Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 2731 (since 2012-06-23 07:13:37)

Showing comments 2731 - 2701

  • 'US is overwhelmingly partial to Israel,' Pelosi admits at AIPAC
    • Philip Weiss: the media gave top billing to the demonstrations against Vladimir Putin

      Actually, the demonstrations were NOT against Putin, but rather against Russia’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, driven by accusations that he has accumulated vast real estate holdings through various forms of corruption.

      This distinction is critical for many reasons, not the least of which being that Medvedev is widely understood to be leading a pro-Western, neoliberal faction in the government.

      Keep in mind that anti-corruption demonstrations, far from being seen in Russia as "anti-Putin", actually fit in quite nicely with Putin's own ostensibly anti-corruption actions, most notably the recent arrest of Alexei Uliukaev, Minister of the Economy in the Medvedev government, on charges of extortion and corruption.

      Cf. "Putin Is (Finally) Purging the Medvedev Government " (highly speculative article)

  • No space for Zionism
    • Space for coalitions of anti-Zionists and liberal Zionists?

      Philip Weiss:

      Liberal Zionists have had it both ways for too long: supporting a “Jewish state” that they also claim is a “democracy.” Trump has marked the end of that farce. Now they must give up a cherished dream; the liberal Zionists who want to shape the future will have to build coalitions with Palestinians and anti-Zionists.

      From the Palestinian and anti-Zionist standpoint, what we are seeing is what activist and writer Sarah Schulman told us would happen five years ago: As you go from a vanguard movement to a broad-based movement, you must give up some of your litmus tests, egotism, and ideological purity, in the name of change.

      Cf. Ahmed Moor, "Is there room for liberal Zionists in an anti-Zionist movement?"

  • Some Jews support BDS 'from a place of love' for Israel, says AJC official
    • justly objectionable in the alt-right: endless rhetoric of losing a racial majority.

      Fear of losing a racial majority is objectionable; fear of losing a cultural majority, not so much-- apparently.

  • Open Letter: Against the blacklisting of activists and writers
    • Cf. Comment by David Green — March 7, 2017 @ 3:32 pm

      @ Louis. I don’t know if the WH are linked to AQ. But if Khalek thinks that, and even if it’s not true, it doesn’t make her a supporter of Assad. I’ve listened to hours of her podcast, and she has never supported Assad. She does not deserve to be vilified by you, and she certainly does not deserve to be “de-platformed”–not that anyone does.

      Your hatred for those whom you claim support Assad takes precedence with you over a basic sense of decency and fairness in debate about these issues. Your monomania about this issue results in your perspectives being twisted beyond reason.

    • Rania Khalek:

      Criticism of Wahhabism and Salafism is NOT Islamophobia. These ideologies are ultra-conservative, bigoted, misogynist and even genocidal. They have inspired an incredible amount of violence and hatred in the Middle East that has wiped out minorities and destroyed rich and vibrant cultures. And they have the blessing and support of U.S. empire.
      I have zero sympathy for the sensitivities of privileged westerners, especially those who identify as progressive, defending such ideologies.

      Also these are not organic movements. The idea that they represent the natural tendencies of Arabs and Muslims in the region is orientalist itself and frankly racist. These groups used to be minor and uninfluential. It’s because of decades of Western and gulf state support that they even have traction in the first place.

      I’ve seen the damage and destruction these ideologies have caused with my own eyes. I refuse to whitewash them.

    • Isaiah.Silver:This is *not* the same as having an SJP group cancel your talk after learning that the speaker has violated core solidarity principle through her anti-refugee, anti-Muslim, pro-“War on Terror,” and pro-Assad rhetoric

      But the SJP explicitly stated that they learned no such thing:

      [SJP]: We do not endorse nor reject her views on the Syrian civil war as they remain relatively unclear according to our members’ diverse opinions of Rania’s analyses.

      They did not reject her views. They cancelled the event because it was "met with a lot of anger " from one faction out to silence opposing views on a "contentious issue."

      So, your assertion regarding SJP is false.

      Worse: you slander Rania personally. You claim her rhetoric is "anti-refugee, anti-Muslim, pro-“War on Terror,” and pro-Assad". That is utterly false as well.

      Cf. Rania Khalek:

      "How U.S. Support for Syrian Rebels Drove the Refugee Crisis That Trump Has Capitalized On

      "America’s love affair with Salafi jihadists"


      Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola discuss the campaign against Khalek, which led to the cancellation of her speaking event at the University of North Carolina.

      * * *

      [...]It all relates to the smears Khalek has had to confront because a faction of people—pro-regime change in Syria—have committed themselves to silencing her voice.

  • Video: 'Apartheid has been here for ages. It doesn't really bother us' -- Israeli comedian says in closing act
  • Finders Keepers in the Holy Land: So who was there first?
    • Talkback: ..the British respected the Ottoman land regulations and Bedouin’s grazing traditions contrary to the Zionist terror state’s thiefs and looters

      While the British did build on the Ottoman legal structure, and made some efforts to protect traditional Palestinian land rights, they also made major changes to land regulations, often to the benefit of Zionist land acquisition.


      "Zionism and Land Tenure in Mandate Palestine"
      by Aida Essaid

      Book description:

      [...]With her new book, Aida A. Essaid has made a worthwhile entry into this debate over Mandatory land policy and the related question of the aims of British land policy.

      [...] Her book’s conclusions align closest to Gavish’s thinking, arguing that the Mandatory government “allowed Zionism to take an active and collaborative role in every stage of the land tenure system…” (p. 15). As a result, Essaid believes that Zionism then used the resulting system to acquire the land needed for a Jewish state.

      The author arrives at this conclusion by way of an intricate, archives-based study of the legal framework and of British land policies that were promulgated in Palestine during the Mandate.

      Excerpt from "Zionism and Land Tenure in Mandate Palestine"

      In less than a century, beginning with the reforms of the Ottoman Land Code of 1858 and ending with the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, landownership in modern Palestine was completely revolutionized. The most substantial part of this transformation took place under the British Mandate administration, since it was during that period that the land tenure system was used by Zionist actors to fulfill another purpose – the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine through the means of a colonial-settler movement.

      The question posed in this book was whether the British Mandate land tenure system in Palestine facilitated the transfer of land from Palestinians to Zionist Jews, and if it did, to what extent?

      It was argued that in each process of the land tenure system, the Jewish Agency and Zionist actors played a collaborative role. This study therefore concludes that by penetrating every part of the land tenure system, consisting of legislation, land survey, registration, transfers, and disputes, Zionist actors were able to manipulate the land tenure system in Palestine.

      Furthermore, it contends that not only did they succeed in purchasing a small percentage of the land, but that this was the most fertile land and that in buying it they also dispossessed many Palestinian fellahin from their land while dividing and destabilizing the already weak economy. Finally, the strategic location of the land thus acquired would form the outline map for the proposed partition of Palestine at the end of the British Mandate. [p.238 ]

  • Name the six countries the U.S. is bombing in the Middle East
  • On rewards against terror and for justice
  • Trump is putting the crunch on liberal Zionism
    • As Netanyahu knows, the only “one state” that Palestinians are going to “like” — let alone accept ...


      Netanyahu doesn't give a rat's ass what the Palestinians might "like" or accept. The fraudulent "peace process" is over. Israel will act unilaterally, as it always has.

      There will be no "one state" offer of any sort to the Palestinians.

      “One state is not an option,” said Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian political scientist at Birzeit University in the West Bank, noting that Israel, which was established to give Jews self-determination, would never give all Palestinians the vote. “We are talking two states or no solution, a continuation of the status quo,” he said.


      Two states is out. That leaves " no solution." But not necessarily the "status quo."

      ... Jewish Home party leader Bennett laid out his vision for the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which includes annexing some 60 percent of the West Bank, and offering Israeli citizenship to the Palestinians living there and autonomy to the remaining residents of the territories.

      “I am very pleased to see that gradually Prime Minister Netanyahu is adopting this approach.

