Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3822 (since 2010-05-31 18:07:51)


American university faculty member born in Poland.

Showing comments 3822 - 3801

  • 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

    • 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

      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
      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
      or cute
      link to

  • The Israel lobby rallies inside the Republican Party
    • American politics works more perversely than that. Rand was and remains a long shot. If he gets the beneficence and munificence from folks elated with his proposal, it can be a wash by discouraging many "paleo-Conservatives".

      But it is quite rewarding to run a well funded campaign. All family members and friends can get paying jobs from the campaign itself and from campaign consultants. The trick is that the hopelessness of the campaign should not be obvious, with luck, not before, say, 20 primaries.

      I would also add that Rand is quite consistent. As a fiscal libertarian, he does not want to fund anyone, so any reason to "cut funding" is good. Starting a war is a different issue: it actually increases the government speding.

    • There is no anomaly. It is not like Democrats are some kind of Communist Party. On issues related to preservation and increase of incomes of upper middle class and the rich, there is not a hell lot of difference between the two. I would generalize that GOP is more prone to accept, and fight for, concepts developed by think tanks and lobbying group, which are in SHORT TERM interest of various rich groups, but Democrats try harder to reconcile those with wider needs and some analysis if the concepts make any sense. If you are a Republican, you may perceive it differently.

      But a majority of wedge issues that GOP selects is quite repulsive to non-Christian educated upper middle class. Gay bashing. Denial of global warming. Denial of evolution. A weird type of Christian religiosity (e.g. how to use Biblical teaching in designing Randian tax reforms??? a theme of a workshop for freshmen GOP congresscritters). Death penalty. Attacks on abortion rights. Hostility to sex education. Why is GOP so unpopular among college professors? It is not like Communists are in charge of hiring there.

    • Those are not good news, but a hopeful indicator.

      GOP lives on wedge issues. Hoi polloi who provide votes do not care for, say, drug companies (or any other type of companies) racking billions, consising in large proportion of tax money, due to tweaks in the law, so other issues are required. Over the years, those issues change. Thus while for decades "demographic trends" favor Democrats, GOP has dominant (or at worst, very competitive) position.

      However, the pattern is that once GOP latches on an issue, it is a passing trend. Not so many years ago, it seemed that opposition to gay marriage will provide votes forever. A few years ago, resolutely favoring torture and foreign interventions, in the name of "doing everything for national security" was also an excellent wedge issue. Abortion issue is kept alive by splitting it into ingenious sub-issues like "partial birth abortion".

      Thus when preventing any "daylight between USA and Israel" (I never grasped what is wrong about the daylight) becomes a pet wedge issue for GOP, we may expect that in 10 years nobody will pay much attention to it.

    • Page: 38
  • Anti-Semitism at Fordham?
    • Good examples. Jeff.

      "Counterpunch by USA standards is hard left. Nancy Pelosi is about the extreme of leftist in the normal sense. "

      OK, Counterpunch is self-proclaimed leftist publication, and without going into merits of their social analysis etc. they do not represent bulk of liberal public, like most of professors, administrators etc. But if Pelosi is "about the extreme of leftist in the normal sense", who is "moderate left"? Rick Santorum? Basically, a right winger cannot write "left" without adding a disparaging adjective. It is a free country, so right wingers are entitled to their own dialect -- standard English is but a hegemonic construct, right? But given those habits, the weepy complaints about "dehumanizing" are just empty blather.

      Onward to "dehumanizing". Tariq Ali describes the context of Islamic radicalization within Western societies. Yes, Chinese Muslim radicals are products of Chinese society, but French Muslim radicals were not born of Muslim radical parents, but in cases we have read they started as conventional Western misfits, and misfits are prone to radicalization and various "self-destructive" behaviors. What prompts young people to join Jihad rather than to run meth labs, do random shooting in schools or shopping malls or some other acts that we find mundane and non-terrifying? I trust Tariq Ali more than Jeff in that respect.

      Perhaps every society bestows rewards and punishments, accolades and humiliations, so some people are bound to land on the bottom of the heap. Both top and bottom get ideas how to behave from popular culture, and Charlie Hebdo was very active in that respect, encouraging the top to loathe the Muslim and the Muslim, to feel aggravated. You do not have to be Muslim to find this Hebdo cover sick and violently pornographic. link to

      Tariq: (the occupation of Iraq was used deliberately to trigger the Sunni-Shia wars that helped give birth to the Islamic State) Jeff: Thousands of Americans died trying to prevent the Sunni-Shia wars. The idea this was deliberate is simply a lie

      While some American were dying, other were arming both sides. You can take the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that are in public knowledge and compose "moron" or "malevolent". However, the issue at hand is the coalition of Gulf Arabs, Turkey and Western government (including Israel) to support "international jihadism" in Syria which became the venue where Western misfits can learn how to shoot, use explosives and other useful jihadi skills. This is an extremely sordid affair and the blowback is not only lamentable but also predictable.

      In any case, I do not see acerbic commentary to be "dehumanizing", and I do not see Nancy Pelosi doing even that.

    • JeffB: IMHO “Zionist” among the hard left is just a word for Jew (or Israeli) that fulfills the same function as “towel head”, “nigger”, “spic”, “wop”… It is a hate word designed to dehumanize.

      This is a typical mythologizing statement. It starts with a mental construct "hard left" which is conveniently unexplained. Who comprises "hard left"? Fordham faculty and/or administration? How many of them have Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao on their bookshelf (or in memory chips of their tablets)?

      Clearly, "hard left" is used in the same way as "towel head", "nigger", "spic" and "wop", except for an amazing fluidity of the assignation. The standard Zionist usage is that if you criticize Zionism, you are some kind of Left, usually "radical" or "extreme", but "hard" can do in a pinch. This claim is based on opinion columns and comments in JPost and similar venues, but also comments like JeffB. On a good day, card-carrying British Tories can be dragooned into the ranks of "radical/extreme/hard Left".

