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Total number of comments: 7680 (since 2009-12-17 04:46:00)

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  • You're on a roll, Mr. President, now abstain from vetoing the Palestinian bid to the UN Security Council
    • "What does Obama have to lose at this point by abstaining from the U.N. vote?"

      What did JFK have to lose by opposing Israel's nuclear weapons programme?

  • On eve of University of California honor, Bill Maher defends anti-Muslim hate speech in Vanity Fair interview
    • "Did people suffused with the ideas of renaissance and enlightenment stop enslaving,torturing and raping the indigenous of Africa or Asia or New world? "

      Well, yes.

      A bit.

      Eventually.

      After about a couple of centuries of profiting mightily from the African slave trade, the British were finally persuaded that slavery was a Bad Thing.

      African slaves were caught and sold by other Africans, and shipped by Europeans, Americans and Arabs. The Royal Navy was given the task of dealing both with the African slave traders who lived near the coast and with the ships the slaves were transported in. The operation was fairly successful.

      Of course, there was, and still is, a lot of enslaving,torturing and raping the indigenous of Africa or Asia or New World, both by people suffused with the ideas of renaissance and enlightenment and by the indigenes themselves.

    • And I'm guessing the heaven's gate thing didn't go to well for you, either.

    • Regardless of putative bird/non-bird status?

    • "the idea that the Jews have a homeland in historic Palestine"

      I find it difficult to even make sense of this idea.

      "The Jews" implies "all Jews".

      "Homeland" in this context clearly does not imply "the land where one has one's home, or the land of one's birth, or the land of one's citizenship". Jews have homes, etc., in a wide variety of countries.

      Does "homeland" mean "the land of one's distant ancestors"?

      But why pick that one? For all of us, somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa is the land of our very distant ancestors. (On common theories of human evolution.) For many Europeans, some part of Eastern Ukraine and Souther Russia seems to have been the land of our rude Indo-European forefathers. And later that same tract became the land of some but not all the Jews.

      And what is the big deal about "the land of one's distant ancestors"? Most of our ancestors are dead and long forgotten. (Good thing, too, considering what some them got up to.) How is that relevant to decisions we make here and now?

      Is the idea, then, that Palestine is, allegedly, where the Jewish religion originated, and Jews first began to think of themselves as a distinct religious/socio-cultural/hobby group? That seems to fit the "homeland" rhetoric a bit better.

      But then, of course, we notice that Palestine is, allegedly, where the Christian religion originated. Can we not, then, say "the Christians have a homeland in historic Palestine"?

      What is being claimed by "the Jews have a homeland in historic Palestine"?

      What normative force is that claim supposed to have?

      Why is it supposed to have that force?

  • Ads Against Apartheid hits LA with Mandela campaign
  • Ari Roth is fired by DC Jewish center -- after staging Nakba play
    • I loved this bit.

      "Medinat Weimar believes peoples maintain not only the rights of self-determination and self-definition, but self-redetermination and self-redefinition as well."

      What about self-(self!) determination?

      The accompanying essay "No liberty without identity" is great, too.

      The Ealing scriptwriters for "Passport to Pimlico" could not have done a better parody.

    • "And I’m still trying to figure out why it’s always a tent."

      Because tents are cold, draughty, uncomfortable, fall down or get blown away easily, and, these days, are mostly used by nutters who want to discard civilisation.

    • When does the camel start poking its nose into the tent?

    • I expected that.

  • JVP offers bold universalist Hanukkah message in the wake of Gaza slaughter
    • "he worried about young American Jews losing their Jewish identity and drifting away from Israel."

      Is "losing Jewish identity" the same thing as "drifting away from Israel"?
      If they are not the same, does "losing Jewish identity" regularly lead to "drifting away from Israel"?
      Is it possible to "drift away from Israel" without "losing Jewish identity"?

