Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 7654 (since 2009-08-04 05:43:29)


Showing comments 7654 - 7601

  • Obama to sign AIPAC-promoted trade bill that legitimizes Israeli occupation and fights BDS
    • introduces new U.S. policy language by including all “Israeli-controlled territories” as part of Israel

      OK, so it's not occupied. It is a single territorial unit, in which the only relevant frame of reference is "control". Within that territorial unit, different rights and freedoms are accorded to different groups on the basis of ethnicity or religion. It is apartheid. Can we boycott it now? I believe there's a precedent.

  • 'Let the one-state era begin'-- Tom Friedman explains there will never be a Palestinian state
    • ‘Sterilised, circumcised, castrated…’ You equate of lack of strength or willpower with lack of male potency. As a woman I am uncomfortable with that.

      Well said, Elisabeth (not to mention a couple of other disturbing tropes).

  • Islamophobia and the Election: It's not just Trump
    • On a related note, Richard Silverstein tweeted this yesterday:

      Boston's msg to Muslims: if you want to live here, don't die coz we won't let u be buried. link to

      It reminded me of this:

      "About one half mile from Lengnau, in the direction of Endingen, is the old Jewish cemetery. It is recognized by a cluster of trees, on the right side of the road, and is surrounded by a stone wall. During the first years of settlement in Lengnau, the Jews were forbidden to bury their dead in Switzerland. They had to travel north to the Rhine River, and bury their dead on an island in the middle of the river, known as Juden Insle, Jews' Island." (Israelowitz, Oscar. Guide to Jewish Europe. Brooklyn, NY: Israelowitz Publishing, 1995, p. 322)

  • To my fellow Israelis: We can stop this
  • Bernie Sanders' spirituality is resonating with young religious 'None's
    • I don’t understand why anyone secular clings to bogus “Jewish” identity.

      Different strokes.

      It is time to get over it and move on.

      Sounds like good advice.

  • Generational sea change within the Democratic party will also include policy towards Israel
    • Yonah,

      Thanks for the lesson in communication, although it seems to have taken quite a lot of "heat" to get to that "light".

      As to the substance of your argument, yes "paranoid" is a harsh word (albeit not quite "100 in toxicity", even after adjusting for hyperbole), but one I feel accurately expresses reality in this case. Effective communication is also about getting ideas across. Too much watering down and there is nothing left to communicate.

      I have used this word and harsher with people who disagree with me, and generally manage to get my messages across and keep lines of communication open. I will think about what you've said.

    • Yonah,

      I'm sorry if I touched a nerve, but you'll have to do better than calling me names and giving me orders. If you think my characterisation is wrong, please explain why.

    • Yonah,

      I was not referring to the complaints themselves as a new phenomenon, but to the expectation that US administrations [insert crude SNL characterisation] when it comes to Israel. That expectation has, in some people's minds become "traditional bi-partisan support for Israel", which Obama has supposedly "challenged" -- although nothing substantive in US support for Israel has changed (and certainly not for the worse).

      Those who make such complaints had been spoiled by 3 or 4 terms of unquestioning backing for virtually any Israeli actions and demonstrations of "love" for the country itself. At the same time, mainstream Jewish institutions (to some extent mirroring changes in Israeli society, but with unique dynamics as well) became radicalised in their own support for Israel and Israeli policies and far more sensitive to any criticism of Israel. The concept of "the new anti-Semitism", for example, although not entirely new, has only really gained currency in recent years. I think it is perfectly reasonable to characterise a state of mind that has resulted from a combination of these factors (which I believe -- and have argued -- are not rooted in actual fact) as paranoia. Is it "absolutely necessary"? Nothing we write here is absolutely necessary. It's just my opinion.

