Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4223 (since 2010-05-31 18:07:51)


American university faculty member born in Poland.

Showing comments 800 - 701

  • 'Israel Firster' gets at an inconvenient truth
    • When Eric Alterman confesses that he would put interest if Israel before interest of USA, to me it satisfies a part of "Israeli-firster" definition, but not the most important part. Contemporary Zionism, as opposed to its staid "liberal Zionism" variety, is about supremacy. Some people think that supremacy is bad for Israel and bad for USA and it could save Israel if it (she?) was forced to abandon the habit of supremacy.

      Some people think that supremacy is great for USA and for Israel, and unfortunately, USA has insufficient opportunities in this direction. But, luck has it, USA can engage in supremacy vicariously, through Israeli experience. That kind of covers all GOP presidential candidates other than Ron Paul.

      "Jewish supremacists" would be perhaps more accurate than "Israeli firsters" but it is exactly due to slight inaccuracy that the latter term is actually milder.

      As a partial proof of concept, consider concept of the day, attacking Iran. It has nothing to do with rationally considered interests of Israel or USA, and everything with going in, kicking ass and showing who is the master. And even if it is mere idle talk, this is the talk from supremacists perspective. Ah, if only this stupid Bambi had more balls, we would go in, kick ass etc.!

  • RNC resolution calls for one state (on God-given lands)
    • Is it possible that this is the result of stupidity? Does Charlie Daniels Play a Mean Fiddle? link to

    • I tried to find online Republican source, and I only got a newsletter to Illinois Republicans which mentioned several resolutions of the winter meeting in New Orleans, including >>Substantive policy issues were also discussed at our winter meeting. Two were particularly important: “Resolution Exposing United Nation Agenda 21” and “Resolution Supporting Taiwan’ Freedom and America’s Moral Leadership”. I co-sponsored both resolutions which the RNC passed unanimously.<< as wrote Demetra Demonte, an Illinois member of RNC. (Non-substative policy issues were penalizing Florida delegation for moving primaries.)

      Republicans clearly do not care about those resolutions. RNC website is extremely skimpy on issues and includes NOTHING on foreign policy. Something is implicit in "Issues/National Defence" but applying Aristotelian logic to it will not illuminate (Aristoteles was a heathen anyway). I mean, we won the cold war because of the vision and leadership of Ronald Reagan so now we have to do something like "maintaining robust defense against threats arising from nuclear proliferation". So it sounds rather sanguine about possible Iranian nukes: we will just maintain robust defense. Then there is something convoluted about alliances which may or may not pertain to Israel, and they show text as image so I cannot cut and paste that drivel (good for you, I guess, fellow commenters).

  • 'NYT' and 'Haaretz' and world opinion are now greatest threat to Israel, Netanyahu reportedly said
    • There was a clarification from PM office: Iran is #1. No comments on positions of Ha'aretz and NYT, but it seems #2/#3.

      972+ mag and Mondoweis have work cut out for them. I mean, forget a number (top 10 would be nice) but it would help to be mentioned by name. I think that BDS campaign was mentioned once by B. N. as the top (a top?) treat.

  • 'Washington Post' piece mocks lefties who criticize Israel
    • marc: that article is not THAT illogical, the link to Boris Johnson provides an explanation, in words of Boris himself, of what neo-socialists do, namely criticise bankers rather than being grateful, as his lordship is (Lord Mayor of London) that they pay some taxes in the city. So at least they have some identifying feature. Apart from hating Eton and folks who do not hate Israeli government.

      Still, it is bewildering to follow dispatches from Eurabia. The place reeks of Caliphate. Just now EC (European Commission) is putting the last touches on the ban on small cages in chicken farms. It took 12 years, but the last few millions of small cages will go to scap metal within months. Exactly the type of mentality that objects restricting Palestinians to Area A. In USA, bless the creator, battery cages are legal and the support of Israel is robust. In Israel battery cages are legal and housing options of various groups of Palestinians are about as attractive.

      Interestingly enough, among major newspapers LA Times seems most critical of our best ally ever, and California is the only state that banned battery cages.

      Another point is that one reason that Israeli government is "hated" is that it tries to defend itself against the fifth column which is funded from a variety of foreign sources, including some "pro-democracy" foundations run by parties like German CDU or British Tories. The beneficiaries are called "radical leftists" in Israel. So I suspect that it is not like Eton is so friendly to Likud, Israel Beitenu etc.

  • Cyber-attacks strike Israeli stock exchange, airline, banks
    • What values can be represented with 0x prefix? Honesty, charity, generosity? Perhaps thrift ... you can save some bytes.

    • Harry, but what if an action, rather that disrupting an electronic system seriously, does it hilariously?

      Without jokes, the hack sites were not related to security of flights etc. but to PR.

    • Throw all the money to Caymans! Or give it to Bernard Madoff to invest... they will never find it.

  • If I must die
    • "When I die" evokes various romantic poems on which East and Centeal Europeans were raised, most famous is perhaps Testament of Taras Shevchenko, who was born as an Ukrainian serf in Russian empire.

      On edit: do the links work here in normal html mode? This is the link to two translations: link to

  • Breaking report: US/Israel military drill cancelled, after US tells Israel to back off
    • Kalithea,

      you are wrong on some details.

      Chinese and Russians detest American arrogance and would love to see USA "cut down to size", e.g. getting worse for the wear in a conflict with Iran. But their fleets cannot pose a serious challenge to American fleet, I mean, serious nuclear states do not shoot at each other to score points, no mention that we have bigger toys.

      But the last war with Hezbollah showed that there is very little we can do to shut down persistent shelling by well positioned missiles. And that can close Strait of Hormuz. So Iran can do it, but the problem is: will Iran have anyone to trade with after the crisis is over? Here Russia and China can answer that question. Chinese were surprisingly emphatic in their support of Iran, and clearly, when a financial push would come to shove, they can purchase the entire Iran's export, clear the transactions through their banks and dare USA to sanction them. And if Iran will give China say, 10% discount, it would be hard to see as American win.

      China can also copy American methods of imposing and breaking sanctions. For example, it can ban companies operating in China from cooperating in sanctions imposed by other governments (perhaps they do it already). That would mean that we cannot stop Chinese industrial goods from getting to Iran, together with Russian goods that can be enough for an austere regime (Russians may have somewhat obsolete oil technologies, but they are effective enough.)

      So if attacked, Iran may close the Hormuz and offer some "easy deal". Say, Israel says sorry and promises to pay reparations for the damages -- utterly reasonable, if presented to a rational country.

  • Bibi throws in with GOP, Democratic base turns critical, and Israel finally becomes partisan wedge issue like abortion -- Blumenthal
    • REPLY
      PeaceThroughJustice says: Also, wedges are supposed to have two sides. I have yet to see any significant “blue team” opposition to “America’s plucky little ally.”

      Ah, you are so naive! Wedgeology is a secret dark art of politics. It is best performed one-sided. For example, you can be for national safety, "ready to do anything necessary". What is necessary? Whatever the opponent is too squeemish to accept. If the opponent is ready to accept "inhuman and degrading treatment" but opposes even such mild torture methods like water boarding, we go for water boarding. If the opponent accepts water boarding but declares that crushing testicles is too barbaric to contemplate, we can opt to advocate crushing testicles, or to make the big issue that are opponent INSINUATES that are brave forces did crush testicles, or both. And for a while the triad "we do not torture, it is not torture, we should torture" worked quite well. But somehow the zeal to crush testicles (or even mild forms) faded away.

      Mind you, all the pro- anti- torture exercise was basically a reworking of "tough on crime" tune to a more contemporary setting. Wedging of course can adapt any which way. Abortion: the question -- should we incarcerate would-be-mothers, their doctors and other enablers -- is not exactly "wedging" in the middle but "partial birth abortion" works OK.

      And we clearly have seen "wedging" applied to ME policies. If opponent is not ready to do X for Israel, we can stake X as our plank and proudly announce that sadly, our opponent exhibits disturbing softness in her support for Israel (say, less than full support for crushing testicles in a hypothetical event that Israel would need to crush them to overcome existencial difficulties). The campaign of Ms. Harrington in FL is pretty much like that.

      From the point of view of "long term benefit of Israel" wedging is risky because it involves pushing on an issue until a substancial portion of the public is revolted. Opposition has to be provoked but one the ground that will give us advantage. And tomorrow we may abandon the wedge issue of today to adapt to changing tastes E.g. opposition to mixed race marriages is gone, and to same sex marriages is waning. What happened to same sex marriage anyway? Where are the millions of protesters, constitutional amendments etc.? Wedge issues may end in dumpsters.

  • Bombshell: Israeli intelligence posed as CIA to recruit terror group for covert war on Iran
    • To other commenters: I just asked a question. The context is that CIA is "smeared" by an impression that it supports Jundallah. This impression was until now based on the fact that they (a) perform attacks in Iran (b) have support network in Pakistan (c) CIA operates extensively in Pakistan (d) CIA supports MEK that similarly performs attacks in Iran so this seems to be our aim. Seymour Hersh made that claim in the past, who knows if because of his sources or because of making reasonable speculations.

      In any case, any organization in this region that has some disciplined fighters can tap into vast supply of opium/heroine in Afghanistan and make enough to support those fighters. So they do not have to be supported by anyone. Are they "crazies"? The mix of heroine and fundamentalist religion can do it. Are they more crazy than Santorum or Gingrich?

      Perhaps we can sketch Axis of Insanity. Sheldon Adelson would be in the center of a spider web that further emanates through his influence on Israeli PM and American politicians in his pocket. Then Gingrich, Santorum and Jundallah all go insane. Euphrates is designated as a border between Eretz Israel and Baluchi empire, thus solving the vexing problem: how to provide Eretz Israel with friendly neighbors.

