Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 9611 (since 2009-12-17 04:46:00)

Showing comments 9611 - 9601

  • Golem and Big Brother
    • "Fast forward 24 years, and again the Israelis ran away from Lebanon"

      Let us not forget that during the first 18 of those 24 years Hezbollah set itself up as a guerrilla force. Its operations finally drove out the Israelis in 2000.

      " their equally overrated ‘intelligence’ services having dismally failed to foresee what was in store for them. :

      I have read that what really upset the Israelis was the discovery, in a Hezbollah bunker, of copies of Israeli air-survelliance photographs, complete with Hebrew annotations.

  • Trump's claim of 9/11 celebration in New Jersey is based on arrest of 5 'laughing' Israelis
  • 'Foreign Policy' says 'Israel lobby' donors are making 'pro-Israel the new circumcision'
    • I thought my response made it clear I took it that way.

      But I don't watch Seinfeld. Tried once, found it mostly boring and occasionally annoying.

    • '“Some people” have even referred to RoHa as a “comma nazi”!'

      Were I given to taking offence, I would resent that phrase.
      I hope my attitude to comma usage is not as cavalier as mere “comma nazi” implies.

    • "My family is very Jewish. We have no and never did have any loyalty whatsoever to Isreal."

      A fairy dies every time you say that.

      The Republican Jewish Coalition isn't too happy, either.

      "you speak in a weird way. Like someone from eastern Europe?"

      "Ain't" in the middle of educated English does seem a bit weird, I suppose. It's there for stylistic reasons, not for any connection with Eastern Europe.

      Though I have heard that there used to be a Slovak satirical magazine called Rohá.

    • “call[ed] into question the loyalty of Jewish Democrats"

      That is, their loyalty to Israel, not to their own country. Now, as far as I recall, (and Heaven knows my memory ain't what it used to be) this business about Jews having "dual-loyalty" and so forth was one of those tropey thingies that aren't allowed.

      And yet here we have "Antisemitic canards, which for decades weren’t heard outside of the far-right " (a phrase I saw somewhere recently) being upheld by (admittedly, right-wing) Jews.

  • Siegman says Palestinians are turning to violence 'to achieve freedom and self-determination'
    • “That only works assuming everyone are rational”

      If the facts and arguments support his position, then the PhD scholars and professors are probably wrong, regardless of whether he or others are rational or irrational.

      “And able to correctly discern facts accurately”

      If the facts and arguments support his position, then the PhD scholars and professors are probably wrong, regardless of whether or not he or others can correctly discern the facts or follow the arguments.

      “An idiot’s view of fact cannot be held in the esteem as a scholars.”

      I am referring to facts, not what someone - scholar or idiot - believes is a fact.

      “The same with people with hidden agenda whose facts would always be biased relative to a neutral persons.”

      Facts are not biased. Most people are, one way or another. It is irrelevant.

      Ah! Bias! One of the great juvenile excuses for intellectual laziness.

      “We can’t accept Yudkin’s work on the connection between sugar and heart disease. He works for the Milk Marketing Board, so he’s biased*.”

      Probably he is biased. Perhaps not by a fat cheque from the MMB, but perhaps by the fact that he has invested time and reputation in the hypothesis. But so what? He could still be right.

      The correct response is to check whether the facts are as Yudkin claimed, and whether his arguments are sound.

      If you are not capable of doing that, best not to have a firm opinion on the matter, regardless of what scholars say.

      (*I used to think he did, but I cannot find any confirmation. Perhaps there was no connection between them.)

    • "However you are of course free to think that you know better than the hundreds of pHD scholars and professors who have dedicated their entire lives in the subject."

      Appeal to ad verecundiam and ad populum

      If the facts and arguments support his position, then the PhD scholars and professors are probably wrong, no matter how many there are.

    • " “Even more significant,” Shahak reports, “in spite of the wide circulation of this book among scholars in the English-speaking countries, not one of them has, as far as I know, protested against this glaring deception.”

      You expect honesty?

    • “Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres"

      We've seen this before, but without explanation. Does this mean that my soul comes from all three satanic spheres? If so, how does that work?

      Alternatively, does it mean that each non-Jewish soul comes from just one of the satanic spheres, so that, for example, my soul comes from Hell, and eljay's comes from Canada?

      Could some theologian explain this for us, please?

  • Video: 'One Word' ad campaign banned by Boston Metro -- again
  • Obama can tie Israel's hands? 'Shtuyot!' says Aryeh King
    • The idiom "bullet head" was originally used to describe a spherical head, since the earliest bullets were lead spheres. The idiom was used long after the shape of bullets was changed. As a result, I totally misinterpreted the idiom when I encountered it in Richmal Crompton's books. I naturally assumed it meant a pointed head.

