Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3949 (since 2010-05-31 18:07:51)

piotr

American university faculty member born in Poland.

Showing comments 3949 - 3901
Page:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      =====

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Are you sure that he was a Mizrahi?

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

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

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

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

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

      Also

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

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

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

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

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

      This means that Kulanu remains a king maker.

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

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

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

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

    • "Israel is softer than Russia".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      link to huffingtonpost.com

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

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

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

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

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

      -- UN Charter is such a treaty

      -- resolutions of UNSC are binding by UN Charter

      -- the executive branch decides how to vote in UNSC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • "Being Muslim…"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      President: Mikado, Israel: Katisha, Congress: Chorus

    • Page: 39
  • Pelosi blasts Netanyahu speech as 'insult to intelligence of U.S.', Amanpour calls it 'dark, Strangelovian'
  • Bipartisanship is dead, as Netanyahu, AIPAC, and GOP square off against Obama over Iran
    • I guess it his hard to tell if "bipartisanship is dead" (the creature sometimes appears fleetingly near Potomac river, but it is hard to tell what type of an apparition it is), but it is clear that some folks want to get rid of it, and that it suits them just fine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Netanyahu's speech and the American Jewish condition
    • Few points: self-hater? At worst, I see disparaging, not hatred, of DIFFERENT people. Educated do disparage the ignorant, (among the Jews the distinction remains sharp) and vice versa, "cosmopolitans" disparage "nationalists" and vice versa, and so on. Perhaps universal love would be better, but some degree of assertiveness about you life philosophy is healthy (and I do not thing that hophmi advocates that). Of course, there are other divisions, the established disparaging the "rabble of radical and marginal groups" and the latter, "whores of the plutocrats", and what is common to all, we disparage the others, and we need some introspection if we do not go to far, and when such disparaging is warranted to begin with.

      So Phil is educated, "cosmopolitan" ("universal values trump the tribal values"), not established (but getting quoted in NYT, so not totally "out of the mainstream"), so it is only natural if he does not feel a lot in common with morons who cannot string two sentences without a major mistake (and who emphatically do not care about it) and are established due to generosity of tycoons like Sheldon Adelson (or moderate tycoons like Saban). Good for him! If this is an affliction, I take it any time.

      Blaming Israel for all calamities? Phil was very measured and strived for accuracy. Israel as an ally is of dubious utility, and to the degree that it provided us with intelligence, ideas, and Israeli partisans in USA interpreted intelligence and offered ideas, the results were bad. Most importantly, the event that motivated the article, is Netanyahu making a speech to preclude any conceivable agreement in Iran and thus preventing normalization in a very troubled region, and perhaps leading to a war with huge risks for USA and, suicidally, for Israel. In other words, a valiant attempt to cause a calamity. We do not need to rehash Kitos war or what not to see that. Phil addressed specific events, and avoided even those generalization that may be warranted.

      "The radical clerics that constitute al-Azhar University..." What? Here hophmi raised the art of changing the topic to levels that I did not previously imagine. I guess it is my personal fault here, because this passage is very baffling if you know the actual locations of radical clerics in the region -- you find more of them in the settlements than in al-Azhar.

      And we come back to "self-hatred". Born in a medium size country, I absorb sayings and proverbs, "bad is a bird that soils its own nest" but also much more skeptical "a crow will not peck out an eye of another crow" (more colloquially, "Kurwa kurwie łba nie urwie"). It is fine to honor your own nest, but one should not become one of the crows that nobody can trust (as it will always side with another crow). But a more elaborate saying says that insufficient group solidarity may lead to a calamity, but in a larger scheme of things it may be for the better. It depends how you see your group in a larger context.

  • It's not about nukes, it's about the US shifting the power balance -- Parsi
    • I guess it is a tall tale.

      As far as technical capability of American forces to shoot down Israeli planes, they are predicated on knowing where those places are. Consequently, if Americans COULD shoot them down, they would know about Israeli planes already, and that makes the narrative highly problematic.

      Where does USA have radar systems? Surely in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, Bahrain and Cyprus, perhaps in Jordan and Iraq too (there is a base there still in use by our forces). The chief problem of Israel is that Iran's nuclear sites are tad far, just beyond the normal range. That requires that bombers fly high to save fuel -- making them visible in 200 mile radius, and are refueled on the ground or in the air.

    • In my opinion, the war of 2006 was a practical simulation of US war with Iran. In case of an attack, Iran would declare nearby waters as war exclusion zone, and that would stop tanker traffic out of Persian Gulf. Would the tankers dare to go, they would be treated with missiles (or a combination of mines and missiles directed at mine sweeping vessels). The question is: could US stop Iran doing that?

      The answer is that if Iranian military is armed, trained and prepared as well as Hezbollah but more numerous, then no. Not from the air as they would have prepared many tunnels where they could hide the missile units. Not from the ground as they can make short work from units attacking fortified positions, and USA would not have a better weapon and manpower advantage that IDF had over Hezbollah.

    • I do not object to your major claim that US is a colony of Israel (in the sense that UC student government is "colonized" by SJP), but this particular example is not convincing at all.

      Number one, reporting does not oblige any actions. Even more importantly, the government is obliged to report a lot of stuff, but it is not oblige to report things as they are, but as they are determined to the best ability of government workers and consultants, and there is no legal requirement that they should be bright, brave, knowing languages, knowing subject matter etc.

      Finally, there is a systematic reporting bias. What should be reported about armored vehicles of Israel after they have shown their vulnerability to "tandem projectiles"? What should be reported about IDF prowess in martial arts after member of their special forces were beaten up by amateurs on Mavi Marmara, or when Lt. Col. Eisner tried to beat up some bicycling protesters and broke his finger in the process? I read reports from that region regularly, but the only occasion that I recall that IDF beat up folks who were not restrained were retired ladies from Minnesota. Yes, IDF can shoot, including body and head shots with gas canisters, but when faced with unruly Israeli Jews, and then they are reluctant to shoot, IDF ends up beaten up.

    • To understand why it is of paramount importance to keep Iran in the doghouse (sanctions etc.) forever, one should go back to often cited reason for the removal of Saddam Hussein. To wit, there is no possibility for stable peace in the region unless Palestinians reduce their unreasonable expectations. And the regime of Saddam Hussein was alleged of doing exactly that, and the list of culprits included also Syria, Iran and Hezbollah. North Korea was included in the "axis of evil" for a good measure (Venezuela somehow was not, but was placed in the target list even so).

      Governments and movements on the target list have to be eliminated, but if that is impractical, isolated and their capabilities reduced to the maximum extend. All of that could be achieved but, alas, the Empire also has some goals of its own that necessitate picking fights with Russia and having rather frosty relationship with China, so Syria and Iran could not be isolated as much as desired (hard to imagine a deal: carte blanche in Ukraine for you, carte blanche in Iran and Syria for us, and to make it more of an equal deal, how about Latvia and all the islands on South China Sea?).
      link to en.wikipedia.org

      For a long time, that Israel-centric policy was fine with USA, although the Iraq war made a big dent in the popularity of this approach. In my mother tongue there is a saying "do not check teeth of a gift-given horse", but if the horse costs you more than a trillion dollars, an irresistible urge emerges to check if the nag can chew, amble, pull or trot, and the discovery that it can't leads to some dismay. However, of late, the things got seriously wrong and one reason is the dreaded balance of power. We have to fear more from our allies that our erstwhile enemies, and the basic reason is that Iran is to feeble to make our allies afraid of consequences.

      Saudis, Qataris, Emiratis, Jordan, Israel and Turkey all support taqfiris, alumni of Syrian war drift back to their home countries and the West has little stomach for occasional little havoc that those alumni can wreck. Happy projections that Syrian war can continue forever and the West (including Israel) will enjoy the consequences are largely gone, few view the consequences as enjoyable. Yet, hard to see a resolution without Iran being stronger.

      With Iran out of doghouse, first of all, it will be able to do more against the taqfiris. Secondly, perhaps more importantly, it will be possible to calibrate the level of cooperation with Iran, and that will give leverage on our Iran-hating allies to behave more like we wish.

      To recap, normalization with Iran will embolden Palestinians (in Israeli thinking, but I think that they truly believe in that and the fear is not fake, unlike the fear of the nuclear program), and to "add insult to the injury", will give a level to squeeze Israel with very little effort. Hard to see that the West, least of all, American Administration, will do much for the Palestinian, but they can do a little. So far, Israel could scoff at that "little".

