Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3861 (since 2009-12-08 10:00:12)

ritzl

One summer in Germany, a while back, I met many returning US kibbutzim. The exuberance and energy was affecting. Influenced by that, a few months later in college I started to physically protest/jeer from the Israeli perspective. On one occasion we all headed to the Cleveland City Club to hear and jeer Chomsky. Between our interruptions (which he handled gracefully with a "noted" and went on), I heard him speak about water theft. For some reason, being as swept up in the Uris-like glow about Israel as I was, I had never heard (listened?) or asked about anything remotely disturbing about Israel. Afterward I started asking basic questions like, "If this is true, how can one people do this to another people, and we cheer it on?" and got few even marginally responsive answers. All the contradictions between Israel-reality and Israel-myth that appear here, were present even then. The veil was pierced and my perspective flipped almost immediately. It was the '70s, Kent State, and we were supposed to be FOR civil rights. FOR everybody. I felt grossly stupid and more than a little betrayed. My former physical tactics and experience mirror what goes on here an in the larger net world. I understand the desperate need (by Israel) to clamp the lid down hard (and keep it clamped) on the deeply troubling reality of everyday Palestinian life. It also suggests that just one little glimmer of reality that gets through can make a difference, one person at a time. One never knows which glimmer that might be...

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  • 'NYT' blames Hamas for civilian deaths in front-page article that sounds like Hillary Clinton
    • How does building tunnels inside Gaza justify bombing civilian neighborhoods again?

      I know the contorted-beyond-all-recognition logic that asserts that it does, but does it actually?

      This acceptance of the completely psychopathic Israeli killing mentality as a normal/immutable/driving condition of life in Gaza is ultumately going to come to be known as "Gaza Syndrome. "Don't build tunnels near me!" is not a criticism of Hamas, it's a simple [generational?] survival mode based on past experience with Israel's Golda Meir-ish glee at slaughtering Palestinian children by the hundreds for no reason whatsoever - and repeatedly watching the world say that psychopathy just fine and dandy (or alternately, watching the blood drip from George Stephanopoulos' smiling mouth as he calls slaughtering children, "Mowing the Grass.)

      At some point all that environmental psychopathy-as-normal has got to shift your priority from what's right to what's survivable.

      Sadly in the case of Gaza it doesn't matter. Israel doesn't need a reason (or can create one instantly) to slaughter children in Gaza. There is no stopping it, nor is there a way for residents to position themselves away from harm.

      Has the world ever seen a concentration camp population of millions of people subjected to this treatment for years and years? Don't think so.

      Yup. Gaza Syndrome.

  • 'Clinton scares the generals' -- Democratic Party divides over foreign policy
    • Yeah. I wonder what the overlap is between the Koch-funded/directed astroturf Tea Party and the Israeli Lobby-funded/directed astroturfCUFI. If the overlap is significant or substantial (likely, imo), who's voting orders will they follow ultimately?

      So many strange/new forces and realignments in play this time. It's hard to see political things staying the same. Hopefully whatever changes gives us a vision and opening and energy and resolve, and maybe most importantly, some sense of synergistic political cross-spectrum common purpose (there are enough common hurts/themes being echoed by Sanders and Trump to suggest a "we're all in this together" sense could bubble up) at the grassroots level to do things that can make the world slightly better for everyone instead of always vastly worse.

      It could happen.

    • I watched "Washington Week" last Friday and the panel appeared absolutely jittery when discussing this election. They kept saying the same old same old CW, but seemed to realize (but strangely never state) that it didn't apply this time. It's like they kept wishing for it to apply because they were so devoid of analytical skills due to years of steno/group-think that they feared being totally lost if it didn't. Very bizarre but strangely encouraging behavior in an obliquely optimistic sort of way.

      Sanders provides a new funding model for the Dems. Nobody understands its implications either. Could be this is the election where EVERYTHING changes, on both sides.

  • How Eli Lake tricks readers so as to cast realists Walt, Mearsheimer and Freeman as anti-semites
    • Re: "...no longer neatly aligns with party politics..."

      It might be better to say Israel-as-foreign-policy-centerpiece is being forced outside party politics. To half the Dem base it's a moral affront and to a big part of the Rep donor class it's a business loser.

      When suppprting Israel becomes a net loser in both parties, what happens then? It's happening.

    • Well said.

      To Be Continued.

    • Another excellent takedown, Yakov. And thanks so much for the Koch connection.

