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Total number of comments: 3627 (since 2010-05-31 18:07:51)


American university faculty member born in Poland.

Showing comments 900 - 801

  • 'Stop aid to Israeli military' ad goes up on SF buses
    • The only thing which is certain is that Afghanistan has decent copper deposits that will probably be developed by a Chinese company. Witwatersrand it is not.

      Yet it is puzzling why USA did so little to improve the economy in Afghanistan.

  • NYT's Bronner to speak about 'My Israel' on behalf of liberal Zionist group
    • I am more optimistic about transformational potential of Israel. I think that in a nutshell, Israel has a mentality of a small nation, hence it does not have any global or long-term vision, instead the idea is to push as far as it can get away with it.

      Copy the sanctions imposed on Iran, and then see if Israel can abandon all settlements created after 1967 etc.

      As long as USA is an enthusiastic enabler and EU follows the enabling because they do not care, no solution is possible. And if USA becomes enforcer for some modicum of justice, everything is possible.

  • Sheldon Adelson's daughter rams 'Democracy Now' crew as it questions her dad
    • I am planning to write a self-improvement guide "How to binge-drink responsibly and other practical advise". There will be a chapter of liberal Zionism.

      Years ago I was taking a bus to NYC, and a passenger asked my for a cigarette. He was taking the bus to NYC from Las Vegas. I did not ask if he had won.

    • "JAP attack -- survivor tells tbe story"

      My English is a bit weak here. I know that a battering ram was a log, sometimes reinforced with iron, used to crash gates and walls. I know that one can ram with a car. But how a person rams?

  • Corrie verdict energizes worldwide movement to challenge Israeli impunity
    • I thought that the truth is simple. IDF personal did not see Rachel, could not see Rachel and on top of that, they were warning her. In particular, there is no practical method to enable operator of a bulldozer to know what is in front of it. IDF personal were the victims and suffer trauma from the actions of Rachel.

      If this short account seems upside down, it probably is. To quote Sherlock Holmes: once you exclude the impossible, whatever remains must be true.

    • Today I was fascinated by somewhat related story: president of Azerbaijan pardoned a captain of Azerbaijan military who got life sentence for killing an Armenian officer, promoted him to major, they got photographed together and the press in the country is enthusiastic: President Aliyev showed that he can defend every citizen and each and every soldier!

      Armenians are livid and USA "concerned". Two officers (Azeri and Armenian) lived in the same dorm in Budapest taking a course in English organized by NATO. Resourceful Azeri purchased an axe and beheaded the Armenian when his foe was asleep. After 8 years in prison he was extradited to his home country under the promised that the condition of the sentence will be not changed (so he was supposed 30 years for the eligibility for parole, but that did not preclude pardon). Hungary is in bad shape financially, Armenians claim that Azerbaijan promised to purchased 3 billion dollars worth of Hungarian bonds.

      Accidentally, on the same day an Azeri magazine has a lengthy interview with a Zionist extremist from Russia, Avigdor Eskin (alumnus of Kahane movement) praising Azerbaijan and bad-mouthing Armenians. The fact that ANYONE allows Eskin to function as "well known Israeli journalist" is a sad testimony about our times (not an axe murderer, but an unusually repulsive creep even so.)

  • Romney says that Obama 'has thrown... Israel under the bus'
    • Give me 10 million dollars, I may develop some crazy ideas too.

      Moreover, Mitt may be afraid that he may be beaten up by Miss Adelson if he "does not play nice". According to recent report, this is quite fearsome young lady.

  • California State Assembly passes resolution equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism
    • "New Anti-Semitism" is definitely nothing to be ashamed of. Concerning the Assembly resolution, what I have seen is rather non-specific. And someone should do something about hyphenation, perhaps an Assembly committee should resolve it.

    • Perhaps Annie means well but she is OBJECTIVELY anti-Californian. And her collaboration with a hostile East Coast web site speaks volumes.

  • Ettinger: Judith Butler represents a humanistic Judaism that must be highly valued for our times
    • I would also comment that quite possibly Prof. Buttler falls under the definition of "heretic" from the point of view of various types of Judaism and both Buttler and Ettinger may fall under the definition of "new anti-Semitism".

      In particular, "Israel as we know it" cannot exists while applying ethical principles postulated by Buttler. The users of the concept of "new anti-Semitism" view it as the proof that Buttler is an anti-Semite. But quite similarly, "USA as we know it" cannot exists without death penalty and ridiculously long prison sentences for trivial offenses and without impunity for various war crimes. I think that USA could be altered to "USA as it should be", while some people think that such changed USA may succumb to anarchy and enemies as criminal and foreign opponents would beset the "several states" from within and without. Those people would probably call me a radical and an idiot, and perhaps even anti-American (would they notice my modest person at all), but few people postulate denying freedom (including academic freedom) or various honors to radicals, idiots and followers of anti-American beliefs. And those that do are justifiably labeled authoritarian or fascist.

    • In a nutshell, a religious text like Torah describes a lot of events without being specific if which deeds were good or wrong (presumably, angels and God himself were doing right things, but there is still question why). Thus if we want to use religious texts as a basis of ethics, we must actually have some initial conceptual framework and "humanism" is a type of such a framework.

      It is of course debatable if this make sense: if the initial framework is good, why bother with the analysis of the religious text. I think it actually makes sense. Ethics should unite people of different backgrounds and it is a practical to show that following some particular ethics does not require apostasy, rejection of heritage etc. Can you be a "good Jew", "good Christian", "good Muslim", "good follower of Aztec religion" and be a "good human"? If the religion requires regular and copious human sacrifice, then perhaps not. But otherwise one can try.

  • Exile and the Prophetic: Rachel Corrie, righteous gentile
    • Perhaps some will recognized a famous battle song (Tachanka):

      Birds, fly away from the road,
      Animals, run for your lives,
      See: a cloud is churning
      And horses are charging in front of it!
      As they turn, rat-tat-tat-tat!
      Our gunner is mowing the enemies

      I guess Israeli poets should write songs about earth-moving machines.

  • 'New Yorker' hides the Israel agenda
    • At least Stephen makes a progress from using Schoenfeld to little more Anglo Shenfield, but shouldn't he go all the way and change his name to Prettyfield? Like Muellers were changed to Millers, Bach to Brooks, Schwartz to Black etc.

