Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 1533 (since 2012-06-23 07:13:37)

Showing comments 1533 - 1501

  • 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.

  • Lies, smear, and two-steps -- Why did organizers really cancel the Feis?
  • Michael Oren misrepresents 1971 synagogue bombing that changed his life
    • yonah fredman: peter didn’t like when i called him a half jew to his face

      So why did you do it then?

    • yonah fredman: But I felt an affinity towards him at least in part because of similarities in thought and speech and values that I associate with the jewish blood that ran in his veins.

      * * *

      There is little question that speech patterns are genetic...
      (emphasis added)

      So what exactly are the speech patterns associated with Jewish blood (genes)??

    • yonah fredman: But I felt an affinity towards [half-Jew Peter] at least in part because of similarities in thought and speech and values that I associate with the jewish blood that ran in his veins...

      "Thought and speech and values" are associated with the kind of blood running through his veins? WTF???

    • yonah fredman: because of the halakha that labels the son of a nonJewish mother as a nonjew there is a need for a term to refer to that person’s jewishness. a black child of a white mother has no need to go and define their blackness, they can see it in the mirror. as ben stiller said, jewish law says one thing and the mirror says another.


      Fascinating. You've obviously spent a lot of time thinking about the "Half-Jewish Question". Nobody can say your ideas about half-Jews are half-baked, that's for sure.

      I number of questions do, however, arise in my mind on this important issue.

      What should we call the offspring of a black Jewish father and a white European non-Jewish mother? A half-Jew? A half-black half- Jew? A black half-Jew? A biracial half-Jew...??

      What should we call the offspring of a white-skinned, blond, blue-eyed Ashkenazi Jew and a dark-skinned, dark-haired Mizrahi Jew who looks in the mirror and sees the clear mixing of distinct bloods? A half-Ashkenazi full-Jew? A half-Arab Jew? And if the mother was not Jewish, it would be, what? A half-Arab- half -Jew?

      Pondering these ever-proliferating questions can cause one to go half-crazy!

    • Page: 15
    • tokyobk: My point is that overcoming oppression does not have to be a negative identity trait as Keith implies in the case of Jews, a group he is clearly not sympathetic with

      Keith is not "sympathetic" with Jews as a group? Are you insinuating that he is an anti-Semite?

      If you are (what else does "not sympathetic to Jews as a group" mean?), then you are only proving his point.

    • tokyobk: Zionism might have been the worst possible solution but the problem of antisemitism was real.

      The vast, overwhelming majority (99%?)of commenters here would agree with that statement.

      Seems like a straw man argument to suggest otherwise.

    • Shingo: [Sibiriak:] Oren’s trauma was real and is real and is evident in his belief system. “Trauma is never invented.”

      That’s debatable.

      I agree. The irony was probably not detectable, but I was quoting Avigail Abarbanel: "Trauma is never invented. It’s always real and is evident in the belief system people have."

      link to

    • Michael Oren reached a different conclusion. Now he is misrepresenting history to try to convince a reader, or himself, of the wisdom of that choice.

      Nevertheless, Oren's trauma was real and is real and is evident in his belief system. "Trauma is never invented."

  • Report from Ramallah: How Palestine is today
    • RoHa: Why is justice for Palestians regarded as a left wing position?

      Historically, anti-colonialism has been closely associated with the Left.

  • Theodor Herzl wasn't Jewish, according to Israeli minister
    • rosross: And that makes most Israelis not Jewish since a secular Jew cannot be Jewish because secular means without religion.

      That notion has never been widely held.

      Cf. Wikipedia:

      According to the traditional Rabbinic view, which is maintained by all branches of Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism[46] today, only halakha can define who is or is not a Jew when a question of Jewish identity, lineage, or parentage arises about any person seeking to define themselves or claim that they are Jewish.

      As a result, mere belief in the principles of Judaism does not make one a Jew. Similarly, non-adherence by a Jew to the 613 Mitzvot, or even formal conversion to another religion, does not make one lose one's Jewish status. Thus the immediate descendants of all female Jews (even apostates) are still considered to be Jews, as are those of all their female descendants. Even those descendants who are not aware they are Jews, or practice a religion other than Judaism, are defined by this perspective as Jews, as long as they come from an unbroken female line of descent.

      link to

    • rosross: ‘Jewish’ Israelis are European, albeit some with links to Semitic peoples, most are not Semitic.

      According to Wikipedia:

      The majority of Israeli Jews are Mizrahi Jews,[18] with 61% of Israeli Jews having Mizrahi Jewish ancestry as of 2005.

      link to

  • California students resist authorities’ attempt to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism
    • Keith: I would suggest that it was/is not as new and different as you seem to be suggesting. The transnational corporations and white oligarchs still run the place.


      Agree. Apartheid died, and a new, terrible neoliberal South Africa was born.

    • lysias: Did South Africa destroy itself?

      Yes. And a new, very different South Africa was born.

      Look, if a new democratic polity were born in Palestine, incorporating Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and allowing a significant inflow of Palestinian refugees--- a new polity with a Arab-Palestinian majority--then Israel would cease to exist, literally and in every significant sense. What would remain? The name? No. The flag, the national anthem? No. The Basic Laws? No. The demographics? No. The social, political, and military structures? No. None of the essential features of Israel as a polity would remain.

      I'm not saying that would be a bad thing; it's simply a fact. Israel would cease to exist.

    • Blownaway: [] Hate speech laws are going in all around the world, and progressive activists in the United States want to use these kinds of laws to destroy free speech in America...


      Many "progressives" have certainly promoted the "hate-speech" concept, and the idea that offensive speech can be intolerable--and now it's coming around to bite them in the ass.

  • I believe I can make a difference in my lifetime
    • eljay [Sibiriak:] Israel could continue to have a Jewish character by dint of a Jewish super-majority, even as it evolves into a state with full and equal rights for all citizens.

      || Agreed.

      That was my main point, and I'm glad we agree on it.

      …your conclusion is that I said that Russia is a supremacist state.

      No, that was not my conclusion. I was simply drawing attention to the fact that your statement logically implied that Russia was a supremacist state.

      You wrote:

      I was under the impression that Russia is a Russian state because everyone is Russian with equal Russian rights.

      If that’s not the case, I condemn Russia for being an ethnic-supremacist state. (emphasis added)

      That last sentence is an if-then (a-->b) statement. The premise ("that's not the case") is true, therefore the conclusion logically follows, i.e. that you condemn Russia for being an ethnic-supremacist state.

      I pointed out that the Russian Federation was a distinctly Russian state by dint of its Russian super-majority (not merely because all citizens of that state had equal rights), yet nevertheless it was not a supremacist state.

      In any case, that's a minor point. We agree on the main one, so I'll leave it at that.

    • eljay: Where did I say that “Zio-supremacist intentions” should be a “deciding factor”.

      You wrote:

      Perhaps it could be [a Jewish State with equal rights for all], but it currently isn’t and Zio-supremacists seem to have no intention of ever making it one.

      That statement cleary implies that Zio-supremacist intentions are a deciding factor in whether or not Israel could become a NON-supremacist Jewish state (Jewish super-majority; equal rights).

      IMO, the dominant group is not relevant as long as all citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees (CIERs) are fully and equally Russian.

      It may not be relevant to you, but I assure you, it is supremely relevant to the overwhelming majority of Russians.

      For Israel, this would mean full and equal rights for all Israeli CIERs...

      Agreed. Israel could continue to have a Jewish character by dint of a Jewish super-majority, even as it evolves into a state with full and equal rights for all citizens.


      || Who said it was a supremacist state? || I don’t know who said it. I didn’t.

      You wrote:

      I was under the impression that Russia is a Russian state because everyone is Russian with equal Russian rights. If that’s not the case, I condemn Russia for being an ethnic-supremacist state.