  • White House says Netanyahu offers no alternative but military action (and Liz Warren won't say if she's attending speech)
    • Concerning the knowledge of Middle East, I think that Chomsky has experience as an educator
      link to buzzfeed.com
      This is about the knowledge of Europe among the college students who presumably prepared for that test. If you check, the knowledge of the locations of Portugal, Spain, Ireland, France, and UK is almost universal (I guess that students started their preparations at the right side of the map) and as we go the the East, it is increasingly hazy, particularly in the case of smaller countries (not a single correct placement of Lichtenstein, although quite a few tried to place the latter in Luxemburg). Israel is even further to the East, and smaller than Macedonia (nobody placed Macedonia correctly).

      It is sometimes hard to grasp that people not interested in an interesting issue can know little. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey, once said that "Since Turkey is the only country that borders both Russia and Ukraine blah blah" and I wondered: does this guy think that he is a Sultan of Belorus? (It is more probable that he overlooked the fact that Ottoman Empire is gone, there was a time that Turkey had borders both with Ukraine and Russia.)

    • "I think Netanyahu’s fanaticism on Iran is genuine. He really sees himself as Churchill. "

      It is a popular device to quote Churchill, but this is how Netanyahu sees himself:
      link to upload.wikimedia.org

  • FAQ: Palestinians and the Israeli elections
    • I think that there is a fair chance that Arab Joint List will join the government coalition in some form in exchange for tangible policy concessions.

      The precedences would point otherwise. After all, political scene is dominated by current and former Likud members: barely distinguishable Jewish Home and Home for the Jews (my bad, I can't tell the difference), Kulanu, Livni in Zionist Camp, and of course, Likud itself. They can get together and pick some combination of Yesh Atid and Haredi and make a government. Or they could, but the whole premise of these elections is that they do not want to: put those guys and gals at one table and you will see fist fights or food throwing. From my perspective the reasons are theological, and those are hard to overcome in an essentially theocratic state.

      In my reading of the issues, the most profound duty of Jews is the defense of the Jewish State, not for their mere gain or convenience but as sacred duty demanded by the one we cannot name. However, should it be achieved by IDF service or by Torah studies? In the past there was a compromise, let young people choose, but to the warrior faction that dominates this is a blasphemy, while preventing full time Torah study is the blasphemy to the other side. As a result, it is very hard to collect 61 supporters of a government of the "National Camp".

      This can increase the tolerance of Israeli Jewish public for breaking the principle of keeping non-Zionist parties out of the government. But it still rises the question what could a Zionist government offer to Arab Joint List? And they call themselves "Zionist Camp". For starters, they can easily promise that neither BY nor YB (sorry, I can't tell them apart) will control the police. And not even Likud! That would be a good start. In a sane word it could be easily expanded to a program giving substantial concessions to "disadvantaged sectors" that would include Arabs (solving Beduin problem by giving them land or land leases) and poor Haredim, some peace program (not too much, this is Zionist Camp after all), cut in settlement funding and military (it does not need all the recruits and all weapon systems to keep in check Gaza and villages in Area C, and the conquest of Iran is out of the question in any case).

      But in a sane word the theocratic fascists could also agree on a common course of action, "sane world" is clearly in an alternative universe. So I will not try to quantify how big the "fair chance" is.

  • Right-wing bomb thrower David Horowitz behind anti-SJP posters
    • What caused him to admit it? Based on his writing, he was enraged that Zionist organizations at UC and other organization condemned the posters, so he wrote that they are deluded Judenrats, plus he was really proud. Make one wonder why the posters were anonymous. Perhaps he figured that his role will be discovered anyway, or it was already discovered.

      I also checked the articles in UCLA student newspaper. Most of comments in two-three articles I have seen, including the letter of Hillel and other organizations that condemned the racist posters were extremely supportive of Horowitz's line. There were only few comments to begin with, so Horowitz has something like 3 active trolls.

  • Al Jazeera publishes leaked intelligence files showing Netanyahu lied about Iranian nuclear threat
    • "But is does beg the question how Congress, the Knesset, or Israelis for that matter, can have faith anything Netanyahu says relating to Iran’s nuclear program is truthful? "

      If there is will, there is a way. As we all know, the Congress, the Knesset, American press and so on can believe anything, more precisely, mere inconsistence with known facts is not a reason to stop the belief. In the past I thought that there is group, even if it is a narrow circle, that is cognizant of what is going on and decides what the beliefs of the less clearly thinking people should be, but this is a crude simplification. Several reasons can stop a belief: logical impossibility, flat contradiction with known facts and inconvenience, and the last is most decisive. The belief that any compromise with Iran is a surrender to evil is increasingly inconvenient.

      Thus the recent leaks and wide circulation given to those leaks are the symptoms how inconvenient the above belief is becoming. In that sense, Jackdaw has a point, but on the other hand, most of us knew that this increasingly inconvenient belief is also a bunch of nonsense, so calling us "gullible" is not convincing at all.

  • Israel's new Asian allies
    • It is worth to note that the Chinese name of China is "State of the Center", so they are naturally disinclined to view the world as centered at Jerusalem or Washington.

    • I apologize for a comment that is not fully serious.

      In Israeli mental sphere, the universe is centered on Israel, and position of all heavenly and terrestrial bodies are defined by their distance and angle (which can have pro- or anti-Israeli inclination) in respect to Israel. The idea that a South or East Asian politician may spend weeks and months with nary a thought about Israel is too preposterous to contemplate. Say, Prime Minister Modi attended Israeli Air Show in Bangalore. Was it one of large number of similar social engagements, or not?

      In fact, Asians have a huge variety of problems that that have to cope with, of nature about which we may have only very faint ideas. Take Kingdom of Thailand. Former leaders behave seditiously, students show disrespect for the Royal Family, companies earning billions in export revenue are accused of using slave labor, and THE LATEST: invasion of cute aliens!
      link to news.thaivisa.com
      Note that such invasion is very difficult to stop, because regardless how many members of military, police, social service etc. you delegate to the task, they will not take the problem seriously. The invaders are just way too cute.

    • "One day Israel may be relying on a Chinese veto at the UN, not a US one. "

      This is perhaps a dream in Israel, but a totally impossible dream. Even secular Israelis should know something about resting hand on a slender reed. Furthermore, either Israel will sell somewhat crappy stuff to China, severely limiting the gratitude, or it will be on a path of deteriorating the relationship with USA: the first thing to go would be to end sweet agreements on joint development of military technologies, which can be done quite discretely if Pentagon is annoyed. Or not so discretely if Pentagon will be annoyed more.

      A further danger is the conflict in Ukraine. If the hotheads like Biden will win the day, this conflict will linger longer, and Ukraine will get a smattering of American weapons (through UAE?). In due time, those weapons will be smashed by Russian weapons. As a consequence, Russia will have best tested weapon systems that are not Western, and the dominant role of Russia as a supplier to India and China will be restore after temporary wobbling. It is also possible that Russian-made drones will be tested against Israeli drones in Armenia-Azerbaijan.

      Lastly, it is a mistake to read South and East Asian attitudes as "Judeo-philic". Apart from some Islamophobic Indian nationalists, there is no sentiment whatsoever, instead, purely mercantile attitude.

    • Yes, they are in the same company.

  • Inflammatory posters at UCLA call Students for Justice in Palestine 'Jew haters' (Updated)
    • Sadly, pro-Israeli organizations at affected campuses condemned the posters. Why? Incomparable David Horowitz, the most pro-Israel member of Black Panthers that ever was and will be, knows very well why:

      JJ: At UCLA, even the pro-Israel Jewish establishment has come out forcefully against these posters. What are your thoughts on that?
      Horowitz: They are afraid of offending people whose agenda is their elimination. How sick is that? Let’s remember in the lead up to the Holocaust the Jewish councils in Eastern Europe organized the ghettos. They got everybody’s name so it would be easy for the Germans to exterminate them. Of course, they didn’t believe they would be exterminated. These Jews have the same delusion.

