Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 9224 (since 2009-12-17 04:46:00)

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  • Watch the cathartic Vietnam documentary
    • I was unhappy about that “There is no single truth in war” line as well. It has a smell of (pardon my French) postmodernism about it, a smell of the replacement of truth by "competing narratives". And anyone who has been in a farmyard knows that smell.

    • Conscription was by lottery in Australia as well. The only time my number came up in a lottery, the prize was an all-expenses-paid trip to Vietnam. Return ticket not guaranteed.

    • Does it mention the 300,000 Koreans , the 61,000 Australians, or the 3,000 Kiwis who also took part in the war?

      (I plead conscientious objection to conscription for that war. Won the case in court, and thus, when I graduated, found myself unemployable in Australia. Had to go back to Britain.)

  • Liberal Zionist hero Barak brags that Israeli left 'liberated' the occupied territories for Jews
  • A Jewish atonement for Zionism
    • I'm delighted to see this book is available again. I know it from a copy that was in the Barr-Smith Library at the University of Adelaide in the 1960s. I have never seen another copy anywhere. Time for me to reread it.

  • A plea to Israel: Don't start the third Lebanon War
    • The material was flown in from NATO bases in Europe. This was a breach of the terms of the treaty. Saving Israel was more important to the US than keeping agreements with its allies or protecting Europe from the Soviets. (The Soviets had no intention of attacking, but this was the only time the US even tacitly acknowledged that.)

      Another reason for Iran and NK to be suspicious of agreements with the US.

    • I doubt that Israel will pay any attention to this plea.

  • Seeing 'tranquillity' on West Bank, 'New York Times' whitewashes the occupation
    • "If", not "of".

    • “The existing borders, the 1967 borders, were viewed by everybody as not secure,"

      Nor were they. The Jordanian Army was not able to successfully defend them.

    • “The idea was that Israel would be entitled to secure borders,”

      I love this idea of being entitled to secure borders. I think that Lebanon is entitled to secure borders, and its borders would be much more secure of the highlands of Galilee were part of Lebanon.

      Canada is also entitled to secure borders. I think the Canadian borders should be along the Rio Grande, and then a line running across to the top of Baja California. That would be shorter and thus much more defensible. (There are people living in the area, so if they don't all accept Canadian rule - though I can't imagine why they wouldn't - a bit of transfer of populations might be necessary.)

  • Samuel Freedman extols Jewish 'love affair' with Jewish state-- while decrying 'dogma of white supremacy'
    • "However, there are many people who don’t agree with your view. You can find people who think that the Jews have returned to their ancient homeland. "

      You keep saying this, but so what? Why is it important?

  • Between our life and our mother Algeria, we chose our mother: Excerpt from 'Inside the Battle of Algiers: Memoir of a Woman Freedom Fighter'
    • "The FNL ... was not ideal."

      Some of them don't stand for the national anthem, either.

    • As a possible justification for the initial French invasion (though not the subsequent French conduct) I will point out that it seems to have finally put a stop to North African piracy and slave-taking.
      I am under the impression that the North African pirates were in a decline anyway.

      If stopping the piracy was not the aim of the French, it does not serve as a justification. Even if this was a motive, I am pretty sure that was not the sole motive the French had.

      But I will let better historians take up this question.

  • After article was rejected and publishers yawned, Walt and Mearsheimer dropped 'The Israel Lobby' in 2005
  • Ten days of awe: standing with whom?
  • High holidays? Meh
    • Waugh is usually savage. Betjeman usually seems much gentler, singing the lost Elysium of once-rural Middlesex. But there is nothing gentle about

      Good rhythms in

      Anthony Burgess was not kind to him in Earthly Powers.

      I confess that I have never read anything by Larkin, but I am certain that, like Thomas, Betjeman, Waugh, and Burgess, it is far more worth reading than JeffB's effusions.

    • If youth wants to dismantle my infrastructure, they'll have to do it over my dead body!

    • Thanks, echinococcus. That makes sense. A plant native to North America, cultivated by the American Indians, and which was then taken to Europe and cultivated by Europeans, is exactly the right plant to be a Judean root. Invented by Israelis.

