Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 836 (since 2012-06-27 14:34:05)

Stephen Shenfield

Stephen Shenfield is a British-born writer. After several years as a government statistician, he entered the field of Soviet Studies. He was active in the nuclear disarmament movement. Later he came to the U.S. and taught International Relations at Brown University. He is the author of Russian Fascism: Traditions, Tendencies, Movements (M.E. Sharpe, 2001). He now works as an independent researcher and translator. He is a member of the World Socialist Movement. A collection of his writings is on his new website at stephenshenfield.net.

Website: http://stephenshenfield.net/

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  • Israeli minister says IDF should have fired on unarmed Palestinian protesters for humiliating a soldier
    • Citizen: You're mixing Regev up with Ayelet Shaked.

      "His blood is on his head" (not IN his head) is a biblical expression, meaning that he is himself responsible for the spilling of his blood.

  • On the Road to Tantura: Interview with Hala Gabriel
    • I haven't searched for literature on the Zionist forced labor camps for Palestinian prisoners, but one of the things Hala told me that didn't get included in the interview was that her father, Marwan Yahya, was among the prisoners from Tantura taken to these camps. Afterward he wrote a memoir about the experience that has been published in Arabic. The conditions he describes, including hard labor, hunger, dirt, beatings, and random shootings, were horrific. He spent "the worst twelve days of my life" at the Atlit camp. I see from Wikipedia that this camp was established by the British for Jewish prisoners; when the British left it was taken over by the Zionists and used for Palestinian prisoners.

    • These events were thoroughly investigated in the MA thesis of Teddy Katz and summarized in an article in Ma'ariv. See Zalman Amit, "Tantura, Teddy Katz, and Haifa University," Counterpunch, May 11, 2005 (link to counterpunch.org).

      As Hala notes, Katz was sued by veterans of the Alexandroni Brigade. Under intense pressure he was persuaded to sign a retraction, but under the circumstances there is no justification for taking the retraction as evidence against the validity of his research.

      See also the collection of 21 eyewitness testimonies on the "Palestine Remembered" website (link to palestineremembered.com).

  • Leading Israeli journalist says Israel is an Apartheid state
  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • Than you, W.Jones. I had Adelson (Alderson is a typo) very much in mind. He is now buying up a second Israeli newspaper and a news website (link to washingtonpost.com). His assets are much greater than those of any of the Israeli capitalists and he is a correspondingly more influential figure than any of them in Israeli as well as American politics.

    • I must have been careless with my wording, because I don't believe in "collective responsibility" (I would have thought that was clear from my previous posts). Of course individuals make choices. But some individuals find themselves in a structural position where all the pressures to which they are subject make it very easy and quick for them to become participants in the conflict. I view those individuals as standing on the edge of the conflict. Others are well outside the conflict -- they too may become participants, but only through a strong effort of the will.

      This was not my main point and had I realized how it would be misunderstood I would have omitted it. My main point was to say that very many Jews outside Israel are active participants in the conflict on the side of Israel in all sorts of ways -- by making regular and often generous financial donations to Zionist agencies, by engaging in political activity on behalf of Israel, by serving Israeli intelligence as spies or sayanim, etc. Many of these Jews in fact do more for Israel than most Israelis. They certainly should not be bracketed as being somehow outside the conflict, as Danaa seemed to do.

    • I too greatly appreciate Danaa and have learned a lot from her insights. But I would question her assertion that Jews in the US and other countries outside Israel are outsiders to the conflict.

      First, every Jew is a potential Israeli under the Law of Return. At any time he or she can become a direct participant in the conflict. World Jewry is a sort of strategic reserve of human resources for Israel.

      Second, Israel remains deeply dependent on the political, financial and other support it receives from the majority of Jews in other countries -- support provided both directly and through their influence on governments.

      So I would argue that Jews outside Israel ARE participants in the conflict. Ignorant and deluded, to be sure, but participants.

      So making a noise in the US is worthwhile insofar as it helps to make the participation of American Jews in the conflict less effective and brings us closer to the goal of cutting Israel's lifeline. We hope that will have a sobering effect on Israelis. We are not trying to communicate or reason with them -- we have given up on that. We are trying to influence them by putting them in a fix. Whether it will work I don't know. You tell us, Danaa. You can judge better than us.

    • I am sorry but I don't have time to make a full assessment of Clay Douglas. I have just looked briefly at his site and very quickly noted several signs of classical anti-Semitism. The clearest of these signs is his promotion and quoting of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion -- a classic of anti-Semitic literature. It purports to be a record of a meeting of rabbis at night in a cemetery in Prague to consider the strategy of the Jewish World Conspiracy, but was actually written by the tsarist secret police (Okhrana).

      We cannot tell from a public website what his intentions toward Jews are. His priority is to convince people that Jews want to harm THEM.

      I was not able to determine whether he is a white supremacist. I would expect so because these things usually go together. It requires further investigation.

      It is true that there are a highly disproportionate number of Jews among big bankers in this country. This was also the case in Weimar Germany and in Russia in the 1990s, where people spoke of the "rule of the seven bankers" all but one of whom was Jewish by origin. I would question how much it matters to the American people at large. What difference would it make if all the big bankers were Gentiles? Do Jewish and Gentile bankers have different views on economic issues or behave in different ways? I don't think so. Both Jewish and Gentile bankers base their views and policies on the neoliberal dogma of the Chicago School -- not the Talmud.

    • This debate has now dropped to the bottom slot in its column on the home page. Soon it will disappear from view. Before long it will be closed to new comments. With what result? The preponderance of opinion seems to be in favor of Allison Weir. Perhaps Phil and Adam will display a concluding statement in her support?

    • Irishmoses: I agree 150%

      RoHa: You don't have to leave the planet. You can go to China.

      The exchange on moaning reminds me of the joke about the Jewish train passenger who annoys those around him by constantly moaning about how thirsty he is. Eventually someone brings him a glass of water. He drinks and settles down. Everyone heaves a sigh of relief. Then he starts up again: "Oy veh, how thirsty I was!"

    • I suppose "affirmative non-Zionism" refers to positive forms of Jewish identity that are independent of Zionism and provide alternatives to it for those who still hanker after some form of Jewish identity. Mondoweiss has in fact featured material of this kind -- in particular, on the Judeo-Spanish heritage -- although that is not the main purpose of the site.

    • RoHa: That I can understand. Even some Jews get irritated at hearing other Jews moan about it. But you are under no obligation to listen. Try to change the subject or if that fails walk away.

    • The parallel with anti-Americanism is a productive one. As a Brit I am susceptible to this form of bigotry but have tried to overcome it.

      Both Jews and Americans are enmeshed in oppressive power structures -- Zionism and US imperialism, respectively. Anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism are mainly reactions to those power structures (before Zionism anti-Semitism had a different character, but that is the present reality). While natural and understandable, these reactions are bigoted in focusing on Jews or Americans as individuals and assigning them negative traits as the essence of their identity. The focus should be on the power structures and those most responsible for maintaining them. If I despise a person as shallow and selfish on the sole grounds that he or she is an American that is bigotry. And whatever horrors US imperialism may be perpetrating in the world, if I derive satisfaction from the suffering of the naively patriotic young kids who get mutilated and killed in its service then that is bigotry (not to mention sadism).

      That said, the most effective way of dealing with anti-Americanism or anti-Semitism is to target the sources of these phenomena -- US imperialism and Zionism. Reducing anti-Semitism should not be a primary motive for anti-Zionist activity by Jews, but it is a positive side effect. Let me recount an incident that brought this home to me.

      I was involved for a time in the International Jewish Peace Union, founded by the late Maxim Ghilan. I was one of the speakers at an event held by their New York group. Afterward I was approached by a man who quizzes me as follows: Did I really mean the things I had said about Israel? Yes. And are you Jewish? Yes. He pauses and then asks me the same two questions again. Another long pause. Evidently I embodied a new phenomenon for him. Then in an apologetic tone he says that he has been an anti-Semite but now he sees he was wrong.

      Perhaps our marathon on anti-Semitism (or whatever you want to call it) is helpful in clearing the air, but it is a distraction from the task of fighting Zionism. The fight against Zionism is in itself -- automatically -- a fight against its evil twin.