      * * * *
      [...] Bennett said that rejecting Palestinian statehood did not necessarily mean applying Israeli sovereignty over the entire West Bank. [Israeli sovereignty over Gaza is, of course, completely out of the question.--Sibiriak]

      “There are some who would present it as either a Palestinian state or a one-state solution; I don’t buy that,” Bennett said.

      “My plan is something between those. I don’t think we should apply rule over two million Palestinians. I have no desire to govern them.”

  • Trump's dim view of Palestine-Israel
    • Perhaps the “state” Trump envisions is taken directly from Israel’s far-right playbook..."

      Ya think?

      Let's see, based on the highly-valued advice of right-wing Zionists Jared Kushner, David Friedman et al., Trump envisions:

      A.) A single democratic state comprising Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, with equal rights for all +Palestinian Right of Return, signifying the total and final annihilation of the Jewish state and the Zionist dream.


      B.) A Greater Israel, excluding Gaza and some highly-populated areas of the West Bank wherein Palestinians can enjoy "autonomy" or whatever, signifying a massive land grab and raucous consolidation of the Jewish state and Zionist dream.

      Hmmm. That's a tough one.

  • 'New York Times' on Palestinians sounds like it's opining about 'Negro Problem'
    • John O: . They will proclaim a single state from the sea to the Jordan

      No they won't. They are absolutely NOT going to claim Gaza as part of Israel.

      Naftali Bennett, head of Israel’s far-right, pro-settler Jewish Home party, hailed Mr Trump’s remarks as “new ideas” and the start of “a new era”.

      “No need for 3rd Palestinian state beyond Jordan & Gaza.

      And most likely they will not claim some highly populous chunks of the WB.

      Israeli Zionists may be evil, but they are not so stupid as a lot of people are assuming.

  • Albert Einstein's advice to Jared Kushner
    • In 1921, Einstein explained his vision of cultural Zionism. (Of course, his views were not static and changed over time.)

      How I Became a Zionist


      [...] I believe German Jewry owes its continued existence to anti-Semitism. Religious forms, which prevented Jews in the past from mixing with, and integrating into their environment, are now dwindling away under growing prosperity and better education. Thus, there remains only this contrast to their environment, called anti-Semitism, that leads to social separation. Without this contrast, the mixing of Jews in Germany would happen quickly and unhindered.

      Until seven years ago I lived in Switzerland, and as long as I lived there I did not become aware of my Jewishness, and there was nothing in my life that would have stirred my Jewish feeling or stimulated it. This changed as soon as I had taken residency in Berlin. There I saw the predicament of many young Jews. I saw how the anti-Semitic environment prevented them from pursuing orderly studies or struggling for a secure basis of existence. This is especially true for Eastern European Jews, who are continuously subjected to harassment. I do not believe they constitute a large number in Germany. Only in Berlin are there, perhaps, a great many. Yet their presence has become a question that occupies the German public more and more. Meetings, conferences, newspapers press for their quick removal or internment. The housing shortage and economic depression are used as arguments to justify these harsh demands. Those facts are deliberately overstated in order to bias public opinion against Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Eastern European Jews are made the scapegoats for certain defects in present-day German economic life, things that in reality are painful aftereffects of the war. The confrontational attitude toward these unfortunate refugees, who have escaped the hell that Eastern Europe is today, has become an efficient and politically successful weapon used by demagogues. When the government contemplated measures against Eastern European Jews, I stood up for them in the Berliner Tageblatt, where I pointed out the inhumanity and irrationality of these measures.

      Together with a few colleagues, Jews and non-Jews, I held university courses for Eastern European Jews, and I would like to add that our activity met with the official recognition and full support of the Ministry of Education.

      These and similar experiences have awakened my Jewish-national feelings. I am not a Jew in the sense that I would demand the preservation of the Jewish or any other nationality as an end in itself. I rather see Jewish nationality as a fact, and I believe every Jew must draw the consequences from this fact. I consider raising Jewish self-confidence necessary, also in the interest of a normal living together with non-Jews. This was the major motive of my joining the Zionist movement. Zionism, to me, is not just a colonizing movement directed toward Palestine.

      The Jewish nation is a living fact in Palestine as well as in the diaspora, and Jewish national feelings must be kept alive everywhere that Jews live. Members of tribes or peoples must —under today’s living conditions—have a lively tribal awareness in order not to lose their dignity and moral rectitude. It was the unbroken vitality of American Jewry that made clear to me how sickly German Jewry is.

      We live in an age of exaggerated nationalism and, being a small nation, we have to take this into account. But my Zionism does not preclude cosmopolitan conceptions. Starting from the reality of Jewish nationality, I believe that every Jew has duties toward his fellow Jews. The significance of Zionism is of course manifold. It opens the possibility of a dignified human existence to many Jews who presently suffer in the hell of Ukraine or decay economically in Poland. By repatriating Jews to Palestine and giving them a healthy and normal economic existence, Zionism is a productive activity that enriches human society. But the main point is that Zionism strengthens the self-confidence of Jews, which is necessary for their existence in the diaspora, and that the Jewish center in Palestine creates a strong bond that gives Jews moral support. The undignified mania of adaptive conformity, among many of my social standing, has always been very repulsive to me.

      The founding of a free Jewish community structure in Palestine will again put Jewish people in a position where they can unencumbered fully unfold their creative capabilities. The establishment of the Hebrew University and similar institutions will not only lead the Jewish people to its own national renaissance, but also give Jews the opportunity of contributing to the spiritual life of the world on a freer basis.

  • Trump says he's 'happy' with one-state outcome, ringing in a new era
  • Israel interferes in our politics all the time, and it's never a scandal
    • old geezer: but i would hope anyone wanting peace and justice would not want such a scenario.

      Absolutely. (I'm not sure why you chose to begin that clause with "but", as there is no conflict between my statement and yours.)

      inbound39 has repeatedly brought up the possibility of an attack on Dimona:

      Apparently, he/she relishes the idea of Israel's vulnerability, but I think these hyperbolic assertions are misguided and counterproductive.

    • inbound39: ... one missile from a saturation attack on Israel hits Dimona… then becomes uninhabitable


      From what I read, an attack on Dimona could result in radiation release and social/economic disruption, but would hardly make the country "uninhabitable." And of course, Israel's reaction to such an attack would be swift, massive and utterly devastating.

      So I wonder what's the point of your repeated hyperbole on this point.


      "Cf. 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]

      If you have info that contradicts that assessment, please provide citations/links.

  • Jewish groups battle over Trump's choice for Israel ambassador
    • Sibiriak: Keith: some brief feedback would be appreciated
      Okay…. it might be a day or two.


      I got distracted.

    • Keith: Willful ignorance or just normal ignorance


      I suspect a bit of both. On top of the completely understandable normal ignorance (given the state of disinformation in the U.S.), there is the equally understandable desire to use the Trump/Russia thing to attack Trump.

      Then there is the kind of very deep-seated, personal, anti-Russian bias that Yonah Fredman has displayed here. He wrote recently:

      I am biased against Russian dictatorship, whether czar leninist or putin

      A very revealing statement.

      David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker magazine since 1998, would be a perfect example of that mentality.

    • Keith: some brief feedback would be appreciated

      Okay.... it might be a day or two.

    • Mooser: Gee, as far as I know...

      I'm saddened that you are so deeply ignorant about Russia.

  • Netanyahu comes to Trump meeting under pressure to kill Palestinian state
    • RoHa: What is the most common patter? SOV? VSO? OVS?

      SVO and SOV are both quite common. I'm not an expert, so I would hesitate to make any definitive statement.

    • @RoHa

      Russian has a very flexible word order. Here's a very typical Russian sentence:

      Я ничего не знаю.

      I nothing not know. = "I don't know anything." Double negative. SOV.

      The Russian cases allow the flexible order. For example:

      Очень грустную картину про Российскую Атлантиду нарисовал нам А Деряин.

      "A very sad picture of the Russian Atlantis painted for us A. Deryain."

      Direct Object (accusative case) --Verb--- Indirect Object (dative case)--Subject (nominative case)

    • RoHa: Sensible people, such as the Russians, put the verb between the subject and the object. (SVO)

      You apparently know very little about the Russian language.

