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Total number of comments: 2645 (since 2012-06-23 07:13:37)

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  • Obama's failure, and achievement, in Palestine
    • Bandolero: It meant the Israeli intel was fake, an Israeli involvement in the CW plot, deliberately designed to mislead the US and make the US bomb Syria.

      I followed your reasoning up until that assertion.

      Just because Israel may have provided fake intel, it doesn't follow that powerful factions within the U.S. political/military establishment weren't leading the whole process of military escalation, including the production of intel to support it.

      All the U.S. neocons and liberal interventionists, the CIA et al., were demanding greater U.S. military action and conniving in every way possible to make it happen, looking to find every possible saleable rationale--so it wouldn't be surprising at all if these U.S. warmongers had in fact sought out Israeli intel to back the "Assad used chemical weapons on his own people" war pretext, in the same way they sought out intel on Iraqi WMD's to create a pretext for that war.

  • Fear that Israel is becoming 'South Africa on the Mediterranean' is expressed in Park Avenue synagogue
  • Fordham bans Students for Justice in Palestine
    • JohnSmith: Does a crank/troll like Hophmi really deserve a voice here?

      If he doesn't violate the rules--yes, absolutely!

      MW Comments Policy:

      One of the goals of this site is to promote critical discussion and debate on US foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We want Mondoweiss to be a place that everyone feels comfortable visiting, to read and comment, regardless of political perspective. People might not always like what we post, but everyone should feel invited and encouraged to join the discussion, share their opinions, and engage in debate. [emphasis added]

      If there were no posters here presenting Zionist arguments, there would far less critical discussion and debate . Some of MW's most informative posts--many of Hostage's for example--have come in response to posters like Hophmi.

      I'd advise: just ignore the sneering and insulting and debate the facts/logic.

  • Antisemitism and its useful idiots
    • Amitai Ben-Abba: At a time in which fascism strengthens globally, the groundless allegation of antisemitism drains the word itself of meaning, making it incoherent and irrelevant, allowing racists who support Israel, such as Donald Trump or his chief strategist Steve Bannon, to hide their antisemitism. [emphasis added]

      Proof of Bannon's antisemitism is apparently to be found at this link:

      "How Steve Bannon and Breitbart News Can Be Pro-Israel — and Anti-Semitic at the Same Time

      [...][Breitbart News] trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes. One article called Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum a “political revisionist,” noting “hell hath no fury like a Polish, Jewish, American elitist scorned.” Another called The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol a “renegade Jew.”

      Bannon’s ex-wife branded him as an anti-Semite in 2007 court documents, in which she describes Bannon complaining about “whiny brat” Jews at their daughters’ school, according to the New York Daily News. Bannon denied that he made the comments, through a spokeswoman. [emphasis added]

      That's the evidence --in total. And you know it's been deeply and thoroughly investigated. Nothing else has been found.

      Sufficient proof? Or another case of a " groundless allegation of antisemitism"?

    • Atlantaiconoclast: It seems that many in this movement think that they can disarm the accusations of anti Semitism by accusing Trump supporters of it.

      Seems that way. Certainly Steve Bannon has been branded an anti-Semite--without any credible evidence.

      Even Tom Suarez ( who says, "[v]irtually all of the alleged anti-Semitism we hear about from the Zionists is a lie, smears...") appears not to have been able to resist the temptation to anti-Semiticize Trump & co:

      [Tom Suarez:] is the simple fact that Zionism requires anti-Semitism, is addicted to it, and seeks to insure that it, or at least the appearance of it, never ends. One need look no further than the satisfaction among many Zionists today at the true anti-Semitism of the incoming US administration of Donald Trump ... [italics in the original; bolding added]

      The Trump administration is guilty of "true" anti-Semitism? Where's the evidence?

  • The immaculate conception of Louis Brandeis
    • @irishmoses

      Thanks for the Sniegoski link. Interesting, but it was not at all a probing, meticulous review of Weir's book. Rather, it was basically a presentation of Sniegoski's own historical analyses using some of Weir's topics as jumping off points.

    • Philip Weiss: Melvin Urofsky, the dean of Brandeis biographers, went so far as to say that Shapiro was prejudiced: “Shapiro displayed the then almost universal Israeli scholarly antagonism toward American Zionism.”

      That raises a critical point which I believe needs much more emphasis: Brandeis's newly minted American Zionism was radically different than Eastern European-rooted Zionism / Israeli Zionism. So, it's not so much a question of the Israeli Zionist historians' "prejudice" but rather a question of their ideological agenda.

      Peter Grose raises this issue in his 1983 article Louis Brandeis, Arthur Balfour and a Declaration that Made History:


      Brandeis's long and distinguished career in the Supreme Court was not troubled by the charge of political opportunism, but long after his death historians began reviving the innuendos, particularly historians in the State of Israel. American defenders of his memory rushed to his defense, and the controversy among scholars has simmered ever since.

      * * * * *
      [...]if Brandeis had consciously set out to obtain proper Jewish credentials after his rejection for the Wilson Cabinet, he would hardly have espoused a cause which had virtually no standing, was even considered repugnant, among the influential Jews of the country. Being a Zionist in 1913 was no positive recommendation among men of influence. And even when the popular mood had changed y 1916, largely because of Brandeis's own efforts, conservatives at the AJC held to their cynical anti-Brandeis opinions.

      From his position of Olympian gentility, Taft can perhaps be forgiven for failing to grasp these internally Jewish concerns. But modern Israeli scholars understand full well the family quarrels that cluttered the path to the Jewish State. There must be some other reason why an analysis that diminishes the stature of Brandeis, even in small measure, finds a sympathetic response.

      Perhaps it is this: Brandeis was a stranger to the European Zionist mainstream, the doctrinal tradition that culminated in the establishment of Israel. He was a brusque and authoritarian newcomer with ideas of his own. When, belatedly, he embraced Zionism, he redefined it to his own liking. Instead of accepting the style and outlook of the Russian Pale, the root source of Zionist strength, he attempted to impose the values of American progressives. The grafting did not take, and today, looking back,Israelis view Brandeis's Americanized Zionism with bemusement; his shortlived movement is regarded as an unsympathetic and alien dead end, and his place in the Zionist pantheon is, at best, a modest one. [emphasis added]

    • Mooser: This discussion is I think, predicated on a false equivalence. The Zionists weren’t “immigrants”, they came as colonists and conquerors and political usurpers.

      Yes, that a key point!

      The "Arab immigration" argument is thus false factually, employs a false equivalence (Mooser), and is, in any case, entirely irrelevant in terms of law and morality (eljay).

    • dudu440: Both sides in this debate demonstrate that Brandeis’ Zionism, once established, was open and public, not conspiratorial and a secret driver for his efforts to push Wilson into entering WWI, as Weir alleges. To those who quote Weir’s description of his “secret Parushim society,” I urge you to read the sources of information about it that she herself cites. They paint a very different picture about the society’s nature, more social than political, and its influence, which was clearly quite marginal. .


      That's true. And I also urge readers to go to the sources Weir cites. I studied Weir's book very thoroughly, checking every reference I could (it took months), and I found she engaged in a phenomenal amount of distortion, omission and misleading selectivity-- something I was NOT expecting at all.

      I also largely agree with the rest of your points on the "progressivism" of Brandeis's time and of our own. Very insightful and well-stated.

    • irishmoses: My impression is that Brandeis’s connection to Zionism was gradual but genuine

      That's my impression as well --from having read many of the sources Philip Weiss cites, and others.

      [irishmoses:]Alison Weir’s book, Against our Better Judgment, is more of a compilation of historians than a history.

      True. Her book is, to put it a little less kindly, a compilation of cherry-picked quotes and paraphrases used to construct a fundamentally fallacious conspiratorial anti-Zionist narrative.

      In her discussion of Brandeis, Weir does not present any material from primary sources, and if you go to the historical works she cites-which I have-- you find that in most cases she radically distorts the authors' views .

      That's not to say, though, that in various parts of the book, some of her anti-Zionist talking points are not true. More than a few are. The distortion and falsity come primarily through massive omission of detail and context rather than outright false assertions. The result, in any case, is highly dubious polemics, not historical scholarship. (Whether such polemics end up helping or hindering the Palestinian cause is a reasonable subject for debate.)

      Given those facts, it makes perfect sense that Philip Weiss would rely on the original historical works and skip over Weir.

      [irishmoses:]I don’t think it’s fair to label her as an antisemite

      That would be absolutely unfair. She's a fierce anti-Zionist warrior-- but not once does she ever conflate "Jews" with "Zionists". Not once does she make essentializing claims about "the Jews". She always takes great care to distinguish Jews in general from "the Zionists" who are the object of her attacks. And on multiple occasions she highlights Jewish opposition to Zionism.

    • jon s: The population more than quadrupled in less than 70 years, so it certainly makes sense that some other factor , aside from the birth rate , was at play ,immigration.

      Why does that "make sense"?

      Compare these later Arab-Palestinian growth figures within Israel:

      Palestinian Arab minority that remained in Israel not only did not decline in number but actually increased dramatically in both absolute numbers and percentages after 1948, from 12.2 percent of the total population of Israel in 1950 to 18.6 percent in 1998 to nearly 20 percent now.

      Palestinian Arab population growth was entirely due to a high natural increase, contrasted with the Jewish rate of increase, which, as noted above, was largely due to immigration. Nevertheless, the Jewish rate of population growth has been declining since the 1980s, even including immigrants (except in the 1990s because of the massive Russian influx).

      The Palestinian rate of population growth, on the other hand, has remained high. As a result, the Palestinian Arab population in Israel increased from roughly 175,000 in 1950 to about 1,105,400 in 1998... [emphasis added]

      Samih K. Farsoun; Naseer Aruri. Palestine and the Palestinians: A Social and Political History (p. 146).


      175,000 to 1,105,400 in 48 years-- that's more than a six fold increase, virtually none of it due to immigration.

    • (Cont.)

      From "Palestine and the Palestinians":

      The Economic Transformation of the Palestine Mandate

      Palestine was unique compared to other British colonial possessions. As discussed above, this uniqueness lay in the British encouragement of Jewish settler colonialism and in facilitating a modern, industrial economic enclave even at the expense of the economic (but not strategic) interests of the British Empire. Accordingly, the Jewish settlers created in Palestine an enclave society with a European organization and standard of living and a demand for European goods and services.

      These socioeconomic developments vastly escalated the pace of change and reoriented the structure of the Palestinian economy and society. To begin with, the population increased rapidly. As two British censuses (in 1922 and 1931) and subsequent governmental estimates suggest, Palestine's population more than doubled between 1922 and 1946, from 750,000 to 1.8 million (see Table 3.1). The change resulted principally from a natural increase crease among the Palestinians and from the waves of migration of Jews into the country. The rate of increase of the migrant Jewish population, however, ever, was higher than that of the natural increment among Palestinian Arabs, and therefore the Jewish ratio to the total population grew larger: from roughly 11 percent to 31 percent in twenty-four years. While the Palestinian Arab population doubled in size, the Jewish population nearly tripled. Nevertheless, the Palestinian Arab population was still greater by a ratio of two to one.

      * * *

      [...]Owen asserted that although Palestinians tinians outnumbered Jews two to one, both labor forces were roughly the same size as a result of the age distribution (50 percent were below the age of fifteen) and low female participation in wage labor among the Arab Palestinians and because most Jewish migrant-settlers were of the productive tive age (fifteen to twenty-nine years old).

      Furthermore, well over 90 percent of the Jews were literate, in contrast to 30 percent of the Arab Palestinians.60 And the two-tier wage system instituted by the British provided Jewish workers with a wage rate up to three times higher than that of the Arab Palestinians. Accordingly, the per capita income of Jews was also nearly three times as high as that of Arab Palestinians.

      [emphasis added]

      Samih K. Farsoun; Naseer Aruri. Palestine and the Palestinians: A Social and Political History (pp. 77-78).

    • Jon s: According to a Palestinian source, “Palestine and the Palestinians” by Farsoun and Zacharia (Westview Press, 1997), p.78 ,the Arab population of Palestine increased from 300,000 in 1880 to 1,300,000 in 1947.

      Yes, table 3.1 in that book (p.67,, second edition, 2006) contains those figures. The original source is given as Facts and Figures about the Palestinians, Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine, Washington, D.C., 1992.

      This analysis accompanies that table:

      In-Migration and Demographic Transformation

      Palestine in 1882 had a small, native migrant religious Jewish community (or yishuv, as Israeli and Western Jewish historians call it) of roughly 24,000 among a population of nearly 500,000 Palestinians.26 The size of the Jewish settler community in Palestine increased, over the period after 1882, through several major waves (called aliyahs by Israeli and Jewish historians) of in-migration. The first wave, between 1882 and 1903, totaled about 25,000 Jews, most of Russian origin, and the second, between 1904 and 1914, brought in around 35,000 Jews, most of them eastern Europeans. In the 1922 census conducted by the mandate government, the country had a population of 757,182 (perhaps an undercount, as many observers servers note), with 89 percent Palestinian Arab and 11 percent Jewish. Most Jews lived in the urban areas of new western Jerusalem and the exclusively Jewish Tel Aviv suburb of Jaffa.27 (See Table 3.1.)

      The number of Jewish settlers increased with the third and subsequent sporadic waves. The third wave, between 1919 and 1923, brought in 35,000 (again, most of them Russian), and the fourth, between 1924 and 1931, added another 85,000 immigrants (most of middle-class Polish28 background). ground). The fifth wave of Jewish immigration, between 1932 and 1938, may have numbered close to 200,000. Indeed because of the rise of Nazism, 174,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine between 1932 and 1936, suddenly raising the Jewish population to an estimated 370,000 in 1936, that is, 28 percent of the total population of Palestine, a dramatic increase from the 16 percent reported in the 1931 census.

      "It was therefore not surprising that the Arab population should have become alarmed at the rapid rate at which the demographic composition of their country was being altered, without their consent and against their will.... This radical change, occurring in the brief span of only five years, must certainly be recognized as an important cause of the [Palestinian] Arab rebellion of 1936."29

      [Table 3.1]

      Map 3.2 shows the distribution of population by subdistricts, with percentages of Jews and Palestinians. By the end of 1947, Palestine mandate government estimates indicate that of a total population of 1.9 million, Jews made up only 31 percent of the population and the rest was Arab (except for the small numbers of British and other Europeans).30

      Thus only a year before "the state of Israel was unilaterally declared and its effective control expanded by force to most of the area contained in the former country of Palestine, the Jewish population still constituted a minority of less than one-third."31 Eighty-five percent of the Jewish population remained centered in three major urban centers and their surrounding areas: Jaffa-Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa. [emphasis added]

      Samih K. Farsoun; Naseer Aruri. Palestine and the Palestinians: A Social and Political History (pp. 65-67).

  • It turns out Jews are as stupid as everyone else
    • oldgeezer: because all seven billion of us have some genetic flaw (which is corrected by god if we convert religion)

      Original Sin? By the grace of God, redemption by whom? The only remedy...

    • talknic: […] [Israel] can no longer afford to adhere to the law without the Jewish State going bankrupt.
      It’s very unlikely that Israeli “bankruptcy” would result from a two-state settlement (based on the "Green Line") in accordance with international law and UN resolutions.

      You have to weigh economic costs against benefits.

      Economic Costs of Ending the Apartheid Occupation

      *Compensation to Palestinian refugees and the State of Palestine itself.

      *Costs of removing, relocating and financially compensating a significant portion of Israelis now living in illegal OPT settlements.

      *Loss of income from exploiting natural resources in OPT.

      *Loss of income from selling non-Israeli land to illegal Israeli settlers, as well as property tax income etc.

      *Lost investments in OPT infrastructure etc.

      Economic Benefits of Ending the Apartheid Occupation

      *Increase in international investment, trade and aid to both Israel and Palestine following the end of the Occupation and a two-state settlement.

