Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 61 (since 2011-09-07 08:06:50)

Born 1954 / publishing editor / widower / two sons / avid reader /

Showing comments 61 - 1

  • NY Times 'confirms' Hezbollah/Iran connection to Bulgaria attack by quoting unnamed American 'officials'
    • Israeli and American officials are in possession of the bomber’s Hezbollah membership card

      Hot of the press no doubt

    • A voice from the other side:

      The Washington Post, America's second most influential Zionist newspaper, reported on Thursday: “Israeli and American officials have blamed the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah for the bombing.” Yet the Post article acknowledged that Bulgarian officials had not even identified the bomber!

      This “rush to judgment” suggests that Israel, not Iran, is the probable author of the attack.

      History shows that whenever authorities blame a convenient scapegoat before the evidence is in, the attack in question is almost certainly a false-flag event.

  • Bulgarian Foreign Minister: Mistake to blame 'any country or organization' for Burgas attack at this point
  • Backer of NY ads exposing Palestinian land-loss says response has been 'astounding' and news 'coverage is pouring in'
    • The issue is not the accuracy of the maps but the forces Henry Clifford’s campaign has awakened. As for him being busy, he is clearly a man of some delicacy and refinement with no desire to become embroiled in a slanging match with an ‘Elder of Ziyon’. There really should be a word for this type of desiccated diversionary tactic.

    • What high level plan could conceivably call for a man to wander round an airport with an explosive device for nigh on an hour? The unpalatable truth is that Israel is not liked and Israelis venturing abroad in identifiable groups, be they artists or tourists, are increasingly likely to attract organised harassment, and attention from murderous nut heads. This is the parallel consequence of Israel’s actions and their being made public by the efforts of Philip and others here, BDS and Henry Clifford et al; and the et al gets daily more numerous.

      The ever more urgent problem is that those who become awakened through such efforts are not capable of making a distinction between Israelis who do this or that and Jews in general. This is an underlying phenomenon and not peculiar to Jews, remember when Americans were pouring French Chardonnay away in response to an absence of French enthusiasm for the Iraq war? Furthermore Israel has made consistent efforts to conflate all Jews under an Israeli banner. Short of Israel mending its ways overnight, which I do not expect to happen, I see no way to avoid a resurgence of brain dead anti-Semitism such as surely motivated this ‘long-haired Caucasian in sports clothes’ in Burgas.

    • Try again. The success of efforts of this kind carries a serious danger of fostering unintended anti-Semitism.

      I really don't see that the American people are any better informed than they were a year ago about this matter. There is a great amount of lack of knowledge, misinformation and even lack of interest. They think, 'Oh it's a mess over there,' and then they yawn.

      They yawn, sure, and because they have been awakened in this particular manner they are likely to attribute the mess to ‘Jews’ before going back to sleep. If they are awakened again, their response will be the similar but the irritation will be cumulative.

  • Experts weigh in: What Dennis Ross's departure means for Iran and the 'peace process'
    • You are right. I probably should have called it a category rather than a definition. Anyway it is very broad and I am sure I qualify. Perhaps one might turn the implied opprobrium on its head and designate hophmi et al as pro-Semitic, using phrases like ‘Another pro-Semitic comment’. Then they would be obliged to ask, ‘How is that pro-Semitic?’

    • I have just ploughed through all this and I would say that by hophmi’s definition I am pretty certain I must be anti-Semitic. So we can get that out of the way.

      If Ross has managed to influence the administration, or anyone else for that matter, he cannot be said to have served US interests unless you believe US interests in the global forum, and specifically in the ME, would be worse now without his input. Using the same criteria a similar conclusion might be reached for Israel which is undoubtedly less positively regarded than it was a couple of years ago.