  • Obama hired Clinton as sec'y of state by reaching out to Israel supporter Hoenlein -- NYT
  • Obama took on the Cuba lobby-- when will he take on the Israel lobby?
  • Jordanian-Palestinian resolution to the UN Security Council gives US and Israel wiggle room
    • "the only solution that is both morally sound and politically possible. "

      I'm still waiting for you to explain why the continued existence of Israel as it is would be morally sound.

  • SodaStream rejected, at Harvard (and in Brooklyn)
    • "the machines and their association with the disputed territory could be offensive to Palestinian students."

      This seems like a pretty feeble basis for removing the machines. Tartan shorts and soul patches are offensive to anyone with any aesthetic sense. In a well-run society, they would be banned. I'm pretty sure Harvard permits them.

      A better reason for removing the Soda Streams would be that Harvard should not be supporting the settlements and the occupation. Or, indeed, Israel.

    • The cat clearly disapproves. Is it anti-Israeli, or anti-Semitic?

  • Israeli police attempt to arrest Palestinian preschoolers for throwing rocks
    • "Israeli police, on Tuesday, attempted to arrest two preschoolers"

      Attempted? If the Israeli police are so incompetent that preschoolers can get away from them, then there is no chance they will catch hardened criminals.

  • Israel will lose all American Jews but the crazies
    • I really did not want to know that.

    • Wandering off topic a bit.

      "Haven’t all their recent wars amounted to defeats?

      The same thing can be said about the U.S., by the way."

      Matter of definition there.

      The Korean war isn't over. Just a long ceasefire.

      The US won every major battle in Vietnam. The problem was that the NV wouldn't give up, and the Americans got fed up, said "bugger this', and went home. So we can say that the US military wasn't exactly defeated, just that the US as a whole can't make the beef stock for pho.

      In Iraq 1, the ostensible objective was to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. That was achieved. Can't see a US defeat there.

      In Iraq 2, the ostensible objectives were to take out Iraqi WMDs and depose Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi forces were defeated, Hussein deposed, and Bush strutted in his posing pouch. The WMDs were not found. (Except for some gas shells with embarrassing US labels.) Not a US defeat, at first. Of course, things fell to pieces afterwards.

      In Afghanistan, the ostensible objective was to overthrow the Taliban government and capture Osama bin Voldemort. Result: Taliban overthrown, sort of, and Osama vanished. Semi-US victory.

      But, as Iraq and Vietnam, the vanquished won't give up, which rather takes the shine off.

      Somalia: total embarrassment. Let's not talk about it.

      The invasion of Grenada was a complete US victory. (There was hardly any opposing force to defeat, but never mind that.) It did reveal that the US services did not have compatible communication services, so they had to relay their messages through local civilian channels.

      "And you're listening to Radio Ganja from Kingston. Oh, we've got a call from General Schwarzkopf. He says a big hello to all the guys in the 14th Infantry, and would you all please move at once to map reference G58. And while you are doing that, he's asked me to play for you Bob Marley's 'Stir it up'."

      All in all, a bit of a mixture of success and failure for the US.

    • Ugh indeed. I avert my eyes from my son's schoolbag.

    • Whoopee! An edit button!

    • "Flash" always carries the connotation of "no moral substance". The term was used in England at least in the early 19C, as we see from the name "Flashman", the bully in Thomas Hughes's Victorian novel Tom Brown's Schooldays (and 'hero' of Fraser's splendid 20C novels).

      I don't know how old the song "Flash Company" is.

      link to traditionalmusic.co.uk.htm

      link to songlyrics.com

    • So, when they get the war going properly, we are going to see Israeli troops in the Ukraine fighting the Russians.

  • US feels the heat on Palestine vote at UN
    • Blair and Carter work in the Post Office?

    • "The Israeli public, due to elect a new Israeli government in three months’ time, increasingly regards the US role as toxic."

      Does the US recognise the danger? Israel could decide to impose sanctions on the US. It could refuse to accept the $3bn and the free weaponry. It could try buying weapons from China and Brazil. (Have to pay cold hard cash - not $US - for them, but sacrifices have to made for principle.) It could cut off the supply of cherry tomatoes.