    • Thanks annie, but you are reinforcing my question. When Shalom or others go on about how bad Obama is for Israel, they are not referring to anything substantive (Obama has been at least as supportive if not more so than his predecessors on every issue that really counts), but to the fawning attitude (which SNL didn't even need to parody, as it is a parody of itself) adopted by both parties in relatively recent years. When Shalom talks about "bi-partisan support for Israel" he is doing a "from time immemorial" on a fad that has little to do with actual support, and didn't really become entrenched until the Clinton and Bush Jr. administrations.

      You are "on the ground" (albeit very much among activists), but I don't get the feeling that there has been any real change, and to the extent that there has, I am not convinced that it has much, if anything, to do with Obama. He has been just another super-pro-Israel president, whose actual record has been distorted by Teabaggers and spoiled, radicalised, paranoid Zionists.

    • There was a time when support for Israel was bi-partisan. Obama challenged that as much in his way as has Netanyahu

      How so? If you are referring to the Iran deal, disagreeing with the Israeli PM, in and of itself, does not constitute withdrawing support. Do the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and head of the Israeli space agency (both of whom praised the deal) not "support" Israel? Netanyahu and his Republican allies decided to make it some sort of test (each for their own reasons), and Obama refused to play. Was there any other area in which you think Obama "challenged" bi-partisan support for Israel? Did he withdraw funding? Withdraw support in international institutions? Express harsh criticism of any of Israel's actions?

      It seems to be some sort of article of faith with right and even centre Zionists that Obama has been terrible for Israel, but when asked to explain, they never seem to come up with anything more than wacky conspiracy theories, expectations that even an Israeli-leader (let alone a US president) would be hard-pressed to meet, or flimsy innuendo.

  • Israeli designer eroticizes the Palestinian keffiyeh
    • Thanks gamal.

    • For another Japanese connection, see Eric Bokobza's "Sukajan Project", which alludes to the jackets occupying US troops had embroidered by local artisans in Japan.

      No keffiyehs, but some pyramids, lebanese cedars and even a piece of a Hezbollah flag.

    • Not quite the same when the expropriator is not a colonial occupier, but it's interesting to see an affirmation of cultural ownership sung/performed in the idiom of another (oppressed and historically misappropriated) culture.

  • 'I cannot support Israel as long as Netanyahu is in office'-- many American Jews are saying
  • Jewish West Bank settlers are as smug as white South Africans in 1980
    • I heard that about half of Israelis have (or are eligible for) at least one other passport (not neccessarily Western) though I don’t know if this is actually true.

      Half of Israeli Jews, I presume. It sounds to me like a lazy estimate based on the assumption that all Israeli Ashkenazim have or are entitled to European citizenship of some sort. Of course there is a huge difference between having and being entitled to (without considering legal, financial and other obstacles), but even in terms of eligibility the assertion sounds fishy. There are over six million Jews in Israel, and even the most sensationalist reports (and brokers who hope to make some money out of such requests) talk about "hundreds of thousands", not millions -- even including the relatively recent Spanish option.

    • MDM,

      James North's article is written in the negative -- identifying the smugness of those secure in the knowledge that "no one was going to taken any serious actions to disturb their lives". The question Yonah raised was whether the withdrawal of western backing from Israel would have a similar impact to the withdrawal of western backing from SA. I don't think James, Yonah or anyone here thinks such a scenario is likely any time in the foreseeable future.

      The anti-Semitism card is useful only up to a point. You may curse "those anti-Semitic frogs/limeys/etc." when you find out Israelis are not eligible for that grant, fellowship, tender, etc., but you would still very much like to have gotten it. You know that Prime Minister Bennett's declarations of Jewish pride and Foreign Minister Hotovely's "list of countries that hate us" have not exactly made things any easier (nor have Defence Minister Lieberman's annexation and expulsion programmes), and you remember when the world was Israel's oyster, after Oslo. You remember how you used to be invited to conferences and how friendly all your European colleagues used to be. You get the message, no matter what excuse you may latch onto to console yourself.

