Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3622 (since 2010-05-31 18:07:51)


American university faculty member born in Poland.

Showing comments 3622 - 3601

  • 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.

  • The Walzer Problem
    • Walzer is a magnificent exhibit of the concept of "liberal" that I am advancing: sound nice but not stand for much. After much erudite anguish, Walzer concludes nicely that we should support Israel, but he himself will do it with moderation.

      After the display of "careful considerations", key conclusion come with usual slights of hand.

      "Hamas wants Greater Palestine; the Netanyahu government, though it doesn't admit it, is moving steadily toward Greater Israel [read Likud charter and listen to the key member of Knesset and Cabinet, they admit a lot!] Hamas opposes Little Israel, and Netanyahu opposes Little Palestine. One might well want to say, a plague on both their houses! But now they are at war, and choices have to be made."

      Apparently, "plague on both their houses" can be contemplated only when there is no war. But if so, why one would wish ANY plague? In actuality, the option of distance from both belligerent and somewhat symmetric attitude, like refraining from supplying either side with weapons and ammunition is a very standard one. And there is a lot of examples when this option was not followed with most deleterious consequences. In practice, symmetric attitude favors the stronger side, but it may also moderate the behavior of the winners because of the signals that "not everything goes". Picking one side for arm supplies and other support and giving carte blanche, informing our favorites that no amount of atrocities will sway our position, nor we see any red lines, leads to most ugly cases of escalation (like when we picked "our bastards" in Syria). Supplying Israel with fresh ammunition in the middle of slaughter that would be "won" regardless is simply encouraging war madness. Anyway, I digress and Walzer has a conclusion to make.

      "We should choose Israel—because Israel is a democracy where it is possible to imagine the political defeat of the rightwing nationalists who are now in charge; it is possible to imagine a government that would work toward Palestinian statehood—Israel has had governments of that sort in the past, under the leadership of Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Olmert. Inside Israel today, it is possible to criticize the government's bombing policy—as I will do below, a little uneasily, from the outside. Public criticism of Hamas in Gaza, even in "peacetime," is a risky business, and a victory for Hamas in this war—indeed, any strengthening of its hand vis-a-vis Fatah—would set the stage for future and more terrible wars, for Hamas has never deviated from its absolute opposition to the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East. "

      It is surprising that the case for "choosing Israel" rests so much on the Walzer's ability to imagine future. Carte blanche for the current government is not fostering in Israel the kind of change that he imagines, to put it mildly. And what does it mean, "choosing"? Aha, any kind of relief to Gaza population that could be credited to Hamas is a no-no, as it would "strengthen Hamas vis-a-vis Fatah. Thank you, Professor!

      "But this choice, Israel over Hamas, is difficult for many people to make because of the rising tide of Palestinian casualties, dead and wounded, in the Gaza war. " Sure, it is difficult, but we will overcome our momentary sadness and rise in enthusiastic support of Israel.

    • Page: 36
  • Is the firing of Steven Salaita the beginning of a new Blacklist?
    • chucky,

      this requires more info. Salaita's books available in on-line bookstore deal with issues of Israel, discrimination of Arabs in USA etc. Apparently, his field is Comparative Literature, and he clearly can compare varieties of Hasbara very incisively. Perhaps his scholarly articles dealt also with issues of American Indians, there is a subfield "comparative oppression", nicely summarized as "Mata Moros, Mata Indios": ideology of "expanding frontier of Christiandom and civilization" where "Moros" and "Indios" were on the receiving end. This is where "stand with the civilized man" comes from.

    • link to

      Now that Salaita will have to search for a job while supporting his wife and child, it is worth to consider buying one of his book. I would personally avoid Amazon due to its monopolistic bullying, so I would recommend a quick purchase of a Nook book, or to read the preview which is really interesting.

    • Re: Wise does not look like a Wise. Strangely enough, quick search does not reveal her maiden name, nor anything about her two children (except that they are grown up) or a husband. When she had a speech at Swarthmore, her Alma Mater, she talked about family values, giving the example of her mother who helped all her sisters, bringing them from China (to save from war and subsequent Communist rule?). That aside, like Mooser, I would be in the opposition to "lookism". Adolf Hitler was distinctly homely, while Reinhard Heydrich was handsome link to

      Re: history of rescinding appointments, this is from the trail that starts with the essay of Norman Finkelstein
      link to
      Court in NYC ordering the abrogate appointment of an elderly and extremely accomplished professor, because of a book he published 11 years prior, and for which he got Nobel Prize later. University of Illinois really has tradition on its side.

    • What we need now is one of those Zionist professors who opposed ASA resolution to repeat once again why academic freedom is more important than other freedoms. Academic freedom, according to them, is the privilege of academic administrators and those professors who are cozy with them. And as radical riff-raff is concerned, that is considered case-by-case.

  • 'An extreme rightwing regime behaving in the most criminal fashion and defying the world and unscrupulously using the Holocaust to justify what they're doing'
    • Holocaust was an event on a different scale. But I do not know anyone who would argue that given their tragic past, Armenians cannot be found guilty of atrocities because, at worst, they acted based on their understandable fears. It is not even because Armenians were massacred en masse more than 25 years earlier than Jews, but because it is a preposterous type of argument.

      But nothing is too preposterous if the media supinely or enthusiastically publish it.

    • amigo,

      in this context, it is not totally clear of GOI mentioned to deploy dirty tricks is the government of Israel or Ireland. One can make a reasonable guess, but it would help to be more specific.

  • Gaza 2014 has clarified the international struggle
    • It is worth to remember that "I have a dream" speech was directly replying to "Segregation now":

      "I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.[23] ”

      Hopefully, Jefferies is prepared to follow Gov. Wallace without waiting until he will be really old: "Wallace would later in life apologize for his unabashed racism and segregationist policies."

  • With friends like these...
    • Isn't Kangalkarabash a perfectly non-funny Turkish name, "curly black head"?

    • The most telling aspect of that story is that a TV channel put such an option in the poll at all. It says that this is regarded as a good joke in top circles of Israeli establishment.

      In some countries there is a concept that some jokes are so distasteful that you should fire jokers from prominent positions in mass media. In Poland, after the national team lost to Ukraine, a guy in comedic radio show pretended to be a rabid fan and fulminated "If I had a Ukrainian maid [not rare in Poland] I would fire her right now, and kick her out without giving any back wages. And if she was even a little bit pretty, I would rape her". There was a little pandemonium, and the consensus was that yes, it was a joke, but waaaay to offensive, insensitive, etc. and both jokers (talker and listener) were fired.

      So what jokes are made, by whom, and how are they received are important sociological indicators.

  • How many Israeli civilians have been attacked from the Gaza tunnels? Any?
    • To Donald: Do you want to suggest that Israel did not assassinate civilians who never killed anyone? What makes "terrorists" beyond the pale and a government deploying assassins "sharing our values"? It really boils down to "our bastards" principle. We pick who is "ours".

    • But only after issuing a warning. As we know, a warning washes out responsibility.

    • Jon66, can you give a link to a map to explain "outside the strip in consensus Israeli land"? This simply makes no sense. If the tunnels crossed the border, Israel could simply detect and destroy them, assuming that her capabilities are a tad above medieval.

  • 'A blind evil rage that increased forever, day and night' --Mads Gilbert on Operation Protective Edge
    • Wikipedia: The Moroccan Quarter[1] or Mughrabi Quarter[2] (Arabic حارَة المَغارِبة Hārat al-Maghāriba, Hebrew: שכונת המוגרבים, Sh'khunat HaMughrabim) was an 770-year old neighborhood in the southeast corner of the Old City of Jerusalem, bordering on the western wall of the Temple Mount on the east, the Old City walls on the south (including the Dung Gate) and the Jewish Quarter to the west. It was an extension of the Muslim Quarter to the north, and was founded by a son of Saladin in the late 12th century.[3]
      The quarter was razed three days after the Six-Day War in order to broaden the narrow alley leading to the Western Wall and prepare it for public access by Jews seeking to pray there.[4]

      Indeed, the theft of the land started in less then a month.

  • After Gaza
    • I think that Guardian was pretty cowardly on Middle East (on Ukraine, they still are), but now they allow more genuine mix of opinion, and pay attention, and this is 10 times more important than allowing a repulsive ad in print.

      And the ad is repulsive, "stand with the civilized man" is the slogan of colonial genocide, "human shields" is blaming children for sheltering in UN schools, plus it is literally blood libel. But Adelson pays good coin, and in these times, advertising revenue is not robust (it should be "Adelson's Values Network").

    • French beauty company Garnier has apologised for any offence caused when care packages of deodorants, soaps and other cosmetics were sent to female Israeli soldiers this week.

