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Total number of comments: 2261 (since 2012-06-23 07:13:37)

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  • If it had been up to Hillary Clinton, there would be no Iran Deal
    • More foreign policy brilliance from Trump:

      Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says he's in favor of Israel's controversial construction of new settlements in the West Bank.

      "I think Israel, they really have to keep going, they have to keep moving forward," Trump told the Daily Mail in a story published Tuesday. "I don't think there should be a pause.

      "You have hundreds and even, I guess, thousands, of missiles being launched into Israel — who would put up with that? Who would stand for it?"

      link to

  • Advice to British leftwingers on kicking racism out of their anti-Israel rhetoric
    • Remember, one person’s Settler Colonial project of land appropriation is another person’s expression of national self-determination.

      And both are correct.

      Both cannot be correct, since the right of self-determination in no way licenses the expropriation of another peoples' territory nor the denial of another peoples' right to self-determination.

      The creation of a Jewish State in Palestine was in direct contradiction to the principle of self-determination--and that was explicitly recognized at the time.

      The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine's report of September 1947, in appraising the Arab case against partition, concluded:

      With regard to the principle of self-determination, although international recognition was extended to this principle at the end of the First World War and it was adhered to with regard to the other Arab territories, at the time of the creation of the "A" Mandates, it was not applied to Palestine, obviously because of the intention to make possible the creation of the Jewish National Home there.

      Actually, it may well be said that the Jewish National Home and the sui generis Mandate for Palestine run counter to that principle. [emphasis added]

      link to

      The UNSCOP nevertheless recommended partition on the basis, in large part, of the validity of the "sui generis Mandate for Palestine."

      And what was the basis of the validity of the "sui generis Mandate"?

      The UNSCOP explains, quoting Balfour:

      The spirit which prevailed at the creation of the Mandate for Palestine was explained by Lord Balfour at the opening of the eighteenth session of the Council of the League of Nations as follows:

      "The mandates are not our creation. The mandates are neither made by the League, nor can they, in substance, be altered by the League. . . .

      "Remember that a mandate is a self-imposed limitation by the conquerors on the sovereignty which they obtained over conquered territories. It is imposed by the Allied and Associated Powers themselves in the interests of what they conceived to be the general welfare of mankind and they have asked the League of Nations to assist them in seeing that this policy should be carried into effect. [emphasis added]

      link to

      Thus, the legitimacy of the "sui generis Mandate of Palestine" was ultimately derived from the British Empire's supposed dedication to the "general welfare of mankind", a highly dubious proposition, to put it mildly.

      Cf. "Balfour and Palestine, a legacy of deceit"-- Anthony Nutting

      [...] the British Government never intended to allow the Arab majority any voice in shaping the future of their own country. ‘The weak point of our position’, Balfour wrote to Lloyd George in February 1919, ‘is of course that in the case of Palestine we deliberately and rightly decline to accept the principle of self-determination’.[ 14] If the existing population were consulted, he added, they would ‘unquestionably’ return an anti-Zionist verdict. And in reply to Curzon, Balfour stated quite categorically that

      in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country …. The Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land’.

      [emphasis added]

      link to

  • Trump and the war for 'Western Values'
    • Susan Sarandon: "I'm more afraid actually of Hillary Clinton's war record and her hawkishness than I am of building a wall...

      link to


      GOP frontrunner Donald Trump lambasted the permanent political class for supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal [...]

      “The deal is insanity,” he said. “That deal should not be supported and it should not be allowed to happen.”

      [...]"The only people that are supporting it politically are people that are controlled by the lobbyists for certain companies that want this to happen because it’s to their advantage, not to the country’s advantage. So the lobbyists and the special interests are supporting it, and certain politicians are supporting it because they’re totally controlled by the lobbyists and the special interests."

      link to


      'Today Marks the End of TTIP': Greenpeace Leak Exposes Corporate Takeover

      The secret documents represent roughly two-thirds of the latest negotiating text, and in several cases expose for the first time the position of the U.S.

      Confirming that the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) amounts to "a huge transfer of power from people to big business," Greenpeace Netherlands on Monday leaked 248 secret pages of the controversial trade deal between the U.S. and EU, exposing how environmental regulations, climate protections, and consumer rights are being "bartered away behind closed doors.

      link to


      In First, Trump Ekes Ahead of Clinton in New National Poll

      Latest Rasmussen survey finds that in Clinton-Trump matchup, GOP candidate would claim 15 percent of Democratic voters

      link to

  • It is time to stop celebrating Jewish dissent in the Palestine solidarity movement
    • Annie Robbins: f the elite. they already know what we think.

      Strongly disagree. Elite opinion is not fixed on I/P. It's changing as we speak. It's essential that it changes. It's not either/or.

    • Annie Robbins: we need to reach the masses. we do that by engaging the masses

      Heretical thought: "we need to reach the elites (as well). we do that by engaging the elites."

    • ritzl : I get the feeling that way too often (not always but enough to hurt) the intersectionality is primarily about curing Judaism and THEN dealing with Palestinian justice. That blunts the Palestinian message especially, as Annie so deftly pointed out upthread, to us non-Palestinian, non-Jews. Palestinian activists seem to accept that ordering of things and the blunted message.

      * * * * * * *
      The minimum threshold good-faith response (especially of an ally) to this article has to be a silent note-to-self to guard against “privilege."[emphasis added]


      Great series of comments, Ritzl. You make some very compelling remarks about "privilege" .

      I think some further specificity would make them even stronger. Some questions that come to mind:

      1) You refer to "the Palestinian message"-- but is there actually a singular Palestinian message? If so, where is it most authentically stated? Who are its most authentic spokespersons?

      2) You refer to a "blunted Palestinian message"-- can you give specific examples? Which Jewish/non-Palestinian groups or individuals are responsible for the "blunting"?

      3)"Guard against privilege"-- can you specify exactly what is to be guarded against?

      You gave what you consider to be a "quintessential example":

      it’s amazing that Jewish sensitivity is assumed to be so overriding that excluding the Palestinian voice from the Occupy* agenda would somehow NOT be “divisive.” [emphasis added]

      I think most people in the pro-Palestinian movement would agree that excluding Palestinian voices is wrong and unacceptable. However, the reference to exclusion suggests a binary, and as you stated later, "it's not binary at all."

      Take for instance an example Nada presented:

      Chabon’s interview circulated amongst Palestinian-rights activists like brush fire on a scorching day, most often prefaced with an explanation that he is a “Jewish-American writer.” This information, certainly offered with the best intentions, is nevertheless treacherous, in that it can uphold an oppressive dynamic. [emphasis added]

      Is simply mentioning/highlighting Chabon's Jewish identity an instance of "privileging" a Jewish voice?

      Or is the problem that Chabon's interview was not accompanied by a Palestinian statement of some sort?

      Or is the problem that Chabon's interview gets distributed, while other Palestinian voices are excluded?

      This is an example where I believe the concept of "privilege" needs to be spelled out in greater detail, which leads to my next question.

      4) How do you distinguish privileging Jewish voices from strategically utilizing Jewish voices in order to further the Palestinian cause?

      To repeat, I'm not challenging your general points, I'm just seek greater specificity and clarity.

    • silamcuz: How about just listening to Palestinians, which can be easily done from a safe distance?

      "Just listening"-- but not helping? Not working in solidarity with Palestinians? Everyone just "policing their own communities", guarding their "own backyards", staying in their own reserved internal spaces?

      Listening from " a safe distance" from Palestinians? WTF? How close is too close???

      This isn't "intersectionality". This is tribal segregation. This is pro-Israel Zionist operatives trying to twist "intersectionality" into its opposite. This is an attempt to normalize Zionist tribalism and neutralize authentic solidarity.

    • silamcuz: ... we in the movement...

      YOU are not in the movement. You are a fake -progressive infiltrator with a ludicrously fake "intersectionality" shtick.

      Your continued intrusion is not welcome, although it does, admittedly, provide some comic relief now and then.

      [silamcuz:]I reserve all my love and energy to my people, and my people only

      Okay, Mr. anti-progressive tribalist--could you tell us the name of "your people"? Surely, you've had enough time to calculate a response. Were your cohorts of no help?

  • Norman Finkelstein on Sanders, the first intifada, BDS, and ten years of unemployment
    • MRW: I had downloaded the original vid in 2009

      And you've been mentally clinging to it ever since?

      Why would anyone give a FF about some little snippet of a nutty rant by some guy " best known for his association with the early cyberpunk culture", who "spent several years exploring Judaism as a primer for media literacy, going so far as to publish a book inviting Jews to restore the religion to its "open source" roots", who "founded a movement for progressive Judaism called Reboot, but subsequently left when he felt its funders had become more concerned with marketing and publicity of Judaism than its actual improvement and evolution" and who became "disillusioned by the failure of the open source model to challenge entrenched and institutional hierarchies from religion to finance."

      link to

      I mean, is this Rushkoff character your go-to-guy when it comes to deep insights into Judaism??

    • MRW: I searched for a copy on youtube in a hurry this AM.

      Why were you hurriedly searching for this nutty Rushkoff vid???

    • Shmuel: that is precisely where I disagree.

      Yep. I agree that's your point of disagreement.

      Political solutions are, at present, not realistic.

      At present, no. For the future, yes. Finkelstein argues that Israel can be pressured into accepting a settlement based on the international consensus. I think that's a realistic goal. Nothing guaranteed, of course. But realistic enough.

      Let’s shift focus and try to accomplish other, more realistic things

      Like what???

      Ending the occupation-- requires a political agreement.
      RoR and /or compensation-- requires a political agreement.
      Full equality for all Israeli citizens-- requires political changes within Israel.

      So, outside of BDS's three stated goals, all of which require political solutions, what goals are you suggesting?

      nor do I consider ending the occupation a pragmatic goal

      What significant improvements in Palestinian life can be made without, at a minimum, ending the occupation? Do you mean BDS /the Palestinian solidarity movement should aim for something less? Aim for a "kindler, gentler occupation" not an end to it?

    • Shmuel: Except that I don’t [consider a political solution a pragmatic goal (nor do I consider ending the occupation a pragmatic goal). It is worth striving for, but it is no more pragmatic than BDS.

      **The first stated goal of the BDS movement is to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory occupied in 1967.

      **Ending the occupation requires a political solution.

      **Therefore, a political solution is inherent in the first goal of BDS.

      That fact is the heart of the contradiction that Finkelstein identifies in the BDS movement. It's goals demand a political solution, but BDS claims to be "agnostic" in that regard.

      [Finkelstein is] no less of a dreamer if he thinks that a political solution of any kind is somehow reasonable or practical.

      Political solutions are inherent in both Finkelstein's and BDS's agenda. None of the BDS goals can be achieved without political solutions. Finkelstein is open about that, and he claims a two state solution is the only realistically achievable one. BDS tries to avoid the issue for strategic reasons. That avoidance strategy has its pluses and minuses.

    • Shmuel: “Ending the occupation” requires a political solution.

      No doubt. Good for Finkelstein that he considers ending the occupation a pragmatic goal.


      Good for Shmuel that he considers a political solution a pragmatic goal.

    • @Shmuel

      I have claimed that there is an international consensus on the general framework for a settlement.

      You point out that there is no consensus on every single detail of a settlement.

      That's true, as well.

      A general framework by definition leaves out many details. On the other hand, it sets clear parameters within which the variation in details is confined.

    • Shmuel: at doesn’t mean that they cannot be improved significantly until such time as a political solution becomes feasible

      Slightly better, maybe. How can thing be made significantly better without a political solution to Palestinian statelessness and Israeli occupation?

      They most likely will continue to get worse without a political solution. At best, their can be a period of temporary "calm", as the dispossession continues. Not only can there be no realization of Palestinian civil and human rights without a political solution; there can be no economic development as well.

      Finkelstein wrote:

      What should I tell him—that he might get to see the ocean when he’s 55? Isn’t it more sensible, isn’t it more humane, to try to end the occupation , so that he can experience a little of life’s offerings before he’s an old man, if even then? [emphasis added]

      "Ending the occupation" requires a political solution. In fact, ending the occupation effectively means two states: Palestine already exists de jure; without the occupation it would exist de facto.

    • Shmuel: The last three articles are indeed vague

      If you say so. They seem perfectly clear to me. Absolutely clear: no effective right of return, (perhaps a symbolic number) +compensation. Absolutely clear: large settlement blocs annexed to Israel. Absolutely clear: East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine. We are talking about a framework for a settlement, not a final text of a settlement.

    • Shmuel: 1) Rights-based means not waiting for a political solution to make things better

      The only problem with that idea is that stateless persons' effective rights will be severely llimited as long as they remain stateless, and ending statelessness requires a political solution.

      I would also disagree that the international two-state consensus is vague. What's vague about it? Two states; pre-1967 borders; mutually agreed land swaps; West/East Jerusalem the capitals; limited implementation of right of return w/ compensation etc. Sure, there are details, but the basic framework is clear as day.

      The real objection, imo, is not that such proposals are vague, it's that they are manifestly unjust.

      I do agree entirely that BDS (which doesn't rule out two states) is essential to put pressure on Israel. Finkelstein appears to be allowing personal bitterness to cloud his moral-pragmatic vision in that regard.

    • MRW: Jews wants to destroy other people’s states and gods and traditions

      Great. Douglas Rushkoff speaks for Jews and Judaism

      link to

      snippet provided by a " white now"- labeled video.


      link to

      Paul Craig Cobb (born circa 1951),[2] better known as Craig Cobb, is an American-Canadian[1] white nationalist, white separatist, Neo-Nazi, antisemite, and Holocaust denier who operates the video sharing website Podblanc. He claims "my race is my religion,"[3] and advocates "racial holy war" in accordance with the tenets of the Creativity religion.[4] Cobb gained notoriety within anti-racist and anti-fascist movements, and legal advocacy organizations that investigate hate speech and hate crimes, for his "celebration of violence and murder committed against minorities,"[5] as documented in his video recordings, online activities, and disruptions at public events


      Confirmation needed.

  • Donna Edwards ends insurgent campaign by taking on Democratic Party orthodoxy, and supporters vow to continue the fight
    • silamcuz:

      1) "Those who threaten the wellbeing of our children....must be fought."

      2) "I reserve all my love and energy to my people, and my people only "

      A person whose love and energy goes--emphatically and vehemently-- to "his people" ONLY can hardly be trusted to be genuinely concerned about--let alone fight for-- "our children".

      Your brand of extreme tribalism does not represent enlightened progressive values-- at all. Stop posing, please.

  • Two more young Palestinians are shot dead -- this time after one allegedly throws a knife
  • 'NYT' manages to make childhood detention story work for Israel
    • hophmi:’s always amazing to me that people who oppose a Jewish state because of the Naqba oppose the presence of Jews in Hebron [emphasis added]

      It's not the mere presence of Jews in Hebron that arouses opposition; it's the despicable actions of a group of racist settlers.

      You know that, of course, but you have to falsify things in order to conjure up the specter of anti-Semitism.

    • Annie Robbins: hops, you are really taxing our imaginations. violent jewish extremists set up a fortress in hebron and the zionist regime surrounded them with thousands of soldiers and made apartheid streets blocking stores and entrances and checkpoints.

      This picture symbolizes for me the evil that is going on in Hebron:

      link to

      For some reason, its very very emotional, I think that woman could be my mother...I want to defend her...

  • Chabon calls occupation 'the most grievous injustice I have ever seen in my life' and says he is 'culpable'
    • silamcuz: ....who is the author to make this comparison? Is [Jewish author Michael Chabon] a black person...?

      Well looking at the picture right in front of you, you might guess "no"--but then again, you can never be sure, given the rules...

      ...any biological or social ties to the black community?

      Some social ties would not be at all surprising. As far as biological ties, perhaps he could be given a DNA test, and if he "passes", he could be allowed to say a word about slavery.

    • silamcuz: Okay, first of all, who is the author to make this comparison? Is he a black person...

      Okay, is this silamcuz blind? An idiot? A racist? Just pretending to be a racist?

      In any case, more diversion.

      (Here it comes: "It's not racist to..." And we're off! )

    • hophmi: I cannot fathom any reason you would make this offensive comparison
      Diversionary tactics. Instead of focusing on the substance of the Forward article " Michael Chabon Talks Occupation, Injustice and Literature After Visit to West Bank" , i.e. on the Occupation, the injustice of it, and the moral reaction of writers like Chabon, Hophmi &Co. would like us to focus solely on a "comparison" which, whatever one might think of it, is just a fraction of the interview.

      link to

      And the idea that Hophmi is actually offended by this comparison, rather than thrilled and delighted that it gives him an opening to divert the conversation, is, of course, absurd.

  • Donna Edwards's campaign unsettles the Israel lobby inside the Democratic Party
    • silamcuz: . Sounds to me you are describing the human population of Earth.

      No, I'm describing the American people, a subset of the human population. Those two sets of people share certain characteristics, such as multi-ethnicity, but differ in other respects (which I'm sure you are bright enough to identify if you put your mind to it.)

      Oh, btw, what's the name of your people? Is that too tough question for you?

    • silamcuz: What American people? To be part of a people would mean to be part of a big family where everyone love and support each other.

      A people is not the same as a family, but in any case, families are not exactly paradises of love and support--they are often full of discord and violence. Your metaphor doesn't work. If you want to say that love and support should be the ideal , great. The goal then should be to bring the American people together, to work together for something better, not to split them apart, to sow rancor and racism as you are striving to do (however disingenuously).

      Are you saying black Americans are more of a family to white Americans compared to their comrades in Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica

      I'm saying black Americans and white Americans and all other Americans are part of a single complex, multicultural, multi-ethnic American people--if they want to be--and I've seen no evidence that Donna Edwards has renounced her membership in the American people.

      It's quite amusing indeed (and many would say highly offensive) when a person of white Jewish ethnicity (or any other of America's ethnicities) stands up and tries to deny African-Americans membership in the American people.

    • silamacuz: What American people?

      So YOU say there is no American people.

      Okay, what different peoples, according to you, reside in the U.S.? How many are there? Can you name them?

    • silamacuz: I reserve all my love and energy to my people, and my people only.

      What is the name of your people?

    • silamcuz: ... the USA is as much of an enemy to her people as Israel is.

      The USA is an enemy to the American people?

      Or do you mean the U.S. government?

  • Another interview on Israeli TV
    • echinococcus: we are not discussing your theories of peace and general sweetness


      Yes, because I have no theory of "peace and general sweetness", your straw man notwithstanding.

      My position has always been that the "peace process" has been a total fraud from beginning to end.

      My position has always been that Israel will never voluntarily seek any kind of compromise or reasonable solution-- Israel will have to be forced to comply with international law.

      My archives are open. My record is clear.

    • echinococcus: That was a relatively recent change of bylaws (the addition of “in 1967”)

      No. The change was made around 2010, some six years ago.

      operated in silence

      No. Everything done openly and published in full view.

      and without any wide consultation

      No. The issue of the meaning of "occupied lands" was openly discussed at the time and the consensus within the BDS movement was that a clarification was needed.

      You've been trying to spin this as a Zionist conspiracy, but the simple reality is: 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 " (the original wording) could easily be interpreted as 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. Ending the occupation of "Arab lands occupied in June 1967" does not rule out the subsequent creation of a single state--but it doesn't demand it.

      Furthermore, a central aspect of the BDS strategy is to embrace a "rights-based" approach founded on international law, and international law recognizes only territory captured in June 1967 as "Occupied Palestinian Territory." Thus, the revision of the first demand was necessary in order to bring it in line with international law and strengthen the credibility of the "rights-based" strategy.

      Crucially, both Omar Barghouti and Ali Abunimah have stated that the overwhelming majority of Palestinian organizations backing BDS support the goal of two states .

      See Abunimah’s article, “Why do Zionists falsely claim BDS movement opposes two-state solution?”

      [February 2013] […] any informed person would know that the vast majority of organizations represented on the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) – the movement’s steering group and collective leadership – explicitly support a two-state solution. You can see a list of organizations that currently make up the BNC.

      Omar Barghouti makes this point in his book BDS: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights:

      While individual BDS activists and advocates may support diverse political solutions, the BDS movement as such does not adopt any specific formula and steers away from the one-state-versus-two-states debate , focusing instead on universal rights and international law, which constitute the solid foundation of the Palestinian consensus around the campaign.

      Incidentally, most networks, unions, and political parties in the BNC still advocate a two-state solution outside the realm of the BDS movement. (pages 51-52) [emphasis added]

      link to

      So, the BDS now and always has:

      1) Taken an "agnostic" position on one vs two states.

      2) Adopted a "rights-based" approach based on international law.

      The official BDS platform embodies that strategy. And it's been a very successful strategy. All changes to the platform wording have come as a result of open discussion within the BDS community.

      Obviously, that approach is not compatible with your moral purism, so you have resorted to propagating false conspiracy theories.

      [echinococcus:] [...]the BDS movement is Zionist-infested, partly Zionist-led...


      BDS is being used for the intended purpose of saving the Zionist entity, by the "liberal" Zionists and the tribals of JVP

      Whenever you have been asked to back up those claims and similar ones, you fall silent. Because you have zero evidence.

    • samibedouin: but finally what this Rotchilds wants? She wants a lovely peaceful “israel” where her fellow jews live happily ever and after...


      That attack is baseless and unfair. Whatever you may think of her political ideas, in her writings and in her work, Alice Rothchild demonstrates a deep and sincere concern for the well-being and happiness of all people, not just "fellow Jews".

      In fact, she condemns the very kind of Jewish tribalism you suggest she embraces:

      Until Israelis are willing to confront Jewish exceptionalism, then Jim Crow in Israel, (segregated towns and cities and schools and opportunity), and apartheid everywhere else, will continue

      What is to be gained from mischaracterizing her views?

    • echinococcus: The ongoing occupation of which territories, since when? 11/47, 48, 67?

      In the glossary to her book "Broken Promises, Broken Dreams", Alice Rothchild adopts the established legal definition of Occupied Palestinian Territory:

      ""Occupied Territories: Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel took control of these territories in the 1967 War

      link to

      That position, of course, would be consistent with her strong support for the BDS movement which calls for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory occupied in 1967 .

      I think you can reasonably assume that she’s not on board with your predicted “Algerian-type solution” brought about by “general war" and “regional conflagration”, nor with the de facto ethnic cleansing of Jewish Zionist invaders after the Zionist entity has been (it is dreamed) militarily defeated and destroyed.

      As a BDS movement supporter, she clearly belongs in your “gross defeatist” category (or she is in fact just another Liberal Zionist whose program, rhetoric aside, is no different “from that of the Kahanes and Goldmans”)

      Surely, this brave, brilliant, fiercely-committed fighter for humanist values needs to be, as you say, “booed out” -- loudly and furiously by every self-respecting moral purist on the planet ( who will be assisted, no doubt, by more than a few Zionists and crypto-Zionists.)

      Correct me if I am wrong.

  • Clinton's Passover message about 'fighting oppression' is highly selective
    • Emory Riddle: She did not write this an almost certainly does not believe this. This passage was written for her by a Zionist.

      Hillary IS a Zionist. Heart and soul. And an deeply devout, life-long Christian. She could very well believe every word of it.

  • The end of apartheid in Israel will not destroy the country, it can only improve it
    • talknic: indigenous peoples included in the legitimate citizens of a territory are not excluded from the same right to self determination as their fellow citizens.

      Yes. And see the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples I mentioned above.

    • talknic: The ICJ only answers the specific question/s they were asked. Meanwhile link to

      Thanks. It seems we agree on all points here.

    • @talknic

      I just searched the ICJ "Wall" opinion, and I cannot find a single reference to "indigenous" rights or anything related. (Of course, it's possible the search missed something.) Under international law, Palestinian rights to self-determination and a sovereign state on their own territory are in no way based on concepts of indigenous peoples' rights.

      There is no backing whatsoever for echinococcus' assertion that the "indigenous people" of Palestine have a right to sovereignty over the entire Israel/Palestine territory. And there is no backing whatsoever for the idea that legal citizens of Israel--Jewish and non-Jewish--do not have their own rights to citizenship, equality, etc, within Israel's internationally recognized borders.

      Are you agreeing with Echinooccus' claim that under international law " sovereignty over the territory belongs to the indigenous people, invaders and their offspring are not to be counted. "

      I've seen zero evidence put forward to support that contention. Just imagine if such a principle had to be applied globally.

    • 1960 was indeed a watershed, “which specifically repudiated many of the basic assumptions in earlier instruments, like the UN Charter.”

      Correction: I meant to write "the Colonial Independence Declaration of 1960 was indeed a watershed. "

    • talknic: A) The phrase used was “legitimate inhabitants” and refers to the colonization of existing states

      Actually, echinococcus used the term "indigenous" multiple times

      "the territory belongs to the indigenous people"

      "the sovereignty of the indigenous peoples over their own territory"

      as did George Smith, McHughes 976 and others. If you read over the article and subsequent comments, it will be clear that the rights of indigenous peoples/inhabitants has been a central focus of discussion.

      B) Colonialism by any means of coercive measure force was condemned long before 1960.

      Notice, I wrote "effectively condemned" , the word "effectively" being critical to the assertion. And I was referring specifically to international law. Some history:

      1960 marked at turning point in the policy of the General Assembly towards colonial self- determination. At this time the de-colonisation process had gained momentum, with seventeen new states taking up their seats that year.

      On 23 September 1960 Soviet Chairman Nikita Khrushchev presented the Assembly with a draft declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples. This was taken up and on 28 November, when debate opened on the issue, twenty- five Asian and African states submitted their own declaration on colonial independence. This draft drew on resolutions of the Afro-Asian conference in Bandung in 1955 and the first and second conferences of African states at Accra and Addis Ababa in 1958 and June 1960.

      On 14 December it was adopted without changes, by 89 votes to 0, with 9 abstentions,258 as the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, GA Res. 1514(XV).

      The Colonial Independence Declaration has been called the “Magna Charta” of decolonisation. And it is a landmark document. If the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen 1789 signalled the emergence of nationalism as a political force, the Colonial Independence Declaration marked its global conquest.

      It was also a watershed, which specifically repudiated many of the basic assumptions in earlier instruments, like the UN Charter. In particular, size and development were no longer held to be prerequisites for statehood, at least for trust and non -self-governing territories.

      As a resolution of the UN General Assembly, the Declaration, unlike the UN Charter or the Covenants, is not formally legally binding. Nonetheless, it has been considered by the International Court of Justice in determining international law in the Namibia and Western Sahara advisory opinions. [emphasis added]

      James Summers, "The Idea of the People The Right of Self-Determination, Nationalism and the Legitimacy of International Law"


      So, I stand by my assertion that:

      Colonialism was not effectively condemned in international law until the 1960’s, and there has never been any legal imperative for sovereignty over the territory of settler-colonialist states to be placed solely in the hands of “indigenous inhabitants.

      As the author above pointed out, 1960 was indeed a watershed, "which specifically repudiated many of the basic assumptions in earlier instruments, like the UN Charter."

      I'm open, of course, to opposing arguments.

      [talknic:] C) you then switch to the formation of states via decolonization

      I'm not sure what your complaint is. Echinococcus has been framing the formation of a Palestinian state in the language of decolonization , and I have been responding to that.

      Echinococcus wrote:

      If we accept the bedrock principle that sovereignty over the territory belongs to the indigenous people...

      I pointed out that there was no such “bedrock principle” in international law. I stand by that.

      I will grant you that the legal issues surrounding the principle of self-determination are indeed confusing--the concepts are ill-defined and the law is in many ways contradictory.

    • Antidote: The debate whether SA was better off during or after Apartheid is ongoing.

      SA's problems aren't the result of the demise of political Apartheid; they are the result, for the most part, of an imposed neoliberal economic regime that has maintained, if not worsened, a structure of gross economic and social inequality.

      Cf. Ronnie Kasrils, "How the ANC's Faustian pact sold out South Africa's poorest"

      link to

      Patrick Bond, "Why South Africa should undo Mandela’s economic deals"

      link to

    • echinococcus: The law of nations has confirmed, at least during much if not all of the 20th century, that the sovereignty over any territory belongs to its legitimate inhabitants (excluding the colonial invaders.)

      You apparently have a highly inflated and illusory idea about "the law of nations".

      Colonialism was not effectively condemned in international law until the 1960's, and there has never been any legal imperative for sovereignty over the territory of settler -colonialist states to be placed solely in the hands of "indigenous inhabitants."


      In practice and in different texts, there has always been a request for a valid plebiscite

      No, not true at all. The attitude toward plebiscites has varied enormously since the principle of self-determination was first promulgated, and in most all cases plebiscites have been used by existing powers to legitimize sovereignty arrangements only after the fact .

      Both the first period of decolonization in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the Americas and the second global period of decolonization after 1945 had very little to do with democracy. In both cases, the basis for decolonization was a principle of natural law according to which overseas rule and therefore colonial rule was illegitimate and ultimately illegal. This was not an empirical, but rather an axiomatic principle.

      Decolonization was primarily and increasingly a question of justice, not of majority decisions. Only in relatively few cases was the independence of a country decided by a plebiscite.

      The division of colonial territories into sovereign states had even less to do with democracy.Normally, it was carried out according to the principle of uti possidetis, by simply adopting the external and sometimes also the internal colonial borders as the international frontiers of the new independent states. Plebiscites were held only in rare cases, and these frequently had the character of confirmations of independence, and not of decisions for independence.

      It is thus unsurprising that many states created by decolonization did not become democracies, but rather often degenerated into dictatorships and despotisms: Decolonization was no act of democratization , and democracy first had to contend with other forms of government. [emphasis added]

      Jörg Fisch, }The Right of Self-Determination of Peoples: The Domestication of an Illusion" Cambridge University Press 2015

      [echinococcus:] If we accept the bedrock principle that sovereignty over the territory belongs to the indigenous people,

      There is no such "bedrock principle" in international law. (Anyone is free, of course, to posit it as a moral principle).

      Certainly, indigenous rights have been increasingly promulgated in international declarations and documents, for example, in the legally non-binding 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which calls for protection of indigenous rights to equality, limited local autonomy, culture, identity, language, employment, health, education etc.

      But, rightly or wrongly, those rights have NOT included a right to political sovereignty over territory.

      The first decolonization did not bring the indigenous population self-determination , but rather predominantly only the European settlers and those of European descent and at the most small groups of indigenous and somewhat larger ones of mulattoes and freed slaves. […]

      The objection could be made in the same way for the second decolonization: While the main winners were the local populations, these were not the original indigenous peoples, whose rights only became an issue mostly decades after the formal decolonization. [emphasis added]

      Jörg Fisch, "The Right of Self-Determination of Peoples"


      [echinococcus:]... statements about the inviolability of the principle of self determination of the peoples [...] is not compatible with allowing invaders to use their offspring as human shields.

      Where in international law do find the notion that indigenous peoples have the right to deny rights to or expel "offspring "of colonialist invaders who have been legal citizens of an internationally recognized state?

      Quotations please.

    • George Smith: Does s/he want the right of return to be accompanies by an ethnic cleansing of “non-indigenous” Jews?

      Yes he does. (But, of course, it would be up to the victorious Palestinians, he assures us.)

      Does s/he want those Jews to be relegated to second-class citizenship as punishment for the Nakba?

      According to echinococcus, after the Zionist entity has been militarily defeated, those Zionist invaders who hadn't already fled would have their citizenship and associated rights suspended; whether or not and to what degree they might be reinstated would depend on:

      a free decision by all Palestinians as represented by a generally and expressly designated body and in the absence of duress or occupation. Not being Palestinian I [echinococcus] cannot presume to decide or recommend. [which is what he just did and continually does]

      link to

      [George Smith:] s/he parts company with all but a fringe of the global anti-Zionist movement, and with basic demands of justice


  • Thousands of Israelis fill Tel Aviv's Rabin Square in support for soldier who executed Palestinian
    • Mooser: “Sibiriak” are you making the assumption that the Jewish fad for Zionism will not pass? I think it will.


      No, I'm not making that assumption at all--though I'd say it's more than a "fad", and that Jewish Zionism (including its American expression) is not fully coterminous with Israeli-Jewish ultra-nationalism, racism and religious extremism.

    • gamal: ...the current dispensation in the middle east its the freedom from bloody war.


      Bloody war. And a fine "solution" it is indeed (for dispensationalists).

    • echinococcus: What is being criticized and compared to that situation is the gross defeatism of both the colonialist camp then and Sibiriak now. If blowing that analogy up to the point of identifying a totally different situation with the one now at hand is not the maximum of all possible sophistry, one wonders what is.

      The fact is, echinococcus has repeatedly drawn analogies between Palestine and Algeria that go far beyond simply comparing degrees of "defeatism" in various camps.

      A few examples (emphasis added):

      [echinococcus:] Of course the solution will come by general war , as long as the Zionists are Zionists, i.e. crazy fanatics. Look at all the war of liberation it took to free even Algeria --where there wasn't any such cult craziness, only colonial interest.

      * * * * *

      That the majority of the Zionist Herrenvolk will flee the restoration of Palestinian sovereignty or fight it to the death is obvious. That, even in the optimistic case of the Palestinians offering citizenship to all the Herrenvolk population (which they are not obliged to do in any case.)

      We have a model to study very seriously, much more relevant than South Africa: that is Algeria.

      * * * * *

      It looks like the point where they could limit the damage is long gone. The frightening thought suggested by the conditions is that an Algeria-type solution may also be already too optimistic for the Zionist entity.

      * * * * *

      All I can say is that, while there is one known case of a miracle in South Africa, thanks to an unimaginable degree of maturity on both sides, things are known to have developed very differently too, as in Algeria. The way the cookie is crumbling in Palestine is not encouraging at all, as an extreme degree of war and violence looks more and more probable

      * * * *

      Algeria was a resounding success: it got rid of an extremely well-entrenched colonial Herrenvolk, not only formally.

      The only reason for the horrendous bloodshed was the pigheadedness of the colonialists. The silver lining was that they were scared stiff and left the country (where they had way, way deeper roots than the Herrenvolk occupying Palestine.)

      Now consider that the racial supremacist occupiers of Palestine are obviously much worse in racism and pigheadedness than the French colonialists in Algeria --and scared much worse.

      If and when conditions realign themselves, all this promises a war of never-seen levels of Zionist barbarism and a reestablishment of Palestine as a single state.


      Echinococcus is, of course, free to dream about an Algerian-style full-scale bloody-war solution, but the burden is on him is to show how how such a solution is at all possible --and in fact desirable--in the case of Palestine. It's not sophistry to ask him to do that.

      What is sophistry is to frame a false choice wherein anything less than total acceptance of echino's Algerian-style solution is characterized as "gross defeatism".

    • echinococcus: You sound exactly like the wall-to-wall propaganda for Algérie française that used to fill to overflow all the right-thinking publications and radio talks and meetings when I was a kid.

      Are you still clinging to the delusion that Palestine is Algeria? When do you predict the decisive guerilla war against the colonists will begin?

    • And now that you have confirmed (in your mind) the only possible future "solution", your work as a moral purist is over. You may retire in peace.

    • Doesn't bode well for the feasibility/desirability of a 1SS.

  • 'Say Hello to Zenobia': A report from Palmyra rising from the ashes
    • lproyect: I take it that you believe in the efficacy of dropping barrel bombs...

      And predictably, when the going get rough, even the feeblest pretense of critical thinking is tossed aside and out come the the imperialist think-tank-manufactured talking points.

      Propaganda Buzz Phrase

      But it’s really all par for the course. Whenever propagandists develop their “themes” for a conflict, they look for certain “hot button” phrases that make the behavior of a “black-hatted enemy” appear particularly venal. “Barrel bomb” has become the propaganda buzz phrase of choice associated with the Syrian conflict.

      Yet, it seems likely this clumsy, improvised weapon supposedly dropped from helicopters would be far less lethal than rocket-propelled bombs delivered from afar by jet planes or drones, the approach favored by the U.S. government and its “allies.”

      Civilians would have a much better chance to seek safety in a bomb shelter before some “barrel bomb” is shoved out the door of a helicopter than when a sophisticated U.S.-made bomb arrives with little or no warning, as apparently happened to the victims of that wedding in Yemen.

      And that is not to mention the U.S. bombs that involve depleted uranium, napalm, phosphorous and cluster munitions, which present other humanitarian concerns. However, while U.S.-assisted or U.S.-directed slaughters of civilians attract little attention in the mainstream U.S. media, there are endless denunciations of the Syrian government’s “barrel bombs.”

      The propaganda drumbeat is such that the American people are told that they must support “regime change” in Syria even if it risks opening the gates of Damascus to a victory by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda terrorists.

      This odd “humanitarian” equation, tallied up by the State Department and “human-rights” NGOs, holds that to secure revenge for Syria’s alleged use of “barrel bombs,” the world must accept the possibility of the black flag of Sunni terrorism flying over a major Mideast capital while its streets would run red with the blood of Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other “heretics.”

      Then, apparently, the United States would have little choice but to lead a massive expeditionary force into Syria to oust the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, ensuring the deaths of hundreds of thousands more innocents and sending millions more fleeing into a destabilized Europe.

      But such is the power of propaganda in managing public perceptions. Use a phrase like “barrel bomb” over and over again as if it is a uniquely evil weapon when, in fact, it is far less lethal and destructive than the ordnance that the United States routinely deploys or hands out to its “allies” like candy on Halloween. Soon the people lose all perspective and are open to manipulation. [See’s “The Power of False Narrative.”]

      Once the U.S. public is softened up with the propaganda and psy-ops also known as “strategic communications” or Stratcom the only acceptable option is “regime change” in Syria even if that prospect holds the likelihood of a far worse human catastrophe.

      By hearing “barrel bomb” enough times, the judgment of American citizens is clouded and any practical suggestion for a realistic political settlement of Syria’s conflict is deemed “appeasement” of a tyrant , which was the clear message of President Obama’s UN tirade.

      And, thus, the killing continues; the chaos grows worse. [emphasis added]

      Excerpt from Robert Parry's "Obama’s Ludicrous ‘Barrel Bomb’ Theme"

      link to

    • Austin Branion: found myself visiting less and less as the Assad apologists started getting published

      The moment you use the insulting, demonizing, slanderous pet epithet of neo-con propagandists-- "Assad apologist"--- you make it clear that your aim is to attack and defame rather than inform or persuade. Fact: the author of this article is not "apologizing" for the Assad regime.

      Jeff Klein writes:

      I am no apologist for Assad, but in my opinion the main threat is now foreign intervention and the possibility of an Islamist regime imposed on Syria.

      I think all of us here would be open to a substantial, fact-based counter-argument. Why don't you drop the name-calling and give it a shot?

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