Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 852 (since 2010-05-31 18:07:51)

piotr

American university faculty member born in Poland.

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  • Hey Jews, listen up, Netanyahu is your leader!
    • Per Beniamin Netanyahu, eia eia alala!
      Per la nostra Patria bella, eia eia alala!

      Giovinezza, giovinezza, primavera di bellezza ...

  • Iran Deal coalition breaks apart, and J Street looks more and more like AIPAC
    • We owe a lot to Israel. Without it we would have to eat Roma tomatoes, or grape tomatoes, or plum tomatoes, or for the want of very durable varieties we would be at the mercy of local farmers and just eat produce grown within 300 miles from home. We would have to use a bit less convenient forms of flash memories. We would stupidly use ceramic pipes for drip irrigation instead of plastic ones. Humus would never become popular without Israeli advise. And so on and so on. But does it mean that we have to have insane and immoral foreign policy?

      Belgium is a delightful country that contributed a lot. Suppose that they had a minor request to support them running Congo Free State in the manner designed by King Leopold. Should we do it?

    • The support of al-Nusra is a toe of a dinosaur of insane policy. Hey, if we can cheerfully support "Jewish National" religious fanatics, why not make a coalition with other murderous religious fanatics in the region, and as we are at it, label all their opponents as "terrorists", "illegitimate" or both, while facilitating recruiting, funding and arming of the kind of folks that we would be terrified to have at home (but out there, there are freedom fighters). In that context, whatever Iran does is "support of terrorists".

      One little problem is that this illogical (besides being immoral) foreign policy is crumbling on its own weight, and here comes Senator Cardin to promote the insanity with rhetoric and serial criminality. Sanctions are mostly theft, while the support of our pet terrorists and barely sane princes (or mostly insane?) is being accessory to mass murder, including high tech used to convert a wedding into a goulash (we had to provide the tools, patiently explain how to use them and assists the deed with "targeting aid").

      News flash to Senator Cardin: it is increasingly hard to view our policies as sane, and our allies suffer more and more from indigestion. If the only way out of that insanity is for nations to get together and oppose USA, eventually it will happen, and I suspect that you will not be pleased.

  • The refreshing bluntness of Ayelet Shaked
  • 'NYT' reporters parrot Israeli claims re cherry tomato
    • From what I know, Christian Poles do not claim bagels. Small breads are highly regional, the only type similar to bagels in my parts was a tiny, shiny ring with very crunchy texture (sushki in the Wiki link). In the south, Jews had bagels and Christian bakers had obwarzanki (singular obwarzanek) link to en.wikipedia.org.

      Concerning flash drives, they were invented by Israelis, but this is basically a way to package flash memory, and flash memory was invented and developed by the Japanese, Toshiba company, and there is a large variety of different uses and interfaces. Without Japan, semiconductors would be very, very different, without Israel? Perhaps a bit different.

  • Amnesty: Killing of Hadeel al-Hashlamoun was 'extrajudicial execution'
    • There is always a bad apple, a dirty mind not totally cleansed by brainwashing. Once there was a story in Ha'aretz, one of those "can you believe that!?", about a reserve officer in West Bank who was instructing his troops how to be polite on checkpoints.

    • There was a little discussion why Hadeel did not understand Hebrew. Actually, there is no evidence that she did not:

      QUOTE
      He said a soldier had asked Ms. Hashlamoun to open her bag for inspection. “When she was opening at her bag, he began shouting: ‘Stop! Stop! Stop! Don’t move! Don’t move!’ ” the activist said. “She was trying to show him what was inside her bag, but the soldier shot her once, and then shot her again.”

      The activist said three or four other soldiers had raced to the scene and also fired.

      Another witness, Fawaz Abu Aisheh, 34, who appeared in the photographs taken by the activist, said Ms. Hashlamoun did not respond as soldiers screamed at her in Hebrew to step back. A soldier shot at her feet twice, but she did not move, he said.

      “She was like a nail, like she was in shock,” he said. “I was shouting, ‘She doesn’t understand Hebrew!’ ”

      Mr. Abu Aisheh said he had opened a small gate inside the checkpoint so that she could back away from the soldiers. She did so, creating more distance between her and the soldiers. END QUOTE

      You do not need to be a sheltered shy girl with comprehension difficulties to be utterly confused when men with huge guns surround you and start shouting contradictory commands, "Open the bag! Don't move". Actually, sensibly enough, she stopped moving. Abu Aisheh to defuse situation said that "She does not understand Hebrew", which is more tactful then "quiet down and decide what you want her to do". On the photographs, the eyes of a soldiers are almost popping out of his head, as if he was thinking "O my G.d! I will not get out of here alive, she is about to explode!"

      Actually, typically for IDF, it was extremely weird checkpoint. On a checkpoint they should be prepared to check things. There should be a large well visible table, a person to pat (a female person for patting females), etc. Each of us knows the airport procedure. In the photo, we see a strangely placed tiny table, a chair, and a bucket, they did not bring her to the checking area -- there was none? After commanding Hadeel to open her case, the soldier probably realized that he made a blunder, and then his panic could not be stopped.

      It reminds me an incident when IDF shot dead a settler rabbi. For some reason, just before dawn they decided to suddenly make a checkpoint on a road. And they set it in such a way that they were hardly visible in the pre-morning twilight so slowly driving rabbi passed through. Then to stop him they did not use remotely controlled spiked tape or something like that but shot through his car. The next driver nearly hit the soldiers, as they were not visible, but luckily for him (a Palestinian), at this point soldiers were to baffled to shoot. Making and manning checkpoints is the most basic activity of IDF, and yet they are totally ill-equipped and ill-trained to do it. The top command dreams of grand battles with Iran.

