Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 833 (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.

Website: www.beyondbethlehem.blogspot.com

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  • 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.

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  • Brandeis damaged itself by suspending relationship with Nusseibeh, Ratner says in resigning from board
    • How have President Lawrence's relations been with major donors to Brandeis? Yehuda Reinharz is a tough act to follow: between 1994 and 2011, "he raised 1.2 billion dollars during his presidency and more than tripled the endowment." Has the college fund-raiser-in-chief offered a credible academic reason for why he scratched a long-standing program with a Palestinian University without waiting for the results of an investigation?

  • Welcome to Bethlehem, Pope Francis -- now shut down the checkpoint for 3 days
    • Interesting contrast in the awkward English of this official GOI notice at a checkpoint with the fluent English of the flyers the right-wing youths were distributing in Jerusalem. I am reminded of how frequently Brooklyn-accented English can be heard among the extremist settlers.

  • European Union ruling: Ban poultry imports from settlements
  • 'Ebony' article explores 'Why Black People Must Stand With Palestine'
    • Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been among those most likely to break ranks with Democratic leadership and vote against AIPAC sponsored/written legislation. Even so, they are well-aware that, no matter how apparently safe their districts, anyone who bucks AIPAC too frequently can meet the fate of Cynthia McKinney.

  • Don't let Pamela Geller speak for American Jews
    • A lot of progressive Americans who are not Muslim support the work that CAIR does to fight for civil rights for American Muslims. Post-911 and the PATRIOT ACT, Muslim and Arab-Americans have faced systemic discrimination, harassment and racial profiling. Not all Americans view CAIR's work on civil rights through the lens of right-wing Zionism.

  • Jewish National Fund set to spend at least $54 million on West Bank settlement projects
  • Intra-Palestinian Reconciliation: Time for accountability
    • While the outlines of a Palestinian reconciliation agreement may have been known for a long time, its implementation at this time could be related to a few regional factors:

      1) Gaza, which has been under blockade from Israel for several years, has been even more isolated in recent months by Egypt's destruction of smuggling tunnels and almost complete closure of the border. In addition, Egypt has been giving death sentences to hundreds of its own MB citizens and penalizing Hamas for its actual and alleged connections to the Morsi government. Gaza desperately needs a change and Hamas is not in a strong negotiating position.

      2) Israel had already signaled that it was not serious about even abiding by its technical commitments to the peace process by missing the schedule of prisoner releases. Kerry had signaled that the 9 month commitment was no longer working on a peace process or even a framework for a peace process, but on an agreement to extend the process beyond the 9 month deadline. Abbas has committed to sit down at the table with Israel until the very last day of that process. But, by announcing his impending deal with Hamas (a week before the deadline and several weeks after Israel reneged on its minimal commitments), he has signaled that he is not willing to allow a fruitless process to be extended forever.

      3) By announcing the five week window for concluding the understanding with Hamas, he gave Israel a chance to make a serious offer, to give a valid incentive to extend the talks beyond the 9 months. As of today, Israel has not done so. In addition, by giving a five week framework, Abbas is waiting until after Egypt's elections. A joint Fatah-Hamas government may be on stronger terms to negotiate with Egypt about insuring the secure and reliable functioning of the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. What is to stop a joint Fatah-Hamas Palestinian government from entering into treaties with its neighbors, Egypt and Jordan?

  • Kerry's cowardly apology on 'apartheid' is giant blunder for Israel's propagandists
  • Two-state solution is 'psychological solution' allowing people to take themselves off the moral hook -- Telhami
    • Thanks for the reminder, Hostage:

      "The separation of powers and competencies between the PLO and PA were imposed by the Israelis under the terms of the lapsed Oslo Accords in order to prevent the establishment of a functional government of the State of Palestine. So it was unsurprising that the Palestinian leadership circumvented the scheme after it had lapsed without implementing the aims stated in the Oslo Declaration of Principles. It was much less surprising that they abolished it as being unnecessary after the UN vote in 2012. The fact that people still use the term “PA” simply means they either don’t, or won’t, recognize the State of Palestine.

      ...So it’s the PA, not the PLO that is an anachronism. "

  • Kerry says that Israel could wind up being 'an apartheid state'
    • So, did a member of the Trilateral Commission leak an exclusive copy of Kerry's speech to the Daily Beast or did one of the "senior officials and experts from the U.S., Western Europe, Russia, and Japan" at this closed-door meeting forget to take the batteries out of a cellphone?

  • Khalidi: It's time for Palestinians 'to get off their knees' and turn to Europe and ICC
    • Together with the 15 UN treaty organizations it recently signed, how does the reconciliation with Hamas contribute to Abbas' potential actions for Palestinian sovereignty as of May 1 (assuming that Netanyahu makes no moves toward significant negotiations before the April deadline expires)? Could Abbas request the presence of UN peacekeepers in the occupied territories and Gazan waters?

  • Global Earth Day coalition drops SodaStream over complicity in Israeli occupation
  • UN peace envoy denied entry to Church of the Holy Sepulchre by Israeli police
  • Alterman says BDS is helping Netanyahu
    • Alterman conveniently distorts the difference between "opposes" and "does not endorse." BDS is a civil society movement and Abbas is the head of the PA. As you note, his endorsement as the head of state of a member of the Arab League could complicate his negotiating strategy and trigger US anti-Arab boycott sanctions.

  • It's time to reveal the Israeli role in the US surveillance machine
    • Thank you for pulling this info together about Israel's role in American surveillance. Post-Cold War, Israel has struggled to convince Americans that it continues to provide a valuable service to American national interests to justify continued unquestioned American support. Post-9/11, Israel has managed to ingratiate and enmesh itself with America's Military-Industrial-Security-Complex to the extent that it has not only convinced many of the 1% that their interests are aligned, if not identical, but that any attempt to disentangle the two would be disastrous for the American economy and security.

  • Amid 'climate of fear' at Vassar, president comes out against 'action and protest' re Israel
    • King was writing to white "moderate" pastors who had urged him to engage in dialogue rather than leading BDS actions which they considered provocative:

      My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
      ...
      I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
      ...
      You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.
      ...
      I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle--have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as "dirty nigger-lovers." Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful "action" antidotes to combat the disease of segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.

      But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.
      ...
      I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother." In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.

