Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3630 (since 2009-07-30 20:37:30)

Richard Witty



Showing comments 3630 - 3601

  • Seeing Rawan Yaghi on Skype
    • Her question is critical.

      My recommendation is to inform as much as possible about the normalcy of Gazan Palestinians, which means leaving out ALL expressions of anger, or political ideology from statements.

      I would recommend Spielberg type interviews with elders and children, historical documentaries (with Jewish Israeli partners) to construct 5 generations of family history. (Elders talking about their grandparents).

      When my son was first interested in my mother-in-law's story, after first hearing of her experience in some depth at 17, then visiting Yad Vashem and seeking and finding a couple possible names of his ancesters, his first impression was despondent, that such an experience only leaves scars and nothing else but scars.

      I told him that the most significant fact about his grandmother was that she determined to LIVE fully after the holocaust (not pretentiously, but actually). Her youth remained. She lived in Israel from 49 - 56, then had family, a life in various parts of the US and Europe, good friends, good work (a public health statistician in London).

      From seeing her life at any point after leaving Hungary, one could not say "this is a refugee" or "this is a holocaust survivor".

      But, one would say, "this is someone that is alive, normal, that I can identify with".

      That's the key, "that I can identify with" (not pretentiously, but trusting that the details of how families live - what they eat, what fixtures they like in their homes, what they talk about with their grandchildren, and what they experienced at different moments in their lives.)

      NOT what they propagandize, but what they experience, "my favorite things".

  • Israel is at the heart of Jewish identity, Gorenberg says
    • Gorenberg is right on.

      "The interesting insight here is that Israel has now become the basis of American Jewish identity. And so if you Americans lose Israel, there goes Jewish life." is a misread of Gorenberg's point.

      He is describing the commonly stated liberal Zionist theme that there is an existential communal connection between American Jews and Israeli, and a reasonable criticism of Israeli policies and practices.

      I think it is accurate to describe that the shift from sympathy with Zionism, even with severe criticisms, to antipathy for Zionism, is part of the process in the vast majority that undertake that, of renunciation of Judaism.

      Peter Beinart writes and speaks about Phil's point of Zionism instead of individual spiritual and community engagement as comprising too much of American Jewish identity.

      Beinart writes about the substantive effort to continue to run and attend Jewish education and ongoing ritual as that effort, to make Judaism a phenomena that happens here, not only there.

      The generation gap issues are not new at all in Jewish community.

      I, and likely Phil, very very rarely spoke of Israel at all. Even at 14, we did speak of Vietnam and civil rights.

  • Obama begins push for Jewish support in 2012 by touting the 'unbreakable bond' between Israel and the US
    • A reasoned and reasonable policy, presentation, c0mmitment.

      Any prospect of anyone endeavoring to remove Israel from the map (whatever meaning attributed) should be understood as impossible, so that more humane approaches are undertaken to reconcile.

      Assertion of human rights and community health, and resistance that includes terror on civilians are different actions.

      If you attempt to parade that clip as an example of some abusive or fundamentally compromised US foreign policy, you will fail.

  • The Mondo crew hosts WBAI’s 'Beyond the Pale' to discuss Ron Paul, Dennis Ross and the myth of Obama's 'Jewish problem'
    • I'm listening again.

      There is one point about Ross that I disagree with, that is that he attributes the Clinton policy on the middle east to Ross, then concludes that the Clinton administration failed, but the Oslo Accords happened at that time.

      One may say that the job wasn't completed, but not that it "failed".

      "It looks to ME that Iran has not decided to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran has decided to develop a nuclear enrichment capability. The administration does not want Iran to ... because its a short step to weaponization. The Iranians can get very close to having a nuclear weapon without breaking the rules of the game. And this has the United States and Israel very worried."

      Is that descriptive statement the US' policy, or Mearsheimer's agreement?

    • Scott,
      Thanks for the sober and specific reply.

      I think Obama is proposing similarly (excepting BDS), though has demands on Palestinians as well (PA, Hamas, and "civil society").

      It's an important question really for every poster and commenter here.

    • You know that I think you are duped in supporting Ron Paul because he has no prospect of delivering his promises even if elected.

      1. 'The expenditure of money for campaigning and for lobbying is protected free speech.'
      2. The role of the president to a constitutionalist is to execute the legislation passed by Congress (those subject to the free speech of money in lobbying).
      3. Treaty modifications or removals require 2/3 majority of both houses of Congress.

      The reason that the majority of his proposals would not get through Congress are similar to the reasons that his proposals won't result in the republic nomination, that the republican party is the party of strong arm of defense, in defense of interests, not of sovereignty.

      Relative to Israel, he renounces influence on Israel, is the sum total of his foreign policy.

      You are betting on the wrong man to represent your perspective in this case.

      As President, he could neglect his constitutional responsibilities to enforce the legislated laws of the land, including administrative agencies. But, then he'd be impeached, likely cause the US to go into some actual economic spinout, rather than the deferral of that.

      Those that are invested in gold and silver would do well.

    • Shingo,
      Did you hear Mearsheimer's descriptions?

      Very similar to mine.

    • Again,
      A critical question to you guys.

      What do you propose should be the US foreign policy relative to Israel/Palestine?

      Specifics please.

    • You should.

      You should continue to criticize and suggest alternatives, but he is clearly the most effective candidate comprehensively, and on Israel/Palestine questions.

      You think Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney, or even Ron Paul would achieve anything resembling Palestinian rights?

    • Good presentation.

      You were too softball on Ron Paul though.

      Phyllis Bennis had a good point in stating that the anti-war features of his prospective foreign policy spun directly and completely from his libertarian worldview.

      The libertarian worldview is one that appeals to those that hold that individual property rights are supreme, not one in which compassion or goodness has any merit in any foreign or any policy.

      Also, Mearsheimer was very restrained in condemning Ross. Specifically, identifying the obstacle to a two-state approach being Israel.

      My thesis is that the Israeli electoral effort is the NUT of social change in Israel/Palestine and that the US may not intervene in any substantive way, which is a rational approach.

      I think its noteworthy that Prof Mearsheimer does agree that the enrichment program is the problematic issue and that it is in the US interest that Iran doesn't pursue that.

  • Publisher of the 'Atlanta Jewish Times' suggests Mossad should assassinate Obama
    • Both Gurvitz and Derfner, recanted their accusation that Adler was a chabadnik.

      They acknowledged that they were relying on other reports which mistakenly named him as associated with chabad.

      I am more associated with chabad than Adler is.

      Now, its repeated though, and repeated of repeated, so its been heard from now three sources (the last two relying on the first), and must therefore be "reliable".

    • You have a memory LeanDor.

      I was involved with Ananda Marga mostly on, not always, from 1973 - around 1997 or so.

      Ananda Marga has very diverging views expressed, from the most progressive of any, to periodic fascism and fanatic.

      My son introduced me to chabad and to serious Jewish practice and study, which I do inconsistently currently.

      I combine the emphasis in Ananda Marga on ethical practice and monist theology, with the Jewish emphasis on ethical practice and monist theology.

      Both also have a sense of "chosenness", in the sense of responsibility to attempt to heal the planet. Ananda Marga has a concept of sadvipra, which is taught as a turner of history. Jewish teachings are more of the nature of "all my relations", or "tikun olam".

      I find the Jewish to be more relevant to my life, more harmonious with my deeper views. Both are serious and important.

      Both need continuous reminders to keep their eyes on the prize.

      Both are positive in orientation, meaning that they propose, more than they oppose.

  • 'Israel Firster' gets at an inconvenient truth
    • Charon and Annie,
      I agree with you that Mearsheimer made important insights on the radio program.

      The one that struck me is that he ratified the US observation (and mine), that Iran is pursuing the path with enrichment of nuclear ambiguity, that the worry is that Iran will reach an enrichment capacity that allows it to very very quickly develop weapons (potentially within the window of the 6-month allowed delay of disclosure - my comment, not Mearsheimers).

      He, like I, states preference that Iran NOT pursue the enrichment process beyond a status that is clearly ONLY for nuclear power. He, like I, states a worry that Iran will push forward anyway, and will make some bad decision as to escalation that will be misunderstood and misinterpreted and responded with a larger escalation.

      He did not speak of the advisability of just accepting Iran's efforts for power, but of the question of whether to provoke gently, to undertake military efforts, or to undertake containment efforts when/if Iran does develop nuclear capacity.

      He does not minimize the significance of prospective proxy militias on multiple Israeli borders.

      He, like Obama, like me, like Israel, worries and like Obama, like me, like Israel, doesn't know what is the effective strategy to realize a moderate Iran with nuclear power but without nuclear weapons.

    • As smear, the accusation of anti-semitism for bringing up any other relevant question, is out of line.

      As smear, the accusation of dual loyalty is equally out of line.

      The relevant response to name-calling, which is nearly always a prejudicial generalization (not intelligent inquiry), is what exactly do you mean by "dual loyalty"? Does that have any actual significance, or is it being used only to shut down inquiry?

      One test for me of where that line between inquiry and propaganda rests, is in repetition. If repeated, if no room is being made for addressing content, then it is likely suppressive propaganda.

      If "our side" does it, its suppressive propaganda, if "they" do it, its also suppressive propaganda, whether one is the powerful or the powerless.