    • Some people complain about the designation "extrajudicial execution". It is by no means a euphemism, it is a term for a type of crime that is hardly ever prosecuted because it is performed by the state, covertly or overtly. The more the act is sanctioned by the state, the more it falls under "extrajudicial execution" and less under simple "murder". That just means that responsibility lies mostly with the state.

      Member of security forces, police, military are getting weapons and instruction how to use them in the case of danger, how to recognize the danger and how to use different types of force. And how to concoct evidence in a case things go wrong. So the responsibility lies chiefly with people in command position who organize, instruct, approve etc. In particular, I feel that there is a huge correlation between hysterical killings like Hadeel case and bouts of hysteria emanating from Knesset and the government.

    • Is is possible that Hadeel did understand, but she literally freaked out. Take a random shy girl, surround with several men brandishing huge guns and start to shout.

    • This is a legal term, it is basically "murder under a color of authority". The difference between an ordinary murder and an extrajudicial execution is that it is performed by security forces or military.

  • Settlers gawk as Palestinian woman lies dying at checkpoint (Update)
    • I looked several times at the barrel, it is definitely the same in both pictures, so the knife is not in the original position. It is quite possible that a checkpoint would have a knife specifically for this type of situation.

      After all, Israelis do not use justifications in this style ( yesterday in Baltimore county):

      A Maryland man was shot dead by police after pointing his finger as if it was a gun at an officer. Baltimore County police said they chased a man Wednesday, who was suspected of trying to buy cough syrup with a fake prescription.
      He was “reaching around to the small of his back and abruptly whipping his hand around and pointing it toward the officer, as if with a weapon,” authorities said.
      The incident was recorded on surveillance footage from a nearby business. Police say the video shows that after falling to the ground the unidentified man refused “to comply and keeps reaching into his waistband, as if for a weapon.”

      Read more: link to bluenationreview.com

      So the suspect have fallen down, as when he was prone of the ground, he "failed to comply".

  • Teenager's killing brings toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces this year to 25
    • The Guardian link above has many photos. But perhaps the most revealing is the quote of the IDF spokescreature: "... so she was shot in the leg. Shen then continued towards the soldiers..."

      and the soldiers were by that time utterly convinced that she is a Zombie or some other creature impervious to normal ammunition. The photographs do not explain how the knife appeared on the scene. It is highly unlikely that the soldiers could see a knife, because the young woman was in a burqa without sleeves, and she used both hands to show her bag (a small suitcase?).

      But if she could walk after having shot-through wounds in her legs, perhaps she had a spare arm as well.

    • link to theguardian.com

      Quite comprehensive coverage of the checkpoint murder of Hadeel al-Hashlamon.

  • The Obama administration needs to own up to the quagmire in Syria
    • Arrest warrant for Bandolero from Grammar Police: confusing misspelling!

      There is no "Tectonic shift" of German policy, but "Teutonic shift", named after a tribe that kept issuing contradicting statements, usually in the same week.

      Apart from that, Germany is indeed curiously dependent on Russian natural gas. I do not have stats at hand, but German government has to satisfy two constituencies that pull in somewhat opposite direction: "sensible economic growth" and Green tendency of opposing carbon emissions AND nuclear energy. So Germany is energetically pushing "renewable energy", quite a lot of wind power installed, many types of sensible energy savings, but there is still a yawning gap that can be filled only with natural gas. Historically, east Germany relied on lignite, a fuel with particularly bad CO2 to energy ratio, and the west on coal with is not as bad but quite bad, while natural gas gives a ratio which is better, if not that spectacular (nukes have much lower emissions). So natural gas is the only way to fix the energy balance, and if Poles and Ukrainians stand in the way, bad luck for them.

      New sources of gas may appear of course, but elimination of coal + growth will use all that.

      Apart from that, Germans know very well to what extend extreme Ukrainian nationalists are Nazi, and to what extend they are not. But since WWII, the impulse to follow American foreign policy, with some necessary exceptions dictated by the economy, became so ingrained that so far, we see "Teutonic shifts" only.

  • Ad targeting Sen. Bennet says Iran wants to nuke the world's children
    • The concept was a multi-lingual countdown, perhaps a bit to subtle (five in Spanish, four in Russian, two in some Slavic language etc.) For that, puppies would not do. The idea was that now Iran will start tossing bombs at Russia, some other Slavic country, a Spanish speaking country, literally, all over the place.

      I think Goldwater ad had an American girl, and the message was clear. Here, I am not sure if "low information" voters would realize what was it about.

  • Which nation spends more on its military: Iran or Israel?
    • About the Bloombergian link given by our friend Laurent Weppe:

      The article reports opinion of experts. I will always remember a lecture on expert systems that I heard on an international conference. "What is an expert?" (meaning, what a program called "expert system" is supposed to do) asked the speaker, Lofti Zadeh, inventor of fuzzy logic. Silence in the audience. And the brilliant answer: "Expert is a person who cannot say: I do not know." And there are multiple ways of using the opinion of experts.

      One way is to conduct championship of experts: who can provide the highest number? The same expert can make multiple attempts! In the cited article:

      (1) On Monday, a spokeswoman for the U.N. special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told me that the envoy estimates Iran spends $6 billion annually on Assad's government.

      (2) Nadim Shehadi, the director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University, said his research shows that Iran spent between $14 and $15 billion in military and economic aid to the Damascus regime in 2012 and 2013

      (3) The Christian Science Monitor last month reported that de Mistura told a think tank in Washington that Iran was spending three times its official military budget--$35 billion annually--to support Assad in Syria. [this seems to be ca. 50% of the total Iranian export]

      Did de Mistura take the lead? Alas, no. Unlike the lowly CSM, Bloomberg Report has such a global presence that it can collect information more directly.