      Yesterday afternoon I caught a fairly extended piece on France 24 about a Palestinian farmer who has lost 80 acres of olives, burned by settlers. Unfortunately I cannot find a link to it on their site, although using the search engine revealed that their coverage is quite extensive: In any event it didn’t really say anything we had not heard before except that this guy has something like 200 acres and was clearly better educated than many Palestinian victim farmers. Israel is becoming increasingly exposed as an oppressor in reports like this and I don’t think it is bias because it would be hard to find anyone cogently to justify such destruction. One rabbi did say he doubted this was general as mostly the settlers just cut the tops of the trees (sic), which would grow back. This statement was made while the camera panned lines of trees so charred it would take a Lazarene miracle to bring them back to life.

      This from Haaretz this morning

      Germany, France join opposition to attack on Iran nuclear program
      U.S., Turkey also do not seem to support military option against Iranian facilities; EU, U.S. want to impose sanctions, but China, Russia, some Gulf states have trading ties with Iran….

      That is a breathtaking lot of opposition to have aroused to balance a handful of individuals like Ross and the dreaded Tony Blair.

      What baffles me is why there is no serious political opposition to this lemming like behaviour and I don’t mean specifically the I/P issue, obviously that is active, but the whole direction Israel is taking. One can understand Obama’s off the cuff response to Sarkozy but isn’t it time the Israeli public stood up.

  • Behind closed doors Sarkozy and Obama spill the beans
  • Super Stuxnet?
    • I wish Israel would get rid of the damn things, but if that’s not going to happen I would feel safer if Iran had a few, besides conjoint disarmament would seem more achievable than unilateral disarmament. Can anyone seriously imagine Israel disarming else?

  • Israeli navy nearly sank 2 boats headed to Gaza, then beat and taser'd Canadian passengers
    • This scares me. Would it be possible/practical to buy a small rectangular ad running regularly front page in journals like the online LA Times that just says GAZA UPDATE and links to this site? I know these things cost but I would certainly be prepared contribute seriously.

  • Neoconservative brinksmanship
    • The strong menace the weak, there is no reason in it. It is, as Pabelmont, says above, the Scorpion story. Now here is a contradictory view:

      When the US confrontationists talk of changing the Iranian regime, their heads are in a dark place where they cannot see that there could well be a regime ‘worse’ than the tentative authority of Ahmadinejad, a man extensively circumscribed by the Ayatollah, and it would be more sensible to support him in his efforts to detach the Iranian legal system from the weight of Sharia law and boost elected rather than religious authority.

      As for Israel, there is a blind mercilessness about their actions, a side to them that is truly terrible, almost pathological, like an inner turmoil of the soul that renders them deaf to reason. While I abhor the ad hominem arguments so many Zionists employ here, one does have to admit that the leaders of our world are a pretty unsavoury bunch and maybe that is just the way it is.

      The misfortune for the rest of us is the symbiotic association between these two otherwise unrelated purposes.


  • Strategic asset or rogue state? Israel's threats to Iran 'concern' Pentagon
    • Iran is OPEC's second largest oil producer and the fourth largest crude oil exporter, exporting 2,400,000 barrels of crude oil a day, 56 percent to Asia and 29 percent to Europe. Japan and the China together buy over one third of Iran’s oil exports (China 400,000 barrels per day). The US and Israel buy no Iranian oil. Israel might not be too popular if she decided to interfere with all this, nor from another angle would the Egyptian populace be likely to sit idly by if Israel attacked Iran. Russia and China may yet indicate to the US and Israel that this is a 'No, No' just as they recently combined to veto the US supported UN resolution on Syria, which the Russian envoy categorised, somewhat disdainfully, as arising from 'a philosophy of confrontation'.

  • Breaking: Gaza flotilla stopped by Israeli warships
    • Theo, with such a name you should have some faith in prayer. Besides, when Apollo 13 was in dire trouble Nixon went on TV and invited the world to pray for the mission and it worked.

  • Reporters again turn State Dep't briefing into moshpit, scorning US 'impotence' in the conflict
    • Although it is a bit late now, I might have added that Khomeini made that comment when he had only recently returned from Paris where for years he had been patiently waiting for the Shah’s regime to pass from the page of time.