    • Is using Verboten Verboten?

    • This is hilarious case. Quite possibly nude swimming was the most reasonable activity in the entire trip. The guy did not have his bathing suit with him, it was dark, he had a chance to drawn with a major benefit for his district etc.

  • Two-stater says the reality has shifted to one apartheid state
    • This is a potential weakness, not a fundamental weakness.

      More importantly, there should be nothing magical about a majority. Oppressing a minority should be frowned upon too.

  • Judith Butler responds to attack: 'I affirm a Judaism that is not associated with state violence'
    • I do not understand German, but this sound beautiful "auf dem Blog von Blogger Philip Weiss". Now I will think about Phillip Wess as "von Blogger".

      The website is titled "Jihad Watch", which shows an unfortunate German tendency of using English and English-German hybrids like "kartofelwedges" (in a commissary), Jugendtrain and Partyzug (on a site of the national railroad, there are special trains for the Spring Break, the train departs and the party starts! beer to be replenished at every station, I presume). Shouldn't proud citizens of Germany have Dschihad Waht?

    • I disagree.

      Zionism without Judaism is like Communism without working class. Zionists do not have to practice Judaism, and Communists can lack personal experience of working for living but in both cases we have a type of "avant garde" that in its self-image works on behalf of a constituency, respectively Jews and workers.

      For example, secular Zionists are totally incapable of rationally dealing with anti-Zionist and medieval "ultra-Orthodox" who on one hand infuriate them, but one the other hand are so adorably Jewish. If you collect the complaints that they have, it would seem that they should apply conscription to Haredi girls and give them Norplant for the duration. (I do not live under "Haredi demographic threat" so I can joke. Perhaps it is a bad joke, to all girls here: sorry!).

      The fact is that most secular Israeli are pro-religion (pro-theocracy, if you will) and most religious Israeli (and most Jews) are Zionist. Which may be a very good deal for national Zionist believers of Judaism. but it leads to profound problems. More traditional Judaism has a tension between very tribal nature of the religion and having harmonious co-existence with non-Jews. One way to resolve it is to enjoin the believers from activities that can enrage Goyim. But if Israel can cope with Goim regardless if they are peaceful or militant, then the above justification is not obvious anymore.

    • I am not sure if "Eventually, the US would reopen any blockage in the Strait of Hormuz". What if Russia declares that any further attack on Iran is an attack on Russia and "all issues should be resolved by negotiations". In old days, that was the most plausible scenario how WWIII may start, namely the premise that USA may be compelled to attack Iran and Russia (then USSR) may be equally compelled not to allow it. Currently, Russia has an elegant option of nuking Diego Garcia which is a purely military installation as a follow up on an ultimatum (should USA disregard it).

      One can disparage pacifist ethics and make fun of this or that justification for such ethics (like is it really Jewish, why one should try to have ethnic/religious justification for ethics etc.), but the other extreme is vulgar realism of "interests" and force, which makes it hard to stop before a major annihilation.

  • A modest lexicographic proposal
    • What are "colons"? The only meaning I know are serfs in late Roman empire.

    • Actually, in many countries it is "Tel-Aviv said", although cities do not truly speak. (But compare with Roma locuta, causa finita.)

      Language cannot always be precise. For example, Ahmedinejad said that American political candidates are kissing the feet of the Zionist regime. This is far from accurate. However, under a theocracy Ahmedinejad could not really correctly identify the body parts that are kissed, and perhaps we also should not, given all-family type of audience.

  • Israeli Settler: 'If I see her coming, no matter what age she is 3, 4, 7, I'll f*ck her over'. Israeli Soldier: 'No problem'
    • One missing detail from the Zionist story about Nabi Saleh is how it was concluded that settlers own the spring, and what is the nature of that "ownership".

      "Complaints about unlawfull taking of the spring were filed to the the civil administration and they are still under investigation." I understand that "civil administration" is neither "civilian" nor "polite", and in no way is it impartial. If "civil administration" cannot make a determination for several years, apparently it has some difficulties in declaring that the spring belongs to the settlers. It is quite unfatomable how "civil administration" determines which shit is OK and which it is not.

    • It is a bit more complicated. For 300-400 years a large group of Ashkenazi lived in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth where they had a large demographic expansion, so these Ashkenazi formed the majority. The Ashkenazi of Germany and Bohemia apparently "assimilated" to standard German.

      In 18-th and 19-th century Ashkenazi of the Commonwealth moved in many directions, Russia, new lands of Ukraine, Romania and Hungary. In all those places they were usually bilingual (or multi-lingual, Yiddish, local vernacular and the imperial language) , but then they were increasingly switching to national languages like Polish, Hungarian or Russian.

    • Why should Brahms-and-Hayden-loving intellectuals shy away from authentic experience of bonding with the soil while removing the alien blood from it?

      We have seen an interview with a successful Argentinian businessman who decided to be a settler while also collecting art pieces and wines. He said that he would like his children to settle on a remote hilltop and to commute regularly to concert halls in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv. He did not specify Brahms, perhaps children would like Wagner instead?

    • One of the girls had her mother arrested (the other, her aunt). Did this happen before or after the arrest?

      By the way, this video is a perfect illustration for "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man." Savage little girls and the civilized man.

      It also reminds me "Il deserto dei Tartari", a movie of Valerio Zurlini, showing a lone outpost of some anonymous empire. "The mission of the garrison is to prevent a possible incursion by the fearsome Tartars, coming from beyond the desert."

  • Guardian fires Treviño
    • It is not like Protestant robber barons of XIX century in American were enormously more ethical from subsequent generation of businessmen.

      Concerning control, from the point of view of Malaysian government it is an empirical question: which lobbyists will be more effective?

    • That sound almost like a Catholic marriage in which some arcane rules are violated so in the future it would be easier to get an annulment when both sides are willing.

      Whatever we can say about Guardian, this marriage was not made if Heaven so it is better for all if it never happened.

      Accidentally, there was a recent story of a blogger or twitterer in Saudi Arabia who was accused of blasphemy, so he fled to Malaysia -- blasphemy accusation if the Kingdom is not a minor matter. And he was duly deported back. The last news was that he wrote a poem to apologize and he is only a bit worse for the wear. Thinking about it, if Malaysian rulers are anti-Semitic and think that USA are controlled by the Jews (according to State Department, an anti-Semitic stereotype quite prevalent in Muslim countries), then having a Zionist lobbyist is exactly the thing to do.

