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Total number of comments: 379 (since 2009-07-31 12:30:56)

Sin Nombre

An average schlub.

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  • Medal of Freedom for Shimon Peres maintains White House blind spot on Israel
    • "Mentioning Peres and freedom in the same sentence is a sick joke."

      Well, not only that but tying his name to the actual standard supposed to be used which is "world peace."

      Forget everything else people have raised here, and forget even whether Peres is responsible or not, but it's a symptom of how corrupt we've become with language when nobody even blinks tying this guy to "world peace. Damn near constant warfare by his state during his entire adult life ... and we are to associate his name with "peace"?

      And of course it's worse than that; it's Obama just trying to suck himself further up jewish voters' backsides.

      Indeed that, rather than Peres's merits or demerits, seems to me to be the huge issue which, with good reason, we seem to only be able to talk about in fits and starts, like the inability to stare too long at the sun.

      Time's up for Obama, it seems to me, at least in terms of coming to some pretty final, solid measurements of the man. Unfortunately there seems nothing solid about him himself. Is there any issue upon which he hasn't bent like a piece of rubber under the slightest pressure? Is there any picture of him one has other than a guy constantly sitting and calculating how to give in or bend on this or that? Or a guy who really has some core principles that he won't bend on and really believes in?

      Indeed he doesn't even seem to have his heart in the game anymore; like a guy who never found out the liberating sensation of just simply fighting for something right even if you lose. Instead all he can seem to care about is "losing" in some way.

      Not the way to write your name deeply in the history books. Hard to imagine *anyone* being vulnerable to a Mitt Romney, much less a Mitt Romney who promises to return the country to Bushism, much less an *incumbent* losing to that Mitt Romney.

      Nor is it pretty listening to the whispering campaign Obama's people are putting out to the effect that after he wins oh gee *then* he'll be unleashed. Hows' that different from admitting that he's been doing nothing but selling out so far, and thinks that's a perfectly okay thing to do when under the slightest zephyr of pressure?

      A wasted four years we've had, at best.

  • Double standard: 'NYT' covered Israeli hunger strikers after 4 days
    • "Israel cannot dismiss FIFA as easily as UN."

      You must be joking. A country whose Interior Minister declares "this country is for the White man" is gonna crack in the face of a *soccer* group?

      A country whose Interior Minister can say this and be protected saying this by the major American media and indeed the American government? And, probably, the major European media and major European governments?

  • Richard Falk: No issue needs more open debate than moral and political cost of I/P policy (going back to USS Liberty!)
    • While he doesn't put it in these terms—which certainly seems just—Falk nevertheless seems to understand that the attack on the Liberty was sort of the natal moment of the current Israeli policy towards the U.S. One that has shown over time to be a sort of disguised aggression, to the point where one might ask whether it's better to be Israel's enemy than it's "friend."

  • Jane Harman, media mogul
    • @ Charles Barwin:

      You're right, it was Adelson who got that Macao concession.

    • I've said it before and I still don't understand why folks don't suspect Israeli involvement in things such as facilitating Ms. Harman to buy Newsweek. Obviously this kind of thing is well within Israel's ambit of permissibility, so you look at different people in different countries and identify those who are zealously loyal to Israel and you give them a boost up when you can so they give you your hopefully greater, more systemic boosts down the line.

      Always struck me how Saban, of all people, got the gambling concession in Macao from the Chinese gov't, and I simply didn't believe that of the original nine or so billionaire oligarchs who popped up so quick in Russia that something like 6 or 7 of them just happened to be jewish. The statistics for something like that are just too mind-boggling, and indeed when this or that one got in some trouble and had to skedaddle if I recall correct the place they skedaddled to was of course Israel.

      Like I say, it clearly isn't something that Israel would consider out of bounds, we know they use "sayanim" or whatever from Ostrovsky's book so why shouldn't they help *create* them, and of course it's a smart idea, and rather totally in keeping with the intense tribal philosophy of zionist jews, right?

  • NJ Republican candidate for Congress spent election day in Israel, meeting with Netanyahu
    • "as total and blind support for Israel becomes the only reason for choosing Rothman, voters who do not view the elections in this prism will need to take notice. Loyalty to a foreign flag is not loyalty to America's."

      I don't know how long its been since I've read anything in the mainstream media that made me half so delighted.

      Keep it going; pour it on, make 'em an example, let everyone know this is fairer than fair game, and indeed the absolute crux of elections. Opens the door for letters to the editor talking about same, and then other media having to report same when Boteach loses, and then that this is fair play for candidates facing the other Boteach's of the country.


  • Let's praise Zengerle's profile of Beinart
    • Ira Glunts wrote:

      "[Beinart] has taken sustained and effective criticism of Israeli policy to a place in the mainstream that it has never been. That is a very good thing."

      Depends on what metric you use. If your principal concern is the Palestinians, sure. And indeed if your principal concern is for Israelis and jews—which is what Beinart's clearly is—sure again so long as you accept Beinart's idea that Israel is leading itself into a bad situation.

      But what if your principal concern is for the U.S.? Or is that just too infra dig to even be mentioned?

  • Barney Frank and Gary Ackerman push Obama to free Pollard
    • @ Sumud:

      No, I didn't mean to say that the Pollard business justifies anti-semitism, but what I meant to get at was exactly what you wrote that anti-semitism "isn't related to what jews do or don't do."

      That, after all, is the monstrous chunk of baloney that's been adopted now by so many jewish and philo-semitic authors and etc. "Oh, it's just an unreasoning, causeless thing [unlike every single other thing in the cosmos]," thereby essentially absolving all jews from anything it seems and licensing them to act in any such manner because, after all, as you say "it's nothing that you do or don't do."

      No, it's caused, by precisely this kind of shit from Frank and Ackerman and all the other so-called American jews who are plumping unashamedly (if as quietly as they can because they too know damn well it reeks of dual loyalty) for Pollard's release.

      It doesn't justify hatred of all jews of course, nor indeed any unidentified ones, but when it does of some identifiable ones is that "anti-semitic" too?

      So here's the bottom line: Even *if* they think Pollard has served long enough you'd think Jewish folks like Frank and Ackerman ought to have the fucking good grace and care for the U.S. and us non-jewish co-citizens to remain silent so as to not give aid and comfort to the Israelis in the form of seeing the U.S. divided ethno-racially on this issue.

      You know, the old "politics stops at the water's edge" idea of patriotism and loyalty?

      But they don't. Why? Incontrovertibly it's because they don't give a crap about harming the U.S. by giving aid and comfort to Israel or us non-jewish co-U.S. citizens, that's why.

      And that incontrovertible evidence of what they really care about more persuades me that's why they're plumping of for Pollard in the first place far more than their almost certain bleating that they just happen to feel an unfairness has been worked and it just happened to fall on this jewish guy.

      While certainly not true of the vast majority of American jews, there's nevertheless a number of prominent ones who think they're playing a cute little game if not a little war on the rest of us goyim and oh what fun they're having. But the jewish community as a whole ought to get it's head out of its ass and start telling these folks to knock it off because it isn't a game when it comes to things like treason and espionage and sinking our ships and shooting our citizens and we don't take it as a game. And apparently unlike many in the jewish community we regard killing our sailors and or citizens and committing espionage against us as a whole lot more important than being called anti-semites.

      And I'd even encourage you if you were jewish to take this message to your mainstream jewish organizations and etc., except from what I can tell they do have their heads up their ass and don't understand it because from what I see they too are all busy lobbying for Pollard's release too.

    • Oh gee, my oh my, why oh why is there anti-semitism in the world? It's just such an inexplicable conundrum.

  • U.S. Jewish orgs are liberal on illegal immigration here, but intolerant of illegals in Israel
    • The hypocrisy is clear but what I think ought to be especially remembered on this issue—as with any number of others—is the intensely moral dimension that American jewish voices especially brought to the debate.

      If you didn't like any more immigration here in the U.S. or wanted the law upheld at least to stop illegal immigration or whatever you weren't just ... wrong or mistaken in the eyes of so many of these jewish groups and individuals. You were instead a "nativist," a "racist," a degraded form of human being essentially ... filth.

      I.e., the same sort of morally suffused invective used by the same sorts about racial matters, including affirmative action. Language used not to reason towards common understandings and to minimize contention but ... to just utterly destroy the other person as one having any moral worth, and to create hatred and contempt.

      And of course simultaneously putting the people using that kind of language and imagery in the assumed position of being of incalculable moral fineness too.

      So how much damage did *this* level of discourse cost us and is still costing us on so many issues? Does anyone really believe that it did anything other than divide us more than necessary, triggered terrible reactionism, and essentially delayed the days when some common, reasonable and good understandings were or could be reached?

      But there, speaking of the same precise sort of self-appointed moral Paladin, goes Rabbi Yoffie, chief of U.S. Reform Jewry, traipsing off to Israel, somehow finding his candor only there, lightly tripping off his tongue about how he'd just rather live with jews, thank you very much.

      And my bet is that *if* there's *anything* further said by him about the rioting in Israel against immigrants or the actual building of camps they've got going to stick them in, *if* we hear anything at all from the good Rabbi it will be in the most reasonable and moderate of tones, wanting above all not to create deep rifts or hatreds amongst his chosen people.

      No, I think there was with at least some participants in this kind of thing more than just the idea that immigration was good for the jews in terms of diluting the Diaspora pool where the swam: Instead with some it seems to me there was and still is a positive glee at the concept of dismounting European christians from their majority position, and doing as much damage to their traditions and values and etc. as possible. In short, a sort of perceived payback to the goyim whose America and Western Europe was seen as not having done enough for jewry.

      You can't view this issue or indeed any other issue in isolation: You can't view he attitudes of some jews towards same without also seeing those same individuals taking delight, for instance, at running down the Catholic church, or using concepts like goyishe kopfs and/or etc.

  • Kristof's double standard on violent resistance
    • American wrote:

      "In only Americans had Mariam's guts.... there wouldn't be any Kristofs."

      *The* funniest thing ever written on this blog.

  • US imperialism and the lobby
    • Richard Congress wrote:

      "The stark truth blows [Maddow's] whole rationale out of the water: the USA is good, good, good...."

      Ah yes, another Chomsky at heart heard from, suckling endless self-congratulation at the finery of their own morals and ethics with their single-minded—and of course whiggish—obsession with America as the fount of all evil.

      Truly interested in solving problems? Moving Americans to some perceived finer ground? Ha! It's indeed the desire to *differentiate* themselves from that stinking hoi polloi that's their internal combustion process, hence their oeuvre being the utterly unbalanced, total sliming of any and every aspect of American history, hoping to insult even the last remnant of patriotism that might be found in anyone's breast.

      America the unique monster; indeed the *only* monster worth talking about, with all monstrous roads leading to her. Hitler? Ah, supported and made possible by ... Ford and American big business and anyway of course using capitalism as his launch-pad and enabler! Communism and Lenin and Stalin and Mao and their 100 million? Poor provoked agrarian reformers! Like Ho Chi Minh! Just *had* to whack those 50,000 landlords! Like Pol Pot for awhile for good old Noam too, although he had to dial that back eventually, didn't he? Gotta sometimes throw an ideological chum overboard once in awhile for the sake of the cause I suppose.

      Yeah, this'll all move the American people in the right direction in the Mideast: Tell them how endlessly, thoroughly beneath disgust their country is and always has been and above all else demonstrate your love of spitting upon any and every conception of their patriotism for it....


  • US Embassy to American in trouble in Israel: 'You're not Jewish? Then we can't do anything to help you'
    • Fredblogs wrote:

      "It matters to the people doing the deporting, so it matters to the embassy."

      Yes, if the embassy is being run in such a fashion that being more concerned with the sensibilities of the "people doing the deporting" rather than the American citizens it is *supposed* to be concerned about.

      Disgusting; once again a pass given to an American official—our supposed Ambassador Shapiro—for screwing over an American for jewish interests. Even if it wasn't on Shapiro's direct orders, he's responsible for everything the embassy does. If this was a matter of, say, an American ambassador with an Afrikaaner background to old South Africa screwing over some black American so as to kowtow to white South Africaneer sensibilities, the world would go apeshit and that ambassador would damn near be hung. But it's okay here, huh Fredblogs? Gee I wonder why. Almost like some people are just Chosen.

      Ever since he got to Israel Shapiro has found it impossible to resist on every possible occasion sobbing out his cosmic love and devotion to Israel with nary a statement that I have read indicating even the most microscopic concern for this country or the fact that we may have interests that are deviate even a molecule from supporting Israel in every and any respect. (Much less, God forbid, that *he* would take the U.S.'s side in same.) And here you are when the point is made clear about whose sensibilities his embassy is really concerned about, churning out the typical instant, endless and cheap crapball dodges.

      And folks like you then are constantly bleating about how gee, anti-semitism is always just soooo inexplicable.... Are you *really* so blind as to believe it? Because it damn sure can seem just another cheap little verbal dodge, delivered as with so many others with the snarking up the sleeve sneering delivered full on.

    • Well I don't see why we shouldn't feel a bit *prouder* of the U.S.

      Whereas before, that is, it seemed that the U.S. would do nothing for *any* of its citizens vis a vis Israel, right? Rachel Corrie, that fellow on the Mavi Mari....

      Now at least with the good Mr. Shapiro being our ambassador in Tel Aviv we know they are on the que vive for you if you're jewish at least.

      2% down, only 98% to go! Keep it coming, Mr. Shapiro! I have no doubt you're like an absolute tiger over there fighting for all our rights and interests.

  • What forestry teaches us about ethnic cleansing
    • Yet again while having validity we see what I think is the wrong perspective on this Israeli argument.

      Yes, sure, Phil and others say with that measure of validity, we *used* to do those things but don't anymore. But the jibe still resonates.

      Seems to me the added retort ought to be "so if you want to behave like ethnic cleansers and racists of old go ahead, but don't then pretend you're something else just to get American money and support."

  • Walzer says Jews were on the left because the left supported Jews
    • Head-snapping. Up until now its been called about as classic as classic can be an anti-semitic libel to say that jews only do things for others when it benefits them. A Protocols-level libel, if not in fact *in* the Protocols. And now, no less than Walzer saying it.

      Goodbye universalism then, goodbye anti-nationalism, goodbye pluralism even (not to mention multi-culturalism), goodbye true democracy even ... hello blood?

      Nah, that's for Walzer's Chosen only and not for the rest of us.

      Indeed though I think this piece by Walzer *was* only for his Chosen, and a desperate piece it is too: American jews ain't gonna agree to this on the whole, leaving Walzer where exactly? As a source for the Stormfront/David Dukes out there.

  • The left lacks an analysis of the neocon rise
    • You know why the Left gets all quiet and gets absorbed into examining its fingernails when talking about the neo-con rise? It's because the neo-cons came from the Left, many, but for their enthusiasm for what now passes for the Right's view on ME policy, still *are* of the Left and are just pretending otherwise, and many who never put on the false mask of being a neo-con and being of what passes for the new "Right" are still of the Left.

      If, that is, because of some gamma-ray cloud or etc. passing over us in the night, the Right recovered even a few of its pre-George Bush I.Q. points and traditional values, and suddenly woke up and said "hey that's right, we don't belong involved in a conflict in which we have no interest," by the very *next* night there wouldn't be a neo-con left on the Right or in the Republican party.

      They'd all be back where they will end up back which is among the Democrats and Progressives and the Left. And you know what? They'd fit right in with the Democrats as can be seen from how the Democrats (including Obama) have marched in lockstep with Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson and etc. and so forth.

      And you are wondering, Phil, why the Left suddenly gets quiet about the neo-cons? You are forgetting that, not just figuratively but in a number of cases *literally* these guys fathers were just oh so in love with good old Lev Trotsky and his ideas about, say, slaughtering 99% of a population if that's what was needed to fulfill his ideas of goodness? (With those same people now piously if not nauseatingly talking about how taken they are with allegedly home-grown American ideas and democracy how much they love Alexander Hamilton and etc.)

      You are forgetting that neo-condom (to coin an apt word) really started in the late '60's with stalwart Democrats and Lefties realizing—via either Podhoretz Sr. or Kristol Sr., I forget—that gee, the Left was going too far in opposing U.S. militarism and military adventuring and etc. because this could hurt the U.S.'s ability to be the arms depot of Israel.

      And since, on *what* other "conservative/Right" issue—*aside* from keeping the U.S. armed to the teeth, hegemonic over everyone else sufficient to keep anyone from helping the arabs, and liking military adventurism in the Mideast—does anyone associate with neo-condom? None. Why, because *overwhelmingly* they *have* none, period.

      Some restraint on the welfare state? Oh, maybe insofar as it might endanger military expenditures and abilities. Some restraint on immigration? Oh, maybe to the extent that hispanics don't seem to accept the idea that the Holocaust makes them responsible for everything Israel wants. The classical conservative/Right idea ("isolationism" versus FDR; Eisenhower versus Truman on Korea; JFK and LBJ being really responsible for Vietnam) that the U.S. should absolutely *not* be the world's policeman? What a joke. Of *course* that's *the* huge thing that they hate.

      And on and on and on.

      The Left doesn't lack an analysis of neo-condom; the Left knows that the neo-cons are *of* them, and once again if conservatives/the Right ever regain their sanity *will* be them again. And the Left knows the money that goes with neo-condomization too, and won't mind it a bit when it comes back to them.

  • AIPAC's Iran resolution (What if Congress had told JFK he couldn't 'rely on containment' with Soviets?)
    • ahhiyawa wrote:

      "The best Netanyahu and his gang of traitors can do is whine, screech and snivel loud enough in the hopes of sabotaging the negotiations between the p5+1 group and Iran."

      No, they *could* just launch a strike on Iran (giving the U.S. some mere hours of formal notice) and then plan on Iran's retaliation at the very least grazing the U.S. or attacking effective U.S. protectorats in the Gulf to put Obama–before the election—in a position of either piling in against Iran, or looking like he's a coward or doesn't support Israel.

