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Total number of comments: 8153 (since 2009-12-17 04:46:00)

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  • Over one quarter of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress consisted of applause and standing ovations
    • I have read analyses that suggest the opposite. Had Britain and France supported Czechoslovakia in refusing to give up the Sudetenland, and prepared a force on the French border, Germany did not (at that time) have the capacity to both breach the Czech defences and defend the border with France.

  • Israeli soldiers set attack dogs on teen -- 'Bite him' -- and rightwing politician cheers
    • I seem to recall that Cain offered a healthy fruit salad, and it was rejected. Abel offered a sheep (for Yahuwahu to eat, I presume) and it was accepted. I think Cain got a bit miffed about that.

  • Factchecking Netanyahu: An annotated guide to the Israeli P.M.'s speech to Congress
  • Pelosi blasts Netanyahu speech as 'insult to intelligence of U.S.', Amanpour calls it 'dark, Strangelovian'
    • I like Obama's response.

      "Didn't see it. I was too busy talking to the leaders of important countries, countries which are real allies, and which really do share our best values."

      (RoHa's interpretation. Not Obama's actual words.)

    • Surely he said "wrest".

    • "There is no evidence that the Book of Esther is anything other than mythical. And its glorying in the killing of many Persians is morally grotesque. "

      Even more morally grotesque is making a joyous festival to commemorate the event.

    • "Can all these congressmen/women and senators be that afraid of the Israel lobby? ? They all can’t be."

      Surely you mean "they can't all be". I'm pretty sure some of them are.

    • "Toes the line", not "tows the line".

      Is this another case of software thinking it knows better?

  • Netanyahu's speech and the American Jewish condition
    • You are right, DB. What's more, the Israelis stayed out of Korea and Vietnam without even being asked to!

      So it looks as though Americans can depend on Israel for one thing.

      When it comes to the crunch, they can be sure the Israelis won't be there.

    • "What I have taken issue with is the matter in which Phil criticizes American Jewry, particularly his overall critique of the American Jewish community as a privileged elite that does not have America’s best interest at heart. Regrettably, Phil’s ranting often mimics classic antisemitic tropes. "

      In short, Phil says that American Jews are not loyal members of the American nation. Hophmi condemns this claim as "antisemitic", and even hint that it may be false.

      "He pillorizes his people for being “chosen,” and then insists on holding them to a much higher standard than everyone else when it comes to the exercise of power and national sovereignty."

      By "his people", does hophmi mean American Jews or Jews in general?

      If the former, they have no national sovereignty per se, but only share in the sovereignty of all Americans. And calling on them to be loyal Americans is hardly holding them to a higher standard.

      If the latter, then homphmi is suggesting that Jews (including American Jews) are not part of the nations they live in, but a separate nation. This is the sort of "antisemitic trope" he condemned earlier.

    • "It is the only place America can count on,"

      What can America count on Israel for?

      Certainly not for military support. As we have frequently noted, Israel has never sent Israeli forces to support US forces. The U.S. does not have the sort of useful bases in Israel that it has in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

      (Though we know that Israel attacked a U.S. warship, and harassed U.S. Forces in Lebanon.)

      Intelligence? By the very nature of the business, difficult to say. We cannot be sure that that intelligence is any better than the intelligence the U.S. gets from Jordan, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia.

      (Though we know that Israeli intelligence did not save the U.S. forces in Beirut from the bombing, or the U.S. from the 9/11 attacks. We know that the Israelis spy on the U.S., steal U.S. technology, and sell U.S. technology to China.)

      Economic support? Hah!

      Diplomatic influence? America supports the country that is (officially) hated by everyone else in the region. Is that going to increase It is the only place America can count on, diplomatic influence in the ME?

      So it seems that America can count on Israel for nothing except to be a parasite and a millstone around its neck.

  • Hillel's segregated lunch counter
  • White House says Netanyahu offers no alternative but military action (and Liz Warren won't say if she's attending speech)
  • Banksy goes to Gaza
    • Excellent work by Banksy.

      "on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens”

      We do sometimes look at other things. But kittens are what the internet is for.

  • Leading NY institutions discuss the Nakba -- and there is not a Palestinian in sight
    • That is a tricky one. I pondered a little about it myself.

      On the one hand, "with the assumption" certainly refers to "start the story", and is equal in status to "from 1920".

      On the other hand, my fingers automatically put it in, and I am inclined to presume they have good reason for punctuation. Perhaps they thought it was something in the style of an Oxford comma.

      On reflection, I think you are right to question it. I was not writing a list, so the Oxford excuse does not apply.

      I will institute a Commission of Inquiry for my fingers, which might lead to disciplinary action and a spell in the re-education camps in the North.

    • I sometimes think that Zionists cannot distinguish between legal and moral because they simply do not understand morality. If they understood morality, they would not be Zionists.