      (4) When asked about that earlier event, Jessy Chahine, the spokeswoman for de Mistura, e-mailed me: "The Special Envoy has estimated Iran spends $6 billion annually on supporting the Assad regime in Syria. So it's $6 billion not $35 billion.

      Syria fields about 200,000 troops who are frequently engaged in combat. USA used roughly 100 billions per year to maintain 100,000 troops in Iraq, so my expert estimate is that Syria needs at least 20 billions -- I assume that the cost per combat soldier is 10 times smaller, 10 being the smallest round number larger than 1.

      However, those numbers are totally fuzzy. They include donations of weapons that are not sold on the open market anywhere,, so one can try to estimate how much it would cost PRC to make such weapons, or for how much PRC would sell such weapons, or how much it costs Iran to extend production runs for weapons that they would make anyway, and so on, with the highest number being "how much such activity would cost in USA". "No arm producer in USA would demean itself to make such a crap". One thing is certain, all those estimate include a lot of guesses. By the way, Tufts estimate was "military and economic".

      ====

      Fancy theory of expert piotr: Russia presumably gives some weapons to Syria, and sells some. The sales are for credit (that is certain). Iran guarantees some of those credits, and now that Iran's finances are presumed to improve, Russia may accept larger Iranian-backed credit line, which may explained an increase in supplies.

    • As DaBakr wrote, "Putin is dumping 100s of millions of dollars into arming Assad", in the same time US Congress budgeted 500 million dollars to train and arm moderate Syrian opposition, which resulted in fielding 56 troops. 56 superheroes would be more then enough, as any fan of fantasy and mecha can tell you, but superheroes they were not. Allegedly, four are still fighting after all these days (about a month). But do not worry: there is another class of 120-200 students.

      The most interesting is that KSA sent 1000 troops to Yemen, with the budget of 80 billion, UAE sent 3000 with the budget of 15 billion. So for 30 times less than UAE budget, USA should be able to field 100 troops, which somewhat matches the size of our moderate contingent. There is also some evidence that GCC force in Yemen is quite short of superheroes.

  • Long Island synagogue marks High Holidays with thanks to Israeli soldiers in Gaza war
    • No, in my opinion Zionists argue that because Jews are good and Israel is adorable, whatever the government does is good. Because those are deeds of good people. I have no idea what Grand Mufti Amin al-Husayni is "an important person", least of all, in 21st century, and why he justifies what IDF and the settlers do, except in good versus bad narrative, where it is important to document why one side is good and the other bad. Books were written on the topic. Similarly, Kastner is not particularly relevant today and back in 1944 (I kind of doubt that Nazis and Arrowcross needed much help in identifying Jews for deportation.)

      The logic is that we have to delve into history to establish bad people and good people, preferably linking the bad to Hitler, Stalin can do as well, and once it is done, forever after we know who is to be blamed and who is blameless. If you have found a cure for cancer and subsequently raped a number of prepubescent children, in the light of huge contribution to humanity we have no choice but to trust that you did the good thing. Unless your grandpa's third cousin met Hitler.

      In any case, this is not a logic invented by Zionists. For example, check Wikipedia page "Olga of Kiev". The top illustration is captioned "Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Olga". Her beloved husband was collecting taxes, and after extracting tribute from one tribe, we returned in few weeks and asked for more, irate Drevlans killed him and Olga, the future Saint, avenged him, and her pius biographers described all her deeds (mostly mythological, I presume) with delight and approval, since those we deeds of an important saint. If this was not a saint's biography, those exploits (e.g. fourth revenge on Derevlans) would mark her as a genocidal maniac.

    • Some of you are ignorant of basic moral principles. There is good and there is evil, there are innocent and there are the guilty. Guilty are those who do bad things, others are innocent. Bad things are those who are done by bad people, and good things are those that are done by the good one, especially if it makes the bad ones suffer.

      Thus no one is more innocent that our soldiers. Our soldiers are the best, so every thing what they do should be lauded. Anyone attacking our soldiers is evil, anyone thinking about attacking our soldiers is evil, any one who can grow up to think about attacking our soldiers ...

      =====

      This is totally different way of thinking than the one promoted by this site, and from my observations, it is extremely hard for followers of that thinking to understand people like Scott, Roth etc. and vice versa. The dialogue is typically like that: "It is lamentable that so many children were killed, we should work to avoid repeating that in the future" "So you support Hamas? Do you know what they do to gay people?" "So if some people in Gaza do not like gays, it is ok to bomb them and kill their children?" "So you also support Hezbollahs and the mullahs? [of Iran]" "You are you talking about the mullahs when we started about the children?" "Why are you white washing the fact that those children were born to very bad people who supported Hitler and were recruiting Bosnians and Albanians to fight for the Nazi cause"? "Where that came from? How misdeeds of some Bosnians and Albanians 70 years ago justify killing of the children now?" "Because we must realize who is the good side here, and who is the bad side. Plus, why are you so preoccupied with children, do you have a Lolita complex? And why are you ignoring the suffering of Israeli Jewish children who had to run to shelters each time there was an alarm? Why do you hate Jewish children?"

    • A threat to US intelligence? If the well being of the "several states" hinged on the intelligence services, we would be in a very bad shape indeed. The biggest issue I see there is that those agencies are responsible for producing disinformation and the actual information, but the mechanisms to separate the two were irretrievably disabled. This is how the most secret documents are marked:

      WARNING! This page contains true information. You cannot copy it, burn before reading. Would you leak the content of this page, you will be chased to the other end of the world and your kin and your seed will be cursed for seven generations. Your women will be barren, your crops will wither. Your name will be erased from any paper, stone, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, search engines will be forbidden to reported it ....