      A company spokesperson has told IBTimes UK that the initiative, which saw 500 products handed out to the Israel Defence Forces, was "part of a local retailer initiative" and was "managed strictly at local market level".link to

      Kari Kerr, Garnier's Corporate Communications Director, said that the company did not support the initiative, nor does it want its products to be used in any future campaign.

      Stand With Us, a group designed to generate support for Israel abroad, had said it was "honoured to be delivering these 'girly' care packages for our lovely female IDF fighters" and issued a "shout out to the Garnier Israel for the amazing donation".

      Initially I was misled by 'girly' in the title, and I thought that Garnier got feminist flack for calling female soldiers "lovely". Would they also send packages to "out hunky male IDF fighters"? But apparently they do not want to be hit by BDS. As we have discussed, the most crucial demographic, young women, is not particularly supportive of Israel in her "valiant efforts in Gaza", especially in Europe.

    • "When Ahmed Owedat returned to his home 18 days after Israeli soldiers took it over in the middle of the night, he was greeted with an overpowering stench.

      He picked through the wreckage of his possessions thrown from upstairs windows to find that the departing troops had left a number of messages. One came from piles of faeces on his tiled floors and in wastepaper baskets, and a plastic bottle filled with urine."

      I guess, in political-military nomenclature, those are "less-lethal ways to re-establish the deterrence". What surprises me is that this seem like a rather onerous an undignified task for soldiers, and because it was done regularly, ever inventive IDF introduce "skunk machines" that can leave lasting stench without less time consuming activity. If there was ever a lecture by an IDF officer in your area, that could be a good question: why such low-tech methods still persist?

  • My friends say I'm being too nice to Hamas
    • A little problem with that evidence is that there is a reasonable suspicion of forced confession, so one has to check if the "evidence" makes sense. It is alleged that the person who confessed specifically bought a plot of land so the victims could be buried there. This makes no sense whatsoever. To me, it looks that the owner was captured and forced to confess.

  • Conflict Resolution 101: Talk to Hamas
    • Wikipedia is a bit funny, because contentious articles are edited by mutually opposing parties, resulting in utterly inconsistent text. Feiglin is depicted as fanatic ideologue, chummy with extremists and terrorists, plus

      "Feiglin advocates predicating Israeli policy on three principles: Liberty, Jewish Identity and restoring Meaning into Israeli life.[1] In this context, he opposes coercion of any sort, religious or anti-religious.[2]" No coercion, just artillery barrages to encourage relocation to tents in the desert surrounded by barbed wire.

      Feiglin, austere, humorless, intelligent and fanatical, reminds me a movie character. In 1922, Polish parliament elected, in the most Byzantine fashion, first President of the independent state. Elected on Sunday, sworn on Monday, nationalist pandemonium of Tuesday, riots on Wednesday, Jewish pogroms on Thursday (he got Jewish and Ukrainian votes, no Ukrainians at hand in Warsaw), and so on, until lighter schedule on Saturday: opening of an exhibition in the Society of Encouragement of Arts. One exhibited painter shot the President dead. 40+ years ago a movie was made, and court testimony of the killer is a large part of it, based on actual records. [I described the week of the presidency of Narutowicz to make it fit with a song "If I were a President", but all of that happened in one week]

    • Moshe Zalman Feiglin is an Israeli politician and columnist. He is Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Knesset Member, and head of the Manhigut Yehudit faction of Israel's governing Likud party. Wikipedia

      Deputy Speaker, not "one of radical lawmakers". Believe it or not, some former MKs became former on the account of being too radical.

      Feiglin has detractors: "A letter to Feiglin from the Home Office said that Smith based her decision [not to allow Feiglin to visit UK] on an assessment that his activities "foment or justify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs; seek to provoke others to terrorist acts; foment other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts and foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK."

      And supporters: "The Jewish Defense League (JDL) is a Jewish far-right religious-political militant organization classified as “a right-wing terrorist group” by the FBI in 2001. According to the FBI, the JDL has been involved in plotting and executing acts of terrorism within the United States.

      Feiglin, an observant right-wing hardliner, will talk [in Toronto] about the highlights and personal experiences of his successful first year as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, according to the invitation. [April 14th, this year]"

      Which raises an interesting question: why is the Administration communicating directly with a regime that harbors an organization classified as terrorist by USA? How long will we tolerate Canadian support of terrorism?

    • US is providing support only to moderate freedom fighters. It may superficially seem that they are terrorists, only because the plant explosives in civilian neighborhoods, kidnap Christian nuns, villagers, reporters, execute civilians who disobey on the spot, execute a boy for blasphemy because (I forgot the details), but if you know all that State Department knows, you are forced to conclude that they are not terrorists. (I have no idea what does State Department know, and I do not know how to interpret rules to arrest anyone who spend time fighting together with them.)

    • Shift to "evenhandedness"? This is like attacking motherhood, apple pie and the right to pack heat.

      5 seconds of history:

      [JFK] Secretary of State, Sumner Welles, once said "Somoza's a bastard!" And Roosevelt replied, "Yes, but he's our bastard."

      On the other hand, men of distinction no longer ponder weighty issues of state and business while smoking cigars, sipping good whisky and groping voluptuous secretaries, so perhaps it is time to revise that tradition as well.

      On the other hand, the very idea that a problem or conflict should be resolved may be controversial. "The Prince is just about to kiss the princess when. . . . He is struck with a concept. "Awake she's just another princess. Asleep she's a gold mine!"

  • What I said to the couple holding a banner with a swastika on it
    • I would oppose the use of swastika outside of some well-defined cultural context. However, the professional investigators of anti-Semitism seem to borrow their methodology from witch hunters.

      How can we figure out if a women is a witch? We shackle her and throw into a pond. If she floats, she is a witch.

      How can we figure out if anti-Semitism was sufficiently eradicated or not? We kill some people and watch if anyone objects.

    • Swastika remains a sacred Hindu symbol, but Nazi swastika is a mirror image of the ancient symbol used in India. As a simple geometric motif, it appeared in many cultures. But if it does not appear in the Hindu form, and people using it are not wearing dhotis, I would assume Nazi inspiration.

  • The selected writings of Samantha Power
    • Thanks. I noticed that Samantha, still slim at her 43, looks unusually well in the photo where the light is behind her.

    • This is totally off-topic, so perhaps it should be removed by the moderator(s). Does anyone know the source of the following quote I have once seen:

      And what a nice girl you will find her!
      Why, she will pass for forty two,
      In the dark, with the light behind her!

    • I am not sure if Powell started as social climber or with genuine humanitarian concern. According to reviews etc. I have seen, her book about the genocide did not raise the example of Indonesia where 500 thousands to million were slaughtered during CIA encouraged coup, and huge numbers were put in concentration camps for decades. If selecting victims to slaughter on socio-political grounds is OK, than Stalin, Mao and Pol-Pot were OK too. Allegedly, USA cannot be accused of "doing nothing" during Indonesian slaughter, CIA supplied the leaders with its list of suggestions (persons who should be disposed).

    • This is libelous. Of course, we Americans know everything one needs to know about Australians: beer guzzling crocodile slayers, who convert kangaroos to roadkill using enormous bumpers. But those of these gentle creatures that did not make roadkill make their judiciary.

  • Rightwing Jews who want to destroy Muslim holy site in Jerusalem raise funds on Indiegogo
    • I think this group is a bunch of pathetic loosers, no word spoken in the video, the design of the Temple from some video game, raised a very paltry amount etc. There are much more serious folks who want Third Temple and Israel ruled as it should be, by Sanhedrin. Our Christian Zionists help them raise a sufficiently unblemished red calf (necessary to purify the Temple ground according to Torah).

  • Israel, your brand is tanking
    • Liberalism is about sounding nice and not standing for anything (some progress can be achieved while sitting). Israeli "values" are about sounding like fascists and standing for supremacy. So there is an increasing divergence.

  • Elie Wiesel plays the Holocaust trump card in Gaza
    • Sorry for my ignorance. Where and when I was educated there were many texts about Holocaust (that was not called with a Greek or Hebrew name), and family traditions, and nobody would suggest to read an American on that topic. What resonates most in my memory is a sentence from a poem that is so pessimistic that it is very hard to translate: Zostanie po nas złom żelazny i głuchy, drwiący śmiech pokoleń.

      I tried to check if Wiesel, who is close to 90, could really pen such a screed. What did he write in the last few years? A bit hard to find quickly, many references about Wiesel but I did not find his fresh writing. But perhaps he could use some money:
      According to Fortune Magazine, "Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel’s charity reportedly lost more than $15 million [to] Madoff". Perhaps he also invested his personal savings as well?

    • Sorry, this is not a holocaust card. This is silly religious supremacy card, something that I have seen before, but I thought it is a specialty for hick rabbis (as opposed to more sophisticated clerics) writing columns for provincial outfits like Jerusalem Post.