      ------

      Hey Bandolero, Yakov suggests/lays out the answer to your Koch-Sessions-Trump connection question to me last week (that I couldn't answer).

      Extrapolating a bit, I suspect that non-Jewish Republican business interests/influencers are getting leery of having their interests explicitly subordinated to Jewish, zero-sum, pro-Israel interests/influencers. Opening Iran (or the "virulent" [ :) ] aversion to doing so) is perhaps the biggest and brightest example of this subordination.

      I speculated about this potential unease when Cruz stood in front of a hometown oilpatch crowd in Houston and promised to appease Israel by discounting the energy crowd's business interests to flat zero. I used to work for one of those oil billionaires (never met any of them but the Bush family and some admin cohorts were personal friends from Houston 1. Presbyterian) in a 5-person office for a couple years* and they're not used to being subordinated much or for very long - politically speaking.

      That's just a partial and anecdotal read of a complex set of politics, but I think you're asking the right questions and making highly plausible deductions.

      The Trump game/hustle is interesting. I pray it doesn't get a million people killed. Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but even that wispy prayer may be somewhat answered by the competing interests of (as pabelmont sez...) Big Zion (perpetual war) and Big Oil (exploitable stability). What "side" the MIC comes down on this process is an unknown because I believe MIC players have interests in both instability and stability (oil PLUS weapons to Iran may tip that balance?).

      Sorry for straying pretty far OT. Bringing it back to Yakov's article, this Eli Lake (anti-semites!) v. Koch Bros (F$k off) exchange may be a micro opening salvo of a coming macro public debate between the BZ v. BO interests/influencers.

      Again, thanks Yakov. Good stuff.

      -
      * Sorry to keep doing that, but I've had kind of a couple of insightful, Forrest Gump-like/serendipitous intersections with some powerful people that seem relevant. Just insight, not expertise. And that's all I have to say about that. :)

  • New Jersey anti-BDS bill is an affront to the first amendment and basic human rights
    • Oops. To continue:

      4. Any other company that has withdrawn from the Israeli market or, indeed, failed to enter the Israeli market. [my emphasis]- See more at: link to mondoweiss.net

      Bingo! And as you point out in the article, decided by whom? The same "independent" panel/star chamber that reviewed the McGraw-Hill textbook map?

      These anti-BDS efforts will only/CAN ONLY have the effect of drying up investment in Israel. No rational business decision making process is going to risk being shut out of a large market (state business in ~20 states; pop. ~150,000,000) because it may withdraw from a puny market (Israel) for any reason whatsoever - "validity" of said reason determined by person or persons unknown.

      Prediction: These anti-BDS moves will go away. Constitutional issues: Strikes 1-3. Unintended consequences: Strikes 4-27.

    • Brilliant!

      Boycotts, such as those against Israel, do not make for effective business decision making, prevent a business from making the best use of the resources available to it and should be opposed as an impairment to the soundness of commercial contracting performance. - See more at: link to mondoweiss.net

      What a joke.

  • Aymen Odeh and the Joint List stand to gain if Herzog joins Netanyahu government
    • Great report Allison. Thanks for keeping tabs on these potentially profound developments.

      Does Jewish Israel have any more feet left to shoot?

      IIRC, wasn't one reason Herzog declined to join a unity government in the first place specifically to avoid just this scenario? To prevent Odeh from having the specific rights accorded to the opposition LEADER? I could be wrong about that, but if correct, these feelers must mean the Jewish-Israeli body politic is really, REALLY between the proverbial rock and hard place and sees a pretty face for foreign consumption as more beneficial than enabling an official alternate view to be simultaneously presented to the same audience. Interesting and encouraging, imo.

      Odeh is one savvy and disciplined pol.

      The big question is whether notionally disaffected Jewish-Israeli voters will vote for a true democratic alternative to Israel's rightward lurch - even though that alternative is an (ugh?!) Palestinian citizen of Israel. TBD.

  • Liberal Zionist group calls for 'Obama Parameters' to resolve conflict (but no real pressure on Israel)
    • Now wait a second, just. Sarah is the person we're trying to convince by speaking nicely to and/or about Zionists and Zionism. We're supposed to make her feel comfortable enough to see the proverbial light.

      Then and only then, I suppose the reasoning goes, will she move toward the light and leave her "residence ... in a stolen property / on stolen land / in a JSIL taxpayer funded settlement..." and give it back to the Palestinian family that she stole it from.