      But somehow this story makes little sense. Mossad operates well in places like Lebanon, Palestinian territories or Ukraine (Europe in general). Pakistan seems a bit far off. Trying to convince Sunni fundamentalists who wage a holy war against the heretical regime in Tehran to carry on seems superfluous. And how helpful was it to pose as fellow Arians? If I were a Mossad agent I would try to cut the deal without moving any further than Karachi. But how to tell a groups of apolitical heroine smugglers from properly ideologically inclined heroine smugglers? Recall difficulties USA had trying to negotiate with Taliban and falling on impostors.

      It would still make more sense than kidnapping engineers in Ukraine, so I would not draw any definite conclusions.

    • Perhaps a silly question: what is wrong in working with Jundallah?

      Is it a Beluchi separatist organization, which is a sensitive issue in Pakistan where the central government has an oversized fear of Beluchi separatism? Which could mean that Pakistani government can get miffed over that. That could change a lot in the geopolitics of the region Iran-AfPak-India. Not in our imperial favor.

  • Israel's nightmare: Jew against Jew
    • Actually, Israel is a small country with a small country mentality. I mean, how people argue if something should be done or should not? A paramount consideration is if Israel can get away with it.

      It is a tad different in USA or, say, Russia, because it is so obvious that the country can get away with a lot that you have to consider other aspects of policies. In any case, as soon as it will be clear that Israel can get away with much less than before, national consensus will change. Right now advocates of changes in Witty style use primarily the arguments that the "world" will not accept this or that, and clearly they are in the position of a boy who cried wolf, or Chicken Little.

      So the reform has to start in USA and EU. Canada and Australia could help, but of course they matter less.

    • And where did people like Santorum grew up? Or this Harrington woman? All these crazy people, where do they all come from? All the crazy people, where do they all belong (GOP?) At least Gingrich got richly rewarded, so his vice is cupidity rather than insanity. Does Harrington expect a nice donation too?

      At least I understand Santorum. There is a certain type of religious mentality that demands Holy War. Smite them all! He will take His own, if any.

  • Rick Santorum says murder of Iranian scientist was 'wonderful thing'
    • This must be interesting. Usually governments try to avoid making their own operations criminal in their own law. For example, an Israeli soldiers was dismissed for killing a man sleeping in his own bad because "he was a wrong person". The killing of a correct person would presumably be OK. Israel has "incitement laws" and clearly urging to kill "correct people" is not actionable, while urging to laugh at "incorrect people" is (I think that this is the crime of that resulted in the interrogation of Gurvitz of 972+ mag).

      In the case of USA, "terrorism" seems to be defined very conveniently, as something related in some vague fashion to and organization listed by the State Department. This allows to whack anybody we do not like and avoid wacking friends. But quite possibly people who wrote the British laws did not vet them for all inconvenient possibilities.

  • Benny Morris dreams of a 'less Arab' Israel
    • I think that you are wrong. Morris is pro-secular. The ideal would be to expel the Arabs, populate the West Bank with the religious types and have "west Israel" for comfortable, "humane" living by Jewish secularists.

  • Ron Paul gets respect
    • On economics I think Witty is worth reading carefully. I agree with everything, although I think that not all understood him. I think that the basket of goods for lower middle class: rent, food, gas, medical -- grows faster then general inflation which perhaps includes electronic goods and houses. And Witty explained correctly that ethanol policies are an idiocy that fuels food inflation -- which contributed to food riots and Arab spring, but even so is idiotic (unless you receive the respective subsidies).

      Gold standard is as arbitrary as any other single commodity standard. Either the amount of goods grows faster than gold and we have deflation, or slower, and we have inflation. Geological discoveries and technological progress may lead to big increases in supply (and unnecessary havoc in the environment -- gold mining is a dirty bussiness).

      And I agree that barring progressive taxes and redistribution via benefits the rich/poor gap will increase -- as as rich/middle gap.

      But on foreign policy, Paul is more right than most other politicians. Basically, libertarians assume that government does everything badly so it should do as little as possible. And our wars, foreign aid etc. confirm that worldview, so the prescriptions are sound.

    • On economics I think Witty is worth reading carefully. I agree with everything, although I think that not all understood him. I think that the basket of goods for lower middle class: rent, food, gas, medical -- grows faster then general inflation which perhaps includes electronic goods and houses. And Witty explained correctly that ethanol policies are an idiocy that fuels food inflation -- which contributed to food riots and Arab spring, but even so is idiotic (unless you receive the respective subsidies).

      Gold standard is as arbitrary as any other single commodity standard. Either the amount of goods grows faster than gold and we have deflation, or slower, and we have inflation. Geological discoveries and technological progress may lead to big increases in supply (and unnecessary havoc in the environment -- gold mining is a dirty bussiness).

      And I agree that barring progressive taxes and redistribution via benefits the rich/poor gap will increase -- as as rich/middle gap.

      But on foreign policy, Paul is more right than most other politicians. Basically, libertarians assume that government does everything badly so it should do as little as possible. And our wars, foreign aid etc. confirm that worldview, so the prescriptions are sound. WE

  • Beinart and the crisis of liberal Zionism
    • ``Jeffrey Goldberg has echoed Beinart, saying that "we're only a few years away, at most, from a total South-Africanization of this issue." ''

      This reminds me a joke. A professor of logic sits in a street car. A women ask him: "How many stops from here to the central station?" "Three". After one stop she asks, just to make sure: "So now there are two stops?" "No, four".

      History of "total South-Africanization" is quite long. My favorite two first dates: 1912, South African Act. 1917, Balfour Declaration.

  • Loury says Iran attack talk is 'anti-Islamic hyper-pro-Israeli genuflection'
    • "It exemplifies the idea that American democracy is failing and people want alternatives — a scary reason why Paul is so attractive to veterans".

      Isn't it the entire point of democracy: when the politicians are failing, throw them out?

      Just think about possible calamities that could sweep the globe and reach our shores would we slash military spending, say, 4 times. I say, Estonia will survive and so will New Zealand, South Korea would prevail this time with North Korea. I just do not see much clamor "don't leave! please!". It is only Israel that has an existential problem. Even countries that line the southern shore of the Persian Gulf perceive nothing so dire. (They also outspend Iran several times over. If this is not enough, someone is wasting money.)

  • Gingrich got $5 million for saying Palestinians are invented people (lord, why am I so cynical?)
    • Should't we offer to post that "Palestinian are invented people" for some amount of money? 500k would keep this site running for a few years ...

  • Dersh says anti-Zionists believe Jews bombed the Oklahoma City federal building
    • Hm. It makes a strange statement indeed.

      The truth is that a certain class of opponents of SoI claim that Mossad was instrumental in 9/11. This is the first time I see such a claim made about Oklahoma city.

      I think that Derschowitz was afraid of mentioning 9/11 connection as a "preposterous claim".

  • Ynet: Support for Israel on American campuses is kerplunking
    • I think that Opti is right. Those are the final words of Ynet story:

      Israel is its own worst enemy, slowly fulfilling a self-professing prophecy of an “existential threat” by not having the proper resources in place to educate some of America's youngest and brightest minds.

      The battle for Israel will not be won by its superior military capabilities. Conversely, it will be achieved via the media, on American college campuses and by a tailored rapprochement with the disenfranchised American Jewish community.

      The author holds an MA in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and works in Tel Aviv as a journalist and linguistic editor

      Cui bono of the article is clear: besides billions of shekels spend on military hardware et. some millions should be spent to employ young people who graduated in diplomacy and journalism to spread Israeli narrative better than before. This is how lobby operate: identify the crisis and collect the money. Israel, now more then ever needs your help -- and our help if you fund us!

      It does not mean that the article is a pure hocum, although the author promises to deliver high quality hocum to American campus youth if the homeland / motherland / fatherland / Der Volk / rich friends of Israel, whoever, will shell some money. But, of course, he would never color the truth for Ynet readers.

      As a word of caution to our (I presume) young wanna bit soldier of hasbarah, university campus is a difficult environment. Some venues ask for stressing (a) the quality of Israeli night life (b) gay liberation in Israel (c) art scene (d) culinary achievements (e) scientific achievements. Other venues ask for stressing (a) Biblical proofs of the necessity of Israel -- how can we get Armageddon and be raptured otherwise (b) how West Bank hilltop rabbis are sooo similar to our own fire and brimstone preachers (c) how superior halacha is to sharia etc. Keep away pink washers from Christian Zionists! But on a campus you have both Gay and Lesbian Coalition and Academic Bible Group.

  • Dumb as rocks ('Washington Post' says giving Palestinians access to quarries will 'advance the peace process')
    • This is a good question "A little progress is progress. Why seek to stop it?"

      I tried to find a song on the topic, instead I hit

      O knige V. I. Lenina "Shag vpered, dva shaga nazad."

      Apparently, in 1964 someone wrote a book about the book of V. I. Lenin, "Step forward, two steps back". There is nothing particularly wrong about making a step forward. But when we have a MODERATE strategy, the balance of steps matters. Ross, apparently a self-hating Jew, observes that "their [Palestinian] economic activity is extremely limited" in Area C and that this area is 60% of the occupied area. How many steps were made last week to restrict that activity? How many cisterns were demolished, storage sheds destroyed, shepherds chased away, etc.? Could we think about at least one step in the opposite direction?

      My favorite positive step of Israeli authorities is when some time in 2009 IDF lifted the ban on importing hummus to Gaza, however, with exception for hummus with flavoring additives like mushroom or pine nuts. And there was plenty of good news in 2009, because IDF lifted perhaps 100 bans. Shoes were permitted! Because I do not have access to comprehensive info, only to stories, I do not know what is the current status of cilantro. But IDF can finely balance magnanimous steps toward Gazans with more stern steps, like killing some suspicious character now and then. Striking a proper balance in West Bank is harder, so I must conclude that Ross's criticism, while perhaps friendly, is not constructive.

  • Cooking magazines dish on new trend: labeling Arabic food Israeli!
    • If this were the worst atrocity committed on the Arab people, we would live in a beautiful world. Decent cookbook actually tell something about history of dishes. But lifestyle magazine are actually not meant to be the source of most accurate information. From context, "authentic cousine" in the title of "Saveur" means that it describes dishes that were actually seen somewhere, preferably in a restaurant. And hopefully made from somewhat primary ingredients (e.g. it would exclude latkes made of freeze dried potato flakes).

