Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 9930 (since 2009-12-17 04:46:00)

Showing comments 9930 - 9901

  • Obama to sign AIPAC-promoted trade bill that legitimizes Israeli occupation and fights BDS
    • "even though John Keye has tried to slide it through with no explaination as to what it contains"

      How can he explain it when he doesn't know what it contains. The TPPA is supposed to be kept secret from everyone, and that includes Prime Ministers.

  • Palestinians call on Oscar nominees to reject Israel propaganda trip
    • "They’ll find the same thing in your lame ass description by taking the trip to Japan."

      Plus they will find polite people.

  • Did 'Hashomer Hatzair' shape Sanders's views on socialism and Israel?
    • Kris, you say you are not Jewish, but can you really be sure about that?

      You note that Mormons Mormonize dead people regardless of whether those dead people want to be Mormons or not, and we also know that dead ex-Jews can be re-Jewed. (Spinoza is the classic example. He was expelled from the fold when he was young, but now that he is famous and admired he has been reclaimed. His consent was not required for either operation.)

      Is it possible that these sort of powers can extend further, so that a living Non-Jew can be made into a Jew without notice or consent? It seems extreme, but I cannot see any logical reason to deny the possibility.

      So not only might you be an unwitting Israeli, you might actually be an Israeli Jew. There's a disquieting thought for you.

    • "Is Sanders a citizen of a foreign country? Any foreign country."

      Yes, as far as I can tell, he is a citizen of a foreign country, and specifically a citizen of the United States. I have never seen any suggestion that he is an Australian and not a foreigner. Indeed, if he were Australian, he would not be eligible to be President of the U.S.

  • BDS movement faces attack in six state legislatures
    • I'm not going to ignore it even if should, because it's interesting.

      "if they find themselves believing in that good old arc of justice aren’t they resorting to belief in some force for good unknown to science, in short to a god?"

      1. A force for good is not necessarily a god. The idea of karma, in its various interpretations, can be regarded as something very similar to the arc of justice, and yet it is not regarded as being in any way dependent on Gods. The Gods themselves are bound by karma.

      2. A force for good may be unknown to current science, but that goes for an awful lot of things. No real scientist has ever declared that science is complete. Heck, not even climate "scientists" go quite that far.

      3. The arc of justice may not be a single force similar to the four fundamental forces, but rather an emergent force. Evolution is a not a single, simple force, but the result of a number of simpler processes. The arc of justice may be something similar, and be the result of processes already known to science. (If anything is.)

      So I think the humanist has plenty of wriggle room to invoke the arc of justice without invoking any God of any description.

      None of the above should be taken as an argument that the arc of justice is in any way real.

  • Maya Angelou stood with Palestinians, but Israeli military uses her for Black History Month hasbara
    • 'but to me the IDF also stands for Jews taking a stand in the history of the world and saying, “no more powerlessness.” '

      Most Jews have been powerless throughout history. But then, so have most other people. Having very little power to influence the few people who run the world is the normal state of most of mankind.

      But, well before the IDF was formed, there were plenty of Jews among those who run the world. There were Jews in high positions in governments, in the military, in finance, industry, media, academia, and other fields. John Monash, Isaac Isaacs, the Rothschilds, and many more. Those Jews had much greater influence on the great affairs of the world than any of my ancestors.

      Perhaps I should establish a RoHaDF, so that I can say, with truth, "no more powerlessness".

  • Oscar swag bag includes ten-day VIP trip to Israel worth $55,000 (Updated)
  • The irreconcilable differences of liberal Zionism
  • 'New York Times' picks up Bernie Sanders's 'socialist' kibbutz but leaves out the ethnic cleansing
    • 1. By "valid" I assume you mean "morally acceptable". Yes, survival is a morally acceptable goal, but that does not mean that any and every action taken to achieve survival is itself morally acceptable.

      2. I will agree that, sometimes, it is morally acceptable to impose some injustice on an innocent third party, even without that party's consent, in order to survive. I will further agree that it is not easy to determine how much injustice can be imposed, but I will insist on at least the following conditions.

      (A) The injustice must be necessary, in that there is no alternative route to survival.

      (B) The injustice cannot be such that the survival of the third party is itself endangered. (Jumping the queue at the bus stop is permissible if necessary for survival. Pushing someone else under the bus is not.)

      (C) If possible, apology and restitution be made.

      Now it is by no means clear to me that either evicting longtime tenants after a purchase from absentee owners or pre-war Zionism in general fulfils any of those conditions. Certainly the third condition has not been met.