    • Of course, mention of agriculture makes me think of the Rev. Jenkins and his father

      “who, undogcollared because of his little weakness, was scythed to the bone one harvest by mistake when sleeping with his weakness in the corn. He lost all ambition and died, with one leg.

      “ Poor Dad,” grieves the Reverend Eli Jenkins, “to die of drink and agriculture.”

      (Dylan Thomas)

      And then of Thelma’s sister.

      Keep me from Thelma’s sister Pearl!
      She puts my senses in a whirl,
      Weakens my knees and keeps me waiting
      Until my heart stops palpitating.

      The debs may turn disdainful backs
      On Pearl’s uncouth mechanic slacks,
      And outraged see the fire that lies
      And smoulders in her long-lashed eyes.

      Have they such weather-freckled features,
      The smooth sophisticated creatures?
      Ah, not to them such limbs belong,
      Such animal movements sure and strong,

      Such arms to take a man and press
      In agricultural caress
      His head to hers, and hold him there
      Deep buried in her chestnut hair.

      God shrive me from this morning lust
      For supple farm girls: if you must,
      Send the cold daughter of an earl –
      But spare me Thelma’s sister Pearl!

      (John Betjeman)

    • Which agricultural roots are Judean? Turnips? Carrots? Unbuttered parsnips? Can't be the ones Americans call "rutabaga". Those are Swedes.

  • Why the split inside the Democratic Party over BDS needs to happen
    • The right is the right of all the people legally resident in the territory, not of any sub-group or extra-territorial group.

      Israeli Jews legally resident in Israel (if they are) have rosd as Israelis, just as Israeli Arabs do. But no other rosd.

      Australian Jews legally resident in Australia have rosd as Australians, just as Australian Sikhs do. But no other rosd.

      Jews and Sikhs do not have a right of self-determination.

      And,naturally, the right cannot be a right to do wrong.

      So when the Zionists foisted themselves upon the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Palestinians of Mandate Palestine, against the wishes of the latter, this was a denial of the rosd of the Palestinians.

      When the Zionists declared the State of Israel, and carved up the country, they were acting against the wishes of the majority of the legal residents of the territory. This was a denial of the rosd of the Palestinians.

      You might argue that the maintenance of the State of Israel in its current form is supported by the majority of the legal population, and thus legitimate in terms of the rosd.

      However, the rosd does not imply the right to maintain a state which behaves unjustly towards either its own minorities or against other states or people outside its borders. This would be claiming a right to do wrong.

      Israel behaves unjustly towards its own minorities and against other states and people outside its borders.

    • I am certain that "would go" is incorrect.

      Standard British, American, and Australian English all have the same four basic conditional constructions.

      1. Timeless/present, true condition.

      If [present tense] then [present tense]

      If it rains, the streets get wet.
      If you hear that ghostly music three times, you die.
      If I fits, I sits.

      2. Future, true condition.

      If [present tense] then [future tense]

      If you knock on the door, she will open it.
      If you build it, they will come.

      3. Present/future, untrue or improbable condition.

      If [past tense*] then [would + base form]

      If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
      If you ate sea-slug sushi, you would like it.
      If we had world enough and time, this coyness, Lady, would be no crime.
      If I were a carpenter, would you marry me?

      (*But "was" is replaced by "were". Older and more literary forms of English replace the past tense with the "were to + base form" construction.)

      4. Past, untrue condition.

      If [past perfect tense] then [would have + past participle]

      If Clinton had won the election, things would not have been better.
      If I had joined the Army when I was young, I would have been a brigadier by now.

      You will see that there is never a "would" in the "if" clause.

      The sentence in question was:

      If the Democratic party *would go* with human rights


      American Jewish voters may switch.

      The modal verb "may" counts as present tense, but its invocation of possibility rather than a certainty makes me read the sentence as a type three. Even though the past tense is used in the "if" clause, the sentence has present or future reference.

      If that is what you mean, then you could replace "would go" with "were to go".

      "Would" in an "if" clause usually means you are a receptionist or a posh shop assistant.

      "I'm looking for talcum powder."
      "Certainly, sir. If you would walk this way..."
      "If I could walk that way, I wouldn't need the talcum powder."