      Could the US survive that?

  • 'NYT' writer takes Salaita's side, saying U of Illinois violated 'intellectual and academic freedom'
    • From the real dictionary.

      civility
      Line breaks: ci¦vil|ity
      Pronunciation: /sɪˈvɪlɪti /
      NOUN (plural civilities)

      [MASS NOUN]
      1Formal politeness and courtesy in behaviour or speech:
      I hope we can treat each other with civility and respect

      1.1 (civilities) Polite remarks used in formal conversation:
      she was exchanging civilities with his mother

      link to oxforddictionaries.com

  • Memo to Sen. Warren: More young Dems want US to side with Palestine than Israel
  • Yes, Virginia, there is a liberal Zionist
    • "Lumber".

      VERB

      1 [WITH OBJECT] (usually "be lumbered with") British informal.

      Burden (someone) with something unwanted:
      "the banks do not want to be lumbered with a building that they cannot sell"

      link to oxforddictionaries.com

      The OED is a good place to look when you don't know the meaning of a word.

      "Spinoza was sociologically and biologically a Jew until the day that he died."

      I don't know what you mean by "sociologically a Jew". If you mean that non-Jews often regarded him as a Jew, and that nowadays Jews also claim him as a Jew, then I will not object. It does not affect my position.

      Biologically? That ol' Jewish gene, or just that his mother was a Jew? Again, neither of these affect my position re reflected and unearned glory.

      "There is no way to separate the man from his upbringing."

      So when a Christian converts to Judaism, he remains a Christian? Well, perhaps Spinoza could not separate himself from his Jewish upbringing*, but he certainly rejected Jewishness and placed himself firmly in European rationalism and secularism.

      (*I'm leaving the question of what constitutes "separation from upbringing" unexplored.)

    • Loath as I am to speculate on the motives of others, I cannot forbear from pointing out that you seem to be the one obsessed with hate. I never said that Spinoza hated the name "Baruch".

      I did say he never used it, but probably he did use the name when he was in the synagogue. In his childhood he seems to have been given the name "Benedito" by his parents, and to have been known as "Bento". He spent his adult life under the name "Benedictus/Benedict". This is the name he chose, and the name he has been known by until recently.

      Spinoza did seem to dislike (if not hate) traditional Judaism. This comes through clearly in his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, a work which says some things you will not like.

      (For example, after denying that the Jews are in any way superior in terms of intellect or morality, he says:

      "Therefore at the present time there is nothing whatsoever that the Jews can arrogate to themselves above other nations. As to their continued existence for so many years when scattered and stateless, this is in no way surprising, since they have separated themselves from other nations to such a degree as to incur the hatred of all, and this not only through external rites alien to the rites of other nations but also through the mark of circumcision, which they most religiously observe. That they are preserved largely through the hatred of other nations is demonstrated by historical fact.")

      The reason I protest about the use of the name "Baruch" to refer to him is that it suggests an attempt by modern Jews to arrogate Spinoza to themselves, to reclaim him as a Jew and thus shine in reflected and unearned glory.

      I'm sure you can find a way to interpret that as hate on my part.

    • "the liberal in effect tells the 400,000 Jews who lived in Palestine on September 1, 1939: You should not be in Palestine. You should leave."

      No-one that I know of tells them that. But I, and a lot like me, tell them "You should integrate into Palestinian society, and make common cause with the people who already live here."

      "The 400,000 who lived in Palestine on that day in 1939 and their millions of offspring alive today would answer you: No. We choose to live. "

      What too many of them did answer was

      "We choose to live cut off from humanity, both in the concrete sense of other people, and the abstract sense of decency, justice, and compassion.
      We choose killing, theft, ethnic cleansing, and oppression.
      We choose segregation.
      We choose lies."