  • Daughters fight to save mother from arrest in Nabi Saleh
    • Correct. We have seen a video of jogging troops who spotted a troublemaker and promptly dragged him into their building on their own initiative. No bored or exasperated looks on their faces. It makes me wonder of units in Hebron indoctrinate better, or soldiers are segregated, or if these soldiers are in their initial months of service. Unfinished products of the machine.

    • Perhaps I look at the same facial expression differently because I grew up in a system with conscription. Because my father was a former military officer and I had some bad skin problems, I spent quite a bit of time in a military hospital with conscripts, listening to their stories and complaints.

      As a conscript, it is a given that you get some meaningless duties or follow some orders that make little sense. But a combination of indoctrination and penalties tell you that orders have to be followed. Bored unenthusiastic conscripts with some sense of shame are exactly those who preserved their humanity. They are not fully digested by the machine. I would worry more about them if they look intelligent, purposeful, or enthusiastic. Like the soldiers in Hebron who catch Palestinian youngsters and discipline them on the spot.

    • Actually, this is one of the best-behaved photos of IDF that I have seen. No smirking, no rage, and they have this strange look, probably watching an officer who gives them directions. Clearly, a well planned action (also, stupid and pointless).

  • AIPAC's inaugural summit to court Christians
    • Book of Revelation is a bit too complicated for me, so I relied on Wiki etc. I am trying to figure what should make sense to Christian Zionists. Judging on the "Left Behind" series, bringing the Battle of Megiddo/Armageddon is important, because it will result it sending the Satan to a pit and afterwards the faithful will enjoy 1000 years of righteous government (and some will be raptured, o frabjous joy). Also, what is relevant here is not what was written almost 2000 years ago but what is available now in American bookstores. Here are some titles:

      The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Book of Revelation

      The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Last Days

      Bible Secret: An Idiots Guide to the End of the World

      Jacket of the last one:

      Last few days of the world's civilizations.
      The texture is that of diamonds, infinitely solid, incomprehensible in its hardness. The color is a dark blue. A deep plateau stretches out in every direction. There stands an individual, a figure of a human. Tall beyond dimensions, (He is) clothed in light. His shoulders are broad. His feet seem as blocks. His hands appear gentle. His face reveals no features. The eyes are felt rather than seen. Surrounding the light that clothes Him is an aura of light blue. Behind Him a deep blue goes back forever. He is the Beginning and the End and has decided the moment when time shall stop. "...The rebuilding of the Temple is the key to all of it. The actual events like the war in Iraq, the 11th September, the terror all over the world and the campaign of the UN and other powers in the world to take Jerusalem and parts of the Biblical land of Israel are actually the opening stages of the end time war and all of it is focused on Israel and Jerusalem as G-d shared with us in prophecy."

      But a battle needs two armies, and I did not see any good explanation how that want to achieve it. If God and Magog are to come from the north, then something should be done so they will be able to reach Megiddo or Jerusalem.

    • Blake is entitled to his reading of New Testament. However, I read from the second hand that the Book of Revelation does mention that "the Messiah will return to earth and defeat the Antichrist (the "beast") and Satan the Devil in the Battle of Armageddon."

      Thus to defeat Satan it is crucial to secure presence of two huge armies in what is now vicinity of Jenin. One could interpret that IDF could be one of them. But what about the second one! If IDF gets to much firepower, it will never allow another army to approach anywhere close. I conclude that Christian Zionists should be very careful about advocating aid to Israel: to little, not even one army at Armageddon (Har Megiddo), too much, only one.

  • Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb is latest target in anti-Obama campaign
    • In other words, JVP are for the end of Israel as we know it. I think that Israel does have a potential to do better, but if not ... Austro-Hungarian monarchy was a nice state in many respects but it did not have what it takes to stay whole.

    • I am only guessing, but Russian Social Democratic Workers Party split into "majority" = Bolshevik faction and "minority" = Menshevik faction. By analogy, Kadima are Mensheviks and Likud are Bolsheviks.

      And I do not see groveling in Gottlieb replies but uses an occasion to state her agenda with conviction and a lady-like grace. This is a TV duel, who scores better -- a classy lady or a junkyard dog in a suit?

    • I think that we need to keep that attack in context. In 1980s Republicans invented slogan "X. Too liberal for too long." and for a while it was helping in elections. To GOP operatives, if you want to provide medical care to the entire population of USA you are a dangerous leftist (strangely enough, this practice is approved for Israel!).

      Clearly, Democrats should rather explain that universal availability of medical care is a good idea on merits rather than enter arid discussions if it is a radical idea or not.

      And what if Rev. Gottlieb did have "personal and intimate" dinner with the President of Iran? She could politely but frankly raise humanitarian issues that impact the image of Iran and the fate of many people there, and of course, issues related to peace. Horror! And if the dinner lead to anything else, this is an issue for Mr. Gottlieb and Mrs. Gottlieb, and perhaps Mrs. Ahmedinejad, but I kind of doubt it. I think that Mrs. Ahmedinejad would probably be present too.

    • Indeed. Sorry and thanks.

    • Emergency Committee of Israel is an astro-turf organization with a board made of three members, one being certain (Bad) Rachel Elliott, and another Bill Kristol. Kristol would do a decent (and thus unexpected) thing if he repudiated Mrs. Elliott who posted a rant that was unusually hateful and deranged. On the occasion of freeing an Israeli soldier from captivity, Rachel postulated that IDF should capture an assortment of Gaza terrorists (high risk activity, as opposed to prudent tactic of killing them from long range) and to feed them to "sharks and stargazers". Stargazers are actually fish, but rather smallish, so it was like throwing victims to be eaten by "lions and badgers".

      Besides deranged elements, the screed also had a rather unusual pileup of invectives.

  • Israeli minister lashes out at South Africa as 'apartheid state' merely for seeking labeling of goods from occupied territories
    • I think that Israel should learn some accountability from South Africa:

      LONDON (Reuters) - Platinum miner Lonmin , facing a strained balance sheet, a shortfall in production and lost revenue after a violent strike that left 44 dead, has appointed its chief financial officer as acting chief executive.