      Next, what does it mean "dehumanize"? Take an actual leftist publication, Counterpunch. Show a critique of Zionism that is different in tenor from assorted critiques there. That critique covers the globe quite evenly, and however grumpy, it stems from a certain philosophy and a striving to apply it consistently. If there is any "dehumaning", please cite. I am quite familiar with the practice, long time ago and far away (but this is exactly where I hail from) of using "Zionist" (and "philo-Zionism") as a convenient label used in repressions. But we are not talking about Soviet block in 1965-1980 but about North America a generation later. Contrary to Zeno of Elea, the distinction of time and space do matter,

      Except in the realm of mythos, where the first cardinal axiom is "there are all the same".

    • JeffB: @piotr [New anti-semitism] It doesn’t lead to the Holocaust because Jews migrate easily and quickly away in the post Israel age.

      At least we agree that criticism of Israel, even if it forms "singling out" (no other country being condemned for a massive program of settlements in territories it occupies and Apartheid policies), does not harbinger any individual danger. "Rooting out" that criticism, as Prof. Ben-Atar wishes to do, entails substantial curtailment of freedom (e.g. academic freedom), so in the absence of dire need, it is a bad idea.

      Various people and organization are seemingly obsessed with criticizing certain countries, like Iran, Russia, Venezuela,and there is no need to label them with some horrific anti-ism label and subject to firings, cut-offs of research funds etc. Same goes for Israel.

    • mooser may laugh, but indigenous Jewish folks in upper Orinoco basin (Venezuela) are seriously considering living the country link to Criticism of Israel and support of Iran are their main issues.

    • There is a widespread confusion between two phenomena: anti-Semitism and New anti-Semitism. Criticism of Israel is in most cases an instance of New anti-Semitism. To say that in can lead to the repetition of Holocaust is like claiming that a whiff of alcohol from someone else's mouth can lead you to crash your car few days later and inflict carnage on a school bus stop.

      There is an entire science of defining and detecting New anti-Semitism ("or a whiff of something darker") which should be cheerfully disregarded. This whole issue is pouring new wine in old bottles.

  • 'NYT' reporter says Palestinians must make 'concessions... they have long avoided'
    • In my mother tongue, this type of situation is described as "negocjacje [dialog] dupy z batem", which translates " negotiations [dialogue] of an arse with a whip". Note the favorite pundit phrase "necessary painful concessions".

  • Pro-Israel Congress members threaten aid cut-off in response to Palestinian ICC bid
    • So the obligation to cut-off economic assistance to Palestinian Authority if it initiates a proceeding against Israel in ICC or cooperates with such proceedings is in "HOUSE AMENDMENT TO THE SENATE AMENDMENT TO H.R. 83". I think that honorable members of Congress forgot to insert the following clause:

      Pledge of Allegiance recited in American schools shall be amended as followed: the words "justice for all" shall be followed with "except those singled out by U.S. Congress.

      Whereas the Pledge is already confusing for younger pupils, this addition will not be recited but explained in appropriate classes. Secretary of Education can spend 10 million dollars to design and disseminate appropriate changes in curricula.

    • I can't tell if "a blah chick" is correct, because just glancing at he picture induces intense pain. Is it just me, or is it a singularly hideous jacket in that picture?

  • Against self-determination
    • After much thought, Phillip concluded that "maintaining identity" is not a worthy issue. Do Armenian-American, punk-American, Irish-American, red-neck American etc. maintain their "identity"? Some do, some do not, it is their choice. Definitely, the culture is enriched with all those identities, but some disappear, some appear.

      Assimilation is not something per se good or bad. Like miniskirts, it has proponents and detractors, both being subjects of "culture wars". I guess, back when Mondoweiss created its "founding declaration", Phillip felt differently about assimilation than today.

  • Dershowitz named in lawsuit alleging abuse of underage sex slave
    • The details in New York Magazine show that Derschowitz is a super-sleazy lawyer: "Epstein’s friend Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor, provided the police and the state attorney’s office with a dossier on a couple of the victims gleaned from their MySpace sites—showing alcohol and drug use and lewd comments. The police complained that private investigators were harassing the family of the 14-year-old girl before she was to appear before the grand jury in spring 2006. "

      On one hand, this harassment is a crime, witness tampering. Secondly, observe the defense scheme: killer of his parents pleads for mercy on the account of being an orphan. Here, minors are corrupted, and then, surprise! they are not "nice girls". And how Kenneth Starr became an expert on defending sleazy sex offenders? Well, his public carrier also thought him how to intimidate female witnesses.

      The plea agreement seems also so bizarre that stinks to heavens. Charges were drastically reduced, and why? Normally, that may happen in exchange for incriminating information, and Epstein had a knife to his throat: 10 years of mandatory sentence. So what did the state gain by extending immunity to "unnamed co-conspirators"? As I wrote, corruption of minors may be a relatively minor problem here -- although who knows how to weight sexual perversions and the perversion of justice.

    • It is not an issue of "consensual sex", because is a commercial transaction. Typically, the age liimit of consensual sex is lower than "majority", like 16 years, but as a commercial transaction, it is not legal, in most US jurisdictions, at any age, so the issue of "18 or younger" is which laws were violated. Epstein admitted to the scheme, served time, and the agreement with DA office gave immunity to "co-conspirators", various luminaries who visited Epstein and enjoyed his lavish hospitality. Derschowitz himself was involved as a lawyer. But apparently, the agreement did not cover "corruption of minors".

      In itself, the agreement seems like the "corruption of the adults", DA avoiding the bother of prosecuting big shots, and perhaps getting donors to his election campaigns. But for better of worse, our laws are sterner when the corruption of the minors is involved. I think the idea is not that minors under 18 are not sufficiently emotionally mature to be prostitutes, but that lawmakers hope that they can preserve their "moral fiber".