      And as to the NPT talks, everything I've seen suggests that Israel's red lines are not near what Iran is possible to give, such as Iran totally abandoning enrichment, or closing the Fordow site. And indeed there's some suggestion that during his recent AIPAC meeting with Obama that Netanyahu got Obama to make these *America's red lines too, or close to same.

      I dunno, ahhiyawa, you may well be right, but I smell something I never smelled before. Notice how the drumbeat for war, going like crazy for awhile, then suddenly let up and got quiet right after those Bibi/Obama talks during the AIPAC conference? Just in advance of the new talks with the Iranians? Smells like setup to me for the Iranians: We send signals of our new flexibility/willingness to talk knowing that after some decent interval of appearing happy to talk we can walk out saying that despite all our good faith the Iranians were playing games and blah blah blah and suddenly Israel has the green light to go ahead.

      Maybe not and maybe you're right though; you certainly make some good points. But *something* happened in those most recent Bibi/Obama talks. Things changed alot since then, much of same being things getting quieter, and I'm suspicious of quiet.

      And what about Israel's perception of its position post-American election? They gotta admit to a lot of chance of Obama getting re-elected, at which point admit to a lot of chance he'll be far less subject to pressure then.

      Bibi, I think, feels he's gotta have a big war to put him into the jewish hall of historical fame, and what would be bigger than Iran?

      Gonna be interesting to watch at least....

    • ahhiyawa says:

      "my guess is exactly the opposite."

      Well of course you might be right, and I didn't say I'd bet my house on it, and indeed I'd love it if the reason you are right is the reason you give. Sure as hell would be nice seeing us playing the game on Israel it has so perfected on us, wouldn't it?

      Still, to me, Netanyahu's lining up his ducks for when, after a decent interval, the Iranians in these talks don't fold completely, and he can then attack before our election so putting Obama up against the initial wall of cheers that always accompany such things. Mofaz may be his big obstacle, but then you gotta wonder why if Mofaz is an obstacle at all Netayahu would have brought him into his government at all.

      Of course a large part of my thinking rests on the belief that a re-elected Obama would feel it easy to tell the Israelis where to step off and make it stick, but I'm worried there since that *is* just my hope, and when thinking collides with hope you're in danger.

      Obama has been just so absolutely, totally wet so far; I just don't know what explains same that doesn't involve a terrible and even utter lack of backbone. And unfortunately to me again the only things he really seems to get enthused about is ever-more junky, stupid racial-type politics and issues. I.e., rousing the Lefty racial/multi-culti rabble and etc. You can understand it to a small degree given the satisfaction it produced in angering the Righty racial/multi-culti rabble, but in terms of being a governing agenda....

      The guy worries me deeply now. I used to like him lots indeed.

    • MHUGHES976 wrote:

      "I still don’t think I hear the drums of war or the diplomatic thunder of ultimatums."

      My guess: Wait just a little while longer, after one or two more meetings with the Iranians don't turn out with them pledging allegiance to Hashem, before our elections, and without drums or thunder. Just wake up to find Israel attacking Iran, Iran hitting back and hitting us, and ... ta da.

      Right now I can almost hear Shaul Mofaz's bones creaking under all the pressure and promises Netanyahu and Barak are making to him and Kadima.

    • That too. Each branch can essentially throw sand into the gears of the other.

      I think this is *partly* the reason why so many people get frustrated that they don't see this branch or that battling like crazy between them in down and dirty, all-out fights: It's because the system makes cooperation between them on damn near *everything* necessary, so that in a knock-down drag-out *neither* side would be likely to get *anything.*

      I'm sure this has had its bad aspects, but also it's good in terms of getting us into horrible gridlocks all the time over relatively "little" issues that could then grown into some sort of civil war even. That's the sort of scheming and fighting that the Framers saw occurring elsewhere and essentially giving lots of other governments life expectancies of only a decade or so.

      Thus our Framers did pretty good in those terms: 200 years and counting.

    • American wrote:

      "Insane, that’s all I can say.
      Congress absolutely is pushing a war for Israel."

      Insane *and* bizarre given that in their heart of hearts the vast majority of those Congressmen and women know that no war is necessary for the U.S. and most of those Congressmen and women probably *don't* want war.

      Hostage wrote:

      "You really can’t argue that Congress hasn’t been delegated the key war powers associated with foreign policy, or that it must consult the executive."

      Well theoretically it doesn't have to consult with the Pres. to declare war or not, but it's in a pickle if it were do declare a war and the Commander-in-Chief were to tell the troops to sit on their hands.

      Just one of those separated powers the Framers liked to manufacture to deprive any one branch of all powers in certain things. On the other hand the Supreme Court has said and there's almost no dispute about it that the President is the sole U.S. voice in terms of articulating U.S. foreign policy and speaking for the U.S. in foreign affairs. Once again though, just like the power to declare war sounds total, a Pres. can announce any foreign policy he or she wishes, and if the Congress refuses to fund it....

      It's a fractured thing for sure, and it's correct that this new AIPAC thing isn't the first time the Congress has stuck its nose deep in foreign policy setting.

      On the other hand, when it's clearly done so agitating for war, at the behest of and for the benefit of a foreign power ... if *that* isn't stupifying I don't know what is.

      Hard to think of our government ever having descended so low, manifesting such total degradation.

  • We're still losing
    • MHughes976 wrote:

      "The rot from within will only become serious when many insiders begin to lose confidence in their cause...."

      Wrong. The cause will only begin to lose when the insiders are deprived of the resources to continue it.

      Again, that's why so much of the posting here is misdirected: Those that aren't just expressions of anger think by dissecting the injustices delivered unto the Palestinians by the Israelis the Israelis and their American partisans are going to change their fundamental minds.

      And yet, this is still written right in the face of Phil's story about this woman who he had even cornered beforehand and "sensitized" and then who went there and saw (or had the opportunity to see) for herself. And what happened?

      The rot from within will only stop when the American people realize the damage they are doing to themselves by subsidizing that rot, and that they have been are are being fleeced by a foreign power. All the rest of this stuff is akin to street theater demonstrations: Fun and exciting and stimulating to be a part of maybe, but ineffectual.

    • Phil Weiss wrote:

      "I thought, we're losing."

      Well all I can ask, Phil—somewhat assuming that this lady is jewish, but not necessarily—is why you seem to think you will have better luck persuading American jews or American elites to change their fundamental ideas here because Israel isn't helping but rather hurting itself, as opposed to persuading Americans *in general* that America's support of Israel is causing *America* and *their* interests all kinds of great great harm?

      Indeed it seems to me it's this precise mistargeting that's the biggest strategic mistake being made by lots of folks, wasting a whole lot of energy, resources and etc. Indeed, it's choosing to fight on the very grounds Israel wants you to fight on: Choosing Israel or the Palestinians.

      Wrong grounds, possibly catastrophically bad framing; the question is choosing Israel ... or the United States.

  • Liberal Zionists are afraid their parents will reject them if they come out
    • Eleanor Kilroy wrote:

      "She comes from a Jewish Texan family, and yet she says ‘we’ the Israelis."

      You know, I didn't even notice that, and yet how perfectly it invites the kind of questions that I asked before. E.g., how do American jews view the rest of us Americans?

      Obviously for this woman at least "we" ain't her, and this is perhaps what most bothers me about, say, the J-Street crowd, Beinart and etc., and it's kind of counter-intuitive.

      One the one hand this woman and Beinart and J-Street are clearly the young guns of politically active American jewry, and yes they say better things about how Israel should treat the Palestinians than the old guard is wont to say.

      But how do these young guns view *us*? From my perspective at least the old guard were concerned and cautious about the idea of dual loyalties and etc. Indeed very very concerned and cautious to the frequent point where this or that figure would stand up and say to the Israelis even that "hey, remember we're Americans first."

      Look even at Dershowitz at that recent event telling his listeners to never ever openly boo the President of the U.S. in relation to Israel.

      Now however I get *no* sense of that from the young guns at all. *None.* (Admitting I haven't read Beinart's book.)

      So while everyone's celebrating their feelings of solicitation for the Palestinians (or perhaps just how standing on the necks of the Palestinians so much hurts Israel), while I'm happy to see that how come I can't be concerned about their feelings towards me and *this* country?

      For all I see, to be blunt, it's an ever more open "Fuck you you ain't us."

      So I'm still supposed to prefer the new young guns to the oldsters?

    • American wrote:

      "Take yourself, your AIPAC parents and the rest of the 7% and move to Israel before your “Israel love” creates so much resentment in this country you actually have to."

      I suspect that's the voice of exasperation speaking, God knows how validly prodded if still over the top a bit.

      But I do think this kind of thing from this young woman, which can seem so representative in so many ways—the unrestrained statements above all the love she feels towards Israel, and the utter absence of any statement of feeling for the U.S., and etc.—raises the question of just how do most jews regard America and us, their non-jewish co-American citizens? E.g., are we *always* regarded as something of "the other" even when non-Israeli issues exist?

      I mean, from this young woman's comments, quite aside from the "Texas strip mall" snark which may be otherwise explainable, it's almost as if ... the U.S. is just a place where she stays alot and ... and uses as a stage to act out her politco-moral superiority over the inhabitants, with her supposedly deep politico-moral sensibilities however not even leading her any further than J-Street in terms of ever-so-gently disagreeing with Israel.

      What has this country ever done to not earn the kind of love or affection from her that this young lady feels for Israel? Yes it's had it's bouts with anti-semitism, but her presence on the J-Street wagon shows she knows that Israel itself has problems with anti-arab racism and etc.

      Calls to mind a comment I *think* that was made by that Chief Rabbi of American Reform Jewry (Yoffie) where he was speaking to some jewish gathering and as he mentioned Israel he said with seeming deliberateness "the one country we can unreservedly love."

      What's the reserves then about here? About us? Can it really be such historical blindness to believe jews have never been the tormentor of others, and only always the tormented?

      And it's funny, for all the American jewish authors and writers and etc. I don't know of any books or pieces or etc. that focuses on and discusses this one particular point about how American jews view their relationship with America and us co-citizens in any depth, even though you would think it would attract at least some attention.

      Maybe I have just not heard of same, but its certainly swamped out by all the things said all the time that are instead like this young woman's J-Street comments: Somehow we are all just supposed to fill in the blank when it comes to her view of America, if notice at all that this is a question given her own utter lack of mention of it.

      It makes me wonder too about this "love Israel with all my heart" type of modern sentiment about the future with that sort of individual, since of course history is never static, in terms of what happens if—or perhaps more accurately "when" given history's certain changebility—the U.S. and Israel get seriously cross-wise at some point. (It has, for instance, seem to dally with getting mighty cosy with China of late, and who knows where American/Chinese issues are going.)

      For a long time even after Israel's birth in '48 that is, and indeed despite the newness of that birth, my sense was that American jewry never had any problem with saying that in such a circumstance of course they sided with the U.S. Just as—to my knowledge at least—when Eisenhower told Israel in no uncertain terms back then to back the hell out of the attempted taking of the Suez Canal and pushed it hard to do same I don't recall reading about this causing any huge anger or etc. in the American jewish community.

      But now, with all this "all Israel all the time love it with all my heart" stuff, well hell, you wanna ask: "*ALL* your heart? None for the U.S. and us here? And if otherwise, how much, and when?"

      I realize it's a complex thing for jews, but hell, its been a complex thing for lots of folks coming here from lots of other places too.

      For what it's worth then I'd really be interested in some book or piece exploring this in depth and giving some better perspective on it. Maybe, contra J-Street and Peter Beinart, that indeed is the issue that the American jewish community itself ought to be considering in and amongst itself, although I see no indication that is so. Instead from what I've heard about Beinart's book, once again it's just about how to *best* love Israel.

      There's a very odd marriage here, causing a very odd marital discord: Diaspora American jews, seeming to positively define themselves in that diaspora not by their Americanism, but instead by their liberal universalist views, suddenly having all sorts of angst when those views run up against what Israel does, with most then just jettisoning in large part their former self-definition so as to support Israel, but never quite to the point of moving there.

      Angst, hypocriticalness, irony ... you name it. But where's the talk of it? Just the ability to so far pretend that the U.S. and Israel have no daylight between them? But isn't it obvious that same can't last forever, even if it still actually existed before? So have they even *considered* this point and where they would be then?

  • 'NYT' child abuse story is latest episode in a great awakening
    • Phil Weiss wrote:

      "The truth is that sexual abuse has gone on everywhere, in countless institutions where children and power intersect."

      Yes, and in light of how exclusively it was made to seem a Catholic Church problem now ask whether or not the smell of anti-Catholic bigotry wasn't and still isn't prominently on display amongst our cultural elites.

      Hey man, it's about the *only* bigotry left that's not just acceptable, but will get you laughs and applause galore.

  • 'Let go of two-state solution insanity' -- says Illinois congressman who supports transfer
    • You know, one consideration I think people overlook in assessing the Israeli perspective on all this is the issue of the flow of American dollars.

      Say you are *very* moderate Israeli, that is, one who doesn't like the idea of a either becoming a formal apartheid practitioner or an en-mass ethnic cleanser, and realizes that doing either—such as this Walsh guy advocates or as Danny Danon does in that link to Beinart's pages that AMERICAN provides—will only result in continued hostilities with no end in sight.

      Okay, but what's your option now? To argue for a two-state solution that the Palestinians might actually accept (as Olmert says) and thus no doubt provide an incredible additional amount of real peace?

      Well but ... what does this two-state solution do for Israel though really? It's already essentially invulnerable from conflict with the Palestinians, so how is true peace with them all that much better given that it may mean that the flow of dollars from Uncle Sucker starts to dry up?

      Not that this isn't a dynamic that people haven't forecast before, just that now especially as things seem to be coming to a point where Israel has to make some change in its posture, this consideration would seem to loom very large indeed even in the most moderate of minds.

      What good is a peace deal, after all, if it gets you not much more security you had before, and a cut-off of that previous fire-hose of American dollars that you received before?

      Speaking objectively then, what seems in Israel's best interest is not true peace at all, but instead really a chronic, never-ending low-intensity state of conflict with its neighbors. And bad objective realities are bad because even though the good-hearted person in the world might try to resist them, it's all too easy for everyone else to just shrug and say that they have to accept reality.

  • 'NYT' fails to disclose Kershner's tie to Israeli government-linked think tank
    • Now now, you guys can take this too far you know. You're acting like you'd have had some problem with Magda Goebbels covering Nazi Germany for the Times back in those days.

  • The benedictions of Benzion Netanyahu's racism
    • I'm unsure of just how much this applies to Bibi's Dad, but nevertheless one can smell the same sort of little ... elision in stuff like this eulogizing certain folks.

      Sort of like ... how would one feel about a Hitler obituary that merely said "he was an adamant and even hawkish life-long believer that Germans and German culture and therefore in essence Germany were under sustained attack by implacable foes who could never reconcile themselves to a unified Aryan state and who it was futile to try to negotiate with...."

  • Beinart's Blindspot: Israel has always been a non-democratic apartheid state
    • Well for sure nothing you say is unreasonable, American, although it's a different issue as to whether it's reasonably doable. I just don't think the world community has the stones to try to enforce all of same, even if Abbas says that he'd like to go back and change the Palestinian's rejection of 181.

      In a way then there is some sense to the idea that the solution is for the parties themselves to reach an agreement, but of course as we've seen that solution isn't possible with the U.S. subsidizing Israel not to reach such an agreement, thus leaving the situation insolvable really.

      This isn't hardly any brilliant observation, but what's amazing is the willingness of Israel to essentially commit itself to untold decades of future war so as to attain its desires. There's something so ... UnWestern about that mindset: "Oh yeah, we know that we're going to be at war for all our lifetimes and the lifetimes of our children simply because of our territorial desires. That's okay...."

      Except that's not exactly the way it's working out as a good number of Israelis seem to be getting sick of the constant state of war, and then especially seeing hard-core Zionists in the U.S. funding people like the settlers and so seeming to say that unlike those "sick of fighting" Israelis, they will fight to the last Israeli.

      What a mess. And to think of the depths of stupidity and corruption that got us into the middle of it and keeps us there. It's like watching someone consciously feed their hand into a wood chipper. First the fingers, then the hand, then to the elbow....

    • AMERICAN wrote:

      "That is the core of zionism and Israel. It’s exceptionalism ... without which it could not exist, least not in the form is now does."

      Well I think that's true enough, but the reason I talked about the secondary problem of *degree* of exceptionalism being a huge problem too for Zionists is because I think that for at least one good reason *some* exceptionalism ought be allowed.

      I know that most would ground it in the Holocaust and maybe I'm influenced by that, but even moreso I'd grant Israel proper's legitimacy just simply based on the idea idea that there's got to be some statute of limitations on these things. The U.N. spoke back then, and even though if it spoke today it's values would dictate saying something different or more, that's just not fair. You can't go back uprooting everything root and branch back to some Day Zero to keep according with ever-changing morals and etc.

      So like I say, I'd grant that basic exceptionalism recognizing Israel proper. But it would stop there, and that's the problem for a Beinart or etc., because of course the harder-core Zionists say hell no our exceptionalism allows us to go further and further and there's no logical stopping point then, and yet a Beinart or etc. feels they have to come along.

      For instance, I think part of what Beinart is saying is "enough settlements right now are enough," which I think is bad enough. But even if he said "all settlements be emptied" and even though we'd all cheer, he's still got that problem in the future with demographics in Israel proper, doesn't he? And it's there that I think yeah, he would go along with some sort of ethnic cleansing (probably getting the U.S. to pay arabs to leave), and/or some sort of deprivation of the right to vote from the arabs in Israel proper.

      Thus, at any rate, to me the issue *is* "exceptionalism" in way, but it's really the ... "what degree of same" question that's not only fair to say, but also the most acute too given, as I noted, everyone seems to accept *some* exceptionalism for Israel.

    • Matthew Taylor wrote:

      "I find Beinart's new book to be brave, important, and blinkered...."

      But I suspect you're wrong here Matt if you think that Beinart is "blinkered" about the reality that you further discuss. He's too smart and too knowledgeable. So yes, that is, he knows that despite that hypothetical Alabama situation came up with precisely describing Israel's situation, he's still okay with it, eyes wide open.