    • English tea has similar ingredients as Indian tea but is prepared very differently. They never boil the tea, and they never add cardamon. Also, the British got the idea of drinking tea from Chinese, and wanted to improve the balance of trade. The first idea was to pay for Chinese tea with Indian opium, the second: to grow tea in India.

      Perhaps Indian got the idea of drinking tea independently, as the plant grew in the wild both in south China and in Assam.

    • I never got such an angry response in talk-backs as when I made a comparison between Lebanon and Israel. Both are "imperfect democracies", with marriages administered only within confessional communities and subject of respective religious laws, with makes it a mixture of democracy and "multi-theocracy", shabby treatment for non-citizens -- one may dispute where it is shabbier. An average Arab inhabitant has more freedoms and economic opportunities in Lebanon.

      And then I recalled "Sabra Cafe" in Montreal -- it is Lebanese.

      Now, given that ingredients existed since the Neolitic revolution, which means from BBW (Before Beginning of the World in Jewish calendar), quite posibly Jews had similar dishes before diasporah. Still, it kind of sounds like classic American dishes, Polska Kielbasa and Pierogies. Polska Kielbasa resembles the cheapest kind of sausage that is available in Poland, and Pierogies -- the outer shape is quite similar to pierogi (which is a plural form in Polish, but Poles do the same to English words, an enterprise can operate with byznesplanem or without byznesplanu, but let us not talk about byznesplanach here).

  • 3-year-old arrested, leftist writer interrogated -- another day in the 'Jewish and democratic' state
    • The threat of alien infiltration is most insidious in the form of innocent looking girls. There you have it: they LOOK, or more precisely, we look at them and so we became disarmed = corrupted. There exists pretty solid authorities that warn about those dangers.

      The case of Yossi Gurvitz is more puzzling. He is sort of short tempered, acerbic and obstinate. For example, he refuses to apply the correct title to Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, calling him Minister of Propaganda. But this and most of the rest can be ascertained quickly using search engines. What is the extra value of interviewing Yossi by police? Also, he clearly incites people to make jokes on important officials. Is it laughware?

  • Ron Paul's antiwar position is simpleminded
    • I do not agree with the comprehensive package of libertarianism, but it is not simpleminded. On economy, mercantilist rulers of China do much better then the West.

      On foreign policy, even in the days of USSR the military budget was bloated. Now it is absurd, and we fit our policy to our self-perceived capabilities. But the policies and immense expenditures are absurd. The king is naked and only "simpletons" say so. So we need more simpletons as opposed to sophisticates like Santorum, Gingrich and Romney.

  • Anti-Paulism
    • Of course Ron Paul is anti-Semitic. Jews are to such an extend allied with Zionism that opposition to Zionism is basically anti-Semitic (and so is equating Jews with Zionism if done by a non-pro-Zionist, and apparently, adherence to logic). Now, Zionism is a version of statism, so anarchism and libertarianism are anti-Semitic. Jewish adherents of those ideologies are self-hating.

      Now we are discussing a GOP primary and we discover that -- wonders never cease -- that one of the candidates was associated with homophobes. One? How about, say, Santorum? One may also wonder about a religious denomination that claim that descendants of 10 tribes of Israel migrated in Antiquity to America where they became extict. Can Jews trust a Mormon?

      The crime of comparing a concentration camp to a concentration camp is indeed a serious matter. Ron Paul is not a 5 year old who can be excused for shouting "the kind is naked". Adults should know better.

  • Pro-Israel 'lawfare' group seeks to censor Twitter account for Hezbollah's TV station
    • I followed the link to Shurat HaDin website and it is quite disappointing. Sure, a trip to Israel for mere 3000 is a steal, given the level of attraction like visit to the IDF unit that performs targeted assassinations. Donations to Shurat HaDin are obligatory, but in the modest range 500-5000. Perhaps is one exceeds that modest suggested range one can actually perpetrate an assassination from a helicopter? Ultimate Safari! Even a convincing video simulation would be spiffy.

      Now, the disappointing part. Hotel acommodation is glatt kosher, OK but why three meals a day are merely kosher?

  • Headlines from Israel
    • Many years ago Mad Magazine had a list of new traffic signs. One was showing a barfing head with proposed meaning "the cook in the next roadside restaurant graduated from Mexican Army School of Chefs".

      Are 16 year olds to young to catch illegal aliens while totting machine guns?

      In USA, 14 or 16 is the proper age to get your own rifle and join deer hunting. We are not talking about NYC or LA, but deeper inland the first day of deer hunting season is free of classes. I would not worry too much what will happen to Israeli youngster. As it is, most cannot wait until they will be called to serve in IDF. They know from older siblings that it is a lot of fun. And patriotic duty, an unbeatable combination.

  • Arendt: Born in conflict, Israel will degenerate into Sparta, and American Jews will need to back away
    • Electrons from Gilad! Now I am starting to comprehend the notion of non-kosher electricity!

      Gilad, I think that you at occasion make anti-Semitic rants. I do not recall the details, but once you discuss opinions of a Jewish Marxist on some Palestinian issue. Which you found disturbingly incorrect and you attributed the errors to the obstinate Jewishness of the writer.

      According to your own synopsis, this guy was reducing the isssue to class warfare and imperialism. Correct or wrong, this is a standard Marxist perspective, rather than "Jewish Marxism". Unless Jewishness of Marxism goes all the way back to Karl Marx. In any case, standard Marxism is a universalist doctrine, and so very far from tribalism.

    • It reminds me an article about a Polish border town that happens to be 50-50 Polish-Lithuanians. Parents are rather hostile to inter-ethnic dating. Reporter talks with the young people. A Lithuanian girl: "There are no jobs here anyway. I work in Berlin, and I have a boyfriend there. A Turkish one."

    • Nope. 1st -- Sparta, i.e. militarism. 2nd -- as liberalism is increasingly unreliable as militarist support, former "Jackson Democrats" turn conservative, hence "neo" cons, 3rd -- militarism needs a cause, an enemy, a fixed enemy if possible, and Israel solved this problem, 4th -- you got the drift.

      Truly, after the fall of Communism it is a bit hard to justify militarism without Israel. Otherwise, why should we care which Islamic regime is more dominant in Persian Gulf -- a monarchy or a republic? We really need to import paranoia from our best ally (other allies are truly deficient as suppliers of that commodity, ). Then everything falls into place: Hezbollah is a sworn enemy of Israel, put them amoung PERMANENT ENEMIES. Who supports Hezbollah? Etc. Watch how Russia and China become Enemies -- or almost enemies because it is dangerous to overdo it. But suddenly our paranoid military spending makes some sense (Iran by itself spends about 1% of what we do, and about 10% of what our allies in the region spend, hard to see why they need us, but with ambigous Russia and China... )

      So we need Israel that is beset, paranoid and militaristic and THUS shares our values. If it develops some racism, this is a plus. We need some racism here, and it the old varieties are not practical anymore. Clearly, militarism cannot be maintained by logic alone.

      So, year, "Israel First", but this is not the welfare of Israelis but Israel as "we" need it to develop sufficient paranoia and prolong militarism a bit longer.

    • Analogy is not supposed to be "accutate", it just points to a certain pattern.

      Also, it is important to understand why Sparta is admired and what the admirers want to achieve, which is a bit different than what Sparta history was in actuality.

      Sparta at its peak was a relatively egalitarian and (also relatively) democratic society of warriors ruling over helots. The combination of early military training, egalitarianism and the common civic pride related to martial success is quite reminiscent of early Zionism. One can make the case that Sparta was the origin of National Socialism (in different mixtures of nationalism and socialism).

      What is very attractive to some is that without being overtly autocratic, Sparta was conservative (and, in time, not egalitarian at all). The constancy of war with helots maintained the solidarity of the citizens. As Israel grows conservative, the Spartan model is enormously attractive to our American conservatives. Eternal war is an elixir or eternal power. The role of neo-cons was to a degree that of experts and teachers on Spartan model of politics. This is how I see the enormous influence they had with folks like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush. The other reason for specifically Jewish influence is that the project of eternal war had to take place in Middle (and not so Middle) East, and one needed experts that would not be nay-sayers like the Arabists who were booted out.

      And of course to market the war project to all and sundry you needed people good at writing and bullshitting, not barking Cheney or cryptic Rumsfeld (not too mention Bush).

      But the role of neo-cons was not simple that of passive employees of the big folks who were in charge. By being so close to the center, neo-cons tilted the project of eternal war a little so it became one and the same war as the eternal war of Israel.

    • I am a bit confused when you round to full thousands.

      Identification of Radical Leftist with sympathy toward Persian Empire is as accurate as in the case of Caliphate which is a more standard accusations, "Islamofascists and Radical Leftists" (or inaccurate).

      In any case, I do not see any extremely long stretch of "historical friction" but a relatively recent case of patterning social institutions and ideology after Sparta. Just consider

      Saving Israel: How the Jewish People Can Win a War that May Never End (Winner of the 2009 National Jewish Book Award) by Daniel Gordis.

    • I think eee is mostly correct. All lemmings join New Sparta.

      Arendt was both right: Israel modelled itself after Sparta, and wrong:
      world Jewry adapted to Spartan model of ethnic pride. After all, what
      was wrong about Sparta!
      Until this stupid Epaminondas came and liberated the helots of Messenia.
      But one should focus on the positive. After all, helots were satisfactorily controlled for 600 hundred years at least, and Messenians, for at least 300. Within 300 years we will have a Messiah sooner than Epaminondas (or Salah-ed-Din).