      *End of massive Israeli subsidies to illegal settlers.

      *End of massive costs of maintaining the “matrix of control” in OPT.

      *Shift of a significant amount of military spending to more socially beneficial outlays and/or tax reduction.

      Economist Shir Hever has made a detailed economic analysis in his book, “The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation.

      A brief summary can be found in his article “Why Does Israel Still Occupy the Palestinians?

      He concludes that the economic costs of maintaining the Occupation outweigh the costs that would be incurred by ending it.

      Within Israel, the arguments used to support the occupation on the basis of its purported economic benefits to Israel have gone silent. Even Marxist economists who effectively demonstrated the profits derived by Israel from the occupation in its first two decades largely abandoned the notion that Israel occupies the Palestinian territories for economic profit after the First Intifada of 1987, since when Palestinian resistance to the occupation has exacted a heavy economic toll on Israel - although clearly Palestinians paid a much heavier price for daring to challenge Israel’s occupation (Swirski, 2005).

      The costs of the occupation to Israeli society can be divided into three.

      First, the massive subsidies to the illegal colonists in the West Bank are estimated at about US$ 3 billion annually and growing by 5%-8% annually.

      Second, the cost of security for the colonies, and the military expenditure to keep the Palestinians under control (both in the West Bank and Gaza) is about double that – at US$ 6 billion annually, and growing at about the same rate as the civilian costs (Hever, 2005).

      Third, the social costs of the occupation are too numerous and complex to list here, including the collapse of public services, social solidarity and democratic institutions within Israel, and the widening of social gaps to monstrous levels.

      […]It would therefore seem that the rational course of action for the Israeli government would be to end the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

      Shir Hever:

      So why do Israelis support the occupation, even though they realize that it is an economic burden? The answer is complex, as Israelis are not a homogeneous group

      See the rest of the above linked article for Hever's detailed explanation.

  • To be successful the French Peace Initiative must be based on international law and human rights
    • ----------------

      Reimpose? It was never imposed in the first place. It was not backed by the UNSC, and the great powers were not willing to supply the military forces which would be needed to implement it. As a result, we got the Nakba.

  • Origins of a golden shower
    • Another view:

      [Justin Raimondo:] [...]We interrupt this fantasy to bring you an important announcement: it didn’t happen that way.

      To begin with, anyone who thinks Orbis is a “private” intelligence agency, totally separate from MI6, the legendary British intelligence service, is delusional. These agencies – there are several, including the notorious Halykut, which recently surfaced in China – are simply extensions of the parent organization, MI6, which is, itself, intertwined with similar spook outfits in the US and throughout Europe. It’s an international fraternity, one that shares information, contacts, and a common worldview – and this last is what brings it into conflict with the President-elect.

      When Trump began talking about how “obsolete” NATO is, their alarm bells began to go off. The alliance is the bedrock of the international security apparatus that nurtures and rewards this crowd, and the anchor of the expansionist agenda that envisions Ukraine and Georgia as the next entrants in the anti-Russian grand coalition.

      Those alarm bells started screaming when Trump took up with Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader and spokesman for the rising nationalist anti-EU movement: the Brexit campaign dealt the internationalists a near mortal blow, and the Trump-Farage hook-up drove them up the wall. Like Trump, Farage is “pro-Russian,” i.e. he opposes the drive to war against Moscow, and the double victory of Trump-Brexit has the NATO-crats in a panic. Something had to be done.…[emphasis added]

    • The Telegraph:

      [...][Chistopher Steele] was soon recruited by the Secret Intelligence Service, and by 1990 he was in Moscow as a spy working out of the British Embassy. His contemporaries included another young recruit, Alex Younger, who rose through the ranks to become the current head of MI6.

      While Mr Younger was marked for greatness, Mr Steele was described by one source as a medium-ranked officer of middling ability, who spent most of his 20-year MI6 career on the Russia desk.

      At one point he ran MI6’s Intelligence Officers New Entry Course at its training establishment in Hampshire, and he was appointed as case officer to the FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko. It was in 2006, shortly after Mr Steele’s retirement, that Mr Litvinenko was assassinated in London with a lethal dose of radioactive polonium-210 added to his tea.

      Nigel West, European Editor of the World Intelligence Review, suggests Litvinenko’s death inevitably coloured Mr Steele’s view of Russia, and turned him into a “man with a mission”.

      By 2009 he had founded Orbis with Christopher Burrows, another MI6 retiree, offering clients access to a “high–level source network with a sophisticated investigative capability”.

      So it was to Orbis that Jeb Bush , one of Mr Trump’s opponents in the Republican presidential primaries, reportedly turned when he wanted to find material that would damage the billionaire businessman.

      Associates of Mr Bush hired FusionGPS, a Washington DC-based political research firm, which in turn hired Orbis in December 2015. When Mr Trump became the presumptive nominee, the Republicans ended the deal with FusionGPS, but Democratic supporters of Hillary Clinton stepped in and continued funding Mr Steele’s research.

      * * * *

      [...]]The 35-page dossier, however, did not see the light of day because of questions over its veracity. Journalists from numerous media companies spent months trying to find evidence to back up the claims made in the dossier, without success.

      Meanwhile, Mr Steele, believing its contents to be too important to be restricted only to Mr Trump’s political enemies, is understood to have passed copies of his findings to both the FBI, via its Rome office, and to his old colleagues at MI6.

      The Daily Telegraph has been told that the FBI arranged a meeting with Mr Steele in Europe where they discussed his findings with him. Sources have told the Telegraph that the FBI’s approach was approved by the British Government. [emphasis added]


      So, a former MI6 agent, allegedly on an anti-Putin life mission, was hired by Jeb Bush, and later Hillary Clinton folks, to compile dirt on Trump, which he did, but none of it could be verified by multiple numerous media companies who would have loved to publish if it was at all verifiable. Which it wasn't.

    • Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi:

      [...] [the report's] sources are protected and described by alphabet letters, but are described by position to reveal their access to desired information. That is also what I would have expected from an intelligence officer or a good investigator.

      But I also noted that quite a lot of the most significant information comes from a single source, Source E. This source’s credibility or lack thereof has to be considered an important issue. With the information publicly available, it is impossible to determine if he really knows what he claims.

      Having done intelligence-based investigations for clients, I would have to observe that the initiators of this work were not looking for information to exonerate Trump. That means that the investigation was looking for negatives, which also implies that the investigative firm and the sources that it acquired were not interested in learning what a nice guy Trump is.

      No reputable security investigative firm would out-and-out lie to a client (though there are plenty of non-reputable companies that would), but anybody who wants to stay in business would collect any and all information and present it in the most negative light possible, because that is what the client wants.

      That determination would also hold true for the local sources for the report, all of whom would want to stay on the gravy train as long as possible. That means that they might fabricate if they considered it to be doable without getting caught.

      What I am saying is that there is a tendency to report speculation and rumors as fact, or at least something approaching that, with the whole product being put together in such a fashion as to appear credible. That is precisely what I felt when I read through the 35 pages.

      * * * *

      My suspicion would be that the report is a composite of some fact, a lot of speculation, and even some fiction. It is very similar to the types of media-focused disinformation produced by both CIA and KGB in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s, where a little bit of factual information would be used to provide credibility for a lot of speculation and false stories that were intended to sow doubt and confusion.

      In this case, the original intent might well have been to discredit Trump personally; its release at this time is likely intended to delegitimize his presidency, or to narrow his options on recalibrating with Russia. [emphasis added]

    • tokyobk : Yes, but we do know the name of the person who, ahem, leaked the document. Its Christopher Steele, a former MI6 agent,

      He didn't "leak" the document, he prepared it after he was paid large sums to dig up dirt on Trump.

      "who has been a respected source of information for decade"

      Respected by whom? His continuing M16 brothers and sisters in arms? With MI6 he was on the Litvinenko case, were they did an utterly disrespectable anit-Putin hack up job.

  • How I got over the Milk-and-Honey-and-Chosen-People place
  • The Palestinian state never had a chance: a review of Toufic Haddad's 'Palestine Ltd: Neoliberalism and Nationalism in the Occupied Territory'
    • talknic: It is a pre-requisite for declaring independence that the entity declaring must control all their territories at the time of their declaration

      Historical reality suggests otherwise. See this list of unilateral declarations of independence:

      "The International Court of Justice, in a 2010 advisory opinion, declared that unilateral declarations of independence were not illegal under international law. "

    • Talknic: t is a pre-requisite for declaring independence that the entity declaring must control all their territories at the time of their declaration -

      [...] It’s the same reason Indonesia had to leave East Timor in order that ET could be independent

      You are confusing a state becoming de facto independent with an entity declaring independence.

      Wikipedia: East Timor

      Break from Portugal

      While [ East Timorese political party] Fretilin had sought the return of the Portuguese Governor, pointedly flying the Portuguese flag from government offices, the deteriorating situation meant that it had to make an appeal to the world for international support, independently of Portugal.

      On 28 November 1975, Fretilin made a unilateral declaration of independence of the Democratic Republic of East Timor (República Democrática de Timor-Leste in Portuguese). This was not recognised by either Portugal, Indonesia, or Australia [...] [emphasis added]

      * * *
      Indonesian invasion and annexation

      The Indonesian invasion of East Timor began on 7 December 1975. Indonesian forces launched a massive air and sea invasion, known as Operasi Seroja, or 'Operation Komodo', almost entirely using US-supplied equipment even if Kissinger feared this would be revealed to the public.[10] Moreover, according to declassified documents released by the National Security Archive (NSA) in December 2001, USA gave its agreement to Indonesia for the invasion... [emphasis added]

    • The PLO declared Palestine's independence in 1988 --while under Israeli occupation.

      The Palestinian Declaration of Independence is a statement written by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and proclaimed by Yasser Arafat on 15 November 1988. It had previously[1] been adopted by the Palestinian National Council, the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), by a vote of 253 in favour 46 against and 10 abstentions. It was read at the closing session of the 19th Palestinian National Council to a standing ovation.[2] Upon completing the reading of the declaration, Arafat, as Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization assumed the title of "President of Palestine."[3] In April 1989, the PLO Central Council elected Yasser Arafat the first President of the State of Palestine.[4]

      * * *

      As a result of the declaration, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) convened, inviting Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO to give an address. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 43/177 was adopted "acknowledging the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988," and it was further decided that "the designation 'Palestine' should be used in place of the designation 'Palestine Liberation Organization' in the United Nations system." One hundred and four states voted for this resolution, forty-four abstained, and two - the United States and Israel - voted against.[18] By mid-December, 75 states had recognised Palestine, rising to 93 states by February 1989.[19]

      On 29 November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 67/19 upgrading Palestine to non-member observer state status in the United Nations.[20]

    • talknic: It is a pre-requisite for declaring independence that the entity declaring must control all their territories at the time of their declaration.

      As in the case when Second Continental Congress declared the independence of thirteen American colonies ?

  • Fury at Azaria verdict is Israel's Trump moment
    • What do you call that very large portion of the "aid" for Israel that goes straight to into the hands of U.S. corporations?

      After months of negotiating, the United States and Israel have signed a huge, $38 billion deal for military aid to the Jewish state — with some changes from previous pacts between the countries.

      The 10-year agreement is the largest in U.S. history, with a significant portion of the money expected to be used to upgrade Israel's air force to Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter aircraft.

      But while the actual memorandum of understanding hasn't been officially released by either country, it has a number of conditions that are different from previous U.S.-Israel aid deals.

      Most importantly, it's structured so that more Israeli defense spending goes to U.S. companies. Israel's long-standing special arrangement for funds from the United States previously allowed Israel to spend 26 percent of the money in Israel — on Israeli-made defense products. But that provision is being phased out over the first five years of the deal. [emphasis added]

  • Jared Kushner fired me over Israel ten years ago
    • Warren Bass gives a mainstream liberal historian's take on JFK/Israel:

      The Kennedy administration, we can now see, constitutes the pivotal presidency in U.S.-Israel relations, the hinge that swung decisively away from the chilly association of the 1950s and toward the full-blown alliance we know today. Kennedy was the first president to break the arms embargo blocking U.S. sales of major weaponry to Israel; after his term, Washington was deciding which arms to sell the Jewish state, not whether to sell any arms in the first place. By expanding the limits of what was thinkable with Israel and reaching the limits of what was doable with Egypt, Kennedy set the parameters for America’s Middle Eastern policy for decades to come.

      The Kennedy administration marks not only the end of America’s last serious pre-Camp David attempt to court Egypt but also the true origin of America’s alliance with the Jewish state. JFK did not make such moves out of altruism. In his inaugural, he avoided the term “ally,” suggesting instead an association that was more than kind but less than kin. Kennedy was not seeking friendship for friendship’s sake; he sought compatriots to advance his wider Cold War strategy— ensuring, as he put it, “the survival and the success of liberty.”

      * * *

      [...]That said, many readers friendly to Kennedy, Israel, or both may be surprised by much of what they find herein— JFK’s insistence on sending U.S. inspectors to Israel’s Dimona reactor, the Pentagon’s willingness to exclude Jewish soldiers from the American mission to defend Saudi Arabia, the frequent exasperation of the White House with Ben-Gurion and Israeli Foreign Minister Golda Meir, the commitment by both Kennedy’s State Department and his National Security Council to trying to improve relations with Israel’s nemesis in Cairo, and so on. [...]

      Kennedy[...] [was] as determined a foe of Israel’s nuclear arms program as has ever lived in the White House. We have grown used to the idea of eternal U.S.-Israeli friendship, even if historically speaking, it simply was not so.

      * * * *

      [...] when looking at Kennedy’s own Cold War in the Middle East, it is striking to note the way in which his deepening friendship with Israel did not preclude outreach to Arab progressives, his attempts to avoid signaling that America stood reflexively with the Arab world’s reactionaries, and his hope that modernization in the Levant could improve both the Arabs’ lot and the West’s standing.

      Progressivism did not contradict principle. Kennedy was capable of deploring French colonialism in Algeria and of denouncing terrorism by those who sought to end it, of trying to help Egypt modernize and of trying to force Saudi Arabia to ban slavery, of befriending Israel and of exploring ways to alleviate the misery of Palestinian refugees.

      * * * *

      The context for the origins of the U.S.-Israel alliance is, in a very real sense, Suez. The shadow of Israel’s aggressive protection of its security interests still fell heavily upon the Eisenhower administration.

      It was only the newer Kennedy appointees, less encumbered by the memory of 1956, who were willing to move closer to a post-Suez Israel. Arguing that the Hawks were simply defensive weapons worked only if one assumed that Israel was not an aggressor state. Kennedy made that assumption, even if Eisenhower did not.

      With that view, Kennedy made considerable changes. He sold major arms to Israel for the first time, paving the way for America to become, as it were, the arsenal of Jewish democracy; he began security consultations, paving the way for full-blown military-to-military joint planning; he gave Israel its warmest security assurances to date, paving the way for even more formal American commitments to repel Arab aggression; and he even replaced Marshall’s old refusal to even think about domestic political constraints when handling Israel policy, paving the way for the misty-eyed invocations of eternal U.S.-Israel friendship that are staples of any modern presidential aspirant’s standard foreign policy speech.

      Warren Bass, Support Any Friend: Kennedy's Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance

    • FWIW, and not to contradict anything Annie Robbins has written, here's an excerpt from "Support Any Friend: Kennedy's Middle East and the Making of the U.S.-Israel Alliance by Bass Warren (pp. 41-42):

      The future president’s closest adviser, his younger brother Robert, was actually present at the moment of Israel’s birth. Amid the chaos of 1948, Bobby drew markedly warmer conclusions than his skeptical older sibling. 4 On Good Friday in March 1948, amid another paternally mandated postcollege trip to see a bit of the world, Bobby ignored his anxious father’s orders to steer clear of trouble and flew from Cairo to Lydda, the town outside Tel Aviv that still houses Israel’s major airport.