  • RNC resolution calls for one state (on God-given lands)
    • I think the text is intentionally vague on the one-state reference, and does not clearly indicate that.

      But, a number of republican presidential candidates individually have spoken in that light, and all have spoken about less accountability towards Israel from the US (including Ron Paul, but in very different ways).

      They do effectively sanction Israeli expansion, and do not seem to realize the implications for Israel. They imagine that Israel will benefit by that absence of accountability, and Netanyahu actively encourages it, grossly and directly interfering in another country's election.

  • US Congress stomps on Palestinian 'Sesame Street' but funds Israeli version
  • Gingrich says his backer's 'central value' is Israel (and NBC drops the subject)
  • MLK and the peace process
    • I'm sorry I misunderstood your post.

      Did you read the rest of my post besides that error on my part.

    • Phan,
      Given the tone of your commentary here, at least part of their assertions are substantiated.

      I've seen the phenomena they've described played out many places elsewhere, not just around the Israel/Palestine question, but definitely including.

      As the BDS demands are in fact vague, and the targets of BDS are in fact ethnically homogenous, there is a true ethnic based element to the boycott movement. You want to dodge around that being racist, wonderful, that they didn't "mean" racism, they just made somewhat arbitrary distinctions of what to boycott that happen to apply to one ethnicity.

      As much as the South Africa boycott is lauded here, it was not that different. It was periodically mean, excessive, divisive, until the co-op movement dropped it. Then they did proceed to neglect South Africa after the victory.

      Both South Africa, and the Chavez grape boycotts were very different than the BDS campaign, mostly in that the focus of the boycotts were communities that are dear to a not inconsiderable minority of residents. Relative to South Africa, a very few had friends and family there, and few had friends and family that were farm workers. But, MANY have friends and family in Israel, have visited Israel, feel a religious sentimental attraction to Israel.

      A different nature than South Africa boycott.

      I'm certain that more than a few pro-BDS participants became new members as well.

      The significance of excluding non-related political movements from co-op issues, is that the co-op movement is significant as the co-op movement, and any issue that slices away 20% of the audience, is a distraction from the movement itself, and then a threat to coop itself, then to the supporting coop warehouses, etc.

      For 10 years, serving natural foods coops (and others) was my professional world. I've seen it over involvement in coops for 40 years.

      Just for reference 5 of 7 is not "all". Would that be an example of exageration, an example of the untruth that they told? Its not for blame, as so much to regard the individuals that spoke up humanely, even if they did so somewhat desparately.

      Co-ops are designed to be inclusive, not exclusive, is the point. 99/1%, not 90% acceptable (because they don't oppose this boycott), 8% zombies for opposing the "majority", 1% elite?

    • You don't have a clue either Citizen.

      Its laughable.

    • You don't have a clue John H.

      Please stop shooting first, and then finding out later.

      Thank you for including the video. They made some very persuasive points, particularly about how unnecessarily divisive the boycott itself is, the tone employed, and the ethnically associated punishment imposed.

    • Its also what you say.

      I am UNLIKE Jabotinsky. Are you? (I know, you have no skin in the game, you are just solidarity. But, that can be the worst, egging on destructive attitudes from the sidelines.)

    • Peace is a primary valuable goal.

      In its truth, it incorporates the concept of consent, that is genuine, not subordinated going along, but actual consent.

      The presence of Zionism is a similar assertion. It is an assertion by Jews, by Israeli Jews, "We will never be content with quiet, meaning peace. We insist on a definition of peace that includes our genuine consent."

      How does one pursue the rights of one group without subsequently impinging on the rights of the other?

      The seed of the pendulum swing is sadly inherent in your dismissal of the word "peace". It implies "You are not entitled to consent. We will tell you what you will accept."

      Is that justice? Is that peace?

      Lets get to real peace, to real consent, not punitive "justice", not imposed "consent".

  • Cyber-attacks strike Israeli stock exchange, airline, banks
    • Don't make my points for me Justice and Eljay.

      My point is that any collective punishment is wrong.

      In the present, the Palestinian "yishuv", there are other options than punishment and warring to accomplish Palestinian rights.

      As Zionists that engage in collective punishment HURT the Zionist cause, Palestinian solidarity that attempt it, do as well.

      Dangerous "friends".

    • It doesn't attack the party that is objected to, only civilians.

      "Collective punishment".

      Its malicious destruction. Simple.

      Make the better argument already.

    • Its not dissent. Its an act of war.

      It is not directed at any specific military threat to anyone. In that light it is an attempt at collective punishment.

      It shouldn't be applauded.

  • A regular commenter on this site seeks a more temperate comment board
    • Did you guys here the Mearsheimer interview with Adam and Lizzy.

      He declared that the Iranian enrichment program is a big deal, not insignificant, but that the means to convince Iran to desist continuing their enrichment program are not currently effective, and that at some point powers will have to decide whether to accept Iran as a nuclear power, or to contain Iran as a regional power.

      But, the "don't worry, be happy" theme relative to Iran's program and policies, is not realistic.

    • Alec,
      Review your thinking. And, definitely please review your use of name-calling as if it is intelligent.

      Your commentary "IAF Waffen Troops" is an embarrassment for this site.

      You are a staff of the site. You represent this site publicly.

    • Donald,
      On your litmus tests. You read one comment and conclude that I fail your litmus test, even a hundred comments fails your litmus test of not including a condemnation and/or demand.

      And then you know that you've read elsewhere of me making cogent and effective comments insisting that insensitive pro-Zionists incorporate the history and current experience of the Palestinians in their understanding and advocacy.

      From those two often repeated experiences, you must have some sense that I am not the simplistic "hasbarite".

    • Page: 36
    • "Witty ignores"

      You don't have a clue what I ignore and what I understand and include in my reasoning and presentation.

      Please resist the temptation to imagine that you understand what another thinks, especially if you haven't communicated with me directly and respectfully.

    • Donald,
      If you remove the demand for condemnation, the litmus test, you might see me in more positive light, based on what I do advocate for, even work for, including communicating to the Jewish community.

      In actual discussion, I do not let go by the assumption that "everything is right with Palestinians, that they should just accept their fate". I insist that people review the history, from the rational Palestinian perspective which I describe clearly and candidly. I don't use rancorous language at all, but I do describe their history and condition objectively to the best that I know, without accepting diversion.

      My point in doing so, is to get to a status of problem solving, that the problem is a joint problem, that we should put our heads together to solve, leaving both communities standing.

    • Jerry also alienated liberal and less liberal zionists to this site on the basis of his commentary that Israel had no right or obligation to defend Israeli civilians prior to cast lead, that the originating political relationships were criminal, thereby justifying Palestinian resistance, with no functional commentary on valid forms of that resistance.

      Only fighters will feel invited to come and fight. I don't see that that point-counterpoint fighting adds to anyone's knowledge even.

      The best setting is one that facilitates sincere and probing discussion.

      If you are confident that your argument is compelling, then trust that and act on it. Don't go to the character assassination path to win an argument, and then claim that you won an argument. (Winning an argument or a war is temporary anyway. The actual best that can be constructed/better argument is an improved "decision-tree", that rests on moral principles - including political morality, that does consider others.)

      Its difficult in war. I will repeat my dog story. That is that I brought a friends dog to a concert as a hippie youth. The dog started growling at another dog and looked like was going to end up in a vicious dog fight. I attempted to break up the dog fight by grabbing the dog that I was watching. In order to be unhindered in continuing to fight, the dog bit me (his "friend"). By that time, the dog had gotten distracted from the dog fight, and no dog fight occurred, but I had to have stitches and a tetanus shot.

      War spins out, war of words. If not mediated.

      There are presentation/discussion settings that can realize the full articulation of arguments without the shooting.

    • I am the "Jew" on this site.

      I am the "new Jew" on this site as well. I will not lie to myself, or publicly about my views to conform to what you think is accurate, if I do not regard a "fact" or an interpreted "conclusion" to be less than true.

      I will not abuse, nor will I name-call for an end, nor will I lie, nor will I back down.

      If you don't like the arguments, the weighing of sensitivities, then articulate a different one (a better argument), hopefully humbly, knowing that you don't know all things.

      And, please take the intellectual responsibility to propose courses of actions that include consent of all the primary parties, rather than fantasy/ideology based imposition on the parties.

      If you successfully persuade of a positive proposal, any good ones, the choices for Jewish Israelis, or for Palestinians, will be to find paths.

      You want to call yourselves not anti-semitic, then make room for reasoned, non-offensively stated argument, without encouraging any name-calling.

      The idea that a blog with any mission hoping for a wide audience, would hold the "community" of anti-Zionists as more important, is self-destructive.

      To Phil and Adam, you are not as much a public enemy as you think, or this blog would be hacked. I'm sure that there have been minor hacking attempts, but it is up and running. But, you do drift towards the nutty in your editorial framing.

      The other thing that you should know is that the blog is very widely read, and that it is a truth that very prominent and intelligent potential commenters that sincerely wish to grapple with the substantive issues associated with some of the conflicts (ideas and on the ground) are shooed away.

      I correspond (some at length, most pretty trivially) with many of the prominent liberal Zionist journalists that are written about here. Literally, ALL have said that they value that the site conveys an alternative perspective, but that very very often the comments are beyond beyond, and that less often, but still often, the editorial comments are beyond beyond.