      Messiah is a problem, however, and there seem to be a tension between Messianic and Spartan. Israel is a Jewish state, but what does it mean to be a Jew? Spartan model is that citizenry = army and army = citizens. Military service is what unites the Jews, and Diasporah Jews can participate -- end return to the bitterness of their exile where they are unredeemed but useful. Messianic model is to follow Halacha and be worthy of Messiah, who according to some is a very martial kind of man, but according to others will not care for non-spiritual struggle. So we have at least 3 kinds of very Jewish Jews in Israel and the 4th kind which is sort of passably Jewish -- Radical Leftist. And the helots, who are not the problem but part of the solution: it is the opposition to helots that unites the citizens (well, except for Radical Leftists).

      Anyway, it is a sad testimony to the quality of classic education that Radical Leftists are accused of being henchmen of Umma rather than Medists. Sympathy to Persia/Iran is a vice that Spartans would readily recognize.

  • Israel's mythological borders: an interview with Rachel Havrelock
    • "So naturally enough ..."

      I am not sure if you are joining me in making light on mythology or not. Since the Wilderness of Zin was to the extreme south of Eretz Israel, it stands to reason that the territory to the south of it is not so it is nothing natural about adding Negev to the State of Israel.

      As far as "liberation of Palestine" is concerned, something has to give. Either the British conquered it for the benefit of outsiders to whom they made some promises, or intended to create a temporary regime for the benefit of the inhabitants. In the spirit of compromise they tried both. The plot is quite tangled, so just check where it was not: Iraq. They even used poison gas on the recalcitrant tribesmen to affect their liberation. Sublime Porta was usually more sublime than that.

    • "both territories had been liberated from the Ottoman Empire as a result of WWI ..."

      I like pieces like that: folks moved from feudal yoke of Caliphate to enlightened British Empire experience -- tada! -- liberation.

      Anyway, I think that there is a wrong way to read the information so graciously provided by Prof. Havelock and a good way, but one should not doubt that she knows the topic. When Jews refer to their long, historical and uninterrupted bond with the Land they talk about tradition of myths which are quite vague and inconsistent. After all, they are myths! Recreating precisely the location of Israel where it SHOULD BE is as rational as a full and accurate reconstruction of the route of Argo. It was the ship on which Argonauts sailed, and yes, it has some political implication because in some interpretation it proves the soundness of Abhasian tradition as separate nation (hey, they hosted Jason and other Argonauts before anyone heard about Georgians!).

      I think that when a tradition is used politically, one should compare with other similar traditions that could be used in a similar way. Should Ceuta and Gibraltar belong to Greece, the rightful heirs of Hercules, given that these are Pillars of Hercules? Should Greece return the Thracian provinces to Thracians (Bulgarians claim inheritance from the latter, it was a point during both Word Wars.)

      Besides claim if antiquity and Divine bequest there are also claims of Irrevocable Gift of British Empire. Which can be compared with the claim that could be made by South African Whites. The latter had a rock solid unambiguous South African Act that gave South African Parliament the right to organize the land they way it sees fit, Apartheid or no Apartheid. Clearly, Apartheid was fully consistent with Imperial norms, as one can compare it with collonialization in Rhodesia and Kenia. Mind you, at the time there was no contest to the Imperial ownership of South Africa (even if it was still somewhat fresh here and there), while Mandate does not mean ownership.

      But as the claims of antiquity and Divine Bequest are made, say in from of American Congress or United Nations, it is also of interest if these claims have some relationship with the literary tradition. Why some people invoke 3000 years and some 4000 (3500 is strangely unpopular)? Where are the mountains and rivers mentioned in the Bible? Why the Almighty was informing children of Israel using geographic terms that were to be current only hundreds of years afterwards (no problem for the Almighty, of course, but how could Children of Israel understood Him? perhaps they did not?) Where is Wilderness of Zin?

  • More responses to Ron Paul's surge
    • This is Republican primary we are talking about. Somewhat stale accusations of homophobia and racism -- would it help him if voters gave credit to those accusations of help?

      As far as libertarian economic program is concerned, it also fits pretty well with what other candidates spout with impunity.

      Ironically, what brands Ron Paul is "extremist" is only the part of his program that is sane. In the same time his amphibian opponent spouted about Palestinians being both "invented" and inherently terroristic. His reptilian opponent (terminology from movie "Zelig", "he is such a reptilian!") came out with the most beautiful formula for American foreign policy: call Israeli government and ask what to do. In other words, Newt cast lot with the most reactionary part of Israeli political scene, while Mitt meekly promises to follow whoever is in charge over there.

      It is pure Sallust, prelude to Yughurtine war. (Long time ago and far away, there was prince named Yoghurt in the Dairy Kingdom. Look up details, they are quite fascinating.)

      Ponder that, joer: nobody can truthfully and solemnly promised to keep Hormuz open after an attack on Iran. Gun-totting pickup riding hicks may understand that. They actually follow war events on occasion. And they do not wish to double what they pay for gasoline for their pickup trucks or whatever un-Prius-y vehicles they drive. The empire cannot credibly promise goodies to yeomen farmers, that is the truth.

  • 'New York Times' implies anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic
    • "Zionism is a form of Jews associating as Jews.

      The hatred of “enough Zionism” is an anti-semitism, as relevant as addressing the individual conflicts remain.

      A hatred of Jewish association."

      For starters, an antipathy based on conduct is not "hatred". For example, one can legitimately oppose an ideology that is incompatible with the notion of universal human right regardless of the degree of popularity that this ideology has in a certain ethnic group. One can deride the notion of universal human rights as naive and obsolete: some shortsighted idiots stumbled upon a nicely sounding phrase when they were writing a seditious pamphlet titled "Declaration of Independence" without a shred of loyalty toward the Crown that less that twenty years prior defended them against the French (and the Indians). Given rich experience that followed we can safely bury the idea that "all humans are endowed by their Creator ...".

      Yet the idea is not inherently anti-Semitic. The question remains, what authorities can one chose to decide, sine ira, that Zionism is incompatible with that idea? I guess that "duly elected democratic representatives" that form a parliamentary majority can be such a source. It is not a perfect source, but it is not an act of hateful blindness to treat that source seriously. An lo! NGOs that defend human rights are declared enemies of Zionism?

      Or take Dahiya doctrine that I personally find perfectly repulsive. Many self-professed advocates of the Zionist state claim that it is absolutely essential to the survival of that state. Mind you, it is not a mere theory but a codification of practice. One can conclude that the world would be better of without a state that must use such means for its survival.

      One can make good arguments against such conclusions, namely that Israel can survive as a Jewish state without resorting to daily minor (but persistent) shit and constant readiness to commit major atrocities or simply unprovoked aggression (as they threaten now in the case of Iran), to the contrary, it can be fully democratic, without harsh limits imposed on ethnic minorities and intra-ethnic opposition, and without subjugating millions in a harsh regime. My impression is that many people who make such claims are propagandists who do not believe it. Others, and here I would count Richard Witty, are "heretics", a minority among Zionists, and thoroughly despised by the majority.

      Of course, a minority opinion may be correct. I would amplify it: it is usually a minority that is right on a subject. But is in not an act of hatred to believe the majority of Zionists on the subject of what Zionism is, can be and will be.

  • Right-wing attack group caught fabricating quotes in effort to smear critics of Israel
    • “monitors and exposes the enemies of freedom and their modus operandi, and explores pragmatic ways to counteract their methods.”

      When I read such words I feel nostalgia for older simpler times where the cause of freedom was defended with "exploring pragmatic ways". Simplicity ruled.

      One great victory was the coup of Indonesian generals lead by Sukarno against president who was "flirting" with Communists. About half a million of enemies of freedom were killed and at least as much were sent to concentration camps were they were kept for at least a decade.

      And now we have to be satisfied with incarceration of "Irvine 11". Not only we cannot kill enemies in satisfying numbers, the battle lines seems to be rotating. It used to be that we had a common cause with people of faith against Godless Marxism. Now we try to convince Communists of Ethiopia to make a better job fighting Islamists in Somalia. In the meantime, Russians were fighting pirates on Arabian see and we could not even help the pirates.

      What does freedom mean nowadays?

  • Europe asks: Where's Israel's proposal?
    • “Europeans are ‘irrelevant’ to the peace process”……..Israel

      This is of course true, how one can be relevant in a process that does not exist?

      Government of Israel as constituted cannot present ANY proposals on borders, with possible exception of what Lieberman already floated, give area A to PA. But such a proposal would not improve standing of Israel in Europe. Which matters, because Obama is not doing much to pull strings for Israel there. And if GoI will spit into European faces frequently and forcefully enough, who know -- some action may emerge!

      As it is, to settlers and friends any territorial proposal to Palestinians is an anathema. One of the top priorities of GoI is legalizing "illegal" settlements. I put "illegal" in quotes because it is a peculiar Israeli distinction. Anything short of "Eretz Israel" from Mediterranean to Jordan, with a scattered archipelago of "Area A" will lead to furious reaction of folks who have excellent representation in Knesset, in the ruling coalition.

  • Two critiques of Norman Finkelstein
    • Greetings, Earthlings.

      Resistance is futile. Or is it?

      Military defeats contributed perhaps, as did the collapse of USSR, but quite indirectly as definitely not as a determining factor. Military defeat was perhaps even in SA favor as they did heavy lifting against the Communism, were praised for that and were on the frontline of Freedom.

      With the fall of USSR the boundaries of Freedom were less clear than before. Somehow SA found itself on the outside. But how? "General political climate" to which BDS contributed. Otherwise the connection of the fall of Berlin wall to the release of Mandela etc. is quite cryptic.

  • Israel says it's 'disgusting' for world to take stand on 'domestic affair' --settlers
    • Do >>the Shin Bet and military intelligence have entire units dedicated to stopping Jewish terrorists and the “hilltop youth.”<<?

      If so, those are the least effective units of the respective organizations. Which does not mean that they do not exist. There was an article in Ha'aretz about criminal investigative unit of Israeli police in charge of West Bank, the least effective of all such units in Israel. Monumentally inept.

  • UK, France, Germany and Portugal condemn Israeli plan to build 1,000 new settlements homes
    • Richard Silverstein was disputing that "quote' or "paraphrase".

      In any case, it is not a credible threat in the kind of situation we are discussing.

