Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 1621 (since 2012-06-23 07:13:37)

Showing comments 1621 - 1601

  • Meet the teenage girls behind the viral photo from Nabi Saleh
    • Citizen: Some day one might wake up and find the mainstream media in US will actually put any kind of Palestinian violence in Palestinian daily life and history context?


      Unlikely. They never did it for the Vietnamese.

  • The 'Pallywood' smear: Viral images of Palestinian boy's brutalization brings backlash
    • hophmi: I regard it as a criticism of the tactics of a national movement


      So the cause is just, but the tactics could be better. Is that your view?

      What tactics would you recommend? Malcolm X tactics?

  • You'd think Wasserman Schultz would lose DNC job for bucking Obama on Iran Deal
    • Annie Robbins: money (jewish or otherwise) funneled to congress pays for them to win elections. and then in turn expects politicians to vote the way those donors want.

      True. But if Zionist interests are so against the "U.S. national interests" (defined by U.S. national elites), then where are the big patriotic U.S. donors to counter the "Jewish money"?

  • U.S. is even more implicated in Israeli settlement project than we thought
    • hophmi : As far as the determination of who is a Jew for purposes of the Law of Return, it’s not the Rabbinate, but the Jewish Agency who makes the recommendation...

      Law of Return:

      4B. For the purposes of this Law, “Jew” means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion.

      So, I am asking regarding the "grandparent clause": if the Jewish grandparent became Jewish by means of conversion, do all forms of conversion qualify, or only Orthodox conversions?

    • Interesting article: "Genetic citizenship: DNA testing and the Israeli Law of Return"

      link to

      Excerpts from the intro (emphasis added):

      "The Israeli State recently announced that it may begin to use genetic tests to determine whether potential immigrants are Jewish or not. This development would demand a rethinking of Israeli law on the issue of the definition of Jewishness.

      In this article, we discuss the historical and legal context of secular and religious definitions of Jewishness and rights to immigration in the State of Israel. We give a brief overview of different ways in which genes have been regarded as Jewish, and we discuss the relationship between this new use of genetics and the society with which it is co-produced. In conclusion, we raise several questions about future potential impacts of Jewish genetics on Israeli law and society.
      Masha Yakerson, like many of her Jewish, college-age peers, attempted to sign up for a Birthright Israel1 trip in the summer of 2013.2 Birthright told Yakerson, whose family is from Russia, that to prove that she was Jewish, and eligible for the trip, she would need to take a DNA test.3 Birthright claimed that the test was required by the Israeli consulate, and further that a DNA test would be required if Yakerson ever wanted to make aliyah (immigrate to Israel)

      [...]After the news of this one student's experience made headlines, the Israeli Prime Minister's Office confirmed that many Jews from the Former Soviet Union (‘FSU’) are asked to provide DNA confirmation of their Jewish heritage in order to immigrate as Jews and become citizens under Israel's Law of Return.

    • hophmi: All that is required is a Jewish grandparent ...

      And who defines who is a Jewish grandparent? What proof of Jewishness is required? Who certifies the Jewishness? Can any kind of conversion qualify a grandparent to be Jewish?

  • NY's Center for Jewish History to host Ayelet 'Little Snakes' Shaked in conversation with Bret 'Hiroshima' Stephens
    • Marnie: ... it seems Ms. Shaked is only given this position because of the eye candy she apparently provides to horny MKs and non-Jews from America

      I resent that sexist remark. Ms. Shaked seems to have excellent fascist-demagogic skills.

  • God is on Israel's side, but not the United States, says Israel's new U.N. ambassador
    • yonah fredman: but the most logical path from gaza to representative government involves ending the siege

      The flaw in your argument is: ending the siege, by itself, is NOT a path to representative government in a sovereign state .

      End the siege and Gaza would still be a Bantustan . Having the vote in a Bantustan is still political oppression, still a form of apartheid. Having the vote in a Bantustan is still a form of statelessness in no way comparable to having a vote in a full-fledged state.

    • Yonah: Gaza is considered occupied because it is under siege. but the most logical path from gaza to representative government involves ending the siege and not giving the Gazans the vote in Israel.

      If the siege ended, Gazans would still not have the right to vote as citizens in a sovereign state.

      Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza do not have the right to vote as citizensin a sovereign state --whether that be in Palestine or Israel--precisely because of their ethnicity.

      Israel has prevented BOTH options: they have prevented WB/Gaza/refugee Palestinians from becoming citizens of a sovereign Palestine next to Israel, and they have prevented them from becoming citizens in Israel. Because of their ethnicity.

    • yonah fredman: gaza is occupied but they have a vote in their occupied government.

      The point is: Gazans don't have the right to vote as citizens in a sovereign state.

    • Philip Weiss: The one-state reality is here. Even the Washington Post is acknowledging as much.

      The article argues that a two-state solution appears increasingly unlikely. But a single democratic state isn't even considered a possibility. Not even a remote one.

      "So what is the alternative to the two-state solution? A non-democratic but Jewish Israel. "

      link to

  • Jewish community is Humpty Dumpty-- it won't come back together again, and shouldn't
    • tokyobk: I find Jew-hobby a useful term because it can describe someone who likes to discuss Jewish power topics without lobbing the anti-Semitism accusation

      But how is that useful?

      On the one hand, the "Jew-hobbyist" epithet has a highly pejorative ring and comes across as weasel word for "anti-Semite", your claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

      On the other hand, however the term is interpreted , in the final analysis it can only serve in forums like this as a means of ad hominem argument--focusing on the person, not the points being made.

      I suggest dropping it forthwith.

  • On the Road to Tantura: Interview with Hala Gabriel
    • DaBakr: It was proven that [Katz] lied about his interviews…

      No it wasn’t. The prosecution presented only 6 relatively minor discrepancies out of 230 references. There was no evidence presented of any deliberate distortion and no evidence presented that undermined the basic facts described in the recorded testimonies.

      Here are several transcripts (translated) of the this recorded testimony (emphasis added):

      link to

      Yosef Graf, a guide from Yaacov Zichron who accompanied the units

      Graf: The Arabs raised the white flags, the kuffiyya, the hatta. . . .

      Katz: Wait a minute. There was no battle going on?

      Graf: Before that, there were clashes, sure. Skirmishes. Our guys had taken cover and shot back at the Arabs who then raised the white flags. . . . I called to our guys: “Don’t advance!” They did not heed and were shot at, and then they [the soldiers] assaulted and killed them all.

      Katz: That is, in response to the shooting at them, they stormed?

      Graf: Yes. And killed almost everyone.

      Katz: How many, roughly? You remember a figure—twenty, fifty? Graf: No. I think they counted in the end 140 or 150, all young men.

      Katz: Were these people killed in the battle?

      Graf: While occupying the village, there were many dead who were shot while staying in their homes in the village.

      Katz: After the surrender, actually?

      Graf: There was no surrender. It was occupation.

      [Later in the conversation]

      Graf: I am telling you these [Alexandroni] people, they massacred.

      Katz: In an amok attack?

      Graf: Yes.

      Mordechai Sokoler, a guide from Zichron accompanying the units

      Katz: The battle was over. The women, children, and old men stayed in the place. For how long?

      Sokoler: A day or two. After they were transferred

      Katz: With all the bodies?

      Sokoler: With the bodies for two days. Then I brought people from Furaydis and buried them.

      Katz: It means that the family members stayed in the village. . .
      Sokoler: Another day or two.

      Katz: With all the bodies?

      Sokoler: Yes, yes.

      [Later in the conversation]

      Katz: How many people of Tantura surrendered with their hands over their head ?
      Sokoler: Two hundred and thirty.

      Katz: Two hundred and thirty—is that an accurate number? You counted them?

      Sokoler: No, I evaluated them, but after they were killed, we counted them.

      Katz: And how many were there?

      Sokoler: The same number.

      Katz: Two hundred and thirty?

      Sokoler: Yes.

      Katz: How many were killed in the battle?

      Sokoler: They were all killed in the battle. The sniper hit one of the soldiers in the leg, shooting began. And then they were killed, all hell broke out. They did not know who was shooting.

      Katz: For killing 230 people, it takes time.

      Sokoler: [Laughing] They were concentrated in one spot.

      [Later in the conversation]

      Katz: So you have counted and reached 230?

      Sokoler: Yes.

      Katz: From this you say only a few, maybe ten were killed in the battlefield?

      Sokoler: Only ten [gives the names of the people of Tantura he knew who died in the battle].

      [Later in the conversation]

      Katz: The only question I still have is about where you personally were, so that I can know what you saw with your own eyes.

      Sokoler: The worst things I didn’t see. I had not seen the end of the battle. I left the place. All and all, I was there one day and a half, mainly busy with burying.

      Katz: You were involved personally with the burial . . .

      Sokoler: I and Arabs from Furaydis laid [in the grave] one Arab after the other, closed their eyes with the hatta, row on top of row, and that was it.

      Katz: I understand that only their eyes and heads were covered [with the kuffiyyeh].

      Sokoler: Only the heads, we buried them with their clothing and all . . .

      Katz: And this was two days after the fighting.

      Sokoler: After eight days, I came back to the place where we buried them, near the railway. There was a big mound, for the bodies had inflated. After two or three days, the mound had gone down.

      Katz: Two or three days later?

      Sokoler: Yes.

      Katz: I understand that later they added soil and spread it over the graves.

      Sokoler: This I do not know

      Salih ‘Abd al-Rahman (Abu Mashayiff), from Tantura

      Katz: How were people killed in Tantura?

      Abu Mashayiff: There was fighting between them. In the end, they caught them on the coast, in Tantura, and took them near a huge building and killed them like this.

      Katz: Which building?

      Abu Mashayiff: Houses near the coast. The sea was next to the village.

      Katz: . Killed them after they surrendered? .

      Abu Mashayiff: After they had caught them.

      Katz: How many, roughly?

      Abu Mashayiff: Eighty-five.

      Katz: You were there and saw it with your own eyes?

      Abu Mashayiff: Yes.

      Katz: How did it go? Only eighty-five were standing there, or the whole village was standing there?

      Abu Mashayiff: No. Eighty-five stood. You know how it works. They came to the villagers as a whole who were all seated on the beach, and on the spot they said to this one and that one: “Get up! You, you. . . .”

      Katz: According to what?

      Abu Mashayiff: They had names.

      [Later in the conversation]

      Katz: Shimshon Mashvitz stopped killing after he was stopped by Rehavia Altshuler?

      Abu Mashayiff: Yes. He agreed after he had killed eighty-five people.

      Katz: He alone killed eighty-five people?

      Abu Mashayiff: Yes.

      Katz: What was he using?

      Abu Mashayiff: A Sten. He killed them. They stood next to the wall, facing the wall, he came from the back and killed them all, shooting them in the head.

      Katz: Every time he placed several of them next to the wall?

      Abu Mashayiff: Yes.

      Katz: Groups of eight, five—how many?

      Abu Mashayiff: Every group twenty or thirty people.

      [Later in the conversation]

      Abu Mashayiff: Twice or three times he changed magazines.