    • CC to President Hill, Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

  • 'Poof' -- Kerry blames Israel for breakdown of talks (Updated)
    • While the State spox couches Kerry's statement within the full context of his testimony, there is no retraction or suggestion that Kerry misspoke. It's also illuminating seeing the context of the line of questioning to which Psaki responds:

      QUESTION: All right. And then the last one on this is the Secretary on the Hill yesterday managed to get the Israelis, in particular, upset about him when he described, what he called a “poof” moment when things went, for lack of a better word, to hell. Given the fact that you guys have made clear for some time now, for at least two weeks now, that both sides have taken negative steps: one, would it have been perhaps more appropriate for the Secretary not to use his “poof” moment comment; or, if it was appropriate, do you think that it was – that he put it in the context of the timeline at the wrong place?

      MS. PSAKI: Well, I spoke with the Secretary about this this morning, and he was, frankly, surprised by the coverage of his comments because he doesn’t believe, as you noted and has said repeatedly, that one side deserves blame over another media note because they’ve both taken unhelpful steps – that’s something you’ve heard him say frequently. And at no point, including yesterday, has he intended to engage in a blame game.

      The truth is even yesterday, if you look at the full context of his comments, he went out of his way to credit Prime Minister Netanyahu for making tough choices. And you’ll remember, as you also noted, that he began his comments by very matter-of-factly referring to the unhelpful and provocative steps the Palestinians took by going on television and, of course, announcing their intention to join UN treaties.

      So what he followed yesterday or what he did yesterday was simply restate the chronology of events of last week that took place, which ended, of course, with the step by the Palestinians to announce plans to join international conventions. So that was the intention of his comments, and he certainly stands by them and was surprised that there was there a view that he was one-sided.

      QUESTION: Well, he was surprised by the fact that people took him at his word, because that’s what he said? If we look at the chronology going back this week – and I don’t want to belabor this, but on Saturday – Saturday was when the prisoners were supposed to be released.

      MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

      QUESTION: They weren’t. Saturday, Sunday – after they weren’t released, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, nothing really major happened. The Palestinians didn’t take any action.

      MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

      QUESTION: On Tuesday, the new Gilo announcement – settlement – or construction announcement was made.

      MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

      QUESTION: That is when the Secretary said the “poof” moment was. It wasn’t until the next day, Wednesday, when we were in Brussels, that President Abbas came out and said that he was going to sign onto these UN conventions.

      MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

      QUESTION: And it wasn’t until the next day after that, Thursday, that Justice Minister Livni came out and said that the prisoner release was now officially canceled. So in retrospect, wouldn’t it have been more accurate, given the fact that you blame both sides, for the Secretary to have identified the “poof” moment not as the housing announcement but rather either the Palestinian announcement or Justice Minister Livni’s announcement that the prisoner release had been canceled entirely?

      MS. PSAKI: Well, I would caution you against over-emphasizing the meaning of “poof,” which we’ve now talked about a lot here. But he was – his view is that there were unhelpful steps by both sides. That’s what he was conveying yesterday. Again – again, as we look forward to the coming days, it’s clearly counterproductive when either side takes steps that aren’t conducive to an environment moving forward. So we’re not going to spend our time recounting every single step as it relates to the events of last week. We’re going to see if there’s the will and the desire to move things forward.

      QUESTION: Right. But that’s what he did yesterday. In recounting the chronology, he did exactly what you say you don’t want to do.

      MS. PSAKI: No --

      QUESTION: And he – and because he used the “poof” comment where he did, some in Israel – many if not all in Israel – took that to be an indication that you regard them as more to blame than the other side. You’re saying that that’s wrong. So if it’s – correct? You’re saying that that is wrong?

      MS. PSAKI: Well, I --

      QUESTION: He wasn’t meaning to single out Israel for more blame than anyone else?

      MS. PSAKI: I would point you to his own comments he’s made many times over the past week about the unhelpful steps by both sides, Matt.

      QUESTION: All right. And you say that he doesn’t want to get into the blame game. But is he – aren’t you, in fact, blaming both sides? Isn’t that the blame game?

      MS. PSAKI: Well, often the blame game means blaming one side over the other, and that’s what I’m using it as a reference to.

      No retraction about the placement of the "poof." Even though Kerry placed blame on both parties for difficulties at different points in the process, Zionists don't want to hear the specifics about where Israel is to blame.

    • Neither NYT headline is accurate. Kerry blamed Israel for missing deadline on the 4th prisoner release -- a contractual obligation for the talks taking place at all. But Kerry framed it as a one-two punch: first Israel failed to meet the deadline for its contract, then when the Palestinians gave Israel a grace period of a few days, rather than releasing the prisoners, Israel punched them in the gut by declaring more settlements. At that point, Palestinians' toleration for a grace period went up in smoke: "poof!" Israel had reneged on its contract in effect, so the Palestinians no longer felt bound by their contract to delay applying to International bodies or treaties.

      Israel's declaration the following day that it had cancelled the last prisoner release was simply a verbal acknowledgement of an action it had failed to complete by the deadline. However, by waiting until the Palestinians signed the treaties, Israel hoped that America would let it get away with blaming the Palestinians for the collapse of the talks.

  • Let Pollard go. But first get answers from Tel Aviv
  • Jewish National Fund lures singles to Israel with tasteless sexual joke in NYT
    • JDate and JNF's ends intersect when they promote a hump in Israel. Like Birthright, the trip's selling point is hooking up in Israel. The only question is whether JDate is planning for the humping to happen in a fantasy Bedouin tent or if they are planning a more comfortable setting for the over 30 crowd? The JNF can supply the other fantasy and hump when the tour takes them to the site of their prospective dream home in the Negev, where real Bedouins (with or without camels)are having their real tents demolished to make way for the JNF's planned communities. Is stealing someone else's land a moral hump these visitors must struggle to surmount or can they be swept away by the romance of it all?

  • Reports: Abbas faults Israel for 'procrastinating,' says Palestine will move to join int'l organizations
  • NY Times should apologize for publishing Palestinians 'have avowed as their goal the killing of all Jews'
    • Would the NYT have printed a letter about the Civil Rights movement, “The ‘conflict’ exists because, by word and deed, Blacks have avowed as their goal the killing of all Whites”? Would the NYT print a letter claiming the reverse, “The ‘conflict’ exists because, by word and deed, Jews have avowed as their goal the killing of all Palestinian Arabs”? Does the NYT have a policy about hate speech in its letters to the editor?

  • Lockerbie: 25 years of geopolitics over truth
    • What, no Hezbollah? Surely the Qatari news outlet could have worked them into its theory with Iran, Syria and PFLP-GC. As it is, Qaddafi and the Iranian airplane passengers are just minor speedbumps on the road to the next R2P intervention or Color Revolution (that never seem to deliver quite the democracy or freedom that we promise).

