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  • Netanyahu ignored US warnings and brought Israel's 'international isolation' on itself -- Ben Rhodes
    • @echinococcus

      Good points. Time will tell.

      Btw, I agree with you response to Rossross regarding justice in another thread:

      [Rossross: Justice simply demands equal rights for the indigenous Palestinians. Jewish Israelis do not need to leave the new State.

      [echinococcus: ] Justice demands the expulsion of illegal invaders.

      I argued the same point previously:

      [Sibiriak:] 3)"Strict justice" would mean undoing ALL the injustices wrought by Zionism. It would mean that all or most Jewish Zionist immigrants and their descendants leave Palestine and return the land to its rightful owners. It would mean massive economic compensation for all the damages done to Palestinians over the last 100 plus years-- to the tune of billions, if not trillions. It would mean the prosecution and imprisonment of thousands of Israelis directly involved in war crimes. It would mean compensatory payments from all the Israeli companies that profited from Palestinian dispossession and oppression.

      Any kind of two-state solution would not meet the demands of "strict justice."

      But neither would a single state “shared by Israeli colonists and Palestinian indigenous alike” (rosross).

      Such a bi-national state would hardly be compatible with Palestinian national self-determination. Every single Palestinian decision of national import, every decision about the political, economic, social and cultural direction of the country, would have to be made in conjunction with the Israeli Jewish population, a huge majority of which are ethnocentric, chauvinistic, racist and virulently anti-Arab/ anti-Muslim. Depending on the exact nature of the electoral system, such a substantial minority would have an effective veto power on most issues, or at least formidable powers of obstruction and gridlock.

      According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 1:

      “All peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

      There can be no self-determination for one people if another people has effective veto power on practically every important decision regarding economic, social and cultural development.

      Furthermore, in a single "democratic" Israeli/Palestinian state, money-power would be vastly asymmetrical. Wealthy Jewish citizens and corporations would not only be able to corrupt and control the government, they would be able to buy up and profit from the best economic assets throughout the whole of Palestine. Needless to say, the vast settlement blocs wouldn't be going anywhere--they would now be expanding and spreading without legal impediments whatsoever, gobbling up all the land and precious resources money can buy.

      4) I don't think you and I would disagree too much on what the demands of "strict justice" would be. Where we disagree is on whether "strict justice" is actually achievable. I don't think it is.

    • ritzl: --because of the long-term “bloc” inertia described in the article – that these acceptable remedies will come to be applied for pervasive, open, ONGOING, and unrepentant Israeli Apartheid/Hafrada rather than the forlorn anachronistic hope of two states.

      Yes, there is a high-inertia "historical bloc" in Israel.

      But there is also a high-inertia international "historical bloc" in favor of the international two-state consensus--as proven by this latest resolution. No backing down on the two-state idea .

      It's important not to conflate the past fraudulent two-state peace process with the two state idea . The international community will abandon the former, but it will cling like hell to the latter, since there is no practical alternative.

      Keep in mind this fact: Israel actually would have to take VERY FEW steps in order to satisfy the international community. The international two state consensus, backed by all the world's major powers and most all UN member states, backed by the PLO, backed by the Arab League, et al., would allow Israel to annex major settlement blocs (w/mutually agreed land swaps), would allow a mostly symbolic Palestinian right of return w/ compensation (no "demographic threat"), would keep Palestine demilitarized (in the short term at least), and would give Israel a capital in West Jerusalem (Palestinians getting some part of East Jerusalem for its capital).

      In contrast, a single democratic state would require Gaza, the West Bank and Israel to be fused by coercion or force into a single polity. Either Palestine would have to cease to exist as a separate state (as it does now de jure), or Israel would have to cease to exist as a separate state-- or both. The Israeli Zionist "historical bloc" (and its global supporters) would have to be forced to give up Zionist dream entirely and in one fell swoop (as opposed to giving up just a portion of the Zionist dream in a 2SS.)

      There is ZERO inclination in the international community to try to force Hamas-run Gaza and Likud-run Israel into a single-state. ZERO. To get the international "historical bloc" to move in that direction would require overcoming a political inertia of colossal magnitude.


      ritzl: ...when the proverbial switch flips toward sanctions (as I believe it just did, but TBD) it’s going to be a current or prospective application rather than a retrospective one.

      Can you make that at all concrete? What possibly could be the conditions attached to international sanctions on Israel?

      If the conditions are Israel complying with UN resolutions, then that would be in your view a "retropsective application", since all the UN resolutions and the ICJ "Wall" opinion are unequivocally oriented toward the two state concept.

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

      "Sanctions will be maintained until Israel does X?

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

      Can you give me any idea at all?

  • Breaking: UN Security Council passes historic resolution against settlements as two-state solution 'slips away'
    • Talkback: Why did Venezuela move its embassy from West Jerusalem to Tel Aviv?

      The only question we are debating is: can Israelis legally live and build in West Jerusalem?

      Venezuela’s decision to move its embassy from West Jerusalem to Tel Aviv had nothing to do with Israelis living and building in WEST Jerusalem.

      The move was a response to UNSC resolution 478 which condemned Israel’s annexation of EAST Jerusalem and Israel’s declaration that the whole of Jerusalem was its capital.

      Subsequent to UNSC resolution 478 , 13 countries (Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, the Netherlands, Panama, Uruguay and Venezuela) which had maintained their embassies in Jerusalem, moved their embassies out of the city, primarily to Tel Aviv. Costa Rica and El Salvador moved theirs back to Jerusalem in 1984. Costa Rica moved its embassy back to Tel Aviv in 2006 followed by El Salvador a few weeks later. [emphasis added]

      United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 , adopted on 20 August 1980, is one of seven UNSC resolutions condemning Israel's attempted annexation of EAST Jerusalem . In particular, UNSC res 478 notes Israel's non-compliance with UNSC res 476[1] and condemned Israel's 1980 Jerusalem Law which declared Jerusalem to be Israel's "complete and united" capital, as a violation of international law. The resolution states that the Council will not recognize this law, and calls on member states to accept the decision of the council. This resolution also calls upon member states to withdraw their diplomatic missions from the city.

      * * *

      The subsequent advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice expressed the view that all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation in and around EAST Jerusalem. [emphasis added]


      *States did not recognize Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem

      * Jerusalem could still be considered de jure an international city ("corpus separatum”)

      * Israeli actions changing the physical and demographic character of East Jerusalem impacted the whole of Jerusalem (by definition), and were condemned by UN et al.

      KEY POINTS: :

      * None of the above facts mean it is illegal for Israelis to live and build in West Jerusalem.

      *Israel IS a belligerent occupying power only in EAST Jerusalem

      *The Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention applies to all occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, but not West Jerusalem. Article 49, para. 6 provides that “[t]he Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” . It is that article which provides the basis for the UN’s and the ICJ’s condemnation of Israeli settlement in EAST Jerusalem as ILLEGAL.

      *Therefore, Israeli’s cannot legally settle and build in East Jerusalem the way they can in West Jerusalem.

      *Israel is not a belligerent occupying power in West Jerusalem.

      *The Fourth Geneva Convention has not been applied to West Jerusalem

      *Therefore, Iraelis can legally live and build in West Jerusalem.

    • talkback: Allready in 1968, Resolution 252; “2. Considers that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status."

      Your missing the crucial point of that and similar resolutions: the "legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel" that tended to "change the legal status of Jerusalem" refer to actions Israel took AFTER 1967 when it occupied EAST Jerusalem.

      Israeli residence and building in West Jerusalem for decades before 1967 was never condemned as a "change in the legal status of Jerusalem".

      During the years 1948-52, a number of debates took place at the UN on the future of Jerusalem, but from 1952 until war in 1967, no significant debates occurred.

      However, in 1967 Israel became a belligerent occupying power in East Jerusalem. :

      As a result of the war, Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. SINCE THEN, a number of demographic and physical changes have been introduced, and both the General Assembly and the Security Council, in several resolutions, have declared invalid the m e a s u res taken by Israel to change the status of Jerusalem . Security Council resolution 252 (1968) in particular is explicit in his re g a rd. In it, the Council considered “that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including e x p ropriation of land and pro p e rties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status”. Israel was urgently called upon “to rescind all such m e a s u res already taken and to desist forthwith from taking any f u rther action which tend to change the status of Jerusalem”. The Security Council has re a ff i rmed these two positions many times.

      When Israel took steps to make a united Jerusalem its capital, the Security Council on 30 June 1980 adopted resolution 476 (1980) urgently calling on Israel, the occupying Power, to abide by this and previous Security Council resolutions and to desist forthwith from persisting in the policy and measures affecting the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem. After Israel’s non-compliance with the resolution, the Council, on 20 August, adopted resolution 478 (1980), in which it reiterated its position that all actions altering the status of the city were null and void, and called upon States that had established diplomatic missions in Jerusalem to withdraw them. The General Assembly also considered Israel’s action to be a violation of international law that did not affect the continued applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This understanding, affirmed by the Assembly in December 1980, has been reaffirmed in subsequent years.

      During the 1980s, United Nations resolutions dealt with the Jerusalem issue in the wider context of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

      East Jerusalem has been considered, by both the General Assembly and the Security Council, as part of the occupied Palestinian territory.

      As the international community and in particular the Security Council continued to follow with concern developments affecting the question of Palestine, an important action was taken by the Council through resolution 672, adopted on 12 October 1990 following the violence that took place in Jerusalem at Haram Al-Sharif, where the Al-Aqsa mosque, the
      third holiest shrine in Islam, is situated. The Council, after condemning “especially the acts of violence committed by the Israeli security forces resulting in injuries and loss of human life”, called upon Israel “to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, which is applicable to all the territories occupied by Israel since 1967”. ETC. [emphasis added]


      So the whole slew of UN resolutions we have been discussing came into play only after Israeli’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967 and are a reaction to Israel’s attempt to change the status of Jerusalem by annexing East Jerusalem and making physical and demographic changes there.

      Israel has been a belligerent occupying power in East Jerusalem –but not in West Jerusalem--and the Fourth Geneva Convention became applicable to Israel’s actions in East Jerusalem—but not in West Jerusalem.

      That's why Israeli building is ILLEGAL in East Jerusalem, but not in West Jerusalem.

    • talkback: ... there is a difference between the recognition/proposal of claims/solutions and the actual legal status. .

      Very true.

      But you have not made a convincing case that the legal status of Jerusalem is indisputably that of an international city, aka "corpus separatum."

      As I pointed out above, the International Court of Justice holds that as a matter of law East Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory. That means it is NOT occupied international "corpus separatum" territory.

      Likewise, phrases in UN resolutions such as " Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem " are not compatible with the notion that East Jerusalem is part of an international "corpus separatum". If East Jerusalem is included in Palestinian territory, it cannot be in international territory.