      Katz: That is, one bullet per person?

      Abu Mashayiff: Yes.

    • jon s: Tree, it’s an attempt to deflect because it’s not what Ms Gabriel claims to have “noticed”.

      Maybe she was thinking of "Eretz Israel"; maybe she misspoke.

      In any case, it's a minor point which deflects from the main topic--what happened at Tantura.

    • Kris: [Wikipedia: ] [Benny Morris] suggests that, while controversy remains as to whether a ‘massacre’ actually occurred, there is no doubt that war crimes were committed by the Jewish force.

      In his 2008 book, "1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War”, Morris backtracks and categorically denies a massacre occurred:

      In the 1990s Arab journalists charged that the Israeli troops had carried out a large-scale massacre of disarmed militiamen and villagers in the hours after Tantura fell, a charge expanded in a master's thesis by an Israeli student, who, on the basis of Arab oral testimony (and the distortion of testimony by Alexandroni veterans), argued that up to 250 villagers had been systematically murdered.

      Although some Alexandroni veterans hinted at dark deeds, most flatly denied the massacre charge. Documentary evidence indicates that the Alexandroni troops murdered a handful of POWs--and expelled the inhabitants--but provides no grounds for believing that a large-scale massacre occurred. (emphasis added)

      Morris is a liar; he distorts history. Katz’s recorded testimony from 20 Arab and 20 Jewish witnesses. Not only does Morris completely dismiss the testimony of the Arab witnesses, he presents no evidence of any significant distortion of the Alexandroni veterans.

      Illan Pappe describes the “discrepancies” that were revealed in Katz trial:

      The crux of the prosecution’s case [against Katz] rested on six references—out of 230—in which Katz either misquoted or interpreted too freely what the witnesses said. In Ambar’s testimony, Katz substituted the word “Germans” for “Nazis.” In another, he summarized the testimony of a Tantura survivor, Abu Fihmi, as describing a killing, where the witness did not say this directly (though in fact, this is clearly what he meant).

      In four other instances, Katz wrote something that does not appear in the tapes but only in his written summaries of the conversations. No discrepancies were found in any of the remaining 224 references concerning Tantura. (emphasis added)

      link to

      Yet apparently on the basis of those six rather minor "discrepancies", Morris dismisses the entire body of recorded testimony that reveals that a massacre did indeed take place. That's blatant intellectual dishonesty.

    • "The Tantura Case in Israel: The Katz Research and Trial" by Ilan Pappe

      "This article examines the academic and legal controversy...
      [...] The article also discusses the research itself and summarizes the actual massacre as it can be reconstructed from the available sources. It is followed by excerpts from some of the transcripts.

      22 page pdf file here:
      link to

  • 'A better relationship with Iran' is the deal's secret promise, but supporters can't say so
    • Dan Crowther: ... Cuz you can read a million and one French, German, English, Spanish, Russian (and others) writers describing THE EXACT SAME shit happening in their countries at different times...

      It would be helpful if you could give some examples of what you think appears to be the "exact same shit" happening previously.

  • 'NYT' and Chris Matthews are frank about Jewish role in Iran Deal debate
    • Kathleen: ...Feehery caught Matthews there. Matthews covering for Schumer’s vote to take the deal down because of what Israel wants. So why is it ok for Schumer to vote that way and not the Republicans who are voting against.

      Excellent point.

      Matthews: […] Chuck Schumer’s going to defend the interests of Israel and it’s legitimate he do so.

      How is that legitimate?

  • Omar Barghouti on Matisyahu: 'Perfectly reasonable to oppose performance by any bigot'
    • jon s: The question , in principle, is whether performers should be required to conform to a certain political position, as a condition for performing.

      Exactly. This is not about antisemitism; it is about political litmus tests for individual preforming artists. And it is, as you say, a matter of principle . While anyone may agree on the political validity of any particular litmus test, do we want to promote the general principle that artists everywhere can and should be subject to such political tests? That's a very dangerous proposition, in my view.

      Consider this recent case:

      A pianist has been struck off the concert programme with a Canadian orchestra for expressing her support for pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine.

      Valentina Lisitsa, a Ukraine-born pianist, was scheduled to play Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on Friday night, but her performance was scrapped amid “ongoing accusations of deeply offensive language” on Twitter, said the orchestra’s president, Jeff Melanson.

      Lisitsa had posted graphic images and angry rhetoric about the conflict in east Ukraine and criticised western journalists for supposed bias in covering the events. Canada has a large Ukrainian diaspora.

      “As one of Canada’s most important cultural institutions, our priority must remain on being a stage for the world’s great works of music, and not for opinions that some believe to be deeply offensive,” Melanson said.

      Lisitsa said she never posted any threats or anything else illegal and she had not been planning to make any political statement during the concert. She said her Twitter activity was borne of a feeling that the coverage of events in Ukraine had been skewed in favour of the new government in Kiev.

      In Toronto, there was mixed reaction to the move. One columnist in the Toronto Star said the ban created a “dangerous precedent” and “has made a mockery of the arts in this city”.

      link to

      (More details on what Lisitsa actually posted: link to

      Is that really the road we want to go down? Do we really want performing artists everywhere to be subject to all kinds of boycotts for expressing their individual political opinions? These kinds of individual bannings will almost certainly come back to bite progressive artists an the ass.

    • hophmi: So why did Ben Norton condemn Sunsplash before flip-flopping and condoning their bigotry?

      In the article above, Ben Norton himself does not take a stand on the boycott of Matisyahu. He describes the positions of both opponents and supporters.

      Ben Norton writes:

      Those who oppose the boycott of Matisyahu have raised concerns that the decision to boycott Matisyahu in fact defies BDS principles, because the founders of BDS—which was called for by Palestinian intellectuals and activists—made it absolutely clear years ago that BDS targets institutions, not individuals .

      [...]Opponents of the boycott have also argued that the boycott of Matisyahu, who is not Israeli, only serves to further perpetuate the conflation of Zionism, Judaism, and Jewishness—a conflation that is ultimately anti-Semitic. (emphasis added)

      Those two arguments are precisely the ones Norton himself makes in the article you link. Basically, Norton is quoting himself as an opponent of the Matisyahu boycott:

      [Ben Norton:] The disinvitation of Matisyahu makes no political sense. The artist has made it clear that he is not a hardline Zionist. And, even if he were, it would not matter, as BDS does not target individuals based upon their political views. Once again, BDS targets institutions, not individuals.

      In the end, the cancellation of the Matisyahu performance only serves to further perpetuate the conflation of Zionism, Judaism, and Jewishness—a conflation that is ultimately anti-Semitic. (emphasis added)

      link to

      I agree with Norton that a Matisyahu boycott violates the principle that BDS does not target individuals based upon their political views. I disagree, however, that this involves a conflation of Zionism, Judaism and Jewishness. This is not about anti-Semitism; it is about promoting an anti-Zionist political litmus test for individual artists.

  • Over 1,000 Black activists, scholars and artists sign statement supporting freedom and equality for Palestinian people
    • W.Jones: what do you have in mind when you emphasize supporting the Israeli state?

      I hope you don't mind my jumping in here....

      Do you think its valid to distinguish "Israel" --the full human reality, Jewish and non-Jewish-- from "the Israeli state" ?

      Could ending the occupation and transforming Israel into a secular-liberal democracy, free of all ethnocratic and theocratic features--could that be construed as "supporting Israel"?

      Can one be anti-Zionist and "support Israel" at the same time?

      Does a "pro-Palestinian" position have to be branded as "anti-Israel"?

      It's often asserted at this site and others that the attainment of BDS goals does NOT necessarily mean the demise of Israel (its supposedly "agnostic" on the question of one or two states), so can't one support BDS , Palestinian rights AND Israel?

      (I'm not presuming answers to those questions.)

    • Page: 16
    • jhitchcock: Is abiding by universal antiracist principles starting to make more sense to some of you?

      I find your condescending tone quite off-putting.

      Nobody is disputing antiracist principles; it's the specifics of their (mis)application that is in question.

  • A Tale of Two Beaches: Tel Aviv and Gaza
    • talknic: Hamas is a response to the Zionist colonization project and the ongoing illegal activities by the State of Israel


      Absolutely true. And more specifically, a response to the failures, defeats, undermining and deligitimization of secular Arab/ Palestinian nationalism as well as the rise of a Israeli government-backed violent Jewish fundamentalist settler movement--Gush Emunim.

      link to

      link to

      link to

  • AIPAC spending estimated $40 million to oppose Iran Deal
    • David Doppler: The American system depends upon the American public, given enough information, to sift through it all, and, eventually (after exhausting all the alternatives, as Churchill liked to say) getting it right.


      The American system depends on the manufacture of consent.

    • Kay24: Here is the ad J Street has put out....


      "Good for Israel. Good for America" -- what could possibly be wrong with that?

  • Someone Else’s Normal: The Dawabshe tragedy and picturing Palestine
    • "A notable exception is Jeremy Corbyn, of course, who The Guardian‘s Michael White attempted to smear by describing him as ‘pro-Hamas’ "


      And now:

      "Jeremy Corbyn was accused of being an anti-Semite by one of Labour’s most senior politicians last night as a series of party grandees rounded on the hard-Left candidate.

      Ivan Lewis, the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, attacked Mr Corbyn’s “anti-Semitic rhetoric” and said the party must have “zero tolerance” for such views.

      Mr Lewis said he was “saddened” that people on the Left of the party had failed to take a “no ifs, no buts” to anti-Semitism.

      [...]It comes after the Jewish Chronicle raised concerns about Mr Corbyn's pro-Palestinian views as they demanded he urgently answer questions about his links to controversial Middle Eastern figures. "

      link to

      Unsurprisingly, not a shred of evidence to back up the accusation.

  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • echinococcus: ..., racism is racism and does not deserve a special word

      Antisemitism, though, is not limited to racism (narrowly defined), as explained above. Neither, for example, are anti-Arab ideologies (cf. Orientalist accounts of "the Arab mind" and Arab culture).

      If it is based on theories of conscious, organized behavior by a politically motivated group, well then it has to be proved wrong...

      Agreed. And if these theories have been proved wrong, again and again, it's perfectly valid to label them antisemitic.

      The same applies to anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, or anti-whatever-group, cultural/political theories. When proved to be wrong, when proved to rely on logical or factual fallacies, overgeneralization, essentialization, demonization, etc., they can rightly be vilified.

    • W.Jones : ...Merriam Webster defines anti-Semitism as “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.”


      That seems like a perfectly workable definition, pretty much the same as my "antisemitism = anti-Jewishness". Crucially, that definition does not limit antisemitism to discrimination nor does it insist that antisemitism be limited to a focus on inborn or permanent qualites, as echinococcus has insisted.,

      While it's true that Mooser's definition fails as an all-encompassing formula, as you have shown, it does have the benefit of highlighting the most important and predominant kind of antisemitism which has played such a large historical role and which is very much at issue in this particular discussion.

    • @Mooser That definition of antisemitism caught my attention when I read it at Jews sans frontieres.