    • "Jewish radical leftists. For example, Baruch Spinoza, "

      Radical, yes, though I'd place him closer to a classical liberal than a leftist. But he stopped being a Jew when he was 23. He was cast out by the rabbis. "And the Lord shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel" was part of the proclamation against him. (Of course, now he is famous and respected, this is overlooked and he is paraded as "Jewish".)

      And he never used the name "Baruch". It is disrespectful to him to lumber him with that name.

    • "Sean: Supposing everything you say about Judaism, Jewishness, the Jewish religion and Jewish people correct, what should be done about it? "

      Say "Sod this for a game of soldiers; I'm giving up this Jew business."

      Following the religion, thinking of oneself as a Jew, feeling a tribal attachment to other Jews, etc., are all a matter of choice.

  • Caroline Glick melts down with European diplomats
    • "the Palestinians invaded the Zionist colonisers"

      talknic, don't you remember the 1939 three-pronged Palestinian assault on Warsaw, Brooklyn, and Golders Green?

      "Zionists fought alongside the British in World War II "

      Real History instead of fantasy? Well, yes. Some did. The Palestine Regiment included Jews as well as Arabs.

      The Arab Legion and the Libyan Arab Force also fought alongside the British.

      The Free French Army included a lot of Arabs from Morocco and Algeria, and they fought alongside the British. (Embarrassingly, the Free French forces who liberated Paris consisted largely of heavily shaded-in people who had never been in France before.)

      Of course, not all the Arabs were enthusiastic about helping foreigners to fight wars in Arab lands. And the Stern Gang tried to get the support of the Germans and the Italians.

    • OT, but Denmark has just claimed the North Pole as Danish territory.

    • "Which one would you invite into your home?"

      Certainly not Glick, but I'm a bit dubious about the ambassador. He looks and sounds like your standard issue urbane, educated, Dane. But we have to ask "What ghastly blunder, shocking character flaw, unspeakable habit, or dreadful misfortune led to him being appointed ambassador to Israel?"

      That should give us pause before we invite him.

    • "You can count me as one of those who wish the Israelis would be more diplomatic, but the notion that the guy is owed some special courtesy because he’s a diplomat is anachronistic "

      Do the Danes know this?

    • "Mysoginist" makes a change from "anti-Semitic".

  • A donkey/zebra's story allows children to learn about Gaza
    • Closer to what I've been asking for, though I see no mention of Peter Possum and Katie Koala. Does it have a happy ending?

  • Palestinian teens describe torture while in Israeli detention
  • Bypassing Israel: The necessity of recognition in European capitals
    • So far as I know, only one (Sweden) of the 22 EU members has actually recognized Palestine. In six others, the Parliaments have voted in favour of recognition, even though the governments have not actually followed through.

      But those six include founder member Belgium (centre of EU administration and the EU Parliament), and major powers France, Britain, and Spain. With Ireland and now Portugal joining in, that is a solid block (except, perhaps, for Andorra) from Gibraltar to the Dutch border, and from the Alps to the Atlantic. Other countries will take note.

  • As Kerry and UN press on occupation, Netanyahu sees a 'diplomatic assault'
    • 'A flurry of news reports appeared reporting Israel “blasting Switzerland“.'

      That subtle Israeli diplomacy again.

  • Collective punishment of 1.8 million human shields in a prison -- Newsweek dares publish the truth of Gaza
    • Biggish step by the Swedish government.
      In Britain, Spain, France, Portugal, Belgium, and Ireland the governments haven't quite caught up with the Parliaments yet. I expect we'll see more from other European parliaments soon, which will put even more pressure on the governments.

  • Israeli extremists charged in arson of Jewish-Arab school wanted to 'raise intermarriage issue to top of agenda'
    • "A few days later"

      It took that long?

      London Underground carefully vets every ad to try to forestall that sort of thing, but they know that the ingenuity of London commuters will find ways of adjusting even the most innocuous of ads.

    • "I should probably have told you it was Groucho, not Karl, first.'