      Most Israelis don't have western passports, and even those who do would be identified with the institutions, companies, projects, etc. they represent -- officially and unofficially. Their counterparts would still relate to them as Israelis.

      But I'm afraid I've gotten a little carried away with hypothetical situations today. Does BDS stand a chance of making a difference? I think so.

    • First of all, last time I looked you advocated a single state solution, so this is news, that you are only advocating a change of attitude.

      Look again.

      For example: link to or link to

      Recently, you’ll excuse me if I don’t specify with a link, there was a suggestion here on mw, that South Africa gave up apartheid because of rugby and cricket. Just from my knowledge of human nature, I doubt it, but if that is the case, then there is nothing that can be learned from the South African experience to help us undo the current Palestine versus Israel conflict, because nothing less than real pressure is going to change the situation and this fear of being treated like a pariah, “the world is no longer behind us” is not going to change anything.

      The "rugby-cricket" theory was not invented at MW, and the idea is that the actual impact of sanctions on South Africa (undoubtedly "real pressure") was not sufficient, in and of itself, to convince white South Africans to give up their privileges. No one suggests that simply being barred from international sporting events, in and of itself, would have been sufficient either, but the psychological impact of international isolation, combined with the feeling that impunity ("Because America will never stop supporting us") was no longer an option, may very well have been what brought the self-assurance on which Apartheid relied crashing down.

      The theory may or may not be correct (there are indeed those who reject it), or its significance may be exaggerated, but not because it is somehow inconsistent with human nature.

      Transfer rugby-cricket to academia-culture-business-tourism -- not necessarily impacting Israeli GDP in any significant way, but making it more difficult for Israeli academics, students, artists, athletes and just ordinary tourists to interact with their western peers and be accepted by them. Large parts of Israeli society are very "international", and being a part of the "enlightened" west is a central part of Israeli identity.

      Israel and its supporters often complain about Israel being negatively "singled out", while obsessively engaging in trying to get Israel singled out in a positive sense. Israel doesn't want to be treated just like any other country. It wants to be loved -- and not by Djibouti or Vanatu. How could a withdrawal of moral support (obviously combined with real pressure) from Europe and the Anglosphere not deeply affect Jewish Israelis?

    • His anecdote didn’t even mention the woman being ‘prohibit(ed) … from entering Western Europe.’

      She was not denied entry to any European country, but merely complained about being treated like a pariah. She was particularly upset by her treatment in the UK (where she was also granted entry), presumably because South Africans feel a particular connection to that country, or because the disdain she encountered there was even greater than on the continent.

    • Yonah,

      We are entirely in the realm of the vague and the amorphous, because there are no indications that anything like SA-style sanctions are on the horizon -- in Europe or elsewhere. The question is where does the impediment lie? James has suggested that it lies in the will (and dynamics) of western politics, while you have argued that even if that obstacle were somehow overcome, the consequences would not have the desired effect -- due to differences between Jewish-Israeli and white-SA societies.

      There are no guarantees, and none of us are prophets, but I think James has a point, and I think that a sense of isolation (well beyond current paranoid fantasies) would have an impact on crucial sectors within Israeli society. The precise electoral dynamics -- whether shifting power from party to party or changing the parties themselves -- would remain to be seen, as would other forms of internal pressure to effect significant changes in policy.

      I'm not talking about the removal of hundreds of thousands of settlers, but of a decision to stop treating the Palestinians like idiots or beggars.

      As for a real shift in European policy, the Netanyahu government seems to be working very hard on bringing it about.

    • i do not think that this really would work in Israel, where eroding the morale will not work. The civil (Jew versus Jew) unrest that would result from the removal of the settlers from the West Bank is a far greater and more immediate danger to most Jewish Israelis than “realizing that the world was no longer going to stand behind them”.

      James will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think South Africa, at the time, was far more isolated and self-sufficient than Israel is. In that sense, the bravado of those Israelis who have been calling for a "counter-boycott" of Europe (Israel's largest trading partner, scientific and cultural partner, and general frame of reference), or even "punishing" the EU and individual European countries is as ludicrous as it is insane..

