations or rich individuals are displeased with academic findings.

      Media corporations have a stake in making the impression of providing valuable information, hence unbiased and so on, and, in the same time, appeasing advertisers, rich individual shareholders, powerful political interests and so on. The fact that they have a stake in appearing informative and objective opens them to pressure from non-corporte media like Mondoweiss, and individuals with unknown levels of income (who write complaints etc.)

      Freedom in media thrives on topics where the the rich elite (corporations, elite) either have divergent opinions or no clear stake.

      Of course, on the issues related to Palestine, there is another problem, namely the personal biases of the upper middle class writers. These biases are easier to observe in the cases that I call "domestic Palestinians", the poor, usually minorities. My favorite example was the story of police of Kern County, CA, clobbering to death a chap who violated the law by sleeping on a sidewalk. What editorial found "particularly disturbing" was that police took away cell phones of the witnesses who took videos of the event. To me, the killing itself and subsequent whitewashing was disturbing enough, but to NYT that was a boring aspect of the story.

      Everybody has a personal bias. Piotr never learned how to make videos with his cell phone but he recalls a few times in the custody, so I could more keenly imagine things from the perspective of the victim, and less from the perspective of the witness. The victim was "uncooperative" according to the police chief, and reporters left it at that. Now, every time I was detained I was cooperative to the best of my ability, but how cooperative would I be if I was waken up from the sleep and a dog wound be upon me moments later?

      The standard applied to "uncooperative citizens" of USA and to Gaza are basically the same: beat as long as they twitch. We can call it "Rodney King standard". It does not matter if the twitching is spontaneous or merely in response to being clobbered, bitten by a dog or subjected to artillery barrage. And this standard has majority acceptance in USA when applied to people who "are not like us".

  • Rabbis want to criticize Israel but fear donors (and 'NYT' buries the news)
    • This is close to the closing of NYT article:

      Last year, the Board of Rabbis of Southern California of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles tried and failed to organize an event exploring how to have a dialogue about Israel, in part because of logistics and in part because it was just too contentious, said Jonathan Freund, vice president of the board.

      “It was kind of ironic,” Mr. Freund said, “because we couldn’t in the end figure out how to talk about how to talk about it.”

      I do not know how hard are the logistics in LA area (hard to arrange carpools? ah! it is hard to find any rabbi offering his temple as the location!) but clearly, the idea to talk your mind is discounted as impractical.

  • Jodi Rudoren effectively annexes Golan Heights to Israel
  • Israeli refuseniks expose Occupation’s dark underbelly
    • The refuseniks may be weird people who care EVEN if the shit is directed at the "others". Few black sheep fail to absorbed fully the ethonocentric ideas of their society.

      Of course, there were plans to treat the Jewish black sheep differently then the rest, but so far, the ethos "you do not do such things to Jews" seems to prevail. But there exist "black sheep treatment" that is understandably feared, and causes various intellectual contortions.

      Again, the problem is how similar ideas (to Israeli ethnocentrism) get strong currency in USA, including full acceptance of what Israeli government and our domestic friends are doing.

  • Goldberg tries to police view that Israel's actions fuel anti-Semitism
    • "It is a universal and immutable rule that the targets of prejudice are not the cause of prejudice."

      It is worth to remember when we discuss anti-Muslim and anti-Arab prejudice. Or frequently expressed hatred for all Europeans and various European nations that one can see in comments on English language Israeli news sites.

  • Palestinian babies not included on Israel gov't list of most popular names
    • It reminds me a time when there was an incorrect finalist in a competition on Biblical knowledge for Israeli children from elementary school. It was a girl that was "Messianic Jew", who in USA are known as "Jews for Christ". There were many voices that she should not be allowed to compete. (A Haaretz story from the time before the pay wall).

  • Homegrown jihadis and the limits of the Israel lobby
    • I would not let Chomsky off the hook. His arguments are from "vulgar Marxist" perspective, namely, that the policies are determined by the interests of the elite, with allowances given to the existence of sub-elites.

      This fails to account for a part of what is going on. First, the elite does not pursue its interests, but what it perceives as its interests. As various institutions are created to influence public perception, think tanks, corporate media, academic establishment etc. they also alter the perception of the elite. And the heavily networking Zionist Jews are definitely present in force in think tanks and so on. In part they do it as good troopers of the empire, but they heavily tilt the discourse in favor of Israel.

      For example, Saudis, for all their financial power and lucrative contracts, primarily to weapon producers, are regularly disparaged, and each time they make a request it is heavily debated, even if it is as simple as being allowed to waste a gazillion dollars on weaponry that they were never observed to be using. This contrasts with the easy Israel gets what it wants.

      Or take those rampages of USA, to "eliminate potential obstacles for US global hegemony, Iran, Russia, Syria, and China." China is clearly merely rounding the list, we did nothing to undermine China, modest steps to embolden countries that China could intimidate, like Philippines, do not count as "trying to eliminate China". But why is Syria on the list, and not, say, Venezuela? More precisely, there were feeble and inconsistent attempts to eliminate Venezuelan government, and enormously destructive and "almost consistent" attempt to eliminate Syrian government. When the American establishment tosses a coin, it falls in accord with Israeli obsessions.

      Show me a journalist, academician, think tanker, politician etc. hounded from his/her position for disparaging Saudis and I will kiss Chomsky's feet. But the fact is that "being an empire" has to be flaunted, and it is flaunted exactly by irrationality: we are not some lesser power that is reducing to CALCULATING is something is in our interest or not. And no irrational cause can match unconditional support of Israel. Try to make a living by neglecting support of Israel in favor of promoting valiant Ukrainians and Georgians in their fight against Russian bear. This is just not done.

  • Naive? At a Jewish spiritual retreat center, I insist on talking about Gaza
    • Perhaps Lynne was the person who "stirs up dissension among brothers". OTOH, I fail to grasp the idea of a retreat, I would rather quote Bruce Springsteen: "No retreat, baby, no surrender". If you want to meditate, rent a cabin in the middle of a forest, and meditate! (I live in the sticks and there are plenty of such cabins here. Do not try it during a hunting season, though.)

  • Yale official barred discussion of Israeli settlements and apartheid at monthly meeting
  • Israeli Supreme Court upholds law allowing housing discrimination against Palestinians
    • I though that in a kibbutz you do not own the house, but the kibbutz does, and you need to be a member, so a kibbutz, an organization, simply has to decide membership. So kibbutzim do not need that law.