    • Indeed, Talkback.

      Insofar as there is a right of self determination, it the right of all the people in the territory.

      It is not a right of n-nations, "peoples", adherents of a particular religion, or cheesecake photographers.

      (It cannot be an absolute right, but must be limited by other moral considerations.)

      I have argued, at length, for this position on moral grounds. Hostage has argued for the same position on legal grounds.

      The devastating counter-arguments have not yet appeared.

    • "the depths to which neoliberalism has corrupted an already corrupt political system"

      You will probably like this.

    • "if the Democratic party would go with human rights and the Palestinian point of view. "

      ... if the Democratic party went with human rights and the Palestinian point of view.

  • Rachel Maddow's lineup of crazy U.N. speeches spotlights Arafat-- and leaves out Netanyahu!
  • Jews have religious commandment to support Israel and fight BDS -- American Jewish Committee
    • "Or you help out a polling station so they make you President?"

      Probably get better results than the current method.

    • Oh, Mooser!

      If I may indulge in a little modest simpering, I will point out that not all those comments are denunciations.

      But Yonah and I have been sparring since he was Wondering Jew, so there are bound to be quite a few denunciations there. I hope to collect a few more.

    • @gamal

      It's more than fifty years since I last read Sellar and Yeatman's classic (egad, what a thought!) so I had quite forgotten that final sentence. The style and terminology still remain. I used "Top Nation" recently, and I think I once recommended the book to Annie so that she could understand why capital letters are a Good Thing.

    • @MHughes.

      Nicely done. Neat summary. Those long winter evenings spent reading the Second Treatise have not been wasted.

    • And if that earns you condemnation from fellow Jews, it shows that those "fellow Jews" are a contemptible bunch, and the less you have to do with them, the better.

    • Congratulations, Keith!

      You made it! Denunciation by Yonah.

  • Netanyahu, say hi from me to the penguins in Antarctica
  • Read Netanyahu's UN speech, which praises Trump to the skies and matches his North Korea hyperbole on Iran
    • Iran is in Syria In accord with the wishes of the Syrian government. The US is in Syria in defiance of the wishes of the Syrian government. It is the US who is the invader in Syria.

  • Elisha Wiesel's Rosh Hashanah remembrance
  • How Netanyahu's son became the poster boy for white supremacists
    • "Zionism has always held a doctrine of shlilat ha'galut that living as aliens within other people's countries is morally corrupting and spiritually deforming."

      Living in Palestine has certainly been morally corrupting and spiritually deforming for the Zionists.

  • 'Regime instability' in Iran is aim of leading Israel advocate's memo to White House
    • "If Trump *would go* with this plan ..."

      If Trump went with this plan ...


      If Trump were to go with this plan ...

    • "The last thing the world needs is Iran with nuclear weapons."

      Then you will be pleased to know that Iran does not have, and seems never to have had, a nuclear weapons programme. The top leadership explicitly denounces nuclear weapons as evil, and Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty.

      " They are allied with North Korea."

      Seems doubtful, but there are a couple of similarities. In 1994 the US and North Korea made a deal intended to freeze and then dismantle NK's nuclear weapons programme. But the US broke the deal.

      In 2015 a deal was made with Iran. The deal was intended to stop Iran's non-existent nuclear weapons programme. The US wants to break that deal.

    • Did the Russian inspectors write those reports in English, or are the reports translated from Russian?

    • "Jeffb is lying through his teeth. "

      No! Say it ain't so! How can I cope with this disillusionment, this assault on my youthful innocence?

    • If the Iranians shut down their non-existent nuclear weapons program then we will know the deal is a success.

    • Nice to know that the US has no secret military establishments (not even Pine Gap) and that Russians can go through them and see everything they want to see. But Iranians can't.

    • So teams of Iranian inspectors can enter any US military site and poke around into everything there?

      "as well as has high levels of congressional oversight. "

      I expect that the Iranian Parliament keeps an eye on what the Iranian military are doing.

    • 1. Access to military sites.

      The Iranians should reply "We'll show you ours if you show us yours."

      2. Regime instability.

      The wise words of Hilaire Belloc come to mind:

      "And always keep ahold of Nurse
      For fear of finding something worse."

