Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 947 (since 2009-09-16 20:15:12)

Rusty Pipes

"I am a Progressive Christian who wants to see our government act evenhandedly in resolving the conflict in Israel/Palestine, bringing about a just peace." I have been an active participant in I/P diaries at Daily Kos and related blogs (Booman Tribune, Talk to Action, Street Prophets) since 2005.


Showing comments 947 - 901

  • Pelosi blasts Netanyahu speech as 'insult to intelligence of U.S.', Amanpour calls it 'dark, Strangelovian'
    • What we really need is a youtube video with the soundtrack of a child's jack-in the box playing "Pop Goes the Weasel." In between the applause lines, basic facts about American funding for Israel and Israel Lobby funding for congressional campaigns. That's the way the money goes ... pop goes the congresscritter.

  • Thanks to Netanyahu, Israel support turns into a political football
    • What news might Obama make? Following up on the (under-reported) declassification of the 1987 report about Israel's nukes, he might grant Mordechai Vanunu political assylum, support Iran's call for a nuclear-free Middle East and hold up Israel's loan guarantees and weapons deliveries until it signs the NPT. He also might call for investigation and prosecution of a former citizen who is implicated in stealing American technology (like a nuclear trigger) for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

  • Netanyahu speech is 'destructive' of 'bipartisan, immutable relationship' between US and Israel, Rice says
    • What an opportune time for a Washington impersonator to recite the speech somewhere on Capitol Hill (the Senate floor, the House gallery, ...), or various members of Code Pink could take turns reciting paragraphs of it from the gallery during Bibi's speech.

  • No matter who wins the Israeli elections, Palestinians lose
    • The Jerusalem Post and Ynet are not the most reliable sources.

      Indyk is one of many rotating Israel Lobby experts who have given the Obama administration advice and presume to speak for the administration, on and off the record. No doubt Israeli politicians, from sorta Left to far Right, would prefer that Palestinians spend their energy resisting their own leadership rather than the occupation. Although small in number, Palestinian non-violent resistance is alive and well -- even though its practitioners suffer injury and death (including those with PA affiliation).

  • Congress flooded with letters urging members to #SkipTheSpeech of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
    • Is there a link to the names of the Reps who have publicly committed to skipping the speech? How about a list of Reps who will be binge-watching a season of House of Cards that day?

  • The 15 billion dollar deal that will make or break Israel's regional hegemony
    • Jordan had been getting its natural gas from Egypt, but during the Arab Spring, that pipeline was damaged -- attributed to Salafist rebels in Sinai. Meanwhile, the natural gas field in the Mediterranean is not being developed by Lebanon because of political infighting and inability to form a government, in Gaza because of Israel's siege and in Egypt because it was outmaneuvered in international maritime legal wrangling during Mubarak's rule.

  • In Their Own Words: Four residents of Yarmouk speak
    • Interesting description of some opposition leftists in an Aleppo coffee shop who act as though they are living in a different era:

      Coffeehouse loyalties

      Coffeehouses are now divided in accordance with the character or loyalties of their patrons. Some coffeehouses are dominated by military uniforms, without this necessarily implying that the patrons are combatants.

      In one such coffeehouse, we received many suspicious and wary looks. The waiters kept hovering around the table using various excuses, trying to listen in on our conversation or peek at the laptop screen. A man we were meeting with laughs, “I told you, this is a coffeehouse for Shabiha, and they all know each other.” At the same time, he cautioned us to visit another coffeehouse which he said people called the “traitors’ coffeehouse.”Coffeehouses are now divided in accordance with the character or loyalties of their patrons.

      The coffeehouse in question is located in a different region. It is a magnet for what remains of the leftist opposition. Sitting with people who are still in that camp is like getting into a time machine and taking a trip into the past. The war and the crisis are not part of the conversation. Instead, the topics discussed are strange, as though the people there have not yet heard of what is happening in the country.

      One whispers a political joke and people around him erupt in laughter. Then they all exchange crude sexual jokes loudly, before tackling themes like the proletariat, cosmopolitanism, and populism. Only one seems to be aware of recent developments, as he asks, “Do we need a visa to go to Lebanon now?”

    • In addition to Bandolero's reasons, many American leftists formed their opinions about Syria in 2011 and have not shifted them signficantly. Some of the reasons for the support in 2011:

      1a) the opposition was described as initially non-violent. Many American leftists believe in non-violent social change and have been involved in such movements in America. Even as other information about the Arab Spring was available from the beginning in alternative media and has forced its way into MSM coverage, this remains a kernal of the narrative.

      1b) Some American leftists who loudly decry American imperialism and minimize the existence of an Israel Lobby have no problem with the State Department's Democracy-promoting NGOs (especially when they have the veneer of nonviolent social change) and color-revolutions that seem to bring about regime changes favoring American imperial and/or Israeli strategic ends.

      2a) The Israel Lobby has been so effective at sowing Islamophobia and demonizing Hamas in America that leftists have been reluctant to criticize the role that the Muslim Brotherhood, including Hamas, played in various countries caught up in the Arab Spring.

      2b) AlJazeera English has long been considered the most reliable broadcast source for information about Palestinians. Unlike other Arab media outlets which are known to be mouthpieces for Arab governments, AlJazeera was perceived to be independent. During the Arab Spring, Qatar clearly influenced the reporting and editorial policies of its network to favor the narrative of the Muslim Brotherhood across the region -- so much so that several AJ reporters resigned in protest at the changes. Many leftists still trust AlJazeera anyway.

      2c) Some Palestinian sources (including some that have been popularly included in the news roundup at this site) have supported the MB narrative about Syria throughout the conflict. The Arab Spring has exacerbated differences among various factions of Palestinians and their supporters in the diaspora.

    • These warmed over talking points are at least three years out of date. The Gay Girl in Damascus was a fraud back then and there are no "moderate" rebels now.

      After the insurgents infiltrated Yarmouk and started using it as a base to launch attacks on Damascus, 150,000 of Yarmouk's residents have fled and around 18,000 remain. We could rehash Khaled Meshal and Hamas' role early in the insurgency, but even they have washed their hands of any official connection to the direction it has taken. At one point, the PA was very close to brokering a truce among the various factions in the camp, but the salafist factions wouldn't cooperate.

      Some other Palestinian camps that managed to keep the insurgents out are still livable places. Areas around Damascus that are bases for insurgent attacks on Damascus, like Yarmouk and Eastern Ghouta, continue to be under fire from the Syrian Arab Army.

      While the majority of those who fled may not have supported the insurgency, several of these speakers claim that Yarmouk was at the forefront of the revolution. Now they feel betrayed not only by the PA and the Syrian government, but also by those they thought were their allies. If they believed the hype that State Department "democracy promoting" NGOs or Ambassador Ford promised them, they may justifiably feel betrayed. This "color revolution" did not go according to the neocon/neolib blueprint from the beginning.

  • Netanyahu claims to know 'details' of Iran deal -- and State Dep't mocks him
    • It certainly raises the question about those American 1%ers who have been laundering money through Israeli banks to avoid paying taxes here. If they are loud supporters of Israel right-or-wrong, do they speak from motives other than being true believers in Zionism?

  • One-state 'fantasy is very dangerous' because it cannot tell us what the military looks like -- Manekin
    • The bigger question is what would Isratine's economy look like if it no longer had the excuse for its society to revolve around militarization? The Arab Peace plan, which has been on the table for over a decade, has offered normalized relations with Israel if it reaches a peace settlement with Palestinians and honors the RoR. The hostility Israel encounters from Arab states is mainly from its treatment of Palestinians and its encroachment upon the lands and resources (like water and natural gas) of its neighbors. Among the benefits that Israel gains from being a highly militarized society is its ability to market military and intelligence systems that have been tested upon a captive Palestinian population, as well as the huge influx of goods and cash it receives from the US to maintain a qualitative military edge against its constantly threatening enemies.

      A further question for diehard Liberal Zionists: how do you feel about Israel's nuclear arsenal being under the control of increasingly right-wing, belligerent Zionist administrations?

  • Netanyahu calls on Jews to leave Europe en masse in wake of Copenhagen synagogue attack
    • What more does Netanyahu have to do to scare more white Jews to move to Israel to combat the biggest threats to diaspora Jews and Israel: Assimilation and the Demographic Time Bomb? How many more valentines do your children have to get from gentiles before you recognize the peril of living away from Israel?

  • The client state and the U.S. arms industry
    • Israel has a variety of carrots and sticks at its disposal to influence America's political, cultural and economic elites, both Jews and non-Jews. Some elites who support Israel right or wrong are true believers. Some elites who support Israel have benefitted from carrots, both legal (like career advancement) and illegal (has Israel ever denied refuge to any crook other than Meyer Lansky? Marc Rich is not the only fugitive to have his transgressions wiped clean by Zionist donations. Many Soviet and Eastern European oligarchs have strong connections to Israel.). But elites who are cowed by Israel's sticks include Jews and gentiles.

    • While Jews are well-represented among America's uber-wealthy, they are far from the only members of the ruling class, many of whom have competing and even conflicting interests. Some of the ruling class may support Israel right or wrong because they are true believers.

      But elites may have other motives for active or passive support. Israel is second only to China in spying on American industry. Israeli telecom companies with close ties to Israeli intelligence have access to over 90% of American phone transactions. And then, Epstein may not be the only American Zionist (whose girlfriend is the daughter of a mossad agent) who has used his access to elites to photograph them in compromising positions with teenage prostitutes. Israeli intelligence has had access to the business and personal secrets of untold number of American elites: Why should we assume that their support means that they "love" Israel?