      But there is a further problem. As far as I can tell (and I expect others more familiar with the history will comment on this), the motive of the pre-War Zionists was to establish as much control over the land as possible for themselves. Saving European Jews from the coming slaughter was not their aim.

      So even if their actions did contribute to saving some European Jews, I am reluctant to accept this as a justification for their actions. This sort of post hoc moral justification seems highly dubious to me. I would not justify the Afican Slave trade on the grounds that it resulted in many of the descendants of the slaves being citizens of the rich USA rather than impoverished Upper Volta.

      As far as I am concerned, then, your attempted justification for the earlier Zionists is a total failure.

      Do you have anything better to offer?

    • Could you clarify that clarification for me, please, Yonah?

      You seem to be suggesting that a strong Jewish community in Palestine was a way of helping European Jews to survive. How was that supposed to work? How was building a kibbutz going to help Jews in Europe?

      I will add that the results showed that it did not work very well. Millions of European Jews did not survive.

      And, of course, this was survival at the expense of the Palestinians. What makes Jews so important that others must suffer to enable Jews to survive?

    • I was thinking of the Highland clearances and the enclosure of common land in England when I wrote that post.

      And you are correct. No legal technicality can excuse Zionists.

    • Not a misuse.

      "Ethnic cleansing", as you have defined it, is a moral term. Application of legal pressure is a way of forcing removal even if law officers do not physically remove the tenants, and that is not excluded by your definition.

      The fact that it is legal in no way makes it moral. The law can be made by the powerful group that desires the ethnic cleansing, but even if it is not, that is no guarantee that the law is morally acceptable.

  • Double standard seen as Israel sentences minors involved in Abu Khdeir murder to prison but no punitive measures
    • Thank you, Zofia. Your knowledge of the history is impressive, and is a wonderful counter to the Hasbara.

  • Bernie Sanders' spirituality is resonating with young religious 'None's
    • "Having given my definition along with another definition, what can I say?"

      You don't need to say anything more about spirituality. I wanted to know what the term meant. I now have a pretty good idea of the sort of thing it refers too. I think you might be confusing ignorance of the meaning of a term (that is, what it refers to) with lack of experience of the thing referred to.

      " Have you never experienced a sense of wonder?"

      I might have, but since I don't know what the term "sense of wonder" means, I can't say for certain.

      "From all I have read, spirituality is limited to a well developed sense of self which, in turn, requires a more advanced intellectual capability. "

      We do not know what the mental Iives of other animals are like, but only what we can guess about them. (Yes, psychologists try to make better guesses, but their guesses are still hardly reliable.) For that reason, I prefer to leave it an open question.

      "show me even one Chimp who can punctuate worth a crap."

      A weakness shared with many denizens of the Internet, but punctuation is not the only path to enlightenment.

    • No, I'm still not clear about this. I can see that one might need to "identify" in order to gain access to (e.g.) retricted tribal grounds, or some similar benefit, but aside from such cases I fond it difficult to imagine an objective need to hang some sort of "identity" label on oneself.

      Taking a cue from Mooser, it might be reasonable to take such a label as a defence against having some other label imposed.

    • "you’d have to ask them. different strokes for different folks."

      So you can't suggest any reason why a person would need to "identify", as distinct from want to "identify" or believe they had some obligation to "identify"?

    • "i could just as easily claim no one needs to identify themselves period."

      Does anyone need to "identify" themselves?

    • "Spirituality is a concept that has been around for a long time, hardly a buzzword."

      The word has only recently* come into frequent popular usage. I wanted to know what concept it referred to.

      "In general, it refers to the unique-to-human (chimps, too?) sense of self and of consciousness,"

      Why do you think it is so limited?

      "The words wonder and awe frequently occur because that is what most feel when contemplating human conscious awareness and the ability to perceive beauty."

      I don't know what "wonder" means in that context.

      "I am a little surprised that Buddhist philosophy which you mention lacks the concept of spirituality."

      I never said it did. In general, though, Buddhist philosophy uses very precise concepts.

      Now, back to enlightenment through punctuation.

      "Take special care not to do such things as writing a tsheg
      Between a final letter and a shad, unless the letter is a nga."

      (*In the last twenty years.)

    • Interesting little essay, Yonah. Deserves a few comments.
      Phil's wife isn't assuming better norms emerge. She is saying that if they do, she will not mind the end of Protestantism.

      2. "But lackadaisical endorsement of the disappearance of organized religion is an unproven path for a diverse society such as this world and the United States."