      The South Africa-focused company, the third-largest in the sector, said Simon Scott would take the helm while chief executive Ian Farmer pursues a course of treatment for an unspecified illness.


      This was a strike in which the government was neutral, but provided police protection to the mine which was virtually under siege by thousands of workers. In days before the confrontation two police members were killed. A big groups of miners demanded that their wages be increased from about 500 dollars per month to about 1200. The company threatened lockout. Many miners had spears and machetes.

      This was a difficult and tragic situation and not a good occasion for gleeful name calling. In the category of "tactful diplomacy" I would preliminarily put Israel in the same class as Iran and North Korea, however, given the sheer number of individuals, organizations and countries insulted by the highest Israeli officials, I think Israel deserves gold medal.

      I think that a course of treatment could be recommended for quite a few ministers, Prime Minister included.

  • Latest hasbara campaign spotlights 'Wi-Fi donkeys'
    • My heart breaks for all those folks like David, Goliath, Jeremiah or Jesus who had incomplete ancient experience, but it perhaps helps that they did not know any better. No Wi-Fi, and, worse, no sneakers!

  • Timeline: Attempts to censor students and faculty who stand up for human rights on UC campuses
    • If Pussy Riot can be sentenced, so can be Irvine 11. And so should be the Congressmen who constantly interrupted the speech of Netanyahu with clapping.

    • To paraphrase supporters of Israeli policies, Winnica seems upset that there are too few Palestinian lethal casualties. [This is ridiculous, but this is how they often phrase the troll attacks.] Or proud that victims are merely in coma and maimed, or that their life is rendered miserable by amazing variety of petty repressions. For example, to deprive villages of water IDF is destroying wells and even confiscating water containers to make it hard to bring water from other places. It is not lethal, but simply spiteful.

      I really do not know which state has such number of policies that are just like that: spiteful and pointless. Like using airport security (and other security measures, like strip searches of journalists before press conferences to humiliate those that do not have nice thoughts about Israel.

  • Report: Israeli police officer witnessed Zion Square 'lynching' and chose not to intervene
    • This is a bit strange, actually. Photos of Sheik Jarrah demonstration usually show regular beefy policemen who do look shy at all. Perhaps there is a special unit to deal with teenagers?

      Vocabulary disputes are somewhat moot. Was it a lynch, a racist brawl or a pogrom? Personally, I would call it a pogrom. To me lynch is a bit more organized and ends with killing or maiming of the selected victim. A brawl is two sided.

  • Mob 'lynching' of Palestinian minors marks rise of Jewish extremism
    • Careful people do not jump to the conclusions.

      For example, last week I was on a cheap bus with a usual riff-raff motley of passengers, mostly minorities of several kinds, yours truly and a group of teenage Chabadniks. One Chabadnik asked me if I am Jewish, which was a reasonable guess given rather fair skin, non-slanted eyes, dark hair etc. After giving a negative answer I got a little card informing me that the God and Rev Rabbi Schneerson urge me to obey 7 laws of Noah. He was careful not to give me a card for Jews, which I presume had a different text.

      It is highly possible that mob members failed some aspects of the Halachic definition of "Jewish".

  • The viral skinnydipping scandal, and the real story
    • I understand that the problem of Hon. Grimm may be deeper, namely that accepting the junket to Cyprus was illegal. It is prohibited for the congresscreature to accept a paid-expenses trip from an organization that has lobbyists on the payroll, unless a representative of that organization three times exclaims "educational!", spits over his left shoulder and makes a full turn (it is called making 500-something corporation). This procedure is supposed to lift the ethical level of Congress members. Cypriot lobbyists, bumpkins that they are, forgot about the spitting (or exclaimed "educational!?" rather than "educational!").

  • A Lynching in Jerusalem: Anatomy of Jewish racism
    • As a "defender of the devil" I would point out that in USA there are not that many Muslim to attack, and that there exists politicians and think tanks who do "intelectual attacks".

      On the other hand, the "jihad talk" that Romney is doing is actually hurting him in opinion polls. Voters are perplexed on economy and give Obama and Romney roughly equal marks, but Obama scores higher on foreign policy. Romney is getting money from Adelson and similar extremists, but the money comes with a curse.

  • 'Guardian' sparks uproar by hiring writer who urged murder of flotilla participants
    • Worse careers than outrageous neo-cons...

      [thinking hard, really hard] like directors of necrofiliac porn videos? They do not expect anyone to do 1/1000 of what they show...

  • 'Get ready to fight Iran,' Washington Post warns in URL
    • This is actually puzzling. Wouldn't an attack on Iran distract IDF from its chief responsibilities, like evicting villagers in West Bank, chopping trees and bloodying noses of uppity young natives? IDF has most sophisticated and expert village bullies in the world, but somehow leaders dream of repeating the Battle of Gaugamela.

    • Clearly, to save the planet, we must raise gasoline prices from about 1 dollar/liter to 2 or 3. Much work to be done on domestic American front.

      But one element that most commentators (and all Israeli commentators) ignore is tht there is a growing impatience in Asia with USA trying to dictate what Asians should do, especially if this is due to Israeli prodding. My prediction is that the current "crippling level" of sanctions is in the process of collapsing. The escalation of sanctions and threats gives opposite effect when it increasingly looses rational outlook. And the escalation of military (and commercial) threats contributes to that.

  • Rudoren writes up settler/colonist leader as 'worldly, pragmatic' wine-lover
    • I am appalled by anti-Semitic stereotypes deployed by Rudoren. [warning: snark started]

      "Passionately ideological yet profoundly secular" is simply a verbose version of "fascist".

      " he travels the world collecting art and wine" sounds like deracinated rich person for whom the oppression of the natives as one of many hobbies.

  • Rabbis for Human Rights says Israeli mob's attack on Palestinians violates Jewish values
    • Rabbis for Human Rights are Jewish heretics who think that "human rights" are part of "Jewish values". At least, it seems to me that they are branded as heretics by the mainstream rabbis who sign protests against repudiations of oppression in occupied territories by thousands.