    • Great -- warmed over Chomsky: the American empire's puppet, Israel, is only acting as America directs it. I prefer Mearsheimer and Walt (particularly pp.31-40).

      Just to be clear, America's MIC is a plague on the country and the planet and America's 1% operates with little regard for the health of our society as a whole. America's MIC has become enmeshed with Israeli actors -- partly because congresscritters who compete with each other to bring home a larger slice of MIC jobs to their home districts, have made exceptions to "Made in America" rules for Israel (which makes AIPAC happy).

  • No one's talking about peace in Israeli election, U.S. liberal Zionists are warned
  • Warren supporters can't talk about Palestine
    • It's past time to respect that when a woman says "no," she means, "no." Ever since she was elected to the Senate, progressives have been trying to draft Warren to run for President and she has been saying, "no." By continuing to spend time trying to draft Warren, many progressives are putting all of their eggs in one basket as the months tick away before the first primaries.

      I want a strong Progressive candidate out there challenging Hillary Clinton's neoliberal economic and military policies NOW. Bernie Sanders is the closest to what I am looking for, but I'd like more options (and more coverage from the MSM).

  • 'She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice and peace': American hostage killed in Syria remembered for work in Palestine
    • ISIL not only attacks Israeli enemies like Syria and Hezbollah, it kills off an ISM volunteer. Israel has been so helpful to Al Nusrah Front, by treating its wounded and attacking Syrian Arab Army troops in the demilitarized Golan, that Syria's UN ambassador has called the IDF, Al Nusra's Air Force.

  • Biden will skip Netanyahu's speech
  • Chair of Democratic National Committee opposes Jewish intermarriage and MSNBC showing Gaza carnage
    • While her district has a high percentage of Jews, most of her constituents are not Jewish. Even more relevant, as chair of the DNC, the vast majority of her constituents (or at least the people who receive her constant fundraising e-mails) are not Jewish or Christian Zionists. While her firmly pro-Israel statements may be an asset for raising money from major donors for the DNC, they are out of touch with a growing percentage of the Democratic base.

      Ten years ago, the Democratic netroots lobbied hard for a change at the DNC and got Howard Dean voted as chair. After all that Dean accomplished, Obama replaced him and the 50-state strategy with worn-out DNC tactics of appealing to major donors and supporting safe candidates. It's time to dump Debbie and get some leadership that is more in touch with the base if this party is going to be prepared to compete to take back the House and Senate in 2016 (not to mention, have a little excitement about the presidential race).

    • Sadly, I did hear it. To the uninitiated, there may have appeared to be some variety in ethnicities represented; but in opinion, there was little deviation from the neocon/neolib narrative.

  • Independent investigation details Israel's deliberate targeting of civilians in Gaza
  • Finkelstein on Joan Peters's legacy (and Dershowitz's legal troubles)
    • Annie, have you seen Finkelstein's latest excoriation of the BDS movement in this recent interview? That and some following sniping with the Angry Arab gives more context to what ToivoS is talking about. Finkelstein has been dismissive of the BDS movement (and he does stress "movement", not "BDS" per se) for several years. Some of those differences which the interview reflects:

      1) Personality differences: Abunimah and Finkelstein can't stand each other. It takes a strong character and a thick skin to stand up to the Israel Lobby for as long as both Finkelstein and Abunimah have. That doesn't mean that they will necessarily get along.

      2) Both Barghouti and Abunimah, the most prominent Palestinian spokespeople for BDS to an American audience, favor a 1SS. (Barghouti has clarified over and over that while he personally favors a 1SS, the BDS movement does not take a unified position on the issue).

      3) Neither Finkelstein, Abunimah nor Barghouti is an international lawyer. It would be much more relevant to consult George Bisharat, Diana Butto, Noura Erekat, or Richard Falk about 1SS vs. 2SS, whether Israel is a legitimate member of the UN or whether Abbas has standing to pursue legal remedies through the UN or the ICC, than either Finkelstein or Abunimah.

      4) However, the most irrelevant opinion of all is that of an international liar, a professional apologist for Israel.

  • Report accuses Israel of targeting Gaza's water facilities
    • Nothing is more critical for human life than water. Beyond all of Israel's other crimes against Palestinians, its history with Gaza's water supply alone should be enough to convict it of the crime of genocide.

  • Former Obama aide's thinktank calls for 1/4 of French Jews to move to Israel
    • (2b) The Jews Israel seeks out are white. Having targeted other large Ashkenazi populations in the past ("Save Russian Jewelry!"), Israel is tailoring its present appeals to one of the largest Jewish populations outside of Israel -- France. Israelis consider all sorts of demographics threatening.

  • End the silence -- Support Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk
    • "It is vital to not only expose the siege, but the culprits responsible for the ongoing monstrosities.": the Takfiri insurgents (and the Palestinian factions which enabled them) who took over Palestinian refugee camps which had been trying to remain neutral.

      "Prior to the conflict, Yarmouk had a population over 1,000,000 people of whom 148,500 were Palestinian refugees registered with the United Nations. Today, only 18,000 remain in the camp struggling with the siege and the arduous task of remaining alive."

      Prior to the conflict, around 15% of Syrians strongly opposed the Syrian Government and around 30% supported it. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the violent insurgents, most of the other Syrians who had been dissatisfied with the Syrian Government for a variety of reasons now support its leadership and resent outside efforts to impose solutions on their country. In 2014, as Ukraine and Egypt were trying to drum up higher turnouts for their elections, Syria had to keep their polls open longer to accommodate the huge crowds wanting to vote -- with an overwhelming majority of those votes going to Assad. The Takfiris who took over Yarmouk have managed to drive out the majority of Palestinians who lived there. The small percentage of those remaining are either part of the Takfiri friends and family plan or they are Palestinian civilians with no other options outside the camp.

      War is hell.

  • 'NYT' and Matthews warn that Netanyahu speech to Congress could lead US to war
    • Just to keep perspective, these two former staffers are Israel Lobby hacks: "Here is a rightwing publication saying that former White House officials, including two who worked under Obama, say that the president is not tough enough on Iran." Unsurprisingly, one of them is Dennis Ross. The other, Ray Takeyh, has close connections to organizations like JINSA and WINEP and holds revisionist opinions about Iran, such as:

      'Takeyh has also argued that the 1953 coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossaddeq, widely attributed by historians and even former CIA operatives as having been a joint operation by American and British intelligence agencies, was largely the work of Iranian clergy.

      "The clergy itself played a major role in toppling Mosaddeq," Takeyh said in a Foreign Affairs article from 2014. "It would help greatly if the United States no longer felt the need to keep implicitly apologizing for its role in Mosaddeq's ouster."'

      If these are the kind of former staffers criticizing him, Obama has little to worry about from his main base.

  • Netanyahu speech could turn Israel lobby into a political football
    • And don't forget how incensed Israel got when Argentina announced that it would be reopening the decades old investigation. Even though Israel claims to represent all Jews around the world, the bombing had nothing to do with Israel -- it was at a Jewish center, not an Israeli embassy. The whole affair has been a convenient excuse for Israel to demonize Iran, just as Israel has used other bombings (like the Bulgarian bus) to demonize other countries or groups -- without presenting any definitive proof.

  • In Iraq and Syria the US sanctions its allies while its friends back its enemies (got that?)
    • Thanks for the recap. Even though the neocons have been out of office for years, Obama is still operating within the restraints of programs intitiated by State, Defense and the CIA under their staffing as well as under pressure from the Israel Lobby to stay the course. Even so, it is possible to resist neocon framing, like referring to the Syrian Government, President Assad and the Syrian Arab Army rather than "the Assad Regime," "the brutal dictator Bashar Assad" and "forces loyal to Assad".

  • 'No to martyrdom by hunger in Yarmouk camp': Palestinian refugees protest Assad’s siege
    • Thanks, Bandolero. Narwani, always worth a read, puts Yarmouk in context of all Palestinian refugee camps in Syria and the way that Palestinians have been exploited. As she notes, several outlets, including Electronic Intifada, have published pro-insurgent propaganda, using Palestinian refugees' plight: "More Yarmouk propaganda published by @intifada: link to … Placating western critics of #Syria over championing Palestinians..." At least this piece isn't as maudlin as the Shane Bauer piece in Mother Jones a few months ago, where he was still trying to frame the insurgents as variants of Gay Girl in Damascus.

  • ICC opens war crimes inquiry into Israel over Gaza war as Palestinians prepare another UN resolution
  • AIPAC celebrates Congress for laws that will 'dramatically strengthen bond between US and Israel'
  • Our top ten viewed posts in 2014 -- and five most prolific commenters, too!
  • Fireworks in Ramallah, as Abbas signs treaty to join International Criminal Court
    • Perhaps they could push for a review of Israel's membership status in the UN, given that it has been noncompliant with terms of its admittance as a State -- the return of Palestinian refugees -- for over 60 years.

    • During the summer assault on Gaza (operation lemmings over the cliff), Israel took weapons from an American supply depot which Chuck Hegel claimed he had not authorized. I never heard the media follow up about exactly who did authorize the transfer.