      In other news on BBC today: in the headlines, Syrian insurgents are claiming to have captured a prison in Deraa (according to their unverified footage). The in depth story about Syria was an interview with R2P proponent Michael Isikoff. Not making the cut: Syrian army advances west of Yabroud, making further steps toward securing the Lebanon border in the Qalamoun region. The US appointed a new envoy to replace Ambassador Ford at the same time that it revoked diplomatic immunity from the staff of Syria's Washington embassy. Also, Israel bombed Syrian troops in unoccupied Golan.

  • Johansson got career boost from 'comic farrago' over SodaStream -- 'New Yorker'
  • Scarlett Johansson parrots SodaStream CEO in attack on Oxfam
    • Caption this photo: "Set the Bubble-heads Free." Warning: Zionist brainwashing can lead to a decrease in critical-thinking skills.

    • Of course ScarJo parrots SodaStream's CEO, she's signed on to be the ambassador for an Israeli company for the next year. Just as Israeli ambassadors parrot the Foreign Ministry's hasbara, ScarJo parrots SodaStream's hasbara. Surely you weren't expecting diplomacy.

  • BDS supporting rock star Roger Waters hits back against vicious smears
    • "I'm old, I'm rich and they can't touch me" was Paul O'Neill's reply about neocon intimidation tactics when he left the Bush administration. Younger Republicans or civil servants who looked forward to a career in Washington could not afford to speak out. Jimmy Carter, old and rich, has been able to write about Israel and Apartheid, where younger politicians would have had their careers abruptly ended. Roger Waters, old and rich, supports the PACBI boycott of Israel , where younger performers are afraid to support Palestinian rights or make the slightest criticism of Israel. The more rich, retired or tenured people who risk being personally smeared to support human rights, the more possible it becomes for others to speak out without losing their jobs.

  • 'Northeastern SJP will not be silenced or intimidated': SJP responds to suspension from Northeastern University
    • Yes, but NU's engagement in discrimination, even if it only gets limited national coverage on Democracy Now, could be bad for its brand among prospective liberal students, students of color and their parents. How are the parents going to feel, bragging around the water cooler about the schools their kids have been accepted, when a colleague mentions that they heard something on Democracy Now a few weeks ago about Northeastern being a hostile environment for students of color and free speech?

    • How will NU's blatant discrimination against student leaders of color have an impact on how many students of color accept admission to NU in the coming weeks?

  • Review of recent 'NYT' corrections raises doubts about paper's commitment to getting the facts right in Israel/Palestine
    • Who is the NYT going to believe, hasbarists or its own lying eyes (in this case, the reports in its own pages from '47 and early '48)? Before Israel was declared as a state in May 1948, its reporters had not only witnessed the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, but the NYT had printed their accounts.

  • Six Palestinians killed in 24 hours by Israeli forces
  • US Homeland Security investigates Israeli arms deal to Iran
    • The timing of the incident complicated a google search, similar to how the timing of the Israeli troops dancing at the Palestinian wedding topped the "Dancing Israelis" search at another opportune time.

      As FM Zarif surmised, the timing did make for some awesome sound bites at AIPAC. Not not only that, it made it challenging to research this story. Every time I placed Israel, Iran and arms interception in the search engine I got flooded with an opposing narrative. Hmm.

      And no, we can’t sort out all the facts from internet searches. But shouldn’t the western press be paying attention to both stories, and the timing thereof?

  • Marty Peretz's message to Chris Hughes: Keep 'The New Republic' on Israel's side
  • Evangelicals who dissent from Christian Zionism wear 'stain of indelible infamy,' Israel says
    • Other than the fact that Mubarak Awad's brother works at the Bible College, what is this supposed to mean:

      Furthermore, the government has indicated that it considers certain people involved in CatC to have a reputation for being involved in malicious acts against the state. For example, it was recently revealed that some of the leading figures at CatC have very close ties to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that aims to delegitimize and ultimately to undermine entirely the Jewish state.

      The BDS connections throughout Palestinian civil society are not exactly breaking news -- especially since the BDS call was signed in 2005.

  • Grindr in Hebron: A dispatch from the last debate
    • Deng's participation on the panel is part of the longer history of Zionist interest in Sudan. The hasbarist deflection of "what about Sudan/Darfur" has been just the most visible part of the Israel Lobby's use of that conflict. Christian Zionist mission workers have played a role in highlighting the region to promote Islamophobia in America. But prominent members of the Israel Lobby have been active in raising the profile of that conflict for years. After working in CAMERA's Boston leadership, Charles Jacobs founded the American Anti-Slavery Group and the Sudan Campaign.

  • Dateline, Ukraine: How the State Department 'midwives' democracy
  • Gov. Jerry Brown brags on signing historic agreement with Netanyahu in Silicon Valley
    • Since it is a violation of the US Constitution for State Governors to enter into treaties with foreign governments, what is the legal status of this "historic agreement" that Brown will sign with Netanyahu?

    • How was this agreement reached? Has the California legislature been involved? Is this a legally binding agreement for California or is it just a photo-op for Jerry Brown's political donors? Considering all that Americans have come to know about NSA spying in the past year, how happy will the average Californian be about further Israeli partnerships in intelligence IT programs?

  • Read the StandWithUs dossiers on pro-Palestine activists for yourself
    • No wonder SWU tries to deny these speakers a podium. Its canned responses not only lack nutritional value, even when spiced up with sensational claims, many of them are obviously past their sale date (that meme is so five years ago!).

  • Thought experiment. Dateline Ukraine
    • I had hoped that Nuland's reassignment from State Spox to Europe was an indication that Kerry would be shifting direction from the NeoCon/NeoLib policies of the Bush/Clinton eras. Over the past few decades, the Pentagon, State and intelligence agencies have been stacked with neocons and neolibs, while realists and arabists have been phased out. Certainly, with her presidential ambitions (backing Israel 110%), HRC was not going to make drastic changes to Bush's neocon staffing or foreign policy direction -- even if she favored leaning on color coups rather than direct military intervention. However, no matter how distracted Kerry has been by events in the Middle East, it's hard to imagine that Nuland could sink $5 billion into a color coup against Kerry's wishes.

  • ‘Safe Hillel’ Exposed: Undermining open dialogue in the Jewish community
    • Keep our Jewish children's tender minds safe from the perils of critical thought! It's bad enough that they have been forced to attend a private university affiliated with the United Methodist Church (which even has a Methodist School of Theology) -- a denomination that supports the boycott of Settlement products. But they can't even be safe from discussion of BDS among other Jews if Hillel allows groups like JStreet or JVP to hold meetings there.