      Yup by golly, it just might work...

    • J Street is firmly against BDS AND doing nothing.

      What a clown circus they are. :P

  • A brief history of the 'Nakba' in Israel
    • I don't think they even realize they're doing it, James Michie. I really don't.

      The Israeli PoV and phrasing which holds that Palestinians are "invented" whiners who need to get a life (with the subtextual assumed condescension of "like we Jews did [but without displacing us]") is all they know - all they have ever known. Some may be trying to break out of that pattern (arguably like this article), but the rethink and self-awareness required to do that seems to almost always fall well short of enough.

      That's not a defense.

      Perhaps someone (a Palestinian) could write an article that mirrors the Robert Cohen "How to talk to Zionists" piece which explicitly lays out these many phrasing traps. Hopefully that would help Jews-who-want-to-help - who have been encultured in this dismissive PoV from birth - stop habitually describing Palestinians as some lesser "other" with corresponding lesser issues.

  • Hillary Clinton supported Iraq war because of Israel, say Matthews and Landler
    • Then the Dem ptb will think harder about it all next time - and do better.

      If they don't do better - more forcefully representat an alternate, non-plutocratic message - they'll lose again.

      Eventually someone will get the message.

  • Israeli settlements 'screwed up' Kerry peace talks, Indyk says--but U.S. is still Israel's lawyer!
    • Why is it significant when Martin Indyk states the obvious? The obvious that literally hundreds of people have stated before him?

      Does this mean more and more insiders are becoming self-aware, questioning their own self-imposed futility, and in so doing may be willing to contemplate (or, God forbid, adopt) alternate, non-futile behavior? To what end? In what time frame?

      Or is this a form of "we do (did) it because we can (could)" outgoing, self-inflating braggadocio on the part of a person who knowingly made himself as irrelevant as fish fur (and demonstrates why and how in this interview)?

      I can't tell.

      There seemed to be the barest hint of sadness about Indyk, so maybe that's a clue.

  • The Making of Israel: Zionist settler colonialism in historic Palestine
  • When the Knesset comes to town
    • Maybe Matt Lee can ask about this omission at the next State Department press briefing.

      Suggestion tweeted.

    • I also wonder if these Jewish MKs were asked something about such hate crimes and if they had any advice for Chapel Hill's efforts (I can only assume there are some) to prevent future tragedies (I also assume the Chapel Hill city council believes those murders WERE a tragedy. Who knows given this panel.)

    • Great point about the Joint List, just.

      I wonder how the third largest party in Israel got left out by the planners od this "Democracy in Action" event. I wonder if the Chapel Hill city council has been made aware of this giant oversight.

      BTW wasn't Chapel Hill the city where those three Muslim kids were murdered for being Muslim? One would think city government would be hyper-sensitive to such an apparently intentional omission.

  • Palestinians on Nakba Day 2016 -- Defiant, Undeterred and Organizing
    • Great article. Great resources.

      "...the global intifada that is BDS."

      Bingo!

      It's really hard to contemplate that the new expulsions show the Nakba is ONGOING. That shows that Israel does not now and never has sought a livable, if contentious, stasis in this conflict, let alone a formal and just resolution.

      People who mouth the words "Jewish self-determination" nowadays, in year 68, should be laughed at loudly and at length. Israel today is just a covetous, insatiable land/resource grab, nothing more.

  • Michael Ratner was dedicated to radical social change, with humor and humility
    • Great man. RIP.

      I hope Mr. Ratner continues to live on in you Phil, and the others he affected similarly.

      And at the risk of being flippant, I hope he can now work his magic on the Big Guy that He might get His act together.

  • Human Rights group: Gaza power crisis has led to death of 29 Palestinians, mostly children, since 2010
    • Israel may be the only voluntarily totalitarian state the world has ever known.

      Pure non-coerced narrow-bandwidth group-think. With nukes.

  • Sabeel BDS conference pits local church against Jewish community leaders
    • If Litwak is so adamant about bringing Palestinians and Jews together to do whatever, why didn't he attend (or ask to attend) the Sabeel conference?

      Answer: He's NOT interested. It's just another bad-faith attack mode.

      These people are so full of sh*t.

      Nice reasoned response (sincerely). I'll never understand how people (obviously my betters) can try to reactively reason with people who lead with accusations of racism and bigotry for no apparent or meaningful reason.