    • Annie -- Yes, I was being schematic and talking about the 'strategizers' not the 'cogs.' Most of the people who support Israel don't have a clue what they are really supporting. All they know is the current version of Zionist propaganda.

    • Parity -- I think Alison is doing good work wherever she speaks.

      Irishmoses -- I take your point that in some ways it would be good to have a universal standard applicable to all forms of racism, but racist ideologies are diverse. There is not just a single racism that is targeted uniformly against different groups. A racist who targets both blacks and Jews typically has very different perceptions of the two groups: blacks are stupid and primitive, while Jews are clever but evil. So there is a case for using special terms to refer to specific varieties of racism.

      Mooser -- I used a long sentence to define anti-Semitism. You took the first few words and responded to them while ignoring the rest.

    • Citizen: I agree that subconscious or even conscious 'anti-Goyism' may well underlie attacks like those on Weir. It goes along with the extreme wariness and suspicion of Gentiles, the readiness to detect anti-Semitism on the flimsiest grounds.

    • If you resolve to avoid all views that "Jews have long considered to be anti-Semitic" (any Jews? most Jews? how long?) then you are opening the door to complete arbitrariness and granting Jews an unlimited right to censor you.

      I don't think hating or harming Jews is essential to being an anti-Semite. The essential thing is believing that Jews are engaged in an organized effort to harm, dominate, and eventually enslave Gentiles and attributing a wide range of social problems to that effort. You can believe that without hating Jews. You may just be sad that Jews are driven to behave that way. I don't know about Clay Douglas, but I have watched videos of David Duke and he seems to be a civilized, charming, and reasonable man who would never hurt a fly.

    • Zionism was invented as a solution to anti-Semitism. It was marketed to Jews as a way for them to escape from anti-Semitism. It was also marketed to anti-Semites as a way for them to rid themselves of Jews. Either way it was and is parasitical upon anti-Semitism.

      After 1945 anti-Semitism did not wither away completely but it was greatly weakened, especially in the West. As even its memory recedes into a distant past, it can no longer serve as host for the Zionist parasite. In order to perpetuate itself Zionism has to revive and foster anti-Semitism. When Zionists accuse their opponents of anti-Semitism this is not merely an attempt to discredit and stigmatize them. It is an attempt to TURN them into anti-Semites, to conjure anti-Semitism back into existence. Zionism is the main source of anti-Semitism in today's world.

      Zionists are not against anti-Semitism. They view it as necessary and useful in preserving and reviving Jewish "national consciousness" and impelling Jews to settle in Israel.

      Zionism and anti-Semitism are so tightly and inextricably linked that they can only be fought together.

    • lyn117: No, we don't know and cannot know what is hidden in another's heart. But a person should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Allison Weir has NOT been proven guilty. So on what basis can we ask her to engage in self-criticism or apologies? Bear in mind that we are not in Maoist China.

      Maybe there is something in your speculations about anti-Semitism in AW's subconscious. The subconscious works by means of free association and is not constrained by logic. Therefore, anyone who like AW constantly focuses on evil done by Jews can be expected to develop an "anti-Semitic" subconscious (even if they are themselves Jewish!). So long as the conscious mind kicks in and provides the necessary logical corrections to the subconscious reactions we have no grounds for complaint.

      Any anti-Semitism that may exist in AW's subconscious or heart (or any other mind or body part) will be weakened by the solidarity of Jewish colleagues who stand with her against the grossly unfair treatment that she has received.

    • They will never stop using it, even if it no longer works. They have no other argument to use.

    • The trouble is that the Zionists are so good at simulating a Protocols-type conspiracy that it can really be difficult to talk about their multi-tentacled lobby without conveying the impression that you believe in the existence of the Jewish world conspiracy (JWC for short). After just using the word "multi-tentacled" I thought to myself -- oops, I should delete that, but then I decided not to because in fact it illustrates my point. I was tempted to delete because classical anti-Semitic literature often pictured the JWC as an octopus. But the Zionist lobby really does have many tentacles, like an octopus.

      I think the difference is that the real lobby focuses on the defense of real Zionism. It serves the interests of the State of Israel and is accordingly concerned mainly with the Middle East, though it also combats the assimilation of Jews everywhere. The imaginary JWC, by contrast, is global in scope and aims at Jewish domination in all spheres. For example, believers in the JWC say that multiculturalism is a Jewish plot aimed at weakening other nations while preserving the racial purity and solidarity of the Jews.

    • If Alison Weir had even a basic knowledge of Russia and the Soviet Union she could have pointed out that quite a few of those millions killed by the Bolshevik regime were not Russians at all but Ukrainians or members of "non-white" and traditionally non-Christian groups such as the Moslem Kazakhs, Uzbeks etc. or the Buddhist Buryats, Kalmyks etc. She could also have pointed out the diverse ethnic origin of the rulers, who did in fact include quite a few Russians and members of other "white" and traditionally Christian groups (in particular, the secret police was founded by the Pole Dzerzhinsky and many of its operatives were Latvians). In other words, she could have challenged the fallacy of interpreting Bolshevism in ethnic terms.

      That does not mean that Alison Weir should devote time to a study of Russian/Soviet history. Let her concentrate on Palestine. But in that case she should acknowledge on which topics she is knowledgeable and on which she is ignorant and stick to the areas of her expertise. She should tell Clay: "I don't know enough about Russia to comment. I am here to talk about Palestine."

      Actually there is some truth in the "anti-Semitic" interpretation of the Bolshevik terror. Bolsheviks of Jewish origin did play a vastly disproportionate role in the Red Terror of the early revolutionary years. This was especially the case in Ukraine, where the number of Jews in the secret police was very high. To a considerable extent this was a reaction to the pogroms that took place in Ukraine during the civil war under the aegis of the Whites, in which 10% of the Jewish population was destroyed (about 200,000 out of 2 million). There is literary and memoir evidence that at least some of the Jews who entered the secret police at this time were seeking ethnic revenge. There is nothing sinister or conspiratorial about it. There are cycles of atrocity and counter-atrocity in most ethnic conflicts (consider Burundi and Rwanda).

    • So now we have a whole ideology called anti-Weirism? Are its adepts anti-Weirites or anti-Weirists? Weird.

    • Weir's book "Against Our Better Judgment" is clearly not the work of an anti-Semite. She draws a very sharp dividing line between Jews and Zionists, emphasizing the long history of Jewish opposition to Zionism and the victimization of Jews by Zionism (e.g., the Holocaust survivors in the DP camps who were "conscripted" into the Zionist forces in Palestine and used as cannon fodder). The difference between Weir and Atzmon seems clear.

      Can you provide a link to Weir's "pieces in support of Atzmon"?

    • There are problems with Atzmon but I am against insulting or demonizing him. Much of what he says about Jewish identity is insightful and I find myself agreeing with him. The problems arise when he starts writing about things of which he has no direct knowledge and just repeats stuff he has picked up from anti-Semitic sources. An example is the Spanish civil war. He accuses the International Brigade of burning churches and says they did that because they were mostly Jews. In fact the churches were burned by Spanish anarchists, mostly peasants. The phenomenon has to be understood in the context of historical relations between the Church and the Spanish peasantry. It has absolutely nothing to do with Jews. If Atzmon would stick to the issue of Palestine and Zionism, which he understands well from personal experience, these problems would not arise.

    • Annie: I looked for critical reviews of her book and failed to find any. That may mean that being based on careful archival research it is very difficult to criticize. For that and other reasons opponents seek not to criticize the book but to limit awareness of it by ignoring it (if they could suppress it completely they would). Note that it was self-published through the self-publishing facility CreateSpace, suggesting either that the author could not find a "real" publisher or assumed in advance that she would be unable to.

    • Thank you, WJones. A closer reading of the article shows you are right. That means the case against Alison is not "very weak" (as I first thought) but totally fraudulent.

      The trouble is that most if not all Jews are so sensitized to anti-Semitism that they/we sense it even when it is not there. Evidently that applies to me too.

    • People should also know that the petition in support of Alison Weir is open to new signatures (I just signed it).

    • As the Counterpunch article seems to be the only substantive accusation against Alison Weir that is based on what she herself has said or written, let me clarify my comments on it.

      Organ harvesting, in Israel as elsewhere, is a criminal business. Its purpose is to make money. It has nothing to do with rituals that certain Jews may or may not have practiced in medieval times -- the focus of Professor Toaff's research. It is an international problem, though it does have a specifically Israeli aspect because the Israeli authorities are very lax in combating criminal business (this also applies to human trafficking, for instance). Israel is a center and haven for criminal business.

