Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4222 (since 2010-05-31 18:07:51)


American university faculty member born in Poland.

Showing comments 900 - 801

  • Ten reasons why AIPAC is so dangerous
    • Yet, it is not easy to find a cause for all the hardware and periodic wars that the complex needs. Israel is an almost necessary invention.

  • Israelis sanction a march of incitement against Hanin Zoabi in her hometown
    • "Part of a campaign under the slogan "Expel Hanin Zoabi from the Knesset", her fellow parliamentarian Michael Ben-Ari..."

      Apparently Ben-Ari has more spare time after being forbidden to visit USA on the account of his terrorist links.

  • Gorenberg on why one state is a non-starter: Jews would have to pay higher taxes or receive fewer services
    • To have reasonable "one state" you would have to negotiate ahead of time what are the property rights and communal control of land in the new state. Obviously, it would have to be change to the detriment of Jews (because they are unreasonably privileged now), and now you have a thorny issue how. Thus I do not see how is it simpler than 2 state solution.

      Whatever the solution, there has to be an international consensus that the current situation is not tolerable.

    • Danny Dannon, Reuben Rivlin and many other Israeli politicians are against two state solution. Opposition to the liquidation of settlements covers something like 80% of the political spectrum. I personally think that "Belgium is an outlier" only because there is no "Israel/Palestine one state", so perhaps "2S" is preferable, but right now we talk about calculus of impossibilities. A happy Apartheid state is most possible, basically, status quo. But are Apartheid states stable, or inherently paranoid, aggressive and self-destructive?

      Concerning the problem of large poor population dragging down high tech sector, this is what current happy state may experience anyway if you believe complaints about Haredim.

  • ADL enlists city of Oakland to block Atzmon event
    • So you say. The standard reply is: really? link please. One that one can actually hear the trumpet or whatever he is using (I can only say that Sarah Gillespie looks better than Atzmon when they act together).

    • Hophmi complains about Atzmon's words " ‘Blaming the victim’ is an argument that allowed Jews to stop reflecting for hundreds of years. They always come to the conclusion that the Goyim, the gentiles are a bunch of murderers." More precisely, Goyim hate Jews because they know their own inferiority and periodically act on their feelings.

      But this weird historiography is the standard Zionist teaching. I disagree with reasons that Atzmon postulates, but nevertheless his starting point was what he learned in school: that Goyim never had a reason.

    • I cannot comment on Atzmon being a "snake". However, he did not deny Holocaust and he did not call Jews "Christkillers".

      For that matter, to call Jews "Christkillers" you would need to operate under the assumption that New Testament is historical. I think that he clearly made a figure of speech that IF Israeli Jews identify themselves with historical/mythical characters from 2000 years ago, then they are all suicidal Zealots and they are all Judases who betrayed Christ. This is called reductio ad absurdum. You are what you are today, not what mythical "you" were 2000 years ago. And hopefully you are not the mythical genocidal "you" of 3000-4000 ago (there are good reasons to believe that Joshua was less historical than King Arthur).

      I grant you that Atzmon is weird. But nowhere I have seen him justifying, glorifying and demanding violence, which is Zionist staple. Harvard Law professor Alan Derschowitz presented humanity with such progressive concepts as "torture warrant" (tell the judge that a bomb is ticking, get the warrant and torture the guy for a year or two) and "continuum of civilianality" (how to figure that enemy civilians are no civilian after all while our soldiers are in actuality civilian). He may be just a crank who got tenure and subsequently went bonkers, but Israel seriously considered him for UN ambassador (according to Dersh, so perhaps a lie). As long as such creatures infest lecture halls etc. how should we begrudge a reservation of a room for Atzmon lecture?

      And learned professor from Harvard is but one of many. At least he is not advocating tossing nukes left and right like Louis Rene Beres, professor at Purdue, member of innumerable think tanks, advisor to Israeli government. Notably, member of Freeman Institute, the home of Sampson option. Or professor Ruben Gur of U Penn who wrote "The macabre sight of the likes of Stella Kübler, (arguably Hannah Arendt) and the Capos in the extermination camps is about to be replayed here at Penn." For information: Stella Kuebler was a Berlin Jew betraying her classmates to Gestapo, Hanna Arendt known humanitarian and both the same for Prof. Gur.

    • RaHa: I think that Atzmon is right about certain things, but he is also weird.

      The charge that Atzmon denies Holocaust is absurd. Atzmon is making an explanation (but not justification) for Holocaust. I did not read a lot on his website, but one of his claims is that Jews view themselves as superior to all others and hated all others, so it is not particularly surprising that some of those others hated Jews. To truly justify Holocaust, you would need to make two extra steps that Atzmon did not do, namely that non-Jews should hate Jews, and that if they had a good reason to hate, they should exterminate them.

      I am simplifying, but if you take this claim as a working hypothesis and go through opinion articles in and, and look at the comment sections, you figure that Atzmon hit nail on the head. But he is also wrong. Atzmon thinks that Jews are exceptional in thinking about themselves as exceptional, and in some sense, it is "very Jewish" of him, while in fact Jews are not so exceptional in the exceptionalism department. More importantly, it is but an element of the tradition and identity of Poles, English, Jews, Americans, Lithuanians etc.

      When Atzmon criticizes "Jewish Marxist" Machover, he goes bonkers. In a nutshell, he recapitulates the Machover's characterization of the conflict between Jews and Palestinians, which to me looks like "standard Marxist approach". Then he argues that this characterization is horribly wrong -- to me, this is a matter of opinion. The same piece of cheese can be sliced, but also diced. THEN Atzmon argues that the errors of Machover analysis stem from his horrible Jewish bias, which seems patently false at least if you believe Atzmon's own synopsis of Machover.

      I never heard about Machover before and after, but this shows the weakness of Atzmon approach and temperament.

      Basically, enemies of Atzmon are proving that he is right (Jews always curse and cast out their heretics). Atzmon left alone on his book tour to present his views anytime and anywhere is wrong.

      The Zionist discourse is proving Atzmon right. Who is a better Jew? What are Jewish values? How to be fully Jewish? Why Norwegians hate Jews? Why are we surprised that Norwegian hate Jews? Why there are Jews that accept dirty Norwegian kronor to spun propaganda that puts Jews in bad light? Is it nobler to punish Jews who accept dirty ... or to suffer their contumly and thus prove that Jews are most democratic and moral (especially compared to the meddlesome and hypocritical Norwegians).

    • Gilad Atzmon denies Holocaust in the same sense as "Pacifikkka" or Norman Finkelstein. This is simply slander with ostensible proofs that an actual denier either cited or was cited, and that contaminated a person to be "denier" who in turn cited or was cited by the next person etc. We are all Holocaust deniers in that fashion.

      I think that Atzmon in his writing mixes genuinely interesting personal experience with scholarship that is ... well, he is a musician not a scholar. Exactly the kind of person who is interesting and controversial. This business of "Jewish community" running around and bestowing or withholding kashrut certificates on all and sundry is really tiresome. Children of Gaza did not deny Holocaust in their pictures, but they were censored as "not balanced" or some such.

      Concerning anti-Semitism, "professional anti-anti-Semites" have to learn how to rebut or accept charges about actual characteristics of Zionism and Judaism. The same way as "professional anti-anti-Christians" and anti-anti-Muslim. It would actually be nice to see people accepting that yeah, there are some skeletons in their closet. There has to be a middle way between demonization and adulation. What we see are demands of adulation. It is un-American not to adulate Israel.

  • Dershowitz wants MJ Rosenberg fired for daring to stop Iran war push
    • So Democrats will loose elections because of M.J. Rosenberg and Shas will loose elections because of Ovadia Josef.

      In the meantime, majority of American supports avoiding the war. M.J. Rosenberg is politically astute, apart from being correct on the facts.

  • Etgar Keret in the 'NY Times Magazine' tries on orientalism with an iconic 'Arab' look
    • I kind of understand the frisson of having to decide: shepherd or terrorist. But what is this bussiness about mustache? In what manner M.J. Rosenberg and Tom Friedman are the "inscrutable other"?

  • Iran's Oscar win reveals Israeli movie-goers to be brainwashed bumpkins
    • Justice Please: brains are needed for more efficient hunting and gathering, forming effective social hierarchies as well as for more effective sexual competition. Evaluation of news stories from media is a very recent challenge. I also read that before the advent of states, permanent state of low-grade warfare between hunting bands or agricultural villages was actually ecologically beneficial, maintaining buffer zones of unexploited territory that could shift over time when the core zones were depleted.

      As the contemporary "hunting-gathering" tasks include buying gasoline, somehow the majority prefers to avoid the war, we see 44% of war supporters and 77% of those that may believe that a war could be useful.

      A British columnist paraphrased a song which is famous in those parts "We don't want to fight but by Jingo if we do. We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too. " She wrote: "We've got the ships, we've got the men, but by Jingo, we do not have money".

    • I discussed that point somewhere else to annoy local trolls. A conclusion seems to be that in every society most people have conventional opinions. A typical professor of political science may have a hand in molding those opinions. But in every society there is always a minority that strays from the majoritarian convention.