      That is NOT the case--yet Russia is NOT a supremacist state. Your statement erroneously omitted that possibility.

    • eljay: || Sibiriak: True, but a “Jewish State” need not be a Jewish-supremacist state. It could be “Jewish” simply by dint of having a Jewish super-majority, with all the social and cultural implications that brings. ||

      Perhaps it could be, but it currently isn’t and Zio-supremacists seem to have no intention of ever making it one.

      Agreed. Zio-supremacists have no intention of giving up their supremacy-- by definition. They have no intention of allowing either a democratic state with a Palestinian majority, encompassing Israel/WB/Gaza, OR a separate Palestinian state with true sovereignty.

      So why would you suggest that Zio-supremacist intentions be any kind of deciding factor?

      Israel will have to be forced to accept even a modicum of justice, forced by BDS, international governmental pressure, local Palestinian resistance, legal action etc.

      I was under the impression that Russia is a Russian state because everyone is Russian with equal Russian rights. If that’s not the case...

      No. That's not the case. Citizens of the Russian Federation have equal rights, true-- but that's not what makes it a distinctly Russian state. It's Russian because of a super-majority Russian ethnos-- a dominant group of people with a shared linguistic, religious, and cultural heritage.

      .... Russia for being an ethnic-supremacist state.

      Who said it was a supremacist state? To repeat: it is a distinctly Russian state by dint of it's Russian demographic majority, not any legally or politically entrenched supremacism.

    • DoubleStandard: I would love nothing more than for the Saudi Peace Plan to be fully implemented.

      Wow. You almost had me there. Until:

      Problem is: the Saudi Peace Plan, even if given in good faith, won’t last forever. The people of the region don’t believe in it, and populism is rising across the Middle East. The US-backed dictatorships can’t last forever.

      So, a modicum of justice isn't to be sought because it might not bring eternal peace? (Israeli peace agreements with Egypt, Jordan etc. have lasted a very long time.)

      So, Israel would be more secure lording over millions of Palestinians in an apartheid state, provoking global outrage, compared to signing on to a peace agreement that would be backed by virtually the entire international community?

      That makes no sense at all, and is either mindless repetition of a propaganda talking point, or calculated dishonesty.

      A more honest view:

      The Jordan Valley is not essential to Israel’s security because the country is not facing a threat from the east, said former Mossad director Meir Dagan, days after a ministerial panel supported legislation to officially annex the Israeli settlements in the valley, which borders Jordan.

      “I have no problem with the political demand that the valley should be part of the State of Israel,” Dagan said in a lecture at a Kfar Saba café last week, according to Maariv. “Such a position is permissible.

      What bothers me is that it’s being depicted as some kind of security problem. There is no Iraqi army, there is no eastern front. There’s peace with Jordan. I don’t like the talk that the valley is essential to Israel’s security.”

      Dagan said citing security reasons for retaining the Jordan Valley was “manipulation.”

      link to

    • DoubleStandard: It’s pure coincidence that Israel just happens to be the paragon of pure evil?


      It's pure coincidence that your remark is a paragon of pure straw?

    • eljay: . There is no “necessary historical imperative” – or any other sort of imperative – for the existence of a supremacist “Jewish State”.


      True, but a "Jewish State" need not be a Jewish-supremacist state. It could be "Jewish" simply by dint of having a Jewish super-majority, with all the social and cultural implications that brings.

      Take Russia. Russia is a "Russian State" by dint of it's Russian majority, and if that Russianness were ever demographically threatened--yes, "demographically threatened"-- the resistance would be ferocious.

  • Hillary Clinton promises megadonor she will work with Republicans-- to oppose BDS
    • Donald: The “Israel is a vibrant democracy” phrase is one of those propaganda lines that works, at least for awhile, because people repeat it over and over again, so that it becomes conventional wisdom


      It's certainly a propaganda line, and a falsehood, but it also reflects very real geopolitical dynamics:


      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.

      “We have to create inside this triangle a security and stability framework, and the relations between Israel, Cyprus and Greece are very important,” he said. “I call it the stabilization line in this area.”

      Kotzias was appointed in January, after the elections brought to power the radical- left Syriza Party, whose leaders in the past took a strongly pro-Palestinian position

      link to

  • Michael Oren cannot hide his disrespect for Jewish Americans
    • Mooser: But I thought “Israeli’s do< have a compound identity!! See, they think of themselves as "Israelis" but the Government of Israel registers them as "Jews". Isn't that a compound identity?

      Great point! Oren's assertion is pure nonsense. All Israelis have official compound identities--Israeli citizenship + "nationality".

  • A racist country with too much influence over US -- Israel's new image among Democrats
    • 3/4 of American Democratic [opinion] elites regard Israel as having too much influence.


      This is great news! In another thirty years or so, the power elite might come to that opinion as well.

  • Oren's demands make Israel's liberal apologists squirm
    • hophmi: I think that it’s perfectly legitimate to ask, generally, whether self-abnegation is a problem in a community with a 70% assimilation rate

      It's not self-abnegation; it's self-realization.

      if you have $100 to spend, and your choices are the well being of your own family

      If you are concerned about well-being, you don't support family members' (or anyone else's) ) immoral, criminal enterprises.

    • My wife is on the board of IsraAid, a wonderful organization, you probably know it – they were the first on the ground in Haiti, they’re all over the world giving disaster aid. So you can do Tikkun Olam through Israel, through the Jewish people.


      That's ludicrous and vomitous at the same time.

  • 'America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel' -- Allen Ginsberg
    • ...who know who Trotsky was (Eastern Ukrainian Jew, born in Yanovka near Mariupol)

      THAT is "who Trotsky was"?

  • Oren's memoir reveals Israel's elite is hyper-sensitive to U.S. criticism
    • MRW: The connections to Eretz Yisrael were always there, part of the Jewish DNA, so to speak.. The modern political movement arose when conditions were ripe, and built on those historic and religious ties.

      Then why did Herzl first suggest taking over Uganda as the Jewish State in the late 1800s?

      Cf. Baruch Kimmerling, “The Invention and Decline of Israeliness: State, Society, and the Military”:

      Herzl's first thought was a collective and honorable conversion of world Jewry to Christianity. His second was to find a place in the world for an ingathering of Jews and establish an independent Jewish state. Inasmuch as he was a completely secular product of the late European colonial world, he envisaged this state in political, social, and economic terms. Among other places, he considered Argentina, with its abundance of free land, natural resources, and good climate. Later, he also considered the British protectorate of Uganda in East Africa, which was politically convenient.

      Initially, he thought Palestine inappropriate owing to its lack of resources and harsh climate. However, as Herzl grew closer to his fellow Jews, he discovered the sentimental and symbolic appeal of Jerusalem and Eretz Israel, which most Jews continued to regard as their fatherland.

      At the time, most Jews still believed in a miraculous messianic return to the Holy Land at the apocalyptic "end of days." The strength of messianic belief had been evidenced in 1665, when a self-appointed messiah named Shabbtai Zvi made his appearance. Backed by a noted scholar of Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah), Abraham Nathan Ben Elisha Haim Ashkenazi, Shabbtai Zvi managed to provoke mass hysteria among hundreds of thousands of Jews, from the territories of the Ottoman Empire to Poland and eastern and western Europe, by proclaiming the Day of Redemption to be June 18, 1666. Despite the opposition of several rabbis, Jews were ready to march as a mighty army and restore the godly kingdom of David on earth. Eventually, the Ottomans interpreted the millenarian movement as a rebellion and put the "messiah" in jail, where he converted to Islam. The affair was an enormous disaster and has remained traumatic in Jewish collective memory.