      For starters, nothing about the Holocaust in the ad. The top point is that Jews rejected child sacrifice at some past date. Wow! What an achievement! It is not like their priests did not put assorted atrocities in their sacred as good deeds, like slaying men, women, children AND the cattle (which explains rather weird contemporary events of destroying chicken farms together with the chicken, or slaughtering donkeys). But they stopped sacrificing their sons (and, as someone pointed here, only somewhat later it was also extended to daughters). Most of us would agree that this is not impressive anymore.

      The second trope is "the battle of civilization against barbarism". The pedigree of that theme is colonial genocide. When was the last time that "civilization" was defending itself against the barbarians? The fall of Roman Empire? After the word "civilization" was coined in 18th century, the battle was about subjugation and, if that did not work smoothly, extermination.

      The third trope is "human shields", as the putative form of "sacrifice". Anyone following events in the Middle East would know that an attempt to literally use "human shield" would be truly suicidal. In any case, this trope, like the rest of invectives that lace the ad is Hasbara at its least original. But the first two were relatively rare, the first I have seen in a "hick rabbi" column, and the second, in the ads of a fascistic outfit called "Emergency Committee of Israel". One member of the latter demanded that "terrorists" from Gaza should be thrown into the sea to be eaten by "sharks and stargazers".

      All of that is fully expected from Boteach who fits the boots of a "hick rabbi". But did Elie Wiesel really read that add? Or his photo is used merely to present a contrast: sinister terrorist and serene Wiesel? I think someone should ask Elie.

    • Daughters barely qualified as humans in Torah.

  • Evanston Public Library censors Ali Abunimah, saying issue is 'complex' and he'd need to be balanced (Updated)
    • I did not mention Belorus as a joke. This country had many centers of Jewish learning like Slonim, and many Israeli Jewish sages continue and expand those backward traditions (they are called Lithuanians for obvious reasons, Belorus formed the bulk of Grand Duchy of Lithuania). More recently, it was a vacation destination of Avigdor Lieberman, who even has bank account there (accounts?), and it seems when Lieberman was investigated for corruption, much to his relief the Belorus authorities insisted on banking secrecy and thus all suspicions that he received corrupt payments remain unproven. And this is the only European country and did not join European human rights accord, and which has a very restrictive regulations of NGOs that Israeli right wing strives to copy. Similar restrictions are in Egypt, and Israeli (center to right, perhaps) clearly admire the current fascist government there.

    • I have to check the dictionary, I know that there are obtuse triangles, but nothing about deliberately obtuse. So let us see

      annoyingly insensitive or slow to understand.
      "he wondered if the doctor was being deliberately obtuse"
      synonyms: stupid, slow-witted, slow, dull-witted, unintelligent, ignorant, simpleminded, witless;

      This is subtle. Let us settle on the fact that they are obtuse, and leave it open if this is deliberate or not.

    • “In no other country would anyone have published the evil screeds he writes..."

      Sometimes I think that the knowledge of the outside world among Israeli Zionists is limited to Egypt and Belorus.

    • I guess that Rahm is not responsible, as he does not live in Evanston, but Chicago.

      However, Evanston is a home of the proud North Western University with many very fine program like Kellog School of Business Management with a nice program of Rabbinical Management (one of the advisors of that program is Rabbi Joseph-Seth Kirshner, a religious leader in NYC, see link below), so it is sad that no learned Zionist offer to give a talk at the city library.

      link to

      I would invite Rav Joseph-Seth and ask him how his position differs from the demand of another Rabbi, Noam Perel, to wash Israeli hands in blood of revenge and go beyond "collecting 300 Philistine foreskins".

  • What Jim Fallows and I saw
    • About the support by Christian Zionists: this is indeed bad news for Israel lobby. Not that the Christian right wingers are not valuable as allies, but they have a great knack to latch on ideas that quickly (give it ten years) vanish from American scene. Nobody objects to "miscegenation" anymore, now gay marriage moves to the mainstream even in red states, so after they affix Zionism with "hick stamp of approval", that approval may indeed shrink.

    • Fallows burnishes his "objective credentials" by telling his conclusions on al-Dura affair.

      "I saw and heard, was that some things were knowable: in particular, that the boy could not have been shot by the IDF soldiers known to be in the area. The physics of trajectories, sight lines, and bullet damage did not match up. What did happen to the boy—still living? accidentally shot? shot intentionally by soldiers in some other location, or by someone else?—was unprovable at the time (I asserted) and might never be known."

      Fallows delivers this story as his credential. I suspect that I know more physics than he does, in spite of rather futile effort to teach me quantum mechanics; normal mechanics I could grasp. It was indeed tested that if IDF soldiers were shooting without moving much from their positions, and al-Durahs were motionless behind a concrete barrel (simulated by manekins in a test) then none of them could be shot. However, both soldiers and the killed boys could move, for example, the boy could be startled by a nearby explosion and move few inches exposing himself to fire. The context is that there was undeniable carnage, and some photos taken even though the midst of carnage does not offer best conditions for taking snapshots. After figuring that one of the photos could be challenged, Zionist change the discourse from random violence by IDF of which there were plenty examples to "Paliwood", taking advantage of murky circumstances of the photo (the circumstances of a barrage of fire are hardly ever totally clear, after all).

      I recall another affair, "Two plumes over Beirut", when a photo showed two plumes of smoke raising from Dahiya, and Zionist experts were claiming the photo to be doctored, as there was only one plume. To derail the discourse on the morality and legality of flattening a large urban area far from a battlefield on a supposition that some adversaries may hide there. However nonsensical, it gives talking points invaluable it talk shows etc. More recently, a boy shot by IDF was falling down "unnaturally" as expert who spend years gunning down humans were assuring us. This whole genre deserves a bit more than "we sometimes agree, and sometimes disagree".

  • The withdrawal that isn't
    • It seems that this hit the nerve even of those Lebanese who are normally pro-American.

      By the way, can Lebanon purchase Russian helicopters?

    • I raised the issue of hypocrisy as a resource that can be depleted if used too frequently. Here is US taking a courageous stand against terrorist. Fighters from Syria (recipients of our aid, most recent request was to add 500 million to that aid) got mauled close to Lebanese borders, their commander was wounded and transported to a Lebanese hospital. There he was arrested. The fighters attacked 9 checkpoints on the border and many buildings in the town where their commander was arrested. American statement seems to blame Lebanon: "U.S. vowed support for the Lebanese Army and urged respect for Lebanon's policy of dissociation from the crisis in Syria. " Today's news.

      You may call taqfiris terrorists or not, they surely are much more bloodthirsty and ruthless than Hamas or Hezbollah, so we have a case of naked hypocrisy, which in my opinion, is a sign of depletion of hypocrisy as an effective tool of statecraft.

  • Inhuman shield: How 'The New York Times' protects US elites from Gaza's brutal reality
    • I lost edits in the previous posting. This article is important, and if you cannot read it, I will make a summary: the closing words:
      Most are still staying in the shelter. On Wednesday night, Asma Ghabin, who had 10 stitches in her thigh where doctors had removed shrapnel, lay with her two toddler sons on a thin mattress, in the same spot where she had been wounded hours before.

      Ben Hubbard reported from Jabaliya, and Jodi Rudoren from Jerusalem. Fares Akram contributed reporting from Gaza.

      NYT reporters established the pattern of using large caliber long distance artillery, "effective in 50 yard radius", "impossible to target precisely", "inappropriate for urban setting", with no evidence of threat to which IDF was allegedly responding, and total nonsense spouted by IDF, as responsible for the latest, and at least some of the prior school incidents.

      And, for a good measure, a Palestinian voice:
      link to

      A cynic can see a pattern of NYT supporting Administration first (no Israeli firsters there!). And the de facto policy is to let Israel have its fun, taking care of the paranoid security needs, but with LIMITS. After killing of 1500, Israel should REALLY wind it down. But it does not. Plus, there were fresh insults of Obama. So Israel should brace herself for a certain dose of "second guessing".

    • The Rudioren's article today is definitely an improvement. The tone is anodyne, but the facts are like a recitation of evidence for war crimes trial: link to

    • I am not sure if Kershner "softened" Dahiya doctrine, but surely she is guilty of presenting as facts speculative and self-serving statements of Israeli officials, and of course, removing the context. For example, the "fact" that Hezbollah leadership was in Dahiya, which is a speculation at best, and even if they were in Dahiya, they would be in shelters much more sophisticated than whatever Hamas can build, so "flattening Dahiya" had purely terroristic effect, inflicted on about 100,000 people. It also accepts the statement that a soldier was captured, which is far from clear: either he was simply killed, or captured and killed in a strange corollary to Dahiya doctrine, Hannibal directive: flatten the neighborhood where an Israeli soldier was captured to kill the soldiers, armed opponents and civilians, to avoid the calamity of negotiating about that soldier.