  • Jewish state of Israel has become Jewish 'city-state' of Tel Aviv -- Rahm Emanuel
    • Oh, wait, I can get these symbols in, and express it this way.

      ~((p ⊃ q) ⊃ (~p ⊃ ~q))

    • "Should I assume that if it’s not true (that Israel has become a city-state), the conclusion of Mondoweiss should therefore be that one should not abandom Zionism?"


      (p implies q) does not imply (not p implies not q)

      I wanted to put that in formal notation for you, but the MW system does not accept the symbols.

  • Israeli government to celebrate 50 years of 'return to Judea and Samaria for eternity' at a settlement
    • "The Oslo Accords are a rare moment in the conflict. For once in history, the two sides signed an agreement. And now, since the two sides have agreed on something, it defines legality and legitimacy."

      But since the Israelis broke the agreement, it no longer defines anything. This means, for example, that the Right of Return is back.

    • @MHughes

      Quite right. I will add that "It won't matter in a thousand years" may be a fine attitude to take towards a broken teacup, but is quite wrong for injustices. Such a view does nothing to lessen the injustice, but only makes more injustice seem acceptable. If we do not attempt to maintain justice now, we face a future without justice.

  • Israeli rightist Smotrich lays out the vision for apartheid
    • Nathan, it seems that you think a good start is a place to stop.

      If the Israelis want to keep their Jewish supremacy state more than they want to end the conflict (and their response to other peace plans suggests that they do) they won't even start.

      I am not sure whether my proposal would end the conflict or not. But if the Israelis decide they would like an end to the conflict, they will have to get used to the idea that they have to change a few things about Israel. This does not mean treating them like criminals.

      Now, if you want a complete and detailed plan for a resolution of the conflict, you will have to pay me. A lot. I will need to set up a think-tank and do a lot of consultation. (Also, I will need a lot of very young female research assistants and a very large entertainment budget.)

      Or you could try working out something for yourself.

    • "they still would not agree that the conflict is over and that there are no further grievances."

      Which is why I said it would be a good start. And resolving those grievances would come under “From now on, we’ll all work together to put the fanatics back in their boxes and work for a decent life for everyone here.”

    • I'll repeat myself. (Fortunately, nearly everything I say bears repeating.)

      1. Israeli government makes the following declaration.
      "O.K. The "Jewish State" idea was a crock. From now on, everything from the southern tip of Gaza to the border of Lebanon, and from the Jordan River to the sea (but not the Golan, because that is Syria) will be a single, unified, state, and everyone in it will be equal citizens with equal rights, regardless of sex, religion, ancestry, first language, or shoe size. We'll figure out a name later*. But we would like to keep a version of the Law of Return just in case thing get a bit sticky for foreign Jews."

      2. Israeli government makes the following declaration.
      " The Zionist idea of taking over the land and driving out the natives was wrong. Sorry about that. You can all come back."

      3. Israeli government makes the following declaration.
      "From now on, we'll all work together to put the fanatics back in their boxes and work for a decent life for everyone here."

      That would be a good start.

      I'm pretty sure that these would meet with an enthusiastic response from the Palestinians.

      *I would like "The Socialist and Democratic People's Republic of the Holy Land".

    • I explained the distinction several times. You will find it educational to go to my profile and put "c-nation" into the search box.

      But here are the main expositions.

      If you find faults with those distinctions, go ahead and point them out. That way we may produce a better set of distinctions.

    • Nathan, here are two points you will not like, but which you should face up to.

      Jews in general may well regard themselves as some sort of nation. They may also regard themselves as a flock of some sort of penguins. But what they regard themselves as is not the same as what they really are. Jews are, at best, some sort of c-nation. They are not any sort of penguin.

      The sub-group of Israeli Jews may be a sort of n-nation.

      2. This point is much more important.

      It doesn't matter what sort of nation, if any, the Jews are.
      What the Zionists did was wrong.

      The Palestinians were legitimate residents in the country. Their human rights were violated. Their political rights were denied. If there are such things as national rights (and I very much doubt it), their national rights were denied.

      This was wrong.