      Alison Weir does not explain why she adds a discussion of Toaff's work at the end of the article. She does not say that there is a connection between present-day organ harvesting and medieval rituals, but she conveys the impression that such is her belief. And it is a belief that fits the worldview of conspiratorial anti-Semitism, so there are grounds here to suspect that she is an anti-Semite. However, she may have conveyed the impression unintentionally. She may simply have failed to think the matter through.

      Alison Weir being a prolific writer and speaker, if she really were an anti-Semite one would expect her critics to have found more evidence of it than this. It may be that she has borderline tendencies in the direction of anti-Semitism. Distress at Zionist atrocities, combined with limitations to her historical knowledge, may make her susceptible to absorbing some anti-Semitic ideas. If this is so, then harsh attacks on her may drive her further in that direction.

      Weir has raised the issue of possible ulterior motives behind the attacks on her. This possibility should also be considered. She thinks that the attacks come from people who though against the post-1967 occupation are uncomfortable with her thoroughgoing anti-Zionist viewpoint, with emphasis on the Nakba, right of return, etc. Such people may honestly confuse thoroughgoing anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

      After we have discussed this awhile, I hope that Alison will be given the opportunity to respond at length. That would only be fair.

    • It seems to me that the case against Alison Weir is rather a weak one.

      The article in Counterpunch about organ harvesting is not just "an example" of the part of her work that is alleged to be anti-Semitic. It appears to be the ONLY example. It is based mainly on articles in the Israeli press. From these articles I get the impression that while this is not a problem unique to Israel it is worse there than in many other countries. The victims include not only Palestinians and foreigners but also Israeli Jews, especially from underprivileged communities. So it is incorrect to view the issue in terms of Jews versus Gentiles. It was therefore inappropriate for Alison to add an irrelevant discussion of Professor Toaff's work on the medieval blood libel.

      Most of the charges against Alison concern her interviews with right-wing racist media outlets. There are long lists of objectionable things said by the interviewers but much shorter lists of possibly objectionable things said by Alison. The underlying issue here is not whether Alison shares the views of her interviewers -- no one accuses her of that -- but whether she should have agreed to the interviews. Many people think that such outlets should be boycotted in order as far as possible to deny them legitimacy -- that is, such views and those who propagate them should be excluded from the community of respectable democratic debate. This is a very difficult issue. Perhaps excluding such views, which are unfortunately still held by millions of our fellow citizens, merely drives them underground, where they cannot be effectively challenged.

      Apparently Alison in these interviews has tried to oppose the racist views of her hosts. Some say she has not tried hard enough, but she has at least tried and thereby done something to bring a different perspective to the people who listen to these media. I suspect that she has been drawn into discussing matters where she lacks the necessary expertise and gets out of her depth (for instance, the role of Jews in the Soviet secret police).

  • Celebrating Hiroshima, WSJ columnist insinuates US should nuke Iran
    • The atomic bombing was only one of several factors that induced Japan to surrender, unconditionally if need be. Others were the shortage of supplies and Russia's entry into the war against Japan. Although there were some military men who wanted to fight on the emperor himself had had enough and knew that the homeland could not be defended effectively. So he threw his support behind the pro-surrender faction. So there was no "need" to use the A-bomb (except to send a message to Stalin and halt the Soviet advance in East Asia).

      Iran used to have an imperial family (the Pahlavis) and they were allied with the US. Perhaps the neocons want to restore them to power?

  • 'I love Obama' 'You're infatuated' (The argument on the left)
    • Yes, it is clear that Obama's Indonesian stepfather was extremely important in shaping his moral and intellectual character. He taught the boy to look after his own interests in a dog-eat-dog world and provided a counterweight to his mother's do-good liberalism.

    • My study of Obama's childhood and youth (link to stephenshenfield.net) convinced me that the young Obama did have some genuine sympathy with the left. That in itself makes him unique among US presidents. At the same time he developed a very tough 'realistic' view of the world as it is and was prepared to do whatever it took to 'make it'.

      And he did in fact achieve the astonishing feat (for a leftist of any kind) of infiltrating the US establishment. In the process his leftism, never very strong to begin with, inevitably became even more dilute. It appears that some trace or residue remains, though hardly enough to justify a label like 'man of the left.'

      I don't understand how any person with leftist ideals can love Obama without being deluded or in denial about the man's unsavory aspects. I do feel fascination with such a complex and contradictory personality. The flashes of intelligence that Obama occasionally displays contrast so sharply with the mediocrity of most American politicians that I find it hard not to be charmed by him. But there is a difference between allowing yourself to be charmed and allowing yourself to be seduced.

      The best thing Obama could do to 'push the country left' -- if that really is his inner desire -- is to tell the truth in public. Not little bits of truth here and there, as he has been doing recently, but great big chunks of truth. Despite his high status there would soon be a total media blackout on his utterances. It would be said that he had gone insane. But it would have some positive effect. If he did not end up in a psychiatric prison he would face the prospect of assassination. That, unfortunately, is why he won't do it. He isn't the material martyrs are made of.

  • Sanders risks losing left over unprogressive views of Palestine -- Washington Post
  • Did the BBC cover up the anti-Semitism of Gaza's children?
    • Yes, this is the ordinary way people talk in any national conflict. No doubt many survivors of the Holocaust have said: "The Germans killed my family" without anyone making a big fuss about it, even though it would be fairer to anti-fascist Germans to say: "The Nazis killed my family. I know there were many decent Germans who hated the Nazis as much as we did." And a few did say that, but unfortunately not many.

      So if Palestinians refer (and have always referred since the conflict began) to their opponents as Yahud/Jews, that just means they do the same as members of all national groups always do under comparable circumstances. And if we are talking about children then it is unreasonable to expect them to draw fine political distinctions that have no basis in their experience.

      I admit that if the bombs and missiles that rained down on Gaza came not from Jews in Israel but (let's say) from a Martian spaceship (clearly marked as such), then blaming Jews might well be attributable to anti-Semitism. But first the premise must be proven.

  • It's time for American Jews to recognize they have been duped
    • When I was young it was quite hard to find out the truth unless you had the benefit of personal experience of events. Now, especially with the internet, there are so many sources of information that it must require a strenuous effort NOT to know (or to pretend not to know?),

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  • Christian Zionists expose their anti-Semitism at conservative summit in Iowa
    • There is a controversy among Christian fundamentalists concerning so-called "dual covenant theology." This is the belief that only Gentiles need Jesus to be saved because we Jews already have a share in the world to come thanks to our own covenant with the Almighty. Remember that pretty rainbow he sent us after the flood to promise he won't do it again?

      The relevance of this is that although Hagee denies it when challenged he has made statements that accord with dual covenant theology. So although he might not qualify as an anti-Semite he can still be exposed and burned at the stake as a heretic!

  • Curtis Sliwa says opposition to Iran deal needs more 'righteous gentiles'
    • Here is some background. Sliwa was born into a Catholic family of Assyrian, Polish and Italian descent. The Assyrian language is closely related to Aramaic, which was spoken in Palestine in Jesus' time and is used in Talmudic commentary and certain Jewish religious rites such as the wedding ceremony. However, it is not clear whether Silwa knows Aramaic or even Assyrian. His public statements appear to be in English. That may be why he was not allowed to speak.

  • Press can't justify red carpet for Oren tract and blackout for Blumenthal's 'definitive account' of Gaza
    • Yes, Chet, you are quite right! Pro-Zionist control of the media creates a misleading and highly detrimental image of Jews as a monolithic group supportive of whatever Israel does and is therefore an anti-Semitic slander.

  • Angela Merkel makes a 14-year old Palestinian girl cry by telling her she is not welcome in Germany
    • Merkel may be awkward but I think she means well. There is nothing to be gained by cursing her. Her understanding of the issue is limited and distorted, but that too is natural given the milieu in which she moves. This encounter may have taught her something.

      The fact that spontaneous encounters between a head of state and ordinary people are possible at all says something very positive about German politics. In most countries everything possible is done to make sure that such encounters cannot happen. (Of course encounters may be staged to look spontaneous.) Can you imagine a Palestinian teen ever getting close enough to Obama to argue with him -- in public, before the TV cameras? Clinton at the start of his presidency tried to set up regular meetings between himself and audiences of randomly selected citizens, but he quickly gave up the idea under pressure from the media bosses.