      Nevertheless, я тебя люблю.

  • 'We cannot divide the land': Israeli academic Yehouda Shenhav on bridging the gap between Israelis and Palestinians through Arabic literature
    • bridging the gap between Israelis and Palestinians through Arabic literature

      Literature can bridge the gap in rights, freedom, power, wealth, life-opportunities?

    • There is no way we can divide the land because the Palestinians and the Jews are like Siamese twins.

      Siamese twins?

    • echinococcus: ...get the hell out, back to wherever you came from.

      Exhortation. Not backed by any feasible strategy/ power to carry it out. Not good for much. Except virtue signaling, perhaps.

  • Israeli govt and its supporters admit the fight to defeat BDS has failed
  • Trump pick for ambassador to Israel continues to fund settlement construction in the West Bank
  • New Israel Fund response to Ben Gurion harassment reinforces very system it claims to oppose
    • eljay: I couldn’t find any statements by the NIF where they denounce the “Law of Return”

      Actions vs words. You are who you support. NIF has given substantial sums to Adalah, and Adalah has consistently "denounced" the "Law of Return."

    • Page: 27
    • @eljay:

      Despite your best efforts, you still haven't produced a single NIF quote that comes close to calling for a "religious-supremacist" state in as much of Palestine "as possible."

      “The New Israel Fund was founded more than 30 years ago to actualize the vision of Israel’s Founders, that of a Jewish and democratic state … “

      Nothing about "religion-supremacist" state or as much of Palestine as possible. As YOU stated, "Jewish" could mean culturally Jewish. As YOU stated, equal rights for all Israelis means the end of Jewish supremacism. NIF supports equal rights for all Israelis. You and NIF are in agreement there.

      "A state for Jews" dpesn't have to be a religion-supremacist one. It could be a democratic state that has a place for Jews and Jewish culture, along with other groups and other cultures. You made that argument yourself.

      "They say that we are anti-Zionist. It’s a mistake, we want what’s best for Israel’.

      Equal rights for all citizens could be best for all Israel. And indicated in a previous post, NIF has funded many individuals and groups that advocate a Palestinian right of return.

      In any case, their actions speak louder than words. Obviously, they have not put out a radical anti-Zionist manifesto. That could well be a very smart political move.

      Claiming to be "Zionist", but simultaneously re-defining "Zionism", has its strategic advantages. Not for everyone, of course. But it's clearly pissing off a lot of Zionists who have no interest in re-definitions.

      That should tell you a lot.

      Apparently, you believe that NIF is doing a lot of positive things, despite their ideological shortcomings, as are a number of other organizations and individulas NIF supports.

      Fair enough.

      You have said Israel needs to be a state for all its citizens. NIF is at least moving strongly in that direction, if imperfectly.

    • eljay: If NIF currently believes that Israel should not be entitled to exist as a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in anything more than (for example) ’67 borders + W. Jerusalem

      But that's not what NIF believes, and you shown no evidence that it is. They've never stated that Israel should be entitled to exist as a "religion-supremacist state" in '67 borders or any other borders.

      If they have, please quote them verbatim expressing that notion and I will gladly stand corrected.

      I haven’t misrepresented NIF’s position

      Yes you have. You claimed that NIF seeks to:

      “actualize the vision of” a religion-supremacist “Jewish State".

      You quote "actualize the vision of" and you quote "Jewish state"-- but you stick your own words, "religion-supremacist" in the middle of those two quotes. Even though you have stated elsewhere that "Jewish state" doesn't necessarily mean a "religion-supremacist" state.

      You need to demonstrate that for NIF "Jewsh State" means "Jewish-supremacist" state, not simply a culturally Jewish state.

      (If you want to criticize them for supporting a democratic state with a strong Jewish culture alongside other cultures, that would be fair enough.)

      But you have to stick your own words in because nowhere does NIF advocate for a "religion-supremacist" state.

      Then you claim that they seek a "religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine. But NIF , apart from not seeking a "religion-supremacist state", does NOT seek maximal territorial expansion either. That's a mispresentation.

      They reject the completely possible expansion of settlements and the completely possible further annexation of territory. They reject the completely possible continuation of the Occupation and the completely possible apartheid regime.

      But faced with that fact, you argue that whatever it is they seek, however limited, however short of "as much as possible" -- it still means "as much as possible"!!

    • echinococcus: Where the hell is the difference, please?

      The difference is: the NIF ---again, follow the money-- is supporting organizations that are delegitimizing Israel and fighting for Palestinian rights.

      But then again, you do not support the BDS movement, Adalah, B’Tselem, the Coalition of Women for Peace, Breaking the Silence, Al Tufula Center, Aswat, Baladna, , Mada al-Carmel, Mossawa Center, The Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages in the Negev, or any other such groups.

      Or do you?

    • eljay: I don’t believe I have ever said that the “Jewish State” as envisioned and realized by Zionists is anything other than a religion-supremacist construct.

      But we are discussing NIF, not other Zionists who have supported a "religion-supremacist construct."

      If NIF supports a "religion-supremacist construct", then you should be able to demonstrate that fact with NIF's own words and actions.

      But apparently you are unable to do that.

      So, you resort to the argument: other Zionists have believed X, so NIF must believe X.

      || … If NIF supports full equality for non-Jews then, given your own argument, how can they be supporting a religion-supremacist state? ||

      Ask any of the Zionists here. ...

      But we are not discussing the Zionists here. We are discussing NIF.

      It's a silly argument to say that NIF must share the same views as Zionists here.

    • Follow the money:

      Zochrot "Right of Return Event"- EU and NIF Funded Participants

      On March 21-22, 2016, the Israeli NGO Zochrot will hold “The Third International Conference on the Return of Palestinian Refugees” in Tel Aviv. The two day event will include speakers from NGOs and academia, all promoting a Palestinian “right of return.” This so-called “right” including multiple generations has no basis in international law, is a primary obstacle to peace, and equivalent to calling for the elimination of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

      [...]The program includes fringe individuals involved in deligitimization campaigns against Israel, such as Ilan Pappe, Uri Davis, and Daphne Golan.

      Many of these individuals are affiliated with NGOs funded by the EU, European governments, and the New Israel Fund (NIF). [emphasis added]


      "New Israel Fund Supports Groups that Hurt the Jewish State

      [...]The New Israel Fund (NIF), which according to recent financial reports granted nearly $27 million to left-wing and progressive NGOs in Israel, systematically works to destabilize Israel. This organization claims to be supportive of Israel and indeed funds some useful and humanistic causes in Israel. However, mixed in alongside projects for women’s rights, LGBT issues and minority causes, there are also some of the most underhanded projects to chip away at the foundations of the State of Israel.

      [...]Another recipient of NIF money was the Coalition of Women for Peace, which demands a boycott of all things Israeli, and has established a well-oiled database called “Who Profits” that targets Israeli businesses. NIF’s financial records indicate that it granted $109,615 to Breaking the Silence, which tours campuses accusing Israel of war crimes; $255,477 to B’Tselem, which provides cameras to groups that harass Israeli soldiers hoping to videotape the reaction and harm Israel’s image worldwide; and $209,161 to Adalah, which works to get Israel prosecuted in foreign jurisdictions and erase Israel’s Jewish identity. These three groups are among many NIF grantees that operate at the front line of anti-Israel agitation.

      In July 2014, 10 NIF grantees launched a campaign to convince the UN Human Rights Council that Israel must be brought to justice for war crimes and targeting of civilians. The groups – Adalah, Al Tufula Center, Aswat, Baladna, I’lam Media Center, Kayan Feminist Organization, Mada al-Carmel, Mossawa Center, The Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages in the Negev – are tied closely to NIF’s giving philosophy. [emphasis added]

      "Candidly Speaking: The two faces of the New Israel Fund"

      It is a somber reflection on the naivety of well-intended Jewish philanthropists that they continue donating vast amounts of money to Israel’s largest NGO, the New Israel Fund (NIF). They do so despite repeated documented exposures demonstrating that this body is sponsoring anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian and post- Zionist organizations, committed to undermining the Jewish state and promoting the narrative of the Palestinians as victims and Israelis as oppressors.