      I have not seen the idiom in recent years, and I hope it has been dropped. I do not know what is meant by "bullet-shaped head" here.

    • But it was so nice to see a president who could construct a sentence.

    • ‘Shtuyot!’ says Aryeh King.

      "‘Shtuyot yourself!’ says RoHa.

  • Protesters stage citizen's arrest of Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely at West Coast Ha'aretz conference
    • "urging that “The government of Israel must…return to the policy of assassination” of Palestinians. "

      That's illogical. You cannot return when you have never left.

  • Kagan pushed regime change in Iraq, now says US must get over 'trauma' and do Syria
    • Nice article by Pilger, here. He compares the Khmer Rouge and ISIS.

      link to

    • From the comments on British and Australian newspaper sites, it seems to me that the demonization of Russia isn't working too well. I see a lot of comments supporting the Russians and admiring Putin. Muslims and Islam do, though, get plenty of critical comments. Sometimes nearly as many as our Prime Ministers.

    • Kris, there is no contradiction between

      “After the French surrendered and the Russians aligned with Hitler, only Churchill and the historically English colonies stood in the way of Nazi conquest. ”


      "It was the courage and sacrifice of the people of the Soviet Union that defeated Hitler."

      Though, of course, he should have said "British Empire" rather than "English colonies".

      It is undeniable that the Wehrmacht was destroyed by the Soviets.

      But it is also true that British Empire forces stopped the Germans at the Channel. British Empire forces (RN, RCN, RAN) took control of the surface of the Atlantic and Med. early in the war, and continuously fought the German submarine fleet. (British code-breaking was a major factor in this.) British Empire forces took control of Vichy Syria and defeated the Germans and Italians in North Africa.

      When the Soviets started fighting the Germans, British Empire forces supplied them via the Arctic convoys.

      It was that initial British refusal to concede that made the Soviet success possible. And Churchill (monster that he undoubtedly was) did play a major role in that refusal.

    • But people keep listening to, and believing, frauds and failures.

      Somehow, the fact that those prophets have been wrong every time does not seem to stop the media from giving them attention.

  • The only way to take on ISIS is to take on Wahhabi doctrine
  • Israeli police shoot two scissors-wielding Palestinian teenage girls, killing one
    • "How do you arrest someone who is trying to stab you?"

      Depends on how they are trying to stab. A downward swing or a straight thrust can be dealt with by kote gaeshi or go kyo. But there are other techniques for trickier ways of stabbing.

      Google "you tube knife disarm" and you will see a long list of videos showing various methods from various martial arts. Systema, Ninjutsu, Gracie, Judo ... Oh, look! Krav Maga knife disarms. Now where do they teach Krav Maga, again?

      But, as MDM points out, if you don't feel up to one of those techniques, you can shoot them in the leg, if you've got a gun. Israeli police have guns.

    • "Shooting someone dead while they are actively swinging metal scissors at a 70 year old man in a clear attempt to kill him (all captured on video) = summary execution by cowards."

      But they were shot after they ran away, not while actively swinging the scissors. Both had been effectively captured when they were shot.

      I am just a few month short of 70. I am also short in stature, and skinny. I have bad knees, too. But I am well trained in martial arts and punctuation. I could not have chased those girls, but I could have disarmed one or both of them by a devastating combination of skill, pedantry, and grumpiness.

      If I, very soon to be an elderly man, could do that, why couldn't those police officers? They were younger than me, and presumably stronger and with better knees. Surely they could have caught the girls and given them a telling-off for running with scissors. Were they so undertrained?

      But if you think that attacking an elderly man requires summary execution of the attackers, track down these guys and execute them.

      link to

  • Israel isn't worried about ISIS
    • "I have yet to see convincing evidence of a link with Israel, though I wouldn’t exclude the possibility."

      But the alleged capture of an Israeli colonel is interesting.

      link to

    • Interesting article. Interesting comments, too. I particularly liked this one:

      "friends and foes says:
      November 16, 2015 at 5:48 pm
      “Forgive me for not being entirely clear which side Israel is on.”

      You’re forgiven, but it’s always been clear to me that Israel is always and only on Israel’s side.

      What isn’t entirely clear is what side we’re on. We describe ISIS as an “existential threat”, yet we create the ideal conditions for its rise, effectively arm it, and hobble some of its bitterest enemies. Cognitive dissonance, at the least."