      Wrong regardless of whether done by a nation, quasi-nation, or temporary acting assistant sub-under-nation.

      It would have been wrong had it been done by the Frimly Women's Institute, or by the Yamaguchi Gumi yakuza, or the cast of Salad Days, or the assembled defrocked bishops and vicars of the Church of England, or Sendero Luminoso, or the much-loved West Brisbane Gentlemen's Cheescake Photography Club.

      It was wrong when done by Zionist Jews.

      And there is no excuse.


      Understand that point, and then we can discuss what can be done as some sort of restitution

    • Echinococcus, the intentional is designed to have damaging results, and so is always deplorable. But the unintentional can also lead to equivocation and amphiboly. That is why grammar, logic, and rhetoric should be at the foundation of our education.

      (I recently noticed that in some of my comments I have said "amphiboly" where I should have said "equivocation". Very embarrassing. I'm sure MHughes noticed, but was too polite to correct me.)

    • "from food to language to the way they wear their hat or sip their tea"

      The Zionists have taken away the languages. How are they doing on the hat and the tea?

    • "Intentional bastardizing of language kills logic and distorts public thinking. "

      Unintentional bastardizing of language doesn't do us any good, either.

    • It would help to begin with the brilliant RoHa terminology of p-nation, n-nation, and c-nation. No doubt further refinements, corrections, and adjustments could be made, but at least it would provide a good starting point.

    • "The inability of Israel to pivot away from the state of war is the essential failing, not the desire for a state. "

      The desire for a state when it was obvious that the creation of the state would be an injustice was an essential failing.

      The creation of the state was an essential failing.

      The idea that there can be any justification or excuse for the creation of Israel is an essential failing.

    • "We had no state and now we have a state."

      Who are "we"? Not British Jews. They had a state. Not American Jews. They had a state. Not Australian Jews. They had a state.

  • U.S. will 'learn to co-exist' with a nuclear North Korea, says New Yorker reporter
    • If the US government has any sense, that is. Not something I am too sure about.

      Of course, NK isn't actually attacking anyone. Not SK, not Japan. Lots of belligerent rhetoric, but not a lot of action. (I know of another country that indulges in belligerent rhetoric. Presidential candidates sing "Bomb bomb Iran".)

      It isn't NK that has bombed Afghanistan and Iraq into rubble. It isn't NK that destabilised Libya*, and organized a neo-Nazi coup in Ukraine that led to a civil war. It isn't NK that supports and assists Saudi Arabia in its murderous war against Yemen, or cheers on the Israelis when they go on their murderous rampages. It wasn't NK that accidentally dropped weapons in ISIS controlled areas.
      It wasn't NK that supported, trained, and armed ISIS-Lite groups who drove the Syrian Civil War.

      NK is a brutal dictatorship. But not crazy. Not likely to start a war with SK and the USA.

      The Americans are making this fuss to distract from their failure in Syria.

      (But those wicked North Koreans are testing missiles!

      (*Yes, at first I thought that was a good thing.)

  • Deja vu: Israeli Labor pol urges U.S. to take on 'axis of evil'
  • Ayelet Shaked and the fascist ideology
  • 'Voice of boycott' was heard in Montgomery and South Africa, why not Israel? Roger Waters writes in 'NYT'
    • Of course, this whataboutery isn't just a diversion. It is to be followed by "So why do you spend all your time criticizing Israel? It's because you're ..."

    • More than ten, surely. When Zionists bought land from Syrian landlords, they didn't get rid of the tenant farmers by friendly persuasion.

      And don't forget the border raids, the terrorist attacks in Egypt, the 1956 war, shooting down a Libyan airliner, the invasions of Lebanon, the bombing of the nuclear plant in Iraq, the attacks on Gaza relief convoys, and the current bombing of Syria. There is probably more that I don't remember.

  • Senator Cantwell, are you listening?
  • Nathan Englander, author of new Israel thriller, wants 'as many passports as I can get'
    • “If there is a comma out of place I take to my fainting couch.”

      Wimp! Show your outrage! Rant at the perpetrator! Hound him/her/it with a stream of punctuation lessons. And harangue the populace about the decline of standards.

      Supine swooning won't save the world.