      I fear that the "PR disaster" artificially blown up by the media out of this incident will impel Merkel too to isolate herself from ordinary people.

  • Israel's real fear about the Iran deal: It puts pressure on the occupation
    • Dutch: Your trouble is that you don't listen to enough Zionist propaganda. Write out a hundred times: "The Iranian regime persecutes Jews."

      Seriously, there is a religious community that really is persecuted in Iran -- the Bahais. Unlike Judaism and Christianity, which are officially recognized religions with representatives in the parliament, Bahai is anathematized despite its origin as a sect within Islam.

  • Resume requirement for counter-terrorism job appears to include: Jewish
    • No, it isn't absurd. But you have to know what they mean by "peace." A remark of Clausewitz comes in handy here:

      "The aggressor is always peace-loving (as Bonaparte always claimed to be); he would prefer to take over our country unopposed."

    • Yes, but it is worth stressing that the "job requirement" is not just "Jewish" but "Jewish and Zionist" with the second element even more important than the first, because we can be pretty sure that faced with a choice between an anti-Zionist (or even non-Zionist) Jew and a reliably Zionist Gentile they would choose the latter. Phil isn't going to get a job like that, is he?

  • Israeli minister proposes building island off Gaza coast so Israel can 'disengage' while maintaining siege
    • "By this statement, it’s clear the Israeli government considers the international waters surrounding the Gaza Strip within its borders."

      Doesn't follow. For Israel "protecting borders" has always included action way beyond those borders, such as punitive raids deep into enemy territory. Even the bombardment of Beirut still fell under the heading of protecting the northern border.

      I wonder what international law has to say about artificial islands. Probably nothing. If any country can assert the right to build new islands in international waters and claim them as part of its national territory together with a broad zone around them we're in for real chaos. Though perhaps a completely artificial structure would not count as an "island"; after all, an oil rig does not constitute an island.

  • Michael Oren cannot hide his disrespect for Jewish Americans
    • It's quite likely that neither Josh nor Mahmud exist and Oren invented them to make his point, which I think is this. Josh is a fellow Jew and therefore SHOULD (by Zionist lights) be much closer to Noam than Mahmud is, but in fact he is not -- wholly on account of Josh' weakness and perfidy, of course.

      Mahmud is a Bedouin, or he could be a Druze -- two groups traditionally half-accepted (being not too numerous) as loyal appendages of the Zionist state and contrasted with the ordinary "Arabs" (the Israelis don't like to utter the word "Palestinian") who are the enemy.

  • 'We are doing you people a favor by allowing you to be seated here,' Netanyahu deputy tells Palestinians in Knesset
  • The living martyr, a visit to the Bakr family in Gaza
    • Forgiveness has its place if and when the perpetrator repents, changes course, and seeks to make amends. But if the perpetrator is unrepentant then the quest for revenge is a healthier reaction. The trouble is that it is easier to take revenge not against the perpetrator but against other members of a group with which the perpetrator is associated. For that reason it is important to gather and disseminate information about individual perpetrators and the specific crimes they commit. Then when vengeance is taken against those individuals people will understand and sympathize with the avengers.

  • Israeli lawmaker wants to force foreign-funded NGO officials to wear stigmatizing i.d.'s
    • In the old days killing a rodef was a matter of urgency. He had to be killed before he had a chance to carry out his intention to inform on someone. There might not be time to consult a rabbi. In Rabin's case rabbis had already sentenced him to death. According to the website of the American Council for Judaism, "on the eve of Yom Kippur a small group of religious fanatics stood before Rabin’s house and intoned the mystical Pulsa da-Nura, a kabbalistic curse of death. A contract was put out on Rabin’s life by rabbis who invoked the talmudic concept din rodef, the sentence pronounced on a Jewish traitor" (link to acjna.org).

    • The badge could display the word rodef, which is the traditional term for a Jew who denounces fellow Jews to Gentile authorities. The penalty for being a rodef is death. For example, Rabin's assassin considered him a rodef.

      By the way, the Putin regime is waging a very similar campaign against "foreign-funded" NGOs in Russia and for similar reasons.

  • Israeli leader turns on US Jewish journalists Friedman, Wieseltier, Remnick and Silvers for disloyalty and anti-semitism!
  • After a hard week in the news, Israeli gets valentines all weekend from NPR
  • Who's investigating the Rabbis? Jews of Conscience are.
  • Response to Dan Cohen's Gaza article from a 'Forward' editor
  • Soldiers expel 200 Palestinians from pool to allow settlers to bathe
    • They may believe that they themselves are so holy that the water is purified by their own contact with it.

    • "The Palestinian DCO is not free to refuse such requests by Israeli security forces."

      Do the Oslo Agreements specifically say that the PA must accede to all demands of the IDF even in Area A, which is supposedly under the PA's "civilian and security control"? ("Request" is the wrong word if they are really not free to refuse.)

  • No Longer My Holy City: Reflections on Jerusalem
    • "The Temple Institute in Jerusalem has announced that it has finished building an altar suitable for the Temple service. The altar, which took several years to build, can be operational at little more than a moment’s notice, reported Matzav Haruach magazine.

      The Temple Institute is committed to preparing all the necessary clothing and tools for the rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem. In addition, the institute operates an educational center for visitors and a preparatory training program for members of the priestly family who wish to be ready to serve as soon as the Temple is rebuilt."

      Source: breakingisraelnews.com

  • Once again, 'NYT' fails to tell its readers that many Jews support BDS
    • Realpolitik and concern for "delicate flower" status can be reconciled once you realize that "delicate flower" status is awarded not to those who really are the most vulnerable but to those with the political influence to insist on being granted such status.

  • Goldberg predicts 'civil war' between American and Israeli Jews as Israel is 'defined as an apartheid state'
    • Obama is a consummate politician. That means he assumes many different "identities" depending on the audience he is aiming at. None of them are authentic. At the core is -- nothing, a void.

      Within that context I can't help admiring the skill with which he projects his "liberal Jewish" identity. When I listened to a message of greetings he broadcast on the High Holidays I was astonished. He talked about the significance of the holy days in a style that would have done a rabbi proud, not forgetting to refer to "repairing the world" (tikkun olam). I can see what those who call him the first Jewish president have in mind.

  • ‘They said we drink the blood of children’—Netanyahu goes off the deep end after FIFA campaign
    • Kris: Yes, and one conjecture about the origin of this belief is that it was a misperception spread by Gentile maidservants shocked at witnessing circumcisions. However, the idea of ingesting children's blood seemed much less outlandish in the Middle Ages than it does to us today because children's blood was widely regarded as a tonic that rejuvenated the elderly and cured their ills. There were merchants who kidnapped children to drain their blood and sold the dried product to rich old people. The only libelous elements of the "blood libel" were the idea that the merchants and consumers of children's blood were exclusively Jews and the idea that Jews used it for ritual purposes.

  • Mainstream media covers website attacking pro-Palestine activists but downplays threat to free speech
    • Just had a look at the Canary Mission site and read the section on Mondoweiss. I noticed that they had just pasted whole paragraphs from anti-Mondoweiss articles that have already appeared elsewhere.

      I tried to create an account so that I could post comments there but my attempt was blocked. Then I tried again using a pseudonym and succeeded!

  • Now there's a 'Birthright' for those over 26 and intermarried -- 'Honeymoon Israel'
  • The grotesque injustice of Obama's speech at the Washington synagogue
  • Zionism is tired
    • Regarding the Uruguay anecdote. I read somewhere that when the Zionists took over control of the DP camps they offered a deal to those residents who didn't want to go to Palestine. They would be allowed to go somewhere else (often the US) if they did so quietly without breaking the public united front of demanding to go to Palestine and nowhere else.

  • The Missouri History Museum's Palestine Exception: A case study on how the St. Louis Jewish establishment exercises power & privilege
    • I wonder why program administrators initially accept events with a Palestinian orientation and then cancel them at the last minute? This happens so often that it seems to be a standard pattern. But don't they see that doing it this way maximizes negative fallout? Wouldn't it make their lives easier if they kept such events out of their programs right from the start?