    • seafoid, I have long suspected that what you suggest about giving Israel rope has been Obama's underlying strategy from the beginning. If one overlooks who has done what, and considers instead the relative situation today with that of 2008, it is clear that Israel’s position has deteriorated both globally and domestically, and while Obama cannot be accused of having done one single thing to encourage that process he hasn’t done anything to arrest it either, not even drop in on them.

      A lot of fuss is made about the infamous ‘wiping Israel off the map’ misquotation with little attention paid to what Ayatollah Khomeini actually did say, which was that the regime would vanish from the page of time (or something like that), with the implication that nothing need be done, the process being inevitable.

  • The law and practice of apartheid in South Africa and Palestine
    • There is a danger of reducing this to an argument about words. Since the beginning of civilisation there has existed a concept of justice. It is irrelevant whether different regimes, individuals or groups adhered to it or to what degree. Nor has it anything to do with Laws which do not form the concept but arise from the it. It is about Right and Wrong and it shouldn’t be necessary to rummage through the Geneva Convention or reference human rights legislation to know that driving people from their land, torturing and humiliating them is just plain Wrong.

  • 'A historic forum:' Sylvia Schwarz tells Minneapolis gathering that privileging Jews is racism
    • Racism/racist, are words too broad for any but circular debate. Many individuals are internally and selectively racist, like those who would not want members of this or that race living next to them, but there’s no reason why anyone else should bother or even know so long as they don’t do anything about it. Indeed, such antipathies are often broader than race, extending to those whose lifestyles jar their more refined sensitivities.

      It doesn’t seem to me reasonable to use the word to describe a group antipathetic to the whole of the rest of humanity, even when their broad view hones in on a particular subsection that happens to be commanding their more immediate and proximate distaste. A better definition might be collective misanthropy.

    • Mooser

      Here's one told me by a Jewish publisher.

      Man struggling in lake: gevald! , gevald!
      Man walking by: Yiddish you know, swimming you should have learned.

  • Soviet-style 'Foreign Affairs' stages 'debate' on Israel between '2 senior Israeli officials' and 'liberal American Zionist'
    • Thank you. It seems, the way you put it, that a Jewish State is indeed an abstraction and can’t become a territorial area unless all the people in it are united in their desire to live according to a fairly comprehensive, and many might think restrictive, code.

      And, yes, you could have what is called an autonomous region within Palestine, functioning as the Vatican does in Italy, having a degree of internationally recognised independence and being the spiritual home and a place of pilgrimage for Jewish people, which I imagine it largely already is for most. Rephrasing the question again, Would the Palestinian people accept an autonomous Jewish region in part of a single state? And if not, why not?

      I personally think two states is a recipe for disaster since it would surely leave both sides resentful and the Palestinians under the shadow of Jewish mythopeic convictions backed by military might. The Palestinians don’t seem to seek a state which excludes Jews or anyone else so they present no problem, but a solution needs surely to be found to accommodate those Jews who really do need something exclusive.

    • I see what you are saying, but doesn't a state have to have borders? If it is only an abstract concept, one including all Jewish people, then it doesn't need a lot of territorial space but could be something like The Vatican. Also, in the same piece, the Palestinians are castigated for only latterly introducing the settlement freeze as a condition for negotiation, but didn't the insistence on recognition of a Israel as Jewish state only come up last year?

    • Sorry if I appear naïve but I would be grateful for some elucidation of this ‘Jewish State’ business.

      the Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. (Kuperwasser/Lipner)

      Am I right in thinking that their claim is that the definition of Israel’s borders and the independence of those otherwise living in Palestine depends upon the latter recognising Israel as a Jewish state?

      If so, what exactly is a Jewish State? I understand what an Islamic state is with its socio-political evolution rooted in the Islamic code of conduct. But this doesn’t appear to be what a Jewish state means either in practice or in the context of negotiating borders and peace with the Palestinians. I see how Israel might reasonably define itself as a Jewish state within the 1948 borders since they were established under international law and presumably those living there can call themselves whatever they like. Is the Israeli position that wherever, and by whatever means, they extend their authority the area becomes ipso facto a Jewish state?