      One of the more amazing things that strike me in the discussions that involve folks like Beinart and etc. who can be called part of Phil's "Jewish Establishment" is the strange, chronic lack of asking them about this same precise kind of double standard. And that goes not only for the discussions in the mainstream and other media, but here too and in other blogs.

      There is, it can seem, somewhat of an unconscious acceptance of the idea that yes, to a very considerable if not absolute degree one simply cannot hold Israel to the standards held to everyone else, and this seems to me a huge thing. (Not just in general, but also because there's never any talk of the *degree* to which Israel is holdable to at least some of the same standards.)

      What, that is, do we *know* would be the reaction from Beinart and the rest of that Jewish Establishment to any American or Westerner who came forward and, say, advocated a Constitutional amendment perfectly legally declaring their country to be a "Christian" nation? And accompanied it with talk about how this might be needed in the future to legalize some actions to keep it so?

      Well of course I think we know what the reaction of Beinart and his Establishment would be: Any such advocate or movement would be instantly denounced as fascist. Filth. Forget just being called "anti-democratic."

      Beinart knows this. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to find some similar behavior on his part already in his writings on, perhaps, Pat Buchanan. Maybe even Buchanan opposing more immigration into the U.S.

      So it's not a matter of being "blinkered." Instead I think the inevitable response is that the history of the jews allegedly justifies a double standard, which of course even if accepted still leaves Beinart, et. al. with the problem of the *degree* to which jewry/Israel is entitled to same.

      And that's not a small problem, which is why I think you never see even the most open, Holocaust-centered jewish partisan talking about it. The Beinarts of the world of course don't want to have to admit to any double standard at all and that they believe Israel unlike every other country has this double standard), but even when they are forced to openly acknowledge that they still aren't blinkered: They know that that's what they want, *and* they also know they can't articulate just how far it goes. Because *they* know it may have to go very far indeed in which case they'd still support it.

  • Anna Quindlen's religious disaffection is good copy (what about anti-Zionists?)
    • I think it's oh so ever cute and polite of so many of you here to view Ms. Gross' behavior at least (I dunno so much about Lehrer) as just essentially and innocently being a teensy bit selective when it comes to religious stories.

      Instead, frankly, just like so many other jewish media figures and outlets, it strikes me that what we're seeing is not just some oh-so-natural-and-even-sweet-essentially-innocent aversion to telling jewish stories out of school as it as a ... fuck-you-in-you-face refusal to do so coupled with a fuck-you-in-the-face-manifest hostility to and hatred of the Catholic Church.

      If even 1/10000000000 of the anti-Catholic (leaving out even just the anti-Christian) slanting of the media were directed at judaism and jews we would be told that this country had gone over to Joseph Goebbels.

      What story, no matter how small even, that casts the Catholic Church in a bad light doesn't go lovingly dug into and repeated by the media over and over?

      And the absolute topper, the absolute undeniable proof, is the sexual scandal in the Catholic Church. Oh you bet it was bad; bad bad bad. But oh you bet has it been covered.

      Go take a look then at on the relevant issue in the jewish community in the NE especially apparently. Hundreds and hundreds of kids—there's no way of telling because lots of the scandal has been the jewish communities covering same up, and with these seemingly involving mostly real children rather than the adolescents the Catholic priests preyed upon—apparently abused by rabbi after rabbi for decades and ... something like three little stories in the New York Times in all about same. Three, over the last decade or so. Grotesque evidence even of entire jewish communities of suborning the local District Attorney to not prosecute these cases, not give out info on them, keep them quiet and/or etc., and still ... where's Ms. Gross? Where's ABC/CBS/NBC the Washington Post and on and on and on?

      Rabbis fleeing prosecution to Israel, story after story about families being put under incredible in-group pressure to hush things up, and ... silence from the Ms. Grosses of the world. Too busy digging for the next angle to slime the Church.

      I'm no Catholic, not even a Christian, but this is so obvious and palpable it's not even funny. Let some mere Catholic priest somewhere say something even arguably non-universalist and ... wham, front page stories somewhere. Terry Grosses here and there exploring in microscopic detail the guilt some woman felt as a girl growing up due to her feelings of repressed sexuality due to the Church, or f0r using contraceptives ... and absolutely *nothing* about jewish women who were damn near *captives* of this or that jewish community here somewhere and basically had their children and lives ripped from them by that community when they decided to break free. Absolutely *nothing* similar from the Catholic communities comes to mind, and yet ... silence.

      Or let such a mere priest either here or in Rome (much less the Pope) making any even arguable anti-jewish statement and ... the media world explodes. Indeed, decades now pumping the story about how the Pope during the Holocaust didn't do enough or etc. *Decades* worth of stories about same.

      But—and I speak here just of statements topically made, recently—Israeli jews or American jews of high and even official standing saying that even basic mercy in war is not a jewish value, or that millions of non-jews are not worth one jewish fingernail, or that non-jews are as cattle for jews and ... not a freaking peep.

      Suddenly, the "whole world and its issues are our microscope slides" for the Grosses of the world don't exist anymore.

      And I'd even bolster this via looking at popular culture: Oh the uproarious laughs jewish (and admittedly many non-jewish) comedians get out of, say, mentioning Catholic priests when touching on the subject of pedophilia! What freaking fun! Or the idea that the Church warns of blindness with regard to masturbation! God how many laughs has *that* been good for? Or Catholics involved in politics wearing their religion on their sleeves and too openly talking about it, such as Sarah Palin? What a freaking *blast* to ridicule that! You couldn't find a talk-show host who uttered even a peep of discomfort about that kind of thing to save your life! Nuts, what joke at the expense of the Catholic Church can you even *imagine* generating any objection much less such a peep?

      And the balance is...? About the most modern savage laughter one can think of gotten at the expense of jews is ... Seinfeld. Oh ho ho that Uncle Leo. Bobka bopka bobka....

      So let's not pretend that the "jewish Establishment" that Phil talks of somehow oddly is a purely defensive thing all the time and in all its workings. While I have no doubt that most American jews at least reject anti-Catholic or anti-Christian bigotry like crazy, and that even the majority of that "Establishment" rejects it too, that Establishment at the very least tolerates the hell out of it by its members who *are* bigots.

  • Yoffie rallies American Jews to determine 'character of the Jewish state' without a word about our obligations as American citizens
    • I think Elliot's analysis here is a very very sharp one showing Yoffie's impossible job.

      In the main I still think that the fundamental intent behind Yoffie's piece was to just sort of combat some of the implications some American jews might take from Beinart's book and re-affirm and reinforce the idea that no, American jews simply must continue to support Israel. But in doing so he also needed to add some other things along the lines of explaining *why* that can be done within the bounds of acceptability.

      As Elliot so beautifully shows though—and what ought not be missed for its great future importance—is that this essentially does consist of trying square a circle. It just can't be done ... unless indeed some form of either ethnic cleansing or some permanent denial of arab voting rights at least gets ... accepted as being acceptable.

      Thus in a big way Yoffie is being very smart and reactive here to Beinart's piece: He isn't just calling Beinart names, or denying the turning away from Israel that Beinart says is happening. He's trying to genuinely meet Beinart's arguments and get out ahead of them. But of course he can't come right out and say openly—yet—that this includes acceptance of ethnic cleansing or permanent second-class citizenship for arabs, even though those would indeed seem to be his and Israel's only options. (Again as per Elliot's fine writing here.)

      Very keen piece of work Elliot. Very keen.

    • Well I think it's pretty clear, Citizen. Not that discussion of the intricacies of the I/P conflict aren't valid, but as I said, in our discussions about the thing never lose sight of the forest that is the American perspective that says we have the right to hold our interests as paramount in favor of some endless disquisition on the minutia of Zionism or etc.

      So it's just as Phil hit the nail on the head here in what and how to *first* analyze and respond to a Yoffie. Not by getting sucked in to talking about... just how much Diaspora jews should have to say about Israeli affairs or the quantum of democracy Zionism might conceivably possess or etc. It might be interesting, but it's playing on their field. And it's giving them an absolute pass on what, after all, is not just our *inarguable* right to put our *own* interests at the top of our list of concerns, but is also *their* most invalid and weakest and dangerous issue as well: Without American support just how much of their little project over there could sustain itself? Just how much war would they want then without the U.S. making them invulnerable to same?

      And thus for instance too I see this sort of failure when it comes to publishing things about, say, J-Street. Right away people get drawn in about being thankful it's not as bad as AIPAC about the settlements but boy we wish it went further about the Right of Return or some other such stuff. And there goes the J-Streeters, *completely* left off the hook having to defend what seems to me is their complete silence about *American* interests, with the obvious implication that same are matters of secondary importance at best.

      Same, I wouldn't be surprised with all the eclat over Beinart's book, although I don't know for sure. But I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't just a great vast black hole in it essentially failing to talk to any reasonable degree whatsoever about American interests. So nobody says anything about same with this book or others in which it's certainly true, and nowhere comes any impetus at all for any reviewer or interviewer to start pressing Beinart or whomever on this, the very issue which Americans have the absolute right to be *totally* concerned about.

      Same with Yoffie: Where's the *real* challenges being devised that he should be presented with? Here after all is the guy who just a few months ago was in Israel and said to an Israeli paper how, when he retires, it will be to Israel because "I prefer to live with jews."

      In essence, patting himself on the back for the horror he's been experiencing having to rub shoulders with us goyim over here hauling water for Israel. And nobody says a thing about it. Nor about the no-doubt innumerable other things to be raised with Yoffie: How he casts himself as this great moral figure here condemning even the slightest whiff of racism, or those who are concerned, say, about unrestricted illegal immigration into the U.S., all the while he's shilling for an obviously racist regime in Israel that now seems on the verge of building actual camps to house captured illegal immigrants there, and which just had fire-bombings of immigrant quarters.

      Like I said, it's as if people are choosing not to argue their inarguable points, but instead want to push the interminably arguable and indeed unanswerable ones. No-one here knows the perfectly fair and just solution to the I/P situation, but boy for some reason they want to argue the most minute intricacies of what might or might not go into same instead of first just insisting on the answer to the clearer-than-clear one which is why the hell should the U.S. be involved in that conflict at all when it's so blatantly contrary to a whole constellation of our interests to do so?

      Someone here long ago ("AMERICAN"?) said that the situation is never going to get better while there's such an asymmetry in the debate: The Yoffie's and the AIPACers and etc. get to set the bounds of the debate. E.g., call people anti-semites left and right, if not terrorist sympathizers or Nazis or whatever, and everyone on the other side is just terrified of not obeying what *they* say is the proper bounds of debate.

      Well MJ Rosenberg has shown the efficacy of just goddam setting our own bounds of the debate by using the term "Israel Firster." And not even because it's efficacious *but because it's right* that oughta be shouted out first and foremost and repeatedly as what must be responded to by those who appear to fit the definition like Yoffie.

      We have the absolute right to consider things from the perspective of putting our own interests first. And while I can think of all kinds of bad things that might (further) happen to the U.S. due to being stupidly and corruptly involved in the I/P conflict, I can't think of anything more dangerous or damaging than letting that first principle be degraded. And, predictably, that degradation is the *first* if not the *supreme* priority for the Israel Firsters.

    • Phil Weiss wrote:

      "Let us go to the simple issue: What are my obligations as an American citizen? I am commanded by Yoffie to support Israel."

      Hurrah to you Phil for your patriotism here, my fellow American. Because obliterating that issue is *exactly* the point that Yoffie's entire piece was subtly aimed at. Just as hurrahs go to MJ Rosenberg posting in the thread about your dinner with those jewish society members at Yale calling 'em Israel Firsters.

      And just as with that thread I'm just amazed at the comments here so far. Here after all is an American—Yoffie—telling other Americans to put the interests of another country first, and the reactions here are ... to quibble with his view of what Zionism means? To get into the minutia of ... UNGA (181) Resolution?

      Or (and I can't help being so harsh, jon, despite your obvious good intentions), the forehead slapping comment that no, "pitting Israeli nationalism against American nationalism is [not] the best way to frame this argument .... I think a better argument would be framing this issue as Jewish cosmopolitanism versus Jewish nationalism."

      As if .. riiiight ... because after all Americans are much more likely to be moved towards a better policy towards the I/P conflict not by arguments that their political system is being manipulated and their blood and treasure is being taken advantage of, but because deep down ... they have fretted over the distinctin between jewish cosmopolitanism and jewish nationalism and prefer the former....



      Like I said in that Yale society thread: Go ahead and ignore the constant open appeals of people like Rabbi "I prefer to live with jews" Yoffie to other Americans telling them to be Israel Firsters. And go ahead and (unlike Phil) don't raise the issue when they go on and on about the importance of Israel and etc. and never ever utter a molecule of concern about American interests no matter how greatly and gravely they are immediately implicated. (With nuclear weaponry issues even.)

      Go ahead instead—like so much commentary here—debate the Yoffie's of the U.S. over the intricacies of what Zionism or democracy means, and whether the Mufti was really a bad guy or not and whether the Palestinians said X or Y back during Conference A or Conference B or blah blah blah, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

      Go ahead. The Rabbi Yoffie's of the world *love* you for it. They'll argue with you until the cows come home over this crap! Delighted to do so! First off of course you ain't never going to move them from their opinions. But the greatest thing of all is that you're just impliedly reinforcing the idea that oh of *course* the U.S. should be up to its neck in the conflict over there! That ... there's innumerable matters of great and vast concern and interest for the U.S. over there that we *must* be involved in! After all, all *you* appear to be saying is that, gee, maybe we ought to be a little more even-handed....

      Or go even further if you want, and they'll love you even *more* for that: Go "take the Palestinian/arab/persian side" and see what fun they'll have with you. Siding with bin Laden and Yassir Arafat and the lunatics of the Taliban and the loudmouth from Iran who doesn't even know to wear a freaking tie when speaking to the U.N....

      Go ahead. Hell, you're like the Rabbi Yoffie's best friends in the world! Giving them a free pass to exhort Americans to put the interests of Israel first, and then ... to not even have to *argue* whether America has any true interests over there worth our blood and treasure! What a pal!

      As I said in that Yale society thread, nobody on the planet much less here can say with any good degree of certainty or credibility whatsoever what's the perfectly just and fair solution to the I/P conflict. And damn near everyone here agrees the U.S. is just being used like a cheap prostitute and that involvement is hurting the situation.

      And yet ... so much of the sensibility here seems to be that no, Americans don't care so much about their country being used like a cheap whore, and the real solution is to just make all Americans Ph.D's on the vast intricacies of Zionism and jewish and Mideast history and this will result in a fair and just solution, despite the fact that nobody here can even articulate same with any confidence or credibility.


      All the more glad you nailed it here Phil, and MJ Rosenberg in that other thread. Not that these other substantive issues aren't interesting or aren't worth discussing on their own, but damn, a Yoffie talks like that and all that is noticed is the freaking trees and nobody even mentions the forest?

  • Shmully and guilt
    • A million "hurrahs" for you and this, Mr. Rosenberg. While I understand that the people here are especially deeply interested in and knowledgable about the I/P issue, reading the first 50 or so comments made in response to Phil's comment more than a little disappointed: All the intricate, substantive rebuttals to what this or that member of the party said to Phil and etc., so seeming to me to be so secondary if not tertiary if not worse. Sure, still interesting and probably mostly right and all, but to me missing the freaking biggest point of all because I think at bottom most Americans couldn't give a shit really compared to just simply not wanting to see their blood and treasure used for another country's sole interest, especially when it damages their own, period.

      Yes, that is, one can agree 100% with those sorts of posts—and I'm not disparaging them in the least or wish to see them diminish—but frankly I don't think that sort of thing taking the perspective of the Palestinians essentially does diddly much in terms changing things. Take the perspective of the American people, on the other hand, and ....

      Tell Americans , that is—as you did here—that you've got a bunch of people putting another country's interests ahead of their own (your "American Firsters") and *then* you're playing in the big-boys league. *That's* when you've graduated to using a real serious argument that the other side fears the hell out of because of its inarguable nature.

      Sink back into the intricacies of this and that and the relative Israeli/Palestinian arguments, and see how much it delights the Israel Firsters: Whang they pull out the image of the undeniably corrupt-and-stupid-beyond-belief Yassir Arafat. And whang they pull out the Palestinians supporting Saddam Hussein. And whang they pull out that indeed there was some dancing in the Palestinian streets after 9/11. And then of course they pull out the biggest whang of all which is the Holocaust.

      They will talk *forever* on those grounds, and just love love love it.

      So what's the idea behind the perspective of playing on that game field? What's the idea behind how that's going to accomplish change? That ... first, you make millions of ordinary Americans into Ph.D's in Mideast and jewish history, and then....

      Moreover, what's the subtext behind so many of these pro-Palestinian types of posts and arguments? Essentially it's nothing less than the crazy (and certain-loser) idea that ... oh yeah, it's perfectly right and *good* that the U.S. is up to its eyeballs in all this Mideast crap. It's just that we're on the wrong side....

      And whang! again comes out the easy home run in the form of "you're really supporting those Afghan crazies who burn women and are shooting at our boys?" And whang again comes the idea that ... "you're really supporting arabs like bin Laden and the nutjob over in Iran?"

      The entire subtext just reinforces exactly what the Israel Firsters are claiming: That you bet the U.S. belongs neck deep over there. And they will love love love to death debating you every day every second as publicly as possible which side the U.S. should be on.

      *Not even the people here,* with all their extensive knowledge of the I/P conflict, can with any real credibility say that they know to any degree of refinement whatsoever what a perfect solution is to that conflict. A total retreat back to the Green Line? An absolute total Right of Return beyond that? One-state no matter what? (When the Palestinians themselves are rejecting it?)

      So what's the further idea behind pushing this pro-Palestinian perspective? To not only make a vast swath of Americans Ph.D.s in the field but then ... to convince them to support some solution you yourself can't even articulate? That you yourself cannot say is surely the right one that will correct everything and is fair to everyone and is workable and etc.?