      These are "thick-skinned" seasoned journalists who are called self-hating FAR more than almost all commenters here.

      An example, I am trying to invite some prominent liberal Zionist (pretty far to the left) speakers to my area and have spoken with faculty at colleges, many rabbis and shul leadership. They, with a couple exceptions, know of the site and most have read at least some article referenced here. These are not journalists, have no skin in the anti-Zionist game. Some were curious about an anti-Zionist site. Some were curious of what they had read about a couple of editorial gaffs that were publicly contested in other publications. Some were very liberal rabbis privately participating on some selection process on choice of wines say to buy for their shuls even.

      You need some objective basis to understand HOW alienating this site often is, and how engaging this site is potentially.

    • I would like if this site made room for reasoned liberal Zionists, that run a range of opinion, not only periodically sanctioned Jerome Slater.

      The majority of those that have read of Palestinian struggle, feel sympathy for it.

      But, the majority of those that have read the pendulum response, feel antipathy for the response.

      Even on Cast Lead, the reasoning that underlies why people think that Hamas' actions created the conditions that led to Cast Lead, is important to hear.

      Not hearing of that, adds up to a self-blinding apology for assaults on civilians.

      And, a renunciation of effort to find and then argue for consented solutions. (Please don't tirade about how the term consent "really means" Israeli dominance. By consent I mean consent, not of self-appointed solidarity.)

    • The point is that someone that is not sensitive to the barbs, is not sensitive to the barbs.

      It is presumptuous of a white man to say, "I've never offended" to a black man.

      The question has to be asked. The answer has to be taken with open ears.

      Thats if you want to remove racism from your palette. If you want to harbor it for selected groups, Jews, then ignore the sensitivity of Jews, and of Zionists.

    • On anti-semitism.

      It takes a Jew, a self-identified Jew, to note where anti-semitism is occurring. The best that a progressive, a true progressive that is seeking to remove ism's and schism's from their prejudice, would do would be to respectfully listen, to learn.

      Anti-semitism includes the prejudice and/or hatred or dismissal of Jews associating as Jews.

      There are MANY demeaning comments made about practicing Jews, orthodox Jews, haredi Jews, as if you are not intelligent enough to know the differences.

      There are MANY demeaning comments made about Zionists, all stripes, whether they condemn and boycott my comments or praise them (not too many, they are scared away).

      There are FEW demeaning comments made about Arabs. I personally don't remember making a one. I've heard some, but nowhere near the range of demeaning commentary about Jews and Zionists.

      On Phil's iterations of "our side", you'd have clarify what you describe as constituting "our side" in contrast to "them" (as if that would constitute a moral basis to oppose discrimmination as a theme - "us" vs "them").

      I don't know what I would do if I were Phil and Adam relative to this site based on the commentary following Donald's post.

      Shut it down maybe for the moral example to Israel of what they should do when faced with "compelling" dissatisfaction.

      Currently, this site serves likud more than it serves dissent, very sad to say. And, like it is too inconvenient for liberal Zionists like myself to merely criticize likud as a smokescreen for our impotence to realize a settlement freeze, it is too inconvenient for the editors to merely blame the commenters, as the content of original posting OFTEN is leading, directly stimulating to some of the ugly commentary that follows.

      Phil used to be a thinker, not a propagandist. When he is interviewed his thoughtfulness, his consideration comes through (with lapses).

      To propagandize condemnation without clarity of position, is to "feed the devil".

    • If you speaking about "our side" meaning advocates for a single-state, then you don't have truth on your side.

      If you mean those that regard that reform of Israel's policies and practices are humane and necessary, then you have truth on your side, and MANY.

    • Thanks for that post Donald.

      Please practice what you propose that others do. (You knew I was going to say that.)

      I would add that calling someone "racist" is a slander and should be avoided.

  • Today in Pittsburgh, Jesse Lieberfeld, 17, will deliver a hammer blow to American Jewish support for Israel
    • You are opening the question to "who is a Jew"?

      Why not leave it morally as a personal choice of identification, even if the state does make some determination for the purpose of aliyah.

      I assume that you do get the hypocrisy of flaunting one's Jewishness for political anti-Zionist purposes, though for one that is firmly self-identified as Jewish, the argument is substantive.

      Jerry Haber for example is assertively Jewish, including cultural and residential Zionism, but regards the necessity for a state as far less relevant.

    • Hostage,
      Its disappointing that you are validating eee's point by finding a targeted enemy that has gone too far.

      The Lubavitch that held Rabbi Schneerson as the "messiah" were considered apostates by many other haredi, except that they adhere to Torah as their primary value, and acknowledge (most now), that their reverence for the rabbi is not the same as moshiach by their own definition.

      There are MANY interesting changes in the Lubavitch community that are ironically very progressive. For example, there is a Lubavitch feminist movement (different than the 70's). There are joint Lubavitch-Muslim theological discussion/education groups (few). There is a strong movement for ecological study and advocacy (in my area).

      EEE's point though is that association is a component of being Jewish, that there is a point where one voluntarily defines their separation from the Jewish community, even if not in words.

      Young and ideologically referenced people often say things that are insensitive and painful. There is a line when the insensitive comments extend to some permission to actually harm another.

      When someone intentionally directs harm at one's family's community, and expresses no compunction even, no reluctance at what might result, that becomes a difficult role to justify morally.

      Romeo and Juliet is a moving story, a repeating one, one that can inspire universal acceptance and love where the prior seed might have been more limited acceptance and love.

      When it morphs to hatred because one's family only has limited love and acceptance, then that is gold that has been turned to iron.

    • EEE,
      I think the reality is that most Palestinians have attempted to get on with their life, but in similar conditions to Jewish refugees following WW2, are not permitted to either move on to elsewhere, or to live free in their family of family's home area, if not in their former literal homes.

      Many Palestinians have resettled in the Arab world, in Europe, in the US. Some have become the most vigorous and some of the most violent terrorists on the planet. Others have become successful intellectuals, business-people, artists, government officials, scientists, physicians.

      The Palestinians in Lebanon and Syria have comparable lives to the post-WW2 European refugees, not welcome in their former homes, not invited or accepted elsewhere.

      The art is to observe that their path is hindered, and to make a path that they can live decent lives.

      Both angers against Zionism are excessive, and arguments against Palestinian experience are excessive.

    • What was the Arab world's position on women's rights, on one-person one-vote, on rights of minorities, on ecology, on class issues?

      I'm certain that there were areas of exceptions, but the question is substantive.

    • MLE,
      I don't know the specifics of your story.

      I can just tell you from experience, that to be name-called a racist is unpleasant and disrespectful.

      If you want change, then to educate is a better route, and that takes some sensitivity and respect of the person expressed as well as the information.

      I state it when I confront it and feel a need to convey my discomfort, as "that last statement that you made made me very uncomfortable. I don't think of Arabs as ..... I've known Arabs that are intelligent, responsible, kind, good friends. Please don't disturb my memory of them by generalization. Thanks for hearing."

      There are LOTS of racist statements made in the world, some towards Arabs, some towards Jews, still in the world.

      But, confronting someone meanly, and particularly in public, is an utterly inneffective way to change hearts and minds.

      It applies to specific cases, and in general. Harranguing people usually ends up reinforcing prejudices as much as transforming them, but I agree that people won't change unless they hear of the effects.

      Please restrain yourself from using me as some "type". I'm not. I'm a person who values my community and sincerely desires peace (meaning mutual health), not revolution.

    • The measure of progressive are in things like support for women's rights, removal of theocratic regimens in state, one-person one-vote, support for minorities' equal rights.

      Those themes were prevalent in early Zionist movements and governance.

      For some reason, you didn't feel like expressing support of the last paragraph,

      "Today, I’m sure that he would be supportive of Palestinian rights efforts, but would similarly more than emphasize the importance of disciplined non-violent approaches in method and in principles adopted and applied."

      I experience this puritanical viciousness as regressive, not progressive.

    • Anti-colonial is not equivalent to "progressive". There are/were MANY anti-colonial movements that were fascist.

      The Arab world in the 20's resented Jewish immigration for fears of colonialism, but also because the Jewish women were young and immodestly dressed.

      The formation of Israel was also anti-colonial. The Arab world though thought of Jews as "white" European, rather than than as independent.

    • Please consider the objective as well. If you expressed a contemptuous opinion about something that he/she held as important, then you may have to apologize, and then agree to disagree if you can.

      I promise that if you call them "racist" or even imply in personal conversation, then you will not retain that friend as a trusted friend.

      If you frame your conclusions as something is not as it should be here, "I" (key word) feel compassion for those that are harmed, and want to assist in making a change in their life, you will likely stimulate similar compassion in your friend.

    • There were historical statements by his close colleagues and advisors (Andrew Young, Ralph Abernathy) that he appreciated the very widespread Jewish support of the civil rights movement, and that he deeply sympathized with the Jewish struggle to survive post-WW2, and to do so through communal efforts.

      At the time, the Arab world was not progressive, hostile to anything new, including a great deal of hostility to anything that rocked the boat.