      It does sometimes seem that the United States is not part of this world, doesn't it? But I will point out that some societies manage reasonably well with fairly disorganized religions, such as Shinto and Chinese folk religion. (I actually think those are better for people than the rigid monotheist religions.)

      3. And that leads me to agree with Siberiak. There does seem to be a false dichotomy.

      4. "Advocating the dissolution of faith communities is praying for the impoverishment of the human spirit."

      Incongruous use of "praying". And what does "impoverishment of the human spirit" mean? It's an impressive phrase, but it needs a bit of expanding to become a useful concept.
      And if those faith communities are themselves impoverishing the human spirit, shall we not call for their dissolution?

      5. "But rationality alone does not begin to describe the human condition."

      Be that as it may, since "rationality is the most important feature that we need to face the future", it would be wise to maintain as much rationality as possible rather than make excuses for those religions which are an offence against rationality.

    • Too much Heidegger.

    • Do you mean "fluctuation", Annie? "Fluxuation" sounds rude.

    • Thanks for that link, Gamal.

      Since I am, intellectually, pretty much a Buddhist myself (though mostly ignoring the five precepts) and have lectured in Buddhist philosophy, I am quite used to the talk of suffering, etc., that permeates so much Buddhist discourse, and contrast so markedly with the general cheerfulness of Buddhist monks.

      Interesting how similar it is to Stoic methods of separating the good/bad judgement from the sensation or emotion.

      Of course, this is my favourite page on that site.

      link to

    • Thanks. I like Keith's definition best, but gamal's will probably appeal to a wider audience.

      "Spirituality" is one of those buzzwords which has become popular recently, but which I find too imprecise to be really meaningful. ("Relate" and some uses of "wonder" are others.)

      I shall think of those two definitions when I encounter the word in future.

    • What does "spirituality" mean?

    • "I don’t understand why you have so much trouble simply acknowledging that point. "

      I actually can see that point. The point I can't see is the point of trying to maintain a faith community if a large portion of that community is content for it to fade away.

  • Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews Say No! take credit for faux 'NYT' highlighting biased coverage on Israel/Palestine
    • Zionism is a "Zionist Jew versus the rest of the Universe" issue, and non-Zionist Jews are part of the rest of the Universe.

    • Page: 99
  • Israeli designer eroticizes the Palestinian keffiyeh
    • Houndstooth is usually fine, but I have seen huge houndstooth patterns. (Nor for thirty or forty years, mind you.) But if it didn't look like houndstooth, then it wasn't.

    • "“Hophmi” is fighting for Israeli women’s honor…"

      And we should probably wish him success in that, depending on which side he is on.

      (I must admit that I have never physically fought for a woman's honour., though with some women it has been a struggle to negotiate a discount.)

    • "With a super sized keffiyeh pattern"

      Sure it isn't just a houndstooth check?

    • "I have even been accused of anti-semitism by Hopfmi, which is is a badge of honor because in his usage it means someone critical of Israel and Zionism.

      It's not a particularly exclusive badge of honour. Just about everyone has been accused of anti-Semitism by hophmi.

  • Biggest loser in Iowa was foreign policy
    • Choosing an American president by coin toss seems as likely to give as good a result as that tedious voting method. That hasn't turned out so well up to now.

  • Despite total lack of evidence, Israeli court sentences 'Hares Boys' to 15 years in prison
  • 'An Arab is an Arab'
    • "From what I can see this identity was created in late 60’s in order to undermine the legitimacy of the only Jewish state."

      I will ask again. What difference does it make?

      There was a native, Arabic-speaking, population living in Palestine. The Zionists drove most of them out and took their land. This was a crime, an evil act, no matter what the members of the population called themselves.

      And as an incidental question, why "only"? Would it make a difference if there were forty-two Jewish States? Would the evil be greater or lesser?

    • Let us suppose, for one giddy moment, that it is true that there was no independent Palestinian people considering itself as a Palestinian people, and that there was no Palestinian state.

      Could someone please explain to me why that would make a difference?

      There were people living in Palestine, native to Palestine, and the Zionists came and threw them out and took their country away from them.

      Those people were wronged.

      I cannot see how not considering themselves members of a "people", or not having a state, in any way mitigates, let alone excuses, that wrong.

  • 'We are all Jews' -- the Holocaust as imperial export
    • "If we can’t even decide who is a Jew, why do we need a Jewish State?"

      Just in case.

      It might turn out that someone, somewhere, (Mooser, perhaps?) actually is a Jew.

      If that happens, then we've got a nice, shiny, new Jewish state all ready for him.