      When I was travelling in Europe in the '80s, I met a white South African who told me that it was absolute hell to visit Europe (before the days of Schengen and open borders) on a South African passport. She described being detained, harassed and harangued at every single border. Do you think something even remotely like that would not have an effect on Israelis, so many of whom consider Europe their stomping ground? Israel can already be a very claustrophobic place. What would happen if it were to become even more so?

  • Can there be poetry after Netanyahu?
    • A number of Israeli journalists have likened the current situation in Israel to that in Greece in the 1960's where "private patriotic" groups did the work of the right-wing regime -- often in close coordination with the regime itself, but with sufficient deniability to allow the regime to continue to claim that it was democratic and respected civil liberties.

      The recent work of groups like Im Tirzu, Ad Kan, Regavim and others (with direct or indirect government funding and/or support) closely complemented the government's own legislative, propaganda and "security" initiatives (condemning and barring Break the Silence, the "Loyalty in Culture" bill, the harassment of Ta'ayush and B'tselem activists, the banning of books and performances in the Educational system, the promotion of the new civics curriculum, etc.). The willing participation of the mainstream media (channel 2 and Ilana Dayan, Yediot Aharonot on the Alon Liel "exposé") also points to the coordinated manipulation of information -- again with sufficient deniability.

  • Israeli group Ad Kan continues attacks on anti-occupation activists with 'expose' of Anarchists Against the Wall
    • I was thinking more in terms of "Are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?", but yours works too.

    • “At the end of the day, the activities of AATW hurts first and foremost the Palestinians. When the activists return to the[ir] comfortable and quiet homes, the IDF continues its presence in the villages as a result of the violence and the friction only enflames hatred between the sides”

      Reminds me of the threats I used to hear settlers make to Palestinians when Israeli groups came to help them against settler attacks and vandalism: "In a few hours, they'll go back to Tel Aviv, and you'll have to deal with me."

    • Thanks Allison. Don't forget Ad Kan's amazing undercover recording of (former director general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, and retired ambassador) Alon Liel, in which they "revealed" things he says quite openly and publicly.

      Meanwhile Im Tirzu has published a blacklist of "cultural moles" (i.e. Israeli artists who are members of or have ever participated in events sponsored by "disloyal" organisations "funded by foreign governments"), evidently in support of Culture Minister Miri Regev's "Loyalty in Culture" bill. All in the name of "transparency" and "democracy" and "freedom of information", of course.

  • How many more orgasms will be had for Zionism?
    • Is anything analogous to such moralistic Christian camps uncommon in the Jewish community? Or are such things as in Liz Rose’s essay and in the MW “Birthright trip” essays the main option?

      I'd never heard about "co-ed" sleeping arrangements at any Jewish summer camp. They don't even have that at the real kibbutzim any more, but then again, The whole experience Liz describes smacks of revolutionary nostalgia (after which kids and staff go back to their magnificently bourgeois lives).

      I went to 2 Orthodox Jewish camps (one in Canada and one in the US), where there was strict segregation between the sexes (with only a brief possibility of meeting members of the opposite sex [mostly used to see siblings and cousins], for an hour or so on Shabbat afternoon). Something like a "dance" is unthinkable in such camps. Then there are single-sex camps, and others with varying degrees of segregation.

  • Updated: Former French Justice Minister should face questions in NY about law barring BDS speech
    • how about going one step further and a group of BDS activists outside a French store with banners saying ” Do NOT boycott Israeli goods or any goods produced in illegally occupied Palestine or the French state will put you in jail”

      Brilliant! Protesting against Israeli occupation, French repression of free speech and political expression, and taking the piss -- all at the same time.

      « Ceci n’est pas un boycott! » ;-)

  • Among the settlers
    • YBI, hope the responses to your “great” comment made you feel welcome.