      What would happen if someone called Litwak a bigot and a liar - reactively or proactively, with or without cause? Would he respond reasonably - turn the proverbial "other cheek" as a man of faith - or would he declare war?

      Idk, this deference seems almost self-perpetuating. Perhaps there's a reason for that. Does it promote progress? Again, sincerely. I know the theories but I really don't know the answer.

  • 'Either Assad or we'll burn the country' - An excerpt from 'Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War'
    • Thanks for the Syrian Perspective site rec, Egbert.

    • Good question ToivoS. Good question.

      I'm pretty sure you've seen this but others may not have (another probing and supported Moon of Alabama piece):

      The "Free Syrian Army" Media Efforts Are A British Government Operation

      link to moonofalabama.org

    • Thanks oldgeezer. I'm a bit of a hothead so when someone like you (and pabelmont) says "Assad must go" it really makes me ask myself what I'm missing. So I figured I'd ask, you. :)

      Such unnecessary yet completely foreseeable (i.e. avoidable) death and sadness in Syria. I don't know what to say about it anymore, except that you and people like you should be the ones writing about this for mass distribution instead of the peoole who are.

      Peace.

    • Much respect, oldgeezer (sincerely), but when you say "Assad must go" do you mean after he is voted out in an election, post hostilities/liberal intervention?

      It may be that his resistance, however brutal, to the MORE brutal, head-chopping Saudi/Qatar/Turkey/US/Israel-funded, Salafist, sadistic displacers of half the population of Syria (there were zero refugees/IDPs before this nightmare coup attempt) will make him the highly-electable "Saviour of Syria" for as long he wants to hold that position. When this is over he will have literally saved 20-25M Syrians from being sadistically ruled by ISIS.

      What happens then? Do we start the process/violence all over again? If Assad voluntarily steps aside at some appropriate point is the next guy going to be strong enough to keep ISIS out?

      How much brutality can be/would be/will be forgiven by a population that was just saved from a prolonged, living nightmare?

      I think these, and more, are all legitimate questions that have to be asked and answered before calling for Assad's ouster. We've seen, and more importantly Syrians have lived, what's behind the mirror in Syria.

      In any event, all this death and destruction is almost certainly not about Assad. He's just the latest media excuse in the entire post-WWII history of western destabilization of Syria - democracy, authoritarian, no matter.

      RFK, Jr.: link to politico.com

    • Three words: Moon of Alabama.

      For example, just today: "Charles Lister [Brookings Institution - Doha]Asks 'Moderate Rebels' To Hide Their Cooperation With Al-Qaeda"

      link to moonofalabama.org

    • Thanks HarryLaw.

  • Don't say the Z-word
    • Thanks Mooser.

    • Great article.

      This reasoning is irrationally arrogant or oblivious...or something:

      The aim of this is obvious – if it would be impossible to discuss Zionism and Judaism separately, Zionism could become an unchallenged representation of Jews all over the world.

      I totally agree that the "aim ... is obvious." The question raised by that goal is, how can anyone think they have such control over 7B other independently-thinking people on the planet to even remotely think it could be made "impossible" to discuss, well, anything.

      7B people are just going to tell them to piss off and discuss away, in any way they see fit.

      The arrogance that must exist in order to even conceive the notion that somehow any significant number of people are going to give a rat's ass when someone tells them they can't use the word Zionist is truly breathtaking, alternate-reality kind of stuff. These guys are assuming power that doesn't exist while abusing good faith that does. Bad combination.

      Ho hum.

  • Human rights advocates attend RE/MAX shareholder meeting to demand that the global real estate giant stop selling homes in illegal Israeli settlements
    • But if RE/MAX pulls out at the urging of these protests they will be [prospectively] denied state contracts in 20 or so anti-BDS states.

      Oh dear. What's an evil corporate giant to do?

      A: Don't START doing business in Israel.

      BTW, great action. You all are amazing!

  • Calling Israel a 'modern day miracle' and 'vibrant bloom in desert,' Clinton says BDS is anti-Semitic
    • Thanks, just.

      He's a major player in rights advocacy.

      He posted his permit on instagram, eh? How cool-savvy is that?

    • Hey Sibiriak, I still owe you a response. Sorry for the delay. Tough questions.

    • Link didn't work for me, ckg.

      EI: link to electronicintifada.net

      The Israelis really don't seem to care how they look anymore and /or they're out of options. BDS is working and the pervasive thug-state mentality doesn't seem to reason past, "Do what I say or I'll kill you."