  • Park Slope Food Coop puts up firewall against boycott of Israeli goods
    • "the heroic RAF which stopped Goering’s much larger Luftwaffe by sacrifice, adaption and courage"

      But also by the use of radar (recently invented in Britain), good planning, and good organization.

    • "The Jewish State of Israel simply DIDN’T exist for the vast majority of your alleged 3,288 years. "

      But there was a Christain Kingdom there for nearly 200 years.

      And before that, the Romans established a Temple to Jupiter there. I don't know how Christian the area became when the Roman Empire officially adopted Christianity.

  • 'I cannot support Israel as long as Netanyahu is in office'-- many American Jews are saying
  • Jewish West Bank settlers are as smug as white South Africans in 1980
    • NZ took much firmer action than Australia did. That nice Mr Rudd expelled a diplomat who was the local head of Mossad, but Julia Gillard, his deputy PM, was strongly pro-Israel, and would have been a restraining hand behind the scenes. Opposition leader Tony Abbott said it was an overreaction, and Julie Bishop (our current Foreign Minister, with the mad,, staring, eyes) justified Israel by saying that ASIO and ASIS did the same sort of thing. (Pssst! Julie, you are not supposed to reveal what ASIO and ASIS do. )

      And, when you mention that Keyes is Jewish, I hope you are not hinting at any sort of dual loyalty. You know what sort of trope that would be.

    • It looks as though some Italian academics care.

      link to

    • "Or New Zealand."

      If they are really, really, desperate.

    • Mossad can provide plenty of stolen or forged Australian and British passports.

  • After 'tepid' welcome at Israeli Embassy, Obama's pro-Israel speech brought down the house
  • The Israeli government is as responsible for Duma murders as those who threw the firebomb
    • "you cannot, in any meaningful way, be racist against white people. "

      Perhaps Annie can't, but I know, from experience, that quite a few Japanese can.

    • For aught I know, it was your software that made the error. We ought to check our posts more carefully, but I know I often flai to do taht.

  • Netanyahu responds to Ban Ki-moon's criticism of the Israeli occupation (Update)
  • How many more orgasms will be had for Zionism?
    • "Newspeak is a language designed to destroy thought and make thought crime impossible. Each successive version eliminates more words and concepts. "

      If I may indulge in a little tub thumping here, I will point out that the best defence against Newspeak is the old trivium of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. Being trained in those makes it easier to see what is being done by the promotion of Politic Newspeak.

    • The precedent does not bode well for Zionism.

  • Did Obama blunder in Haiti because he has to pay so much attention to Israel?
    • "But I suppose when that’s all you’ve got, it’s all you’ve got. "

      As I've said before, Hophmi is all chip and no shoulder.

  • Cut the Gordian Knot -- a response to Ban Ki-moon's landmark speech
    • Interesting, Siberiak.

      Drifting a bit off topic here, but

      "the newly accepted definition of a holocaust denier"

      Accepted by whom? It sounds as though there was some kind of international committee. Was there?

      "is anyone who doubts the number of Jews killed,"

      How much leeway is there? Plus or minus 10%? (When I was young I heard the figure of four million tossed around a lot, but perhaps that was just in reference to Auschwitz.)

      And what do they call the rabbi who says most of them weren't real Jews?

      link to

      "who denies the existence of the gas chambers"

      Eastern European Jews who were lined up and shot don't count? If the killing was deliberate, why is the method important?

  • 'If we lose the West Bank, we lose everything': An evening with a liberal Israeli
  • Among the settlers
    • Is hypocrisy a worse crime than killing and ethnic cleansing?

    • If "chuevos" is a portmanteau word for "chutzpah" and "huevos", I hope the editors of the OED are already preparing a definition for inclusion.

    • The Romans created facts on the ground in Britain. Some of the facts are still there.

      But that thought is not much help in the short term.

    • "Huevos" is Spanish for "eggs". Mooser is pronouncing it the way Zionists pronounce "Hamas".

  • The world the settlers made
    • I thought all regular readers of MW knew that I regard culture as much less important than the well-being of people.

      Let suppose that in fifty years the Palestinians are free and equal full citizens of a state* that extends from the river to the sea. Let us further suppose that they have freely given up at least their most disgusting customs**, have freely given up Islam and Christianity and become Pure Land Buddhists, and, inexplicably in an Arabic-speaking region, taken to speaking English of a standard of which even I would approve.

      I would not find that a regrettable situation, though I would urge them to speak Arabic with the neighbours.