      Nonetheless, the hope for the coming of the messiah has never ceased. In 1755, Jacob Frank, a Polish cloth dealer, declared himself to be the reincarnation of Shabbtai Zvi and the messiah. More recently, a similar phenomenon broke out among the followers of the late Brooklyn Hassidic Rabbi Menachem Schneerson. The supposed redemption is linked with a miraculous inclusion of Greater Israel (i.e., the territories occupied in the 1967 war) into the Israeli state and the transformation of Jewish Israeli society into a holy, moral community ...

      Despite Orthodox Jewry's denunciation of him as a new Shabbatean, Theodor Herzl was a practical politician. He concentrated his efforts in three main directions. First and foremost, he raised financial support for the establishment of a national loan fund from great Jewish bankers and philanthropists such as Maurice de Hirsch and the Rothschild family.

      Second, but no less important, he garnered political support and recognition by the great world powers of the right of the Jewish people to establish a national commonwealth in Palestine. Third, he organized the spread of Jewish associations and individuals who shared Zionist views into a viable political and social movement. In 1896, Herzl published his manifesto Der Judenstaat ("The State of the Jews"-- Herzl was fully aware of the implications of not calling it "The Jewish State").

      In this, Herzl argued that assimilation was not a cure, but rather a disease of the Jews. The Jewish people needed to reestablish their own patrimony, with well-to-do western European Jews financing the proletarian Jews threatened by pogroms in Eastern Europe. Herzl's preferred regime, in this utopian pamphlet, was modeled on the enlightened and liberal Austro-Hungarian monarchy, and, if not at a monarchy, he aimed at least at an aristocratic republic.

      In the state of the Jews, everyone would be equal before the law, free in his faith or disbelief, and enjoy mild social security rights, regardless of his nationality. This pamphlet was followed in 1902 by the utopian novel Altneuland ("Old-New Country"), in which several Arab characters enjoy full rights of citizenship, indicating that, contrary to the usual assertions, Herzl was well aware that the Holy Land was not "empty."


    • On the topic of the Jewish connections to "Zion"

      Baruch Kimmerling (late Israeli sociologist):

      Historically, Jews who defined themselves as religious were deeply divided in the stances they adopted toward modernity, Jewish enlightenment and secularism, Zionism, and, later, the very existence of a “secular" Jewish state. From the beginning, a small religious stream was established within the Zionist movement, and even before the appearance of Zionism, there were rabbis who called for a mass "return to Zion."

      The real theological revolution, however, occurred in the late 1920s and was led by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, who reversed the whole Jewish-rabbinical paradigm and causal relationship concerning "redemption."

      Traditionally, the fulfillment by all Jews of all the "613 commandments" listed in the holy scriptures was the condition for the coming of the Messiah, the return of all Jews to Zion, and full redemption. Rabbi Kook reversed this, declaring that when as many Jews as possible fulfill the single commandment to "settle the holy land," the Messiah will appear to redeem "his people" politically and theologically, and will make them follow all his commandments and precepts. A cosmic redemption of the "whole world" will then follow.

      This new religious perception granted religious meaning and legitimacy to secular nationalism and the so-called socialist pioneer Jews by making them "tools" of a divine project of religious redemption.

      The Kookian theological logical revolution laid the foundation for the participation of its followers in the secular Israeli state and society in the here and now, and for a collaboration between this segment of religious Jews and the secular Zionists. It must be stressed, however, that the Kookian approach never abolished the ultimate goal of transforming the Jewish polity into a theocratic state ruled exclusively by halachic law.

      It was thus not by chance that the first counterculture to assert itself successfully was the militant national religious culture of Gush Emunim, which created the territorial infrastructure for a new society of national religious settlers in "Judea and Samaria" during the 1970s and 1980s. Territorial settlement was not only part of a national political mission of conquest, occupation, and confiscation of "homeland" territories, and the expansion of the boundaries of the Israeli state, but also laid the infrastructure for the establishment of a moral community to be run according to the laws of Halacha and the judgments of rabbis.

      It seemed that Gush Emunim stood to conquer not only the uplands (both geographically graphically and symbolically) but the hearts of the rest of the Jewish population of the country. Its adherents represented themselves as a replacement for the secular sabra kibbutznik fighter-settlers and, more important, sought to take the latter's place as the Zionist avant-garde in Israel. From "Judea and Samaria," the message was to spread over the entire country.

      The national religious revolutionaries, driven by an aspiration for personal fulfillment, bedarchey noam ("a pleasant manner"), and burning faith in their path, and seeing themselves as representatives of the collective interest and the "true and pure Jew," aimed to establish a modern national halachic state in place of the polity corrupted in the previous stage of the "return to Zion." The success of this revolution of faith seemed assured, given the absence of any truly attractive competing ideology that could provide an answer to the political and social situation created in the aftermath of the 1967 and 1973 wars.

      In this regard, the settlements and the settlers in the occupied territories were just the tip of the iceberg. Religious Jews and groups who had not "settled" and were not allied with-or were even opposed to-Gush Emunim united behind what they viewed as the sublime aspiration to transform Israel into as "Jewish" a state as possible.

      Although Gush Emunim's brand of Jewishness was dominated by religious elements, its pioneering spirit and renewed militaristic, settlement security activism charmed even secular elite groups, especially communists and socialists, among whom great ideological crises had brought about deep internal rifts.

      In addition, by opening the frontier and acquiring control over all the land that had been the original objective of Zionist colonization, Gush Emunim reawakened dormant aspirations of the immigrant settler political culture that had lost their validity since 1948. Selective feelings for Halacha thus enabled some secular elites to ally themselves with Gush Emunim, whose deeds they also covertly admired.

      ("The Invention and Decline of Israeliness: State, Society, and the Military")

  • Interview with Rela Mazali: The Israeli left, BDS, and the 'habit of hope'
    • oldgeezer: @jon s Totally irrelevant questions jon.


      Well, the number of incidents and people involved is certainly relevant to determining how representative the actions were and deciding what kind of conclusions we might draw from them.

  • United Church of Christ votes to boycott & divest from companies profiting from Israel's occupation
    • Annie: it won’t be a total victory until all the goals are met. a one state solution, per se, is not one of the goals.

      Which implies that all the goals of BDS could be met within a two-state framework.

  • My journey from Zionism to Palestine solidarity
    • Walters: " It seems to me that peace based on justice is the most durable."

      True. But it's also true that peace generally requires the acceptance of *some* injustice.

      And there are certainly many situations where the attainment of a full measure of justice is either impossible or not worth the costs.

  • Oren's criticism of US Jews earns his book five thumbs down: 'slinky,' 'self-aggrandizing,' 'twists reality'
    • Donald: "Just wanted to say this was a really fascinating comment. Your whole subthread here was great. It ought to be a front page post."


      I second that; not only fascinating, thought-provoking and cogent, but very well-written as well.

  • UN report on Gaza war is 'tepid,' 'unserious' and exhibits 'anti-Muslim bigotry' -- Finkelstein
    • Giles: Here is the statement by prof F that I find ridiculous.

      “The US will of course side with Israel, not because of the Israel lobby, but because whatever Israel did in Gaza, the US routinely does around the world on an infinitely greater scale”.

      This is false.

      What evidence do you have that that statement is false? --i.e. evidence that U.S. support of Israeli actions in the specific case of Gaza derives from Israel Lobby efforts and not from the powerful and long-standing affinity between U.S. and Israel militarism/imperialism.

  • 'A traumatized society is dangerous'
    • tree : I think I disagree with your theory a bit, or perhaps I am misunderstanding it. I see the majority of the trauma as a result of the desire to create and maintain a tribal unity, rather than the other way around. In effect it is induced and indirect trauma, used to cement the feelings of “us” versus “them”.


      Excellent post. I think it's extremely important not to conflate the actuality of trauma with an ideology of trauma, an ideology deliberately constructed to serve specific social and political ends.