      This is a truly bizarre doctrine. When an American was captured by Taliban, was there any outrage that it was particularly barbaric to capture him, rather than shoot dead? In fact, there were no stories whatsoever about him until he got released and treated with hostility by his compatriots. That is somewhat less weird, an old tradition views prisoners of war as traitors. But in this context, this is not a local American tradition (I know no examples), but a newer tradition that any person associated with an action of left-of-center President is reviled by the right-of-center talking heads. That is not out of the ordinary (in terms of word wide occurrence). But Hannibal directive seems uniquely weird.

      Apart from that, some interesting facts were given in the article. For example, of 31 tunnels discovered by IDF, 11 lead to the border. The other 20 were used as defensive structures by the fighters, and discovering them requires to enter buildings.

      It stands to reason that if the opponent flattens any structure occupied by fighters, then the only way fighters can fight is to dig some shelters, or more generally, occupy positions for ambushes. A "network" of such tunnels would have to count in hundreds, mostly very short. A cart blanche to destroy all tunnels is a permission to IDF to enter and destroy any building. If fighters are in such a building and they do not simply surrender, then this would be a violation and the neighborhood will be flattened. If they not only shoot back but also capture a soldier, then this is presented to the world as "unusual barbarism" (the neighborhood would be flattened in any case). This is Pax Israeliana. But is it a ceasefire as a practice in other places would suggest, not to mention the poor dictionary that is one of the victims here?

  • Sam Harris defends his silence on Gaza slaughter (or tries to anyway)
    • Although gradations of Dispensational beliefs exist, I approximated that about 30 million Americans support the state of Israel due in part to their Dispensational beliefs. Furthermore, I found that lobbyist groups and Dispensational clergy leaders have mobilized such support for Israel and have played a significant role in influencing Congressional and Executive figures towards a decidedly pro-Israel perspective.
      link to
      Christians have their Dispentionalists, Jews have National Zionist Orthodox, and atheists have Sam Harris. Carping about Old Testament is missing the point in my opinion. Everybody knows that it is old, and nobody takes everything there seriously, except that ultra-Orthodox Jews go through considerable contortions to avoid rules like brother of the deceased husband having to marry his widow (rather than dismissing them with "You are gonna be kidding" laughter).

      Using Old Testament for blood curdling rhetoric is relatively new, I would estimate that there was a pause after the defeat of Bar Kochba that extended well after the creation of the State of Israel. When Kach movement appeared, it was a minority phenomenon. My impression is that it is in the last 40 years that rabid nationalism took over most of Jewish denominations.

      Sam Harris just cannot absorb new facts that contradict his wordview, so in his mind Israel is not a theocracy with clerics issuing fiery fatwas, slavishly followed by Jewish clerics in USA and other countries, but just another secular mildly fascistic regime.

    • "Harris plays on the idea of lonesome Israel encircled by a sea of enemies. "

      which is simultaneously marketed as "the only safe place for Jews" where they should flee to avoid iniquities heaped upon them in Brooklyn, Topeka, Boca Raton, Toronto, London, etc.

      Personally, my tastes are skewed because of my education (learned and thought logic), so the most unnerving is the association of a stream of nonsense with "Reason Project". Their slogan should be "Fortunately, we are impervious to logic." Even if we set the standard what a reasonable atheist fascist should say, Harris falls quite short, defending a theocracy against its religious opponents on the basis of that theocracy being more atheistic.

      Actually, I am familiar with "paleo-antisemitic" writings, and one of the tropes was that Judaism is only a pretend religion. From what I know, most paleo-antisemites actually like the existence of Israel and how that state bashes other Semites, so Zionists have to concentrate on neo-antisemites who believe in the concept of universal human rights and other harmful nonsense, and this is the role that Harris picks for himself.

      Even so, the role of National Zionist Orthodox Judaism in Israel is quite pervasive, and denying the religious motivation of the operation "Deliver 200 Philistine foreskins" (or is it 300?) is quite a stretch.

  • Crisis in Rafah: Palestinian civilians trapped trying to escape Israeli onslaught (Updated)
    • The composite version of the events is that a soldier was captured and for the second time during this campaign IDF executed "Hannibal directive", obliterating the captor, the captives and the population in the vicinity. British media at least are inclined to believe that, Hamas said that with some hedging: clearly, they cannot know for sure, and IDF did not deny.

      Apart from legality and humanity, this is truly weird. There is no "everybody would do the same" about it. The rationality of Israeli leadership may be seriously doubted.

  • Cease-fire breaks down: Israeli shelling kills 50 after reported capture of soldier
    • Here we have the same trick used twice. First an abduction that was not abduction was used to cover mass arrests etc. Next, an abduction that is an abduction if you believe every word of Israeli government, which is not disclosing any details, just "executive summary". And "search for the poor dear duckling" justifies continuation of the mayhem, and most importantly, repetition of what they did before: keeping Gaza "on diet" and homeless.

      How many times USA and "international community" can go for such tricks?

    • I always wonder if hypocrisy is a resource that can be depleted, like North-East Atlantic cod fishery. And it is not like our hypocrisy is used on two fronts alone.

    • When taking a prisoner of war is an "abduction"?

      We will need to wait for more information as who violated the ceasefire and where was the tunnel. It is reasonable that Israel destroys the tunnels that go under the border, but Palestinians should be allowed to keep their shelters that in the distance from the border, a ceasefire allowing IDF to tramp all over Gaza is a hunting license, not a ceasefire.

  • Reprint of Yochanan Gordon's "When Genocide is Permissible" (Updated)
    • The war progresses from fatwas to fashlas (search for explanation). Yocharam Gordon is a private figure, and little late. Those are the words of World Bnei Akiva Secretary-General Rabbi Noam Perel:

      "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. The disgrace will be paid for with the blood of the enemy, not with our tears,”

      There were some motions to remove him from his position, from the British chapter, and American chapter asked for explanations (and was satisfied with the answer). And this is not a minor organization.

  • US suspended aid to Egypt after it slaughtered civilians -- why not Israel?
    • walid: "The capture of the soldier was announced BY ISRAEL, within a couple of hours of it allegedly having happened on Friday morning.

      Hamas is saying that it will not confirm or deny this news, which is rather stupid of Hamas."

      The reality is that Hamas fighters cannot communicate by phone, the only way they could possibly operate is as independent groups that coordinate through the use of couriers. As long as Rafah is under barrage, the communication is sketchy at best.

      Moreover, they already announced a capture of an IDF soldier, only to have the group that did it obliterated together with their prisoner. If there is a live prisoner, a premature disclosure that he lives can be a death sentence.

  • Portrait of a Zionist
  • The Brits are way hipper about Palestine than Yanks
    • "The America I know and like is compassionate, broadminded, creative, eclectic, tolerant and generous. "

      Perhaps it is hip to say that. In fact, there is a strong mean spirited streak in USA which is less visible if you talk with "compationate, broadminded" etc. friends, but very clear if you hear what people say in radio talk shows, write in comments and, most importantly, what politicians say and do for the sake of popularity.

      I would start with insanely punitive justice system that is skewed along the class lines. On top of long sentences, very sketchy ethic on the side of police and prosecutors there is inhumane prison regime, treating smallest infractions with solitary confinement, tolerating high incidence of rape, including rape by prison guards, denial of health care and so on. The usual reaction of the public is "they are not innocent". Driving people to insanity or rape is OK if they are "not innocent". "Next time he/she will think twice."

      Then there is famous "generosity of the American people". No type of "government waste" enrages citizens more than spending to help fellow citizens (unless the spending is identical to what a particular voter would like to receive).

      Then there is killing of the citizens. One aspect is death penalty. The reactions to botched execution in Arizona: "Why they did not simply shoot him"? In UK there are worries about police lethally shooting people, which happens on the average once a year. The stats in USA for January 2013 are more than 40. America is a violent society where people, law breakers and law defenders alike, think in violent terms. And no one is more blood thirsty than think-tankers who chide effeminate "elites" for the lack of connection with the national psyche.

      In those terms, Israel is the ideal for our conservatives and centrists: democratic and bloodthirsty, with admirable national solidarity that can be reliably invoked to divert the attention from troublesome topics like jobs, rents, wages, prices and so on. While effeminate Europeans are not as easily diverted, less deferential to authority, and thus less prone trust when told "sadly, killing, maiming and driving homeless all those people is necessary."