      Pfui. A million times pfui. If there is any hope it's merely pointing out that the U.S. has absolutely no interest in that mess over there and that being in that mess over there just brings us nothing but dead Americans, hatred, and the hemorrhaging of billlions upon billions if not trillions of our dollars.

      And, not coincidentally, this too is the only hope of seeing any decent solution over there too via stopping the U.S. subsidizing the grandiose schemes of Israel and putting both parties more on a level playing ground of seriousness and cost/benefit analysis. I.e., by letting *them* decide *that* way what "fairness" they are going to insist on and what unfairness they are going to accept. Because in the real world—often overlooked here I think—there is certainly going to be *lots* of unfairness that's going to have to be swallowed.

      So bravo bravo bravo, Mr. Rosenberg, with your bringing what I think is the right perspective back here. Nobody here knows with any certainty whatsoever the unanswerable question of what is the perfectly fair solution over there. Nor even what is the fairest possible solution. Nobody on earth does, so stop pretending.

      What I think the vast majority of people *do* know however is that they don't like to see their country getting used like a cheap whore, so let's start talking from the perspective of what people know, instead of what nobody knows.

    • To me the secret to Phil not feeling guilty was simply something he's spoken about wonderfully but just forgot. Just not internalized by him really, understandably enough given his upbringing and the milieu in which he was raised, but nevertheless to me a complete answer to this attempt to make him feel as if he is/was doing something wrong.

      As Phil has hit on before, he's an *American,* and here he's sitting in the midst of a bunch of people, here in America, presumably many if not most also Americans, clearly however invested first and foremost with another nation, and indeed another people.

      All that talk about Esau and Jacob and God granting land titles and the detailed history of how the Israelis or jews did this and the arabs or Europeans did that and blah blah blah. Well, I say, while I have some interest in same and would like fairness and right to come out on top, the bottom line is I don't give a good goddamn. Not to the extent that it ensnares and immerses me and my fellow Americans in all that shit.

      And, moreover, I think that's the view of most Americans too, including most jewish Americans. People came here historically understanding they were making a deal: They weren't coming here to enmesh their new fellow citizens here in their fights from the Old Country. Of course they may still have their loyalties and allegiances there, but by becoming a citizen here you were declaring a new primary loyalty and allegiance—to your new fellow citizen Americans.

      So not only did you not try to enmesh them in all that crap you left behind but indeed you shouldn't *want* to if it didn't intimately involve them and their interests. And I think that was true of the vast majority of folks who came here, gentile and jew.

      And yet here in New Haven what did you have but, it would appear, a bunch of Americans obviously hyper-emoting not over any risks or damages to American interests, but to someone else's, on the other side of the globe. And their chiding of Phil was clearly lots due to this blog: To the idea that gee, he might be encouraging Americans to start to think of their own interests rather than Israel's or foreign jews. He might be encouraging Americans to see their interests as being less tilted toward Israel, or, gasp, being neutral. To realize that no, they have no real vital national interest in the conflicts over there and should extricate themselves from that fight and stop expending their blood and treasure on behalf of Israel and foreign jews.

      So ... *Phil* comes away from this feeling guilty? In *New Haven*? An American comes away feeling guilty from a debate with a bunch of people obviously looking upon American interests as something at least secondary to other interests, if being of any value at all?

      Take your freaking fights back over the horizon where they belong, say I. Nobody's stopping you. Go and fight your heart out forever because of the way you read some ancient holy book or the intricacies of what happened on the other side of this globe 2000 years ago or yesterday or whenever that the U.S. had absolutely no hand in. But don't sit here, with me owing my allegiance to you as a fellow American citizen and thus willing to devote blood and treasure for you, with you however sitting there wanting to enmesh me to expending same for some other country or some other people on the other side of the world.

      Like I say, I have no doubt most American jews, while having obvious, natural and even admirable feelings for Israel and jewry generally, feel the exact same way: First and foremost before the U.S. submerging itself up to its chin in troubles U.S. interests are determinative. And *not* the overwhelming sense that these New Haven folks gave off here not appearing to have even a molecule of concern about what's good or not for Americans. (Or at least none that Phil mentioned.)

      Go meet 'em again, Phil, and challenge 'em on this. Challenge them on where they get off criticizing you for being an American citizen and feeling loyalty to your fellow Americans as you've demonstrated here. Challenge 'em to be true to their words and start to recognize that loyalty themselves if they are Americans, and so start to question how they can be honoring that loyalty if they are wishing their fellow American citizens to get and stay neck deep in a bunch of fights in which their obvious best interest is to stay as far as hell away from as possible.

  • Knesset members celebrate latest E. Jerusalem settlement by posing on evicted Palestinian family's sofa
    • One might be tempted to note the precise similarity of this kind of grind-it-in-their-face posing with some of what the Nazis did except for Alan Dershowitz telling us that any such parallels are per se anti-semetic.

  • Israeli celebrity says she enjoyed video of IDF attacking Danish activist because he looked like a Nazi
    • I've said it before and I'll say it again now, both as to this Israeli celebrity's emission and that of that U.S. writer: This is exactly what you get succeeding generations with an ever-increasingly lopsided understanding of history. E.g., the jews as unique. As victims, and as being free from villainry.

      You can talk theory and sentiment at 'em all you want, it's our understanding of what's really been done to us and what we've really done to others that makes a difference. Everything else is mere grit under the steamroller of myth-making.

  • Israel lobby group committed to 'new media' uses mushroom cloud in tweet (updated)
    • This ramping up of things is just another (relatively tiny) thing that, in addition to a whole lot of bigger things makes me rather suspicious that we are getting close to seeing an Israeli attack on Iran.

      I never thought we were that close in years past, but I'd at least put the chances now at a good spit over 50%.

      Netanyahu and Co. were beating the drums about it *very* hot and heavy at the beginning of the year—to the point where Obama's people were out there openly saying they suspect a near-term strike are trying to restrain Israel from doing so—but then suddenly after Bibi meets with Obama around AIPAC time things oddly got very very muted on both sides. Indeed, with Israeli outlets suddenly suggesting that Bibi might be giving things a year or so and allowing sanctions time ... much of which easily seeming designed to get Iran to let down its guard as much as possible.

      Following clear Israeli leads/demands then what does Obama do on the eve of these present talks with Iran but start issuing what are surely unmeetable demands, all the while we skeddaddle as many of our folks out of Iraq as possible, and a second carrier fleet is quietly moved into the Gulf, along with alot of other naval assets.

      Lots of evidence to me that Netanyahu, knowing Obama is at his weakest now before the election, told Obama they were going to attack, period, with Obama accepting it as a fait accompli, knowing that the U.S. is almost certain to get dragged in and thus setting up this round of talks with Teheran to fail as a casus belli for Israel to attack and the U.S. to support it.

      Netanyahu goes home and gets ready, and starts to cool the war talk as much as possible to cool the Iranian's jets as much as possible, and yet on the other hand in the U.S. starts to gin up the P.R. machine to support Israel after the mask is dropped and the bunker-busters are falling.

      Hope I'm wrong, but it smells like hell to me. And if it happens Obama will be worse than Bush, amazing enough. At least Bush probably believed in his heart of hearts, genuinely, that Saddam had WMD and the country had to go to war.

      Obama knows freaking well Iran has no weapons program; that even if it did it isn't any serious threat to the U.S.; and that anyway pushing a Nuke-Free Mideast Accord is what is really in America's best interest by a mile.

      Thus, if he doesn't at least openly oppose any Israeli strike and allows the U.S. to get dragged into same it'll be utterly without sincerity or genuineness, and totally for Obama's political benefit.

      I almost feel for the guy given the screws that have been applied to him and what I suspect is/was his relatively non-tough nature. (And has anyone seen the close-up pics of him lately? Geez he's looking haggard almost.)

      Won't help him though if indeed he folds: Taking us to war knowing it's on utterly false grounds, is bad for us, and is entirely unnecessary .... One can hardly think of a worse civic crime for a Prez. of this country to commit.

  • The Grass just keeps on growing
    • Taxi wrote:

      "My friend, you cannot prove that israel has ANY good will towards ANY of its non-jewish neighbors...

      I have a feeling that you’re more emotionally attached to the state of israel than I could ever be...."

      Well I have absolutely no emotional attachment to Israel whatsoever and indeed as an American who thinks Israel has and is using my country like a piece of toilet paper have emotions that run in quite the opposite direction, but I think you have hit the nub of our difference in perspectives precisely here:

      I.e., the idea that emotions ought determine judgment rather than something else, with emotions of course naturally tending to lead not toward modesty and balance, but instead toward the binary, absolutist conclusions that tends to be all they know. ("ANY goodwill, towards ANY of its non-jewish neighbors....")

      Not my cup of tea.

      "Emotion has taught us to think."

    • Taxi wrote:

      "Why don't you tell us which part of the poem you find untruthful?"


      "It is the alleged entitlement for a first strike,
      which could extinguish the Iranian people...."

      And then of course the talk about the submarine, which Grass obviously objects to not because of it carrying any conventional weapons but because of its capacity to carry nukes.

      Like I say, the clear message of the poem is that despite nobody but nobody having talked about this, much less anyone in any position of knowledge or authority, there's immediate reason to be concerned that Israel—later amended to "it's regime" by Grass—is thinking if not planning a nuclear strike on all of Iran, including its civilian population.

      A "first strike" no less.

      Now, if that isn't a slander I don't know what is. And forget the idea that it's okay if you're a Palestinian or a Martian because if I turn it around on them or anyone else any sensible person would find it just as slanderous.

      E.g., how about we should be concerned about the Palestinians—or the PA—spreading poison gas over the Israeli? Or spreading some bio-weapon to "extinguish" them all?

      And no, first of all Yaoz-kest's sentiment is not on point here at all because what he's talking about is his feelings about things if Israel is first obliterated. In less poetic terms a "second strike" sentiment, and even that overstates it because he's not longing for such a strike, but instead saying he wants that capability more just to deter such an obliteration. I.e., precisely the deterrent idea that the U.S. embraces in keeping its nukes.

      And if you want to criticize that, fine, except it's a totally *different* thing from Grass' "first strike" slander.

      And secondly it then essentially says that no, even if Iran was working for nukes because *it* wants a deterrent then that treatment it is presently receiving is justified because no such deterrent right exists.

      All this is just so obvious: Simply because Grass might have moved the debate in a direction some people approve of he's getting applauded, with a blind eye to his means because people are so frustrated at seeing their ends not being achieved. And not only do I think this historically just serves to encourage such ugly tactic use on the other side of such arguments, but suspect that Grass' riff here is ultimately going to hurt that cause of opening up debate in Germany.

      And clearly it already has hurt the idea of recruiting any Israeli or jewish sympathy to the idea that Israel is on the wrong track, so objectively getting Grass precisely the opposite of what he says he wants. What Israeli or jewish individual with any sympathy for Israel isn't just going to feel libeled by this, and react accordingly?

      Hardly unforseeable, and thus even further contributes to the idea that Grass' intention here wasn't really to change minds or alert people to a real issue, but instead to slander and libel, and poke a finger in the eye of those he doesn't like.

      I'd still say that this wasn't intentional and was instead the result of a shambling old intellect, but either way I think he's actually hurt the cause he says he was writing for by writing such ugly, utterly unsupported words.

    • CloakAndDagger and Taxi:

      You do your perspectives proud, but it still seems to me that at bottom what you're really saying is that your ends here—opening up Israel to legitimate criticism—justifies Grass' means, or that it's justified because some other outlying nut on the other side has done something similar.

      Those are just such sad old rationalizations though, aren't they? Seemingly indispensable at the time, always in retrospect we recognize them has having been unfortunately given in to as way-points on a downward ratchet.

    • Klaus Bloemker wrote:

      "To begin with, are you a 'shlub'?"

      I think people are failing to put this Grass poem in relative perspective.

      What, after all, would we say to someone who used poetry and its poetic license to escape the normal requirement to talk about at least a molecule of evidence or logic or etc. in asserting that, say ... it's really something to actually be worried about that the Germans of today—indeed their present leaders—will be firing up the ovens in concentration camps again? That same is something really topical and possible enough to occupy our attention?

      And yet, this is *exactly* what Grass has done as regards Israel and it's present regime and the idea that they are seriously thinking about the nuking all of Iran.

      God knows I've been critical of Israel and God knows I don't like its present regime and think that the latter's ideas about Iran are as selfish and bad as it can get almost.

      But not to the point of believing 'em wanting or thinking about nuking all of Iran.

      The fact is there's not been a speck of talk of Israel nuking Iran generally; not a fucking speck. And indeed I suspect that any Israeli in any political position who came out and talked like that would be ejected from the body politic of Israel like a rocket, not least out of a *genuine* belief by the jewish population that they oughta be the last people on earth to be casually talking about unleashing a Holocaust on someone else.

      And yet here comes self-appointed Gunter, with his picture eerily showing an old man in just about the same shambles as his "thinking" is in his poem, casting that precise aspersion on all of Israel.

      ... and then, *absolutely devastatingly* considering that it means "gee I'm sorry for so horribly slandering all you others because it was so shambolic," having to say "oh no, gee, I only meant Israel's current *regime.*"

      (Despite the fact that of course the submarine sale that set him off is to the Israeli permanent government.)

      Like I say, the only thing that saved Grass was the dumb nature of the reaction from Israel seeing Grass as being a Nazi rather than a man with a stupid, hysterical shambles of a thought process, and then others trying to say that all Grass was doing was saying criticizing Israel is okay which of course it is.

      It was a terrific slander, an incredibly stupid slander, and if it makes me a "shlub" to say so then I'm a shlub.

      And what an irony: Just as Grass was saved by the dumb reaction of Israel, so in a sense is Israel saved by the stupidities of people like Grass. What a gift, after all, for Netanyahu and his sort! "*This* is the level of argument that we have to contend with in the West? *This* sort of stupidity instead of any informed, really trenchant stuff? Essentially accusing us of wanting to nuke everyone? Oh thank *God* for you, Gunter!"

    • For what it's worth I think Grass is sort of getting a pass, not least however by the predictably knee-jerk "Nazi Nazi Nazi" reaction from Israel, but also by people overlooking what he actually was talking about so as to see some good in it.

      Look, Grass wasn't just talking about the dangers of an Israeli strike on Iran's nuke facilities: He was talking as if there's some real, tangible threat to be concerned about now with Israel nuking Iran generally. (Hence the talk about the subs.)

      And that's just either the product of a fevered, amateur, suspiciously obsessed mind at best, or blatant fear-mongering at worst.

      So what saves moron Gunter? Well first is Netanyahu and Co. Instead of saying it's repugnant—which I think it probably is—to suggest that there's any evidence that Israel would ever use weapons of mass destruction on another country or even possess them other than to prevent or retaliate against them being used against it, no, they go the "Nazi" route.

      And this then just contributes to either the overlooking or pretending away of that nub of what Grass was hyperventilating about so as to pretend that gee, all Grass was saying was that it's okay to criticize Israel now, which of course it always was.

      Grass does seem an idiot politically. Lots of countries have nuclear weapons. And there's not a particle of evidence that Israel has any idea of using the ones it has in any way different than the most responsible of the others. I.e., simply as a deterrent. And yet his poem sure seems to suggest a big real danger that Israel is at the very least contemplating if not happily planning to annihilate all of Iran.

      That's just totally, utterly unsupported, and so extreme as to indeed suggest that if there wasn't some malice involved there it must be the work of the crudest of hysterical, self-absorbed minds.

      Unfortunately because of the reaction in Israel the focus is on the malice possibility which doesn't seem to fit. But the rest sure does and it isn't flattering that's for sure.

  • When is someone going to lose his job for calling someone an anti-Semite?
    • No John, I'd extend much of the sentiment I expressed to the Guillen thing too.

      It's much worse when Progressives/political correctness jihadists/whomever enlist the law on their side in such things, such as damn near requiring the gagging or firing of an employee because they say un-PC things that other employees can then sue the company over.

      But here too with Guillen: So the hell what he likes Castro? It's the road paved by the PC police that says fire him from same, despite it only involving a freaking sports team. It's the sensibility of certain (selective) things justifying total nastiness, knifings essentially, not just disagreeing with people, but trying to deprive them even of the ability to earn a living. As if they're subhumans, fit maybe only to haul garbage.

      (After all, if his pro-Castro sensibilities disqualify him from some sports job, well my God what job could he possible be fit for? So break him, man, reduce him and his wife and kids to trailer-parkdom....)

      It's moral preening, is what it is, and it's making it impossible for people to talk reasonably about issue after issue.

      So who's surprised at what the U.S. has been roped into doing vis a vis the Palestinians? You cross the perhaps most-dreaded of all dread PC lines and become an anti-semite, well Dude, you ain't even gonna criticized much *directly.* The damn near first and of course biggest response if at all possible anyway is gonna be ... "Go after his job. His very family, man. Shut him up, grind him down, make an example of him...."

      ... and then talk about how much you just want everyone to get along and the need for compassion and tolerance.

    • After a giant horselaugh I had to say that within his own standard Beinart is being very consistent and brave here.

      The horselaugh however was indeed for the Beinarts of the world—supposedly oh-so-smart— just now starting to find out where that standard leads.

      After all it's the Beinarts of the world—Progressives/the politically correct/whatever—who think that you're damned right a person should be fired for his or her job for being "anti-semitic" or "racist" or whatever. Hell, when *aren't* they out on the constant fun hunt for someone's job?

      In essence (and forgetting even their disdain for their supposed love of "tolerance" and "diversity" and all that other self-congratulatory crap they churn out) imposing private speech codes where the government under the First Amendment could not.

      So just now they're finding out how fickle a thing this is gonna be however! Today it's "You're fired for being a 'racist' as defined by ... [faddishness as much as anything else]."

      And tomorrow it'll be ... "You're fired for not being racist [or whatever] *enough*." Or, more topically ... "You're fired for saying something pro-'terrorististic'!"

      You just have to love the Left, believing that their worldview of things is just always going to rule. Thus, of *course* having society throwing people out of their jobs for having what they regard as unpopular ideas is fine and dandy, because of *course* nobody is ever going to disagree with that opinion much less hold a radically different one.