    • Froggy: Compassion has no religious basis

      I'm not so sure about that:

      "Karuṇā (in both Sanskrit and Pali) is generally translated as compassion.[1] It is part of the spiritual path of both Buddhism and Jainism.

      link to

      "Compassion: Religious and Spiritual Views"
      link to

    • Avigail Abarbanel: I do suspect that those who went to the US and started to colonise it were in fact very damaged people. Their puritanical protestant belief system says a lot about the kind of people they were. So I do think there must have been trauma there. (emphasis added)


      Your definition of trauma , it seems to me, has become so broad, so widely-applicable, that your argument that aggressive, exploitative, oppressive, non-compassionate, predatory social actions are rooted in "trauma" has lost all explanatory power, all empirical falsifiability, and is in danger of becoming tautological.

    • catalan: ....most Russians start crying when they hear their famous songs from that era.

      No they don’t. That’s silly. I live in Russia; I've traveled extensively in Russia; I've talked to literally thousands of Russians, including many young people at the University I work at--and I can say without out any fear of exaggeration , your notion of on-going Russian trauma is udder tripe.

      How you come up with this silliness that Russians are less traumatized than Jews....

      Look, WWII was a trauma for Russia, obviously, but it's not as if Russians are still traumatized by it today. Russians celebrate their victory in the Great Patriotic War. They commemorate on various holidays the heroic deeds of anti-fascist fighters. They watch endless movies and televisions shows depicting (mythologizing) the unvanquishable spirit of Soviet soldiers and partisans and common citizens. In none of these celebrations, commemorations, and cultural productions is there any expression of on-going trauma.

      Another point: I’ve never met any Russian that holds any animosity toward the German people--- they blame the war on Fascism, not German anti-Slavism or anything of the sort. Russians enjoy German art, music, culture. Russians are very eager to travel to Germany. Next to English, German is the second most popular language for Russians to study. There is no on-going trauma involved.

      And, btw, if there is any kind of living trauma in Russia, it’s not about the losses of WWII, but about the 1990’s, when a horrific “shock therapy” program was imposed on the Russian people, which lead to an economic, demographic and social disaster involving millions of deaths and destroyed lives, a social disaster the extent of which is largely unknown in the West, although it was in large part caused by the West

  • We must break out of the paranoid survival myth
    • Lillian Rosengarten: There is no kinder gentler Zionism.


      A "kinder, gentler Zionism" would embrace an unjust two-state settlement along lines similar to the Geneva Initiative (aka "The International Consensus":

      link to

      *A mutual Israeli–Palestinian declaration of an end to the conflict and future claims.

      *Mutual recognition of both nations and their right to an independent state.

      *Almost complete Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, with a limited number of settlement blocs on the basis of a 1:1 land swap.

      *A comprehensive solution to the issue of the Palestinian refugees based on the Clinton Parameters (2000); of which the main component will be compensation and a return to an independent Palestinian State.

      *Jewish Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Arab Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital with Jewish areas under Israeli sovereignty and Arab areas under Palestinian sovereignty.

      *A non-militarized Palestinian state and detailed security arrangements.

      Needless to say, such a "kinder, gentler Zionism" is a extreme minority viewpoint within Zionism.

    • Lillian Rosengarten: Chosen people does not appear in the bible.

      On the contrary, the notion of a "chosen people" clearly and explicitly appears in Deuteronomy 7 (emphasis added):

      6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

      7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people [...]

      As well as Deuteronomy 14:2

      For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

      For additional Biblical references, see:

      link to

      link to

  • 'NYT' article on UN's Gaza report strains to demonstrate equivalence in suffering
    • Ilan Pappe: ... when in 1967 Israel’s territorial appetite was satisfied with the occupation of the whole of historic Palestine, as well as large territories from Egypt and Syria, it was achieved with the help of similar inhumane ethnic cleansing operations of expulsions and massacres.

      RoHa: “in 1967 Israel’s territorial appetite was satisfied”

      What make you think that?

      @RoHa -- Israel would not be satisfied with the whole of historic Palestine + Syrian territories etc?

  • 'Obama coffee' is black and weak -- racist tweet from wife of Israel's vice premier
    • “A race of people is like an individual man...” — Malcolm


      Except a "race of people" is a social construct; an individual person is not?


  • Israeli diplomats 'are not allowed to speak' on US campuses, but North Korean diplomats are, Israeli official says
    • talknic… and when found to be lying, liars deserve to be not only shouted down but booted out,
      And just WHO gets to decide who is lying? Who gets to arrogate to themselves the right to shout someone down and boot them out? Any person? Any group?

      What are you going to say if someone shouts you down because they say you are lying? How will you defend yourself if you can't speak? How would anyone?

      I didn’t mention shutting down debate.

      Shouting someone down shuts down debate.

      it is impossible to further constructive debate in order to reach a just conclusion while their lies sway opinion

      Lies need to be exposed as such. That's they way they are neutralized in a democratic society. If a small group shouts down a speaker, it's more often assumed by neutral observers that the speaker is telling some unpalatable truth.

    • talknic: Liars deserve to be shouted down hophmi

      Tempting idea, admittedly. But facile, and quite pernicious. As history has repeatedly shown, the coercive shutting down of debate is antithetical to democracy. The reason is simple: without the free exchange of ideas it is impossible to determine what is lie and what is the truth and what is in-between.

      It's always an ugly, highly flawed process, but the alternative--the suppression of speech by self-appointed Guardians of The Truth-- is far, far worse.

    • Memphis: Unless he meant land mass, but then Canada would be the worlds largest democracy.


      Actually, it would be Russia, not Canada.

  • State Dep't report on latest Gaza onslaught itemizes children's deaths for first time
    • JVP has instructed its staff and other leaders to shun Alison Weir of ‘If Americans Knew”

      I deplore these disgraceful McCarthyistic attacks--and I'm contributing to Weir's organization and buying her book forthwith.

    • yonah fredman: I assume that this rumor mongering passage got past the gatekeepers here by mistake.

      kris: rensanceman is hardly “rumor mongering.” We should demand that dual-citizens of any kind not be allowed to hold positions in the U.S. government.

      The issue wasn't policy regarding dual-citizenship; it was this specific statement:

      I believe the State department is heavily represented by Zionist sympathizers and some with dual citizenships.

      That there are a lot of "Zionist sympathizers" in the State department seems uncontroversial to me. Sympathy for Zionism is for all intents and purposes official U.S. policy.

      But the claim that there are "some with dual citizenships", while likely true, is way too vague and unsubstantiated to be useful, imo. If it's only a very small number, their existence is inconsequential, no matter what you think of dual-citizenship. On the other hand, if there are many with dual-citizenship, that fact needs to be substantiated with some kind of concrete evidence and numbers--otherwise, it is indeed just "rumor mongering", as Yonah put it.

  • Does Israel have a toxic personality? Ask Michael Oren
    • bryan: "... despite the uphill battle against the power of mega-corporations and the military-industrial complex, ordinary citizens do have some small say in the course of history."


      That's reassuring.

    • echinococcus: Argumentum ad hominem is there whenever the user resorts to an attack on the person *instead of* addressing the content of the argument.

      Or in addition. Much polemical rhetoric is a mix of personal attacks and content-based arguments.

      Talknic, for example, asserts--without any evidence whatsoever-- that Yonah Fredman is a paid Hasbarist ("What a waste of Hasbara payroll shekels."). That's an obvious attempt to discredit Yonah. The fact that Talknic also presents factual/logical arguments in no way justifies unsubstantiated character attacks. Besides, the incessant nastiness just distracts from those arguments, imo.

      In any case, whether or not Talknic's profuse personal attacks are properly classified as "ad hominems" misses the point entirely. I'll happily re-label them simply as "personal attacks" and note the MW comments ground rule:

      No personal attacks. We encourage spirited, passionate debate, but if you have to resort to vicious personal attack, you’re not advancing the discussion. Stay on the issues.