      Israel doesn't handle free people well or at all.

      Bringing it back to Clinton, neither, apparently, does she. She and Israel deserve each other. Heck, maybe she could be first non-Jewish PM of Israel. Oh but wait, she's not the right ethnicity. I wonder if she stops to ponder that irony in between her pro-Israel huckstering.

    • Clinton doesn't care how many corpses she has to walk over to become the first female US President.

      The bitter irony is that if she DID care, even the tiniest little but, she would be a shoo-in.

  • Miko Peled's viral video
    • Just curious Yakov (not a poke at all), why did it take you until recently to see this presentation? It's probably one of the best, if not THE best, primers on this conflict.

      I'm always intensely interested in what peoples' turning points are on this issue.

      Thanks for reiterating it.

  • Reebok backtracks on Israel Independence Day-inspired sneaker (Updated)
    • Heh. More like immediate!

      Looks like Israeli bad acts have become generally accepted as bad acts, or at least as highly problematic. No internal deliberations required. At least at Addidas/Reebok.

    • This IS a shoe that commemorates a tragedy.

  • A new proposal for confederated states (without any idea of how to get Israel to comply)
    • @Olive, so assuming Sodastream values its Palestinian employees, why can't they work in the plant wherever it's located?

      Why did ANY Palestinians have to lose their jobs from a plant move?

      Sounds like BDS had absolutely nothing to do with their job loss. Must be something else.

      I think what you meant to say is that Palestinians may be leery of BDS because Israel and Israeli institutions always exact some form of severe yet completely unwarranted retribution for being compelled to do the most basic right, moral, just, and legal of things.

  • US Jews adopted 'deferential' relationship to Israel, and tabooed dissent so as to preserve US gov't support
    • Oh silamcuz. The "drop in the bucket" argument is so. completely bogus. It's the classic, non-specific argument of a generalist.

      Budgets are built from the bottom up for a reason. Line item by line item, expressed in specific absolute dollar amounts (not percentages of some top line whole) they're built matching discrete needs to fungible resources. So your amorphous and therefore argumentatively unassailable/meaningless "big picture" is actually made up of many many understandable and discussable/hotly debated/influence-vulnerable granular "small pictures." This is actually pretty close to how it works in an Admin and eventually in Congress.

      One of those discrete "small pictures" is foreign aid. Another is healthcare for rural/poor America. Same cost (1/50 of just Israel's aid, using Senate math, is $120M, which just happens to be the projected FY2017 shortfall here), one is a dire domestic need affecting millions of voters nationally. One has "foreign" in its name.

      Like I said, simple math. Cut, cut, cut.

      Now let's talk about $Ts in perpetual war costs and an egregiously and equally perpetually underfunded VA system. There, "big picture" and "small picture" politics actually meet through a hearty, public, national "Thank you for your sacrifice. We just decided to send the cost of your rehab to Israel. All the best [and btw are you free for the next Super Bowl halftime]!" policy and funding disconnect.

      Shorter version: The glaring budget disconnects and/or political subtexts are not ignorable anymore. Budget adjustments are coming. Timing TBD.

      YMMV.

    • Well, I think that the fact that you find it ridiculous is ridiculous. I guess it's a wash.

      A discretionary $6B a year to Israel means people in Alabama (and elsewhere) die. Many people. Not ridiculous, simple math. Very simple math. Cause - effect. Zero sum. People in Alabama are dying so Israel can kill Palestinians AND give all its citizens universal health care. How long do you think that goes unnoticed politically?

      Even one of our far-right Senators (Sessions) has made that connection and is against sending more aid to Israel.

    • Great last paragraph.

      Following on that and hopefully underscoring it, there are crossing dynamics in play on this issue wrt destructive Jewish influence (not all Jewish influence is destructive) and assimilation/ease/"can't happen here" agnosticism and/or apathy about that forced-participation (for non-Jews and Jews alike) deadly, destructive inluence:

      A) This destructive, forced-participation influence is like a large and growing pool of gasoline. Non-Jews are going off to kill and be killed in perpetual war largely to benefit Israel. Alabama Medicaid is in danger of throwing tens of thousands of people off the roles in an effort to remain solvent. Millions of people are either paying, or at risk of paying, a deadly personal price for this selfish influence. People aren't going to put up with watching their kids wither away and die while a country with universal health care gets $Billions of their tax dollars in perpetuity.