  • Wesleyan president slams NY Jewish community for suppressing differences over Israel
    • It's relevant because a University President is objecting to a scholar being blacklisted by a Jewish cultural and intellectual institution because she's an anti-Zionist. Dumbing down Jewish discourse is not good for American Jews or American Academia.

  • Political Zionism is destroying a culture and a people, and intentionally so
    • Presbyterians (the PC(USA)), declared Christian Zionism practically a heresy -- inconsistent with Reformed Theology (Calvinist tradition) -- at the 2004 GA. So many other issues related to Israel and Judaism, especially Divestment, were decided at that GA that coverage of the Christian Zionism overture may have been overlooked.

      Certainly, the PC(USA) has a broad range of belief from center-right to left. Even so, the most conservative of PC(USA) congregations which are trying to leave the denomination (especially their female members) are unlikely to be tempted to join the fundamentalist PCA, which not only refuses to ordain women as clergy, elders or deacons -- they won't even let women teach adult Sunday School classes which include men. Mainline congregations which do not want to talk about Israel's violation of Palestinian Rights avoid the subject less because of Christian Zionism than because of the Ecumenical Deal (or because, if calling Israel an Apartheid State hurts the feelings of one member of the Church family, it would be unkind to mention it, divisive to host an educational program about it and threatening to the Peace, Unity and Purity of the church to take action about it).

  • 'Washington Post' runs article denouncing gross censorship by JCC
  • New York Times assault on the BDS movement reinforces Israeli fears
  • France to perform CPR on Scarlett Johansson's image -- award for film career!
    • Good article by Blumenthal on ScarJo, PEPs and Hollywood (love the PEP blinders graphic!). I would only quibble slightly about how innocent a time it was to support Israel in 1978:

      If there was any date that marked the high point of PEP-ism in Jewish-American life, it was May 8, 1978. That evening, a star-studded cast appeared before an audience of millions of Americans in The Stars Salute Israel at 30, a nationally televised gala beamed live by ABC from the Los Angeles Music Center.

      The stage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion was filled with Hollywood A-listers, including outspoken liberals like Paul Newman, Anne Bancroft and Barry Manilow. None were asked to ponder the cruelty of Israel’s 11-year-old occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip before signing on to appear in the gala. Back then, celebrities leapt at the opportunity to sing and dance for Israel, if not out of genuine conviction, then at least out of careerist considerations.
      ...
      As the discussion on Israel-Palestine slips from their control, the greying band of PEPs has nowhere to turn but the past. All they have are dreams of the magical night in 1978 when Streisand stood in the spotlight of Hollywood, sang for Israel, and the nation cheered. They are marching forward against BDS in a rosy haze of nostalgia, united by the terror of what lies beyond.

      The Stars Salute Israel event was just months after Vanessa Redgrave's televised speech upon winning the award for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars:

      And I salute you, and I pay tribute to you, and I think you should be very proud that in the last few weeks you've stood firm, and you have refused to be intimidated by the threats of a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums whose behaviour is an insult to the stature of Jews all over the world and their great and heroic record of struggle against fascism and oppression.

      And I salute that record and I salute all of you for having stood firm and dealt a final blow against that period when Nixon and McCarthy launched a worldwide witch-hunt against those who tried to express in their lives and their work the truth that they believe in. I salute you and I thank you and I pledge to you that I will continue to fight against anti-Semitism and fascism.[20]

      Redgrave referred to "the threats of a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums" in one of the highest-rated broadcasts in a year. No matter how star-studded its tribute, even with Streisand singing, hasbarists were not likely to get as many eyeballs to tune in for Israel's facelift a few months later.

      Even so, Blumenthal is right that there was no downside for celebrities to participate in such an event. Whereas Palestinians were widely perceived by Americans as terrorists or stereotypes from Newman's "Exodus" then, more and more Americans have become aware of the realities for Palestinians under Israeli occupation since then.

      A month after "The Stars Salute Israel at 30," a bomb targeted an LA theater where Redgrave's documentary, "The Palestinian," was to be screened.

    • This is already happening: "Other stars will probably avoid the whole Palestinian issue quietly rather than make a stand for Palestians-unless the paycheck is fat enough. And if there is a silent boycott of A list celebrities in Israel, how will that help Palestians." The ScarJo fiasco will just give more celebrities the incentive to avoid Israel rather than surrender to temptation/pressure to impress Zionist employers.

      While, in the past, no one but hardcore Zionists noticed if a celebrity headlined a Friends of the IDF fundraiser, performed in Sun City/Tel Aviv, endorsed settlement products, in the internet age the broader public not only hears about such celebrity doings, but begins to make the connection to other bits of information about Apartheid Israel. More celebrities will hesitate to lend their image to Brand Israel, no matter what the short-term payoff.

  • Surviving anti-Semitism smear, Walt and Mearsheimer seem to have influence in high places
    • Thanks for the links. These three points from Walt seem most relevant to the trollish presence on this thread:

      3. Never Get Mad. Let your critics throw the mud, but you should always stick to the facts, especially when they are on your side. In my own case, many of the people who attacked me and my co-author proved to be unwitting allies, because they lost their cool in public or in print, made wild charges and ad hominem arguments, and generally acted in a transparently mean-spirited manner. It always works to your advantage when opponents act in an uncivil fashion, because it causes almost everyone else to swing your way.

      Of course, it can be infuriating when critics misrepresent your work, and nobody likes to have malicious falsehoods broadcast about them. But the fact that someone is making false charges against you does not mean that others are persuaded by the malicious rhetoric. Most people are quite adept at separating facts from lies, and that is especially true when the charges are over-the-top. In short, the more ludicrous the charges, the more critics undermine their own case. So stick to the high ground; the view is nicer up there.

      4. Don't Respond to Every Single Attack. A well-organized smear campaign will try to bury you in an avalanche flurry of bogus charges, many of which are simply not worth answering. It is easier for opponents to dream up false charges than it is for you to refute each one, and you will exhaust yourself rebutting every critical word directed at you. So focus mainly on answering the more intelligent criticisms while ignoring the more outrageous ones, which you should treat with the contempt they deserve. Finally, make sure every one of your answers is measured and filled with the relevant facts. Do not engage in ad hominem attacks of any sort, no matter how tempting it may be to hit back.