      It's not complicated: juvenile name-calling, character assassination, etc. add nothing of value to a rational debate. That was my point. It stands.

    • Talknic: yonah fredman demonstrates how f*ckwits never learn, never stop with their simple minded drivel!

      Ad hominems-- name-calling etc.-- do nothing to strengthen your arguments. Just sayin'....

  • After a hard week in the news, Israeli gets valentines all weekend from NPR
    • jon s: Are you really saying that using hospitals , schools, mosques and other civilian facilities for military purposes is legal ? As far as I know, it’s a violation of laws and norms.

      There's a good discussion of this question here:

      link to

      The post presents a rather pro-Israel legal interpretation, and many of the comments reveal the weaknesses of that position.

    • talknic: @ jon s “talknic, Are you really saying that using hospitals, schools, mosques and other civilian facilities for military purposes is legal?” [...] ”As far as I know, it’s a violation of laws and norms”

      So cite the law …


      IF the civilians in the schools, hospitals, mosques etc. were being used as "human shields" (i.e., "their presence or movement is aimed or used to render military targets immune from military operations” ), then that would be a violation of international humanitarian law, Rule #97:

      link to


      Amnesty International Q&A:

      The Israeli authorities claim that Hamas and Palestinian armed groups use Palestinian civilians in Gaza as “human shields”. Does Amnesty International have any evidence that this has occurred during the current hostilities?

      Amnesty International is monitoring and investigating such reports, but does not have evidence at this point that Palestinian civilians have been intentionally used by Hamas or Palestinian armed groups during the current hostilities to “shield” specific locations or military personnel or equipment from Israeli attacks.

      In previous conflicts Amnesty International has documented that Palestinian armed groups have stored munitions in and fired indiscriminate rockets from residential areas in the Gaza Strip in violation of international humanitarian law.

      Reports have also emerged during the current conflict of Hamas urging residents to ignore Israeli warnings to evacuate. However, these calls may have been motivated by a desire to minimize panic and displacement, in any case, such statements are not the same as directing specific civilians to remain in their homes as “human shields” for fighters, munitions, or military equipment.

      Under international humanitarian law even if “human shields” are being used Israel’s obligations to protect these civilians would still apply.

      link to


      Human Rights Watch Q&A:

      3. What are the obligations of Israel and Hamas with respect to fighting in populated areas?

      Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. International humanitarian law does not prohibit fighting in urban areas, although the presence of many civilians places greater obligations on warring parties to take steps to minimize harm to civilians.

      The laws of war require that the parties to a conflict take constant care during military operations to spare the civilian population and to "take all feasible precautions" to avoid or minimize the incidental loss of civilian life and damage to civilian objects.

      These precautions include doing everything feasible to verify that the objects of attack are military objectives and not civilians or civilian objects, and giving "effective advance warning" of attacks when circumstances permit.

      Forces deployed in populated areas must avoid locating military objectives – including fighters, ammunition and weapons -- in or near densely populated areas, and endeavor to remove civilians from the vicinity of military objectives.

      Belligerents are prohibited from using civilians to shield military objectives or operations from attack. "Shielding" refers to purposefully using the presence of civilians to render military forces or areas immune from attack.

      At the same time, the attacking party is not relieved from its obligation to take into account the risk to civilians , including the duty to avoid causing disproportionate harm to civilians, simply because it considers the defending party responsible for having located legitimate military targets within or near populated areas.

      link to

    • jon s: Collective punishment is wrong in principle, but I really can’t think of any war, even the most justified, in which civilians didn’t sufffer. And the principle applies to Israelis as well.

      So, collective punishment is as immoral as terrorism?

      And, isn't much of Palestinian terrorism tantamount to collective punishment against Israel?

  • BDS could cost Israel $4.7 billion a year
    • ritzl: $4.7B is about 1.5% of Israeli GDP ($273B). Economies live and die, governments fall [...] on 2-3% fluctuations.

      Governments and ideologies can also be strengthened by sanctions etc. Case in point: Russia, where I live. Something to take into consideration.

  • Israel can handle any threat in the Middle East, but it will go down without young American Jews -- Shavit
    • hophmi: " I’d like to hear your take on your fellow one-stater Glick’s...."


      Glick does not in fact support a "one-state solution".

      As Beinart points out:

      " Glick....wants only Palestinians in the West Bank to receive equal voting rights since Gaza is already a 'de facto Palestinian state.' (Not de facto enough for the United States government, which still considers Gaza under Israeli occupation, but never mind.)

      link to

      If you exclude Gaza, you are not talking about a single-state.

  • Is BDS practicing a double standard with respect to Arab countries?
    • eljay: || Sibiriak: Wouldn’t a state with “a lot of Jews” have a Jewish character simply be means of that Jewish super-majority? Israel as it exists certainly does NOT give equal rights to non-Jews, but it doesn’t follow that if it DID give such rights it would necessarily cease to be a Jewish state. ||

      If Israel were to grant equality to non-Jews, it would immediately cease to be a supremacist “Jewish State”. Over time, it might even naturally cease to be any sort of a “culturally Jewish” state.

      That clearly implies that Israel could be a "culturally Jewish" state while ceasing to be a "supremacist" Jewish state.

      Neither of these scenarios appeals to Zio-supremacists. .

      I agree completely. That's true by definition.


      Even in the “kinder, gentler” world of “liberal Zionism”:
      – Israel must have a legally-enshrined, permanent-majority status for Jews....

      Peter Beinart does NOT support any kind of legal-enshrined permanent majority status for Jews in Israel. Neither does Uri Avnery. Nor Norman Finkelstein. Nor Noam Chomsky. And so on. Does that mean folks like them are not "liberal Zionists", even though they support a two-state settlement?

      it would be acceptable to redraw the borders of Israel essentially to excise (and render stateless) any non-Jewish Israeli demographic that threatens the “Jewish nature” of Israel.

      Again, not true for Beinart et al.

    • RoHa: To be “Jewish”, the state cannot give equal rights to non-Jews. Otherwise it would be just another state, albeit one with a lot of Jews. .

      Wouldn't a state with "a lot of Jews" have a Jewish character simply be means of that Jewish super-majority? Israel as it exists certainly does NOT give equal rights to non-Jews, but it doesn't follow that if it DID give such rights it would necessarily cease to be a Jewish state.

    • echinococcus: Sure, because Beinart agreed to… what? A fully sovereign Palestinian state with an army and all? In your dreams.


      Actually Beinart does support a Palestinian state having its own army.

  • Netanyahu cabinet members reject two-state solution; call for annexation of occupied territories
    • HarryLaw: If she wishes to annex the West Bank, it can only be one state.


      No. Annexing the West Bank, in whole or in part, leaves out Gaza entirely. That's not "one state."

  • Munayyer and Beinart's historic debate on the solution to the conflict
    • Annie Robbins: .... you can’t (necessarily) interchange countries that “espouse a religion” to “supremacist state”.

      True-- which suggests that it could be a legitimate aim to have Israel abandon its ethno-religious supremacism while continuing to "espouse" Jewish religion, culture, language etc.

  • What I Was Told: Arabs hate Jews
    • Mooser: Pass bigotry on to our children, cause it’s “simpler"?

      Yonah's razor?

    • Mooser: " ... I am hardly the best of the race."

      Perhaps not, but you have exemplary genes.

    • yonah fredman: "But would it not be simpler to say, “they hate us”. Simpler but inaccurate... "


      Simpler, but evil.

  • 'New York Times' cites Palestinians as 'demographic' threat
    • Keith: "SIBIRIAK- 'The real argument being made, therefore, is that Zionism itself is racist, and that argument has by no means won the day yet.'