      I suppose some administrators may be inexperienced enough not to anticipate the pressure they are going to come under. Some may intend to weather the storm but then find that the price is too high. But these are hardly adequate explanations for a standard pattern.

      We could also ask why the Zionists who exert the pressure wait until the period immediately prior to the event they seek to scupper rather than acting as soon as a scheduled event is publicized (or as soon as they learn of it, which could well be sooner than that). Do they see it as a means of causing maximum inconvenience to the "enemy"?

  • 'So wait, the Nakba is…?': Listening to Israelis discuss the Nakba
    • DaBakr: The video clearly suggests that MANY Israelis have no idea what "nakba" means (unless they are all pretending not to know, which is hard to believe). So on what evidence do you base your assertion that "most Israelis know exactly what the nakba is"?

    • It would be helpful to have comparable results for (say) 25 years ago. My guess is that there has been progress. That is, if you asked Israelis at random 25 years ago, even in Tel Aviv, it would have been surprising even to find one or two who knew what the Nakba was. The new historians made denial much more difficult. According to Ilan Pappe they had some impact on school textbooks. That is one reason why age matters: it determines when they went to school, what their teachers and textbooks told them.

      Of course, knowledge in itself doesn't automatically translate into willingness to right past wrongs. It has a polarizing effect because while it does prompt some in that direction it leads many others to open support for ethnic cleansing. But the genie is out of the bottle and getting it back in may be beyond the powers of Netanyahu, Bennett, et al.

      I was struck by the fearful body language of the woman who said: "I am of the left but we are in the minority." I think the responses indicate that the "left" (which in Israel means conciliatory toward Palestinians) is not as small and isolated a minority as she feels it is. Fear generates silence, the silence creates an exaggerated impression of the weakness of the left, and that demoralizes the leftists. Bringing this to light is the most important contribution of videos like this.

  • Settlers Supporting Settlers: Towards an explanation of the US/Israel relationship
    • The "English" in the original sense of Angles (together with Saxons and Jutes) were settlers not only in Ireland but earlier in Britain too. Before the arrival of the ancient Romans Britain was wholly populated by people speaking Celtic languages. (So was France outside the Basque country.) Successive waves of settlers from the European continent and Scandinavia pushed the surviving Celts out to the hilly northern and western fringes, where they became the Scots, Manx, Welsh, and Cornish. (In NW France the surviving Celts became the Bretons.)

      So shouldn't we regard Britain as another settler state? (And France too?) That would help explain why the British formed new settler states in North America and Australasia. If we don't, then when exactly did Britain cease to be a settler state?

    • Demarcations between continents are arbitrary. Australia is often regarded as a continent in itself. That makes sense insofar as its aborigines have features quite distinct both from those of "Asians" (Tamir clearly has only East Asians in mind) and from Pacific islanders.

      Orwell pointed out that most "whites" are nowhere near white. He preferred the term "pinko-gray." "We belong to the pinko-gray race" doesn't have quite the same ring about it though.

  • 'This is where we are, and we are not leaving here' — Notes from BirthWrong
    • Bryan: "I guess if we ever find life on Mars the Reds will be in charge there." You'll find a description of communism on Mars in Bogdanov's "Red Star." However, the Martian civilization died long ago, though there are still ruins of a Martian city on a mountainside that you can see on one of the photos on the website of the European Space Agency.

  • Shit Israeli soldiers did in Gaza
  • Netanyahu appoints Ayelet Shaked—who called for genocide of Palestinians—as Justice Minister in new government
  • Human rights activists thank Lauryn Hill for canceling upcoming concert in Israel
  • 'Baltimore Is Here': Ethiopian Israelis protest police brutality in Jerusalem
    • Is it really necessary to refer to the Black Panther Party in the US in such positive terms, even after all the revelations about the murderous and corrupt gangsters who ran that outfit? (So far as I know, the Israeli Black Panthers were a genuine protest movement.)

  • David Horowitz to OSU: 'Jews didn't expel the Arabs in 1948' and 'the occupation is a huge lie'
    • He wrote a book about his personal and political evolution: "Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey." He was involved with the Black Panther Party and shocked to discover how corrupt and thuggish its leaders were. Having become alienated from the left, for understandable reasons, he looked for a new home. He does not seem capable of working out an independent stance.

  • Obama's role model to journalists -- Dorothy Thompson -- turned against Zionism and was silenced
    • Obama's attempt to rehabilitate Dorothy Thompson, ostensibly in passing, reminds me of the way that "liberals" within the Soviet establishment used to drop subtle hints of their true positions -- clear enough for the cognoscenti to spot but with sufficient ambiguity to get them off the hook if challenged by hardliners.

  • Non-Jewish Israelis remain faceless, nameless, voiceless in 'New York Times' coverage
    • Palestinians are in fact essential to Sabbath observance in Israel, because they perform the role traditionally assigned to the "Shabbes goy" -- the Gentile who does what Jews need doing on the Sabbath but are not allowed to do themselves. In any society there are functions that have to be seen to every day of the week, say in water management, and it is Palestinians who do those things in Israel. So a possible compromise on the bus issue would be for buses to run on Shabbat driven by Palestinians, though as past experience shows that does entail the risk of a Palestinian bus driver getting upset and running people over.

  • Bibi talk: 'New York Review of Books' trivializes Israeli fascism
    • Yes, to be called a Jew causes me some discomfort. I have no such feeling about being called "Jewish". Why is that?

      "Jew" sounds abrupt and harsh, while the final "sh" in "Jewish" softens the overall impression. But there is more to it than that.

      To be called a Jew implies that being a Jew is the crucial part of my identity. And it isn't, so it sounds wrong. Being called Jewish doesn't carry the same implication. Similarly, I feel discomfort if I am called an Englishman or Britisher, but the adjectives -- English or British -- are fine.

      I suppose that if Judaism were really important to my sense of who I am, as it used to be, I would not feel that way. As it is, I associate use of the word Jew with fanaticism of various kinds -- Orthodox Judaism, Zionism, anti-Semitism, etc.

  • Why did Herzog run scared? He fears the Israeli people
    • The "political activists" who staged the assassination of Kennedy were people inside the US political and security establishment itself. There is plenty of evidence for that.

      Members of the Israeli security establishment were also implicated in Rabin's assassination, if only by not acting decisively to prevent it. This is an important aspect of the situation that intimidated Herzog. He does not fear the Israeli people as a whole but a section of the Israeli people and, above all, a section of the Israeli power elite.

  • Apartheid is no longer verboten word for Israel in 'NYT' and 'CNN'
    • Ramzi: Is this really the first time you have felt disgust at Zionism? What did you feel before? After all, there has been so much to feel disgusted at in Zionism, and for such a long time already.

  • 'Do US Jews need a Jewish state for our safety?' debate begins in wake of Netanyahu victory
    • Marcus Garvey didn't think up the idea of resettling black Americans in Africa. He just elaborated it. The idea had already long been promoted by white racists (including Lincoln and other opponents of slavery) and was embodied in the new settler state of Liberia. The black American settlers and their white American backers did not treat the native people all that well, and the legacy of the experiment is still a factor in Liberia's internal divisions.

  • Meet the Knesset members from the Joint List
    • I noticed that the official name is simply the Joint (or United) List. It is not in principle an Arab list. It contains one Jew and in future there may be more, especially if it aims to attract more Jewish voters. So let us call it by its correct name, without the qualifier "Arab."

  • Who can save Israel now?
    • No coalition of parties that Herzog could gather could reach the 61 seats needed for a majority, even if the Joint List were included. Zionist Camp 24 + Meretz 4 + Yesh Atid 11 = 39. Adding the 14 seats of the Joint List brings that up to only 53. Where would the other 8 seats come from? Kahlon's Kulanu will certainly not join such a coalition. So it would need BOTH the religious parties. That too is hard to imagine.

  • Why I hope Netanyahu will be crushed tonight
  • Separating anti-Semitism from anti-Zionism
    • "It is quite possible for an anti-Semite to be a Zionist – he may think that what is wrong with the Jewish condition arises from Jews’ having often been strangers in our midst and that Zionism has a chance of putting these things right."