      5. Explain to Your Audience What Is Going On. When refuting bogus charges, make it clear to readers or viewers why your opponents are attacking you in underhanded ways. When you are the object of a politically motivated smear campaign, others need to understand that your critics are not objective referees offering disinterested commentary. Be sure to raise the obvious question: why are your opponents using smear tactics like guilt-by-association and name-calling to shut down genuine debate or discredit your views? Why are they unwilling to engage in a calm and rational exchange of ideas? Let others know that it is probably because your critics are aware that you have valid points to make and that many people will find your views persuasive if they get a chance to judge them for themselves.

  • Why is the American elite scared of BDS?
    • Clearly, the professors' view of American Academia abroad is closer to that of Chomsky than that of Mearsheimer and Walt:

      Since its inception, the US-Israel “special relationship” has meant the latter serving US economic and political interests in the Middle East. As Bashir Abu-Manneh puts it,

      The dynamic of American Empire/Israeli colonialism is….circular: US support reinforces Israeli colonialism and occupation … leading to further indigenous resistance and to more US interventions in the region … The United States thus becomes both a necessary and sufficient condition for Israel’s colonial expansionism. Without it, Israel would be a pariah state.

      This is the proper historical frame, we suggest, to understand the ASA boycott and US University administrators’ response.

      No one doubts that operating within a capitalistic country with an imperialistic history has an impact upon how universities function in America. But the response of university Presidents to BDS is more a function of the Israel Lobby's capacity for turning the quirks of American institutions (major donors, prestigious research grants, tenure politics, ethnic student groups, etc.) to Israel's advantage. As with politicians, some Presidents are Zionists and others don't want to scare away big donors (and fundraising is a major part of their job descriptions).

  • Revealed: Right-wing group StandWithUs' strategy to combat Israel Apartheid Week
    • How about a LieForUs campaign? Rather than "I <3 Israel," how about "I <3 Your House: you've got 5 minutes to pack," "I <3 Branding Israel," "I <3 Ethnic Supremacy," or "I <3 Jim Crow"?

      "Host a Hummus not Hamas party or another social event. Have fun with it!" How about a Real Hummus Flash Mob Workshop: teach participants some of their favorite flash mob dances (like "stop buyin', stop buyin', stop buyin' Sabra and Tribe. Hang up on Israeli Apartheid") and serve authentic Middle Eastern Hummus.
      Use the workshop to educate about other BDS targets as well.

      Remember: "You can make Israel relevant to them, like showing Israeli technology that touches their lives each day." ... like how Israel's nuclear technology affects America's image abroad, don't forget Mordechai Vanunu and Bibi Netanyahu's theft of American nuclear triggers. Or about how Israeli information and spy technology has affected the safety of Americans' data. If all else fails, don't forget the cherry tomato.

  • Don't expect this NYT ethicist to talk about the Nakba
  • 'NYT' highlights AIPAC's first failure in 30 years, as de Blasio and Hillary jump on Iran bandwagon
    • Eight years later. While Mearsheimer and Walt's project was proposed considerably earlier, it was published by the LRB in the Spring of 2006. And we do owe them a debt of gratitude. The chapters on Iran and Syria from their 2007 book give much clearer insight into our current foreign policy toward those countries than the coverage we've been getting from the MSM.

  • SodaStream stock sinks, and Bloomberg cites 'sanctions over Jewish settlements'
  • Israelis accuse Kerry of courting rockets, anti-Semitism, and Nobel Prize
  • Kerry's framework according to Friedman and Indyk (Updated: Abbas Weighs In)
    • "if Abbas plays his cards right, he should for once be able to make Israel take the blame for saying no." That's how I'm reading Abbas' recent interview in the NYT.

      Where he is differing with Kerry, he asks: why should Palestinians be held to conditions that Egypt and Jordan were not held to in their treaties with Israel? In inviting NATO to send peacekeeping troups, he's asking, what more could Israel ask to feel safe than the presence of the troops of its allies? (while emphasing their role in blocking weapons smuggling, rather than their role in protecting Palestinians from settler violence.) Netanyahu, of course, claims that Israel trusts only its own army.

      Abbas has also offered to extend his timeline from what he mentioned last week, three years -- the same amount of time that Israel was able to fully withdraw from Sinai. Perhaps, wanting to appear amenable to American requests (if the unnamed official is accurate), Abbas has extended his timeline a bit -- but still insists on a timeline. Netanyahu is resisting any timeline at all.

  • Scarlett Johansson's new image (grossout alert)
    • ScarJo is an actress looking at 30 with a Tony, a BAFTA, some Golden Globe nods, but no Oscar (not even nominations). My bet is that her agent/advisor convinced her that this could help her get a plum role from some Zionist studio exec, plus the full Oscar ad campaign on her behalf. The shelflife for most highly-paid women in Hollywood is much shorter than that for men. Being armed with an Oscar can give a woman a competitive edge.

      Her advisors likely anticipated some flak from the left, but not opposition from Oxfam. Getting sued by SodaStream would have been only one of the career repercussions ScarJo would have faced had she broken her contract.

    • Sucky ad. Sucky piece process. ScarJo's SodaStream snafu embodies Israel's attitude about "better PR" solving all problems. Even with a top Hollywood actress greenwashing its image in the most popular annual American program, Israel's messaging has encountered unexpected challenges in American MSM and pushback from the American public.

  • Fearless authors dance on third rail of US politics...
  • American Jewish leader calls Iranians manipulative 'bazaaris'
    • The article about Howard Dean is from the Free Beacon. Dean's comments came in the context of a speech he gave to MEK supporters about the neglect of human rights (especially MEK members) in the administration's negotiations with Iran. I have no idea why Dean was criticizing Obama to MEK supporters (he certainly wasn't treated well by Obama when, after his successful leadership of the DNC, he was replaced by Wasserman Schultz). In that piece, Dean's criticism of the negotiations do not mention Iran's nuclear capacities.

      To get an idea about how the Free Beacon spins stories, there's one headlined: "ScarJo Quits Group That Supports Judenrein West Bank".

  • SodaStream flap educates Americans about the illegal settlement project
    • The motivation of a character is a crucial part of acting. The motivation of a screen actor in the context of an industry in which most of the major employers are major Zionist donors is another question. While the public is aware of the crude stereotypes of casting couch and blacklist as carrots and sticks in the highly competitive employment world of Hollywood, many other factors come into play in landing plum roles aside from raw talent. How many years ago was it that Kate Winslett joked that she'd need to make a Holocaust movie in order to win an Oscar? When was the last time that Vanessa Redgrave had a starring role (or any role at all) in a Hollywood film?