      The problems of group dynamics exists also in various social animals. Both solidarity and individualism have survival value. Let me share a little "zoo-sociological theory". Penguins are favorite examples in American politics. Adele penguins are liberals, playful, joy to watch, and what is quite important, some engage in homosexual pairings, which allows to dispute some conservative claims about "natural law". Emperor penguins are conservative. Dignified. Monogamous! Every year they march from the frigid ocean to a somewhat sheltered valley between glaciers to lay eggs. Then the males make a stand, with eggs on their paws, while females go away for a month to eat. Antarctic wind howls, and males huddle together, in amazing feat of social solidarity. If you stray, you die. But those who do not stray, survive by slowly changing who stays outside, facing the wind. Duty, solidarity, sharing.

      But the movie also shows that contrary to common wisdom and sound logic, some penguins schlep around. This is dangerous. Their insulation is a marvel of evolution, so they can spend some energy on solitary walks, but they need to budget the stored energy for a month in those conditions. The most profligate individuals freeze to death. What can be evolutionary benefit of such individualism? Perhaps penguins acquire some collective knowledge about their environment. The annual treks go "always" to the same spot, but this is landscape of ice, so it is changing. When the change of the route is necessary, probably the majority is baffled, but some individuals have ideas where to go. A flock with no curiosity gene would die out.

  • Harvard's 'one-state' conference spurs 'National Review Online' to suggest expelling Palestinians from Jewish state
    • Actually, since the ancestral home of Jews and all their venerated tombs are in Judea and Samaria, the most logical solution would be a land swap: Israel gets territory to the east of Green Line, and Palestinians -- the the west. Nobody would move the settlers. Once we are "creative", everything should be considered.

  • New Republic says 'all of western civilization' could be threatened by Iran
    • RoHa,

      I do not know about you, but rock-and-roll was definitely a threat from within that was more damaging then any threats from outside. Did you ever had an electric guitar? Did you provide material support?

  • Forward: 'Israel and most US Jewish orgs are beating drums of war'
    • radii,

      Iran definitely has operating centrifuges. According to inspections, Iranian claims etc.

      In any case, should Iran do what Leonard Fein proposed, allow for unrestricted inspections in Dimona? Does Fein understand what he is writing?

    • radii,

      Iran definitely has operating centrifuges. According to inspections, Iranian claims etc.

  • Hundreds of Israeli soldiers show up in village targeted for demolition
    • Sometimes military drills involve a lot of sleep deprivation. Perhaps soldiers underwent some 48 hours of driving, running, marching etc. and were simply utterly exhausted, and violated some elementary principles of safety (on the exercise they should at least pretend that they are ready to respond to a danger, have patrols etc.) I guess than an officer will be severely reprimanded.

  • Surprise-- courageous Elizabeth Warren is craven on Israel lobby
    • Let me check if I understand you, Kathleen: you propose to donate to Warren's campaign and in the same time, attach "educational" message.

      This may be astute. In a democracy, the representatives will not be much more enlightened than the population. It Warren will do the right thing from "except Israel" point of view, i.e. build a political and financial base that is not dependent on big checks from fat cats, she will not be wedded to AIPAC.

      In most cynical political terms, Americans are "pro-Israel" if the question is phrased that way, and "anti-settlement" if the question is phrased that way. Tragically, the second question is not raised in the press etc. I perceived a certain attempt of Obama to used that angle in a positive way, but well, that was it. War on Iran is the issue that may a Sicilian Expedition for neo-cons and Zionists. It seems that Republican attacks on Obama on that issue increase the popularity of Obama. The public is tied of money and blood spent on wars that go nowhere. Right now we pay 50 cents on each gallon just for war mongering. Or a dollar, hard to tell.

      If a politician is not ideologically wedded to a position, she will respond to polls and donations. And Elisabeth Warren seems a good person. (very nice pic)

    • "This [congress]woman, while progressive in every other respect sat white faced and completely nonplussed when I asked her why she voted in favor of Israel’s apartheid wall. She muttered something unintelligible and promptly tried to change the subject."

      In those sad times, we have to be happy if our representatives do not get red faced and shouting rather than white faced and mumbling. I think that this congresswoman deserves a warning from AIPAC and a place on "watch list".

      Just for sadistic pleasure, I would prepare a question for Elisabeth Warren how big sacrifices of American consumers would be justified for the sake of eliminating nuclear threat from Iran (or would she agree with a strategy that makes such sacrifices unnecessary).

      I would not dare to ask if she support the right of Jews to live anywhere in their God given homeland and what is her view on the Covenant. If she is smart, she should reply that she is still studying the issue, although the next question should be if a crypto-anti-Semite would not give the same answer.

      A question to our intrepid reporter: one may guess that Warren did not type all the text on Israel and Iran by herself, after all she is a member of a political party and the political positions should not be copyrighted. Can one see some striking similarities of her "foreign policy" pages with pages of other politicians? Some patterns?

  • Cornell group circulates petition 'refusing to collaborate' on Technion deal
    • I am sorry, is a commandment "thou shall mangle Slavic names"?

      The ancient name found on an ostracon in Holy Land is Milejkowski, and "j" can be spelled "i" , while the final "i" can be spelled "y" to make it more phonetic in English. Also, substituting "v" for "w" is good. But Mielo for Milei?

  • Hana al-Shalabi, ten days on hunger strike, also being held without charge
    • Rabbi Ovadia Josef spoke against attack on Iran.

      Supreme Leader of Iran mantains fatwa against nuclear weapons.

      Perhaps simple theocracy would be a positive step in Middle East?

  • NJ Star-Ledger runs 'dual loyalty' charge against Rep. Rothman supporters
    • Caroline Glick, a former American who now writes for Jerusalem Post is very much against dual loyalty. Diasporah Jews should be loyal ONLY to Israel.

  • Hoenlein says irresponsible 'J Street' threatens Jewish unity (and survival)
    • "Do you foresee the possibility for red state and blue state americans to feel that a foreign peoples have been operating in their midst pressuring both the press and the politicos with money and jobs?"

      It would definitely help if these people would not pressure press and politicos with money etc. And if they do, avoid ultra extravagant demonstrations of their money power. You do not need to snoop into obscure web sites like to notice what Sheldon Adelson does. And if there will be war with Iran and it will go not better than Iraq and Afghanistan (but more disastrously for the economy), this time there will be no fig leaf of WMDs or 9/11: Israel with have the copyright. Attack Israel (c).

      But worse come to worse, Israel supporters can do what they promised to do: find a safe heaven that does not rely on any other country. From there, Adelson can ran casinos in Macao.

    • Malcolm Hoenlein is absolutely correct, and perhaps inspired by Eastern Wisdom. Hundred voices good, one voice better.

      If you google "hundred flowers" you will learn that in February 27, 1957, the supremely wise (but sometimes overly given to experiments) Mao Zedong launched campaign under the slogan "Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend." Initially, as you may imagine, the population was baffled. Then for five weeks in May/June there were uncountable meetings, poster walls plus millions of letters were sent to various authorities. While the bustle and creativity had same appeal, all too often the "flowers" were pure poison, like the idea that Communist Party of China should not be guaranteed to rule, thus denying the China the right to exists as a Communist state. It took years to properly re-educate all intellectuals that took wrong directions.

      And neither State of Israel nor American Jewish community has vast resources and facilities that People's Republic could use to re-educate all the misguided folks. We do not have coal mines or collective farms where misguided bloggers could get their sound minds restored through honest labor. Three years of work in a calling center plying credit cards or some other financial products could have a desired effect, but it is not a practical proposal, especially in the Diasporah. So, let us grow one huge flower and sing in harmony.

  • Sunlight on the lobby: AIPAC's push for war exposed in 'Atlantic' magazine blog
    • I think that the Russian missiles are in the zone of "strategic ambiguity".

      Allegedly, USA managed to purchase a few, I guess from Ukraine, test and our expert figured that there is not countermeasure that they could figure out. The beast is accelerating as it approaches the target and moves on a zigzag trajectory. It is a bit as trying to box with a champion (assuming that you are a normal person): he can patiently explain what he will do, but the punch is too strong and too fast.

      It does not help that naval vessels are full of explosive and combustive materials. A single torpedo sank South Korean vessel. Supertanker on the other hand are very hard to destroy.

      But ... Iran can announce Straight of Hormuz to be closed, and it cancels all maritime insurance. And you do not need super-duper missiles to hit a super-tanker. Slow moving, huge, and with no anti-missiles at all. Trying to escort them could be suicidal (check the fate of the Korean vessel). And stopping the missiles by bombardment was tried in Lebanon in 2009. On the ground, shield can be stronger than the arrow -- build hundreds of tunnels and decoys of tunnels. On the sea -- arrow can be stronger then the shield. Either one super-missile or a wave of normal missiles (one removed an IDF vessel from action, a wave can overwhelm anti-missile defenses).

      Another aspect is that there are a few targets in the nuclear program with heavy defenses. If they are not attacked, Iran will proclaim victory. But attacking a defended target is normally done in two waves -- destroy radars, destroy launching sites, then proceed with the bombers. But Iran will probably have tens of decoy radars -- basically emitters of radar frequencies. And mock launching sites. And some real stuff. Iran surely has no capacity to defend the entire territory, but it probably can fortify several points to be deadly traps.

      Combined experience of Lebanon -- have a lot of tunnels -- and Serbia -- have a lot of decoys -- is probably not lost on Persians. My theory is that this nuclear program is actually phony and it is a gigantic trap.

      Iran is just a bit too big, a bit too strategically located, a bit too well armed to be attacked "as a precaution". It has at least 100 times larger capability than Hezbollah, and USA does not have 100 times larger capability in the Gulf than IDF had on the home ground.