      Recently, yet another bombshell discrediting this organization was revealed by Wikileaks. A confidential cable quoted a conversation between officials at the Tel Aviv US embassy and NIF associate director Hedva Radanovitz, who until last year controlled the NIF distribution of grants to 350 NGOs totaling $18 million per annum. She told embassy personnel that “she believed that in 100 years, Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of the Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic.”

      Radanovitz was in fact, rationalizing why the NIF has and continues to provide millions of dollars to groups supporting the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.

      Alma Biblash, the Executive Director of the Human Rights Defenders Fund (HRDF) an organization to which the NIF authorized grants worth $332,625 from 2011-2013, has called Israel “racist,” and “murderous,” and described the country as a “temporary Jewish apartheid state.” Ms. Biblash supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns and promotes the Palestinian ‘right of return,meaning the elimination of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. [emphasis added]

      [...] Nearly $500,000 was provided to Adalah, a group which contributed to and campaigned for the Goldstone report, urged foreign governments to “reevaluate their relationship with Israel,” described Israel as “a colonial enterprise promoting apartheid,” called for implementing the Palestinian right of return to Israel, provided affidavits to Spanish courts in order to charge Israeli officials with war crimes, and defended Hizbullah spy Amir Makhoul as a “human rights defender.” It would surely be difficult to visualize any Zionist or remotely pro-Israeli body providing funds to an organization committed to such objectives.

      Mada al-Carmel, another recipient of NIF funds, engages in anti-Israeli agitation and openly repudiates the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

      NIF continued to fund the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), a leader of the campaign expressly promoting global “boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.” CWP also organizes events for Israel apartheid week.

      In 2010, NIF tripled the funding for “Breaking the Silence,”

      "New Israel Fund Is 'All About Conflict'

      [...]Shoval went on to describe a world of subversion that sometimes appears to contradict itself, but is constant about one thing – seeking to topple Israel's leadership.

      "On the one hand,” he elaborated, “it funds radical organizations that are the spearhead of delegitimization, like B'tselem, Adalah, Machsom Watch, Breaking the Silence and a long list of other groups that operate against Israel and besmirch us as war criminals in the world's eyes – and this includes a statement by the new president, who compared Israel and Iran in a Peace Now conference last week, when she said that just as we boycott Iran, others have the right to boycott Israel.

      "That is the visible and upsetting level which is familiar in the Israeli discourse. In every delegitimization 'bomb', we will find the NIF's fingerprint, directly or indirectly,” Shoval elucidated.

      "A deeper level of the NIF's activity is that it operates in a double manner vis-a-vis every government ministry,” Shoval went on. "On the one hand, it has organizations that challenge the government ministry and on the other hand it has organizations that work within the ministry in cooperation, so that the right hand is cooperating with the left hand. I will give an example: we remember the social protest that the NIF contributed to with funds, tents, etc. The demand was to solve the crisis regarding the price of housing. The state established a committee, and the ones who opposed the committee were 'green' organizations which are funded by the NIF.

      "In other words, there is a system here, which is intended to create a crisis and to break apart Israeli society, from a collective to several groups, each of which fights for its interests against the other groups. The purpose is not a solution to the housing crisis in Israel but to create a regime crisis in Israel. The idea is regime change, and the more crises the better. As far as they are concerned, the Zionist regime is the mother of all evils. The Jewish regime must be replaced with 'a state of all its citizens.” [emphasis added]

    • eljay:I do recall stating that Israel could be a secular and democratic – but culturally Jewish – state

      That's precisely what I'm referring to. A "Jewish state", you said, could mean a state which is culturally Jewish but NOT religion-supremacist.

      [eljay:] ”, they invariably mean a religion-supremacist state. "

      According to the NIF they advocate:

      .... a state that ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants. [emphasis added]

      How is "complete equality" for all inhabitants compatible with "religion-supremacism"?

      NIF: We seek to promote equality for Palestinian-Israelis as well as expanding their participation in Israel’s democratic processes and institutions.

      The Palestinian-Israeli community is the main national non-Jewish minority within Israel and is affected directly by the historical Israeli-Arab conflict. Discrimination against this minority is rife in land planning and distribution, education, municipal funding, representation of Palestinian citizens in decision-making bodies, and more...[emphasis added]

      How is fundamental opposition to discrimination compatible with "religion-supremacism"?

      You wrote previously:

      [eljay:]If Israel were to grant equality to non-Jews, it would immediately cease to be a supremacist “Jewish State”. [emphasis added]

      If NIF supports full equality for non-Jews then, given your own argument, how can they be supporting a religion-supremacist state?

    • eljay: Who said they’re not doing anything positive? I certainly didn’t say that.

      What are they doing that is positive?

    • eljay: If the most they can get for a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” is ’67 borders (w/ or w/o land swaps), then that’s “as much as possible”

      But NIF is not advocating "as much as possible". That would mean they would want to take more if they could get it. There is no indication of that.

      Clearly, there ARE those who advocate "as much as possible" and THEY are going full steam ahead with settlements and annexation. NIF opposes that "as much as possible" agenda.

      Surely you can recognize the difference between those who advocate maximal territorial expansion and those, like NIF, who advocate adherence to international law and call for an end to the occupation of internationally recognized Palestinian territory???

      It's perfectly reasonable to oppose that NIF position, but it's not reasonable to misrepresent it.

    • eljay: linked to it in the first comment in this thread:

      … The New Israel Fund was founded more than 30 years ago to actualize the vision of Israel’s Founders, that of a Jewish and democratic state …

      There's nothing in THAT statement that indicates support for "Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine .

      NIF follows international law in recognizing that Israel is an OCCUPIER of Palestinian territory.

      If NIF really supported the idea of a supremacist Jewish State " in as much as possible of Palestine", they they would be rejecting the very notion of "occupied Palestinian terrirtory" and they would be advocating Israeli settlement and annexation of WB territory. like many Israeli Zionists are doing. They are NOT doing that.

      And clearly, many Zionists are not too happy about NIF's activities:

      "The New Israel Fund encourages anti-Israel acts"

      [...]this rise in American pressure on Israel over the settlements is precisely the focus of the steady work during the past decade of left-wing extremist organizations, led by the New York-based New Israel Fund (NIF) which funnels $30 million annually to organizations that support BDS and actively oppose the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

      NIF has been clamoring against the State of Israel, and has established itself as a funder of many groups that engage in anti-Israel activities. Whether it is Adalah promoting lawfare, B’Tselem promoting Israel as an apartheid state, HaMoked providing flawed and erroneous data toward the damaging and now debunked Goldstone report, or Breaking the Silence issuing edited testimonies from soldiers about the 2014 Gaza operation, concluding Israel intentionally targeted non-combatants, NIF’s money and support is at the center. [emphasis added]


      The criticism of NIF is valid, but that doesn't mean they are not doing anything positive.

    • eljay: According to its own website, NIF believes in and seeks to “actualize the vision of” a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”

      I can't find that quote at the website --no reference to a "religion-supremacist" state. Can you provide the exact quote/link, thanks.

      ( You have argued in the past that "Jewish state" and "Jewish religion-supremacist State" are NOT necessarily equivalent expressions.)

    • eljay: The NIF also supports Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine...

      Where does the NIF express support for a Jewish religion-supremacist state with maximum territorial extension in Palestine? Can you provide a quote or link? Some concrete details to strengthen your argument. Thanks.

  • Obama fostered spread of nuclear weapons because of his naivete, says head of Council on Foreign Relations
    • JWalters: ....discusses the poisoning of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, making a strong alternative case to the media’s blaming Putin

      Interestingly, Christopher Steele, the (ex) MI6 agent who concocted the Trump "Golden Showers" dossier, had previously been the MI6 case officer to defector Litvinenko prior to his death.

    • Suggested reading:

      UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05794498 Date: 11/30/2015 RELEASE IN FULL

      The best way to help Israel deal with Iran's growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.


  • Jewless Holocaust. Israel first.
    • marc b.: The holocaust is by definition the murder of Jews.