      That included the Palestinian Arab world and the larger

      Today, I'm sure that he would be supportive of Palestinian rights efforts, but would similarly more than emphasize the importance of disciplined non-violent approaches in method and in principles adopted and applied.

    • Thanks.

      We might not be world's apart in efforts to improve the reality.

      We might be partial worlds apart in judgments of fault.

      But, I think judgments of fault get in the way in a knot (and this is a knot), more than they help. So, they end up adding to the knot itself, rather than cut it or changing it as imagined.

    • I interact with people of all ages.

      I particularly value my own experience.

      Which was of complete indifference to Israel in my late teens and twenties, if anything some antipathy, associated with the feeling that my parents were imposing their views, and preoccupation with other issues like the war in Vietnam. I did go to Israel in 1968, late 13, and did have both moving Zionist-like experiences, and anti-Zionist-like experiences (arguing with a tour guide in the Golan explaining why the Golan was always Israel, and he stopping the car and telling me to get out).

      What changed my views on Israel were three factors:

      1. Marrying a child of a European holocaust survivor that informed me of an entirely new world of historical and personal experience.
      2. The decision to bring my children up Jewish rather than yogic, with bris, bar mitzvah, Jewish education, holidays, etc.
      3. The experience of being harrangued by anti-Zionist leftists while running a radical spoken word cooperative library for including some Zionist Jewish authors' work in the library.

      In that sense, my own indifference to Zionism in my 20's, I wonder what is different about young Jews' views compared to now.

      The self-righteous, "I am better than my immoral parents", is the same repetition. The political issues are the same. There are more paths for anti-Zionist "idealism" now, and there were more paths for pro-peace engagement (not much now).

    • "doom for the lobby".

      17 year olds are idealistic. To do good in the world requires taking ideals and putting them into practice.

      Relative to the Palestinians, Israel is Goliath. Relative to the Arab world with a hundred times the geographic space, and those that are urged to sympathize with the theme of "Zionism is racism" and "Israel will dissolve in the seas of time (lets help it along)" Israel is David.

      It's relationship to Palestinians can change if they renounce the larger Goliath theme of "Israel will dissolve in the seas of time (lets help it along)".

      What is advocated for? is the much bigger question.

  • Sundance Film Festival to feature doc on system of control in longest-running occupation
  • Breaking report: US/Israel military drill cancelled, after US tells Israel to back off
  • 'I better not call Betty' -- My long path to unreasonable optimism about the conflict
    • "Coddle the Israelis, who suffer from a Holocaust-related “collective psychological complex”. Meanwhile, f*ck the Palestinians, who suffered Zionist terrorism, who suffered ethnic cleansing from their homes and land, and who CONTINUE to suffer under a very real and physical complex of ON-GOING Israeli aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder.

      RW remains consistent. And the beat goes on…"

      It is an effort to untie the knot, the relieve the pscyhological complex that gives unnecessary (or maybe necessary) weight to the holocaust currently.

      An effort for change.

      In contrast to the habitual and exagerated condemnation which confirms the paranoia.

    • Cliff,
      Actually, the expulsions did happen in fits and starts, almost always connected to events during the war struggle.

      For example, Deir Yassin occurred during the effort to liberate the transit route from the coast to Jerusalem, during the siege of Jerusalem.

      The assertion that "they", meaning all Israeli Zionists, intended from day one to remove the Palestinians, is an exageration, to the point of falsehood.

    • I assume that you've heard and experienced the term "before enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water; after enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water."

      How does this understanding/experience that you have, affect your attitudes towards Israel/Palestine or other political topics.

      From the experience of walking in others' shoes, one of my goals of learning from those with very different experience, my goal is to get to "live and let live". Both pieces of the phrase are often neglected. People often don't live fully (the identification and shedding of fears doesn't necessarily change that.). And, people often don't leave room for others to live well.

      As you can see from the "dialog" here, there is a great of personal judgment expressed, rancorous, mean at times.

      I hope that your commitment to walk in others' shoes is a permanent commitment, and not an ideological foreplay towards forming a judgmental conclusion.

      I've stated very often that a mediative approach is most needed, that of valuing the others' experience, towards finding a way to co-exist.

      I don't see it happening for a very long time in a single state. I don't see any majority of either Palestinians or Jewish Israelis willing. The very frequently stated rage and institutionalization of the rage into anti-normalization theme prohibits contact between Israelis and Palestinians that would be necessary to co-exist in a single state.

      I once corresponded to Norman Finkelstein about Gaza. He was not kind in his words to me. We disagreed about fundamental conclusions, even how to talk about the politics. One of his theses (as well as Avram Burg) was that the fears resulting from the holocaust and related experiences created a collective psychological complex that distorted reasonable discussion and prospects of reconciliation. I recommended to him that rather than try to change that through straight-ahead political language, particularly through shaming Jews that disagreed with him, that he seek a counseling approach, to reduce the power of the fear in the complex.

      The political and shaming language reinforces the fear, much much much more than that it untangles it. The objective differences still remain after being untangled, but one degree of contributing tangle can be lightened.

      We share being vegetarians. Please consider the impact of holding litmus test views, that you misinterpret frequently, but then escalate and repeat anyway.

      I am not some diseased animal that you must protect others from contact with.

    • Eljay,
      Again, at this point you are engaging in harrassment.

      You are not accurately describing my views, either literally nor in the context that they are framed.

      It would help if you could describe yourself a little, to even the playing field.

      I don't care about your name, but your age, your ethnicity, even what continent you reside on would be helpful for me to know to whom I'm speaking.

      You know much about me. I'm 57, live in Western Massachusetts, am an accountant professionally, a liberal Zionist.

    • Kevin,
      I didn't understand exactly what you were saying in point 3. Can you articulate it in some other terms?

      I think you are saying "don't judge until you walk in someone else's shoes". Is that correct?

      That is a critical element of politics driven by compassion, before or independent of politics morphed into consistency with an ideology.

      The conflict that you are observing are between my elaborations of my understanding of what it means to love that the Jewish people survived (we for me, not a "them"), and also to love that the Jewish people survived in Israel (their sentimental home after having all concepts of prior home smashed, AND the only locale that they had permission at all to go following WW2 - with the US and European quotas on emigration from Eastern Europe in particular).

      It took struggle to make settlement, and then required a state to defend residents' settlement. The Jewish early emigrants and later refugees were not welcomed, harrassed for a gamut of expected and ironic reasons.

      They fought, the were fought. There competing motives and ethics among Zionists, the worst of which resulted in massacres and forced migration, then later institutionalized into the prohibition from return in 49-51.

      I call the request for me to condemn those events academic, as they occurred 6 years before my birth.

      Whereas I can the current proposed remedies of elimination of Israel as a Jewish majority state, as a current advocacy, not academic.

      We all agree on the moral necessity to cease the settlement expansion, and to return to 67 borders (with agreed modifications). (Somehow, even those that insist on a single state).

      We disagree on the insistence of forced removal of the 550,000 Jewish Israelis that live in the West Bank. I say that they should be allowed to live in Palestine, if they renounce their Israeli citizenship, and the deficiency in the title to land that was expropriated made up by compensation, and that the settlements have not provision for ethnic segregation.

      My oponents declare that that enables the settlement enterprise, in not proposing a punishment to the civilian beneficiaries of the state sponsored effort.

      I just think that it is cruel to undertake a second mass forced removal of civilians.

    • There are alternative flashlights that get turned on, that are getting turned on.

      One is motivated by the observation of contempt that is heaped on any that regard their Jewish identity as important, including their direct or indirect association with Israel.

      I had a great conversation with a chabad rabbi yesterday. We were talking about the Torah portion of the week, in which Moses is sent away from Egypt after being brought up as a prince in the pharoah's household, after surviving the genocide of all Jewish males accompanied by the attempted assimilation (inter-marriage) of Jewish daughters into Egyptian culture (they were alone as there were no prospective Jewish males).

      The conversation drifted to questions of Moses' sins during his life, the punishment for his sins, then the punishments for different sins in general. The rabbi reiterated that Jewish thought is NOT oriented to blaming the person, but explicitly to holding accountable for actions, that there is the possibility of t-shuvah, atonement/restoration.

      The theme of 'Thank you for the pure soul that you have given me, that is always pure and connected to you.' is inherent in that conclusion (hold the action accountable, preserve the soul.)

      I think that is what you are speaking about Citizen, distinguishing between the person and the action, yes?

    • Kevin,
      Cliff and others are lying.

      Take the time to address the points.

      There are many that come to "enlightenment" that "we are all connected" and then conclude that any that still live with a strong component of their social identity as a nation or a tribe, are somehow archaic and then racist.

      Please comment. Thanks.

    • Please take seriously my comment about "spiritual in a body".

      We are not undifferentiated, whole. We live in unique individual physical bodies. We are both "ONE" and not one at the same time.

      And, we are both individuals only and parts of greater collectives at the same time.

      Ultimately, our actions occur in the area in which we are bodies, not in the area in which are undifferentiated and ONE.

      The way that ONE-ness gets expressed in the world is through kindness, individual and in nations.

      And kindness gets expressed through acceptance.

      The political logic of "we are ultimately ONE, your nationalism doesn't accommodate that ONE-ness, you are enemy", is not the way to manifest kindness in the world, but is a way to pervert the feeling/component of One-ness, connectedness.