    • Any further information about the other agreements Abbas signed? According to Reuters:

      Other agreements approved by Abbas included several articles on the court's jurisdiction, commitments against banned weapons and cluster munitions along with less controversial pledges on the political rights of women, navigation and the environment.

      Navigation agreements would seem essential not only for breaking the ocean siege of Gaza, but for asserting Palestine's sovereignty over Gaza's coast and its resources (fishing, natural gas, etc.). Israel is trying to bring the offshore gas to market and block surrounding countries (Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine) from claiming the gas in adjacent fields. Jordan is being pressured to sign contracts to buy natural gas from Israel rather than Egypt.

  • Obama hired Clinton as sec'y of state by reaching out to Israel supporter Hoenlein -- NYT
    • You're right here, Phil:

      That’s the best thing about the piece, the acknowledgment of the lobby’s power to make or break presidential ambitions. More honesty:

      Clinton has shown little inclination to risk political damage by reprising her old role as a friend and a critic of Israel.

      The rest of the piece (including his recounting of Hillary's getting tapped as SOS) are so shaded by the author's bias and poetic license that one shouldn't rely on it for specific facts.

  • Palestinian UN effort seeks to set 'terms of reference' for negotiations and promote shift away from US leadership
    • If the US is willing to support this resolution and just voice possible Israeli objections, the final draft of the resolution may not have many teeth. Transferring leadership over to the French may not help the Palestinians very much because they also have a powerful Zionist lobby. Palestinians need more than a modified French proposal that the negotiations will end in two years.

    • With Hamas off of the EU's terrorist list, perhaps this move will strengthen a unity Fatah-Hamas government, making it easier to facilitate the payment of Gazan government salaries.

  • Israel will lose all American Jews but the crazies
    • Maybe it's an apt reflection of the difference in emphasis for the celebration of Hanukkah in America vs. Israel. In America, a celebration of hope and freedom, in Israel, a celebration of the ultra-religious driving out the invaders.

  • PA to seek UN Security Council resolution giving Israel two years to end the occupation
    • It is not necessarily the case that both elements of both the Jordanian and French versions will be included in the resolution. The Guardian states clearly that the Palestinian team were offended by the French proposal:

      The push to hold a vote on Wednesday comes during a period of intense diplomatic negotiations over two rival draft texts for a resolution. The first, sponsored by Jordan at the behest of the Palestinians – envisages setting a November 2016 deadline for ending the occupation. The rival proposal, drawn up by France, would only set a deadline for an end to negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

      Kerry’s sudden involvement in talks around the resolution is being seen as an attempt to manage a process the US fears could raise already high tensions and in which according to one quoted official it sees only “bad scenarios”.

      The French draft – which has been drawn up with input from the UK and Germany – speaks of the 1967 borders as the basis for dividing the land, which President Barack Obama has publicly backed, but it does not include key Israeli and US conditions such as Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.

      A senior western diplomat said the Europeans – led by France – were aiming for a consensus resolution devising a binding, unspecified, timeframe and felt the Americans were open to the possibility.

      “There is a window of opportunity now, there is a willingness from them to consider … options at the security council,” the diplomat said.

      However, the French proposal is seen by Palestinians as falling far short of their demands. “It has killed substance of our resolution,” one senior official with intimate knowledge of the negotiations told the Guardian.

      “The French are talking about a timeframe for a conclusion of peace talks. We are talking about ending occupation. And so far the Americans have committed a serious mistake. They have failed to engage with the resolution despite being invited to.”

      The Jordanian proposal leaves open the potential for negotiation within the time frame of the two years simply because it accepts the framework of previous international works as binding on Palestinians (and thereby uses them to call the UN and international law to bolster Palestine's legal claims).

      The Palestinians state that there is not a specific timeline for implementation within the two years. They should call upon the Security Council to develop a timeline for an outside body, like NATO or UN peacekeepers, to provide security in successive areas of Palestine as the IDF evacuates those areas. If the areas that have been under negotiation in the Geneva accords are left for the last few months of evacuation, that should give Israel plenty of time to offer Palestine swaps for any or all of them. If Israel's leadership is not able to make an acceptable offer before that time, then the window closes and Palestine's border doesn't deviate at all from the green line.

  • Palestinian minister dies after Israeli army assault during olive tree planting ceremony in West Bank village
    • This hardly a matter of just a 50+ man having a heart attack. The combination of inhaling tear gas (which killed a healthy 35-year old woman in Bi'lin) and being choked (which killed an African American in NYC on videotape) may have been enough to kill Ziad. If the border guard also hit him in the chest with a rifle butt (which they have been seen doing to protesters in the Jordan Valley), that may have contributed as well. The autopsy should be able to determine whether he sustained trauma in his chest.

    • NPR's coverage on Morning Edition yesterday was appalling. Limited basically to the newscast headlines at the top of the hour: Palestinian minister killed in "clashes" with the IDF. You'd never know that it was a peaceful march to Palestinian owned land to plant olive trees that was met with tear gas or that not so much as a single rock was thrown. At this rate, NPR would describe Southern Civil Rights marchers as "clashing" with firehoses and dogs' teeth.

  • A point by point response to Alan Dershowitz’s 'Ten Reasons Why The BDS Movement Is Immoral'
  • AIPAC seeks to blow up negotiations between Iran and US
  • Middle East Studies Association affirms members' right to boycott Israeli academic institutions (Updated)
    • It looks like a commitment to take a vote at next year's meeting by inviting fora to discuss and debate the issue in the intervening time. To the vocal minority of MESA scholars who not only want to prevent action on BDS, but to shut down discussion of it (by accusing its proponents of anti-Semitism), the motion challenges the opponents of BDS to come to the table with real arguments rather than smears. Let's hope that MESA carries through on this commitment.

  • Efforts to suppress Palestinian activism on US campuses won't work
    • A strategy maintained by fundamentalist Christian parents for generations -- protect the delicate minds of your children from critical thought by sending them to a private college that promotes your ideology. So what, if there's a problem that its science classes can't be accredited for pre-med students? Zionist parents can protect their children's delicate sensibilities with a similar academic strategy!

    • Page: 9
  • Rightwing flamethrowers see a US role in the battle for Jerusalem
  • Some reflections on the 5th anniversary of Kairos Palestine
    • Only? Heaven Forfend! It's not that you don't focus "only" on the successes of Kairos Palestine, but that you do not appear to acknowledge that there have been any at all:

      Extraordinary is the word here both for Kairos Palestine and the situation on the ground in Israel-Palestine. In such an extraordinary reality, I would be remiss if I concentrated only on the remarkable success of the document in its five years of existence. Rather I concentrate here on the present situation and look ahead to the next five years. All of us can agree that this is no time for cheerleading.

      Is this, then, a time for pessimism? Kairos, that moment of decision, of turning, of conversion where we become more deeply who we are, comes always at the right time, even if it’s too late.

      If we are to be honest, we know it is too late –

  • This is not yet an intifada, Palestinians say
  • Netanyahu announces return of controversial punitive home demolitions widely viewed as collective punishment
    • After months of attempting to iincite a third violent intifada by increasing violence against Palestinian civilians and violations of non-Jewish holy places -- especially the Al Aqsa compound -- Netanyahu finally is getting enough Palestinian response to start to enact previous intifada policies, "for security reasons." I view a couple of recent events as contributing to that incitement. Through the bombings of Fatah members' property in Gaza, the commemoration of Arafat's death in Gaza was scuttled and division has been sown in the fragile unity government. Through the publication of a letter allegedly from Marwan Barghouti, who has urged non-violent resistance for years, and the subsequent silencing of him through solitary confinement, further fuel has been added to ignite a third violent intifada. While all the MSM is distracted by escalating incidents of violence, Netanyahu will proceed to raze the rest of Arab East Jerusalem, claiming each home and neighborhood destroyed is harboring potential terrorists. And not one American news site will raise a peep.

  • Rather than exhibit real solidarity, church leaders appeal to Israel's occupation to protect Al Aqsa
    • This is the joint statement from a coalition. While some churches might be willing to make stronger statements, clearly, this statement and action was the strongest that they could all agree on. The more of them who show up, the better the odds that their picture and statement would actually make the international press. So average, apathetic Americans might glimpse this photo of all different Christian leaders in the MSM and get the message that, contrary to the Zionist narrative, the settlers are the violators and provocateurs on the Al Aqsa compound.

  • Palestinian citizens of Israel protest across country following police killing of Kheir Hamdan
    • It's very unfortunate that the recent bombings near Fatah residences in Gaza are threatening the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas. Throughout Israel's assault on Gaza during the summer, Abbas maintained that Israel was trying to split the coalition government; yet now, he's jumping to conclusions about the bombings without giving time for an investigation:

      The attacks came a day before the Palestinian cabinet was supposed to visit Gaza from the West Bank and amid rising optimism over the political reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas that was launched in April after seven years of division.

      Some have speculated that whoever was behind the blasts could have been trying to thwart reconciliation and ensure the Palestinian Authority did not re-extend its control over Gaza.

      Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya warned against using the incident as an excuse to avoid reconciliation, calling on all sides to uphold their responsibilities towards the national good.

      On Tuesday, however, PA President Mahmoud Abbas accused the leadership of the Hamas movement of being behind the attacks.

      In a televised speech commemorating the late Arafat at the presidential compound in Ramallah, Abbas said "Hamas' leaders are responsible for the criminal explosions at houses of Fatah leaders in Gaza, and Hamas remarks against us are similar to those of the occupation."