      I have trouble understanding DH logic. If the situation is so dire, why is he paying his stooges to ply posters at campuses, plus sundry of other activities, rather than letting them reach safety and spiritual elevation in Israel? What right does he have to condemn young Jewish lives to quite probable untimely death? Additionally, if he calls his fellow pro-Israeli activists "Judenrats", does it make SJP only mildly worse? Seems that Mr. Horowitz detests his fellow pro-Israeli Jews, is it #Jewhatred, or Jewhatred (no hash tag), of "hatred of despicable individuals that only accidentally are Jews and pro-Israeli activists" (not convincing, because they were selected for opprobrium solely on the basis of being in "pro-Israeli establishment").

      Or is it hatred of everybody who is neither David Horowitz nor contributes to material (please donate) and psychological (please flatter) well-being of David Horowitz?

  • Racism is in the air: Video showing racist exchange between Israelis and a flight attendant goes viral
    • The British were definitely supremacist in they colonial period, and insisted on proper manners. The connection is not as close as you describe.

    • My theory on Israeli rudeness is that Israel is a society formed by immigrants, and successive waves were absorbing dominating customs. So probably the initial big wave of immigrants was pretty rude.

      And why they were rude? In part, back where they came from, politeness was something reserved for higher society, and only within the higher society. On top of that, properly accented Polish sounds rather rude to more eastern Slavic speakers, with klipped and missing vowels, and "hard" consonants, so the perception of rudeness (as an object of emulation) was amplified (similarly, proper British accent may sound patronizing, amplifying the perception which is also based on actual behavior). Another part is that Zionism as a matter of principle wanted to erase "stereotype of subservient, deferential behavior of the Exile" and replace it with assertiveness.

    • The attendant was pretty rude as well. What I found particularly funny was an article, I guess in Ha'aretz before paywall, describing complaints of inhabitants of Tel Aviv about the rudeness of French tourists. It totally beats me in what way they were different from the natives.

      Then there are interactions between Israeli tourists and Polish waiters (clash of incivilities?). Luckily, the counties do not share a border, so incidents did not rise to international conflicts.

      And there are also Chinese tourists. link to jeraldinephneah.me

  • Boteach and Israeli ambassador say everything from BDS to Abbas places Jews under threat
    • pabelmont: The wall inside the West Bank is to keep Palestinians separate from parts of occupied territory which Israel claims for itself — in perfect continuation of the war of 1948. -

      Inaccurate, I am sorry to say. I do not recall a declaration that Israel "claims for herself" all lands on one side of the West Bank wall and none of the lands on the other side. Operationally, one side is for quiet rest, and the other, for contact sports. It is there, on the "far side" where the Jewish spirit reaches highest levels, bonding with the land, strafing the enemy daily and so on.

      It is a pablum for the masses that Israel exists to improve the security of the Jewish people. No, the goals are much more sublime: Israel is elevating the Jewish people, to Jews is what Nirvana is to Buddhists. Do not take me wrong, security is of course important, but only in so far as it preserves the feeble spirit on its way to elevation. As both extermination and assimilation divert from the path to elevation, they are equally lamentable.

      Anyway, walls somehow became essential in regulating the process of elevating the spirit. In Gaza one can exercise heroism (Goyim could call it a shooting gallery), but every part serves a separate purpose while all contribute to the "wonderful tapestry of the Jewish spirit".

  • US and Israel divorce rumors over Iran
    • JeffB noted that Congress can nix a foreign policy of the President, and that happened when the President insisting on aiding terrorist gangs popularly known as Contras by exercising its power of the purse, i.e. prohibiting spending money on it. Then the minions of the President solicited money from some strange individuals, like Sultan of Brunei, and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the latter case, in exchange for weapons and spare parts for airplanes. Then the President testified, in the most convincing manner, that he has no idea of what is going on: I recall the feebly shaking head and bewildered expression as if it were today. On that basis, one could venture an opinion that Congress sabotaged a policy about which the President had no idea. If so, hardly a case of disrespect for the exalted office.

      However, here we have something quite different. Ordinarily, the President negotiates treaties as he wishes, with no overt interference, and then the Congress can ratify or throw the policy to a waste basket, usually by refusing to pass relevant bills. Interference in negotiations themselves is breaking the tradition. Plus it is unpopular, so Netanyahu and Bo

    • Sorry, I did not connect my remarks to Guliani. He seems to be like Shmuel Boteach: making a carrier as a minion of some powerful folks, so as long as he spews what they like he is doing fine, makes a living, gets media coverage etc.

    • You mean "potentate" or "a pet of an American businessman, who in turn is dependent on Communist China that can squash his main business venture at any time - simply send investigators to his casinos".

      In a major scheme of things the whole affair makes sense from Chinese point of view: Iran forced to rely on Russia and China, and Russia to rely on China, and China is the god guy. Irrational American policies that do not have direct negative effect on China are simply improving their position. Adelson is also doing well: Netanyahu on his mantelpiece is a tchotchke that properly impresses his tycoon friends; he also tried to get a tchotchke of all tchotchkes, a personalized American president, but that is much harder: even several hundred million dollars are not that great of an amount in the multi-billion landscape of American politics.

      As for non-tycoon American, at the moment there are two choices: ignore the reality or get depressed.

    • Guliani: The Ayatollah is insane. He’s like the guy walking around Bellevue Hospital thinking he’s George Washington. Believe me, I know what I am talking about, been there, done that.

  • Netanyahu says Labor will bring ISIS to Jerusalem
    • ISIS is an organization, but it is also used as a label that of late has more shine than al-Qaeda, but as a label it is just a new, improved version. I call those people peripatetic jihadists because from this perspective you can see: (1) causes of dissatisfaction, where I would add traumatic stress disorder that leads to extreme radicalization (2) ideology and organizations, the latter is quite fluid (3) flows of people, money and arms.

      So Israel is not supplying ISIS, but Jordan and Israel seem to jointly prop what is basically al-Nusra of southern Syria, "moderate part of al-Qaeda", while Turkey is a source and conduit of money and arms to the same in the northern Syria. There al-Nusra has a patchy relationship with ISIS which is much stronger, so they have to surrender part of the get to ISIS. ISIS took some territory from al-Nusra and recently they gave it back, which hints some kind of exchange. People kidnapped in areas controlled by al-Nusra were subsequently executed by ISIS which also points to some kind of exchange.

      In short term, the result suit Israel just fine. In the long term, there is a pattern of terrible civil wars terminating with a clear winner. Once that happens, local superiority of Israel will be very much reduced, and it is really an open question how much. Until recently there were speeches and, I guess, actual plans, that the West should not allow any side to win, but now the effects of the civil wars (Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya etc.) are accumulating and they are becoming intolerable, so we observe gradual but deep change of the attitude in the West.

      Netanyahu and GOP have a common cause in preventing the recognition of reality to take hold, and they will clearly do their best. The main point is that the fate of the world should be decided in the corridors of Washington D.C. and the spoils should go to those who have most influence there. The counter-point presented by the Administration is that some aspects of the reality should also intrude on our decision making, however slightly -- they are clearly not overdoing it!

  • Hanin Zoabi disqualified from Israeli elections over a mistranslation gone too far
    • I know that it is a Shiboleth of right wing Zionists to never, ever say "Palestinian". Still, it is manifestly OK to use Palestinian and Arab interchangeably when the context is clear. The subtle point is that the usage "Palestinian" has some "in-your-face" aspect, like "We are here, we are queer, deal with it", so in the contact of "unity" the term "Arab" is preferred, but with clear understanding, and statements on the record, that the "Arabs" in question are Palestinian.

      Zoabi herself (and Balad) is given to rather subtle distinctions, as Palestinian nationalist in the framework of individual human rights and not simply "Palestinian nationalist".

    • "Arab" is not a political term like "Canadian", but ethno-linguistic, like "Ango-Saxons" or "Anglophone". If there was a term with wider circulation, say, "Anglian", a person like Obama could at different occasion say "As an American, I blah blah" or "As an Anglian, I find it particularly blah blah".

    • Something is wrong with "edit", sorry for the typos.

    • to a blah chick: I do not think that Israeli's are particularly sexist, a male Arab would have similar problem. Zoabi's first crime was to attempt to kill and kidnap, and in the failed aftermath, to badmouth valiant IDF soldiers who defended their country against a terrorist horde aboard of Mavi Marmara. At least, this is how I understood comments in Israeli online publications. I would need to research why there was an attempt to ban her in 2003: was to for the entire Balad?