      On assignment for the Boston Post, Bobby interviewed his way across the war-torn Palestine Mandate, visiting Jerusalem, a kibbutz, and Tel Aviv. (As RFK roved around Jerusalem, scribbling down his impressions, he could not have known that, in the mixed Arab-Jewish neighborhood of Musrara, there lived a four-year-old boy named Sirhan Sirhan.) 5

      The spring of 1948 was hardly a safe time in Palestine: according to Bobby’s diary, the Jewish convoy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem that directly followed his was “cut to ribbons,” and the future attorney general’s stroll around Jerusalem ended with his being arrested, blindfolded, taken to Haganah headquarters, and ordered to keep off the streets. “They are different from any Jews I have ever know[ n] or seen,” wrote an impressed Bobby. “I just wish [the Arabs] didn’t have that oil.”

      On June 3, a few weeks after the Mandate expired, the Boston Post’s man in Israel filed a piece bearing, as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., dryly noted, “a headline guaranteed to sell papers in Boston: BRITISH HATED BY BOTH SIDES.” 6 Bobby dismissed talk that the Jewish state might turn communist as being “fantastically absurd.” Indeed, America and Britain might soon “be looking to a Jewish state to preserve a toehold in that part of the world.”

      Some of Bobby’s enthusiasm seems to have ultimately rubbed off on Jack, who ran successfully for Congress in 1946. The young congressman applauded Truman’s decision to recognize Israel in May 1948.

      The Kennedy brothers, along with their sister Patricia, traveled together to Israel in the fall of 1951 as part of a seven-week congressional trip through the Middle and Far East. For all of Kennedy’s robust image, his Addison’s disease and chronic back pain made foreign trips an ordeal. JFK kept a journal as they traveled, jotting down vignettes and observations in his inimitable (and virtually impenetrable) scrawl. 7 This time, Kennedy’s tone, while still skeptical, had more warmth in it. Arriving in Tel Aviv, the young representative was struck by the pace of construction, the dangers of using the roads at night, and the rugged Israelis. “Soldiers tough, rugged, cocky,” he wrote. 8 “[ Israelis] very aggressive— confident. Arabs fear expansion-say it is inevitable.” 9

      During their meetings with JFK, Israeli officials bragged of their policy of unlimited aliyah, or Jewish immigration, telling Kennedy that a group of baffled, backward Yemenite immigrants taking their first airplane ride started a fire on board to cook lunch. 10 The U.N. envoy to the region, Ralph Bunche, sounded a less enthusiastic note, remarking that “the greatest mistake of the Jews was their handling of the Arab problem.” 11

      But Kennedy seemed to like the young country’s toughness. “You can feel sense of dedication— especially in young people— willingness to endure hardship …,” he scribbled. 12 “Life for people very hard and tough after exhilaration of war,” he added, especially for the elderly. 13

      One of the highlights of the trip was dinner with Ben-Gurion at the prime minister’s Jerusalem residence, accompanied by several Israeli ministers and some other Americans


  • The truck attack that killed four Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem was not 'terrorism'
    • talknic: The Laws and UN Charter re-affirmed and or emphasized in ANY UN resolution are binding

      But the interpretive application of international law in UNGA resolutions to particular situations may not be binding.

  • There is no such thing as 'Progressive Except Palestine'
    • john douglas: Reagan besmirched “liberal” so now we have a fresh new “progressive."
      That's true for many liberals who have defensively and/or opportunistically adopted the "progressive" label. (HiLLary Clinton is a "progressive"!!)

      But the modern "progressive" label (putting aside 1890-1920's "progressive" movements), also has deep roots in the Vietnam War era liberal-minded rejection of the Liberal Establishment and Liberal Cold Warrior anti-Communists ( Johnson, Humphrey et al.) which necessitated a distinguishing label.

      ["New Left" was also an important term for the era (not now), to distinguish the old stodgy communist/socialist left from the new social-democratic left. That "New Left" merged into the contemporary "progressive" current, maintaining it's anti-mainstream-liberalism roots. ]

      And then there's the more recent rise of both neoliberalism and the closely-related new identity politics, which makes the terms "progressive" and "liberal' increasingly inadequate.

    • john douglas: So I think political labels applied to people are to be avoided whenever possible.

      But it's also true that people themselves adopt labels for their belief-clusters and self-identify as members of political tribes.

    • eljay: No, it doesn’t necessarily mean that. Nuff said.


      Not nuff for the logically-challenged moral purist who believes: "if you don't agree with me 100%, you are against me 100%."

    • I think it might be useful to recognize the difference between someone:

      1) Recognizing X as the apartheid/ethnic cleansing it is, and still supporting X.

      2) Not recognizing X as the apartheid/ethnic cleansing it is, and supporting X.

      In other words, there is a difference between 1)someone who supports Israel (or does not condemn it sufficiently) because they mistakenly believe that that support is consistent with progressive values and 2) someone who recognizes that Israeli actions are NOT consistent with progressive values, but nevertheless makes an exception and supports Israel anyway.

      The first person holds strong to progressive values and can be persuaded to change their position on Israel/Palestine by arguing factually and demonstrating the contradiction with progressive values.

      The second person cannot be persuaded that way, since he/she already recognizes the contradiction but accepts it nevertheless.

    • john douglas: I think from a pragmatic, rhetorical standpoint PEP is a useful term.

      I agree. It points to a segment of the progressive community that has taken an untenable contradictory stand on one issue.

      If PEP's are not progressives, what are they? Conservatives? Racists? etc. If you use those labels, the ideological self-contradiction is no longer highlighted.

    • One is either progressive or not.

      90% movement toward a goal is still progressive. But there is no 90% pregnant.

      Progress is not an absolute; pregnancy is.

  • Netanyahu has isolated Israel and is driving the US 'off a cliff into chaos' -- Lloyd Doggett

    • Labour calls for inquiry into Israeli diplomat's 'take down MPs' plot

      The revelations also provoked anger among many Conservative politicians. One former minister in David Cameron’s government said the embassy’s efforts to exert improper influence on British public life went far further than any plot to “take down” unhelpful members of parliament.

      Writing anonymously in the Mail on Sunday, the former minister said: “British foreign policy is in hock to Israeli influence at the heart of our politics, and those in authority have ignored what is going on.

      “For years the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) and Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) have worked with – even for – the Israeli embassy to promote Israeli policy and thwart UK government policy and the actions of ministers who try to defend Palestinian rights.

      “Lots of countries try to force their views on others, but what is scandalous in the UK is that instead of resisting it, successive governments have submitted to it, take donors’ money, and allowed Israeli influence-peddling to shape policy and even determine the fate of ministers.”

      The former minister said there needed to be a full inquiry into the Israeli embassy’s links with CFI and LFI, and that while political parties should welcome funding from the UK’s Jewish community, they should not accept any engagement linked to Israel until it ceases new developments on Palestinian land.

  • New poll shows sharp partisan divide on UN settlements resolution, and between Jews and African-Americans
  • In 'breathtaking' UN vote, Obama changed his policy on Israeli settlements, making them a war crime -- Finkelstein
    • Israel is an integral part of the "Western" military/intelligence system and thus affected by the Trump vs Deep State confrontation.

      "U.S. Intelligence Officials Reportedly Warn Israeli Counterparts Against Sharing Info With Trump Administration "

      Shared information could be leaked to Russia and onward to Iran, American officials implied to Israelis in closed meeting, saying Kremlin has 'leverages of pressure' over Trump

      [...]American intelligence officials expressed despair at the election of Trump during a recent meeting with their Israeli counterparts, Bergman reported. They said that they believed that Putin had “leverages of pressure” over Trump, though they did not elaborate.

      [...]According to Bergman, the American intelligence officials implied that Israel should “be careful” when transferring intelligence information to the White House and the National Security Council (NSC) following Trump's inauguration – at least until it is clear that Trump does not have inappropriate connections with Russia.

      Cooperation between the Israeli and U.S. intelligence communities has intensified over the past two decades, with most of the joint operations directed, according to reports, against Iran. Hezbollah and Hamas were also intelligence targets. [emphasis added]

    • KEITH: Then why is the CIA led Deep State engaging in such blatant and unprecedented delegitimization of President Elect Trump?


      Btw, another synapse in the vast nervous system of the capitalist-militarist-media complex:

      A) " BBC Claims Another Trump Dossier Exists"

      There are huge doubts about the reliability of the [Trump kompromat dossier], which was riddled with spelling errors. The BBC however appears to be trying to keep the story going, with foreign correspondent Paul Wood claiming that a second dossier exists from a second source.

      The second dossier, which so far hasn’t been mentioned by anyone else, is said to contain further accusations of Russia having “audio and video” of a sexual nature about Trump, claiming “more than one tape” and “more than one date” at multiple locations.

      Wood claimed to have indirectly spoken to CIA officers about it, saying that the material involved audio and video from both Moscow and St. Petersberg. The existing dossier also mentioned Trump hiring prostitutes in St. Petersberg, and having wild parties there.

      Of course, there is even less information on this new dossier than the dubious one that we’ve already seen... [emphasis added]


      B) BBC Correspondent Paul Wood is also Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow at the New America Foundation


      C) "In 2013, Anne-Marie Slaughter became President of New America, replacing Steve Coll.

      Google's Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt , is the chairman of the foundation's board of directors"


      D) In April 2014 Anne-Marie Slaughter writes a column titled: "Stopping Russia Starts in Syria ", calling for Obama to bomb Syria in retaliation for Putin's actions in the Ukraine.

      The solution to the crisis in Ukraine lies in part in Syria. It is time for US President Barack Obama to demonstrate that he can order the offensive use of force in circumstances other than secret drone attacks or covert operations. The result will change the strategic calculus not only in Damascus, but also in Moscow, not to mention Beijing and Tokyo.

      Ron Paul Institute --Neocon Watch :

      [...][Anne-Marie Slaughter] writes, "it is time to change Putin’s calculations, and Syria is the place to do it."

      "It is impossible to strike Syria legally so long as Russia sits on the United Nations Security Council," she writes, so her solution is simply to do it illegally. She suggests that the US should begin bombing Syria to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 2139, even though that is not a "Chapter VII" resolution authorizing force.

      It is ironic and highlights the cruel depravity of Slaughter that she suggests the bombing of Syria to enforce UNSC 2139, which was drawn up to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian relief to the war-ravaged Syrian people.

      Using a humanitarian relief UN resolution as a cover for the most anti-humanitarian of all acts -- dropping bombs -- reveals the true colors of the "humanitarian interventionist" and "responsibility to protect" crowd.

      Anne-Marie Slaughter embodies the disturbing trend of US government operatives (she was Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department from January 2009 until February 2011) who move into the "non-governmental" sector while directing public-private "non-profit" resources toward the promotion of US government foreign policy.

      In her current position as president of the America Foundation, she is in active partnership with the US government to develop new tools to help promote regime-change overseas. According to the New York Times, the New America Foundation has been awarded a three year contract by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop a kind of underground Internet system for Cuba.

      Readers recall that USAID was recently embroiled in controversy when it covertly developed a "Cuban Twitter" platform whose purpose was to foment regime change in the Caribbean island nation.

      Does anyone doubt that Slaughter's New America Foundation is developing USAID's "Cuban Internet" program for any reason other than to use it to further US regime change policy?
      [emphasis added]


      See also: " The Aptly Named Anne-Marie Slaughter"

    • @Annie Robbins

      I honestly don't know how you do it, spend all the time needed to moderate, edit, write articles, (not to mention the rest of your life) and still be able to reply to numerous comments in numerous different threads --not only reply, but reply in depth, with factual citations, quotes, links, and always with intellectual rigor, moral clarity, even-handedness. You are a force of nature!

    • Mooser: ...with his cabinet and staff providing a very Kremlin-like cheering-and-jeering section

      In your imagination the "Kremlin" has "cheering and jeering" sections?

    • Mooser: A 37% popularity rating, and suspicions of a treasonous connection with Russia (not to mention the immediate attempt to take benefits away) is no way to start out a Presidency.

      A truism, if there ever was one.

    • Page: 26
    • Mooser: [Sibiriak] “Trump cannot say it for political reasons (as Keith pointed out.)”

      Except he just did, in the “news conference


      Huh, not following you. Just a moment ago you wrote:

      [Trump] cannot say he didn’t get Russian help during the campaign.

      I agree with you that he cannot say it.

      Then you turn around and claim he did say it?

      He conceded that he believed the Russians did the hacking, and he said the released info was damaging to Clinton.

      That's not Russian help?


      Can you say Trump is in a position to not be damaged by his ties to Russia?

      Of course, he can and has been damaged by various allegations about ties to Russia.

      What ties do YOU think Trump has to Russia?

    • Annie Robbins: [Sibiriak:]What do you imagine could possibly be the upcoming “colin powel phase of the drama?”

      presenting hard evidence...

      Not sure what you are talking about. The intelligence community has already submitted their comprehensive report and there are no future plans --or demands-- for any one else to submit hard evidence (and nobody claiming such hard evidence exists).

      Now that Trump has accepted the intelligence community's conclusions, there is no longer any partisan disagreement on the Russia's guilt regarding hacking.

      Are there any prominent progressives/liberals challenging those conclusions and demanding more evidence? Sanders? Warren? Anyone?

      It seems to me the case is all but closed on the Putin-hacking claim. Democrats and progressives are powerfully motivated to back that claim since it strongly helps delegitimize Trump. (The opposite was true with Bush/Iraq War/WMD etc.)

    • @Annie

      Thanks for the MOA link.

      I had read about the Chalupa sisters and the Ukrainian nationalist angle elsewhere while investigating CrowdStrike.

      Largely off topic for MW, I realize. (Although, it's all interconnected!)

    • Annie Robbins: wiki: In July 2003, following the March invasion of Iraq, the CIA said in a report to Congress that “We are not yet at the point where we can draw comprehensive or final conclusions about the extent of Iraq’s prewar WMD program.”[12] It repeated this language in its report in January 2004.[13]

      [emphasis added]


      And it's a very different situation with the Putin/hacking claims: the CIA has drawn comprehensive and final conclusions.

      Extremely unlikely they will be reversed.


      and you’re comparing that with a scandal that is not even finished unfolding. we’re not even at the colin powel phase of the drama yet.

      What do you imagine could possibly be the upcoming "colin powel phase of the drama?" With Trump admitting "the Russians did it", the drama is essentially over as far as the Putin-hacking claims go.

      talk to me in a year about what’s “enthusiastically embraced"

      It's embraced now. And I can't envision any big no-WMD-were-found type future discovery that's going to exonerate Putin.

      Can you?

    • Mooser: [Trump] cannot say he didn’t get Russian help during the campaign.

      Trump cannot say it for political reasons (as Keith pointed out.)
      But YOU are not so constrained.

      Two simple questions:

      Do you believe Trump got Russian help during the campaign?

      If so, what evidence do you base that on?

    • Annie Robbins: the WMD thing didn’t happen over night

      I don't thing that's a good analogy. When WMD were not found that was devastating evidence against the claim that Saddam had WMD.

      What possible devastating evidence do you think can possibly emerge that Putin did not hack the DNC/Podesta and otherwise interfere in the U.S. election?

      It's almost impossible to imagine the Intelligence Community reversing their long and detailed, part classified, Putin- hacking reports.

      And given the nature of hacking, there won't be any big breakthrough new evidence from other sources exonerating Putin .

    • Mooser: and [Trump] cannot say he didn’t get Russian help during the campaign


      Exactly my point when I started with "Trump folds". Did you forget that?

      Once he admits he believes the unsubstantiated assertion that the Russians did the hacking, and then argues that the released info was damaging to Hillary, he cannot credibly say that the Russians did not help him.