      Following his speech, Hamas denounced Abbas as "sectarian and partisan."

      "Abbas's speech is web of lies, insults, and disinformation," said Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza.

      "What the Palestinian people need is a courageous president," he added.

      The Hamas movement, along with Islamic Jihad and a leader of Salafi militant groups, immediately condemned and denied involvement in Friday's bomb attacks.

  • A reverend sermonizes justice in Jerusalem
    • In recent years, Israel has tightened its control over the access of International church workers by only issuing short-term visas and making it difficult for them to renew them. In many cases, this has made it difficult for churches and agencies to keep long-term church workers if they are admitted to Israel at all. A few years ago, Israel made if very difficult for the Palestinian-American Episcopal bishop to assume his post in Jerusalem. This power to deport makes life very tenous for international religious workers in Palestine. Israel could make life difficult for Rev. Reamonn.

  • The hidden documents that reveal the true borders of Israel and Palestine (Updated)
    • DGF,

      I hope you do take the opportunity to look further into Abu Sitta's work. He has researched closely where the Palestinian refugees came from, where they went and what is the status of the real estate they left behind. He believes that the Palestinian ROR is doable, especially in stages.

      Even if a full ROR is not politically feasible, it is worth noting that around half of the refugees come from rural Palestine, often from farms that have been given to neighboring kibbutzim, from villages that have fallen into disrepair "for security reasons," or have been hidden from view by JNF forests. Much of this land is not being farmed by Jewish Israelis. The kibbutz economy and ideology has changed considerably since the time of Israel's founding. Many of the agricultural workers are brought into Israel illegally from Asia in large-scale agribusiness.

      The ILA and JNF are part of Israel's systematic disenfranchisement and oppression of Palestinian refugees, both internal and external. All of the land which it confiscated "for security reasons" or through eminent domain from its own Palestinian citizens can not be reaccessed by them. Recognizing that some of that farmland is outside of the internationally recognized borders of Israel (and therefore not within Israel's administrative rights to exercise imminent domain or to turn over to the ILA) could provide more basis to exert UN leverage for some Palestinian refugees, internal and external, to return to their farms and villages. While new urban developments in the Negev, may be feasible for some Palestinian refugees, they are not appealing to farmers.

    • The UN could clarify that it recognizes Israel within its 1948 declared boundaries, making any properties claimed by the Israel Land Authority outside those boundaries beyond its jurisdiction. Placing the responsibility upon the ILA to provide housing within its boundaries for Israeli citizens should go hand in hand with facilitating the Right of Return for Palestinians whose property had been confiscated by the ILA outside Israel's boundaries.

      On the other hand, the 181 borders do leave those remaining Palestinians with a higher concentration of right-wing Zionist neighbors.

  • This is how an academic boycott of Israel actually works
    • Some of those white moderates who express concern about non-violent BDS tactics and seek to lecture Palestinians about what is best for them could use an update of the Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

  • 'Chickenshit' attack enrages Netanyahu and lobby, but will it stir voters against Obama?
  • Sh*tstirring Jeffrey Goldberg dumps diplomatic sh*tstorm with 'chickensh*t' quote
    • The White House has just issued the following disclaimer (I paraphrase):

      "Benjamin Netanyahu is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life."

    • I wouldn't be surprised if Biden held that and many other unflattering views of Netanyahu. I just wouldn't expect him to air them to Goldberg. Biden may make more than his share of odd public statements, but he's a savvy politician. After all, he's highly valued by a man he praised faintly as "clean and articulate."

    • First off, I can imagine the White House leaking to Thomas Friedman. But Reserve Corporal Goldberg? Hardly. In addition, a former Republican spokesman is not the most reliable source for how things work in the Obama administration.

      On the other hand, even though Dennis Ross is long gone from the State Department, there are still enough neocons on staff who appear to be itching to enact the rest of the PNAC agenda that Goldberg could easily find at least a couple of them who think that Bibi is cowardly for not attacking Iran yet. But then they usually reserve such colorful, disparaging language for folks like the EU, not the "unhelpful" Netanyahu.

  • US-Israel relationship is still 'strong and formidable,' says State Dep't
    • Regarding PsakI:

      If Israel wants to see – wants to live in a peaceful society, they need to take steps to reduce tensions and to avoid steps that are going to be incompatible with peace. And that’s consequences that they would – they would – that would impact them directly….

      it’s incompatible with their stated desire to live in a peaceful society.

      With its escalating actions on the Temple Mount, Israel's leadership appears to have been trying to provoke a third intifada for many months. A violent intifada would derail Abbas' efforts for the recognition of Palestine. It would provide cover for violent suppression and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. It also serves to pander to the increasingly bold and violent Israeli right-wing. (On a side note, what's with all of the fundamentalist Jews on the Temple Mount? Did someone locate THE Red Heifer?)

  • UCLA Hillel partners with PR firm to fight BDS movement
    • Even if the director of Hillel was not an enthusiastic opponent of BDS, he would have been contacted by Hillel International and its affiliated PR firm about strategy for this year. Blocking BDS at the University of California has become a high priority for the Israel Lobby and the Israel on Campus Coalition. With student governments at five of the UC campuses already having voted for BDS, it is not surprising that Hillels at other UCs are experiencing pressure/support for combatting BDS at their campuses.

      It looks as though Lerner is fully on board with the ICC agenda. Looks like his preferred strategy is Islamophobic diversion (look over there! Hamas! ISIS! Qatar!). Clearly, maintaining good interfaith relations are not high on the agenda this year.

  • 'Jewish students were barred from attending' pro-Palestinian event -- Alterman misrepresents
    • Is "Distinguished Professor" a tenured position or is it a glorified name for a visiting lecturer? I don't know how much job security Alterman has with any of his titles, but it never hurts to stay on the good side of his employers.

  • ExxonMobil and Apartheid South Africa have 'no right to exist,' Gitlin says
    • I'd venture to guess that most supporters of BDS against energy companies would not argue that they have no right to exist, but no right to continue operating as they have been, not just in predatory capitalist habits, but in anti-environmental mindset and practices that are contributing to our planet's heading fullspeed into a global warming crisis.

      I'd also assert that those who condemned apartheid in the 80s did not claim that a country called South Africa had no right to exist, but that it had no right to enforce a system which deprived its citizens of rights based on race and ethnicity.

  • Recognizing Palestine—and political reality
    • Breaking News:

      1) Ali Abunimah, author of "Palestine: One State Complete," still not only favors a one state solution, but generally denigrates any conformation of a two state solution.

      2) Abunimah, who covers breaking news of Fatah corruption scandals, but fails to cover PA accomplishments (such as diplomatic efforts during the Syrian crisis), pooh-poohs Abbas' efforts to gain recognition for Palestine through the UN and internationally.

      3) Ali Abunimah and Omar Barghouti, while sharing some common opinions and goals, are not in fact, the same person.

      4) The New York Times, the American "paper of record" which has strong anti-Palestinian and pro-Zionist bias (as documented by many, including Ali Abunimah), dedicated a little space on a slow news day to presenting what it claimed was a diversity of opinions about Palestinian efforts for recognition. It chose three Jewish Zionists, two Palestinians and two others (surprisingly, the strongest opinion in favor of recognition was from a conservative British MP who had abstained from the Parliament's vote). Of the two commenters CHOSEN BY THE NYT, one was neutral and the other ambiguous -- neither was an enthusiastic supporter. If the NYT had wanted to hear from such a Palestinian leader, they could have asked Hanan Ashrawi, among many other articulate Palestinian spokespeople.

      5) In 2005, a coalition of Palestinian groups representing a broad spectrum of civil society endorsed the call to BDS -- they disagreed on a variety of issues, including 1SS vs. 2SS, but they agreed on the three demands of BDS. While Barghouti, a prominent spokesperson for the BDS movement, personally supports a 1SS, he does not claim that it is the position of the BDS movement. His brief statement for the NYT did little more than clarify that a 2SS would not be acceptible to supporters of BDS if it did not meet the three demands of BDS.

      6) While you frame this as the "Kerry Plan," Barghouti places the desire for Bantustans with the Israelis, not Kerry:

      If it is the first step toward recognizing the irrefutable right of the Palestinian people to self determination, then it would be a positive contribution to establishing a just and sustainable peace in accordance with international law.

      But, if it is, as implied, solely meant to resuscitate the comatose version of the “two state solution” which, as dictated by Israel, omits basic Palestinian rights, then it would be yet another act of British complicity in bestowing legitimacy on Israel’s unjust order.

      Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights and ongoing colonization of the occupied Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem, after all, will turn the putative two-state solution into a Palestinian Bantustan in an “apartheid state” of Israel, as Secretary of State John Kerry has warned.
      Israel has fiercely rejected full equality, in law and policies, for its Palestinian citizens because that would undermine, de facto and de jure, its continuation as an exclusionary Jewish state. But even the U.S. Department of State has criticized Israel for maintaining a system of “institutional, legal and societal discrimination” against its Palestinian citizens.

  • 'Progressive' rabbi ascribes Roger Waters's concern with 500 Palestinian child victims to rocker's alleged drug use
    • The Rabbi appears to be a Ziocaine junky. Waters is confronting the misery in Gaza with a clear head -- he's not resorting to substances to distort or escape it.