      More importantly, in regards to the question of whether Israelis can legally live and build in West Jerusalem , the crucial fact is not Jerusalem's legal status as a "corpus separatum" but fact that West Jerusalem is NOT under belligerent occupation, while East Jerusalem is, and the fact that the Fourth Geneva Convention has been applied to East Jerusalem, making a transfer of Israeli population there illegal-- but not to West Jerusalem.

      So even if you were right about Jerusalem's de jure "corpus separatum" status (which remains to be proved), that would not make Israeli residence and construction in West Jerusalem illegal the way it indisputably illegal in East Jerusalem.

    • Talkback: All of Jerusalem is de jure a corpus seperatum

      I appreciate your raising the “corpus separatum” issue. There is quite a bit of disagreement on that point, both among legal scholars and among various institutions and states. As has been pointed out, the EU still officially holds to the “corpus separatum” idea, but has for all intents and purposes backed the two-state/two-capitals- in- Jerusalem concept.

      The UN has taken contradictory positions as well, however most generally the UN considers East Jerusalem to be occupied Palestinian territory (not occupied international “corpus separatum” territory).

      This is evident in numerous resolutions. This latest resolution, for example, refers to “ Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem

      Likewise, the International Court of Justice its 2004 “Wall” refers to “Occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” (eg. Paragraph 96). Obviously, if East Jerusalem is Palestinian territory, it cannot be international “corpus separatum” territory.

      In October 2009 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared that Jerusalem must be the capital of two States – Israel and Palestine –with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all.


      But I think we need to back to the original point under dispute. I’ll repeat what I wrote to eljay:

      I wrote that Israel could legally build in West Jerusalem. I never said Israel had legally annexed West Jerusalem .

      You say, “ All of Jerusalem is de jure a corpus seperatum under Israeli occupation , suggesting that that means Israeli settlement and construction in West Jerusalem is as illegal as it is in East Jerusalem

      But you are overlooking a critical legal point: Israel is a belligerent occupying power only in East Jerusalem



      [...] Under the terms of the 1949 Armistice Agreement, the permanent status of Jerusalem can only be determined by mutual agreement after a fresh round of negotiations. That means that west Jerusalem is under a regime of armistice occupation, while east Jerusalem is under a regime of belligerent occupation. [emphasis added]


      **Neither the U.N. nor any UN member state ( as far as I know) has demanded that the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, be applied to West Jerusalem.

      **In contrast, numerous UN resolutions and the International Court of Justice do insist that the Fourth Geneva Convention be applied to East Jerusalem.

      Please recall that critical legal basis for declaring Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in Occupied Palestinian Territory is the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which inter alia provides that “[t]he Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” (Article 49, para. 6)..


      Because West Jerusalem is NOT under belligerent occupation, Israelis can legally move there, take up residence, build homes etc.

      Because East Jerusalem IS under belligerent occupation, Israelis cannot legally move there, take up residence, build homes, etc.

    • talkback: the Europe Union for example officially and explicitly considers the status of Jerusalem to be a corpus seperatum

      I've already discussed that issue in a previous post:

      [...]The July 29, 1980 Venezuelan embassy move from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv [...] came on the heels of UN Security Council resolution 471 of June 5, 1980 (preceded by resolutions 465, 478, 469), which has explicit references to “Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967 .

      (See quotes here:

      Another complicating factor is that the EU still officially supports the 1947 UN Partition Plan’s recommendation that Jerusalem be internationalized as a “corpus separatum.”

      Nevertheless, the EU clearly holds the pre-1967 borders, not the 1947 UN recommended partition borders, to be the dividing line between Israeli territory and occupied Palestinian territory and to be the basis for any final settlement.

      [The EU ]will not recognise any changes to pre-1967 borders with regard to Jerusalem, unless agreed between the parties. It has also called for the reopening of Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem, in accordance with the Road Map, in particular Orient House and the Chamber of Commerce,[45] and has called on the Israeli government to cease all discriminatory treatment of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, especially concerning work permits, access to education and health services, building permits, house demolitions, taxation and expenditure.”[46]

      “The European Union set out its position in a statement of principles last December. A two-state solution with Israel and Palestine side by side in peace and security. A viable state of Palestine in the West Bank,including East Jerusalem [but not West Jerusalem--Sibiriak], and the Gaza Strip, on the basis of the 1967 lines. A way must be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both Israel and Palestine.

      – Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union

      [emphasis added]

      Keep in mind that if Jerusalem were to be a “corpus separatum”, then East Jerusalem couldn’t be under Palestinian sovereignty as its capital. Yet, Palestine has claimed East Jerusalem as its capital, and most countries, including EU countries, support that claim.


      I'll respond to the rest of your post ASAP--it's getting very late in my time zone.

    • catalan: Finally, a world of harmony. Such agreement, such unanimity!

      Such strawmannery!!

    • talkback: in 1980 the Security Council was very explicit about the fact that Jerusalem as a whole was occupied by Israel, not only East Jerusalem.

      Nowhere does it say "as a whole". It doesn't exist in the text. It is your addition to the text.

      other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including JERUSALEM


      West Jerusalem was NOT occupied "since 1967", only East Jerusalem, therefore the above statement refers only to East Jerusalem.

      To properly understand a text, you must take into consideration all its phrases. Your interpretation requires you to ignore the critical "occupied since 1967" phrase . You can't do that. You can't just ignore an absolutely critical phrase in a sentence.

      Equally to the point, multiple resolutions since that one refer to territories " occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem" , which makes it absolutely explicit that West Jerusalem is not included.

      1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

      2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;

      There is no way to interpret those statements as including territories NOT occupied since 1967 , such a West Jerusalem, and it would make zero sense to repeatedly refer to East Jerusalem if the whole of Jerusalem was intended.

      3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;

      Notice that that section refers to "Jerusalem", not "East Jerusalem". Does that mean that suddenly the WHOLE of Jerusalem is included? Of course not!! The previous phrase "changes to the 4 June 1967 lines" makes it crystal clear that only East Jerusalem is included, since Israeli jurisdiction over West Jerusalem is NOT a "change to 4 June 1967 lines."

      Let's look at another example:

      UN Resolution ES 10/13 asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to render an opinion on this question:

      What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?

      Once again, it's crystal clear that Occupied Palestinian Territory includes East Jerusalem, but not West Jerusalem.

      Gravely concerned at the commencement and continuation of construction by Israel, the occupying Power, of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, which is in departure from the Armistice Line of 1949 (Green Line) and which has involved the confiscation and destruction of Palestinian land and resources, the disruption of the lives of thousands of protected civilians and the de facto
      annexation of large areas of territory, and underlining the unanimous opposition by the international community to the construction of that wall,

      Note again the reference is only to East Jerusalem--since it is that territory, not West Jerusalem, that involves a "departure from the armistice line of 1949."

      Now, finally, check out this passage:

      Reaffirming the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

      Recalling the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention Respecting
      the Laws and Customs of War on Land of 1907',

      Welcoming the convening of the Conference of High Contracting Parties
      to the Fourth Geneva Convention on measures to enforce the Convention
      in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, at Geneva on 15 July 1999

      Note: the second reference to "Jerusalem" isn't qualified by the adjective "East". Does that mean that suddenly the WHOLE of Jerusalem is being referred to? Of course not!!

      The plain meaning of the texts of all these UN resolutions, as well as their documentary history, indicates that without a doubt they were concerned with territories occupied by Israel in 1967-- which means they did not concern West Jerusalem.

      Your bizarre interpretation is absolutely untenable.

      Can you quote a single legal scholar that agrees with it?

    • yonah fredman:

      This resolution is as real as jimmy carter’s in 1980
      * * *
      From what I’ve read it didn’t add a jot or a tittle to the law.


      It wasn't intended to add to the law; it was intended to affirm the law.

      I think you are missing the huge import of this resolution.

      1) In 1980 there was only a small fraction of the illegal Jewish settlers that there are today. Expansionist Zionists believed that by creating seemingly irreversible "facts on the ground" the international community would eventually have to come around to accepting the new reality. This resolution was slapped that notion down hard, very hard.

      As Chaim Shalev wrote in Haaretz:

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

      2)The powerful affirmation of the illegality of Israeli settlements across the Green line and the demand for corrective action sets the stage for future sanctions and other punitive measures.

      3) This resolution will have both a political and legal effect on the ICC and the impending cases being brought forward by the Palestinians.

      4) As the international condemnation of Israel approaches near-unanimity and assumes a new level of prominence and intensity, the notion that harsh criticism of Israel =antisemitism becomes increasingly untenable.

      Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, reportedly fulminated that "Obama has made it clear that he’s a Jew hating, antisemite. "

      Ridiculous. Who's going to believe that sht any more? The "antisemite" accusation is rapidly being drained of all potency.

      5) This resolution delegitimizes Israel in the eyes of the world--with far-reaching ramifications.

      6) This resolution legitimizes the BDS movement.

    • yonah: am 1. For a two state solution based on the 67 “borders”...

      And yet you seem bent on belittling this resolution in every way possible.

      Why is that? This resolution is a big victory for the two-state consensus, and, yes, for liberal Zionism. Why aren't you applauding it?

      Sure, it's only a step. It has no power to compel Israel to change course. But it makes it absolutely clear that no matter how many settlements Israel builds, no matter how many "facts on the ground" Israel creates, they will always be deemed illegal by the international community; the annexation of East Jerusalem will always be deemed illegal; any further annexations of the West Bank will always be be deemed illegal; the Apartheid Wall will always be deemed illegal. Israel will never escape from under a huge dark and ominous cloud of illegality and moral condemnation.

      And that unequivocal judgment of illegality will provide a firm foundation for sanctions and other coercive actions against Israel if Israel does not reverse course, which no doubt, it will not.

    • On the other hand, the UN the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem multiple times .

      Correction: "...the UN has condemned the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem multiple times."

    • @eljay

      Please review my comments. I wrote that Israel could legally build in West Jerusalem. I never said Israel had legally annexed West Jerusalem (although there are good arguments that it has--see below.)

      By your logic, since neither Jordan nor the Palestinians ever legally annexed" East Jerusalem, Palestinians do not have the right to build there, or settle there etc.

      That's absurd, of course.

      In fact, the 1949 Armistice agreements gave both Israel and Jordan full jurisdiction over their respective territories divided by the "Green Line".

      As Hostage describes it:

      The parties concerned entered into international armistice agreements which granted the belligerents civil jurisdiction to apply their municipal laws up to the “Green Lines”.

      That is the normal definition of annexation. [emphasis added]

      * * *

      [Hostage:] Under international law, an armistice agreement allows the belligerents the same rights and duties as those of an ordinary state. Those rights are not limited to the rules contained in the Hague regulations or the Geneva Conventions.

      Both Israel and Jordan extended their municipal jurisdiction to the new territories.