  • 'New Yorker' says anti-Zionism is 'firmly rooted' in British left, and it's anti-Semitic
    • About the weirdness prevalent in Corbynland: "...archetypal resident of the British far left: a bearded, bicycle-riding, teetotal vegetarian from Islington, in north London. The image is lazy and unjust; in Corbyn’s case, unfortunately, it also happens to be true. "

      What is unfortunate here: the beard, the bicycle, or the lack of ethanol and meat in the diet? Or is the combination singularly obnoxious? Frankly, I have hard time understanding Lane's thinking. I mean, I understand that faced with the unknown that is beyond the realm of his experience he resorts to a bemused and patronizing posture, and regains his mental equilibrium by reciting common wisdoms that was drilled into him (including the bit about "anti-semitic left"), but I have hard time getting any empathy for it.

    • By the way, can one of true liberals (not you, Phillip!) explain what UK gains from purchasing nuclear missiles from USA and operating submarines that carry them? Germany, Japan, Spain, South Korea etc. are doing just fine without them. I would also like an explanation of the superiority of private Amtrak and British railroad companies over French and German railroads.

    • “the honorable traditions of Jewish socialism” was historically anti-Zionist.

      Once I was quite startled. I was web surfing and I stumbled on a web site of ONR, a Polish acronym that is lovingly resurrected from 1930-ties, "National-Radical Camp", in 1930-ties they represented radical right wing opposition to the statist government. And one old-timer was reminiscing about those good old days when his group would collaborate with Betar boys to trash offices of Bund. Betar, Jabotynsky's organization, was perhaps fascist and perhaps not, same as ONR, but both had the habit of beating up socialists and at occasion they were doing it together. I must stress that I knew about it from family anecdotes too.

      Clearly, what confuses Lane is that Corbyn represents the surviving internationalist (contrasting with nationalist), and anti-colonialist strain of Socialism (which in Britain was never truly Marxist). That prompts him to invite the "natives" to present their perspective, and to address them politely, hence "friends". Liberals were never egalitarian internationalists, but applying "properly vile" language to "uncouth natives" drops from their tongues with less ease than for the right wing.

      Liberals are kind of hybrids. They believe in equal rights, but they also believe in capitalist order where the ruling class has their well deserved place, and tries to achieve an amalgam. They feel best as "technocrats", and they absorb elitism that effectively treats the "natives" as subhumans. So, my friend Phillip, you are not a true liberal, you are not a hybrid. HRC is definitely a liberal, Bernie barely makes it. I know that there are appalling quotes about his foreign policy views, but to me it seems that he did his darn least not to be booted out of Democratic Party caucus, or slapped with some type of label like "Caution, an extremist, he bites".

      So to Lane visit to Corbynian England was something of a tropical adventure, "ubi leones". Denizens should be assumed dangerous (e.g. anti-Semitic) and approached with utmost caution. Luckily, he lives to tell the tale and shares his harrowing experience with the readers of NYT. But his mind is still reeling, so the account contains incongruities.

  • Could Syria's revolution have been different?
    • Numerically, I am not sure who killed more people, and one parse it in various ways whose atrocities are worse. Some arguments are suspicious, to put it mildly -- the regime is using barrel bombs which are "inherently something". You can use the latest precision munitions and get benefit of American targeting analysis, and as we see in Yemen, that means that you can precisely destroy a hospital, a power station, a gas station, bottling plant and so on. And if barrel bombs are evil because the are so imprecise, we should rejoice that Russians started to supply more of the precise weapon systems.

    • I recall that the term "genocidaires" was used in Haiti, but perhaps I am wrong. So this is how a misguided but not quite tyrannical government may be removed
      link to historycommons.org
      I think that the people responsible for our foreign policy still did not figure out why those methods work so poorly in some regions. Why there is no principle "if you can do it in Haiti, you can do it anywhere"?

    • There are still serious doubts raised how large Russian involvement will become. Probably it will not be small: so far, not many new weapons were reported, but Russian are building two extended runway to enable landing of huge Antonov transport planes. Skeptics doubt if Russia can afford it, but these weapons are almost entirely made in Russia, starting from metals and chemicals used to make explosives. Antonovs can land "almost anywhere", but the airports with new runways are small, so even dirt runways require some earth moving.

      WSJ columnist lives in an alternative universe where civilized high tech America can impose its will on the lesser folks. But shooting down Russian planes is WWIII scenario, e.g. they can nuke Diego Garcia. Shooting down Syrian planes using air force will increase air defenses, and the use of long range missiles can be counteracted with, you guessed that, long range missiles. We just witnessed how much havoc as single "dot" can do (Tochka in Russian). There are no easy alternatives to sh..t that is done already, supplying weapons to proxies.

      But what happens next? "Southern front" advances at regime lines. Well armed, all vetted, Free Syrian Army, moderate to the last men. However, these people are common brigands, loyal to the heads of their smallish units. More often then not, offensive stalls among the losses. Some moderates "radicalize" and defect to al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) and to ISIS, with weapons and ammo. Wash, repeat and turn your head with amazement: how ISIS gets weapons and ammo? My impression is that in South Syria, mostly through defections. In the north, also by direct trucking through Turkish border. Then there is trade etc.

      So these offensives go back and forth, ISIS grows and we wonder why refugees are so desperate.