      I'd simplify further: antisemitism = anti-Jewishness , whether that Jewishness is defined biologically, racially, ethnically, religiously , culturally, ideologically, spiritually, or any combination thereof.

      That definition requires that there be some notion of essential "Jewishess" attributed to most or all Jews, and that it must be considered inherently bad.

      N.B. that leaves open the possibility that antisemtism (anti-Jewishness), like anti-Arab, anti-Black, anti- whatever-group ideology, could be valid, i.e. it's validity can't be ruled out a priori.

      The problem with antisemitic ideologies is not that they couldn't be true, it's that they are NOT true. They falsely create an essential "Jewishness" and falsely attribute pernicious qualities to that "Jewishness".

      The problem, for example with anti-Jewish "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" type conspiracy theories--that "the Jews" are conspiring to dominate the world by undermining Gentile morality, controlling the media, controlling the world's financial system, manipulating nations into global wars etc.--the problem with those theories is not that they couldn't possibly be true, it is that they simply are not true, and they are used to justify all sorts of unjustifiable, malicious actions.

      N.B. also that this notion of antisemitism (anti-Jewishness) leaves open the possibility of legitimate criticism of various aspects of Jewish culture(s), religious ideas, etc., so long as those criticisms are logical, factual and are not fused into an overgeneralizing ideology that essentializes and demonizes Jews as a group.

    • @Annie Robbins: To clarify, when I wrote "discussion of Atzmon’s views are not welcome at MW" I didn't intend that as a criticism.

    • tree: Just to clarify a bit to those who may not be familiar with Atzmon’s argument, he isn’t saying that a Jewish person who identifies as a leftist is an oxymoron.

      Well, it depends on how you define "a Jewish person." Atzmon states very clearly in "The Wandering Who?" that neither a religious Jew nor a secular Jew--i.e. a person who identifies with some form of Jewishness --can truly be a univeralist-humanist.

      According to Atzmon, a secular Jew may adopt some universalist-humanist rhetoric but can never escape a "tribalism" supposedly inherent in any form of secular Jewishness.

      Atzmon (p.55):

      "it is this duality of tribalism and universalism which is at the very heart of collective secular Jewish identity. This duality has never been properly resolved. Instead of redeeming the Jews it imposes a certain level of dishonesty.
      ...[secular Jewish identity] aims at integrating the opposing categories of tribalism and universalism. But this can never be achieved."

      According to Atzmon, only Jews completely shorn of all Jewishness can be authentic universalists. They must cease to have any Jewish identity and become persons who just "happen to be of Jewish origin" [p.16 ]

      I disagree with Atzmon's anti-Jewish ideology. He erroneously conflates Zionist Jewish secular identity with all possible forms of Jewish secular identity. I would provide many more quotes to substantiate that assertion, but my understanding is discussion of Atzmon's views are not welcome at MW, so I will leave it at that.

    • W.Jones: The downside that Atzmon is pointing to is that if your organization happens to be identified and arranged around the conquering nation’s group , then there is a risk that you could have a bias in favor of them. (emphasis added)

      But then, what does that say about IF AMERICANS KNEW which is generally characterized as a nationalist-patriotic group identified with the U.S. (national group), i.e. identified with the world's hegemonic imperialist power? Surely, there is a risk that they are biased toward that imperialist power, and might have a tendency to blame the moral failings of that power on foreign influences?

    • PeaceThroughJustice: one-hour episode of “Head to Head” in front of the Oxford Union conducted by Mehdi Hasan

      Thanks for the link. I haven't listened to the whole thing, but damn, Mehdi Hasan is sharp.

    • echinococcus: On the other hand, Jewish religion, Jewish “culture” (as if there were any specifically such culture), Jewish nationalism, tribalism, etc. etc. are all fair game, being neither inborn nor permanent


      But then again Islam, Islamic culture, African-American culture, Latino culture, gay culture, etc. are all fair game. And yet, religious/cultural critiques and polemics can embody "Orientalism", bigotry, racism, false stereotyping, false essentialism etc. The devil is in the details. "Being inborn or permanent" is not always a deciding factor.

      I conclude: the issue is quite a bit more complex than you suggest.

    • W.Jones: If Weir were Ken, Weir’s opponents would have a better case.

      I agree--it's completely wrong to equate Weir with O'Keefe when it comes to antisemitism.

      But that's exactly what Danaa does:

      the weapon [the" canard of 'anti-semitism'"] used against people who try to do some good in this world (Carter, Berlin, Weir, Sheehan, McWright, Finkelstein, O’Keefe [...])

      Carter, Weir, Finkelstein et al. in the same category as O'Keefe? What a travesty. Hell, why not add Clay Douglas to the list as well.

    • PeaceThroughJustice: I didn’t realize that O’Keefe didn’t actually say “F*ck’n Jews” like posters here have claimed.

      In fact, he referred to the expression "f*ck'n Jew" as the worst insult there was when he was growing up, and that looking back he realized that the expression embodied some truth, that it represented some generalized awareness of the [highly negative] Jewish impact on human history. In short, bigotry toward Jews is justified.

    • jhitchcock:

      You can criticize all the same odious Zionist settler-colonial policies and practices, but just don’t do it in an antisemitic or racist way. And if another activist compassionately tells you that you are saying or doing something that doesn’t fit with the Palestinians’ universal antiracist, anti-colonialist program, then please try to listen and make adjustments.

      Don’t deny the Nakba or the Holocaust. Don’t support ethnic cleansing. Don’t be racist, Islamophobic, or antisemitic. And don’t deny the Palestinians’ right to return: (link to

      Read Omar Barghouti if you aren’t sure how to avoid antisemitism. ETC.


      Yes, mother.

    • Citizen: Does one comfortably work within an anti-racist paradigm by presenting one’s message in Zionist forums?

      Why not?

      As End the Occupation argues:

      Principled advocates of Palestinian rights appear on media outlets that have promoted bigoted narratives, such as Fox News or CNN, in order to challenge, not reinforce, racism in all of its forms, including anti-Palestinian bias, Zionist propaganda, Islamophobia and white supremacy.

      link to

    • irishmoses: Why, Jennifer, are you devoting all your time to joining in what is mostly a witch hunt for alleged antisemites where the evidence is marginal at best, and the alleged perpetrators are actually major, long-time contributors to the I-P cause? Why aren’t you willing to cut them some slack, based, if nothing else, on their life long achievements to the cause?

      Excellently framed question.

      What I'd like to know is how the hell Jennifer Hitchcock became the central spokesperson here for the "anti-Weir" position. Contrary to what you wrote in a previous post, I think she does a terrible job. Her accusations against Alison Weir go way beyond those in the ETO Statement of Complaint, creating multiple points of distraction, and her long rambling poorly conceived and poorly argued polemics intermixed with feeble attempts at ingratiation completely confirm Annie's early assessment that she was "in way over her head".

      Anyone who might recognize at least some cause for concern in the ETO complaints has to be pulling their hair out reading this thread.

    • mtorres: The attack began with an accusation that Weir was supporting racism by appearing on un-pc shows and before we knew it, it turned into a condemnation of her for not speaking out against racism.

      1) The shows in question are not merely "un-pc"; they are propagating racist, antisemitic white nationalist excrement.

      2) The complaint was not so much about her appearance on the shows, but her performance .

      See this transcript:

      Alison Weir on The Free American Hour, August 25, 2010
      link to

      Clay Douglas propagates his vile worldview, rambling on about such topics as his posting of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; the Zionist plan for a Communistic One World Government; David Duke’s indignation that a giant Jewish menorah can be erected in the White House while Christian Christmas symbols are banned; how Jews started WWI for evil purposes; how Jewish bankers were the money behind the New World Order; how they turned on the good German people, declared war on them and paved the way to WWII; how Jewish Bolsheviks murdered 60 million white Christian Russians; how evil Communism was just “Judaism for the Masses”; and so on.

      Allison Weir does at one point insist that not all Jews are Zionists (as does Douglas himself), but that cautionary note is lost in the flood of anti-Semitic themes, practically none of which are challenged or condemned by Weir.

      Apart from her supporting Douglas on the dual-citizenship issue and a few others, Weir’s main contribution is to raise the issue of how Zionists today are cruelly oppressing the Palestinian people. True enough! In fact, everything Weir says may be absolutely true, but in the context of the program the actual net effect is to support and reinforce Clay Douglas’s grotesque ideology.

      I’m sure she is completely well -intentioned, but I think it is utterly misguided to think there is any value in her placing Palestinian rights advocacy “within the context of -- rather than in opposition to”. – a racist, anti-Semitic worldview.

      Having said all that, it has to be emphasized, as W. Jones has done, that these appearances on racist, anti-Semitic programs constitutes just a tiny, tiny fraction of Ms. Weir’s work.

      As I wrote earlier, these complaints regarding Ms. Weir do not seem to be anywhere near substantial enough or serious enough to justify an official, public, coordinated campaign against her, especially given the mountain of good work she has done on behalf of the Palestinian cause.

      Annie Robbins wrote: " i read the complaints against weir and recognized/acknowledged their cause for concern. but ultimately i think the movement would be better served by a unification as opposed to a division. "

      I agree completely. It’s a shame that this whole thing couldn’t have been handled quietly with Ms. Weir choosing to stop appearing on such shows.

      But as this MW thread and debates elsewhere have revealed, there is a profound ideological dispute being played out in this affair that far overshadows the particular details of the complaints.

    • Taxi: Good that you can read Donald’s covert zionism like an open book.

      Indeed. While it may seem paradoxical that something entirely covert can be read like an open book , in fact, with the proper ideological training, anti-Zionist cadres can perform this impressive feat with relative ease.

    • Taxi : Donald, I repeat: “covert” zionism.

      Exactly. No professions of innocence or painstaking recitations of the anti-Zionist party-line can ever exonerate the covert Zionist.

    • @W. Jones I'd go with (A) if I had to choose.

    • W.Jones: Alison Weir does not explain why she adds a discussion of Toaff’s work at the end of the article.

      Yes, she does, but if you missed it, she should have made it clearer. She said that it was to compare the intensity of the response to Bostrom that accused him of blood libel with the intensity of the response to an actual writer on the blood libel, Toaff.


      That's an important point. I've looked pretty closely at that article, and even though the passages in question could be interpreted different ways and are perhaps poorly conceived, even perhaps "tone deaf", her explanation seems reasonable enough.

      That leaves only two complaints on the End the Occupation list:

      1) She posted a piece by Roger Tucker in her blog which makes some arguably anti-Semitic arguments.

      2) She appeared on several different white-supremacists programs and "made little to no effort to challenge, confront, or rebut any of these views; on the contrary, she continued to appear on the show, placing Palestinian rights advocacy within the context of -- rather than in opposition to -- those views."

      There is no charge that Ms. Weir herself is an anti-Semite.

      I personally believe those are reasonable complaints--but are they anywhere near substantial enough or serious enough to justify an official, public, coordinated campaign against her? It hardly seems so, especially given the mountain of good work she has done on behalf of the Palestinian cause.