      No, the definition of "the Holocaust" is highly contested, and the debate is not new.

      From Peter Novick's, "The Holocaust in American Life"

      When [President Carter's] President's Commission on the Holocaust was formally established some months later [1978], with Elie Wiesel as its chairman, it solicited suggestions from numerous sources, including representatives of ethnic groups. The director of the Ukrainian National Information Service wrote that Ukrainians also "met Hitler's criteria for extermination" and were "numerically the second largest group to be destroyed in ... Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Dachau."

      He asked that whatever was done "reflect the various nationalities and the numerical proportions of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust."38 Aloysius Mazewski, the president of the Polish-American Congress, insisted that it was Poles, not Ukrainians, who deserved second place to Jews: his total of ten million Holocaust victims was made up of six million Jews, three million Catholic Poles, and one million "other nationalities."39 On the other hand, the president of the Alliance of Poles of America claimed that "more than six million Christians [mostly Poles]...lost their lives"; he spoke of "the need to memorialize the sufferings and death of our Polish Catholic brothers and sisters—and not only those of Jewish tradition. To do otherwise would make their suffering and death meaningless."40

      In April 1979, while the commission was deliberating, the first "Days of Remembrance" of the Holocaust were held in the Capitol Rotunda.41 By this time, for whatever reasons, the White House had changed its definition of "the Holocaust." President Carter spoke of "eleven million innocent victims exterminated—six million of them Jews." Vice President Walter Mondale spoke of bearing witness "to the unanswered cries of the eleven million." 42

      This redefinition was, of course, deeply offensive to Wiesel. His commission's report, delivered to the president in September 1979, was, above all, a rejoinder to Carter's new characterization. It insisted on the Jewish specificity—the Jewish essence—of the Holocaust: "any attempt to dilute or deny this reality would be to falsify it in the name of misguided universalism."

      The report contained phrases that Wiesel was to repeat frequently over subsequent years—acknowledging that Nazism had other targets, but insisting on the temporal as well as the conceptual priority of Jewish victimhood: "as night descended, millions of other peoples were swept into this net of death"; "Jews might not have remained the final victims of Nazi genocide but they were certainly its first"; "as always, they began with Jews[;] as always they did not stop with Jews alone." There were indeed "other victims," whose existence should be recognized in the museum being recommended, but, the report strongly implied—without quite saying so—they were not victims of "the Holocaust."43

      The following months saw an intense struggle between Wiesel and Jewish staffers in the White House over how the Holocaust should be described—who would be included. It was "morally repugnant," said one presidential aide, "to create a category of second-class victims of the Holocaust as Mr. Wiesel would have us do."44

      Stuart Eizenstadt urged Carter that in the executive order creating the Holocaust Memorial Council (successor to the presidential commission) he should "make clear the memorial is to honor the memory of all victims of the Holocaust—six million Jews and some five million other peoples."45 This definition, one staff member pointed out, was that of Simon Wiesenthal, "whose Holocaust credentials are as good as anyone else I know."46

      At the eleventh hour there was an ingenious proposal from Wiesel and the commission's new director, Monroe Freedman, to resolve the question through punctuation. The White House draft spoke of commemorating "The Holocaust, the systematic, state-sponsored extermination of six million Jews and millions of other victims of Nazism during World War II."

      The proposed alternative would make a conceptual separation through the use of dashes: "The Holocaust—the systematic state-sponsored extermination of six million Jews—and the millions of other Nazi victims."47

      * * * *
      [...]While Eastern European ethnic groups would prefer the original wording, the definitional issue was not, for them, “a live or die matter as it is with Wiesel.” 48 But an exasperated Carter refused to accept the dashes, and the executive order creating the Holocaust Memorial Council referred to eleven million victims. Wiesel did not re-sign, and the museum he was charged with creating was officially committed to memorializing “eleven million.”

      This was clearly unacceptable to Wiesel and others for whom the “big truth” about the Holocaust was its Jewish specificity. They responded to the expansion of the victims of the Holocaust to eleven million the way devout Christians would respond to the expansion of the victims of the Crucifixion to three—the Son of God and two thieves. Weisel’s forces mobilized, both inside and outside the Holocaust Council, to ensure that, despite the executive order, their definition would prevail. [emphasis added]


      See a longer excerpt and other commentary on the topic here:

  • Under Trump we cannot expect 'the system' to protect us, but we can protect ourselves
  • Jewish groups slamming Trump on refugees are hardhearted when it comes to Palestinian refugees
    • KEITH: . To the degree that Trump acts as a bull in the imperial china shop, disrupting the smooth functioning of empire through incompetence...

      It is yet to be seen how incompetent Trump's China policies will be. One theory sees overlapping oil interests of ExxonMobil, Gazprom, and Rosneft as driving the rhetoric on the South China Sea:

      "Rex Tillerson Backs Aggressive Policy in Disputed South China Sea as Exxon, Russia Eye Region’s Oil and Gas "

      According to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data from 2013, the South China Sea contains 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.


  • Rallies at White House and airports across the US as outrage builds over Muslim ban
    • POLL: In Europe, strong public opposition to further immigration from Muslim states.

      [...]respondents were given the following statement: ‘All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped’. They were then asked to what extent did they agree or disagree with this statement.

      Overall, across all 10 of the European countries an average of 55% agreed that all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped, 25% neither agreed nor disagreed and 20% disagreed.

      Majorities in all but two of the ten states agreed, ranging from 71% in Poland, 65% in Austria, 53% in Germany and 51% in Italy to 47% in the United Kingdom and 41% in Spain.

      In no country did the percentage that disagreed surpass 32%.


      This has major implications for the I/P conflict.

    • Re: "The Bizarre Far-Right Billionaire Behind Trump..."


      It's *possible* this video somewhat exaggerates influence of the Mercers in the Trump camp.

      A couple of indications:

      1) Their favorite, John Bolton, was passed over.

      2)"Trump’s biggest donors consider abandoning new political arm. The Mercers are increasingly frustrated with the Trump aides taking over the outside political group."

      It is unclear precisely why Rebekah Mercer became unhappy with the plans for the organization, though tensions surfaced between her and Brad Parscale, who served as the Trump campaign’s digital director, during a December meeting in Trump Tower.

      What is clear is that she may be nearing a breaking point both with Parscale and Nick Ayers, the Trump aides slated to run the group, as well as with Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus and his political guru Steve Hantler, who are expected to provide key financial backing for the effort.

      The unrest has senior Trump aides, well aware of the risk that rival groups could hamper efforts to drive the administration’s message, scrambling to unite the disparate factions.

      “The Trump people are putting a ton of pressure on everybody to fall in line on this thing,” said a Republican source familiar with the conversations. Those efforts, however, may be floundering. “I don’t think the Mercers are going to be in this thing,” said the source. Others say a compromise agreement remains a distinct possibility; either way, a decision is expected this week.

      See also:

    • FWIW:

      A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a temporary ban on refugees from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen until the federal government approves its ability to screen out potential terrorists from coming here. Thirty-three percent (33%) are opposed, while 10% are undecided.

      "Trump's heartland voters shrug off global uproar over immigration ban"

    • The Guardian:

      Theresa May is ahead of Trump in undermining the refugee system

      Trump’s adoption of temporary bans and “extreme vetting” in the name of counter-terrorism now threatens to undermine the international system of refugee protection and the global stability it helps to provide.

      [...]At the heart of the matter is Trump’s rejection of the UNHCR vetting process, despite the fact that those nominated have to be approved by no fewer than 24 US departments and agencies before they are accepted for resettlement.

      The UNHCR says it is “acutely aware” of host countries’ “entirely legitimate” concerns about the resettlement programme being used as a cover for terrorists, and adds that it uses biometric data, audit trails and an electronic registration database to ensure the integrity of its programmes.

      But this is not enough for Trump. He is clearly going to substitute a US-only vetting system, further undermining trust in the UNHCR system.

      Theresa May is already way past him. When David Cameron pledged Britain to take 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees May insisted that the UNHCR not be involved in nominating them. Instead Home Office officials have been sent to the camps to select by their own criteria those who should be brought to Britain.