    • European politics move with the agility of glaciers, but I perceive a looming collision.

      On one hand, Europeans tend to stick to some rather formalistic markers that can be easily circumvented with a touch of hypocrisy. On the other hand, Israel and to some degree, domestic US politics are in the grips of some escalation that propel "in your face" actions.

      Because EU operates with veto powers, sanctions on Israel are almost impossible. But that "almost" is wearing thin. What are the political forces in Europe that lead to accommodation with any Israeli conduct, however radical? There are two. One is that for a certain right wing or "moderate" type of ruling parties following USA is an axiom. Second is anti-Muslim xenophobia.

      Following USA is less and less meaningful, because Administration almost visibly gags any time it obediently vetos resolutions criticising Israel. And the governments that are most reliable pro-Israel vetos in EU may change their position without any domestic consequences -- population in, say, Lithuania or Poland simply does not care what is happening between the Semites.

  • Klein: Ron Paul is surging because he opposes another neocon war for Israel
    • Actually, a combination of know-how that a "modest" intelligence agency may have and technology of model airplanes can be extremely damaging. One could attack refineries and perhaps chemical factories which even on a good day may explode with no terrorist intervention. A few pound of plastic explosives dropped on a tank with petrochemicals or simply, say, butane, can go a long way. And if you knock down several refineries out of commission ...

  • Israeli university bids (w/ Cornell and $350 million) to set up on Roosevelt Island in NY
    • Some people reason that things are either uniformly bad or uniformly good. Thus opponents of abortion claim usually that not only abortion is a very grave sin but it is also very detrimental to female health.

      Israel has good universities and good scientists, and universities are blessed with generous donors. It does not imply that Israel is uniformly good.

      That said, what we learn from the news about a design for a campus on Roosevelt Island? Number one, someone wants to shell 350 million dollars. Number two, city administration approves of the two institutions that are involved -- not very surprising. What is less clear is how it benefits (a) Cornell, (b) Technion, (c) New York City. Technion may wish to relocate.

      Concerning security, I once visited University of Tel-Aviv, and it was a bit exotic. E.g. they were checking the content of instrument cases. To enter the campus with a machine gun you would have to carry it on your shoulder and show ID: many students are on active duties, and active duty soldiers walk everywhere with guns.

  • Defense lawyer Lichtman says Palestinians have a 'culture of death'
    • Hophmi,

      you know very well that Islam != radical Islam, like Judaism != radical Judaism.

      Radical rabbis have as murderous rhetorics, if not more, as radical Muslim clerics. As they have IDF doing most of the bloody work, Jewish radicals do not resort to suicide. But rhetorically, I did not read more murderous screed than radical Zionists. For example, there is some outfit headquartered in Texas (Freeman Intitute) boasting "advisers to Israeli government on security matters" that in an eventuality of concerted attack on Israel advocates bombing all major Muslim cities from Casablanca to Lahore, with nukes, of course.

      Add constant deprecation of "radical Leftists", a capacious category that includes Obama and all Democrats, British Tories and, on a good day, Netanyahu (the last misdeed of this traitor: nixing a bill that would ensure kosher electricity production).

    • There are university departments and think tanks producing that crap. You can be a hasbarah professor. Then there are more eclectic guys like Gingrich who distort history or wholesale basis, not just ME. For that you need to have yet more comprehensive education.

      Actually, if one wants to be creative in insulting religions, radical Judaism seems to be the most boring religion ever invented. Check the bruhahah about kashrut rules for producing electricity. This is the vision of the Lord and Creator of the Universe who is truly manic obsessive, whith 600+ rules that have to spawn thousands upon thousands of derived rules (Torah is strangely reticent about buses and electricity) which do seem quite pointless.

  • What my God chip says about Jerusalem
    • “modern humanistic belief did not come out of nowhere.”

      I think that "modern humanistic belief" is older than contemporary religions, or roughly as old. Most of them were already expressed by Greek philosophers.

      From "Wiki: Consolation of Philosophy": On human nature, Boethius says that humans are essentially good and only when they give in to “wickedness” do they “sink to the level of being an animal.” On justice, he says criminals are not to be abused, rather treated with sympathy and respect, using the analogy of doctor and patient to illustrate the ideal relationship between prosecutor and criminal. [It helped perhaps that Boetius wrote his famous book while slanderously accused and imprisoned.]

      Almost any ideological position can be supported by an ancient philosophical school. Plato (on a bad day) and Meng-tsy were pretty good fascists, Epicureans were individualists, Mo-tsy (Mozi) was perhaps close to Yonah's thinking.

      One problem with religions is that they usually deliver a "worse product" than a philosophy. But this is not inevitable, and in fact most philosophers were religious.

  • Israel is incapable of taking on the settlers
    • "As I see it, the worst case scenario is Israel unilaterally withdrawing from major parts of the West Bank leaving the extreme settlers and the Palestinians to duke it out."

      This is part of the problem: Israeli pretend to be afraid of "existential dangers" to mask their total complacency. Worst case? Of course, it would be better to coordinate the move with PA, perhaps lending it some bulldozers. Even better, offer them some training on those bulldozers.

      By the way, I read that tragically, GoI bowed to leftist/secularist pressure and withdraw a bill that would extend the kashrut rules to the production of electricity. It is hard to understand the issue, but as far as I could gather, Israel is contemplating some deregulation of electricity generation, so any company could enter the market and supply electricity to the grid. Including non-kosher companies! Because there would be no separate kosher and non-kosher grid, more pius Jews could get electricity only from their own generators. So finance ministry prepared a sensible project of a law that would give the Rabbinate control over licensing of electricity producers. And, traitorously, dropped that project! As commented in, once again Likud proved to be a leftist clone of Labor.

    • How can you tell if Mooser was being sarcastic?

      One hint of course is that it was written by Mooser, who did not write a fully serious post in years. Another is that among preposterous sentences that are indistinguishable from the preposterity reigning on more pro-Israeli web sites a sarcastic piece adds a kind of nonsense that cannot be contemplated by those folks. Like doubting the Jewishness of the surname Goldberg.

      Recall that there were assorted attacks on Judge Goldstone, but none tried to doubt the Jewishness of his last name.

  • Liberal Zionists (at last) say non-Jews have a right to criticize Israel
  • 'Christopher Hitchens's loathing for Israel...' --John Podhoretz
    • Except it is wrong.

      It starts from mis-characterization of the heresy of Giordano Bruno. Bruno believed that physical and divine power are residing in the same spot: the Sun. So we revolve around the Sun. That was not the end of it, however. He postulated that stars are nothing else but very distant Suns, each with its own God. So WE have only one God, but the Universe has many.

      So the true import of Giordano Bruno is that if we accept that a Supreme Being exists, we still have more possibilities that we can count, as there can be as many Gods and corrrect theologies as there are stars. All too often deists propose a dichotomy: no God or a God whose divine plan is explained best by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, or by the current Pope, or ... (deists typically offer but one authority to accept).

    • Authorities differ here. I read that Jews SHOULD be faithful to commandments associated with the Covenant, but it is not strictly necessary, while G.d has to uphold His side of the Covenant. So even though Hitchen's mother obviously married outside the tribe, and that sin quite possibly was committed even earlier (what about the grandmother?), the Covenant's blessing still extended to Hitch ("and your children shall outshine all other at scholarly endeavors").

      OTOH, with full fidelity of his forebears, the actual DNA mix of Christopher Hitchens would never exist, so more correct remark would be "Christopher Hitchens, who owed his existence to the fidelity of some and infidelity of others". In other words, a mortal.

  • Ron Paul's stunning antiwar performance: Iran threat recalls Iraq, 'a useless war that killed 1 million Iraqis' and 8000 Americans
    • "But none of this has addressed voters’ big concern over a Paul philosophy that fundamentally denies American exceptionalism and refuses to allow for decisive action to protect the U.S. homeland."

      International Skew Polling investigated the issue of exceptionalism. Among 100 countries the polling had to be suspended in 90 due to linguistic problems. Look what happens after translating "exceptionalism" into Polish, and results back into English:
      self-centredness; selfishness; egocentricity; self-seeking; egoism; egocentrism; self-interest; self-concern; self-centeredness; egotism

      Now we can ask respondents: is your country self-centered, selfish, egocentric, self-seeking etc. Clearly, asking hoi-polloi such questions could lead to confusion or, even worse, physical assault on the pollsters. Therefore the poll was conducted by selecting 10 highly ranked philosophers in each nation, and collecting answers only from those who are conversant with the concept. 94 countries were exceptional.

      To cite one of the justification, Estonian exceptionalism is justified by the fact that only Estonia is a true embodiment of the Livonian spirit (names of countries and regions altered). Polish semiotician explained that the supposition that Poland is not exceptional cannot be adequately translated into Polish, even in a hypothetical form. Hence a fairly long list of invectives used during election campaign does not include "denies national exceptionalism".

      By the way, there exists a convincing archaeologic evidence that "the wheel" was invented in Poland, at least the concept of a wheeled vehicle. A pot attributed to Funnel-Beaker culture seems to show wheeled carts although curiously flattened. Or not so curiously: wheels were invented at least 1000 years before first rudiments of perspective. Since those days, Poland remains the best embodiment of Funnel-Beakerian spirit.

  • Adelson is helping Gingrich, as he once helped Bush
    • I read Israel Finkelstein and some other authors, and it is not true that archaeologist KNOW that there was no "sojourn in Egypt". Semitic tribes had presence in Egypt (and Sinai, of course) most of the time, and some groups were entering and leaving Egypt on regular basis.

      What Finkelstein has proven is that there was no bloody conquest of Joshua because at the most plausible time for that conquest there were very, very few people living in settled villages of Kana'an, especially away from the coastal plane. It was the time of a demographic implosion, a deep climate induced crisis that affected entire eastern Mediterranean. As the climate improved again, raising crops again became attractive and several new agriculturalist nations were formed on both sides of the Jordan. New nations were a fusion of native farmers and pastoralists, but elite groups could well be more cosmopolitan in outlook.