      For the high court it is a hard case. On one hand, the legal case to ban her may be thin, something I recall being described in a similar context in USA as "arid legalism". On the other hand, her presence in the chamber of the Knesset endangers Israel -- many members can succumb to hypertension, or if sufficiently medicated, to narcolepsy. In a country with a parliamentary system that can be a profound problem.

      Pragmatic justices may well conclude that narcoleptisy among MKs can actually benefit the state. But I expect stage II: the right wing will challenge the center and near-left to join them and purge the traitor judges who sided with the terrorist (I guess that by that time Zoabi will be promoted to "the terrorist" or even "THE TERRORIST"). Are you, or you are not, a crypto-pro-Zoabi traitor? I would expect that BY, YB, part of the Likud will spearhead the initiative. and I can only speculate where it will end: will meds be provided promptly and in sufficient doses?

  • No one's talking about peace in Israeli election, U.S. liberal Zionists are warned
    • But he [Gorenberg] called on liberal American Jews to speak up about the “the damage caused to Israel and to American Jewry” by the link forged by Netanyahu with one political party in the U.S., the Republican Party. "

      It is hard for me to tell what is good and what is bad for Israel (perhaps they could use some adversarial relationship with U.S.A., at least I really think so), but how would link forged by Netanyahu with one political party damage "American Jewry" in any way? Would it affect incomes, marriage prospects, job opportunities? Would it be hard for an individual Jew to evade collective responsibility, or we would see scenes of carnage like columns of Jewish refugees from Upper West Side trekking to find reach Republican-friendly Staten Island?
      (check the first 40 second link to youtube.com to imagine how that would look like).

  • Warren supporters can't talk about Palestine
    • It does not totally excuse Warren, but internet resembles "Library of Babel" from a story of Jorge Louis Borges, with every book that was and could be written, hence also containing books with every possible error.

      In other words, you cannot use it without some prior knowledge.

  • Netanyahu's disaster: speech cost 'omnipotent' lobby a veto proof majority for Iran sanctions
    • I think that this is much more of a problem for Israel than GOP. GOP always "looses its touch", they thrive on reactionary wedge issues, and when an issue does not work anymore, they boldly abandon it and pick another. Islamophobia and "support for Israel is in my blood" are hot, but they may find the fate of Social Security Reform, defense of torture and opposition to gay marriage (still going strong in Alabama, but nation-wide, there is just to zazz in either of those three issues).

      Just see how masterfully GOP played Obama care. Which seems to be working and slowly growing in popularity, but GOP knows how to exploit a pseudo-issue for a few years. So becoming a favorite issue for GOP is like becoming a bride of Ron Perelman.

  • Three Muslim-Americans murdered in North Carolina by gunman (Updated)
    • Actually, CNN and several major news outlets covered the story. From what I could figure out, the murderer had a "simmering parking dispute" with the victims and disparaged their faith in social media. The arc of causality is hard to determine. Perhaps the bitterness of the parking dispute with Muslim neighbors prompted both the murders and hateful remarks. Or prejudice against the Muslim drove him to pick idiotic fights about the parking, but ultimately, to murders? And what was that dispute? One photo showed the murderer on an all-terrain-vehicle, suggesting that he had several vehicles.

      The fact is that parking disputes can be lethal. Several years ago there was a meeting of clerics of several religions in Beirut, and body guards of one of them had a little battle with body guards of another, Sunni versus Shia, with two dead, and it was followed by reconciliation meetings, and explanations that it was a parking dispute. Religion/ideology motivated killings in the region seem more frequent, but they usually have different methods and weapons (car bombs etc.). However, what I have described happened during attempts to park in the same spot, with a body guard in that spot waiting for his person to arrive, but the killing in Chapel Hill was not like that.

  • Stanford petition misrepresents resolution to divest from occupation
    • Secular Israeli tend to believe (or claim so) that they have a God given right to the Promised Land. Israel has a similar problem as Pakistan: the countries were created by mostly secular ideologies that were based on religious differences. Why Pakistanis are not Indians, and Israelis are not Europeans, Arabs, Ethiopians etc.? Thus the role of religion is increasing, and within the religion itself, there are parallel disturbing changes.

      In a nutshel, a secular citizen of Pakistan or Israel is either schizophrenic (more frequent) or unpatriotic (the fringe). In other words, the normal, i.e. schizophrenic, patriotic citizens share the religiously motivated attitudes.

    • Bait: "We believe that the resolution of highly complex geopolitical issues, such as the tragic Israeli-Palestinian conflict, requires the development of thoughtful and constructive approaches that respect the dignity and rights of both peoples."

      Switch (quotes from JeffB, a self-styled authority on the psyche of the Jewish people): "Cows before they are slaughtered for meat or kept for breeding and milk have the kind of security French Jews. The farmer has the kind of security that Israelis have. " Farmer, always ready to slaughter the cows at any sign of danger, Full accommodation for the dignity and rights. Mind you, the slaughter was approved, nay, demanded by assorted Jewish clerics, who demanded revenge and "not stopping at collecting 300 foreskins".

      It is easy to show that the last war in Gaza was basically a jihad, a holy war demanded by religious sentiments. Modern National Orthodox are particularly virulent, but in time of need, Reform rabbis may join the chorus (except for the talk about the foreskins). I find it quit peculiar. There are other conflicts in the world, Armenian-Azeri, Russian-Ukrainian, Serbian-Albanian, etc. but clergy urging to wash the ground with the blood of enemies is relatively rare. Verbally, contemporary Zionists are right there with ISIL.

      Show "proper Zionist" proposal respecting the dignity and rights of the other side, not offered by the "anti-Zionist fringe", and try to complain again about the "lack of balance".

  • Dear Mr. Netanyahu, please don't cancel your speech
    • Obama seems to be more active. Apparently, he will ask for war authorization, with the duration of three years, to engage against ISIL. And the supporting cast of the ground troops will include … tah dah! … Iran. While Netanyahu is producing newspaper headlines "Israeli bombing in Syria supports jihadists" (you can guess that I have translated that headline).

      So the top national priority will be fighting terrorism, and normalizing relationships with Iran, perhaps very limited, will be part and parcel of that priority. Why do you love terrorists, Mr. Netanyahu?

    • If I were a Prime Minister of Latvia I would have my own list of demands too. Say, U.S.A. should buy all Latvian dairy products that remain unsold because of Russian embargo that was a response to sanctions instigated by U.S.A. The astounding person here is Boehner, Netanyahu is relatively astute.

      In fact, he reminds me the most intelligent hero of Saturday morning cartoons, The Brain, of Pinky and the Brain. Every day they wake up and Pinky, to slow witted one, asks "So what are we doing today?" And the answer is "The same as we ever do, trying to take over the world!". One of Brain's plot was to build a huge radio tower and then to deliver a speech so compelling that all listeners would agree that The Brain should rule the world. Then he had fallen victim of circumstances that prevented him to deliver the speech. So Netanyahu is guaranteed to do better than that! Plus there is already a wide agreement already that Israel should rule the World. Recall a debate between GOP candidates to be candidates for President. Gingrich was repeating Israeli talking points (courtesy of Sheldon Adelson), while Romney declared that rather that wracking his brain out, if there would be any foreign policy problem, he will call Netanyahu.

  • A cosmopolitan's regrets: Roger Cohen on the Jewish condition
    • At least in Boca Raton, and other places in Florida, you can live in a planned community surrounded by moats, so at least some Jews have a modicum of personal safety. On the other hand, the problem of avoiding marriage with infidels is hard to solve.

      To have some idea what happens in the Holy Land I use ynetnews.com, as it is free. Only at those occasions I am exposed to ads encouraging me to date Chinese, or Thai, or beauties from Eastern Europe. How about extolling the charms of Jewish women? Sadly, not much of that. For months, they had a paid link to "Top most attractive Jewish women under 40". It really suggested that if you want to find an attractive Jewish woman, than among those 40+ you could easily get hundreds of them, but in the marriageable cohort under 40 you can barely scrape a list of 20.

    • Q. What is wrong with that: "The Jewish experience over millennia demonstrates that no amount of scholarly questing, of religious devotion, of determined emancipation, or of proud patriotism and service could provide security. People and entire nations might turn on you…"

      A. Is the experience of other people all that different? "rex sedet in vertice caveat ruinam", "The king who sits above all others, beware of ruin", security is not assured by power, money, etc., hence folks over the ages were pondering the vanity of mundane existence, "vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas", "The phrase is late Latin and comes from the Vulgate translation of Ecclesiastes 1:2." And those who got Biblical education in a Hebrew school, should check Kohelet.