  • Blitzer and Rudoren pump Israeli tunnel fears (and AIPAC cashes in)
    • One problem here is that there is a lot of reason to build tunnels, the basic three being:

      smuggling from Egypt, apparently this is the type that IDF attacked around the putative start of the ceasefire (there are different versions if it was before or after)

      ambushes in Israel

      hideouts for fighters and their weapons

      hideouts for civilians (shelters, if you will)

      Carte blanche for traipsing around Gaza in the search for hideouts, and to kill and destroy in them is of not a ceasefire formula that anyone in Gaza would agree with, it is more like a definition of free-fire zone (one of the achievements of the Western Civilization, but not a good formula for ceasefire). Checking the ground under their position is of course IDF prerogative. We do not know what happened, and IDF slapped censorship. Kerry believes IDF version, and the past experience with what he believed is not reassuring.

    • Tunnels were invented before Iron Age, and so were countermeasures. In 21 century there are several techniques to detect them and neutralize. Making a tunnel causes vibrations, and cavities of the tunnels can be detected with seismic waves and several other ways. Tunnel construction progresses slowly. Israel should be fully capable to neutralize the tunnels on its side of the border.

      Focus of tunnels gives multiple meanings to the phrase "tunnel vision".

  • Peter Beinart demolishes Gaza hasbara
    • If it works like NYT, you may see several stories per month and some of us could be over the limit. (Just checked, you have to pay. Sorry Haaretz, no shekel from piotr).

  • Remnick gets the timeline wrong
    • You are making easy but falsifiable assumptions, like that Israelis who had the access to evidence could draw obvious conclusions.

      10 minutes of web searching shows that Iran is full of suppliers of jeans, because of sanctions and currency shortages they actually make them locally. Even so, Netanyahu's office, benefitting from the best intelligence of the State of Israel, posted on social media the poor Iranians are not allowed to wear jeans. Iranians mocked and cheered.

      A week before "kidnapping" IDF finished a cycle of training for then hypothetical situation of a kidnapping of a young settler girl. So they went ahead with all planned and exercised activities. 90% of people "know" what they assume, and the minority does not fare well in IDF, Israeli police, intelligence (until they retire) or government.

  • Slaughter is not self-defense: The assault on Gaza and the corruption of language
    • "Israelis are deliberately targeting civilians. They always have."

      I am not sure about "always", but Irgun, precursor of the currently ruling Israeli parties (Likud and 3 Likud offshoots) definitely favored attacking marketplaces.
      link to
      It is really not about achieving any goals, "degrading capabilities" or whatever. That would be a patina of rationality put on exuberant self-expression.
      link to
      "I am a homicidal maniac, and I am OK, a sleep all night, and I kill all day."

    • One obvious alternative is to agree to ceasefire terms proposed by Hamas, namely lifting the blockade of Gaza. Details can be worked out, like Dutch could inspect cargoes in Gazan port which would be similar to what they proposed before.

      Much less obvious alternative is to conduct the warfare with less atrocities. Not obvious because it is far from clear that IDF would be capable of that. Concerning West Bank, "because rockets are not coming from there", the number of killed is in low double digits. This is peace loving Israel: if you do nothing wrong, they kill only a few. You could check that this was the case during the "tranquil period" with Gaza, IDF regularly killed or shot people, and killing 6 Hamasniks started the current massacre. Were Hamasniks decent folks, like Americans, they would not begrudge such minute number.

      Now the Zionist talk is that Hamas is making them kill children. This is what passes for sophisticated Hasbara. And faithful sheep in the herd duly accepts: yes, EVERYBODY would send tank shells at schools full of refugees! If we (USA) killed 6 Canadians and they would retaliate with rockets falling on empty fields, there would be no preschool up North that would not be flattened. Sure! And Canadian Prime Minister would be helping us, because he is a very decent guy.

  • Video: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis
    • “It is indeed pathetic that such an important American rabbi only sees Judaism as a tribal religion without either ethical values or moral content.”

      My impression is that were Rav David-Seth keen on ethical values he would not be an "important rabbi". It is easier with moral content. This is the morality "support good people against bad people". Who are the bad people? Whoever opposes the good people (or begrudges, or some lesser offense). And who are the good people? Simplicity itself: the chosen ones! (Except self-hating etc.)

      Then there is "Jewish atheism". Namely, a large number of people who do not believe in God, but believe that God gave the Holy Land to the Jews. Many are actually enrolled in Reform and Conservative temples. But now, sadly, when Israel "needs your help more than ever", some of those are publicly recanting that belief link to
      And it is not just Shira Lipkin. Entire Salon Magazine is overrun by Islam Loving Leftists (using nomenclature that Rav David-Seth would presumably approve), and I think it is a recent development. Make no mistake: the top priority of Salon is to be hip, so among the 20+ front web-page stories there is zilch about Gaza or Israel. But to be hip, nowadays you have to REJECT the message of the Lord giving Israel to Jews for eternity and to REJECT that Israel is not a repulsive oppressors, about which the less is said the better (because we do not really care), but really, nothing good can be said.

      Sam Harris of Reason Project chose to affirm his support of Israel as Jewish atheist, which confused me for 10 minutes. After checking, Reason Magazine has absolutely unconnected to Reason Project, and they are thoroughly hip on Israel: we do not care, but if you ask me, Israel is an obnoxious bully and oppressor. To paraphrase slightly: how can we seriously defend the right of Americans to own and carry arms of their choice and deny Hamas the right to bear and use rockets? But we really care only about the former.

    • Indeed, it looked incremental two weeks ago. I would still call it "mass slaughter" rather than "genocide", but "incremental" sounds too anodyne now.

  • Amira Hass and the end of Jewish ethical history
    • In the period 1990-2014, the percentages of proponents and opponents of criminalizing marijuana in USA changed from 80-12 to 54-42. The opprobrium of "gay marriage" also went away to a large extend, back around 1990 the opposition to gay marriage was an important vote getter for GOP. Now "unconditional support for Israel" changed from "consensus" to "controversial" and it is probably on the same trajectory. In all those cases, "white males" are "late adopters", signifying nothing more than that a group best situated in the current status quo is the slowest in embracing the change, but it goes through the same process, just in a different phase.

  • To my Jewish friend (you know who you are)
    • Richard Cohen: >>The difference between murdered and killed — the former on purpose, the latter mostly what’s called “collateral damage” — ought to be clear to anyone whose mind is not addled by anti-Semitism.

      Israel has gone out of its way to try to avoid civilian deaths.<<

      Richard forgot that the difference is also not clear to those where were killed. The tactic of inflicting indiscriminate mayhem for military gain is not new, and was clearly embraced by Germans during Siege of Warsaw in September of 1939. While motorized columns had relatively small problems traversing Polish countryside, the capital had fortifications, entrenched positions and tens of thousands of soldiers. For the first week Polish air defenses were operational, but then Polish planes were shot down and the sky belonged to Germans. Rather than continue fruitless attacks on Polish positions, the command resorted to carpet bombing, and with 20,000 civilians deaths the city surrendered in two days.

      Later the allies surpassed the Germans in the carnage inflicted on cities, with firestorms and nuclear bombs (less lethal but more memorable) but after the war new conventions were signed to avoid it.

      There are numerous differences between Siege of Warsaw and Siege of Gaza, but it is not clear that Israel is all that much better. Germans wanted to conquer the city, Israel attacks the besieged to maintain the siege. Typically, an "intolerable concession that would reward terrorism" would be giving the besieged the opportunity to produce and export their products. There are many corollary concessions that could be done, but were not done on the same principle. The siege is maintained to ... achieve purposes that are not all that clear. One reasons that is mentioned is that the leadership of Gaza is "vile". But the process of changing that, and bringing Gaza under "apolitical unity government", was ignored. Other reasons can be only divined.

      Does every nation on Earth assume the right to kill thousands for unclear reasons? Does ANY other nation assume that?

    • The hearts of writers on the opinion page of NYT are bleeding even as we speak.

      Don’t Kill the Export-Import Bank

      Mercy! Poor bank, isn't it beastly to slay it?

      In less dramatic tone, Roger Cohen (keeping track of R. Cohens and J. Goldbergs is hard, for a moment I will not generalize about his writing) laments that Zionism, of late, is not as good as the Zionism that he believes in. Unfortunately, the opening sentence raises my hackles: "My great-grandfather’s brother, Michael Adler, was a distinguished rabbi ..."
      While 1/2 of my ancestors are Jewish, none seems to be distinguished, and the other half includes municipal actuary, bookbinder, gardener, peasant, nurse, construction worker. Thus innate authority of the well-born sounds grating to me.

      Anyway, the great Zionist debate of the hour seems to be if the State of Israel should commit itself to regular atrocities, or to make a super-duper atrocity to end all atrocities. Roger Cohen is sadly on a sideline. Avoiding atrocities, "even if arguably just" as one of his ilk put it? How naive you can be!?