      But that is the Socratic position that if people really understood that what they were doing was wrong, they wouldn't do it. And look what happened to Socrates.

    • Be that as it may, Walid, it is important to stress that none of this absolves or in any way mitigates the evil of Zionism.

    • Incidentally, the Arabs offered a pretty good deal. They offered to integrate the Jewish immigrants who were already present as full citizens with equal rights, and (if I remember rightly) had even agreed to Hebrew as an official language.

      No partition, no "ethnic/religious" state. No further waves of Jewish immigration.

      Seems fair to me.

    • You want to start the story from 1920, and with the assumption that the establishment of a Jewish State was morally justified.

      But the story starts before then, with the origins of Zionism among European Jews. From Herzl on, the Zionists planned to take over a country already occupied by other people, and to create a state for themselves there. This was not for the benefit of the people who lived in the land, nor for the benefit of humanity as a whole, but for the benefit of their group.

      This was morally wrong. It does not matter how often it has been done in the past by other people, or by whom it has been done, or when it was done, or how many other people have got away with it.

      It was wrong.

      And the idea behind it, that Jews are more important than other people, and so their wishes and needs outweigh those of other people, was also wrong.

      Not surprising, then, that Arabs started resisting when they saw their country being invaded by people who showed themselves to be enemies of the Arabs.

      The Zionists were uninvited foreigners. They entered the country with the avowed (loud and often) intent of taking over the country and setting up a state in which they would be top dogs, run for their benefit.

      They set up an alternative society, with institutions for the promotion of Jewish interests and from which locals were excluded. They bought up some land and drove off the tenant farmers.

      The people of Palestine understood perfectly well that this bunch of European settlers intended to take the land from them, and this intention was there even before the settlers arrived.

      If the Europeans had entered modestly with the intent of becoming part of the community instead of rejecting and replacing it, I suspect things would have been very different.

      " Those state-building efforts were legal under the Ottomans, then the British."

      Zionists never seem to understand the distinction between "legal" and "moral".

      "Also, the Yishuv knew there were millions of Jews in Europe facing considerable danger (one wonders if even they fully understood it). The Yishuv couldn’t possibly hope to provide refuge to at least some of those millions with belligerent irregulars nestled in densely Arab areas under loose Jewish control."

      The Yishuv had no right to provide refuge to those Jews at the expense of the Arabs. Once again, this is the attitude that Jews matter more than other people.

      And building barns does not mitigate this wrong.

    • "Shapira says, at least says here, that if BG wanted a Jewish country, this is the only way to get it. She is not saying “inadvertence” here; she is saying “necessity”.

      Shapira's attitude is that the wants and needs of Jews are more important than the wants and needs of other people. "We matter and you don't."* And for that very reason the creation of Israel was wrong. Basing a state on such contempt for humanity was itself a crime.

      "Shapira went on to say that ethnic cleansing– “population movements” — was the norm at that time of history. They happened across Europe and in India and Pakistan. Judging Israel for its conduct then by today’s standards is like judging George Washington for holding slaves."

      It's the old "we can't judge them by today's standards" cultural relativism again. The idea is that right and wrong are just the attitudes of the majority. When those attitudes change, right and wrong change.

      Philosophers have written so much criticism of this view that it amazes, and depresses, me that it still hangs around, but it seems to be still established in the artsy-fartsy set. (Applied selectively, of course. we do not hear the alleged decapitations performed by ISIS dismissed as "It's just their way.")

      Ethnic cleansing is wrong. Always was. Always will be.

      (And there were plenty of people in America during and before GW's time who held that slavery was wrong. Thomas Paine was not the least, but the legislatures of Vermont (1777) and Pennsylvania (1780) passed laws abolishing slavery. Pennsylvania Quakers protested against slavery as early as 1688.)

      (*Thank you yet again, Saleema.)

  • Kerry says Netanyahu was wrong the last time he pushed war for the U.S.
    • Is he bullet-proof as well, or just brave enough to take the risk?

    • "life was better for most Iraqis under Saddam"

      There was a time when I never thought I would write that a country was better off when it was run by a brutal, repressive, murderous, war-mongering, CIA-sponsored, paranoid, thug.

      Only cynicism and my cat save me from total despair.

  • Forensic expert says Israeli forces killing of 19-year-old Palestinian 'similar to an execution'
    • Aspiring chef shot dead by Israeli soldier
      Palestinian girl injured after being hit by settler vehicle in Silwan
      Palestinian injured after being rammed by an Israeli car in Hebron
      Israeli extremists attack shop in Hebron
      Four injured by live Israeli fire in Bethlehem
      Dancing children attacked by Israeli forces
      Israeli extremists open fire on Palestinian homes in Bethlehem
      Five Palestinians kidnapped in the West Bank
      Several Palestinians injured near Jenin; three children kidnapped in Jerusalem
      Settlers burn mosque near Bethlehem
      Christian center set on fire, vandalized in Jerusalem hate crime attack

      etc.