      Also I do not understand how a Jewish state can have anything to do with the biblical account of the entry of the Hebrews into the area since the concept of statehood is a 19th century European notion and did not exist in the time of Joshua. In any event, surely borders have to be defined before any decision can be made as to what should go on within them.

      Finally, if I have not exhausted your patience, would the Palestinians be prepared to accept a ‘Jewish State’ within the 1948 borders? And if not, why not?

  • J Street presses division inside Jewish community, blaming neocons for leading 'charge to war in Iraq'
  • In anxious/nostalgic interview of Amos Oz, NPR's Rob't Siegel says Shalit was held 'hostage'
    • It was not just Jews who had the dream. Nor, oddly enough, had the dream much to do with Jews as such; to many it was the dream of a brand new nation arising from the embers of the war as a beacon of humanity and an example to the world. A lot died with that dream, not least a big chunk of optimism.

      Just to set one’s Sunday off with a good old pessimistic sigh

      JENIN (Ma’an) -- Four people were injured by fragments of Israeli ammunition after troops fired into the air while a funeral procession passed through a gate in the separation wall in the northern West Bank on Saturday.

  • Blindered Blitzer likens Hamas to Al Qaeda... typical
  • Fat lady sings -- Israel announces new E J'lem neighborhod called Givat Hamatos
    • It is impossible to anticipate the future of Israel, there are simply too many factors that appear extraneous but cannot be expected to remain so. We could start first with Stein’s Law (If something cannot go on forever, it will stop). Taking a completely detached view of Israel, where would you say it is heading? Would you look at its geographical expansion? Since it cannot live in peace with any neighbours, it would seem it has to expand indefinitely. Well, it can’t. Is it developing a social model that will guarantee long-term survival in a world of diminishing resources? Hardly. Is it a nation completely united in the convictions of its mythopeic past? Of course not. It is a very young entity with a bizarrely flexible constitution, an entity increasingly controlled by a limited elite in a manner that is even now arousing popular social unrest. These are difficulties Israel faces quite apart from the issue of the dispossessed and subjugated Palestinians which daily arouses humanitarian enthusiasms in much of the Western world. Netanyahu, if you think about it, embodies the current Israeli predicament, all hat and no cattle, as I believe the Texans have it. Sure, Israel has an army, but it contains many young zealots more dedicated to local Zionist 'principles' than the interests of their state and besides, Israelis have a totally unrealistic abhorrence of the death or capture of even one of them. And they have nuclear weapons, but recently General Petraeus himself was questioning what use they are against diplomatic isolation. No one single factor is that important by itself, but there is nothing coming back from the other side. Western leaders pay lip service to Israel but only for pragmatic political reasons; there is today nothing like the bright dawn liberal intellectuals looked for when Israel was established, a nation to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of war torn Europe and set a socio/political example for a new post-war age. Nor is there anything like the bright beacon the US was for the world in the 50’s and early 60’s. The truth is that Israel has no future the way it is going. That is actually what Ayatollah Khomeini foresaw when he pronounced that mischievously misquoted prediction. Israel is sustained by the US, but it is the relationship of a ventriloquist and his puppet, their mutual dependence serves them both. However, the US has its own problems which grow more serious by the day, and Israel can do nothing to aid its puppet master. The writing is on the wall. No one will be allowed to destroy Israel, but Zionism is, surely, enjoying a swansong. There exists a kind of madness in US behaviour at this moment, but I detect signs that Russia and China may be prepared to combine to keep our world on an even keel.

    • James, you are so right. It is all and only about Power; Laws are for little nations, appearance is Reality, and Truth has become an abstract philosophical term.

  • In prisoner deal, Palestinian and Israeli right wings are working together-- politically
    • I particularly like the Russian envoy's somewhat down putting reference to a philosophy of confrontation

    • The extraordinary ‘plot’ to blow up the Saudi ambassador in a Washington eatery also points in the direction of an Iranian adventure. It all feels a bit like early 2003 but I wonder about Russia and China this time; their getting together to veto the recent US UN resolution on Syria may be relevant, at least obliquely. Such cooperation has to have been coordinated at the highest level and I don’t buy the suggestion that it arose simply out of mutual antipathy to US regime change activities or the US NATO distortion of the UN resolution on Libya. Might it have been a shot across the US bows? If someone doesn’t back down, we could be in for the big one.