    • And there is this story, too.

      link to

      "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to punish a group of Syrian Druze individuals in the occupied Golan Heights who attacked injured ISIL Takfiri militants en route to a hospital in Israel."

  • Leading anthropologists group overwhelmingly passes BDS resolution at Denver conference
    • "BDS is essentially a domestic form of anti-Semitism that attacks local Jews through the demonizing of the Jewish state."

      Why would demonizing a Jewish State be an attack on (e.g.) French Jews who are not citizens of that state and do not support the evil activities of that state?

      "The highest appeals court in France had upheld fines imposed on anti-Israel activists for “inciting hate or discrimination” during a demonstration promoting the boycott,...

      Ultimately, that is why it is now legally regarded in France as a form of hate speech — and while we live in a country that guarantees all forms of speech, that shouldn’t prevent us from recognizing BDS as hate speech nonetheless."

      Sorry, I'm confused here. On the one hand you say that hate speech is punished by law in France, and on the other you say that "we" (presumably "we French", since you haven't mentioned any other country aside from Israel) "live in a country that guarantees all forms of speech".

      Are you, in fact, an Israeli, and by "we" mean "we Israelis"?

    • Well, that link doesn't work.

      Try this:

      link to

    • Technical note: The Soviets did not need the Rosenbergs to help with jet engines. Jet engines had been invented independently in Britain and Germany. Britain had helped the US to develop jets. The Soviets had got hold of some German jet technology, but they were able to buy the best (the RR Nene engine) from Britain and copy it. That is the engine that powered the Mig 15s of the Korean War.

    • These primates are certainly a dodgy looking bunch.

      link to

  • 'Jewish Communal Fund' seeds Islamophobia as toxic as Trump's
    • I think you make a good point, Philemon.

    • ‘“If it is true, is it still anti-Semitic? And if it is both true and anti-Semitic, does that mean that some truths should be suppressed?”

      It isn’t true, remotely.’

      I did not ask whether it was true or not.

      I asked a hypothetical. Again, in the spirit of thought experiments, I will put the issue in more general terms.

      Can a claim be both true and anti-Semitic? And if it is both true and anti-Semitic, does that mean that some truths should be suppressed?

      “It is illogical to suggest that Jews were the ones who caused the war to take place, as Phil has done repeatedly. It’s antisemitic because it asserts both that Jews act collectively as a fifth column to undermine the United States, which is, of course, untrue.”

      It seems to me that Phil makes two claims about the Iraq war. (He can correct me if I get them wrong.)

      One is that a small, select, group of Jews pushed the US into the Iraq war. That group did act collectively, but not with the aim of undermining the US. The undermining was a by-effect.

      The other is that a very large proportion of American Jews “endorsed the Iraq war; because they’d heard from friends and relatives that it would be good for Israel.”

      Endorsing is not the same as causing.

      If the first claim is true (and I see no “of course” about it), it does rather support his speculation that there are too many Jews in powerful political positions in the United States.

    • “Your assumption is wrong, so your argument is irrelevant.”

      But the argument can be amended to lead to a more general position. I know you like thought experiments, so please indulge me in this one.

      A lot of Israel supporters seem to believe that all anti-Zionism stems from, and is a symptom of, an underlying anti-Semitism. Let us suppose, though, that there are some anti-Zionists who do not suffer from any prior anti-Semitism, and whose opposition is solely based on the actions of the Zionists. We will call this “pure anti-Zionism”. We can now argue as follows:

      1. If all anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism, then pure anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism (form AS1).
      2: Pure Anti-Zionism is not bad.
      3: AS1 = pure anti-Zionism (from 1)
      4: Therefore, AS1 is not bad.
      5: Therefore, when anti-Jewishness/anti-Semitism = AS1, anti-Jewishness/anti-Semitism is not bad.

      I can see three responses you might make here. (There might be others.)

      The first is to deny the protasis or antecedent of the first premise, and simply accept that not all forms of anti-Zionism are forms of anti-Semitism.

      The second is to accept the argument in toto but deny it has any real-world relevance, on the grounds that pure anti-Zionism does not exist. A difficulty here is that there are plenty of people, including Jews, who claim that their position is, indeed, pure anti-Zionism. You could, perhaps, suggest that they are either lying or self-deceived, and that in fact they are all anti-Semites or self-haters, but this move reeks of desperate ad hoccery. To support it you would have to offer - in each case - reasons (independent reasons, so as to avoid petitio principii) for believing the person is an anti-Semite or self-hater.