      What all of them seem in common is the denial that we are witnessing atrocities. It hollows Cohen's argument: why the heck Zionism should adhere to his aesthetics? This requires mental framework that I call "morality against ethics". In such morality we have to determine who is good and who is bad FIRST, and only then we can tell if a particular killing, maiming, infliction of homelessness or other deprivation is good or bad. I am sorry to say, but many opponents of "militant Zionism" (which is mainstream Zionism, unlike the liberal Zionism of Roger Cohen) buy this line of arguments.

      For starters, does it matter if non-combatants who are killed are "innocent"? Did they vote for Hamas? Did they vote? Are they family members of voters? All of that is important if we want to establish that they are "bad people", and this is important only if we think that killing bad people is good. This whole framework is confusing. If killing bad people is good, and at least 1/4 of the population of Gaza are bad people, then how to judge not killing of 99% of them 9 (and not maiming 95% of them)? According to some (like our American mainstream rabbis or Israeli Ambassador), it is an act of unprecedented generosity, worthy Nobel Prize, according to others, like Minister Bennet who is the head of a large political movement, total dereliction of duty. If anything, Bennet is more logical here, it is the intellectual framework that is insane.

  • Pro-Israel Facebook page is titled, 'Death to Dianna Buttu'
    • I thought that bots should mangle grammar and leave the spelling intact. Shouldn't IDF supply them with English spell checkers? But this is IDF for you. After decades of doing hardly anything else, they do not have equipment to set properly functioning roadblocks. "Elite commandoes" get beaten up by civilians. And bots without spell checkers.

      P.S. Can anything be deduced about the religion of the ranter? Many orthodox refrain from writing "God" or "god", using G..d or Hashem. Is it different for "national Orthodox"? Or simply a heavily inebriated Reform Jew?

  • Claim that Hamas killed 3 teens is turning out to be the WMD of Gaza onslaught
    • I did not realize that there is a significant difference. And I am not the only one. This is from "Electronic Intifada": "Israeli onslaught against the defenseless people of Gaza".

    • So this is how you get "sick buildings"? Factor S distributed through central air-conditioning? People in posh offices getting a larger concentration of stench than hoi polloi in cubicles. Top executives emerging from the headquarters with distinctly green complection, only to be greeted by parapazzi waiting in the fresh air outside.

  • Which crowded cities can you fire into?
    • As we go into military/civilian hypotheticals, here is a fresh example. Ukrainian government is bombing the rebels and rebels are shooting down these planes. (This is what makes them not mere rebels but terrorists.) In one version of the recent events, two Ukrainian fighter places were trailing very close to a civilian airliner and the airliner got shot down.

      Question: how meticulously should you check that you are not shooting at civilians, given that you expect to be bombed.

      Answer 1: order to shoot at receive a decoration for meritorious service.

      Answer 2: crime of the highest order, worth international sanctions.

      Answer 1 is for a non-hypothetical scenario link to

  • Controversial, illegal, and documented: Israeli military strategies in Gaza
    • In other words, Harper, Baird and company CAN extend "canine devotion" to Israel, but they do not have to do it to win elections. I do not recall Australian minister lashing out at UN Human Right Commission. And this is not even "marching in lockstep with US". Did Kerry say anything like that?

      In fact, as reported, American talk show host Mark Levin highly praised Mr. Baird and interviewed him on his show, and later contrasted him favorably with Communist Obama. On the other hand, up North, hasbara seems totally asleep. There were 9 comments, one happy that at least in Canada there are no Muslim apologists in the government, one comment calling the former a sick puppy and 7 comments highly critical of Mr. Baird.

  • Dr. Kristol's curriculum: US 'special responsibilities' include 'ancient longings' of Jewish nationalists
    • " If the intellectual architects of the European Union believe that the national form causes violence and stands in the way of a more harmonious world, ..."

      I doubt if Kristol could invent that "argument" unaided: to me, he will remain forever the intellectual mentor of Dan Quaile. But I have seen this circulated by other Israeli and pro-Israeli think-tankers. Surely, this is a ridiculous caricature, as EU very much consists of nation states, taking care of the welfare of their citizens first, and within their borders, of the welfare of the dominant ethnicity first. However, after VERY painful experiences, all (most?) European countries agreed to some limits on sovereignty. For example, a law passed by national parliament can be challenged in European Court. I guess various Israeli "absentee" laws would not pass the muster. And I wonder if administering more than 90% of the land by "ethnic foundations" would be OK.

      In other words, nationalism is clearly present in Europe, is clearly defended in Europe, but it has some limits. For that matter, American courts do not use religion and ethnicity to determine property rights either. As Israel is clearly not within these limits, the issue is not "nationalism" but "ultra-nationalism".

  • Israel's actions 'unjustified' in eyes of women, non-whites, Dems, indy's, and those under 50 -- Gallup
    • But those falsehoods are not THAT easy to verify as false. By the way of contrast, Zionists like to repeat that "Arabs already have 22 countries". But the list of 22, which everyone can check on Wikipedia, includes Somalia, Djibuti, Comoros and ... drum roll ... Palestine. Is there a Zionist pedant carping that "Arabs already have 18 countries"? No.

      Yesterday I have seen a list compiled by a Zionist of "non-democratic countries that voted to investigate human rights violation" currently being committed by IDF. The list starts with Argentina, which is correct in the sense that this county was alphabetically first among the members of UN Commission on Human Rights, but it is actually a democratic country with a decent human rights situation. Unlike Israel.

      More seriously, typical arguments say "everybody would do it" without any examples. Sure, everybody would shell hospitals for hours. So who did it and when?

    • “Israel can’t wait idly while rockets are fired at her”

      But that only scratches the surface of the threats that Israel faces daily! Since you really cannot remove the "rocket threat", the goal is to remove the threat from "handcuffs and tranquilizers" that can emerge from the dreaded terrorist tunnels. If removing those tunnels requires some slaughter, that is something that Israeli leaders sadly have to do.

      Uneducated person like me would think that the tunnels can be detected, and if they really approach close to the border fence they can be destroyed with very little violence. But that would be second guessing out of ignorance.

    • So you are an odd-ball, but at 27%, you are in a better shape than a "leftist" in Israel.

      There is also a chance that "against your better judgement" you have learned more than your MBA required. People accept as "truth" a lot of tidbits that are easy to verify as false.

    • One may quip that creating conformism, citizens deferential to leaders and mass media is precisely one of the goals of education. But that is done mostly in K-12. I suspect that something else is going on here.

      12 years ago it was much harder to make the case for Palestinians, with suicide bombings of the Second Intifada. I know because I have tried with my immediate acquaintances. Now it is totally different. However, people absorb new facts with big difficulty if it contradicts their convictions.

      Educated Americans (I say Americans, because I have most contact with them) are not particularly well educated in geography, history and so on, but they are probably more confident in what they know. Uneducated Americans are not better educated, but less confident.

      And of course there is the question of elite perspective. America becomes a broken society in that respect, with elite having scant empathy for non-elite. A member of "riff-raff" can be clubbed to death by police working hard for several minutes for the classic "riff-raff" crime of sleeping on the sidewalk (Anatole France would advise to sleep under a bridge), and does it concern the media? Just one aspect, that police confiscated cell phones of the witnesses. But the death of the miscreant (nobody disputes that he slept on that sidewalk) did not. And he was not "cooperative", like punching the police dog that bit him. How is a person supposed to cooperate with a police dog? Perhaps I am weird, but that puzzled me. Did it concern the law? Yes, and the coroner duly reported the death to be natural, basically, a healthier person would survive (even emaciated Afghan taxi driver survived several days of beating by US troops). Is it a normal standard for culpability for death?

      Thus to the middle and upper class, if the authority abuses the lower classes that it is as it should be. Death for "peddling cigarettes"? He knew the risks when he broke the law. The ideas of "proportionality" are more natural in the minds of people on the receiving side.
      link to

      If we accept that one can be killed for sleeping on a sidewalk or "suspicion of peddling cigarettes", "crushing Hamas" together with everybody in the vicinity does not strike as wrong.

  • Hamas mimics Hezbollah tactics, and no one will have stability till blockade is lifted
    • Joseph Massad had a good analysis of the situation in Egypt. Perhaps a bit too Marxist, "economic determinism", but so far, everything checks out. There are two basic political forces in Egypt: crony capitalists who make money through privileges bestowed by the state, many still in the military and other uniformed services, other former servicemen and family members, plus crooks who were never in uniform. Currently, they are "secular fascists", although this is really not secularism but "state Islamism". State Islamism is to Islamism what crony capitalism is to capitalism, the state approves Muslim (and Christian?) hierarchies, concedes "leading role of Islam" as interpreted by their stooges.

      On the other side are non-state privileged capitalists, and professionals who form the core of support of Muslim Brotherhood. Now thoroughly outlawed, and the properties of Brotherhood supporters are confiscated and given for management to supporters of the regime. The process of making it work is now the chief pre-occupation of the regime (or perhaps just an important and difficult task).