    • Annie: why is it advantageous “talking to Zionists and trying to win some of them over ” and not considered “comfortable hobnobbing” with “racism in all its forms”?
      Challenging liberal Zionists to fully embrace their professed liberalism and abandon any commitment to Jewish supremacism is entirely different than trying to win over white supremacists to the anti-Zionist cause while pointedly NOT challenging their racism.

      Recall that The End the Occupation complaint is:

      ...Ms. Weir made little to no effort to challenge, confront, or rebut any of these [racist] views ; on the contrary, she continued to appear on the show, placing Palestinian rights advocacy within the context of -- rather than in opposition to -- those views.

      (emphasis added)

      link to

  • President Obama wants us to argue about the special relationship
    • eljay ... I agree with tokyobk’s tangent: A sovereign Palestine, just like a sovereign Israel, should be a secular and democratic state of and for all of its citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally, and not a supremacist state of any kind (religious or otherwise).


      I also agree with tokyobk's basic argument and support your call for a secular democratic Palestine.
      and not a supremacist state of any kind (religious or otherwise).

      Israel is an ethno-theocratic state with some liberal democratic elements; it combines both religious and ethnic discrimination.

  • Israeli Banks flipping out over looming European boycott
    • jon s: And more evidence of Anti-Semitism in the bds movement. [...]Matisyahu is just a performer who happens to be Jewish.

      The article says Matisyahu was disinvited from the festival because he would not publicly endorse Palestinian statehood-- not because he happened to be Jewish.

      You may disagree that someone should have to endorse Palestinian statehood, but there's no evidence of antisemitism.

    • amigo: Nothing scares people more than the threat of putting their lifestyle on a diet or mucking up their plans.

      Not so much in Russia.

  • The enemies list
  • Netanyahu for president? He's been a citizen-- twice!
    • Citizen: Israeli interests have changed America so it no longer is what it was, the best of what it was.

      Yes, the U.S. was an anti-imperialist paradise, a shining city upon a hill-- before Israeli interests came along and mucked things up. Oh, what a golden age that was!

  • It's not bigoted to call out the Israel lobby over Iran Deal
    • Keith: This is a conflict between two sets of warmongers

      True. But that undermines that notion that the U.S. is basically or potentially a benevolent nation that has been infected and corrupted by a foreign pathology--Zionism.

      "America First", after all, must have a solid foundation.

    • Brewer: This is the example America has chosen to follow, ably assisted by politicians and bureaucrats in Israel’s thrall.

      The U.S. hasn't followed the Israeli example. It was well on that path long before Israel ever existed.

    • Marnie: It should be obvious who runs things in America and its not the president (this one’s for you Hophme!) of the United States, its money, lobbying and foreign interests.

      Don't forget those transnational capitalist class interests. They play a small role too.

    • Great writing, btw, Annie. Clear logic combined with colorful, memorable phrasing. Reminds me a bit of Matt Taibbi, although, of course, you have your own voice.

    • unverified__5ilf90kd: But, if you want to examine why he did it, you have to ask, did Schumer do this simply because he is Jewish ?
      No, you don't have to ask that. But if you did, the answer would be clearly "no."


      we have to examine his particular brand of irrational pro-Israel logic (or deceit) that was used to reach this unfortunate decision.

      Yes, one would have to examine his political ideology. Not his Jewishness. You can't say his ideology derives from Jewishness, since many Jews do not share that ideology.

    • hophmi: Schumer is now routinely referred to as, to quote NPR, ” the most powerful Jewish Democrat.”. That’s bigotry, pure and simple.

      No more bigoted than referring to "the most powerful black Democrat."

      Your line of argument is sophistry. You need to compared apples with apples. You need to compare Jews to another minority social grouping. Because blacks in the U.S. are a distinct minority, they have special interests, and it makes perfect sense to identify black leaders. Not so for whites.

      Similarly for Jews. Jews (ethnic group) make up just over 2% of the U.S. population. They are a distinct minority. It makes perfect sense to identify "Jewish " leaders, just as it would be to identity Muslim leaders, especially if that identification was highly relevant to a particular issue. Christians (religious group), in contrast, make up over 80% of the U.S. population. There is generally no more reason to identify "Christian" leaders as there is to identify "white" leaders.

  • Rightwing Israeli violence on the rise as leader calls for arson attacks on churches
    • yonah fredman: Regarding Gopstein and his incitement to burn churches [ETC]

      Interesting post.

    • Frankie P: Yonah, Gurvitz expresses what you’re trying to say in a more brutally honest, direct way.
      True. As in this line: "There are all kinds of prohibitions that are entirely psychotic that are based on a religion of vengeance."

  • Shocker: 'NYT' runs front page press release for AIPAC warning Obama to cool his jets
    • italian ex-pat: "You call him ‘not the ripest nut on the tree’ for that? "

      For the record, that was inbound39, not me.

      Anyway, even if you were referring to Article #2...

      Yes, I was, although admittedly it's usually Hostage that refers to Article 2.

    • italian ex-pat: You are probably not the only one to have taken Chemi Shalev’s article literally. Hello?! The man wrote a brilliant piece of satire, and you go dumping all over him. Apparently convinced Sibiriak too.

      There are TWO different Shalev articles being discussed here.

      1)"The Mutant-alien Jewish Terrorists Who Have Nothing to Do With the Israeli Right"

      link to

      2)"Obama Accused of Using 'dark, Nasty Stuff' Against Jewish Critics Like Schumer "

      link to

      I made reference to the second only. The first is clearly satiric.


      "Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, was also a lone wolf. The fact that right-wing politicians had whipped up a public frenzy in the weeks before his killing, accusing Rabin of selling out Israel to terrorists, or that rabbis were discussing and some even sanctioning a religious sentence of death against Rabin, doesn’t mean they were prodding Amir in any way. By claiming otherwise, the Israeli left and their lackeys in the media only prove how low they are willing to go in order to exploit a national tragedy for political gain.

      The same is true of Baruch Goldstein, the Brooklyn-born Kiryat Arba doctor who massacred 29 Muslim worshippers at Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994. True, Goldstein was revered by hundreds if not thousands and still commands sympathy and respect among hardcore settlers and Kach-supporters, but let’s not forget that he was savagely murdered for his beliefs by terrorist Palestinians at the scene.

      The author deliberately piles up facts to undermine his own pseudo-theses= satire.

      "Terrorist Palestinians at the scene" is a clear giveaway. (After killing 29 people, he was beaten to death by survivors of the massacre.)

      Compare from the second article:

      Tablet’s malevolent interpretation of statements made by the president, administration officials and the New York Times are so wantonly over the top that one cannot but suspect ulterior motives. The site, which combines liberal articles on culture and religious pluralism together with usually hard-line takes on issues related to Israel, seems to be amplifying the message made in several recently articles by its writer and senior editor Lee Smith, who is also affiliated with the arch-conservative Weekly Standard. Smith, a harsh critic of the Obama administration and a fierce opponent of the Iran deal wrote only last week of the administration’s “smear campaign” against Jewish senators who might vote for the deal.

      Where is the satire?

    • MRW: How many Jews in Congress other than Sander Levin support the Iran deal.

      I didn't refer to Jews in Congress. I referred to Jews in general, and polls have shown considerable Jewish support for the deal.

      Sorry, "don’t elect the Jew , he/she will only vote for Israel" sounds a bit racist to me as it falsely assumes monolithic Jewish opinion and character, and treats an individual Jew not as an individual.

      "Don't elect the Black , he/she will only vote for more affirmative action", or "don't elect the Latino , he/she will only vote for more immigration" sound equally racist to me. YMMV

    • Atlantaiconoclast: not the Jewish establishment

      I didn't say the Jewish establishment.

    • Chemi Shalev: It’s hard to tell which is more offensive – or scary: the anti-Jewish comments creeping up on the sidelines of political discourse or the brazen attempt to exponentially multiply signs of anti-Semitism to gain political advantage. (emphasis added)

      I don't know about "offensive", but the latter is far more widespread, mainstream, powerful and pernicious. (Which is not to say that the former should be ignored.)

    • unverified__5ilf90kd: year, would it still be anti-Semitic ?

      Yes, clearly. And even more so given how many Jews support the Iran deal.

  • Defying Obama on Iran deal, Schumer cites Hamas
    • @Keith

      Some interesting posts on the TPP over at Naked Capitalism:

      "Sovereignty For International Investors (Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP))"
      link to

      "The TPP: Toward Absolutist Capitalism"
      link to

      "The Investor Arbitration Clauses in TPP Are Indeed Very Bad"
      link to

      "How the Pending Trans-Pacific Partnership and EU-US Trade Deals Will Gut National Regulations, Hurt Budgets, and Undermine Sovereignity"

      link to

      "How Pending “Trade” Deals Would Undermine Zoning and Local Land Use Rules"
      link to

    • Keith: To summarize, the concept of treason and traitors are much abused in the public discourse and seem primarily a form of name calling unless done by the government as a form of social control.

      Yes I agree-- on playing the patriotism card, and on the TTP etc.

    • Keith: ABIERNO- “The TPP and the TTIP are entirely different entities.”

      They sure are, pal.


      The point is, you are a despicable traitor to "your" President if you oppose Obama on the Iran deal, but you are a loyal dissenter if you oppose Obama on TPP/TTIP. Apparently.

    • " traitors to their party [...] traitors to our country."

      Hey why not? This is great. Strident attacks on the loyalty and patriotism of opponents to an official U.S. foreign policy position--it's worked for others in the past; let's make it work for us now.

    • unverified__5ilf90kd: traitors to their Democratic President.

      Indeed, traitors! Just like any democrat who would oppose their Democratic President on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).


  • Obama ushers in the crisis of the Israel lobby
    • jayn0t :In fact, it’s the USA serving Israeli interests by making sure that only Israel has the ability to wipe out all its neighbor

      Not to mention demonizing Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, validating Israeli terror and expansionsim-- actions serving "U.S. national interests", i.e., interests as conceived by U.S. ruling elites.

    • yourstruly: could it be true? //the public waking up// to the fact that the interests of Israel and the U.S. are not one and the same


      And then, might we fantasize, the public waking up to the fact that "U.S national interests" and the interests of the American people are not one and the same?

  • Obama tells Americans it is 'abrogation of my constitutional duty' to defer to Israel on Iran Deal
    • hophmi: Today’s speech supported Israel’s qualitative military edge and called Iran’s behavior “offensive and incendiary.” It also said that no one could blame Israel for being skeptical of Iran, a regime that had adopted an ideology of “antisemitism” and had “denied the Holocaust.” The President supported enhanced security cooperation between the US and Israel.

      Yep, there's very little difference between a neocon imperialist and a liberal imperialist. The Iran deal indicates at least one point of contrast, though.

    • Good post Bandolero.

      This pretty much sums it up for me:

      Obama slimed submissive to Israel and the lobby and spread a lot of hatred against Iran in the service of the lobby – but at least he defended the deal.

      But not only "in service of the lobby"-- in service of the bi-partisan U.S. Establishment geopolitical worldview.