      (Keeping a straight face while making such claims about Lillian Rosengarten or Moshe Menhuin would require exceptional faith or exceptional self-discipline.)

      The third is to deny premise 2, and declare all forms of Zionism bad. The best way to do that would be to produce a moral argument for Zionism.

      I would love to see you try.

    • Eljay, I'm a bit reluctant to speculate on what hophmi thinks, since he and I have contrary souls. (His soul comes from holiness, whereas mine is from the satanic spheres.)

      However, it seems to me that he holds that there is a standard of just and moral behaviour for all people to adhere to, and that exception clauses for Jews are built in to the standard. Also, a major part of the standard is the "no-one shall crticize Jews or anything remotely connected with Jews under any circumstances whatsoever" clause.

      So there is no real hypocrisy. It just looks like it to us because our souls are satanic. (Yours more so than mine?)

    • “So save your self-referential nonsense, RoHa. Your argument is not remotely logical or clever.”


      It’s nice to see you actually present a counter argument. However, you haven’t actually shown a fault with the logic. Rather, you are attacking my first premise. Your criticism seems to be directed more at Phil’s claims than my interpretation of his claims, but if his claims are wrong then my interpretation of them will lead to a faulty premise. Thus, while I was correct in claiming the conclusion follows, the conclusion is not soundly based.

      Fair enough.

      I will let Phil take up the task of defending his claims if he wants to, but I will comment on a little of what you say.

      “The reason why so many members of the Jewish community assert that anti-Zionists are anti-Semites is because so many of them seem to be anti-semites.”

      Fair enough*, if true.

      “Phil himself repeatedly blames Jews for starting the Iraq War”

      If it is true, is it still anti-Semitic? And if it is both true and anti-Semitic, does that mean that some truths should be suppressed?

      “ Antisemitic canards, which for decades weren’t heard outside of the far-right, like referring to the US Congress as “Zionist occupied,” are common in the anti-Zionist community.”

      Same question.

      (*Of course, it may also be the case that the reason why so many anti-Semites assert that Jews [ fill in the blank with trope] is because so many of them seem to [ repeat trope].”)

    • I interpret "In fact, the Jewish community lost other broad bases of Jewish identification outside of Israel; it became completely Zionist– which is why members of that community assert with sincerity that anti-Zionists are anti-Semites” as meaning "Jewishness in general is now largely Zionism, and so anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Jewishness."

      This gives me:

      1: Anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Jewishness/anti-Semitism. (We will call that form AS1)
      2: Anti-Zionism is not bad.
      3: AS1 =anti-Zionism (from 1)
      4: Therefore, AS1 is not bad.
      5: Therefore, when anti-Jewishness/anti-Semitism = AS1, anti-Jewishness/anti-Semitism is not bad.

      This conclusion does not exculpate all forms of anti-Jewishness/anti-Semitism. Some forms are bad.

      Is there a problem with the logic?
      Or is the problem with my interpretation of the quoted passage? If so, how should it be interpreted?

      Please note that I am just interpreting the passage. That does not mean that I agree with the content.

      Wait! I am trying to use logical arguments with hophmi! This will overload all his logic circuits, when he needs them to gather together all the arguments for Jewish self-determination rights, so that I can see that he has devastating responses to my arguments against them.

      Sorry. My mistake.

    • Let's leave sects out of it. This is a family website.

    • ". In fact, the Jewish community lost other broad bases of Jewish identification outside of Israel; it became completely Zionist– which is why members of that community assert with sincerity that anti-Zionists are anti-Semites."

      And this implies that anti-Semitism is not always bad!

  • Hillary Clinton equates ISIS and Hamas
    • "This is the saddest Presidential election in my lifetime."

      Mooser, those of us who live outside the US follow your elections with fascinated horror.

      Before the election, we look at the line-up of candidates and say. "What a bunch of sleazeballs, idiots, and loonies. Whichever one gets elected, he will be a total disaster."

      After the election, we are always proved correct.

    • Maybe she is also aware of the fact that ISIS has declared itself an enemy of Hamas. But ISIS seems to lack hostility towards Israel.

    • I don't know. Is it supposed to?

    • I agree with the moral duty, but the difficulty lies in getting it right. It is contrary to duty to make a bad situation worse.

      Off the top of my head I can only recall two moderately successful recent interventions. Those are the Vietnamese intervention in Cambodia, and the British intervention in Sierra Leone.

      But I'm not nailing my trousers to the mast here. They might not have been as successful as I think, or there may have been other successful interventions.