    • Forward commenter: "Let's boycott Oxfam!" A good reminder about why there have been tensions between Oxfam International and Oxfam America over ScarJo, SodaStream and their Zionist Donors. Has Oxfam America issued a peep yet about ScarJo and Soda Stream?

  • In 2012 Oxfam Italy cut ties with celebrity spokesperson over SodaStream connection
  • Foxman says US gov't is conducting 'vendetta' against American Jews with Pollard case
    • Hmm: "don’t even think about doing what he did." So, are the recruitment stats for sayonim down or is Foxman nervous that what happened to Rosen might happen to him? Considering the ADL's history of spying on activists (and passing along info to Apartheid South Africa), the organization has no moral standing to be accusing others about spying.

  • Palestinian civil society to Oxfam: 'Match words with action', break ties with Scarlett Johansson
    • Johansson should fire her agent. With the controversy getting coverage in the NYT and the LA Times, this is turning into a bad career move. Rather than her image improving sodastream's brand, sodastream's realities are damaging her image.

  • Death toll rises in Yarmouk as siege and bombings continue
    • Deger's stories about Syria have focused almost entirely on Yarmouk. An "opposition activist" co-authored her first story on the topic a year and a half ago. She also reported on Yarmouk last December. Her only other Syria story was about Israel's strike on an alleged weapons shipment last January..

      Since she acknowledged a Syrian activist's contribution to the first story, it is worth pointing out the role that "fixers" have played in Western coverage of Syria. Some of the advantages and challenges of relying on fixers were pointed out in an Al Akhbar article a few months ago, "Beirut Fixers: The Invisible Safety Net of Parachute Journalists."

      In Beirut, Western foreign correspondents tend to rely heavily on information from local fixers, who do the bulk of reporting for them. It is the fixer – a character who is virtually unseen – who knows the language, who to talk to, and where to go. Depending on the needs of the correspondent, the fixer’s role is malleable. And they can be the essential difference in maintaining the integrity and truth of a story.
      ...
      “Fixers have a massive responsibility. But at the end of the day, who is a fixer? Not all fixers are interested in the material they produce. Usually, they are interested in the money they get paid at the end of the day, and this is very convenient to the foreign journalist,” Nayel said.

      Due to fixing’s flexibility as a job and the ease with which one can enter the service, not to mention the lack of a union or a form of standardization, the risk of manipulation by the fixer or the journalist is high. In turn, the end product – the story – is distorted.

      “Many fixers show one side and not the other. But in order to be a good fixer, you have to show that you can take them to both sides,” Abdullah argued. “This does not happen all the time.”

      To her credit, Deger did end her first article on Yarmouk thus:

      It is worth mentioning that verifying any information in Syria is difficult, if not impossible. Even the frequently-cited Syrian Observatory has been subject to criticism. It should be acknowledged that there is no independent way to verify the first-hand account presented in this article as the battle over narratives rages on.

      A year and a half later, it is not only still worth mentioning the difficulty of the task, it is still worth asking journalists to shoulder the burden of seeking out the untold perspectives on the story.

    • Thanks, Allison, for the one paragraph from a neutral party -- UNRWA. Aside from that, not a word about Khaled Meshal, The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas or Qatar. Yarmouk would be an island of peace if it weren't for the perfidious PFLP-GC? The PLO, which has been trying to keep the refugee camps neutral, worked hard to broker a ceasefire for Yarmouk with the provision that no Palestinian parties, like Hamas or PFLP-GC, that were parties to the fighting could take part in the coalition managing the camp. The negotiations fell apart this fall because Hamas backed out.

  • Scarlett Johansson gets an ally-- Mike Huckabee
    • Even if it's only on Fox News, the fact that Huckabee tackles this at the top of the hour means that the boycott is getting more coverage -- breaking out of activist and alternative media into mainstream discourse. Who knows, maybe NPR will consider it safe to mention now that Fox has broached the subject.

  • How we can oppose the Assad regime and Western intervention at the same time
    • "There would no war today without Qatar and Saudi support" -- especially financial support -- as well as Turkish and Jordanian support for training and housing fighters and Lebanese March 14 logistical support for transporting fighters and weapons. Google Lebanese Parliamentarian Okab Sakr, for his role in coordinating weapons and fighters from Libya through Turkey to fight in Syria. The MSM has been claiming that in recent months, the fighting has been "spilling over" from Syria into neighboring countries. For several of these neighbors, the takfiris whose recruitment and passage into Syria were aided by conservative Sunni leaders (Erdogan, March 14), their being pushed back over the borders has created problems for these leaders among their citizenry.

    • Donald, one of this site's goals is to highlight the biased coverage of Israel/Palestine and the Israel Lobby in American MSM. The Israel Lobby does not push an agenda solely about Israel, but about American foreign policy throughout the Middle East. Neocon pundits and thinktanks have made no secret about their long term goals for re-shaping the Middle East (as I wrote about in a piece a year ago). One has to be no more pr0-Assad to oppose US intervention in Syria than one had to be pro-Hussein to oppose US intervention in Iraq. Of course, if one's only source about Syria is American MSM (or even Qatar-owned AlJazeera), then any contrary information might sound like propaganda.

    • I hope that Walid has been convinced to write a piece. In the past week, this site has been overwhelmed with Syrian opposition propaganda.

      In fact, as the third anniversary of the Arab Spring approaches, it would be worthwhile for Americans involved in Palestinian solidarity to reflect on the role of Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Jazeera and Hamas (especially Khaled Meshal) in the pro-insurgency narrative among some Palestinians and their supporters, as well as how the role of the Lobby's Islamophobia campaigns and FBI surveillance and intimidation of Muslim and Arab American communities have played a role in the conversation (or lack of it) about Syria among American peace activists.

  • Rejecting collective punishment from Gaza to Syria
    • How about "Rejecting Propaganda from Israel/Qatar/Saudi Arabia to American MSM?" or "Rejecting Hostage-taking/Car-bombing/Head-chopping civilians from Libya to Mali to Nigeria to Syria?" After three of these articles, what's next, Samantha Power and R2P?

  • Wasserman Schultz won't stand up for Obama on Iran sanctions
    • On this issue, DWS is on record as backing the President. Since the press conference is about Christie, she is choosing not to allow message derailment -- not an unusual choice for a politician. Even if a sizable percentage of her Democratic constituents are Jewish and/or Zionist and support AIPAC's position on additional Iran sanctions, the majority of her Democratic constituents (as with the majority of Americans) support the President's diplomacy with Iran.