  • The two-state pipedream: Israel will move 100s of 1000s of settlers
    • hophmi: Yes, Switzerland, great and evolved polity, granted women the right to vote in [...] 1959.

      1971, actually.

      "Women's suffrage in Switzerland was introduced at the federal level for the first time after the February 7, 1971, voting in the inverse proportion of that reported at the time of the February 1, 1959, voting (rejected 2 to 1)....".

      link to

    • yonah fredman: The value of the two state solution is that it is well delineated: if one accepts the Geneva Accord of 2003. It is also backed by the US, Russia, China, France, Germany and Japan among others.
      Not just France and Germany, but the EU as a whole.

      The only way to resolve the conflict is through an
      agreement that ends the occupation which began in 1967,
      that ends all claims and that fulfills the aspirations of both parties. A one state reality would not be compatible with these aspirations.

      (emphasis added)

      link to

      And crucially, a two-state solution based on 1967 borders (with swaps) has been backed by the Palestinian leadership.

      For us Palestinians, the reconciliation agreement concluded between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza two weeks ago was a necessary condition for moving on from the past. The agreement brings our main political players to the same side, namely to the side of a historic agreement with Israel.
      The terms of agreement includes recognition of the 1967 borders . Hamas's political leaders, moreover, are willing to back the Arab peace initiative of 2002, which is the clearest sign I know that their readiness to sign off on the 1967 border is not a mere tactical move but reflects deeper strategic calculations.

      (emphasis added)

      link to

      Furthermore, a host of states have not only backed a two-state settlement, but have officially recognized the State of Palestine:

      Of the 193 member states of the United Nations, 135 (69.9%) have recognised the State of Palestine as of 30 October 2014. Their total population is over 5.5 billion people, equaling 80 percent of the world's population.

      link to
      yonah fredman: The question regarding the two state solution is how?

      Enormous pressure must be put on Israel via a combination of international court actions, Palestinian resistance on the ground, a boycotts, divestment and an international regime of sanctions, their removal being conditioned on Israeli acceptance of a two-state settlement based on something like the Geneva Accord or the recent Saudi Plan, both of which allow major settlement blocs to be annexed by Israel. This is obviously not something that is going to happen in the short term.

  • Understanding the Partition plan
    • David Gerald Fincham: Sibiriak: thanks so much for that reference which confirms my own research.

      Your welcome. I had to type it in by hand from the book.

      It is wrong on one point, Ben-Gurion did not “remove all references to the partition plan” from the Declaration.

      Yeah, I noticed that too. He probably meant "explicit reference", but failed to be precise.

    • Talknic: Not mentioning borders only means they weren’t mentioned. It doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. […]

      De facto borders certainly did come into existence; by the end of the 1947-48 military conflict, they were determined by the armistice agreement, the de facto border on the West Bank becoming known as the “Green Line.”

      Over time, an international political and legal consensus was solidified wherein the Green Line was to become the basis for final boundaries via negotiation, with mutually agreed adjustments.

      How was it, then, that Israel’s acquisition of territory by military force during 1947-8 could ever be recognized as Israeli territory under international law, rather than as occupied Palestinian territory, as has been territory taken by Israel in 1967?

      Hostage appears to give an answer to that question:

      "[…]The Plan of Partition for the two states was only one of the many chapters in the recommended “Plan for the Future Government Of Palestine”, UN GA resolution 181(II). It was never implemented due to the non-international armed conflict in Palestine. Israel was created by its own act of secession during a civil war, so international law was largely inapplicable. Both Israel and Palestine made subsequent declarations acknowledging their acceptance of the terms of the chapter on minority and religious rights.

      Both the Security Council and the General Assembly suspended the work of the Palestine Commission after the Israeli UDI and made the Office of the UN Mediator the responsible organ for negotiating a settlement of the Question of Palestine, i.e. borders and refugees.

      The Security Council eventually ordered the Mediator to establish “permanent armistice lines of demarcation” as a provisional measure under the auspices of its Chapter VII powers and directed the parties concerned to apply and observe the armistice agreements pending a final negotiated settlement. Those were binding international agreements and internationally recognized lines of demarcation that the UN and all other parties are obliged to respect.

      At the Security Council’s 433rd meeting, the Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban, stated that the armistices were “a provisional settlement which can only be replaced by a peace agreement”. That certainly has not happened yet. He continued:

      The armistice lines do not merely separate armed forces. They mark the clearly defined areas of full civil jurisdiction. The Government, the courts, the legislatures, the security authorities of each respective State operate smoothly and unchallenged up to the appropriate armistice line. These lines thus have the normal characteristics of provisional frontiers until such time as a new process of negotiation and agreement determines the final territorial settlement. They are also stabilized by the mutual undertakings of the parties and by the fullest international sanction for as long as the Armistice Agreements are valid.

      The Armistice Agreements are not peace treaties. They do not prejudice the final territorial settlements. On the other hand, the provisional settlement established by the Armistice Agreements is unchallengeable until a new process of negotiation and agreement has been successfully consummated.

      — link to

      Israel’s claims to East Jerusalem and the settlement blocks in the OPT that “Israel will retain under any conceivable settlement” are illegal nonsense, but the claims of the parties concerned to the territory occupied in accordance with the armistice agreements are unchallengeable." (emphasis added)

      link to

    • Simha Flapan gives this account of Israel's ambiguity regarding borders:


      On May 12, there was a debate in the People’s Administration—the thirteen-member provisional government and legislature of the Yishuv—on whether the boundaries of the state should be specified in the Declaration of Independence. Earlier the same evening Ben-Gurion had told colleagues from MAPAI that he did not want to bind himself by any declaration: “If the UN does not come into account in this matter, and they [the Arab states] make war against us and we defeat them…why should we bind ourselves?” By a vote of five to four, the People’s Administration agreed. The boundaries of the state should not be mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. It was left to Ben-Gurion to rewrite Sharett’s draft, which was long and flowery, and “also made mention of the United Nations partition plan.” Ben-Gurion “deleted any reference to the partition plan” and made the text “more vigorous, firm and bold.” […]

      Quite different was the statement that Jewish Agency representative Eliyahu Epstein presented to President Truman that day: “I have the honor to notify you that the state of Israel has been proclaimed as an independent republic with the frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution of November 29, 1947. “ The next day, Epstein cabled Sharett that he had “given unqualified assurances that Israel will respect the boundaries of November 29. This is without prejudice to the requirement of military action.” Chaim Weizmann himself had informed Truman on May 13 that on the morrow “the Jewish state will assume responsibility for preserving law and order within the boundaries of the Jewish state…. and for discharging the obligations of the Jewish state to other nations of the world in accordance with international law” (emphasis added).

      Epstein was probably aware of the discrepancy between the statement to Truman and the decision of the People’s Administration not to mention borders, because he cabled Sharett the same day to explain that he had been advised by friends in the White House to mention the November 29 borders. “Circumstances required that I take title for this act and assume responsibility,” he noted. Indeed, a number of members of the Jewish Agency Executive were embarrassed and concerned by the discrepancy. Berl Locker, the London representative, cabled Sharett on May 21:

      “Very important to publish soonest official declaration that Israel accepts borders laid down 29 November, claims no part territory assigned [to the Arab state] and territories occupied. Defense measures will be restored as soon as peace restored and we shall respect Jerusalem decision. The fact that independence proclamation not explicit this points against us.”

      Abba Eban, then a member of the Jewish Agency delegation to the UN, was also worried, since the United States had accorded only de facto and not de jure recognition. He cabled Sharett from New York on May 24:

      “Ambiguity in proclamation regarding frontiers much commented [by] delegations and exploited [by] opponents, possibly delaying recognition and restricting those received. We urge official statement defining frontiers Israel in accordance November resolution, stressing this implied in references to proclamation…”

      It was the task of Moshe Sharett, as Israel’s first foreign minister, to win support and recognition for the new state. A few months after independence, Sharett offered the following explanation for Israel’s ambiguous position: The partition plan had assumed (1) that either partition would be peacefully implemented or there would be UN intervention, (2) that a separate Arab state would be established in Palestine, and (3) that an international regime would be established in Jerusalem. He went on to point out that none of these assumptions had been realized. As a result, Israel had to demand changes in the November 29 borders and the right to defend those borders. This argument was skillfully used for propaganda purposes, but it was deceptive: The Jewish Agency had never intended to allow the establishment of an independent Arab state economically linked to Israel.

      "The Birth of Israel Myths and Realities" (1987) pp.34-6

    • Hostage: [Ilan Pappe:]And thus Resolution 181’s most immoral aspect is that it included no mechanism to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. [emphasis added]

      Not at all. The General Assembly explicitly instructed the Security Council to treat any attempt to alter the plan by force as a threat to international peace and security and “the mechanism” was contained in Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

      But what "mechanism", i.e. actual force, was there to be on the ground and ready for action to prevent ethnic cleansing?

      The UN Security Council used a coalition of the willing (including yours truly) and a Chapter 7 resolution to reestablish the final territorial settlement between Iraq and Kuwait.

      How could a "coalition of the willing" assembled after the fact have prevented the ethnic cleansing?

    • @David Gerald Fincham

      See: UN Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question-- Report of Sub-Committee 2
      11 November 1947

      link to

      These [U.N.S.C.O.P. report] estimates must, however, be corrected in light of the information furnished to the Sub-Committee by the representative of the United Kingdom regarding the Bedouin population. According to this statement, 22,000 Bedouins "may be taken as normally resident in the areas allocated to the Arab state [...]" and the balance of 105,000 as resident in the proposed Jewish state.

      It will thus be seen that the proposed Jewish State will contain a total population of 1,008,800, consisting of 509,780 Arabs and 499,020 Jews.

      In other words, at the outset, the, Arabs will have a majority in the proposed Jewish State.

      (emphasis added)

    • Tree: As for the Israelis, some right wing Israeli politicians have actually stated that annexation is desirable, even if it means giving the Palestinian inhabitants the vote. The annexation itself is actually desired by many, if not most, rightwing Israelis

      But you are ignoring the critical point: most rightwing Israelis support annexing only part of the WB (i.e. Area C with very few Palestinians); a few support annexing the entire West Bank; but almost none supports annexing GAZA.

      Thus, these rightwing annexation plans would leave nearly two million Gazan Palestinians in a completely unviable, overcrowded, failed quasi-state, split off from their WB brethren. Those Palestinians forced into Israeli citizenship would be dominated by the Jewish Israeli majority. And still no ROR.

      Israel might then finally declare its borders and say, what apartheid? The occupation has ended, all Israelis have the right to vote. Gaza and the remains of the West Bank would be the rump Palestinian state (and to survive the might have to confederate with Jordan).

      The international community might try to force the reversal of the annexation (cf. sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea)--but there would be very little chance that they would try to force Israel to annex Gaza as well . That would be bizarre--opposing one Israeli annexation, clearly illegal under international law, but trying to force another one??

      In short. this would be a terrible disaster for Palestinian nationalism and self-determination.

    • Tree: It wasn’t as different as you think.
      You are not addressing some absolutely critical points:

      1)The international community of states, the UN, international courts and the Palestinian leadership has fully backed the partition of Palestine into two states. The international community, courts and the black African leadership did NOT back the partition of South African into multiple states.

