Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3665 (since 2010-05-31 18:07:51)

piotr

American university faculty member born in Poland.

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  • 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 huffingtonpost.com
      link to thinkprogress.org
      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 online.wsj.com
      Like them or dislike, one has to admit that NRA knows how to stick to their guns.

  • Moe Diab debates SWU operative Philippe Assouline
    • 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.

    • ...one 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 estore.comeonlah.com

    • "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 gapminder.org 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 mondoweiss.net"

      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 lrb.co.uk
      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.

      pasted:
      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 mondoweiss.net

    • 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 huffingtonpost.com

      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 youtube.com

      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.

    • huffingonpost.com 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 latimes.com

      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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