      There are many examples of this latent anger in terms of both causes and objects. Immigrants, blacks, Muslims, anybody different or new has felt this anger in our ugly US history. The dots haven't been connected yet on Jews and Israel, but the dots are beginning to stand out...waiting.

      B) Competing with (A) in the race to see which happens first is the bluntness of the intra-Jewish debate. The really delicate and perilous intra-Jewish conundrum is, as PW points out, that the necessary bluntness absolutely required to participate (with the rest of us) in offsetting the destructive Jewish influence and not be glommed together with it, is conditional on Jewish feelings of assimilation and acceptance.

      It's almost a paradox, but not quite. Sites like MW and commenters like mooser, talknic (ie. blunt without necessarily needing "community", or any, acceptance*), and so many other courageous Jewish voices here and out there prevent it from being a paradox. I have to say articles like the recent Robert Cohen "advice" article (link to mondoweiss.net) solidify, intentionally or otherwise, this paradox and ensure that (A) wins and the harshness is imposed from the outside. Understating for effect, that is NEVER a good thing.

      I honestly don't know which dynamic becomes operative. As the Trump campaign shows, there's some pretty hairy political flammability percolating up. People are seriously hurting and looking for answers (or pots of money for remedies). Even so, this is irresistible force - immovable object kind of stuff, at least at the moment. But the immovable object (blanket Jewish support for Israel) may be becoming slightly less immovable. Slightly.

      Dangerous stuff. One poignant and specific Letter to the Editor from a distraught parent of a dying child in Dothan, AL could be the political match.

      -----
      * This takes such profound personal courage and, yes, sumud. Kinda like Jewish hijabis walking around in a pretty uncertain, if not overtly hostile, environment.

  • Donald Trump has one proposal to unite a fractured Republican party -- Islamophobia
    • W.Jones, re: the "the occupied territories" question in that vid.

      That was strangely out of left field-ish. Other than my rants here on MW, I haven't really seen that brought up in the pro-Palestinian blogosphere. I'm not really exhaustively informed, so that's not to say it hasn't been duscussed elsewhere. But something made it enough of an niggle that it morphed into a total-subscription/true-believer gaging question posed to a US presidential candidate.

      If it hasn't been discussed much other than here it means those pro-Israel questioner types read Mondoweiss in depth - and take it seriously. That's kinda cool.

      Cheers.

    • The audio was pretty bad so I didn't get the full effect. I'll listen to it again. The parts I did get were pretty rambling in a slobberingly pandering sort of way, so it's hard for me to tell what's "meaningful" or not in anything Trump says.

    • Thanks W.Jones. Very bizarre, or scary, or normal, or something.

  • Students explain why they protested Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat at San Francisco State University
    • Heroes!

      "To us, intifada means..." Skip the "to us" part. Too apologetic. Intifada means what it means, and it's not just to you. It means struggle/"shaking off" to most normal people outside your insatiable accusers' little circle of lie fabricators and rights crushers.

      Palestine will be free! Universal suffrage is the key!

      Yeah, keeping my day job, but that way (or similar) of expressing the sentiment specifically eliminates any fabricated allusion to violence. What's more American than universal suffrage, and what's more quintessentially Israeli than the total ABSENCE of it (especially/topically in Barkat's mayoralty).

  • Israeli siege causes Gaza sewage crisis that now threatens Israel
    • Yup. Here are the major currents in the Med in June:

      link to i1012.photobucket.com

      or,

      link to encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com

      Right up the Gaza coast to Israel, complete with its strain of MRSA unique to Gaza. This casts those beautiful Tel Aviv beaches in an entirely different light.

      Someone should give Karma a nudge and publicize this flow.

      Double Karma because what are the Israelis going to do about it, bomb the offending Gaza infrastructure [cue bitter laughter]?

      I had an engineer friend a while back who used to say, "Mother Nature is a hard hearted bitch with a sick sense of humor." Seems to apply here.

  • Advice to British leftwingers on kicking racism out of their anti-Israel rhetoric
    • Thanks JLD.

    • I agree with the notion that some craft and discipline is required to argue and persuade on this issue, BUT...

      What audience do these rules seek to accommodate and/or influence?

      Hardcore Zionists follow none of them. Is being nice and civil meant to make those racist zealots reevaluate their positions?