  • Clintonite turns on Netanyahu for trying to bend US 'to his will'
    • Whatever this Clintonite's motivation for raising this issue at this point in the election cycle, he makes some valuable points. Even though the most conservative of Zionist donors are not happy with this line of criticism, Ginsberg's proposal should give Hillary enough room to support it without sacrificing major support:

      1) Opposing settlement building has always been American policy -- even Hillary as SoS called them tepidly, "unhelpful." Continued settlement building ringing East Jerusalem will absolutely kill the 2SS that has been the subject of continuous negotiations over the past 20 years. This position has the verbal support of Liberal Zionists, many of whom vote Democratic.

      2) Ginsberg proposes targeting funding particularly for settlements that even Israel deems illegal. This should resonate with Liberal Zionists as well. Why should we provide tax breaks for organizations that raise money to break the laws of our BFF Israel?

      3) Ginsberg cites a four-year-old study from the NYT to identify forty organizations that fund the "illegal" settlements. The NYT is the paper of record for Liberal Zionists.

      4) Ginsberg proposes a solution that only requires action from the Executive branch, with no necessity of Congressional vote. The Republican-controlled House has already been complaining about the IRS giving extra scrutiny to Tea Party groups (who for some reason find the requirement that 527 groups disclose their donors too inconvenient, so they try to qualify for 501C-4 non-profit status). It is possible that Republicans would go ballistic if the IRS cracked down on settlement funders -- it certainly would upset their reactionary Jewish and Christian Zionist base. But it's not as though Obama could do anything to make the Republicans hate him more than they already do. Also, if Republicans kick up dust around the issue, it will raise awareness among other Americans about the variety of ways that America subsidizes Israel's illegal activities.

  • How 'Open Hillel' created a new community by challenging the Jewish establishment
  • Israel and the g-word
    • "Genocide" and "Apartheid" are technical terms in international law. Zionists have managed to prevent Israel from being held accountable for crimes under international law by creating distractions, arguing about the popular understandings of such words (if it's not South Africa, it's not apartheid; if its not 6 million, it's not genocide), and by shutting down discussion of such words because it hurts their feelings.

      Jimmy Carter carefully, but firmly, opened the door to using the term "apartheid" about the West Bank. It's time more people stopped allowing Zionists to frame or squelch the terms of debate. Abbas was right to use the term, "genocide" -- it shows that he's serious about pursuing full statehood, because he has the goods to take Israel to court.

  • NY rabbi implores those in her congregation who are joining Israel's enemies to love the country
    • Only in Israel is the Rabbi not considered religious because she is part of the Reform movement (not to mention female). Only in Israel is the Rabbi not considered Jewish because her mother is not Jewish, although her father is. Gotta love the place!

  • It looks like Obama is checking out on Israel
  • The Titanic of the occupation -- SodaStream (Update)
    • Oxfam had a relationship with Johanssen, who had served them well for eight years. I prefer to think that they were pressuring her in direct conversation, making it clear that she had to choose either SodaStream or Oxfam. That would have given her plenty of time for her agent to try to break the SodaStream contract before the Super Bowl.

      I also suspect that they gave her a deadline to announce a break with SodaStream or they would announce their break with her. But it's perfectly consistent that they would let her lead in the announcement of the break with Oxfam. Oxfam will continue to seek celebrities as goodwill ambassadors and they want other celebrities to know that they will be treated well during their service and at its conclusion.

  • White House is now in open spat with Netanyahu over his 'American values' lecture
    • It's the smiling between clenched teeth ... counting down the last four weeks until the mid-term elections, carefully avoiding upsetting the major donors and their dependent congresscritters.

  • Where is the antiwar movement?
    • The anti-war movement is not dead. It is under-covered and misrepresented by the MSM, especially when its critique of militarism dovetails with critique of neocons, neolibs, Israel or the Israel Lobby. Hawks in the media and politics have disparaged Americans' reluctance to start new wars as "war weariness." Some have even warned of growing "isolationism" -- with all of the anti-Semitic undertones of Lindberg and Hitler (because in neocon-time, it's always 1937).

      During the Bush years, we had massive anti-war demonstrations (fenced off safely in free-speech areas miles from the presidential motorcade) which had no impact on neocon plans for starting or expanding wars in the Middle East. Under Obama, while we have had fewer demonstrations, some of the protests have actually had a bit of impact on policy, even though many have not.

      Apparently, no matter how the media is framing public anti-war sentiment, Obama is responding to some of it. Now we just need to figure out how to target the energy that we can generate in a more persuasive way for politicians, no matter how the media may spin it.

  • The Greater Gaza Plan: Is Israel trying to force Palestinians into Sinai?
    • The timeline for when this Likud plan has been pushed relates not only to events in Israel, Palestine and Egypt, but also to political players and cycles in Washington. Throughout the Bush administration, neocon appointees in State, Defense and Intelligence set up structures and enacted strategies for the remaking of the Middle East (including the regime change in the seven countries listed by Clark). Many of them, like the invasion of Iraq, were already underway before the 2004 Hertzliya conference. Further plans were being brought together in 2007, as detailed in Hersh's "Redirection" article.

      The "Greater Gaza" swap would have benefitted the Israeli right's goals not only of gaining more of (high value) '67 Palestine with fewer '67 Palestinians, as well as gaining some Egyptian land for parking some '48 refugees, but it would have sacrificed some less usable and historically less valuable Israeli territory (the Negev) with the potential of ethnically cleansing some '48 Palestinians (Bedouins).

      It would be no surprise if this policy was pushed by some neocons and neolibs in the Bush and Obama administrations. At the time Morsi was elected in 2012, Democrats and Republicans were trying to out-do each other in their demonstrations of loyalty to Israel. In the months before the 2012 election, Obama was under pressure not to upset Zionist donors (they already were suspicious of him after Dennis Ross had left the administration in 2011 and Obama had "pushed Bibi too hard"). Also Hillary Clinton was pushing hard for "humanitarian intervention" in Syria (after the earlier stunning "success" in Libya) and other actions that AIPAC approved. If the White House or State had floated a Likud/neocon-approved option past Morsi it could have bolstered their Zionist support.

      I would hope that Obama hasn't pushed anything this stupid since Hillary moved on. But then, he's recently started bombing Syria.

  • Can the US Congress bring justice for the Palestinians?: A response to Robert Naiman
    • "Its name." Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Still waiting for the edit button.

    • J Street was founded primarily as an alternative political Jewish lobby to AIPAC. Its name, J Street, in contrast to business lobbies in DC on K Street, reflects that primary mission. But J Street also has a mission of organizing local chapters in Jewish communities and on campuses, J Street U.

      Progressives have criticized both of those missions of J Street; some of those criticisms overlap, but some of them are distinctive. Part of the problem with Naiman's article stems from conflating the criticisms of J Street, as well as overlooking some of the obstacles from the zionist establishment for JVP (which J Street enables). Beinin's defense of JVP doesn't really get at the crux of the problem with Naiman's article.

      I may not have heard or read from progressive activists,“because of its conduct during the recent Gaza war, J Street should die and be supplanted by Jewish Voice for Peace” -- but it is a fair paraphrase of some of the sentiments I have heard and read. In regards to the DC mission (beyond the ISS argument that the 2SS, if it was ever really viable at all, is dead, so J Street's mission is a waste of time and resources), J Street has been criticized for betraying its alleged mission. It is criticized for not representing a progressive alternative to AIPAC because in supporting 2 States, it is willing to compromise on Democracy for Israel in order to privilege its "Jewish character." It uses scare tactic language about "Arabs" to rally support for a "Jewish State."

      Further, it has been criticized for being unwilling to support any real pressure on Israel to bring it to sign an agreement to bring about a just resolution, creating 2 viable states with Palestine. This criticism goes beyond purity concerns -- everyone knows that DC is a sausage factory. J Street has not been willing to use the muscle it does have to push its agenda or to risk breaks with the right-wing of the Jewish community to mobilize for real change. Consequently, it has left the few politicians who have been willing to risk its agenda high and dry.

      Even those progressives who have not given up entirely on their congresscritters have questioned whether continuing to support J Street's lobbying is a productive use of their time and money. If it died tomorrow, would prospects for a just peace be any worse off?

      What J Street does on the local level is where I have heard the most criticism from progressives -- as well as the most comparisons with JVP. J Street chapters police the boundaries of acceptable criticism of Israel, whether to stay acceptable to the local synagogue or to avoid risking any affiliated groups being defunded by the local Jewish Federation. Lip service to Liberal Zionism is acceptable -- any contact with the BDS movement is not.

      J Street chapters cut themselves off from the BDS-affiliated JVP, not the other way around. Individual progressive Jews may choose to belong to J Street chapters; but many prefer to invest their limited time with JVP, as well as to cosponsor events with the variety of religious and ethnic groups that support BDS.

  • Abbas calls on UN Security Council to end the occupation
    • Abbas needs to demonstrate that he has exhausted all reasonable remedies for either the UNGA to override the UNSC veto or the ICC to take up the case. The Obama administration needs to avoid upsetting major Zionist donors to keep whatever Democratic congresscritters make it through the election willing to help him pass any legislation or approve nominees (that is, if the Democratic base finds any motivation beyond scare tactics to turn out to vote for these over-funded but less-than-inspiring candidates).

      If not now, when?

  • Netanyahu erases the boundary between world Jewry and Israel in celebration of 'our country'
    • "Israel will continue to be a source of innovation to the benefit of the entire planet," says the thief who stole American intellectual property -- a nuclear trigger. So, if acknowledged at all, Bibi's theft gets treated like a fraternity prank -- boys will be boys -- and he treats Americans like patsies.