      2) In Israel/Palestine, the apartheid system COULD be eliminated in a multi-state framework, and that is the international consensus. In South Africa, the apartheid system could NOT be eliminated via a multi-state framework; it was not an option.

      Israel has managed to slice up the Palestinian West Bank in similar ways by inserting its Jewish population into the area while forcibly removing the Palestinians from their land.

      True, but the question is how is that to be remedied? The world and the Palestinian leadership, including the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society organizations backing BDS, support two-states (in contrast to the South African situation). The fact that Israel resists the creation of a Palestinian state consensus is exactly the problem that external pressure must overcome.

      You yourself [DGF] have stated that we don’t know what Israel would do if pressured, since it has never been pressured. Now you are claiming otherwise

      Look at it this way. We don't know for sure if Israel could be forced to into accepting the international consensus for a two-state solution.

      We don't know for sure if Israel could be forced into accepting a single democratic state with an Arab majority (fusing Israel, Gaza and the West Bank).

      What we do know is:

      1) Forcing Jewish Israelis to accept minority status in a single Arab majority state would be vastly more difficult than forcing them to accept a two-state solution which leaves the Israeli Jewish majority intact.

      2)The world community, the UN, the ICJ, the Palestinian leadership, an overwhelming portion of Palestinian civil society supports two-states.

      3) The world community et al, is therefore very likely to put pressure on Israel to accept the international two-state consensus; they are extremely unlikely to put pressure on Israel to fuse with Gaza and the West Bank.

      4) Israel will always have the international two-state consensus as a fall back position. (The South African white minority never had such an internationally acceptable multi-state option.)

      5) Given that Israel will have that choice, we can say with a very high degree of certainty that Israel will choose to give up some portion of the settlements and sign onto a deal acceptable to the world community and the PLO long before they ever consider destroying the Zionist dream entirely and dissolving Israel into an Arab-majority state.

    • ritzl: . To me, the path seems to be annexation …
      Israel might at some point opt to annex part of the West Bank, or all of it (unlikely), BUT NOT GAZA, because doing so would destroy the very foundation of Zionism--Israel’s Jewish majority. But if Israel absorbs just (part of) the WB, the Palestinian population in Palestine will be split in two, the refugees will remain dispersed, and the new Palestinian citizens in Israel will be dominated by a racist, supremacist Jewish majority.

      Furthermore, there is no reason whatsoever to assume that annexation of WB territory would be a first step toward creation of a single state. It could well be a final step, leading to Israel unilaterally declaring it’s borders.

      As Jeff Halper put it:

      Israel could well annex area C, which is 60 per cent of the West Bank. […] area C contains less than 5 per cent of the Palestinian population. In 1967 the Jordan valley contained about 250,000 people. Today it’s less than 50,000. So the Palestinians have either been driven out of the country, especially the middle class, or they have been driven to areas A and B. That’s where 96 or 97 per cent of them are.

      The Palestinian population has been brought down low enough, there is probably somewhere around 12,5000 Palestinians in area C, so Israel could annex area C and give them full citizenship.

      Basically, Israel can absorb 125,000 Palestinians without upsetting the demographic balance. And then, what is the world going to say? It’s not apartheid, Israel has given them full citizenship. So I think Israel feels it could get away with that.

      No one cares about what’s happening in areas A and B. If they want to declare a state, they can…

      link to

      Israeli expansionism is determined by the overarching goal of grabbing as much territory as possible, with as few Palestinians as possible. The idea that right-wing Zionist annexation plans would necessarily be a step toward a single democratic state is, imo, an extremely dubious and dangerous notion.

    • David Gerald Fincham : I think the authors you quote overstate the objections to the Plan. It was designed for an evolving situation. The Jewish state was expected to receive large numbers of immigrants from Europe.

      Evidence please. From what I have read, the evidence shows that in fact the Zionist leadership did NOT anticipate sufficiently rapid and numerous Jewish immigration to counterbalance the Arab majority or near-majority expected in the UN proposed Jewish state. (I'll try to pull up the quotes shortly.)

      Also, there was to be a period in which the minority community in each state could voluntarily change citizenship and move to the other state.

      It seems to me utterly unrealistic to think that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians would voluntarily uproot themselves from their towns and villages so that Israel would be left with a super-majority of Jews. The Palestinian ties to the land were strong and deep.

      If the Plan had been accepted by the Arabs

      But there was zero chance of that, and the UN commitee must have known it.

      ....implemented as envisaged, the Jewish state would soon have had a much larger Jewish majority

      Again, evidence please. How much larger and how soon? And what about the meantime. Would the Arab majority or near-majority have had full democratic rights before then? If they did, the politics of the country would have been gridlocked. Ben-Gurion wasn't a fool; he knew full well that a territory with 40% non-Jews, let alone 50% or more, would simply not do for a Jewish state as envisioned by Zionism.

    • The Jewish State 498,000 407,000 905,000

      Those statistics (the exact numbers don't matter; other counts actually showed a slight Arab majority, iirc) point straight to the complete and tragic unrealism of the UN Partition plan.

      Consistently, from its very inception, the Zionist movement sought the creation of a Jewish-dominated state, and the absolutely essential, indispensable basis for such a state was a Jewish super-majority. A bare majority would in no way suffice.

      Simha Flapan “The Birth of Israel Myths and Realities” (p.32):

      Speaking before the Histadrut Executive on December 3 [1947], four days after the UN vote, Ben-Gurion declared that “the borders are bad from a military and political point of view.” At the same meeting he also explained that

      “in the area allotted to the Jewish state there are not more than 520,000 Jews and about 350,000 non-Jews, mostly Arabs (apart from the Jews of Jerusalem, who will also be citizens of the state). Together with the Jews of Jerusalem, the total population of the Jewish state, at the time of its establishment, will be about a million people, almost 40 percent non-Jews. Such a composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish state. This fact must be seen in all its clarity and acuteness. Such a composition does not even give us absolute assurance that control will remain in the hands of the Jewish majority.” (emphasis added)

      If Ben-Gurion considered a state with 40% non-Jews to be unacceptable, you can imagine how disastrous a nearly 50% non-Jewish state would be in the Zionist view.

      Ilan Pappe spells out the implications of this reality:

      The Partition Resolution incorporated the most fertile land in the proposed Jewish state as well as almost all the Jewish urban and rural space in Palestine. But it also included 400 (out of more than 1000) Palestinian villages within the designated Jewish state. In hindsight, it may be argued in UNSCOP’s defence that Resolution 181 was based on the assumption that the two new political entities would peacefully coexist and therefore not much attention needed to be paid to balances of demography and geography.

      If this were the case, as some UNSCOP members were to argue later, then they were guilty of totally misreading Zionism and grossly underestimating its ambitions

      Again in the words of Walid Khalidi, Resolution 181 was ‘a hasty act of granting half of Palestine to an ideological movement that declared openly already in the 1930s its wish to de-Arabise Palestine.’ And thus Resolution 181’s most immoral aspect is that it included no mechanism to prevent the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

      Let us look more closely at the final map that the UN proposed in November 1947 (see Map 5). Palestine was actually to be divided into three parts. On forty-two per cent of the land, 818,000 Palestinians were to have a state that included 10,000 Jews, while the state for the Jews was to stretch over almost fifty-six per cent of the land which 499,000 Jews were to share with 438,000 Palestinians. The third part was a small enclave around the city of Jerusalem which was to be internationally governed and whose population of 200,000 was equally divided between Palestinians and Jews.

      The almost equal demographic balance within the allocated Jewish state was such that, had the map actually been implemented, it would have created a political nightmare for the Zionist leadership: Zionism would never have attained any of its principal goals. As Simcha Flapan, one of the first Israeli Jews to challenge the conventional Zionist version of the 1948 events, put it, had the Arabs or the Palestinians decided to go along with the Partition Resolution, the Jewish leadership would have been sure to reject the map UNSCOP offered them.

      Actually, the UN map was an assured recipe for the tragedy that began to unfold the day after Resolution 181 was adopted. As theoreticians of ethnic cleansing acknowledged later, where an ideology of exclusivity is adopted in a highly charged ethnic reality, there can be only one result: ethnic cleansing.

      By drawing the map as they did, the UN members who voted in favour of the Partition Resolution contributed directly to the crime that was about to take place.

      (emphasis added)

      Ilan Pappe, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”

    • ritzl: Jewish-dominated Israel will never give up meaningful sovereignty over 30-40% of its water supply (i.e. the West Bank). Not ever.
      How can you be so certain? The question is: what kind of compromises would Israel be willing to make if subject to politically isolating, economically crushing, boycotts/divestment/sanctions ?

      And not only BDS, but BDS combined with ICC/ICJ legal action, overwhelming global governmental pressure, and exploding resistance by Palestinians in the OT.

      Under those completely novel circumstances, how can you say for sure that Israel would not be compelled to accept a settlement based on the “international two-state consensus”?

      Water rights would be an integral element of such a settlement, as exemplified by the Geneva Initiative, for example:

      Among the more interesting points is the recognition by both parties that they both possess rights to water in water resources that traverse their political boundaries. This includes the Mountain aquifer and its various sub-basins, the Coastal Aquifer, the Jordan River, and the Dead Sea. This point has been a particularly important issue for the Palestinians who strive for nationhood and the respect due a sovereign people.

      A related and equally crucial issue for the Palestinians is the acknowledgment in the accord by Israel that a “just and rightful” allocation of water between the two peoples requires a “re-division” of shared water resources in favor of the Palestinians. The Palestinians have long claimed that Israel has taken more than its fair share and ignored the Palestinians’ rights to the water in the region.

      In response, Israel’s concerns about the contamination of its water supply are partly addressed in the provisions related to both parties’ obligation to void causing significant transboundary harm via shared waters. The definition afforded to the term “harm” in this provision is rather broad in scope and encompasses detrimental effects not only to people and property, but also to the natural environment.

      Israel has voiced considerable misgivings about the Palestinian’s ability to manage wastewater and other pollutants in the highlands of the West Bank (part of the presumptive Palestinian State). This region is the recharge area for the Mountain Aquifer and any inflow of pollutants (which is already occurring to some extent) threatens Israel’s water supply in the lower reaches of the aquifer below Israel proper.

      One other noteworthy provision in the Water Annex is the creation of a Joint Water Commission, which in its initial stage, would have some authority to adjust water allocations between the two states in response to “significant hydrologic and climatic changes.”

      What this may mean in practice remains to be seen, however, the creation of a joint commission composed of three representatives from each side with a voting “neutral chairman of another nationality” suggests a serious desire to develop a fair mechanism for cooperative water management and allocation.

      link to

      link to

      If massive pressure can force Israel to accept the international two-state consensus in principle, then water rights issues can be dealt with one way or another in the context of a comprehensive, internationally-backed agreement.