    • "she oversaw exactly what had been ordered by New York through Tel Aviv: "

      Or by Tel Aviv through New York. Either way, that's getting it wrong. Vote 'Hilary' for more of the same.

    • The Syrian situation has an aspect which must be giving Israeli military planner a great deal of concern.

      At the moment it looks as though, with Russian support, the Syrian Army and Hezbollah are going to succeed in taking Syria back. If they do, it will mean that Israel has two successful, battle-hardened forces, experienced in working together, on its Northern borders. The Syrian Air Force is working with, and undoubtedly learning from, the Russian Air Force.

      Now suppose that, after the Syrian war is over, the Syrians re-equip with the latest Russian weaponry (T90s or even T14s, s-300, s-400, SU 35s, Yakhont missiles, and so forth) and Hezbollah gets advanced Iranian weapons.*

      The Israelis couldn't beat Hezbollah last time. The prospect of facing upgraded Syrian forces and Hezbollah should concentrate their minds wonderfully.

      *I have seen a report that Syria has handed over 75 tanks to Hezbollah. These are said to be T-55s and T-72s. T-72s are obsolete, and T-55s are antiques. (James Bond uses them for car chases. They aren't delicate antiques.) Both types are very vulnerable to modern AT weapons and modern tanks. Can still do a few nasty things with them, though.

    • Why should Russia and China pay a price for supporting Assad?

    • "Hillary’s claim on the White House is exactly her foreign policy credentials when compared to Trump or Rubio. "

      Forget the credentials. Performance is what counts. She has been Secretary of State, and US foreign policy is a disaster. Impressive credentials are irrelevant when you know the candidate has got everything wrong.

  • 'NYT' only counts Jews when it pronounces Thursday 'deadliest day of violence'
  • How rightwing settlers and a wealthy Aussie Zionist used Facebook to control Netanyahu gov't
  • No justice for Tariq Abu Khdeir -- even US State Dep't faults Israeli 'accountability'
    • "i never claimed the kid wasn’t beat"

      I should hope not. He may be a lot younger than Ginsberg and Kerouac, but there is no reason why he can't follow their lead.

      I hope you aren't claiming he wasn't beaten, either.

    • I would like to see Pollard go to Israel for that very reason.

      (I think you mean "involuntary retch". Wretched though Dershowitz may be, I think it is entirely voluntary.)

    • Mr. Kirby must spend hours practising in front of a mirror.

    • "a 15 year old innocent American citizen"

      No-one called "Tariq Abu Khdeir" can be innocent or a real American. Especially not if he's hanging around East Jerusalem.

      Be grateful the State Department paid any attention at all.

  • Posters linking Muslim students and BDS activists to terrorism appear on college campuses in California and Washington, DC
  • Israeli troops detain and interrogate 6-year-old Palestinian boy in Bethlehem
    • "Israeli soldiers who had entered the camp then detained him as he was running away, and interrogated him for several hours"

      Good to see firm action is being taken against the scourge of terrorism. I bet they gained a lot of valuable information.

  • ISIS as a fascist movement
    • Perhaps the Vietnam accusations against McCain are not true. I do not know. I know he has been accused of treason.

      But there are what appear to be genuine photos of McCain meeting some very dubious characters in Syria. These characters are prominent figures in the various al-Qaeda anti-Assad militias. The pictures do not show McCain eating part of a Syrian soldier, but he is certainly chummy with Abu Sakkar. (Antacid, anyone?)

      In short, then, McCain, and the U.S. Government, are equipping and supporting barbarous terrorists in order to overthrow an internationally recognized government. Perhaps this does not make him a a traitor to the American people, but he doesn't seem to be nice man.

    • "he should be arrested as a traitor."

      People have been saying that ever since he got back from Vietnam.

    • "If this militaristic, racist and revolutionary garbage was sung in a language more people outside France understood people woul be shocked. "

      Actually, quite a few people outside France understand that language. Yes, it is a bit fierce, though I can't see anything particularly racist about it.

      Great tune, though.

      Quite a few national anthems get a bit enthusiastic about fighting the enemies of the country. God Save The King/Queen used to include the verse

      Lord grant that Marshal Wade
      May by thy mighty aid
      Victory bring
      May he sedition hush
      And like a torrent rush
      Rebellious Scots to crush
      God save the King.

      Not often sung, nowadays. Perhaps it should be.

      But it also include the contradictory verse:

      Not in this land alone
      But be God's mercies known
      From shore to shore
      Lord make the nations see
      That men should brothers be
      And form one family
      The wide world over.