      And yet, over what is a historical blink of the eye term, by their own lights first using the term "negro" was okay but is now probably racist to say, and then "African-American" was okay but now is being looked at squinty-eyed in some quarters, and tomorrow saying "Black" may well be found high indicia of an evil soul.

      Go ahead though, you Beinarts, see where the groundbreaking you've done like this gets you when your enemies become ascendent and come happily trotting over all that nice ground you've broken for them.... See what happens when you presuppose you know the absolute moral truth about things and prefer that over freedom. See what happens to *your* freedom sooner or later to question *other's* moral truths.

  • NYPD helped Mort Zuckerman--8 years later, his paper shills for NYPD spying
    • Oh, at least Zuckerman is being consistent: He'd be praising the NYPD for its muslim spying anyway.

      Want an even richer one? See today Mayor Bloomberg calling American self-defense laws such as the Stand Your Ground one in Florida a "license to murder" and an excuse for "vigilante justice."


      See just a year ago or so Mayor Bloomberg shilling for the incredibly heavily and indeed officially armed settlers in the occupied territories—where their very *presence* is illegal—so much so that Bloomberg was saying he might not be able to support Obama because of what Obama was merely *hinting* at then as regards to same and what Israel's borders should be and etc.


      So let's see, today for us self-defense laws are are "not the kind of laws a civilized society should have," but if you're Israeli, parked on illegal land, well my God do you ever need those Uzis....

      Seems to me some 'discriminatin' is goin' on in the mind of Mayor Bloomberg. Of the "us" and "you" type.

      And none of us Americans are supposed to notice this.

  • Amira Hass explains why Israel's U.S. model of ethnic cleansing failed, and why 'Jewish regime' will 'crumble'
    • Phil Weiss wrote:

      "Amira Hass explains why Israel’s U.S. model of ethnic cleansing failed, and why ‘Jewish regime’ will ‘crumble’"

      I'm sorry, but I must have missed Hass' version saying why exactly it will crumble.

      Oh, there's some argle-bargle in there about how "things are different here and now," but as Hass herself says, it's been 64 *years* now, and counting. And despite the West's total immersion now in ideas of multi-culturalism and pluralism and revulsion to ethno-racialism and on and on Israel hasn't climbed on board with any of that, and seems to care ever less about ever doing so.

      Does anyone really see Israel as having become *more* liberal over the past years?

      Does Hass really believe that Israelis will not eventually go along with ethnic cleansing of some sort, and overlook that same is exactly what it undertook in '48 and has been doing in slower motion since?

      It's a mark of how far apart Hass is from the Israeli mainstream that she feels it really wants to be like the U.S. in some fundamental way. Sure, in some ways that mainstream does: It wants our sort of cities and toys and cars and jobs and life and etc. But it don't wanna rub shoulders with too many non-jews; no way.

      It's an oldie but a goodie that a big problem in gauging conflicts arises from seeing "the other guy" as fundamentally being just like oneself. Judaism however isn't just like other more modern religions. And Zionism isn't just like other modern nationalisms.

      This isn't to condemn judaism or zionism one whit; just observing that when you hear a Bibi Netanyahu or a Shaul Mofaz or any even relative "moderate" Israeli talk (much less an Ovadia Yousef) you aren't listening to a person fundamentally coming from a modern Western perspective. They don't give a damn about that perspective, indeed, adopting that perspective—at least for their fellow Israelis—is precisely what they are fighting against.

  • Iran has 'promised' 'another Holocaust' -- CBS commentator
    • I like Ben Stein. He's funny, he's smart, he's humane; there's damn near nothing not to like about him. There is no way he is indifferent to anyone's suffering.

      But here once again we see the utter lack of any historical balance that in my mind is at the very center of allowing the inflamed thinking that it incites. Even in the soundest of people. Here, in other words—indeed in Ben's own words—is the kind of utterly unbalanced history that has even unbalanced a Ben Stein. An unbalanced history that is gradually but utterly blotting out the blatant obvious moral truth that all humans are capable of being beasts.

      I'm so sick of this unbalance. How often—to use as many of Stein's words as possible—has anyone seen anything like the following?

      "About 90 years ago enemies of the Christian and other religious people rose up in the form of the Bolsheviks in Europe and their many eager helpers, including in America. Given their relative population, a simply staggering proportion of those enemies of Christians were jews, especially in the Bolshevik leadership and secret police. Their hands were not stayed, In the cruelest imaginable ways, including prolonged intentional mass starvation of millions alone and the attempted genocides of a number of small nationhoods via forcible displacement, they basically wiped out some 20 [or 30? or 40? or 50?] million Christians and other religious people in the Soviet Union.

      Basically, not only did the world do nothing to save them, but when the Bolshevik's eager helpers were not busy denying and lying about what was being done, they were defending it, justifying it, and even cheering it on."

      Without some corrective balancing of this sort it seems to me only natural what is happening; indeed even logical: Progressive generations, utterly ignorant of the reality of all of what happened, of *course* believing that there's some human uniquenesses out there. That ... only *some* people can ever behave as beasts, and that only *some* people can ever be victims.

      Correct that imbalance, in my view, and you've gone a long long way towards helping *everyone.* As Chekhov said:

      "Man will become better only when he is made to see what he has become."

  • Grass smears in 'Times', plus new translation of his 'I've had it with the West's hypocrisy' poem
    • biorabbi wrote:

      "But, Grass hits me quite hard. There is an ugly rich symbolism in Grass condemning Israel...

      The issue of selective condemnation...."

      Alright, let's talk about "selective condemnation."

      Salomon Morel was a Polish communist who rose in the ranks after the Germans were defeated and became the commandant of the prison at Lublin castle where, as Wikipedia unequivocally states it, many anti-communists were tortured and killed. Morel then became the commandant of what Wikipedia once again unequivocally states as the "infamous" Zgoda camp, which had been set up by the Soviet KGB. Prisoners sent there needn't even have been charged with any crimes, just sent there by the communist secret police. And sometimes even their children were sent there. As Wikipedia once again says unequivocally "It is estimated that close to 2,000 inmates died in the camp where torture and abuse of prisoners were chronic and rampant."

      For what it's worth—nothing in my view—many of those at Zgoda were ethnic Germans who found themselves on Polish soil after the war.

      After the communists fell Morel moved to Israel. In 1998 under the new, democratic Polish government, Poland requested Morel's extradition to face war crime charges.

      The Israeli gov't refused, saying ... the statute of limitations had run out on war crimes.

      In 2005, another extradition request was made to Israel together with fresh evidence and that charge that Morel had committed "communist crimes against the population," including the starvation and torture of prisoners. As Wikipedia states, the new evidence was based on the testimony of "over 100 witnesses, including 58 former inmates of the Zgoda camp." This request was again formally refused by the Israeli government. In addition to rejecting extradition on the grounds that the statute of limitations against Morel had run out, Israel said it was possible he might be the subject of an anti-semitic conspiracy.

      So you know, biorabbi, the unnatural deaths of non-jews counts a little too. And among the beasts of men have been a good many non-gentiles too, believe it or not.

      Next time you wanna talk about the Holocaust and the Germans and the Nazis then, let's remember how "selective" that can be.

  • Another mainstream voice, Robert Wright, informs Americans that two-state solution is on 'deathbed'
    • Robert Wright wrote:

      "That's the depressing thing about the Israel-Palestinian conflict: It results from the Israelis and Palestinians acting more or less the way you would expect people in their shoes to act."

      Very largely true—*except* as to *the* big issue here, which is where Wright's analysis/sentiment breaks down.

      Very largely true, that is, that the history of the jews and of course especially the Holocaust would condition them to, say, fight against having a Palestinian state that could pose any threat to them and to thus insist on cosmically defensible if not impossible borders that no-one else has.

      But what's so special about jewish history that says that they alone are entitled to a (relatively) pure ethno-racial-religious state that they and they alone control? Simply because in some other states at other times those states have turned on them? Well, different states have turned on damn near everyone in the past and of course if you even so much as mention the idea in any other state today that it should enshrine this or that other ethno-racial-religious group as its permanent official overlords the very first screamers of the word "fascism" would be jewish groups.

      Wright's analysis and sentiment stops short at providing any support for the rejection of a One-state solution.

  • The liberal Zionist predicament
    • David Samel wrote:

      "Liberal Zionists are caught in the middle. Their “liberal” side propels them toward equality, but their Zionist inclination makes preservation of the Jewish State the paramount concern."

      I think this is letting them off lighty, albeit unintentionally. Being "caught in the middle" implies at the very least being torn between two poles, if not actually having to choose between same.

      The fact is there's been no choosing nor—at least as far as eye can see least—cvvtearing on any big scale for liberal Zionists: How many after all have become One-Staters? And yet, how many have openly or even otherwise rejected the main tenets of liberalism outside of Israel?

      Instead of being "caught in the middle" then clearly the far more accurate is that they want it both ways. They want every place and person on earth other than Israelis or Israel to be "liberal"—and indeed condemn those there who are not in the most thundering, derogatory fashion possible—but can't imagine applying any of those ideas to Israelis generally or Israel.

  • Flabby Zionism
    • Dan Crowther wrote:

      "I never knew the Bill of Rights and the Constitution were designed to confer 'minority rights' – I thought they just outlined what rights all men have inherently. This is the problem with calling yourself a “(fill in the blank) american” — As far as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are concerned (and after some important 'updates') men are men. That’s kind of an important thing, I should say."

      Yes, and now we're seeing some of the damage caused by the New Left in pushing that poisonous little idea that one's "real" identity wasn't national but instead was something else (racial, ethnic, religious, etc.) that, at the very least, needed to be hyphenated/appended to one's description as an American to advertise that same was—again at the very least—just as important as that Americanism if not in fact much moreso.

      Rather funny then (in an unfunny way) seeing all the Lefties/Progressives here trying to put this toothpaste of theirs back in the tube essentially. On the one hand tell everyone that who they *really* are and who they *really* owe their allegiance to is their co-ethnics/racial members/religion sharers. And on the other then tell 'em to stop fighting for same and regard everyone else as equals.

      Nice bit of incoherence there....

  • 'Peter Beinart's offense against liberalism' and the spiritual crisis Zionism has wrought
    • Jack Ross wrote:

      "But for such political discourses to be the basis of a religious discourse is the moral monstrosity that has characterized most non-Orthodox Judaism for the last 70 years."

      "Moral monstrosity"?

      Oh come on Mr. Ross. This is, after all, the exact same sort of language as used by those on the far other side always pretending to sit upon some moral Olympus hurling down unquestionable thunderbolts of judgments upon this or that person or issue. Those on the other side, that is, who are much further there than the rabbi in this video who one certainly can disagree with but who one can hardly call a moral monster.

      For what it's worth I liked the guy. Yes I think he's very wrong in any number of ways, but he's manifestly a humane man and not an evil one, liking violence or being indifferent to human suffering. And while his world-view is most definitely not the universalist one of Mr. Ross', neither, I would tenderly point out, would that seem to be the world view of most of humanity at this point.

      In any event what I at least found to be the most fundamental and hence instructive thing he said was at about 4:50: "Israel reminds us that at the core of Judaism we do not speak about the individual and our Maker as religion is commonly understood in the West. Rather, Judaism is about community."

      This, it seems to me, is a very deep statement, providing an absolute ton of explanatory power across a very wide spectrum.

  • The Toulouse killings and the false specter of European anti-Semitism
    • Just as a matter of logic, but made particularly pungent by that recent incident in J'slem by those Israeli soccer fans, it seems to me that the proper metric for gauging anti-semitism somewhere would be the same metric for adjudging anti-gentilism in Israel, no?

      And of course in adjudging the degree of either in a country one would think that the incidence of *official* (legal) discrimination would weigh very very heavily indeed.

  • Zionism totalled
    • In an earlier thread this huge issue sort of came up in a sideways way—under the broader guise of talking about ethno/racial/cultural separatism—and while I posted a comment in response to KEITH there it really didn't belong in that anyway dead thread. It seems far more relevant here and so at any rate it's why I think it's wrong to condemn Zionism per se so I'll reproduce it for what it's worth:

      Keith said:

      “Under these circumstances, this selective memory [focusing on the Holocaust for instance] helps to replicate in general terms that which it opposes in specific terms, hence, no good has ever or will ever come of it.”

      Well I agreed with you up to here, Keith, but I wonder if some … lesser, non-fetishized selective memory *necessarily* leads to a group doing terrible things to others. I mean, to some degree *nobody’s* memory/consciousness is broad enough, right?

      I am well aware of the liberal/progressive universalist slant of many if not most people here, and certainly respect the idealism behind it. And I’m not dogmatically against it but do believe there’s reasons to believe it just isn’t possible and won’t work.

      And even perhaps believe that it can’t work, and think that attempts to make it so have led to terrible trouble if not misery already, and might be unavoidable.

      I guess maybe this isn’t the place to explore this, but look, culture not unsurprisingly tends to be shared on the same basis as race and ethnicity, and culture is about more than just what style of music one likes but is about values too.

      And values are what people fight over.

      Idea’s like “multi-culturalism” certainly sound nice, and certainly one can point to the U.S.’s experience in trying it so far and say see it can work. But maybe because of its nature the U.S. is a unique or semi-unique place. (A “creedal”or “propositional” nation rather than one rooted in soil or shared history.) And it’s awful early yet in this experiment here. Nuts, in general we don’t even pay any attention to movements or ideas that have lasted less than 100 years or so in terms of asking about their workability. Here, it’s only been what? … 20 years or so that the term “multi-cultural” has even been around? Maybe 30?

      It’s just awful awful early yet.

      And then I look at that careful study done not all that long ago that resulted in that academic or quasi-academic journal (Foreign Affairs or etc.?) that was widely praised for its carefulness and lack of ideology where the political science author noted that while in a splotch of the West sure, we all think that everything’s moving towards multi-culturalism. Except that across the entirety of the rest of the world basically it’s not, and indeed it’s moving mammothly and resolutely in the opposite direction. No ands, ifs or buts about it, and just as a simple, undeniable factual matter.

      This isn’t to deny for a second the great potential evils of ethno/racial/cultural nationalism, after all we have the Nazis fresh in our minds.

      But it’s funny: With much validity we indict a big slice of the Israelis and jews with seeing everything through the prism of the Holocaust and Nazism, but to a degree liberal, multicultural universalists do too: Sure of course it showed the great potential evils of separatism, but what about *them* looking beyond Germany and Hitler for a second? Indeed, looking just over the border from Hitler’s Germany?

      I.e., what about the great uber-liberal multi-culti universalist experiment that was Bolshevism in the USSR? And for the sake of argument let’s forget even its early crimes: Every new regime is gonna be guilty of some brutalities early on.

      But what did the Bolshies find as their time went on? *Totally* contrary to what they predicted? Ethnic/racial and cultural differences were far far stronger than they ever believed. And, predictably—and worrisomely—what this caused was the regime to become ever more savage trying to stamp it out. To the point of killing or incarcerating so many it changed the demographics of that huge country. A literal orgy of violence and blood, that went on and on, and was stopped only long enough for the USSR to go fight Hitler for little while.

      Not all that different than the experience of Bolshevik China, or Pot Pot’s Cambodia.

      Like I say, it’s early yet for the liberal, multi-cultural, internationalist dream. Indeed perhaps it’s not even fully out of the womb, and in only a very few places. And then there’s that Bolshevik experiment … perhaps suggesting that for that dream to work it’s inevitably going to have to use ever more force, and that even when using what amounts to a demonic degree of same it *still* won’t work….

      It’s early yet.

  • Holocaust consciousness-raising = harming Palestinians
    • Keith said:

      "Under these circumstances, this selective memory helps to replicate in general terms that which it opposes in specific terms, hence, no good has ever or will ever come of it."

      Well I agreed with you up to here, Keith, but I wonder if some ... lesser, non-fetishized selective memory *necessarily* leads to a group doing terrible things to others. I mean, to some degree *nobody's* memory/consciousness is broad enough, right?

      I am well aware of the liberal/progressive universalist slant of many if not most people here, and certainly respect the idealism behind it. And I'm not dogmatically against it but do believe there's reasons to believe it just isn't possible and won't work.

      And even perhaps believe that it can't work, and think that attempts to make it so have led to terrible trouble if not misery already, and might be unavoidable.

      I guess maybe this isn't the place to explore this, but look, culture not unsurprisingly tends to be shared on the same basis as race and ethnicity, and culture is about more than just what style of music one likes but is about values too.

      And values are what people fight over.

      Idea's like "multi-culturalism" certainly sound nice, and certainly one can point to the U.S.'s experience in trying it so far and say see it can work. But maybe because of its nature the U.S. is a unique or semi-unique place. (A "creedal"or "propositional" nation rather than one rooted in soil or shared history.) And it's awful early yet in this experiment here. Nuts, in general we don't even pay any attention to movements or ideas that have lasted less than 100 years or so in terms of asking about their workability. Here, it's only been what? ... 20 years or so that the term "multi-cultural" has even been around? Maybe 30?

      It's just awful awful early yet.

      And then I look at that careful study done not all that long ago that resulted in that academic or quasi-academic journal (Foreign Affairs or etc.?) that was widely praised for its carefulness and lack of ideology where the political science author noted that while in a splotch of the West sure, we all think that everything's moving towards multi-culturalism. Except that across the entirety of the rest of the world basically it's not, and indeed it's moving mammothly and resolutely in the opposite direction. No ands, ifs or buts about it, and just as a simple, undeniable factual matter.

      This isn't to deny for a second the great potential evils of ethno/racial/cultural nationalism, after all we have the Nazis fresh in our minds.

      But it's funny: With much validity we indict a big slice of the Israelis and jews with seeing everything through the prism of the Holocaust and Nazism, but to a degree liberal, multicultural universalists do too: Sure of course it showed the great potential evils of separatism, but what about *them* looking beyond Germany and Hitler for a second? Indeed, looking just over the border from Hitler's Germany?