      Make room for Jews to self-associate, accept that. Urge, insist that that be done with kindness, but please also urge, insist that Israel's neighbors treat Jews with kindness as well, kindness in action and kindness in word (even if it is not visibly reciprocated).

    • Please give room in your thinking for Jewish Israelis to belong to what they choose to as well.

      We are spiritual in a body, not just in abstraction.

  • Bibi throws in with GOP, Democratic base turns critical, and Israel finally becomes partisan wedge issue like abortion -- Blumenthal
    • Baruch Goldstein as emissary of Rabbi Shneerson?

      Please restrain yourself from grossly libelous character defamation.

      I've seen the videos of Netanyahu meeting Rabbi Shneerson, and of his proclamation that Jews should never willingly give up an inch of the holy land.

      I've also seen video of him insisting that land only be acquired by purchase, legally, and not by force or by deception.

      Please try to avoid libel against the man that MANY revere very deeply.

    • I do fear the over-extension of Israeli chutzpah, of Netanyahu's over-extension, his interference, as well as his "vision".

      But, I utterly disagree with the ZOG theme of your post, and regard it is a fascist approach in America, in Mondoweiss.

      It is the worst of America, not the best.

    • Adelson's endorsement of Gingrich was not about Israel solely. Certainly it included a kinship on that issue.

      Adelson exerts a difficult/corrupting influence on MANY issues. I'm not in Adelson's head, so I don't know what is most important to him, or of sole importance.

      I don't believe that Blumenthal or Phil Weiss are either, and their speculation that Israel is all Adelson thinks about or puts his money and time into, is more of a projection than an observation.

      He certainly does put time and money into Israel and right-wing versions of Israel's defense. Its the description of fixation that I contest.

    • There is an enormous flaw in Blumenthal's and your analysis of the Adelson donation.

      That is that it likely is NOT fixated on Israel, as you and Blumenthal are.

      He probably just supports Gingrich, all of him, Israel-attitudes, other foreign policy concerns, economic philosophy. Simple, comprehensive, NOT presuming that Adelson or really any of the prominent neo-conservatives are fixated on Israel, but definitely include their impressions of implications for Israel in their math.

      As I include implications for Israel, and for Palestinians, in my math, to usually 130 degree different conclusions from most of the neo-conservatives that I've read and met.

      It is a BAD way to dissent, as it puts all of eggs of opposition to republican approaches in the "Israel" basket. If you are wrong about your guesses about their politics, then you throw out the whole argument against a Gingrich, or Romney campaign.

      Stop the one-issuing is the point. The world is MUCH bigger than that jaundice.

      There definitely isn't bi-partison support for Netanyahu. I agree with that point of Blumenthal's, that Netanyahu has interfered in American electoral process. And, that the concensus of bi-partisan support for Israel's defense is thrown into unnecessary skepticism by that stupid "diplomacy".

      This post is ON TOPIC. Please do not censor it for the letter of the law.

  • Bombshell: Israeli intelligence posed as CIA to recruit terror group for covert war on Iran
    • Question about people's assumptions about Iran.

      Do you think that they are that crazy that they would respond to a limited targeted attack on military targets, with retaliation on Israeli civilians?

      Do you fear that they would over-react?

    • "shilling".

      Iran has options besides confrontation.

      The Straits are the red line for the US.

      There is a single topical problem, which is the nuclear enrichment beyond fuel grade.

      And, there is a much larger real problem, the non-acceptance of the state of Israel existing, and the active effort to remove it (even though it does not border Iran, and does not aggress on Iran independently of its independent self-motivated aggression on Israel).

      Many prominent Israelis and Americans believe that the world can live with a nuclear Iran. I don't know really of any that regard that as a better condition than a non-nuclear Iran, but can live with it.

      I think it is dangerous to consider doing by either Israel, US, Arab states, Europeans.

      And, I think it would be malevolent and dangerous for Iran to retaliate en masse on civilians (collective punishment) for an attack on remote military site.

      It would describe Iran as a nutcase theocracy, and then at that decision point force the conclusion that a nuclear Iran is a grave danger in the world.

      If in the event on an attack on very tightly targeted military targets, Iran responded in kind, focused attack (NOT unleashing Hezbollah's rockets, not unleashing rockets of its own at civilians), then things would hopefully cool down from there.

      There is a difference between a tactical attack on a military site and terror directed at civilians.

      I don't know if Israel would engage in over-kill as in Lebanon and Gaza, most strategized as a preparation for ground assault, or more limited, token, and precise, as a communication.

    • The Straits of Hormuz.

      Nuclear fuel for other purposes than nuclear power (as bad as that is).

      Did you read that the PA has declared that the Iranian saber-rattling is hurting the Palestinian cause?

    • It would also be wonderful if in YOUR article you noted that the operation was reported to be in 2006-7, and not currently as implied by the headline at most' first read.

      link to

      Also, this comment is important.

      "Memo buried deep in CIA archives", "debunks".

    • Both Israel and Iran are upping and confusing the aggressions.

      The threat to close the Straits of Hormuz are a red line that exerts collective punishment on the world's economy in the event of an attack on even a precision oriented stopping of Iran's nuclear program.

      Collective punishment onto the world for insisting that the Iran not pursue nuclear weapons.

      Collective punishment onto all Israelis threatened (including potential destruction of Al-Quds) for insisting that Iran not pursue nuclear weapons, and also cease supporting proxy military attacks on Israel.

      Iran has stated that it has no intention of constructing nuclear weapons, but is enriching uranium to weapons grade (20% enrichment). It could and can limit its nuclear efforts to 3-5% enrichment and abandon all 20% enrichment efforts, and abanon the construction of all plants that require greater than the 3-5% enriched uranium to run.

      Please don't appease (yes, appease). Actually ask Iran to lighten up, to change, as presumptious as that may seem to you.

  • The headline you aren't seeing: Iran wants talks, Israel pushing for war
    • "Here’s another bit of information for your Zionist brain. When the TNR was first provided to Iran by the US, it was a TRIGA type reactor, a unique design which actualyl ran on 90% enriched fuel. That’s right, a recror that ran on near wepoans grade fuel. The Iranians didn’t feelt they needed it so had itr modified to onluy require 20% fuel."

      What year did they modify it? Source?

      The problem with arguing with you is that I dis-believe you. I don't take your conclusions as true.

      "Highly enriched uranium (HEU)
      A billet of highly enriched uranium metal

      Highly enriched uranium (HEU) has a greater than 20% concentration of 235U or 233U. The fissile uranium in nuclear weapons usually contains 85% or more of 235U known as weapon(s)-grade, though for a crude, inefficient weapon 20% is sufficient (called weapon(s)-usable);[2][3] some argue that even less is sufficient[citation needed], but then the critical mass for unmoderated fast neutrons rapidly increases, approaching infinity at 6%235U.[4] For critical experiments, enrichment of uranium to over 97% has been accomplished.[5]

      The very first uranium bomb, Little Boy dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, used 64 kilograms of 80% enriched uranium. Wrapping the weapon's fissile core in a neutron reflector (which is standard on all nuclear explosives) can dramatically reduce the critical mass. Because the core was surrounded by a good neutron reflector, at explosion it comprised almost 2.5 critical masses. Neutron reflectors, compressing the fissile core via implosion, fusion boosting, and "tamping", which slows the expansion of the fissioning core with inertia, allow nuclear weapon designs that use less than what would be one bare-sphere critical mass at normal density. The presence of too much of the 238U isotope inhibits the runaway nuclear chain reaction that is responsible for the weapon's power. The critical mass for 85% highly enriched uranium is about 50 kilograms (110 lb), which at normal density would be a sphere about 17 centimetres (6.7 in) in diameter.

      Later US nuclear weapons usually use plutonium-239 in the primary stage, but the secondary stage which is compressed by the primary nuclear explosion often uses HEU with enrichment between 40% and 80%[6] along with the fusion fuel lithium deuteride. For the secondary of a large nuclear weapon, the higher critical mass of less-enriched uranium can be an advantage as it allows the core at explosion time to contain a larger amount of fuel. The 238U is not fissile but still fissionable by fusion neutrons.

      HEU is also used in fast neutron reactors, whose cores require about 20% or more of fissile material, as well as in naval reactors, where it often contains at least 50% 235U, but typically does not exceed 90%. The Fermi-1 commercial fast reactor prototype used HEU with 26.5% 235U. Significant quantities of HEU are used in the production of medical isotopes, for example molybdenum-99 for technetium-99m generators.[7]"

      The NPR report described a 1/9/2012 AIEA report that Iran is producing only 20% enriched uranium currently, and NOT 3.5-5% uranium.

      And, that the difference in technical capacity to enrich uranium to 85%-90+% is a smaller technical hurdle than the difference between going from 3.5% enrichment to 20%.

      Development of inter-continental ballistic missiles, active nuclear weapons research, enrichment of nuclear material are a trajectory.

      Your argument, the argument in support of Iran's program, shifts from "they are not building nuclear weapons", to "so what if they do?".

      Please choose one assertion.

      Iran has the option of accepting 20% enriched uranium from external sources for non-weapons related research and medicial purposes. But, it is choosing to escalate, even in this "small" way.