      What is peculiar about the law is that it allows to form committees, provided that the committees have a member of World Zionist Organization or district authorities, so they facilitate "territorial freedom of association" only if the association is sufficiently Zionist. Basically, "equal rights to all Zionists". It seems rather authoritarian.

      The same trend could be seen in the projects of laws to regulate NGOs. If an NGO would pass a test of being sufficiently Zionist, it could get foreign donations, but otherwise, it would have to pay 40% tax on those donations. I guess it was a "liberal" variant of regulations in Belorus republic (which has excellent relationship with Israel, particularly with Israeli Foreign minister), although Belorus is not "ethocratic", kind of "non-nationalist authoritarian".

  • ASA statement on Salaita: An 'assault against the Program in American Indian Studies at UIUC '
    • I would like to address the issue of whataboutery: are we selectively focusing on the activity of one lobby, neglecting other lobbies that may be even more powerful? In general, is lobby simply a benign form of exercising political freedom, citizens organizing to have a collective voice in the national political discourse?

      The general answer is that why lobbies are definitely a form of political activity, it is no more benign than driving as a form of locomotion. As those of us who witness various aspects of driving know, one persons pleasant ride can be a danger to life or limb of others -- even they more often than not it does not pose any dangers. Same with political activity. One type of political activity is collecting the scalps of opponents. Israeli lobby can do it, NRA can do it.
      link to
      link to
      One thing in NRA favor is a larger degree of moral and intellectual consistency. At least, I did not observe NRA supporters dwelling on utmost importance of academic freedom when they felt that it would be good for their cause. link to
      Like them or dislike, one has to admit that NRA knows how to stick to their guns.

  • Moe Diab debates SWU operative Philippe Assouline (Updated)
    • It is a late comment, but I would encourage everybody to avoid confusing acronyms.

      "Ma, ma, where is my Pa? Went to the White House, ha ha!"

      I pay taxes to PA Dept. of Revenue, in one of the "Mid-Atlantic states". Closer to the area of our common interest, PA refers to Palestinian Authority. You probably meant Philippe Assouline. It reminds me what stories you see if you try "Lebanon/News" on google. You can read about a bomb attack and also about a hold-up at a convenience store, or even a high school football game. You see, lords of Google assemble "trusted media sources" for each topic, and under "Lebanon" they put "Valley News" and some PA newspaper in the mix. This is a todays headline that I have found though that Google search:
      link to

    • Assouline clearly played well. He was in a hard spot, because Diab was well prepared, and in the absence of friendly talk host, say, Hannity, even an Einstein of Hasbara would have it tough. After all, the job of Assouline was to explain that the time of concession is over, and now the only way the only democracy in the Middle East can survive is by exercising tight control over woefully large infestation of subhumans in her territory. After a fashion, he managed to do that, but Tomi Lahren made him look bad by creating a very bad context.

      The message of Assouline was straight from Lieberman speeches: because of nasty education system, Arabs under Israeli control are implacably hostile to Israel, 60 percent would be satisfied by nothing less but the total destruction of The Only Democracy In The Middle East. TODITME is NOT a Jewish state by the way but an amazingly diverse state where elves, orcs, goblins, fairies and even humans dwell together, enjoy equal rights and prosperity, being very well educated, especially the fairies who grace our talk show programs and spin their tales. I thought that it would even sound convincing if Assouline was clean shaven and spoke more sweetly.

      Concerning the WINEP poll, it does not have to be "wrong". Check polls of Palestinian Center of Policy and Survey Research, and WINEP, and polls on attitudes of Israeli Jewish youth, and try to make a composite picture. How come that just before the latest massacre, 81% of Palestinians were worried of being hurt by the Israeli army or seeing their homes demolished or land confiscated. Atrocious education, or simple observations? According to WINEP, more than 70% if Palestinians are worried that they will be attacked by Jewish settlers. Does it have any connection with the scant support for settlements being part of Palestinian state? Is this worry the result of atrocious education, or again, of observations?

      And what are Palestinian observations about Israeli education? National Modern Orthodox yeshivas are all over West Bank, and what do those adorable young Jewish Israeli do? Reading tracts on advisability of killing enemy babies as a security precaution, throwing stones at Palestinians every morning, or a combination of the two?

    • I meant that besides brazen lies, "no official religion in Israel", "only democratic nation in the Middle East (Lebanon and Tunisia are democratic), Assouline was also talking total nonsense. If Israel has only "tiny territory", how it can be ready to "give up immense territory"? Due to the youth spent on solving math problems, I am prone to be shocked by such inconsistencies: small subset of a "tiny" is "immense". This nonsense happens to mask a lie: Netanyahu did not offer a single "concession", not on Power Point slides, not on paper, not even on a napkin.

    • state solution would replace the only democracy in the Middle East (Lebanon is a democracy, no more imperfect in political freedoms than Israel) with 23rd Arab state...

      The count of "22 Arab states" is based on the roll of members of Arab League that includes Palestine, so there is no need for 23rd.

      "Israel is tiny, 8 thousands square miles, and Arab states are huge, 5 million square miles, and Israel is ready to give up immense territory" link to

    • "Israel does not have an official religion".

      As a contrarian, I started to wrack my brain: how to make this claim true, what kind of sophistry could be used? Perhaps: "An official religion is a religion which is recognized by the state constitution as such. And Israel, not having a constitution, is an informal state and nothing is official, least of all, a religion."

      Perhaps: "An official religion would need to have state approved hierarchy, and there is no such hierarchy in Israel, there are two rabbinates, and a military rabbinate, and a lot of folks recognize neither."

      One can also observe that the main religion of Israel is "state security", and the main occupation, holy war.

      However, it is the official, yes, official, state funded and state approved, rabbinates decide who can become a citizen, who can marry, and who can divorce. Not so long time ago, there was a limit of 10 years in jail for ignoring the rulings of the rabbinate concerning divorce, and this limit was lifted.

  • On the use of provocative analogies (Nazism, fascism)
    • One can quibble if "excess infant mortality" means "victims of the occupation". However, it is instructive to compare the table from with a frequent Hasbarah point that nowhere Arabs enjoy more freedom and prosperity than under Israeli rule.

      When we compare infant mortality rates for 1992 and 2012 in USA, Israel, Lebanon and "West Bank and Gaza", we have 8.8, 8.7, 24.8 and 31.7 for 1992, while for 2012 we have 6, 3.3, 8, 19.2.