  • Ohio treasurer fights divestment from the 'beacon of American values' in the Middle East
  • US elites are vulnerable to donor pressure on Israel question
    • Betsy, if you are not familiar with the destructive work that the IRD has been undertaking against the mainline churches for over 30 years, Talk to Action blog is a good place to start. Not only are they socially conservative on many issues, but they have a neo-con Zionist agenda.

  • The rabbi at the shitshow
    • It looks like, no matter how many Jewish students she has alienated or interfaith and campus leadership connections she has frazzled, Rabbi Leshaw is well set for her end of the year grant requests to the Jewish Foundation and fundraising letters to alumni and worried parents. Considering how she exploited her "friendship" with Megan in her public letter, how many other campus leaders will want to meet with her to get to know her informally (no matter how "cool" a tweeter she is)? It will be interesting to find out whether student attendance at High Holy Days services is greater or lesser than last year.

  • Yale official barred discussion of Israeli settlements and apartheid at monthly meeting
    • Just to be clear, a head chaplain or Dean of the Chapel is rarely a tenured position. Even where they teach a few courses, they are usually part of the administration, not faculty. In some places, they even serve "at the pleasure of the President." Apparently, the president of the University leaned on the chaplain hard regarding Shipman's NYT letter. I'm not sure which other orgs are part of the chaplains' monthly meeting -- but if one of them was Chabad, which was one of the first to complain about the letter, it would be no surprise if they told the chaplain that they were unhappy by Shipman's depiction of the occupation. The Chabad - settler connection is rarely made clear on campuses.

  • Rabbi in Ohio U. controversy leads group that denies there's an occupation
    • Leshaw may well speak for the majority of Jewish students who affiliate with Hillel. As part of the Israel on Campus Coalition, supporting Zionism and rejecting BDS are part of her job description. Whether she speaks for the majority of Jews on campus who do not affiliate with or are rejected(because of their BDS activities) by Hillel, is presumptuous of her to claim.

    • For some reason, students in Bobcats for Israeli Apartheid think they get dirty looks.

  • Yale Jewish center to hold 'intellectual' panel on storm over ousted priest's comments-- without inviting the priest
    • Just to be clear, the Yale equivalent of Hillel (the Center for Jewish Life) will hold a panel on anti-Semitism with Lipstadt as guest. This is not a University or Chaplain's office sponsored event any more than the Episcopal chaplain's statements were. If Hillel only wants to invite Jewish speakers to their events, that's their business. Let's hope some other groups on campus, religious or otherwise, tackle the topic of the Gaza massacre and rising Islamophobia in Europe.

  • Ted Cruz praises Israel and gets booed off stage at D.C. Christian conference
    • Looks like Cruz knew exactly what he was setting up for a media sound bite - red meat for his evangelical Christian base and for some Zionist donors. Even though the Arab Christians at the conference came from a variety of nationalities and denominations, few of them could be expected to applaud for someone who claimed that they have no greater friend than Israel, when Israel has attacked many of its Arab neighbors (including their Christian populations). Maybe some relatives of the South Lebanon Army (collaborators in Israel's occupation of Lebanon) would applaud, but few others.

  • J Street can't tie Israel's latest 'illegal land grab' to cutting US aid
    • Great! Declare them illegal, as previous administrations have. Declare a review of US policies and agencies effected by such illegality. But why depend upon the review itself to put pressure upon the Israeli government?

      Apply the laws and policies (and sanctions) upon Israeli settlements -- some of which are already well-known and shouldn't take long to implement: Prevent any organization that supports the settlements from gaining or maintaining tax-exempt status. Let a UNSC resolution pass that penalizes Israel for settling its civilians in occupied territories.

  • Three ways Palestinians can hold Israel accountable for Gaza war crimes
    • A timetable that Abbas wants overseen by UN or NATO. Considering that the Syrian insurgents in the Golan (the folks that get their injuries treated in Israeli hospitals) have been so successful at harassing and kidnapping UN peacekeepers in the Golan buffer zone, NATO troops might be more of a deterrent to the IDF and settlers.

  • 'Washington Post' says there's no such thing as Palestine, 'NYT' runs Gaza whodunnit
  • Three-sentence letter to the 'NYT' results in Yale chaplain's resignation
    • Two Jews, three opinions -- yet an alum who graduated over 40 years ago presumes to represent the feelings of the variety of Jewish Yale undergraduates (who comprise a larger percentage of students than 40 years ago).

  • When 'NYT' reporter's son joined the Israeli army, he didn't want news to get out
    • Frankly, Phil, as much as I would like to read your interview with Rudoren, I'd much rather see her address the concerns of Palestinian, Muslim and Arab American readers -- especially those who live in NYC. Ali Abunimah has followed the NYT coverage of Palestinians. Has she ever done an interview with him?

    • Would it be possible to add a regular disclaimer to her articles that they have to pass Israeli censors?

    • To be fair, "roughly a year of training" could have been around ten months -- which would make the total near 16 months. That's nowhere near the stupifying Zionist mathematics in which 5-1/4 million (Hilberg's number) rounds up to 6 million.

  • Israel has three years to end the occupation -- Abbas
    • The financial challenges for a Palestinian Unity government is a byproduct of the Israel Lobby's work in our Legislative and Executive branches. Congress mandated that an office be created in Treasury to deal with "terrorist funding." Congress also defines "terrorist" organizations not by what they do, but by whose enemies they are. Consequently, Hamas and Hezbollah, which have not targeted American civilians, are designated as terrorists and governments like Syria and Iran are designated as State sponsors of terrorism, whereas other organizations or governments which are our friends, like Israel and Saudi Arabia, which have sponsored groups that target Americans, are not. These groups and nations have been squeezed through various economic sanctions. Even if the money were readily available to Abbas, he would have difficulty finding a way to fund the backpay for Hamas-related civil servants in the Gaza strip without encountering American-enforced penalties.

  • The west is safer for Jews than Israel (duh)
    • Speaking of the "clean up your own mess" feeling, how about leaving the remaining settlers in charge of hundreds of nukes. And Americans are told to worry about takfiris getting ahold of some nukes (as though Pakistan wouldn't have been glad to sell them some ages ago).

  • Hamas is ISIS for dummies
  • Tzipi Livni's vacation nightmare
    • Gotta keep the Gazans from thinking they have a right to any of the products from its territorial waters. In other news, Israeli government source claims that they have negotiated a $15 billion contract with Jordan to supply them with natural gas, once Israel's "Leviathan" field (which spans the Lebanese, Israeli and Gazan coasts) is developed. How does Israel covet Palestine's resources? Let me count the ways.

  • Richard Cohen says he married Israel and has been faithful during ups and downs
  • 'New Yorker' limits its expose of Israel lobby to AIPAC
    • Yoffee's response to the article is a good reminder of why the glass is half-full. Bruck's article is not in the Forward, but in the New Yorker -- a publication that is read by many educated Americans who are neither Jewish nor even New Yorkers. The code that Phil sees here as a plug for JStreet will be less relevant to the majority of these readers than the permission (armed with illustrations) to criticize AIPAC. Even though Bruck narrows the definition of Israel Lobby to AIPAC, plenty of representatives of other lobby organizations, like Yoffee, are threatened by the slightest opening to any such criticism at all.

      A half-full glass could whet the appetite of many New Yorker readers for the undiluted stuff.

  • Salaita's hire set off fundraising alarm at U of Illinois, per emails to chancellor
    • While there was only one letter written in this category, its content may reveal something about how such a deluge of letters were sent to the school:

      Only one person — an alumnus — wrote to urge Wise not to block the appointment. Of Salaita, this alumnus wrote: “He offers what may be an inconvenient and unpopular viewpoint to many; however as a teacher, I have come to fully believe that is what makes for the richest of educational experiences.”…

      The writer did not write to endorse the appointment, but to protest the blocking of it -- indicating that the writer was aware of a campaign to pressure the chancellor to block it. Since most of these letters were variations on talking points, they were likely the result of a campaign by one or more representatives of the Israel Lobby. For example, the local Hillel could have been recruited for its list of alumni and donors to try and block the appointment of Salaita -- only to find that not all of those on its list were sheeple.

  • Democratic Party leader echoes Netanyahu's new theme: Hamas equals ISIS
    • While we expect right-wing Islamophobes like Pamela Gellar to be calling occupied Palestinians "The enemies of all civilized countries," one would hope for our Democratic leaders to distance themselves from such messaging.

    • For the past three and a half years of the "Arab Spring," the media has been covering the conflicts, especially in Syria and Egypt, at length (even if not in adequate depth). The American people have been exposed to all sorts of opinions about the Muslim Brotherhood, in Egypt, in Syria, in Palestine and Qatar. Among the points that have been emphasized over and over, is that although MB is conservative Sunni sect, that they have significant differences with Wahhabbists. Further, before the Arab Spring, Hamas had distinguished itself from other MB groups as being more of a national than a regional movement (even though it did align with broader MB regional goals during the Arab Spring, it has since refocused on national Palestinian goals). The only commonality for Americans between ISIS and Hamas is that they are both listed by the State Department as terrorist organizations, although for different reasons: ISIS, an offshoot of AQI, has targeted Americans, Hamas is an enemy of Israel. If anything, Israel's massacre of Gaza may cause more Americans to question why we have an organization on our terrorist list just because our BFF, Israel, hates it.