      Salafists are now pro-regime with some reservations, which fits Massad's framework. They are funded by Saudis and Emiratis who clearly are as crony capitalists and supporters of state-controlled Islamism. In the Kingdom and Emirates, the Brotherhood is outlawed as a kind of republican (anti-monarchy) tendency. Similarly, the opposition in Jordan, while legal, seems mostly Brotherhood. Qatar supports the Brotherhood, presumably because they do not want to be simply sheep following the Saudis.

      So for purely internal reasons, the fascist regime in Egypt loathes Hamas. As the fascism in Egypt got rejuvenated, with a personality cult that actually works (quite a few Egyptians seem to take it seriously), it bashes Brotherhood and Hamas with vigor that we did not see under Mubarak.

      Egypt is a broken society, with one half hating the other half. It would take some analysis and extra information to figure why Sisi is as popular as he is. Conformism? Appreciation of what fascism has to offer? Well informed fear of the Brotherhood, or manipulation?

  • U.S. casts lonely vote against establishing war crimes inquiry in Gaza
    • I guess the Israeli investigation was if IDF operation followed the rules of halacha. Like, "you should kill all their cattle": are chicken a sufficient substitute?

      Now we have operation "collect 200 Philistine foreskins". Accordingly, IDF abandoned Barak's method of strifing from a safe distance.

      PS. To observant Jews here: by "halacha", here I mean opinion issued by rabbis on Israeli military and municipal payrolls, and of course, the Rabbinates. Your own understanding of Jewish law may be different (I hope!). As a non-believer, I cannot venture an opinion what is "correct halacha".

    • It makes perfect sense. There are two kinds of people killed by IDF: terrorists and human shields. Killing is performed when Israeli public is irate. UNHRC is fraying the nerves of Israeli public.

  • Avishai says we misrepresented his views
    • "But some of us, in and out of Israel, have been willing to take the unpleasant consequences of non-conformity, criticizing the occupation and its consequences—including arguably just wars that might nevertheless have been avoided—since the time of Golda Meir. However queasy we may feel about Weissworld’s tribute, we certainly weren’t waiting for its spine."

      My working definition of liberal is not standing for anything but sounding nice. That requires refraining from writing and talking with sense. Unjust accusations that Avishai meant something are hereby denied. Should one avoid "arguably just wars"? If there are so just, perhaps Avishai should joint many young patriotic Israelis, remove some garments, paint some hearts and "IDF" on the skin, make a photo of himself and post it on Facebook. That perhaps would not sound nice (or even look nice, I am sorry to say).

      A leftist radical would say that if a war is avoidable, it cannot be just. One can quibble with hypothetical scenario, but at least some effort to avoid a war is needed before we could consider it "just". On a practical plane, once you made an effort argue that a war is just, it renders all subsequent kwetching concerning the conduct in that war meaningless. Which is precisely what a true liberal wants. Pursuit of meaninglessness.

      As I see it, the genuine error of Phil was assuming that Bernie has "views". Instead, he has decided that making sounds of "moral anxiety", without any prescriptions, mind you! is what "sounding nice" requires at this time. Needless to say, a "spine" is the last thing Bernie would wait for.

  • It's time for liberal Jewish bodies to take a stand
    • I disagree. I pondered what does it mean "liberal"? The term originated from political divisions in Spain and France ca. 200 years ago, and clearly, its meaning was changing over time. Now the best explanation is "sounding nice but not standing up for anything".

      Thus it is preposterous to demand that "liberal bodies to take a stand". They are good in joining the herd of not-so-liberal bodies in stands of "full solidarity", but the ability to make a separate stand is simply not there. It is like recommending a bungee jump to an acrophobic person.

      Perhaps "striving to get more nuanced understanding" is the max of what they can do. Does it sound nice? A bit strange aesthetic, if you ask me, and confusing if you mean it literally. But I guess it is kind of mellifluous.

  • Look at Netanyahu's 'evidence' that civilians are harboring rockets in Gaza
    • I would say that the artwork is much better than in "Spy vs spy" that inspired the cartoon presented in UN. On the other hand, I could draw like that too, and in my entire elementary school carrier I never got more than C in art. In particular, this is not drawn at all, just a collection of downloaded "art" pasted in.

    • Actually, it would be nice if a correspondent of Mondoweiss visited Palau, Marshall Islands etc. and collected opinions about Israel. 90% of their budget is decided by US Congress. I recall that once there was a budget stalemate, "government shutdown", and on that occasion the islanders missed some UN vote important for Israel. No cash, no vote.

  • Nicholas Kristof on how to end the Israel/Palestine conflict
    • Kristof is clearly well informed, he is just hopelessly biased. In his case, this is a bias of a religious person who wants to fit everything into his "nice framework", so if the facts do not fit, he ignores them. The case of Cambodian activist is instructive: as she fights for a "good cause", she must be a nice person and aspersion against her must be malicious. Incidentally, sex trafficking is basically a special case of exploiting people with "limited economic options", and if you had your pick, would you prefer a brothel or slavery on a fishing boat, where you are beaten up or even tossed overboard if you do not work hard enough? Not an easy choice. There were estimates of 100,000 such slaves in the region, so actually some people have that choice. We could consider "slave free tuna", except that can are either labelled "Product of Thailand", where it happens, or not labelled by the origin at all. So you read the label extolling eco-friendly qualities of the catching technique, but nothing about the labor conditions.

  • Relentless bombing on Gaza continues: Israel kills media worker, 9 people watching World Cup on beach
    • Minority viewer: When given the choice between a Westernized country and an unreformed religion, I’d support the actions of the Westernized country every time.

      EVERY TIME? It is precisely the Jews who were viewed as having an archaic, unreformed religion, unlike Germans who were much more reformed and of course, Western. Without dwelling more on that, the current status of religion is Israel is not particularly "reformed". For example, while IDF attacks "unreformed" Gaza, inspectors in Tel Aviv are fining stores open on Saturday contrary to the wishes of Tel Aviv city council, but as instructed by the government in Jerusalem. Mind you, some European countries limit the right to open stores during weekends, but it would not be possible to connect the right to operate a store on weekend days to the religion of the store owners.

      This war was commanded by the clergy of Israel, it is a "holy war". IDF will deliver 200 Philistine foreskins, so far there are ca. 90 hence the operation have to last several more days. Of course, they do not have to stop at 200, but it was strongly suggested that 200 is the minimum number, on the basis of a Holy Book dating to Iron Age.

  • 'Jewish' or 'Israeli' -- NYT, BBC, and CNN make different word choice
    • A comment on "bilal a" reference to West Bank settler rabbis condemning the murder of Abu Khdeir: “There is an obligation to give them the death penalty, in order to fulfill the [Biblical precept of] ‘you shall eradicate the evil from your midst,’” the rabbi said.

      “The State of Israel and its operational arms, the IDF and the security services are required and commanded to wage war against terror without mercy, until it has been expunged from the world,” adding that the murderers of Gil-Ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel should also receive the death penalty.

      This theology is confusing to its own followers. The concept seems to be that the commandment "Thou shall not kill" is not applicable to the State, as it is indeed demonstrated many times in Torah, but applicable to all who are not executing plans and orders of the State. So far, even preschool children would understand. But wait! The State is not some independent agent, but should act on authority ultimately traceable to the Almighty, and the latter instructs the State to "wage war on terror without mercy" etc., using the mouths and pens of our sage rabbis. What should those followers do when the State is strangely slow, and perhaps even merciful? When it is hard to see how the proposed action could possibly "expunge the terror"? Shouldn't they become volunteer arms of the State?

      No, no, no, you morons! Mercy upon the enemy is forbidden, but so is disobedience. Sin of mercy committed by the officers of the state in no way justifies the disobedience of the vigilantes. But it is confusing, and the rabbis could be more lucid.

  • State Dep't says it 'remains shocked' by Abu Khdeir beating
    • The cynic in me suggests that the mere fact that the murder of Abu Khdeir and the beating of his cousin are shocking is by far insufficient to shock our State Department etc. I can quickly list a number of events, many with pictures, that were not found shocking by the State Department and the Administration in general.

      Thus after so many years of Israel benefiting from the selective sensibilities of American government now it is subjected to scrutiny. The fact that the pictures of both Khdeir photos are so moving is a part of it, but a part of it is that Netanyahu government is a loose cannon and it is imperative for the Administration to put it in place, which is ordinarily very difficult in Washington, D.C.

      By a loose cannon I mean very literally the old naval situation when a cannon on the cannot deck got loose and rolled back and forth, breaking everything.