      If by “won the day yet” you mean that it is not commonly accepted that Zionism is racist, then you are probably correct.


      Yes, that is what I meant. I agree with your insightful points about the racial/genetic foundations of Zionist ideology.

    • Donald: "There is a subtle contradiction in your post, Sibiriak. "

      I never made the claim that the report wasn't biased in *any* way, let alone that Rudoren and the NYT did not have a proven record of pro-Israel bias--they do. I referred only to a single specific passage where I disagreed with the notion that Rudoren was expressing her own views, rather than reporting on the views of others.

      Donald: "... A journalist reporting on the Israeli Jewish pov should take care to report the Palestinian view that expelling them from their homes was immoral. Otherwise it is just a subtle endorsement of a viewpoint that is extremely common in the U.S...."


      That's an extremely important point, and one with which I agree entirely. However, that critical source of bias--omitting or downplaying the ethnic cleansing that has been crucial to the creation of a Jewish super-majority state--is logically and morally distinct from the central assertion of the article: that rhetoric about a Jewish state being demographically threatened is *in itself* unacceptably racist.

      The fact that creation and expansion of a Jewish State in Palestine has required ongoing ethnic cleansing, politicide and, arguably, genocide is critical in distinguishing the moral evaluation of Israel from other cases involving the "self-determination of peoples", such as that of Tibet ("demographically threatened" by Han Chinese?), collective "ethnic" rights for indigenous tribes, cases of so-called "cultural genocide" and so on.

      It may also be a practical political mistake to *focus* condemnation on the very concept of a "Jewish state" rather than on the specific crimes of ethnic cleansing, apartheid etc. needed to create and maintain such a state *in Palestine*.

    • RoHa: "But 'death warrant' is a loaded term. There is no real death involved..."

      Good point. We need to cleanse writing of all figurative language. (Whoops, I shouldn't say "cleanse", should I?)

    • Philip Weiss: "But the awareness that you shouldn’t use such language is beginning to break on some folks in the mainstream– if not the New York Times. Here’s a Guardian profile today of B’Tselem’s Hagai El-Ad..."

      Hagai El-Ad is way, way out of the Israeli mainstream, a fact made perfectly clear by the Guardian article itself.

    • hophmi: "...Rudoren is simply reporting the viewpoint of Israeli Jews, and not necessarily adopting their view."

      I have to agree with hophmi on this point.

      Rudoren writes: "Most Israeli Jews, as well as many outside experts, see either such a one-state solution or the return of all refugees and their descendants as a demographic death warrant for Israel as a Jewish state..."

      That statement would seem to be factually correct-- and nobody here has presented any evidence to the contrary.

      Philip Weiss writes: " anyone who used such language in the United States to refer to black people or Jews or Muslims, or any other minority threatening the white or Christian character of anything would lose their job in an instant."

      Not if they were simply reporting on the views of some specific people.

      "But Israel is always different; after all, it was founded on the premise of establishing a “strong Jewish majority” so as to be the homeland of the Jewish people. "

      True. The two cases--the U.S. and Israel--are clearly not analogous in that regard.

      "People who closely follow the conflict know the “demographic threat” argument for preserving Israel is widely considered racist."

      It's also widely considered, rightly or wrongly, non-racist and morally valid-- there is substantial global support for the maintenance of a Jewish majority in Israel.

      Eve Fairbanks (Guardian article): "' What is Jewish?' I asked. Treating people with dignity,” [B’Tselem’s El-Ad] answered. 'I think that’s enough.'”

      Any state that treats people with dignity is a "Jewish state"?? That's silly. By any reasonable understanding of the historical concept, a "Jewish state" requires a Jewish majority, if not a Jewish super-majority.

      The real argument being made, therefore, is that Zionism itself is racist, and that argument has by no means won the day yet. To assume that it already has is simply fallacious.

  • New West Bank settlement casts light on clandestine role of international support for settlers
    • David Gerald Fincham: @sibiriak To clarify: there has to be a viable two-state solution on the way to a one-state solution. That means that the occupation must end first, and then Israel and Palestine can determine where their final border is, I suggest with the help of a Boundary Commission under independent Chairmanship. I expect Palestine to include more territory than just the West Bank and Gaza, gaining territory mainly from the Negev."


      While that rosy scenario is certainly a possibility, I believe the more likely outcome will be a much-truncated Palestinian mini-state leading to a permanent separation of Palestine and Israel.

      David Gerald Fincham: "Then the two states can consider whether to unite, and what form that union might take. I think there are very good reasons why they should unite, and I propose a single sovereign state consisting of two largely autonomous nations, with a defined and open border between them, along the lines of the England-Scotland model. "

      Again, a rosy scenario. More likely, imho: the truncated Palestinian mini-state eventually enters into some kind of confederation with Jordan and/or other Arab states.

    • David Gerald Fincham: "The two states already exist as legal entities, recognized by other states. "


      "The only possible way that they could become a single state is by means of a voluntary union. "

      A single state would have to include Gaza--a fact many commenters ignore--and Israel will not voluntarily unite with Gaza, let alone be forced into such a union.

    • VisaIssues: "to label the death of a two-state solution as a ‘defeat’ is to elevate your own view/preference above many of those who live here."

      Likewise, to welcome a supposed "death of a two-state solution" and espouse the goal of a single state would be to elevate a personal preference above many of those who live there.

      (Philip Weiss wrote: "… when I attended the Third National BDS Conference in Hebron this past December one attendee asked Omar Barghouti why the movement doesn’t explicitly endorse one state? He responded by saying it’s because the overwhelming number of Palestinian organizations that endorsed the BDS call support two states.")

  • 'Oglethorpe stands with Palestine': BDS comes to the American south (Updated)
    • "jon s: The point is that the first line in the report is a lie."


      Not necessarily. It could be just an inaccuracy.

  • Pro-Israel wealthy Jews feature in 'Forward,' Christie roast, and U of Michigan censorship
    • Kris: "These people live in an alternate universe."


      No, they are just playing hardball.

  • Netanyahu appoints Ayelet Shaked—who called for genocide of Palestinians—as Justice Minister in new government
    • "Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people."


      And thus some 20% of the Israeli population are full-fledged enemies of the state. What should be done with this fifth column? Abrogation of civil rights, total surveillance, internment, expulsion? 20% of the population *at war* with the nation--hard to see how that can be tolerated.

  • Israeli army can't stop patting itself on the back for helping Nepal victims
    • "Carter, who cancelled a planned visit to Gaza on this trip, said Saturday he “deplored” criminal acts by members of Hamas, but said he was looking to support moderate members of the group, which he said wasn’t a terrorist organization.

      “I don’t believe that he’s a terrorist. He’s strongly in favor of the peace process,” Carter said of Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal. "

      link to

  • Forgiving the anti-Semites
    • hophmi: "The Jews are supporting characters in Schindler’s List. The movie is principally about Schindler."


      Yes, actually that's correct. It's not about Jews really, it's about a German businessman saving the lives of over a thousand Jews.


      "Ideas for a film about the Schindlerjuden (Schindler Jews) were proposed as early as 1963. Poldek Pfefferberg, one of the Schindlerjuden, made it his life's mission to tell the story of Schindler. Spielberg became interested in the story when executive Sid Sheinberg sent him a book review of Schindler's Ark. Universal Studios bought the rights to the novel, but Spielberg, unsure if he was ready to make a film about the Holocaust, tried to pass the project to several other directors before finally deciding to direct the film himself." (Wikipedia)

    • DaBakr: "....the Zionists ‘plan’ to rule the earth."

      Hmmm.... what I read at Mondoweiss is that the Zionist plan is to pursue Zionist interests.

    • hophmi: "You hypothesize, based on no evidence, that these films were made because of Jews in power, rather than more mundane reasons, which is that the Holocaust is a major event in human history..."