  • Sanity check on Iran
    • But this is XXI century, which is not a Jewish Century (or they want two?)

      Jihad is the new thing. (I know what you want to say, but Roman Empire was modernizing 2000 years ago, modernizing is not a new idea either).

      This is how Jews can join the Jihad trend: [why "all young men should enlist in IDF"], in ever-liberal Ha'aretz:

      "The prerogative to study the Torah indeed helps the IDF reign victorious in battle, but the ones who decide the battle are the soldiers themselves. That has been the case since the days of Joshua. "

      Santorum talks fondly about Crusades. As Mussolini noted, every man needs his little jihad. Joshua! Santiago! Matamoros! [I do not know Arabic, but we can also raise trident for Lord Krishna etc.]

    • Walid, I beg to disagree. Iraq is Iranian ally, right now it extends 5 billion dollar credit line to Syria which is not American suggestion. Turkey plays it both ways, but they refused to allow their territory to be used against Saddam, they will not do it against Iran. Azerbaijan has VERY weak strategic position. Its only way to export oil is a pipeline that passes several miles from Armenia, a country in a state of war -- and dependent of Iran for the very survival. Only Russia could save Azerbaijan in such a situation, and surely they will not PROMISE IN ADVANCE.

      NATO is barely making it in Afghanistan. This is the end of very long logistical chain, and if Taliban is armed like Hezbollah is armed now, it will turn ugly. Central Asian countries will not do anything against Iran, Russia and China combined (namely, providing staging ground for an invasion). That basically covers all borders. Emirates are too close to Iran to afford being hostile. Right now they are signing a large contract to purchase electricity from Iran. There are 0.5 million Iranian expats in Emirates, which are also main trading conduit for Iran.

      We are left with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait. None really qualifies. So we would have to run the invasion from Diego Garcia.

      Also you can have 500 military outposts, but for invasion + occupation you must have some boots. If 150,000 are barely making it in Iraq and in Afghanistan, you must have 500,000 to barely make it in Iran. A possible solution would be to offer a very good non-aggression treaty + OK for nukes + a lot of economic assistance and rent 500,000 troops from North Korea.

    • This guy Israel Shamir is reputed to be weird, and Russian sources may include disinformation. I would view it as "possible, but highly speculative".

    • Exactly. If Iran announces "exclusion zone" and USA does not occupy the mountains next to the straight, the traffic is basically halted. Insurance has specific clauses exempting acts of war.

      The trick is that Iran would need some exit plan: how to finish. And have some backing, because it has to trade afterwards. I would imagine something sufficiently reasonable to be backed by China. Either reparations or some kind of written security guarantee. It suffices that Israel would loose face.

      For all the blather how "saving face" is paramount in Middle Eastern culture, nobody is as fanatical about it as Israel. So it would be quite a pickle for Israel. And for us.

      Iran's supreme leader could also use the attack to lift the fatwa against nuclear weapons. You must remember that Iranian leader is a Supreme Jurist and the Law is sacred -- it comes from God. So one cannot just go around fatwa without a very good reason, like our Supreme Court undoing "suicidal idiocies of Founding Fathers" about due process.

      Also, since the nuclear program is nowhere and anywhere, you could have craters of size of little volcanoes in 100 places and they would still claim that the Zionist entity miserably failed in interrupting their peaceful program. This is the beauty of the program that does not quite exist.

      My conclusion is that what Israel and USA should dread most are not some fabled chemical weapons or "rain of missiles on Tel Aviv" but simple actions that will put both in a pickle. There is no easy military response to announcements. We would need to make a barrage of our own announcements, and convince Chinese and Russians.

      800 lb gorilla is what would happen politically in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria etc. This is in "we have no idea" and "anything can happen" zone. An elephant in the room is the reaction of American drivers to a huge price hike caused by Israel.

    • The real problem is that NOBODY knows what would happen after an attack. I was extrapolating the war of 2006 as a "dress rehearsal". Israel as a stand-in for USA, Hezbollah for Iran.

      Hezbollah retaliated for bombardment by lobing crappy missiles and ONE anti-ship missile that disabled an IDF vessel. Missiles were stopped neither by bombardment nor by ground attacks. It was proven that the new generation of anti-tank self-propelled grenades can make short work from the new generation reactive armor tanks.

      In principle, Iran can respond by stopping traffic in the Strait of Hormuz subject of very reasonable demands: attackers pays reparations. And lets through tankers to countries that may no belligerent moves, India and China.

      Someone can respond by "calling the bluff" and sending some tankers through the Strait. But a salvo of missiles can destroy a tanker, and that would probably stop the rest from trying. While it is hard to put a tanker in flames, once done it is not a place to be. Try to leave a ship when the sea is covered in flames ... Plus, a single cargo would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

      So we, USA, could bomb the sites sending missiles. Here is a question: how many tunnels and decoy tunnels with bunkers did Iranians prepared for the occasion?

      But the real question is who would be blamed? During last jumps in oil prices there were riots in various places. If the public will attribute high prices to Israeli action, what would that do? I am talking about Europe and North America.

      And what would happen in Muslim countries? Our positions in Pakistan and Central Asia are quite wobbly. And even more so in Afghanistan.

    • Iran has many vilages and IDF has a very good experience in fighting villages. One should note expertise in fighting with tree crops that few armies possess.

      A possible weakness is that IDF has relatively small [recent] experience in combat in the situation where the enemy shoots back. Some experts warn that Iran's irrational mullahs may resort to such unfair tactics.

    • The problem is perhaps even larger.

      It is basically futile for Iran to try to satisfy "us". They should prove the negative. This would require to open for inspection all "suspect sites", including the sites which held military secrets that Iran must have to survive. Two regimes that fully complied were subsequently destroyed.

      The only way to resolve the issue of proliferation is if both sides exhibit some degree of good will, but it is forbidden in our political discourse to show any "good will" to an "evil regime". So the best we can hope for is that we will keep sanctions forever. Consequences at the moment are bizarre. Contrary to info "uncovered" by Jeffrey Goldberg, Saudi Arabia did not prevent the rise in the price of oil after new sanctions on Iran. China gets cheaper oil from Iran, Russia sells less to China and more to hapless Europe, for a better price. In other words, we organized a financial bonus for China and Russia and a symmetric penalty for Europeans -- and ourselves. No other tangible benefits can be shown.

      Some moronic strategists were on record that even if the Western sanctions on Iran will not ruin it, they will be expensive. But those "losses" are boon to China, India and Russia (Russia gets valuable price increases for its oil and gas), so it is not exactly a loss for Iran -- actually, it shapes a Eurasian block than enhances the security of the regime of Iran.

  • Who’s who behind the Olympia Food Co-op lawsuit
    • "As a Buddhist, I am convinced that eating chicken, kosher or not, will lead to reincarnation as an animal. But I am not comfortable discussing my religious beliefs with non-vegetarian Jews."

      In good old days, people from different religions could freely exchange notes who will go to hell and who will not. But now it is not comfortable anymore. :-(

  • PennBDS still being smeared two weeks after student conference
    • Ruben Gur was quoted somewhat out of context: "The macabre sight of the likes of Stella Kübler...and the Capos in the extermination camps is about to be replayed here at Penn. 


      Actually, ... were REALLY interesting because it was Stella Kuebler (infamous traitor who was finding fellow Jews hiding in Berlin to inform Gestapo) and Hannah Arendt, a humanitarian. Arendt opposed the concept of "Jewish values" preferring "human values" and for that she was classified together with a Gestapo agent.

      But on the bright side, there are worse insult than to be put in one bag with Hannah Arendt (accurately or not).

      On one hand, Gur is a mathematician so he knows logic. And if you know logic, you know when to use it, and when to avoid it. So if he appeals to "basest instinct", he probably concluded that logic is not with him.

  • Video: mob of settlers call Hanin Zoabi a 'terrorist'
    • I think the context is the recent attack on the visiting party of Jan Björklund, Education Minister of Sweden, who visited Israel and West Bank and educational trip to Hebron which is highly recommended by his Israeli counterpart, Gideon Sa'ar . It so happens that Björklund is the most pro-Israeli minister in the government of Sweden, it was explained that UNESCO delegate of Sweden responds to him and thus voted "NO" on PA application for full membership in UNESCO. (Like Israel, Sweden has a coalition government). The party included a member of Swedish Council of Churches, several Swedish security guys and -- how did that happen??? -- a Palestinian. Much to Björklund's surprise, the welcome from the local Jewish population was far from warm, the Palestinian was spotted and and elderly Jewish women attacked Björklund. At least this is how Swedes perceived it. She did not land any punches on the minister, but managed to land several on a body guard who promptly placed her prone on the ground, and there was much heckling, and IDF personnel that was present ejected the visiting party from the Jewish part of Hebron.

      The story was apparently to boring for anybody outside Sweden but some details are here: link to

  • Khader Adnan ends strike and will be released in April, under reported deal
    • It was really helpful that Ofir Gendelman called Adnan a "dangerous terrorist".

      Because terrorism and anti-terrorism are such hot issue, one has to compile a data base of the uses of the word, and sub-categories.

      For example: “We are the people of Israel,” shouted the director and spokesperson for Im Tirzu during a televised interview. “And the people of Israel are tired of letting terrorists perform on Tzavta’s stage.” This is about Mohammad Bakri who attacked the Jewish State by producing movie "Jenin, Jenin".