      To be honest, there is something like "American civic religion" with a reverence of Founding Fathers and Lincoln for a good measure. The mainstream understanding of "All humans are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights ..." is "All decent humans (meaning, humans that do not belong to no-goodniks of which there are many) ...". Heretics, or a distinct minority, insists on a literal reading.

  • In September, the agendas collide
    • When warm days come to a university campus, the right of students to bare arms is fully exercised (and a lot of other skin too!).

  • Message to Pamela Geller: Free speech, not hate speech
    • This is more iffy. "Civilized against the savage" evokes and glorifies massacres committed by the scions of "civilization" against the "natives". Mow the Fuzzy-woozies with Gatling guns, drive the Hereros into waterless desert and keep them there until they die of thirst, men, women and children, this type of glorious stuff.

      So at best it is ugly speech, following the principle that those who extoll superiority of their civilization do much to subtract from that superiority. Indeed, those are code words of the murderous racism of the colonial era. Jihad is just a cherry on the cake here.

      I would sentence the perps of this vandalism to two weeks of community service, namely personally lecturing Ms. Geller on evils of colonialism.

  • Exile and the prophetic: Normalizing the Hitler Youth
    • I read about a study of Y chromosomes of Ashkenazi Jews that identified some groups as related to Siberia etc. If representative, Khasarian component can be estimated as 15-20%. Ashkenazi formed as an ethnic group, with Germanic language and Jewish religion, around 12 century, and their total number at that time was estimated as 15-20 thousands.

      Clearly, Yiddish developed as a vernacular that was not imposed in any systematic way, so I do not see how one can view it as "artificial".

      "In Europe every language uses a few, sometimes even more, words of neigbouring lands, it comes from the close proximity."

      Some language use "even more". Few are more mixed than English. Consider umbrella, ward, guard, carrot.

  • NY state senator puts on Israeli uniform to play soldier on Syrian border
    • Not so low at all, he is standing on the roof! Plus, he is fully clothed, unlike

      "Kansas Rep. Yoder apologizes for nude Sea of Galilee swim"

    • If good Senator and his aid were given loaded weapons, I would court martial those responsible.

    • When Guatemala and El Salvador were killing their own people (and American nuns on occasion) that was OK, because leftist do not count.

  • Geller's 'savage' bus ad meets strong resistance from the Bay Area
    • Israeli airport controls are epitome of "high regard for privacy", women in the middle of period had their tampons confiscated,including one currently in use, and the request for e-mail password is quite comparable to me.

  • New NY commuter ads seek to justify Islamophobia
    • Perhaps they include "freedom fighters" in Syria that are supported by US and allies, plus attacks by roughly the same people in Iraq and Yemen. There is good al-Qaeda in Syria, "we do not care anymore" in Iraq and "bad" in Yemen.

      Clearly, Muslim countries have their problems. Before it was South Americans that were so bad that freedom friendly governments had to kill them by tens of thousands (totals for the period 1950-1990 are in hundreds of thousands). Interestingly, some neo-cons who are mongering hatred against Islam were engaged in South America.

      Earlier there were "savage natives" that civilized colonial administrators had to cull. Defense of freedom never ends.

  • One-night stand with unhappy ending propelled Koestler protagonist to Palestine
    • I am a bit older that most people here, plus I know some first hand stories etc. of yet older people.

      Koestler story seems quite believable. There is a story on a Polish poet Boleslaw Lesmian (very good poet, very hard to translate, very neurotic) who once dated a girl and made a proposal of marriage. Her brother explained to him "Look, we vote for National Democrats [very anti-Semitic], please, be realistic!" The story is from 1930s. [Why Lesmian dated a Polish girl while he was married AND broke AND supported by a Jewish lover is a separate issue.]

    • Indeed. Even as a joke, it is not to good:
      "And the more disturbed an naive they are, the better we like ‘em!"

      This is a bizarre case. Being an occasional prostitute, the girl was not "naive". How did she consent to go with a stranger to a stairwell of a building under construction with nobody else present? That can be explain somehow, perhaps, but what is genuinely strange is that the prosecution did go for assault and forcible rape accusation even though they had "photographs of her wounds". Thus I conjecture that her psychiatric history had some record of self-inflicting wounds.

      Thus the prosecution make the case from the testimony of the accused, however strange the case was (rape by deception). This "deception" reminds me a scene described by Lisa Tarachansky in which a guy in a bar, while talking with a girl claims to know Arabic, while he does not, which luckily for the girl was quickly revealed and she did not sleep with him. But suppose that she did not know Arabic?

  • Settler says Israelis will man phone banks aimed at Florida and Ohio Jews 'to push Israel button' in November
    • Obama genuinely wanted peace, but he "misconceived the role of settlements in the context of the Israeli Palestinian conflict."

      Damn right. Obama started nicely with settlement freeze demand, and then gutlessly dropped it like a hot potato.

  • Israeli soldiers laughed and cursed as they kicked handcuffed Palestinian youth in stomach, causing severe injury
    • Alternatively, it is the training that allows soldiers to beat up kids and others. Military morale is very different from morality.

  • Barak to US: Be afraid, be very afraid of 'the sword at our throat'
    • Quite importantly, the disaster stemming from Israeli attack will have a gift card attached "Complements from your dearest friend. Hugs and kisses -- Israel."

      I seriously doubt that "blowback attacks" would be directed at Israel. Dahiya doctrine can be inhumane, but it has some effectiveness -- with limits. American personel will be the target, it is all over the place around Iran. And USA has to many interests and resposibilities to conduct insane attacks that can make Russians go ballistic. (Memo: don't provoke anyone to go ballistic if they indeed can do so, i.e. have ballistic missiles with multiple thermonuclear warheads. What if Tehran is bombed like Beirut was and Diego Garcia is flattened?)

    • IDF is not prepared for the magnitude of problems that an attack on Iran can cause.

      My favorite two examples:

      1. Recently 20,000 faxes were sent to IDF offices to protest planned demolition of villages, and IDF spokesman complained that it damaged the communications of IDF. Imagine the wave of faxes that Iran can unleash if attacked. Millions!

      2. Videos posted on this site showed how difficult it is for IDF to control and capture adult Palestinian sheep (lambs can be very effectively kicked, but adult sheep with plentiful wool are surprisingly feisty, and IDF troops are not equipped with shepherd crooks). Iran has more than 50 millions of sheep and goats. Any commando operation would have to deal with those creatures.