      Despite complaints from the Arab League, that was perfectly legal under the terms of their agreements. [emphasis added]

      * * *

      [Hostage:] Neither Jordan nor Israel were ever treated as “belligerent occupying powers” under the terms of the 1949 UN Armistice Agreements. Full Stop. Both countries extended the jurisdictions of their municipal laws and courts right up to the Green Line. [emphasis added]

      * * *

      Talknic The territories Israel had acquired by war, outside of it’s declared and recognized Sovereign extent, were considered to be “occupied”. I.e., NOT Israeli Sovereign territory.

      Hostage: Sovereignty is just a synonym for jurisdiction. The two sides signed international armistice agreements that permit them to govern the respective territories until hell freezes over absent any mutually agreed upon modifications of the armistice borders.

      After the Lausanne protocols were signed, all of the parties extended the application of their municipal laws to the territory under their control and no one considered them to be merely occupiers anymore. [emphasis added]

      * * *

      Talknic: The 1949 Armistice Agreements specifically did not change any borders, they only set Armistice Demarcation Lines.

      Hostage: The Armistice Demarcation lines can’t ever be altered without Israel’s consent. They have indicated the limits of the civil jurisdiction of Israel’s Courts since at least 1950.

      Annexation is nothing more than the de jure application of a State’s municipal laws to a new territory. [emphasis added]


      So, Hostage argues 1)"annexation" means the de jure application of a state's laws over the territory; 2) the 1949 Armistice agreements, concluded under UN aegis, gave Israel and Jordan the legal right to apply their laws over their territories right up to the Green Line; therefore, Israel legally "annexed" West Jerusalem and Jordan legally "annexed" East Jerusalem.

      Perhaps you would like to put forward a counter-argument, but the fact remains:

      1) The proof is in the pudding: The UN has never condemned either Jordan's annexation of East Jerusalem, nor Israel's annexation of West Jerusalem. On the other hand, the UN the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem multiple times.

      2) The ICJ has taken the same position in its "Wall" opinion= Israeli construction, settlement, civil jurisdiction in West Jerusalem is LEGAL; Israeli construction, settlement, civil jurisdiction in East Jerusalem is ILLEGAL.

      It is incumbent upon you, eljay, to explain the very sharp distinction both UN and the ICJ have drawn between Israeli activities in West Jerusalem and Israeli activities in East Jerusalem.

      3) Even if you use a definition of "annexation" different than accepted legal definition described by Hostage and you conclude that neither Jordan nor Israel legally "annexed" East and West Jerusalem respectively, that in no way means that Jordan and Israel had no rights to build/ settle on the territory they had jurisdiction over via the UN sanctioned 1949 Armistice agreement.

      Israel can legally build in West Jerusalem.

      That point stands.

    • @eljay

      Live and learn.

      From the resolution:

      Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions, [emphasis added]

      Please note the operative phrase, " Palestinian territory occupied, since 1967 including East Jerusalem. , which is consistent with multiple previous resolutions. West Jerusalem is not included.

      So yes, Israel can legally build in West Jerusalem.

    • Ali Abunimah:

      It is a clear declaration that Israel’s settlement activities are illegal, but as I explained in an analysis on Thursday, existing resolutions – that have been unenforced for decades – already do that.

      This resolution, like its predecessors, sets out no concrete consequences for Israel if it fails to comply. There are also key elements of the resolution – to do with the so-called two-state solution and the right of Palestinians to resist – that I argue actually erode Palestinian rights.

      But supporters of Palestinian rights will at least welcome the Security Council’s renewal of its longstanding condemnation of Israel’s ongoing theft of Palestinian land. This will give impetus to initiatives that aim to end all business with the settlements. [emphasis added]

    • eljay: Jerusalem does not belong to Israel

      True. Israel can build in West Jerusalem; East Jerusalem is claimed by Palestine.

    • President-elect Donald Trump:

      "As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.. "

    • ritzle: Well then…the era of the S part of BDS begins.implementation of Sanctions.

      * * * *
      No more two state baloney.


      If international sanctions do eventually come, they will be in support of international law and the two-state consensus.

      UN resolution:

      3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;

  • Desperate Netanyahu lectures Obama about US responsibility to veto UN resolution
    • @echinococcus:

      Pew Research, May 2016

      The partisan gap remains wide. Three-quarters of Republicans (75%) say they sympathize more with Israel (just 7% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians). And though a larger share of Democrats sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians, that margin is much narrower (43% vs. 29%). By 52% to 19%, independents express more sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians.

      The kind of outreach effort towards conservatives/Republicans/independents you are engaged in is critical and much appreciated. It's a long row to hoe, and there is no time to waste.

  • With US reportedly poised to abstain on U.N. resolution slamming Israel, Egyptians withdraw it under pressure
    • talkback: But the resolution did more than that and therefore can be vetoed...

      Good point. I was thinking that myself. It would seem that practically any resolution would involve more than simply "reaffirming, emphasizing or reiterating the UN Charter and/or International Law ". It would have to also involve various factual assertions about the specific situation being addressed and/or certain interpretations of international law, and those factual assertions and legal interpretations would be subject to debate.

      Perhaps talknic can supply a scholarly source for his assertion.

    • @Ossinev

      Israel/Palestine is not South Africa.

      And besides, really look what happened there.

    • Ossinev: All self delusion and all leading ( with the speed gathering ) to a pro tem one Apartheid state and then reality may finally dawn.


      And if reality does finally dawn, then what?

      American "liberal Zionists" dedicate themselves to turning Israel around and getting it back on a "liberal Zionist" path. Tens of millions of other American zionists will support the partial annexation of the WB. Progressives will demand BDS. Trump, of course, will not pressure Israel one iota, so that will be a long-term project.

      "The West" will continue to support Israel as a "strategic ally" just as it continues to support states like Saudi Arabia--a state whose anti-democratic, dictatorial, theocratic nature is fully recognized.


      a pro tem one Apartheid state

      Most states and most of the global public do NOT view Hamas-run Gaza and Likud-run Israel as a single state. Nor is there any evidence of global support for forcing them to be single state, even if that were possible, which is isn't.

      You have a lot of persuading to do.

    • Ali Abunimah, who dreams of a single democratic Palestinian state, hopes the resolution FAILS.

      Why UN resolution on settlements would be bad for Palestinians


      [...] this resolution, like its predecessors, takes no action. In a masterful example of empty diplomatic phrasing, the draft only commits the Security Council “to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions.”

      This leisurely “examination” has been going on for half a century now while Israel continues to violently steal and colonize Palestinian land.

      Undermining Palestinian rights

      What is even more worrying is the rest of the resolution – read in whole it is a clear attempt to legislate into international law the so-called two-state solution.

      In September, I warned that a resolution of this kind would undermine, not support, Palestinian rights.

      * * *

      [...]If Obama allows it to pass it will be the final act in his long record of undermining Palestinian rights.

  • Hell just froze over: the New York Times runs an article saying Zionism is racist
    • @RoHa

      Good points and questions, but you miss an important point.

      Catalan wrote:

      For example, one can bring up the fact that Blacks commit more crimes, per capita, than whites in the US. However, your intent is probably racist if you don’t provide the context a history of slavery, economic issues, etc - [emphasis added]

      If you read that carefully, you will notice he does not really separate intent from content, but rather suggests that bad intent can sometimes be inferred from content, even truthful content, narrowly defined.

      The critical point is that reality can be distorted through omission of truth as well as direct statement of falsehoods.

      His example is a good one: a series of true statements about African Americans could nevertheless present a false picture of reality --because other critical truths were omitted.

      Whether there was bad intent couldn't always proven, of course, but it might be a reasonable inference if there is good reason to believe the speaker was well aware of the facts omitted.

      Then again, the omission of facts could have been simply from ignorance.

      In the final analysis, therefore, it does come down to content which can be empirically evaluated, not intent, which is much more difficult to ascertain.

      [For a purely moral evaluation, or individual culpability, intent does assume more importance.]

    • eljay: Or have you forgotten (again) that Jewish is supposed to be more than just religion?

      Have you forgotten that Jewishness is " fundamentally religion-based "? A fundamental convergence of thought. Nice.

      (As if discrimination on the basis of religion is somehow worse than discrimination on the basis of tribe, culture, ethnicity, people, or nation.)

  • Israel threatens to toss Antony Loewenstein after he asked Lapid question about apartheid
    • kev: Elisabeth, I think that you are a paid hasbarist and Zionist.

      The "paid hasbarist" accusation is easy to make but almost impossible to prove--or disprove .

      Without any evidence to back it up, it's a form of McCarthyism.

      But by all means, quote her and have at her Zionism wherever you can find it.

    • amigo : –let,s drop the analogies and discuss Israel,s decades of atrocities directly.

      I think analogies/metaphors and concrete facts need to work together synergistically.

      For example, Iris Chang's book "The Rape of Nanking "

      The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II is a bestselling 1997 non-fiction book written by Iris Chang about the 1937–1938 Nanking Massacre, the massacre and atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese"Army after it captured Nanjing, then capital of China, during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

      The real power of the book comes not from the "rape" metaphor, but from the wealth of historical details that make the metaphor reasonable. The "rape" metaphor then works as a concentrated, memorable, value-charged, and yes, emotional , symbol of the events.

      [Of course, Chang's historical arguments are not immune to criticism:

      As far as eljay is concerned, I have no problem with his "rape" analogy, but I do think his purposes would be even better served if he included more concrete facts of Israeli misdeeds to work in synergy with it.

    • Mooser: Well, it’s better than comparing them to animals, I suppose.

      That would be zoomorphism, " a literary technique in which the animal attributes are imposed upon non-animal objects, humans, and events and animal features are ascribed to humans, gods and other objects."

      For example, attributing moose-like qualities to a human being.

    • catalan writes: If someone in Palestine is waiting at a checkpoint, that stinks.


      The apartheid occupation regime-- just few inconvenient checkpoints?

      Don't feed the TROLL.

  • Friedman pick will force good liberal Zionists to admit the peace process has failed
    • Citizen: [...] the high court of Israel has already proclaimed there really is no such thing as “Israeli citizenship.”

      Correction: the court said there was no Israeli nationality ; they did NOT say no Israeli citizenship .

  • Challenging an ideology means rupturing with community and family
    • Avigail Abarbanel I don’t think Judaism is a nice religion or a religion that fundamentally critiques or opposes settler-colonialism. One of the foundational myths in the Torah is about the conquest of Canaan under Joshua, a brutal settler-colonialism story from beginning to end.

      The "conquest of Canaan" is also a foundational Christian myth; the Old Testament is sacred Christian scripture, the Word of God, Father of Christ.

      Strange, since Christianity is quite a "nice religion" with a long history of opposition to settler colonialism.

  • Adelson and Saban were kingmakers, now they're beggars
    • Mooser on Jan 20th, Obama and his administration will be leaving Washington, and Trump becomes President...