      But it went over so well at the last Women in Green demo ;-)

    • Congratulations YBI. You just invented the right to ethnically cleanse indigenous populations. Shall I notify Amnesty or will you?

    • is that leaflet by Abdul Hadi Palazzi ?

      One would assume.

    • The historical honesty of some of the settlers (as opposed to nice Tel-Aviv or Na'aran "leftists") can be refreshing (almost to the point of hypothermia), but there's something to be said for the "decency" of self-deception. Ari Shavit has come up with an interesting (i.e. particularly disturbing) hybrid approach, which seems to combine the worst of both.

      Yehoud Shenhav-Shaharabani found some hope in settler honesty (again, as opposed to the hypocrisy of the so-called peace movement). He's certainly right about the hypocrisy, but I'm not convinced about the settlers.

  • The world the settlers made
    • I’ve always thought it must be nice to be Jewish. Nothing is ever your fault

      Nothing or everything. Depends on who you ask.

    • I think the Hilberg-Arendt analogy is apt, although Arendt's criticism was aimed at the leaders and Judenräte, rather than ordinary Jews, arguing that although passive resistance was not without cost, it was a viable strategy (in terms of overall lives saved) and the leaders would/could have known that.

      Colonialism has mechanisms of its own (some shared with the Nazi process of dehumanisation of "inferior races") that serve to exploit native labour, create dependence on the colonisers, reduce resistance and generally "colonise the mind".

  • Israeli mayors initiate boycott of Sweden over foreign minister's criticism
    • In light of this, it has been decided to change the travel destination of the mayors to Germany and Denmark.

      Wimps. If they really wanted to teach those shvedim a lesson, they'd cancel the junket altogether! While they're at it, why not cancel all freebies to countries with a cross on their national flag?

  • 'This is a totally political arrest, they will not thwart human rights!' Guy Butavia tells the courthouse
    • Thanks Annie.

      The police are working for Ad-Kan

      And the courts seem to be working for the police. The court initially sought to release Butavia altogether and Nawi to house arrest, but the police requested that they be held in custody, The court agreed but warned the police not to request another extension. When the extension was up, the court ordered their release (or at least Nawi's, I'm also getting confused), but the police said they were going to appeal, so the court gave the police until the end of the day to submit their appeal. The police failed to do so, but said they would be doing so the following day. The court then agreed to another extension until Sunday!

      Nawajah's case is even stranger. The court actually ordered his immediate release on Thursday, as whatever he had been accused of was not a security offence and was therefore out of their jurisdiction. Rather than releasing Nawajah, he was brought before a West Bank military judge, who approved the police's request that he be held in custody until Sunday (this time in a military facility). When a petition was filed against the police for contempt of court, the (civilian) court ruled that it had not been contempt, because the police had "acted in good faith".

      But why had the police brought Nawajah before an Israeli court in the first place, rather than to a WB military court (Nawajah lives in Susiya, which is in area C)? Once again, Butavia's got the answer: it's an Israeli political affair that has nothing to do with what one Palestinian may or may not have done to another Palestinian. The Israeli government -- Samaria Regional Council -- Ad Kan -- Israeli TV -- police -- courts don't give a damn about Nawajah or the Palestinian who died a natural death in the South Hebron Hills (Haaretz ran a story showing just how much Israel "cares" about Palestinian land dealers). It's B'tselem (and Ta'ayush and Breaking the Silence and others) they're after.

  • Adelson newspaper suggests Swedish foreign minister deserves assassination for questioning Israeli policy
    • All we need to know now is what role Bernadotte (and Wallström, on one of those Ikea time-travel thingies) played at that infamous meeting at which al-Husseini turned Hitler against the Jews, and Netanyahu (Israel invented time travel) was an undercover stenographer.

  • Clinton baits Sanders over 'destruction of Israel'
    • Even though it’s clear that the major jewish organisations like AIPAC will support Hillary against Bernie he can get her down on this.