      He did make the point: if the Russians preferred him over Hillary, what's wrong with that? That's a question for you as well. Not a rhetorical one, either.

      Trump cannot say he’s not involved with the Russians,

      What do you mean "involved with the Russians"?

    • Annie Robbins: [Sibiriak]The major difference is that the Iraq War was a partisan issue. Across the board, liberals and progressives opposed Bush and the war and enthusiastically embraced the notion that WMD lie was a lie.

      [Annie:]that’s not my recollection. at the beginning lots of so called liberals supported the war. at least in the media and the punditry. the left, or far left didn’t but there was a swell of support for the war as i recall. the WMD thing didn’t happen over night.


      You are predicting a major reversal along the lines of the "WMD thing". I'm saying that is unlikely to happen. No way of proving either of us right or wrong now regarding the future. As I wrote, we'll have to wait and see.

      I agree there was establishment liberal support for the Iraq war in the beginnning (and some continuing till now). I agree "across the board" was an overstatement.

      But there was MAJOR liberal/progressive opposition to the Iraq War from the very beginning. And that opposition steadily and rapidly grew.

      At no time was there any significant support for the Iraq War among progressives .

      It WAS a partisan issue from the get go. I don't think that's a controversial statement. You can add all the nuances you want to that, by all means go ahead, but that basic fact remain, and that was my main point.

      Equally true: alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election is NOT a partisan issue. Democrats and Republicans by and large agree that Russia hacked the election.

      So do most progressives --but not all. I go to many progressive sites and that sentiment is by far the majority one.

      You can dispute that if you like. (I know there are dissenters.)

      But let me ask you this: can you name a single prominent progressive or liberal leader-- Sanders, Warren et al.-- who has come out with strong statements against the Russia-hacking theory, against the credibility of the intelligence community in that regard, against Putin demonization, against Russia-demonization?

      That's not a rhetorical question.

    • Annie Robbins: if trump wanted a NFZ in syria, it’s likely none of this russia demonization would be going on, none at all.


      I have to strenuously disagree. This Russia demonization LONG predates the events in Syria and very much transcends them. While you are correct that Syrian events are an important factor, there are many other factors--U.S. hegemony in Europe; U.S. military/ideological hegemony; NATO expansion; nuclear expansion, arms sales, neoliberal trade and investment; BRICS opposition etc.--all of which have converged to make anti-Russia ideology and policy a structural feature of the entire U.S.- led "world order".

    • annie: there’s nothing unprecedented about a foreign country messing with our electoral process


      Not sure if you are responding to me, but to be clear, I never made such a claim and "messing with our electoral process" is absolutely NOT the issue I was referring to in terms of precedence.

    • Tillerson, of course, backs the lies about Russian aggression in Georgia, Ukraine, Crimea and Syria.

      Tillerson ever so slightly non-committal on Russian election interference, but being bullied.

      Hope he just plays along to get confirmed.

    • Keith: And yet some folks deny that this villification is unprecedented.

      I suppose you'd have to go back to era of McCarthy and Hoover to find some precedents for the current anti-Russia fever -but, yeah, the deep state's current nefarious attempts to undermine a U.S. president does seem unprecedented (Kennedy's assassination?), certainly a defining historical event with wide-ranging ramifications many people seem to be underestimating.

      (As I type: Tillerson playing it safe his hearing: emphasizing radical Islam/China threats with boilerplate anti-Russian talking points. Cardin trying to nail him on Putin/Russia with a slew of lies. Bastard.)

    • Mooser: I have to admit you are right.

      Almost anything Trump does won’t be as bad as what Hilary Clinton would have done.

      [...] Anything he does will be much worse than what Hilary would have done.

      Are you trying out various straw man formulations? Just curious....

    • @Bumblebye

      Thanks for the link.

      I've read some of the stuff at Wordfence:


      https:[email protected][email protected]60bbb02d

      https:[email protected][email protected]fa#.nj01vswre

      And many others.

      I posted some info on CrowdStrike here:

      Massive conflict of interests.

    • eljay: According to this article, Trump was mocking the reporter but not his disability.

      Thanks. That's the same argument that is made in the video I posted above, and which RoHa made. It actually is quite compelling.

      From the article you cited:

      Some liberals went even further and freeze-framed a millisecond of the Trump video at the exact moment when his hand went into a flexed posture. Then they dishonestly put this screen capture side by side with a picture of Kovaleski’s flexed hand. Thus, you saw the following photo spread like wildfire over social media with commentary condescendingly and horrifyingly excoriating trump as a monster. [emphasis added]

      Liberal/progressive ME analyst Juan Cole uses that exact single-frame image juxtaposition in an article posted January 9.

      "Meryl Streep calls out Trump: Having Bully-in-Chief Coarsens whole Culture"

    • just: You appear to be hoping for the best with Trump, Sibiriak


      Not really. I just don't like false accusations. If Trump didn't mock the disabled reporter, there's plenty of other things to attack him on.

      UPDATE: I might have to take back my previous statements now that George Clooney has come out in support of Streep.

      The intellectual rigor and moral rectitude of the extremely woke Hollywood Elite can't be in any serious doubt, can it?

      I can’t wait for Clooney’s upcoming film about the White Helmets:

      Clooney said that bringing public attention to the bravery of people such as the White Helmets was one good way he could use his public platform.

    • Annie Robbins; are essentially accusing one of our commenters of being a russian operative.

      No, I was essentially presenting in a satirical way what such a false and malicious accusation might look like.

    • Material deleted from my CrowdStrike Falcon Overwatch 3.1 post was mostly from:

      Intelligence Community Assessment 6 January 2017 Office of the Director of National Intelligence

      Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution

      I highly recommend reading Annex A which outlines the Intelligence Community's objections to RT news network reporting.

    • Annie Robbins: Sibiriak, when you quote directly from a site please cite the site and indicate when there are breaks or cuts in the text

      Sorry about that. It wasn't meant to be a direct quote, but rather a parody of the original material, slightly altered and/or re-ordered to fit an imaginary satirical context.

      I will re-post some material in normal fashion.

    • CrowdStrike Falcon Overwatch 3.1
      Warning: Russian media manipulation operation detected.
      Level 5: High Confidence

      Keith [Кит]: Russian Operative

      [Aliases: Old Bear/старый медведь, Angry Seattle Bear/ злой медведь из Сиэтла]

      I have provided a link to Paul Craig Roberts [Russian operative detected ] discussing this very issue on the Keiser report[Russian propaganda network RT detected].

      What’s going on?


    • RoHa: Streep is working hard to cement the fake “fact” that Trump was mocking the reporter’s disability.


      Seems that way. (Just briefly looked at several videos--I'm open to counter-arguments)

      This video makes the case that Trump was not mocking the reporter's disability, but rather showing him being flustered when he allegedly tried to backtrack from his story:

      "Media Exposed: Donald Trump Did NOT Make Fun of a Disabled Reporter"

      (Trigger warning: tedious anti-Liberal narration)

      Interestingly, it shows Trump using similar mocking gestures to caricature Ted Cruz, who is not disabled (physically) . Looks like they might have been just part of his non-discriminatory mocking gesture repertoire.

    • Mooser: I can’t understand how anybody can be surprised by Trump ‘folding

      Who said they were surprised?

    • Annie Robbins: i think history will record...

      Btw, genuine history is one thing, "American mythology" quite another. Historians may record that hard evidence was never presented, but the question is, will the notion that Putin interfered in the election become bi-partisan, widely believed conventional wisdom. I think there is a very strong chance now that it will.

    • Annie Robbins: like saddam had WMD’s is now cemented into american mythology?

      We'll see. The major difference is that the Iraq War was a partisan issue. Across the board, liberals and progressives opposed Bush and the war and enthusiastically embraced the notion that WMD lie was a lie. The MSM eventually agreed with that assessment, as did the U.S. intelligence community.

      In contrast, the Putin-Stolen election thesis is bi-partisan, embraced by huge numbers of progressives and liberals in alliance with neocons and neolibs; the MSM is backing it 100% as well as the U.S. intelligence community.

    • @Keith

      Yes, I know the forces at play, and I agree with you...

      Still, this FAKE FACT-- that Putin hacked the DNC, Podesta et al , stole the U.S. election, and virtually installed his preferred candidate-- will now be cemented into American mythology, into "the West"'s mythology, believed, apparently, by most everyone, right and left, conservative, liberal, progressive, and woven into the larger, incredibly malevolent demonization of Russia, with all its disastrous consequences.

      Next up, massive censorship?

    • Trump folds:

      "Donald Trump 'not denying Russia was behind hacking campaign', says Priebus "

      "President-elect’s incoming White House chief of staff says Trump ‘accepts the findings’ of a report on Russian interference in the election"

    • Erik East: NF doesn’t buy into the ‘Israel Lobby’ thesis, judging by his criticisms of Walt and Mearsheimer’s landmark book. Unfortunately for NF, this thesis perfectly explains why Pres. Obama didn’t abstain/vote for the 2011 UNSC resolution on Israeli settlements


      That depends which "Israel Lobby" thesis you are referring to.

      In his book "Knowing Too Much", Finkelstein writes:

      In the last chapter it was shown that American Jews kept Israel at arm’s length until the June 1967 war, when it became Washington’s strategic asset in the Middle East. It has been argued in recent years that Israel ceased serving American interests after the end of the Cold War and instead has become a burden for Washington. The alleged divergence between Washington’s continuing support for Israel and its real strategic interests has been attributed to the baleful influence of the Israel lobby.

      The most widely cited version of this argument is The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.1

      * * * *

      [...]The premise of Mearsheimer and Walt’s analysis is that the core interests of Washington and Tel Aviv no longer overlap. They acknowledge that Israel did constitute a “strategic asset” during the Cold War because it “helped contain Soviet expansion in the region.” However, they maintain that since the collapse of the Soviet empire it has become a “strategic liability.”3 The future relationship of American Jews to Israel partly hinges on the points at issue.

      If the analysis of Mearsheimer and Walt were correct, it would only be a matter of time before more fissures opened up in the relationship between American Jews and Israel. However ferocious its bark, no domestic lobby jeopardizing pivotal American interests could long withstand the pressures to back off exerted by elite groups and their ramified circuits of power.

      Should a contest of wills ensue between the Israel lobby and American elites , it would inevitably trigger a revival of the “dual loyalty” charge that American Jews dread and on which they remain vulnerable. Rather than risk their hard-won gains in the United States, experience suggests that American Jews would distance themselves from Israel in the event of a conflict of interests.

      It might be supposed that, even if Israel did become a major liability, those many American Jews occupying strategic posts in the polity and economy would put a brake on any concerted elite action targeting Israel’s domestic pressure group. But it flies in the face of historical experience that these privileged Jews would jeopardize American interests, of which they themselves are prime beneficiaries, in order to shield the lobby of a foreign power—even one composed of “family” members—from which they draw no benefits

      It happens however that the probability of a clash pitting American Jewish supporters of Israel against basic U.S. interests is fairly remote.

      Contrary to Mearsheimer and Walt’s contention, Israel remains a strategic asset as it projects and protects American power in a region of critical importance to the United States.

      [KEY POINT: --Sibiriak]

      A conflict of interests does exist, however, between the U.S. and Israel on the secondary issue of resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict, and here the Israel lobby exerts considerable influence over policymaking in Washington.

      It is quite likely that on this local issue conflicting interests will put an ever-greater strain on U.S.-Israeli relations, making American Jews feel increasingly uneasy, and this process could be accelerated by recent developments including the Arab Spring.

      But the core interests of Washington and Tel Aviv still mostly intersect. The analysis of Mearsheimer and Walt, which rests on the premise that Washington’s primary objective in the Middle East during the Cold War was checking the Kremlin, overlooks continuities in American foreign policy that straddle the Cold War and the concomitant overlap of U.S. and Israeli strategic aims in the region. [emphasis added]


      If you read that carefully, you will realize that Finkelstein denies neither the existence of the "Israel Lobby" nor it's considerable power. What he does do, however, is make a critical distinction between U.S. core interests, which DO NOT conflict with a strategic alliance with Israel, and Israel's local interests vis a vis the Palestinians which DO conflict with U.S. interests. Regarding the I/P issue the Israel Lobby does indeed wield its considerable power against U.S. interests.

      (And please note: "U.S. core interests" refers to interests defined by U.S. elites and pursued through their "ramified circuits of power", rather than some objective "what's best for the American people." )

      Since the 2011 and the 2016 votes deal with the "secondary issue of resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict," Finkelstein would have no problem affirming the critical influence of the Israel Lobby on Obama's actions.

      (The above remarks are intended as a clarification of Finkelstein's position, not an endorsement of it.)

    • Credit where credit is due: Trump is standing his ground!

      The House speaker, Paul Ryan, called Assange “a sycophant for Russia” on a conservative radio show and GOP Senator Tom Cotton told MSNBC that he had “a lot more faith in our intelligence officers serving around the world … than I do in people like Julian Assange”.

      The comments followed tweets from Trump on Wednesday morning in which he approvingly repeated Assange’s claim that the Russian state was not the source of the hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, published by WikiLeaks during the election.

      “Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!” one Trump tweet said. Another quoted Assange as describing US media coverage on the issue as “very dishonest”. Trump added: “More dishonest than anyone knows.”

      Perhaps the only real bright spot in the impending Trump presidency is his commitment to lessen tensions with Russia, and--ironically-- it is liberals and progressives (not all but many) who are joining hands with neocons and neolibs in a New Cold War Alliance to makes sure that doesn't happen.

      Strange bedfellows is one thing; this is political bestiality.

  • Love in the age of Trump
    • ritzl: You argue like “this time it really means something” (sneer quotes if that’s where the confusion lies) whether you used those words specifically or not.

      No, I haven't argued that "this time it really means something".

      If you are going to sneer at me, which I really don't mind at all, please sneer at my actual words, not a paraphrase you concoct.


    • That’s even worse than the worst Israeli two-state proposal.

      Correction: ritzl's TWO-state scenario is in fact very similar to the extreme right-wing Israeli proposals:

      I do not believe in a second Palestinian state beyond what we have in Gaza,” [Naftali] Bennett told the paper, saying that instead he proposed a staged end of Israeli military rule in Area C while offering full Israeli citizenship to the 80,000 Palestinians living there.

      For their part Jewish settlements in the West Bank would be incorporated into Israel while the remaining areas under Palestinian administration – known as Areas A and B – would be given a degree of autonomy short of statehood. [emphasis added]

      The strange thing is that he shares Bennett's view that this is a positive development.

      I really hope that all the good people like ritzl who believe this think it through a little more.

    • ritzl: So yeah, technically two states, but for the sake of discussing the critical/big issues in this thread, one state consisting of WB-Israel. Hope that helps


      Yes it does. Thank you.

      Two states is two states. It's not a technicality. There are millions of Palestinians in Gaza. And the population is rapidly expanding.

      And your TWO state scenario leaves out the Palestinian refugees, needless to say.

      Gaza and the refugees ARE critical/big issues.

      [ritzl: Nobody wants Gaza. It will be orphaned

      False. The Palestinians have NEVER accepted the permanent orphaning of Gaza.

      And I'm surprised that you think such a reality would be a promising development--the Palestinian "state" shrunk down to the tiny Gaza strip. All the rest, absorbed by Israel. Great.

      That's even worse than the worst Israeli two-state proposal.

    • ritzl: your original/ongoing contention that IL will force a two state outcome.

      I've never once made such a contention.

      Please stop strawmanning.


    • ritzl: ftr I have said for years now that Gaza will NOT be part of any incorporation of Palestine into the combined state. Gaza will likely be the standalone Palestinian state for Palestinians to make of what they will.