    • link to

      Per this article, the majority of nuclear plants in the world use 3-5% enriched uranium, and that 20% enriched uranium is considered potential weapons grade.

      If Iran wanted to commit to nuclear power, they would have opted for a reactor that only produced nuclear power, and only required fuel towards that end.

      They chose ambiguity, with the consequences that their "honest intentions" would be misunderstood as a threat.

      I asked for non-biased assessment.

      link to

      "On Monday, Jan. 9, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had begun producing 20 percent enriched uranium at Fordow, a fuel enrichment plant buried deep underground near the holy city of Qom. On the surface, there is little new here: Since February 2010, Iran has been producing 20 percent enriched uranium at Natanz, another once-secret site located about 3.5 hours from Tehran.

      Iran disclosed neither the Natanz nor the Fordow site to the IAEA until forced to do so, in 2002 and 2009, respectively, when outside observers discovered and publicized them. Fordow is smaller than Natanz in scale, but better protected from prying satellites and, potentially, a bombing campaign. Worryingly, the plant appears designed to focus on producing higher enrichments."

    • The Straits of Hormuz is the only significant red line for the US.

      And, it is for the US only as representative and protector of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, others.

      That Iran is considering closing their supply lines as well, means that they are willing to project collective punishment to get their wishes.

      In their uranium enrichment process they are past the concentration needed to power nuclear power plants, but are proceeding to a level that could be used to power nuclear plants or shortly be transformed into weapons grade.

      If someone has more complete, non-biased, information on their nuclear enrichment capability, I would appreciate that comment.

      The political dilemma of the US as police, serving to protect others' rights, more than even their own rights and interests, is that a sense of duty invokes a very different decision tree and sense of responsibility than when one is motivated by one's own interests.

  • Israel's nightmare: Jew against Jew
    • When Eljay, North, and formerly Chaos shadow me, they prohibit response that is free from noise.

      You didn't understand what I meant by "confusion of identity", but didn't ask.

      The confusion of identity is in presentation. When one uses being known as a Jew and loves it for the purpose of promotion, but is ashamed of it for other purposes, there is a confusion (of identity).

      Better to love one's identity and to make it the best that one can.

      There is an ongoing discussion of whether Israelis are "my people", stimulated by Phil's outburst a couple days ago.

      I speak of Israelis as "my people", pimples and all, and seek to participate in "my people" in a way that improves us, our experience, and in how we relate to others.

      I was forced to either get on the bus or stay off the bus in life. I chose to get on the bus.

      Externally, remaining on the fence as to one's identity, trashes one's credentials as a participant in that community.

      As I said, in defending Lillian from the question of whether she was a Jew or not. If she calls herself a Jew, and supported by her family tree and upbringing, she is a Jew. If she participates in a Jewish community, her Jewishness is a larger part of her identity. If she participates in the entire Jewish community (including Israeli) as Jews, then her Jewishness is an even more comprehensive part of her person.

      To the extent that she uses her Judaism for political ends without regarding it as important in her current life, that would be a hypocrisy.

      Jews can identify as Jews in various ways, and in various layers of their person.

      Many are residual Jews, meaning that they are born Jewish, grew up in a Jewish family, experienced and took in Jewish mannerisms, primary ways of thinking (in the intimate and not deliberate way that a parent teaches his/her child), comfort with other Jews. Its in their childhood memory, deep, formative, though not necessarily what they adopt later.

      Many of us experienced a layer of rebellion, of actual hatred of our Jewishness, that expressed itself outwardly in anger at our parents' symbolic references, often Jewish references.

      Many of us that had experienced that proceeded to more openness with other communities, inter-marrying as doing so intimately. Inter-marrying is confusing in every person that does so, at least among those that originated from two-Jewish parent households. It is nearly always a mix of chosen intimacy with a compadre, a bridge to universalism and anger.

      Many Jewish families experienced much intermarriage. Ask Phil about his family, personally. Please don't ask him to speak here of his brothers and sisters.

      I'm an only child, so in my family ALL the children married Jewish spouses. In my kids, my oldest is certain to marry a Jewish woman (as he's a chasid, very important to him). My youngest probably 50-50.

      So, an inner layer of familiarity, childhood memory (conscious and unconscious), a second layer of rebellion and worldly circumstance (who one encountered).

      The last layer of identity is chosen. (I'm sure there are more layers.) What do I choose to be part of, to adopt as my own, knowing that anything external that one is part is inevitably imperfect and if one is seeking perfection and consistency, will not match up. (But a spouse is similar.)

      The layer of rebellion is inherently at odds with the layers of childhood familiarity and adult choice. But, that gets reconciled. An example is my relationship with my mother. My mother is old now, and just moved to my area of the country after living far for most of her life. I see her twice a week, and my former rebellion towards her, and her former subconscious judgment and hassling me, has waned enormously.

      A big part of me is still on the fence as to my Jewishness. I've never found a mix of political perspective, universalistic spiritual depth, and particular prayer and study path, that is comfortable for me. I have many close Jewish friends that I do share large elements of all three, most of my Jewish friends are very similar in those three areas.

      The Jewish element is both fresh (noting that I/we are the forward cutting edge of tradition, what we bring to the world in our new), and very much coherent to the past.

      For me for two reasons. One is the that those that are the most sincere and deep spiritually have grappled with confusions and contradictions in/through the religion for a long time, found links and approaches in scripture and people that they rely on.

      The other is that the community is not just me, but all of us, and I cannot presume that my views are THE cutting edge, but just a participant in the present, with many others.

      I can think freely, but I cannot represent Jewish community one way or another without a great deal of presumption.

      That is or should be a theme of Phil's the presumption of the Adelson's of the world to speak for THE Jewish community, even if they end up ratified (or not).

    • Don't make it impossible for Lillian to respond personally, under her own opinion and reaction, rather than the framing of "Richard is a racist, you know".

      I get that you are worried that people will be "deluded" into sympathy with my perspective.

      Don't steal from them, the opportunity to dialog and make their own conclusions.

    • Eljay,
      You are now making a fight where one does not exist.

    • You are addicted to that word "condemn". I am not condemning, I am proposing.

      Lets change both worlds. Israel does not accept the right of return, so if that is the basis of the war, then it will continue indefinitely.

      If that is present and always the motive for harm, then that will continue indefinitely.

      If there is some humanism that you bear, that says, "enough harming each other, we are human beings primarily, where we find ourselves in this real world, lets treat each other as human beings more than as political enemies", then that should be acted on, to ALL that you make condemnations of or recommendations to.

    • Its not a blame. Its a recognition that the path to peace is blocked solidly by the assertion "we will never accept you".

      Its a request that Hamas accept the people and the nation Israel, and that dissent accept the people and the nation Israel.

      It would change much.

    • Hamas' declarations create a situation in which there is no path to actual peace.

      It needs to be named.

      Acceptance needs to happen.

    • They can be critical of policies and practices, and also fundamentally sympathetic with their family of families, and of the urge for self-governance after a "push-comes-to-shove" experience of the holocaust.

    • Its a theme attributed to any of us that are remote from a conflict, rah-rah ing a side.

    • You are confused Eljay.

      I didn't engage in innuendo against her. I noted a confusion of identity.

      Its often played publicly "A Jew says"... x dissenting comment, therefore the comment or action has additional merit beyond just a human doing it. They are a hero, whereas others are just willing complicit criminals.

      If she or the movement wants points for a "Jewish" boat (as in association as current Jews, not as residual born Jews, 'through no fault of their own'), then it would be logical that she would feel sympathy for her co-ethnicists that are largely children of holocaust survivors, and survivors and children of survivors of war to ethnically cleanse the region of Jews.

      If she bears that sympathy as a primary one, then her participation in a Jewish boat is of active Jewish identity, rather than just of residual. A larger love, larger than the Jewish community that she knows personally, and larger than any Jewish community as well.

      I don't know one way or another as to Lillian's views. In ALL cases, it would be presumptious of me to judge her character.

      I wish her well in expressing compassion for all living beings that she has come to feel for.

      I had an experience arguing with a Larouchite on another blog, who cited a Jewish name among the Larouche leadership as proof that Larouche could not possibly encourage any anti-semitism.

      Its a silly assertion either to claim that one is not anti-semitic, or someone else is anti-semitic, or if a dissent action has special significance or not, in the name of making one's association as a Jew of not special significance.

    • Its a difficult confusion to be alienated from Israel to the point that she doesn't speak of Israel as "we", but does feel ashamed of Israel as "we".

      The remedy for that bifurcation would be to identify more, including with the Jewish community in Israel, rather than less.

      In that way her disagreement with prevailing policies, attitudes, would be a self-improvement effort more than even a perceived attack.

    • North,
      Why this distraction? You want the assertion "she is not a Jew" to go uncontested? Or, you want to insist that points only be made in language or by people that you approve of?


    • Is that threadjacking North? Is that the new "racist" name-call?

    • You don't know anything about her active connections or not. There are MANY themes to Jewish association and identity, that are Jewish in substance even if rejecting Zionism.

      Zionism is an inherent component of the Jewish religion, but not necessarily in its political form. That was a choice to pursue, and is now a reality.

      The divorce from "my people" including Israel is significant when stated. If political ideology is what gets one to state "I am indifferent to fate of my family of family", that is a bad thing in my book.