      Herzl himself initiated the tactic of appealing to anti-Semites to support Zionism. He went off to Russia to see Plehve, the interior minister and a notorious anti-Semite, and tell him: "I understand that you want to be rid of your Jews. I can help you achieve that. Help me to help you." And Plehve listened and helped. Some of Herzl's colleagues in the nascent Zionist movement were shocked by this tactic, but the collaboration between Zionists and anti-Semites continued and expanded.

      The politics of the issue of allowing Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel is indicative in this regard. There was a Palestinian student in Moscow who tried to persuade influential Soviet figures to block Jewish emigration. He got nowhere, especially with the Russian nationalists, who told him: "We too don't like the Jews and for that reason we are glad to be rid of them." Conversely, a lot of the opposition to allowing Jews to leave came from officials who were not in the least anti-Semitic and did not want to lose the contribution that Soviet Jews made to the country's economy, science and culture.

  • Israel's Foreign Minister calls for beheading Arab citizens and it's not anywhere in the New York Times
    • I have noticed that Zoabi is a favorite target of Zionist hate speech. There was a recent report on Ynet about an election meeting at an Israeli college where Zoabi was on the panel and a student came up and poured a soft drink over Zoabi's head. Commenting on this report, one student with a Jewish name at en elite high school in Philadelphia says what a pity that it wasn't gasoline poured on her head. Another says what a pity it wasn't acid. A third clearly hints that she should be killed. I fear she will be killed before long, as Zoabi does not seem to have bodyguards and is constantly exposing herself to the malice of a hostile Jewish public.

  • Two-state-solution is at last disputed in Israeli elections (though not 'nation state of the Jewish people')
    • There are a lot of Zionists who are themselves completely non-religious but strongly identify with an ethnic group they call "the Jewish people" (whether or not others accept that such a thing exists or is even possible). They passionately resent the power of the Orthodox rabbinate in Israeli society. Their trouble is that they are unable to think up any alternative non-religious definition of Jewishness that is precise and verifiable enough to be used for legal and bureaucratic purposes in maintaining the "Jewish character" of the state. Therefore they have to rely on the rabbis to do this job for them, much as they hate doing so. It is this that explains the apparent paradox of atheists creating a state based on religion.

      The secular Zionists also needed the religious Zionists to form a governing coalition, but that is a more superficial, secondary factor: the crucial point lies deeper.

      I'd like to add that I didn't work this out for myself -- I am drawing on the analysis pioneered by the anti-Zionist Israeli organization Matzpen.

  • 'NYT' reports 'surge of hostile sentiment against Jews' nationwide -- on what basis?
    • Why? Different propaganda lines serve different purposes. There is no need for consistency. It has nothing to do with their minds.

      As I keep on saying, Zionists are addicted to anti-Semitism. They crave it. Their deepest anxieties about the survival of Jewish identity arise out of the near-absence of anti-Semitism in Western societies. Talk of a "surge" of anti-Semitism is a sort of magical spell by means of which they hope to conjure more anti-Semitism into existence.

  • Netanyahu speech was 'very dark day for American democracy' -- Matthews
    • "Any compassionate person must acknowledge the profound injury to the collective psyche even 70 years later."

      No. Why does a compassionate person even have to acknowledge that there exists such a thing as a Jewish "collective psyche"? Unless he or she happens to believe in the constructs of Jungian psychology. Let us talk about the real psyches of individual human beings.

      We have already repeatedly discussed on this site the methods by which the appearance of a collective Jewish psyche is sustained over the generations. Shouldn't that make us aware that it is indeed only an appearance? Phil, you thoughtlessly surrender to the key concept of tribal collectivism, then you hasten to add your "and yet" -- but too late. It is as though you open the treasure house of the Enlightenment to the marauding tribalists and then beg them: please don't take everything, leave a little bit behind.

  • Over one quarter of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress consisted of applause and standing ovations
    • lysias -- no, he says (if I hear him right): "Da, dostatochno." It's at link to youtube.com

    • In "The Gulag Archipelago" Solzhenitsyn describes how the mayor of a small town was sent to the Gulag for being the first to stop the applause at a meeting in honor of Stalin's birthday. This was after the ovation had already continued for 20 minutes.

      A bell or buzzer might be used to stop applause. I just watched a video of Stalin being applauded at the Bolshoi Theater in 1937. After several minutes in which repeated ringing of a bell fails to stop the applause -- when it dies down someone else always rises to shout "Ura!" and set it going again -- Stalin himself intervenes, you can hear him shout "Enough!" and motion with his hand.

  • Netanyahu's speech and the American Jewish condition
    • Well said.

      Many American Jews who claim to be traumatized by the Holocaust despite the lack of any real personal connection to it are indeed traumatized -- let us grant them that much. Not by the Holocaust itself, however, but by a CULT of the Holocaust that deliberately perpetuates and sanctifies the horrifying images of that receding fragment of the past.

      This cult exploits the not very well known phenomenon of secondary trauma -- the trauma induced by witnessing the suffering of others. For example, journalists, aid workers, and other outsiders in a zone of war, plague or famine are often traumatized by what they see. This is why we should not allow children to view graphic films of such horrors, although this is precisely what "educators" working for the Holocaust Cult do (so that they will "know who they are").

      It has been frequently pointed out that with the decline of religious faith the Holocaust and Israel have become central to (post-?)Jewish identity. And within this recast identity the Holocaust has come to occupy the leading role, with Israel assigned the derivative roles of refuge from the last Holocaust (though it wasn't) and beachhead for desperate resistance to the Holocaust-to-come. So except for surviving old-timers like our good friend Mooser it is now adequate to define "Jew" as "a victim and perpetuator of the Holocaust Cult."

    • Dammit, it's already after 12. I missed the free offer!

  • Leading NY institutions discuss the Nakba -- and there is not a Palestinian in sight
    • Shapira is right to say that in the 1940s the expulsion of populations was still widely regarded as a "normal phenomenon" and aroused less indignation than it does now. However, things were already starting to change in that respect and the best people of the time were greatly distressed by and denounced all these "transfers" -- not only in the case of Palestine. Thus the Mahatma made a last-ditch effort to head off the partition of the Indian Raj because he realized what it would entail in human suffering. The British (and Jewish) left-wing publisher Victor Gollancz went against the stream to protest against the expulsion of Germans from the East and other cruel treatment of Germans during the Allied occupation of Germany (although he finally proved unable to resist Zionism).

      By contrast, Stalin and the Soviet leadership at the time were quite happy with the expulsion of the Palestinians. A Soviet representative even suggested that they be resettled in Soviet Central Asia. This is hardly surprising in view of the fact that Stalin -- in addition to bearing much of the responsibility for the expulsion of Germans from the East -- had already expelled numerous ethnic communities to Central Asia during the war, just a few years before.

      So I would ask Shapira and her ilk -- are you satisfied to line up with Stalin and against the most decent people of the time?

  • Netanyahu speech is 'destructive' of 'bipartisan, immutable relationship' between US and Israel, Rice says
    • So Netanyahu was afraid to visit Britain out of fear of arrest. His visit to Washington provides an excellent opportunity to arrest him there. I suggest that in order to maximize the dramatic effect he be arrested and taken away in handcuffs just as he is about to address the Congress.

  • The 15 billion dollar deal that will make or break Israel's regional hegemony
    • The world urgently needs to switch from hydrocarbons, including gas, to renewable energy in order to bring global heating under control. I would have thought this would be an especially urgent imperative for a country like Jordan, which already has very high summer temperatures. And Jordan surely also has plenty of terrain that is suitable for the collection of solar energy.

  • Cycle '48: Remapping the Nakba
    • The erasure of Palestinian history is not as coherent as it might have been. The Zionists could have blown up all the remaining ruins, but even after all these decades they haven't done so. It was from those ruins that I discovered the Nakba while hiking in my youth. I reflected then that if they had systematically destroyed the ruins I would not have sussed out what had happened. I am still curious as to why they haven't done that. I suspect they simply can't be bothered. After all, they themselves can't "see" the ruins before their eyes and they may assume that no one else can either (except for Palestinians, I suppose, but they don't matter).

  • Racism is in the air: Video showing racist exchange between Israelis and a flight attendant goes viral
    • I have a vague childhood memory of a teacher at cheder (Jewish religious school) -- I think she was an Israeli -- referring to a badly behaved child as a "lobbus" (Yiddish for "little monster"). Her tone was one of affectionate amusement rather than condemnation.