      And my favourite:

      O Lord our God arise
      Scatter her enemies
      And make them fall
      Confound their politics
      Frustrate their knavish tricks
      On Thee our hopes we fix
      God save us all.

      God save us all indeed.

  • 'I endorse the cultural boycott of Israel': Prominent artists support New York-based campaign for cultural boycott of Israel
    • "Israel is going to make Ireland , “pay a price ” for backing the labeling of contriband from the illegal squats."

      Expect an ISIS-backed terror attack in Dublin. Perhaps after the one in Stockholm.

    • "BDS literature consciously excludes mention of the Holocaust from its history of the conflict "

      Since the Holocaust is practically never mentioned anywhere by anyone, I'm amazed you've heard about it.

    • "They endorse the shunning of the world’s largest Jewish community."

      And quite rightly, too. That community behaves abominably and thus deserves to be shunned.

  • West's war against terrorism is Israel's war, Chuck Schumer says
    • "i think he wants them to rise up and then come down."

      Like a roller coaster? That's going to make a lot of people queasy.

      "truth and justice will prevail"

      I'd like to think so, but history gives me doubts.

    • "And, because the world did not rise up, this terrorism, like a cancer, has spread throughout the world.

      Had the world come down when the terrorists shot the Israeli athletes at the Olympics (in Munich 1972), or hijacked El AL planes, and come down on them hard,"

      So does he want the world to rise up or to come down?

  • Netanyahu: In wake of Paris attacks, world should condemn attacks against Israel
    • Most of the terrorist attacks have been against Syria and Iraq. When are we going to see Tower Bridge and the Sydney Harbour Bridge lit up in Syrian colours?

  • Paris and Islamophobia
  • Theocratic Israel
  • The way for Americans to take on the Islamic state is to end support for Jewish nationalism
    • A little unfair to you, eljay. Your posts on the topic have always been firm rejections of the nonsense.

    • @a4tech

      Let me try to understand this.

      You seem to be suggesting that, at some stage, my putative mixed English/Japanese/Chinese/Samoan grandchildren will one day decide they are just English or Samoan. Or, if they don't, my great-grandchildren, who (Australia being the sort of place it is) will have Sri-Lankan, Chilean, Afghan, and (God save us!) Irish ancestors as well, will pick one out of the tangle as an "identity".

      Is that something that will inevitably happen, through some natural process?
      If so, what process?
      What reason do we have to suspect such a process operates?

      It seems far more likely to me that they will ignore the mish-mash of ancestry and just be Australians.

      Or do you think there is some sort of moral obligation for them to pick one out, even if they do not particularly want to?

      If so, how is that obligation grounded?
      Does it have more moral weight than the obligation to think of themselves as loyal Australians?
      And, as biggerjake noted, would it not, when applied consistently, require us all to take 'black Ethiopian primate" as our "identity"? (Though really we ought, like Pooh Bah, trace ourselves back to the initial protoplasmal primordial atomic globule.)

      Actually, quite a lot has been written about "identity" on MW. Most of it is total bollocks. The bit that isn't is what I have written, and that can be summed up as follows:

      What the devil is this "identity" thingy, anyway? I keep asking; I don't get a coherent answer. And I suspect that if you can't say what you mean, it's likely that you don't really mean anything.

      What is the point of all this fuss about it? Does "identity" feed the hungry, or heal the sick? Does it make your cat obedient, or get you a discount at the liquor store, or stop your hair from falling out? As far as I can tell, it just serves as an excuse for people to deny their common humanity and make trouble.

      What good has this "identity" stuff ever done anyone?

    • "Did you know Justin Beiber is an Arab, and very devout."

      That's no excuse.

    • @a4tech.

      Could you help me out here, please? I'm a little puzzled.

      I am Australian, of English birth and ancestry, dual British/Australian citizenship. My wife is Japanese, by birth, ancestry, and citizenship. My bilingual son, though born in the USA, was mostly brought up in Australia.* He has four citizenships.

      Among the many mixed-ancestry children at his school, there is a particularly brilliant girl whose father is Chinese and whose mother is an Islander. (Samoan, I think.)

      Let us suppose that my son was lucky enough to marry this girl, and they had children.

      Taking into account "biological roots" , "respect for ancestors", etc., what would be the "identity" of these putative children?

      My brother married an Australian woman who was born in Scotland and is of Scots ancestry. One of his daughters married an Australian man whose parents came from Austria. She has a daughter. What is the "identity" of the daughter?

      (*Though he visits his grandparents in Japan quite often. Sometimes he meets his half-French, half-Japanese cousins there, when they are visiting Japan from Paris.)