      Thus over last 20 years, improvement of medical care of mothers and children in Israel were in line with most of advanced countries. Less so in USA where public health policies seem inferior to West Europe and Canada. Lebanon is clearly catching up. But the deprivation in West Bank and Gaza effectively removed those territories from word-wide progress in care of mothers and children.

  • Ohio University filibuster: harangue or free speech?
  • Photo-cartoon making Tutu into Hitler is published then taken down by South African Jewish paper
  • Israel surveils and blackmails gay Palestinians to make them informants
    • Can you explain why allowing medical care without throwing in blackmail into bargain is "rougher" than without blackmail?

  • Ted Cruz praises Israel and gets booed off stage at D.C. Christian conference
    • The American empire policy in the Middle East was determined by the common denominator of the wishes of its clients, Israel and Gulf monarchies. This leads to a very complicated chart of (a) our dearest friends -- Israel however radicalized (b) our friends, Gulf Sunni dictators (c) our bastards, "moderate Syrian opposition", of which al-Qaeda affiliates are the strongest, (d) the axis of Evil, basically, anybody Shia and anybody related to Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaeda like radicals when not in group (c).

      Middle East Christians are outside the chart, but they are whacked by our dearest friends, friends and our bastards. Interestingly, one large group is Armenians, who are so disgusted with the Empire policies that did not bother to the gathering disrupted by Ted Cruz.

  • The rise of 'If Not Now' and the collapse of the pro-Israel consensus
    • I have to retype my reply. Mondoweiss should frankly post that restoring EDIT for comments requires to hire a computing wizard of unusual power, which requires 10,000 dollars (would it suffice?), and make a fund raiser.

      Nothing strange about Mr. Bachman, if the litmus test for strangeness is the frequency. This is a classic example of "centrist paradigm". A centrists has to select two points of reference, say AIPAC and JVP (avoiding points that are so far out that should not be even considered) and perform a ritual of "considering and distancing". This is frequently done by having a sentence that starts, say, in "JVP manner" and ends in "AIPAC manner". In the example above, the extend of "abhorrence of the killing" is first qualified (to innocent, nothing to abhor when the sinners are killed) and the limited in time to the first part of the sentence. It is not about making sense, a concept which is alien to centrist paradigm, but about spiritual elevation.

      In the centrist mindset, there are two slopes rising from positions at his/her reference points, and he/she strives to occupy the highest spiritual point, where those two lines intersect. The rigid mindset of Another Steve would never allow him to make a living as a priests specifically for people who do not believe in God. He would either try to convert his flock or he would replace the tag "temple" with "activity center".

    • Nothing strange about it, if the litmus test for strangeness of an attitude is its frequency. The paradigm is "centrist". A centrist has to first figure out the reference points, say, AIPAC and JVP, and then calibrates the position. A good way to do it is to start a sentence if "JVP manner" and finish in "AIPAC manner".

      Another Steve is struck with the observation that it makes no sense, but this mode of thinking is from another paradigm. Sense means nothing to a centrist.

  • The best U.S. 'strategy' to combat ISIS? Stop supporting religious states
    • Clearly, supporting Israel or not supporting has a rather loose relationship with the fate of ISIS. Thus anybody drawing conclusion that the best response to the ISIS problem is to increase or maintain support for Israel (or a reverse conclusion) is simply proposing something that that person would propose in the absence of ISIS. And indeed, the "suspects", be them our intrepid Congressmen (going to Israel again and again rather than flying to more fun places, like volcano watching in Iceland where they could voice their opinions how to deal with volcano problems that menace us all, this is what Congressman piotr would do!) or Phil Weis are on the record of proposing before what they propose today.

      On a more meta level, we should consider WHY we want to do something. Governments often have to do something to fulfill the expectations that they "care" and that blunt the criticism that they do not do anything. In the same time, actually solving the problem may be out of reach. One elegant solution was shown by Gov. Perry of Texas when his state (plus Oklahoma and few others) faced the problem of acute drought. He organized a day of prayer, inviting clergy from a variety of denomination. After few months it actually rained, so it was not a total failure, and best of all, the State of Texas did not waste to many resources on that action.

      Thus President piotr would concentrate on a prayer action. Even that is not that simple, so it would be preceded by a lively debate. Plan a: a breakfast prayer to bring thought of peace to the hearts of people in the Middle East and elsewhere. Plan b: a dinner prayer to the Almighty to smite the enemies of everything we hold precious. Plan c: capture some enemy warriors, and give them to appropriate priests to rip their hearts out and offer to Tezcatlipoca; later attack the enemy as soon as Venus is in the correct position (according to those priests). Some combination of the three plans may be a reasonable compromise.

  • The real issues in the Salaita case: Palestine, neoliberalism, and the corporate university
    • "Unfortunately the general Palestinian background and specifically the context of Gaza seem to me to have been marginalized or are perceived to be irrelevant to the arguments of many of Salaita’s supporters. "

      The ethnic background of Salaita is definitely less important than his views and his writings. "The Lobby" proudly displays scalps of people like Norman Finkelstein who does not have Mizrahi or otherwise Middle Eastern bone in his body. Perhaps I am quibbling, though. It reminds me a discussion of police disproportionately/exclusively kills unarmed folks when they are minorities, and in all examples of white folks killed in that way, they were homeless etc. In either case, individuals not included in collective word "people" as described by Mark Twain:

      "We blown a cylinder head".

      "Good gracious! anybody hurt?"

      "No, madam. Killed a nigger."

      "Well, it's lucky, because sometimes people do get hurt."

      The discourse on Middle East is absolutely notorious from that perspective. "Niggers" getting killed is NOT a valid consideration, and Palestinians are precisely that. And a lot of other purposeful or collateral damage. Salaita lost his civil attitude over something totally inconsequential, like slaughter of 2000 Palestinians, with no word of compassion for "people" who also got hurt. That will not do.

      Some are surprised why "ardent Zionists" went so far as slaying a sacred cow of the professorial class, professors definitely being "people" who should not be dismissed like some "niggers". Being a professor does not give a lot of money, but if should give you decent status. What I see here is that some communities in USA got infected with the war fever, the urge to go out and collect some enemy scalps. Yeah, they could simply debate him in a less feverish season.

  • 'The Hill' is to the left of the 'New York Review of Books'
    • Interesting, coherent, and strangely incomplete.

      "Lacking clear aims, Israel was dragged, by its own actions, into a confrontation it did not seek and did not control. Israel was merely stumbling along, with no strategy, chasing events instead of dictating them."