      Thank you for pointing that out. I recall now this statement of yours back in Aug. 2015:

      I’ve written before that I believe Gaza will be the Palestinian state . Nobody wants it as part of anything – including the PA. That seems to me to be the path of least resistance in all this, and on the upside would give Palestinians a potentially resource-rich place to pour their considerable and pent-up abilities and energies to make magic. Separating Gaza makes WB annexation more likely for the reasons you list.

      [emphasis added]

      The problem I'm having with your position is: On many, many occasions you have asserted the inevitability of a "ONE state reality". Yet you simultnaeously assert a TWO state reality: a Palestinian State in Gaza + Israel including the WB

      A few examples:

      [ritzl: ] Two states is just never going to happen, or if it does, contrary to the conventional wisdom, one state will have to happen first.

      * * *
      Imho the annexation inertia won't be countered by the nascent, yet ultimately overwhelming, rights dynamic before Palestine is absorbed into a single state. In the end, "the moral arc of the universe" (firm believer in that), wins via the like-to-like (Apartheid/Hafrada) clarity, awareness, and legal precedents that the annexation vision of the new state will bring.

      * * *

      I'm just hopeful that whatever the new single state is called becomes (can become) one with equal rights.

      * * *
      ..the inevitability of one state is completely separate from these current two state gyrations.

      * * *
      But you're right it doesn't matter anymore. One state is here.

      * * *

      No sane or otherwise clear-thinking person/leader/government/Zionist can on one hand "push" for two states, and on the other hand accept this level of ongoing integration as "natural" or as anything other than a confirmation of the inevitability of one state. [emphasis added]

      It's impossible to reconcile all your talk of a ONE state future with your prediction of TWO states.

      Even more unfathomable is your suggestion that this new TWO state reality--a Palestinian state in Gaza + Israel w/WB-- can, if equal rights are obtained in the new Greater Israel, somehow represent a "win" for the so-called "moral arc of the universe", a great win for justice, equality, and the human spirit.

      In fact, such a TWO state outcome would represent the final, irreversible political fragmentation of the Palestinian people (split between Gaza, Greater Israel, refugee camps/diaspora.)

      It would represent the final, irreversible nullification of the Palestinian people's most fundamental right: the right to self-determination on their own territory.

      It would represent the final, irreversible nullification of everything the Palestinians have fought for since at least 1917.

      Moral arc? Really???

      (Not to mention the fact that a Palestinian state[let] in Gaza would most likely be a FAILED state, a humanitarian disaster, given the lack of land, exploding population, and a host of other problems.)

    • ritzl: So let me ask you… What’s different now with two states that makes you believe that “this time it’s for real?”


      I don't believe "this time it's for real". Where did I write that?

    • Maghlawatan: High performing Israelis just leave quietly and educate their kids in normal societies...


      If the best and the brightest Jews, the most open-minded, liberal, and secular ones, leave Israel for the great western tracts of normality, like Trumpian America, the result may not be "collapse" but simply further consolidation of Israeli militarism , fundamentalism and chauvinism.

      Also consider:

      "Survey says brain drain from Israel has halted "



      According to public opinion polls, the main motives for leaving Israel have not been the political and security situation, but include desire for higher living standards, pursuit of work opportunities and/or professional advancement, and higher education. Many Israelis with degrees in scientific or engineering fields have emigrated abroad, largely due to lack of job opportunities. From Israel's establishment in May 1948 to December 2006, about 400,000 doctors and academics left Israel. In 2009, Israel's Council for Higher Education informed the Knesset's Education Committee that 25% of Israel's academics were living overseas, and that Israel had the highest human capital flight rate in the world.

      However, an OECD estimate put the highly educated Israeli emigrant rate at 5.3 per 1,000 highly educated Israelis, meaning that Israel actually retains more of its highly educated population than many other developed countries.

      In addition, the majority of Israelis who emigrate eventually return after extended periods abroad. In 2007, the Israeli government began a programme to encourage Israelis living abroad to return; since then, the number of returning Israelis has doubled, and in 2010, Israeli expatriates, including academics, researchers, technical professionals, and business managers, began returning in record numbers. Israel launched additional programmes to open new opportunities in scientific fields to encourage Israeli scientists and researchers living abroad to return home.

      These programmes have since succeeded in luring many Israeli scientists back home.
      [emphasis added]

      According to demographer Pini Herman, this circular migration has been an economic boon to Israel. Israel does not have the technological, academic, and other infrastructural resources to absorb its disproportionate number of highly trained and skilled population, second only to the United States.

      As a result, many Israelis have worked overseas for extended periods of time. Upon their return, they have often attracted or repatriated with them to Israel new infrastructure, such as that provided by companies like as Intel, Google, Microsoft, and IBM. [42]

      [emphasis added]

    • Maghlawatan: Israeli collapse is a system issue


      It's easy to make comforting deterministic predictions of "collapse" without providing any concrete scenarios (will brainwashed-since-birth batshit crazyIsraeli Jews just give up their homes, their dreams and their nukes and voluntarily flee?) and without any providing any time frame --10 years, 30 years, 100 years?

      (I'm sure capitalism will inevitably collapse, it being a system issue as well. The world's ecosystem too, another system issue. )

      So, we just have to sit back and wait for Israel to "collapse."

      Maybe your right.

      But what if it doesn't? What if it lingers on, or somehow evolves and adapts?

      Is there a plan B?

    • ritzl: , if they annex completely around your “non-annexed” areas they have annexed those as well.


      1)It's doubtful that Israel can annex completely around Gaza.

      2)Surrounded non-annexed areas remain occupied but not annexed. "Annexation" has a specific meaning: a state's application of civil jurisdiction/municipal laws over the territory in question. And in the case of the WB, Israel will most likely offer citizenship and to the Arab Palestinians in annexed areas.

      But you are absolutely correct: "either way they do it (whatever bits they do or don’t deign to formally annex) they have 2M+ Palestinians in former Palestine under their control and without rights – aka [legal definition of] Apartheid. "

      It's a horrific system of human oppression. An evil "matrix of control", to use Halper's term.

      I just think that more obvious wrong means more likely action to resolve that wrong.

      I'm just a little concerned about the widespread faith in "worse before better", a faith in the inevitable bending of an "arc of history" toward justice; the faith that that the more Israel succeeds in denying Palestinians their rights and expropriating their land, the better it is for the realization of just, peaceful, egalitarian single democratic state. I think that kind of faith-based thinking, while inspiring, may have some negative potential as well.

      In any case, what specific actions to "resolve that wrong" are you suggesting will become more likely?

      I asked you previously:

      [Sibiriak December 24, 2016, 9:46 pm:] What possibly could be the conditions attached to international sanctions on Israel?

      If the conditions are Israel complying with UN resolutions, then that would be in your view a “retrospective application”, since all the UN resolutions and the ICJ “Wall” opinion are unequivocally oriented toward the two state concept. [See Finkelstein's latest analysis of res. 2334 at MW]

      So what would a “prospective application” actually look like, in terms of the conditions put on sanctions?

      Sanctions will be maintained until Israel does X?

      What would that X be, if not compliance with UN resolutions ?

      Can you give me any idea at all?


      Perhaps you might have time now to respond?

    • ritzl: I hope the Palestinians in soon-to-be annexed Palestine can survive the pain


      I'd worry much more about the millions of Palestinians who live in never-to-be-annexed areas.

  • Terrorism: How the Israeli state was won
    • No, dear Mooser, the Palestinians were not among those "championing Zionism."

      They preferred not have their land stolen, their national aspirations crushed, and their lives made a nightmare by ethnic cleansing, massacres and terror.

      But we knew that, didn't we??

    • Tom Suarez: Bigots were Zionism’s avid fans—it was the anti-Semites who championed the Zionists.

      I thought there were a few philo-Semites championing Zionism as well; not to mention a smattering of Christian Zionists; a few calculating British imperialists too. I even read somewhere that there was some genuine concern about anti-Semitism, Russian pogroms and the like... hmmm....

      Gertrude Bell, the famous English writer, traveler, archaeologist, and spy, reported, based on her personal experience, that those who supported Zionism did so because it provided a way to get rid of Jews.

      Well, if Gertrude Bell said it, that settles the matter.

    • Thanks! I'm going to buy the book. I log in. I select the Kindle version.

      Oh noooooo!!

      "Kindle Edition This title is available to UK customers only."

    • yonah fredman: This piece is propaganda.


      No, it's an anti-Zionist polemic. A prosecutorial case. The most damning facts and interpretations are laid out, along with illustrative exhibits. A prosecutor is under no obligation to dwell on complicating factors, confusing details or exculpatory evidence. One-sidedness is a prosecutorial virtue, not a vice.

      It's up to others such as yourself to take up the defense, if you so wish. You seem to have made a good start.

    • Bar Kochbar: So this is my constructive solution [...] Swop the refugee card for the settler card,

      Great idea. Quite reasonable. The problem is: the Palestinians WERE willing to swap the refugee card and offered to do so in various negotiations (largely symbolic "right of return" + compensation/international aid; land swaps allowing some but not all settlements to be annexed by Israel), but the Israeli's WERE NOT willing to compromise on the settlements.

      What you are describing is the international two-state consensus, ACCEPTED by the Palestinian leadership, Arab states, and most of the world; REJECTED by Israel.

      The Israelis have never negotiated in good faith. They have never come around to accepting the idea of a genuine, sovereign Palestine next to Israel.

      The "peace process" has never been anything except a Zionist fraud used as cover for continual expansion.

    • (cont.)

      Fwiw, after giving accounts of the killings and terrible atrocities, Segev provides this overview of the events:

      Sixty-seven Jews had been killed. Most were Ashkenazic men, but there were also a dozen women and three children under the age of five among the dead. Seven of the victims were yeshiva students from the United States and Canada. Dozens of people had been wounded, about half of them women, and quite a few children, including a one-year-old boy whose parents had both been murdered. The American consulate reported that nine Arabs had been killed. 20 The Hebron Jews were buried in mass graves; the survivors, including the wounded, were taken to Jerusalem.

      * * * * *

      David Ben-Gurion compared the massacre in Hebron to the Kishinev pogrom, and he would later use the Nazi expression Judenrein to describe Hebron after the Jews left. “The pogrom was committed by Hebron’s Arab masses,” wrote Rehavam Ze’evi, who edited a book on the event. “All the Arabs of Hebron did this,” he noted, “[ w] ith the exception of individuals who provided shelter for their Jewish neighbors.” He added the Hebron massacre to the historic roster of anti-Jewish persecutions. “Pogroms, slaughters, and massacres have been part of our nation’s history in their Diaspora and now this horrifying spectacle has been repeated in the Land of Israel,” he wrote. 22 But he was wrong.

      The murder of Jews in Hebron was not a pogrom in the historic sense. Unlike attacks on the Jews of Eastern Europe, the authorities did not initiate the Hebron riots, and the police did not simply stand aside. Raymond Cafferata did his best, but the Hebron police force was just too weak to be effective. Thirty years later David Ben-Gurion wrote, “What can a lone British officer do in a city like Hebron?” He could have been writing about British rule in Palestine as a whole. The British could do very little.

      The riots struck at the professional honor of the men responsible for law and order in the country and also violated their sense of fairness. Eric Mills, assistant chief administrative secretary, said that one of the bitterest moments of his life was when he, an Englishman, saw what had happened under the British flag. At the same time, the police forces’ actions to save the Jews did not necessarily reflect sympathy for the Zionist enterprise. Cafferata wrote to his mother that he would not be surprised if there was another outbreak of violence and Palestine became a “repetition of the Irish show,” unless the government accepted some of the Arab demands. He believed the Arabs would not be satisfied with anything less than a revocation of the Balfour Declaration, and he criticized the government for refusing to do this.

      The attack on the Jews of Hebron was born of fear and hatred. The Muslims believed the Jews intended to violate the sanctity of Islam, and that the Zionists wanted to dispossess them of their country. According to the American consulate, the Jews were also murdered for economic reasons, as merchants and as moneylenders. 24 The Arabs hated them as foreigners— most had come from Europe and America. And a few probably attacked Jews out of some appetite for murder, without any clearly defined reason. Many of the rioters were not from Hebron but from the surrounding villages.

      Most of Hebron’s Jews were saved because Arabs hid them in their homes. The community confirmed this, writing, “Had it not been for a few Arab families not a Jewish soul would have remained in Hebron.” The Zionist Archives preserves lists of Hebron Jews who were saved by Arabs; one list contains 435 names. Over two-thirds of the community, then, found refuge in twenty-eight Arab homes, some of which took in dozens of Jews. “Arabs were hurt defending their neighbors,” one Jew testified afterward. Dr. Abdal Aal, an Egyptian doctor, received a letter of gratitude from Colonel Kisch for the assistance he rendered the Jews of Hebron; in addition to the care he gave the wounded, he himself protected an entire family. 25 [pp. 324-25]

      * * * * *

      The violence spread across the country; Arabs even tried to penetrate Tel Aviv. The British called in reinforcements from Egypt and Transjordan, but despite the additional forces the atrocities continued. Events in Safed were much like those in Hebron. Colonel Kisch met five girls who had seen their parents murdered. 29 Arab spokesmen reported acts of terror perpetrated by Jews, including the lynching of Arab passersby and the murder of women and children. In a few cases, the Arabs claimed, Jews attacked people who had given them refuge. The Jewish Agency investigated some of these charges and concluded that “in isolated cases” there were Jews “who shamefully went beyond the limits of self-defense.” One memorandum reporting that Jews had broken into a mosque and set sacred books on fire bears a scribbled note: “This unfortunately is true.” When the violence finally subsided, 133 Jews and 116 Arabs were dead: 339 Jews and 232 Arabs were injured. 30

      (pp 326-327)

    • (Cont.)

      Segev gives this account of the massacre rumors being spread in Hebron:

      At 2: 45 [Raymond Cafferata, British Police Superintendent in charge at Hebron] reported nothing unusual, but having heard of the trouble in Jerusalem, he decided at 3: 00 to station three of his men at the outskirts of the town; their task was to search for weapons in the cars coming back from prayers in Jerusalem. The passengers who stopped spoke of what was going on there, and the rumor that Jews were killing Arabs spread quickly.

      People soon began gathering at the municipal bus station, intending to travel to Jerusalem. One man, Sheikh Talib Markha, made a speech. Cafferata went to the station to persuade the crowd that the rumors were baseless; as he approached, Sheikh Markha fell silent. Everything was quiet in Jerusalem, Cafferata lied, estimating the crowd at around seven hundred. He sent some men to patrol the Jewish houses and went along as well, taking eight mounted policemen with him. Cafferata noted that many Jews were standing on their roofs or balconies. He ordered them into their homes, but they ignored him. [emphasis added] [p. 319]

      The fact that many of the Arab Palestinian rioters were from villages outside of Hebron also suggests the rumors were not product of a Zionist conspiracy since it is doubtful that Jewish Zionists had the necessary presence in those villages to spread rumors.

    • @jaypali

      Tom Segev (not a Palestinian source, of course) gives a detailed account of the Hebron riot in his book One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate . Imo, it lends credence to Tom Suarez’s conjecture.

      First of all, it should be noted that there was plenty enough chaotic violence in Jerusalem the day before the Hebron riot to provide an impetus for rumors of a massacre.