      Objectively, what is most terrifying is not what GoI unleashed, but what it didn't, as the Cabinet could not agree on details. The debate on Monday was leaked to the press, on Tuesday they continued in secret, on Wednesday Muhammad Abu Khdeir was killed. In the past, under a more unified coalition and more forceful prime minister, IDF would kill several hundred Palestinians and delay the next round of the "peace process" (tactically welcome, but entailing unwanted self-limitations) for a year or few years.

  • How long can Israel depend on Mizrahi docile loyalty? Smadar Lavie asks in new book
    • "In fact, Western Europeans were considered so superior to Mizrahi ..."

      Those "Western" Europeans could hail from as far East as Khabarovsk, and most were from Central and Eastern Europe, so "Europeans".

      "Russians and Poles"? Netanyahu family is Lithuanian. I once asked my lather father what was the difference between Polish and Lithuanian Jews, and the explanation was that there were quite a few, the chief being that "Litwacy" were speaking Yiddish in a funny way. It is also worthwhile to mention that "Poles" absolutely detest Poles, producing various quotes etc. that are used by anti-Semitic Poles.

      In general, modern Israeli nationalism is very much against Europeans, and Poles usually start the list of "nations" that oppressed Jews. This pride in European origin (which is denied as the origin) combined with hatred of Europeans makes a truly unique combination. They remind me the soccer ultras of Warsaw who channel their energies to make impressive and provocative displays on the side of the stadium of their team, Legia, including virtual banner the covers most of the stadium side. Tel-Aviv team was greeted with "Jihad Legia", but on other occasions displays included "We hate everybody", "Welcome in hell" and "God, save the fanatics". When you read comments in Jerusalem Post,, Times of Israel, you can recognize the spirit.

      Concerning Mizrahim, they indeed resemble to social position of the "white trash" of southern states in USA, and apart for a small percentage of exception, they are nationalistic, follow either parties dominated by the elite (Ashkenazi seem to dominate political leadership quite thoroughly) or religious Shas which in turn is "Ashkenazified". This latter phenomenon is most puzzling, because they follow "European templates" that are totally backward.

      But the other similarity with "white trash" is that there is no hard separating line, there exists social mobility, intermarriage and so on, but to the degree that they form group consciousness, it is directed at the combo of minorities and liberals, or Arabs and "Ashkenazi leftists" (who are a small minority of Ashkenazis).

  • Israeli police and media collude to marginalize coverage of Muhammad Abu Khudair's murder
    • "The number of casualties doesn’t matter. What matter is the fact that over million Israelis (not only Jews but also Arabs and Bedouin) who are within 40 kilometers range from Gaza are being terrorized."

      The number actually matter. If the numbers were higher, the government of Israel would consider concessions that could end that situation, as it happened with Hezbollah. The key concession would be to refrain from periodic assassinations and other killings, something that would quickly restore "calm", and more solid concessions could remove the "theat" almost completely. As it happened with Hezbollah (Israel is still childishly performing sonic booms, but does not conduct assassinations, bombings, cross border killings, and Lebanese can engage in economic activity without interference from Israel, and would Hezbollah attack Israel out of the blue, which they can, they would loose a lot).

      But with numbers so low as they are, the permanent "crisis" in respect to Gaza is too convenient to end it.

  • 'Cycle of violence' is the new narrative (and inaccurate, but a step forward)
    • I think cycle of violence is an accurate statement, or perhaps "spiral of violence" since events never repeat in the same way. But violence is in a major part perpetuated by reactions to previous acts and methods, so a recognition of that is a necessary step in a proper description of what is going on, and in offering prescriptions.

      One could postulate that violence is a combination of social needs (insecurities etc.) with obnoxious ideas. And if we observe more clearly, we can see that ideas introduced by one side are adopted and incrementally expanded by the other side, and thus the conflict can spiral out or spiral in (additional to the obvious dynamic that acts in response to stresses felt by one side create stresses on the other).

      The cycle of violence paradigm posits we should seek the origin of the obnoxious ideas in the cycle, paying attention to the dynamic of innovation and imitation modification. However we characterize the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries in the aftermath of 1949, (voluntary but fostered by the governments or forcible) it WAS in the aftermath and it was an imitation/modification. Most currently we observe the idea that the GOOD way to redress certain kinds of deprivation is to inflict violence on random members of the "opponent community". In a cycle/spiral of violence that key idea is waxing or waning, so observing and explaining the dynamics of that idea is very important.

      But there is also more frequent use of "cycle of violence", which is that our side has good ideas and has to suffer the violence from the other side, which has bad ideas, until the time that the other side is eliminated (if ever). This is a static, incorrect view (in my humble opinion), so perhaps "spiral of violence" could be a better term.

    • There is nothing pejorative about Golden Horde, but non-capitalized hordes are disorganized and/or rapacious mobs etc. For example, when you mention a "horde of reporters" you imagine precisely the kind that are pests. And when you are in a museum, you prefer if the other people there do not come in hordes so you can take your time contemplating your favorite pieces.

      On the other hands, historically, invading hordes were very often fleeing persecution. Goths, fleeing from Huns, were invading Rome, trying their luck against the legions after getting whacked and so on.

  • Autopsy report shows Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burned to death; reports spread of other possible abductions
    • About prowling gangs. Once I stumbled on a quite surprising web page, and old member of a Polish nationalistic movement (often referred to as fascist) recalling the good old days to the youngsters, in the occasion of the death of Izaak Jeziernicki (a.k.a. Yitzhak Shamir), who was a leader of a similar Jewish movement, Betar, and ONR boys together with Betar boys were trashing Bund offices.

  • Senator Rand Paul pens over-the-top pander to pro-Israel crowd
    • A bit strange aspect of Rand's article. The comments seem to be against him, and hard to see any "moderate" comments. I only check the latest screenful. A person "Aristotelian1" seem doing most in attacking anti-Rand commenters. I started to wonder what standards are applied by National Review for deleting comments:

      • Reply•Share ›
      Aristotelian1 • a day ago
      Strangle the last Jihadi with the entrails of the last Prog.
      3 • Reply•Share ›
      This comment was deleted.

    • At last, Hillary may gaze into her magic window and boldly ask THE QUESTION: Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the least evil of them all? THE ANSWER: Your tongue is forked, your hands are stained, but you sometimes can make a good friend.

      Clearly, it requires more than 5 minutes to invent something appropriate for the "but" part.

  • After repeated calls for vengeance, Netanyahu urges Israelis to be 'cool-headed' and seek 'justice'
    • Not really. It is Avigdor, sorely tired of playing a nice diplomat, letting himself rant the way he likes. He is really out of the loop as far as decisions are concerned.

    • "not in our DNA"

      One can always blame Khazars.

      By the way, I think that mayhem administered by IDF is also "proper Zionist response" in the sense that classic, proper Zionist is very statist, and in recent years we have increasing elements of "messianic anarchism".

    • link to

      Incitement to mob violence was inadvertent. Clearly, the government wanted "proper Zionist response" with details yet to be spelled out, but performed orderly by the State. This response would be bloodier and more cruel by far, but masked in proper forms. Perhaps the drama of the search of possibly live victims somehow inflamed passions much more than intended. It may even happen that very, very Zionist Bnei Akiva movement will replace its "worldwide leader" for intemperate statements. Before checking what he said, just think what it would take to raised hackles among leaders of a "national modern orthodox Judaism" movement.

    • Ron Ben-Yishai regrets the murder of Abu Khdeir in I am sorry to say that this is perhaps most intelligent column on the topic that appeared there. link to

      Absurdly, the Arab youth's murder and the Jewish riots and racist calls for revenge on the social media are seriously eroding the international legitimacy Israel enjoyed until 48 hours ago.

      With this legitimacy, Israel could have launched an operation in Gaza. Now, an operation in Gaza after Mohammad Abu Khdeir's murder will likely spark a major flare-up, not only in Judea and Samaria but also in Egypt and Jordan, and maybe even the Lebanese will be glad to forget about their internal quarrels for a moment and join the activity against Israel – diplomatic activity or, God forbid, violent activity.

      Gruesome as it is, the death of Abu Khdeir saved a lot of lives. It is also worth to ponder why the government of Israel needs "legitimacy" and dreads "delegitimization". Legitimacy as a weapon of mass destruction.

    • ... preliminary investigation into charges that education minister, Gideon Saar, had sexual liaisons with underage girls and women who he either supervised or who asked for help landing government jobs [cleared him]

      A good side of Netanyahu is that he has a highly energetic and alert wife that can nip in the bud any inclinations of that kind.

    • A modest person like Bibi would think that he is Hand if God. In any case, the guy is riding a tiger, if he would not show himself to be "tough", the public anger could turn on him. Angry Israelis are damn hard to please.

      From that point of view, the murder in Jerusalem gave Bibi a respite, he can go into "responsible statesman" mode while provoking only a modicum of anger.

  • A Selfie of the Potential Murderer as a Young Man

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