  • I misremember Iraq
  • Muslims are Nazis, 'USA Today' jokes
    • Explanation of the editor: "The cartoon also shows the skeleton shouting “Allah Akbar.” Yes, this is an expression of faith employed throughout Islam. But one sad consequence of the extremists’ actions is that the term has been hijacked. Much of the non-Muslim public now identifies those words as a defiant declaration of faith uttered by terrorists before blowing themselves up. We’ve seen this over and over again."

      In other words, the cartoon serves a valuable purpose of perpetuating ignorance of "much of the non-Muslim public". I recall that an accident of Egyptian airliner was investigated, and there was a theory that it was caused by terrorist sabotage. Why? Because the black box recorded that at the moment of the catastrophe the pilot exclaimed "Allah Akbar", while a "normal pilot" would exclaim "oh my God!" It took experts to explain that it would be highly unusual for an Egyptian pilot to shout in English in the face of death, and that his reaction was totally normal, given that he was an Egyptian, which also should not be suspicious.

  • In historic vote, UC Student Association endorses call for divestment in support of Palestinian rights
    • hophmi February 9, 2015, 11:53 am
      This marks the symbolic moment when antisemitism entered the mainstream of student life in the University of California.

      At the first reading, I thought that I have mis-read. I thought that antisemitism is an eternal and omnipresent menace making the security of Jews possible only in Israel (however precarious it is there, as Israel now, more than even, needs your help). I guess that operative word is "mainstream". Yes, there was plenty of the opposition to Israeli policies for years (and this is what defines "antisemitism" in frequent usage), but it could be classified as "fringe". For example, it is a fringe position at Stanford, because only 9 members of the student government voted for it, with 5 opposed, not enough for the resolution to pass. But at UC it is a bit hard to call the statutory majority as a fringe.

      This is the battle of Mainstream Heights. Fringe persons and movements can be discussed, mostly lamenting errors of their ways, but not quoted or invited. Quite a lot of pro-Israeli methodology is based on the assumption that the opposition forms a fringe, so it should be treated like other social problems, say, date rape (that also happens at university campuses). The battle of Mainstream Heights is a recurrent theme. For example, Democrats/Liberals are the fringe, living precariously on the coasts, and Republicans/Conservatives are the mainstream, living proudly in the "fly-over country". In this context, a strategic retreat to the the other side of Sierra Nevada would declare West-of-mountains-California as a coastal moral cesspool, i.e. the fringe of otherwise highly moral U.S.A.

    • As an immigrant 30 years ago I was stumped by the expression "co-ed", in the backward country of my origin English in school was based on British, and why a student of a co-education school should be presumed to be female? (Another baffling moment was when I heard "that's too bad", American for "it's a pity", you mean, you can stand "just sufficiently bad", and this is too much?) Nevertheless. I estimate that many people in the age cohort 60+ use that expression, and we are still not dead.

  • Druze IDF soldier attacked by Israeli Jews for speaking Arabic
    • "Druze genome": I would guess that it does not exists. I read that Jumblatts descend from a Kurdish family that converted, acquired prominence in 15th century and primacy among Lebanese Druze in the early 19th century. Thus I would think that in their formative early centuries Druze absorbed various people from the region.

    • Walid, you do not have to have sympathy for Charlie Hebdo to be revolted by the murders that reflect "taqfiri" bent of mind. Similarly, sympathy or not, the brutal incident reflects a similar socio-mental problem in Israel.

      Concerning Israeli Druze, the idea of two-tiered solidarity and loyalty, to "your group" and then to "your territorial state" has a lot of sense if general, and in the specific case of the Druze, it allowed them to be loyal troops -- and nobles -- of their Sunni Ottoman rulers. Too bad that the Jewish State has a lot of problem is executing that idea (or accepting it, they alternate between "divide and rule" and "they are all the same"). For example, there was a story of two security officers for West Bank Jewish settlements (a Jew and an Arab) who have fallen in love, were not allowed to marry but they did it anyway in Cyprus and the Jewish woman was fired. One: do not work for racist and religious nuts, two: do not fire people because you do not approve the religion of their spouses. These two conclusions are not exclusive.

  • New leftwing anti-semitism is when Jews feel 'attacked' over Israel's conduct
    • A simplistic approach. Did the alleged victim reject a historical offer to participate voluntarily? There are witnesses who swear, under conditions of anonymity, the it was a very generous offer.

  • Let liberal Jews weep for their dream of Israel, and move on -- Alice Rothchild
    • "That comes under my rule of never, ever watching a movie which features a weapon in the poster. "

      Perhaps you should narrow your rule a bit, e.g. to firearm. Consider this poster
      That comes under my rule of never, ever watching a movie which features a weapon in the poster.
      link to cyclopsphoto.ca
      and how many weapons can you find in this poster?
      link to animefanatika.co.za

  • Pro-Israel campus activists acting as agents of state propaganda and intimidation
    • One more thing: for human consumption, sea cucumbers are OK, but nudibranches are usually poisonous.

    • Wrong. Sea cucumber is an echinoderm (like sea star)
      link to youtube.com
      nudibranch is a mollusk, a type of snail
      link to youtube.com

      Some sea cucumbers look superficially similar, but in motion, they are not similar at all.

    • It is perhaps not totally direct precedent, but about 30 years ago there was a documentary on the bad effects of acid rain on forests and lakes in USA and Canada that was financed in part by a grant from Canadian government. Reagan administration issued an instruction that any showing of that movie in USA should be preceded with a warning that this is a foreign propaganda.

  • John Lewis tells D.C. crowd he will not attend Netanyahu speech
    • Is it just me, but having a press secretary with name "Earnest" seems funny.

      On that note, an advise to Zionist lobbyists: keep your napkins dry. What we see is an attempt to collect signatures of 75 senators on a soggy napkin.

  • Netanyahu 'babysitter' ad warns that Labor will give away Israel's house and carpet
    • Could be worse, Mrs. Netanyahu as a baby sitter.

      I am not sure if she has an image of "big spender". I think of her as compulsive penny pincher. The latest revelation about getting bottle deposits of drinks charged to the treasury of the State of Israel fits that. Even with a relatively high deposit (8 cents a bottle) and thousands of bottles, what was it?

  • Lawrence Summers says BDS movement is 'persecuting' Israel
    • Actually, in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Jews had national rights, they had Council of Four Lands with considerable autonomous powers. Interestingly, Lithuanian Jews seceded, preferring to have a separate council (in contemporary terms, "Poland" was roughly today's Poland + Ukraine, "Lithuania" was Lithuania+Belorus+part of Latvia).

    • These were contraceptives, so not same as forcible operations on fallopian tubes. However, when I found an article that JeffB probably had in mind, it described many other types of oppression, ALL of them practiced by Israel, while Israel practices many types of oppression unheard of in China, so there is no basis for the bold claim that "West Bank is controlled benevolently compared to Tibet".

    • Still, can one cite a type of Chinese oppression that is worse than Israeli oppression? Something like "Israel denies access to al-Aqsa to Palestinians under 40 years of age but Chinese deny access to Potala to Tibetans under 70". Summers deploys a rhetorical device that because Israel is adorable, and China is not, Chinese are surely much worse than Israeli, due to the facts about which he does not have faintest idea (or interest). Those damn Commies have no idea how to deploy benevolent types of oppression like skunk water.

    • "Anti-Zionism may be legitimate, but it too often seems like a way of expressing anti-Semitism. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank has always troubled me, but it is governed benevolently compared with the way China oppresses Tibet — and where are those demonstrations?"

      I truly doubt the esteemed professor on that point. It is not like Communist rulers add shredded Tibetan children to their breakfast cereal or dumpling stuffing. What are the types of oppressions that Chinese apply to Tibetans that Israel does not apply to Palestinians, and vice versa, where are roads for Chinese only, settled areas where Tibetans are prohibited to enter, demolished Tibetan villages where Tibetan return is prohibited, areas of Tibet where building permits are routinely denied and so on and so on. Then how many Tibetan demonstrators were killed or maimed last year, versus Palestinian? And so on. And remember: the Chinese have only one state, and Bhutan is actually a Tibetan state, while Myammar is "Tibeto-Burman" linguistically, so perhaps Chinese have more existential threat worries than Tibetans? Remember that Taiwan is actually a part of China, and Singapore, as diaspora, does not count.