      I.e., what about the great uber-liberal multi-culti universalist experiment that was Bolshevism in the USSR? And for the sake of argument let's forget even its early crimes: Every new regime is gonna be guilty of some brutalities early on.

      But what did the Bolshies find as their time went on? *Totally* contrary to what they predicted? Ethnic/racial and cultural differences were far far stronger than they ever believed. And, predictably—and worrisomely—what this caused was the regime to become ever more savage trying to stamp it out. To the point of killing or incarcerating so many it changed the demographics of that huge country. A literal orgy of violence and blood, that went on and on, and was stopped only long enough for the USSR to go fight Hitler for little while.

      Not all that different than the experience of Bolshevik China, or Pot Pot's Cambodia.

      Like I say, it's early yet for the liberal, multi-cultural, internationalist dream. Indeed perhaps it's not even fully out of the womb, and in only a very few places. And then there's that Bolshevik experiment ... perhaps suggesting that for that dream to work it's inevitably going to have to use ever more force, and that even when using what amounts to a demonic degree of same it *still* won't work....

      It's early yet.

    • No, Moose, I don't even know if the great Solzh ever totted up the numbers or etc, but others have and indeed manifestly uber-fair folks like Richard Pipes has written extensively about the issue, acknowledging the truth. There's just no denying it that the ranks of the Bolsheviks—especially the leadership responsible for the Bolshies taking power in the first place, and then also especially amongst the secret police—were just filled with jews; mammothly over-represented in terms of their numbers in the general population.

      I hasten to add however (that unlike, for instance, that guy who seemed to try to "blame" ordinary germans for the Holocaust), this is only meant to note my belief that no-one is immune from behaving as a beast, and no-one is immune from being treated beastly, period.

    • I wouldn't be so cynical, Pixel. I think if you look at how the Holocaust has been talked about since the end of WWII, even and indeed especially amongst the jews, you'll see a change. Everyone back then knew that Europe—including the Soviet Union—had just gone crazy and beast-like. The essential lesson from the shocked West was essentially the absorption of the idea that any man could indeed be a wolf to any other man—because they had.

      A couple of generations go by however, and the lack of preservation of that balanced understanding shows I believe, unconsciously. You just didn't see the utter sort of obliviousness that you see with Ms. Wasserman-Shultz and other younger jews today. I honestly think they're just so innocent of any broad historical truth that this is at the root of their wild statements.

    • You know, I don't think there's anything wrong with retaining consciousness about the Holocaust. Indeed, except for fetishizing it–just as fetishizing anything is dangerous—I think it's virtuous. We in America especially think that nothing happened of any consequence before we were born, and yet think of all those men killed in the Civil War, groaning without anesthesia. And all our WWI and II men and women ... they deserve our memories.

      The problem I have is the lack of *balanced* consciousness.

      Not long ago for instance Phil noted the American Democratic Party woman—Wasserman-Shultz—commenting about how jews "need to have a place to go," as if nobody else has ever been hounded and tormented. As if everyone else was safe as gold in Fort Knox.

      So here's where some balance I think should come in but doesn't. Certainly, for instance, if there was some balance Ms. Wasserman-Shultz wouldn't have been saying what she did if, say, she read Solzhenitsyn. Knew of the huge over-representation of jews amongst the Bolsheviks, especially in their secret police who murdered and tortured and starved so many non-jews. Indeed, who so concentrated on Christians.

      Certainly then she would see how she couldn't be saying what she did, else Christians generally (and certainly Christians in Europe) could with equal validity be saying they needed to be free of jews to really be safe.

      It's not consciousness in general that's bad, it's partial or unbalanced consciousness that leads to extremism.

      "We are all in the gutter," some poet once said (a line stolen by the great Chrissie Hynde); that was so clearly true right after WWII especially and the revelations of folks like Solzhenitsyn about the Bolsheviks that it's only with the fading of *some* consciousness that a Ms. Wasserman-Shultz is out there doing what she is doing with the Holocaust.

  • Israeli police use attack dogs on Palestinian protesters in the West Bank
    • And now, while predictable, the topper:

      "George Clooney, Jewish Leaders Arrested At Anti-Sudan Protest In Washington"

      Headline to Haaretz story here:

      Delicious quote from some big-time Rabbi there: ""We know better than anyone what happens when people stand by when innocents die."

      Yeah, you get your ethno-racial state, which is evil for anyone else to have!

    • And now we shall see all the innumerable Lefty jewish types who so loved to put pictures of Bull Connor's dogs attacking people at the top of their impassioned pieces denouncing white Southerners as obvious monsters ... just look away. Far far away....

      (Except of course the Alan Dershowitz type who will assert that this is different because they are *Israeli* dogs—the most moral in the world.)

  • Chair of DNC says: 'Israel is our rightful place... a place for us to go'
    • I don't know where or how else to ask this, but I posted a comment to this piece this a.m. and it either didn't make it here, or was censored.

      It seemed to go through, but I can't believe it was censored since it came nowhere close to any criteria I've seen posted here for doing same. (And indeed seemed pretty anodyne to me otherwise and anyway too.)

      So ...?

  • Israel is sucking up all the oxygen in the White House
    • @Bruce:

      Ah, didn't really think you were ranking, just was doing it myself a bit I guess, so absolutely no criticism intended, especially as I admired your piece for doing some very penetrating thinking.

      Poor wording on my part, please forgive the erroneous implication.

    • @ Keith:

      Dude, on the one hand you say the reactions to this are "so far beyond the pale," (although I don't know that anyone actually said that "most of our problems can be traced back to 'the lobby'" as you charge), and then you say that "[a]ll of the [U.S.} deficits are ... designed to create de facto debt servitude."

      .... and, contrary to lots of the post here you criticize which offer at least some logic for the link(s) they posit (and indeed reasoning and evidence), you do so without a molecule of same for yours.

      (Not to mention using utterly meaningless phrases like "terminal financialization.")

      So if you want to criticize, you might want to try doing so with logic, reasoning or evidence (say, vis a vis my linking our support for Israel with high energy and petroleum prices), and if you want to posit, you might try using some of the same as well.

    • For those who say that Mr. Wolman is overstating or being too speculative about the costs we pay due to our support for Israel consider what I think should have been his #1, which is the incredible, incalculable cost and damage done to us by that support in the form of higher oil prices.

      How easy it is to forget the '73 oil crisis, despite its magnitude in almost totally re-altering our economic fundamentals, and then too the longevity of the economic wreckage it left with all those people shoved out of their jobs and all that money going out of our country and system. Indeed I don't know if all of history has ever seen such a huge transfer of wealth from one group of countries to another. And the damage to the West was simply incalculable.

      And then of course we get to the continued conflict premium we have paid for oil ever since, ignoring even the crisis premiums we pay whenever things have gotten particularly hot, which they have often enough to make the cost of *that* premium insane standing alone.

      One cannot even begin to imagine the trillions of dollars and dislocations and other costs involved in all this, and the millions of Americans terribly affected.

      The fact is this and this alone—involving, as it did, orders-of-magnitude permanent increases in the price of energy which was and clearly remains the very life-blood of our modern economy, not to mention the centrality of petroleum otherwise—essentially re-ordered our entire way of life. And given that it did so via increased costs, did so in no positive way one can think of.

      To try some attempted comparison, one might as well start thinking about what the effect would be if we started having to pay some significant, daily, on-going amount for the oxygen we breathe.

  • New 'Daily Beast' blog on Israel/Palestine features 'the cousins'-- no US realist
    • Yes that was exactly my question too, Les, maybe put another way: How many of these commentators on this new U.S. blog are U.S. citizens, and U.S. citizen alone?

  • 'New Republic' says Obama 'detests' Netanyahu and treats him shabbily
    • In response to my post OlegR said:

      "So basically you are saying Israelis are not human."

      No, I'm categorically saying that about "folks who share Halevi's sort of sentiments," which is the exact verbiage I used and you pretended didn't exist so as to try to undermine what I said, quite obviously because it is valid and you don't like people hearing that, and yet you could not undermine it with either evidence or reason.

      And what I'll add is that I think when someone just takes words out of context or twists them, much less blatantly pretending they don't exist as you just did, it constitutes a sort of irrefutable proof of intellectual bad faith on their part.

    • Yossi Klein Halevi said:

      "For me to trust Obama on Israel’s ultimate security threat, I need him to speak directly to Iran, not to American Jews and the Israeli public. I need ...."

      Who cares about Halevi saying Obama hates Bibi, or indeed if Obama hates Bibi. To me instead what's noteworthy is Halevi's tone as in the above, demanding his "needs" from our President.

      Seems to me the appropriate response is ... "Go screw yourself and your needs, Israeli."

      Don't the folks who share Halevi's sort of sentiments have the least amount of shame constantly demanding we take care of them? (And constantly implying that we aren't doing enough?)

      Unfreakingbelievable sense of entitlement. Unbelievable lack of appreciation for past help given. It's like dealing with some different species.

  • Friedman warns war could hurt American Jews
    • Actually, I wonder if all this slow-motion attempt to push us into war isn't more damaging to Israel and the Lobby.

      In the first place the present situation seems to just be gradually pulling in the marginally interested. Once the shooting starts however, the impulse to just root for the flag tends not to be the greatest for encouraging examination and reflection.

      Further makes me wonder if Phil's "tipping point" hasn't subtly been reached sometime before now, being some subtle thing to begin with. E.g., just the expansion of the conversation to talk about separate interests, together with amazement that anyone would be talking about another war after Iraq and Afghanistan? Coupled with the Lobby's need to be more full-throated in boosting one against Iran?

      I know some may say it was W&M's book, but I doubt it, not in terms of the general public. And yet it does seem that where we see movement is in the general public—with someone I read recently mentioning that even amongst the Tea Party crowd there's a goodly amount of skepticism about our ties with Israel. And of course it is the general public's feelings with which Tom Friedman's piece here is concerned.

      I note also a certain populism in Obama's remarks now, clearly feeling there's an audience for them: Talking separately about our interests and then Israel's, and talking about how those popping off don't pay the price of war and etc.

      (Not to mention how interesting those remarks were in the form of firing shots across the Lobby's bow: "You want more of this?" they can easily be interpreted as saying.)

  • Netanyahu says, You also refused to bomb Auschwitz
    • It's funny how a meme that's heard before—"you Christians failed to save us!"—gains a certain credence just by having been heard before and repeated.

      In that vein then, but really just somewhat the exact opposite of what Netanyahu is saying, given the huge over-representation of jews in the Bolshevik ranks and especially in the Bolshevik secret police why would it be "wrong" for the Christian peasants and all the lesser-numbered ethnics who were under Stalin's thumb such as during the Holomodor say "you jews failed to save us!" ?

      (Or indeed just ask "how come you were so helpful to Stalin killing us?")

  • Responding to commenters on recent bannings
    • A couple of points, prefaced by noting that while I don't support the censorship announced here you still have to acknowledge that this is Phil's site, he can run it the way he wants, he's run it brilliantly so far, he and Adam are manifestly reasonable, smart guys, one can understand the impulse to censor, and that if anyone can be trusted to censor reasonably it would be Phil and Adam.

      Given that though it's struck me that the underlying and apparently sole reason for the censorship here is questionable: I understand the fear that by allowing what is banned the site might seem ... undignified, unserious, etc. But look at Foreign Policy's site: They don't seem to censor at all, and how much more august can you get than Foreign Policy? In short it seems to me it's the nature and the quality of what the *site* owners post that matters, not the comments from others. (Which only seems reasonable enough when you think of it.)

      Plus then there's the question of the ability of *anyone* to reasonably censor. Getting rid of Witty, for instance? If he hijacked anything it was because the other commentators allowed it. He wasn't nasty, he clearly shared a not-uncommon view (indeed what might be considered *the* reigning view in American politics), and he never called names I don't think.

      Plus note something else: In Phil's comments here he talked about how "one thing that became an issue here [between him and Blankfort] was the claim of collective American 'Jewish responsibility' for support for Israel."

      Well okay, but then what do we see just today? A comment penned by Alex Kane noting that the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations—clearly representing same, 52 of them—coming down like a ton of bricks on little old J-Street. And of course, one might reasonably ask, what's *that* say about the collective American jewish support for Israel?

      In short, it's a devilishly hard if not impossible thing to censor reasonably without appearing hypocritical, having double standards, and at the very least getting drawn into some very difficult conversations ... ironically about *precisely* that which one wished to censor in the first place.

      Like I say though I sympathize with what Phil and Adam are trying to do, and don't think they've wrecked this site by any means yet, but ... banning Witty? Doesn't it tell you something about the fundamental soundness of your formula when in one of its first applications it seems to produce a highly questionable if not unreasonable result?

      Anyway, just my two cents, very modestly offered.

  • Judge strikes down lawsuit against Olympia Co-op boycott of Israeli goods
    • Allison Deger wrote:

      "The plaintiffs were therefore ordered to pay $10,000 to each of the collective members and cover legal fees."

      I don't think so, Allison, at least not yet. The media report you initially linked to just noted that this was the potential penalty the Washington anti-SLAPP law provides, with the Judge going on vacation and promising to rule on damages when he gets back.

      Plus it appears that the Judge seemed to try suggesting ways of the parties settling their differences by having all Co-op members vote on a BDS decision, rather than going along with the Board-only decision so far. And I think the story notes the Judge saying he expects an appeal of his decision, all of which suggests to me that the Judge wasn't all that strongly outraged against the plaintiffs.

      (Not to indict the Judge; most try just as a matter of course to get battling parties to settle their differences outside of court.)

      Anyway I don't think we've seen the end of this, and one aspect that wasn't mentioned (perhaps for good reason not being relevant, but I dunno) is that I thought there was some piece of Federal legislation doing something like making it illegal for anyone to join any attempt to boycott Israel's product or etc. Or maybe that was only if they formally tried to join the arab world's boycott of same in some way or etc.

      Regardless, wouldn't surprise me if in reaction to this Washington state business is that if that Fed law doesn't play any part what we see is Israel and its partisans in fact getting the Congress to pass a new law outlawing BDS participation. You know ... getting 67 senators signatures on a napkin to that effect by nightfall....

      Something to watch for in the future with this BDS thing anyway I think.

  • Neocons and AIPAC both want war-- but AIPAC has the Dems
    • I think it's not all that important to make an issue of Lobe's comments to the effect that the Israelis were not as full-throated behind the attack on Iraq as they are about attacking Iran, essentially because that's the difference: The degree of open throatedness they devoted to the former as opposed to what they doing now.

      Look at it from Israel's/Sharon's point of view back before the Iraq invasion:

      First, like everyone else, they weren't as stupid as Bush and likely thought about the idea that deposing Saddam meant empowering Iran.

      Second, for all his bluster Saddam was more inward-looking and didn't devote great resources to helping those trying to whack Israel.

      Third, the Israeli's were in new territory in terms of openly inciting the U.S. to attack another ME state: Thus, they had to weigh the limited benefit of such an attack to themselves against the downside of seeming to manipulate the U.S. into that war, with all its uncertainties at the time.

      Fourth, they probably had a very uncertain understanding of Saddam's capabilities to attack them if the U.S. attacked Saddam: Both as regards missiles, and perhaps even chem/bio weapons.

      Fifth: To some degree one suspects some of the Lobby elements in the U.S. were already more forward-leaning than Sharon was, and not instantly callable to heel. Remember, there was some discontent with Sharon for evacuating Gaza, and some of those U.S. lobby elements were more sure of themselves in being able to push the Iraq invasion without blowback than Sharon knew.

      And on and on. Thus of course Israel was at first more hesitant about the wisdom of the U.S. attacking Iraq, and then more sotto voce about it even when the supported it, which they may well have seen as just supporting what was going to happen regardless of what they said.

  • Hoenlein says irresponsible 'J Street' threatens Jewish unity (and survival)
    • Phil Weiss wrote:

      "People routinely ask, If American Jews are overwhelmingly left-liberal, why is the Israel lobby so rightwing?"

      Maybe because American jews are only left-liberal when it comes to others?

      America or the rest of the West being restrictionist when it comes to immigration? Or even trying to stop illegal immigration into same? Appalling! Fascist!

      Israel saying only jews are welcome? Of course!

      America or the rest of the West being fairly militarized, such as during the Cold War? Appalling! Fascist war mongering!

      Israel being damn near Spartan in term of how it lives for its military? How noble!

      America or the rest of the West being concerned with fiscal restraint? Mean-spiritedness!

      Israel requesting more American money/bond guarantees so as to prevent it from going economically into the hole? Of *course.* Absolutely *necessary.*

      America or the rest of the West concerned about racial/ethnic divisions/pathologies or etc.? Fascists! Racists!

      Israel not even allowing an Israeli wife to bring her arab husband into Israel to live? Of course!

      America or the rest of the West have any relations at all with, say, Iran? Outrageous! Appeasement! Consorting with the Devil!

      Israel being bosom buddies with South Africa back in the day and working on nukes with it? How ... unremarkable!

      America or the rest of the West believes it has to crack down on crime and criminals because of the damage to the social fabric? Appalling! Racist! Mean-spirited! Traducers of human rights! Enemies of civil rights! Police-staters!

      America actually *torturing* arabs though suspected as being involved in anti-israeli activities? Dandy! Or indefinite imprisonment without trial. Or eavesdropping on the entire U.S. population.

      The Israeli Supreme Court saying it can't really be held to its laws because such laws are not a suicide pact? How ... brilliant!

  • Sanity check on Iran
    • It seems to me that what we are going to see depends to a tremendous degree on the Israelis estimation of (A) whether they are going to be able to get Obama to launch an attack on Iran before the elections (because I suspect they believe they never will after same), but then also (B) who is going to win the election.

      If, that is, they think Obama is going to win, then they have to put him up against the wall now, or force his hand now by launching their own attack first and then getting the U.S. involved from there.

      If they think Obama is going to lose to one of the Republicans other than Paul, then I think that would change their posture, although I doubt they much trust Romney. (Because, after all, who does trust him?)