    • "If you’re already in the next world you are not helped by anything in this world"

      Not all theologies or philosophies agree, but I don't think anyone has proved you wrong.

  • Today's a day to grieve for Paris, not score political points
    • "and 4 other times over the last 6 years i’ve misspelled it too"

      Blame your software. That's what I always do.

    • Well, you did write "anti semetic", which uses incorrect letters.

      Merriam-Webster, the Cambridge Dictionary, Collins, and the Macquarie Dictionary all agree with Oxford on the spelling, capitalization, and hyphenation, so I'm a bit reluctant to accept Wikipedia as an authority.

      But I admit I haven't checked such lesser dictionaries as Longmans or Chambers.

      (Different from.)

    • 'How delusional some are. How quickly they have (gleefully) come to the conclusion that “Europe has now realized what terrorism is."'

      So the IRA, ETA, EOKA, Red Brigade, Red Army Faction, and whatever else the Gladio programme threw up, were not enough. Europeans are slow learners, it seems.

    • "Daesh is not being obliterated by Russia: Russia is mostly bombing places were Daesh isn’t present. "

      The distinction between Daesh and the other rebel groups in Syria is, I think, more technical than real. But even if we accept it, Russian support has enabled the Syrian Army to make strategically important gains at the expense of Daesh allies, and so at the expense of Daesh.

      The recent advance of the Kurds was made possible, we are told, by US air support. It looks as though the Russian intervention has spurred the U.S. into effective action, instead of (or, perhaps, in addition to) bombing Syrian infrastructure and supplying arms for Daesh.

  • Seachange in public opinion: 'I am tired of Israel using US-made rockets to bomb Palestinians so that ultra-conservatives can steal their land'
    • I don't think he is hiding. He is probably busy gathering together all the arguments for Jewish self-determination rights, so that I can see that he has devastating responses to my arguments against it.

      I am waiting to be humbled.

  • Why do Palestinians burn Jewish holy sites?: The fraught history of Joseph’s Tomb
    • The Israelis had already destroyed a large number of mosques in Israel, and converted others into synagogues, restaurants, and storerooms.

      link to

      In 1967 the Israelis destroyed the Sheikh Eid Mosque in Jerusalem.

      link to

      And they didn't stop in 1967.

      link to

      link to

    • 'They also share Hebrew as their historical national language; this is actually the national language of all Jews and the cultural patrimony of all Jews, even those who have become alienated from it.'

      'just thought i’d mention that the idea a person who doesn’t speak the same language as an ancestor they had 3000 years ago has therefore been “alienated” from that language is not an “objective fact”'

      I'll push Annie's point a bit further. What sense does it make to say that Hebrew is "the national language of all Jews" if Jews don't actually speak it?

      And how is one "alienated" from a language that one has never learned?

  • Saddam was just a 'neighborhood bully,' Netanyahu says-- 13 years after saying Saddam threatened 'security of our entire world'
    • " But the fear that Saddam is developing nukes was real at the time – not a fictional excuse"

      Of course, that was a pretend fear. Various leaders might have proclaimed it, but only the most naive readers of overwrought editorials actually thought it was true*.

      But even if it had been a real fear, and even if Saddam had been developing nukes, it still would not have justified war. You cannot start a war on the basis of what some other country might do. Only on the basis of what that country does do.

    • "chemical weapons in the case of ISIS,"

      Hold on! I thought the script was supposed to say that evil Assad was the one using chemical weapons "against his own people".

      The stories that it was the rebels who were using chemical weapons were - officially - dismissed out of hand.

  • I went from Bar Mitzvah to BDS at Temple Emanu-el
  • Jewish American activists unfurl banner in support of BDS at the Western Wall
    • But "Jews can now pray at the Wall" still only applies to male Jews?

    • "Actually, women have gone to jail for praying at the Wall"

      Really? So that old whine "the Jordanians kept Jews out, but now Jews can pray at the Wall" is only half true?

  • Obama friends Netanyahu with one-sided statement
    • "dislocation is very much akin to a death sentence"

      If the exiles have no other means of making a living, it isn't akin to a death sentence, it is a death sentence.

      But exile itself is different from death in several important ways. (Well, I think they are important.)

      Consciousness: we know that in exile it continues; we do not know it about death.
      Use of body: the exile can still use and sense via his/her/its body; not so for the dead.
      Possibility of reversal: it is usually physically possible for the exile to return; coming back to life is seldom an option.

      So a person in exile can still have a life, even if it is not one worth living.
      The dead person can only have an afterlife.