      Brief excerpt:

      [Tom Segev:] In the early-morning hours of Friday, August 23, 1929, thousands of Arab villagers began streaming into Jerusalem from the surrounding villages. They had come to pray at the Temple Mount; many were armed with sticks and knives, and the city was filled with a sense of tension and violence. Harry Luke, as acting high commissioner, requested reinforcements from Amman. Toward 9: 30 the Jewish merchants began closing their stores. About an hour and a quarter later, the mufti promised the Jerusalem police commander that the worshipers were carrying sticks and knives only out of fear that the Jews might try to create some sort of provocation. When one of the preachers made a nationalist speech calling on the Islamic faithful to fight against the Jews to the last drop of their blood, mufti al-Husseini urged his community to keep the peace. 1

      At roughly 11: 00 A.M., twenty or thirty gunshots were heard on the Temple Mount, apparently intended to work up the crowd. Several hundred worshipers swarmed through the alleys of the marketplace and began attacking Jewish pedestrians. Edwin Samuel, Luke’s secretary, was in his office, not far from the Nablus Gate. The sound of the mob was indistinct and seemed to come from far away; Samuel at first thought he was hearing the buzz of a swarm of bees. 2 A crowd had gathered beneath his window. Luke quickly got the mutfi on the phone and demanded that he take control of his people. The mufti came to talk to the mob, but Luke’s impression was that the religious leader’s presence was not calming people down— in fact, it seemed to be having precisely the opposite effect. Later, the mufti explained that by the time he’d arrived, the crowd had been joined by Arabs injured by Jews, which made keeping the peace very difficult. Edwin Samuel remembered the flash of the rioters’ daggers glinting in the noonday sun. 3

      At midday, Edward Keith-Roach was on a tour of the Old City. Near the Jaffa Gate, he saw a Jew running for his life, followed by a crowd of Arab thugs waving sticks. Yitzhak Ben-Zvi also saw a man fleeing from a gang— he may have been the same one. Ben-Zvi had been sitting in the Zionist Executive office on Jaffa Street. At first he was told that the worshipers were dispersing quietly; then he heard there were problems. He rushed to the Jaffa Gate, where he met the man, bloody and injured. Before being rushed to the hospital, the man managed to tell Ben-Zvi that he had been sitting in the doorway of his son’s shop when the first of the worshipers came down from the Temple Mount and pounced on him. 4

      While this was taking place, the tensions had reached the Jewish Mea She’arim neighborhood, and two or three Arabs were murdered there. A report from the American consulate, which documented the events in nearly minute-by-minute detail, determined that the killings occurred between 12: 00 and 12: 30. Afterward there was much controversy over whether the day’s first victims had been Jews or Arabs. 5

      Violence spread quickly throughout most of the city and into its suburbs. [p. 315 ]

    • @Tom Suarez

      I'd love to buy the book. Do you know if it will be coming out in Kindle or other eBook form?

  • Resolution for 2017: Stop substituting 'the occupation' for 'Zionism'
    • echinococcus: Your list is trying to smuggle a number of established, abundantly documented and undiscussable transgressions along with a couple of “exactly the same kind of rhetoric neocons and liberal interventionists use”.


      No, nothing was "smuggled", whatever that means. And most of them are used by neocons/liberal interventionists, not just a couple. I know you are focused on Palestine, but try reading some of the neocon/lib attacks on Russia. Putin committing "genocide" in Syria--didn't you hear about it?

      The point is: I suggest powerful, emotionally-charged, already well-understood and familiar condemnatory language that is indeed accurate --rather than the far less emotionally charged, somewhat pedantic and unfamiliar "settler colonialism" which requires reams of explanation.

    • @MHughes976

      To give a concrete example, self-described "liberal Zionist" Peter Beinart asserts that the Palestinian people have their own right to self-determination in their own state in Palestine, i.e. he rejects the notion that only Jews have an inherent right to sovereignty in the Holy Land.

      Does that mean he is in fact not a Zionist at all, in your view?

    • @Arby

      Good points.

    • Keep "settler colonialism" for the academic sphere.

      For the general public, go with"Apartheid", "illegal occupation", "violations of international law". "humanitarian crisis," "human rights violations", "war crimes", "ethnic cleansing", "genocide", "state terrorism". "far- Right regime", "right-wing Nationalist regime", "ethnonationalist", "religious extremists", "neo-fascist", "anti-Western", "illiberal", "anti-democratic", "rogue state", "Netanyahu's Israel" (like "Putin's Russia"), etc.

      In short, use exactly the same kind of rhetoric neocons and liberal interventionists use when they want to delegitimize and demonize a state.

    • MHughes976 : Zionism to my mind is the belief that people who are Jewish, and they only, have an inherent right to a share of sovereignty in the Holy Land, others only by the grace of the true heirs.

      So if someone does NOT believe that, but nevertheless supports the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, he/she is not a "Zionist" in your view??

    • Tom Suarez: Rather, the occupation is a symptom, not the disease itself.

      True. "The occupation" is a concrete policy , a concrete reality. "Zionism", on the other hand, is an ideology (or more precisely, an umbrella term for a complex of ideological currents) which has led to the policy. So it would be a blatant category error to "substitute 'the occupation' for 'Zionism'."

      Get rid of the “occupation”, and it will be a rude morning after when you realize that the problem itself has not changed.

      You wildly overstate your case. Getting rid of the occupation would mean getting rid of a massive amount of oppression and suffering. Getting rid of the occupation would also mean the current de jure state of Palestine would become a de facto state. Those would be huge changes.

      Getting rid of the occupation would mean the achievement of the first goal of the BDS movement. The other two goals--

      Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

      Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.

      ---would remain unfulfilled, of course. But that hardly nullifies the achievement of the first goal. To return to your metaphor, eliminating symptoms is not an insignificant achievement at all: eliminate all a disease's symptoms and the presence of the disease becomes of minimal concern.

      Also, I do not agree at all about the geographic parameters of the occupation being somehow universally (or even casually) agreed upon.

      I never said anything about universal agreement. What I said was: " the boundaries of Occupied Palestinian Territory have been clearly specified by the UN and International Court of Justice. "

      That's true. The ICJ in its 2004 "Wall" opinion stated unequivocally that the dividing line between Israeli territory and occupied Palestinian territory was the 1949 "Green Line." I'd be happy to quote for you verbatim from the Court's opinion, if you wish.

      Regarding the UN itself, there have been multiple UN resolutions calling for a two-state settlement of the conflict based on the 1949 Armistice lines (aka "Green Line" / "pre-1967 borders").

      There have been ZERO UN resolutions calling for a two-state settlement based on the original res. 181 recommendations after those were not backed by the UNSC, not implemented, and superseded by the UN- sanctioned 1949 Armistice Agreements.

      Likewise, there have been multiple UN resolutions condemning Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory (defined by the 1949 "Green Line") including East Jerusalem.

      There have been ZERO UN resolutions condemning Israeli settlement in territory inside the "Green Line" but outside res 181 recommended borders which Israel acquired during the 1948 Nakba.

      To be even more specific, the principle of the inadmissibility of a state's acquisition of territory through war has only been applied by the UN/ICJ to territory acquired by Israel in 1967. It has never been applied to the territory acquired during the 1948 Nakba. There are both legal and political reasons for this which I can go into detail on if you wish. But it in any case, it is simply a fact.

      In sum, it is indeed quite accurate to say the boundaries of Occupied Palestinian Territory have been clearly specified by the UN and International Court of Justice. . Whether those boundaries are just ( I don't think the are) is an entirely different question.

    • ritzl: it’s Occupied Palestine, not the derisive, dismissive, hasbara-culture terminology of “the occupied territories.”

      You need to brush up on your "hasbara culture" a bit. "Occupied territories" is not "hasbara-culture" terminology. There is no "occupied Palestinian territory." There are no "occupied territories" of any kind. There is no occupation, period. It's all "disputed territory."

    • Let's be real: opposition to the term "occupation" is really opposition to the two-state idea.

      Ending the occupation* would leave Zionist Israel intact in the short term, making its democratic transformation a separate phase in the struggle.


      *The BDS Movement: "International law recognises the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights as occupied by Israel."

    • Classic example:

      Op-Ed: There is No "Occupation"

      by Morton A. Klein, National President, Zionist Organization of America

    • @Tom Suarez

      1) Belligerent occupation is quite well-defined under international law, and the boundaries of Occupied Palestinian Territory have been clearly specified by the UN and International Court of Justice.

      That's not to say that other uses of term "occupation" are not possible, or that one must agree with the UN/ICJ. Some people, for example, argue that all of Israel is "occupied" Palestinian territory as well. However, the fact remains that there is a clear legal and international consensus on the meaning of the term, which allow it to be used with precision in that regard.

      As Jonathan Ofir puts it:

      " The whole world recognizes that Israel is an occupying power. This is completely uncontroversial."

      2)If the term "occupation" has so obviously worked in Israel's favor, why then has Israel has been so vehemently opposed to its usage? The term is anathema to expansionist Zionists. They flat-out deny that there is any occupied territory at all-- it's all "disputed territory" .

      Again, Jonathan Ofir:

      A few days ago, a video interview with Alan Baker, Israel’s former ambassador to Canada (as well as military prosecutor and senior legal adviser in the Israeli army’s international law division), was released, under the title: “International Law Expert: Israel Is Not an “Occupier.”

      In the interview, released by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Baker makes the essential claim that Israel is not an occupier, because he says that international law defines occupation as “one power occupying the lands of a foreign sovereign”.

      But Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations (HR) states that a “territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army,” and according to their common Article 2, the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 apply to any territory occupied during international hostilities. Baker calls the West Bank “disputed territory,” as does Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

      * * * * *

      [Israeli] adventurism is not only about expansion – it is about spinning and twisting international law to serve this adventurism – with deceit.

      In 1967 Israel took on the adventurism which even some of its own leaders first feared (after having ethnically cleansed most of the territory from most of the Palestinians in 1948) – the conquering of further territory with a large Palestinian population, one which now, with Israel’s Palestinian citizens combined, counts as many Jews as non-Jews, despite various and ongoing campaigns of ethnic cleansing since.

      Israel tries to hide these occupations in various ways, with various spins.

      In 2005, Israel, under PM Ariel Sharon, did the famous “disengagement” from Gaza, the “significance” of which was elucidated by Sharon’s security adviser Dov Weisglass as “the freezing of the peace process.” Yet even this “disengagement” proved to be mere spin.

      Whilst the Israeli government claims that Gaza is no longer occupied, both the UN, and even the United States regard it as “occupied”.

      Israel also seeks to obscure its Golan occupation. After a promising oil test drill last year, Israel worked arduously to try to have the United States endorse its illegal annexation of the Syrian Golan, also conquered in 1967. In his meeting with Obama, Netanyahu reportedly claimed that Syria was no longer a functioning state, allowing “for different thinking.” In a bizarre, first-ever cabinet meeting atop the Golan heights earlier this year, Netanyahu simply vowed that “the Golan will always remain in Israel’s hands. Israel will never withdraw from the Golan Heights.”

      There’s nothing to be in doubt of regarding the Golan – it’s Syrian territory. Not “disputed territory.” Not “disengaged from” territory as Israel would have it spun in other locations it occupies. And yet, we are told in no uncertain terms – that this Syrian territory, occupied in an uncontroversial way (and illegally annexed in 1981), is part and parcel of Israel.

      * * * * *

      Tell the Palestinians in the West Bank that there’s no occupation. Tell the Gazans. Tell the Syrians. Tell everyone. There’s no occupation. Repeat it again and again. There’s no occupation. It all becomes “Israel”, and Herzl’s ‘dream’ is turned into ‘reality’ by brute force and propaganda.

      [emphasis added]


      Again I ask, if the idea of "occupation" is so favorable to Israel, why the vast, longstanding, multifaceted, furious Israeli propaganda campaign to deny the reality of occupation?

  • Netanyahu's holy war, and the coming Jewish schism
    • Kindle!

      We didn't start the fire
      It was always burning
      Since the world's been turning

    • Thanks Annie for the French translations. I agree, this is an important story. Maybe even an explosive one.

      I may be way off base here, but I wonder, is it possible that elements of the Israeli political Establishment (deep state) might be acting to take Netanyahu down, or at least clip his wings, with a criminal investigation, before he takes Israel completely over the cliff??

    • "Knowing Too Much" IS available at Amazon.

  • UN resolution on settlements is a step back for Palestinians
    • Nsaway: Thank you for the good discussion. I think it was useful


      Yes, thanks. I found it useful as well. I'm tempted to reply to some points you just made (eg. about the rather non-specific "enhance maximum territorial contiguity" language ), but I'll let you have the last word.

    • (Cont.)

      Needless to say, the "Roadmap" and the entire "peace process" has been a total fraud from beginning to end, and there will be no meaningful negotiations ever unless and until massive pressure is put on Israel to negotiate in good faith.

      Does that mean res. 2334 is meaningless?

      No. I think Norman Finkelstein explained quite well how such resolutions can " become a political force if you know how to mobilize a public on their behalf...", as Israel did with the Balfour Declaration etc.

      See more at:

    • (Cont.)

      [Nsaway:] You [...]state that S/2003/529 [the “Roadmap] “calls for a negotiated final agreement on the major settlement”. I don’t see that anywhere in the text (neither minor nor major settlements).

      The “Roadmap” clearly calls for negotiations for a final agreement, including the status of settlements.

      I used the phrase “major settlements” only to distinguish the settlements subject to a “freeze” from the post 2001 “outposts” which were to be immediately dismantled.

      These “major settlements” (use whatever term you wish) were NOT to be dismantled immediately, but rather have their final status determined by negotiation.

      [the "Roadmap":] ... a final, permanent status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements [emphasis added]


      [Nsaway:] I am willing to grant that this is weaker than a call for straight up dismantlement of settlements (though again, that’s certainly a reasonable interpretation). However, regardless of how you interpret it, you’ll be hard pressed to argue that it’s not a stronger call than the language used in UNSC 2334.

      Not hard pressed at all. It is not a stronger call. It calls for a freezeon settlement activity; it calls for negotiations to determine the final status of the settlements.

      That is no stronger than 2334.

      If anything, res. 2334 (2016) is much stronger than resolutions 1515 (2003) and 1850 (2008) which explicitly endorsed the “Roadmap”.

      In your own words, the “Roadmap”:

      […]doesn’t reiterate that settlements are a flagrant violation of international law, doesn’t refer the 4th Geneva convention, doesn’t discuss the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition by war, and many other settlement-specific statements that we see in prior settlement-specific resolutions like UNSC 465, as well as UNSC 2334. [emphasis added]

      I think anyone who compares res. 2334’s strong anti-settlement language to the Roadmap’s lack of such language, enshrined in res. 1515 (2003) and res. 1850 (2008), will be hard-pressed not to see res. 2334 as a step forward both in tone and focus.

    • (Cont.)

      [Nsaway: ] you seem to have hinted in your reply that there are other resolutions as well beyond S/2003/529 [the "Roadmap"]

      Yes. In addition to res. 1515 (2003), res.1850 (2008) explicitly endorsed the Roadmap’s call for a freeze on settlement activity and a negotiated final agreement on all core issues, including settlements.

      [Res. 1850:]

      Welcoming the 9 November 2008 statement from the Quartet and the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Understanding announced at the November 2007 Annapolis Conference, including in relation to implementation of the Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,

      * * * *

      2. Supports the parties’ agreed principles for the bilateral negotiating process and their determined efforts to reach their goal of concluding a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues, without exception, which confirm the seriousness of the Annapolis process;

      3. Calls on both parties to fulfil their obligations under the Performance-Based Roadmap, as stated in their Annapolis Joint Understanding, and refrain from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations;

      4. Calls on all States and international organizations to contribute to an atmosphere conducive to negotiations and to support the Palestinian government that is committed to the Quartet principles and the Arab Peace Initiative [emphasis added]


      KEY POINT: The move away from the call to dismantle all settlements, enshrined in res. 465, to calls for a settlement freeze and bilateral negotiations to determine the settlements final status was consolidated in the Quartet’s “Roadmap” and enshrined in 1515 (2003), res. 1850 (2008).

      Thus it is incorrect to say that the recently passed res. 2334 was a "step back" from res. 465. That "step back" had already occurred in 2003, more than a decade before res. 2334.

    • [Nsaway:] First, as you know very well, S/2003/529 is not a “settlement-centric” resolution.

      Thanks for your very thoughtful and detailed response.