  • The social fabric
    • I don’t know about Aspergers but I do believe the world is, as Shakespeare had it, a stage, and while most of the population spend most of their time on the stage, some are reluctant, if not unable, to move from their seats in the audience. This does not mean they are not affected by what happens on stage, but it is always at a controlled distance. It is the same as the difference between ‘team player’ and ‘loner’. I first became aware of this on LSD. Those who took such drugs could vanish into the worlds it opened up to them and do crazy things, go places and never really come back. Others, like me, always reserved a degree of consciousness that watched, fascinated by what the human mind could do. I do not believe that I could ever fully have crossed over but I met some and heard of others who couldn’t help themselves. Obama, I believe, is more a member of the audience rather than the cast. This is a simplistic notion, and takes no account of the duplicity which enables some in the audience to climb on stage and pretend to be members of the cast.

    • Heavens above! These are my symptoms too.

      Why on earth did you say that?, she asks.
      Well, it’s true.
      But you can’t go around saying things like that to people.
      Why not?
      Because…because…Oh, you are hopeless!

  • Some preliminary questions about the alleged Iranian terror plot
    • This alleged Iranian plot looks like a piece of duct tape designed to patch US/Saudi relations following the fallout over the Palestinian UN bid. It is not supposed to be taken seriously, just to give the Saudis a face saving route back into the US bed.

  • Afternoon headlines
  • Discussing Palestine at Occupy Boston
    • Whether the movement can be successfully hijacked or not, attempts will certainly be made to do so. It is both the strength and weakness of such movements that they are born out of opposition to something rather in favour of something else. It is a strength initially because it unites disparate groups in a common purpose but it becomes a weakness as its successes begin to demand a definition of what should replace what is being rejected. It is at that point the movement becomes vulnerable to hijack. We observe this in Egypt where the idealistic uprising has replaced one tyrannical system with another, or Obama who seemed to embody an aspiration that achieved his election (and Nobel Peace prize), then vanished into thin air.

      The level of power exercised by financial interests today is a consequence of recent exponential growth in the global labour force, particularly in the East. This has reduced the value of labour in the West and consequently its influence and authority, and it doesn’t really matter if there is a two party system like the US, or three like the UK, or many like Germany and Israel, or indeed none at all. The influence and authority of working people functions as a counterbalance to exploitation by the rich, and as it declines exploitation increases.

      It is understandable that the OWS and its associate bodies have sympathy for Palestinians but, as Ahmed Moor suggests above, it has more to do with economics than human rights. It would serve Palestinian interests best to bring economic pressure on Israel by provoking grass-roots discontent over US aid. This wouldn’t directly enhance Israeli sympathy for Palestinians but it would make them more amenable to international law and global opinion by reducing the authority of their plutocrats while restoring that of their middle class. Israel, after all, started out as a socially egalitarian experiment. Remember the kibbutz?

  • In Cairo, we consecrate the freedom of religion
    • I apologise if it offends, but isn’t going all that way to celebrate a Jewish festival in Cairo at this particular moment a bit like hiking on the Iranian border? Suppose it had led to trouble, hardly an inconceivable scenario, how would that have helped anything or anyone?

  • Jewish terrorists strike again, this time in the Galilee
    • Because it is overwhelmingly important to Israelis that they be thought of as ‘Western’, an aspiration that doesn’t fit too well with citizens who herd goats and don’t wear trousers?

    • It is hard to imagine that burning mosques will outrage too many US citizens given their levels of Islamophobia and the fact that a not insignificant number would be happy to do it themselves. However, not so the rest of the world. All these acts, appalling as they are individually are collectively serving to isolate Israel and as that happens the population will tend increasingly to fragment enhancing potential for a change of leadership; it does seem that Netanyahu is no longer in complete command of all his senses. Petraeus was shaking his head the other day, saying how he couldn’t see that Israel’s military might was much use against diplomatic isolation. Is it really too late for a solution to be found entirely peacefully?