      May wants to go much further. In her party conference speech in October 2015, amid the world’s worst refugee crisis since the second world war, she outlined a new asylum strategy under which only temporary protection would be given to all but the world’s most vulnerable refugees. She said she was keen to see the international legal definition of a refugee made much stricter.


      Trump’s underlying policy on refugees is to undermine the accepted international system of refugee protection that has been in place since 1951. Theresa May is already ahead of him on that road.

    • amigo: It also turns out that none of the 7 countries have trump hotels or other type of businesses.Also , some of those not covered by the ban do. Coincidence—perhaps ?


      [Glenn Greenwald:] The reality is that his highly selective list reflects longstanding U.S. policy: Indeed, Obama restricted visa rights for these same seven countries, and the regimes in Riyadh and Cairo have received special U.S. protection for decades, long before Trump.

      Beyond U.S. support for the world’s worst regimes, what primarily shapes Trump’s list is U.S. aggression: Five of the seven predominantly Muslim countries on Trump’s list were ones bombed by Obama, while the other two (Iran and Sudan) were punished with heavy sanctions.

      Thus, Trump is banning immigrants from the very countries that the U.S. government — under both Republicans and Democrats — has played a key role in destabilizing and destroying,

  • Burying bad news in the killing fields of Yemen
  • Trump's anti-interventionism helped him win, says Obama's former Middle East adviser
    • HarryLaw : The interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria were not prompted by humanitarianism or democracy, those interventions served larger geopolitical “interests”

      Extremely important point.

      Philip Gordon promotes this imperial mythology--the idea that the West tried with good intentions to promote freedom and democracy, but failed in the attempt (unfortunately, those Arabs/Muslims, backward,sectarian, just weren't up to it).

      ...we’ve tried two very different approaches to this complex and difficult region.

      One that said, we must use all of our power to resolve the region [the Bush administration]… We’re going to change the regime in Iraq, spread democracy. This is too important to us, we’re going to use our power to transform it…

      When that didn’t work, you had a backlash...


      But "spreading democracy" was never the actual policy, just a false pretext.

  • Signs you may be a 'normalizer'
  • Leading Clintonite worries that Trump will sell out Israel in forging deal with Russia
    • Lavrov: Syria ‘safe zones’ possible if Damascus agrees

      Russia may support the US initiative to establish so-called ‘safe zones’ for refugees in Syria, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. The plan would require close cooperation with the UN and approval from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, he added.

    • RoHa: The story I heard was that the Taliban suppressed poppy culture, and that the US soldiers are now protecting the opium production from the Taliban.

      It appears that Taliban policy has changed over time, and U.S. policy has been extremely muddled.

      2001 "Taliban's Ban On Poppy A Success, U.S. Aides Say"

      The first American narcotics experts to go to Afghanistan under Taliban rule have concluded that the movement's ban on opium-poppy cultivation appears to have wiped out the world's largest crop in less than a year, officials said today.


      The Taliban instituted a strict Islamist policy against the opium trade during the final years of their regime, and by the time of their overthrow they had virtually eliminated it.

      But now, Lieutenant General Mohammad Daud-Daud, Afghanistan’s deputy minister of the interior for counter-narcotics, told me, “there has been a coalition between the Taliban and the opium smugglers. This year, they have set up a commission to tax the harvest.” In return, he said, the Taliban had offered opium farmers protection from the government’s eradication efforts. The switch in strategy has an obvious logic: it provides opium money for the Taliban to sustain itself and helps it to win over the farming communities.


      NATO Wednesday rejected Russian calls for it to eradicate opium poppy fields in Afghanistan, saying the best way for Moscow to help control the drug would be to give more assistance against the insurgency.

      Russia's anti-drugs czar, Victor Ivanov, met NATO ambassadors in Brussels and proposed that NATO troops be given a U.N. mandate and an obligation to eradicate Afghan opium crops, which were killing 30,000 Russians a year.

      But NATO spokesman James Appathurai said the drug problem had to be handled carefully to avoid alienating local people. He said the alliance was continuing efforts to target drug lords and drug labs, but added at a news briefing:

      "We cannot be in a situation where we remove the only source of income of people who live in the second poorest country in the world without being able to provide them with an alternative."

      2010 "US tells Afghans to grow grapes not opium poppy "

      The Taliban make Afghanistan's opium business easy, offering credit, seeds and fertilizer to farmers to grow the drugs that fuel the insurgency.

      U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who wrapped up a three-day visit to Afghanistan on Tuesday, is determined to change that momentum by offering similar incentives to steer farmers away from the drug trade and toward grapes, wheat and other legitimate crops.

      [...]Farmers say they make five times more money growing poppy than wheat from the same amount of land.

      The U.S. has pushed agricultural reforms to the top of its non-security agenda as part of President Barack Obama's increased focus on stabilizing the country.

      [...]The U.S. administration has reversed a Bush-era policy of destroying poppy crops in Afghanistan in favor of promoting legal crops. But officials have said the tactic has done little to reduce the flow of drug money

      2016 "Poppy Production: The Taliban's Cash Cow"

      The Taliban have mastered smuggling poppy through Afghanistan and into Iran and Pakistan, supplying 90 percent of the world’s illicit opiates.

      [...]There is no clear estimate as to how much of the Taliban’s income comes from opium. However, one estimate is that the group receives more than one-third of its income from direct taxes it levies on poppy farmers, tolls at checkpoints, and shipment protection fees from truckers, making anywhere from between $100 million to $300 million in a single year.'


      The UNDOC "Afghanistan Opium Survey 2014" has a chart showing a dramatic drop in cultivation during 2001, then followed by sharp rises in cultivation since that date, far surpassing pre-2001 levels.



      [...]in the last decade both the Taliban and the Karzai government have actively protected the opium trade, while the US forces have mostly turned a blind eye.

      The US invasion has in fact been causal in a massive increase in opium production, with public eradication efforts being largely window dressing. Notably, there was a large increase in the area under cultivation between 2002 and 2014.

    • CDC: "New data show continuing opioid epidemic in the United States"

      In 2015 more than 52,000 people died from a drug overdose; of those, 33,091 (63.1 percent) involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Since 2000, more than 300,000 Americans have lost their lives to an opioid overdose.

      * * *
      CDC’s latest national analyses indicate that the increase in opioid overdose death rates is driven in large part by illicit opioids, like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. The new data show from 2014 to 2015:

      Death rates for synthetic opioids other than methadone (including drugs such as tramadol and fentanyl, referred to as synthetic opioids) increased 72.2 percent

      Heroin death rates increased 20.6 percent

      Synthetic opioid and heroin death rates increased across all age groups 15 and older, in both sexes, and among all races/ethnicities.

      Methadone death rates declined 9.1 percent

      Natural opioids (including morphine and codeine) and semi-synthetic opioids (including commonly prescribed pain medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone) were involved in more than 12,700 deaths in 2015; death rates increased 2.6 percent from 2014 to 2015 in this category. However, the increase has slowed compared with the increase from 2013 to 2014.


      2014 CDC data, top ten overdose death drugs:



      "Sanders Calls for Investigation of Big Pharma Drug Pushers Over Shocking New Report"

      From 2007-2012, the Big Three wholesalers earned a combined $17 billion while they collectively shipped 423 million pain pills to West Virginia


      Naked Capitalism:

      50,000 deaths is an AIDS-level epidemic. The contrast between liberal Democrat reaction to the AIDS crisis (gays as a protected class) and this crisis (working class heaved over the side) couldn’t be more clear.

      Clinton in Keene, NH August 2015:“I have to confess, I was surprised. I did not expect that I would hear about drug abuse and substance abuse and other such challenges, everywhere I went.” The Clinton campaign then emitted some bullet points, which promptly dropped from sight..."

  • Israeli gov't doesn't really want US to move embassy to Jerusalem -- Foxman
    • @Mooser, oldgeezer

      [oldgeezer:] Yes east European nations are third rate nations. [...] Their states and governance are equivocable [sic] to other hell holes ruled by despots and dictators


      I don't think these gibes regarding eastern Europe are particularly enlightening.