      Concerning "legitimacy", I would recommend Gandhi to lead Syria as soon as it will be realistic. In the meantime, it is worthwhile to compare "the tyrant" with "our allies". Kerry commended al-Sisi for his strides toward democracy, which makes the fascist leader a bit miffed -- why "progress toward" when Egyptians already have all the rights that they should have! The right to public order is secured by mowing the protesters, and anyone who dares to schlep through the countryside without authorization (like Mexican tourists). The right to be entertained wholesomely is enforced by incarceration of dancers whose videos offended good taste and sharia. The right to sound information is similarly enforced, this time without any references to good taste and sharia.

      No such commendations for progress were addressed to our friendly if temperamental absolute monarchs who could take exception to any suggestions that democracy is a good idea. Here the "warriors for high moral ground" fight with each other quite spectacularly: one camp despises public hanging in Iran, and Iranian PressTV regularly is aghast about all the beheadings in KSA, our most favored absolute monarchy. American official policy is firmly on the side of beheading, burqas rather than chadors etc. (Who do Chinese think about beheadings and hangings, being, partial to firing squads?)

      Ah, we talk about legitimacy. Is there some number of victims of slaughter that would make a leader "illegitimate", even if that leader is friendly and cooperative, like Indonesian Suharto in his days? If so, it has to be close to a million. So the doctrine is that multitudinous imperfect regimes are "free game" if additionally they are neither friendly nor cooperative. But if a leader is unfriendly and uncooperative but otherwise quite democratic, we remove him by gentler means, like unleashing "genocidaires".

    • The goals of American (Western in general) policy in Syria are truly macabre.
      Dan Drezner:

      [T]his is simply the next iteration of the unspoken, brutally realpolitik policy towards Syria that’s been going on for the past two years. To recap, the goal of that policy is to ensnare Iran and Hezbollah into a protracted, resource-draining civil war, with as minimal costs as possible. This is exactly what the last two years have accomplished…. at an appalling toll in lives lost.

      This policy doesn’t require any course correction… so long as rebels are holding their own or winning. A faltering Assad simply forces Iran et al into doubling down and committing even more resources. A faltering rebel movement, on the other hand, does require some external support, lest the Iranians actually win the conflict. In a related matter, arming the rebels also prevents relations with U.S. allies in the region from fraying any further.

      ====

      In other words, "we" want the mayhem to continue forever, and when "we" aid regimes of Syria and Iraq by attacking ISIS, "we" are very careful not to be overly effective. Now "mayhem forever" is also extended to Yemen (American aid GCC coalition in bombing schools, hospitals, other assorted civilian infrastructure, and of course try to soften the "rebels" by massive hunger, but when the latter tactic will show to be too effective, we can expect some short break so supply a certain amount of food.) Worst come to worst, GCC will win eventually, but not before shelling a hundred billion dollars for weapons (hopefully, more).

  • Don't trade a war on Palestinians for a war on Iran -- Berman
    • It is definitely more complicated. First of all, the donations to American campaigns are made by Americans, with USDs, and one could even argue that Israel itself suffers from oversized influence of rich Americans. For example, I did not read about "native Israeli" business tycoons being raving right wingers, as opposed to Adelson and friends.

      Second, American right wing needs imperialism as a wedge issue in internal politics (the liberal wing is weak), so external conflicts are needed and the need to "project power" etc. And like with "war on drugs", and "war on crime" etc. liberals have this cursed tendency of defending themselves as "no, no! we are not weak, see what we do!". Their position in those "wedges" is that doing anything more would be silly. Thus a large part of the pro-Israeli posture is "for free".

    • A cite I have seen today about "deep silliness". Donald Trump sometimes talks about things that he knows about, e.g. from his experience as a sponsor of beauty contests (he said something tactless, but accurate), but this is not always the case. "If Israel attacks Iran, I think -- of course this wouldn’t happen, it wouldn’t happen with me, with Obama you never know -- but we’re supposed to be on Iran’s side if this happens. OK? And nobody knows this and even talks about that point but, basically, we’re supposed to protect them." While the internal confusion here is definitely Trumpian, it is a good example of a wider phenomenon among non-Jewish Republicans to take AIPAC talking points and somehow garble them and thus remove even appearances of sense.

      ZOA silliness is not inconsistent, but quite false: in FrontPageMag.com, a website published by David Horowitz Freedom Center, there was an original article titled, "Traitor Senators Took Money from Iran Lobby, Back Iran Nukes." Several senators voting for the accord accepted campaign donations from IAPAC. Accepting donations from AIPAC is of course kosher, but from IAPAC (Iranian-American PAC) it is treason. Hm. Does it mean that campaign finances should not only be consistent with American law, but should also pass tests of Halacha? link to politifact.com

    • I would be less optimistic, in shorter perspective, then Rabbi Berman. The iron grip of AIPAC etc. on Congress is still there. But that does not mean that those lobbies can make USA do something impossible or jump in at the deep end. All other members of UNSC and EU made it clear that they prefer a deal, and after very intense negotiations, they accepted it. Our closest important allies (sorry, countries with smaller GNP than Belgium are not particularly important) made it abundantly clear that they will proceed with USA or without USA. Our most important adversaries, Russia and China, also made it clear that they will not cooperate with "war option", and you cannot isolate Iran from Russia and China. Isolated USA does not have "war option" against Iran, when Iran is not isolated.

      Zionists and neocons have a long term intelligent strategy -- intelligent in the sense of being internally consistent. However, it has a fatal flow of being impossible to execute. I want to keep this post short, but one part of the strategy is to keep Iran poor and ignorant until it will have a pro-Western and pro-Israel regime change, perhaps forever.