      By the way, 18 is also the minimum age for being a bartender in Florida.

    • Prof. Derschowitz should of course know better, but what the rest of us should do if we visit a friend and a cute girl offers "therapeutic and exciting massage"? Check her ID? Request a declaration that she does it not for money but solely because of her fascination with your person? I think that in most of US jurisdiction, accepting sexual favors offered for money is illegal regardless of the age of persons involved.

      It is also nice to know that DA can "show humanity" and bestow immunity from prosecution on wholesale basis (all co-conspirators?!! does it happen to hoi polloi?) but the good professor forgot to include underage sex in the agreement.

      PS. I am not sure if this is a psychopathic behavor, perhaps sociopathic. Also, apparently it is very normal in the "higher society" -- Prince Andrew availed himself of similar favors.

  • The 'bait & switch' politics of liberal Zionism
    • "It seems Labor/Hatnau would make a difference on NSB. That is important, ..."

      How is it important? Jewish privilege, Jewish supremacy and Jewish theocracy are all there, so one can make the case that NSB is cheap grandstanding without any importance.

      Concerning Israel being a "secular state rooted in Jewish culture", I think it is doubly dubious. Secular state where principal functions like marriages, divorces, granting citizenship etc. are left to theocrats is not particularly secular, is it? Secondly, Zionism made a point of eradicating the traditional Jewish cultures, to replace it with a synthetic "Hebrew culture".

    • Who cares how many times people wish you Happy Christmas or Buddhist New Year? What percentage of the landmass of USA can be sold or leased to non-Christians only after a careful review by members of "Christian Identity" organizations? Can non-Christian work for such strategic employers as power stations? And can Americans marry even when they do not follow any religion, or members of another religion?

      Can one be put in prison for 10 years or more for disobeying orders of a Christian religious court?

      The persisting and at occasion, expanding aspects of religious/ethnic supremacy and theocracy in Israel are by no means trivial and comparable to "say, Latvia".

    • Who cares how many times people wish you Happy Christmas or Buddhist New Year? What percentage of the landmass of USA can be sold or leased to non-Christians only after a careful review by members of "Christian Identity" organizations? Can non-Christian work for such strategic employers as power stations? And can Americans marry even when they do not follow any religion, or members of another religion?

      Can one be put in prison for 10 years or more for disobeying orders of a Christian religious court?

      The persisting and at occasion, expanding aspects of religious/ethnic supremacy and theocracy in Israel are by no means trivial or "comparable to, say, Latvia".

  • 'Spiral,' 'threat,' 'polarization,' or 'full-scale popular campaign for Palestinian freedom' -- reactions to the ICC move
    • As I wrote, the defense of Israel by NYT is very perfunctory. They picked grand total of 3 letters, one pro-Israeli, one against the editorial, one ambigous. Pro-Israeli letter had 44 recommend, the top readers' pick, more than 10 times as much. Where are Hasbara trolls? Perhaps Netanyahu's conniption against NYT led to a prohibition for trolls to subscribe?

  • Fireworks in Ramallah, as Abbas signs treaty to join International Criminal Court
    • As non-native speaker, it is for the first time that I have seen the phrase "to damage atmosphere with people". The closest explanation I have found is this:

      Your thoughts and feelings, and the mental and emotional vibrations that emanate from you, create the atmosphere around you. People who are in your proximity, sense this atmosphere and are affected by it. This atmosphere also determines their attitude toward you.

      However, here the atmosphere is suppose to affect all "people around you", no provision for creating a distinct atmosphere for "some people" and a separate for "the very people that ...". Thus most of the advise in that source link to seems hard to apply. Suppose that Mahmud Abbas tries the following:

      1. A positive attitude is important. There are many articles about this subject here, and in the books Visualize and Achieve and Affirmations - Words with Power
      2. Focus your mind more attentively on what you are doing. This will train your mind to transmit more powerful vibrations.
      3. Practice concentration exercises. This strengthens your ability to choose your thoughts, and puts more energy into them.
      4. Practice meditation. This will help you transmit more peaceful vibrations.
      5. The more inner peace you can develop, the more peaceful vibrations you can transmit. Inner peace is the product of inner training, detachment and meditation. With some inner work, everyone can gain at least some measure of inner peace.
      6. Visualize only what you really want to happen, and nothing that can hurt you or other people.
      7. Arouse happiness within you, and soak yourself within it. Feel how this happiness is filling the space around you, the room, the house, the office, the bus or train where you are.
      8. Visualize bright light, full of life, happiness and positive vibrations, filling your body and the place where you are.

    • The Hudson branch of the State Department, a.k.a. NYT, issued a more elaborate condemnation as "opinion of the Editorial Board", toiling even as they had to prepare for New Year festivities. I suspect that the editorial was prepared ahead of time. For someone who grew up in a mildly totalitarian country, the article has all hallmark of unenthusiastic propaganda effort, so unenthusiastic that one has to suspect a specific instruction to use a light hand. Hence the official policy of DoS seems to be "we will do everything GoI wants, but grumpily".

      The title is "The Palestinians’ Desperation Move". The opening paragraphs seem to say that yeah, the Palestinians have a lot of reasons to be desperate,

      And, in truth, prospects for a two-state solution grow dimmer by the day, with right-wing Israeli politicians opposing a Palestinian state and the Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, steadily expanding settlements, making the creation of a viable Palestinian state harder.

      But Mr. Abbas’s actions will almost certainly make the situation worse, setting back the cause of statehood even farther. By taking this tack before the Israeli elections, which are set for March 17, he has given Israeli hard-liners new ammunition to attack the Palestinians and reject new peace talks. And he may have set in motion the collapse of the Palestinians’ self-governing authority.