      For one thing, they obfuscate the role that the "first rate nations"--U.S. and Western Europe--have played in creating and/or exacerbating problems in eastern Europe such as economic inequality, industrial collapse, ethnonationalism, corruption, authoritarianism, lack of liberal institutions, the "rule of law", social safety-nets, etc.

      The "first rate" Western policy of neoliberal "shock therapy" and all its many consequences after the dismantling of the Soviet bloc or the recent Western-backed "regime change" in Ukraine and the "first rate" development plan pushed on that nation could be good jumping off points for a serious discussion of the issue.

  • Muslims in the US brace for Trump immigration ban
    • Atlantaiconoclast: Why is it so racist to protect the demographic balance in a nation?

      Tell it to the Tibetans. Why should they think their world, their culture, their collective right of self-determination, might in any way be threatened by a massive influx of Han Chinese?

    • Mooser: ...supporting Trump because you think he can solve America’s problems, or because Trump will be the catalyst the brings the US down, and we can start over without the Establishment Clause, and the Civil Rights Amendments?

      Ridiculous False Choice fallacy. Insults the reader's intelligence.

      (Besides, does Keith actually "support Trump"? Or does he just indicate some important but limited areas where Trump's policies *may* prove to be much preferable to the disastrous policies of Bush, Obama and Clinton, while fully acknowledging Trump's basic malignancy?)

  • Maryland legislature, which supported boycotts of grapes and South Africa, targets BDS
    • ....regardless of how much we, or our citizens, support and empower zionism.

      I don't think it can be "regardless" of that-- is my point.

      An empire that has formal civic rights in the core, but denies them to people in the periphery, through the exercise of its power (along with allies) , as an expression of its nature, not as a hostage-- is an imperial state, not a "civic state".

    • yes, there are very very few who don't support the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

    • amigo: the Zionist entity has America by the short and curlies with a very firm grip


      America itself is a Zionist entity.

  • More and more people see 'one state only' but Remnick fears it will be like Bosnia
    • Diasp0ra: ...little areas being annexed until it becomes so apparent that no other solution is possible,

      Or that no solution is possible.

  • Palestinian teen in Gaza dies after refusing to serve as a collaborator for Israel in exchange for medical care
    • inbound39:... is perfectly feasible that Israel would in fact be glazed by its own nuclear petard by even as little as one well placed missile on Dimona

      Cf. "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]

      It sure looks to me like a highly-traumatized Israel would be able to respond as it saw fit after such an attack.

      What would that look like?

      Very nasty, as RoHa put it. Very nasty.

      I understand the frustration, but talking about (hoping for?) an "orgy of violence" doesn't do anybody any good. Certainly not the Palestinians.

    • inbound39: never ceases to amaze me how people think having nuclear weapons makes Israel safe.

      Safe, no. But they can be a deterrent of sorts.

      Israel’s own generals have stated Israel cannot defend against a saturation missile attack,the likes of which would come from combined forces like Iran and Hezbollah...

      And how might Israel respond to a saturation missile attack? Your best guess...

      Crack a reactor and radioactivity alone will take care of the population. Wind drift could affect Arab States also

      You see a military solution here somewhere?

    • Kay24: They seem to be devoid of compassion and mercy for the Palestinians

      Does that surprise you?

      There is perhaps no surer way of infecting ourselves with virulent hatred toward a person than by doing him a grave injustice. That others have a just grievance against us is a more potent reason for hating them than that we have a just grievance against them. We do not make people humble and meek when we show them their guilt and cause them to be ashamed of themselves. We are more likely to stir their arrogance and rouse in them a reckless aggressiveness.

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

      Eric Hoffer, "The True Believer"

    • Kay24: No religion will condone this kind of inhumane treatment of others.

      Read a history book, please.

    • Maghlawatan: . Deep down every Israeli knows that whatever Israel does to the Palestinians may be done in time to Jews.

      That certainly rules out a single democratic/binational state, doesn't it?

      Israel will probably fall in an orgy of violence

      An orgy of violence involving a nuclear-armed state with a Masada Complex? Backed by the most powerfully-armed nation in the history of the world led by American Exceptionalists and Christian Zionists?

      What might that look like?

  • Ellison assures Dems he has made up with Haim Saban despite 'anti-Semite' accusation
    • older Jews represent a “gigantic,” “shocking” proportion of the party’s donor base, experts agree,

      There's a substantial group of non-older-Jewish millionaires/billionaire Democrats who could donate huge sums to the party, not to mention the sizeable Democratic middle-class and the now very highly energized party "base".

      Why can't THAT donor base be tapped?

  • Umm al-Hiran and activism in the post-truth era
    • ... activism in the post-truth era

      Ah, the era of truth. How I mourn its passing!

      (When was that era, btw?)

  • Britain wants to be Israel's mother, again
    • Yes, and its true, the image of America's original "thirteen colonies" still evokes a sense of dignified beginnings and democratic promise. Nor has the "colonial style" lost any of its perennial charm.

  • William Blum: the dissident and the style
    • William Blum: It’s also true that many American weapons, intentionally and unintentionally, have wound up in the hands of terrorist groups. But the word “created” implies intention, that the United States wanted to purposely and consciously bring to life the Frankenstein monster that we know and love as ISIS.

      "Created" Isis? No, but intentionally, purposely and consciously see them armed and unleashed in the hopes of pressuring Assad-- is there any doubt?

      "US watched ISIS rise in Syria and hoped to ‘manage’ it — Kerry on leaked tape "

      John Kerry: .“The reason Russia came in is because ISIL was getting stronger, Daesh was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus and so forth. And that’s why Russia went in. Because they didn’t want a Daesh government and they supported Assad.

      “And we know that this was growing. We were watching. We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage, that Assad would then negotiate. Instead of negotiating, he got Putin to support him.”

    • Yes, so many on "the Left" have been "turning the other cheek" before the horrendous crimes of ISIS.

      Strange, though, Blum doesn't actually quote a single example of these widespread ISIS apologetics so we could take a full measure of their insanity.

    • @gamal

      Thanks. Quite revealing.

  • Obama's failure, and achievement, in Palestine
    • Keith: I see a HUGE difference between American Jewish Zionists following Israeli diktats about what is best for Israel versus US Jewish Zionists pursuing policies which THEY think is best for Israel.

      That's certainly a valid distinction.

      I would also emphasize that U.S. Zionism (support for Israel as a Jewish State) has HUGE non-Jewish sources of support, including:

      Christian Zionism (religiously based; Israel key element in God's plans; Judeo-Christian tradition vs Islam etc. )

      American Exceptionalist Zionism (secular; two harmonious, collaborative exceptionalisms; two shining beacons on hills; shared imperial-capitalist values, War on Terror solidarity, etc.)

      American Liberal Zionism ( misguided view, now under severe stress, of Israel as a progressive project, a liberalism-approved post-Holocaust -safe- haven for Jews; socialist kibbitzum; they made the desert bloom, the only democracy in the Middle East etc).

      Finer distinctions are also possible, of course, as well as identifications of ideological overlaps.

      Imo, the underestimation of these non-Jewish wellsprings of pro-Zionist sentiment can contribute to a certain overestimation of Jewish-Zionist/Israeli power within the U.S.--which isn't to say that U.S. Jewish-Zionist power is in any way negligible.

    • Annie Robbins: i don’t think military establishment were leading the whole process of military escalation ...

      [...]the cia, the clintonites, that’s another story. [emphasis added]


      N.b.: I was careful to write " factions within the U.S. political/military establishment" ; )

      In any case, there have been plenty of warmongers within the U.S. establishment--neocons, liberal interventionists, the CIA (which has very close ties with Israeli intelligence)--pushing the Assad/chemical weapons escalation pretext. This idea of Israel potentially making the U.S. bomb Syria just isn't very compelling to me.

      More generally: I appreciate many of Bandolero's informative posts, but I can't buy his/her exaggerated view of Israeli domination of the U.S.