      Right now then I think we're seeing their calculation that indeed Obama is likely to win, so that it is indeed right now that they are going to have maximum leverage over him. Indeed I wouldn't be surprised if Netanyahu isn't going to use his upcoming meeting with Obama in March to take his final measure and see whether Obama will indeed be willing to go first, or whether Israel will have to go first (all before the elections) and trust that Obama is susceptible to being dragged in after that. (Israel getting hit with a few missiles, the call then going out to protect Israel, and blah blah blah or etc.)

      Sort of funny seeing a foreign country so insanely interested in our elections. Makes Ron Paul look like a wise old man to say that we ought not be that involved in the rest of the world so that same happens given all the manipulation we then get subject to.

  • Bruising Judt, Fukuyama says Arabs aren't ready for liberalism
    • lysias said:

      "what Judt said about intellectuals who defend monstrous regimes is something that people like Fukuyama would be wise to bear in mind."

      But that's *precisely* what Fukuyama *was* bearing in mind when he said "[My students] are fortunate not to live in a world where ideas could be translated into monstrous projects for the transformation of society, and where being an intellectual could often mean complicity in enormous crimes."

      There's lots of misunderstanding (and consequent wrong-headed whacking) of Fukuyama here.

      All he was saying was that Judt might have taken his own well-observed wisdom about the enthusiasms of intellectuals past even more to heart about himself and his prescription for a binational state.

      Such a prescription, after all, morally right or morally wrong, would *indeed* be a huge project for the transformation of not one but two societies.

      And again, just speaking strictly neutrally, the idea of liberalism, color/racial/tribal blindness, pluralism, and even democracy *are* just intellectual theories, no different than ... socialism of fascism or etc. There is no rock that's been found, that is, on the underside of which God has written that the natural default ground state of human society organization is ... e liberalism, color/racial/tribal blindness, pluralism or democracy.

      And thus intellectuals pushing same—as Judt was doing—have to be at least little careful given what Judt himself saw other intellectuals doing pushing *their* theories such as, Bolshevism, Leninism, Maoism, Khmer Rougeism, fascism or etc.

      I think you'll find at the academic level Fukuyama is writing at worst it can merely be said he expresses some polite disagreement with Judt. And I doubt that Judt himself would have disagreed that his One-State solution would indeed require a tremendous change in the world-views of not only the Palestinians but the Israelis too.

      After all despite more than half a century now, and even now the very attenuated amount of land that they can realistically expect to get back, as those Wikileak-type documents showed not long ago they *still* were interested in same and *still* show no enthusiasm for a One-State solution.

      And of course in Israel same is considered to be something just short of another Holocaust.

      So let's not go seeing Fukuyama as some great enemy here. That after all seems to be the modus operandi of the hyper Israeli partisans: Seeing everyone who disagrees on even a molecular level with them as sworn, total enemies, and it's not only ugly but stupid.

  • Would you buy a used metaphor from this warmonger? (Niall Ferguson's 'creative destruction' echoes Rice's 'birth-pangs')
    • I've said it before and I'll say it again, if there's one foolproof way to tell if a commentator on this issue is truly trying to be intellectually honest it is whether they at least *talk* about why a Nuke-Free Mideast Accord wouldn't work.

      They don't have to agree it would work. For whatever reason they don't even have to agree that it should be tried. (Despite it being the *complete* answer to all claimed need to attack Iran, and despite it being the peaceful one.)

      All they have to do is address it at least.

      And so, to draw the distinction from Mr. Ferguson and his piece today, I'll just point out that of Akiva Eldar's in today's Haaretz wherein he notes that unlike Israel, Iran has openly endorsed the 1974 U.N. Resolution calling for such an accord. And note the title of his piece which is "Israel Can Clear Mideast of Nukes, It Just Won't."


      For whatever reason I can't get through to post a comment to the above effect on the Newsweek/Daily Beast page, but I think someone ought to.

      Otherwise, if there is a war with Iran historians in the future are going to look back at the talk taking place now in the major media in the U.S. in the run-up to same and wonder whether some sort of strange cosmic cloud hadn't settled over everyone's mind making it somehow impossible for their neurons to understand the concept of a mutual nuclear disarmament.

  • Both sides are wrong in the ‘Israel Firsters’ debate
    • patm above noted something that I too just read in Haaretz and I think it's so amazing and important—if not in fact "paradigm changing" to use an unfortunately hackneyed phrase now—that I wish this were the start of a more on-point thread so that more people here could consider it.

      To repeat what patm pointed out, Haaretz said that something like 98% of all the donations Netanyahu got for his campaign at one point came from abroad. Most from Americans.

      Well it seems to me that's just gobsmacking in a number of different ways. Firstly of course in perhaps changing at the most fundamental level the way some think about the Israeli issue and indeed the way we too often thoughtlessly talk about it.

      That is, how common is it that we think and talk about the problem being ... "Israel leading the U.S. around by the nose" or etc.? And yet this information sort of reverses that, doesn't it? To be more accurate it's more a matter of "some Americans leading Israel around by the nose to then lead America around by the nose," true?

      And while this doesn't ... "absolve" the Israeli voters from their votes, well it does put that in a little different light, doesn't it? No different than our dismay when big money is seen as choosing *our* candidates here.

      In addition, interestingly enough, I also think that seeing things in this perspective radically undermines the charges of some thoroughgoing anti-semitism being at work amongst those who are so critical of Israel. At least to the degree they share that perspective. And that's because that criticism now can be seen as significantly less of "the jews" in Israel, and ... *far* more centrally directed just at those few individuals in the U.S. who are pumping all this money into the Likud and other extremist pockets in Israel.

      I know of course that there's been lots of previous criticism of these U.S. contributors here, much due to Phil Weiss' perceptiveness. But did we really appreciate the ... "98%" figure and what that means?

      Did we really consider for example how much more moderate Israel may well have been and might be in the future if only this funding by a relative few were not there?

      That "98%" is just a forehead-slapping figure, to me at least. Amazing. The only thing I can't figure is how come the Israelis themselves aren't absolutely up in arms about it. Can they really be that sanguine about their fate being determined by foreign jews?

      But, indeed, maybe they are, and those conversations are just muted from our view.

      In any event and again, amazing to me at least, and consequential perhaps even to the point of being fundamental.

    • Jamie Stern-Weiner wrote:

      "Again, the decision to criticise [sic] ['Israeli Firsters'] because they are showing loyalty to a ‘foreign’ country, rather than on the basis that they are enabling an injustice, indicates that what really matters to you is loyalty to your favoured state, rather than adherence to moral principles."

      And the crux of his error is in not perceiving that people believe their country's interests *include* their consideration and balancing of the moral principles at stake, and that thus their loyalty to their favored state *is* an adherence to same even if *you* disagree.

      After all as regards the U.S. and this issue in particular one of the glaring interests that a U.S. citizen has is the concern about the moral guilt and obloquy of supporting of a country engaged in the kind of behavior that Israel is following. And yet they also have the right to consider other moral dimensions involved too, including what being a co-citizen with someone else means.

      Thus what I find so typical of a certain sort of mentality here with Mr. Stern-Weiner is the amazingly automatic, unconscious assumption of a superior if not unique moral status. As if he and he alone (together with whoever else he identifies with) were somehow born on some special moral plane, with everyone else being like some kind of naturally inferior being, capable only of thinking of their own by-definition grubby interests.

      Seen an awful lot of this sort of sneering denigration in recent history: An awful lot of that, it might be observed, coming from American jewish commentators telling the rest of us how existentially backward and racist and all around nasty we are, with an awful lot of those same commentators however never quite coming around to observe what Israel has been doing, if not in fact supporting the hell out of it. As the oh-so thunderingly moral and ever-chastising American Rabbi Yoffie put it just the other day when it came to his own personal choices, "I prefer to live with jews."

      Of course *everyone* has all kinds of interests to weigh in making and balancing their moral judgments, and indeed Mr. Stern-Weiner himself is addressing his main one right here: A concern about all American jews being tapped for not being principally loyal to the interests of their fellow U.S. citizens.

      So how does *he* handle that special interest of his? (Whose validity I don't dispute.) Well, by advocating that nobody be able to even *accurately* identify those individuals where that is manifestly or even *admittedly* true. By saying that his "moral principles" mandate even the suppression of the truth.

      I don't know where some of these folks' exalted if self-assessed moral status comes from, but haven't we had enough of it now? Haven't we had enough of some people's belief that anyone who disagrees with them are moral insects, while they go about balancing their interests and moral considerations just the same (if not worse) than the rest of us?

      Mr. Stern-Weiner seems to take great delight, for instance in talking about the crimes of the United States (somewhat disguising same by talking as if they have just been committed by our "elites"), and then saying a number of times how the crimes of Israel pale in comparison.

      Well, Mr. Stern-Weiner, in terms of at least being *concerned* with anyone else, any day of the week I'd put the record of the U.S. up there against Israel which damn near *boasts* on a regular basis about how solely concerned with itself it is. Even when it was no longer necessary to fight Hitler and even after his monstrous crimes were out there it had no problem seeing Uncle Joe Stalin as an A-okay guy. And it had no problem being big nuke-weapons friend and co-conspirator with South Africa.

      Lastly, while Mr. Stern-Weiner's concern here is principally about American jewry I don't deny his concern for the Palestinians. But I think it's rather demonstrably feeble to say that helping them lies better in simply trying to garner sympathy for their cause and not mentioning to Americans that supporting Israel is bad for their own interests.

      In my opinion omitting the latter effectively says that without opposition the Israeli's can just go on ever more successfully sucking the resources they absolutely need to continue from the U.S. in what amounts to a literal carnival pursuit of their *own* interests, hindered only by ineffectual little squeaks of usually censored humanitarian objections about this or that action against the Palestinian.

      The Israelis have found it very very easy to find ways to disguise what they've been doing to the Palestinians. It's a lot harder for them to disguise that us supporting them is contrary to any number of our own interests, and indeed over the last decade especially it's gotten almost impossible. (Which is why I find it remarkable now especially to see this call coming to refrain from pointing this out.)

      And I can't help noting a moral dimension that exists here as well: If indeed the Palestinian cause is the moral one, what's the moral judgment to be made about using only that tool in aid of same that is a demonstrable failure and that results in nothing?

      Don't some actual *results* matter? Or is it all really just about our own moral preening?

    • So let's see, first there's Mr. Stern-Weiner's revulsion towards anyone concerned with U.S. "national interests" (his quotation marks, as if same are of laughable value) on the basis of how "parochial [and] unappealing" such a concern is, and how "potentially quite vicious" appeals to same might be.

      But then however ... Oh the concern over those who might be called "Israeli Firsters"! (No matter how accurate the identification.) All the "ugly politics" that might be implied thereby! Oh the horror, the horror!

      So we've got Israeli Firsters calling people involved in a resolutely non-violent social protest movement Nazis and Kapos and accusing them of desiring genocide and ... this guy is concerned about those who might be called "Israeli Firsters."

      (And given the apparent lack of concern over those employing such Nazi smears one supposes Mr. Stern-Weiner feels that those who spew around promiscuous allegations of anti-semitism can never be anything but positively enlightened human beings.)

      Gosh, Mr. Stern-Weiner, could you perhaps tell us then why it is that you feel the interests of those in danger of accurately being called "Israel Firsters" are so much more important than mine and those of my fellow U.S. citizens?

      Indeed, why my interests and those of my fellow U.S. citizens have no importance whatsoever? And why, given that this is your view, why I should pay even a molecule of attention to you as one obviously willing to sacrifice those interests to those of your own?

      Or, to put it another way, what makes yours not just special, but in fact apparently the *only* interests with any real moral weight?

  • Penn's president condemns article likening BDS conference to Nazism as 'counter to her personal values and civility'
    • Seems to me the BDS people here come off very poorly indeed. At a time when their viewpoint in particular is hard to get into print they essentially condemn the printing of Professor Gur's piece. At a time when they in particular ought to be welcoming Professors using tenure to fearlessly to say what they think, they're calling on a University President to take action against a Professor for a simple opinion piece.

      Is this then what the BDS people are like? Just the mirror-opposites of those who seek to block their points of view and exact retribution on anyone publicly agreeing with them? Just viewers of words as weapons so trying to stifle Gur's opinions by the pathetic game-playing calling of same an "incitement" and blah blah blah?

      Good one, BDS: At the precise point at which you have the opportunity to gain respect amongst the sober and the reasonable via reacting that in a sober and reasonable way to a patently hysterical attack what do you do but engage in agit-prop antics showing your own cheap view of free speech and academic freedom.

      Thanks then; given the choice apparently being between one bunch of Stalinist-minded intellectual totalitarians and another think I'll chose to be associated with neither....

  • Rosenberg gets Trita Parsi call for Iran diplomacy into 'LA Jewish Journal'
    • I think that time and effort has rendered that Thomas Dine/AIPAC position quaint. In fact I'd bet Dine made that statement to Rosenberg some very long time ago, it making sense to have been said even before George Bush I *did* challenge Shamir on settlements and AIPAC did *not* back down.

      Otherwise, some considerable period of time has now gone by since then even, and in no way do I think AIPAC believes that in the normal course of things it would back down from a President going to the bully-pulpit.

      In the first place I think it rightfully considers that it's got such a grip on things no President is ever likely to even do such a thing. And in the second I think AIPAC feels that even if that happened there would have to be some extraordinary circumstances before it ever folded due to the grip it has on those who matter, and their ability to weather any but the longest popular storm.

      Look at this Iran issue, and the difference even between how the Lobby and Israeli partisans are approaching this and how they approached the idea of invading Iraq.

      With the latter we saw a simply tremendous push to get popular U.S. support for same.

      With the former I at least see very little of that (if not indeed almost an indifference to same), in favor of a fanatical concentration on working at the elite decision-maker level instead.

      And this precisely echoes something I read not long ago from some serious Israeli governmental-type thinker at some Herzliya-type conference where he said that the Israeli government should stop trying to win the P.R. war in Europe especially but the U.S. too essentially because it was already lost in the former and heading for the trash can in the U.S. as well, and instead just concentrate on cultivating or otherwise capturing the West's elites.

      Tom Dine is a fossil in terms of where things have moved from his day.

  • 'Israel Firster' debate is an American argument, not a Jewish argument
    • Apropos of my post saying that as well-intentioned as deBoer's piece was it still managed to mangle what's wrong with Ackerman's "Israel-Firster is an anti-semetic smear term" Annie wrote:

      "i don’t think he misses it at all ... seems to me he made it very clear ackerman was wrong."

      Well yes, Annie, he made it clear he thought Ackerman was wrong, but despite *how* wrong (indeed worse than wrong) Ackerman was, de Boer still managed to do so in about the most ineffectual way possible.

      I.e., not by whacking Ackerman as defending the right of Israel-First jews to never be validly identified, but instead by some mumbled argle-bargle just making it seem as if Ackerman went a little overboard or something.

      I'll just leave it to anyone so interested to go look at deBoer's words themselves on this, noting the number of times he had to respond to critical pro-Ackerman posts *because* his original comment was so misdirected and weak. (Only eventually it seems to me, and even then in a rather cloudy way, did he finally come around to getting at the heart of Ackerman's assertion which again is essentially defending the right of some to never be called what they are.)

      And, like I said originally too—and with few exceptions say again now as regards the later posts that came in on deBoer's blog—it's damn near humorous seeing the ineffectualness of most of the critics of Ackerman on de Boer's blog as well. Gee, all they can seem to do is worry worry worry that someone someday who calls out another as an Israeli Firster might just might possess a molecule of anti-semitic intent in doing so ... gasp.

      No wonder I think the Palestinians are goners: The Israelis are stamping on their necks and stealing 'em blind, and anyone who says a peep about same is immediately attacked en masse by those using the most evocative, visceral, violent-even and *effective* language imaginable, and ... in large measure those who see what is going on and utter a few peeps about same get the nervous shakes, wet their pants and start to endlessly debate amongst themselves about whether the mildest language they've thought of using might theoretically be said to possess some quark of objectionableness to someone who once walked the earth.

      And meanwhile the Israelis are running bulldozers over people.

      Talk about asymmetrical warfare; this is like seeing chipmunks debating just what version of the Marquess of Queensberry Rules to employ against a herd of wolverines.

      The grotesque Dershowitz comes out and tells liberals and the Left that no matter what you can't compare the Israelis to the Nazis and ... not only does it get published in what is perhaps the most prominent liberal/Lefty outlet ... so far as I can tell not one liberal/Lefty comes out strongly saying they will stop using that language when the Israelis stop some of their Nazi-like behavior. (Such as territorial aggrandizement, with the Nazi's history of same essentially being *the* reason why the entire world now including even the U.S. condemns Israel's occupation of the West Bank.)

      And now Ackerman comes out and says jews have the right to not be accurately identified as Israeli-Firsters even if (as does THE major backer of an American politician) they admit it, and ... the liberal/Left gets itself tied in knots debating this?

      Or ... AIPAC is caught trafficking in American secrets and ... the liberal/Left *still* can't seem to utter the words "traitors" or "treason" or "Fifth Column"?

      What a larf.

    • Have to say this kind of gave me a laugh.

      Of course deBoer's piece is greatly intentioned, but even as regards same I see the same sort of gooey, self-regarding, ridiculous Progressive PC sensibility (and fear) that makes Progressives so ineffectual in the simple lack of good, analytical, hard-nosed thinking in his piece missing that at bottom what Ackerman is doing is purely and simply saying that it's wrong to call someone an Israel-Firster—No matter how true that may be, period.

      And yet deBoer misses this, and later muddles around it further. And so then do even the other clearly Progressive types who write in trying to support him.

      Indeed, much worse than deBoer, oh-so-concerned about displaying the purity of their souls and their sensitivity to Correctness and their nuance and blah blah blah, they get into the metaphysical question of whether, if it *is* okay to *ever* call someone an Israeli-Firster, precisely what overwhelming evidence must first be shown proving beyond a a shadow of a doubt not only that such person is indeed an Israeli-Firster but also that you yourself are not an anti-semite and how you should have proof of that and even so blah blah blah....