      The most disastrous aspect of a putative attack on Iran is that to a degree that Iran has a "sharper sword" than Egypt in 1967, the sword is not nuclear, but it has the form of conventional cost effective weapons, chiefly various missiles. An attack at sites connected to the nuclear program would not affect Iran military capability at all, but in can have profound contrary effect. As Russia and China oppose attacking Iran, they probably already issued quiet threats of countermeasures, of which the easiest would to to totally remove embargoes affecting trade with Iran. There is a literal smorgasboard of measures that would form humiliating and dangerous blowback.

  • Protocols of the Elders of Las Vegas
    • Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
      Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!

      Season 1, (1995) episode "Brainania" November 12, 1995 (1995-11-12)
      Brain creates a fictional island nation in attempt to exploit the United States for billions of dollars in foreign aid. [other description]
      The Brain hatches a plan to take over the world by using static electricity to shock the world into submission. Unfortunately he needs several billion dollars to build a giant clothes dryer. Pinky and the Brain head to Island X where they set up a fake country and hope to get a giant foreign aid loan from the United States.

  • Richard Cohen and the Jewish man's burden
    • Traditional Jewish community had a high regard for learning "for its own sake", even if from the point of view of an agnostic, the studies and speculations were in a totally ridiculous realm. Combined with culture shock of assimilation and abandonment of literally understood religion this attitude was very productive in arts and sciences.

      Something similar can be observed with Indian Brahmins who, by my cursory observation, are not particularly successful in business but quite overrepresented among scientists.

      Concerning Spinosa, he seems to be one of many participants of the vibrant culture of the Netherlands at the time when ruling Calvinists abandoned their initial rigidity, and the Netherlands were a refuge of choice for dissidents from many countries or their former communities.

  • Sheldon's wish list
    • Miriam is young enough to be his daughter. At least Adelson does not go for chicks that could be his granddaughters. And if you put sufficiently dark glasses on you cannot tell the difference.

    • On military matters, I think that classic Republican solutions would be appropriate. "You cannot solve problems by throwing money at them" and "downsizing and outsourcing".

    • I guess not knowing the name of forgettable Daniel Gordis is a credit to Adelson. Likewise, not snooping who does what with whom in the privacy of hotel rooms of his casino.

      Otherwise, not only his views are repulsive, but his bumbling suggests that his mental acuity is not as high as when he made is billions. In this sense, he may be a blessing, a great iconic figure for a lot that is wrong in USA.

  • Exile and the Prophetic: Decolonizing the Holocaust
    • I must admit that I missed packets of marzipan Easter potatoes that you can get in Germany for something like one Euro per packet. The color was dull gray, but they were delicious (also, vegetarian, and quite possibly kosher).

      I investigated Caucasian war songs on YouTube and I found out about Fedayin Hayk, Armenian Fighters. Armenia had their own holocaust and it has their own policies which resemble Israel to a small degree (except that the videos about brave Jewish fighters would not have a sub-caption "true Aryan fighters"). Another post-Holocaust nation is Paraguay. The War of Triple Alliance killed a larger percentage of Paraguayans than the percentage of killed Jews, Armenians or Tutsis. Paraguay had scant chances to colonialize anything (but the little chance that they had, they took and thus they won the War of Gran Chaco). Its survival in the face of crushing superiority of Argentina and Brazil required unusual and rather undignified measures: not picking unnecessary fights.

      As I was checking the name of the last war fought by Paraguay, I found that it was described in a book Crónicas heroicas de una guerra estúpida by Augusto Céspedes of Bolivia.

  • The world according to Sheldon Adelson
    • My theory is a bit different. In one magazine there was a list of "top 10 purchases" you can do to show that you are rich. Ferrari was on the list. Everything on the list was pitifully "middle class". Every other lawyer can buy a Ferrari.

      University or Carnegie Hall is definitely not what every other lawyer can purchase and endow. But this is not a practical idea for XXI century. It is really hard to fund a new and good university or a concert hall, and there is only so much glamour in funding a particular building. So what about having real living Prime Minister on your mantel? Can one top that? Yes! Put a President USA next to Prime Minister, two matching pieces! No other tycoon can best that. Tchotchke of all tchotchkes.

    • It is a bit weird, but Israel does not permit Israelis to go to Area A, lest an ueberperson be under "security control" of unterpersons. It is frequently violated and quite sketchily enforced. Intrepid Israeli youngsters who endeavor such escapades are warned by their elders that they risk their lives. There was a nice report in 972mag.

    • One of my great grandfathers was a Jewish dairy farmer in Mazovia. While the word shtetl is a diminitive form of German stadt, city, farming was one of the occupations.

      In the area where I live one of the pioneer land owners 200 years ago was Aaron Levy, thus Aaronsburg is alphabetically first village in the county. At the end of the list is the village of Zion, but it was settled by gentiles, perhaps Christian Zionists (how to call villagers from Zion?).

    • It depends what you call "sovereignty". Herodian kings were vassals of Rome, so Jews were not independent starting something like 50 BC. And Jews petitioned to have the last monarch removed and become a Roman province, and thus were blessed with a more rational form of government. Subsequently the ingrates did not want to pay taxes and rebelled.

  • Syria updates
    • I was joking Annie. But not quite: you compared critically a few theories of conspiracies, which is not what makes a "conspiracy theorist". A conspiracy theorist "knows" about an invisible web of plot that ultimately has one source, like "world Jewry" or "Leftist-Islamofascist coalition" (al-Qaeda and Mondoweiss being but two effects of the same arch-conspiracy).

      My synopsis of a proof of existence of God was perhaps not very convincing, I think that Thomas of Aquinas would explain it better,

    • Annie, no disrespect intended, but your belief in conspiracy theories is feeble indeed. For starters, a true believer would not refer to them like that -- there exists an actual hidden reality that explains EVERYTHING, and a plethora of false conspiracy theories.

      The proof of the hidden reality is very much like a classic proof of existence of God -- the first, original reason for the existence of goodness. Similarly, evil also must have a reason that explains all other reasons.

  • Trapped
    • From the point of view of IDF command, and cabinet minister, retaliation is not as bad as loosing a plane or two, inflicting little damage and having Iranian government crowing day and night that they won.