  • While you were neutral about Yarmouk
    • "Bashar ended up with all these crazies crawling all over the place simply because" they were a piece of the PNAC playbook that neocons have been setting up for over 10 years to change the face of the Middle East. Were Bashar's offered reforms less sweeping than those of US-favored Oman or Jordan? The Syrian constitutional changes were endorsed by a far larger margin than those of the recent Egyptian election, with 58% turnout and 75% voting for the changes. Unlike other countries during the Arab Spring, Syria had huge pro-government rallies in March of 2011, before rallies were marred by violence. Before the Arab Spring, the Assad government had hard support from around 30% and hard opposition from around 15%, with the majority of Syrians uncommitted. Thanks to the brutality and sectarianism of the hardline Islamists among the insurgents, the majority of Syrians now support the Assad government -- even if as the lesser of two evils.

      From the first weeks of the Syrian conflict, the American position has declared regime change for Syria, which has also been the stated goal of the armed opposition (even as civil society groups were calling for reforms). No internal reforms would have satisfied American neocons/neolibs, only drastic changes in foreign policy related to Iran, Lebanon and Israel. Notably, the charges about Assad as a "brutal tyrant" have been claims that "he's killing his own people" rather than that, as has been known about the Syrian police state for years, he's spying on or torturing his own people. But then, America has diminishing standing for accusing others of spying or torturing.

    • One stiff dose of Muslim Brotherhood-insurgent propaganda on the rocks!

      The PLO has been calling throughout the almost 3 years of the Syrian conflict for all parties to respect the neutrality of Palestinian refugee camps. Both Hamas and the PFLP-GC have taken opposite sides in the conflict from early on. Those camps, like Yarmouk, that allowed (or were unable to prevent) armed fighters to take hold have been ripped apart -- and most Palestinian refugees have fled. Other Palestinian refugee camps have managed to stay neutral by forming popular committees to keep fighters out.

      This fall, the PLO came close to brokering a ceasefire for Yarmouk by getting agreement that it would be governed by representatives of all Palestinian factions except for those involved in fighting, such as Hamas and PFLP-GC. The agreement fell apart because of Hamas intransigence. Now militants inside the camp are firing on aid-workers who are trying to supply remaining civilians in Yarmouk with food and medicine. The insurgents in Yarmouk have been attacking civilian neighborhoods in nearby Damascus for months, while hiding behind the remaining Palestinian civilians in the camp.

  • Eric Alterman declines request to debate Max Blumenthal at Brooklyn College
    • Glad to hear that Blumenthal will be speaking at Brooklyn College. Since SJP has already invited Alterman to debate him, and been declined, it will be amusing to hear local Zionists haul out the "lack of balance" attack.

      I would be interested to know whether Alterman has ever accepted an invitation from his campus SJP to talk about Palestine. Have any Arab or Palestinian students in his classes felt that they have been equally encouraged to pursue careers in journalism? Indeed, have non-Jewish students in Alterman's classes felt that they have been equally encouraged to pursue careers in journalism?

      Phil, why should you continue to try contacting Alterman privately when he appears so determined to continue embarrassing himself in public?

  • 'New Yorker' says Scarlett Johansson's relationship with SodaStream may hurt her image
  • Cornell SJP responds to the situation in Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp
    • Well, at least you've got this part right: "our basic demands are that the government must let food into Yarmouk, and that the armed groups must respect the neutrality of the camp, which means they must leave it. Furthermore, we demand the right of return for the Palestinians of Yarmouk, and record the irreducible responsibility of Israel and its Western backers for their displacement."

      The analysis itself not only buys into the MSM narrative of the Arab Spring and ignores the years of neocon foreign policy that laid the groundwork for the latest revamped phase of PNAC and Clean Break (with the added Color Revolution and R2P spin that is so favored by neolibs). It also ignores the role of the Muslim Brotherhood within the Syrian crisis that has exacerbated fissures among the Palestinian community and its supporters -- especially the role that Khaled Meshal and the expat Hamas leadership have played in the Syrian crisis, including within Palestinian refugee camps in Syria. Earlier in the fall, a PLO-brokered ceasefire for Yarmouk was scuttled because of Hamas intransigence (and the support from some of its members for the insurgents who are occupying the camp). Not that one would hear that on the Qatar-owned Al Jazeera.

  • AIPAC fail: Goldberg leads, and Sen. Blumenthal climbs off the war bus
    • Change the title, Phil! Goldberg is a follower. When even the NYT writes an editorial splitting from AIPAC's line, Goldberg is savvy enough to know which way the wind is blowing. In such a climate, does Reserve Corporal Goldberg really want to end up like Oren and Dershowitz?

  • Dear Senate: 'The American people have made it clear they don't want another war in the Middle East'
    • Daily Kos signed this letter? Last I heard, Markos was avoiding this subject like the plague. I haven't spent as much time at the garish orange site recently. Do any Kossacks/Kogs, ex-Kogs or lurkers know how Daily Kos signed on (I can't imagine it was signed on the night-owl shift without Markos' okay).

  • Jewish Federations angry at Wasserman Schultz for backing Obama on Iran deal
    • As DNC Chair, Wasserman Schultz is concerned about getting the largest possible number of Democrats elected. Keeping the major donors happy is a part of the job description, hence her orchestrated pro-Israel antics at the Democratic convention, but getting the voters to turn out for Democratic candidates is another part of the job. In off-year elections, few people other than the base of the Democratic and Republican Party turn out to vote.

      The American public, especially Democratic voters, are overwhelmingly supportive of Obama's diplomatic overtures toward Iran. While congresscritters are accustomed to hearing almost exclusively from AIPAC's listserve about legislation involving Israel, no matter how obscure, they have been hearing from more of their other constituents about this bill. Even if the Israel Lobby airs these attack ads on Sunday morning, plenty of voters who support Obama's diplomacy will see them as well -- even in Wasserman Schultz's district.

  • Kerry (and NYT) carry water for Netanyahu on 'Jewish state' demand
    • Of course, Oren warped what American Jewish leaders were telling him about how they felt excluded by Israel into a formula that Israel can use for PR against Palestinians without addressing the causes of diaspora exclusion. Israel tells diaspora Jews, especially Reform Jews, that they are not Jewish enough. Perhaps Abbas should respond to every question about Israel's self-definition as the Nationstate of the Jewish People, by talking about how the Israeli rabbinate infringes the rights of Israeli citizens who are not Orthodox Jews, including Reform Jews.