      He can always be "Jew-boyed", but that's a double-edged sword, because it implies that as a Jew, Sanders' (or Shapiro's) first loyalty should be to Israel. It basically implies that a Jew can never be president.

  • Israel arrests human rights campaigner Ezra Nawi and puts gag order on case as part of growing 'witch hunt' against activists
    • An interesting article by Dmitry Shumsky links all of the things described above and more -- in a seemingly concerted governmental-judicial-mediatic-public campaign against anti-occupation groups -- to Israel's recent diplomatic woes with the EU and Brazil or, more broadly to the erosion of Israel's international standing.

      Shumsky suggests that Israeli leaders -- who face virtually no significant internal dissent -- now fear that external pressure may sway many ordinary Israelis, not ideologically-opposed to the occupation or settlements, to begin to weigh their international cost. The orchestrated campaign against the anti-occupation groups is thus intended to paint such international pressure as devoid of any real basis, but rather instigated by "disloyal" elements within Jewish-Israeli society. Punishing the "disloyal" elements and preventing them from doing "further damage" thus serves the dual purpose of providing potentially dissatisfied voters with both a scapegoat (one that is, like all good scapegoats, already widely despised) and a solution to supposedly unjust and unjustified international pressure.

      link to (Hebrew)

  • Pope Francis's missed opportunity to speak the truth
    • If there’ll never be a good time, why cut anyone any slack?

      I didn't say there would never be a good time, but that Pope Francis was unlikely to "preach" to Jews on this subject.

      Israel has had almost 68 years of slack!<

      This was not Israel, but the Jewish community of Rome. There were good reasons for Sunday's gesture, Had he used the opportunity to take his hosts to task for their support for Israel, he would not have changed any minds and, on the contrary, would have severely damaged the relations he was trying to bolster. He managed to create a lot of goodwill and win considerable admiration. Ideally, he will put that credibility and those channels to good use.

      Apparently, his next interfaith step will be to visit Rome's great mosque. I presume he will not take that opportunity to "rebuke" Christianity's "younger brothers" either.

    • I agree with Marc Ellis that the pope has a duty to "rebuke" his elder brothers (following Lev. 19:17), but yesterday at Rome's great synagogue was neither the time nor the place. I very much doubt that Pope Francis will ever do so, but I think he can be cut some slack for not having used yesterday's symbolic gesture of goodwill to that end.

  • Extremists vandalize Jerusalem church with Hebrew threats: 'Death to heathen Christians'
    • Do Christian Zionists ever hear of these stories? Do their news sources never cover any of this?

      Christian Zionism isn't exactly interfaith. More like 'See you at Armageddon. May the best saviour win!"

      If the Israelis are OK with Hagee, I guess Christian Zionists can handle some vandalism -- especially of Catholic institutions.

    • The cultural and intellectual level of these houligans ...

      I'm not so sure. One of the scrawls is half a verse from Isaiah 34:8. "the year of vindication for Zion's cause". The half of the verse that is not quoted is "For [it is] the Lord's day of revenge" (matching the message in the upper panel of the door -- taken from Num. 31:2). Beyond the specific reference to "Zion" (the Dormition Abbey is on Mount Zion), the entire chapter (Isaiah 34) describes, in rather ghoulish terms, "the Lord's fury against all the nations" -- but against Edom in particular (identified in later exegesis with Rome and ultimately with Christendom). The "cartoon" in the upper panel of the door, certainly fits the imagery in verses 5-6: "For My sword has drunk its fill in heaven; behold, it shall come down upon Edom. ... The sword of the Lord is filled with blood".

      There is a clear ideology behind this, and apparently teachers. I can think of a few places to start looking, but I'm sure the Shin Bet can too -- assuming it gets the orders to do so. They can always balance things out by claiming that B'tselem and Ta'ayush are "exactly the same".