  • Sheldon Adelson bankrolls NBA player trip to Israel to fight BDS
    • Annie Robbins: no, absolutely 29% violent/armed with a gun a NOT, in my book, a substantial percentage. the number should be 100% for what other reason would police have to gun down a criminal?
      What about attacking with a knife, no gun? To give one possibility.

      What about attacking with a gun, but without being suspected of a previous crime. To give another.

      What about attacking someone physically without a weapon?
      AR: police are not the judge and jury and executioner. they are supposed to arrest people unless their lives are threatened.

      No disagreement there. But lives can be threatened without the attacker having BOTH a gun and suspicion of having committed a crime.

      It just seems like the issue of the role of criminality is more complex than that statistic suggests.
      AR: 5) How does the quoted statistic show that it is entirely “not about crime”?

      why not ask How does the quoted statistic show that you beat your wife last night?

      Non sequitur. The site makes the broad, unequivocal claim: "It's not about crime", then tries to back up that claim with the statistic in question. But in many cases it is indeed about crime. Many cases--not all! My question, therefore, is exactly on point. It doesn't have to be either/or. In some but not all cases, criminality is a significant element.


      AR: police are supposed to police, not kill people — except in drastic extenuating circumstance.

      No shit. That's a truism. How many Americans do you think would disagree with that? But it begs the question: in how many of these cases (in the given statistics) were there extenuating circumstances? It would be blatantly false to say " in all or most of them"-- there is overwhelming evidence of police racism and brutality, not to mention sheer incompetence. But it would be equally false to say (or suggest) "in none or very few of them". I think we need a balanced, nuanced analysis, not oversimplification. I think the that site oversimplifies the issue, that''s all. Otherwise, I agree with many of your points.

    • Annie Robbins: ... this site link to claims black people are 3 times more likely to be by police than white people

      Thanks for the link. Interesting site which clearly makes no attempt to hide it's political biases and relies on highly simplified "talking points."

      For example, the third sentence there reads:

      "On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown Jr. was murdered by Officer Darren Wilson, sparking nationwide protests against police killings of black people."

      Yet, it was far from proved that Michael brown was murdered .

      Further down we find:

      "It's not about crime

      Fewer than 1 in 3 black people killed by police in America last year were suspected of a violent crime and armed with a gun.

      Non-Violent (71%) Violent Suspect Armed w/ Gun (29%) "

      That statement raises many questions:

      1) Why do the statistics deal only with a single year?

      2) Isn't 29% violent/armed with a gun a substantial percentage? The statement could just as well have read: "Nearly 1 in 3 black people killed by police in America last year were suspected of a violent crime and armed with a gun. "

      3) What about being suspected of a violent crime but not armed with a gun?

      4) What about non-violent crime?

      5) How does the quoted statistic show that it is entirely "not about crime"?

      Police racism is undoubtedly a terrible reality, but the role played by criminality in many of these cases should not be ignored.

  • In wake of January attacks, French Muslims have been demonized in manufactured 'clash of civilizations'
    • DoubleStandard: ... the dangers that radical Islam poses to Western civilization.

      I'm more worried about the dangers radical Western Civilization poses to the world.

  • It's time for American Jews to recognize they have been duped
    • Kim Chernin, 2002 "Seven Pillars of Jewish Denial" (excerpt):

      [...] We used to ride down to our orchards on kibbutz trucks with Arab workers fro m the neighboring villages and were occasionally invited to visit. We liked sitting on a rug on a dirt floor, eating food cooked over an open fire, drinking water from the village well. Above all, we loved the kerosene lamps that were lit and set in a half circle around us as it grew dark. But walking home it occurred to me that our kibbutz had running water, electricity, modern stoves. Our neighbors were gracious, generous, and friendly, although I had learned by then that the land the kibbutz occupied had once belonged to them. We were living on land that was once theirs, under material conditions they could not hope to equal. I found this troubling.

      The path from this troubled awareness to my later ability to be critical of Israel has been long and complex. Over the years I have spoken with other Jews who have traveled this same path, and to many more who haven't. In each of us I have detected mental obstacles that make it hard, sometimes impossible, for us to see what is there before our eyes. Our inability to engage in critical thought about our troubled homeland is entangled by crucial questions about Jewish identity. Why do American Jews find it difficult to be critical of Israel? Here, setout in linear form, are seven obstacles to a Jew's ability to be critical of Israel.

      Seven Obstacles:

      1. A conviction that Jews are always in danger, always have been, and therefore are in danger now.

      Which leads to:

      2. The insistence that a criticism is an attack and will lead to our destruction.

      Which is rooted in:

      3. The supposition that any negativity towards Jews (or Israel) is a sign of anti-Semitism and will (again, inevitably) lead to our destruction.

      Which is enhanced by:

      4. Survivor's guilt.

      Which contains within itself:

      5. A hidden belief that we can change the past. Which holds:

      6. An even more hidden belief that a sufficient amountof suffering confers the right to violence.

      Which finally brings us to:

      7. The conviction that our beliefs, our ideology (or theology), matter more than the lives of other human beings

      link to

    • talknic: “[yonah fredman:] 1. a negotiated settlement (along the lines of the 2003 Geneva accord)”

      Swapping non-Israeli territory for non-Israeli territory so Israel can keep non-Israeli territory? Get it thru your fat head. Israel has not legally acquired one square inch of territories it wished to swap.

      Legally acquired or not, that (pre-1967) territory has been de facto acquired and that acquisition has been recognized by practically the entire international community as well as the Palestinian leadership. Even Hamas has stated its willingness to accept an Israeli state within pre-1967 borders, i.e. including territory not legally acquired in 1947-48.

      Crucially, the BDS movement itself calls for:

      Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;

      [emphasis added]

      The deliberate, explicit inclusion of that date--June 1967--means that reversing Zionist occupation and colonization of Arab lands that occurred before that date is not a BDS goal.

    • yonah fredman: ....for Leonard Cohen to come to Israel with an urge to work on a kibbutz and end up playing for the troops was not as a result of being duped, but was as a result of devotion to the Jewish people.

      Why must it be either/or?

      Why must "devotion to the Jewish people" preclude being ignorant about critical facts of Israel's history and their moral implications?

      Why can't a person have noble intentions but also be "duped" in some regards?

      Why must everything be so morally black and white? (That applies to Avigail Abarbanel as well.)

    • RobertHenryEller: Real Jews practice the teachings of Rabbi Hillel.

      Right.... and no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.

      link to

    • For amigo:

      link to

      "Ariel Sharon may have taken to his grave the real reason for his decision to uproot over 10,000 Israeli settlers from their homes 10 years ago. The fact is, a majority of Israelis supported his decision at the time, many trusting that his judgment would improve Israel’s security.

      Who would question the security opinion of the general who led Israel’s soldiers across the Suez Canal in the crucial hours of the Yom Kippur War? Ten years later, after three major Israel Defense Forces operations in the Gaza Strip and thousands of rockets falling on a good part of Israel, it’s clear to most that he was wrong.

      Not only do the polls indicate that most Israelis now believe that Sharon's withdrawal was a mistake, but, believe it or not, they insist they thought it was a mistake at the time. So much for denial on a grand scale.

      A number of aspects of Sharon’s decision seem inexplicable to this day. Why in addition to the uprooting of the Gaza settlers in Gush Katif and Netzarim did he also decide to uproot the settlers at the Strip’s northern tip — Dugit, Elei Sinai and Nisanit — which brought Ashkelon within range of Qassam rockets that could be launched from there?

      Was he laboring under the illusion that by withdrawing right up to the armistice line concluded in February 1949 with Egypt, which left the Egyptian army in control of Gaza, he would improve Israel’s international standing?

      Just look at the “improvement” in Israel’s international standing since the disengagement. Leaving these settlements in place would not have changed a thing in that regard. But to much of the public the slogan “getting out of Gaza” overpowered all rhyme or reason. It was good riddance to bad rubbish as far as they were concerned. For all they cared we should have let the Egyptian army stay there.

      But most puzzling was Sharon’s decision to uproot the settlers of Kadim, Sa-Nur, Homesh and Ganim in northern Samaria. In four weeks we will mark 10 years since that totally irrational act. With all the attention drawn to the uprooting of the settlers of Gush Katif 10 years ago, these settlements seem to have been forgotten by most.

      What possible reason was there for this outrageous action, carried out in the wake of the destruction of the settlements in the Gaza area? Not accompanied by an IDF withdrawal as in Gush Katif, what could their destruction possibly accomplish besides inflicting suffering on the settlers there? We will probably never know the reason, if there was any, behind this foul act.

      Are these unfortunate acts irreversible? Will we see settlers returning to the areas where once stood their homes that have been destroyed?

      Barring some cataclysmic events, Gush Katif will remain under some kind of Palestinian control for the foreseeable future. But the situation in Gaza’s northern tip could have been changed during any one of the three IDF operations in the area, most recently during Operation Protective Edge a year ago.

      The area where once existed the settlements of Dugit, Elei Sinai and Nisanit could have been occupied and retained by the IDF, thus providing at least a partial security improvement for the inhabitants of the Ashkelon area. The settlers could have returned. It was an opportunity missed.

      Quite different is the situation of the destroyed settlements Kadim, Sa-Nur, Homesh and Ganim in northern Samaria. The area remains under IDF control. There seems to be no reason not to let the settlers return to their homes there. That would at least partially correct the injustice committed there 10 years ago. The time has come to give it some serious thought"

    • rosross: BDS will cripple Israel’s economy in the same way it did South Africa’s and in both cases, bring an end to apartheid.


      1) The Israeli polity is highly nationalistic, militaristic, and moving ever-rightward. Moderate pressure won't be nearly enough to force significant concessions let alone force the complete abandonment of Zionism. Moderate pressure will only bolster hardline Zionist nationalism, making it even more extreme, paranoid and bellicose.

      2) If BDS pressure is to become intolerably "crippling", states will have to get involved, i.e., in addition to boycotts and divestment there would have to be a coordinated regime of state sanctions. We are a long way away from that, right now--a very long way.

      3) If such state sanctions did eventually materialize, it is highly unlikely that the states involved would adopt the goals of the official BDS movement.

      The BDS movement lists three conditions Israel would have to meet in order to have BDS removed:

      1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
      2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
      3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

      link to

      The conditions attached to an international sanction regime would be the subject of negotiation, and would no doubt substantially water down those official BDS goals.

      In all likelihood, the focus would be on getting Israel to agree to negotiate in good faith (for the first time) a two-state settlement based a set of clear parameters in line with the “international two-state consensus”. Those parameters would include boundaries based on pre-1967 “Green Line” borders, mutually agreed land swaps, major settlement blocs annexed by Israel, recognition of a largely symbolic “Right of Return” with compensation, Jerusalem divided into two capitals, etc. –parameters already accepted by Palestinian leaders in past negotiations.

      It is highly unlikely that the international community would condition sanctions removal on the elimination of discriminatory laws within Israel proper .

      4.) Whatever the exact conditions attached to an international sanctions regime, if one ever were to arise, the removal of those sanctions would come through extended negotiations with Israel, just as in the case of Iran.