      As you see, Ronen Shoval was confusing the roles of a director and performer, so perhaps he could also confuse "terrorist" with something else. Or there is a problem with translation. Perhaps Hebrew word used by Shoval may mean "terrorist" but the precise meaning is "a person detested by the people of Israel", a category that includes some terrorists (but not all, see link to

  • Israeli spokesman Mark Regev grilled on CNN International over Khader Adnan
    • "So if Islamic Jihad is illegal and Adnan is a member, then charge him and let the man eat!"

      This is a very simplistic approach. Perhaps Israel also has this idiotic* rule that you cannot be tried twice for the same offense. Khader was detained 6 times before. So in a narrow legalistic sense the prosecution would have to prove that Khader was a member of IJ after the last release.

      It is also worth noticing that Khader was named a "dangerous terrorists". It seems that in Israeli nomenclature, "terrorist" is simply a person detested by "the people of Israel". Examples include Mohammad Bakri who directed "Jenin, Jenin", Haneen Zoabi and basically everybody aboard Mavi Marmara.

      So "dangerous terrorist" is one step up. Shin Beth could discover Khader's connections to Islamic Jihad using Google (or some top secret search engine used by Israeli security forces, existence of which should not be disclosed to the public). He is on record of making some statements supportive of Islamic Jihad in 2006, and this gives him lifetime recognition as a "dangerous terrorist" and "a leader".

      As a digression, on a single day IDF could arrest 70 Hamas leaders in few villages in Hebron area. On that day they arrested 250 Hamasniks, and released all in few days except for the leaders. So this data point suggests between 2 and 3 followers for each leader. [They were arrested because of a false determination that another organization was "behind" a deadly attack in Eilat area. Member of that other organization were assassinated.]

      The next category is "mastermind", and it is more rare. IDF would announce a capture of assassination of one or at most several "masterminds" on a single day. It is rather safe to guess that Khader was never a "mastermind," because he was in custody 6 times and never given a long sentence, and quite clearly he was not assassinated. But if he were not a "leader", he would not spend months in detention after each capture.

      * snark and the main point

      "Dangerous terrorist" and "terrorist leader" are categories determined for lifetime and such people can be arrested any number of times. Look how relatively recently Israel discovered that some Palestinian legislators living in Jerusalem belong to Hamas, and were arrested ONCE MORE for that.

    • Iran apparently behaves as the leaders believed that they are The Chosen Nation and thus no outside rules apply to them. At least this seems to be the claim.

      An alternative theory is that Israeli are very familiar with clerics wielding influence over public affairs. Given that experience, the vision of a country actually run by clerics must be terrifying.

  • Half the story: What @IDFSpokesperson leaves out about Gaza
    • This assumes that IDF lacks prescience. For example, tropical storm Sandy pre-punished a number of cities and states that predominantly vote for Democrats and which were about to do it once more. In fact, many IDF announcements specifically declare the gift of prescience or mind reading, killing people who were about to fire rockets or were planning to do something bad.

      I suspect that Yousef, being a Muslim, cannot conceive that IDF may employ prophets.

  • Israeli government sending 100 Israelis abroad to 'defend the state' during Israel Apartheid Week
    • The 100 apostles may have work cut out for them. But counteracting is not easy.

      I read that one reason that makes small fish to congregate in schools is that predators cannot focus on individual fish when they see so many. It is hard to make a focused case criticising our best ally ever.

      As a poster case, and really, it is easy to make actual campus poster out of it, is glorification of "our terror" to the extend I was not aware of. A glossy, well founded new "Israeli news source" presents "The rehabilitation of an underground revolutionary":
      link to
      "Seventy years ago this week, on the 25th of the Hebrew month of Shvat, three British officers burst into a small apartment in south Tel Aviv, in the now trendy neighborhood of Florentin, and searched the flat for the most wanted man in Palestine. He was a Polish-born doctoral student of Greek poetry, a scholar of Eros from the Hebrew University, a melancholy romantic by the name of Avraham Stern who had left the University of Florence in Italy and returned to the land of Israel in order to declare war on the British Empire."

      It is hard to think about more meticulous whitewashing. It is worthwhile to point that Stern lead ultra-fanatical splinter group away from fanatical Irgun, when the latter decided to cooperate with British for the duration of the war with Germany. Stern thoughts that the opposite would be more logical, alas, Germans did not accept offers of collaboration. So we are talking about murders committed as a stab in the back of England fighting with Hitler.

      That would be fine , any nation has weird splinter group. But read the article, how glorified Stern and Lehi is in Israel (and his successors who murdered Volke Bernadotte).

  • Video: right-wing groups attack U.S. professors over Ilan Pappe speaking tour
    • Something is weird. "It is not allowed to use CSU name without written permission for any purpose, including

      - Advertizing any meeting or activity that has the purpose of supporting or opposing any strike, lockout, boycott, or any political, religious, or sociological activity, and
      - Any other commercial purpose.

      This for example means that if you want to use university facilities to organize innovation fair for California small businesses, you cannot advertise the location without written permission.

      However, the lecture of an invited professor from another institution can be assumed to have an EDUCATIONAL purpose. And of course, University authorized the use of its name, so there is no misuse.

      Suffering taxpayers of California may also welcome the fact that outside visitors to the lecture will presumably pay 6 dollar parking fee, thus aiding the finances of California State university system.

      The good news is that this pathetic effort was already rebuffed, as you can check on the web page of David Klein.

    • I want to add to my "italian thoughts". Nulla contro lo Stato. All crimes listed in the video are against the state, like alleging that the State committed crimes. Which is total absurd: our state defines what a crime is, so it cannot commit crimes.

      One can make a facile objection that it is actually not our state. But that has a simple answer: there is no separation between struggles and aspiration of the two nation. As in a post stamp depicting two leaders with caption "Zwei Volker und Ein Kampf". link to

    • Their motto is "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato." All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

      Jewish state is the highest achievement of the Jewish people and all should be within the state, and anything against the state has to be stamped out, say, as anti-Semitism. This is basically the equation. Although Zhabotynsky hailed from Eastern Europe, Italy was much admired as ideological innovator throughout that region, and Zhabotynsky was no exception.

  • Wael Ghonim at Harvard: a key figure of the Egyptian revolution speaks truth to U.S. power
    • Who wrote that Ghonim was "typical"? He was described as a "hero" which is not the same.

      A regime needs a cooperation of a certain large minority and passivity of the majority, or some other combination that provides a sufficient base of support. One stable configuration is when a rather broad middle class supports government, however imperfect in their estimate, as a defense against anarchy that could take place if unwashed masses have their day. That could describe China or Egypt in its more stable days. Thus the insurgency of the "middle class" can be a key for change.

      Intuitively, each political movement is lead by members of an elite, so the question is if it is a "nice" elite that is on top or "ugly". The well dressed, well meaning, well educated people like Ghonim may be a "nice" elite, and definitely very far from power. But they can nudge the society in a better direction. [They are also ultra-nationalistic and authoritarian movements that evolved from such "nice elites", aesthetics are not everything. But doesn't Wael Ghonim cut a dashing figure?]

    • This is an oversimplification. First, if you know medieval history, you would agree that the level of support vassals were giving to their lieges was extremely variable, including cases when a lord was killed by his own vassals. Vassaldom is an inherently unstable form of relationship.

    • I think I described the situation precisely. Political parties, governments and private fundations in US and Europe fund a number of "good causes" and governments get irritated when those activities are thwarted in various "undemocratic ways" which includes Israel.

      NGOs (as opposed to QUANGOs) usually operate on the margins of Western establishments, but they are supposed to present a more ethical side of our civilization and have decent connections to media and governments. BDS operates further from establishments and from what I read, with hardly any money. I think that there is an important continuum.

      Concerning prosecution of "American stooges" in Egypt, authorities there have a rich record of ridiculous prosecutions, e.g. "Maspero investigation", and if they get into some hot water over that, I do not see anything wrong. Same for Israel (although here I should use future/conditional).

    • About army still calling the shots. There is a reasonable hope that this will end this year.

    • About NDI and IRI: I prefer that they are engage in Egypt rather than fomenting military coups in Latin America. It seems that there is a fashion of political parties in the West to have their Institutes that propagate their values around the world.

      The problem is that what is good for a goose, is good for a gander. Civic organizations in "imperfect democracies" can use some help. There was a major kerkuffle when Israel wanted to ban NGOs from accepting money from such organization, except for NGOs that receive at least 1 shekel from Israeli government. Jerusalem Post and similar publications were publishing articles attacking the concept of betraying Motherland for a fistful of Euros or kronor and foreign government, like Switzerland or Norway funding radical leftist 5th column. It turned out that these "radicals" receive money from a variety of political institutes, including those controlled by British Conservatives and German Christian Democrats. Much to the dismay of yahoos like Caroline Glick, the legislation was nixed.

      It was also discovered (by reading info on their web page) that 972+ Magazine got 4000 euros from the Institute run by German Green Party. One troll commented that from that day on he will always suspect that that magazine will further the agenda of Green Party rather than interests of the people of Israel. Sadly, Israel has too many patriots funded by American extremists and too few stooges of Green Party.