      (*The Socialist People's Republic of the Holy Land)

      (**Which, if they are anything like everyone else, would mean most of their customs.)

    • ", ultimately it is Judaiam that pays the ultimate price."

      It is the Palestinians who pay the ultimate price.

      Judaism is just a bunch if ideas, customs, and so forth. If it vanishes, no real people are harmed, though some may be dismayed.

      But Palestinians are people, with bodies to hurt and lives to lose.

  • Israeli mayors initiate boycott of Sweden over foreign minister's criticism
    • Yeats tried. Joyce succeeded.

    • That's because they talk funny.

      For example:

      "That is no country for old men. The young
      In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
      —Those dying generations—at their song,
      The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
      Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
      Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
      Caught in that sensual music all neglect
      Monuments of unageing intellect."


      " riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs."

      That's just not normal.

  • Kerry and Shapiro bring the one-state news the NYT failed to deliver
  • Adelson newspaper suggests Swedish foreign minister deserves assassination for questioning Israeli policy
    • So "on" rather than typo "off".

      This time they probably won't use a lone, crazed, Serb who just happens to see her when he is full of drugs. They will use one of the Muslim refugees who are flooding into Europe. If one quarter of what is said about their behaviour is marginally true, they are earning the status of "most likely villain".

      (Yugoslav immigrants held this role in Sweden because many of them were involved in criminal gangs, as a sort of Yugoslav Mafia.)

    • I don't understand. Do you mean that if Wallström's light is extinguished by assassination, other critics of Israel will voluntarily turn off their own lights?

    • Wallström should take care.

      Palme supported the Palestinians. No-one knows who killed him.

      Lindh was a very strong critic of Israel and supporter of the Palestinians. She was killed by a lone, crazed, Serb, who was allegedly high on drugs.

      Not encouraging precedents.

  • Clinton baits Sanders over 'destruction of Israel'
    • "Maybe it would be easier to vote for Hillary Clinton if she wasn’t such an insistently unconvincing liar. "

      We know politicians are liars, but we do like them to put a bit of effort into trying to sound as though they are telling the truth.

  • Israel arrests human rights campaigner Ezra Nawi and puts gag order on case as part of growing 'witch hunt' against activists
    • "he wrote us pissed the moderation rules were too lax. "

      And so they are. The mods permit an appalling number of comments that are riddled with bad grammar and poor punctuation. Time for a crackdown!

    • As Annie and Kris have pointed out, it is a practical measure. From the Palestinian point of view, letting Jews buy land, or, indeed, letting them anywhere near the land, hasn't worked out too well so far. Preventing it seems like reasonable caution.

  • Israeli Supreme Court approves demolition of Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran to make way for Jewish town of Hiran
    • "Israel’s plan to evict the village’s 1,000 Palestinian Bedouin residents, in order to build Jewish town of Hiran"

      Pssst! Eljay! Remember "ethnic cleansing is currently not necessary"?

      They are just doing it for the Hell of it.

  • As sanctions end over nuclear program, US socks Iran with new sanctions over missile testing
  • Sanders calls for moving 'aggressively as we can to normalize relations with Iran'
    • "Why is it that liberals engage in non-stop self-deception?"

      Because they are remarkably similar to the rest of us.

  • Groundbreaking Human Rights Watch report shows how settlement businesses contribute to Israeli occupation
    • "Marnie I cannot accept that any political philosophy supported by millions is either all good or all bad"

      If the core concept of the ideology is bad, then I would expect that all shades of that ideology would be bad, although some might be worse than others.

      "Socialism has a pretty poor record "

      Socialism has a pretty good record in many parts of the world. Socialist influence has made North West Europe the destination of choice for refugees.

  • British Parliamentarians pay homage to Dick Cheney during debate over ISIS
    • When political correctness is good manners, in not calling people insulting names, I have no objection to it. When it demands that ideas not be expressed because some people find them offensive, then it is an attempt at suppression of free speech.

      I have a great deal of formal education, a great deal of informal education, and a great deal of life experience from rattling around the world. I have seen lots of mumbo-jumbo in popular culture, in politics, and in the academic sphere I worked in. Especially, though by no means exclusively, in the humanities we see one dollop of trendy tosh replace another. Freudian-Marxist analysis goes out of fashion, and Postmodernism and Critical Theory comes in. Undergraduates struggle with ill-defined jargon and vague concepts joined by tendentious links. The stuff clogs up their minds and does nothing to nourish their souls. Then the poor things emerge into the world with no real knowledge and inadequate reasoning skills, and are thus susceptible to the mumbo-jumbo that pervades the wider world.