      At the very least, the elite group could descend from wanderers who could impress local yokes with the tales of their exploits in the Egypt land where their ancestor Joseph was a Grand Vizier...

    • I do not understand what is wrong about the sentence, ESPECIALLY given the context.

      True, many Israelis believe that while Israeli nationality can accomodate a variety of "other faiths", it should not. Other believe that it should. Probably relatively few believe that it cannot.

      The sentence is a quotation from a document that critically describes actual (rather than potential) accommodation of the minorities in Israel and recommends improvement. In that context the sentence slyly rebuts criticisms that recommended reforms would undermine the national character of the Jewish State.

      In actuality, I am not sure if the concept of "Israeli nationality" exists. Recently an intelectual requested that in the population registry he would be reclassified from "Jew" to "Israeli", and he won a lawsuit to achieve that goal. So there are several individuals who are "Israeli", rather than "Israeli Jews", "Israeli Beduins" etc. So the sentence is of the character "surely you want to eat your vegetables and grow strong and healthy like other children". Nothing sure about that, but I would not characterize such motherly statement as a lie.

  • Settlers attack Israeli military base and set fire to Jerusalem mosque
    • The accusations of racism in IDF are not necessarily correct.

      In the aftermath of the funeral of Mustafa Tamimi quite Jewish Jonathan Pollack was beaten up and arrested. He is a bicyclist and anarchist which could be OK but, alas, he is also what that would call in the South "Nigger lover".

      Still, how to handle an attack by pet boys of some members of the ruling coalition of your government? Some sensitivity is called for. It would be better to avoid lethal weapons or even potentially lethal. I would supply each military post with a kit that would (a) inflate a huge baloon shaped like Venus of Milo or Bar Rafaeli (no copyright on Venus!), or perhaps Aphrodite IX (cartoon copyrights are cheap) and (b) blare a powerful soprano aria, say, "Sempre Libera".

      Of course, a high tech solution would be to have a functional copy of Aphrodite IX in the box. It would alter ME warfare as we know it.

  • 'If we lived in any other country we'd be honored for this work' -prisoner Ghassan Elashi of Holy Land Foundation
    • Actually, this is weird: "The testimony of the prosecution’s expert witness, an Israeli intelligence officer who, for the first time in U.S. history, was permitted to testify under a pseudonym."

      Why an expert would need to testify under a pseudonym? Field operatives of intelligence agencies need anonymity. But experts who analyze the data? Or foreign representatives of an agency? There is also a tinsy problem that to further military and political goals of their governments intelligence agents are allowed to murder, lie, steal etc. So it creates a conundrum: we may decide as a democratic state that for the sake of survical (or enhanced security) we empower some organizations to commit crimes. But their mere presence undermines any presumption of truth: we allow them to lie, to forge, to mislead. For our own good.

      And now consider a person who is allowed by his government -- not ours -- to lie, to forge, to mislead, to steal and kill. Only for the benefit of the state and the citizens -- but not our state and not our citizens. While such a person may even tell the truth, if the benefit of his government so requires, what kind of legal proof can he or she offer? Something that independent laboratories would confirm that could not be forged by laboratories of his organization?

      So conundrum is that we may enhance security, or enhance the truth, and it was our choice to go for security to the detriment of the truth. After all, the state is an organism, we need some vessels to carry blood and some to carry shit. But aren't we allow shit in vessels that carry blood? This may cause a fatal infection.

  • What are they smoking? Wiesenthal Center lumps Abbas appearance at U.N. with 'neo-Nazis and crackpots'
    • It is worth noting that #5 is highly controversial, because "everybody knows" that Lars von Trier was making a joke. It is of course debatable if the joke was in good taste, but it was a self-deprecating joke. Namely, Lars said that he is German, because the father that he did not know is German. Actually, he is a Dane, but in Denmark it is quite normal to have a German last name.

      So the speech basically wash "Gosh, I am German! So what else is there about me that I did not know? Am I Nazi? Surely not. But wait! " I was an "unreliable narrator routine". "OK, I am a Nazi. Threw me out". And they threw him out.

      There was a court case in Poland where the subject was a joke that could be construed as anti-Semitic. Soccer team from Warsaw was to be a host for a game with a team from Tel-Aviv. Local soccer fans made elaborate preparations. Those are hardworking fun loving people who like to make riots, shout obscenities etc. The scarfs of the home team have three colors: white, red and green. The fans picked the green and made a banner that on photos looked like having the same length as the stadium, perhaps 300 ft by 100 ft? by 50 ft? The mere size was obscene. One that banner were gigantic letters made to look like Arabic: Jihad Legia.
      That's it.

      Racist incitement is not legal in Poland, but the court decided that while the banner could be stupid, it did not actually advocate any views or advocate any actions, other than exhorting the home team to fights as if it was a holy war. To compare, Den Haag was treated to similarly sized picture of flames and letters WELCOME IN HELL.

  • The never-ending double standard
    • eee: simply not true. IDF does not require any rockets or even rocks to kill people in Gaza. They broke practically every quiet period. Israel version of truce is that Palestinians are totally quiet and IDF makes periodic assassinations.

      so I have to parse unassailable as "an ass is able to make a better argument"

  • Gingrich comment that Palestinians are an 'invented people' enters primary debate
    • Frankly, I do not understand: make Nakba in Anacosta (or Georgetown) to make room for immigrants?

    • Gingrich is in the same time wholly unoriginal and illogical. Clearly, he repeats certain Zionist themes (if not universally accepted among the Zionists). For starters, why the lack of statehood during Ottoman period projects at the right, or lack of it, to statehood? Clearly, dissolution of an empire increases the number of states, unless we want to rectify it at put the Ottoman empire together again.

      The age of "nationhood" claim does not influence American inclinations to recognize it. Even today Kosovians (Kosovars) do not claim to be a separate nation, while Abkhasians claim the descent of ancient Kolchis which would correspond to patriarchal time for Israel (Bronze Age), and had an undeniable connection to a state conquered by Russians roughly 150 years ago. So we recognize Kosovo but not Abkhasia.

      Similarly, it was never an issue of relevance if members of a putative nation resort to terrorism or not. We recognized Kosovo and Israel, after all.

      At least, Gingrich's standard works nicely in USA. The rights of Blacks cannot be considered seriously because until relatively recently they were called Colored or Negro. While the name "White Trash" has much longer provenance, and thus we should protect them (together with hillibillies, crackers and hicks).

      Then, assuming the illogical frame as correct, it would be correct to dismiss the "myth" of suffering of people who do not exists. By then, how these mythical creatures can surround and threaten Israel?

    • According to one website I stumbled upon, the region between Nile and Euphrates should be Eretz Israel. Using divine guidance would be best, or most objective. Jews exists, Arabs exists but God approved cheating Ishmael so there, America -- well, America seems to be a heretical conjecture. After all, all animals that survived the Flood were released on the slopes of Ararat that at that time was higher than Himalayas (or Flood water obeyed a little different laws of physics than today, so all stories of a separate continent with its own animal life should be firmly rejected. And so the existence of Palestinians.

      So we can heartily agree with Newt on his main thesis, but we can quibble on details. First, he claims that people who do not exists surround and threaten Israel. Ontologically, geographically, geometrically, any way you look at it you have a problem. The second issue is that he has mention America, and on what authority does he claim that this is but a figment of his imagination? Judges? Numbers? Ezekiel? Luke?

  • Liberal pundits and Democrats are stifling conversation on failed peace process, AIPAC's power, and push for war on Iran
    • And who won in Israel?

      Actually, it would be nice if Israel, being perhaps the first democracy in the region, gave a "good example" so the others would not be convinced that "even Israel" segregates public transit and censors NGOs. Decent treatment of religious minorities would be similarly helpful. Abolishing "administrative detention" etc. would help too.

      Concerning Syria, pro-democracy activist do not spend much energy demanding sanctions on the regime because ... these are already in place. Sri Lanka is a rare country that suffers no sanctions and has a very poor human rights record (mind you, it is a democratic country like Israel), and it is one of the "pet causes" of the left.

  • One day in the State of the Jewish People, a 'light unto the Nations'
    • Oblast is a large administrative unit that merits a Governor. I think that Birobidjan is a capital of Autonomous Okrug.

      I was familiar with a Jewish woman who grew up in Khabarovsk, a nearby big city. Russians would not refer to this area as "Eastern Russia" or "Siberia" but "Far East". Both Birobidjan and Khabarovsk are on Chinese border, hence (a) close to vast Chinese market, while also to numerous resources of Far East like metals, hydrocarbons, timber, game etc. Climate is temperate compared with most of Far East, with pleasant summers and quite bearable winters (local winter fashion calls for boots insulated with one inch thick felt and with deer hide, which works very nicely when it is -40 outside). Water is quite plentiful, but I did not read about any disastrous floods.

  • Mustafa Tamimi has died
    • Wiki: On 27 June 2005, Hayb (sharpshooter who gunned down Hurndall) was convicted of manslaughter, obstruction of justice, giving false testimony and inducing comrades in his unit to bear false witness; and, on 11 August 2005, he was sentenced to eleven and a half years for manslaughter by a military court, of which he was to serve eight years in prison.

      This is actually in line what other countries are doing. The charge of murder is hardly ever applied to soldiers or police. "In a four-month-long trial, despite claims that he was following orders from his commanding officer, Captain Medina, Calley was convicted on March 29, 1971, of premeditated murder for ordering the shootings. He was initially sentenced to life in prison. Two days later, however, President Richard Nixon made the controversial decision to have Calley released, pending appeal of his sentence. Calley's sentence was later adjusted, so that he would eventually serve three and one-half years under house arrest at Fort Benning.". This is about My Lai.

    • Memphis, I would not advise to throw rocks at a bear. Although it reminds me a story told by hikers whose food was stolen by a bear. The husband schepped down to Yosemitee Valley to get food again, an operation that took full day, and they again hanged the knapsack between the trees, and she-bear with cubs came again to the campsite -- she learned the trick of tugging at the rope to bring the knapsack down. At that pointed they shouted and chased the bear away.