      [Bandolero:] Currently it looks like Israel and her lobby rule the USA, but Trump is the figure head of an insurgent movement that wants the country back from Israeli colonialisation. I think that’s the central mission of the Trump presidency. [LOL--Sibiriak] [emphasis added]


      Significant influence is one thing, "ruling" the USA quite another.

    • KEITH: Has not the CIA sought out the “Golden Showers” intel to discredit Trump? Covering themselves by saying they cannot verify the accuracy (maybe yes, maybe no) while heaping praise upon the author? In effect, legitimizing hearsay rumors from folks with an agenda and clear bias?


      All true. And beyond just legitimizing the rumors:

      As The New York Times noted, “putting the summary in a report that went to multiple people in Congress and the executive branch made it very likely that it would be leaked” (emphasis in the original).

      So even if the “intelligence community” didn’t leak the dossier itself, it distributed it knowing that someone else would.

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

      I followed your reasoning up until that assertion.

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

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

  • Before there was 'fake news' there was Judith Miller

      "Russia is targeting French, Dutch and German elections with fake news, EU task force warns "

      The EU is reportedly allocating more funds to its East StratCom task force to counter the disinformation, amid fears Russia will target elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands

      * * * *
      [...[East StratCom, set up by the EU in 2015 to counter Russian propaganda and disinformation, says it has already found evidence of a massive fake news campaign targetting European countries.
      * * * *
      [...]“The aim of this disinformation campaign is to weaken and destabilise the West, by exploiting existing divisions or creating artificial new ones.“Often, outright lies are deployed, aimed at denigrating a particular person, political group or government.“Another strategy is to spread as many conflicting messages as possible, in order to persuade the audience that there are so many versions of events that it is impossible to find the truth.”

      * * * *
      Most Russian disinformation in the EU is spread by "domestic actors" who independently repeat talking points that first appear on Russian state news outlets because it suits them ideologically, said Jakub Janda, a deputy director of the European Values think tank in Prague...

      [...]He singled out Milos Zeman, the Eurosceptic president of the Czech republic, as an example of a high-ranking European politician who “copy pastes Russian messaging and helps Russian foreign policy by repeating its talking points on Syria and Ukraine”. [emphasis added]


      "Domestic actors" who independently repeat talking points that first appear on Russian state news.

      OMG! I think is know some of those bastards!

    • A fact is a fact -- if enough legislators say it is:

      "Bill would require teaching of California students about Russian interference for Trump"

      Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, said he is introducing a bill to require the State Board of Education to develop curriculum to ensure “all California students will learn how the Russian government conspired to influence the United States Presidential Election to elect Donald Trump,” according to his office.

      “The work of 17 intelligence agencies including the FBI and CIA confirmed Russian interference in our election,” he said. “This is a threat to our democracy and must be treated with appropriate significance in American history.”

      * * *
      “California is the largest textbook market in the nation,” he said. “Textbooks approved in our state are used throughout the country.”

      * * *
      “Through this legislation,” he said, “we can make sure students in California and across the United States receive accurate information about the 2016 Presidential election.” [emphasis added]

    • @Keith

      On the lighter side--but arguably more serious:

      With such an eventful week, Saturday Night Live had a lot of options for their first show under President Trump. They chose wisely, with Beck Bennett as Vladimir Putin giving “a paid message from the Russian Federation”.

      The show’s take on the Putin/Trump relationship – a manipulative dictator and his oblivious puppet – is much clearer than their perspective on many other areas of Trump, and the very concept of the sketch says more than many of Baldwin’s supposed barbs.

      Topless as always, Putin promised Americans that everything will be okay because Russia loves the US: “It’s the most expensive thing we’ve ever bought.”

      This version of Putin is not entirely enamoured with Trump, taking a swing at the president’s CIA speech, the attendance records at the inauguration versus the Women’s March, and Kellyanne Conway’s patriotic inauguration outfit.

      As is her way, Kate McKinnon stole the stoplight as a stereotypical Russian woman who appeared to stoically defend Putin before being handed a fish and gasping: “My pension!”, and later sneaking into the background at the end of the sketch wearing a pink pussy hat in solidarity.

      The premise is false, and the stereotyping deeply ignorant-- but apparently it's quite funny:

      "Overall, it was a very good episode, up there in Tom Hanks territory."

    • KEITH: When it comes to irrational insanity nothing tops Olbermann’s pre-Electoral College “coup” rant.

      Yep. Off his rocker.

      Cf. "Clinton Democrats In No Position To Call Themselves ‘The Resistance’"

      Figures like failed Clinton surrogate Neera Tanden and melodramatic jester Keith Olbermann bellow about the failures of the Republican Party and Trump while calling themselves “the resistance.”

      Olbermann even has a video series for GQ called “The Resistance,” where he has a complete meltdown during each episode, screaming at viewers—until he’s nearly breathless—about the Russians in the attic.

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

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

      MW Comments Policy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The immaculate conception of Louis Brandeis
    • Philip Weiss: Brandeis helped craft Britain’s Balfour Declaration of 1917, and got the US government to sign on, thereby committing western powers to the project of establishing the Jewish state.


      Actually, the Balfour Declaration called for the establisment of a "national home for the Jewish people", not a state.

      That’s not an unimportant distinction, as Hostage and others have compelling argued in these pages.


      Philip Weiss: He promoted the view that it was patriotic for Jews to advocate for a Jewish state– “to be good Americans, we must be better Jews, and to be better Jews, we must become Zionists”

      That statement conflates Brandeis’ Zionism with advocacy for a Jewish state.

      In fact, the Zionist Pittsburgh Programme of 1918 endorsed by Brandeis (developed by Kallen, Brandeis and members of the "Parushim") called on the British to aid in establishing a Jewish national home (not a state) in Palestine and develop it into “an autonomous commonwealth dedicated to the advancement of social justice."

      Clearly a utopian idea, completely ignorant of Palestinian reality and the rights of the indigenous people there, but reflective of Brandeis' progressive ideals.

      Cf. Horace Kallen, " Zionism and World Politics"

    • genesto: I, too, would like to see at least 3-4 examples of Weir’s so-called distortions in her book.


      Coming soon. Takes some time, so many distortions, omissions, exaggerations, etc. If it was only 3-4, it wouldn't be a big deal. It's going to take multiple pages to even scratch the surface of the her intellectual malfeasance.

      Meanwhile, I’ll put my trust in a REAL historian’s views

      I don't trust, I verify.

    • @irishmoses

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

      Yes, that a key point!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Why does that "make sense"?

      Compare these later Arab-Palestinian growth figures within Israel:

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

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

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

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


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

    • (Cont.)

      From "Palestine and the Palestinians":

      The Economic Transformation of the Palestine Mandate

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

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

      * * *

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

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

      [emphasis added]

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

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

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

      This analysis accompanies that table:

      In-Migration and Demographic Transformation

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

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

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

      [Table 3.1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

      You have to weigh economic costs against benefits.

      Economic Costs of Ending the Apartheid Occupation

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

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

      *Loss of income from exploiting natural resources in OPT.

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

      *Lost investments in OPT infrastructure etc.

      Economic Benefits of Ending the Apartheid Occupation

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

      *End of massive Israeli subsidies to illegal settlers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Shir Hever:

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

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

  • Video: Support for one democratic state grows as Palestinians lose hope in two-state solution
    • Asynchronous and Inseparable Struggles for Rights and a Political End-Game
      (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research – PSR)


      Thanks. Excellent analysis, including counterpoints by Radi Jarai and Mohammad Daraghmeh.

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

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

  • Origins of a golden shower
    • Another view:

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

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

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

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

    • The Telegraph:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      * * * *

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

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

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


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

    • Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi:

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

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

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

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

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

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

      * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Wikipedia: East Timor

      Break from Portugal

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

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

      * * *
      Indonesian invasion and annexation

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

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

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

      * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      * * *

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

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

      * * * *

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

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

      * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • One is either progressive or not.

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

      Progress is not an absolute; pregnancy is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

      A) " BBC Claims Another Trump Dossier Exists"

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

      Ron Paul Institute --Neocon Watch :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    • @Annie Robbins

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

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