      He will most likely assume office, but his legitimacy may be so deeply and irreversibly damaged that he'll be virtually a lame duck* from day one.

      (Imagine the reaction now if President Trump announced a meeting with Putin to discuss reducing tensions, solving the Ukraine crisis, working together in Syria etc.)

      (* insert image: Donald Trump as lame duck, script by Mooser)

    • kalithea,

      Well stated. Indeed, there is here’s nothing here to celebrate.

  • Trump pick for ambassador to Israel supports Israeli annexation of West Bank and calls liberal Jews 'kapos' (Updated)
    • Yup just like they have been able to for the last 50 years

      Yup. You got the point. Fragmentation. Frozen conflict.. meaning continued apartheid matrix of control. Sorry no dessert. No main course, either.

    • advocates of the two-state solution are troubled by Friedman’s nomination.

      Advocates for a single democratic state should be even more troubled.

      Erekat said he would like to look Trump and Friedman in the eye and tell them “if you were to take these steps of moving the embassy and annexing settlements in the West Bank, you are sending this region to more chaos, lawlessness and extremism.

      And Trump and Friedman would look Erekat in the eye and say "Bring it on!"

      More chaos, extremism, and violence would make the already highly unlikely one democratic state idea even more unlikely, if that is possible, and would, no doubt, be very, very much welcomed by warmongering expansionist Zionists.

    • ToivoS: I think this is good news. The two state solution will be officially dead.

      Officially dead? Unlikely. But if it were to become officially dead, then the focus will shift to 1.5 state solutions, confederations with Egypt, Jordan etc., or simply nmanagement of a "frozen conflict."

      A single democratic state is not even on the table and will not be put on the table. It can't be. Because the international community can not and will not support a forced union of Israel +Gaza. Because international law.

    • No, of course not. At the end of the day, Israel will only annex territories with relatively small numbers of Palestinians. They will be able to become citizens without threatening Israel's Jewish majority.

      The Palestinians will be able to do what they wish with Gaza and the remaining areas in the West Bank.

  • Stephen Cohen calls out liberal media for demonizing Russia, slurring Tillerson and stigmatizing all dissent
    • (Cont.)

      CapitalG, formerly Google Capital--$100M

      Google and dozens of other media corporations have donated to the Clinton Foundation.

      Google has allegedly skewed its search engine to obscure negative information about Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation scandal.

      ”Media Orgs Donate to Clinton Foundation Then Downplay Clinton Foundation Scandal”

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

      * * * *

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

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

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

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


      Crowdstrike, Google, Accel Partners, Warburg Pincus, the Clinton Foundation, the Atlantic Council, neocon/neolib regime change, Syria, Ukraine etc.-- it all fits together.

    • (Cont.)
      Since June 2010, tech millionaire Rob Glaser has been a partner at Accel, Crowdstrike’s major funder.

      Glaser has also been very active in pushing the Trump/Putin/anti-Russian talking points.

      Tech entrepreneur Glaser funds media site to probe for ties between Trump, Putin

      (21 Sep 2016 )

      An internet entrepreneur is entering the media industry to investigate the nature of presidential candidate Donald Trump's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      Millionaire Rob Glaser on Wednesday announced the launch of, a site that aggregates media coverage and does original reporting on Trump's comments about Russia.

      * * * .

      [...]Glaser said that despite not being too well-versed on Russia before the 2016 election, he felt that the reporting on the issue lacked continuity and was more like an ice cream "flavor of the day." He's the sole patron of the site, through a political action committee.

      "Every day there's something outrageous said by Donald Trump," Glaser said. "What happens after a while is that people get numb to what the big picture is, because all they hear is the cacophony and all they see is the swirl."

      "If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him," Trump has said of Putin, adding that he expects to have a "very, very good relationship" with the Russian president, whom Trump views as more of a leader than President Barack Obama.

      The Republican nominee's campaign has reportedly worked against his party's call for giving weapons to Ukraine and upping sanctions against Russia. Amid cyberattacks with alleged Russian ties, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats have criticized Trump's stance on Putin.

      Glaser said Trump's stance marks a departure from one of the few constants of the past 70 years: the view that the Soviet Union, and now Russia, needed to be contained. Glaser said he thinks Russia does not share American political and institutional values such as free markets, openness and democracy.

      * * * *

      […]"You have this unprecedented alliance between a presidential candidate the leader of Russia and it's not being talked about as a whole," Glaser said. "All these different pieces aren't being put together." [emphasis added]

      So, a major partner at Accel, a huge investor in Crowdstrike, is ideologically committed to anti-Russian/ anti-Putin policies.

    • [Sibiriak]: Alperovitch and his CrowdStrike firm work for the Atlantic Council which is ideologically committed to a neoliberal, “demoracy promotion”, anti-Putin stance–and he is the source of the critical technical “evidence” ( weak as it is) implicating Putin in the DNC hacking

      Annie Robbins: wow sibiriak

      A bit more info I dug up.

      Crowdstrike’s Primary Funders are Warburg Pincus, Accel Partners, and Capital G (formerly Google Capital)

      Warburg Pincus - $100M

      Timothy Geithner is President of Warburg Pincus

      Geithner served in both the Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama administrations and is politically close to Hillary Clinton.


      Accel Partners --$56M

      Accel, formerly known as Accel Partners, is an American venture capital firm. Accel funds companies from inception through the growth stage. […]Accel has funded more than 300 companies, including Facebook,[5] Slack,[6] Dropbox,[7] Atlassian,[8] Flipkart,[9] Supercell,[10] Spotify,[11] Etsy,[12] Braintree/Venmo,[13] Vox Media,[14],[15] Qualtrics,[16] DJI,[17] Cloudera,[18][19] and GoFundMe.[20]

      Accel’s investments are have been closely tied the military-industrial-complex, funding military hardware, NSA surveillance and espionage technology, etc. and to the global extension of high-tech global capitalism.

      Accel has been involved with the Clinton Foundation.

      Chelsea Clinton joined the board of directors of IAC/InterActiveCorp. She is also working with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative. The IAC has also named Sonali De Rycker to its board. She is a partner at venture capital firm Accel Partners in London.

    • If a president criticizes the CIA's judgment, it could be TREASON. Yep, that's the latest anti-Trump talking point:

      Donald Trump raises specter of treason

      A specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump. He has brought it on himself by dismissing a bipartisan call for an investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee as a “ridiculous” political attack on the legitimacy of his election as president.

      Seventeen US national intelligence agencies have unanimously concluded that Russia engaged in cyberwarfare against the US presidential campaign. The lead agency, the CIA, has reached the further conclusion that Russia’s hacking was intended to influence the election in favor of Trump.

      The federal crime of treason is committed by a person “owing allegiance to the United States who . . . adheres to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort,” and misprision of treason is committed by a person “having knowledge of the commission of any treason [who] conceals and does not disclose” the crime.

      By denigrating or seeking to prevent an investigation of the Russian cyberattack Trump is giving aid or comfort to an enemy of the United States [...] [emphasis added]

    • Yep, going for the nuclear option:

      Keith Olbermann @KeithOlbermann

      "None Dare Call It Treason." If @realDonaldTrump will ignore CIA to listen instead to Russians, it's treason

    • Keith: The President of the United States has gone on record as saying that Putin has interfered in the election! And what are the ramifications of that?


      Oh, it's being taken much further than just Russian interference:

      One of the main targets of the cyber-attacks, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, gave his first interview since the election.

      “The Russians clearly intervened,” he told NBC. “I think it was distorted. A foreign adversary directly intervened into our democratic institution and tried to tilt the election to Donald Trump.”

      * * *
      [...] Podesta also said it was an “open question” whether Trump advisers colluded with Russia. “It’s very much unknown whether there was collusion,” he said. [ emphasis added]

      In other words, it's an open question whether the Trump team committed out and out treason.

      And what are the ramifications of that assertion?

    • ToivoS: There is almost nothing in those charges that Putin undermined the US election. The thesis is based on next to no evidence with just a little inference followed up with pure speculation.

      What's wrong with you ?! Is your brain stem malfunctioning?? Or are you suffering from an extreme patriotism deficit?

      CNN commentator Van Jones said on Sunday that President-elect Donald Trump had a patriotic duty to respond to Russia’s cyber attacks on the United States, which intelligence agencies say was an effort to sway the election in favor of the Republican candidate.

      This is baffling to anybody with a functioning brain stem,” Jones explained to a CNN panel. “We have to be honest about this.”

      According to Jones, Trump’s fondness for President Vladimir Putin is unlike the “warm things” that other presidents have said about Russia to foster diplomacy.

      “Not in the face of an active attack on the country!” he exclaimed. “Cyber war is real war. So you have an active attack on our country and you have the president-elect [who] cannot find in himself to say this is wrong and it needs to stop.”

      Jones noted that Trump has been quick to respond to personal and partisan attacks “but he cannot respond as a patriot to an attack” on American democracy by Russia. [emphasis added]

    • Majority Want Monday’s Electoral College Vote Postponed In Wake Of Russia Scandal: New Poll

      A majority of American voters favor delaying the December 19th Electoral College vote until electors can be fully briefed on Russian interference in the election, according to a new poll conducted by YouGov.

      The survey, sponsored by the progressive [sic] advocacy group Avaaz*, found 52 percent of people supportive of stalling the vote, set to take place Monday.

      A surprisingly high number of people ― 46 percent ― were also willing to support so-called “faithless electors,” the name given members of the Electoral College who spurn the vote of their home state and vote for a different candidate instead. [emphasis added]


      Well, it makes sense. Americans should put their faith in CIA reports. The NSA and DNI are prodigious fountains of truth as well. Without an informed public, real democracy is not possible.


      During the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests Avaaz setup internet proxy servers to allow protesters to upload videos onto public websites.[14]

      Avaaz supported the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya, which led to the military intervention in the country in 2011. It was criticized for its pro-intervention stance in the media and blogs.[15]

      Avaaz supported the civil uprising preceding the Syrian Civil War.

      * * *
      [...] Some senior members of other non-governmental organizations working in the middle east have criticized Avaaz for taking sides in a civil war.[14]

      As of November 2016, Avaaz continues campaigning for no-fly zones over Syria in general and specifically Aleppo.

      * * *

      [...]In the 2016 United States presidential election Avaaz campaigned against Donald Trump with the slogan "Defeat Donald Trump", and produced a software tool to simplify overseas voter registration.