    • And the ancient literature shows that love was not a Hollywood construct. It was widely recognized in much of the world long before Hollywood existed.

      Why are you churning out all this pointless, half-baked, sociological twaddle? Are you taking a course in "fashionable junk studies", or something, and practicing for your exams?

    • "@Annie, being “in love” is a Hollywood construct not based on reality."

      When I was an undergraduate I came across a claim that falling in love, etc., was a construct invented by the late Mediaeval troubadours. I decided it was nonsense because I knew that the concept could be found in Ancient Greek and Chinese literature that preceded even Layla and Majnun, let alone the troubadours or Hollywood.

  • Extremists vandalize Jerusalem church with Hebrew threats: 'Death to heathen Christians'
  • Are Palestinian citizens of Israel banned from New York Times headlines?
    • Very similar, Mooser, but with no contact.

    • It is generally regarded as taking place between 1350 and 1600. 250 years of terror and misery, as the English and the Scots tried to teach their children how to speak (after all, Norwegians learn Norwegian, the Greeks are taught their Greek) but heard horrible, tortured, sounds emerging from their own mouths.

      "Alas, the Great Vowel Shift is upon us" they attempted to cry, but, of course, it came out sounding wrong. Some were in such despair that they fled to Wales, where they could avoid using English. (America was not really an option for that in those days.)

      By 1600 (and not1601) it was over. The English language, that marvellous invention of Mr. G. Chaucer, had been irreversibly changed. Only the sterling work of Mr. W. Shakespeare, at the end of the period, kept it as a working system.

      (Later, of course, Mr. C. Lamb and Mr. P. G. Wodehouse brought this revamped language to full perfection.)

      If you can bear to read it, Wikipedia actually has quite a good account.

      link to

      Of course, this was before Tasman (who was a Dutchman, and so didn't count) saw NZ, and long before Cook got there, so whatever you do there is your own filthy business, and can't be blamed on the Great Vowel Shift.

    • Philemon, in my household everyone speaks Japanese, except for the cat, and she understands it. We use it at least as much as English. Mine is pretty ropey, but I do know what an unvoiced bilabial fricative is. I also know that it is not the same as an aspirated unvoiced bilabial plosive.*

      "Linguists don’t care what letters you use,"

      Though they prefer IPA.

      "They like a challenge."

      Yeah? Where were they when Britain was suffering the horrors of the Great Vowel Shift?
      What did they do to meet that challenge? Nothing! And so we, today, have to live with the devastation wreaked by that catastrophe.

      (*And a lot more about phonetics than that. Among the various bits of paper showing what an unbearable smart-arse I am is a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics.)

    • gamal, I don't think I could help the Shuwa Arabs. I don't know anything about allowable identities. All I can tell them is the conventional meanings of English terms.

    • "Just because one’s ancestors formerly lived in majority Arabic-speaking societies and used Arabic (or Jewish dialects of Arabic) in the past does not mean one is an Arab."

      No, but it means that one's ancestors were Arabs.

      In the conventional sense of "Arab", Arabs are people who live in majority Arabic-speaking societies and use Arabic as their first language.

      The Jews from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, etc. were Arabs, regardless of how they defined themselves.

      Even if their parents came from Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, etc., Americans and Australians who grew up in America or Australia and use English as their first language are not Arabs, regardless of how they define themselves.

    • Thanks, YoniFalic and echinococcus. Good point. I had completely forgotten about the ancient pronunciations of Φ and Π. (Θ and Χ were also aspirates, weren't they?)

      For the original ancient Greeks the sounds were obviously very distinct (hence the different letters) but by Koine days the purists were tucked away in the attic and Greek was being used by shifty Levantines who probably spoke like Americans.

      So, when I look at it that way, I can see that the translators could have concerns about confusion.

      Life would be much easier if people spoke clearly and learned how to spell.

    • "And sometimes Palestine seems to be Walestine – makes you wonder who the Welsh really are."

      Oops! For years I have been saying that one of the few things about Jesus we can be sure of is that he wasn't Welsh. But maybe we can't even be sure of that.

    • "the similarity of Φιλιστία (Philistia) and Παλαιστίνη (Palestine)"

      But they don't seem very similar to me. One starts "fi", the other "pa". All they have in common is "..λ-στί...", with differing vowels between the lamda and the sigma.