      Bears have a certain sense of right and wrong. One her own territory the bear could be ferocious and there would be no stopping her without heavy ammo (or potent tranquilizer darts). But in this case the bear knew it was not her campground.

      It is of some importance that IDF alleges that the dead demonstrator had slingshot in the pocket, not in his hands. And that he was killed "execution style", from what looks like 5 meters, from behind a door. It was an execution, and an ambush. I am prepared to offer a modest wager (50 euro?) that IDF will not be able to identify the killer. Or at least, disclose his or her name, something that Knesset wants to criminalize.

  • Iran: If it had been a fighter jet not a drone, 'U.S. bases would have been pounded'
    • NYT:
      President Obama said on Monday that the United States had asked Iran to return an American surveillance drone that the Iranians say they captured on Dec. 4. It was Mr. Obama’s first public comment about the remote controlled aircraft, which has elevated American tensions with Iran.

      Believe or not, this was an aswer to the question if USA is concerned that Iran may uncover military secrets from the drone. It never hurts to ask...

    • I read somewhere that probably Iran has agents in Kandahar or wherever the base of the drones is, and they could find out what signaling is used to communicate with the drones. If the signals were unencrypted it would be an incredible security breach, but not impossible. With proper procedures, "hacking into" the drone should not be possible.

      More disturbing from the point of attacking Iran with impunity is that the stealth drone was observed. There were rumors of radars that can do it, a Ukrainian company claimed that their radars have that capability. I have no idea about details, but if I recall, stealth aircraft is not bouncing radar signal back, but it may create visible signature for antennas positioned at another angle. There is also infrared signature -- the exhaust. I suspect that the alleged nuclear program may be a huge trap. Nothing very valuable or replaceable would be lost, but with downing some Israeli aircraft Iran would gain quite a bit of prestige and influence.

      I would not expect a "lashing out" reaction envisioned by commentators who think that Israeli/American approach is shared by others. A more fitting retaliation would be an official sending of troops to Lebanon and installing anti-aircraft defenses there. If those work at least partially, Hezbollah would be fortified, Israeli morale dented etc. And these troops and supplies would trek overland through Iraq. And Balance of Power, the pretty girl we like so much, would be very, very upset.

  • Gingrich says Palestinians are an 'invented people'
    • Gingrich is aware that at some point inhabitants of 11 states (or 14?) decided that they are a nation. While subsequent events have different interpretation (war of secession or war of Yankee aggression or war between the states), there it was: a putative nation that would separate from a larger group speaking the same language.

      While Southerners did not succeed, "Americans" did, even though they started as English (subjects of English Crown, hence English). And so did Canadians etc. Although they were a part of British Empire. I think that troops from New Zealand and Australia did not fight Ottoman Empire as members of separate nations but as troops from dominions of British Empire,

      Most importantly, a negative decision on the existence of Southern nation did not abrogate individual rights of Southerners including property rights.

  • Robert Siegel scolds Kalle Lasn
    • "a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives, almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals (a partial list: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer),"

      I think this is a vast exaggeration. Off-hand, from the list, Feith and Abrams are party/government aparatchiks, while Krauthammer is a hack and an idiot. Kristol is a hack and apparatchik.

      Wolfowitz is an actual Ph. D. etc. but in a wrong field, if I recall.

  • Iran airs footage of US drone intact
    • On related note, Chinese press reported an extremely strongly worded warning: "According to NDTV, a Chinese news station based outside the country, in regard to recent speculation that Iran would be the target of a US-Israeli military assault, Major General Zhang Zhaozhong commented that, “China will not hesitate to protect Iran even with a third world war,” remarks described as “puzzling to some”.

      I was quite puzzled by lack of google news hit to a source that would be both English language and mainstream, but press of Communist parties in East/Central Europe reported it etc., so it is more than a rumor.

      China is 800 lb gorilla in the equation. If attacked Iran may block the traffic in Strait of Hormuz and precipitate world economic crisis and in the aftermath there would be a huge bruhahah. Because once it is over Iran has to trade with SOMEONE, it cannot ignore what China finds acceptable and what not. Russia, of course, would just profit enormously but China would be on the receiving end (or non-receiving, to be precise). However, Chinese would shed no tears if American military presence in Asia would be either gone totally, or at least substantially (e.g. from Afghanistan and Pakistan) etc., and if USA would be thoroughly humiliated.

  • Accusing Obama of 'appeasement,' Romney says he'd travel to Israel on first trip as president
    • It will be interesting. It is possible that guys like Mitt (which means, everybody but Ron Paul) will make Ron Paul popular.

      Ron Paul has some crazy libertarian idea. All other GOP candidates pretend to be as crazy on issues like economy. But on foreign policy they pretend to be insane, while Paul, well, is sane. Apart from morality and justice, not huge selling points for GOP electorate, do we need

      a) a war that would require 3 times larger resources than Iraq (at most optimistic calculations), which is basically 3 times more that USA can put in the field

      b) gasoline cost doubling and economy diving.

      And if Israel does not like it and wants to "do it alone", why can't we live her alone? In other words, by all means, provoke world economic crisis and make a regional war, but handle it alone. No cash, not protective vetos, no resupplies. If Israel is an ally and a smaller ally than USA, then the position of Mitt that we should ask Israel what to do is a bit weird. Also, he said that USA should not ask anyone what to do. When he was asked another question, not about Israel.

      I suspect that some GOP voters will find it weird, to say the least, and they will vote for Paul, and the rest will be split between Romney, who is a phony with a history of flip-flopping, Gingrich who is a phony with a history of histerics (cannibals!), Bachman who is like a less pretty copy of Palin (she would close embassy in Tehran, good call!) etc.

  • US loses stealth drone over Iran - accident or mobile jamming?
    • This is the story of the arms race.

      30 years ago the gap in material science between USA and USSR was not that large, USA was very, very superior in computing technology and electronics.

      After more than 20 years of outsourcing etc. the edge in computing and electronics is not that large. I think USA can still invent better (not always!) but then either the stuff does not see the light of day, or we use it, loose it, and then the technology is in the hands that can copy it.

      Weirdly enough, Russians cannot copy well American fighter planes (but who knows what they can do not) and Americans cannot copy their missiles. Missiles that can exceed speed of sound in the vicinity of the target AND zigzag defy all countermeasures.

      The funny thing is that we are developing countermeasures to our own technologies, and loose them, so we are in arms race with ourselves. Sure, it provides good jobs. but so would a big green energy program. We do not even want to fight with these toys.

  • Israel's myth of invincibility drives a dangerous idea-- attacking Iran
    • "A nuclear Iran would embolden them to attack not settlements or occupied territories, but Israel proper, the North through Hezbollah, the South through Hamas."

      And our proxies like MEK and Baluchis will invade and take Tehran. Each scenarion is equally possible (which means, not possible).

      Nukes allow to commit some minor shit and get away with it. E.g. assuming that Indians are correct that ISI orchestrated attacks in Mumbai, Pakistan got away with it. But it does not mean that it can invade India and take over Kashmir, however fervently it would wish to do it.

      Actually, the whole deterrence and "agressive posture" potential of Iran is based on

      a) a conventional missile program

      b) access to very strategic location including, but not limited to, Strait of Hormuz.

      Nukes are unusable, but the threat over Hormuz is very much usable. Nuclear program has wholly peaceful application IMHO:

      i) grandstanding; as an imperfect democracy, Iran needs grandstanding to secure loyalty of a key segment of the population (and so does Israel, by the way)

      ii) trap for USA and Israel; a real program is perhaps easy to attack, but a creature of fog, mirages and sleight of hand, everywhere and nowhere, try to destroy that!

      Finally, who is this "Balance of Power" that is so easy to upset? A comely but high-strung girl? "Do not upset her! You are saying all those vile things, she will cry in a moment!"

    • Maccabees were not deluded zealots, but they actually won and made a dynasty. Do not confuse them with Zealots (capital Z) of Massada.

  • A point for the Israel lobby theory, from Panetta
    • "the intelligence community believed had MWDs."

      When Bush gazed into Putin's eyes to read his soul, he learned more of his innermost thought than he have learned about beliefs of the "intelligence community". Apart from "black operations", intelligence agencies have somewhat contradictory tasks: collecting true information and collective anything that can be used to smear our opponents, true or false. And it is top secret what they truly believe.

      By the way, since Jordan and Lebanon made it into your list of "major countries in the region", which countries are not major? Any lieutenant countries?

      You also allude to a poll of "strategic thinkers". Was Iraq a larger or a lesser threat? Because I think that the caliber of strategic thinking most widely quoted in USA should be measured with the standards of "Winnie the Pooh", the best answer is "Why not both, rabbit?" (Iraq, the last time I checked, is very much in the picture.) In any case, now they are telling us that pearl of wisdom?

  • Israeli lawmaker targeting dissidents praises... Joe McCarthy's 'every word'
    • "know Communists working for the State Deparment..."

      Some claim that one of those Communists is Avigdor Lieberman himself. Perhaps he does not work for the State Department, but fairly close (Foregn Ministry).

      In any case, traitors who engorged themselves on Norwegian kronor or pounds or Euros provided by such Radical Leftists like British Tories or German Christian Democrats are definitely part of world-wide Radical Left Democracy. As you see, without proper vigilance, Radical Left will take over Likud and Israel Beitenu and rule Israel to the diktat of Jihadist. Did you know the "turkey plot"? First, Radical Leftist Jihadists took over Butterball company (I think that Brosky family was involved, if they pose to be Orthodox Jews, it only show how invidious Leftist plots are) and then changed the rules of slaughtering turkeys to halal! And in secret, mind you.

  • Netanyahu throws in with Lieberman on legislation targeting dissident NGO's
    • Shapiro [US ambassador] said that all projects funded by the U.S. government are apolitical and are not controversial. However, he added, the bill is too broad and therefore there are concerns that NGOs aided by the U.S. administration will be harmed.