    • DAISH translates as the Islamic State in Iraq and Al Shams (Greater Syria or the Levant). When it is translated only as "Syria" people assume that it only means the modern state of Syria and not the whole region. Even though "Levant" has the ring of the British empire, it is closer in describing the particular geographic area for English speakers. Can you imagine American broadcasters butchering the pronunciation of Al Shams?

  • 'Common Dreams' website traps Hasbara troll spewing anti-Semitism
  • Rob Reiner wants to pick Palestinians' leaders for them
    • In many ways, Reiner is a PEP who lives in a Hollywood bubble. He answers the questions about international politics that King throws at him at the start of the interview with fairly boilerplate liberal Zionist rationalizations. Later in the interview, when King asks him about whether Hollywood influences politics, he talks about how individuals can use their celebrity to raise awareness about issues. There, he says that if a celebrity doesn't know their issue thoroughly, they can do more harm than good ... also mentions some issues he has championed, none of which involve the Middle East.

      Maybe Reiner just needs to be encouraged to step outside the bubble and learn about the issue in depth (especially regarding American biases about Arabs and Muslims). He also comes across as a long-time supporter of Hillary, but as more dedicated to the Democratic Party than to one particular candidate.

  • A month of solidarity in London -- does the BBC get the message?
    • Maybe it's time we started emulating the Brits, and protesting outside NPR. Not only is NPR's coverage of Gaza even less evenhanded than the BBC, NPR has been characterizing European protests about Gaza as an alarming increase in anti-Semitism. For example, Eleanor Beardsley covered the French protests and violence by focusing on Muslim immigrants without a word about the JDL's and other right-wing Jewish groups' attacks on Palestinian protesters.

  • Visiting Israel on AIPAC's dime, Rep. Steve Israel gets defensive about 'war crimes'
    • Some insurgents (Syrians or internationals) fighting against the Syrian Arab Army (which our media calls "forces loyal to Bashar Assad") in the unoccupied Syrian Golan have sought and received treatment for injuries in Israel. The majority of Syrians in the Golan are Druze who support the Syrian government and are unlikely to be seeking or receiving favors from GOI. Israel's selective medical treatment for insurgents from Syria shows no sign of being based on humanitarian concern.

  • Gaza Calling: All out on Saturday August 9 Day of Rage
    • Which will give Saturday's protest about the massacre in Gaza additional historical context. While there has been debate about the choices that led up to the bombing of Hiroshima, bombing Nagasaki three days later (when the scale of devastation from Hiroshima was known) has no rational justification.

    • On the 69th Anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, it is appropriate to say, "overkill is a war crime." Israel must be held accountable for its genocide in Gaza.

  • Steven Salaita-- unremitting in criticism of Zionism and Gaza slaughter-- loses a job at University of Illinois
    • Chalk up another example of double standards and settler colonialism. Just to highlight that Broken Treaties aren't a relic of the past, Champagne-Urbana lures a professor of Native American studies away from a safe academic position with promises of a new job and then dumped him unceremoniously when his comments about another settler colonialist state were too caustic.

      Someone should send a copy of Nelson's "vampire bat" remarks to the administration and ask whether all faculty will now be censured for tacky public statements.

  • Hamas mimics Hezbollah tactics, and no one will have stability till blockade is lifted
    • Maybe not "all" of it is propaganda, but much of it may be. After the offensive on halamoun, Syria, Hezbollah fighters working with the IDF found that some of the tunnels that insurgents had used to escape through had some of the features that they had taught Hamas' Al Qassam brigades (such as distinctive ways of booby traps). This discovery created some tension between Hezbollah leadership and Hamas for a while. So, Al Qassam has gained some tunnel technical know-how from Hezbollah.

      Further, some reports from last week claimed that Hamas used some of its tunnels for storage of rockets; once they started using the rockets from a particular tunnel, they proceded to use up that whole cache because Israel could tehn pinpoint and destroy that tunnel. I'm not sure how accurate that report was, but such a strategy could have been accomplished through some basic tunnels. And, of course, we know that southern Gaza has had abundant tunnels for smuggling goods.

      However, the claim that Hamas basically has an underground city of tunnels, which they have fortified with tons of cement as the rest of Gaza has remained unrepaired and neglected for several years, does sound like Israeli propaganda -- an excuse to demonize Hamas, minimize the effects of its illegal siege and provide an excuse for a ground invasion to destroy more of Gaza's infrastructure, test the IDF's latest weapons' systems and bolster Netanyahu's standing among the increasingly right-wing Israeli public.

  • 'Slate' blames Birthright for indoctrinating American Jew who was killed fighting for Israel
    • With Bronfman involved in the inception of Birthright Israel, it does make one wonder where all of that money for "educational purposes" from the Holocaust Industry's shakedown of Swiss banks ended up. One of these days, parents are going to wise up to the cultish indoctrination techniques used by Zionism and be just as cautious about letting their kids go on a Birthright trip as an old-style weekend retreat with the Moonies.

  • The green line is gone: Hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel detained following protests
    • What does "clashed with" mean? As in "Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said about 200 Arab Israelis in Nazareth clashed with security forces, who responded with water cannon and stun grenades." Did their outfits not match? Did they play their music too loud? Did members of the crowd bump into the police officers? Did they shout insults about "yo mama?" Did they carry signs that clashed with the officers' delicate sensibilities? Did they refuse to disperse from a peaceful protest? None of these forms of "clash" merit the response of water cannons or stun grenades from security forces.

  • Watch: 9 Jewish activists arrested after occupying Friends of the Israel Defense Forces office
    • Why does the IRS allow such groups to operate with tax-exempt status? I realize that government employees are overworked, but surely this and so many other groups that support Israel and the occupation do not fall under the category of charity.

  • Democrat Eliot Engel appears at pro-Israel rally featuring anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller
    • Witness the recently orchestrated 30th standing ovation for Netanyahu in the blank check resolution for Israel passed unanimously by both the House and Senate just days ago.

    • No US politician (especially from New York) takes any risk by appearing too pro-Israel. Rather, politicians who criticize Israel, or even don't support Israel with enough enthusiasm, may get low scores on their AIPAC report cards and risk losing their jobs to AIPAC-funded challengers.

  • How can Human Rights Watch conclude an Israeli didn't want to kill 4 boys on the beach?
    • As though the Press being present has deterred the IDF. There have been far too many cases of the IDF aiming at reporters, like the AlJazeera woman covering non-violent protests in the West Bank or Anthony Shadid, shot by the IDF while wearing a vest clearly identified as Press. Israel just wiped out a building in Gaza well-known to be a press center for foreign journalists. The NBC reporter was playing soccer with these kids minutes before they were targeted by the Israeli gunboat.

    • Not to mention Chris Hedges famous column about the IDF taunting Gazan boys and then using them for target practice.

  • Bowing to AIPAC, Senate unanimously passes resolution supporting Israel
    • What exactly is a "unanimous consent agreement?" Does that mean that 100 senators were present and each registered an "aye" vote? Did 100 senators give a voice vote of "aye" and none said, "nay?" Did a quorum of Senators present all vote "aye" and none "nay" by individually registered or collective voice vote? Did a quorum of senators present vote "aye" in the majority for an agreement phrased as "unanimous consent" with a minority voting "nay" or abstaining? If the reporter for the Hill is as slanted in covering the Senate as covering Israel's ground invasion, we'll never know.

  • Israel destroys el-Wafa hospital as staff evacuates all patients
    • This cuts both ways: "there cannot be a true partnership when one side endorses positions that delegitimize the other’s rights and core values." Presbyterians have the right to free speech and to free association. Stewardship of resources (including investments), peacemaking and seeking justice for the oppressed are core Presbyterian values. When the leadership of major Jewish organizations delegitimize Presbyterians' rights and values, they make it difficult to work together as partners.

  • 'Hamas... is putting their own people at risk' -- State Dep't on Israel killing 4 boys on Gaza beach
    • Speaking of "a crass strategy that takes all of our eyes off the real objective," Clinton's real objective is moving back into the White House in 2016 and his crass strategy on display here is pandering to what major Zionist donors want to hear.

  • Palestinian member of Knesset removed from meeting for saying, 'Your hands are covered with blood'
    • Excerpts from Bashar Assad's inaugural speech related to Palestine:

      Brothers and sisters,

      Your resilience constituted the official obituary of what was falsely called ‘the Arab spring’ and reset the course. Had this ‘spring’ been genuine, it should have started in the backward Arab countries. Had it been a revolution for more freedom, democracy and justice, it should have started in the most oppressive and tyrannical countries: the countries behind every catastrophe that befell this nation, behind every war against it, behind the intellectual and religious deviation and moral degradation. The existence of these countries is the West’s most important achievement and the most significant cause for Israel’s successes and continued existence. There is no clearer evidence than their current stand regarding the Israeli aggression against Gaza. Where is the ‘alleged’ zeal and ardour that they showed towards Syria or the Syrian people? Why haven’t they supported Gaza with arms and money? Where are their jihadists; and why haven’t they sent them to defend our people in Palestine?