  • Are Palestinian citizens of Israel banned from New York Times headlines?
    • i agree Aharish is no more of a “traitor” than any Jewish Israeli who shares her views. maybe the word i should have used is collaborator. she collaborates in a system that denies her own equality.

      On a personal level, she seems to have done OK within that system. Is there some sort of higher group loyalty (as defined and understood by others) she is supposed to have? Do women who support systems that discriminate against women, but within which they have found success, owe some higher group loyalty to their gender? Are they somehow more guilty or worthy of censure than the men who established and perpetuate those systems (who are "merely" sexist, but at least show solidarity with their own gender)?

    • she’s a zionist palestinian in my eyes

      But not in her own eyes. There are more discussions on this blog about "who is a Jew" than there are in the Knesset. I see a parallel. If Lucy Aharish does not consider herself a Palestinian, who are we to "educate" her about her own identity? The same goes for those who believe that their own understanding of what does and does not constitute a Jew (assuming that Jews even exist, of course) is what counts, and everyone else had better just adapt.

      she embraces not only her lesser status in society but the lessor status of all palestinians, whether they define as arab or whomever.

      She is a citizen of an ethnocracy (or ethnic democracy), who happens to belong to the "wrong" ethnicity, She was raised in an all-Jewish town and, despite the racism she experienced from her peers, internalised the democratic apologetics she was taught -- from the Declaration of Independence's "irrespective of religion, race or sex" to the all-pervasive "if only the Arabs would ....", and decided that she was going to be the Arab who would.

      Like so many Israelis and non-Israeli supporters of Israel, she is an apologist for institutional racism and war crimes. Calling her a traitor implies a basic "tribal" (to use a popular MW word) loyalty, but also lends credence to the idea that Israelis who do not support their country (Palestinian Israelis first and foremost, but not only) are traitors of a different sort. That is the current atmosphere in Israel. Wait for the purges.

      whereas, as an anti zionist, you do not accept the lessor status/reduced or no rights of anyone. so you are not a traitor to humanity, she is.

      Were we discussing "treason" to humanity (that is to the idea of common humanity and equality), Aharish would be no more of a "traitor" than any Jewish Israeli who shares her views. Aharish is not called a "traitor" because she is human, but because she is a Muslim Arab.

    • Neither of you.

      Thanks oldgeezer. That was my point.

    • she’s a friggin traitor!

      She's a Zionist Israeli. I'm an anti-Zionist Israeli. Which of us is the traitor?

  • African asylum seekers fear for safety with racism on the rise in Israeli society
    • "We’ve always been at war with Eastasia"

      Exactly, eljay. And for an explanation of how the mechanisms work, maybe some Fromm or Arendt.

    • Philemon,

      "Forever" is a long time. I don't know if you've read Michael Sfard's latest column in Haaretz (posted at MW in one of the comments). I don't share Sfard's optimism that Israeli apartheid will suddenly collapse, but I think he's right that (if and) when it does happen, everyone will have "been in the resistance".

      A while ago, we had a couple of friends over, both Italian university professors (history and geopolitics), and they were discussing the oath of loyalty to the Fascist regime, required of all Italian university professors beginning in 1931. The question was: Do you think you would have signed (of some 1200 professors, at the time, only 15 refused -- and lost their jobs)? Both profs were pretty sure they would have (although both are leftists, one a very convinced and politically-active communist).

      Back to Sfard. I don't know whether his assertion regarding the "rhinoceros not being in danger of extinction" came through in English, but the common Hebrew expression "lehitkarnef" (to become a rhinoceros) refers to Ionesco's play, in which all of society, with the exception of one man (and not a particularly brave or deep one at that) eventually "joins the herd". There is nothing easier, and nothing more "natural". The current dynamics in Israel (bad to worse) shows exactly how it happens (e.g. the Council for Higher Education's catering to and anticipation of Education Minister Bennett's every whim) . I don't see a swing in the other direction on the horizon, but if and when it happens, it will be hard to imagine that things were ever different.

      link to

    • I see one of the contributors is Bencheikh, Grand Mufti of Marseilles

      Thanks for the link, gamal. The Muslim co-author of the book on land and power (La vocation de la Terre sainte) is Tareq Oubrou, Grand Imam of Bordeaux.