      Apparently, the purpose of the editorial is to provide some ammunition to Israeli soft-liners who would deign to engage in new (improved? more fiber?) peace talks. The consequences that the current and future GoI will have to suffer are that countries like Nigeria, Lithuania and United Kingdom will not see pro-Israeli actions as the sure way to ingratiate themselves with the mighty U.S.A. which in time may cause real problems.

  • Palestinian resolution fails at the Security Council, U.S. votes against 'staged confrontation' at the UN
    • I think that for once, Abbas did the right thing. The resolution was not particularly diluted and split EU votes. Judging on recent debates in the Parliament of UK, the abstention of Her Majesty Government will not be popular, so one can foresee some momentum.

      The failure/victory now would be symbolic in any case, as USA would veto the resolution, Europe will probably be the place where the game can changed.

  • Updated Security Council resolution calls for East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital, Israel says UN creating 'second Hamastan'
    • Good catch. "The fact that someone as experienced in counterterrorism as Mike Nagata is asking these kind of questions shows what a really tough problem this is,” said Michael T. Flynn, a retired three-star Army general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency who has publicly raised similar concerns."

      On the negative side, eliminating idiots from Defense Intelligence Agency would leave an empty building. On the positive side, it could be used to decrease the deficit.

  • Leading rabbi tells Arab ambassador not to 'shlep' Kerry's view of Palestine into discussion of religion and terrorism
    • "the scale of human destruction caused by intra-Christian and intra-Muslim wars dwarfs any comparable destruction caused in any intra-Jewish war that I know of in the last 2000 years."

      Compared to the respective numbers, Jews had fewer occasions, but sometimes they made most of it. Zealots were killing other Jews, and during Kitos War, link to messianist fanatic committed mass slaughter of non-Jews.

      And now we have prominent Jewish clerics urging armed forces to collect foreskins of the enemies. Informal polls during that time:
      link to
      One Facebook group called Revenge against Arabs has more than 3,500 likes, The People Demand Revenge Now has over 3,600 likes, The People of Israel Demand Revenge has some 5,700 likes, and Bibi, the People Want Revenge has over 4,644 likes.

      A group called Revenge Won’t Bring Back the Boys has 915 likes.

      And it is not like American Jewish clerics did not call for a Holy War.

  • Invest in thorough, accurate news to build a fair future for Israel/Palestine
    • This is pretty bogus. People who run this site are who they are, mostly Americans. It is not One Ring of independent news sources on Israel/Palestine

      One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
      One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

      (sorry for the awful rhyme, in the language of Mordor is sounds much better).

      But there were quite a few of Palestinian and Arabic voices among the guest writers.

    • I pledged that I will not donate until editing of comments is enabled again. Wow! I happened! I edited a comment and donated. With more folks like me, Mondoweiss reporters will be in D.C. 24/7.

  • Israel should pay 1.4 million Palestinians to leave Gaza, Moshe Feiglin says
    • Feiglin lost Likud primaries and will get 27-th spot on the list (projected to win 24 seats). Quite possibly, his fantastic plans contributed. First, while many Likudniks would wish to remove Palestinians from Palestine, they have some idea about practical limitations. Second, Feiglin promised to give Palestinians cash, and hover noble the motivation ma be (from Revisionist Zionist perspective), that could not be popular.

      It reminds me how years ago Republicans leaders were promoting privatization and shrinking of Social Security. They figured a "cunning" argument that the current Social Security is unfair to Blacks on the account of their shorter life expectancy. That really finished those plans: Blacks were not convinced, while the polls in places like Alabama were strongly against. Look: the only program of the government that is fair/favorable to Whites, and they want to cut it!

    • I agree that this is probably not an individual insanity (not that he looks like a paragon of health). One should know at least the synopsis of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds to understand.

  • Next U.S. elections threaten Israel's 'total isolation' -- and the Israeli public is worried
  • Roger Cohen recites Livni talking points in 'NYT' column to blame Palestinians for peace process failure
    • It is quite baffling. Can you imagine US Administration requesting the support for reconciliation with Cuba from, say, Vatican, United Kingdom, China, Nepal --- anyone? And why not from piotr or mooser? What does Israel care, and what do we care if they care? Seriously, image Gallup poll asking: how would your opinion on restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba would change if you learned that Israeli government (a) approves, or (b) does not approve?

      One thing is that with Israel and the mode of thinking in D.C., it is not a patent impossibility (as it should be). The second thing is that I have rather limited trust in leaks to Israeli media.

  • Happy holidays from the IDF
    • To any military buffs here:

      why a drone operator should be dressed in battle armor, helmet, carry a knapsack, machine gun and some large gizmo on the left hip?

      A combination of a heroic posture with incongruous detail is a comedy classic: he's a lumberjack and he's ok link to

  • 'TNR' pivots to racial diversity, away from 'privileged demographic of political elites'
    • A ruling class, be their pharaohs, grand poobah or elites in democratic capitalistic societies can reign unquestioned as long as it delivers good weather, good crops, victorious wars etc. I thonk that FUBAR in Iraq and Afghanistan is only one of the signals that the Mandate of Heavens reaches expiration date.

  • 'Israel is becoming an isolated ghetto,' says Amos Oz
    • Still, Oz and Beinart are liberal bigots. Kind of relative paragons. The idea that lesser people should seriously have the same rights as superior people is very, very hard to absorb, in fact, it is not a natural idea.

      It is easier if you can imagine yourself as being in the ranks of the lesser. So marginalized radicals have it easy, but comfortable liberals can be overwhelmed.

  • You're on a roll, Mr. President, so abstain from vetoing the Palestinian bid to the UN Security Council
    • I have very mixed feelings -- should Obama resist demands for a veto.