      To be precise, S/2003/52 is not a resolution. It is a letter from Kofi Annan to the Security Council transmitting the text of the “Roadmap”.

      Letter dated 7 May 2003 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council

      I have the honour to transmit to you herewith the text of a road map to realize the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, as affirmed in Security Council resolution 1397 (2002) (see annex). The text has been prepared by the Quartet — consisting of representatives of the United States of America, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations — and was presented to the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority on 30 April 2003. I should be grateful if you would bring this text to the attention of the members of the Security Council.

      (Signed) Kofi A. Annan


      The “Roadmap”

      While the Roadmap is not “settlement centric”, it nevertheless marks a definitive shift from the call to DISMANTLE ALL Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory to a call for 1) a “FREEZE” in settlement activity and 2) a NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT on the settlements’ final status (excluding post 2001 “outposts”):

      Settlement Freeze:

      [The “Roadmap”:]

      GOI immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.

      • Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements). [emphasis added]

      Negotiated Final Status Agreement:

      [the “Roadmap”:]

      A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel's readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement as described below. The Quartet will assist and facilitate implementation of the plan, starting in Phase I, including direct discussions between the parties as required. A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.

      SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: Convened by Quartet, in consultation with the parties, at beginning of 2004 to endorse agreement reached on an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and formally to launch a process with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet, leading to a final, permanent
      status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, SETTLEMENTS;
      and, to support progress toward a comprehensive Middle East settlement between Israel and Lebanon and Israel and Syria, to be achieved as soon as possible.
      [emphasis added]


      UNSC Resolution 1515 -- November 2003

      Resolution 1515 endorsed the “Roadmap” stressing the bilateral negotiating process to resolve all the “core issues”, which include, of course, Israeli settlements.

      [Res. 1515:]

      2. Supports the parties’ agreed principles for the bilateral negotiating process and their determined efforts to reach their goal of concluding a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues, without exception, which confirm the seriousness of the Annapolis process;

      3. Calls on both parties to fulfil their obligations under the Performance-Based Roadmap, as stated in their Annapolis Joint Understanding, and refrain from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations; [emphasis added]

    • Nsaway: I previously said, political actors come and go. There’s no reason to believe that under different political actors, the politics would remain the same.

      That's a good point. Thanks for stressing that possibility/necessity of new and better Palestinian leadership.

      [Nsaway:] But now, to have those politics (i.e. not insisting on dismantlement as the law should dictate, and incorporating language that potentially allows Israel to keep at least existing settlements through negotiation) be enshrined into an international law document like a UNSC resolution constrains or weakens the future politics.

      This is the key point of disagreement in terms of this resolution. I think the politics of "not insisting on dismantlement ...potentially allow[ing] Israel to keep...settlements through negotiation"--those politics were already enshrined more than a decade ago in international law documents such as UNSC res 1515 and others. Therefore, res 2334 is not the significant step backward you make it out to be.

      On the other hand, res 2334 is a step forward in delegitimizing Israel and legitimizing BDS.

      The furious Israeli reaction confirms this.

    • Nsaway: [in the article:][...]the language in UNSC resolution 465 “calls upon Israel to dismantle the existing settlements [emphasis added]

      * * * *
      [from comment above: ] But now, to have those politics (i.e. not insisting on dismantlement as the law should dictate , and incorporating language that potentially allows Israel to keep at least existing settlements through negotiation) be enshrined into an international law document like a UNSC resolution. [emphasis added]


      1) You seem to be overlooking UN resolutions that were passed after res 465 which abandoned the straight up call for settlements to be abandoned.

      Specifically, in 2003 the UNSC passed res. 1515 which endorsed the "Quartet Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" (S/2003/529).

      Res. 1515:

      “1. Endorses the Quartet Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (S/2003/529);

      “2. Calls on the parties to fulfill their obligations under the Roadmap in cooperation with the Quartet and to achieve the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security;

      As you may know, the "Roadmap" calls for for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001 , and it calls for a negotiated final agreement on the major settlements .

      And notably res 2334 specifically recalls res 1515.

      The point is this:

      More than a decade before res 2334, a UNSC resolution had already explicitly adopted the "Roadmap" call for a freeze to the major settlement activity, rather than the wholesale dismantlement of ALL settlements, and for a negotiated final status agreement which would potentially allow Israel to keep at least existing settlements through negotiation. .


      2) The fact that the settlements are illegal has never nullified the Palestinian right to negotiate a final border agreement that could include adjustments that the parties mutually agreed to. Such a negotiated final agreement had been the legally enshrined in the UN sanctioned 1949 Armistice Agreement (negotiations originally being with Jordan, of course.)

    • continued:

      because they specifically refuse to distinguish between the settlements and “Israel proper” when calling for BDS against Israel


      Of course, I agree that BDS calls for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel itself, not just the settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

    • Nsaway: ...the foundational principles of BDS as proclaimed by the BNC in 2005 are implicitly opposed to this clause, because they specifically refuse to distinguish between the settlements and “Israel proper” when calling for BDS against Israel


      In 2005, the BDS Movement's first goal was:

      [Israel] Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall”

      However, in 2010 that goal was changed to:

      [Israel]: Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall. [emphasis added]

      In 2016 it was changed once again to:

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

      [Followed by the "fine print":]

      “International law recognises the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heights as occupied by Israel. As part of its military occupation, Israel steals land and forces Palestinians into ghettos, surrounded by checkpoints, settlements, and watchtowers as supplemental to the illegal apartheid Wall. Israel has imposed a medieval siege on Gaza, turning it into the largest open air prison in the world. Israel also regularly carries out large-scale assaults on Gaza that are widely condemned as constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity.” [emphasis added]


      The latest version simply displaces the reference to the 1967 occupation to the "fine print", therefore it doesn't constitute a substantive change to the 2010 version.

      It's fair to say then that for a decade or so, the BDS Movement has in fact distinguished between occupied Palestinian territory defined by the pre-1967 "Green Line" and Israel proper.

      In order to gain the broadest support possible, BDS does not take a position on whether there should be one or two states in the I/P territory. The demand that Israel end its "occupation and colonization of all Arab lands " could easily have been interpreted as a call for the end of Israel and the creation of a single Arab Palestinian state. So that wording was changed to reflect BDS' principled avoidance of the one vs. two state issue.

      Furthermore, BDS claims to be a "rights-based" approach based on international law , and international law recognizes only territory captured in 1967 as "Occupied Palestinian Territory." Thus, the revision of the first demand was necessary in order to bring it in line with international law.

      Cf. "Why do Zionists falsely claim BDS movement opposes two-state solution?" by Ali Abunimah

    • Nsaway: it’s clear to me that facts on the ground did win

      It's clear to me too. My point isn't that facts on the ground didn't win politically. They did. But they won more than a decade ago.

      This resolution doesn't add anything to the victory. It doesn't change the law. It doesn't change the politics. It doesn't do anything except reflect the unchanged law and the long-ago changed politics. If you think it somehow "enshrines" the politics in some new way, so what? They are what they are.

      A large portion of the settlements will never be dismantled. Period. Under any scenario.

    • Nsaway: I interpret that as the international community giving up on demanding the dismantlement of all settlements


      But the international community, the Palestinian leadership, and the Arab States gave up on demanding the dismantlement of all settlements long ago . Therefore, this resolution isn't itself a new step backward; is only reflects that previous backward step taken more than a decade ago.

      Keep in mind that law and politics are too different spheres (closely related, of course). In terms of international law, nothing has changed whatsoever. All the settlements etc. are illegal, period.

      Keep in mind also that the principle of land swaps does not imply that ALL the settlements will be annexed, as envisioned by the Israeli leadership. Any land swaps must be agreed upon by BOTH parties. While the Palestinian leadership/Arab states have agreed to the principle of land swaps, they have never said that every settlement will be included in a swap.

      As I quoted above:

      In the same meeting where he conceded East Jerusalem, Qurei told Livni that the PA “cannot accept the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, Giv’at Ze’ev, Ephrat and Har Homa settlements”.

      That was in 2008. In 2016, the UNSC in Resolution 2334 makes clear that:

      [...] it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations"

      This absolutely precludes unilateral Israel annexation of occupied Palestinian territory; it absolutely requires Palestinian agreement to any changes to the "Green Line" border.

      You quote UN resolution 465 passed in March 1980. In 1980 there was only a small fraction of the illegal Jewish settlers that there are today. Expansionist Zionists believed that by creating seemingly irreversible "facts on the ground" the international community would eventually have to come around to accepting the new reality in its entirety.

      But this resolution makes it clear: no changes without Palestinian agreement. Period. Decades of creating new facts on the ground have not created any new facts in international law.

      As Chaim Shalev wrote in Haaretz:

      Resolution 2334 shatters the government-induced illusion that the settlement project has been normalized, that it passed the point of no return, that it is now a fait accompli that will remain unchallenged.


      That's an important step forward.

    • a person regarded as effeminate or cowardly.


      Uh oh....

    • Nicolas Sawaya: "[...]incorporating legal language that would allow Israel to keep whatever settlements already exist beyond the 1967 lines “through negotiations” ...]

      joemowrey: Thanks for this. We begin to see that this token gesture by Obama, not vetoing the resolution, is just another of his slimy cons. He gets to look like some kind of hero while actually weakening the U.N. position on settlements. Classic Obama three-card-Monty slight of hand. This guy is a master.


      There's no "sleight of hand"-- it's all out in the open. Rightly or wrongly, negotiated land swaps have been an explicit part of the international two-state consensus for a very long time. . The idea has been long been embraced by Arab states and the Palestinian leadership.

      [2013] Arab states back Israel-Palestine land swaps
      Qatari PM says Palestinians and Israel can swap land rather than stick to 1967 borders

      [...]Speaking on behalf of an Arab League delegation, Sheikh Hamad appeared to make a concession to Israel by explicitly raising the possibility of land swaps.

      However, it has long been assumed that these would be part of any peace agreement.

      * * *
      [...]"The Arab League delegation affirmed that agreement should be based on the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 line, with the [possibility] of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land," [Kerry] told reporters after the meeting at the Blair House, the US president's guest house. [emphasis added]


      [2013] The Fatah Central Committee has accepted the Arab League’s latest proposal authorizing land swaps with Israel.

      Although PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat initially said that this was not a new idea and that the proposal was presented in coordination with the Palestinians, some Fatah and PA officials have come out against the land swap plan.

      Other Palestinians said the Arab League did not have a mandate to speak on behalf of Palestinians and offer territorial concessions to Israel.

      Opponents of the land swap idea said they were against it because it would “legitimize” settlements in the West Bank by allowing them to remain under Israeli sovereignty in a final deal between Israel and the Palestinians.


      [2014] PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: “In principle, we do not oppose the principle of land swaps , on the condition that they [the territories] are equivalent in size and value.


      [2011] "The biggest Yerushalayim" PA offered to concede almost all of East Jerusalem, an historic concession for which Israel offered nothing in return.

      The unprecedented offer by the PA came in a June 15 trilateral meeting in Jerusalem, involving Condoleezza Rice, the then-US secretary of state, Tzipi Livni, the then-Israeli foreign minister, Ahmed Qurei, PA's former prime minister, and Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator.

      Qurei: This last proposition could help in the swap process. We proposed that Israel annexes all settlements in Jerusalem except Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa). This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition; we refused to do so in Camp David.

      Erekat went on enumerate some of the settlements that the PA was willing to concede: French Hill, Ramat Alon, Ramat Shlomo, Gilo, Talpiot, and the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s old city. Those areas contain some 120,000 Jewish settlers. (Erekat did not mention the fate of other major East Jerusalem settlements, like Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Ya’akov, but Qurei’s language indicates that they would also remain a part of Israel.)

      * * *

      Palestinian leaders took a more principled stand on other major settlement blocs in the West Bank. In the same meeting where he conceded East Jerusalem, Qurei told Livni that the PA "cannot accept the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, Giv’at Ze’ev, Ephrat and Har Homa settlements".

      All of those (with the exception of Har Homa) are located deep in the West Bank, and their inclusion in Israel would be ruinous for the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state. Ariel, for example, is nearly halfway to Jordan, connected to Israel by an 18km stretch of highway 5.

      But dismantling these settlements is also not an option for the Israeli government. Ariel is a major industrial zone with nearly 18,000 residents. Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, is a fast-growing "bedroom community" of 30,000 people "[...]

      * * *

      [...]There is a third option, which Palestinian negotiators raised in several meetings: those Jewish settlements could be allowed to remain as part of the future Palestinian state. Ahmed Qurei made that suggestion to Tzipi Livni several times in 2008, including this exchange in June:

      Qurei: Perhaps Ma’ale Adumim will remain under Palestinian sovereignty, and it could be a model for cooperation and coexistence.

      Livni: The matter is not simply giving a passport to settlers.

      The Israeli foreign minister refused to entertain the idea. “You know this is not realistic,” she told Qurei in May.

  • A bi-national, democratic state is the only option Israel and Kerry has left us with
    • JLWarner: Almost every “democratic” state is bi-national

      Or multinational, to be precise.

      Cf. Nationalities and regions of Spain

      In Spanish jurisprudence, the concept nationality appears for the first time in the current constitution, approved in 1978, and after much debate in the Spanish Parliament.[8][9]

      Although it was explicitly understood that the term made reference to Galicia, the Basque Country and Catalonia,[4][5][8][10] the constitution does not specify any by name. Between the strong centralist position inherited from Franco's regime and the nationalist position mainly from the Galicians, Basques, and Catalans, that term came about as a consensus and was applied in their respective Statutes of Autonomy once all nationalities and regions acceded to self-government or autonomy and were constituted as autonomous communities.

    • Meanwhile, the ICC's credibility --and finances--are under attack:

      Top lawyer warns withdrawal of countries and limiting of funding threaten future of tribunal – and entire post-1945 settlement

      Three African states have begun withdrawing from its jurisdiction, raising fears that a succession of others will follow suit. Russia has removed its signature from the founding statute, the Philippines and Kenya are openly contemplating departure and key member nations – including the UK – have limited its funding.

      * * *

      [...]The most immediate threat is the move by Burundi, South Africa and the Gambia, which in the last quarter of 2016 have all served notice of intention to withdraw, citing complaints that ICC prosecutions focus excessively on the African continent.

      Their exits, which will come into force a year after they served notice, will leave 121 member states that have ratified the 1998 Rome statute. China, the US, India, Russia, Indonesia and Israel are among those who have refused membership.

      * * *
      Bensouda urged support for the court’s proposed 7% increase in its annual budget of just over €147m. There was, however, concerted resistance to the plans even from normally supportive states, which pared it back to 3%.

      Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both criticised resistance by the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and other countries to the increase on the grounds of the global financial crisis and inefficiencies in the court.

      * * *

      The ICC – motto “peace through justice” – has opened 10 full-scale investigations since 2004 into former presidents, politicians and warlords, all but one involving crimes allegedly committed in Africa. The only non-African investigation is into claims of war crimes in South Ossetia after the conflict between Russia and Georgia in 2008.

      The ICC’s 10 separate, preliminary examinations cover a broader geographical area: Afghanistan, Burundi, Colombia, Gabon, Guinea, Iraq, Nigeria, Palestine, the Gaza flotilla and Ukraine. The Iraq examination is into the conduct of British troops following the 2003 invasion; the Afghan inquiry could target both US and Taliban forces.

    • A just resolution will only come when Palestinians and their Israeli allies come together pro-actively, in good faith and with a determination to resolve the situation justly.

      For all Halper's hardcore realism regarding the "matrix of control", this is a liberal pipe-dream.

      How many real Israeli allies do the Palestinians have? What power do they have? Israel has slid into ethnocentric madness. Its delusional to think that the "good faith and determination" of a minuscule progressive alliance can produce a just solution.

      Outside pressure from the international community is essential, even if states are acting in "bad faith", and the result is less than fully just.