      From the complaints of the right wing one could conclude than these institutes may be a force for good (althought right wingers always whine and exaggerate, I wish that Radical Leftist would really rule the world, which they do after one includes Conservatives, Christian Democrats and American Democrats and Republican in the argument, I guess Gingrich and Santorum represent non-Radical Left for those people).

      So it was fun to read in Daily Telegraph that the legislative proposal of Israel Beitenu seems to be copied from Belorus and Uzbekistan.

      So in principle it would be good if Egypt followed standards required from Israel. Who knows, perhaps some more meaningful standards will be required from Israel in the near future? Israeli bashing of charities may charities may be a contributing factor.

  • Hadad (mourning)
    • In Honduras, prison guards refused to unlock a prison during a fire and 300 inmates died. Some commenters expressed satisfaction. A minority of obnoxious comments is not proving any case (except when we want to prove utter depravity of Palestinians because of some strange caption on a photograph made in Gaza etc.)

      Therefore it is more disturbing when you see 100 very similar comments with 5 contrary voices, and comments, while less genocidal, are nevertheless grim. For example, there was a piece of news that the top rabbi of Satmars voiced an opinion that Jews should vote for Obama. (Satmar are anti-Zionists and anti-aliya, basically keeping their positions from 80 and 100 years ago). So 5 comments defend him, and 100 take those opinions: that the good Rabbi is a senile idiot, Nazi, or kapo, I think Nazi was most popular.

      As similar majority would expel traitors like Gideon Levy, Amira Haas or Haneen Zoabi to Gaza.

      On certain issues, American commenters are no better. The concept that prisoners should have some rights and dignity and not left to rot and die when they are sick is not shared by American majority.

  • Pro-Israel handbook explains how to attack professors and ‘co-opt’ students of color
    • Certain ideas of Zoroastrianism were adopted by Judaism and Christianity. Wiki: Ahura Mazda will ultimately prevail over the evil Angra Mainyu or Ahriman, at which point the universe will undergo a cosmic renovation and time will end. In the final renovation, all of creation—even the souls of the dead that were initially banished to "darkness"—will be reunited in Ahura Mazda, returning to life in the undead form. At the end of time, a savior-figure (a Saoshyant) will bring about a final renovation of the world (frasho.kereti), in which the dead will be revived.

      I am not a theologian, but the strict dualism of order/light/good/God and chaos/darkness/evil/Satan is attributed to Zoroastrianism, and perhaps the concept of Messiah as well.

    • This seems to be oversimplification. The first Persian empire conquered the region of Indus river, and Zoroastrianism shares some elements of mythology with the oldest versions of Vedic religion, but these religions were profoundly different.

      Persia and Mughal Empire were neighbors with strong trade links and cultural ties. Persian was the court language in Dehli, and Urdu absorbed many Persian words. Cousine has many similarities.

      Most importantly, Indians do not share American perspective about "values". More precisely, there is an assumption that these values come with huge dollop of hypocrisy, after all, India was on the receiving end. Some Indians hate Muslims, but even that is complicated: the opponents resists India in Kashmir and spread terror in other places with the help of Pakistan, an American ally, which also support Taliban, opposed by Iran and India. Indian nationalists are proud of their nuclear weapons, so they do not agree with the perspective that a non-Western nation cannot be trusted with nukes, and they definitely do not see Pakistan as a more sane country than Iran.

      Right now Israel offers some technologies like drones, and Iran offers oil with very good conditions: discounts and payment in Indian currency, essentially, Indian goods. I guess Iran offers a better deal. Except for having a better relationship with USA. To an Indian nationalist, this consideration is somewhat humiliating.

      To summarize, Israeli project themselves as (a) very nice democratic country -- Western blather, as if we in Asia do not know better (b) provider of unique technologies -- they have this or that, but so does Belgium, and we Indians have excellent science and technology as well (c) vehicle to improve relationship with USA -- OK, but USA also has to be careful to have good relationship with India, we are a huge country with resources and dignity.

      Concerning Latinos, Latin America was, and is, on the receiving end of specifically American hypocrisy, and neo-cons had their hand in supporting military coups, atrocities in several countries etc. When someone like Elliot Abrams or Otto Reich talks about democracy, a Latino may burst in laughter. Israel systematically courts the most reactionary regimes in Latin America.

  • Out of the Ballpark: Susan Abulhawa's speech to the PennBDS conference
    • I am not saying that it is commendable, but another article guarantees free market economy, another, right to strike, it is totally clear that various parties had their input.

      PA is no more theocratic than Israel. At least the Prophet (PBUH) had no opinion on the proper seating of women on buses.

    • This is a bit like killing the peace process between Palestinians and Israel. Some cats have 7 lives. Some processes have 100 deaths, and, surprisingly, no life at all!

      In this context, I like the word "zombification", this is a typical usage:

      fundamental issue of whether European leaders were any closer to reversing the “zombification” of European economies

      The quote shows that de-zombification is often required, but hard to achieve. There are two types of de-zombification: letting the poor cadaver die for good, stop twitching etc.; reanimating it and providing enough sustenance that it would not revert to no-life/no-death status once again.

      Of course, given the hardy nature of zombies, it would be good to exploit them productively. This belongs to the secret arts of necromancy.

    • And she lied about tomatoes not being a threat. Ridiculing vital anti-orchard operations of IDF. Has she no shame?

      But I am not sure on that one. The clause about religion is similar to one in a number of democratic countries, and a VERY similar clause was proposed as an amendment of Basic Law in Israel. Perhaps some MKs were inspired by PA Constitution.

    • This is simply anti-Semitic. Every state has the right to defend itself. And it is foolish to second-guess what is necessary. Consider the need to carefully regulate, and if needed, eradicate fruit trees and vegetables:

      Attack of the killer tomatoes!
      Attack of the killer tomatoes!
      They'll beat you, bash you,
      Squish you, mash you
      Chew you up for brunch
      And finish you off for dinner or lunch!

      They're marching down the halls
      They're crawling up the walls
      They're gooey, gushy, squishy, mushy
      Rotten to the core
      They're standing outside your door!

      Remember Herman Farbage
      While taking out his garbage
      He turned around and he did see
      Tomatoes hiding in his tree
      Now he's just a memory!

      I know I'm going to miss her
      A tomato ate my sister
      Sacramento fell today
      They're marching into San Jose
      Tomatoes are on their way!

      The mayor is on vacation
      The governor's fled the nation
      The police have gone on strike today
      The National Guard has run away
      Tomatoes will have their day!

      Attack of the killer tomatoes!
      Attack of the killer tomatoes!
      They'll beat you, bash you,
      Squish you, mash you
      Chew you up for brunch
      And finish you off for dinner or lunch
      Lunch, lunch
      Dinner or lunch, lunch, lunch
      Dinner or luuuuuunch

  • Khader Adnan’s dignity
    • "That is why administrative detention will remain part of Israeli law."

      One can call it "law". Actually, this is quite puzzling: from what we read, ANYONE can be sentenced by Israeli military court, it is only slightly more complicated then "administrative detention".

      Note that Adnan is "one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad". After Eilat attack IDF arrested more than 200 "Hamas leaders" near Hebron. IDF is quite vigilant in destroying various threats to the security of the state, including pine nuts, mushroom, various legumes, condiments and pasta, water cisterns, tents, and statements issued at various occasions sound particularly fantastic. One of the all-time records was when a women died of tear gas inhalation (and asthma?). According to IDF, she was actually a victim of a honor killing, then two different varieties of cancer, she was never close to the demostration (that was actually true: IDF saturated a huge area with tear gas), and, finally, that in an Israeli hospital she would survive (again, quite possibly true).

      Israeli legal process, even military, has one inconvenience: while evidence can remain secret, the actual accusation cannot. And that can be a bother. Abu-Sisi was kidnapped in Ukraine as a mastermind of Hamas rocket research and production, and a person intimately familiar with the place of Gilad's detention. This turned out to be unusually preposterous and we did not hear about Abu Sisi ever since.

  • Report: Last five years has seen a 315% rise in settler violence; this violence is 'structural and symptomatic of occupation'
    • Wow! Two weaks ago, IDF demolished a solar installation made by a Spanish charity. Earlier this week it was a turn for Poland. And now they want to kill Volke Bernadotte AGAIN? Is it the most offensive charm offensive in history?

      Gazeta Wyborcza: Israel destroyed ``our'' village, buried ``Polish'' well

      IDF destroyed village of Rahava, where a charity supported by Polish Government, Polish Humanitatian Action, aided local Beduins in building or renovating 20 water cisterns, 6 existing from Roman times and some newly excavated in rocks. Most cisterns were demolished. Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded explanations from Israeli ambassador. Afterwards it replied to inquiring journalists that

      "The problem of Beduin population, including access to water, is debated at forums of the Union. Actions are being considered that would lead to Israel respecting international law and undertaken commitments".

      Quite mealy-mouthed, but it does not seem that explanations were convincing. Polish attitude to Israel/Palestine issues is VERY parochial, in the sense that this is a very distant issue. Politically, it means that the government can take almost any position. But the destruction of modest facilities build by Poles seem to hit a nerve. Commentary:

      link to

      Military destroyed the village according to the law applied in Occupied Lands, especially in the administrative zone C, where a commander of a military unit has absolute power. One cannot exclude the pressure from settlers. Inhabitants of Tene [nearby settlement] harrassed Beduins of Rahava gratuitously and najpaskudniej [no hit in the Babla, "most spitefully"? "most despicably"?] To be clear - I regard the law, used all to often by IDF to demolish palestinian villages and water facilities as inhuman. This is simply an abomination; I hope that soldiers have nightmares from conscience pangs.