      In order to know the answer, we should know that what is happening today in Gaza, ladies and gentlemen, is not a separate or passing event. It is an integrated chain of events: from the occupation of Palestine, to the invasion of Iraq and trying to divide it now and the division of the Sudan all planned by Israel and the West and always executed by the states of tyranny and backwardness in our Arab world.
      When Israel attacked Lebanon in 2006, it was those same countries that encouraged Israel and the West not to accept a cease-fire until the Lebanese resistance was destroyed, describing them as ‘adventurous.’ Because these satellite countries succeeded in their tasks, they were charged with funding chaos under the name of the ‘Arab spring,’ and with leading the Arab League after other Arab countries abandoned their roles. The Arab League itself was reduced to summoning NATO and imposing a siege on the Arab states that refused to comply.

      All of these events constitute a strongly linked chain aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause; all the money spent by those countries since their creation has been for this purpose. And here they are today playing the same role: in Gaza through Israeli terrorism, and in Syria through terrorism belonging to 83 nationalities. The methods may differ but their objective is the same.

      This leads me to another important issue. Some have expressed indifference towards Gaza, on the premise that we have our fair share of national problems; others have gloated at the Israeli aggression,asa reaction to the ingratitude and disloyalty of some Palestinians towards Syria and everything we have offered for decades. Both cases however, reflect naïve thinking; what is happening in Syria and the region as a whole is strongly linked to what is happening in Palestine. Dissociating ourselves from these events would be like watching a neighbour’s house burning and not offering to help.

      That is why those who believe that we can live in safety and distance ourselves from the Palestinian cause are illusioned. It will remain the central cause based on principles and the reality that links what is happening in Palestine with what is happening in Syria. We need to distinguish between the resistant Palestinian people and the ungrateful Palestinians, between true resistance fighters – who we should support – and the amateurs who mask themselves in the mantle of resistance to serve their interests, improve their image or strengthen their authority;otherwise, we will be – consciously or unconsciously, serving Israel’s objectives of dividing us even further and making us believe that our crisis is local and isolated.

  • Joining Graham, Schumer calls for end of Palestinian unification for sake of Israel's 'survival'
    • The politicians didn't write this legislation. At most, they tweaked AIPAC's draft. Mearsheimer and Walt describe how this worked in the I-L conflict in 2006:

      ... at the beginning of the war, there was a bipartisan effort to temper the House resolution supporting Israel by inserting language urging "all sides to protect civilian lives and infrastructure." Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (then chair[] of the Senate Armed Services Committee), among others, favored this change in the legislation, considering the moral issues at stake. One would think that such language would be unobjectionable, if not welcome. But AIPAC, which wrote the original resolution and was the main driving force behind it, strongly objected to this particular clause. John Boehner, the House majority leader, kept the proposed new language out of the resolution, which still passed 410-8.(p.326)

      While big donor influence has only gotten worse, with Citizens United, since 2006, average American awareness of the realities in Palestine and congress have increased since then through social media. Pro-forma votes and actions, like the 29 standing ovations for Bibi or the overriding of the Democratic delegates' votes on the party platform can be replayed over and over on YouTube. As the attempt to attack Syria in fall 2013 demonstrated, the demands of the Israel Lobby can be counteracted when congressmembers get overwhelming resistance from their constituents. More than ever, we need to let each of our congresscritters know that the whole world is watching and that we will remember if they condone this slaughter.

  • 'Protective Edge' has nothing to do with protection
  • Chomsky and BDS
    • So, after the last Chomsky thread, has Hostage really cancelled his subscription and picked up the remote or is he just taking a holiday.

    • Au contraire: by crediting some nuance in Chomsky's thought, Suarez is challenging the true Chomsky fan boys to exercise a little critical thought. While there are many other valid critiques of Chomsky's thought, Suarez covers the major problems with Chomsky's Nation article.

  • After repeated calls for vengeance, Netanyahu urges Israelis to be 'cool-headed' and seek 'justice'
  • Liberal Zionists' denial of Israeli racism heightens danger to 'everyone living in this land' -- Blumenthal
  • 'Haaretz' conference trumpets tired word 'Peace' (when the only solution is 'equality')
    • I'd rather substitute the terms, "Piece" or "Pacification" rather than allow racist war-mongers to get away with polluting the term, "Peace," with their lies. False prophets have been saying "peace, peace where there is no peace" since before Biblical times. It's our job to expose them. There is no real peace without justice.

  • Jeffrey Goldberg leads the charge on latest BDS smear: Presbyterian Church divestment is anti-Semitic because David Duke supports it
    • Reserve Corporal Goldberg reporting for duty. How is it that a pundit so associated with morally-reprehensible rhetoric that has endangered the lives of thousands of Americans (advocating for the 2003 invasion of Iraq) still has a job in a reputable publication?

  • Fear of anti-semitism accusation did not stop Presbyterians from witnessing occupation
    • Or maybe one of those recent Israeli high school grads fluent (enough) in English to perform alternative service through the Foreign Ministry. They may have set this one loose before the training was completed.

  • Media postings twist 3-fingered sign of support for Mohammed Assaf into celebration of reported teen kidnapping (Updated)
    • Even worse, every person who claims to be signing "f" or signaling "OK" online will be revealed by ADL to be supporting Hamas' alleged abduction -- once again affirming the growth of anti-Semitism around the world.

  • Israeli army enacts curfew near Nablus and raids eight major West Bank cities
  • Anti-Cantor coalition included Tea Partiers, Independents, Democrats
    • While the votes for Cantor were lower than in the past and some of the votes against him were cast by independents, the Tea Party doesn't deserve much credit for Republican votes for his opponent. Koch money was going to Cantor.

      Right-wing talk show hosts, like Laura Ingraham, are claiming credit for raising Brat's profile and boosting his standing among hardline anti-immigration Republicans.

  • Palestinians 'under occupation... denied dignity and self-determination' -- Clinton
    • From previous Clinton MW article: "In her forthcoming memoir, Hillary Clinton generally aligns herself with President Obama but distances herself at the margins: She had a different take on Syria and the Bowe Bergdahl deal, she says." Perhaps now that Clinton has clarified her differences with Obama over Syria, he'll be freer to move even further from the neocon/neolib policies that Clinton and her major donors favor.

  • The Banality of Religion: 'Prayer summit' at the Vatican fails to inspire
    • Don't underestimate what the Pope is doing, no matter how the MSM is covering it. On the first day of his Middle East trip, he lashed out against war-mongers who are profiting from the destruction of Syria. The following day, Jordan expelled the Syrian ambassador. His photo at the Bethlehem wall is worth a thousand words; it got reprinted in the MSM more than any other image from the trip. If you pay attention to what the Vatican Secretary of State is saying, it is very clear that the Pope "gets it."

      But you can't be surprised that the head of the Roman Catholic Church believes in God, considers prayer an important part of his work and wants to get different people together who claim to be interested in peace to pray for peace in ways that can work out well for all who attend. It's not just a public ceremony for the Pope; he thinks that prayer makes a difference. (also, there is no accounting for what he might be saying to world leaders behind closed doors to influence their actions.)

  • Hillary Clinton's flipflop: We were wrong to take hard line against settlements
    • The development is not what she has said, but where she has said it: not at an AIPAC convention but in her campaign-launching book for the general public. The Democratic base has shifted even more since the last time she ran in a primary: the majority of Americans still oppose military intervention in Syria and the majority of delegates at the last Democratic convention voted against the Zionist amendments to the platform. The Democratic base thinks that Obama has been caving too much to right-wing hawkish nuts like Netanyahu, not too little. The only reason that HRC is polling so well this far before the primaries is because no serious contenders to her left have thrown their hats in the ring.

  • US is 'pushing privately' on settlements, as reporters point out nothing has ever come of that
    • If End the Occupation had a quarter of the funding and half as much organization as AIPAC to be able to mobilize its supporters simply to lobby on every single little piece of Israel-related legislation that comes before congress (not to mention actually drafting the legislation, donating major cash or identifying oneself as a single-issue voter for Palestinian Human Rights), then those congresscritters who are only voting from fear of AIPAC would have some cover to vote otherwise. When Congresscritters' offices were flooded with calls from constituents opposing military intervention in Syria and AIPAC was the only group supporting it, most members of congress (especially Democrats) resisted AIPAC's entreaties.

    • The State Department is committed to taking no actions that would upset Democratic congresscritters' Zionist donors only months away from the mid-term elections.

  • Another pro-Israel student leader offers himself as advocate for 'the Palestinian people' (shirtless)
    • Looks like a new Brand Israel campaign to reach out to apolitical Jewish students who have neglected to like Israel on facebook recently. Like popular pinkwashing, greenwashing and bluewashing campaigns, it uses culturally liberal images and buzzwords to appeal to students who haven't given Israel much thought (and may not want to give it or anything too serious or political, like even JStreet, much thought). Vague "human rights:" good. Specific human rights laws or violations: too political. Look for it at a Jewish Frat Party near you!

  • LA City Council members denounce student activists over ethics pledge critiquing Israel lobby trips
    • These six LA city council members have made an additional move to improve their fundraising among Zionist donors for the next election. Do they represent the views and interests of their broader constituents?

  • Clinton cautioned Israelis on giving up Golan because Syrians might try to poison Sea of Galilee
    • Clinton's AIPAC-aligned aides sometimes urged a harder-line than that of Labor government leaders. Even so, the transcript source from Israeli-intelligence should be seen in a broader context. Even the general public is now aware of the fallacy of crediting Barak for a "generous offer" to the Palestinians and placing all of the blame on the Palestinians. Representations about negotiations that were happening with the Syrians deserve the same level of critical scrutiny.

Showing comments 947 - 901