      My vision of progressive is NOT a divorce from my own, but an intended kindness to beyond just my own.

      Whether one was a Zionist Jew living in Israel or an anti-Zionism Jew living in Israel, ALL afford themselves of the protection of law and protection of defense of the named Jewish state.

      I also experience some resentment when some invoke their Jewishness as immunity from accountability for dissenting words or actions, then reject the obligation to accept the presence, identification, or non-directly harming forms of identification of other Jews.

      I don't think Lillian was rejecting her Jewishness in conducting non-violent civil disobedience.

    • I'm a liberal Zionist Jew, who believes that the Jews in Israel are "my people" (in contrast to Phil's outburst a couple days ago).

      I believe that the obligation of "my people" is to be secure and kind, neither of which are the case currently. So, I work for both, for Israel to be more secure, and for Israel to be more kind and accepting both within and without.

      And, as I said, the flotilla was potentially an elegant (though expensive and very dangerous) method of civil disobedience, UNTIL weapons were used at all and definitively beyond self-defense in the Mari Mavmara.

      It is no longer an elegant method of civil disobedience.

      It is too costly and too dangerous to be used as the kind of patient, repetitive, limited civil disobedience. It is framed carelessly. As I said, the Meshal offer for an internationally controlled port was a path, but the flotilla itself is not one.

      So long as Hamas and other less organized factions retain the prominent "right to armed struggle", then the blockade will have justification, and breaking the blockade will be a functional support of Hamas, not distinguishable from support for the Gazan people, especially now that the virginity of strict non-violence is gone.

    • You are either very young, or not very informed John H.

      From 1948 - 1977 Israel was a liberal socialist state. Since then it has vacilated between right-wing governance and labor. In 1986, Israel had functionally annexed the West Bank and Gaza, making a single state. It assumed that no Palestinian state would emerge.

      Following the first intifada, Israelis en masse realized that Palestinians actually cared about their political status, and negotiated the Oslo accords and follow up which were different than previous.

      Since then, Israel has been divided, nearly equally between likud arguments and peace arguments. Until the second intifada, when the few hundred incidents of mass murder on Israeli streets created a much much much higher level of distrust of Palestinian intent.

      Israeli opinion can change again, if there is a path. If activists work for the fantasy of a single-state or rationalize aggression on Israeli civilians in any way, or if activists encourage Palestinian solidarity to never compromise, then it won't change.

      "Backbone" as to continuing "resistance" in this is more dangerous than peaceful patient assertion of rights that touch imagination and change hearts and minds.

      The decision to go to war in word, deed, violence, any of it, is a big decision, one that propels others into war. "Chicken-hawks".

    • Cliff,
      I'm glad that you stated your respect for identification as a people, even in diaspora.

    • She is a Jew. There is no good reason to question any basis of her commitment or association, even if residual, unless she herself renounces it.

    • Israel is certainly reformable. It takes respectful effort to accomplish, not the lame chicken-hawk effort to impose.

      You've got to persuade to make change.

    • You guys are really deluded. Clubs are weapons. They don't have to be guns. Its how they are used.

      Even punching back would be a violation of non-violent principles, and very bad press.

      Noone that has seen the many videos of the beating of some of soldiers rapelling down concludes that the Mari Mavmara was "simply" a non-violent civil dissent effort.

      Again, it was a gross mistake on their part.

      The Palestinian "freedom rides" are another case in point. They did one trip to demonstrate the segregation rather than a thousand disciplined, character-building, argument-building trips.

    • And, if there were no weapons used in attacking the soldiers dangerously rapelling onto the ship, then the claim that the mission was non-violent would have legs.

      Its a GREAT tragedy for an otherwise imaginative effort.

    • Israel is reformable.

      And, many of the desparations that Israel expresses are stimulated by real concerns, that cannot be dismissed as nothing, is one is to remain a compassionate soul.

      The Gaza flotilla effort was elegant in design, and less than elegant in application. Including the impatience of participants. Civil disobedience does not succeed overnight. In the case of the lunch counter sit-in's for example, there were hundreds of attempts, patiently attempted, jails filled, heads bruised, before it attracted any and then national media.

      100 entirely non-violent flotillas with an accompanying open Hamas offer to allow international mediation of Gazan ports, would succeed.

      Clear limited objective, frustrating but patient and determined nevertheless.

  • Israel is trying to hook us into a war with Iran-- Matthews and Baer speculate
    • They are certainly credible on the affects on Palestinian legal and diplomatic efforts.

    • You really don't consider the effects on Palestinian political efforts to be relevant?

    • link to

      PA shares Israel's nuclear Iran fears

      "Speaking in his Ramallah headquarters, Prime Minister Fayyad said that the Palestinians were "greatly harmed" by the Iranian leader's conduct. "

    • 'a terrible fear of blacks and gentiles'.

      Wierd. If I said that, I said it in relation to transitions and residual feelings that I remembered relative to relationships with close friends, what I learned in developing those relationships.

      There were quite a few in my "we"'s, those that 'conspired' to live an let live among them. In my essay a year ago on "who is a Jew?" I named all that conspire to humanize the other as part of the 'brit', though I wouldn't cause them any distress by saying so in those terms outwardly.

      Are you part of that 'brit', that conspiracy?

    • Who is "we", relative to Phil's outburst.

      Jews, American AND Israeli, are part of my understanding of "we".

      Hippies are part of my understanding of "we".

      Moralists are part of my understanding of "we".

      Advocates for live and let live are part of my understanding of "we".

      Residents of the Pioneer Valley are part of my understanding of "we".

      Americans are as well, but less so than the above for me. I vote, pay my taxes, comment on policies, but I still feel "different" in some ways. I feel "different" from all groups as well. Part of, different, and identifying all at the same time.

      You folks? What are you part of, what is it that you are, who is your primary "we", honestly?

      On the question of topic drift. Is Phil guilty of "threadjacking"?

      Thank you Annie for trying to get the discussion back to the article.

    • Your mother's very close friend is not "your people". Your mother and father when they visit are not "your people". My aunt when she visited was not "your people".

      What constructs "your people"?

      Family, neighbors, friends, political attitudes, country, colleagues, generation, what?

  • Ron Paul on Israel
    • "To me, this Paul quote says he’d be fine with Israel running wild."

      I was surprised by that quote as well.

      Did you consider my point earlier that as a constitutionalist, Ron Paul has declared that money in politics is constitutional protected free speech, and that as a constitutionalist, the president is duty-bound to implement the legislation passed by Congress (including war resolutions and other legislation that survives presidential veto).

  • Benny Morris dreams of a 'less Arab' Israel
    • My proposal contains compassion for people.

      The settlers also understand that they are living in their homeland, and the emotional ties are deep.

      Lets stop forced removal now. Lets not say, "this one is ok, but that one isn't.'

      In the case of the Jewish refugees following WW2, and then of those forced out of their Arab then home countries, if there was a path for them to exist anywhere else, then that would have made your argument that the Jews/Zionists are acting for a strictly political agenda, for intentional political expropriation.

      And, to the extent that there is no other path for Palestinians, they face the same dilemma. In the name of solidarity, they are not being allowed to migrate, or to remain where they live.

      In Lebanon and Syria, they are denied equal rights, as pronounced as the denial of equal rights in Palestine, but without the idiot-wind hilltop youth harrassment.

      The 67 borders make a home, a path. Equal rights for Palestinian Israelis make a path. Equal rights in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt make a path.

      Acceptance of the other makes a path.

    • "So let Israel show good faith by subsidizing 550,000 Palestinians willing to move into some choice property inside Israel."

      Its a proposal to state that "forced removal stops NOW", not later, not 'after this last one'.

    • Try considering what forcefully removing 550,000 PEOPLE means.

      Its not justifiable on political grounds, now, by your current advocacy.

      Try to find another way to accomplish self-governance for Palestinians than by cruelty to another, however motivated.

    • What I mean by "opposing the occupation" is that the state of Israel should not govern what occurs in the areas where Palestinians are the solid majority (West Bank, Gaza). That the land, and the people, should self-govern.

      I distinguish between the three critical issues of: sovereignty, title, and residence.

      I do so in a color-blind manner relative to Israel and to Palestine. In ALL cases, where people reside, unless there is a current compelling reason (not just an idea or an assertion) to remove a resident, I oppose it. It happens, but when applied en masse whether people have a "right" to be there, or not, it is a cruelty. The concepts of international law, that are asserted to be definitive on the subject of mass forced removal of an unwelcome population, are not definitive, and gravely risk repeating a gross injustice.

      I will NEVER take that risk of willingly undertaking what could be a gross cruelty in presuming that I know what international law compels, more to fulfil my emotional angers.

      Title issues remain, and greatly affect rights to residence and vice-versa. An imperfect title remains contested until a legal remedy is applied that perfects that title to a status of consented. (Not by all people, people can object to the legal determination indefinitely based on their own sense of individual or collective entitlement, but by the "reasonable man" test under the law.)

      All systems of law have some method of reconciling that discrepancy between what an emotional individual or emotional mob conclude and what is just, fair, heard.