  • Rightwing campaign against Jewish exec who called for exposing Nakba seems likely to fail
    • “People get excommunicated for all sorts of things.”

      Benedict Spinoza was excommunicated for substance abuse.

    • "It really would be simpler if you would have replied with a simple denial:"

      It really would be simpler if you HAD replied with a simple denial.

      Don't put "would have" in the "if" clause. It is a simple rule to remember.

    • So when you say "France is French", you mean that French citizens share a culture that they developed in France. For Israel to be analogous, then, Israeli would be Israeli (as Eljay said)in the sense that Israeli citizens share a culture that they developed in Israel.

      In some of your comments you seem to be saying that in the sweet bye-and-bye there will be an Israeli culture that will include Palestinians as full and equal citizens, but that it will take an unspecified amount of time before this eventuates.

      Of course, promises of jam tomorrow do not justify or lessen the evil of the wrongs committed yesterday and today.

      And I see no sign of this jam ever arriving. The Israeli government could take steps right now to start the integration, but it doesn't. From my outsider's position, it seems that the current Israeli aim is to destroy and expel as many Palestinians as it can, rather than to integrate them.

    • "Eljay and RoHa can jump up and down all they want about how everything should be universalistic and I can only point out the contradictions in their treatment of other countries, that they are being inconsistent in their application."

      Our inconsistency (whatever it is) does not reduce the immorality of the founding and conduct of Israel.

      "I can't argue that they are wrong in their basic goal since their theology is what Christianity demands."

      This is a bit of a surprise. I am not a Christian.

    • Annie, the Labour Party lost them years ago.

    • "Israel is and should be Jewish the way France is French"

      But France isn't French.

      (The citizens of France are French, and they are French because they are citizens of France. That's what makes them French.)

      So it would seem that Israel isn't Jewish.

    • JeffB says it, so it must be official. The majority of American Jews share the immoral and crackpot ideas of the Zionists.

      (I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be allowed to get away with such a slur, even if it is true. But JeffB has said it.)

  • Ben Cardin, free speech, and the art of the dodge
  • Lessons from Finkelstein: a response to Seth Anderson
    • Marmaduke Pickthall wrote a wonderful book about travels in Palestine.

      Oriental Encounters: Palestine and Syria, 1894-6

      And yet I only see people mention the Twain book. Why is this?

    • “Did you know that these people they call Palestinians never lived in Israel? They were brought in by the Ottomans from Saudi Arabia to build the train/railroad system less than 100 years ago.”

      Even if this were true in 1948, the creation of Israel and expulsion of the Palestinians would still be unjustified.

      Of course, it could not be true now, because the Ottomans lost control of Palestine 99 years ago.

  • Israeli support for Myanmar is the natural alliance of regimes based on ethnic supremacy
  • Democratic candidate for Illinois gov'r fires his running mate over BDS
    • But it would always say the same thing: "Bad, and getting worse."

    • But since you didn't learn it the first time, I'll repeat the lesson.

      "The Jews are the indigenous, native people of the Land of Israel,"

      Not according to Jewish myth-history. Jews are supposed to be descendants of Abraham and his gang. But the story says that A was an Iraqi who migrated to Palestine and bought land from the people who were already living there. Those people have a greater right to be counted as indigenous.

      "not the nomadic tribes that declared themselves to be Palestinian in 1963."

      Most of the Palestinian Arabs were farmers, orchardists who developed the Jaffa orange, and townspeople. Some were nomads, but even nomads have rights.

    • And now the stuff that you won't accept.

      Let us suppose that all the Zionist Jews living in 1948 Mandate Palestine had been born in Palestine and were direct descendants of Jewish families who had been living there since 1500 BC.
      Let us further suppose that all the Palestinian Arabs living in 1948 Mandate Palestine were descendants of families who migrated to Palestine in 1848.

      Even so, it would still have been wrong for the Zionists to establish their Jewish State against the wishes of the Arabs.

      All this "indigenous" stuff is irrelevant.

      "will the million Jews who fled the Arab/Moslem world be invited back?"

      Whether they are or not, the duty of the Israeli State is to the Palestinians they expelled. That duty does not lapse just because other states fail in their duties.

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