  • How Hillel shifted from pluralist Jewish space to arm of Israel lobby
    • The Judis article in the New Republic is really worth a read. A few points that Judis makes clarifies why the AIPAC partnership at this time is a significant step. International Hillel, in 1967, may not have bound local chapters by its Zionist stand; even so, local Hillels have always had to balance the demands of its various funding organizations and individual donors -- some of whom would cut off funding if Hillel sponsored programs they forbade. So, local Hillels have always had some Zionist programs in the mix of what they offered.

      In 2002, Hillel joined the Israel on Campus Coalition, which brought together over 30 Zionist organizations to coordinate pro-Israel strategy on American campuses, usually implemented through local Hillels. In 2004, Jewish students who wanted more open debate about Israel formed the Union of Progressive Judaism, which allied with JStreet after its founding in 2009, reformed as chapters of JStreet U.

      By allying with AIPAC, Hillel is indicating that, in the struggle between the Liberal Zionists of JStreet and the Hardline Zionists, AIPAC has won out in campus messaging:

      Fingerhut’s decision to ally with AIPAC on campus sent a clear message to J Street and other groups that have opposed AIPAC’s lock-step support for Israel’s stands on the occupation and negotiations with Iran. Fingerhut has put Hillel nationally and on campus on the side of AIPAC. That’s still another dramatic change in Hillel—not just away from its original apolitical stance, but even from its earlier less dogmatic support of Israel.

      Hillel is, of course, a private organization and can adopt whatever rules it wants. But how Hillel conducts itself has a great deal of influence on how American Jews debate their country’s policy toward Israel. Hillel’s virtue was being an organization for all Jews, Republican or Democrat, Zionist or anti-Zionist, Reform, Orthodox, Conservative, or secular. Under Firestone and now Fingerhut, it is becoming a politically factionalized organization that reinforces growing divisions among American Jews over American policy toward Israel.

  • Palestinian citizens slam Lieberman's support for transfer
  • Kerry's diplomatic doublespeak: The peace process is a puzzle steeped in history where core issues fit together like a mosaic
  • Netanyahu: 'There’s a problem the Palestinians are [in the West Bank] . . . I don’t want a binational state, and I don’t want them as citizens or subjects'
    • "inappropriate" appears to be the closest Netanyahu can get to a "principled rejection." Hard to know whether that reflects his principles or his awareness of how far he can push the principles of those "easily moved." Even American politicians might find blatant genocide on the West Bank worse than "unhelpful," even if they still turn a blind eye to the genocide in Gaza (if the denial of Gazans the ability to farm their own land, fish their own sea, treat their own sick and trade across their own borders is not indictment enough, the enforcement of untreated and untreatable water on the Gazan population is a formula for an epidemic in waiting).

  • Why are no Democrats coming down on Republicans who are crossing up Kerry in Jerusalem?
    • The issue for too many Democratic politicians is that they don't want to say anything to upset their AIPAC donors -- even if it is objecting to Republicans sabotaging the Democratic president.

      The issue for members of the Obama administration, like Power, is being a team player. Kerry has not complained about the Republicans' behavior, so why should Power?

  • Should dual citizen of US/Israel be vice chair of our Federal Reserve Bank?
  • Simon Wiesenthal Center calls Falk, Walker, Waters, Blumenthal and ASA anti-Semites
  • A Palestinian messenger
    • Abbas' message hits all the right notes for Christian solidarity activists. He certainly understands the concerns of Palestine's Christian supporters. One might question whether he is entirely sincere in his expressions about human rights, 67-borders, non-violent resistance, etc. But we allow so many others to be optimistic at Christmas, why not grant the same to Abbas?

  • Cory Booker joins 13 other Senate Dems in bucking Obama on Iran-war bill
  • Coen brothers and Bob Dylan went to Zionist summer camp
    • My takeaway from hearing the interview was very different. Both Coen brothers are married to non-Jewish women. Their depiction of Jewish American and non-Jewish American characters and monocultures are all a bit wacky. If their parents sent them to Zionist summer camp, they may well have been ready to tell Gross about all the quirky characters and crazy activities they survived. When she realized the can of worms she had just opened up, Gross abruptly shifted gears ... to Justin Timberlake.

  • Palestinian officials come out in support of BDS movement after Abbas' disavowal
    • This is false: "What he said in South Africa was that he was opposed the boycott of Israel itself, such as the academic one just declared by ASA." The Arab League boycott is against Israel itself. The ASA boycott, following the USACBI guidelines, is specifically against Israeli cultural and academic institutions (and not necessarily against all Israeli scholars) in that Israel promotes its institutions abroad as part of Brand Israel, denies equal access to its institutions for all Israeli citizens and sabotages Palestinian academic institutions and the higher education of Palestinians both at home and studying abroad.

  • Rachel Maddow calls out AIPAC for pushing war with Iran
  • Beinart’s (colonial) Jewish (imperial) democratic state
    • Beinart wouldn't have to presume what “recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality” entails if he bothered to tackle how Israel's institutionalized racism impacts their lives. Adalah is a good source for that. Goliath as well.

  • Mahmoud Abbas: Hero of the anti-boycott forces
    • "If you only want to boycott an egg, we want you to boycott an egg" ... unless you're Abbas. Gee, where did I read that?

    • No major American organization that has endorsed BDS by any definition has imposed a blanket boycott of Israel. For the most part, American organizations, like churches, are boycotting settlement products (Ahava, Sodastream, etc.) or organizations that directly enforce or profit from the occupation (Veolia, Hewlett Packard, Caterpillar, etc). Abbas' statement is not out of line with what American orgs or the EU have endorsed.

      Abunimah, who has long advocated for only the one-state option, has found yet another reason to call Abbas a traitor and a collaborator. Stop the presses! The American Jewish papers have gleefully jumped all over another story about political differences among Palestinians as an excuse that there is "no partner for peace."

      The brief article in the Star gives no context to how the question of Boycotts was raised to Abbas. In America, it's still illegal for businesses to observe the Arab League boycott of Israel. In Israel, it is illegal for citizens to advocate for BDS against Israel. Abbas is a politician involved in negotiations who made a cautious public statement.

  • Forward publisher says 'America's full acceptance of its Jewish citizens' is bad for the Jews
    • speaking of citizenship, does the percentage of American Jews who consider themselves full citizens here with equal rights (rather than tolerated guests) pose a problem for their Jewish identity -- especially where Jewish identity is conflated with Zionism?

    • And what percentage of American Religious Jews (Reform, Conservative, etc) have Hanukkah bushes? Are subscription rates to the Forward falling any faster than that of other American publications that it has to resort to scare tactics?

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