      * * *
      [...]In 2008, Canadian conservative minister John Baird labeled Avaaz a "shadowy foreign organization" tied to billionaire George Soros.28]

      Another conservative Canadian, Ezra Levant,[29] tried to make a link between Soros and as an indirect supporter through MoveOn, but the article was later retracted as baseless and an apology was offered to Soros. [emphasis added]

    • KEITH: And what is the headline in the Seattle Times I wake up to see? “OBAMA: PUTIN BEHIND HACKING”. -

      Well, how about this:

      Russia accused of waging secret warfare against Britain using cyber attacks, espionage and fake news

      Or better yet:

      ‘RUSSIA PUSHING MIGRANT RAPES’ Russia may organise migrant sex attacks in Europe to make Angela Merkel lose German elections, EU experts claim

    • Another example from the anti-Russian propaganda tsunami, this time from the venerable, principled Liberal, Bil Moyers:

      It is very likely now that Donald Trump will be inaugurated as president of the United States on Jan. 20, in no small part because of the direct intervention in and manipulation of the American electoral process by Vladimir Putin, Russia’s strongman who rose to power as a ruthless agent of the KGB, the former Soviet Union’s secret police. [Actually, Putin was originally the favorite of Yeltsin and the West, looked at as a potential Pinochet type who would enforce the neoliberal order against a resistant population--Sibiriak]

      As we all know, The Washington Post and The New York Times recently reported just how deeply Russian hackers invaded the computers of the Democratic Party, a move intended to confuse voters with leaked excerpts of emails and other documents and thus throw a monkey wrench into the election. Now The Post reports that the CIA believes he Russian meddling was deliberately intended to help sway the vote in Trump’s favor. And NBC News says it was Putin himself who “personally directed” those leaks.

      Why did he do this? For one thing, according to Michael McFaul, the former American ambassador to Russia, Putin has a thing about Hillary Clinton. “He has had a vendetta against Hillary Clinton that has been known for a long time because of what she said about his elections back in the parliamentary elections of 2011,” McFaul told NBC News (Clinton had questioned the integrity of the Russian elections). But more important, McFaul continued, “He wants to discredit American democracy and make us weaker in terms of leading the liberal democratic order. And most certainly he likes President-elect Trump’s views on Russia.”

      * * *

      [...] It is, in the words of former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who briefed George W. Bush on 9/11 but supported Hillary Clinton this year, “an attack on our very democracy. It’s an attack on who we are as a people. A foreign government messing around in our elections is, I think, an existential threat to our way of life. To me, and this is to me not an overstatement, this is the political equivalent of 9/11.”

      Nancy LeTourneau notes at Washington Monthly’s Political Animal blog, “To understand what is happening here, it is important to reject the old Cold War frame about a contest between capitalism and communism. Russia has long since ceased to be a country built on the teachings of Karl Marx and has evolved into a right-wing ethno-nationalist plutocracy.” [No it hasn't. Completely distorts Russia's complex reality--Sibiriak.]

      ETC. [emphasis added]


      All talking points dutifully regurgitated. Garbage sources like McFaul and Morell regurgitated. Hyperbolic rhetoric, demonization memes and outright falsehoods regurgitated. The great liberal Bill Moyers, at his finest.

    • tokyobk: [Trump] will allow Putin to reshape the ME, starting with Syria, however Putin wants.

      Nonsense. Russia has no grand plan to reshape the ME, let alone the capacity to do so. And the U.S. is not going to suddenly abandon it's hegemonic policies.

    • Keith: And what does that say about how the media is lined up in the efforts of the CIA/Soros/Democrat domestic color revolution?


      Btw, a huge part of the "evidence" for Russian government- directed hacking comes from a private cyber security firm, CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC. Private firms like these have a direct financial interest in playing up various cyber threats and presenting themselves as know-it-all-experts regarding those threats.

      (Cf. The CrowdStrike Blog article "Bears in the Midst: Intrusion into the Democratic National Committee"

      But it goes much deeper than basic financial conflict of interests. The Co-founder and CTO of Crowdstrike, Dmitri Alperovitch, is closely tied to the Atlantic Council , an Atlanticist think tank with a long history of anti-Russian positions (Google "Atlantic Council Putin" ), "democracy promotion" etc.

      Dmitri Alperovitch Nonresident Senior Fellow, Cyber Statecraft Initiative

      Among the various luminaries at the Atlantic Council is one of your favorites, the illustrious freedom fighter, Madeleine Albright :

      Madeleine K. Albright is Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, Chair of Albright Capital Management, an affiliated investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets, and member of the Atlantic Council’s Board of Directors.

      Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley announced today [June 2015] the launch of the Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST). The Task Force is a bipartisan Atlantic Council initiative to try to better understand the underlying dynamics behind the current crises in the Middle East and develop a long-term framework for US policy in the region


      So, Alperovitch and his CrowdStrike firm work for the Atlantic Council which is ideologically committed to a neoliberal, "demoracy promotion", anti-Putin stance--and he is the source of the critical technical "evidence" ( weak as it is) implicating Putin in the DNC hacking.

    • The Baltic region, due to the large buildup of NATO forces there and the Russian response (including Kaliningrad).

    • yourstruly: the infamous HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) in its witch hunting crusades against Communists and so-called fellow travelers.

      Now the witch-hunting crusades will be at least in part against alternative media sites and will be led by the MSM, Google, Facebook et al. under the banner of combating "fake news."

      Cf. NBC Evening News in Denver Defames Naked Capitalism

      Counterpunch was dropped from Google News the day after the Post legitimated the propaganda site PropOrNot’s false accusation that Counterpunch was a Putin stooge. Even though Counterpunch sought reinstatement and got itself removed from PropOrNot’s blacklist, Google has refused to reinstate them and has not given any explanation as to why.

      We are now the subject of a direct attack. This segment, which ran on December 13 on “Next with Kyle Clark” which is part of NBC’s Denver’s news affiliate 6PM news show, should convince you otherwise that the threat to independent sites is real and growing:

      See video: "How to spot fake news, and sketchy alley guys" here:

      Hilariously stupid video-- if it wasn't indicative of such a dangerous trend.

      Yves Smith:

      [...] I suggest you read up on the McCarthy era. People who were targeted had their careers ruined. Some committed suicide.

      We have policy impact. We will lose that if these attacks take hold. Site writers will be unable to get jobs that require stringent background checks. We have one former writer who is looking for a job right now and this is a real issue for him.

      And you miss that Facebook has started a crowd-sourced effort to identify “fake news” sites to block. Google is doing the same. If Google were to stop indexing us, it would be as if we didn’t exist. Naked Capitalism would not come up even if you Googled “naked capitalism”. You could find us only if you typed in the URL for the site or a specific article.

    • (Cont.)

      Technique: End with a few comments indicating that the “reporting” is realistic, balanced and based on a wide variety of different sources.

      American officials have concluded that Putin's network controls some $85 billion worth of assets, officials told NBC News. Neither the CIA nor the Office of the Director of National Intelligence would comment.

      A former CIA official who worked on Russia told NBC News that it's not clear the U.S. can embarrass Putin, given that many Russians are already familiar with allegations he has grown rich through corruption and has ordered the killings of political adversaries.

      But a currently serving U.S. intelligence official said that there are things Putin is sensitive about, including anything that makes him seem weak.

      The former CIA official said the Obama administration may feel compelled to respond before it leaves office.

      "This whole thing has heated up so much," he said. "I can very easily see them saying, `We can't just say wow, this was terrible and there's nothing we can do.'"


      Finally: Sit back and watch as the propaganda points echo across the transnational elite media network.

      E.g. in the UK’s “liberal” The Guardian we find:

      Vladimir Putin 'personally involved' in US hack, report claims

      Russian president made key decisions in operation seen as revenge for past criticisms by Hillary Clinton, says NBC

      So, a story based on nothing more than sheer speculation and manufactured talking points is on its way to endless repetition and becoming almost unchallengeable conventional wisdom.

    • (Cont.)
      Technique: Repeat key phrases that serve as bases for memes/talking points.

      E.g. the “vendetta” meme. First introduced:

      Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said.

      Then repeated:

      "He has had a vendetta against Hillary Clinton , that has been known for a long time because of what she said about his elections back in the parliamentary elections of 2011. He wants to discredit American democracy and make us weaker in terms of leading the liberal democratic order. And most certainly he likes President-elect Trump's views on Russia," McFaul added

      Is it just coincidence that both the “high level intelligence source” and ex-ambassador McFaul use the same “vendetta” expression? Or perhaps Mc Faul is actually the only source involved here? Or is it a case of coordinated, pre-planned MSM/ political establishment meme insemination?

      Or the meme Putin is a dictatorial strongman with a thin skin :


      Clinton: Putin 'a Tough Guy with a Thin Skin

      Repeated as:

      But a currently serving U.S. intelligence official said that there are things Putin is sensitive about, including anything that makes him seem weak.

    • (Cont.)

      Technique: Quote the unsubstantiated opinions of an extremely biased ideologue without giving the slightest hint that he/she is an extremely biased ideologue.

      "It is most certainly consistent with the Putin that I have watched and used to work with when I was an ambassador and in the government," said Michael McFaul , who was ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.

      "He has had a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, that has been known for a long time because of what she said about his elections back in the parliamentary elections of 2011. He wants to discredit American democracy and make us weaker in terms of leading the liberal democratic order. And most certainly he likes President-elect Trump's views on Russia," McFaul added. Clinton cast doubt on the integrity of Russia's elections.

      McFaul is a favorite MSM “go to guy” for anti-Russian quotes.


      Technique: Include links/videos/photos to reinforcing propaganda pieces

      Tillerson is 'Gift for Putin,' Former Top Russian Minister Says

      Clinton: Putin 'a Tough Guy with a Thin Skin

      A file picture dated 15 June 2012 shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), Krasnodar region Governor Alexander Tkachev (C) and ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson

    • Keith, check out this NBC article.

      U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Involved in U.S. Election Hack

      It’s a perfect template for a MSM propaganda piece.

      Technique: Repeatedly cite unnamed but supposedly reliable “official” sources

      U.S. intelligence officials now believe with "a high level of confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.

      Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.

      Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said.


      Technique: Add additional spin to the spin provided by the unnamed “official sources”

      Ultimately, the CIA has assessed, the Russian government wanted to elect Donald Trump.

      The FBI and other agencies don't fully endorse that view, but few officials would dispute that the Russian operation was intended to harm Clinton's candidacy by leaking embarrassing emails about Democrats.

      * *.*

      Now the U.S has solid information tying Putin to the operation, the intelligence officials say. Their use of the term "high confidence" implies that the intelligence is nearly incontrovertible.

    • Annie Robbins: checked out keith olbermann lately?

      Yep. I'd say he qualifies as someone spewing out what Toivo aptly labels " hysterical group think" :

      Donald Trump has been installed as president by a bloodless coup carried out by Russia and “traitorous” Republicans , according to Keith Olbermann.

      We are at war with Russia ,” Olbermann said. “Or perhaps more correctly, we have a lost a war with Russia without a battle. We are no longer a sovereign nation, we are no longer a democracy, we are no longer a free people — we are the victims of a bloodless coup.”