  • Why Obama waited 8 years to take on Netanyahu
  • The formal end of the two-state solution
    • yonah: I favor annexing the west bank and in a timely fashion giving all its inhabitants full citizenship.

      The annexation will be declared illegal and condemned by the international community. The impetus for punitive action will increase dramatically.

      And most likely:

      1) The Palestinians will not accept it; they will not accept the denial of their right to self-determination; they will not accept the division between WB and Gaza; they will not accept citizenship under those terms; they will revolt.

      2) Israel will have to declare some form of martial law. It will be the same belligerent occupation, de jure and de facto.

    • yonah: The one state solution (minus gaza)

      There can be no one state solution minus gaza.

      The result would be neither a single state nor a solution.

      Also consider:

      Gaza's population will more than double in about 30 years, signaling even more serious economic problems ahead for Palestinians in the small enclave if the conflict with Israel is not resolved, a U.N. official said on Tuesday.

      Andres Thomsen, of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), told Reuters "it will be very hard to imagine that you can create the right conditions for (economic) growth that can accommodate this dramatic population increase", without easing Israel's Gaza blockade.

      He was commenting on a new UNFPA report examining demographic changes and opportunities for development in the Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied West Bank.

      The report forecast an increase in Gaza's population of 2 million to 4.8 million in 2050, outpacing that of the West Bank, where the number of people is predicted to rise from the current 2.9 million to 4.7 million.

    • Maghlawatan: Gaza is occupied BY Israel

      Yes. My point.

      It is occupied by Israel. It is not a part of Israel.

    • Gaza is certainly a separate polity from Israel .

      Israel and Gaza do not form a single state, neither de jure or de facto.

    • "one state reality and occupation.”

      A contradiction in terms. Occupation implies two states, one occupying, the other occupied. A single state cannot "occupy" part of itself.

      Palestine is a de jure state, occupied by Israel--> "Occupied Palestinian Territory."

      In any case, Gaza and Israel are not a "one state reality." Gaza is a separate Palestinian polity under Israeli blockade.

      Perpetual occupation is the official policy of Israel

      Indeed. One state perpetually occupying another. The peace process is dead, but the two state idea lives on--until the Palestinians renounce statehood and their right to self-determination on their territory.

  • Hear O Israel these parting truths -- John Kerry
    • “These hard truths remained untold for eight years because of fear

      Actually, they are very soft truths , and they had been repeated many times--the are the gist of the well-known "international two-state consensus."


      As a road map towards a two-state solution, Kerry offered six principles.

      1. Secure and recognized international borders between Israel and a viable, contiguous Palestine, based on 1967 lines with mutually agreed equivalent land swaps.

      [Israel gets 78% plus of historic mandatory Palestine. "Land swaps" is diplomatic-speak for Israel getting to keep major settlement blocs." --Sibiriak ]

      2. “Two states for two people, Jewish and Arab, with full equal rights for all citizens,” where each can achieve their national aspirations.

      [The "two states for two peoples" formula recognizes a Jewish right to self-determination in Israel and the Jewish character of the Israeli state. --Sibiriak ]

      3. A just, agreed, fair and realistic solution to the Palestinian refugee issue, including compensation and acknowledgment of suffering, as well as international assistance in finding permanent homes. The solution would need to be consistent with two states and “cannot affect the nature of Israel.”

      [In other words, very few Palestinian refugees, if any, will get to return to Israeli territory. Israel's Jewish super-majority will not be threatened. --Sibiriak ]

      4. Jerusalem as the capital of both states, with access to holy sites for all, acknowledging the sentiment that the city should not be divided again.

      5. Ending the occupation while satisfying Israel’s security needs. Israeli security must be guaranteed, but Palestinians need to be able to live in freedom and dignity in a sovereign state, even without a military of their own.

      [ How can a state be considered sovereign if it does not have the right to defend itself militarily, like all other states?? --Sibiriak ]

      6. End the conflict between Israel and neighboring Arab states, enabling the creation of an “absolutely groundbreaking” security structure in the region.

      [What's this "groundbreaking security structure? Permanent entrenchment of U.S. military domination of the region? --Sibiriak ]

  • John Kerry gives the 'separate but not equal' speech to Israel
  • 'Focus is on Palestinians,' says New York Times, but it quotes only one
    • Misterioso: Setting aside his growing relationship with Syria and Iran, I find it hard to believe that Putin will be stupid enough to pick up America’s leavings and alienate what in 20-25 years will be 3 billion Muslims worldwide...


      Russia's policy toward Israel/Palestine is clear: support the international two-state consensus while developing stronger economic and military ties with Israel.

      And don't forget, Russia is in a deadly war against radical Islamism, with multiple terrorist attacks on Russian soil. And consider: Russia's concern not to alienate 3 billion Muslims didn't stop it from leveling Grozny.


      "Russian PM Medvedev in Israel to boost trade ties"

      "Over the last years, we did not develop our economic cooperation as well as we could have hoped. The current state of affairs - trade turnover between Russia and Israel stands at around $2 billion," Medvedev told Israeli TV station Channel 2.

      "That’s not much and we used to have a trade turnover some 30 percent bigger than that but it shrank because of the global economic crisis and the devaluation of the ruble, as well as because of the decrease of imports into Russia," he said.

      "Our two sides can reach a very fair level of trade relations," he said. "I’m not even mentioning here the large energy and gas projects we’re considering at present."


      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a joint press conference in Jerusalem with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday afternoon during which the latter described how he felt at home every time visited Israel.

      During the conference, Medvedev spoke about the shared values between the two countries while highlighting his country’s obligation to combat anti-Semitism and as well as the mutual obligation to face common challenges.

      First and foremost it is terrorism that threatens the entire globe but here, in your area, it is felt particularly harshly. The Russian Federation also suffers from terror and it is part and parcel of the same thing.

      In light of this fact,” he said, “we have to fight terror together and that relates to security cooperation. With joint efforts we need to destroy the seed of terror which lies in the hands of ISIS.”,7340,L-4877405,00.html


      Russia and Israel are about to sign a free trade agreement in the very near future, Russian Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergey Levin told TASS on Friday after talks with his Israeli counterpart.

      “We’ve discussed the prospects of forming a free trade zone, which the government plans to put on paper within the shortest period of time,” Levin said, adding that the issue had also been discussed at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

      Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel confirmed his intention to go ahead with the plan very soon.

      The two sides agreed on reciprocal purchases of agricultural products, setting up joint ventures and the introduction of agricultural high-tech, Levin said. Russia would like to increase its sale of wheat, beef and eggs to Israel, while Israel, a world power in agricultural technology, is ready to share its expertise with its Russian trade partners. [emphasis added]

  • Scenes from a neoconservative meltdown
    • echinococcus: Not a realistic evaluation of this group’s values. Expansionism they have no objection to. “Not a US ally”, on the other hand, is real hard.

      You missed the point entirely. The objection is not to expansionism per se, but to how Israel expansionism endangers U.S. interests and U.S. security. "

      [Paul Pillar: For the United States , it is all negative, in terms of instability, prospects for violence, the stimulation of extremism, and the United States being resented and targeted because of its role in permitting the settlement enterprise.

      With American conservatives/Republicans the belief is very strong: Israel IS a U.S. ally--especially in the War on Terror and the War against Militant Islam.

      Paul Pillar know this mindset very well:

      Paul R. Pillar is an academic and 28-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), serving from 1977 to 2005.[1] He is now a non-resident senior fellow at Georgetown University's Center for Security Studies,[2] as well as a nonresident senior fellow in the Brookings Institution's Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence.[1] He was a visiting professor at Georgetown University from 2005 to 2012.[1] He is a contributor to The National Interest.[1][3]

      That's why he frames his argument against the settlements, not Israel per se. Smart move.

      Basic rule in the art of persuasion: It's better to appeal to the already deeply held beliefs and values of your audience than try to completely overturn them.

      The latter is what fools and moral purists try to do. I wish you luck with your endeavor.

    • atlantaiconoclast: , we must systematically dismantle this myth and show that Israel is indeed NOT an ally.

      Given the deep conservative/Republican sympathy for Israel is -- "three-quarters of Republicans (75%) say they sympathize more with Israel (just 7% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians) " [Pew Research]-- a more politically shrewd appeal to conservatives might involve an attack on Israeli expansionism, rather than an all out attack on Israel itself.

      For example Paul Pillar:

      Anyone with a concern for Israel’s security and well-being should be aware that the continued colonization of the West Bank through expansion of settlements does not correlate positively with such security and well-being.

      To the contrary, it detracts from Israeli security. It involves an added burden on the Israel Defense Forces, and it is the most visible part of an occupation that is by far the biggest stimulus and support for those intending to do Israel harm.

      Anyone concerned with U.S. interests should be aware that the United States has no positive interest in the settlements or in the religious or local economic motivations that have stimulated their growth.

      For the United States , it is all negative, in terms of instability, prospects for violence, the stimulation of extremism, and the United States being resented and targeted because of its role in permitting the settlement enterprise. [emphasis added]

    • @Atlantaiconoclast: I peruse conservative and mainstream columns regularly, and I am telling you, Israel’s greatest is the unchallenged meme that it is America’s best friend!

      From your reading, would you say another conservative/mainstream meme is that (radical) Islam is one of America's worst enemies, not to mention an enemy of "Judeo-Christian civilization", and that the pro-Israel and anti-Islam memes work together synergistically?

  • Trump appoints ex-Israeli settler to oversee peace process
  • Netanyahu ignored US warnings and brought Israel's 'international isolation' on itself -- Ben Rhodes
    • @ritzl

      [Sibiriak December 24, 2016, 9:46 pm:] What possibly could be the conditions attached to international sanctions on Israel? If the conditions are Israel complying with UN resolutions, then that would be in your view a “retropsective application”, since all the UN resolutions and the ICJ “Wall” opinion are unequivocally oriented toward the two state concept. So what would a “prospective application” actually look like, in terms of the conditions put on sanctions?

      Sanctions will be maintained until Israel does X?

      What would that X be, if not compliance with UN resolutions ?

      Can you give me any idea at all?

      No response? Shall I conclude you're completely stumped?

    • echinococcus: No quarrel with any of that. But it has no relationship at all with the two obviously undeniable points that I listed.

      The relationship is: if your two points are undeniable, then there is no reason to "throw the baby out with the bathwater", i.e. to deny entirely the validity of the right to self-determination of peoples , as MHughes seems to want to do (he calls it an "alleged" right which is not justifiable).

      Just because Zionist Jews had no right to self-determination in Palestine doesn't mean such a right doesn't exist for others, there and elsewhere.

    • echinococcus: there are totally undeniable negatives: [regarding the right to self-determination of peoples]

      Which makes one wonder why one would want to deny the existence of such a right when it is central to the Palestinian case , both legally and in the court of public opinion.

      The International Court of Justice, for example, relied heavily on the right of self-determination of peoples in its declaration of the illegality of Israel's apartheid Wall.

      Excerpts from the Court's opinion:


      88. The Court also notes that the principle of self-determination of peoples has been enshrined in the United Nations Charter and reaffirmed by the General Assembly in resolution 2625 (XXV) cited above, pursuant to which

      "Every State has the duty to refrain from any forcible action which deprives peoples referred to [in that resolution] . . . of their right to self-determination."

      Article 1 common to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights reaffirms the right of all peoples to self-determination, and lays upon the States parties the obligation to promote the realization of that right and to respect it, in conformity with the provisions of the United Nations Charter.

      The Court would recall that in 1971 it emphasized that current developments in "international law in regard to non-self-governing territories, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, made the principle of self-determination applicable to all [such territories]".

      The Court went on to state that "These: developments leave little doubt that the ultimate objective of the sacred trust" referred to in Article 22, paragraph 1, of the Covenant of the League of Nations "was the self-determination . . . of the peoples concerned" [...]

      * * *
      149. The Court notes that Israel is first obliged to comply with the international obligations it has breached by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (see paragraphs 114-137 above). Consequently, Israel is bound to comply with its obligation to respect the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and its obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

      * * *
      159. Given the character and the importance of the rights and obligations involved, the Court is of the view that all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. They are also under an obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction.

      It is also for all States, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to see to it that any impediment, resulting from the construction of the wall, to the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination is brought to an end.

      [emphasis added]


      What's to be gained by denying that the Palestinian people have a right to self-determination? They need to avail themselves of that right far more than the Israelis who already have gained UN recognition of their state.

    • talkback: What RoHa was trying to say is...

      Thanks for elucidating his views.

    • Dan: Have you changed your mind re the phrase “basic demands of justice” or did your “Bingo!” apply only to the first part of the sentence...
      It certainly applies to the first part of the sentence.

      I hold to my point that "strict justice" for Palestinians would mean undoing all the injustices inflicted on them by Zionists (and not only by Zionists, but by the British, by the U.S., by Arab states, by the UN et al.)

      Basically, Palestinians had their right to self-determination denied and they were screwed out of their country, ethnically cleansed out, locked up in an apartheid cage and so on. And I think those injustices go way back before 1948. I've been doing some reading about Zionist land acquisition in Palestine during the Ottoman period and under the British and it is apparent that you have to understand the injustices of those early days to understand the later ones.

      "Strict justice" for the Palestinians would mean undoing all of that. Not possible, imo.

      It's also not clear whether obtaining "strict justice" for the Palestinians would not entail new injustices against others, thus making "strict justice" strictly impossible.

      I don't claim to have been perfectly consistent in all my remarks about "justice"-- my ideas are a work in progress and many posts are fired off without sufficient care --so I appreciate your pointing out my self-contradictions.

    • Mooser: [Sibiriak:] “Where we disagree is on whether “strict justice” is actually achievable. I don’t think it is.”

      And what, may I ask, is your plan to produce enough Zionist Jews, willing to do what needs to be done to immortalize this injustice.

      Since I have no desire to "immortalize this injustice", I have no plan whatsoever in that regard.

      Just because I don't believe 100% "strict justice" -- dismantling Israel, expelling millions of Zionist Jews, returning all of Palestine to Palestinians etc. -- is achievable that does not mean I believe a some good measure of justice is not possible. I think it is. I support BDS and most other efforts in that direction.

      "Strict justice" isn't the only human value either, btw.

    • @ Dan

      Thanks for the links. I've read quite a few books and a slew of articles on the right of self-determination. I'm quizzing RoHa (Socratic method) because its become apparent to me he has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to international law.

      From your first link:

      Self-determination is act of a particular people or an ethnic group to exercise its sovereign right to become an independent state and to decide on the form of state (including the system of government). The former, regarding independence, is called external self-determination and the latter regarding choices of the form of the state system internal self-determination. [emphasis added]

      RoHa's notion that the term "people" in self-determination clauses in international law refers to the "all the people resident in a territory” is simply wrong and completely unworkable in any case.

    • RoHa: “All peoples have the right to self-determination” means “all the people resident in a territory” [...]

      * * *

      California would count as a territory if the people of California wanted to exercise a right of sd as Californians.


      So, according to your theory, we now get"

      "All peoples have the right to self-determination ” means

      “all the people resident in a territory who want to exercise a right to self-determination (as a people of that territory) have a right to self-determination."

      That's what you think the right of SD means in international law? Really?

      And that holds for any piece of territory anywhere? Would it hold for Northern California, according to your theory?

      And, in your theory, is a plebiscite necessary and sufficient to determine if the population in any territory have a right to self-determination?

      If a territorial population does decide to exercise such a right, what does that right entail according to your theory? For example, do they then have a right to secede from a larger state?

    • RoHa: ““All peoples have the right to self-determination” means “all the people resident in a territory”, not ethnic/national/etc. groups.

      Not exactly.

      But please explain. How do you define "a territory"?

      Is California "a territory"? Or does "a territory" have to be all the territory of a recognized state?

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