    • I remain concerned about some of the texts which as a Christian I am supposed to regard as sacred.


      You may find this book interesting. It deals precisely with the subject of these "painful verses", from (in chronological order) Jewish, Christian and Muslim perspectives:

      Les Versets douloureux : Bible, Evangile et Coran entre conflit et dialogue

      I haven't read it yet, but am currently reading another excellent book co-authored by Meyer on Jewish, Christian and Muslim attitudes to land (especially "holy" land) and power.

    • What are we, fairly and without prejudice, to say of ‘Judaeochristian’ or ‘Abrahamic’ ethics if they are influenced by this passage or poem and by others like it?

      Or if they actively seek out such passages in order to justify their own hatred and violence. Who cares whether it's from Isaiah 34 or Judges 16, a past war or a future apocalypse? The important thing is that it contains the word neqamah -- "revenge".

  • Video: Israeli sniper praised for shooting Palestinian protestors
    • I agree, Abern, which is why I put "non-lethal" in quotation marks. Many have been killed or maimed by these "non-lethal" weapons. I have seen rubber-coated steel bullets (which Israeli authorities misleadingly refer to simply as "rubber bullets") used from up-close. The boy who was hit, "only" lost a kidney.

    • does it sound like perhaps a training exercise on live people? one would think a trained sniper would already know this stuff.

      It's not about informing the shooter, but about giving explicit command permission. The word used is rashai -- "allowed" (in the sense of "permission granted" or "go ahead"). For example, at one point, the commander says, "Preparing a slingshot. I've seen it. Rashai." It sounds like going by the book -- which brings me to your second question:

      it seems very contrary to the idea of imminent danger.

      It seems apparent from this video that "imminent danger", or danger of any kind are not part of the instructions given to commanders in the field (as I said, this guy really seems professional and by-the-book). The instructions, judging by this video, seem to be to shoot (with whatever "non-lethal" weapon they are using) anyone who is 1) engaging in some sort of hostile action (throwing a stone or using a slingshot); 2) standing in an upright position; and only on explicit command.

      The other rule of engagement that seems to emerge is that the shooter must aim for the lower body (probably what is behind the condition that the target must be upright). This is evident both from the actual hits in the footage, and the fact that, near the beginning, when the commander says, "hit", the shooter or someone else says, "but not in the lower body". To which the commander replies, "It was in the ass. right in the ass."

      Maybe someone from Breaking the Silence can offer a more informed explanation. My military knowledge is indirect and from the days of the first Intifada, when the "non-lethal" weapon of choice in the OT was a rubber-coated steel bullet, fired from a canister fit on the end of an M-16, and the rules of engagement were somewhat different.

    • The video strikes me as authentic, and appears to be part of the operation, as it is perfectly coordinated with the commander's orders, filming exactly what he is talking about at any given moment.

      There is a constant voice, evidently that of the commander, and a number of other voices, apparently of other soldiers and perhaps the shooter himself.

      The commander's tone is professional -- telling the shooter (or shooters?) when it is permissible to fire (although it seems clear that it is not live ammunition) and when it is not. The 2 criteria seem to be whether the target is standing (permissible) or crouching (not permissible) and whether the target is attempting to throw a stone/use a slingshot. When it is permissible he points it out and encourages the shooter and commends him for a job well done when he succeeds in hitting the target. It's the kind of tone a boss or supervisor would use, overseeing any task.

      The cheering that is heard at one point ("What a hit!", etc.) is not the commander but, apparently other soldiers.

      Aḥi (translated "bro" in the article) is just the way soldiers (and young men in general, in Israel) refer to each other.

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