  • Anwar al-Awlaki's extrajudicial murder
    • It has surely come to something when we need to consult the Geneva Convention to decide if an action is wrong.

  • US withholds $200 million from PA for punishment over statehood bid
    • Last para in the Haaretz piece:

      According to diplomatic sources, the U.S. and its Western allies have a special interest in ‘dragging’ the debate on, with the purpose of giving their efforts vis-à-vis Israel and the Palestinian Authority a fighting chance.

      Instead of a peaceful one?

  • Israeli settlers attack Israeli activists & journalists; 19 injured, 3 hospitalized
    • There is an inevitability about these brutal scenes. The settlements may be viewed as buffers, obstacles against incursions by the dispossessed. The Romans created such colonies along their borders settling them with retired legionaries.

  • The Department of Corrections: Ben-Hur, the LA Times & a place called Palestine
    • Nation states are a fairly recent idea. On the ground, in that area, and all over Europe, the people in various groupings were subject to chiefs, princes, kings etc. who were themselves more often than not under the thumb of distant overlords. The areas under such local control were not thought of as ‘nations’ in today's sense of the word. There was, of course, religious identity, the same that sent groups of adventurers from all over on the Crusades and unifies the Islamic and Jewish worlds today but it had nothing directly to do with nationalism, which rather grew out of the cooperation and conflicts of local rulers, and their later unification under single charismatic leaders. This happened in England, France, Italy, Germany, the US, all over, mostly in the 19th century. It really only meaningfully happened with Jewish people when Israel was founded sixty odd years ago and any effort to make it appear otherwise is to impose a particular, and somewhat dubious, historical perspective on one group while denying it to others.

      Palestine has always been where it is. The numerous instances listed above are all from historians and others making reference to some aspect or event in that area. That is the way the place was referred to, it was an area like ‘Europe’ or the ‘Far East’ with all sorts of people living in it including disparate groups of Jews with their common religious focus centred of Jerusalem, just like Roman Catholics or devotees of Islam. It is true that the Jews were in Jerusalem earlier than Christians or Muslims but to employ that as a justification for some kind of exclusivity is rather like claiming a particular section of a public beach on the grounds that your family occupied it yesterday.

      Jews are not people from Israel, only Israelis are people from Israel, but Palestinians decidedly are people from Palestine and it scarcely matters what name you give them, there they have ever been and there they are.

  • PA says Tony Blair has lost all credibility (though he's better than Dennis Ross)
    • Blair performs a useful role for people like Bush and Obama by undertaking tasks beyond the conscience of even the most depraved. A few years back I told my mother he had become a Roman Catholic, ‘Well,’ she said, ‘his Confessor will be on overtime’.

  • Israel to the international community: 'This is not a pipe'
  • White House sells Quartet statement on negotiations as 'a major accomplishment in Israel's favor'
    • Not only Abbas but all those capable of thought should ignore the quartet as one would the anal expulsion of intestinal gas in polite society. The solution to this intractable problem will be brought about in time by internal dissensions provoked and fed by BDS.

      Another snippet from my current reading

      “Jerusalem was originally founded by a Canaanite chieftain called in the vernacular ‘King of Righteousness’ for such he was. He was the first to build the Temple and in its honour to give the name of Jerusalem to the City, previously called Salem... The Canaanite inhabitants were driven out by the Jewish king David, who settled his own people there”.

      The Jewish War by Joseph ben Mathias (AD 37 – AD 100), known as Josephus, by birthright a priest, and on his mother’s side the descendant of kings.

  • Abbas at the United Nations a game changer? Maybe.
    • I agree, there is a palpable sense of urgency and it feels dangerous. Might it be something to do with a planned attack on Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities? There was a somewhat tantalising piece about China not stopping Israel if it decides to attack Iran, which was dated May but Haaretz brought out again (?) four days ago.