    • RoHa, you should be ashamed of yourself. This is a basic Hasbara point.

      Jews have only one state, and Arabs already have 22, so creation of Palestinian state is totally unnecessary, while Jews are on the verge of non-existence because they have only one. Thus we need to cut them some slack.

      I usually proceed to ridicule the claim "already have 22", because that count includes: Somalia, Comoro Islands, Djibuti and ... Palestine. If you believe that Arabs have 22 states, then you believe that Somalis, Afars and Comorians are Arabs AND you believe that Palestine is a state, the first three can be questioned on linguistic and cultural grounds, while the last is denied by the very people who invoke the argument. It is amazing how many "experts" with high academic degrees or impressive think tank titles cannot count to 22 (or fail to visualize the map of Africa and Middle East, experts should manage).

      In general, there is tolerable ethic cleansing or slaughter, pertaining to people that have some other states, and intolerable, affecting people who have only one state. For example, the slaughter of Communists and other leftists in Indonesia in 1965 was tolerable because Communists had so many other states. But if, say, North Korea would become the only Communist state left, we should start treating them with newly deserved deference.

  • Netanyahu is a paper tiger
    • Results of Google search, reply to a question about the usage of the word "existential" in different phrases.

      "The first phrase, existential threat, is used in texts or discussions about politics, usually politics in the Middle East." I cut out some obfuscating verbiage from the explanation, sometimes a professional expert wisely avoids clarity. This phrase is used exclusively in speeches, texts and discussions about a certain Middle Eastern country that happens to lack Muslim or Christian majority in order to stress positive attitude about that country, a kind of shibboleth. There is a number of phrases to the same effect, and the art of being a solid defender of that unnamed country is to deploy all of them, even if time constraints allow you to say only two-three sentences. For example, you should say that this is "the only ... country" without trying to be cute "the only only country".

      On edit: another explanation! "Existential can also relate to existence in a more concrete way. For instance, the objections of your mother-in-law may pose an existential threat to the continuation of your Friday night card game." I guess this person does not like the aforeunmentioned country too much.

    • Sure, it is alive, but note the crowd that managed to get into the picture of its prone and tranquilized body. Netanyahu would also made a memorable trophy.

      It could have the form of Democrats not merely abstaining from the session but crowding all possible news and talk shows, and late night comedy hours explaining to all and soundly why they decided not to attend, commentators analyzing if Netanyahu made his decision because of Asperger syndrome -- thus unable to read the atmosphere -- and so on, complete with totally insanely looking defenders of Netanyahu clinching the case,

    • "it’s a mistake to assume that most Americans believe the policy to appease Iran is in the American interest." DaBakr

      It is a mistake to assume that the best policy of U.S.A. is to follow what our wise and benevolent allies in the region tell us what to do, in this case, the Saudis and Israelis. Sunni radicals recruit Western young people who learn how to shoot and bomb, absorb the insanity of bloody civil wars and then return back home, where in 99% are given to peaceful pursuits, but the remaining 1% (or less) is more of a headache that can be tolerated. Permanent civil wars in the Middle East, once thought by Western establishments as very convenient are now disdained. How they can end? Well, in Syria and Iraq they can end only with Iranian support. Corollary: it is not in the Western interest to make Iran go bankrupt by ever-tightening sanctions.

      Gulf monarchs, Turkish government and Israeli government think differently, and this is where their interests (as they perceive it) diverge from Western interests. On the other hand, many American Zionists increasingly disagree with the idea of Israel-Gulf-taqfiri "Judeo-Sunni axis". Would Netanyahu stick to what he does very well, like expanding settlements, there would be few problems now, but as we all know, this is not the topic of the planned joined kvetching session of the two chambers of Congress.

    • Sounds too normal to be true. However, Zionists made it official that Netanyahu will diss Obama. I started to get unsolicited e-mails like that:

      ** Bibi, nevermind offending Obama
      ------------------------------------------------------------

      ** By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
      ------------------------------------------------------------
      There is nothing wrong with an Israeli Prime Minister doing his utmost to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, even if it offends the sensibilities of the American president.

      Boteach is not a loose canon, but the official sidekick of the official chief benefactor (owner?) of Prime Minister, Sheldon Adelson (who also is a chief benefactor of ZOA and Drill Sergeant of top Republicans on matters pertaining to Israel). So they decided to toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny.

    • What can happen to a real tiger proudly roaming vast forests along Jordan river?
      link to programmes.putin.kremlin.ru

    • Actually, it is not that clear if Israel is increasingly right wing, but the political shifts are slight. Labor/Livni selected name Zionist Camp, longing for the good old days when Labor ruled, Revisionists were in loyal oppositions and "Israeli Arabs" were under military rule, and the combination seems to attract several more Knesset seats. Arab parties were forced to unite which will probably gain them 2-3 seats. The custom of excluding them will probably force yet another coalition presided by Netanyahu, who is a cunning and resolute politician who will not hesitate to create a Cabinet with 61 ministerial seats if this will be what it takes. (You need a majority of 61, and Likud already plans more than 30 ministerial seats, meaning, 1 for each 2 members of the coalition, but perhaps 2 for 3? I predict 10 ministries directing Hasbarah efforts from different perspectives.)

  • Upping the ante against Israeli Apartheid
    • On edit: this is about increased unpopularity of Israel in UK and elsewhere.

      I am not sure if this is just Gaza. A title in a Polish news site today: "Israel supports Syrian rebels", and the text makes it clear that the rebels are al Nusra, i.e. Syrian branch of al-Qaeda. How does a right-wing European react to news like that? Traditional types see another evidence of evil conspiracy, but most seem to follow a more modern view that people in Israel increasingly go nuts. I would need to investigate more how left-wing Europeans react. Also, the readers of link to wiadomosci.onet.pl seemed to be from "disenchanted right", kind of like American paleocons, but in Europe they seem more numerous.

      Recall that nixing of the Western intervention in Syria started with the rebellion of Tory backbenchers, and these issues are quite related.

    • I checked. Poroshenko: listed as Eastern Orthodox, and a former president is a godfather of his younger children, something Jews usually do not ask for. Yatsenyuk is Greek Catholic. Calling disliked public figures "Jewish" is pretty standard in the region (I am familiar with the comments in Polish websites, but I bet that Ukraine is the same).

      OTOH, a bussiness tycoon who funds ultra-nationalist Ukrainian volunteer battalions is Jewish.

    • [Jacob] dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!

      Headline in ynetnews: UK poll: Israel's popularity is both growing and declining

      As ascending angels go, asked to name their favorite country, 1% more mentioned Israel than two years earlier, and in the other direction, and asked to name the least favorite country, 18% more mentioned Israel, taking 11% away from Iran, several percent away from Pakistan etc.

  • Drones over Auschwitz and Gaza
    • About the support of despotic regimes. Perhaps the most bloody character in the recent history of Latin America was Efrain Rios Mont, and mind you, this is not for the lack of competition. Two cites from his article in Wikipedia:

      [1] During a meeting with Ríos Montt on December 4 [1982], Reagan declared: "President Ríos Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment. ... I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice."

      So what could we expect from the closest ally of USA, sharing the values etc.?

      [2] In 1982, Ríos Montt told ABC News that his success was due to the fact that "our soldiers were trained by Israelis."

      "Promotion of social justice" and "Success" meant slaughter in six digits.

  • The betting line on Netanyahu's speech to Congress
    • You have various hedges for "non-unanimous standing ovation". I foresee that at least one member will not be able to take part for the lack of stamina. As it was shown on unaired but available skid of SNL, support for Israel became kind of a sport, and increasing efforts are required to maintain top standing. Senator McCain, with a war injury and high ambitions for an excellent result is one candidate for a willing spirit not supported by an equally willing body.

    • What will be the number of Congress members in need of medical help due to excessive clapping?

  • Charlie Hebdo: The sacred of the 'wretched of the Earth' and its desecration
    • Charlie Hebdo committed a number of "obscenties", and one of them was this cover
      link to electronicintifada.net
      It is a jolly laughter after supporters of a president deposed by a coup were massacred by fascist junta. If you laugh at massacres, it really decreases my compassion when you are on a receiving end.