    • I don't know what Cruz said about New York Values, and I don't really care. But I can't see the term as anti-Semitic. Indeed, to call it anti-Semitic suggest that Jews so dominate New York that they control, or at least typify, the city's values. That might be true, but I suspect the suggestion is also anti-Semitic. (No-one has, as yet, clarified the relationship between truth and anti-Semitism.)

      Nor can I see NY values as uniformly "liberal". I suspect that the values of Wall Street, the Mafia, and the drug gangs might be similar, but not shared by many of the other residents of the city.

  • African asylum seekers fear for safety with racism on the rise in Israeli society
    • "can we say, in fairness and without prejudice, that that ISIL has a “special aptitude for cruelty” that comes from “Islamic ethics”?"

      Of course we can't say that without an evidence-based argument.

      What we can do is ask the question. The relationship between Islamic ethics and the cruelty of ISIS is just as legitimate a field of inquiry as the relationship between Western values and the cruelty of Israel and Marxism and the cruelty of the Soviet Union.

    • As a side note, perhaps I should point out that the USA, Britain, France, and Australia have not shown excessive reluctance towards slaughtering other Westerners.

    • "when some deranged guy stabs an Eritrean in the head, it comes from Jewish ethics, "

      But I am talking about the calculated actions of the state, not just some deranged guy. And the state in question declares itself to be Jewish and to take its inspiration from the Jewish prophets.

      The actions of the Marxist-Leninist Soviet Union and the Marxist-Maoist PRC led some people to doubt that Marxism was quite as good an idea as it seemed at first blush. Can we not entertain similar doubts about Jewishness?

    • And suggesting that Israeli cruelty comes from Western values (perhaps those best exemplified by the tendency of the USA, Britain, France, and Australia to bomb and slaughter non-Westerners) is anti-what?

    • "a European country agreed to accept the Yamenas as a humanitarian case and grant them housing, medical and psychological treatment and social benefits. However, the country conditioned its assent on its name not being publicized, to avoid conflict with Israel."


    • "Every time they seem to have become about as hateful and vicious as humanly possible, they push their special aptitude for cruelty to an even higher level."

      Is this because of the general shared values with the USA in particular and the West in general, or does it come from that deep well of Jewish ethics we hear about?

  • Methodist divestment highlights Israel's place in the world
    • Mooser, are horses' heads kosher?

    • And the recent business of the American sailors who somehow ran aground in Iranian waters. Zarif and Kerry had a quiet word over the phone, and they were released and taken back to US ships, in their own patrol boats.

      (Of course, they were subjected to Iranian torture first. They had to lie around on cushions and carpets for hours. What's worse, the poor devil were given lunch. (Looked like spicy chicken, flat bread, and fruit.) At least they avoided the dreadful suits that were forced on the British sailors.)

    • Israel is going to impose "sever consequences" on the Methodist Church?

      That's going to make friends and influence people.

      There are around 26 million Methodists in the world, and 8 million of them are American United Methodists.

  • Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia (Updated)
    • OT, but Alan Rickman has died.

      Probably he will be mostly remembered for his role as Serverus Snape (and that is no bad way to be remembered) but some here will recall that he and Katherine Viner put together and presented My Name Is Rachel Corrie.

  • A Response to Ben Norton on silence over war in Yemen
    • I'm certain that " a vile pyramid scheme devised in the 1890’s by a bunch of greedy and predominantly Jewish financiers" is thoroughly anti-wotsit.

      Hophmi will have conniptions.

    • If it is like most modern schools, a festering pile of politically correct nonsense.

      And aside from that, sweet FA.

  • 'Netanyahu at War' on PBS was dreadful but not without interest
    • I clearly reserved my position on the impact of women in politics.

      My comment about intellectual incompetence was referring to the vast majority of women. The vast majority of women are not in politics. (Neither are the vast majority of men.)

      Your knee-jerk responses and half-baked sociological jargon are misdirected.

    • "Mondoweiss is under attack from impostors. This should stop. As should the Nakba justifications and the threats"

      I like the threats. They help to support my sense of being a victim.

      link to

    • Rugal, before you expend any more energy on fashionable blather about gender and sexuality, take a few lessons in learning to read plain words.

      I explicitly admitted that I did not know what women could bring to politics.

      Plenty of room for someone to step in and offer a list.

      This is not saying that women politicians are as idiotic as male politicians. (Though I will add that experience of numerous women politicians in Britain and Australia does not provide me with a strong counter-argument.)

      But my main point was about women in general, and was made in reference to Annie's comment about analytical skills.

    • "The host adds, “yes, it’s like a reality show!” And Hillary nods, so I guess she also means, women are more realistic?"