      Good point. And I'm quite sure that if Arab-Americans dominated Hollywood, we would have gotten pretty much the same number of Holocaust and Nakba films that we've gotten from our Jewish-dominated Hollywood, and pretty much the same kind of Jewish and Arab character typing.

      After all, Hollywood isn't about ideology, subtly supporting US imperialism or Zionism, or any other political agenda--it's about making money. So Jew or Arab in charge, there would be no difference. Money has no ethnicity.

    • RoHa: “All I know is that if I were a Jew living in 1937 Germany or 1939 Europe, I would have gone anywhere that would take me and prayed that Hitler wouldn’t overrun it. ”

      And when you arrived in that country, would you then have joined a “Jewish national liberation movement” to take that country from its native inhabitants?


      RoHa --consistently --cuts to the very heart of the matter.

  • Understanding the Jewish National Home
    • RoHa: Yes, an older meaning [ of "nation" and "nationality" which is not standard any more. If that is what hophmi means, he should say so.

      Again, I must disagree. The definition is older but it is not "non-standard." I've read quite a few books on European history by contemporary writers who have used the term "nation" with that standard older meaning.

      Benedict Anderson, referenced above, is one of the most influential modern writers on nationalism; many of his ideas are widespread, if not dominant. His concept of a nation as an “imagined community” of extended and shared connections is perfectly applicable to Jewish people who have such an "imagined" shared identity ("imagined" meaning its basis is ultimately subjective, not that it is false.)

      So, the meaning Hophmi is invoking is a fully standard, widely recognized one (especially in academic writing), although secondary in contemporary usage.

      RoHa: " The quotations prove only that Jews have claimed Jewishness is a nationality in some sense or another."

      No. The widespread categorizing of Jews and many other "imagined" (self-identified) ethnic-communites as "nations" is in no way simply a "Jewish claim"---its standard historiography, historical sociology etc.

      More importantly, I don't see the political-rhetorical effectiveness of trying to prove what will for many seem be a quite problematic proposition-- that Jews do NOT constitute a nation (or people).

      I humbly suggest that you would be better off not trying to invalidate centuries of standard historiographic, political and cultural usage of the term "nation" in regards to Jews and other groups, and instead relentlessly pose the clear, simple and entirely unanswerable question: how the hell does the fact that Jews might be a "nation" with "imagined" roots in ancient Palestine give them any moral or legal right to take over modern Palestine and cleanse that land of its non-Jewish residents, or subject them to an evil apartheid regime?

    • RoHa: “We Jews say we constitute a nation, and we have said it for a long time. ”

      There are two standard meanings for “nation”. Since neither of those meanings apply to Jews, either (a) they are mistaken, or (b) they are using a non-standard meaning for “nation”.

      I disagree. For centuries Jews have been considered a "nation" under an older standard understanding of the term.


      link to

      "11. The meaning which is given nowadays to the word “nation” in many countries is far removed from the original meaning.

      12. Historically, it would seem that use of the word dates back to the Middle Ages; it comes from the Latin natio, a substantive derived from the verb nascere (to be born), and denotes origin, membership of a community, a relationship to an entity within which one was born. "


      link to

      "Nation has various meanings, and the meaning has changed over time.[1] The concept of "nation" is related to "ethnic community" or ethnie. An ethnic community often has a myth of origins... and descent, a common history, elements of distinctive culture, a common territorial association, and sense of group solidarity. A nation is, by comparison, much more impersonal, abstract, and overtly political than an ethnic group. It is a cultural-political community that has become conscious of its coherence, unity, and particular interests.[2]

      The nation has been described by Benedict Anderson as an "imagined community"[3] and by Paul James as an "abstract community".[4] It is an imagined community in the sense that the material conditions exist for imagining extended and shared connections."

      link to

      "Jewish ethnicity, nationality and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation.[33][34][35] Converts to Judaism typically have a status within the Jewish ethnos equal to those born into it."

      " Brandeis, Louis (April 25, 1915). [...] 'Jews are a distinctive nationality of which every Jew, whatever his country, his station or shade of belief, is necessarily a member'"

      " Einstein, Albert (June 21, 1921). [...] 'The Jewish nation is a living fact'"

  • Just like the Nazis, Iran 'plans to exterminate six million Jews' -- Netanyahu
    • hophmi: " Iran...threatened to annihilate the Jewish state repeatedly? "


      "Iran is a totalitarian state ruled by a cleric."


      "It funds terrorist groups and terrorist attacks around the world."


      " Why is that reality absent, completely, from your analysis?"

      Because your "reality" is a string of falsehoods. And you made no attempt to substantiate them.

  • My personal journey of transformation
    • Kris: "@Sibirak: “It is certainly possible to conceive of a Jewish- majority state with full civil rights for minority groups. That, however, is not the reality in Israel. But it could be a goal.”

      Why could a majority of any ethnic or religious group be an acceptable goal?"

      1) Israel within "1967" borders already has a Jewish super-majority. So the goal would be full civil rights for all non-Jewish Israelis (along with social and economic equality and other goals.)

      2) The desire of a people (ethnos) to be a political majority may not be the most enlightened of desires imaginable, but if such a goal does not entail the violation of the civil and individual rights of other groups (but it often does), it's certainly not the worst of political goals. In Russia for example, where I live as a foreigner, the Russian people see Russian majority-status in Russia as a non-negotiable given--they would certainly never accept minority status.. That kind of attitude is quite prevalent globally.

      All over the world there are movements for peoples, nations, indigenous groups etc. to create or maintain political entities in which those groups are majorities--call if self-determination of peoples, a "cardinal principle in modern international law"-- and in many states the majority status of a particular people/nation/ethnos is simply taken for granted.

      " How would that be achieved, other than by getting rid of people who adversely affected the demographic goal?"

      It could only be achieved --morally-- in a territory where a group was already a majority. That was/is the great evil in Zionism-- a "Jewish homeland" in Palestine *required* ethnic cleansing on a massive scale. And ethnic-cleansing continues to this day.


      "A goal of a “Jewish majority” nation sounds about as acceptable as a goal of an Aryan majority nation. What am I missing here?"

      Simply this: A Jewish majority already exists (built on innumerable past crimes) in "pre-1967 Israel" , i.e. Israel excluding the Occupied Territories. Those territories could become the sovereign lands of a Palestinian state, and Israel could be transformed from an ethno-theocratic militarist state into a liberal-democratic state with a Jewish-majority. "Could" meaning those could be acceptable goals, not that they are realistic ones. But then again, a single state comprising Israel, the West Bank and Gaza isn't so realistic either at this point.

    • Kris : "@DoubleStandard: “You don’t understand — none of the people at this website do. The entire of idea of Israel was a Jewish-majority country.”

      Aw, DoubleStandard, I DO understand! Israel is so much like the Confederate States of America, aka the Confederacy! I absolutely get it! The entire idea of the CSA was to continue their benign (and biblical!) tradition of black slavery."


      Strictly speaking, an ethnic-majority state need not be an ethnic-supremacist state that oppresses minorities.

      It is certainly possible to conceive of a Jewish- majority state with full civil rights for minority groups. That, however, is not the reality in Israel. But it could be a goal.

  • Israel could reduce anti-Semitic violence by not calling itself the Jewish state, Finkelstein says
    • yonah fredman: " it would be ideal to separate between Jew haters and haters of Zionism. But there is no practical means of doing so at this time."


      If you cannot distinguish hating *individual human beings* (simply for their membership in a group) from hating a pernicious *ideology*, then you are either intellectually feeble or intellectually dishonest.

    • yonah fredman: "The Sanhedrin, even if the gospel reports are accurate about their culpability, were nonetheless status quo politicians backing Herod and the rule of Rome. These were quislings, not representatives of the people. "


      Good point . I find it almost always inappropriate to use the expression "the Jews", unless quoting another source.