      And another bill authorizing Ministry to education to erect pillories on campuses to display traitorous academicians may also too broad and may be too easily be used to evoke unfortunate images from Middle Ages.

  • Panetta's last words to Israel: 'Get to the damn table... Get to the damn table'
    • Attacking Iran is quite insane, and why Panetta has to explain that it boggles my mind (I mean, why otherwise seemingly respectable people can be sufficiently stupid that they require that explanation, because by all appearances, they do.)

      In a nutshell, it is a bit hard for Iran to retaliate directly at Israel, and damn easy to retaliate against US targets and Strait of Hormuz. American ships can stay away from the not-so-large range of Iranian missiles. and so can the oil tankers. But it leaves a small problem ...

      ... like how all these Christian Zionists with their beloved pickup trucks and SUVs and what not will be able to afford to drive? Will their love for Israel survive the oil shock that would come at time of 100 dollar per barrel oil -- before the shock?

      Perhaps yes, perhaps no. My bets are that Israeli leaders are in a bad need for tough talk and tough action. Gaza campaign fizzled -- Barak was all ready to go, but casus belli kind of evaporated. The First War on NGOs ended without enemy scalp being collecteds. That kind of left Iran. But with Europe and even USA rebelling against the notion, it seems that we are back to NGOs.

      However, funny things happen when politicians select a victim that is particularly powerless. It reminds me a GOP candidate for governor of California who railed against kangaroo rats. He lost.

  • Roll over Ben-Gurion and tell Jabotinsky the news (even Tablet's had enough)
    • Look, the post was illustrating why overwhelmed and confused one can get in America. Like, after giving thanks to the Lord (Hashem?) in the spring one is required to do it again? Why! WHY! I can barely do it EVERY year and twice in a year is frankly too much.

      One could get religious after all these holidays.

      What is most confusing is that: how to properly celebrate Purim without Armenians to spit at?

    • We Abhazians are not numerous but we definitely can spend our days kicking ass and standing tall. And if things will get hot, we got a big brother.

      And no need to do anything as boring as "focusing on protecting the rights of minorities". This is really for losers (meaning, this is definitely Plan B).

  • 'Commentary' suggests Ron Paul's heresy on Israel support is anti-Semitic
    • If I recall, Ron Paul has both homophobic and racist associations, and libertarian program is quite odious to liberal values. Liberal do not cherish social Darwinism, only the scientific variety.

      These are sad times that libertarians may offer the most intelligent foreign policy.

  • Wolf Blitzer will host surging Paul, but Republican Jewish Coalition won't
    • The other candidates are either extremists or pretend to be extremists.

      I do not watch them so I do not know how calculated their facial work is. And the policies! To balance the budget, I shall close every department and agency that starts with letter "E", like "Education", "Environments" and "Eventually, I will recall its name and then I will such it down". Another program, 9-9-9 is clearly optimized to avoid tricky recall problems of E-E-E policy. Sometimes I think that apart from the sole Libertarian, GOP was infiltrated by Raving Monster Party.

  • Now they care
    • ruthieofamerica:

      I agree that naming every Israeli misbehavior an "atrocity" is an inflation of the term.

      However, the reality is nothing to brag about. Israeli authorities, with enthusiastic support of the citizenry and friends from abroad (as attested in comment sections of, and even here) have a world record in "low grade shit". Totally pointless hostile shit. Typically minor, mind you, but incredibly persistent.

      Very often, but not always, this is done under the color of "security". But to an unprejudiced observer it is clear that in almost all "security" related incidents the principle is "give devil a finger and he will take the hold hand", and it is Israeli authorities that play the role of the devil, I am sorry to say.

      In the incident that we discuss, clearly there was no reason to apply both body search and X-rays, or to apply X-ray screening more than once. For that matter, there is a specific procedure that allows concerned people like pregnant women to avoid X-rays. With all that, were it an isolated incident, like the case of Vancouver security personnel, the generalizations like "Zionist mentality" would be out of place. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

      I would also observe that it is really impossible to justify the procedures applied to Linsey Addario on security grounds because she was neither entering an airplane nor a meeting with an important person. A combination of metal detectors, swabs testing for explosives, a sniffing dog and normal patting (and some sane inspection of the luggage) should really reveal all the risks.

  • Pamela Geller's Islamophobia hits new low with Thanksgiving Day smear of dietary laws
    • Check this:

      link to

      As xenophobic rants go. this is indeed in the league of Manishevitz Concord Cream rather than Lafite-Rotschild.

      It is absurd on so many levels that it is hard to start (but check the link above). First, if I buy Pamela's story lock, stock, and barrel, I find it immensely distressing: not only my favorite bird is raised in inhumane overcrowded condition and fed unpalatable factory diet, but its suffering are prolonged by extra few second by an illiterate migrant worker from El Salvador he mumbles "Bismillah" in the process. And this remains secret.

      It is so infuriating that next year I will hunt my own turkey (they are surprisingly numerous in these parts, although I have neither skill nor equipment; once I was practically assaulted by a particularly cheeky individual).

      There is not way to phatom jihadist logic so it may be more fruiteful to answer: why now? who?

      Why now part is easy: recently Butterball got a new corporate master, the share hitherto owned by Smithfield Foods was purchased by Seaboard, which is a majority owned subsidiary of Seaboard Flour, which is owned by the Bresky family. No doubt, Bresky's are some suspicious swarty Middle Eastern types.

      Seaboard is a majority owned subsidiary of Seaboard Flour, which is owned by the Bresky family.

    • "They wouldn’t throw, willingly, even a tiny crumb of it, to waste."

      dumvitaestspesest forgot to mention that this reverence extends to other grain products, and also to potatoes and their liquid derivatives. So make it "They wouldn't throw even a tiny drop of it to waste."

      Importantly for you, Moose, this attitude does not extend to wine, Try to stock a case of that (starting a 2.99!):

      Manischewitz Cream Red Concord Kosher NV

      A sweet but balanced wine with a velvety mouth feel. The distinct aroma and flavor of fresh Concord grapes with confectionery notes.

  • Bernard-Henri Levy insists settlements are not 'colonies' but minute 'implantations'
    • BHL is a Hasbarat, I am not sure if he is a useful idiot or genuinely insincere, and while morally fools are superior, functionally they are about the same.

      Still, this is an intelligent fool/liar, so one may pay attention to arguments.

      Settlements are not like colonies in part because the settlers do not come from across the sea but have a base minutes, or an hour, away as you drive a car (on settler-only roads, otherwise it may be slower). This makes them potentially much more permanent. The current debate in Knesset totally falsify a supposition that there is any intention of removing ANY settlements, the only debate is what strategy should the government adopt to abandon two hilariously small settlements.

      Second, my favority. Zionist make "bad land bloom". This is a perspective that had some modicum of justification 50 years ago, when we did not know any better. Draining swamps (if any) is removing ecologically precious wetlands. Irrigating land in the condition of limited water resources leads to ecological disasters (like drying off Dead Sea). Most saliently, those "small impantations" take enormous proportion of water, and Israel "proper" takes the rest. So those "blooming" (fructified) spots show that Israel (a) took MOST of the resources, of which water is most critical (b) is addicted to it, structured her economy around stolen water.

      Third, why the hell we should pay more attention to an occasional speach of an Israeli politicians (pablum about negotiation) than to consistent themes in the internal political debate (do not surrender an inch and expand versus or surrender an inch here and expand). Expansionists of different kinds have a lopsided majority in Israel, and they show no sign of relenting. This is a reality that BHL and other fools/liars deny.

  • Obama must condemn Egyptian military's crackdown
    • Some people do not understand the most basic rules of morality.

      Bad things are what bad people do.

      Killing of the protesters in Syria (or in Iran) is bad BECAUSE it is done by bad people.

      If good people kill protesters we have a moral choice: quickly determine that bad people were killed, and the second basic rule of morality is

      Ugly things done to bad people are good.

      Recall the untimely demise of Osama bin-Laden and Muammar Khaddafi. At least, they were not photographed in their underwear.

      Alternatively, we can recognize that the situation is complicated.

  • Santorum says West Bank is Israel's Texas, and all who live there are 'Israelis'
    • US happens to have very long and hard to defend borders. Look at the map! A huge country, extending well beyond Arctic Circle looms from the North, and an extremely confusing hodgepodge of countries threatens from the South. (Do you know where St. Lucia is? I don't, but somewhere there.)

      With a lesser military budget USA could be reduced to the position like Paraguay: it suffered a holocaust because of invasion from neighboring Argentina and Brasil (and Uruguay, but the latter did not do much, even so it was a Triple Alliance). And what stand now between Paraguay's existence and oblivion? Nothing except for not picking fights with neighbors. It works, but it is kind of undignified.

  • 'Segregated country': Israel envisions Orthodox-Jewish-only 'cities' in Palestinian area
    • Of course Palestinians have a much higher level of private home ownership.

      One of the basic tools of keeping housing stock away from Arabs is to prevent private ownership, so most of Jews rent, while Arabs are largerly prevented from renting. From American point of view, Jewish Israeli have a very weird attitude to private property.

    • "And hat's off to us:"

      Speaking of hats, Minister Ariel Atias is definitely good looking, but perhaps he would look even better if he were not dressed as Black-hatted "bad gunman" from a Western movie. Perhaps a mariachi costume with a proper sombrero? link to

  • A boycott of their own? Settlers compiling list of businesses that employ 'Arabs'
    • Perhaps they should jump the shark? I guess, sharks have scales...

      Is a shark that ate a terrorist (as Rachel Abrams postulates) kosher?

  • Bill to investigate flotilla is a 'tool of intimidation'
    • None of you damn bussiness, dumvitaestpesest.

      Pehaps more interestingly, there was an international treaty negotiated to tighten provisions about biological and chemical weapons, which envisaged some inspection procedure. USA scuttled the project because -- imagine that -- other countries could demand inspections in American labs. Which apparently are full of highly interesting items, which in turn is NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS.

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