      * * *
      [...]“There is no time for a full review or a measured analysis or recommendations to prevent interference in our future elections,” Olbermann said. “Because permitting Donald Trump to assume the office of president reduces the chance that we will have any future elections. The nation and all of our freedoms hang by a thread, and the military apparatus of this country is about to be handed over to scum who are beholden to scum — Russian scum. ” [emphasis added]


  • Theresa May adopts a definition of anti-Semitism that demonizes Israel's critics
    • @RoHa:

      Example evils of Zionism: (short list; expand/revise at will):

      Ethnic cleansing
      War crimes
      Crimes against Humanity
      Occupation of Palestinian territory
      Denial of Palestinian right of self-determination
      Expanding settlements in the West Bank
      Refusal to accept a Palestinian State
      Ethnocratic/theocratic governance in Israel.
      Anti-Arab racism
      Discrimination against Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel.

      Which of these evils of Zionism (or others) do you claim are supported by the “vast majority of Jews”? On what evidentiary basis?

      If you cannot specify and substantiate your accusation, then I’m afraid you are engaging in anti-Jewish prejudice.

      If you mean simply that most Jews support the historical creation of a Jewish-majority state in Palestine, then it has to be pointed out that such support is hardly a special characteristic of Jews-- there has been widespread international support for the creation of Israel. Therefore, Jewish support for the creation of Israel would not constitute a rational basis for an negative attitude toward, let alone hatred for, Jews as a group.

      It also has to be pointed out that in the U.S. (and elsewhere, no doubt) favorable attitudes toward Israel remain quite widespread among the non-Jewish population:

      Today, majorities of conservative Republicans (79%) and moderate and liberal Republicans (65%) say they sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians, while just 4% and 13%, respectively, sympathize more with the Palestinians. This is the case for conservative and moderate Democrats as well – far more have a more sympathetic view of Israel (53%) than of the Palestinians (19%). Liberal Democrats, however, are more divided, with four-in-ten (40%) sympathizing more with the Palestinians, versus a third (33%) with Israel.

    • RoHa: also seems to me that the vast majority of Jews do support the evil of Zionism


      What specific "evil" of "Zionism" (a term people understand in many different ways) are you saying the "vast majority of Jews" support? And, most importantly, what evidence to you have to substantiate that claim?

    • eljay: That right of self-determination does not comprise a “right” to an oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and/or religion-supremacist “Jewish State”.

      Absolutely true.

      The right of self-determination of peoples cannot be used to negate other fundamental rights and principles, such as that of equality.

      Chapter 1, Article 1, part 2 states that purpose of the UN Charter is: "To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples , and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace. "[22]

      Article 1 in both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [23] and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) [24] reads:

      "All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. " [emphasis added]

      A right to freely determine political status and freely pursue economic, social and cultural development in no way implies a right to discriminate against minorities, deny another people their rights, set up an apartheid regime, commit war crimes etc.

      On the other hand, you yourself have stated that if Israel's Jewish-majority granted equality to non-Jews, Israel could be a “culturally Jewish” state while ceasing to be a “supremacist” Jewish state.

    • eljay: People who wish to be Jewish should have a right to self-determine as Jewish.

      In international law, the right of self-determination applies to whole peoples, not individual persons, i.e. it is a collective right, not an individual right.

      The argument to be made, then, if you wish to make it, is that there is no collective Jewish people inside Israel that can make a legitimate claim for the right to self-determination of peoples .

  • 'We betrayed the legacy of the Holocaust': Professor Yair Auron pushes Israel to confront complicity with Bosnian genocide
    • @Keith

      K Brenner appears to be some kind of fanatical anti-Russian bigot.

      How else to explain comments like:

      A lying, conniving, Eastern Orthodox supremacist snake. [emphasis added]

      Nasty vilification of the Eastern Orthodox church is a hallmark of a malignant Ukrainian-style hatred-driven ethno-nationalism.


      [K Renner: ] Opposition to boorish, potato-faced Russian ethno-nationalists is about the only thing the likes of McCain and Lindsey Graham get right when it comes to geopolitics. [emphasis added]

      "Potato-faced " Wtf? I have no problem listening to a rational critique of Russian policy in Ukraine, Syria etc. even if I disagree with it. But the "potato-faced" slur is just despicable anti-Russian racism.

      [K Renner: ] I for one would have no problem with Ukrainian atheletes refusing to shake hands with Russians, or spitting at Russians, or hitting Russians, because of the war in Donetsk. [emphasis added]

      Advocating physically assaulting individual Russian athletes at public events? K Renner is a raging anti-Russian bigot of the worse kind, completely unable to control his/her violent emotions.

      [K Renner: ] As Israel is responsible for the conflict with the Palestinians, Russia is responsible for the situation in East Ukraine.

      The analogy is completely wrong, of course. But given K Renner's raging bigotry and demonstrated inability to engage in rational discourse, I think it would be a waste of time to get into a factual debate with him/her. YMMV.

  • Israel advocates worry Trump's pick for State has anti-Israel bias
    • Tillerson will be forced to go on record embracing the bipartisan anti-Russian /anti-Putin dogma point by point during his confirmation hearings. If he shows the slightest hesitation, he will be voted down.

      With a slim 52-48 majority in the Senate, it would only take three Republicans in revolt to cast Tillerson’s job in doubt. He would face aggressive questioning from Republican foreign policy hawks, led by John McCain.

      “I have, obviously, concerns about his relationship with Vladimir Putin, who is a thug and a murderer, but obviously we will have hearings on that issue and other issues concerning him will be examined and then it’s the time to make up your mind on whether to vote yes or no,” the Arizona senator told CNN on Saturday.

      McCain’s former chief of staff, Mark Salter, was far more blunt on Twitter. “Tillerson would sell out Nato for Sakhalin oil and his pal, Vlad,” he wrote. “Should be a rough confirmation hearing, and a no vote on the Senate floor.”

  • 'Love thy neighbor as thyself' -- Really?
    • tokyobk: [Maghlawatan:] “Judaism doesn’t solve problems via discussion. You are either in agreement with the rest or you are an enemy.”

      Sheer ignorance. Judaism only solves problems through discussion.

      A whole lot of absolute either/or's being used by both sides here regarding the complex phenomena labeled "Judaism".

      [Cue Keith to quote Israel Shahak on classical Judaism ; - ) ]

      Hopefully, we can avoid the diversion.

  • Defending Ellison, Jewish writers publish 'apartheid' description of Israel in 'Slate' and 'Washington Post'
    • joemowrey,

      Thanks for drawing attention to Ellison's warmongering (aka, liberal interventionism), especially regarding Syria.

      Keith Ellison in 2013:

      ...30 anti-war activists mobilized on very short notice and succeeded in speaking.

      Representative Ellison opened the meeting by explaining his decision to vote for bombing Syria. His reasons follow the administration’s line. He said, “ Every country has an obligation to defend its citizens from mass atrocities and when they don’t the U.S. has the responsibility to do it by force if necessary.” [emphasis added]


      A concise statement of American exceptionalism. No doubt Ellison would not recognize the same "responsibility to protect" (R2P) for Russia or other states not on board with Western global domination.


      Ed Felien cited the reports which dispute the claims the Syrian government used sarin gas and asked, “How'd you get your evidence?” Ellison replied that he got it from the Syrian American community.

      John Kolstad called on Ellison to call for the release of the documents which the administration claim shows the Syria government is guilty of using chemical weapons. He recalled Representative Alan Grayson’s (Democrat from Florida) Sept. 5 questioning of Secretary of State John Kerry, at the House hearing on releasing the communication report of the Syrian generals, which some sources say contradicts the administration version.

      One activist asked, “Are we going to drop DU [depleted uranium], white phosphorous and cluster bombs - all weapons of mass destruction - to deal with weapons of mass destruction?”

      * * *

      [...] Bruce Nestor from the National Lawyers Guild of Minnesota noted that it’s against international law to go to war without authorization from the UN.

      He said, “Would it have been OK if Russia or China had shot missiles at U.S. troops to stop the slaughter of 100,000 Iraqis by the U.S. and NATO?”

  • I hereby chuck my right to Jewish national self-determination
    • Keith: Ah yes, “hate crime.” A special category created to exaggerate crimes with Jewish victims.

      In fairness, I'd say that neo-progressives (the identity politics Left) deserve a large amount of blame for promoting the "hate crime" concept (along with concepts like "safe spaces", "non-platforming", "trigger warnings" , etc.) and its use to suppress reasonable debate and the free exchange of ideas.

    • Today, if you question the concept of Zionism or the way in which the modern State of Israel is set up, you will quickly find yourself accused of being antisemitic.

      UK adopts antisemitism definition to combat hate crime against Jews

      The government is to formally adopt a definition of what constitutes antisemitism, which includes over-sweeping condemnation of Israel, with Theresa May saying the measure will help efforts to combat hate crime against Jews.

      Britain will become one of the first countries to use this definition of antisemitism, as agreed last May at a conference of the Berlin-based International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the prime minister will say in London.

      A Downing Street statement said the intention of such a definition was to “ensure that culprits will not be able to get away with being antisemitic because the term is ill-defined, or because different organisations or bodies have different interpretations of it”.

      The IHRA’s definition reads: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

      More detailed guidance on this, released by the IHRA in May, said this could include criticisms which target Israel, if this was “conceived as a Jewish collectivity”. It added: “However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

      The guidance says it could be considered antisemitic to accuse Jews of being more loyal to Israel or their religion than to their own nations, or to say the existence of Israel is intrinsically racist.

      * * *

      A spokeswoman for Corbyn said he and Labour agreed with the IHRA’s definition.

      * * *

      Police forces already use a version of the IHRA definition to help officers decide what could be considered antisemitism. [emphasis added]

      The guidance document examples of antisemitism include:

      Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

      Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
      Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

  • Washington Post promotes shady website attempting to smear independent journalism as Russian propaganda
    • Russia had a motive to do the hacking

      This is the basis for an incredibly weak cui bono argument:

      * Trump gained from the email hacking.
      * Russia gained from Trump’s election.
      * Therefore, Russia was responsible for the email hacking.

      The conclusion, of course, does not logically follow. There are many other individuals and groups that might have been motivated to do the hacking. Assange himself had a motive. Hillary Clinton had many enemies. There are legions of hackers who would have loved to get the emails. The fact that Russia may have gained from it is NOT proof that the Russian government actually did it, merely grounds for suspicion.

      And yet Clapper & Co don't merely report reasonable suspicions, they jump straight to a guilty verdict.

    • The hacking methods were consistent with Russian methods.

      This is an incredibly weak argument. Are there some specifically Russian methods of hacking emails? It certainly doesn’t seem like it, and that has never been demonstrated.

      If standard, well-known, widely-used hacking methods were employed, then the consistent with Russian methods argument is completely meaningless and constitutes no evidence whatsoever for Russian involvement.