      This is why I look for pictures of kittens.

  • Israel gives out 'security Oscars' at the UN to Iran, Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia and PA
    • Bit confusing, there, Taxi.

      It's pretty obvious that the US engineered the coup that overthrew the government, but I haven't seen anything to suggest they gave any support to the Russian speaking rebels in the East. Those rebels got a lot of their equipment from the Ukrainian army. I'm pretty sure they are getting some supplies and advice from Russia, but I haven't seen any decent evidence of Russian regulars crossing the border. The chief of the Ukrainian armed forces recently denied that they were fighting actual Russians.

      The official language of the Ukraine is Ukrainian (very similar to Russian) and as far as I know Ukrainian speaking Ukrainians generally regarded themselves as Ukrainian. I don't know whether previously they regarded themselves as being a subgroup of Russians in the way that the Welsh are a subgroup of the British, or whether they regarded themselves as distinct from Russians in the way the Welsh are distinct from the English.

  • Netanyahu speech is 'destructive' of 'bipartisan, immutable relationship' between US and Israel, Rice says
    • "What we are doing on these sites."

      Mostly commenting on and criticizing the evil of Zionism.

      Anything wrong with that?

      Fairly often commenting on the flaws of the Arab world and the various evils of Arab governments.

      Anything wrong with that?

      "Whataboutery: it’s deep."

      What is that supposed to mean?

  • Israel turns off power to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the dead of winter
    • "criticizing minor auto-correct spelling mistakes as a last resort"

      My ire was misdirected. I apologize. That blasted auto-correct creates more errors than drunkenness and illiteracy combined. (Or so I suspect. I haven't tried typing while illiterate.)

      Not a last resort, though.

    • "for not towing the Qatari’s line.

      "For not TOEING the Qatari's line", dammit.

    • Americans don't like to write naughty words, but they think that British or Australian versions aren't really naughty. (After all, we write them all the time, and they even get published on MW.)

      Americans were quite happy to advertise "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me", even though "shag" is a very naughty word in Britain. (And you can have fun buying carpets and pipe tobacco.) I doubt that an American equivalent (if there is one) would have been allowed.

  • Cycle '48: Remapping the Nakba
    • The Canadian Government should mount a military operation in Israel to rescue these persecuted Canadian Jews and take them back to Canada where they would be safe.

    • "If nationalism is bad why not find non-nationalistic solutions like settling Palestinians in other parts of the ME (plenty of empty space) or assisting there emigration to the west as Millions of Muslims have been doing in the last two decades?"

      Alternatively, instead of sending the Palestinians to places they don't want to go, why not send the Israeli Jews to the lands of their forefathers? Quite a few are going to Germany already, and there is plenty of empty space in Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine.

      Or what about assisting their emigration to the US, as millions of Jews have been doing for the last century or so?

  • Inflammatory posters at UCLA call Students for Justice in Palestine 'Jew haters' (Updated)
    • "Jews on campus don’t owe anyone anything."

      Are you suggesting that Jews on campus have no duties to their fellow students, to the University, to the society which sustains them, or to humanity as a whole?

      Why are they exempt, and does this exemption cease when they graduate?

  • Ten year old Palestinian boy attacked by settlers and abducted by Israeli soldiers while playing in the snow in Hebron
  • Racism is in the air: Video showing racist exchange between Israelis and a flight attendant goes viral
    • " proper British accent may sound patronizing,"

      If, while using said accent, you drawl a little, look down your nose, and toss in a Latin phrase or two, the lower orders will recognize their cultural and intellectual inferiority, and subjugate themselves accordingly.

      On the other, using the same accent, but with a sort of reticent politeness (Hugh Grant and Martin Freeman can give lessons in this), and you can charm your way into almost anywhere.

    • "I actually addressed them with a posh British accent "

      I've got one of those. Very useful at times. Combined with old fashioned, reticent, courtesy it gets amazing results in Asia, and especially those bits that were once British. Scares Americans. They think you are a super-villain.

  • Netanyahu flips off Harry Truman
    • " Israel to purchase 14 more F-35 planes from U.S."

      If Israel actually had to pay for those (perhaps from the money they get by selling the best bits of the technology to China) it would serve them right. The plane is, by most accounts, a turkey.

      Of course, we in Australia will have to pay for ours. For a fraction of the price we could have bought Russian, French, or Swedish planes that actually work.

  • Jewish groups that blindly support Israel make US and European Jews potential victims of violence -- Avnery
    • "It is antisemitic to blame Jews for their own persecution."

      So what? The important question is whether Jews are, to any extent, to blame for the persecution of Jews.

      (JeffB seems to suggest that they are.)

      Note that saying "the persecution of some Jews is, at least partially, a result of the anti-social activities and/or attitudes of some other Jews" does not in any way imply that the persecution is justified.

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