    • Kris: "We say “the U.S,” not “U.S. citizens,” even though there are U.S. citizens who do not support U.S. policies. "


      Yes, and it's a huge, obfuscating error when "we" do. Routinely, actions by a concrete power elite are demagogically conflated with the actions of a fictive organic national entity.

  • When occupation becomes apartheid
    • tree: "I don’t have “my people”. All people have worth and meaning and I don’t see any need to claim some restricted group in preference to all others. You ought to try it sometime. Its quite liberating and clarifying. It releases one from the idea that one must support or excuse evil actions just because they committed by “your people”. If everyone, and no one, is “your people” then you can focus on the actions without having to preface your judgment on who is doing it before deciding whether the action is right or wrong. And you can account for and understand the frailty and imperfections of all human beings, not just some limited group."


      Eloquent remarks--and many others in the exchange with Yonah. Thanks.

      (One of my problems is, many of "my people", if I have a "people", aren't people.)

  • American Jews are taking back their power from Israel
    • "It is too late for the two state solution; any real effort to establish a viable Palestinian state would start a civil war in Israel."


      And any real effort to create a single democratic state (Israel +Gaza + West Bank) would face far, far greater--near unanimous--opposition in Israel. So if a two-state solution is impossible due to Jewish Israeli opposition, then, a fortiori, a single-state solution is impossible as well.

  • Netanyahu won. Now what?
    • Avigail Abarbanel: "... the founders of the Zionist movement, however they defined themselves politically, were people motivated by fear and arrogance. They were ruthless enough to think that it would be OK to remove the indigenous population of Palestine to create an exclusively Jewish safe-haven. "

      Well, after all, they were Europeans.

    • Avigail Abarbanel: "The logical conclusion will mean an end to an exclusively Jewish state and the creation of a one state for all. "


      Another logical conclusion might be: we should support the creation of a separate Palestinian state, so that Israel can continue to exist with a Jewish super-majority.

    • On guilt, cf. Eric Hoffer, "The True Believer":

      "The most effective way to silence our guilty conscience is to convince ourselves and others that those we have sinned against are indeed depraved creatures, deserving every punishment, even extermination. We cannot pity those we have wronged, nor can we be indifferent toward them. We must hate and persecute them or else leave the door open to self-contempt."

  • Netanyahu's consciousness-raising
    • eljay: "When Jews fail to protect the Palestinians, they are not doing their best to protect the world, which means they are not doing their best to protect themselves "


      No. You got the logic wrong. It should be:

      When Jews fail to protect Palestinians, they are protecting themselves.

      When Jews protect themselves, they are protecting the world.

      Therefore: When Jews fail to protect Palestinians, they are protecting the world.

  • Netanyahu's speech and the American Jewish condition
    • hophmi: "So Annie, you believe Jews have too much power and you resent it."


      It's not about too much power-- it's about abuse of power.

  • One-state 'fantasy is very dangerous' because it cannot tell us what the military looks like -- Manekin
    • Kris: What makes it possible for Israeli Jews to look at the history of Israel and the 70+ decades (and counting!) of the lethal misery they have inflicted on the Palestinians and imagine that they have done anything worth praising “for justice in this place?”

      "Israeli Jews" are individuals. None is personally responsible for the entire "history of Israel". Each can only be judged by their own actions in their own lives. Uri Avnery, Gideon Levy et al. have led exemplary moral lives--their actions speak for themselves.

    • JeffB: They didn’t have a state yet but they had a proto-state

      That's accurate. Rashid Khalidi elaborates on that point in his book "The Iron Cage." He uses the expression "para-state":

      In order to protect the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine against the opposition of the majority of the population, the British were obliged to keep the reins of central state power in the mandatory administration entirely in their hands, even as they allowed the yishuv virtually total internal autonomy.

      This autonomy included full-fledged representative institutions, internationally recognized diplomatic representation abroad via the Jewish Agency, and control of most of the other apparatuses of internal self-government, amounting to a para-state within, dependent upon, but separate from, the mandatory state.


      Nor did the Palestinians even have a para-state structure like the Jewish Agency, since the British would only recognize an Arab Agency, as Passfield suggested they might in 1930, on condition that they accepted the terms of the Mandate. We have seen that the Palestinians considered the Mandate to constitute the negation of their national existence as a sovereign people in all of their country. An earlier British proposal, made in 1923, for an Arab Agency to be appointed by the high commissioner (rather than elected as in the Jewish case) was, in the words of Ann Mosely Lesch, “a pale reflection of the Jewish Agency,” without most of its power and functions, without sanction in the Mandate, without independence, and without international standing.

      This latter point is extremely important, for by the terms of the League of Nations Mandate, the Jewish Agency was “recognized as a public body for the purpose of advising and cooperating with the Administration of Palestine.” The resulting recognized international standing of the Jewish Agency meant that the Zionist movement was entitled to diplomatic representation in Geneva before the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission, in London, and elsewhere.

      By contrast, the Palestinians had no international standing whatsoever, and indeed were often dependent on the hostile and unsympathetic British for such unsatisfactory diplomatic representation as they could obtain in Geneva and elsewhere.


      The significance of the quasi-official diplomatic status accorded to the Jewish Agency by Britain and the League of Nations through the Mandate thus cannot be overemphasized. It gave the Zionist movement an international legitimacy and guaranteed it invaluable access in world capitals, besides providing the framework within which the Zionist para-state that ultimately became Israel could be constructed without hindrance, and indeed with ample British and international support.

      Rashid Khalidi, "The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood"

  • Menendez bags on Iran sanctions, and congressman says AIPAC demands deference to Israel over US
    • lysias: A nation that has experienced the world’s worst genocide just 70 years ago has not just a right but an obligation to take seriously any existential threats that loom against it.

      Israel experienced a genocide?


      "A nation"= "the Jewish nation" = "the Jewish people"

      See the Israeli supreme court definition of nationality.

  • Why I am not Charlie
    • Annie Robbins: it’s been a long day for me.

      Thanks for all the hard work. Your sharp intelligence and moral passion is greatly appreciated.

    • RoHa, in another thread you wrote:

      "I am always eager to lecture about grammatical issues, so I will support the first part of your correction. In “let’s go” the “let” is not permission but exhortation. The correct negation is “let’s not”

      The Oxford Modern English Grammar, however, seems to take a different view:

      A special type of imperative is the let imperative, exemplified in (30) and (31). In these cases the speaker is included in the directive. Thus we can interpret (30) as ‘Let’s you and I have a look at the list’.

      The negated versions of let imperatives are formed with the negated dummy auxiliary verb DO.

      30 Let’s have a look at the list.

      31 Don’t let’s tell the police.

      Aarts, Bas (2011-02-10). Oxford Modern English Grammar (p.171).

      Perhaps that is a British variant. I wouldn't use that construction myself.

    • Regarding "The perpetrators are not even called terrorists, just a “militant group "

      This may or may not be relevant:

      "As Bruce Hoffman has noted: "terrorism is a pejorative term. It is a word with intrinsically negative connotations that is generally applied to one's enemies and opponents, or to those with whom one disagrees and would otherwise prefer to ignore.

      (...) Hence the decision to call someone or label some organization 'terrorist' becomes almost unavoidably subjective, depending largely on whether one sympathizes with or opposes the person/group/cause concerned. If one identifies with the victim of the violence, for example, then the act is terrorism.

      If, however, one identifies with the perpetrator, the violent act is regarded in a more sympathetic, if not positive (or, at the worst, an ambivalent) light; and it is not terrorism."[3]

      For this and for political reasons, many news sources (such as Reuters) avoid using this term, opting instead for less accusatory words like "bombers", "militants", etc "

      link to

Showing comments 1533 - 1501