      This is not my interpretation. Israeli cabinet strived to have some kind of controlled mayhem that would satisfy more right wing supporters and keep the centrists, who were grumbling about the fake peace process, from leaving the coalition. Once can be a bit cynical, Livni and Lapid probably would be OK with fake peace process if it were a bit more plausible. Plan A seemed to provoke the violence by letting starving hunger die and killing the protesters, but the kidnapping presented a better opportunity.

      Far from aimless, the attack on Gaza addressed the demands of nationalistic politicians and fanatic clergy: "to go beyond collecting 300 Philistine foreskins", inflict merciless punishment, restoring the glory of Iron Age forefathers. Carnage was not aimless, it was the aim. Tactics had to show "resolute going after Hamas", to do better than the previous operations reviled for avoiding the killing of Hamas fighters and leaders. Annihilating Hamas was not really possible, but the government had to make a good show of trying, and so it did.

  • Front-page 'NYT' piece on foreign influence on D.C. thinktanks leaves out Israel
    • The last NYT has a weird article about Qatar. It says that there is a big rift between Qatar and the other Gulf monarchies on the issues of support of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and fund raising for Islamic fighters, terrorists if you will. It also says that Emirates hired a public relation company that plies stories of Qatar supporting terrorists, allowing fundraising to be conducted there. Then proceeds with long description of that fundraising, following the script of the named PR company.

      The weird thing that NYT mentions that the script is distributed by Emirati funded PR, and yet proceeds with it, not mentioning ironies and absurdities in the script. After all, the main difference in terrorist funding is that in Qatar it is done with publicity, while Saudis, Emiratis and Kuwait use intelligence agencies. And everything is coordinated by Turkey, and CIA. You can bet your last cow that it is not the support of taqfiris that caused the row between Qatar and other royals.

      Another weird article is "Who Killed the Russian Opposition?" by Sergei Rosanov. For years the West was lionizing Russian "democratic opposition" while its influence kept waining. The opposition kept carping that the nationalistic policies are not sustainable, that they will provoke Western pressure etc. and the result was that the population was increasingly nationalistic and the opposition reduced to minute corner of public opinion, with only "Moscow Times" to sustain them. The increasing irrelevancy drove the "democrats" to despair. In an article in "Moscow Times", a "democrat" moaned that Russia “is a dangerous place, which takes much more than it gives, for reasons that I do not accept”. Rosanov is merciless: "This threat is a dog that never bites. Certain Russians oppositionists feel sidelined and powerless and therefore they threaten to leave, which makes the rest of Russians even less attentive to their views.". One of the biggest mistake at the beginning of Obama presidency was a decision to pressure Russia. "International players, notably President Barack Obama, put pressure on Russia, in part because of the encouragement of the Russian opposition. The result was disastrous for the White House: Russia lost faith in Mr. Obama (and most other international players) and hence became less inclined to heed his advice or take a chance with his proposed policies."

      Mindful of Russian sensibilities, comments were not enabled for the Op-Ed by a certain Rosanov, " the political editor at The Russian Journal and a fellow at The Russian People Policy Institute."

      At this point the sense of unreal became unbearable and Piotr realized that in a bout of dislexia he read all instances of "Israel, Israeli" and "Russia, Russian".

  • Gaza 'fractured' Rabbi Rosen's spiritual home
    • I know only two "reconstructionists", Brant Rosen and Richard Silverstein. If they are Zionist, then it is honorable to be a Zionist.

      For that matter, the problem with "normal liberal Zionism" is not so much that it is Zionism, or liberal, but that it is utterly hypocritical. "Abnormal liberal Zionism" is less typically observed in web publications, and represents genuine attempt to have principled descriptions and prescriptions. I would not dismiss those people out of hand, as some here are prone to do.

      Congregation of Brant Rosen supported him for many years, and he is not a person who changed views yesterdays. They are not throwing him out, clearing his desk and putting his stuff in a cardboard box that he can pick up without entering premises. We should not be hasty with scorn. I do not have time to conjecture sociological model of what have happened, I think that Mark Ellis has a very good idea, but his "prophetic" language requires some context (his previous writings) to understand properly.

  • Hamas is ISIS for dummies
  • Rabbi Brant Rosen steps down from Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue saying his activism on Israel/Palestine has been 'lightning rod for division'
    • Wiki: "Gourmet coffees are almost exclusively high-quality mild varieties of arabica coffee, and among the finest arabica coffee beans in the world used for making espresso coffee are Jamaican Blue Mountain, Colombian Supremo, Tarrazú, Costa Rica, Guatemalan Antigua and Ethiopian Sidamo."

      babylouise: "Stop being so proud of the biodegradable plastic forks and spoons we use. There are far more important things to care about." Comfy chairs? Preferably, lovingly crafted by workers in self-combustible factories with no fire escapes, in some country where labor organizers are shot or kneecapped, with all resulting savings passed to us, consumers.

      I understand that you do not have a Zionist agenda, otherwise you would notice at some point during last 17 years that the temple does not foster any such agenda, but all you say is what you do not care about, and not what are those "far more important things".

  • Deconstructing J Street's statement on the latest Israeli land grab
    • I am more incline to "two states", but here we can agree, even with J Street: settlements are illegal acts of oppression. On this narrow grounds, J Street falls short in two ways.

      First, the prescriptive part of the statements is to implore US government to be "serious" in an unspecified way, and Israeli government to "reconsider". Good luck with both. Israeli zest for demolitions and settlement expansion is at fever pitch, inflamed by war fever, and the population and a major part of Knesset is gripped by the regret that the recent "war" killed too few and destroyed too little. US Congress just passed unanimous resolutions supporting Israel, and not symbolically but with cash. Adding a statement from Administration would be like a dash of salt added to a desert cake, it makes it taste better.

      As an actor in US politics, J Street should concentrate on American political actions. Israel will do what it can get away with. It is moral responsibility of American Congress to frame it. As long as there is green light there, the government of Israel will go ahead with more killings, more destruction, more oppression. I would condemn (or "deplore acts") Congress and the Administration for their enabling actions, INCLUDING supplying weapons and funds for weapons in the midst of one-sided carnage.

  • Salaita firing turns into a 'catastrophe' for University of Illinois
    • Pragmatically, the further our politicians stay away from this issue, the better.

    • "This Salaita thing is about politics".