    • How much longer can he maintain this high standard? And it's extempore!

    • "Being exiled is a punishment akin to death."

      Aside from the fact that I don't fancy either of them, I can't see any similarity. And I know which one I would choose if I had to.

  • An Open Letter to Dan Rabinowitz: Let’s get our facts straight about BDS
    • '“you mean an entitlement to a religion-supremacist state, no such right exists. Not for Jewish people, not for anyone else”

      Apparently, it exists for Muslims many times over.'

      I have never seen any arguments to that effect.

      " Your inability to deal with counterarguments does not mean I haven’t presented them."

      I haven't seen you present any. Direct me to them, please.

      'Then again, RoHa, you’re a guy who suggests that Jews should be blamed for their own persecution history, so really, who cares what you think?'

      It looks as though you care about the suggestion that Jews are partly responsible for annoying their neighbours.

    • “Other guys in the neighbourhood beat their wives, so I’m entitled to kidnap a woman, make her my wife and then beat her.”

      But eljay, surely you are not suggesting kidnapping and then beating without marriage! That would be just wrong!

    • "the old schul tie!"

      You've produced some good ones, but I'm tempted to class that one as primus inter pares.

    • "But if by “Jewish self-determination rights” you mean an entitlement to a religion-supremacist state, no such right exists. Not for Jewish people, not for anyone else. "

      We've pointed this out to him over and over again. We've presented arguments for our position.
      Hophmi has ignored it all. He has not presented any sort of counter argument.

      I doubt he will do anything other than keep on repeating the "self-determination" line, though I don't know why he would bother. He surely knows the claim has no force.

  • Netanyahu flips the bird to Obama -- 2200 more settlement units!
    • "19th century genocidal white racist European colonialism"

      White Europeans weren't the only ones doing that sort of thing. The Japanese followed suit.

    • Chu, I think you mean "so many hasbaraists take this tack".

      Tact is rare among Zionists.

    • "Like Bill Clinton, Obama is basically a high-class hustler on the perpetual make."

      Isn't that a constitutional requirement for the presidency, like being native-born and over thirty-five?

    • lysias, you just don't want to admit that an Arab had the shooting skills to make his bullets curve around RFK and hit him in the back, and to fire 14 bullets from an 8 shot magazine.

    • Comedy gold.

  • Obama administration will do nothing for Palestinians through end of term
    • He needs to think about his post-presidential career. He has to set up a presidential library (shudder) and get onto the lecture circuit.

      And he remembers the guy behind the fence on the grassy knoll.

  • Chicago Reform temple welcomes rightwing rabbi from sexist group -- why?
    • "what unites them though is their love of Israel and their care for the Jewish people throughout the world."

      And their total lack of concern for anyone who isn't Jewish?

  • The Case for Parallel States: Excerpt from 'One Land, Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States'
    • "I find it astounding that the American Government is failing to see how it is being perceived overseas"

      I recall that, in the early 60s, the US embassy in Indonesia had no-one who knew Indonesian, so they hired Indonesians to translate the news for them. Since the Indonesians were well brought-up, they were too polite to offend their employers by accurately translating the invective. The Americans had no idea how much they were disliked.

      I recall an economics conference in Tokyo. The British Ambassador gave a lecture in Japanese. The US Ambassador used an interpreter.

      I recall that, at around the same time, there was an international trade exhibition in Tokyo. There were quite a few young Americans living in Tokyo who could speak good Japanese, but they were not given jobs as hosts for the US exhibit. The reason offered was that they could not be employed by the US Government because they had lived too long in a furrin country. English speaking Japanese were employed instead.

      I recall reading that, a few years ago, the Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon had a PhD in Arabic Literature. The US Ambassador had contributed to the president's election fund.

    • "I am not saying that Israelis have no morality"

      Though the evidence points that way.

    • Though I thought of the original humans as described by Aristophanes in the Symposium.

    • Anti-Semitic code words?

      Let's see.

      Used and abused.
      Most disliked.

      What horrible slurs are being concealed behind these euphemistic code words?

    • I'll need to study this in more detail, but my first thoughts are (a) two national governments for a single territory could be - um - interesting, especially given the history of hostility between the groups those governments represent*, and (b) if Israeli Jews were prepared to accept an arrangement in which Arabs had equal rights to the land, surely they would accept a single state arrangement.

      (*In the Anglo-French Condominium of the New Hebrides, the main activity of each government was blocking or undoing anything attempted by the other government.

      link to )

  • Ann Lewis and AIPAC pressured Democratic thinktank to censor writers deemed 'anti-Israel'

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