      Also, because Iranian program is to a degree smoke and mirrors rather than bones, flesh and a well defined list of buildings, Iran can always claim that the Zionist entity miserably failed in their futile endeavor to deprive Iranian their basic right to pursue happiness and uranium enrichment.

    • Other theories postulate that Mossad organized them. Of course, Iran is a better theory. Press hard any festering wound in the Middle East and together with pus you will squeeze out a bearded Iranian without a necktie. [Historical allusion.] On the other hand, I am puzzled why reserves are called because of an incident that required a platoon to respond on Israeli side.

    • "Had you lived through WWII and encountered a young Nazi soldier for whose safety you were afraid because he was born into that trap, then I would have said that it was mighty big of you to fear for him."

      And what would be strange about that? To have a feeling for all soldiers going through the meat grinder of the great war? Including 17 year old conscripts? A few months ago we discussed one such conscript who survived perhaps because we got a light wound and could not participate in the final battles.

  • New round of Iran sanctions pressures Obama to move closer to Israel's 'red line'
    • I think that as USA is increasing sanctions, they will eventually break down. USA is a declining economic power, we cannot seriously sanction China, Russia or India. It seems that the most "crippling" sanctions affect insurance of tankers, and this basically means that alternative insurance will operate quite soon, and it is already happening in India.

      India got a very good deal from Iran, namely that Iran will accept barter for Indian products. 20 years ago it would be almost funny, but India has a nice variety of products to offer, including cheap medicines, and a lot of industrial products. Indian government is pressuring more timid domestic oil importer to resolve insurance issue.

      Roughly the same is happening with China. And smaller Asian countries (many not THAT small, mind you) will follow the suit. So my prediction is that USA/EU sanctions will reach zenith and their relevance will decline.

      Concerning military options, as Russia, China and other key Asian countries are against, there is a slew of "gentle blowback" that may happen. Number one, Asians can retaliate by abandoning sanctions altogether. Number two, American forces in Afghanistan can be affected by crippling siege. There are signs that Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan would be inclined not to follow the suit, but it suffices if Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan joins ban on military transit, and Pakistan. That could lead to thousands of American casualties and a major humiliation.

      A serious attack on Iran, the dream of our armchair strategists, can have a serious Russian response. Russia can revoke limitations on military supplies to Iran etc. Escalation can be met with escalation. So I doubt if any military action will take place.

    • Some existential threats described by Netanyahu are posed by "lawfare" and "delegitimizers", i.e. "Left Blogistan". So far, IDF has problems deploying bombers and/or assassins against Mondoweiss and its ilk. But with generous help from USA, perhaps they will overcome that difficulty.

  • New York state senator renews baseless attack on Brooklyn mosque
    • On a more positive note, on a route I bike daily to my place of work I pass only one non-residential structure, a mosque combined with a preschool, as it is customary amount houses of worship in the area. I even heard of someone changing religion to get a better preschool for kids (Reform Judaism gain an adherent of British origin). I never heard about any protests. The location is quite strategic: somewhat secluded but in 10 minutes walking from a huge campus with 40,000 students, of which, according to MAS, 1,000 are Muslim. But not totally safe: two weeks ago a young bear was tranquilized about 1000 ft from that place.

  • Jon Stewart on Romney's painfully oblivious racism against Palestinians
    • Thus spoke Mitt Romney: But one feature of our culture that propels the American economy stands out above all others: freedom. The American economy is fueled by freedom.

      Apart from quibbling like: what propels Chinese economy, it nicely explains that under occupation or an "occupation-like condition" (in case you agree that there is no occupation) there is no freedom, so...

      However, other "top 10 cultural features" on Romney list seem a bit questionable:

      Many significant features come to mind:

      our work ethic (behind South Korea, but well, so is the rate of growth)

      our appreciation for education (especially school sport teams)

      our willingness to take risks (see the success of gambling tycoons like Adelson!)

      our commitment to honor and oath (something wrong with grammar, I guess work ethic of NR editors is below national average)

      our family orientation (in what sense American variant is peculiar, divorce rate?)

      our devotion to a purpose greater than ourselves (nothing beats suicide bombers here, perhaps American moderation in that devotion is the good feature)

      our patriotism (which is always better than their patriotism)

  • Why Obama shouldn't go to Israel
    • "Is it the underlying assumption of this column that Obama cares what Phil thinks?"

      That reminds me the times when I was reading columns of Thomas Friedman, who often dispensed advise, and as the follow-up, dismay that the advise was not followed correctly. For example, he did advise to invade Iraq but "provided that it is done correctly", and Bush the Lesser, alas, botched the thing by failing to grasp more subtle points of Friedman's writing.

      Given topic at hand, Obama should visit places that are more important, like Ohio or Florida, and perhaps Virginia as well. If running the country leaves him a few more spare days, I would recommend Canada, where the good natured locals are much easier to please, plus, there are actually many voters with roots in Canada. Israeli are much, much grumpier.

    • traintosiberia identified correct reason: it is hard to see ANY benefit for Obama in visiting Israel.

      There is a sector of Jewish opinion and opinion makers (machers?) that condemns Obama for insufficient amount of respect paid to Jewish nation and its leader, Netanyahu. Those people have very exacting expectations and there is no way that Obama would satisfy them. While on a trip many things can go wrong, and the expectation for President are higher than for a contender.

      Just imagine Romney being under the scrutiny given to Obama. In Jerusalem Romney attributed inferior economic indicators achieved by Palestinians, compared with Israelis, to "differences in culture". Innocent enough. THEN Romney wrote an explanation, for everybody to see in NRO, what that "culture" is, and that the top characteristic is "freedom". Suppose Obama wrote it. Enterprising commentators would conclude that Obama insinuates that Palestinians, unlike Israelis, lack freedom and he attributes the poverty in the territories to the occupation, while nothing could be further from truth! His brainwashing performed by Rashid Khalidi shows up!

    • It reminds me a story that was actually well reported, of a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Germany that quickly returned back. One of German tourists wanted to use the bathroom during the takeoff and a stewardess was preventing him, so he told that that he must use the bathroom "or the roof will blow off". That is allegedly how you can say in German that you need to pee really, really badly. What happened later was an amazing proof of stupidity and xenophobia on the part of some American officials: they put the guy in jail for issuing terrorist threats, released after more than 3 months (the judge actually knew German and dismissed the charge on the spot) and THEN he was charged for overstaying his tourist visa.