      The "beartraps" are not of the left's making. They're created and sprung PRN by Zionists intent on derailing ANY debate on the wrongness of their perverse, virulently racist, 19.C ideology. These Zionist traps are career-ending, ad hoc, power-flexing strawmen that are vastly more vicious than anything Shah or Livingstone said (and what Livingstone said was just flat out brain-dead stupid). Why does this article accept that viciousness as a metaphysical/environmental/unavoidable/insatiable given and counsel "the left" to avoid what everyone who has ever argued this issue knows is simply unavoidable.

      I don't understand the calculus of that presumption.

      I wonder how many Palestinians were killed on the day these transgressions were uttered.

      The problem is Corbyn's pro-Palestinian leanings. The charges of Labour "anti-semitism" are just backfill to thwart that tendency. No amount of playing nice would or could change that or dissuade the zealots from making something up to suit their perceived need. The pile-on charges of "pervasive" are all anyone needs to understand that fact.

      Zionist accusers follow ZERO rules of etiquette to accomplish their goals, so it's really hard to accept any counsel other than, "If they grab your rhetorical balls, you punch them in the rhetorical throat." Any other response is a loser. Not fighting back* is a far worse negative influencer to a far larger audience than not being unilaterally nice is to the much smaller audience this article seems to be concerned with influencing.

      --

      * That does NOT mean using Nazi analogies, it means a "mistakes were made...moving on"/dismissive response commensurate with the severity of the infraction and the sincerity of the accusation which in this case were not very and not at all, respectively.

      -----

      So, assuming everyone reading this adopts all these recommendations completely all the time:

      - Who are we going to convince?
      - What will be the real-world effect of convincing them?
      - How long will it take to: a) convince them; and, b) realize those effects?
      - How many Palestinians will have been killed during this process?

      There's so much more to say on this - what the factual nature of "nice"/civility is. Why sugarcoating the harsh factual daily reality of Palestinian life - no matter who it upsets - serves no one's interest. etc. Maybe others will say it.

      talknic started to get into the open-ended, ever-expanding definition of "self-determination" hogwash. That's a great start.

      Articles like this say (probably unwittingly, but that's yet another discussion) to Palestinians, "Just hang in there for another generation. Help really is on the way [this time]." It's very disheartening.

  • UN agency says Israeli ban on cement preventing reconstruction in Gaza
    • How much is "1000s and 1000s?"

      See, here's the math on reconstruction:

      1 tiny multi-story apartment unit or single family home (4 x 10cm x 8m x 2.5m walls + a 15cm x 8m x 8m floor; ~600sf) takes about 40,000 lbs/20 tons of concrete to build.

      There were at least 10,000 of these type of units totally destroyed in 2014 alone. That's 400,000,000 lbs/200,000 US tons of concrete required just to replace the completely destroyed units. That leaves nothing for repairing damaged units or hospitals or schools etc.

      If it's "1000s and 1000s" meaning say 10,000 tons, that's 500 homes rebuilt - in two YEARS.

      If it's 1000s and 1000s" meaning say 1,000,000 tons (1,000 x 1,000) that's 50,000 homes or equivalent rebuilt and who's complaining about that.

      "1000s and 1000s" is meaningless. What's YOUR concrete number?

  • Defending Israel, PEN says it can't support 'cultural boycotts of any kind' -- but it does!
    • I may not say this right because it kinda contrarian but BDS may be having a good, constructive, sneaky, backdoor, inexorable, environmental, osmotic effect that will eventually envelope Israel.

      Because so many of the Nossels and her pro-Israel funders are personally and painfully affected by BDS targeting Israel, their BDS-induced sense of discomfort and external compulsion instructs them to use the tactic everywhere THEY can. They're adopting and legitimizing BDS as a universal tactic because they're just so darn pissed off that it's being used on them, and maybe/hopefully without sensing they are doing so.

      It's then only a matter of time before this, by then, perfected political tactic is accepted by EVERYONE for use on Israel. This could be like the movie "Ghostbusters" where Israel chooses (is choosing) and strengthens the method of its own ultimate compulsion.

      BDS could be Israel's very own giant Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man.

      link to casinoskunk.files.wordpress.com

  • 14-year-old Palestinian girl shot, 12-year-old Palestinian girl tortured after alleged attacks
    • From the Dima Al Wawi ordeal:

      "The courts also demanded a 25,000 shekel (Dh24,400) fine, knowing that her father had his work permit in Israel revoked after Dima’s arrest. The judge then requested that our family put our land up as collateral."