      On-line poll

      "Should Poland intervene about the wells of PAH destroyed by IDF"
      Yes, 73%
      No, 19%
      I do not care, 8%

    • I read more than once that Israel is the place where Jews can be "living the fullest Zionist experience possible." In the context suggesting that this is "a good thing".

      The idea of having "the fullest experience possible" somehow rings a bell. One matching context is what some red light districts offer. A bit more wholesome context comes from "extreme sports". In "extreme sports" advances in equipment and technique learned by the practitioners often move the bar of "the fullest, most extreme". Religions have divers "extreme sport" versions. For example, Hinduist experience can incorporate a mastery of yoga and mental techniques, a version that can be practiced only by a few, or finding the very spot where Lord Rama was born and cleansing it from infidel impurities, something that could be practiced by people from all walks of life, but only once.

      Why people engage in extreme versions of sports, ideologies and religions? Perhaps a combination of two factors: the experience itself, and the adulation from the lesser practitioners.

      My impression is that "price tag" is a sub-discipline in "extreme Zionism", or "fullest Zionist experience". Confusingly, there is also "fullest Haredi experience" with practitioners among anti-Zionist Jews who nevertheless have to go to Israel, as in the Exile the "full experience" may be impossible.

      Concerning the settlers, I have read that "they live beautiful life", exactly "fuller experience", and if we go in that direction, how to make it yet fuller? I can think of only few ways. First, we can achieve extreme proximity with a selected site of utmost importance to Jewish religion or tradition. Second, simple quality of the dwelling, landscaping, and security arrangements, which kind of makes it like fullest experience in living in a gated community in Arizona, but soooo Zionist. And you can also have a golf course, shopping mall, theater and a university if you got to an extreme. Third, the actual fight with Evil, cleansing the land from the impure etc. One can try that in Arizona too, after a fashion, joining citizen patrols trying to catch Latino infiltrators, but this not Zionist.

      One type of fullest Zionist experience do not require to actually live there, although you should have several of your properties in Israel. You can have you own influential Zionist think tank, or a "time share", or a museum, a university building etc. A step up, you own an influential Israeli party, preferably with a minister. A step up, you own the Prime Minister. A step up, you also own American President. A step up, all other Zionist business tycoons prostrate themselves and chant "O mighty one" whenever you enter the room. A step up ... [one step at the time, OK?]

  • New book explores the history of 'New Jewish Agenda'
    • One should observe that "being better off than a peasant" is a rather low standard in feudalism. Feudalism was a beautiful system if you lived in a manor and you could cultivate arts, both manly and liberal, sponsor architecture (manors, castles) etc. and had a correct religion.

      Heretical peasants were be on the bottom of the heap. Slaughtered if this was an anti-feudal heresy, occasionally slaughtered otherwise.

      With that background, oppression of Jews was neither systematic nor "special", but nevertheless, it was there.

    • Two days ago I have stumbled upon a website run by Sinhala extremists (Sinhala are Buddhist majority of Sri Lanka) and it was pretty much like reading Zionist extremists (the ruling party of quite authoritarian and ruthless, so the political line was very much like criticism Likud from the right). Apart from the fact that they have inordinate influence in USA, there is nothing particularly special about Zionism.

  • Adelson dumps Gingrich and Santorum's star is rising
    • This really reminded me a discussion on Seinfeld. "Why was that woman offended when I said X? Is it obscece" "Strange, indeed. It was weird, but not obscene".

      Saying that all inhabitants of West Bank are Israeli was, well, weird. Hard to tell in GOP primary what is weird. Google "Santorum box turtle".

  • 'Free Beacon' reporter attacks Center for American Progress in misleading articles that push for Iran war
    • Always remember that people return to their traditions.

      The true danger is the flying carpets. Lacking metal parts, flying carpets are ultimate stealth weapons, and the range is potentially unlimited.

  • Asher Grunis discriminates his way to the top of the Israeli Supreme Court
    • Actually, "country B" would in 95% of cases be "Judea and Samaria", which Israeli Supreme Court includes in its jurisprudential reach. So it is more like helots gaining the status of perioikoi. Would any democratic country tolerate helots upgrading their status in this manner?

      The right to marry in Israel is much more restricted than in Western countries. Like in Lebanon, the bride and the groom must be from the same religious community, from the short list of approved religious communities. And of course, no approved religious community accept bride/bride or groom/groom marriages.

      Again, which democratic country regulates how citizens and residents can change religion or commit apostasy?

  • Hasbara PennBDS wrap-up: Pro-Israel students are ignorant
    • I agree HERE with Shakhtiman. Moreover, "Sephardim" espousing ideology of Ashkenazi Zhabotinsky took over, but somehow all leaders were from Poland and Lithuania (PM Netanyahu is from Milejkowski family which is a Polish rendering of a Lithuanian last name).

      There was a change of political orientation, but very few top politicians seem to be Mizrahi. One could also ponder what is the difference in "quality" between Slonim and Baghdad. Or Brooklyn and Casablanca.

    • "Israel as a modern entity exists as an expression of Jewish self-determination, but is inclusive of its non-Jewish citizens as well."

      I would not call it a lie, but an oversight that is lamented daily ("demographic threat") and the government works hard to correct. A nice example of hard work in that direction is a pair of legislative efforts: to expel all Beduins (citizens and not citizens) from their "illegal" villages, and to legalize "illegal" settlements of Jews. And every day brings a small achievement in this direction. For example, there is a parking lot in Old City Jerusalem where several years ago had some spots rented by Armenians. City finally assured that this will happen NEVER AGAIN.

      Which brings an interesting question: why Israeli hate Armenians?

  • 'Commentary' covers its eyes and makes Palestinians disappear
    • Actually, perhaps this is a deep idea:

      “recognizes the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn”

      It should not matter WHERE Palestinian would draw the borders, as long as they recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state. Note the indefinite article "a".

      Clearly, Judea and Samaria is central to the historical bond of Jews with the Land. The coast was inhabited by the Philistines. So a land swap would make everybody happy: Israel in Judea and Samaria, Palestine in what was formerly Israel, and perhaps Tel Aviv for the second Jewish state, a kind of free-city for secular Jews and gay refugees from other parts. Jerusalem would be reserved for the insane: to have residency rights one would need a certificate from a psychiatrist or swear to believe in something utterly preposterous (this should be edited to satisfy all insane sensibilities).

    • Of course Palestinians became irrelevant to the peace process.

      They are also irrelevant to monkeys that inhabit Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. The existence of those monkeys does not depend in any way on any actions that Palestinians may commit or decline. In fact, quite obstinately, they do not exists under any circumstances.

      Peace process may exists in terms of some utterly pointless meeting taking place. Very clearly, Israel has much more important stuff to do. For example, legalization of all settlements that exists now and may exists in the future. Removal of all Beduins from Negev and West Bank to some garbage dumps (literally!). And resolving the vexing issue of non-kosher electricity in a manner that would satisfy both paranoid nationalists and the hyper-religious.

      The last issue is quite instructive. Israel exists for Jews and Jews exist for Israel, so everything must be done to satisfy security needs and religious traditions of the Jews. Because Jews can never again trust non-Jews, only Jews can work in power stations which are so essential for security. But religious Jews cannot benefit from work performed by Jews on Saturdays, while even the most pius must have some electricity.

      Israel has many problems because it exists for Jews, so it has to satisfy the needs of Jews. BUT some Jews are more Jewish than other. So their needs require special attention. But as the electricity example illustrates, there are very, very Jewish in a mutually incompatible way. For example, to satisfy very, very Jewish Zionist extremists Knesset decided to require loyalty oath the Israel as Jewish state at some occasions, like immigration of a non-Jews. Why non-Jews? Because other very, very Jewish Jews, the anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox would sooner die then swear an oath to mundane authorities. Hence, you cannot require the oath from all Jews.

      So Israel has an entire universe of internal problems and really cannot spare much attention to what goyim or outright Enemies think. Some very very Jewish Jews find it utterly humiliating that their government talks with the Enemies to satisfy whims of anti-Semitic goyim, so the government must prove that those talks are merely a smart ruse. Some Jews prefer to actually get peace rather than the satisfaction of accomplishing a smart ruse. Luckily, they are not very Jewish.

  • Bruising Judt, Fukuyama says Arabs aren't ready for liberalism
    • Chaos,

      as a student, Clarence Thomas allegedly had a confederate flag in his room. This attitude served him well.

    • We basically agree. The establishment intellectuals of the Western establishment may be implicated in smaller crimes than the Eastern counterparts, but they are hardly innocent.

      And of course Zionism is a classic project of national transformation, which makes for very uneasy co-existence with liberalism which is kind of incremental.

      Lastly, Fukuyama should address the issue if USA is a liberal or post-liberal. With all due complements to Muslim nations, it is hard to see why liberalism should be so popular among Muslim if it barely makes it at home. "We torture only few people and usually our courts do not make mockery of justice" is not exactly the most inspiring object of emulation.

      Arab vote for parties with slogans like "Islam is the solution" and how it compares with GOP? Fukuyama is too complacent with "his world" to understand how it is perceived outside.