      If the sanctions were truly crippling, Jewish Israelis would reluctantly accept the international consensus on a two-state solution long before they would accept minority status in a democratic state encompassing Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

      That is, they would acquiesce to limitations on the Zionist dream long before accepting the complete annihilation of that dream.

    • MHughes976: The real duping/self-deception has lain in treating the Zionist project as a genuine continuation not of the imperialist but of the liberal and socialist traditions of the West

      Western liberalism has by no means been necessarily anti-imperialist. The British Empire sat quite comfortably with classic liberalism, as does the current U.S-. led imperialism with neoliberalism.

  • Greece’s Syriza makes military deal with Israel that only US has made
    • 7 July /2015

      [...]With Greece’s future shrouded in great uncertainty, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias spoke in Jerusalem on Monday of developing an axis of security and stability among Israel, Greece, and Cyprus inside what he called a regional “triangle of destabilization.”

      Speaking alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before their meeting, Kotzias said that, “We are living inside a triangle of destabilization,” which he said begins “at the top” with Ukraine, and extends on one side to Libya, and on the other through Iraq and Syria.

      link to

    • 9 Jun 2015

      Greece officially starts using term ‘Palestine’

      Palestine is ‘in our hearts,’ FM Kotzias says, hailing ‘centuries-old’ political ties,’ but stopping short of full recognition

      [...]During the joint press conference Monday, Kotzias said he looked forward to implementing a memorandum of understanding on “political consultations” between the Greek and Palestinian foreign ministries. He also vowed to increase financial aid to Palestinian students, despite his country’s current financial difficulties.

      “We have centuries-old political and historical ties, and the country’s support for the Palestinian cause is well known,” he added.

      [...]Greece’s current government is understood to be very critical of Israeli policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians. During last summer’s Gaza war, Prime Minister Tsipras said Israel’s “brutality cannot be tolerated.” Senior members of his far-left Syriza party, which holds an almost absolute majority in parliament, participated in the 2010 flotilla, which sought to break Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza and resulted in a deadly clash between Turkish activists and Israeli troops. One of the party’s delegates to the European Parliament is said to be openly sympathetic to Hamas.

      However, Greek government officials and representatives of the Jewish community said relations between Athens and Jerusalem will remain friendly, as both sides value the “strategic importance” of increased bilateral cooperation.

      link to

  • Video: Israelis in West Jerusalem call for attack on Iran
    • JLewisDickerson: [Wikipedia:] Reich argued that the reason Nazism was chosen over communism was sexual repression...


      But how applicable is the sexual repression theory today? I mean, putting aside the considerable differences between 1930's fascism and contemporary Israeli militarism, are wild, libertine, sexually unrepressed Jewish Israelis any less jingoistic than their repressed compatriots?

  • There are 326,000 children near Tel Aviv who won't be hearing Caetano Veloso
    • eljay: || hophmi: The motives of BDS? What are they, exactly?||

      They are:

      1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall [ETC.]


      Actually, goal #1 has been changed to:

      "Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall" (emphasis added)

      link to

      This is an highly significant alteration which implies a degree of recognition of the validity of pre-1967 "Green Line" borders.

  • St. Louis Jews call on ADL to cancel honor to police
    • @W.Jones: Btw, notwithstanding my previous comment, I don't fully agree with every objection detailed in the End the Occupation statement. #2 in particular:

      ETO: In writing about a controversy surrounding allegations of the Israeli military harvesting the organs of Palestinians in 2009, Ms. Weir responded to supporters of Israel claiming this was a new “blood libel” by citing the research of Ariel Toaff, who purported to have uncovered ritual murder of Christian children by Jews in medieval Europe (the very definition of “blood libel”).

      Actually, towards the very beginning of the article in question, Alison Weir refers to the medieval anti-Semitic "blood libel" stories as "widely refuted":

      Numerous people likened the article to the medieval “blood libel,” (widely refuted stories that Jews killed people to use their blood in religious rituals). (emphasis added)

      link to

      ETO errs, imo, by ignoring that first response. It is only much later in the article that Alison Weir brings up the views of Ariel Toaff, not to endorse them, but rather to use his case as an example of how the ADL and other groups can orchestrate a campaign of personal attacks to force someone to recant their views.

      (I'm not familiar enough with the Toaff controversy to weigh in on it, but Wikipedia tells us: "Toaff later wrote that critics had misunderstood his book, which was arguing that the ritual use of small quantities of dried blood in magical curses had been a real practice among medieval "Ashkenazi extremists", but that this was unrelated to the accusation of ritual murder which was the central claim of the "blood libel." link to

    • W.Jones: of their main objections was her appearance on right wing programs, and she is committed to reaching a wide array of audiences, including both right wing American and Israeli ones.

      While I am sympathetic to your viewpoint, I don't think that is an accurate description of the particular ETO objection in question.

      The problem isn't simply "appearance on right-wing programs" in order to get the message out; it is 1) appearance on programs that embrace extreme racist and anti-Semitic views combined with 2) making "little to no effort to challenge, confront, or rebut any of these views" and "placing Palestinian rights advocacy within the context of -- rather than in opposition to -- those views."

      ETO: Principled advocates of Palestinian rights appear on media outlets that have promoted bigoted narratives, such as Fox News or CNN, in order to challenge, not reinforce, racism in all of its forms, including anti-Palestinian bias, Zionist propaganda, Islamophobia and white supremacy.

    • tree: [quoting the "Open Letter" ] we are dismayed by the recent unfounded attacks on one of the top organizations working on this issue, If Americans Knew, and its dedicated leader, Alison Weir .

      But the objections are NOT unfounded. That's the problem. They are very well-documented.

      We also believe that the vitriolic, ADL-like accusations that Alison Weir is "anti-Semitic" and/or racist are scurrilous and without foundation.

      ETO does NOT accuse Alison Weir herself of being anti-Semitic or racist, nor are the actual objections vitriolic, scurrilous or unfounded. Annie has already accurately and evenhandedly described the actual objections, so I will not repeat them.

      Cf. link to

  • Press can't justify red carpet for Oren tract and blackout for Blumenthal's 'definitive account' of Gaza
    • Giles: Can’t you just admit that a large majority of the Jewish people support Zionism

      Is that even a point of contention?

    • Giles: Can we please quit pretending that the vast majority of American Jews are not Zionists?

      Who is making that claim?

      The point is: "the vast majority of Jews" is not at all the same as "the Jews". The current Zionist Jewish majority didn't always exist, and may well soon cease to exist, and there are certainly many non-Zionist Jews.

      Jewishness and Zionism are two different categories, and it is a fundamental category error to conflate them.

      unverified__5ilf90kd wrote, for example:

      "the Jews and their MSM have been able to arrange things [etc.] (emphasis added)

      That's fallacious. There is no such monolithic entity "the Jews" that controls "their" MSM. The problem isn't "the Jews"--its Zionism. Let's not pretend that isn't a critical distinction.

  • ICC rules prosecutor to reconsider 'Mavi Marmara' investigation
    • Jackdaw: I can’t explain your complicity....

      You accuse someone of "direct complicity in the death and destruction of millions of Third World peoples , yet can't provide a word of explanation as to how that person is complicit? That's rich.

  • Nine reasons Obama is going to win on Iran. The first: Netanyahu
  • Angela Merkel makes a 14-year old Palestinian girl cry by telling her she is not welcome in Germany
    • piotr: Ukrainians will have the option of going back to the bosom of mother Russia.

      Virulent Ukrainian ethno-nationalism has destroyed that option.

  • 'We should seize it' -- Obama announces Iran deal as 'new direction' for the Middle East
    • yonah fredman: ... the NYT sums up the pact with the phrase: “defusing the country’s nuclear threat, even if just for a decade or so.”


      But let's not ignore how the NYT defines the "nuclear threat" in question. It's not about Iran producing a nuclear arsenal, but about Iran becoming a "nuclear threshold" state.

      NYT: "Little in the deal announced on Tuesday eliminates Iran’s ability to become a threshold nuclear power eventually — it just delays the day. "

      As the NYT article continues, it becomes clear that the real objection to the agreement is not the nuclear-threshold-state issue alone, but the notion that Iran is eternally hostile to "the West" and any lifting of sanctions gives Iran greater power to act on that hostility.

      NYT: Tehran’s nuclear program is just one of its instruments of power to destabilize the Middle East. And there is risk, especially in the next few years, that Iran’s generals will compensate for the loss of a nuclear program by stepping up their financing of Hezbollah and the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and by flexing their muscles in other conflicts across the region. They have already built up a talented “cybercorps” of their own and turned it on Saudi Arabia and, in more limited ways, the United States.

      As I said, this is much more than just an issue of Iran eventually becoming a nuclear threshold state.

  • Abe Foxman says goodbye to an America of secret Jew haters
    • @Keith

      Btw, when Keynes called for "euthanasia of the rentier" (1936), he wasn't talking about feudal lords.

    • @Keith I don't dispute the "financialization" analysis, I just don't see the expression "neo-feudalism" as being an improvement over "neoliberalism". The "liberalism" in "neoliberalism" of course refers to 19th /early 20th century liberal capitalism; and the "neo" indicates that we are dealing with a new stage of capitalism with elements unlike any previous one, so no one is trying to suggest a simple return to 19th century-style capitalism.

    • @Keith From your M. Hudson link:

      "While pushing the world economy into a state of war internationally, high finance also is waging a class war against labor"


      How is that not a perfect description of 19th /early 20th century capitalism? Hilferding, Lenin et al. wrote as much in their theories of "finance capital" and capitalist imperialism.

    • Keith: This will be profoundly different from 19th century capitalism insofar as it will be predominantly a rentier economy of wealth transfer rather than a productive economy.

      Wealth has to be produced first in order for it to be transferred. Under feudalism, peasants produced the primary wealth in non-capitalist, non-market, largely un-monetized economies. I don't think the analogy provides much insight into contemporary transnational capitalism.

    • Keith: As the global political economy proceeds down the neo-liberal path towards a form of neo-feudalism.

      It's much more like 19th century capitalism than the middle ages--which is to say, just classic capitalism, highly financialized, sans the brief post- WWII Keynesian- national- welfare/warfare-state anomaly.

      the Lords of capitalism are the new nobility and they are working to restrict the rights and benefits of the 99%

      While the "1% vs the 99%" meme is undoubtedly potent polemically, it is not accurate, imo. The "1%" (perhaps .01) has formed a crucial alliance with a top 20-25% managerial, IT, skilled professional, "symbolic analyst" transnational class who are doing quite well under the neoliberal regime.

    • Annie Robbins: he wasn’t referring to a stereotype, he was perpetuating it.

      Brilliant retort. Thank you.

  • The case for US government sanctions on Israel
    • is now time for public demands on the U.S. government to introduce sanctions on Israel to end the occupation

      Indeed. But let's be clear about one thing: if sanctions are ever introduced "to end the occupation", the U.S. government, unlike the official BDS movement, will NOT be agnostic about the required solution; the explicit goal will be a two-state settlement based on the so-called "international consensus": '67 borders, land swaps, large settlement blocs annexed by Israel, largely symbolic "right of return" w/ compensation etc.

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