      Meh. The cigar's the only difference.

    • “It’s disgusting that Jews and Arabs learn side by side,”

      The consequences of that can be horrific beyond compare.

      They might make friends with each other!

      Look at my son's school. A week or so ago I went to another ceremony in that pit of depravity.
      The usual acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land.
      The Principal whose Northern English accent makes it obvious he's an immigrant.
      And the parents and kids with names and faces from all over the world. (Where does the surname "Haghseresht" come from?) All getting along together.

      So what happens when the reports are handed out?

      We see a blonde girl rushing to tell her friend that she got an A in sport. Friend squeals with delight. Friend has an Australian accent, and a face from South East Asia.

      We see a girl with an Arab face, a boy with a European face, and a boy with a black African face huddled together comparing grades.

      A girl with a Chinese face gives a quick shoulder rub to a girl with an Indian face.

      I'm not making this up to scare you , Mooser. All these things really happened. And there is worse to come.

      I saw boys and girls of different colours holding hands!

      Would you want your nice Jewish son or daughter to be in such an anti-Semitic environment?

  • Why Israel's Jewish nationality bill is a big deal
    • They don't seem to weave it so well these days. But it's still round and round and down and down.

    • "And those principles are?"

      Saleema summed them up.

      "We matter and you don't."

    • "israel was established as a state to support jews in distress"

      That was not the motive the original Zionists proclaimed. But how will Jewish law in Israel help Jews in distress?

      "there is no doubt that that century after century jews have been persecueted for relegious reasons"

      But Israel already has a law to enable persecuted jew to enter Israel.

      "there is no doubt that israel was the birthplace of judaism"

      Palestine was the birthplace of Christianity. And, since Baha'u'llah spent the last 24 years of his life in 'Akka (Acre), and wrote the main Baha'i scripture (along with much else) there, and the headquarters of the Baha'i faith are in Israel, it can be fairly claimed to be one of the birthplaces of the Baha'i faith.

      "and was in the oast a jewish state"

      Also a Christian state, under the Crusaders. And a Mandated State of Palestine administered by the British. As well as having been a part of the ancient Egyptian Empire, Alexander's Empire, the Roman Empire, the Caliphates, and the Ottoman Empire, among others. Plenty of claims possible on that basis.

      "democracy……….the cornerstone of modern civilization"

      Not keen on democracy or civilization ?

      "the way to lose your G-d given rights gracefully with civility"

      Democracy and civilization can help you to keep your rights. Incidentally, rights are not given by God. They are fundamental elements of morality, and so aren't dependent on the whims of any deity.

    • A trifle OT, and maybe this has already been reported on MW.

      Portugal's parliament has asked the government to recognise a Palestinian state.

      link to presstv.ir

      Sweden, Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Belgium, and now Portugal.

      That old black hasbara no longer seems to have Europe in its spell.

    • “The basic values of Judaism are the basic values of the state. I mean the values of love of man, the sanctity of life, social justice, doing what is good and just, protecting human dignity, the rule of law over the legislator and the like, values which Judaism bequeathed to the whole world. ...those universal values common to members of democratic society, which grew from Jewish tradition and history.”

      And with cherry tomatoes on top, too.

      What a load of self-aggrandizing tripe! Those values were known and held in the world when Judaism was just the religion of a little group of shepherds and farmers in Palestine.

  • Liberal Zionists seek to strip Naftali Bennett of freedom to travel in hope of saving two-state solution
  • PA considers ‘re-defining security coordination’ with Israel in wake of Palestinian govt minister death
    • "“the bleeding could have been caused by stress,”

      Nothing stressful about being confronted by the IDF, shouted at, pushed around, gassed, and choked. All very relaxing.

  • We're all anti-American now
    • I have heard that he made some speeches for the North Vietnamese that were at least adequate.

    • For politicians to be totally insane is quite normal. But to reveal it in this way and still get elected (rather than committed) shows that the electorate is either inattentive or similarly insane. Either way, a scary prospect.