    • seafoid, you have to read slippery intelectuals CAREFULLY.

      In "our world" intellectuals are often complicit in government crimes which, after all, have to have some ideology, planning and propaganda, but these crimes are on a lesser scale. Numbers of victims are very rarely reaching 7 digits, one can site rather few exceptional cases, and one has to admit that sometimes a monstrous crime is not that monstrous and the transformation is for the better.

      Take the massacre and internment in concentration camps of Indonesian communists in 1965. The number of victims barely exceeded 1 million, hardly a holocaust in a country with 100 million people, and the issue of leftist radicalism in Indonesia was resolved.

      In that context, dismantling of social net is either a much lesser crime, or a debatable policy that is possibly misguided from the point of view of the majority, but what can you do if the majority is stupid. [feel the power of the dark side!]

  • Does the US have anything to teach Egyptians about democracy?
    • It is kind of nonsensical to give money to Egyptian military and balanced that with money to Israel. By cutting 1 billion from each military aid budget we will preserve the strategic balance in the region while allowing each society to sort priorities in a less militarized direction.

      For example, it was pointed out by many disciples of Hasbarah that GoI is totally neglecting threats from seditious NGOs and delegitimization campaigns and, potentially, dreaded "lawfare". While billions of shekels are spent on bloated military, patriotic internet trolls are hardly ever getting an equivalent of the minimum wage, outsourcing the task to, say, Ghana, did not work well, and neither did troll robots: proper trolling requires resources, planning, training, payroll, hardware etc.

  • Would you buy a used metaphor from this warmonger? (Niall Ferguson's 'creative destruction' echoes Rice's 'birth-pangs')
    • In Administration of chicken hawks. it was characteristic that Condoleeza Rice was quite cheerful about birth pangs without any personal experience.

      In a similar vein, I wonder what does Niall Ferguson know about creativity?

  • Both sides are wrong in the ‘Israel Firsters’ debate
    • Wasn't it a requirement that a President (and vice-president) has to be a human, not a walrus? I have nothing against walruses in a proper environment, say Sea of Barents and some suitably cold beaches, but I am not for mixing walruses with humans.

  • Penn's president condemns article likening BDS conference to Nazism as 'counter to her personal values and civility'
    • Indeed, and when this "Israeli" wants to be identified in his identity papers as "Israeli" he has to spend years in courts. It seems that there are about 10 Israelis in Israel, the rest of the population is differently classified.

    • Radovan Karadžić inspired my to modify a well known adage: psychiatrist, heal thyself.

    • "have these israel firsters ever gone beserk like this before?"

      link to

      To me most astounding were talkbacks in in a news item that tsadik of Satmar called Jews to vote for Obama. Just for that he was called capo, Nazi etc. although substantial minority was of the opinion that he is stupid, senile etc.

      In Poland the least coin is called grosz, from Latin "grossus", and the first coins with that name contained something like an ounce of silver, say 50 dollars worth but the lowly descendant is worth about 0.4c. Similarly, "Nazi" and "capo" circulate in vast quantities so I would not see murderous incitement in Prof. Gur's words.

      Now, if he called the conference an auxilliary chapter of al-Qaeda...

      By the way, does he suggest that Hannah Arendt was a traitor?

  • Double standard for the neighbor-- Paul Auster and Turkey
    • "no writers or journalists are in jail."

      Allegedly, in 1936 (?) the social column of Vogue was very terse in one issue: "In August, there was nobody in New York City." Seven million of nobodies but who cares about THEM!


      Once while "surfing" I stumbled upon a news+photos magazine edited by a few young people in Gaza. One was quite exuberant because he managed to buy a camera. He decided to make photos of a demonstration at a crossing to Israel. He was shot into spine and paralyzed. 6 months later he posted that he is in Turkey, in rehabilitation, praised God and thanked well wishers, two sentences from a broken man. 22 years old.

      Strangely enough, Israel does not have good press in Turkey.

  • So the U.S. military doesn't want to attack Iran and neither does Israel. Who does?
    • If Rabbit
      Was bigger
      And fatter
      And stronger,
      Or bigger
      Than Tigger,
      If Tigger was smaller,
      Then Tigger's bad habit
      Of bouncing at Rabbit
      Would matter
      No longer,
      If Rabbit
      Was taller.

      The problem with Iran is that i is just too big. Israel is small, savage and easy do defend (well, relatively). But we have troops and some idiotic ambitions in Afghanistan where 20% of population is Shia and 40% speaks Persian. Closing supply routes through Pakistan and Central Asia by some combination of diplomacy and guerilla warfare is quite easy, and we would only be able to kvetch. We do not HAVE to have troops in Afghanistan, but withdrawal in such circumstances would be humiliating. Which could serve us well, but... This is the cheapest avenue of retaliation for Iran.

      Hormuz is like nuclear weapon: mutually assured economic destruction. Hence, other avenues will be explored first.

      Iraq seems a good avenue. Some aspects of Shia axis already operate: Iraq props Syria financially. A "Defiant alliance" that would make it official would tilt the strategic landscape against Israel. Iran could start moving troops and military supplies using Iraq's transportation network.

  • 'NYT' gives Israelis its magazine to make an attack on Iran 'normal'
    • Israel's involvement in Georgia is an example of senseless adventurism. It emboldened Shaakashvili with pretty bad, if short lived, consequences for Georgia, and pretty bad, and lasting, consequences for Israel (if you think that Russia has no influence in Syria and Iran, and it does not matter what weapon system it provides, then scratch that remark).

      Israel is not truly rational in the choice of adventures.

  • For just $502.42 you can bash Muslims in Columbus
    • RoHa: of course, one can bash Muslim on the cheap. Like the rabbi with a megaphone, one can combine hate and thrift. But in a way you get what you pay for.

      For example, if you pay Newt Gingrich a modest 5 million dollars, not only you will get your message spread throughout the media for several news cycles but you will get a separate interview personally!

      Given that a big campus like OSU has 40,000 students, I say that 500 dollars is a very good price.

  • 'Former thug who found Judaism hopes to be first African-American in the Knesset'
    • Someone asks "what is wrong with this picture".

      Perhaps one should not elect former thugs to the Knesset when there are so many current thugs (thus much better suited for the post). He could start advocating non-violent solutions and other so-called humanist nonsense.

  • Another day in the annexation: two Palestinian villages in East Jerusalem lose their connection
    • Aren't rock gardens traditional in Judaism, say, for meditation? I vaguely recall that some religions have something like that.

      So if I am correct, the park (or a rock garden) is halachically necessary and mundane authorities like state courts should be ignored if they oppose it. So we could rest on a stone and meditate on hevel havalim hu, or the greatness of geulah.

  • Wait-- do you like Israel? (Jeffrey Goldberg's ultimate test)
    • Among many qualifications that we expect in our presidents is that they cherish our most valuable allies.

      Some allies are perhaps very valuable, but they do very well, than you very much, whether we help them or not, so we should not make an issue on their behalf. Therefore we scratch from the list of question do you like: Japan, United Kingdom, Malta, Commonwealth of Bahamas.

      Some allies are more tricky because (a) they could do better given some help (b) alas, we cannot help them too much. For example, Sen. McCain observed that we are all Georgians because Georgia is the second oldest Christian nation. And there is so much we could do -- embargo Russian exports? until they return all Georgian lands to Georgia and give up nukes for a good measure -- would be able to do it. This is the territory of "how much wood could the woodchuck chuck if the woodchuck could chuck wood".

      Then there are allies that we could have but it would be bothersome. Note "second oldest Christian nation". The "oldest" is Armenia, in conflict with Azerbaijan, surviving only due to cordial relationships with Iran and Russia. Perhaps it should be noted that Armenians, unlike Georgians, Russian and Greeks are heretics. You can see that it is best to avoid issues in that region. Caucasians are troublesome, whether they hail from Tbilisi, Erevan or Atlanta.

      Israel is the best ally ever we can support because we cannot discuss any issues about Israel accept the basic one: do we supper her enough. Once you start discussing, be it Georgia, Mexico or Taiwan everything becomes kind of gray and confusing. (Let's embargo China until it recognizes the right of Taiwan to exists as a Taiwanese state. Well... I mention Taiwan because Secret Winter Resolutions of RNC meeting include support of Israel and Taiwan and American Moral Superiority, strangely enough, the last two issue were combined, but not all three together.)

  • Isikoff expose of Gingrich backer -- 'All we care about is being good citizens of Israel' -- puts 'Israel firster' issue in mainstream
    • I have a big grudge against American because he made me curious about the most recent opus of Caroline Glick, and now my brain is close to bursting. But if I could suffer, so can you. folks. Three salient paragraphs (they are in that order, but with some verbiage in between):

      As for the Jews, Netanyahu embraced Zionism’s core principle: “With regard to threats to our very existence, we cannot abandon our future to the hands of others. “With regard to our fate, our duty is to rely on ourselves alone.

      Both then-president George W. Bush and later Barack Obama determined that an Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons program does pose a high-level threat to the US. As a consequence, both administrations have taken concerted steps to prevent Israel from attacking Iran.

      To oppose Iran’s nuclear program effectively, American Jews are required to oppose these strongly supported US policies.

      Back to me voice: Netanyahu correctly determined that Israel should NOT rely on American help so it is IMPERATIVE for Jews in America to demand that help? Israel should not eat the cake and it is a treason to our 3000 (4000? it is a bit hazy, make it ab orbi condita) years worth of ancestors if we do not demand some humungous amounts of the cake?