      On one hand, it is a profound principle of this Administration that every reasonable move in foreign policy should be balanced with something bafflingly stupid. For example, diplomatic relations were open with Cuba, so .... the Administration refuses to exchange the ambassadors with Venezuela. Or the Administration supports Kurds in Kobane in their fight with taqfiris, even though Erdogan despises them, and supports taqfiris in the south of Syria, plus spins plan to train 5000 of moderately crazy taqfiri fighters, but as this could upset the reasonable/stupid balance, implementation is quite slow, perhaps waiting for an opportunity to do something sensible.

      So a reasonable step if such magnitude, first lack of veto for SCUN resolution affecting Israel since ???? would be balance by something so moronic that I shudder thinking about it.

  • NY Times says a Palestinian majority would 'endanger Israel's democratic ideals'
    • In "1066 and all such" you can learn that this is persistent theme in the most advanced country. Britain was a benighted barbaric corner of Europe up to the advent of British Occupation. After a civilizational setback of Ango-Saxon domination, highly cultured Normans conquered and for a while the country was ruled by French speaking nobility. In time, a hybrid Germanic-French language was formed, spoken outside barbaric Celtic fringes, and Britain became a "top country".

      This book is satitical, but it depicts well the mode of thinking of the British ruling class at the time it supported the project to "restore Jewish national home".

    • Non sequitur alert: "The United States, trying to protect Israel’s interest, wants at the very least to delay a Security Council vote until after the Israeli election. That makes sense, since a showdown now almost certainly will benefit the opponents of a two-state solution."

      I am agnostic if United States should protect "Israel's interest", but "That makes sense, since" is followed by the explanation that the election have nothing to do with the subject of the Security Council vote. A larger question is what is "Israel's interest", because "protecting it" without knowing what is it is what my people would call "buying a cat in a sack" (dictionary says that it translates into "pig in a poke", but what is a poke?).

  • Palestinian UN effort seeks to set 'terms of reference' for negotiations and promote shift away from US leadership
    • link to


      'Tough day for Israel'

      In Geneva, the international community delivered a stinging rebuke to Israel's settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, saying the practice violates Israel's responsibilities as an occupying power. [...]

      In Luxembourg, meanwhile, a European Union court ordered the Palestinian group Hamas removed from the EU terrorist list for procedural reasons but said the 28-nation bloc can maintain asset freezes against Hamas members for now. [...]

      Israel did one win diplomatic engagement in Europe on Wednesday, this one at the European Parliament. The lawmakers meeting in Strasbourg, France, stopped short of pushing for an outright recognition of a Palestinian state, urging renewed peace talks instead.

      Legislators voted 498-88 in favor of a compromise resolution supporting "in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood" - but as part of a two-state solution with Israel. The resolution supports two states on the basis of 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both.


      I would note that this so-called "Israeli success in Strasbourg" is a resolution that is on a collision course with the current and probably also with the future Israeli government. Since the next Israeli government may be most extreme ever, I guess Europeans are preparing signals to Israeli voting public. On one hand, the speed of change in Europe is rather glacial, but on the other, stopping a moving glacier is a tall order.

  • 'NYT' writer takes Salaita's side, saying U of Illinois violated 'intellectual and academic freedom'
    • Even so, "The settlers should all kindly move back home" sounds more civilized.

    • This is why I will not donate until "edit" is enabled again. I quite MFE entry of ToI blog starting with the second sentence above.

    • An article in the blog of Times of Israel also discusses the same issue, from the opposite perspective. In a recent letter addressed to Timothy Killeen, the university’s newly appointed president, thirty-four department chairs and program directors describe how thousands of academics are refusing to visit the Urbana-Champaign campus, resulting in the cancelation of dozens of previously scheduled guest speaker events, colloquium series, and conferences. Faculty searches have been jeopardized, as promising candidates aren’t even bothering to send in their applications. And graduate students are frightened that their own job prospects are being compromised.

      You’d think, given this litany of woes, that Salaita would call off the boycott, empathizing with the students, faculty, and staff of a university that he’s now suing.

      Not a chance.

      Read more: After Salaita: How professors can better protect their Jewish students | Miriam Fendius Elman | The Blogs | The Times of Israel link to
      Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook

      Professor Miriam Fendius Elman deserves an honorable mention in the competition for "Twisted Argument of the Year Award".

    • I am in academia, so I can comment on "standards of free speech". It is not constitutional free speech, the freedom from criminal sanctions, but basically the expectations of goodwill on the side of university administrations in honoring the contracts with the faculty members.

      The central part of it is in what circumstances faculty can be hired and fired. Salaita got an offer of a tenured position, which means that he should be fired only after a process with input from himself and his peers in the university. If such an offer can be rescinded in a secret proceeding where only one side presents its arguments, it really undermines the core principle of functioning of reputable universities, as opposed to frankly biased institutions like Liberty University. The idea of academic freedom is a constant irritant to powerful interests who prefer the "free market of ideas" to be arbitraged according to political power in state legislatures of truly market power: one dollar one vote.

      For example, in the previous academic year a tenured professor was almost fired, and temporarily removed from teaching at University of Kansas because he offended NRA in a highly emotional tweet. Another time, governor of Maine was pressuring a university of fire an openly atheist professor. An untenured professor in Kentucky was hounded out because he dared to suggests that some aspects of the diet in Kentucky (eating squirrel brains) explains high incidence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in that state. Without administration showing some spine, American universities and researchers will be subjected to unending harassment, rather than occasional one we witness now.

  • Caroline Glick melts down with European diplomats
    • Purely practical aspect of inviting people to your home is the potential for losses in furnishings, tableware and even life and limb of other guests that may ensue, or not, after serving alcohol. Drunken Danes are famously good natured. Now imagine inebriated Caroline Glick...

    • Why Danes love Israel (or not all that much): link to

    • hopmi's allegation that Annie is a "self-hating woman" is ludicrous of course, but indeed, some women fall short in delivering ludicrous statements compared to men.