    • I've been on some crummy airlines, but they haven't waterboarded me yet.

    • I would have phrased that as "Cheney, and his idiot front man, Bush".

    • I notice ivri doesn't mention the Japanese as danger to the world, even though the Americans were the main force against them. Isn't Asia included on his map of the world?

    • "the “criticism” of many on this site of Israel is no more than a euphemism for something far more sinister "

      Oooooh! Sinister forces at work! Do tell us more.

    • "e.g. saving the world three times in row from big dangers to it: The Nazis,"

      The USSR and the British Empire did most of the hard work, and shed the most blood, for that one.

      "Stalin"

      When was the world saved from Stalin?

      "and the Jihadists"

      ??????

  • 'Racist, fascist bullshit'-- Marcel Ophuls exposes Islamophobia in Israel
    • "I am convinced that many Jews who hate Israel ... They are, in a word, sick.”

      Standard issue cod psychology. When you have no good arguments against the position, cook up some "explanation" for why those who hold the position are loonies of some sort. It's a version of argumentum ad hominem.

  • United Auto Workers local becomes first major U.S. labor union to endorse BDS
    • "I believe there are things more important than justice and often societies need to act unjustly."

      But there is not, and never has been, a need for Zionists to act unjustly. The injustice stems from the unjust desires of the Zionists. Injustice is built in to Zionism.

    • The Zionists rejected integration into a Palestinians state, and so far the Israelis have only seemed to want to destroy or expel the Palestinians. This latest law declaring Israel a Jewish state is a move against integration.

      How long are the Palestinians supposed to wait for the Israelis to develop a sense of justice and decency? What should they do in the meantime?

  • Palestinian minister dies after Israeli army assault during olive tree planting ceremony in West Bank village
    • "“The event in which Ziad Abu Ein died is under investigation by the IDF. "

      I'm sure the investigation will come to a fair and satifactory conclusion.

  • As US media awake to a 'nightmare' Israel, NYT brings Blumenthal in from the cold
  • Five settlers board a bus and terrorize driver in Jerusalem
    • I would like to see Zoabi become the leader of the Palestinian resistance. She is intelligent, educated, and articulate, and also an attractive modern woman. Yes, I know that last shouldn't count, but it does. If Aung San Suu Kyi hadn't been an attractive modern woman, I suspect that the Burmese Generals would have killed her. As it was, they did not dare face the potential opprobrium. The public image was part of her influence.

      It would be the same with Zoabi, though whether the Israelis would be as mindful of public image as the Burmese generals is another question.

    • "I simply don’t believe Palestinians would attempt to assassinate the U.S. president. -"

      What would be the point?

  • Saban confronts Bennett: 'Are you willing to cut commercial ties with Europe?'
    • I feel sorry for the chickens.

    • "We know English."

      Well, I do. Some of the rest of you ...

    • "I think in our very difficult situation there is one quality that is almost more important than the rest. And that is that internal spine. … When you look at Israel’s history, ultimately, the big distinction was the people having that inner spine. "

      So much better than the external spine the rest of us are stuck with.

    • "Bennett responded that the situation was tragic, but that Palestinians deny the existence of a Jewish state, thereby threatening his children’s survival"

      How does that work?

      "and said that there was enough land on the highway medians from Atlanta to Columbus GA to give Palestinians a state 17 times over, but not enough in the West Bank for them to have a state. "

      I've got a better idea. give this enormous tract of land to the Israeli Jews as a long, thin, Jewish state, and let the Palestinians have Palestine back.

  • Israel begins criminal investigations into killings during 'Operation Protective Edge'
    • What? Has someone suggested there might be something criminal about shredding boys who play football on the beach? Honestly, whoever came up with this idea has too much time on his/her/its hands. Get a life!

  • A point by point response to Alan Dershowitz’s 'Ten Reasons Why The BDS Movement Is Immoral'

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