      By the way of contrast, keeping Gaza and West Bank poor, oppressed and isolated is something that Israel can do pretty much by itself, with a bit of help of fascistic junta in Egypt, so requesting support for that does not have the impossibility stigma, and this support will last quite a while more. However, the battle about the accord with Iran hopefully opened many eyes to deep silliness endemic in Israeli lobby, neo-conia and GOP.

  • Buy tickets now! Only $360 to hear Elliott Abrams and Dennis Ross!
    • "Israel and USA were joined by Australia, Canada , Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Palau."

      This is really interesting. Australia and Canada have politics on the issue that are similar as in USA, Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau have national budget decided by US Congress. I recall that once there was an "important UN vote" while there was "government freeze" in USA, and our friends in Pacific Ocean abstained. So the question is what is Tuvalu doing here, and why there is no Niue, while both nations sell their votes on per-vote basis? Someone has decided that seven votes seem low, but eight is good enough.

    • About the "ridiculous book launched by Alex Cockburn", the most informative review at Amazon.com

      153 of 198 people found the following review helpful
      Putting Things in Perspective
      By Joanneva12a on December 16, 2003 (4 stars out of 5)
      Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
      18 various essays from astute writers explore the recent claim that Anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide. Without a doubt it is clear that most of the authors attribute the new claims of anti-Semitism in response to the heightened worldwide awareness and moral criticism of Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza, along with its special nation status the world's only superpower has bestowed upon it.
      The essays are in no way meant to trivialize true anti-Semitism, and the book does not ignore that true anti-Semitism exists.The real thing is explored and deplored in this book, but the focus is on what should constitute true anti-Semitism with what is merely a convenient way to silence anyone who criticizes Israeli policy, thus threatening open debate and democracy.
      This is not a book you will just breeze through. I had to read several of the essays multiple times because of the varying philosophical and moral perspectives offered. Some were better than others and made very sound arguments.
      A Jewish professor of philosophy inflates the definition of anti-Semitism to include just about anything a philo-Semite could ever hope for, then through a brilliant moral narrative shows us that in doing so, only cheapens and trivializes the real thing.
      A BBC journalist wants to know why a certain actor wants to kill him, and why numerous people who engage in factual journalism are suddenly the object of hate mail so vile it far exceeds any crime they are supposedly guilty of.
      A SUNY upstate professor pulls the curtain away exposing the myth that the right-wing noise machine speaks for the majority of American Jews and writes that ever increasing Jewish organizations are forming to counter the vocal militant minority that manages to bully not only non-Jews, but moderate and left leaning Jews as well.
      A Taayush member in Tel Aviv takes us into a refugee camp in Beit Jalla to remind us what all the fuss is about, lest we start believing that all this supposedly unwarranted and frivolous criticism for humanity's sake is after all true anti-Semitism.
      One essay explores why philo-Semites are no better than anti-Semites, because they hold one group higher in esteem and value than the rest of humanity.
      Perhaps the frivolous slur of anti-Semite aimed at legitimate moral criticism of Israeli policy, is no different than the unwarranted slur of "anti-American" or "unpatriotic" that are hurled at people in this country who either question, criticize, or oppose the morality or soundness of the current US administration's foreign policy. In either case, it is at worst, a blind nationalistic allegiance to a government - right or wrong... and at the very least a departure from thoughtful debate and a sad decline into two-dimensional thinking.
      And finally, a former Israeli Knesset member points his finger squarely at the Sharon government calling it "a giant laboratory for growing the anti-Semitism virus" and claims, that with its crimes in the West Bank and Gaza, is the biggest generator of anti-Semitic feelings today, which implicates not only itself, but its entire Jewish population along with it.

  • Obama gets Wasserman Schultz-- and salutes her 'homeland' with a Netanyahu valentine
    • Chu, Debbie is committing a major heresy from AIPAC point of view, "most staunch ally in the region"? So what is this region? Eastern hemisphere? That is not the normal usage. In other words, Israel is most staunch when compared with Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and perhaps Turkey. I guess Norway is our most stauch ally in its region and so on. The "correct" phrase is "most precious ally" or something like that, without any qualifier, and if it hurts the feelings of Canadians, Britons, French and so on, let them deal with it.

    • By the way, I do not think that Iranian leaders called for the destruction of Israel. The quotes basically say that Israel should cease to exists, but the details how it would happen do not include any attack by Iran, instead, they refer to divine and popular will. Those people are messianic, not unlike religious parties in Israel. This similarity means that they do not crave martyrdom, instead they view improved religious observances (including female modesty, proper fasts and much more) as the principal method. In a nutshell, it is Torah studies versus Islamic studies in twelver Shia tradition.

    • POLITICO:

      Miami-Dade School Board member Martin Karp, who lives in her district and helped organize rallies last week against the accord, said he started seriously considering a run against the six-term congresswoman after potential supporters began approaching him, just before Wasserman Schultz announced her support for the president’s agreement with Iran.

      “These are real serious people with real money and the ability to raise money who talked to me about running,” said Karp, who declined to name any specific supporters. “I’m really thinking about this — thinking about it a lot. It’s a serious decision and this is a big issue.”

      Karp, 50, said the potential backers “include people who support pro-Israel causes, such as AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and other organizations.”

      AIPAC, a longtime supporter of Wasserman Schultz, led the charge against the Iran deal.

      ======

      My bet is on Debbie. Either AIPAC will inform Karp gently that he can be left dry, or it will have an egg in its face. Of course, Karp will get support from ZOA etc.

    • SNARK BEGINS: Another deluded leftist idolizing theocracy that hangs people by hundreds, imposes head coverings on women and so on, and try to prevent USA from steadfastly protecting its allies who sensibly prohibit women to drive, and who behead people (much neater than hanging, wouldn't everybody agree?). There is such a thing as good (beheadings) and evil (hangings) and I am not ashamed that my country has the courage to stand for the good. SNARK ENDS.