      Gee, real hard for Israeli-Firsters—experts at the game anyway—to throw a cloud of sand into *that* conversation and turn it from its potential of being a hard-hitting and tough-supported piece whacking Ackerman's thesis into a meaningless muddle.

      Navel-gazers; you gotta love 'em but....

  • 'NYT' carries water on 'Israeli offer' (but there's a hole in the bucket dear Ethan dear Ethan)
    • Forget this headline, can anyone imagine the NY Times penning one to the (true) effect of "Israel Once More Refuses To Even Discuss Where It's Boundaries Stop."

      And that's the biggie here: Remember some time ago when a Palestinian negotiator (I think it was Erekat) was in Washington or New York for talks, as was some Israeli? And the U.S. was trying to get them to at least talk? So the Israeli does indeed agree to meet with the Palestinian and the Palestinian tries to hand him a map showing the Palestinian proposal for borders.

      And what does the Israeli say? Something along the lines of "If I even touch this my government falls."

      Some context then with which to regard this story of no map and just vague "principles" coming from Israel's side: Israel has *never* I don't think ever declared its borders, and no government of Israel dares to come even close to being seen as giving up even a square inch of the occupied territories.

      Indeed, given that to many apparently "Eretz Yisrael" is taken to mean Israel's Eastern border being the Euphrates, I wouldn't be surprised if no government of Israel could survive if it merely said Israel's borders *do* stop at the West Bank of the Jordan.

  • Isikoff expose of Gingrich backer -- 'All we care about is being good citizens of Israel' -- puts 'Israel firster' issue in mainstream
    • Not that this Isikoff piece isn't a good thing, but notice that it has taken being a (very) Right-wing-near-or-total-Nutter like Gingrich (who like Nixon makes it a point to lambaste the mainstream media) for this kind of mainstream piece to begin to mention what it did about Adelson.

      If I'm not mistaken, Adelson was a big backer of Mrs. Clinton before, and yet we didn't see this kind of reporting then. And I have no doubt that before the Republicans just fairly recently (in the form of their candidates today largely) started clearly trying to outdo the Democrats in expressing their fealty to Israel to get campaign money that Adelson was a big backer of other Democrats too. And, once again, where was this kind of reporting then? Or about the makeup of what is said to be 60-80% of the funders of the entire Democratic Party?

      A good thing this Isikoff piece, but we'll see if it's just a meaningless blip or whether it's followed up in *any* way that might tend to make it non-partisan, like asking Newt at a debate about taking contributions from or employing in the White House individuals with dual citizenship, which might then be asked of *everyone* else.

      I'm dubious.

      P.S.: Phil, in response to Ackerman's calling you a Lefty polemicist, would be interesting for you to ask him about the specific boundaries he honors in *his* writings refusing to accurately report on things and indeed protecting the misrepresentation of things.

      In his Tablet piece he has after all said it's wrong to call someone an "Israel Firster" *regardless* of whether they are. (Such as Adelson even admits).

      So what else specifically does he refuse to report truthfully? What other demands to not be accurately identified does he honor?

  • Dennis Ross: Still present, but not accounted for
    • And now, all you Progressives, given the hysterical sensibilities that you have so assiduously and successfully advanced over the decades (a/k/a Political Correctness), consider just how insanely impossible it is to even imagine a U.S. news reporter, for instance, asking even the most obvious and simplest question such as:

      "Mr. Ross, are you the citizen of a foreign power?"

  • 'Tablet' says writers who talk about Israel Firsters are channeling Hitler
    • It just ought to be remembered in talking about this what the Spencer Ackermans on this issue are effectively saying: To wit, that no matter how true it is that a jewish person puts Israel first in all things—that indeed no matter if they stand up and say "I'm an Israeli Firster!," you cannot call them that if they are jewish because that plays into "an anti-semitic trope."

      In other words, jews have a special dispensation: One should not be able to properly, validly identify them in a certain way no matter how indisputably or even admittedly true it is.

      And, it should be further noted, Ackerman is a smart guy. He knows full well this is what he's saying. And he knows full well that it is that he believes jews simply have some superior moral status than everyone else. That, in essence, in this regard at least, he is a "Jewish Firster."

      The only thing he doesn't say is all the other things he believes jews are entitled to as a result of their superior moral status and what other double standards that he believes jews should enjoy—with his silence of course leading to the implication that he grants none of them in his writings.

      But, on the other hand, in keeping with his belief that jews simply can't be properly identified in some ways no matter how valid, it isn't hard to believe that, being jewish, he also sees no obligation to tell us what special dispensations he grants to jews and jewish issues in his writings either.

      Gee, how nice. A journalist openly telling us that he would refuse to report accurately as to at least some people regarding some things. And all us stupid goyim are supposed not to notice any of this, ha ha ha.

  • Security expert formerly in Bush I administration says Holocaust rationalizes Israel's nuking Iran
    • @teta mother me:

      Lots of my point, ma'am (?), wasn't any wish to see Israel use its nukes on Iran, but that nobody really believes it would in the present situation so clarifying things that Israel is essentially falsely whooping up its concern over Iran so as to try to buffalo the U.S. into doing its dirty work and attacking with conventional weapons.

      Nor do I see much violence done to my logic: If indeed Iran is the great "existential threat" to Israel's very existence, they why *wouldn't* Israel use its nukes to eliminate that threat. Indeed why wouldn't it first propose to get rid of its own nukes if Iran abandoned any desire for same?

      @ American and piotr:

      Oh sure Israel has the ability to take out the Iranian nuke program—as is clearer now from what I wrote just above—given that I meant using it's *own* nukes to do so.

      And this means and includes using its own nukes one way or another: Either low-yield tactical things directed specifically at Iran's nukes sites and maybe even directed just underground, or regular yield nukes in a variety of ways. One suspects, for instance, that absent Teheran alone Iran might pretty much be put back a century or more.

      And please, no flames for overly-excitable on-lookers: Of *course* I think these would be horrors and don't want to see same, and of course I'm just observing the bottom-line facts so as to make a point. And, once again, my point in noting this is just simply to illustrate the entire big picture of bottom-line reality of things instead of the oddly stunted discussions that we see instead —as regards any *number* of sub-issues regarding this subject.

      For instance, if the Martians were monitoring the public debate on the whole Israel/Iran issue in the U.S. and Israeli and even European media and amongst the politicians there and damn near everyone else, they would be mystified: How the hell come no-one ever seems to mention the possible solution of *everyone* in the Mideast giving up their nukes? A Nuke-Free ME Accord, that is. Such a bloody strange omission, it would seem. But we of course know it exists simply because Israel has rejected same because the U.S. (and indeed everyone it seems, except hte arabs) has obediently pretended it doesn't exist.

      Likewise then a similar distorting stunting exists as regards this other issue of whether Israel could indeed "do" Iran itself. With its nukes of *course* it can. But everyone pretends that this doesn't exist.

      Why? Once again it seems to me part of the propaganda ploy Israel is playing, pretending that oh gee, the Iranian threat to it is so so so great that of *course* it should be attacked, but poor poor pitiful Israel just probably can't do it alone so of course the U.S. should do it instead.

      Or, in other words, propaganda trying to get the U.S. to do its dirty work. Indeed, trying to get the U.S. to do what it *can* do, but *won't.*

      Otherwise I agree with you entirely American that Israel will continue doing what it can to provoke a U.S. war with Iran, impede or trash any attempted peaceful solution to the situation and etc.

      @ piotr:

      While off-topic a bit and just as a matter of interest I am highly dubious about all the talk of Iran's big ability to make much trouble militarily in the event it is attacked. And that includes all the talk about the straits of Hormuz, or even via "terrorism" for that matter.

      Don't get me wrong, I think the politico-economic fallout of an attack on Iran would be very very great and long-long-lasting and horrible and for that reason alone it should be ruled out.

      But look, we keep seeing these arab/moslem ME countries talking big like Saddam did about "burning" Israel and the "mother of all battles" and Armageddon and blah blah blah, and look what happens when the U.S. and even Israel launches its considered attacks: That latters' forces cut through them like a knife, and you see a helluva lot of terribly and corruptly lead arab/moslem forces either running away or waving their underwear over their heads.

      Not to blame them: Once again they are just terribly and corruptly led, and then there's the overwhelming well-led American/Israeli forces, and then there's the overwhelming techno advantages those American/Israeli forces have.

      Just in terms of our imagery intelligence alone, geesh, at the start of any attack we'd launch the first to get whacked would probably be about 90% of Iranian forces around the straits whose locations are no doubt minutely known and tracked. And you'd see in fact even before that the taking out of what relevant Iranian radars that existed by our stealth planes and anti-radar weapons and low flying cruise missiles, and then terrible bombardments from our naval forces right there, and on and on and on.

      Seems to me the lessons of the last wars in the ME, as stupid as they've been in intent, is that militarily we know what we're doing in the main, as regards conventional warfare that is. And nobody's talking about invading Iran and trying to occupy it so exposing our relative inability to conduct irregular war against guerilla-type/insurgent/"terrorist" movements and actions. Plus, we've got damn few people to be targets left in Iraq, and I doubt Iran has much ability to do anything much in Afghanistan. (Although I'll admit that the reaction among Pakistanis and what that could mean would be a wild card, which, however, would still be a rather indirect, mostly non-military thing.)

      In fact just saw a piece in Haaretz where the Israeli military has concluded that Iran's military abilities just ain't much either.

      No, when it comes to quantifiable conventional military stuff let's face it, we're good. And you can bet that the lights have been burning very late in the Pentagon for a long time now figuring out, hour by hour if not minute by minute, precisely what the hell we'd do in any attack we initiated. Right down to the precise coordinates each major weapon would be targeted upon.

      And for all the deriding of the term "shock and awe," well, for Iraq's military they were shocked and awed into essential helplessness and fleeing, weren't they? So much so that we lanced up to Baghdad like a hot knife through butter, and then even *in* Baghdad we sent a column of tanks and etc. right through the bloody place and their military couldn't even seem to muster a couple of snipers to make little scratches on our armor.

      So no again, unlike any Israeli attack, an American attack wouldn't be some overnight sneak bombing of just the Iranian nuke targets. They can't really move those, so first it would be clearing away the undergrowth that would threaten our forces and stuff, and very likely very very targeted and thorough decimation of Iran's command and control element (the high military at least, with lots of cruise missiles zooming through Teheran streets), because we know we can just sit back and clear that underbrush and wait until we can just repeatedly pound the living shit out of those immovable nuke sites at will with no resistance.

      Of *course* there may well be this or that unforseen goof-up. Nuts, we could even lose a carrier, say. But would they be *militarily* significant? No, not in terms of the outcome. And not even—speaking as bottom-line as possible—in terms of relative loss of life. Given the ferocity of our weaponry I have no doubt that within the first *hours* of any attack we launched you'd see not just thousands but many multiples of that in dead Iranian military and paramilitary forces. Just in the first several hours.

      I just don't think people grasp the ferocity of modern American weaponry and the sophistication with which it is employed. The Iranian forces would just be toast.

      Once again for flamers, *please* try to distinguish between analysis and advocacy. The foregoing, if you need a further clue, is an attempt at the former. And, once again, by none of this do I mean that I think us attacking Iran would be anything but politically nuts.

    • I have a different take on what this man has said.

      In the first place assuming all of what Mr. Ramberg relevantly said was reproduced here the headline is clearly wrong in any implication of moralizing on his part: Nowhere do I read him as saying the Holocaust *justifies* Israel using nukes on Iran. Maybe he thinks that, but he didn't say it here.

      And then, beyond that, I think the truth of what he said—that, contrary to lots of loose talk today Israel *does* clearly have the ability to "take out" Iran's nuke program—ought to be recognized and its implications noted.

      After all, since Israel *does* have this ability, what does this say further about its attempts to get the U.S. to do the deed for it? To, essentially, do what it *says* it can't do, but can, and to do what it *says* should be done, but won't do itself?

      Much reflective of my own thinking, I gotta say: If indeed Israel feels that Iran is such a bloody, clear, absolute looming threat to it, go at it Israel. Just don't go trying to get us to do the dirty work for you and get us to pay the price. Man up to your own nutty ideas and pay the price.

      But, I believe, the fact is ... it would not. So meaning the U.S. would indeed be the ultimate sucker if, doing Israel this favor, it attacked Iran instead.

  • New additions to the Mondoweiss comments policy
    • In general I'm against censorship and thought Donald's plea for same was a very poor one, with poor reasoning.

      On the other hand given the bases articulated for the new rules here, and reading the entirety of Adam's articulation of the same, they don't strike me as unreasonable and certainly not any attempted unfairness or partisanship towards any particular view.

      I still think that in any number of unexpected ways some of these new rules are going to seem implicated, but then I see Adam posting further here anticipating gray areas, and certainly seeming to be intent on once again using reason to resolve these situations. To me at least perhaps the first rule of reason to be used in doing so is to err on the side of allowing comments, and once again by what Adam said about looking at what suspect commentators may repeat or say further seems very smart and sensibly-minded.

      One glitch I think already exists lies in the discrepancy of what Adam said enforcement consists of however: At first it seems they will ban violative comments.sddddddddddddddddc Then it appears to be said that *commentators* who violate will be banned. So which is it?

      Plus I think it would not be unwise or unfair for there to be some warning put on comments in the gray area that put Adam and Phil on the lookout for future banning of *either* that commentator, or for similar comments from that commentator or any others. (Depending on which there rules ban.)

      In short, so long as the rules are indeed applied as articulated, interpreted in keeping with the reasons they were applied in the first place, I don't see them as impinging on much if anything.

      Like I say, you simply can't anticipate every angle of how these things come up and so maybe I'm wrong, but I think Phil and Adam's brains and sensibilities will probably go a very very long if not indefinite way towards not letting the reasonableness of these rules to become corrupted. Given the amount of work and care Phil and Adam have put into this site, destroying the integrity of this baby of theirs would hardly seem their intent.

  • Israel is at the heart of Jewish identity, Gorenberg says
    • It's funny: You listen and read jewish sources and, in a variety of different forms, you commonly hear as Phil puts it that indeed Israel is "the basis for American jewish identity."

      Sure would be nice though to hear at least *some* equally nice, clear, direct discussion of what this means for their identification with me and my country.

  • Publisher of the 'Atlanta Jewish Times' suggests Mossad should assassinate Obama
    • anonymouscomments:

      "-walking back quickly from my posts."

      And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how smart, classy people do things.

      (With me adding that by using the term "whitewash" in replying to your comment I did not mean to say that's what I thought you were doing, and should have so indicated. As I clumsily alluded to I just thought looking at the entirety of what this Atlanta guy wrote made it quite a different thing than just reading the portion reproduced by Adam Horowitz at the start of this thread.)

    • anonymouscomments wrote:

      "He suggests Mossad might be considering such, in an outlandish last resort possible scenario. He does not explicitly suggest they SHOULD assassinate Obama."

      No, this won't fly. Read the whole thing. He starts by saying to his readers "You are Benjamin Netanyahu. You are responsible for 7 million Israeli citizens...."

      He then posits a looming war, saying "you cannot expect much help from the United States due [in addition to budget issues] to [that] administration's never ending 'Alice-in-Wonderland' belief that diplomacy is the answer."

      He then lays out the three options he sees, with #1 and #2 both involving high (indeed in the case of #2 "lethal") costs to Israel.

      So he's not just saying "oh, they may be considering #3."

      At the *very* least he's saying it's an entirely reasonable option.

      And, read in its entirety, it is in fact simply impossible to say that it does not present #3 as the best option for Netanyahu given the grave responsibilities that author perceives he has and the cost of the other two options to the 7 million he represents.

      And in assessing threats or incitements you bet things are read in their entirety.

      Nor should people lose sight of the nature of this statement, in its fullness:

      This wasn't a rant by an inflamed nut mad over some perceived slight or etc., just blowing off steam.

      Not was it even just a coolly considered, faux-clever call to assassinate Obama in *retribution* for something he did.

      This was a call—made openly in the belief that it would incite none of its readers which says something startling in and of itself—that Israel damn well ought to consider the assassination of U.S. government officials ... purely and simply so as to manipulate the U.S. political system to go to war for Israel's benefit.

      In other words, as just yet *another* tool to manipulate the U.S. political system for Israel's benefit, even if that means war for the U.S. and U.S. deaths.

      There's more than enough whitewashing that goes on with Israeli issues. Ethnic cleansing under the rubric of zoning codes or establishment of national parks, espionage under the rubric of routine lobbying, and on and on, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

      Let's get this thing clear right from the start then. And let's not forget the words of Abe Foxman himself admitting that these words reflect rhetoric that indeed exists "in some segments of [the American jewish] community…”

      And in terms of the relative non-existence of the media coverage of this, lets not forget either the spectacular orgy the media enjoyed looking at other people's violent rhetoric in the aftermath of the shooting of that poor Texas congressperson, and now consider their nearly utter disinterest in this instance despite it involving the President.

    • It would be interesting for someone to peruse the back copies of this Atlanta paper to see the nature of what else this Adler guy has written or printed. Hard to believe only milk and honey have flowed from his word processors previously.

      In any event laudable, candid reaction too from Abe Foxman: "The ideas expressed in Mr. Adler's column reflect some of the extremist rhetoric that unfortunately exists -- even in some segments of our community..."

  • 'Israel Firster' gets at an inconvenient truth
    • eee wrote:

      "The more this issue is discussed, the more Jews in the US will understand how important it is that Israel exists."

      To steal another line from something eee said in response to another comment, "how is this not anti-semitic"?

      It is after all the idea that American jews are going to sympathize with the idea that, regardless of its accuracy as applied to any particular jew—which *conspicuously* hasn't been disputed here—the term "Israel Firster" cannot be used against *any* jew whatsoever. Even, presumably, any jew who stands up and says "I'm an Israeli Firster!"

      And thus it is further the idea that American jews sympathize with an incredible, absolute blanket immunity for all jews, regardless of the truth of an assertion against any one of them.

      Essentially, that American jews are "Jewish Firsters."

      Shame on you, eee. Shame....

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