      Obama has provided Netanyahu with Bunker Busting Bombs which cannot really have any other purpose.

      All this UN stuff may be casting too bright a light for such a plan?

    • There is a danger in seeking too much from an account of past events strung out along a time-line while failing to take account what was going on in people’s minds. Europe was only just out of war, everything was scarce and rationed. While people in the UK, for instance, were as shocked as anyone when the concentration camps were opened, one needs remember that they too had just been through years of horror and loss and there was a degree of relativity in their response because the Jews were not the only victims of Hitler’s deranged policies although today a younger person might well think they were because they have so actively kept that part before the world. Sympathy was not restricted to Jews, it encompassed all victims, Jews included, whose lives and families had been torn apart. The persistence of the Jews for their state came to be regarded as a nuisance, the ‘Jewish problem’ it was called, and setting up a home for them seemed to many a good way to get them out of one’s hair. It had nothing whatsoever to do with Zionism, an ideology about which most people knew nothing and cared less. It wasn’t even an issue among the new socialist intellectuals who viewed the Israel experiment in idealistic terms as an opportunity for an oppressed people to show the world how a modern state should operate, those idealists are dead now but their disappointment as that dream began to fade from around 1970 was palpable.

      If we are to find accord in our lifetime, we must put aside selective events from the past and deal with each day as it comes. Leave the past to historians to write and rewrite, and rewrite.

    • It will all end in tears, mamma.

    • I don’t believe the US saw the Arab spring coming when it did, but their intelligence must have anticipated that things would not continue unchanged when Mubarak died, not least because he had been trying to groom his son and despite draconian police controls the Egyptian people were clearly not happy with that. Furthermore the Brookings 2010 Arab Public Opinion Report showed that while almost all the Arab public wished for a nuclear free ME, a substantial majority saw a nuclear-armed Iran as being better for them while Israel kept its arsenal, and among those who believed Iran did have a nuclear weapons program, 70% overall, with a staggering 81% of Egyptians, still thought Iran had a right to its nuclear program. See pages 47/49 of the PDF report (URL at the top of this link).

      Leaving aside the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, those figures can be read as profound distrust of the US.

      It seems to me likely that on top of these and other global developments, the Arab Spring changed the game dramatically for the US, and from that point the Palestinians moved to the bottom of the list while Israel's development as a vast US military base equipped with a human shield in the form of settlement populations was accelerated.

    • It appears that we may all have been conned again. The NYT reports that at the same time Obama was publicly urging Netanyahu to abandon settlement activity, he was quietly shipping him Bunker-Busting Bombs!

  • Outside the UN
  • Mondoweiss liveblogs the UN General Assembly speeches
  • So much for secular Jewish identity
    • Zionism is not cerebral and there is a danger in being too cerebral about it. The standing ovations Abbas received a few hours ago were expressions of pure emotion and as the delegates surged to their feet six billion of us whom they represent could share a glimpse of twig in the beak of the dove. I doubt such an emotion has ever swept across our planet before. Dialectical exchanges are fine but one needs also to factor in the human element, it is after all what gave rise to the 'Arab Spring'.

  • Mr. President, we don't want a shortcut, we want our freedom
    • This thought occurred to me during last night.

      Circumstances over which the US had little control have awakened the Arab world to the indignities of decades of subservience and exploitation. US Islamophobia and deadly military incursions into Islamic lands have forged deep seated anti-American attitudes among significant numbers, which economic irresponsibility and moral depravity have confirmed. Events during the last year have forced the veil from Obama’s eyes and he sees there is no longer hope of fundamental rapprochement between the West and the Arab world for the foreseeable future because it would call for seismic changes in far too many areas of US life and attitudes. Israelis have been accepted on the Western team and thus the Palestine statehood issue is no longer about Palestinians and their lives and land but about taking up position for a far greater conflict the US sees ahead. And indeed may well intend to provoke.

  • Ismail Khalidi: A tragic lecture, justifiying a vicious occupation, with no awareness that we killed the two-state solution

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