      PS. I am glad this this article was also graced with the likeness of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Doesn't she look like Aphrodite who just emerged from sea foam and loosely covered her body with a bathing robe?

  • The Iran Deal is an African American achievement
    • "Mama crocodile was in tears, was she?"

      They also bleed, you know? It could be even a political suicide for her (not likely, IMHO) but for sure she will be "Goldstoned". We online trolls sneer at communities, all those chubby nieces, crazy uncles, wacky rabbis (yes, that's you Rav Shmuley) etc. but also the brilliant ones etc.

      I predicted that Debbie will declare support, and while it does not make her a saint, it is a good thing. (And crazy uncles in her district already pre-condemned her.)

    • Hereby, I, hohmi, solemnly promise the go door to door in minority low income neighborhoods if Iran will not get a nuclear weapon in ten years.

      By the way, anti-Palestinian arguments rely on a big dose of cultural racism, so the disadvantaged minorities are largely immune to them. Mind you, people like Justice Thomas, and Dr. Ben Carson amply justify "self-hating" label (more precisely, they despise the majority of "their folks" and made carriers out of it.)

  • Debacle for the Israel lobby: Booker jilts Boteach, and Netanyahu sinks AIPAC
    • link to huffingtonpost.com

      Debbie Wasserman Schultz made "difficult decision", I could object to her statement, but I prefer to note a nice talking point: "the conclusion that we cannot now get a better deal, as I was unable to find a credible source to say otherwise."

      In spite of considerable effort of herself and numerous staff. As we discussed, it should be a no-brainer that scuttling the deal/accord would hardly help Israel and it would hurt USA a lot. Once USA accumulates a lot of nonsense in foreign policy, it may loose support even among the sycophants.

      To cite other on-going nonsense, (1) still no daylight with extremist GoI (2) cooperation with the inhumane war of GCC on Yemen (3) unconstructive, to put it mildly, policy on Ukraine (4) assorted retrograde policies like proliferating the use of cluster bombs, foot dragging on global warming, woeful human right record on Guantanamo and torture etc. But here our sycophantic allies who put up with all of that already signaled that they would go ahead with dropping sanctions on their side regardless of what Congress will do. USA would get itself isolated over Congressional idiocy. Which could be beneficial given obnoxious outcomes of American influence on the above points, but that should prompt the retrograde-minded members of Congress to support the deal.

    • "... a trip that I arranged trusting that he would absorb the never-ending Jewish struggle for survival in a world inhabited by the kind of evil represented by the Iranian regime"

      So how the Jewish people survived their never-ending struggle? Boteach has one giant contribution: good sex (and he keeps displaying his sex partner and numerous results with justified pride, not to mention books, articles and so on). I would strongly recommend him to follow his own advise.

    • "Booker is the big prize of course. He is bucking his political mentor Sen. Robert Menendez and his old friend Rabbi Shmuley Boteach."

      Menendez is damaged goods. And it is not clear that Booker will be interested in re-election: there is a talk that he may be a candidate for vice president, to add youth, color and "ideological balance" to the ticket. For example, right now there is a significant possibility of Ben Carson being the candidate of GOP, and Democrats may need someone like Booker, and the list of possibilities is quite short.

      Out of curiosity: do Zionist view Boteach as an inspiring figure, or rather pitiful and comical?

      About 41 Senators: because of my Polish background, I would strongly prefer 44 Senators. You see, in school we learn some weird Romantic poetry, and thus everyone knows a prophecy of a national savior to come: "Of alien mother, with blood of ancient heroes, and his name will be forty and four".

  • National Public Radio annexes West Bank to Israel
    • I would add "Of course, if you foresee a need for several million dollars in your legal defense fund, please kindly disregard this letter."

    • Perhaps shame would not work with Tories, but it worked with Labour. Churchill, the hero of Netanyahu, hated Gandhi. The great hero spoke

      It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a campaign of civil disobedience, to parlay on equal terms with the representative of the Emperor-King.
      Commenting on Gandhi's meeting with the Viceroy of India, 1931

      additionally

      Churchill raged that he "ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back." [I guess he was also disgusted with the current Viceroy]

  • Max Blumenthal is an un-person in the 'New York Times'
  • 'Turning point' -- Obama defeats Netanyahu and 'destroyers of hope' on Iran Deal!
    • It is not like China and Russia were absent from Iranian market. It was reported that a Chinese-owned car factory in Iran is closing, in part anticipating competition from Volkswagen, Peugeot etc.

      The biggest loosers will be probably taqfiris in Syria and Iraq.

      AIPAC is definitely down but not out. Strategically, the fight about the negotiations and ultimately, the deal, with Iran is almost unrelated to the true interests of the current government, (hard to tell what an "objective interests of Israel" is). The main focus is apparently the expansion of settlements, and protecting the settlements from any whiff of dangers, like peace talks etc. "Iranian threat" was very useful, and it may remain so. "We cannot make any other security concessions" will be the slogan, and I am sorry to say, many proponents of the deal will be receptive. Let us call it "AIPAC Plan B1".

      AIPAC Plan B2 will be to collect some scalps, contribute to electoral defeats of insolent Senators and Congressmen. I think that the might of AIPAC is in a large part caused by a few scalp collecting successes. Only when that fails AIPAC will weaken. And while there are good chances that the electoral pendulum will swing to Democrats, even if it is far from certain yet. The collateral damage would be an official split of the "pro-Israel lobby", e.g. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has a chance to become a hero of J-Street.