      There is also a question why one should direct ridicule and derision at religion itself and religious symbols, rather than at political leaders and political movements? I cannot discern any worthy reasons for that.

      I am not a religious person, but the fact that I could invent jokes deriding various religions does not mean that I should ply such jokes. One should have other ambitions in life than being a brainless troll under a bridge insulting people passing by. And what Charlie Hebdo was doing was worse than that, insulting people "down there" to increase the group solidarity of those "up here".

  • State Dep't says Netanyahu speech is not inappropriate, disrespectful, humiliating or embarrassing
    • I think that there is a reasonable suspicion of CIA creating the "false flag" to cover their asses. Pakistani intelligence and military would have few regrets over supporting "Sunni extremists", but those extremists are also Beluchi separatists, so they were livid, and to continue operating within Pakistan, CIA needed some placating story.

    • I tried to check what Walid posted. CNN posts a video "Hezbollah attack kills 3 IDF soldiers".

      It opens with a joyous jingle, but that was GEICO commercial, so perhaps others will see a more somber opening. Next comes a static photo of missile smoke in a verdant mountain valley and an interview with IDF spokesman, who inform that seven civilian vehicles travelled on a civilian road, and they were attacked with "five lethal anti-tank missiles", and it just so happened that there were only soldiers inside. The explanation that anti-tank missiles are lethal signifies low confidence in the intelligence of the listeners, and the other tidbit, high confidence in having stupid listeners.

      Since it comes a few days after IDF killed six Hezbollah members without a provocation, I suspect that even Palau will not support an escalation, so killing a UN observer can be IDF masterstroke, showing that "they will respond to any attack without hesitation etc. etc. etc." while actually avoiding escalation, i.e. killing more members of Hezbollah.

  • Menendez bags on Iran sanctions, and congressman says AIPAC demands deference to Israel over US
    • Kay24: there is harmless grandstanding, and harmful grandstanding. The business of imposing additional sanctions on Iran, structured so they would continue forever, like there were imposed on Cuba, is disastrous, whether it would not work (USA proving that it can be ignored and SHOULD be ignored) or whether it would work (if the economic crisis in Iran gets serious, the biggest counter-force for ISIS+similar nuts will be undermined, and this is really la arger risk than any member of Establishment with functional brain is willing to accept).

      This is not the first time that grandstanding Democratic senators, including Schumer, folded to obey the President. I bet my farm that the members of the Establishment with functional brains include some major Zionist political donors (surely, not Adelson, but almost surely, Saban). It is still the case, IMHO, that if the major Zionist political donors are united, we have a steam roller, and thus Israel can expand settlements with impunity -- to cite one clear issue.

  • Former Obama aide's thinktank calls for 1/4 of French Jews to move to Israel
    • He had Catholic-born stepfather and non-religious upbringing.

    • It depends, but in a multicultural society this is OK. The interest that Ross has in prevention of intermarriage is strangely at variance with his personal experience. Perhaps he concluded that intermarriage leads to a twisted personality and bizarre views.

    • I do not know about you Walid, but like most of the public, I have preferences how I want to die. Accidental death, like automobile accidents, raises least fear, and perhaps least of all, death by motorcycle crash with you as the rider.

      And being a victim of a terrorist attack that is not very thoroughly and mercilessly avenged by your state is close to the end. It is not like Israelis never suffer anxieties induced by terrorism, but how many villages could the French wipe out to feel better? Not even one? That will not do.

  • When discussing Islam, which Islam and whose rationality? 
    • There is nothing wrong about "freedom of the press", but the establishment practices it like other freedoms. Case in point: academic freedom. Apparently, it is the freedom of administration of academic institutions to sanction and defund voluntary associations of academicians and to fire/deny employment to the same. And as I have read in lengthy essays, unlike any other freedom, on this one we should never compromise (of course, it was written by a former university administrator). In a similar vein, there is nothing wrong about "civility", but again, one has to patiently read through lengthy small print to figure out what is meant by that.

      Freedom of expression, as (mal)practiced by the State, is similarly burdened with copious small print, "none of that shall apply in cases of ... and of ... and of ...". For example, do we care, or we do not, if this freedom is violated abroad, and how we make distinctions between violations by the state and by individual "terrorists". As far as states are concerned, one can compile a list of states who can determine, in the majesty of the sovereignity, what they wish to do (say, strife a press building with bombs and missiles, close the premises, send military to confiscate the equipment, tolerate death squads that kill journalists) and the list of the countries where such acts are deeply offensive to our values. With that list we can try to apply artificial intelligence techniques of "unsupervised agnostic learning" to figure out what those values are. I would not be surprised if the answer will be "sharing economic interests with the elite of major Western countries", but I admit that there are many possibilities.

      But here we had a case of "terrorists". And how do we tell the difference between "terrorists", "freedom fighters" or mere "militants"? If someone amasses an impressive collection of weapons and military gadgets and proceeds with the murder of 30 Batman fans, we do not apply any of those terms, the guy was simply nuts. So there are also those. But some "terrorists" had mental problems too, so we do not need a certificate of mental health to apply "terrorist" label. Honestly, terrorists should have some ideology, and there is no evidence of anti-Batman ideology, but that leaves the cases of "militants" who do have "ideology", including the plan to openly spend 500 million dollars from US Treasury to recruit and train "moderate militants" to moderately practice bombings of schools, supermarkets and cafes, plus slaughter in civilian neighborhoods.

      One tentative conclusion is that our establishment cannot practice introspection, because it is not clear if it would survive the experience. Yet, while the labels are being hopelessly muddled, support and apologies for terrorism are criminalized and some graybeards claim that laws should be clear. Luckily, there is a simple solution. A law is not "unconstitutionally vague" until a court declares it, so if the judges are as biased as the rest of the establishment, there is no problem.

  • There is no pride for Jews in the state of Israel
    • "You’re right that a husband who refuses to grant a gett puts the wife in a nasty position. The husband, too: he could be sent to jail."

      This is not a joke, people are put in jail for that reason in Israel, which I find quite insane.

      In a sane world, either we think that the spouse has no right to prevent the marriage from being dissolved, and if so, the opinion/agreement of the spouse should not matter, or the agreement is necessary, and thus the business is up to that person. In other words, forcing a chap to give the get is ridiculous.

      Halacha has more such mental pretzels. For example, if a husband dies and there are no children yet, his brother has the duty to marry the widow (does not count as bigamy), but the widow has the duty to refuse the offer of her brother-in-law. It kind of say that while initially Hashem had a good idea, now, in different circumstances, we should not follow that idea, but make some pretense of following it, lest Hashem will be sad. Apparently, while omnipotent, Hashem is rather childish.

    • Labour recruitment agreement with Poland in 1906 would be hard, as Poland was not independent at the time. And recruitment from Russia in 1960s? Is it what is documented in movies! link to youtube.com

    • I do not understand your complaint about NPR. I recall when folks were making a strong case that Christianity is not a religion of peace. The context was that some American Christians were objecting to Bush Jr. plans to invade Iraq "without exploring all peaceful alternatives", and claiming that this is un-Christian. Theologians from AEI were disputing that, and their favorite Biblical verse was the following: "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

      And thus Christian Jihad was invoked to smite the infidel tyrant Saddam of Iraq.

      Conclusion: when this point, "not a religion of peace", is raised, one has to check if the speaker personally wants a "religion of peace" for himself, or only for the others.

      PS. I actualy remember this guy only:

      Michael Novak, retired George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy from the American Enterprise Institute, is an author, philosopher, and theologian. Michael Novak resides in Ave Maria, Florida as a trustee and visiting professor at Ave Maria University.

      It was the Pope who objected to war plans, and Novak who disputed the Pope.

    • Continuing with the theme, "is it a good thing", I did Google search and, lo and behold, this is the first hit:

      When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11-2.

      I tried to find non-Biblical proverbs on "pride", but there are so many Biblical ones, and on so many web pages that it is a bit hard. Then I tried "pride citations" and I got that: "More Than 60 Alcohol Citations Issued During Pride Festival [Long Beach, CA, May 2014]". Apparently, pride is not conducive to sobriety.