      My first data point was a comparison of Colin Powell who was selling lies about Saddam's Hussein phantom weapons of mass distraction with perfect, measured baritone with Condolezza Rice who was always nervously twitching her head. Perhaps having a thick neck and deep voice gives an advantage. That said, most of the hysterical productions of Zionism extremists seems to be delivered by men.

      On another note, I think she garbled a talking point laboriously prepared by Zionist think tanks. Foreign countries definitely do not "directly fund" Moroccan settlements in Sahara. There is an agreement of EU with Morocco allowing EU boats to pay fees to fish in Moroccan economical zone that includes the coast of Western Sahara. Then she made a point that EU violates conventions of not aiding terrorists by "funding Gaza". This is TOTAL bovine manure, and I am sorry to say, Glick more or less repeated what the think tanks produced (that why think tanks are bad for the environment: valuable fertilizer is tragically misused, plus, think how all that methane is contributing to global warming). A very angry article in Jerusalem Post was accusing the government of the Netherlands to financing attempts to annihilate Israel (those very words!) because it donates to UNRWA.

    • I think that the Ambassador would understand Glick even better if she sang her speech after putting on her had a winged helmet and waving a spear

  • A Knesset without Arab parties?
    • If you count all parties that were formed by former Likud members, then they will probably get the majority. However, some of them may join Labor/Livni government. So the question is if the next government will be "Zionism with human face" or "Zionism in your face".

      If Arab parties would increase their representation, perhaps there could be a minority center-left government with "constructive opposition" or something like that from the Arab parties. In principle, it is very feasible to cobble suitable inducements for Arab and Haredi parties, that would clearly infuriate so-called "National camp", but how that would sell electorally, I have no idea. I would guess that some voters would be receptive to the idea that Israel has to avoid "diplomatic isolation", i.e. accommodate Europeans who increasingly demand "real negotiations", and who do not recognize the legality of the settlements, and consider actually doing something about it. It is enough if European pressure swings several percent of voters.

  • Why Israel's Jewish nationality bill is a big deal
    • "Whereas Muslims demand Islamic law apply to non-Muslims, Judaism has no parallel. Jewish law applies only to Jews."

      False on both counts. For example, Islamic Republic of Iran allows alcohol to be sold to Christians, Jews (and Zoroastrians?), and of course, consumed by them. Of course, criminal laws are common to all inhabitants, but this is a matter of societal norms. E.g. death penalty and comparatively ridiculously long prison sentences and wide use of solitary confinement is within the cultural norm of U.S.A. but not in Europe. So one can ponder if U.S.A. is closer to Iran or to Europe in its criminal laws and law enforcement.

      Concerning religious inspiration impacting Israeli laws, one of the basic issues is property right. Can the state take away property on some conditions, and if yes, can those conditions be predicated on religion (OK to take from non-Jews but not from Jews in some particular circumstances). So the property was taken away from non-Jews if they were "absentees" (even if they were actually present nearby and prevented from visiting their properties by military force), and equally absent Jews (in the West Bank) we "given their property back" upon conquest (reconquista?). And the inspiration was religious, as God gave the entire Holy Land to Jews, with the advise to slaughter the current owners.

  • Liberal Zionists seek to strip Naftali Bennett of freedom to travel in hope of saving two-state solution
    • Quite silly idea. Not without precedent, most recently, United Kingdom denied entry to an American citizens who wanted to run seminars how to pressure women effectively to have sex. The guys offers online courses on the topic, so it does not change much, but registers the will of the United Kingdom to defend the tranquility of its maiden -- however ineffectively.

      The common ingredient is the need to "do something, anything", and in our particular case, creating an exhibit case that opposition to BDS can be combine with some type of humanitarian thought. Not exactly "You have to be a Zionist to be nice" but "You can be a nice Zionist". But it reminds me a lot Tom Friedman harrumphing that this or that "is not serious". What should the liberal Zionist propose to be serious? A good start would be to request that donations to organizations that financially aid settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem cannot be counted as "public interest non-profit", and better yet, disallowed altogether, like the donations to charities that "objectively help Hamas".

      But the purpose of the initiative is to document that the participants are nice and moderate, a political equivalent of being cute -- it easier to seem cute if you give an appearance of an airhead.

  • Steven Salaita: What Mondoweiss Means To Me
    • Personally, I will not donate a penny until the "edit" option is added to comments. Abandoning that option was a lamentable instance of regress, and this site should be progressive. And I pledge to donate (as I did in the last few years) the moment I can see and use that option.

      That said, I would like to express my warmest wishes to Prof. Salaita, and to Mondoweiss. Soon we will celebrate Saturnalia, Christmas, coming of "Ded Moroz" or just enjoying long starry night of winter solstice.

  • We're all anti-American now
    • link to

      I did not look at the reports, so I wonder if it touches upon horrific stories like the one published by Scott Horton in Harper's. If you bother to check, it is a story of senseless sadistic murder in Guantanamo, cover-up so brazen that it takes breath away and, the cherry on top, total impunity achieved by the refusal of Obama Administration to investigate.

      Extra buttresses of that impunity are American refusal to join ICC, efforts to emasculate ICC, and huge diplomatic effort to assure that other countries will not cooperate in prosecution of American war criminals. There is a certain circular logic at work: what should you do when you can do anything, being "the last remaining superpower". Number one, assure that you can get away with murder. But then, wouldn't it be a wasted effort without committing any murders? Furthermore, even piddling countries can get away with some murders, torturing here and there and so on, so to show that we are number one we have to do it on a scale that befits our global position.

      And, of course, accountability is the reverse of impunity, impunity shows might, and accountability, weakness. Of course, in any large enterprise there will be some participants so minor and manifestly week that they can be held accountable, like Specialist Lynndie England.