  • Jewish groups that blindly support Israel make US and European Jews potential victims of violence -- Avnery
    • A crucial part of the Zionist project has always been to create the "new Jew" who would be the opposite of the despised "old Jew" of the diaspora. The old Jew was polite, peaceful, submissive to authority, so the new Jew was brought up to be rude, aggressive, etc.

    • They have a long history of "sacrificing a few of their co-ethnics to further their agenda" or even more than a few if "necessary." In order to create and populate their "Jewish state" they did all they could to block schemes to save European Jews that would have meant taking them to countries other than Palestine, killed Jews (as well as non-Jews) in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, assassinated Jews (as well as non-Jews) trying to achieve an insufficiently Zionist resolution of the conflict, blew up Jewish cafes in Egypt and Iraq to stampede Jews to Israel, etc. etc.

  • Is flying a nationalist flag ever a progressive act?
    • "For Palestine and the Palestinians anything and everything." What does that mean? That any means chosen by Palestinians are justified in such a noble cause? That could lead to some rather paradoxical conclusions. For example, Palestinian conservatives might insist that upholding traditional values, even by such means as "honor" killings, is essential to the Palestinian cause, while Palestinian feminists might be equally insistent that changing those values is essential to the same cause. So in that controversy one would have to support both sides.

      However much we may sympathize with the plight of any group, such carte-blanche indulgence is potentially dangerous and does them no real service. Many well-meaning people used to extend the same sort of indulgence to oppressed Jews and Zionism got enormous benefits from that uncritical solidarity.

  • One-state 'fantasy is very dangerous' because it cannot tell us what the military looks like -- Manekin
    • I agree that if you take the current state of opinion as a given, as Jeff does, then no solution is possible. That is because at core the conflict is not about how many states there should be, what they should be called, or their cultural orientation. It is about whether the century-long process of dispossession of Palestinians by Zionist Jews should continue, be frozen, or at least partly reversed. Even the most moderate Palestinians insist on partial reversal and most Jews are unwilling to accept that.

      Jeff hides behind majority Jewish opinion as though it were a fixed objective constraint that has to be recognized. In fact, that majority consists of individual Jeffs who are free to change their opinions. If Jeff were to take a clear stand against the majority instead of using it as an excuse then he would be contributing to the needed change.

    • The future state could be called Palestine and its citizens, including its Jewish citizens, would then be called Palestinians, as was the generally accepted usage under the British Mandate.

      Manekin and Beinart's position seems to me contradictory. On the one hand, they complain that the advocates of a 1SS have not worked out their ideas in sufficient depth and detail, implying that if they did do this those ideas might be worthy of consideration (otherwise why go to the trouble?). On the other hand, they know in advance that "trying to be creative" is a waste of time. If all aspects of a 1SS were fully worked out would they then consider it? Of course not.

      My impression is that their claim that "virtually no Palestinians are interested in it" (a 1SS) is now incorrect.

  • A place where Palestine doesn't exist (Notes from a Zionist education)
    • This fascinating scientific digression could be avoided by following Swift's Gulliver's Travels and having the two tribes differ on which end they break open eggs. Are you a big ender or a little ender?

    • Up to 1939 the Nazi regime allowed the German Zionists to run youth camps in Germany to train young Jews for aliyah under the Transfer Agreement. There were indeed many similarities between the Nazi and Zionist youth movements, though that doesn't necessarily mean that they were copying one another. Rather, both had their roots in the broader European culture of romantic and militaristic nationalism that arose earlier in the century. There are also links to the British imperialist youth movement, the Boy Scouts.

  • Are supporters of Palestinians using the power of shame to its potential?
    • First on the difference between shame and guilt. Shame is what you feel when you look bad in the eyes of others -- not any and all others, but others whose opinion of you matters to you. Guilt is what you feel when you look bad to yourself.

      "Pure" Zionists cannot be made to feel shame or guilt because both they and the others whose opinion matters to them see nothing wrong in mistreating Palestinians. But many Jews, especially in countries with a liberal culture like the US, are "mixed" Zionists and the contradiction between their Zionism and their more humane attitudes can be used to induce shame or guilt. That shame or guilt may not translate into immediate action because the impulse is paralyzed by contrary fears and feelings. Such conflicted individuals may feel caught in a Catch-22 situation: if they act as good Zionists they will feel shame before one set of people; if they oppose Zionism they will feel shame before another set of people. They also feel guilt in both cases, as the self is divided. There is a chance that they will break the impasse by reconfiguring the self and ceasing to care about the opinion of those who are holding them back.

      The reader can work out the practical implications of this model. For example, whether you are able to induce shame in a particular individual depends on whether you are -- or can make yourself into -- a person whose opinion matters to him/her.

  • The left needs to stop hounding Elizabeth Warren on Palestine, says Warren supporter
    • It is impertinent for voters to want to know where a presidential candidate stands on important public issues. We shall be informed in due course, at an appropriate time. In the meantime we should decide whether to support a candidate on the basis of how we like the look of her face and the sound of her voice. In any case, it is futile to know a candidate's positions because they are bound to change, perhaps repeatedly.

  • A cosmopolitan's regrets: Roger Cohen on the Jewish condition
    • 1. Not all Jewish families' stories ended in Zionism. Therefore it was not inexorable.

      2. Is feeling comfortable really the most important thing in life, overriding all else?

      3. The world being as it is, isn't there something wrong with a person who can feel totally comfortable in it?

      4. Surely anti-Semitism is not the only thing that can make a Jew uncomfortable? But if there are other sources of discomfort, then won't they be present in Israel too?

  • Ari Shavit pimps AIPAC in Scarsdale
    • Why then didn't he say "moderate Moslem"? Not all Sunnis are pro-American, are they? Al-Qaeda is Sunni. I expect he wanted to convey the impression of being knowledgeable about the Moslem world.

  • New leftwing anti-semitism is when Jews feel 'attacked' over Israel's conduct
    • The British institute seems to be saying that something is anti-Semitic if it makes a sufficiently large percentage of Jews FEEL under attack, if they FEEL that it is anti-Semitic. The criticism does not have to be intended as an attack on Jews; there does not have to be any rational basis to the feeling -- it suffices that the feeling exists (or, rather, that these Jews SAY they feel that way). The assessment depends on an inner state that no one else is in a position to verify. It amounts to claiming the right to censor as illegitimate anything you want to censor, without providing any further rationale.

  • One state in historic Palestine, but -- what kind of state?
    • I'm just warning what may happen unless more attention is paid to the economic aspects of a democratic single-state solution.

    • What basically happened in South Africa is that a deal was brokered between the ANC and the white corporate and landowning elites (and behind them the institutions of global capitalism) by which formal political equality was established but existing property relations were left untouched. The abolition of apartheid could be regarded as a first step toward a just solution; the problem was that the first step was made strictly conditional on no further steps being taken.

      At a certain stage in the Palestinian struggle something similar might happen in Palestine/Israel. Those Palestinians who do not have formal political rights would receive them, but subject to built-in constraints on their use -- for instance, severely limiting the restoration of former Palestinian land rights. These constraints might be justified in terms of partly preserving the Jewish character of the state (a sort of minimal or watered-down Zionism). The formal right of return might even be ceded, in the knowledge that only a few Palestinians would have access to the means of livelihood (land, capital, jobs) needed to exercise the right of return and actually resettle in Palestine.

      An example of such a constrained right of return is the situation of the Crimean Tatars deported from Crimea in 1944. They were eventually allowed to return to Crimea but not to their old houses and lands, which remained in the possession of the families (mainly Russian) that took their place after the deportation. They are still confined to marginal land and eke out a bare subsistence.

      So it would make sense to work out an alternative to this scenario in advance -- some arrangement that would be a little less unjust while still not hopelessly unrealistic.

  • Chair of Democratic National Committee opposes Jewish intermarriage and MSNBC showing Gaza carnage
    • It's hard to imagine only because real anti-Semitism is nowadays so marginal in US politics (and the difficulty of imagining it is a good sign of that marginality). But there are people who fear the dissolution of WASP identity and intermarriage is on the list of things they worry about, though not very high on the list compared to Hispanic immigration, say. And some of them perceive intermarriage with Jews as having a specially corrupting effect.