      Perhaps one should not idolize the Founding Fathers, but why the hell did they come up with the idea that there should be "freedom of speech"? I though that specifically political opinions were at the center of it. The point is that the freedom of political speech is presumed to be a good thing, and curtailing that freedom, not so much, even if done legally.

      "There is no greater slippery slope threat to academic freedom than the idea, promoted by the BDS community, that scholars, or academic institutions, may be held accountable for the views of their government. - See more at: link to"

      I do not know what is the color of this herring. The view that "academic institutions may be held accountable" was accepted by the President of Brandeis University. That said, "accountability" in the sense of extending/accepting invitations does not "infringe" anything. Firing, overruling hiring decisions, dissolving departments etc. on behest state institutions, and the economic elite is the ordinary "slippery slope" here.

    • Where opportunists go, there goes the country.

      It stands to reason that if one sets the goal not on the personal advancement but on deep and novel understanding etc. then one personally advances a bit less.

  • British pol is beaten by man in Israeli army t-shirt, and the chattering classes are silent
    • OK, I heard "meshugga", but my knowledge of Yiddish is limited to "freier" and "zhaba" (I read that Jabbah the Hut was named after a Yiddish word for "frog" which sounds suspiciously identical to the Polish and Ukrainian word for frog).

      Anyway, MJ Rosenberg seems to lost some jobs in recent years so he seems morose on his twitter. But that was really not polite! Why is he risking a potential academic carrier!

    • I googled quite a bit on a related issues in the aftermath of Mavi Marmara incident. Do any other navies face similar problems, and what do they do?

      The answer is that Korean coast guard regularly faces Chinese fishermen, and it seems that seeing their fish confiscated may raise violent impulses among those civilians, including attacking the military people with metal bars and even knives. Koreans stick to martial arts, so it is like taekwendo against kung-fu on the waters of the Yellow Sea. Korean military is very serious in training soldiers in martial arts. By the way of contrast, Israeli commandoes, presumably a more elite unit than regular coast guard, got beaten up. Krav maga sucks.

      Another example is Lt. Col. Eisner who wanted to recreate the feat of Sampson who smote a huge number of Philistines with a mandible of an ass. Eisner beat up several unresisting bicyclists and managed to break a finger in the process. And since there is a video, you could see that no one could award him any points for style. Krav maga sucks.

    • I am trying to figure out what you mean, Mooser.

      Meshuggah /məˈʃʊɡə/[1] is a Swedish extreme metal band from Umeå, formed in 1987. Meshuggah's line-up has primarily consisted of founding members vocalist Jens Kidman and lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendal, drummer Tomas Haake, who joined in 1990, and rhythm guitarist Mårten Hagström, who joined in 1992. The band has gone through a number of bassists, with the position currently being held by Dick Lövgren since 2004.

      Kidman, Thordendal, Haake, ... no Rosenberg!

    • By recent standards, Masterson should be celebrated for his unprecedented efforts to avoid inflicting bodily injuries. In keeping with that, he plead not guilty of injuring anyone, and he admitted solely to the possession of a small amount of marijuana (I read that marijuana has a calming effect, so maybe his problem was that he had to little of it).

      Is he an example of "heavy handed pressure on the legislators"?

  • I see five bears
    • My first encounter with bears was less tranquil. I was making a loop hike with a friend, and the last part was to cross a ridge using a short, steep trail. We crossed a stream and we surprised two young bears, more than half of the adult size, and they promptly climbed two trees. Quite fast. We crossed the stream back. after few minutes bears came down and went away from us, unfortunately, following "our trail". One stopped and watched us from behind a bush (a behavior I observed once more later). We decided to backtrack out loop rather than jostling with the bears (and what if the mother was in the vicinity).

      Concerning coyotes etc. disturbing the dog, nothing wrecks havoc in the garden like herbivores. Rabbits can be stopped by rabbit fence, but what to do with a deer that developed a taste for flowers?

  • Judaism's hijacking by Zionists drives 70% of secular Jews to marry non-Jews-- Koppman at Huffpo
    • It is a linguistic term, and among extant languages, covers Hebrew, Arabic and a number of languages in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

      European "paleo-anti-Semites" often scorn Jews, Arabs, Muslim etc.

  • Being Palestinian got me barred from visiting Palestine
    • Visa info of Saudi Arabia: "Business visas are available if you can find a company in the Kingdom to sponsor you for one and pay the rather stiff application fees. Once you're in, you're in and the Kingdom is your oyster, except for the Muslim-only zones of Mecca and Madinah. Contrary to popular belief, business visitors do not need an exit visa, that only applies for long-term work visas. And if your wastah (connections) are strong enough, anything is possible: I've met single women and Jews in the Kingdom on these visas."

      Tourist visa requires a paperwork from a Saudi travel company. Women under 30 only with a husband or a brother. No limitations concerning the religion anywhere in the visa application.

      It is telling that Israeli defenders have to give an example of one of the most undemocratic countries in the world, with big majority of undemocratic countries being much easier to visit. I read a story written by a guy who bicycled from Europe to China through Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan etc., perhaps because of Silk Road tradition (lacking in Israel) there were rather few hustles. When they were in Iran, an American member of the group was denied visa to Turkmenistan, so he had to fly to Uzbekistan and wait for the others there.

      Every country can control who is allowed to enter, but Israel is arguably most arbitrary and mean spirited in the way it is done.

  • Arielle Klagsbrun calls on the Jewish community to 'love and honor' those who refuse to support Israel
    • I stand corrected. If you know more than just the quote, you would understand that the point is not a rebuke, but urging those who are not eyewitnesses to believe as well.

      Perhaps Shakespeare has more memorable quotes, but it does not mean that one should not quote Jesus, Confucius, Buddha etc.

    • propaganda: "a committee of cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church responsible for foreign missions, founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV."

      Propaganda does not assume bad faith, but it is typically associated with some type of faith. Perhaps one could mildly rebuke Arielle “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

  • Countdown to the next round in Gaza
    • Sure, one can imagine faster methods, but when activists try to do more than possible you may get a disaster. "Armed struggle" has a nice ring to it, but that requires arms etc. The real armed struggle requires "The Second Salah-ed-Din", the end of inter-Arab strife in the region.

  • Elizabeth Warren says killing Palestinian civilians is 'the last thing Israel wants'
    • One should also soberly consider if these progressive politicians are indeed PEP. The problem with exceptions is that "it is like with pregnancy, you start a little pregnant and then it tends to get worse".