  • 'Racist, fascist bullshit'-- Marcel Ophuls exposes Islamophobia in Israel
    • Having to raise 60 thousand euros through crowd-funding is not a sign of a flourishing career but of non-conformism that has to find shelter away from money interests. (A bit like comparing finances of "major Jewish organizations" with J-Street (still, few millions raised from some rich donors) and then Mondoweiss .) Yet, it is indeed a sign of times that The Times sees it as news fit to print. If weathervanes are of any use, they can at least show where the wind is blowing.

  • As US media awake to a 'nightmare' Israel, NYT brings Blumenthal in from the cold
  • A point by point response to Alan Dershowitz’s 'Ten Reasons Why The BDS Movement Is Immoral'
    • It is a bit hard to properly address the non-sense spewed by the good Professor. An occupational risk is absorbing the validity of the types of arguments he uses.

      For example, it would be immoral to call piotr a male chauvinistic pig because on three occasions, in 1967, 1982 and once in this century he actually behaved nicely toward a female. And on several other occasion while his behavior was not nice, it was objectively justified. What kind of argument (point one) is that? Of course, if we had the true record of what transpired at those occasions we could draw different conclusions, but the very argument makes no sense.

      Or take that: "The BDS movement is making a peaceful resolution harder." For starters, is it clear (from Zionist perspective) that a peaceful resolution is desirable? For example, this book got Israeli Prize: Saving Israel: How the Jewish People Can Win a War That May Never End
      by Daniel Gordis. Furthermore, can one truly offer a convincing scenario that BDS is removed from existence and, as a result, peace starts reigning in the Middle East?

      Or that: "Israeli universities are hot beds of anti-Israel rhetoric, advocacy and even teaching." In spite of the efforts of our good Professor, who denounced BGU's Neve Gordon (Dept of Political Science) as a Fifth-Rate Pseudo-Academic and Traitor, and a number of professors from Tel Aviv University as well. As we well know, he would gladly fire all those low-life, but in another points pretends that putative suffering of Palestinian workers and leftist faculty members would make him sad (and causing that would be "immoral".

      When Dershowitz campaigned to deny tenure to Norman Finkelstein, did he sincerely believe that Finkelstein was "the worst"? Surely, among thousands of tenure cases in that year there were less deserving ones. When some war criminals of Bush Administration got professorial positions at law schools, was Dershowitz involved in any way? Well, why should he, as he himself theorized justifications for torture and slaughter. Which really gives serious doubt that Dershowitz has any inkling about what is moral and immoral. The above list, and his long record, suggest otherwise.

    • seafoid, I never felt so happy that I am ignorant of 70s porno flicks. What kind of individual could gain pleasure from watching Dersh? Perhaps "Dominatrix Amanda and Dersh"?

      I myself wondered how his argument were structured if in his young years Dersh was a lumberjack or yakuza and now had eight fingers rather than ten. I guess he should not get rid of the terrifying vision of BDS movement using poor Iran as its pawn which in turn unleashes its proxies which in turn provoke Israel which in turn increases the following of BDS. In short, while looking deceptively powerless, BDS is a demonic controller of world events.

  • Israel has no answer to BDS, Barghouti tells packed hall at Columbia
    • As one born in this part of Europe, I would make some objections. One should be consistent: borders at the time of birth, or at the time of the declararion, or today? That said:

      Odesa is probably Odessa
      If Grodzisk Mazowiecki counts as Poland, so should Góra Kalwaria
      The following spellings are Romanian: Rîbniţa, Făleşti, Mărculești (I guess in Molvova, previously Russian Empire and Soviet Union)
      Chernovitz is German spelling, Czerniowce is Polish, Chernivtsi is (transliterated) Ukrainian, Cernăuți is Romanian, city originally in the Principality of Moldova, then in Austria, Romania and now Ukraine

      Bobruisk is transliterated Russian and Babruysk is transliterated Belorussian
      If Vilnius counts as Lithuania, so does Kaunas

      In any case, like Cohen suggests a Jew, Bathouti is a very distinctly Palestinian name.

  • A defensive Netanyahu announces elections hours after firing opposition members Lapid and Livni
    • It is easy to understand that Lapid and Livni had some limit -- however lax -- on tolerating right wing drift. But what is Lieberman doing there? The only thing I can think about is that his party was supposedly secular, and while before deviation from "secularism" did not bother him too much, Israel Beitenu was actually loosing the Russian vote, while he was also bypassed as ultra-nationalist by the "standard" Likud.

      There is indeed quite insane atmosphere in Israel. Bennet is fighting with hardliners of his party! People with a tenuous hold on reality are slugging it out with abjectly insane. There is a legislature in the work increasing the penalty for unauthorized officiating of Jewish marriages to two years in prison. Inevitably, when many people are energized in that fashion, many are also revolted, so my "political theory" would suggest that political following in the electorate will have very wide swings.

  • Israel has always been crazy
    • Concerning "Judaism holding an inner promise of universalism": I think that this is standard Christian doctrine. I guess your attitude to Torah is more in line with Manicheism.

    • I think you agree that there was no hijacking involved in the passing of Civil Right bills, and that these laws are not particularly egalitarian. For example, there were complaints that school integration affected only the poor Whites, so education remained segregated by income.

    • OyVey: "Interestingly, up until the end of WWII (in fact probably until the late 50s) every Western government would have acted exactly like Israel. Israel is like a time capsule that survived the hijacking of Western politics by leftist egalitarian ideology."