      So, what were the highly sophisticated methods used?

      Well, now we learn that:

      An obvious phishing scam and a hasty email allowed hackers into campaign chair John Podesta’s inbox.

      […]John Podesta, saw a warning email in his inbox back in March, claiming to be from Google. Podesta needed to change his Gmail password immediately, the email said.

      So an "obvious" phishing email of the most basic sort requesting Podesta change his password—that’s “consistent” with the supposedly highly sophisticated Russian methods we’ve been told about over and over?

      No, the “consistency” argument fails completely.

    • Regarding supposed evidence for Russian hacking, let’s take a look back at the critical statement from Jim Clapper, the head of the DNI.

      [Keep in mind that Clapper was previously busted for perjuring himself in testimony to Congress: ]


      Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security Release Date: October 7, 2016

      The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts.

      These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities. [emphasis added]

      So the “evidence” against Russia boils down to these arguments:

      1) The hacking methods were consistent with Russian methods.
      2) Russia had a motive to do the hacking.
      3) The hacking was such a "sensitive" effort that senior Russian officials must have authorized it.

    • Annie Robbins: Anyway, it's being met with lots of pushback all over the net.


      Yes, some pushback --against an overwhelming tsunami.

      Former Acting CIA Director Calls Russian Interference In Election ‘The Political Equivalent Of 9/11’

      “A foreign government messing around in our elections is, I think, an existential threat to our way of life,” he said.

      The equivalent of 9/11?? Think about the implications of that!

      [Annie Robbins:] i think it's a plot to scare up a furry and influence the electoral college to vote for hillary instead.

      It's much bigger than that, bigger than the Democrats looking for a scapegoat, bigger than a partisan attempt to delegitimize Trump.

      This is deep state pushback against and a possible Trump-led detente with Russia . And more than that: the CIA may be taking the momentary lead (infuriated by the recent Russian/Syrian victory in Aleppo, no doubt), but this is a preemptive war waged by the entire transnational political/military Establishment against an existential threat to their world order.

      And it seems huge numbers of liberals and progressives are willing to jump on the bandwagon-- anything to hurt Trump, by any means necessary.

    • Annie Robbins: “blocked” huh?

      Yes, I often get blocked by:

      Sucuri WebSite Firewall - CloudProxy - Access Denied
      Block reason: Exploit attempt denied.

      I've emailed both CloudProxy and MW multiple times to no avail.

      I've figured out a few workarounds, but they don't always work.

    • Bill Binney, the former technical director of the NSA, shares Carr’s skepticism about the Russian attribution.

      “Saying it does not make it true,” he told me. “They have to provide proof. . . So let’s see the evidence


      There doesn't appear to be any evidence.

    • Continued:

      “OK,” wrote Jeffrey Carr, the CEO of cybersecurity firm Taia Global, in a derisive blog post on the case. “Raise your hand if you think that a GRU or FSB officer would add Iron Felix’s name to the metadata of a stolen document before he released it to the world while pretending to be a Romanian hacker.”

      As Carr, a rare skeptic regarding the official line on the hacks, explained to me, “They’re basically saying that the Russian intelligence services are completely inept. That one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing, that they have no concern about using a free Russian email account or a Russian server that has already been known to be affiliated with cybercrime. This makes them sound like the Keystone Cops. Then, in the same breath, they’ll say how sophisticated Russia’s cyberwarfare capabilities are.”

    • "Intelligence officials and private cybersecurity companies believe" = speculation at best, propaganda at worst. Who are these officials? Who pays these companies?

      Andrew Cockburn, " The New Red Scare "

      CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm that first claimed to have traced an official Russian connection — garnering plenty of free publicity in the process — asserted that two Russian intelligence agencies, the FSB and the GRU, had been working through separate well-known hacker groups, Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear. The firm contended that neither agency knew that the other was rummaging around in the D.N.C. files.

      Furthermore, one of the hacked and leaked documents had been modified “by a user named Felix Dzerzhinsky, a code name referring to the founder of the Soviet Secret Police.” (Dzerzhinsky founded the Cheka, the Soviet secret police and intelligence agency, in 1917.) Here was proof, according to another report on the hack, that this was a Russian intelligence operation.

    • What's the evidence ? Jonathan Chait again:

      The CIA’s analysis is obviously not infallible, but it fits with a wide array of other evidence. Russia had a clear motive: chilly relations with the Democratic administration that had orchestrated sanctions against it, close ties with Donald Trump and several of his advisers, and a series of pro-Russian positions from Trump on such issues as Crimea, NATO, and Vladimir Putin’s human rights abuses.

      A qui bono argument is not evidence. Besides, many groups/individuals might be motivated to hurt Clinton, to help Trump, or...simply to get the truth out.

      [Chait:] Russia also hacked the Republican National Committee but declined to release any of the contents.

      Unsubstantiated assertion. Not evidence. Same dubious sources.

      [Chait] The disruption was intentionally one-sided. The CIA’s conclusion merely lends incrementally more confidence to a deduction that was already fairly obvious.

      "It's obvious" is not evidence!

      Seriously, that's all the "evidence" Chait could muster to support his claim of "near-certainty."

    • Jonathan Chait writes:

      Of the many things that resulted in Donald Trump’s election, from Hillary Clinton’s own errors to James Comey’s extraordinary insinuations against her in the contest’s final stages, Russian hacking played a meaningful enough role to tilt a razor-tight contest, Russia successfully riled up Bernie Sanders die-hards against the Democratic Party by leaking minor intrigue that fueled their suspicions, aggravating a Clinton liability with young voters that never healed. They also dribbled out enough emails in the succeeding months to keep stories using the word “emails” in the lead of Hillary Clinton news, adding more smoke to the haze of scandal that permeated coverage of her campaign.

      We now know with near-certainty that Russia did this with the goal of electing Trump president. During the campaign, this reality was not quite certain enough to be reported as fact. Trump, of course, insisted there was no evidence Russia even had a hand in the attacks, let alone with the goal of helping him. (It “could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”)

      Elements of the left decried suspicions of Russia’s role as “neo-McCarthyism.” The Nation editorialized, “ liberal-media elites have joined with the Clinton campaign in promoting the narrative of a devious Russian cyber-attack.” Others on the left insisted that the substance of the stolen emails command far more importance than their provenance, which in any case was disputed and unknowable. On October 31, the New York Times reported that the attack was probably “aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.” [emphasis added

    • Annie Robbins: the washington post is stepping up its game. instead of merely publishing a cia front group claiming our free press are russian agents now they’ve published a “secret cia assessment” claiming russia tried to help trump

      And the "liberal" press is really running with this story. Huffington Post headlines today are screaming out:




      "Intelligence Community Grows Concerned... How To Brief A President Who Doesn’t Believe The Intel?... Trump Only Getting One Intelligence Brief A Week... Concerns Grow Over Trump Ties To Russia With Leading SecState Pick...

      I think what we are seeing goes much deeper than simply partisan politics, although that's a big part of it (e.g., the Democratic establishment looking for excuses for Clinton's loss.)

      The possibility of a rapprochement between the West and Russia is deeply threatening not only to the U.S. deep state, but to the entire "Western" geopolitical/ideological order.

      By launching such a serious attack on the legitimacy of Trump's presidency, I believe the neoliberal/neocon stablishment aims to make it politically difficult for Trump to undermine the New Cold War anti-Russian consensus, since any such steps would only seem to confirm the charges of Russian electoral manipulation.

  • Groundswell for Ellison signals end of the era of political assassination by Israel lobby
    • Citizen: guided by a tiny state comprising 7 million?


      A tiny state in league with a large number of rich and influential American Jewish Zionists , and tens of millions of American Christian Zionists, and tens of millions of American Exceptionalist Zionists.

  • More than half of US aid 'to entire world' goes to Israel and it ignores our warnings on settlements -- Kerry
    • JWalters: it [sanction conditions] would include a cessation and reversal of land thefts, AKA “settlements”.

      Bingo! International sanctions would be conditioned on Israel taking concrete steps to implement the international consensus regarding a TWO STATE settlement.

      All the major world powers-all the states that could put teeth into sanctions-- the Arab League, and most all other UN members, are on board with that two-state consensus.

      Btw, China joined in to completely solidify that consensus earlier this year:

      Chinese President Xi Jinping [...] called for establishing a Palestinian state within the pre-1967-war borders amid efforts by Beijing to assert its economic and political clout in the Middle East.

      Addressing the Cairo-based Arab League, Xi said the Palestinian problem "should not be marginalized."

      "China supports the peaceful process in the Middle East [and] the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital being eastern Jerusalem," he added

      The actual alternative to two states is not one democratic state, but rather either continued occupation/apartheid or Israeli annexation of territory +Palestinian fragmentation (Gaza linking in one way or another with Egypt, the WB with Jordan, or other such scenarios.)

      International sanctions and other coercive measures will be directly tied to the international two-state consensus. There is no way international sanctions will ever be conditioned on Israel absorbing Gaza and the West Bank to form a single state. Such a violation of state sovereignty and territorial integrity would be completely antithetical to international norms and anathema to the world's community of sovereignty-loving states.

    • echinococcus: As for sanctions against Russia, they preceded the Minsk agreement as far as I know -


      I gave you the links for the E.U. sanctions-- conditions for lifting them are clearly declared.

      International sanctions on Iran etc. had conditions. The US played politics with them, for sure. But an international agreement eventually came.

      Are you really so stupid as to suggest that international sanctions would be put on Israel without any conditions stated???

      You can't be that stupid.

      More like, the obvious answer to the question of conditions is too unpleasant for you to stomach.

    • JWalters: And all that weapons money will be utterly useless against international sanctions.


      International sanctions. Alright. Let's suppose that one day they do come about.

      What do you think the conditions would be? International sanctions must come with specific conditions.

      For example, EU sanctions on Russia are conditioned on the implementation of a peace deal that Germany and France negotiated between Russia and Ukraine.

      So, if sanctions are put on Israel, it will be declared that Israel will have to do X in order to have the sanctions lifted.

      What do you think that X will be?

  • US Senate quickly passed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act
    • echinococcus: The point is that [the pre-1967 "Green Line" border] can be renegotiated. Hence it is not any country’s borders [...]

      Inane argument. Any countries' borders can be (re)negotiated at any time. Mutually agreed changes can be made at any time. The mere possibility of renegotiation does not make a border not a border.

      (Cf. just recently: )

      but just an armistice line maintained by naked force

      No. That armistice line evolved into an internationally recognized border.
      Hostage has demonstrated this in dozens of posts. See links above (Sibiriak December 4, 2016, 9:55 pm).

      And no, Israel does not maintain the pre-1967 border by force--it rejects it and uses force to violate international law.

      The fact that Israel rejects international law, however, does not change the reality of its legal borders.

      and a fake Oslo agreement.