  • Pro-Israel Jews have 'inexcusable prejudice' against Obama -- Sandy Berger
    • The major point is that in Polish context, "good luck paintings" are just a weird superstition that even usually touchy Israelis decided to let it be. But in Norwegian context, it was worthy of official protestations and an article without any attempt of nuance. There are two actual reasons: Polish government is generally indifferent to whatever Israel is doing, unlike the Norwegian one, so there is a little industry, a dedicated website and so on, documenting moral iniquities of Norwegians. The second reason is that finding symptoms of anti-Semitism in Poland is terrifyingly easy*, and Poles are touchy on the subject, as the article that I cited actually shows (why THEY cared?), so overdoing protests could actually backfire quite badly.

      [By the way, you pasted Google translate which is weird in places, so the proverb is "Jew in the entrance, money in the pocket", personally, I never heard about it]
      ====

      Easy way of finding "paleo-anti-Semitism" in Poland and general hatred of Arabs and Europeans in Israel: go to a news site and read comment sections. Although in the case of Israel, one can simply stick to reading articles, comments are not necessary.

    • To combine the logic of Friedman and Boomer, we should allow our politicians to make their own money to remove their dangerous dependency.

    • "As usual, you’re a little too blind to see the hypocrisy in your philosophy here. Because coddling, rather than antagonizing, is exactly the approach you would counsel for Iran, and it’s one defense of the Iran deal offered by the Administration, which argues that sanctioning the Iranians, far from leading to a diminishment of their nuclear capabilities, has only led them to further pursuit of nuclear protection. "

      I would really ask you to provide a citation for this claim. What member of the administration, where and when claimed that sanctioning Iran was wrong (perhaps it was, but you made a claim about some alleged statements)? Their claim basically is that sanctions are not something could and should be maintained forever regardless of the concessions that the sanctioned state offers. And the test for what concessions are sufficient does not lie in the halls in Washington, D.C. but in the international arena. I am all for applying a similar treatment to Israel, say, forbid all money transfers to and from Israel until it removes all settlements illegally created on the territory occupied after 1967 and lifts oppression of Palestinians, like prohibiting construction, movement of people and goods, etc. Foreign banks engaged in prohibited transactions could be fined, as we did in the case of Iran. And by all means, we should be ready to drop sanctions regime after negotiations.

      The chief reasons sanctions against Iran were criticized were that they were a response to alleged violations of NPT, in part on the basis of dubious and malicious intelligence.

      More on our topic, effective negotiations with Israel indeed require some form of embrace, but a headlock would be more effective than following the advice of Indyk and Miller.

    • "But hook nosed Jew characters ..."

      Why should I feel bad about being "hook nosed" (there are more polite expressions, by the way)? Why is it a negative stereotype that many Jews do not resemble Nordics? So are money a negative connotation? It is pure whining. And it is not particularly innocent whining, as you can see in pretty hateful comments. The general spirit is "everybody hates us, lets hate everybody", including Obama, of course.

    • As I skimmed some on-line newspaper, I have seen this talk-back in Wiadomosci.pl "the most offended [angry?] nation in the world". The piece of news was that in Auschwitz-Birkenau the management installed a misty water curtain, to provide relief in sunny hot weather, and Israeli tourists were offended because gas in chambers was also sprayed.

      I checked ynetnews.com, and the anti-Semitic offense of the day was from Norway, another favorite culprit:

      Norwegian bank prints anti-Semitic portrait on credit card

      Offensive card showed a tallit-clad, long-nosed figure in front of a background of gold coins; bank claims it was the result of service allowing clients to design their own cards.
      Itamar Eichner
      Published: 09.02.15, 10:02 / Israel News

      DNB Bank, the largest financial institution in Norway, has issued a credit card featuring a blatant anti-Semitic portrait.

      Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

      The card, featuring a long-nosed Jewish figure wearing a tallit, with gold coins in the background, caused uproar online.

      ====

      The design was supplied by the customer. As a proud owner of a long nose, I do not see depiction of such a feature as deregatory, and neither is tallit. Is association of Jews with money deregatory (or unfounded)? And few weeks earlier, there was a story on that theme from Poland, where you can buy paintings with somewhat similar design (I guess without the tallit, but the necessary feature is that the Jew must count the coins). Surprisingly, on that occasion there was an intelligent discussion, namely, the motivation for buying those picture is to have a "good luck" symbol. As putting a picture of a Jew on the wall for good luck anti-Semitic or not? Somehow, the conclusion in the report was that it is hasty to make a negative conclusion. It is totally clear to me that Australian customer also wanted to have a "good luck" pattern on his credit card.

      link to olx.pl

      The point is that a serious newspaper in Israel has a special section and a special team of reporters to regularly produce stories about any conceivable mistreatment of Jews or any possible crime thoughts concerning the Jews.

  • The 'Pallywood' smear: Viral images of Palestinian boy's brutalization brings backlash
    • He rarely frequents pubs, but he is frequently raring to go there.

    • Haaretz artcile is well meaning, but misleading. Eric Garner was a "domestic Palestinian" of NYC and he himself engaged in our domestic form of "Pallywood", first breaking the law, then trying to emotionally distress defenders of the law, and when half-measures like complaining that he cannot breath did not work (obviously, the complains were fake, how he could complain without breathing), he caused his own death by becoming asthmatic and overweight. It took heroic and distressing effort by the government lawyers to put all facts together properly and remove blame from the foot soldiers of the law, but the psychological scars of all involved will remain forever. And then cunningly collected videos are used by our domestic "Fakestinians" to continue protests etc.

      Sadly, Haaretz writers know only the biased liberal reports on those facts.

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