      For starters, there is a "little taqfiri problem". Check this: link to
      and think what mountains of lies and rivers of blood make our foreign policy.

      Domestically, it is not like AIPAC is a unique lobby. Washington D.C. is a place where different lobbies bid for politicians and hammer out their differences. "Progressive politicians" choose lobbies to fund them differently than "retrograde politicians", so they are "malus minor". However, there are "domestic Palestinians" too, who lack their lobbies. Did Sen. Warren explain that "killing civilians is the last thing police wants" or "denying benefits to the sick is the last thing insurance companies want" or ...

    • Because they flee dangers of Boca Raton, Brooklyn and Toronto. There really should be some decision: is it the only safe place for Jews, or "a very dangerous place"?

  • Israel's decades-long effort to turn the word 'terrorism' into an ideological weapon
    • How boring, Another boring moral relativist. What is wrong about moral clarity? Yes, some can be perplexed when even in the most clear situations the explanations get long and tedious. From time to time the basics have to be repeated:

      We Good.

      They Bad.

      The rest is a commentary.

  • Our new look
    • I guess the subsequent bazillion fund drive will enable "edit" to be restored.

    • It was a joke. However, moderating takes resources and presumably could be helped by donations.

      The purchase of JPMorgan Chase’s air rights could pave the way for a roughly 385,000-square-foot tower on the Junior’s site, with as many as 50 stories. That would be just three stories shorter than the borough’s current record holder, the 53-story tower at 388 Bridge St., and one below the 51-story Brooklyner at 111 Lawrence St. The new building would likely house residential units and/or a hotel.

      But after getting a bazillion dollars, Mondoweiss World Headquaters could be the prestigious anchor tenant of "Junior tower", eventually named "Mondoweiss Building", with apartments for the staff, penthouse for the Chief, hotel rooms for guests, auditorium for press conferences and and other meetings. A dedicated staff member would write comments of the anonymous bazillionaire (according to his or her guidlines). Is there anyone with a spare bazillion (100 million dollars?) who would enjoy Sheldon Adelson and his entire entourage in permanent conniptions?

    • I tested now, and in my Chrome (for MacOS) the highlight is pale yellow with white background, perhaps some browsers map that color to white (or it was changed?). If I do not anything to that comment, Edit is still not restored.

      Maybe you noticed our new look? We launched it this morning. It’s the product of months of work by Crowd Favorite and puts the site on a bold new platform, giving us a newsier and more professional appearance. The site has a greater emphasis on photos - See more at: link to

    • Perhaps there should be a price list. If you donated more that a bazillion dollars in the last 12 months, your comments should appear even before you have typed them. If you have donated a big bundle, immediately after typing. Then there would be a class that waits 10 minutes, and hour, and 24h for trolls who donated bupkes.

    • This is a VERY bad thing.

  • Salaita's hire set off fundraising alarm at U of Illinois, per emails to chancellor
    • “All of Israel’s hand-wringing about demography leads one to only one reasonable conclusion: Zionists are ineffective lovers”

      It is not a proper function of a university to defend folks that cannot grasp irony or snark from being exposed to ironic or snarky comments. It is rather clear that the remark was not meant to describe "reality" but the vision of the Israel that can be acquired from "Israel's hand-wringing about demography". Of course, what is "clear" to one person is beyond the grasp of another, but here the institution is in the position to defend simpletons and/or those who artfully protest their "mental injuries".

    • link to

      This is not a "donor group" but NRA. These guys stick to their guns and do not hold fire.

  • Entitled ideology supporting 'incineration' of Gaza resonates with Nazi ideology -- Siegman
    • I would caution about the effect of cruel tactics on the popularity of Israel. Many Americans and Europeans like exactly that. While majority in USA "supports Israel", I am much less sure if most of them buy into "culture of life, culture of death" meme. I just got a copy of "Food Politics" by Marion Nestle, which is a highly recommended book, mostly on the working of various food lobbies. The main difference with Israeli lobby is that they do not encounter as much opposition, so it suffices to "purchase" relatively few politicians to obtain a goal (say, maintaining protection for sugar growers). More to the point, Nestle tells the story of a defamation suit against Oprah. One trader in cattle futures lost a bundle after she emphatically agreed with a guest critical of practices in feeding the cattle, and told a reporter "We are taking the Israeli action on this thing ... Get in there and just blow the hell out of somebody." (footnote 12 on page 446 gives the source).

      I also recall browsing through the book of a certain Robert Bork (quite famous wingnut in his time) on the decline of American morals. In one passage he bemoaned the liberal impact on the education of children, inflicting on the small tykes such horrors like teaching about conflict resolution. "And they say nothing about the positive role of righteous anger!" (quote from memory).

  • Salaita’s stellar teaching record exposes political motivation behind his firing
    • Israeli-born professor Gur used editorial in the newspaper of his university to equate persons invited by his colleagues with "Hanna Arendt and Stella Kübler [who collaborated with Gestapo to identify Jews who were hiding in Berlin during WWII]" which striked me as rude and not improving the image of University of Pennsylvania. That was neither polite nor sane: how to be "the like" of Arendt and Kübler in the same time??. However, nobody would think that university should reprimand either the professor or the student newspaper.

      Mind you, the idea of equating criticism of Israel, however high minded and cultured, with most rank treason and Nazism is old and popular among Zionist academicians (and non-academic Zionists). While this is clearly a fascistic meme, it is duly classified as a part of American "mainstream". But anger at massive civilian casualties inflicted to perpetuate poverty of millions is "extremist". This is "mainstream" for you.

      In any case, "academic freedom" is necessary for universities to function properly in the face of constant pressures from various lobbies like NRA, Israeli lobby and quite a few other lobbies. NRA influence is behind an attempt to fire a tenured professor at University of Kansas right now who also had an "intemperate tweet". You can find a relationship between "mad cow disease" brain disorder and the habit of eating squirrel brains and get fired (happened in Kentucky). If universities will not resist such pressures, they will simply degenerate, and yet, as the society, we need properly functioning universities: do we want to have a modern economy that is more inventive than China, or just compete on the basis of cheap labor?

      Screening the faculty for the ability of keeping their mouth shut is an old and very bad idea.

  • Rob Reiner wants to pick Palestinians' leaders for them
    • “With the Tea Party, you have to go through political thing, you have to wait till 2020 to redistrict, but that is really tough stuff.”