      In order to acquire Palestinians land for settlement expansion it looks like the Israelis arrest 12-year olds, torture them into some admission, then get the family to bond their land to free her.

      What a sick racket. What a sick country.

  • Trump and the war for 'Western Values'
    • Bandolero,

      Sorry to ramble on about this but there is perhaps an illustrating specific behind Sessions "brainstorm."

      Back in 2007-8 Alabama was starting to make an unrepentant rightward fundy legislative shift (kinda like NC's anti-LGBT law today). We have several foreign auto companies here providing $20/hr jobs plus ripples that we otherwise couldn't/wouldn't create for ourselves. Mercedes in particular started making noises that they might pull out if that shift continued. The shift was mitigated out of state self-interest.

      In current Trump-Sessions terms, those jobs are here because the state has doled out hundreds of $Ms in "incentives" to lure them here and keep them here. That is a huge drain on the state budget and will never be recovered through the proclaimed economic development that was supposed to result (some has, but it's been a net loser). Sessions has to get money to subsidize working-class jobs from somewhere an foreign aid is a big bucket of money that can be tapped for that purpose. Call it "low hanging fruit." Completely in his comfort zone to advocate despite his pro-Israel leaning.

      IDK. Sorry for all the chit chat. I just think these same local issues and forces are in play elsewhere and may become a broader, durable, and exploitable political influence in US politics wrt Israel. I think that dynamic may be exploitable by even by we little people with some "rabble-rousing" populist LTEs or something. The political receptivity to that or similar connections (on foreign aid at least) seems to be growing.

      Now if someone can combine Bernie's campaign funding method with right wing designs on the foreign aid budget, maybe something changes substantially and/or for real, more to the benefit of the rest of us.

      Maybe.......

    • Hi Bandolero. I hate to start out with a "lol" but "Is Sessions the brain behind it?" is a classic lol. :)

      He always seemed pretty "windblown" to me. Shelby's staff at the time considered him a "picker of low hanging fruit" (literally said to me). No love lost there but they were pretty open and blunt about it to me, an accepted outsider but an outsider nonetheless, so I can only speculate how they "really" felt.

      That's why I was surprised about this "change" (at least to my lapsed perceptions).

      I Bing-ed "jeff sessions Israel policy" and some of the legislative history results/articles showed him to be staunchly pro-israel, anti- foreign aid, anti-immigrant, and seemingly pro- working class.

      We're a dirt poor state in DIRE financial straits so my lapsed but semi-knowledgeable guess (and a guess is all it is) is that those last three finally outweighed certainly increased but maybe even continued foreign aid to everyone, including Israel. I can see where the devastating economic conditions here would tip the politics in that direction. Even (maybe especially) "windblown" right-wing politics. The confluence is compelling.

      So back to brains, in Trump he seems to have found a national conduit for those compelling local political forces. Trump gives him national cover as well. Motive and opportunity. I can see where he would stick his neck out in that situation. He (Sessions) may be responding to pressing needs in a typically reflexive/myopic right-wing way and written that speech. The good news byproduct is that aid to Israel, as a giant source of cash, gets de-prioritized as an offset to working-class voter angst (our Alabama Medicaid system is so broke the state leg is talking about throwing thousands of desperately needy people off the eligibility list) in this specific current confluence of local needs and national opportunities.

      Is that "brains?" Maybe of a sort. But yeah he could well have pulled all this together. It's all thematic Trump politics with a local backdrop that Sessions could easily and sorta factually provide.

      I mostly agree with you on the Trump hustle. The mostly is because I can only desperately hope it's true because he's likely our next President. I/nobody knows for sure except Trump's inner circle. I'm much less certain about it than you. But given my modest past-life access described at the beginning of this comment, I've seen similar machinations (though DECIDEDLY less grand and impactful) form and play out. The hustle could be very real, but Trump could also be dragging all the rest of us tasty morsels behind the tiger he's riding.

      Scary stuff. A crapshoot...with nukes.

      Clinton, "Vini. Vidi. Nuke-i!", is no less a crapshoot. Her hustle is the inverse of Trump's, imo. Nicey-nice with a sweaty itchy trigger finger.

      Good points. I hope I responded in kind. This is an election unlike any other, at least in my lifetime. I don't have a clue whether that's a good thing or bad thing or a brief prelude to Armageddon. I hope somebody does.

      FWIW (this and a dollar, and all that...).

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