      It is puzzling to me how the political life of "Western democracies" in the last 50 years can be characterized as "hijacking", "egalitarian" and "leftist". It is not like those countries were overrun by a bloody red revolution. Nevertheless, there were significant changes. Balfour Declaration was formulated in the same period as the passing of South Africa Act (5 years prior) that lead to constitutional basis of Apartheid. During the subsequent decades colonial rule was in full swing, white farms in Kenia and Rhodesia expanding while the natives were forcibly removed from most fertile areasand so on. I guess that one of the first "radical egalitarian" changes was to abandon the idea that mass starvation of colonial subjects (or the Irish) should not be alleviated, lest the subject people succumb to sloth after receiving aid.

      The question is: why did it end? Epidemic of idiocy? Hijacking by malevolent imps? Or actually some rational reasons?

  • Palestinian flag is an 'enemy' flag-- Netanyahu's latest crackdown
    • Jones, Gomulka was not a President. I could comment at length, but the fact that there were anti-Semitic campaigns using "anty-Zionism" slogans does not mean that every criticism of Zionism is invalid. By the way, I was very much on the receiving end of the Polish "anty-Syjonizm" in 1967/68, so I have some experience how quickly "abhorrent can become laudable".

    • This is not serious an unnecessarily inflammatory. However, there is an actual point here, namely, that some conditions do progress to be worse and worse. I would call this condition "war thinking".

      Basically, during a war we have a reversal of normal human norms, starting from murder: abhorrent becomes laudable. When wars last longer, this reversal is more and more profound. To me, the most striking example was the quest of British and American high commands during WWII to perfect the art of incinerating large cities, with notable successes in Dresden, Hamburg and Tokyo. Firestorms created by carpet bombing indiscriminately killed hundreds of thousands (and we are not even talking about the nuclear bombs). This example shows the effects of war thinking in the absence of nasty ideologies.

      Israel cultivates state of war, and that removes inhibitions on what is fair or unfair in respect to people classified as "enemies". One can dispute what was the original nature of Zionism, but there was definitely several varieties of which the most radical, Revisionist, is ancestral to most non-religious parties -- Likud and three major offshoots. While initially "mildly fascistic" (think of Mussolini before Pact of Steel), revisionists mellowed while in opposition, and started to appreciate "democratic values", and that is the origin of the "mildest" type of the ideology, with Rivlin being a representative. But the "war thinking" progresses and Zionist becomes increasingly intolerant and undemocratic. A parallel evolution can be observed in organized Judaism.

  • Lieberman unveils racist peace plan: Pay Palestinians to leave Israel
    • I recall Lieberman peddling this idea a while ago, which basically shows him as a maturing responsible politician, compared to his earlier ideas like bombing Asuan Dam or supplying buses to drawn Palestinians in the Dead Sea.

      But really, he is spouting the same stuff for years.

  • A handful of Wellesley students are trying to shut down discussion of Israel/Palestine
    • From Ha'aretz: Atshan said that the Jewish state was established in its present location “only because Uganda wasn’t available,” said Berger. “He equated all non-Zionist Jews with Jews of conscience, which makes Zionist Jews something else, I guess,” she said. “It was extremely destructive, and with the posters and the lack of face-to-face dialogue, added to the stalemate on campus.”

      Memo to parents: 100-200k spent on liberal education of your daughter are not wasted! I bolded an instance of a correct deduction!

      That said, I have no idea what is wrong with having "stalemate on campus". What else: slug it out until there is one man (girl) standing? "Stalemate" can be also called "co-existence of different points of view". Should College Democrats and College Republicans dialogue face-to-face until there is a consensus? It is not that they should never talk to each other, but they will not "resolve differences".

    • link to

      Sometimes I check Ynet News for a sample or reports, commentaries and comments to get idea of news and sentiments in Israel. Yesterday I found something that fits the topic. The most recent danger besetting the Jewish State seems quite metaphysical:

      Evil spirit taking over Middle Eastern studies
      Op-ed: The source of hostility toward Israel can be found in the American academia.

      Evil spirit taking over! That really puts events in Wellesley in perspective.

  • Palestinian youth hospitalized after being attacked by Israeli settlers in Jerusalem
    • "Logic has gone bankrupt." The usual story: first, they torture logic. Then there is an open season for unwanted facts, some denied, some "put in context". Eventually nothing can stop dispossession, oppression and murder.

      However, I would disagree with the premise of that Ha'aretz opinion piece, that Netanyahu is the king for the expanding fanatic Israeli majority. Israel remains a small country, and the only morality for the state is what it can get away with, and the special position of Netanyahu is that he is more trusted to properly gouge what Israel can get away with than more insane fanatics like Feiglin, Danny Danon, Benett etc.

  • Israel lost the British elite after Gaza onslaught, UK ambassador says
    • Today, London, tomorrow, Paris?
      link to

    • Presumably, in the next stage Israel will be like a guy from a mouthwash commercial: a handsome fellow in an elevator, exchanging smiles with pretty girls, until he opens his mouth and all the girls faint because of olfactory emissions from that orifice (but with no simple cure like using the advertised product).

  • David Remnick undermines Israel's one-state president
    • I would like to add that Remnick stuffed his article with every possible political, cultural and personal bias that he could. This guy cannot write a sentence without some stupid stereotype.

      It is a rather annoying part of "high journalistic style" in USA to put "personalized vignettes" in articles that are totally unilluminating. Remnick starts with his impression on Rivlin looks who has a "mug" rather than a face, and how large Rivlin proboscis is. Personally, I have a rather large nose (I can hear chorus: why are you so modest, Piotr?) and I do not feel that I should be ashamed or that my visage should be described as a mug. Then he dwells on "Borscht Belt", and again, how it relates to anything in the article, except to show that Remnick has to block the admirably narrow holes in his own nose to write about such unhip peasant like Rivlin.

      So no one should be surprised that Remnick finds Palestinians to be even less hip that Rivlin. I really wonder, is this this link to a self-deprecation by New Yorker, or a manifesto?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Serious mistake. Salt mine Wieliczka is actually very interesting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      The charge of "romanticizing terrorism" is obviously ridiculous.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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