      If you want a color-blind application of law, and not a mob-oriented application of law, you will give EVERYONE their day in court, and abandon all prejudicial judgments in favor of supportive arguments, hopefully based on real humanism (which values humans, not ideologiies).

    • We've both argued against settlement expansion North. Neither of our arguments have done any good yet.

      What do you think would affect a change in Israeli policy? Ranting and dividing around an issue, or unifying around an issue.

    • You guys should KNOW that I regard the forced dispossession of hundreds of thousands to be a cruelty. If necessary, then hold your noses and do it.

      Don't rationalize that it is inconsequential though, and then rant at me about 1948.

      The principle of residence over Israeli citizenship is critical. Allowing those that regard their residence in the land as more important than their Israeli citizenship, changes the nature of their residence from state expansion to personal residence.

      State expansion is unjust. Residence is civilian life.

    • Opposing the occupation, opposing the settlement expansion.

      What other allies could you possibly have?

    • They are bad because they shell civilians, in acts of collective punishment.

      They are bad (at war) because they publicly declare that they will never accept their neighbors' existence.

    • As Palestine will disappear in the sands of time.

      How is that relevant to actions and proposals made by otherwise intelligent people, to dissolve it?

    • The "three facts" relate to the Morris gang up.

    • Lets work to stop the expansion.

      Do you think that posing and then abusively repeating litmus test questions about the long past, to potential allies in that effort, helps or hurts your cause?

    • Cliff,
      If you hold a view of "I wish they just weren't there", I hope that you will acknowledge that that is the beginning of a genocidal permission.

      The standard applies to Zionists as well, and may apply to Morris, I don't know. I don't think so.

      The academic element of the question is about what happened 6 years before my birth. Most avoid the question. I stuck my neck out and applied the math of you have to cross a line to get from point a to point b.

      Most anti-Zionists also avoid the question of the ethnic cleansing intent of the organized Palestinian anti-Zionist movement and Arab League war of 1948.

      You (yes you) also ignore that academic question.

      On the REAL question of current status for Palestinians, I oppose the settlement expansion effort, as a state sovereignty extension.

    • There are a few facts that are difficult to reconcile, but must be:

      1. Israel exists, is not disappearing. Birth happened.
      2. The 67 borders, and moreso the maze of current settlement is far less defensible than the rectangle of river to sea.
      3. Palestinian in the West Bank are disenfranchised, don't have self-determination, self-government.

      So, how do you reconcile those three currently?

      The way that I do is the two-state solution.

      Many here hold the fantasy that from those tensions, the one that "solves" it is the removal of Israel, but that is similar to the same theme that willing genocidalists adopt, "I wish they weren't there".

      Better that we work towards creating an environment of mutual acceptance, acceptance of the people and their right to self-govern (Israelis AND Palestinians), and drop the fantasies that slip too damn close to wishing that the other didn't exist.

    • "In any event Witty, I’ve pointed out to you that the People’s Council only inserted those words because the UN had demanded it. "

      A loopy argument. Sometimes you speak intelligently, and then sometimes you project wildly.

      The declaration IS. Its like saying that the US declaration of independence doesn't mean that "all men are endowed with certain inalienable rights", because there was some prior discussion with some with different emphasis than the result.


    • "Peter Beinart

      For me being pro-Israel means helping Israel live out the words of its declaration of independence, which promises a Jewish state that will provide complete social and political equality, irrespective of race, religion and sex. I think that one could argue about how to interpret those documents, but American Jewish leaders too often equate being pro-Israel with supporting the policies of the Israeli government. If we think about how we approach being pro-America, we’re more likely to think in terms of helping America achieve the vision that’s set out in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, rather than just helping the government achieve its policies. Israel doesn’t have a constitution, but it does have a declaration of independence, so that should be our North Star in terms of our support. We want Israel to live up to its own principles.

      Peter Beinart is a senior political writer at The Daily Beast. His latest book is The Icarus Syndrome: How American Triumph produces American Tragedy.

      Benny Morris

      I live in Israel. When you live here, you are making a statement. You have the option to live elsewhere, but you chose instead to live in Israel. But the Israel I want to see is more humane, more open, less religious and—to put it frankly—less Arab. I want less input from the ultra-Orthodox and from the Arab minorities. The ultra-Orthodox are milking the state for all it’s worth without contributing to the collective, not serving in the army and, in most cases, not contributing to the economy (many don’t work and don’t pay taxes). Israeli-Arab society, which is 90 to 95 percent Muslim, is intolerant and treats women as inferior; honor killings are something of a norm; and, in general, the Arab minority—to listen to its leaders—rejects the idea of Jewish statehood. Both are intolerant and, if they had their way, would push Israel away from open, democratic, Western values.

      Benny Morris is professor of history at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His most recent book is One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict.

      What is your personal impression Phil. Are Arabs intolerant, mysoginist? Or, are some, and not others. Or, is the effort to generalize at all the error?

      This is old material anyway.

      A little different meaning than your snippet of Morris. He does equate Arab society with misogyny, and with rejection of Israel. That's what he says is the "less Arabs" that he'd like to see.

      Thanks for the appreciative words for Eric Alterman, who you earlier criticized more than sharply.

  • Israeli Supreme Court upholds discriminatory citizenship law: 'Human rights shouldn’t be a recipe for national suicide'
    • An interesting projection on your part.

      I argued that the law was unjust, and you rampage against me, because I find your comments intentionally and unnecessarily provocative, and in a way that will only stimulate reactionary sentiments in Israel.

      Good fighting stance.

      What Israel fears is deception. I argue that Israel is well-served by individuals that desire to join and contribute to the Israeli community, regardless of ethnicity, and should be accepted and invited, by marriage.

      If an individual desires to destroy the Israeli community, then they are not arriving to contribute, but to attack. I would fear that.

    • Good try at a "noble goal".

    • Its inhuman for Israel to base immigration of married families to reside in Israel on ethnic basis.

      The only potentially valid basis for exclusion would be clear (not ambiguous) evidence of intention to harm the community or the state.

      MLE's posts above are an indication of what Israel fears. (Maybe she is not who she says she is, or does not realize that what is written here is written and seen.)

    • MLE,
      That will enhance the resolve of the right to keep families divided.

      Why do you want to be a citizen of a state, of a community of people, that you apparently feel great hatred for?

    • The holocaust is past Chaos. In that sense it happened.

      It strongly motivated European, then Palestinian, and world Jewry to establish a state, in an effort that the holocaust never happen again.

      That formation of a state is a great good, and the shift from passive "just happen to us", to self-governance is also a great good, a liberation.

      That it motivated some to conclude that for them to survive, others must leave, is not a great good. That it motivates some to continue that sentiment, is not good.

      That it motivated Palestinians to firm up their national identity, and then to assert their desire for self-determination is also a good.

      The choice to a single state, is a choice to renounce Palestinian self-governance. That may be a great good, or it might be a fundamental compromise.

      It can only be confirmed by the consent of the governed, not by us "chicken-hawks".

    • MLE,
      I know you think that that is funny, rationalizable, but that you even suggest that it be done intentionally, will cause much much more harm than good.

  • "Didn't we learn anything from 1938?' Wasserman Schultz's opposition says Palestinians belong in Jordan
    • Its a stupid comparison.

      All nationalism contains nationalism, is all you said.

      Brilliant and effective analysis.

      Zionism is the assertion of nation-hood, people-hood, simply.

      A liberation.

  • Ron Paul gets respect
    • There is an irony with Ron Paul's large following among the military.

      That is that he desires to GREATLY shrink the military budget, number of personnel, I assume benefits, institutional status in the country (personal respect, smaller political and economic importance).

      That is a good thing that the military, as in military industrial complex and military itself shrinks in emphasis.

      I just find it an irony that so many military personnel might willingly vote themselves out of a job or benefits, with no job to come home to.

      The concept of defending one's country rather than one's countries interests, is appealing.

      But, that logic also says 'damn the realists' who frame their arguments in terms of America's interests, usually meaning economic.

    • I'm sure that Coolidge meant well. It was his ideas and policies and those of Congress that created havoc.

      How do you conclude that the Great Depression was "engineered"? Do you understand how that makes you sound?

      The rich get richer because of their rate of return, that results from a transfer of wealth from working people/activity to owning.

      It is natural and comprised of four features:

      1. Time value of money - What someone would be willing to accept today, for a $1 in a year, independent of risk and comparable return from other investments.
      2. Prevailing rate of return - What people seek for their money, affected by comparable return from other investments.
      3. Inflation - What people need to earn to keep up with inflation.
      4. Risk - Some premium for the degree of risk that an investment won't honor its obligations, or decline in value, or experience volatility

      Each of those represents a transfer of assets from work to ownership, slowly, but persistently.

      The libertarian view speeds that process up, geometrically, until the pond half-full is full (the old story of pond algae doubling every year, from 1/128th of the pond in year 1, to 1/64th in year 2, to 1/32nd in year 3, to 1/16th in year 4, to 1/8th in year 5, to 1/4 in year 6, to 1/2 in year 7; 7/128ths of the pond covered in the first three years - 6+%, 7/8 in the last three -87.5%).

      We need widely distributed capital, not centralized, abstractly "sound money" or unsound.

      Hence we need redistributive taxation that creates public assets, and provides socially originated capital for intentionally decentralized new enterprise.

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