      Of course, it would be much simpler to direct artillery fire at the districts electing Tea Party candidates. Actually, I wonder what about Tea Party irritates Reiner so much. That some members are sceptical about foreign adventurism and support for Israel? That other members take trips to Israel and "support" in the most annoying way, like opposing any limits on settlements and adding "everybody between Jordan and the sea should have equal rights"? They were lectured in Israel that Palestinians want to discriminate against the Jews, but those stupid guys then think that ANY discrimination is wrong. As a rule, members of Tea Party are hopeless at reading between the lines.

  • How to respond to thoughtful people who can't help saying 'but Hamas'
    • An addendum: the meaning of "terrorist" evolves so quickly that I tried to use only VERY recent examples.

    • I was thinking about the issue in the context of Hannity asking guests to his show "Is Hamas a terrorist organization, yes or no?" and throwing them out after they refused one word answer. In the aftermath he was ridiculed on you-tube which somehow damaged his thin skin so he devoted a show to denigrate Russell Brand for his contumely.

      link to

      There is really no way to respond to Hannity in the confines of his show which is "not set in the most conducive way for a thoughtful discussion". But in a more relaxed setting, we have to first ask: WHAT it terrorism and WHO are terrorists. These two questions have surprisingly unrelated answers. "What" usually lists attacks on civilians, or "innocent civilians", which opens room for quibbling who is a civilian and who is innocent. It is not so simple, however: the "most heinous act of terrorism" listed in the context of Hezbollah is the attack on Marine barracks in Lebanon. Attacks on military targets are routinely called "terrorist". But attacks on civilian targets are not always described as terrorist.

      NYT: "Deadly Bombing in Beirut Suburb, a Hezbollah Stronghold, Raises Tensions BEIRUT, Lebanon — The second deadly car bomb to strike the Beirut area in less than a week exploded on Thursday in a southern suburb of residential apartment buildings that is home to top Hezbollah offices and heavily populated with the group’s supporters.

      The blast created a black column of smoke visible across the city, shattered windows 11 floors up and hurled debris hundreds of feet."

      Were the perpetrators "terrorist"? We can address the WHO question. No! "In recent weeks, Sunni fighters have said in interviews and video statements that they plan to escalate attacks on Hezbollah interests in Lebanon." Here you are: they were fighters.

      Perplexed? There is the guide for you, oh, the perplexed ones! State Department has a list. Hamas is on the list, and Abdullah Azzam Brigades who claimed the responsibility in the residential Beirut neighborhood is not.

      Very recently, President of USA asked Congress to allow him to spend 500,000,000 dollars to support fighters of that kind, promising some kind of screening, uncle Sam would review his list and check it twice to find out which fighters are naughty and which are nice. Or would they subcontract Santa Claus who has rich experience and good delivery capacity?

      A totally naive person could try to learn how the State Department compiles its list. Do they have, ahem, criteria? A more experienced person would know that secrecy in such matter is the most basic tool of stagecraft, essential part of the power of the state that protects us against hordes that would otherwise attack us by plane, boat, on foot and through tunnels.

  • New J Street platform parrots Likud as membership continues to shift left
    • It is not a Likud platform, although it clearly falls short of being useful for anything. It is about sounding nice and concerned. The linked text has POSITIVE aspects, like urging Congress to refrain from "one-sided declarations". This gives J-Street a separate identity from AIPAC, and relegates it to the ranks of "minor Jewish organizations".

      Likudniks are much less mellifluous. Point 1 starts in a martial tone, "security", which is packaged with "assistance of Arab world and the international community" to sound nicer. What would be specifics of such assistance? "Security" is a carte blanche for massacres, mass incarceration, and for solving most trivial problems by force (like Israeli authorities complaining about the Palestinian usage of TV spectrum, and sending IDF to invade TV stations in Ramallah to confiscate the equipment, imagine how would American resolve spectral differences with Canada in Detroit/Windsor area, would we send Marines, Army or some special forces?).

      Other points use nicer words. "Address humanitarian situation". Prisoners should be allowed to get more packages from outside, after very, very, very careful screening, and within set limits, thus "restrictions must be eased". My favorite example is from a previous round of "easing the restrictions": IDF decided to allow shipping humus to Gaza, hitherto proscribed, "except for flavored varieties, for example, with pine nuts". To me, it gives a window into the minds, as the retained restriction was totally pointless, it did not follow any type of even subjective necessity or political pressure, it simply expressed they way of thinking.

      "Empower the moderate forces in the Palestinian society". It is perhaps just me, but "empower(ment)" is my personal favorite example of a nice sounding word with very faint meaning. Humiliate them a bit less?

      "Adapt comprehensive, regional approach", improve cooperation with absolute monarchs and bloody tyrants (only those are on the short list of countries recommended for the regional approach). Since I do not know what is wrong with the current status of the cooperation, this point simply says zero.

  • Liberal Zionism has lost its refuge-- a plausible two-state solution
    • Frankly, I was not born yet. But there was not much to arrange, I think that they were allowed to leave the country (passports?), buy a ticket and take a train to Vienna. I am a descendant of people who moved in the opposite direction, but devastated Poland with ongoing (low intensity) civil war was not an obvious choice where to stay. The largest group of Jews who were present in Poland around 1946 were those who were forcibly sent by Stalin to Central Asia (and some to Siberia), I think they temporarily stayed in refugee camps.

    • The similarity to "real people" was so strong that it is more a pedantic collection of actual slogans, positions etc. than satire. Adam clearly did not improve on the real life, but perhaps he kept it less rambling.

    • There is another potential effect of the relative decline of USA. More and more it seems that USA deploys economic sanction via the banking system, most recently, fining Paribas 9 billion dollars. The French may swallow that, but the number of grumbling parties is growing. Now we have a group of countries and entities to "isolate": Hamas (very small fry), Hezbollah (this is more iffy), Iran, and now Russia. And Argentina plus the creditors who agreed with Argentina and who are now forbidden by US judge to collect payments per agreement.

      European financial elites somehow got enticed to follow the suit, even while paying enormous fines, but Russia and Argentina are not without friends, so BRICS can actually do something. Brazil can show solidarity with Argentina (and gain regional stature), and China, with Russia (China may have its own reason to gain more independence). India can gain too by getting cheaper oil and gas. BRICS bank is already agreed upon, but setting a payment system that would allow to totally by-pass Federal reserve is complicated and can be postponed indefinitely if there is no common will. However, the situation when US government and individual US courts can ruin foreign banks and entire countries, while USA itself has declining economic clout, is not sustainable.