    • The Zionists WANT to be "hated for what they are." They are addicted to anti-Semitism. They crave it. It confirms and strengthens their ideology. When they say "we are hated for what we are" they are actually pleading: "Please, please, please hate us for what we are, as you did in the good old days, so that we do not have to look critically at what we do."

      Loving them may not help, but hating them entrenches their delusions more deeply. The best response is: "We do not hate YOU. We hate what you DO" -- because that directly challenges their delusion about why they are hated. (Isn't there a Christian saying about "hating the sin not the sinner?")

  • Charlie Hebdo: The sacred of the 'wretched of the Earth' and its desecration
    • I accept the need to be tactful and respectful of others' sacredness and especially the sacredness of the oppressed and colonized. But can we also acknowledge that who is oppressed and colonized and who is oppressor and colonizer varies over space and time? Before the Spanish conquest the Incas were themselves colonizers, so were the Arabians at the time of Islam's ascendancy. And even today the Christians of Pakistan, for example, are oppressed by supposedly Moslem rulers. Pakistani Christians punished on false charges of insulting the Prophet would be surprised to learn that this is not prohibited. What the author says is perfectly valid for the here and now of France or the US, but we shall never understand our situation if we remain wholly anchored in the here and now. People are inevitably influenced by what they know of other places and remember of other times.

  • How Rahat became a symbol of Israeli inequality
    • Masada was a victory -- over the greater evil of enslavement. At any rate that is how Israelis see it. Soldiers take their oath there (or used to). American soldiers do not take their oath at Waco. At some level the Israelis know that mass murder-suicide is the logical culmination of Zionism, as Masada was of the revolt against Rome. That is no reason to renounce Zionism because it is also a glorious culmination -- as glorious as the murder-suicide of any Moslem jihadi.

  • Phila Inquirer publishes a lie: 'Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are one and the same'
  • How a culture remembers its crimes is important: A review of 'American Sniper'
    • It reminds me of a point Chomsky often made about the American war in Vietnam. The establishment consider It permissible to question American competence and good judgment, provided the assumption that the US has good intentions is maintained.

  • Diaspora Jews are not in 'exile,' they are at home
  • #JeSuisUnJuifBritannique
    • It's very hard to disentangle the "ethnic" from the "religious." Historically Jewish identity is so deeply immersed in religion that even atheists who wish to preserve a Jewish identity are forced back into religious practices. For instance, my father, who did not believe in God and thought of himself as a communist, nonetheless had me circumcised (under the false guise of a medical procedure). He paid a considerable sum each year to reserve a good seat in the synagogue (just in case he might want to go, as he explained) but never went. Both my sister and I married non-Jews: our parents accepted it but did not hide the fact that they would have been happier if we had married "Jews" (ideally atheist Jews, of course). None of these contradictions is in the least atypical. Opinion surveys are quite incapable of probing them, only in-depth interviewing, preferably under hypnosis, might do so.

    • Cohen's "loyalty to Israel" should not be taken at face value. It is probably just a rhetorical device to deflect Zionist ire (safer to preface criticism with "I love Israel but").

      My impression from living the first 40 years of my life in Britain (which I agree is basically a very tolerant society, certainly from a comparative perspective) is that mainstream British Jews want to be loyal to both Britain and Israel at the same time. They are British patriots and Zionists simultaneously. This is a totally illogical stance, but there you are.

      On the historical evolution, my impression (e.g., from talking with my parents) is that Zionism initially took hold among British Jews with some difficulty. One major reason was that their loyalties were torn by the conflict between the British mandatory authorities in Palestine and the Zionist underground. Most were shocked by the blowing up of the King David Hotel and other acts of Zionist terrorism.

    • Not only do Yorkshire and Lancashire people tend to be very different in character, but the War of the Roses between York and Lancaster is still fresh in their minds, having ended a mere half a millennium ago (in 1487). Give them time.

  • ICC opens war crimes inquiry into Israel over Gaza war as Palestinians prepare another UN resolution
    • "Peace requires compromise." So if Israel already possesses, say, 90 percent of Palestine, the Palestinians must agree to a settlement that gives Israel 95 percent. If in the meantime Israel grabs some more and reaches, say, 98 percent, leaving only 2 percent, then the Palestinians must agree to make do with just 1 percent. Only a fanatic would object.

      Clausewitz pointed out that the occupier always wants peace, which he interprets as submission to occupation.

  • It's not the cartoons-- a contrarian perspective from a Muslim cartoonist
    • The cartoon as a genre has a long tradition of making the target look ugly and repulsive. It is not a form of rational criticism but relies on inducing a feeling of disgust in the reader. The whole tradition is one of bigotry. Katie Miranda's cartoons do not belong to this tradition. Her drawings are emotionally neutral. Her aim is to make the reader think.

    • Abu Bakr announced the death of Mohamed in the following words: "Let those who worship Mohamed know that Mohamed is dead. Let those who worship God know that God will never die."

  • Netanyahu crashes Paris unity march, French gov't fumes
    • I agree. Doesn't France have border controls? Why didn't Hollande issue instructions that no Israelis should be allowed entry until after the march? Or better still he could have used the opportunity to arrest Netanyahu and put him on trial.

  • 'With God’s help, the journalists at Haaretz will be murdered just like in France': Death threats follow publication of cartoon in Israeli newspaper
    • In response to Keith: I'm not sure. The English are (relatively) tolerant but that doesn't mean they lack internal cohesion. I think intolerance reflects a sense of being under constant threat, which is a form of weakness not strength.

    • "Tribe" is a technical term in anthropology, like clan, caste, etc. If it applies why not use it? Nowadays tribalism is regarded as passé if not regressive, so it is rarely used in a positive sense, whether in reference to Jews or not.

  • A tale of two tests
    • But if non-government terrorists come to power they can then retroactively legitimize their past terrorism. So if you are going in for terrorism it is best to make it succeed. "Treason never prospers because if it prospers none dare call it treason" (Hamlet, I think).

  • Jo Roberts on Jewish trauma, the Nakba, and the olive tree
    • Ultimately, given the dense intermixture and interdependence of the two peoples in a single territory, I don't see how they can manage without a common narrative. Certainly a single democratic secular nation would require such a narrative in order to avoid the Lebanese scenario. Allowing space for two narratives is a step toward their integration into a single narrative. Ilan Pappe has made a first attempt at combining the narratives in his History of Palestine. The main prerequisite is for people to see themselves first and foremost as human beings and only after that as Jews, Arabs, and whatnot.

  • Hillel exec likens Open Hillel to biblical rebel against Moses who was swallowed up by the earth
    • Aaron and Miriam also questioned Moses' authority by opposing his marriage to a Cushite (Ethiopian) woman. Miriam was punished with a nasty skin disease but God made her well again after seven days when Moses interceded for her. Aaron wasn't punished at all. It seems a bit excessive in this context for Korach to have been swallowed up alive, but then unlike Aaron and Miriam he wasn't related to Moses.

      What does Mr. Fingerhut think about intermarriage? I would expect that as a Zionist and tribalist he would be on the side of Aaron and Miriam. But that would mean that he too questions Moses' authority and is hardly in a position to condemn Korach.

  • Anti-Semitism at Fordham?
    • Anger, fear, joy, anxiety etc. -- those are feelings. But "being a victim of antisemitism" is not a feeling (though no doubt it is accompanied by feelings): it is a perception. Feelings are subjective, but perceptions are beliefs about reality and are open to criticism as such. "I feel that I am being a victim of antisemitism" confuses the two concepts; the sentence should start "I think" or "I believe."

  • 'NYT' reporter says Palestinians must make 'concessions... they have long avoided'
    • The Israelis demand that the Palestinians give up any presence in Jerusalem, completely abandon the "right of return," accept the big settlement blocs, accept Israeli control of borders, water and airspace, and formally renounce any possibility of seeking a better deal at a later date. In exchange they will evacuate a few more small isolated settlements (with maximum drama), allow a modest expansion of the ghettoes under PA control, and grant the formal dignity of a "Palestinian state" (Palestinostan). They are living in cloud-cuckoo land to imagine that the PA could retain the minimum of legitimacy that it needs to perform its functions for Israel if it signs such a lopsided settlement. But then they are used to having their own way in everything. To discover that the Palestinians do have a few factors working in their favor and that they are not quite so totally at the mercy of Israel as they thought is therefore painful to them and they talk gibberish about how terrible it is that the Palestinians have some leverage.

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