      Truly, every true friend of Canada should support Caroline (loon is the national bird up there).

  • 'Tablet' says writers who talk about Israel Firsters are channeling Hitler
    • ".. we were Englishman". Speak for yourself.

      There is an ancient piece of pottery found somewhere in Central Europe with "Piotr" written on in which shows that I have a right to create a state in Central Europe. Presently I am in USA but it is really hard to maintain ethnic and religious identity as piotr or even Piotr (they are pretty fascistic about insisting on capitalization of the first letter of the given name, and piotr-hatred is rampant, you should hear how their maliciously mispronounce that name).

  • Obama opposes Assad's human rights violations now, but not when they were useful to the US rendition program
    • One comment: Arar should be gratetful for being "outsourced" to Syria to be tortured. If he was sent to Guantanamo, he could be still there, while Syrians somehow found him innocent within a year.

      No suspect kidnapped by our security apparatus was released faster, as far as I know.

  • Iran sanctions backlash-- oil buyers ditch dollar
    • Wolftone:

      the problem is American Federal Reserve trying to dictate where you can purchase, sell, donate etc. and where you cannot. China is emphatically interested in being able to make such decisions regardless of views of American government, be it Federal Reserve, President, Congress or National Conference of Churches.

      And so is India, Turkey, Brazil etc.

  • Security expert formerly in Bush I administration says Holocaust rationalizes Israel's nuking Iran
    • I agree, but that makes any concessions by "the mullah" irrelevant. If they engaged in making vanilla ice cream it would still be evil and worthy of sanctions. But it also makes any bombing futile -- Israel is threatened existentially, because Good is threatened by the mere existence of Evil.

      Since there is no good solution, Netanyahoo and Barak must decide what would be more fun. Talking about the war is definitely fun.

    • Sin Nombre,

      Israel may have the ability to take out Martian, Venusian or Iranian "nuke program", but I would not bet on it.

      The precise nature of those three programs is not clear. What facilities and personel is sufficient for continuation of those programs? For example, Technology Review had an article claiming that there exists a technology based on laser vaporization that may enrich uranium several orders of magnitude more cheaply than centrifuge technology, and that Iran knows it. Centrifuge program may be a gigantic decoy.

      For all I know, this program is a decoy because Iran does not need nukes to create nuclear scale economic devastation. It does not even need any new resources either. They proved that they can lob missiles at the Strait of Hormuz for months. But they need some external support, primarily from China, which can be secured only by an extreme provocation.

      The other data points are the IDF ability to "take out" Hamas and Hezbollah.

      Lastly, the main supporter of Syrian regime is the government of Iraq. There is no land obstacle that would stop delivery of a gazilion of short/medium missiles from Iran to Syria following an attack on Iran, and the feeble status of Syrian regime would only make it more pliable for such a scheme. A devastating attack on Iran would not disable Iran, which is just too large, but could lead to a devastating response.

  • Robert Reich pretends he's stupid
    • Hostage, are you sure? Permanent residents are allowed to make campaign contributions in USA.

    • Infected by Reich's ignorance, I googled for favorite causes of Sheldon Adelson. 1st hit:

      Online Poker Opponent Sheldon Adelson Gives $10M to Newt ... (, seems to me that at least one constituency wakes up and gathers pitchforks)

      Slate presents a different perspective: >>here are complicated political mysteries. There are mysterious-sounding events with not-so-secret explanations. Here's today's mystery: "Why does Sheldon Adelson want to give Newt Gingrich so much money?" The answer, as Gingrich put it: "He knows I'm very pro-israel, and that's the central value of his life. He's worried that Israel will not survive."

      Hypothetically, say that I am an ardent Zionist, fan of Pamela Geller, but an even more avid afficionado of on-line poker. Slate story is very reassuring, especially if you also see this catch at (otherwise recommending organic food and investing in bullion): "In 2009, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), which is a hard-line Zionist group that wants Israel to retain the occupied territories and expand the Jewish settlements, presented Adelson its most distinguished and historic award, the Theodor Herzl Gold Medallion for outstanding achievement in Zionism. His wife received the Louis D. Brandeis Award. The couple now have their names on one of ZOA’s major awards, the Dr. Miriam & Sheldon Adelson Defender of Israel Award."

      Still, Adelson is a casino boss first and foremost, and he is surely keen to kill online competition. Something that Ron Paul would never do. I also suspect that Adelson supports Gingrich precisely because many very rich Jews support Romney. Romney would end up being beholden to Israel, but Gingrich -- to Adelson. With Gingrich in one pocket and Netanyahu in the other, both heads of respective governments, Adelson will stride from continent to continent like colossus and fellow billionaires will abase themselves. Wouldn't be more prudent and, say, democratic, to go for a candidate that is supported by a consortium of lesser billionaires?

  • New additions to the Mondoweiss comments policy
    • It is actually pretty easy. One can have a blog page and make a link to full version of the arguments that would include the tref parts.

      Once someone gave a link to a really obnoxious anti-Semitic site without making an overtly anti-Semitic arguments (by my standards at least, by NGO Monitor "modern criteria", I guess just saying a kind word about Mondoweiss qualifies for the doghouse) and I though about denouncing, but I decided that a certain compartmentalization is necessary.

      It is my understanding that a simple blog page can be opened for free, you are in trouble only if people got interested in your stuff and you get big traffic. Then you have a choice of bidding farewell to humanity and hoping that you illuminated some part of it before departure, paying some fees, asking for donations or placing ads.

  • Ynet manufactures new threat to promote Ben White book
    • Well, the best known zombie in the area uses name "peace process" and it kind of alternates between hostile and friendly behavior.

  • Why Christian Zionism is nothing short of outright heresy
    • Someone is buing this:
      link to
      and similar titles. "Complete Idiot" is copyrighted, but perhaps

      "Inbred cretins' guide to Israel and Palestine" or, to use more drastic epithets

      "What every GOP primary voter should know about Israel and Palestine"

      would be a title giving the book a wider readership.

      I have no idea who is a heretic and who represents orthodoxy. Perhaps God is really really weird: who are we to know? But Dr. X who preaches every Sunday on my TV knows exactly what Divine plan is, and I can participate (not forgetting about a contribution, of course).

      Sometimes I think that this people will start breeding horses of various colors and recruiting the Four Horsemen.

  • Israel is at the heart of Jewish identity, Gorenberg says
    • Please do not repeat Khazar fallacy. Khazars left descendants, Karaim, who are not "rabbinical Jews".

      It is enough to imagine Welch diasporah returning to England to restore Arthurian kingdom and throwing all English out except for some remnants in East Anglia.

      The most logical aspect of Zionism is that Israel is needed as a safe home to Jews. And because Israel is in constant danger ... Wait a minute -- what good is a safe place if it is in constant danger?

    • I read that Adelson is not a single issue booster of Gingrich: he also hates unions and Social Security.

      Makes one despair: is it better when Sheldon Adelson focuses on his foreign hobby or domestic preoccupations?

    • First, Esther is a tale, a tall tale with no historical value.

      2nd, the people who were killed we Amelek, not Persian. Amelek were already duly exterminated in prior books of the Bible, so some commentators reasonably concluded that Haman was Armenian, so "we" should hate the Armenian for being Amelek, and fake Amelek at that.

  • New book Palestinians in Israel explores the contradiction of the ‘Jewish and democratic’ state
    • Ben, I am sorry to ask you a question without reading the book.

      Quite standard "hasbarah" claim is that Israel is an ethnic democracy not particularly different from tens of other such countries. Poland, Lithuania, Latvia etc. have some privileges for the dominant nationality. For example, Lithuania imposes Lithuanian first names on the citizens (I am not sure about permanent residents) and Lithuania alphabet which would perhaps change Benjamin White into Beniaminas Yaitas. My impression, however, is that Israel is quite extreme. Do you compare Israel with other "ethnic democracies"?

  • The Mondo crew hosts WBAI’s 'Beyond the Pale' to discuss Ron Paul, Dennis Ross and the myth of Obama's 'Jewish problem'
    • In the context of GOP primaries, libertarian Ron Paul is an angel. I agree with Witty that libertarian have wrongly exalted view on ownership rights that exludes more collective perspective on general welfare, but how that differs from the rest of GOP? There are two types of differences: minute and for the better.

      One can object that on welfare and regulation of business libertarian are more radical, and in wrong direction, then Republicans, but the rhetoric of the other candidates is as radical as libertarian. Except that Ron Paul tries to be logically coherent.

      Paul is the only politician who may get mainstream press to advocate sane foreign policy. The rest, and the supporting think tank apparati, are wedded to status quo. However rational, if policies are supported by less than 5% of population they are branded "extreme" and the establishment cuts the discussion at this point. Libertarians so far were in that zone, as well as progressives like Kucinich. Now one cannot argue that 20% of 1/2 of the electorate is "extreme" just by percentages. This is the boob of Pauls candidacy.

      If nominated, I would probably oppose him, although this is very hypothetical. But in the "war of ideas" he is an ally like Stalin was an ally during WWII (actually, he is nowhere as repulsive as Stalin). Picking fights to assert our supremacy when our economy lost competitive edge to China is wrong in so many ways that an ideologue who illuminates this wrongness from a non-progressive perspective is an important ally.

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