      This can have effect on "resistance axis" which is quite starved of funds right now, and a lot of domino effect, changing the geo-political situation of Israel from the current bliss to something much less comfortable. In the utter absence of external threat Israel can be self-centered and as crazy as the majority of population wishes to be. Liberals kwetch that this is not sustainable, but as they are proven wrong for decades, they seem to be idiots.

      But the support of unsustainable situation requires larger and larger distortions. The most recent tool is fomenting civil wars in Arab countries, frankly expressing the hope that they will last forever. But while it can take a decade, wars like that are usually won by someone, eventually, and the chances that winners will look kindly to "periodic grass mowing" and other favorite pastimes of our most precious ally are small.

    • Where one-state advocates explained what changes would be necessary in Israel's legal system, including property rights (or the role of religion and regulation of religion) for allow such state to function?

      Would Jewish settlements in West Bank and Gaza be viewed as owned by the current occupants, or stolen?

      What about the lands controlled by Jewish ethnic organizations, majority of all lands?

      Addressing such questions is no easier than removal of all settlements I have mentioned. In this sense, "one-state" is a punt. In the process of addressing questions that I have mentioned, one or two state solution can be selected, and some interim reforms applied.

      Liberal Zionism is in crisis because it does not stand for anything. Neo-Zionists present a coherent vision of supremacist state, while liberal are reduced to feeble complains, "insufficient care to avoid civilian casualties", which is the fault of Hamas, of course, but nevertheless GoI could do more, and we should improve the humanitarian conditions, but in a way that could not possibly be credited to Palestinian radicals, because that would be worse than any humanitaian considerations. Basically, this is a mental condition that precludes any kind of consistency or ethics. Everything is about sounding sensitive, sounding reasonable, sounding intellectually superior to "both sides" (but we must choose the Israel's side), everything ersatz. They are perhaps more in crisis now, not because the perspective of two-state solution is vanishing, but because this self-centered mode of thinking is less appealing when thousands are being killed and maimed.

  • Accounts of Israeli war crimes in Khuza'a, Gaza pile up
    • And the tunnels! Swiss made a lot of tunnels, I really do not understand how Germans can tolerate it.

    • is getting better, and it is free, and there is also "fair use" issue, give short summary or most salient paragraph and the link.

      Importantly: this was the type of shells resupplied by USA during that war. Agreements for sell/purchase arms and ammunitions have clauses about allowed and not allowed use.

    • If you want to unbiased, the issues of "human shields" and "terrorist, bad organization" are really complex. She may well know more than she tells, this is highly emotional video, after all. What she describes is important, though.

      The often repeated claim of "unprecedented measures to protect innocent lives" is totally unbelievable in the context of all that hatred. The racist slogans of "culture of hatred and culture of life" are self-delusional lies.

  • Reading Salaita in Illinois (part 2) - Cary Nelson, academic freedom's agent provocateur
    • LAWRENCE, Kan. -- LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The chancellor of the University of Kansas announced Thursday that a journalism professor suspended over a tweet that angrily targeted the National Rifle Association after the Navy Yard shootings will not return to his classroom in 2013.

      Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little issued a press release stating that David Guth, who was placed on administrative leave Sept. 20, would not teach the rest of this semester but would be assigned to other duties. It also said he would take a planned sabbatical in the spring. Teaching assignments for the fall of 2014 are not yet set.

      Guth posted the tweet after the September shootings killed 13 people in Washington, D.C. It said, "The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you."

      Guth issued a statement Thursday evening apologizing for his tweet that "caused a great deal of pain for many people. [...]

      However, the legislators of the State of Kansas threaten Kansas University with
      However, conservative legislators have called for the university to terminate [tenured] Guth and have suggested they would vote against any university spending measure in 2014 if he remained on the faculty."

      There is a difference between two lobbies, NRA is not that powerful in Illinois or New York. Nelson undermines AAUP that defends professors in a host of similar situations.

  • Israel got tank shell that killed 20 at UN school from US without Obama's approval -- WSJ bombshell
    • This is the old "nature or nurture" dispute. One may conjecture that the operation that removes the spine also affects higher cognitive functions, and this operation is required from American officials.

    • This is strange.

      I suspect that the agreement for allowing the transfer from Pentagon's stockpile in Israel to IDF covered the transfers that occurred. If Obama and Kerry did not want it, they should proactively stop it. I do not know why they did not, but clearly, both of them were too busy talking from two sides of their mouth.

      Right now, there is a trade war with Russia because of allegation (not proven!) that Russia supplied a missile used to shot Malaysian airliner. Russia of course points out the Western hypocrisy of letting a perfectly documented massacre slide when Israel does it, and invoking sanction on the basis of hard to interpret photos (Russians have their own satellite photos that they claim prove something totally different, Americans do not show their photos) and "social media" with questionable interpretation. In any case, the Western doctrine is "responsibility of the supplier".

      Hypocrisy works if people who follow hypocritical theories do not complain. The problem may be that some Europeans actually grumble. The "leak" to WSJ could be to mollify the grumblers. Or perhaps Kerry and Obama are genuinely flustered with all of that (including what to do with the Caliphate) happening.

  • Tunnels-to-kindergartens propaganda Netanyahu peddled to NYT and CNN is exploded by Israeli news site
    • It is a pleasant surprise that a Hasbara drawing contains an accurate piece of information: "underground". Otherwise we would be at loss to figure out how the tunnels could exist: two islands, one terrorist and gloomy, one good and shiny, suspended in universe: what could possibly connect two worlds so different? Ether?

      Otherwise, I am eagerly anticipating detail disclosure how the "funds intended for building kindergartens for Gaza's children" were diverted "to build tunnels of terror". How the intellects of Israeli intelligence uncovered that, and yet were surprised by the existence of the tunnels?

  • Hamas equals ISIS in 'grisly creeds and grisly deeds,' Netanyahu tells a nodding Cuomo
    • Spoken like a modern person. When Ahmedinejad was a president, he criticized members of Congress for "kissing Israeli feet". Either he was feigning ignorance, or he spoke of feet out of medieval prudishness.

  • Reading Salaita in Illinois—by Way of Cary Nelson (part 1)
    • link to

      A good article, given a very "mainstream" source.

    • I may surprise a Professor of English literature, but the is a long tradition of using "honorable" ironically.

      Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
      And Brutus is an honourable man.

      Yet Nelson says he was too vicious;
      And Nelson is an honourable man.

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