      Reality shows have nothing to do with realism. Or analytic skills, for that matter.

      I don't know what women can bring to politics that isn't already there, but it seems to me that the vast majority of women are just as intellectually incompetent as the vast majority of men.

  • Another Netanyahu lie exposed: Hamas is not ISIS
  • Why Israel has silenced the 1948 story of Nazareth’s survival
  • The sons of Sa'ir
    • "It is simple truism, that every being has the right to protect itself "

      It is not simple at all.

      First, you have to decide what counts as a being.
      By "being" do you mean a human, or a living animal, or plants, animals, bacteria,etc? Israel is like not any of those things.
      Will you include non-sentient robots, tables, rocks, teddy bears, and first editions of Napier's The Peninsular War?
      Israel is not like any of those things.

      You would be better off appealing to "States have a right to defend themselves" as a general principle.

      Of course, then you have to face Annie's arguments that states involved in criminal activities do not have the right to defend themselves.

      And you still need to decide what counts as an attack, and what counts as legitimate defence.

    • Predictive software is responsible for some of my errors, but a lot of them come from the fact that much of my equipment is rather old. Especially the fingers and brain.

    • "because Jewish people ate (only) human."

      I'll let Mooser deal with the "ate" and simply treat it as a typo for "are".

      And I suspect that including "only" makes your claim anti-Semitic.

    • "I have little doubt that the invader population could be relocated within a year to new homes in ... Australia ..."

      No thanks. We have quite enough ill-mannered, morally-deficient, yahoos as it is.

  • Sick of Zionism’s stranglehold on Jewish culture? There is an alternative.
    • You want to end this conversation? O.k. , I reluct agree. I was stuck like a dope with a thing called hope that we could carry on until we got to Oklahoma, but that is not to be. Ah, well. It nearly was mine.

    • I think dams are best appreciated if you have a bit of engineering knowledge, but you've got to be carefully taught.

    • Certainly nothing acts like a dam or attracts like a dam. My father was a structural engineer, so when we travelled around Australia we always took side trips to look at various dams and how they were built. I found it interesting. But that's just talking happy talk.

    • Kansas corn may not be as strong as Ziocaine (TM), but take care. You can still get as high as a flag on 26 January.

    • Blueberry pie isn't normal round these parts. Nor are daisies in May. Remember, when you communicate with me, you aren't in Kansas any more.

    • Congratulations, ivri. With that load of old moody you have shown yourself unwilling to attempt any real thinking. Good thing that not all of us have that attitude, or we really would be destimed to live with vagueness in all realms of life.

      "Zionism is at best when embeds in it the macro Judaism trajectory, which includes the history of the Jews and with that Moses and the Promised Land. "

      And at its best it is still an evil ideology. All your beliefs, emotions, and instincts will not change that.

    • "we’re all doubly screwed since there are 2 definitions of nation with two different meanings, "

      I sorted out three concepts of nation, but I got no thanks for it. Zionist do not like exposure of their amphiboly.

      I'm also curious about ivri's concept of "normal" , even though he has admitted Israel isn't quite normal yet.

      What makes a country normal? Which countries are normal? The USA is crazy, Japan is weird, Australia is full of yahoos, France regards Jerry Lewis as a great auteur, Canada is boringly inoffensive, and New Zealand doesn't really exist. Is he thinking of Denmark and Uruguay? Are they normal?

    • Annie, you mustn't ask him to sort out the ambiguity, the vagueness, and general incoherence of all the nation/people codswallop. If he does that, the whole construct will fall apart and he''ll see it for the load of old cobblers it is. And then he'd be upset, and you would be an anti-Semite for upsetting him.

      (Not that you aren't one now.)

    • "Dialogue", at the very least, eljay.

    • As a side note, can I point out that, even if (contrary to your suggestion, Shmuel) Zionism actually is "somehow a fulfilment of the aspirations of traditional Judaism ", that still is not a moral justification for Zionism.

      Zionism, and the conception of Israel, and the creation of Israel, and the conduct of Israel, would still be evil.

  • Forty Brazilian diplomats issue statement against Dani Dayan appointment
    • Why would Brazilians give a hoot about what retired Israeli diplomats say?

      "Their national defense will collapse because of their folly. Debacle."

      I remember the Sino-Albanian split of 1978. Without Albanian support, poor China had to struggle on alone.

      (Though relations between China and Albania have recently improved. An Albanian won third prize in the World Bikini Contest in Qingdao.

      link to

    • Real diplomacy looks like this.

      link to

      (How do I embed you tube the way Dickerson does?)

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