      In general, during "highest security alert" stupid stuff happens even more frequently than in quiet times.

    • To the contrary, Winnica, there is also "World Mathaba", which is run by pro-Kaddafi Libyans who carry the torch of the Green Revolution amid the bitterness of exile.

      On the balance, some native speakers of Arabic and/or Farsi understood a Hebrew radio broadcast to the effect that there was an assassination attempt on Hillary Clinton, but that failed to identify the station. That can honestly happen when you drive and dial from station to station trying to catch some decent music, but between the distracting conditions and possible mistakes in understanding Hebrew idioms, that does not seem to be a reliable report.

    • dimadok: I could not find relevant statistics, and many Israelis I know (especially older ones) are kind of splotchy, so it was hard to characterize their color.

  • CODEPINK protester victorious over AIPAC assailant
    • If Israel is fascist, it would be a Mediterranean variant, closer to Italian roots, harking to times when Jabotinsky had a high regard for Mussolini and Betar had summer camps in Italy. Both version of fascism had some elements of socialism, of "blood and soil", and exultation of force. Fellini in one of his movies shows a young enthusiastic fascists exhorting other young people to be patriotic and tough, and to give an example, puts a young kitten on his hand and smashes to pulp with the other. I hope it was satirical.

      American variant of authoritarian thinking is quite different and I call it "ante-bellism". Before the "War Between The State" Southern states, while maintaining democratic institution, grew intolerant and paranoid. One one hand, abolitionist tracts were censored and removed from mail, and overt abolitionists could be killed by enraged citizens with pistols or bowie knives, but there was also a libertarian distrust of central authority, and no cult of wise leaders that I can recall. And of course, no elements of socialism.

      I think Israel's "healthy patriots" are extreme statists, as nicely explained by Mussolini: Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato (“Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State”). But general attitute is more antebellist. When members of Zochrot movement tried to read in public the names of Arab villages that were eliminated to give room for Tel Aviv, it was almost like an abolitionist reading his tract in ante bellum South.

    • Basically, he should have criminal assault case. Stocks would be a good penalty but, alas, Constitution does not allow it.

    • Abu Malia: the legend of Oleg the Seer, prince of Novgorod is more complicated, check Wiki: Oleg of Novgorod.

    • Laugh, Oleg, and your death will be caused by your own horse (it actually sounds pretty well in Russian).

  • Romney bombs at the King David
    • To be fair, fundraisers abroad are not a new idea. Headline:

      February 13, 1984 Vol. 21 No. 6 (People's Magazine) What Does Edwin Edwards Do When He's $4 Million in Debt? Take 617 of His Closest Friends to Paris.

      Governor elect of Louisiana booked Palace of Versailes and two jumbo jets. More panache than Hotel David. The food and wines were better as well.

  • Romney, Netanyahu and that other campaign -- for war with Iran
    • It is OK for a small country to be ruled by an expensive tchotchke of an excentric business tycoon. But it seems that in USA this idea has a bit smaller appeal.

      In a lifestyle magazine there was a list of "top 10 purchases" that show that "you have made it", distinctly "middle class" style. Ferrari?

      How about a major sport team, or a small country?

  • Dennis Ross's neutrality shows lobby is with Romney
    • anan is simply wrong.

      Russia and China supplied Iran with some key military technologies, and clearly have a stake in Iran not falling into American zone of influence. The question of enmity with Taliban is quite complicated. The connection of Taliban to terrorism in Russia and China (and of al-Qaeda, for that matter) is tenuous at best. Russia, China, Iran and India would probably all support some kind of coalition/compromise in Afghanistan while supporting former Northern Alliance, American forces are quite useless, plus Afghanistan as a strategic location, market, transit route etc. is much less valuable than Iran.

      A major humiliation of USA would gladden hearts in many countries, Russia and China included. Under right diplomatic and military circumstances they can have their day.

    • Carowhat, you live in good days long gone.

      China and Russia oppose any attack on Iran. Avigdor Lieberman returned from Beijing and promptly opposed attacking Iran in the inner Israeli cabinet.

      I bet that Chinese explained him how it would turn bad for Israel. One can only guess, my bet would be that the onus will be on USA, and the means will be the siege of forces in Afghanistan which is actually very easy to do. Basically, we have more than 100,000 troops in a gigantic mouse trap than can be closed. (Pakistan is opposed an attack on Iran too, and if Russia, Iran and China agree, Central Asia has to follow).

      But less drastic measures are possible too. If China puts full weight against sanctions on Iran, they are basically gone and Iran can declare a major victory.

  • Romney visits Western Wall, ignores question, Does Israel have a right to annex West Bank
    • Actually, perhaps Romney is not that far from the truth. This is what Jon Stewart mocks: “Romney appears to be saying that the Palestinians are purely the architects of their own poverty, or, if you prefer to look at the converse, that Jews are culturally some money-making motherfuckers,”

      The context was a meeting with "some money-making motherfuckers" so indeed, Romney was "looking at the converse" at the time of making those remarks.

    • It is OK to be atheist, at least here. Romney seems to suggests that it is not OK as it would lead to inferior culture and be detrimental to GNP/capita. There are more openly gay members of Congress than openly atheist or agnostic (it helps that you cannot be caught on being an atheist). But someone also named Sassan (but with a number) claimed that "twelverism" is a totalitarian ideology, while (a) the ruling ideology in Iran is more authoritarian than totalitarian, more importantly (b) many important clerics view Khomeini's innovations as wrong, hence the current political structure of Iran has substantial Shia opposition. Moreover, the same Sassan claimed that most of the population in Iran is atheist, which I found simply dubious.

    • Sorry, Sassan, we have some limits here.

      We tolerate apostasy but not the wholesale defiance of one's own heritage. For example, I was born Marxist and I moderately lapsed into being vaguely leftist. Didn't you denounce "totalitarian twelver ideology", even though some Twelver Grand Ayatollahs are actually pretty non-totalitarian? (It could be another Sassan, in which case disregard this comment.)

    • Totally, totally wrong, this wall was for Bob Marley and the Wailers, and they did not have no slide guitars.

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