      No. Israel's borders were legally established long before the fraudulent Oslo Agreements.

    • echinococcus: [ a Palestinian plebiscite] certainly looks like not doable before getting rid of the entire occupation, nohow. They should have thought of it when they started the partition nonsense.

      Indeed, but it’s too late now, as talknic correctly stated. Way, way, way too late.

      A plebiscite now to completely reverse history? "Not doable", you say. No kidding. A total fantasy.

      Except perhaps turning around US policy entirely...

      Greater pressure on Israel (including real international sanctions) to implement the international two-state consensus-- that might be possible.

      But get the U.S. to support the demise of Israel and to support a Palestinian right to disenfranchise/expel all of Israel’s millions of Zionist Jews-- More fantasizing. Moral purism run amok.


      [echinococcus:] Get a plebiscite of all Palestinians, without the invaders, and you’ll be closer to international legality.

      * * * *

      The [Palestinian plebiscite] question is simple: Do you agree to the presence of Zionist invaders, as equals, anywhere on Palestinian soil?

      A plebiscite including a group of people OUTSIDE of a UN member state, not citizens of that state, to strip away the all the legal rights of citizens of that UN member state?

      Are you really so stupid as to think that wouldn’t be a complete repudiation of international legality?

      I don’t think so.

      So what’s the point then about banging on and on about such an unfeasible, impossible, fantasy-land, international-law repudiating plebiscite?

      Do you think merely invoking such a inane plebiscite idea constitutes some form of argument?

    • echinococcus: Get a plebiscite of all Palestinians, without the invaders, and you’ll be closer to international legality.


      Wow! Great idea! A plebiscite of all the Palestinians-- in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and elsewhere around the world.

      Should be doable. (Putting aside the minor problem of getting rid of the Zionist invaders beforehand.)

      And what exactly are you suggesting the plebiscite question should be?

    • Newt Gingrich declared that the Palestinians are an "invented" people who want to destroy Israel.

      Palestinians and their supporters should declare that the Jews are an "invented" people who want to destroy Palestine.

      Why not? Give them a shot of their own medicine.

      What could possibly go wrong?

    • Philemon: Sibiriak: “Israel exists as an internationally recognized UN member state and has the same rights and duties as every other UN member state.” And how it got to be one we will not inquire into, because it would be better not to, nor will we inquire into how it has failed in its duties “as a UN member state"

      Nonsense. Of course we shall inquire into Israel's maleficent history, and of course we shall loudly proclaim that Israel has failed in its duties and that Israel continually violates Palestinian rights and commit crimes against humanity. And of course we shall take ACTION to stop those crimes.

      But rejecting international law, which is indeed quite flawed in many respects, is not going to help the Palestinian cause. One of the main reasons the BDS movement has been so successful is that it recognizes the great practical and moral power that comes from having international law on your side. It would be an incredibly unwise move to throw that away.

    • Mooser: “Israel exists” And what are Israel’s borders?

      According to international law: the pre-1967 "Green Line" is the dividing line between Israeli territory and occupied Palestinian territory. That border can only be changed via negotiations, and there is no requirement that such negotiations ever take place. This has been affirmed in numerous UN resolutions and made crystal clear by the International Court of Justice in the 2004 "Wall" opinion.

      Please search for "borders" or "armistice lines" in Hostage's archives for 100's of posts that prove this fact.

      Or see some of my posts on the topic:


      [mooser:]At what point does Israel’s flagrant violation of the duties of a state start to interfere with its “right to exist”?

      I didn't say Israel had a "right to exist"; I say that Israel exists as a recognized UN member state and therefore, under international law, has rights.

      Those rights include the right not to have its territorial integrity violated. They include the right to sovereign control over the national territory; the right to make and apply laws with full civil jurisdiction, and to operate police and security forces etc.legally and unchallenged over the national territory. They include the right of access to international courts and other institutions of international governance; the right to make legally binding treaties with other states--and so on and so forth.

      On the other hand, according to international law, Israel has NO right to deny the Palestinian people their right to self-determination in Palestinian territory. Israel has NO right to set up an apartheid regime in the West Bank. Israel has NO right to build settlements on Palestinian territory or annex Palestinian territory. All this has been made crystal clear in numerous UN resolutions and by the ICJ.

      The UN et al. are free to sanction Israel for these violations of Palestinian rights. The BDS movement aims to make that happen.

    • Ismail: States are not the sorts of things to which rights apply.

      Actually, the idea that states have rights and duties is foundational to modern international law.

      For overview of the subject, please see:

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

      Being the most prominent among the different subjects of international law, a State is by definition endowed with the capability of bearing rights and duties under international law.

      * * *

      Starting with the 17th century, the view was developed, especially by Hugo Grotius, of a natural legal order applying also to moral persons or collective entities such as States.

      * * *

      With regard to the development of written legal instruments dealing with fundamental rights and duties of States, several significant results were achieved during the 20th century.

      The Montevideo Convention of 1933 constituted one of the first examples of insertion of ‘rights and duties’ of States in a multilateral legally binding instrument.

      Whilst no express recognition was given on that occasion of their ‘fundamental’ character, rights recognized by the Montevideo Convention included the right to political existence, independence, self-preservation, jurisdiction, and equality. As to the duties, mention was made, inter alia, of non-intervention, respect for other States’ rights and the pacific settlement of disputes.

      [emphasis added]


      Israel exists as an internationally recognized UN member state and has the same rights and duties as every other UN member state.

      Of course, there are disputes about the exact nature of those states' rights and duties, just as there are disputes about individuals' rights and duties.

  • ADL is leading 'witch hunt' against Keith Ellison over Israel comments, J Street exec says
    • Identity politics?

      Hillary "Let's Make History" Clinton:

      “Sen. Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me, a woman running to be the first woman president, as exemplifying the establishment.”

  • It is time to imagine how one state-- one person, one vote-- will work
    • It is now commonly acknowledged that the two state solution has become physically impossible to implement. [emphasis added]


      No. There are is nothing physically impossible about a two-state settlement. The impossibility is entirely political/psychological. And the very same political/psychological barriers that make a 2SS currently impossible make a single democratic state even more impossible.

    • Maghlawatan, I love you, man.

  • 'Tis the season, to boycott!
    • echinococcus: What exists can be made to unexist.

      Only if there is sufficient power to make such a change.

      How do you propose to make Israel unexist?

      Oh, you've already told us-- you think the nuclear-armed and superpower-backed State of Israel is going to be militarily defeated in a great bloody regional conflagration.

      Extremely unlikely, and not particularly desirable.

      On the other hand, you wish to negate two of the most powerful forces on the Palestinian side--international law and the rights- based BDS movement, both which call for an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory acquired in 1967 , not the demise of Israel itself.

      The fact that Israel exists and is a recognized member of the U.N. means that, like it or not, morally correct or not, the state of Israel has rights under international law, the most important being the right to territorial integrity . On the other hand, international law makes it clear that Israel has no right to deny the Palestinian people its right to self-determination on its own territory in the West Bank and Gaza.

      You, however, call for the military destruction of the state of Israel and a plebiscite that would allow Palestinian Arabs to strip most Jewish Israelis of their citizenship and subject them to expulsion. Both of those actions would be blatant violations of international law.

      International law is obviously highly flawed and morally imperfect-- but it's a powerful force that's on the Palestinian side.

      It would be an incredibly stupid move to throw that away, considering the overall weakness of the Palestinian position.

      And it would be an incredibly stupid move to reject the rights-based BDS movement, which harnesses international law to its cause, avoids the divisive 1SS vs 2SS debate, and has thereby been incredibly successful.

      And yet, you do both.

      Out of an utterly misguided moral purism.

    • eljay: Which leave 92-95% of Jews pushed out of the Levant

      Indeed. Putting aside whatever plausible deniability he thinks he gets his imaginary "plebiscite" notion, that is exactly what echinococcus is calling for.

      And in doing so he is simply repeating (ad nauseum) a central Zionist talking point-- that the ideal goal of the BDS movement, and Palestinian resistance in general, is to dismantle the State of Israel and throw out the bulk of the Jewish population.

      I'm not saying that echinococcus is a "crypto-Zionist", though he could be. It's impossible to know for sure.

      More likely he repeats Zionist talking points simply because they are the logical outcome of his moral purism, his idea that "strict justice" trumps every other human value, and that the voicing the morally perfect position is more important than actually achieving any increase in human welfare.

      Echinococcus' moral purism in his own words:

      This is about what should be strived for in strict justice, not about what will effectively be done [...] [emphasis added]

      The ultimate aim of echino's moral purism is virtue signaling:

      [echinococcus] Your problem may be in the following:

      [eljay:] I acknowledge that the “Jewish State” project is illegitimate

      Acknowledging does not show your intentions with regard to an injustice; your readiness to overturn it is the only objective criterion. [emphasis added]

      So there you have it: for echino, showing morally perfect intentions are all that count; realism and results don't matter much.

    • RoHa: Why on earth is there a comma in the headline?

      To indicate a pause, presumably.

      ‘Tis the season [pause] to boycott! is quite different from ‘Tis the season to boycott! .

      Perhaps, though, you would prefer a dash or period instead of the comma?

  • Tulsi Gabbard's screw-the-neocons meeting with Trump sparks anger, derision, encouragement
    • Bandolero: What’s wrong with Modi?

      The fusion of extreme Hindu nationalism and hard-line neoliberalism isn't entirely ideal.

  • Sanders says fight among Democrats is to go 'beyond identity politics' and stand for all working people
    • KEITH: [...]Modi’s demonetization of India? In capitalism, money is power. Modi has essentially dis-empowered India’s 99% beyond belief.

      Interesting analysis here from a German blogger:

      "A well-kept open secret: Washington is behind India’s brutal experiment of abolishing most cash"

      After identifying the USAID/Gates-Foundation/Ford Foundation et al. "Better Than Cash Alliance" connections to Modi's policy, the author discusses the underlying U.S. motives:

      The business interests of the US-companies that dominate the gobal IT business and payment systems are an important reason for the zeal of the US-government in its push to reduce cash use worldwide, but it is not the only one and might not be the most important one.

      Another motive is surveillance power that goes with increased use of digital payment. US-intelligence organizations and IT-companies together can survey all international payments done through banks and can monitor most of the general stream of digital data. Financial data tends to be the most important and valuable.

      Even more importantly, the status of the dollar as the worlds currency of reference and the dominance of US companies in international finance provide the US government with tremendous power over all participants in the formal non-cash financial system. It can make everybody conform to American law rather than to their local or international rules.

    • Keith: Speaking of perversity, why am I virtually alone in being astounded by Modi’s demonetization of India? [...]Why isn’t this more widely discussed?

      Not the right forum, and not an easy subject for those not versed in political economy. I've been following the story over at Naked Capitalism.

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