    • Years ago there was a delightful series on PBS about English-Scottish border region. One scene shown an annual celebration in a border Scottish village, when young lad would ride around the village on a horse carrying a broadsword, and he would receive it from an elder with those words: Here you have a sword, carry it with pride. This delightful rolling Scottish R made it a truly marvelous.

      And some Israeli can roll R with an equal pride, unlike, say, Senator Schumer, who does proclaim his heritage to all and sundry with utmost confidence, but with with no such sonorous color. Then again, Netanyahu himself has a rather bland accent, so I guess that he measures the pride level differently.

      So, continuing with Sen. Schumer example, is it true that while in Israel he is even more full of himself than back in U.S.A.? And if true, is it really what we need?

  • Why do Muslims object to depictions of their prophet?
    • Why 1400 hundred years? My great-grandparent were married before reaching puberty, in a shtetl in 19-th century. It was not so long time ago that in Europe there was no "age of consent", but "consent of the parents".

    • Actually, the oldest Polish text that school children is a poem "Satire on lazy peasants". Satire on lower classes was historically popular, in American culture blackface skids were of that kind.

      Hebdo also did a cover on Christian trinity: link to fellowshipofminds.files.wordpress.com

      In this case, as Christianity is a dominant religion in France, it was not mocking of the powerless, but a joyful celebration of brainlessness and assholery.

    • Wikipedia: In Israel, blasphemy is covered by Articles 170 and 173 of the penal code.[37][38]

      Insult to religion
      170. If a person destroys, damages or desecrates a place of worship or any object which is held sacred by a group of persons, with the intention of reviling their religion, or in the knowledge that they are liable to deem that act an insult to their religion, then the one is liable to three years imprisonment.
      Injury to religious sentiment
      173. If a person does any of the following, then the one is liable to one year imprisonment:
      (1) One publishes a publication that is liable to crudely offend the religious faith or sentiment of others;
      (2) One voices in a public place and in the hearing of another person any word or sound that is liable to crudely offend the religious faith or sentiment of others.
      The law is traced back to the British High Commission "The Abuse and Vilification (religious invective) Order No. 43 of 1929", enacted in efforts to suppress the 1929 Palestine riots. The order contained the language: "Any person who utters a word or sound in public or within earshot of any other person that may be or is intended to offend his religious sensitivities or faith can expect to be found guilty and eligible for a one-year jail sentence."[39]

    • Quran allows the "people of the Book" to adhere to their religions, hence, make images of their religious figures if they are so inclined.

      Blasphemy is a different story. And a cover showing a North African woman naked with burqa shoved into her ass, while not blasphemous, was "rather incitful".

  • When blasphemy is bigotry: The need to recognise historical trauma when discussing Charlie Hebdo
    • Years ago there was a case of publishing Satanic Verses and serious death threat. In case you are unfamiliar with the book, the most offending passages were dreams of a madman, but various clerics were not amused, and there were fatwas and even a bounty on the head of Salman Rushdie.

      As far as the context is concerned, I wrote "Now that alumni of Syrian war are finding their way back home, more mad and more lethal from the experience, ...". Even fanatics or "self-radicalized misfits" do not readily go from a vehement condemnation to actual killing, but war experience changes that.

      You mentioned India. A while ago a rather naive Australian designer of bath suites made a series with the image of Lady Lakshmi on various body parts (well, where can you can put an image on a bikini?), and there were demonstrations in India, grim fellows carrying placards with the pictures of a model in the offending garments. The young woman was very apologetic and she quickly dropped the design, and there were no howls about the surrender to bigotry and self-censorship.

    • One aspect is that many Muslim, not the majority but too many to call them marginal, treat blasphemy with truly unhealthy vehemence. Pakistan is top of the list in that respect, but this is not the only example. But the race to reach higher levels of fanatical strictness that at occasion leads to murders is not a unique specialty of Islam, and in the last year one can find examples among Christians, Jews, Buddhists and perhaps Hindu as well (I did not follows events in India closely in 2014).

      That said, the blasphemy in Charlie Hebdo represented neither intellectual courage -- pandering to majority -- nor intellectual anything. It is a bit as if there was a massacre in the offices of pornography publisher -- most lamentable, to be sure, but we would not raise placards "we are all pornographers".

      My last point, one that I made before, is that there is a wide gap between ordinary fanaticism and murderous fanaticism, and historically, the jump over that gap is closely associated with wars. PTSD affecting millions, revenge ideas finding wide currency, devaluation of human life, wars breed madness (and widespread skills in the arts of killing). Fomenting wars is stupid, and "the West" has blood on its hand in that respect. (I put "the West" in quotes because obviously, not all Westerners support those policies, this web site being an example.) In particular, the establishment Western press romanticized jihad against "deserving regimes" even when the latter was associated with indiscriminate terror, and even now did not abandon the idea of supporting the taqfiris in Syria (and of course, the establishment media follow their governments). Now that alumni of Syrian war are finding their way back home, more mad and more lethal from the experience, Western governments are getting second thought, however slowly and gradually.

  • 'With God’s help, the journalists at Haaretz will be murdered just like in France': Death threats follow publication of cartoon in Israeli newspaper
    • Tribal unity in good old days:

      "They said, "All right, say 'Shibboleth.'" If he said, "Sibboleth," because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed at that time."

  • Why I am not Charlie
    • And this is how NYT reports the bombing in Lebanon. Simply by posting AP news:

      A suicide bombing at a coffee shop in the northern city of Tripoli killed at least seven people and wounded more than 30 on Saturday, security officials and the Red Cross said. The Nusra Front, a militant group in Syria, claimed responsibility on Twitter for the attack in the mainly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen. The group said the attack was carried out by two bombers. Violence from Syria’s civil war has been spilling into Lebanon.

      The perpetrators are not even called terrorists, just a "militant group", which perhaps is getting American support.

    • Look, Hezbollah condemned the terrorism in Paris as well, which is only natural. This also reminded me a singular lack of indignation in our media when car bombs were detonated in "Hezbollah bastions" like parking lots of supermarkets.

    • "or have the ability to move people like Um Kulthum ?"

      Nothing moves people as effectively as a bullet train (or a good subway system).

  • Eric Fingerhut, head of Hillel, says JVP is 'frustrating' and that Open Hillel movement has no legs
  • Hillel exec likens Open Hillel to biblical rebel against Moses who was swallowed up by the earth
    • Frankly, I was a bit hasty. I assumed that Fingerhut pretty randomly picked upon a passage in the Bible that remotely resembled the situation at hand (a dispute among the Jews, that kind of describes half of the Scripture) and pulled conclusion out of his gut (through the anus). But on the closer reading I concluded that Fingerhoot is right and Goldstein is wrong.

      Short synopsis: Moses is about to enact hereditary two-tier priesthood with taxation powers (10-th of all crops etc.), and Korach, for unclear reasons, offers himself as the top priest, supported by 250 notable men. Apparently, Moses and Aaron were not particularly popular, otherwise they would secure support of 500 notable men and there would be no need for miracles. It was agreed that burning incense will be offered to Hashem, and acceptance/rejection of the offering will decide the issue. Hashem rejected the offering of Korach supporters in the most violent manner, the earth opened and swallowed them. Amazingly, still enough people opposed the scheme that the next trial was needed: staffs were presented, one from each tribe, and one from Aaron. Clearly, personal motives of Korach were not the issue, as he was not around anymore, so I surmise that most Jews figured that priestly services can be delivered with a smaller cost than 10% tithe (5%?). But lo and behold: the staff of Aaron bloomed with green and the tribal staffs remained dead wooden sticks.

      Conclusions: how should community disputes be decided? First, try Kaboom!!! method, smite the rabble rousers. If that does not work, compare the fate of the staffs of the contending parties. Open Hillel staff, if any, are just volunteers, barren like wooden sticks, while Hillel International has staff covered by greenery (at least in U.S.A., in the form of green bucks).

    • I am thinking of starting a new religion, with the sacred text consisting of one large ink blot per page, The Book of Rorschach. Then a sermon will start like that: please all of you look at the blot at page 117. link to trinities.org
      Isn't it Korach rebelling against Moses?

      By the way, “a special role in setting boundaries" requires a dedicated and vigilant cadre of border rangers. I wonder if they should be grim
      link to th03.deviantart.net
      or cute
      link to d3b4yo2b5lbfy.cloudfront.net

Showing comments 3949 - 3901
Page: