Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3022 (since 2012-06-23 07:13:37)

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  • Zionism's tailspin: Stark minority of young California Jews are 'comfortable with idea of Jewish state'
  • NYT fails to report that Netanyahu started air war over Syria as corruption probes close in on him
  • Thomas Friedman justifies slaughter of Arab civilians by 'crazy' Israel
    • Talkback: [Wikipedia:] “Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality”


      Zionism [...] is the national movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic Land of Israel.

      Wikipedia definitions are wonderful.

  • How to win the battle for freedom, justice, and equality
    • Yitzchak Goodman: Does anyone advocate strict adherence to either one [res 181, res194]? They both call for an international Jerusalem

      In terms of Jerusalem, no, not really. If Wikipedia is correct, although the EU has not formally renounced the res 181 position on Jerusalem, it no longer views it as a an outline for the future.

      The European Union currently views the status of Jerusalem as that of a corpus separatum including both East and West Jerusalem as outlined in United Nations Resolution 181.[47][54][55]

      In the interest of achieving a peaceful solution to the Arab–Israeli conflict, it believes a fair solution should be found regarding the issue of Jerusalem in the context of the two-state solution set out in the Road Map. Taking into account the political and religious concerns of all parties involved, it envisions the city serving as the shared capital of Israel and Palestine.

      EU vows push to make Jerusalem capital for Palestinians too

      The EU’s top diplomat pledged on Thursday to reinvigorate diplomacy with Russia, the United States, Jordan and others to ensure Palestinians have a capital in Jerusalem after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel’s capital.

      [...]“The European Union has a clear and united position. We believe the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states and with Jerusalem as the capital of both,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told a news conference.

      The Palestinian leadership, of course, has long claimed East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, and has been willing to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

      Israel has insisted on an undivided Jerusalem as its capital alone.

  • Palestinian legislators are 'dragged out' of Knesset as Pence promises embassy will move in 2019
    • Mikhael: There are no Palestinian Members of Knesset [...] All the MKs are citizens of Israel.

      They may be citizens of Israel, but their nationality is Palestinian.

  • What's wrong with colonialism?
    • Nathan: Yes, ending the Jewish state means the end of Israel.
      Ending the "settler-colonial structure aimed at creating and maintaining an exclusively Jewish state " wouldn't necessarily mean the end of Israel. It depends on how that was done. (A two state solution, for example, would not be incompatible with that formulation.)

      However, ending the Jewish population majority in Israel/a single Palestinian state would most likely result in the the end of Israel. Faced with the reality of being a minority group in a majority Arab/Muslim state, many Jews would leave, creating an ever stronger Arab Palestinian majority. Why would that strong Arab Palestinian majority not exercise its democratic rights and get rid of the Israeli name, flag, constitution etc. leaving nothing left that could properly be called "Israel"?

  • Trump's line on 'shithole countries' is a mainstream view in Israel
    • @Jon66 I thought eljay was paraphrasing (or caricaturing) a Zionist "whatabout" argument with that list and characterization , not expressing his own views.

  • Ahed Tamimi should stay in prison because she might slap again -- Israeli ethicist
    • DaBakr : You folks are just never going to get over the fact that MLK was an ardent supporter of israel

      MLK was wrong about Israel and Zionism. So what? Why is that a big deal?

  • Vic Mensa's searing piece in 'Time' on Israeli oppression is prefaced by clunky disclaimer re anti-Semitism
  • Privileged American Jews are safe thanks to 'Israel's might'-- Roger Cohen
    • inbound39: one direct hit on Dimona renders Israel kaput.

      No, a bit traumatized, but hardly "kaput":

      Should Israel Close Dimona? The Radiological Consequences of a Military Strike on Israel’s Plutonium-Production Reactor

      [..] a successful strike on an operating Dimona reactor that breached containment and generated an explosion and fire involving the core would present effects similar to a substantial radiological weapon or dirty bomb.

      Although consequences would represent only a small fraction of the Chernobyl release, for Israel, a country the size of New Jersey with a population of some six million, the relative economic dislocation, population relocation, and immediate and lingering psychological trauma could be significant… [emphasis added]

  • From Spinoza to Vilkomerson, Jewish voices for peace have long been banned-- by Jews
    • RoHa: As for the rape of language, I do my best to prevent it...

      The rape of language is okay, but God forbid the death of an institution!

  • What Palestinians can learn from South African anti-apartheid struggle
    • Noam Chomsky touches on that point about the war in Angola in a discussion with Ilan Pappé:

      NC: I would not push the South African analogy too far because there are striking differences. One difference that cannot be acknowledged in the USA for obvious reasons is that it was the Cubans that destroyed the South African regime. It was they who drove South African aggressors out of Angola, Namibia, broke the mythology of the white superman. It was Black troops that were driving them out. It had an enormous effect. It is going to take a long time before this enters the US consciousness.

      The other thing is what you talked about. The homogenous white community. Which meant that there was a crucial class issue. It was possible to reach a settlement in South Africa the kind of which is impossible in Israel. The final settlement was, let’s keep the socio-economic system and have some Black faces in the limousines. You cannot do that in Israel.

      IP: Making the parallel between South Africa and Palestine has advantages and disadvantages. You already have a Palestinian bourgeoisie inside Israel. You did not have African heads of medical departments in South Africa. Take the Galilee for example. There the intertwined communities are slowly becoming a fact of life. It already has a reality that reflects the future. The nature of the state is still ethnic and segregationist, but the transition to a state that recognizes the reality that already exists on the ground does not have to be as dramatic or drastic as it was in South Africa.

      In other parts of the country, especially in the West Bank and Greater Jerusalem area, dismantling the present reality and replacing it by a more just one would be very similar to the process occurring in the transition in South Africa from apartheid to a post-apartheid state. So there is no harm is studying closely the South African case so as not to repeat the mistakes made there and also be aware of the differences that would require original thinking for the case of Israel and Palestine.

      NC: South Africa was different because the white population needed its Black counterpart. It was its workforce. Israel does not want the Palestinians. South Africa actually supported the bantustans. They wanted them to develop because they had to reproduce the workforce and to be internationally recognized. In details it’s not going to be a similar process even though there are some similarities. What I mentioned before—Israel determined that they will be a pariah state, but that it did not matter as long as the US backed them. That’s very much the South African position. That is why I have often written, since the 1970s, that the people who call themselves supporters of Israel are in fact supporters of its moral degeneration and probably ultimate destruction.

      IP: Absolutely.

      ["On Palestine" (pp. 74-76). ]

      * * * *

      NC: […]there is a crucial aspect of the end of apartheid [in South Africa] that is totally suppressed here and in Britain for reasons of ideological fanaticism. Apartheid was substantially ended by Cuba. The scholarly record on this by now is just overwhelming. The Cubans sent military forces, mostly Black soldiers, who drove the South Africans out of Angola, forced them to leave Namibia, broke the mythology of this white superman, which had a big effect on white and Black South Africa. And the South Africans know it. When Mandela was let out of jail, his first comment was to praise Cubans for their inspiration and their help, because they played a huge part in ending apartheid. You cannot say that in the USA or in England, because we have a kind of religious fanaticism that says that we are not allowed to tell the truth about these matters. But that was an overwhelming factor, and of course, it’s missing here. We should think about other models, but it is important to break through the ideological constraints in the West which prevent recognition of what in fact happened. That’s pretty important.

      ["On Palestine" (pp. 88-89) ]

  • When Zionism is the essence of life, a break has huge consequences
    • Stephen Shenfield: they cannot believe that they would be allowed to remain with equal rights in a state with a non-Jewish majority.

      It's not just about equal rights-- it's about cultural/linguistic/religious predominance as well.

  • Haaretz smears the Tamimi family to counter worldwide solidarity with 16-year-old Ahed
    • Marnie: . There is no way anyone with even half a brain can look at israel and see nothing but evil.

      I think notions of pure evil like that are themselves evil (but not entirely so, of course.)

  • 'We have taken Jerusalem off the table' -- Trump bullies Palestinians
  • I'm proud to stand with Cindy Corrie in this fight
    • Tova Perlmutter: For the record, Mondoweiss does not receive funding from Jewish Voice for Peace, has not in the past and does not expect to in the future.

      Thank you. That should put an end to these spurious attacks on Mondoweiss.

      [Emory Riddle:] I don’t believe that.

      Whoops. I guess not.

  • Why liberal Zionists have nothing to say about Ahed Tamimi's slap and arrest
    • Nathan: The Palestinians insist on the right of return as a personal right – so, no, they do not accept a symbolic number of returnees.

      Wrong. In all negotiations from Camp David on, the Palestinians have NOT insisted on more than a symbolic right of return, compensation for refugees, and only an extremely limited, demographically inconsequential number of Palestinians permitted to actually return to Israeli territory.

      They do not accept the right of a Jewish state to exist

      Wrong, In all negotiations from Camp David on, the Palestinians have accepted that Israel will be a Jewish majority state within 1967 borders (w/ agreed upon land swaps).

      They claim all of Jerusalem

      Wrong. They claim only East Jerusalem.

    • Nathan: Avnery presents it, Israel remains (mostly) a Jewish state with a policy of Jewish immigration. Moreover, only a symbolic number of refugees will be allowed to settle in Israel. It’s obvious that the Palestinians won’t agree to either of these points

      No. The Palestinian leadership has been willing to agree to both of those points. Likewise with prominent Arab-backed peace initiatives.

      [Nathan:] and they won’t agree that West Jerusalem be the capital city of Israel

      No. The PLO has officially recognized the 1967 Green Line as the internationally accepted border between Israel and Palestine and claims only East Jerusalem as Palestine's capitol.

      So the fundamental premise of your argument is simply false.

      It is Israel that has rejected a two-state solution in line with the international consensus--not the Palestinians.

      It is only because Israel has consistently rejected such a two-state solution that the focus has shifted toward the single-state apartheid reality.

    • Maglawatan: . Someone has to tell Yossi that if the Palestinians get the vote Zionism is khalaas. Over.

      I suspect Yossi already knows that full well.

  • Zionism didn't have to turn out so badly for Palestinians, says Roger Cohen
    • @echinococcus

      Why waste your time arguing that "Jews are not a people"? It's a distraction. It's counterproductive. Whether Jews are a people or not is completely irrelevant to the fact that:

      1) Jews had no right to colonize Palestine and create a discriminatory Jewish state there; those actions were carried out in explicit and total contradiction to the Palestinian people's right to self-determination.

      2) Israel has imposed an apartheid regime on Palestine in total violation of international law and universal moral values.

    • echinococcus: Provide even one (1) single, common ethnic/cultural etc. element, common to the many diverse strands of “Jewish”

      Why? That's not required by the logic of groups. The brilliant logician Wittgenstein long ago made that clear with his famous "family resemblance" concept, which is based on the idea that:

      . ..things which could be thought to be connected by one essential common feature may in fact be connected by a series of overlapping similarities, where no one feature is common to all (Wikipedia) (emphasis added)

      Thus, an essential common feature is not necessary for a large “kinship” type group structure. What is in common to all Jews is that they all meet the requirements for membership in the group "Jews".

      (A "common ethnic/cultural etc. element" in a group of persons doesn't necessarily make that group a "people" (ethnos), btw.)

      [ echinococcus:] There is no difference from Christianity.

      In fact there is. Judaism (most forms afaik) is based on the idea of a covenant between a People (ethnos) and a God. Judaism is a people-based religion. No Jewish People, no Judaism. Not so for Christianity.

      If your contention were true, which it isn’t, then Christianity and any other religion should be equally qualified for recognition as an “ethnos”, too, according to you.

      I made no contention in that post that Jews "qualified for recognition as an 'ethnos' [people]." I simple wrote: "No Jewish (ethnos), no Judaism (religion)."

      Recognition of a group as a people (ethnos) in the context of international law, self-determination rights, national minority rights, indigenous peoples' rights etc. is a much more complicated affair.

    • Page: 30
    • Eljay: No Judaism, no Jewish.


      But: No Jewish (ethnos), no Judaism (religion).

      Something that can't be said about Christian/Christianity

  • The never-ending crisis of Zionism
    • Talkback: ... only presented the latest verified and not estimated data.

      Isolated data from only one single year from which you cannot and do not derive any conclusions about demographic trends or social impacts, correct?

    • Gamal: that’s right i am telling you something...

      If so, it's rather cryptic.

    • Maghlawatan: It is trauma. Zionism said you can move to Palestine and start over and there will be no trauma. [...]

      Russia is also a mess because of ww2 trauma.

      Terrible analogy.

      Russians see themselves as proud victors in WWII-- not eternal victims. The lesson: fascism is evil-- not the whole world is against us.

      For most living Russians, the real trauma occurred in the 1990’s—the deliberate social destruction, pillaging and plundering --the massive suffering and death-- that followed the dismantling of the Soviet Union and the neoliberal “shock therapy” so glorified in “the West”.

    • @Talkback

      Misterioso quoted Doug Saunders asserting that " tens of thousands of educated middle-class Jews are fleeing every year – not out of the continent, but rather from Israel into Europe..."

      That may be true (perhaps exaggerated), but the site you and Misterioso link to shows net migration for the years 1995 through 2100 (historical and forecast data) and 2015 is the only year with a negative number. Given that various sources are estimating a return to a positive net migration rate, why would one would want to single out 2015 and draw conclusions from that limited data point?

      In any case, the population of Israel is increasing, and apparently becoming less secular. If more educated, secular Israelis leave, doesn't that just mean a nuclear-armed, militaristic Israel becoming even more right-wing and bellicose?

      What are you suggesting demographic changes in Israel portend?

    • Nathan: If the Israelis are leaving the country in massive numbers...

      They're not.

      Israel's Net migration rate

      Net migration rate: 2.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

      Definition: This entry includes the figure for the difference between the number of persons entering and leaving a country during the year per 1,000 persons (based on midyear population). An excess of persons entering the country is referred to as net immigration (e.g., 3.56 migrants/1,000 population); an excess of persons leaving the country as net emigration (e.g., -9.26 migrants/1,000 population). The net migration rate indicates the contribution of migration to the overall level of population change.


      “Israel’s demographic future: Crowded and very religious”

      “Israel will have the highest population density in the Western world,” Sergio DellaPergola, a preeminent Israeli demographer and member of the report’s steering committee, told JTA. “Interestingly, haredim will overtake Arabs as the largest minority.

      The Central Bureau of Statistics revised upward its previous projection, made in 2012, that the population will reach 15.5 million in 2059, with 4.5 million haredim.DellaPergola said the bureau had wrongly assumed Israel’s fertility rate would continue to decline.

      […}Israel is growing rapidly mostly because of its birth rate, which DellaPergola said is the highest of the world’s 100 most developed countries… [emphasis added]


      Circular migration--good for Israel.

      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]

  • US vetoes UN resolution on Jerusalem, as Muslim states recognize East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital
    • Mooser: it would practically proscribe colonialism if the distinction was made.

      Colonialism has already been proscribed without such a distinction.

      Under international law, all states have a right to self-preservation, regardless whether they receive foreign aid or not.

      Colonialism is not an act of self-preservation or self-defense, needless to say.

    • Mooser: Gee, one might think a distinction would be made...

      No such distinction is made, for obvious reasons.

    • Maghlawatan: Under International law Yossi Israeli has a right to stay where he is but he doesn’t have a right to his current level of income.

      A right to a certain level of income? Now that would be something new.

    • Annie Robbins: [DGF:] The Zionists did not have a right to create Israel, but Israel was created and it was recognized by other states. As such, it has a right to continue to exist.

      david, you claimed there is no concept in international law of an illegally existing state. could you provide a source in international law for this “right to continue to exist” that you referenced?

      Annie, let me first say how glad I am that you are still posting here. Your clear logic and fighting spirit have always been greatly appreciated.

      To your question:

      Under international law, states that exist have both rights and duties. (Israel clearly exists as a state both de facto and as a widely-recognized UN member state.)

      Among the most important rights accorded to states is the right of self-preservation (self-defense).

      There is widespread consent that the right of every State to self-preservation and the corresponding duty not to prejudice the preservation of other States is to be included among the ‘basic’ or ‘fundamental’ rights. Such a right, according to early commentators, developed as a right to preserve, maintain, and protect a State’s independence, sovereignty, and equality. It is for this reason that some authors regard it as a mere corollary of the preceding rights. Others, on the contrary, see it as the only truly fundamental right of States.

      The existence of a ‘fundamental right to survival’ has been confirmed by the ICJ in a recent advisory opinion relating to the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, which recognized the fundamental right of every State to survival as a basis for admitting its right to resort to self-defence (Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons [Advisory Opinion] [1996] ICJ Rep 226) (Nuclear Weapons Advisory Opinions).

      Oxford Public International Law , "States Fundamental Rights and Duties"

      That "fundamental right of survival" of states confirmed by the ICJ would seem to be synonymous with a "right to continue to exist."

      As noted above, under international law states have duties (obligations) as well as rights. Israel is clearly failing to uphold its basic duties as a state. Israel's apartheid regime is a crime against humanity which justifies direct UN action against Israel.

      International law sanctions interference in the internal affairs of states to correct extreme violations of law, such as apartheid. However, I don't believe it ever sanctions efforts to end the existence of a state.

  • Israeli Jews 'will never accept' giving vote to Palestinians -- liberal Zionist leader
    • Mooser: Authoritarian oligarchy is the only way to go, if you can’t get a monarchy.

      No, egalitarian democracy would be much preferable.

    • The BDS movement proclaims three goals, one of which includes ending the occupation of Palestinian territory defined by the 1967 "Green Line" .

      However, an end to the occupation of Palestinian territory --the W.B. and Gaza-- is for all intents and purposes incompatible with the creation of a single state.

      Right now Palestine exists as a state de jure .

      As of 14 September 2015, 136 (70.5%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations and two non-member states have recognized the State of Palestine.

      If the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory ended, then there would be little to prevent Palestine from become a de facto state.

      Of course, Palestine could at some later point negotiate with Israel to form a single state, but that would be a remote possibility.

      And, needless to say, the Occupation is not ending any time soon. I'm simply pointing out the contradiction between the goal of ending the Occupation and the goal of a single state. That contradiction was the price that had to be paid in order to allow BDS to claim it is a "rights-based" strategy not committed to either one state or two states.

    • "Ali Abunimah has said that Jewish Israelis can change their minds on this question the same way that intransigent South African whites changed theirs. "


      "Can" and "will" are light-years apart in this case.

    • That's not to say that imperialism is necessarlily an element in liberalism, but it has dominated in practice, if not in theory.

      See: Jennifer Pitts, "A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France"

      A dramatic shift in British and French ideas about empire unfolded in the sixty years straddling the turn of the nineteenth century. As Jennifer Pitts shows in A Turn to Empire, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke [Conservative ], and Jeremy Bentham were among many at the start of this period to criticize European empires as unjust as well as politically and economically disastrous for the conquering nations.

      By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the most prominent British and French liberal thinkers, including John Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville, vigorously supported the conquest of non-European peoples. Pitts explains that this reflected a rise in civilizational self-confidence, as theories of human progress became more triumphalist, less nuanced, and less tolerant of cultural difference. At the same time, imperial expansion abroad came to be seen as a political project that might assist the emergence of stable liberal democracies within Europe.

      Pitts shows that liberal thinkers usually celebrated for respecting not only human equality and liberty but also pluralism supported an inegalitarian and decidedly nonhumanitarian international politics.

      Yet such moments represent not a necessary feature of liberal thought but a striking departure from views shared by precisely those late-eighteenth-century thinkers whom Mill and Tocqueville saw as their forebears. [emphasis added]

      So I should have written Liberalism has rarely been very liberal.

    • Donald Johnson: ....even apart from Zionism, a lot of self proclaimed American liberals are not very liberal.

      Liberalism has never been very liberal. Liberals backed colonialism. Liberals ran the British Empire. Liberals ran the French Empire. Liberals have run the American Empire. The genocidal Vietnam War was waged by Liberals. Modern imperialism and Liberalism are practically inseparable.

  • Times super-Zionist Bret Stephens commits fallacy and falsehood, on Jerusalem
    • Mooser: : I am an American Citizen, and Jewish is my religious identity.

      Wonderful! I'm certainly not going to argue with that.

      And if another person tells me, "I am an American citizen, an atheist, part of a Jewish people, and Jewish is a non-religious identity for me,” I'm not going to argue with that either.

      But if someone tells me that the Jewish religion gives Jews the right to colonize Palestine and oppress Palestinians, I will deny that vehemently.

      Or if someone tells me that Eretz Israel is the ancient homeland of the Jewish people, therefore Jews have the right to colonize Palestine and oppress the Palestinian people, I will deny that vehemently as well.

    • eljay: The notion of a religion-supremacist state may sit well with some people. It may sit well with you. It doesn’t sit well with me

      With all due respect, you are missing the point. I asked why it was so important to assert that “Jewish is, fundamentally, a religion-based identity“, as opposed to an identity fundamentally (or equally) based on non-religious factors?

      Would a nationality-based supremacist state be any less reprehensible than a religion-based supremacist state?

      It just seems to me that lot of time is wasted -- by anti-Zionists --arguing about the exact nature of Jewish identity, when their focus should be on the crimes committed by Zionists.

      Zionists, of course, like the distraction.

    • eljay: “When push comes to shove even the most ardent Zionist will tie Jews back to religion.”: Yup, that’s pretty self-explanatory.

      I was asking about the importance you attach to the fact that Jewish identity is fundamentally religion-based , what implications you derive from that fact- not the simple meaning of the assertion.

      [Sibiriak:] Please explain why you think it is so important that “Jewish is, fundamentally, a religion-based identity“ … ||

      [eljay:] I don’t “think it is so important” that this be so – I’m just stating my opinion that it is so.

      Okay. It's just an opinion of yours. But it doesn't have any particular importance, no specifiable implications, morally, legally, politically, to the conflict in Palestine? Really? C'mon.

    • eljay : It’s self-explanatory.

      No it isn't. But in any case, please indulge me. Please explain why you think it is so important that "Jewish is, fundamentally, a religion-based identity", as opposed to an identity fundamentally based on non-religious factors?

    • eljay: when push comes to shove even the most ardent Zionist will tie Jews back to religion.

      So what?

  • Trump's Hanukkah gift
    • oldgeezer: The rest of the world still officially considers it [Jerusalem] corpus separatum and occupied.

      The PLO considers East Jerusalem occupied Palestinian territory , not a corpus separatum.

      East Jerusalem is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory. It is part and parcel of the West Bank, no different from Hebron or Nablus.

      For centuries, Jerusalem has been the political, administrative, cultural and religious center of Palestine. Metropolitan East Jerusalem – an area extending from Ramallah to Bethlehem – has for long been the driving force of the Palestinian economy. Without East Jerusalem, there can be no economically and politically viable Palestinian state.


      The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has formally declared that Palestinians will no longer accept the US as a mediator in the Middle East peace process following Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

      In his strongest public statement since Trump’s announcement last week, Abbas said Palestinians would go to the United Nations security council to seek full membership of the UN while asking the world body to take control of the peace process as Washington was no longer “fit” for the task.

      [...]“Jerusalem is and will forever be the capital of the Palestinian state, Abbas told delegates. “We do not accept any role of the United States in the political process from now on, because it is completely biased towards Israel.”

      The Palestinian president’s comments were echoed later in the summit’s official closing statement, which declared "East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine” and invited “all countries to recognise the state of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital”


      Whatever its official status, the idea of Jerusalem actually becoming a de facto corpus separatum has been dead in the water for a very long time.

      Most of the world today still supports a two state solution in which West Jerusalem would become the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem would become the capital of Palestine, "official status" notwithstanding.

  • Dionne and Shields ignore the Adelson in the room
  • Palestinian officials say, Trump 'destroyed' the two-state solution
    • Nathan: You apparently do understand that there are many Jews in the world who define themselves as a people...

      Which isn't to say that many Jews who define themselves as a people don't include some religion-based notions in their self-definition, explicitly or implicitly.

    • Nathan: ... the term “religion-based identity of JEWISH”. This is not normal English, obviously.

      Precise assertions are often expressed in unusual, carefully-crafted ways. Eljay's formulation may be a bit awkward, but it is perfectly understandable.

      Personally, I might write, " religion-based Jewish identity" -- but the difference is trivial.

      Compare: religion-based identity of "Christian" // religion-based Christian identity.


      [Nathan:] It seems to me that in correct English one would say “the religion-based identity of the Jews”.

      That may be correct English, but it would be incorrect for what Eljay wants to say. It assumes the existence of "the Jews", normally understood as a people or some kind of organic collective entity, something you know Eljay, rightly or wrongly, doesn't wish to do.

  • Trump just 'pushed the two-state solution over the cliff'
    • yonah fredman: . Annex us and give us citizenship.

      Israel will not voluntarily annex the W.B. and Gaza and give millions of Palestinians Israeli citizenship, an act which would threaten the foundations of Zionism.

      The W.B and Gaza are (occupied) Palestinian territory; Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory is illegal under international law.

      The international community is not going pressure Israel to illegally annex more Palestinian territory.

  • Flynn's plea on Russian influence reveals... Israel's influence!
    • Mooser: [HarryLaw:] "Had Kushner and Flynn suceeded, that Resolution might never have seen the light of day again, and given the green light to massive settlement building and ethnic cleansing.”

      And what a “serious challenge to established imperial policies/ideology” that would be!

      FYI, the challenge to established polices mentioned earlier involves possible changes to U.S. policy toward Russia, not Israel.

      Apparently, you are confused on that point.

    • Mooser: And Trump had all the right reasons to do those things, and approached those challenges oh, so skillfully and so effectively. Please.

      * * * * *
      And Flynn was going about that in an effective and transparent way, and we might add, at great personal sacrifice.


      Nobody here has suggested anything remotely like that.

      I'm curious, what do you think is the point of such inane strawmanning? Do you think it is funny? Persuasive?

    • Mooser: What’s the date on that report, “Sib”? Looks to me like its January 23rd 2017. About a year ago, wasn’t it? You don’t think anything has come to light to change that conclusion in the past year?

      That report is only about Flynn's contacts with the Russian ambassador (which he lied about), and the conclusions refer only to those contacts.

      The FBI in late December reviewed intercepts of communications between the Russian ambassador to the United States and retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn — national security adviser to then-President-elect Trump — but has not found any evidence of wrongdoing....

      You don't think they adequately reviewed those interecepts at the time? You think another review of those intercepts might suddenly reveal wrongdoing during the contacts with the Russian ambassador which wasn't detected in the original review? Really?

    • @Mooser:

      FYI, it's Flynn's attitude toward Russia , not the Israel Lobby, that was of concern to the U.S. political establishment.

    • Mooser: And Trump had all the right reasons to do those things, and approached those challenges oh, so skillfully and so effectively.

      Who said he did?

    • Mooser: Sibiriak”, did you just say that “Flynn…Russia” ...

      Cf. Washington Post:

      National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

      Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions [...]

      Ending sanctions, improving relations with Russia, making Russia no longer a threat to "our" democracy requiring increased controls on social media and news outlets, making Russia no longer a threat to Europe requiring NATO expansion, making Russia no longer a threat to "our" Middle East policies requiring U.S. intervention, increased military spending, nuclear rearmament and so on and so forth -- yes, that would certainly be a challenge to established imperial policies/ideology.

      Mooser: So taking orders from Israel is a “serious challenge to established imperial policies”?

      I wouldn't say the U.S. "takes orders" from Israel. But to your basic point: no. And of course, that's why it's "collusion with Russia" all over the news, and "collusion with Russia" that's being investigated, and not a word about "collusion with Israel."

    • Harry Law: The Prosecutor had a whole raft of possible charges against Flynn which will remain on file...

      Are you stating an established fact or simply speculating?

      Cf. "The FBI in late December reviewed intercepts of communications between the Russian ambassador to the United States and retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn — national security adviser to then-President-elect Trump — but has not found any evidence of wrongdoing or illicit ties to the Russian government, U.S. officials said. "

    • Mooser: in what possible way does Trump present “any serious challenge to established imperial policies/ideology, however incoherent or incompetent”?


      Flynn... Russia... reversing sanctions... Trump "admiring" Putin... "desiring to improve relations"...."reset with Russia"...any of that ring a bell?

    • Keith, good points.

      On one level what this is about is the political establishment/Deep State asserting its dominance and making it clear that any serious challenge to established imperial policies/ideology, however incoherent or incompetent, will not be tolerated.

    • The Guardian headline story on Flynn lays out the facts about the effort to undermine the U.N. Security Council resolution--but it's still framed as possible collusion with Russia, not Israel.It's still all Russia! Russia! Russia!

      Those conversations not only give the lie to repeated statements by the president that his team had no contact with the Russians – on Saturday he told reporters there had been “absolutely no collusion” and tweeted that Flynn’s “actions during the transition were lawful” – but they also raise the possibility of serious criminal exposure among members of his inner circle for breaking laws banning communications with foreign entities that undercut US policy.

      * * *

      Kushner has denied that he proposed such a back channel, and has denied collusion with Russia and other wrongdoing.

      * * *

      “Trump has categorically said that he was not aware of any campaign communications with Russia, ” said Anne Milgram, who has worked closely in the past with Mueller and his team as a former attorney general for the state of New Jersey and former federal prosecutor.

      “That is the kind of question that you would want to ask Michael Flynn. Were there conversations about those communications? Was there an understanding that the Russians had so-called ‘dirt’ on Secretary Clinton? And so all those things are going to be really important for the government to understand.”

      * * *

      With Flynn’s cooperation, Vladeck said, Mueller could be in position to answer “the million dollar question”: did the Trump campaign collude with Russia during the 2016 election?

      * * *

      “I would imagine that he [Flynn] would have insights into what contacts if any the campaign had with Russian government officials, Russian private citizens, Russian corporations,” Vladeck said. “But I think if there’s dirty laundry, one suspects that Flynn of all people would know what and where it is.” [emphasis added]

  • Dispatch from Gaza on reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority
    • Nathan: My claim is that the call for the destruction of Israel is an unreasonable position.

      Wow! You're really going out on a limb there!

  • Israel has more legitimacy than US because the bible mentions Jerusalem, not New York -- says David Harris
    • ErsatzYisrael: Condemning some undefined, abstract “construct” for being “unjust and immoral"...

      How about condemning concrete manifestations of " ‘religion-supremacism" in “Islamic/Muslim States”-- e.g. in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran etc. ?

  • The left must give thanks to... Donald Trump
  • 'Struggle for basic rights within binational state has begun and we will win' --Shulman in 'NYRB'
    • Nathan: …once you admit that the Jews are a nation,

      [non sequitur:] you have admitted that they have a geographic point of reference (i.e. a homeland)

      [non sequitur:] and you have therefore accepted the legitimacy of Zionism

      1) Even if we assume Jews are a people* or "nation", it does not follow that they must have a single “geographic point of reference.” When modern Jewish nationalism arose, Jews were a widely-dispersed people without a contemporary national homeland. Whether or not they had an ancient homeland (real or imaginary) is irrelevant. The right of self-determination of peoples requires at a minimum that a people be the majority population in a specific territory at or near the time they press a claim for political self-determination.

      (*I prefer the term “people” because modern international law uses the term “peoples,” not “nations” in defining the right of self-determination.)

      2)Even if we assume Jews are a people, it does not follow that the creation of a Jewish state was desirable, necessary or legitimate. There is no reason a people cannot exist and thrive dispersed amongst multiple states. Political sovereignty is only one of various possible forms of self-determination.

      [Also: Jewish nationalism didn’t necessarily imply creating a state in Palestine. Leo Pinsker (author of Autoemanzipation), for example, wrote that “[Jews] should ‘above all not dream of restoring ancient Judaea. … The goal of our present endeavours must be not the “Holy Land” but a land of our own.’ […]he mentioned a territory in North America or a sovereign pashalik in Asiatic Turkey as alternative possibilities.”(Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism ). And the Jewish nationalists known as “territorialists” favoured a Jewish national revival outside Palestine, e.g. in Uganda. (That idea was rejected in 1905.) “ The Jewish Territorial Organisation (JTO) was founded in London under the leadership of Israel Zangwill […]. They maintained that the vital interests of the Jewish people were not in Palestine: ‘We do not attach any real value to our supposed “historical rights” to that country.’ Nor did they acknowledge any organic connection between Zionism and Palestine. JTO organised an expedition to Angola and investigated the possibility of settlement in Tripolitania, Texas, Mexico, Australia and Canada.”(Walter Laqueur, A History of Zionism.)]

      3) Even if were desirable for Jews to have a state of their own, political control over territory in Palestine could only be obtained by denying Palestinians their own right of self-determination. This ugly fact 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]

      British diplomatAnthony Nutting (1920-1999):

      [...]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 [emphasis added]

      “Balfour and Palestine, a legacy of deceit"

      In sum, if Jews were a people, they were nevertheless widely-dispersed and lacked a contemporary homeland. They had no territory for a state. They could only obtain territory in Palestine by denying Palestinians their rights. If the Palestinians had been able to democratically determine their political future, they would have rejected massive Zionist immigration into Palestine, rejected Zionist land acquisition and dispossession of peasants and workers, rejected the formation of a Zionist proto-state under the British, and rejected the creation of Zionist Israel. All that had to be imposed by force.

      Zionism required --and continues to require-- the political repression and/or expulsion of the Palestinians. That is its fatal moral flaw, not the fact that it conceives of Jews as a people.

  • 'Facebook' ads are way more important than the children we slaughter in some poor country
    • Some details on Google/State Department connection:

      Media Orgs Donate to Clinton Foundation Then Downplay Clinton Foundation Scandal

      To understand why The New York Times, Google, CNN and PBS would censor negative information about Clinton, particularly, stories revolving around the Clinton Foundation scandal, all you have to do is follow the money. All of these companies have donated—in some cases up seven figures—to the Clinton Foundation. Carlos Slim, Chairman & CEO of Telmex, the largest New York Times shareholder, donated between $1 and $5 million. Google donated between $500K and $1 million.

      * * * *

      A deeper look into Google’s ties to Clinton , specifically while she was secretary of state, exposes more reasons why the tech giant has a vested interest in censoring the AP’s bombshell story. Wikileaks exposed that Google teamed up with Clinton’s State Department to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad in 2012.

      In leaked emails between Clinton’s staff and Google executive Jared Cohen—who worked for Clinton at the State Department before joining Google—Cohen details Google’s plan to get involved in the region and to boost Assad defections.

      The exchange proves that the tech company worked in concert with the State Department to topple Assad’s government. Further proving Google’s nvolvement with US foreign policy, Cohen helped draft the State Department’s 21st Century Statecraft Initiative, which called for using Internet and social media technologies to pursue diplomatic goals.

      Google’s controversial relationship with Clinton has raised enough eyebrows that the Oracle Corporation is using its resources to launch the Google Transparency Project. The mission is to shed sunlight on Google’s relationships with Clinton and President Barack Obama. The GTP has already produced a series of investigative reports on Google including one that reveals that there were 18 former State Department officials that joined Google as executives and five Google officials who acquired senior positions at the State Department. [emphasis added] "


      Clinton email reveals: Google sought overthrow of Syria's Assad

      Cohen worked as a member of the secretary of state's policy planning staff from 2006 to 2010, when he was hired to lead Google Ideas, but was tied to using social media to incite uprisings even before he left the department. He once reportedly asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to hold off of conducting system maintenance that officials believed could have impeded a brief 2009 uprising in Iran, and Julian Assange, who founded the secret-leaking website WikiLeaks, has for years referred to Cohen as Google's "director of regime change."

    • Keith: ...the very notion of Russia interfering in “our democracy” is worse than a sick joke insofar as it lends legitimacy to anti-Russian hostility and censorship of the alternative media.


      Google plans to 'de-rank' Russia Today and Sputnik to combat misinformation

      Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has said the search engine is preparing to take action against state-run Russian news agencies, including Russia Today and Sputnik, which are accused of spreading propaganda by US intelligence agencies.

      [...]Google has faced criticism for promoting the two news sites by including them in its Google News service – a curated list of legitimate news sites – as well as other algorithmic services that select and promote news.

      Of course, other sites such as AlterNet have complained about being "de-ranked" by Google, so this is not just about Russian sites, it's about all alternative media, as Keith points out.

      And let's not forget Google's close ties to the U.S. State Department, it's activities in support of destabilization and war in Syria, it's funding of Crowdstrike (the firm connected to the pro-war, pro-NATO expansion, anti-Russian Atlantic Council which unsurprisingly claimed without evidence that Russia was behind the DNC hacking) and so on.

  • Liberal Israeli leaders were contemplating genocide in Gaza already in 1967
    • CitizenC: I know of [Khalidi’s] earlier views, but he seems to be reconsidering more recently…

      Really? Which views is Khalidi reconsidering? Please provide specific instances with quotes. Otherwise that’s just a vague, unsubstantiated assertion.

    • CitizenC: I suggest you look up the video of his talk, on YouTube, before throwing around words like “gross falsehoods”.

      I was referring to Khalidi’s published works, not Tom Suarez’s talk. [I wrote: I can’t comment on what transpired at Suarez’s talk, but based on his published writings it would be a gross falsehood to say that he categorically dismisses the Israel Lobby. ]

      I have no problem with anybody criticizing any aspect of Khalidi’s work, including his discussion of the pre-1914 period you refer to. But your blanket expression “categorically dismisses the Israel Lobby” makes no distinctions as to time periods or particular issues and, intentionally or not, gives the impression that Khalidi “categorically dismisses the Israel lobby” in some kind of general, overall sense. That would indeed be a gross falsehood—Khalidi in no way dismisses the Lobby.

      To prove this point, I quote from Khalidi’s book, “Brokers of Deceit”:

      This is the little-understood secret of the US government’s enduring bias in favor of Israel: in the face of what since 1967 has increasingly been a Saudi-dominated Arab world, policymakers in Washington are guided almost exclusively by the pressure exerted on Congress, the executive branch, and the media by the Israel lobby, or the stubborn obduracy of Israel’s leaders in preserving their regime of colonization and occupation. Because of the Arab regimes’ disunity, futile competition with one another, and deep dependence on the United States, there is absolutely no serious Arab counterweight to balance this formidable pressure.

      * * * * *
      …the core dynamics at work in American policymaking toward Palestine have been remarkably stable for much longer. In these dynamics, domestic political calculations have generally taken precedence, while occasionally being balanced or overridden by strategic considerations. It is striking how rarely the United States was forced by such considerations to modify its policy on Palestine over many decades.

      * * * * *
      Where the issue of Palestine is concerned, American Middle East policy from Truman down to Obama has consistently hewn to the three patterns described in the introduction: an almost total lack of pressure from the Arab Gulf monarchies; the impact of US domestic politics, driven by the Israel lobby, and an unconcern about Palestinian rights. The preferred approach of US presidents has therefore generally involved deferring to Israel and its American supporters…

      * * * * *
      The 1946 midterm congressional electoral defeat only reinforced Truman’s favoring of domestic political calculations over those of strategy and diplomacy where Palestine was concerned […]
      Truman was strongly influenced by a coterie of advisors and friends like Eleanor Roosevelt, Clark Clifford, Max Lowenthal, and David Niles, all of whom were deeply committed Zionists.
      39 In addition, he tended to listen most carefully to those like himself whose political lives had been primarily spent making domestic and electoral calculations rather than decisions about strategy or foreign policy or the national interest.

      * * * * *
      The period between 1945 and 1948 reveals at least two more patterns in American policy over Palestine […]The first was the pattern already mentioned of presidential solicitude for domestic constituencies generally taking precedence over other considerations, including ordinary foreign policy concerns, and sometimes even long-term American strategic interests.

      […] For all of its importance, however, the basic pattern of presidential solicitude for domestic political considerations was often disrupted by the intrusion of Cold War issues during Arab-Israeli crises, when larger strategic interests momentarily came into play.

      * * * * *

      These were the most important exceptions to the pattern of domestic factors predominating in policymaking regarding Israel and Palestine, exceptions that generally arose in moments of high crisis with the Soviet Union, where vital American interests necessarily took precedence over all else, including domestic politics.

      * * * * *

      Barring exceptional situations like those just enumerated involving major American strategic or economic interests, US policy on Palestine and Israel has been made almost exclusively with an eye to those who, in Truman’s words, “are anxious for the success of Zionism. ” Certainly this was the case wherever the Palestinians were concerned.

      * * * * *
      As we have seen, a distorted set of American priorities— largely directed at catering to the demands of Israel and of its vocal American supporters rather than doing anything substantial to resolve the struggle over Palestine, which is the core and the origin of the Arab-Israeli conflict— has contributed significantly to producing a broad range of intractable outcomes.

      * * * * *
      …the bitter hostility toward Iran of both Israel and Saudi Arabia has further envenomed American-Iranian relations, largely thanks to the extraordinary impact on American public discourse and Middle East policy of Israel, its Washington lobby, and the much more discreet lobbying of Saudi Arabia.

      * * * * *

      From the blinkered perspective of many policymakers in Washington and important lobbies there, this may not seem like a major problem: Iran is their obsessive focus anyway. In addition, the powerful warmongering pressures of the Netanyahu government, the Saudi regime, the Israel lobby, and hawkish Republicans have by now produced a constant anti-Iranian drumbeat for war that all but prevents rational discourse on these issues anywhere inside the Washington Beltway.

      * * * * *
      …Obama appeared to be trying a new approach to the problem of Palestine and Israel, in parallel with aspects of what we have seen that Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush senior, and Clinton had tried and failed to do. That effort lasted roughly until the Republican Party’s capture of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of November 2010. That victory significantly changed the political situation in Washington where Israel was concerned, measurably strengthening both Netanyahu and Israel’s lobby there, and thereby effectively stymieing the president.

      * * * * *
      Some Republicans, in close coordination with the Israeli government and its Washington lobby, are saying that a Democratic administration should follow exactly the same line as does an American ally and not allow any visible differences between the two. They are in effect supporting a foreign government over their own on questions of foreign policy, indeed on weighty questions of war and peace.

      * * * * *
      The disaffection of some on the Right with Obama over his policies on Israel and Palestine is also partly a result of the striking rightward lurch of both Israel’s internal politics and its domestic and security policies, and of the increasingly conservative leadership of the large American lobby that supports Israel. This is as true of the lobby’s Christian Zionist evangelical wing as it is of the wing rooted in the leading institutions of the American Jewish community.

      Both Israel and its most outspoken American supporters have gone so far to the right that American “support for Israel” is now taken by them to mean unquestioning support for expanded colonization of the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem; for legitimizing overt legal discrimination against the nearly 20 percent of Israeli citizens who are not Jews, and for the permanent exclusion from Israel of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, both under the rubric of “Israel as a Jewish state”; and for military actions outside Israel’s borders that are more and more difficult to describe in terms of self-defense. It is hard to reconcile the fealty to increasingly extreme positions that Israel and its supporters have come to expect from Congress and the US government since this rightward turn with traditional official American positions.

      * * * * *
      Over this period President Barack Obama faced relentless pressure from Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu, acting in concert both with the Republican leadership in Congress (newly energized after its Tea Party– fueled victories in the 2010 midterm elections) and with the potent congressional lobby for Israel. The latter is composed of an archipelago of organizations rooted in the older, more affluent, and more conservative sectors of the Jewish community and headed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), allied with a range of right-wing Christian evangelical groups passionately supportive of Israel. 14 The tripartite pressure of Netanyahu, the Republicans, and the Israel lobby forced Obama into humiliating retreats from the positions he had staked out during his first two years in office

      * * * * *
      The president’s failure to visit Israel while he was in the Middle East on trips to Turkey and Egypt in 2009 was part of the same petulant list of complaints of those who held these views.52 On reflection, these kinds of petty grievances are remarkably revealing of two phenomena. One is the almost irrationally jealous insecurity regarding the American-Israeli alliance evinced both by Israel’s government and by its powerful lobby in Washington. The second involves an element of carefully dosed pressure tactics, whereby no matter how favorable a president is toward Israel, any perceived slippage, however minor, from the high bar set for him by both Israel and the lobby provokes heated charges of betrayal of Israel’s security, if not of its very survival. There may be a certain element of sincerity to these histrionics. However, their intended purpose, and certainly their effect, is to bludgeon the offending politician back into line.

      * * * * *

      There is no evidence that Barack Obama in any case ever contemplated taking on the lobby, which in this day and age would have also meant taking on a Republican Party very different from that of George H. W. Bush, one now driven by its right-wing base, a large part of which is fanatically hawkish and pro-Israel. As in Truman’s day, therefore, and virtually every day in between, the outcome of Obama’s efforts was overdetermined. It was an outcome essentially dictated by the contours of the political map in Washington and the rest of the country, and one that could have been predicted in advance. It had little to do with the merits of the policies being followed…

    • CitizenC: Khalidi also dismissed the Israel Lobby categorically. “For the US and Britain, it’s always been about strategic interest”.

      I can't comment on what transpired at Suarez's talk, but based on his published writings it would be a gross falsehood to say that he categorically dismisses the Israel Lobby. In his book, " Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. has Undermined Peace in the Middle East" (which you have read) he makes multiple statements about the enormous power of the Israel Lobby, including the power to override U.S strategic interests. In fact, he makes it clear that when strategic considerations did on a few occassions override the wishes of the Israel lobby, those events were exceptions , not the norm.

  • The Russiagate farce, or how the Russians corrupted our pristine democracy
    • "New revelations from a massive trove of documents known as the Paradise Papers reveal Republican super-donors who stored much of their wealth in offshore tax havens pumped more than $350 million into the 2016 election. Some are well-known backers of conservative causes, like casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Charles and David Koch. Others have sought to keep their activities out of public view, like Warren Stephens, the hidden co-owner of a payday lending company now under investigation for deceiving customers. And billionaire Robert Mercer and his family built a $60 million war chest for conservative causes inside their family foundation by using an offshore investment vehicle to avoid U.S. taxes. "

      Of course, the neoliberal/militarist Democratic Party establishment spent some $750,000,000 on the election.

      But what really concerns me, like Kay24, is the $44,000 spent over several years by Russian individuals on Facebook ads focused on a diverse set of issues, not specific candidates. That might seem like a paltry sum--and it is-- but let's not forget the fact that those ads were seen by millions of people (if only for milliseconds).

      Propaganda experts believe the infamous " Russian puppy ads" were particularly insidious:

      [New York Times:] There was even a Facebook group for animal lovers with memes of adorable puppies that spread across the site with the help of paid ads. [...]some analysts suggested a possible motive: to build a large following before gradually introducing political content.

      As Kay24 says, that kind of foreign interference in "our democracy" should not be taken lightly.

    • Cf. "Meet Clint Watts, a Dubious Russia Meddling 'Expert' Lobbying the U.S. Government to 'Quell Information Rebellions'

      With a sketchy past in the counterterror swamp, Watts has suggested media censorship as a remedy to Russian interference."

      By Max Blumenthal

  • Despite angry protest, Massachusetts screening of anti-occupation doc gets positive response
    • Keith: This is a non-racial ideological construct... ETC.


      I don't disagree with your analysis. I would just say:

      1) "Racism" has become to some extent a non-racial concept (cf. the U.N. definition of "racial discrimination", the labeling of anti-Islamic attitudes as "racist" etc.)

      2) "Anti-Gentilism" lacks bite as an epithet, however accurate. "Anti-Gentilist" is even worse. I'd take "racism" and " racist" --even if wrong-- if my goal is vilification.


    • Keith: perhaps we should call it for what it truly is: anti-Gentilism.

      While "anti-Gentilism" is no doubt accurate, I'm not sure it has the requisite rhetorical ring.

      I suggest the simple, established epithets "racism" and "racist", however less precise they may be.

  • Miko Peled on free speech and Zionism
    • It’s still not at all clear: is Peled for no-platforming ( not criminalizing) genuine Holocaust deniers, skeptics and trivializers, as he is for no-platforming Zionists? If not, why not?

  • The problem with Miko Peled's 'Holocaust: yes or no'
    • rosross: Some of those questioning such historical details have been hounded, abused, professionally destroyed….

      Could you please provide some specific examples? What historical details? Thanks.

    • echinococcus : “Antisemitism” is not at all like anti-Arab/Muslim/ Communist.

      It's exactly the same.

      "Anti" means against or opposed to. What is opposed is the entity following the word "anti". The only possible confusion is with the word "semitism". Once it is understood that it refers to Jews and/or Jewishness, the expression becomes perfectly meaningful. Antisemitic means being opposed to Jews/Jewishness, just as anti-Muslim means being opposed to Muslims/Islam, or anticommunist means opposed to communists or communism. It's that simple. The semantic structure is identical in all cases.

      [echinococcus: ] The operative part is to know if the term is used a) to designate opposition based on a characteristic of birth (=ancestry) in which case it is racism, or b) anything acquired (like religion or anything else in the acquired department, which would make it entirely kosher.)

      Absolutely wrong. Anti-Arab bigotry, for example, can be based on alleged "characteristics of birth" or alternately it can be based on alleged acquired cultural defects (or others). In both cases it is wrong because 1) it posits a monolithic Arab identity; 2) it posits some *essential* negative characteristics, whether acquired or not, and 3) that posited monolithic, essentialist characterization is not consistent with empirically verified reality.

      Creating a false essentialist notion of an "Arab mind"-- created primarily through culture, not genetics-- is just as objectionable as a false essentialist notion of Arabs based on purely inherited characteristics.


      Along with prefaces, a conclusion, and a postscript, the book contains 16 chapters, including Arab child-rearing practices, three chapters on Bedouin influences and values, Arab language, Arab art, sexual honor/repression, freedom/hospitality/outlets, Islam's impact, unity and conflict and conflict resolution, and Westernization.

      [..]Patai is criticized in passing at several points in Edward Said's book Orientalism. Other scholars[who?] describe the book as simplistic, reductionist, stereotyping, generic, essentialist, outdated, superseded, flawed, unscientific, and even intellectually dishonest.[3]

      The Racism Watch organisation reported in June 2004 that Manning Marable, Columbia University director of African American Studies, had called for immediate action to be taken to end the U.S. military's use of the book. This was followed by a surge of media interest in the book during the summer of 2004. In an article in The New Yorker, Seymour Hersh said that he was told by an academic that the book was "the bible of the neocons on Arab behaviour".[4]

      The anti-Arab ideology in "The Arab Mind" does not, as you would have it, become kosher simply because it deals with alleged acquired characteristics.

      The irrelevancy or your acquired characteristic vs "characteristics of birth" dichotomy becomes even clearer if we consider anti-Islam bigotry (aka Islamophobia ) where there is no question of "characteristics of birth."
      Criticizing Islam while being empirically accurate and acknowledging its complexities is perfectly legitimate. But giving a false, distorted, monolithic, essentialist condemnation of Islam is not. It's bigotry. It's falsification of reality, therefore not legitimate.

    • Emory Riddle: The reality is that Zionism has a massive platform — the mainstream media, our pols, Hollywood, our schools, etc ...

      Absolutely. But that is precisely why it's wrong to call for de-platforming or no-platforming Zionists, while arguing that Holocaust deniers should be given a platform. (please do not drop that second part of my sentence.)

      It's wrong because it harms the anti-Zionist cause. It associates anti-Zionism with Holocaust denial, and that association can be massively damaging precisely because Zionism has a massive platform.

    • Annie, I didn't claim that Armenian genocide denial would ever be as big a political issue as Holocaust denial. We both know the reason why that is true.

      But you wrote: had he said the armenian genocide instead, nobody would have blinked an eye.

      I think that's hyperbolic.

    • Annie Robbins: it could be construed as an invitation to question whether the holocaust really happened, but that seems to me to be a radically extreme interpretation of those words.

      No, it's the most natural interpretation of the plain words. Jonathan Ofir certainly has no motive to interpret them that way-- and yet he clearly and unequivocally does.

      Jonathan Ofir : Peled suggests that this free speech also include “Holocaust: yes or no” – and with that “no”, he is quite clearly whistling to Holocaust deniers.

      Politics is a rough game. Phrases will predictably be taken out of context. It would be massively stupid-- politically-- to use a phrase that in its most simple and obvious interpretation means something you don't mean to say at all.

      If Peled believed that Holocaust deniers and trivializers should not have a platform in Labour Party events etc. then why give Zionists a huge opening to claim the opposite??

      As Donald Johnson put it:

      Yes, you should defend free speech, but no, that doesn’t mean you have to give a shout out to people who think the reality of the Holocaust is up for debate. Peled sounds like a good guy, but he said something dumb.

      If Donald Johnson, Jonathan Ofir and many others such as myself who have no motive to attack Peled interpreted his remarks that way, certainly something went very wrong in the speech.

    • Annie: have you ever heard of the “new” anti semitism?


      Of course.

      it means anti zionism equals anti semitism

      It claims that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism. But you need a definition of antisemitism in order make that argument as well as to make the argument that anti-Zionism is NOT antisemitism.

      there was once a time when anti semitism meant hatred for jews.

      But the "New Antisemitism" doesn't abandon that (rough) definition. You demonstrated that yourself:

      [Annie Robbins:] in this new configuration, zionism being a political construct, it means if one is anti ethnocratic or anti colonialist states, including or specific to israel, one hates jews

      So it's still about "hating Jews".

      The argument against "The New Antisemitism" is simply, no, anti-Zionism is NOT antisemitic because it's not about hating Jews or Jewishness (followed up, of course with facts and logic that prove that point.)

      You can't make a strong argument that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism if you claim not to know what "antisemitism" means (Peled, echino), or if you deny that it exists (Atzmon). Those r
      rhetorical strategies just don't work, whatever the impulse behind them.

    • Annie: he didn’t reference anything about shutting down other forms of political speech. he spoke about not inviting them to speak

      De-platforming is a form of "shutting down speech", rightly or wrongly.

      If a Zionist group, for example, lobbied against a proposed invitation to a pro-Palestinian speaker at a Labour event, would you not consider that an attempt to shut down a certain kind of political speech at that event?

    • Annnie Robbins: i wasn’t aware he said anything about (or even mentioned) holocaust denier

      In Peled's expression "Holocaust: yes, or no" , "no" means denial.

    • echinococcus: There is no word about “denying a public platform” to anyone there

      Don't play dumb, please. The context of this whole issue is British Labour Party conferences etc. and the question raised is who should be allowed a platform in those events.

    • ehinococcus : Nobody knows what that means

      Speak for yourself.

      Do you know what "anti-Arab" means? Or "anti-Muslim", or "anti-communist" etc?

      Do you struggle to understand the meaning of any of those or similar terms?

      Substitute "Jewish" or "Jewishness" for "Semite" or "Semitism" and you should be able to figure out what "anti-Semite" or "anti-Semitism" means.

      (Note that in the above expressions there is no need to precisely define "Arab", "Muslim", or "Communist" in order to understand the basic meaning of the expressions--in fact, precise definitions of the term after "anti" strip the expression of its function.)

    • Annie Robbins: and had he said the armenian genocide instead, nobody would have blinked an eye.

      I seriously doubt that.

    • @Annie

      You left out the second part of my sentence: "but other forms of political speech like pro–Zionism should be shut down."

      "so what you’re arguing is that discussing the holocaust is wrong,

      Not at all.

      I'm arguing it's wrong to call for de-platforming of Zionists, while arguing that Holocaust deniers should be given a platform. Two words are crucial there: "platform" and "deniers".

      And while I think people should be free to discuss "Holocaust: yes or no?", I think it's massively politically stupid to champion such a public discussion and put it into the same league as public discussion of "Palestine, the liberation..."

    • echinococcus: Did Peled say he would invite “Holocaust(TM) deniers” ...


      He says there are "limits to tolerance" regarding speech.

      As an example of such a limit, he says " we do not invite apartheid South Africa racists...we do not invite Zionists."

      In stark contrast, he said speakers discussing "Holocaust: yes or no" should not be denied a public platform. If you are arguing that the Holocaust might not have happened, you are a Holocaust denier.

      He's for giving Holocaust deniers a platform, but not South African racists or Zionists-- and Jonathan Ofir was perfectly right to point out the political toxicity of that contradiction.

    • Keith: . Strictly speaking, Holocaust denial should only be applied if someone essentially denies that around 5 to 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis.

      I agree. Holocaust denial and Holocaust trivialization are two different phenomena (as are Nakba denial and Nakba trivialization.) Both are bad. Trivialization is arguably worse, since it's hard these days to get away with pure Holocaust denial. Of course, mythologizing the Holocaust as an absolutely unique event, the epitome of an irrational eternal Gentile Jew-hatred, is to be roundly rejected as well.

    • Peled: Peled says “I don’t know what antisemitism means.

      If he doesn't know what antisemitism is, then he is in no position to argue that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism.

    • JoeSmack: sounds like tone policing

      It's about content not tone. It's about the massive political stupidity and harmfulness of arguing that "Holocaust: yes or no" should be up for discussion but other forms of political speech like pro--Zionism should be shut down.

    • Who's defending the idea of "free speech on any topic"??

      Not Peled:

      Peled’s subsequent remarks at the Labour fringe event seemed to indicate that he was not a blanket supporter of ‘free speech’:

      “It’s about the limits of tolerance: we don’t invite the Nazis and give them an hour to explain why they are right; we do not invite apartheid South Africa racists to explain why apartheid was good for the blacks, and in the same way we do not invite Zionists – it’s a very similar kind of thing”, he said.

  • Feel-good Gaza poster in NY window draws feel-bad response from neighbor
    • Jack Green: For years, women who were beaten by their husbands, boyfriends or lovers had no refuge to escape to. We could have waited for “universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality” OR We could have established Womens Shelters.
      For years, gentiles oppressed Jews. We could have waited for “universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality” OR We could have established established Israel.


      Jack, the fatal flaw of that analogy is this:

      The establishment of Israel has involved--actually required--the denial of the Palestinians' right to self-determination, their ethnic cleansing, their oppression, and the establishment of an apartheid regime of occupation.

      The establishment of women's shelters involves no such denial of rights or oppressive regime.

  • On empathy, Yom Kippur, and the NFL
    • RoHa: Siberiak, surely you do not think I am capable of such deceptive subtlety or such subtle deception!

      Surely you are joking!

    • eljay: But the possibility that he may mean something doesn’t mean that he actually means it.


      Exactly. He may mean something; then again, he may not--that's what makes the deniability plausible .

      (Of course, an unconditional affirmative statement would remove any doubts.)

    • Eljay: I saw those. Both were conditional ...

      Could it be that the conditional (and interrogative) can be useful-- to maintain plausible deniability?

  • High holidays? Meh
    • Mooser: Not an easy row to hoe...

      Well, as Keith has pointed out several times, Jews have traditionally eschewed hoeing, .

  • Jews have religious commandment to support Israel and fight BDS -- American Jewish Committee
    • @ Talkback Are you arguing that displacement or genocide were legitimate before the Nuremberg trials?

    • JeffB: Your whole movement is based on refusing to treat everyone equally and continually applying standards to Israel you hold no other state or people to. Most of my time on Mondoweiss is pointing out that the arguments against Israel apply to just about every other country on the planet when they were at a similar point in their development.

      Not following you. If one holds that negating other peoples' self-determination, ethnic cleansing, settler colonialism, genocide, religious/ethnic supremacism etc. were wrong in all instances in the past, and wrong now regarding Israel, where is the hypocrisy/ double standard?

    • Talkback: And which one is the product of displacement or genocide after this was finally condemned in the Nuremberg Trials against the Nazis?

      Displacement or genocide were legitimate before the Nuremberg trials?

  • Israeli rightist Smotrich lays out the vision for apartheid
    • RoHa: 2. This point is much more important. It doesn’t matter what sort of nation, if any, the Jews are. What the Zionists did was wrong.


      The debate about whether some or all Jews constitute a "nation" or "people" is a major distraction, imo, and it favors the Zionists since it puts a heavy burden on anti-Zionists to prove that Jews are not a nation/people. That is not any easy task given the slippery definitions of the terms and the long history of Jews being perceived as such by themselves and others. ("People" is actually the key term in international law regarding the right of self-determination, not "nation", and the meaning of that term has been deliberately left undefined, but nevertheless loosely established via precedent and legal tradition.)

      It's a completely unnecessary burden to take on because Jews' status as a people/nation, valid or not, in no way gave/gives Zionists the right to displace the indigenous Palestinian population nor the right to deny the Palestinian people their right to self-determination in their own territory, a right fully backed by international law and institutions.

    • Citizen: Are you implying Jews in the US, for example, or UK, or Canada, or EU, or Australia have no national rights now?

      What national rights do Jews have in the U.S.? They only have individual rights, like everyone else (apart from Native American nations, which have special forms of national sovereignty.)

  • Rightwing campaign against Jewish exec who called for exposing Nakba seems likely to fail
    • Those who don't read the Bible can easily feel isolated these days:

      Insiders—many of whom are afraid to come forward—say [CIA Director] Pompeo’s religious beliefs are becoming part of CIA dogma to the dismay of longtime employees.

      “According to four sources familiar with the matter, Pompeo, who attends weekly Bible studies held in government buildings, referenced God and Christianity repeatedly in his first all-hands speech and in a recent trip report while traveling overseas,” the report states, adding that since taking over, Pompeo has also set about establishing a chaplaincy on the CIA campus.

      A spokesperson for the CIA defended the move, saying, “Director Pompeo is a man of faith. The idea that he should not practice his faith because he is Director of CIA is absurd.”

      According to Michael Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, he is being flooded with complaints about the creeping evangelical Christianity that is beginning to pervade the intelligence agency.

      Weinstein notes that insiders are afraid to speak up, stating, “They don’t typically file formal complaints within the government. But certain things are making them especially uncomfortable, such as officials signing off with the phrase ‘have a blessed day.’ That’s something “straight out of The Handmaid’s Tale.”

      “In the intelligence community, we see supervisors wanting to hold Bible studies during duty hours [and] inviting lower-ranking individuals to their homes for Bible studies,” Weinstein continued. “Our clients at CIA feel extremely isolated in a way they have not felt before.”

      The CIA dismissed complaints about the Christian influence at the agency, saying they are staying true to their mission.

  • Israeli support for Myanmar is the natural alliance of regimes based on ethnic supremacy
  • Changing the narrative, from BDS to antifa
  • The United State of Israel and Palestine
    • Talkback: But “Jewish” is not a nationality. Nobody can become “Jewish” by acquiring a citizenship. Therefore they are not a nation AS citizenship and therefore a “Jewish state” of Israel is inherently racist, if only Jews are considered to be nationals.


      Doesn't make sense. If you define "nationality" as citizenship, as you have, then non-Jews can be "nationals" in Israel as well, since non-Jews can be citizens in Israel. Again, that's using your definitions, not Israel's.

      That doesn't negate any of your other valid points, of course.

  • As many as 1 million Israelis have left for the U.S.
    • Circular migration--good for Israel. Wikipedia:

      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]

    • Israel Net migration rate


      Net migration rate: 2.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

      Definition: This entry includes the figure for the difference between the number of persons entering and leaving a country during the year per 1,000 persons (based on midyear population). An excess of persons entering the country is referred to as net immigration (e.g., 3.56 migrants/1,000 population); an excess of persons leaving the country as net emigration (e.g., -9.26 migrants/1,000 population). The net migration rate indicates the contribution of migration to the overall level of population change.

    • "Israel’s demographic future: Crowded and very religious"

      “Israel will have the highest population density in the Western world,” Sergio DellaPergola, a preeminent Israeli demographer and member of the report’s steering committee, told JTA. “Interestingly, haredim will overtake Arabs as the largest minority.”

      The Central Bureau of Statistics revised upward its previous projection, made in 2012, that the population will reach 15.5 million in 2059, with 4.5 million haredim. DellaPergola said the bureau had wrongly assumed Israel’s fertility rate would continue to decline.

      [...}Israel is growing rapidly mostly because of its birth rate, which DellaPergola said is the highest of the world’s 100 most developed countries...

    • "Israel's population to surge to 20 million by 2065

      Study shows Jewish population to grow to 81% of Israel's total, with massive growth in haredi community, which will make up 32% of Israel

      [...]According to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s population will continue to grow at a fairly steady rate, with the overall growth rate averaging 1.8% over the next half a century, compared to 1.82% from 2006-2015.

      Unlike most industrialized countries, Israel’s birth rate has remained well above the replacement rate, with a total fertility rate (the average number of children a woman has) of 3.1, compared to 1.85 for the US, 1.58 for the European Union, 1.39 in Japan, and 2.35 worldwide.

      Israel will grow to 9 million citizens next year, hitting 10 million 2024, 11 million by 2030, 12 million by 2035, and 13 million by 2039. By 2065, Israel will likely be home to 19.954 million citizens, 23 and a half times the number at the time of Israel’s birth in 1948.

      [...]Haredi Jews, who currently constitute about 12% of the population, at present have a growth rate of 3.92%, more than double the national rate.

      [...]Between 2017 and 2065, the haredi rate of growth is expected to average 3.89%, compared to 1.03% for non-haredi Jews and 1.55% for Israeli Arabs, not including residents of the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s Arab population is expected to remain stable at 21% through 2051, then decline gradually to 19% by 2063.

      [...]By 2043, the haredi population will surpass Israel’s Arab population, and by 2065 haredim are expected to number nearly 6.5 million, or 32% of Israel’s total population, compared to 3.8 million Arabs and 9.66 million non-haredi Jews.

  • 'We came to school and found the school destroyed': Israeli forces demolish West Bank school hours before children's first day
    • Mooser : [Sibiriak:]“Oh, and btw, who are you claiming imposes the “white” “delineation” on “whites”

      I didn’t include “white”, did I?

      Yes, you most certainly did.

      I wrote: Thinking of yourself as “black” ( “white”, “Latino”, “Asian” etc.) is also a choice.

      You replied: Don’t be stupid. Those delineations are imposed from the outside...

      "Those delineations" obviously refers to the ones I listed-- including "white."

    • Mooser: " Those delineations are imposed from the outside"

      Oh, and btw, who are you claiming imposes the "white" "delineation" on "whites"?

    • Mooser: Don’t be stupid. Those delineations are imposed from the outside...

      Don't be stupid. From the outside--in part. You may not be able to prevent that, at present, but you don't have to accept it, let alone embrace it.

      And again, don't be stupid. Identities like "Latino" etc. are not simply imposed--they are embraced as well. You know that.

    • RoHa: Thinking of yourself as a Jew is a choice.

      Thinking of yourself as "black" ( "white", "Latino", "Asian" etc.) is also a choice. Just sayin'....

  • Chomsky on what 'everyone knows'
    • Danaa: ...if people did not care so much for Chomsky’s opinion,s they surely would not take the time to run every sentence through a grinder, would they?

      And yet in your own long, expanded, specially--commissioned anti-Chomsky article you couldn't manage to quote even a single sentence of Chomsky's--not a single one! But thanks for sharing your personal perceptions (projections). And thanks for telling us how Chomsky's advanced age explains his mental rigidity, and how he can't see reality because he's "wearing rose-colored glasses"--thanks for those great insights. And thanks for putting all those thoughts into Chomsky's head (the one's he's never put on paper.) That was beautiful. Really.

    • Citizen, I read both. Keith's points stand.

    • Of course, "everybody knows" does not constitute any kind of logical/factual argument, and it's an easy comment to single out and jump all over.

      Chomsky, however, is certainly not trying to foreclose discussion.

      Just the opposite--as exemplified by his two books co-written with Ilan Pappe: "Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on the US-Israeli War Against the Palestinians " (2013) and "On Palestine" (2015).

      You won't find any "garbage arguments" by either author in those excellent works.

  • White Jews: deal with your privilege and call out Jewish support for white supremacy
  • On Charlottesville and Jewish memory
    • Nathan: So how could it be that Professor Ellis didn’t remind us of the stolen land on which he lives? Well, it’s quite simple. It didn’t even occur to him.

      Nonsense. Of course Ellis is fully aware of America's dark colonialist history. In fact, the omission of Native American victimization and the omission of Palestinian victimization are part and parcel of the same ideological project, not contradictory elements.

      In another piece about the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Ellis writes:

      The national advertising campaign accompanying the museum’s anniversary is fascinating in and of itself. The campaign focuses on the ‘extraordinary brand’ the museum – and the Holocaust – represents.

      That’s according to Lorna Miles, chief marketing officer for the museum. In her words: ‘I do feel that the museum has an extraordinary brand, and that its reputation is impeccable. And my job as the chief marketing officer is not just to protect the brand, but also to promote it.’

      When Miles promotes the museum she promotes the Holocaust, too. The museum’s ‘extraordinary brand’ is the Holocaust. Or is the Holocaust the museum’s product to sell?

      If the Holocaust is a commodity, it must be marketed like any other commodity. Like, for example, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or DisneyWorld.

      It’s interesting to speculate what Miles thinks ‘protecting’ the museum/Holocaust brand entails. No doubt, this has to do with protecting the museum’s Holocaust narrative – making sure what’s allowed into that narrative and what must, at all costs, be kept out.

      The most obvious narrative intruders are the Palestinians. They’ve been symbolically knocking on the museum’s doors since its opening. If Palestinians were let in, if only as the victims of the victims, what would that portend for the museum and the Holocaust brand?

      Including the Palestinians would certainly sully the Holocaust brand – from a certain perspective. From another point of view it might revive the Holocaust brand by investing it with honesty. I doubt the museum will take that risk.

      The Times article contains interesting nuggets about the future of Holocaust consciousness itself. First off, the amazing attendance figures of the Holocaust museum. As of last July, 34 million people have come to the museum – more than 1.5 million a year. That’s a huge number to be sure.

      The breakdown along religious/ethnic lines: about 90% of the museum visitors were non-Jewish. I assume that the great majority of them are Christian in background. This raises the issue of what the museum’s primary function is. Is it to commemorate the Holocaust or inculcate the majority Christian population with Holocaust memory for political reasons?

      The Times article doesn’t provide a breakdown of where the museum-goers come from. The international component is important, though. Exporting the Holocaust beyond Jewish and American shores is an important – and political – goal of Holocaust consciousness.

      34% of the museum visitors were school children. This means that a significant proportion of the children’s visits were organized through schools they attend. Thus the Holocaust museum, funded by the national government, is likewise recognized and officially sanctioned by the American education industry.

      The Americanization of the Holocaust continues apace. The museum-goers are educated about the Holocaust in America’s capital. The museum carries the implicit – and sometimes explicit – sense that America saved Jews from annihilation. If it didn’t then, it should have and would today, another tip of the hat to Israel as a beacon of light besieged by those who would do it harm.

      The museum’s corollary message is important.The Holocaust could only have happened in Europe because, in America, our protected freedoms and history of tolerance, prohibits events such as these. The museum doesn’t get into the messy historical details of the history of Native Americans and African slaves. The story line of American innocence, now buoyed by the Holocaust, remains.

  • Trump response to Charlottesville sugarcoats a rotten morality
    • Annie Robbins: check out this quotation from the @nytimes

      “i see both the social justice alt-left and the white supremacist alt-right as two sides of the same coin.”

      Btw, the actual quote refers to "the social-justice warrior alt left" not simply the "social justice alt-left."

      Perhaps a small difference, but not entirely insignificant.

      The quote goes on to say:

      Both would punish others for wrong think. Both see the other side not as opponents, but as evil that can justifiably be silenced.

      There's a good deal of truth on that narrow point of anti-free-speech advocacy, although it is obviously being seized upon and manipulated for ideological reasons. (The remark about the "crumbling of Western civilization's certainties" is worthless tripe.)

      Cf Glenn Greenwald, "The Misguided Attacks on ACLU for Defending Neo-Nazis’ Free Speech Rights in Charlottesville ":

  • Lessons from Finkelstein: International Law and equal rights should be the focus for Palestine solidarity
    • Nathan: I wonder why you are living in alternative reality.

      When there is a really horrible situation with no obvious solution in sight, many people become inclined to wishful thinking.

    • yonah fredman: The vast majority of Jews ind america have their roots in ancestors who cursed Mother Russia as a Jew hating place...

      And no doubt an abiding, ineradicable, seething Jewish hatred towards "Mother Russia" has played and continues to play a big role in the ongoing anti-Russian demonization project.

    • Annie Robbins: if “the occupation, the siege, the annexation, are illegal under International Law. The settlements are illegal under International Law. The wall is illegal under International Law“ what difference, practically speaking, has a vote on that illegality made?

      Well, for one thing, it's contributed significantly to the legitimacy and therefore to the POWER of the BDS movement.

      The BDS movement has deliberately aligned itself with international law. I think that's a smart move. Without that alignment, I believe BDS would be less powerful.

      International law is one weapon to be grasped and used. It's not enough, but one needs all the weapons one can get a hold of.

      Finkelstein's take on international law isn't the only possible one, btw.

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