Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 664 (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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  • Rabbi in Ohio U. controversy leads group that denies there's an occupation
    • Talkback: "In the Third Reich only Aryans were nationals and the rest only citizens."

      That is correct only for the first two years of the Third Reich. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 deprived Jews and other "non-Aryans" of citizenship.

  • Encounter at a post office
  • 'NYT' finds a model relationship for Palestinians and Israelis: collaborator and his handler
    • An autobiography of the "green prince" entitled "Son of Hamas" was published in 2010. I do not believe that it was written without guidance, censorship and quite possibly extensive ghostwriting by the Israeli secret service, on which the author has been totally dependent (even for his life) since his defection. All the same, read with care it is quite revealing. The "prince" was trusted in Hamas on account of his father, who headed Hamas on the West Bank, but he lacked the toughness needed in a resistance fighter. While in prison he agreed to work for the Israelis because he dreaded the tortures they had in store for him. Whatever ideological justification he later thought up for himself was just a way of putting a good face on that raw circumstance. I am sure that he too hates Israel for what it did to him, although he is not free to express it. I think we should have compassion for people like him -- they too are victims of Zionism.

  • Yale Jewish center to hold 'intellectual' panel on storm over ousted priest's comments-- without inviting the priest
    • Mooser: So we get to be big tough Sabras until somebody says something we don't like, and then we're all runty cheder boys being beaten up by the Poles? Which is it?

      We are big tough Sabras who imagine that we are still runty cheder boys being beaten up by the goyim, demand the sympathy due to such pitiful victims, and beat up anyone who refuses to play along.

  • The rise of 'If Not Now' and the collapse of the pro-Israel consensus
    • Why regard Husseini's testimony as so authoritative?

      Even assuming that up to 1937 all Jewish land had been legally purchased from its previous owners, I would say -- yes, the occupation had already begun at that date. Because as a result of these deals with mostly absentee landlords (effendi) the people who had actually tilled the land for unnumbered generations were evicted from their homes and native places, and this was the beginning of the process of evicting more and more Palestinians from their homes and native places -- a process later continued by extralegal as well as legal means.

      There is no special reason why Palestine, or any other country, should not have Jewish residents. But there is ample reason for Palestine to keep out Zionists. And the emotional manipulation to which you resort when you use in this very different context a German word associated with the Holocaust is truly shameless.

  • Guess who's invited to Open Hillel's first conference? Students for Justice in Palestine
    • Interesting about the P-word. I think it is felt that the existence of Palestinians cannot be acknowledged without also acknowledging the injustice done them. A Jewish woman I met at a wedding recently had a curious reaction when I used the word "Palestinians": she looked puzzled and repeated the word carefully after me. It was evidently a word she was not accustomed to hearing.

      But there was a brief period at the start of the "peace process" when the P-word penetrated Zionist discourse, wasn't there? And then it was pushed out again.

  • I quit my job at the Jewish Community Center over a pro-Israel rally and they called me an anti-semite
    • Keith: True, Adelson is not just a capitalist out to make money. That is only one of the two crucial facts about him. The other is that he is a Zionist. The problem is wealthy Zionists who use their money to support Israel. But the fact that he is also a Jew is NOT crucial because (a) there are Jews, even wealthy Jews, who are not Zionists; and b) there are Zionists, even wealthy Zionists, who are not Jews. Wealthy Zionist Christian fundamentalists are a significant part of the problem. So I object to the term "Jewish power" because it is inaccurate (the problem is Zionist power), because it unfairly implicates me and others like me who are Jewish without having significant power, and because it is associated with the classical anti-Semitic theory of a world Jewish conspiracy (though I acknowledge that not everyone who uses the term believes in that sort of theory).

    • Mooser: I was too schematic. I should have worded my point more carefully. Of course there are all sorts of permutations.

      There may also be a generational factor. You and I grew up at a time when Zionism and Judaism had not yet been effectively fused, so it was relatively easy for us to sense the difference. It is more difficult for the new generation who are presented with an apparently seamless package.

    • Keith: 'Anyone criticizing Zionism is taken to Mondo's bosom…' Yes, it's a matter of uniting against the main enemy. Or prioritizing the most urgent goal. Doesn't that make sense (within limits)? Jewish tribalism may be objectionable in itself, but it would be much less dangerous if it did not have a powerful nuclear-armed state at its disposal.

      Bear in mind also that those of us who had an intensive Jewish upbringing tend to go through a certain sequence of stages. At the first stage it is natural for us to separate ourselves from Zionism by using the intellectual tools at our immediate disposal -- that is, to borrow or try to create a specifically Jewish anti-Zionism, which may still be tribalist in some ways. Later on many of us are able to rethink that stance as we broaden our perspective.

  • Judaism's hijacking by Zionists drives 70% of secular Jews to marry non-Jews-- Koppman at Huffpo
    • Some of the laws in the Torah are not observed at all nowadays -- for instance, the command that blasphemers be stoned to death in front of the whole congregation. Terrible, isn't it?

  • The Palestinian message to Israel: Deal with us justly. Or disappear
    • A post-Zionist government could take the initiative and enter into negotiations with various countries to take joint measures that would encourage Israelis originally from those countries to return. It will depend on conditions in specific countries at the time. Who would voluntarily return to Iraq at present, for instance?

      However, many Israelis were born in Palestine. Many have parents and even grandparents who were born in Palestine and no longer have significant ties with any other country. That is a reality that might as well be faced.

      While the majority will probably adapt or leave, there might be a hard core who prefer to fight to the death or commit suicide en masse. Remember that Israeli soldiers take their oath at Massada.

  • WATCH: Ultra-Zionists protest Muslim-Jewish wedding saying miscegenation is 'gravest threat to the Jewish people'
    • I just discovered that BJP politicians in India are waging a campaign against the same phenomenon of Moslem men attracting Hindu (in this case) women. They call it "love Jihad" and claim that international terrorist groups are behind it. The response they advocate is to teach Hindu women karate! See:

      link to blog.foreignpolicy.com

    • Russian has two words corresponding to "Jew" -- yevrei means Jew in the "ethnic" sense, yudaist in the religious sense. (Actually Judaist does exist in English but is rarely used.) Not all yudaisty are yevrei and in Russia today the majority of yevrei are Christian or atheist.

      At certain times and places Jews have constituted a separate group in terms of language and culture, such as Yiddish speakers in 19th century Russia or Ladino speakers among Jews of Spanish origin. Then there are Falashas from Ethiopia, Bukharan Jews, Tat-speaking "mountain Jews" from the Caucasus, etc. So Jews have belonged to various ethnic groups, some of them specifically Jewish and many others not. They are certainly not a single ethnic group, but nor is an ethnic element in their identity always absent.

      Zionism has created a completely new ethnic group of Ivrit speakers who are mostly but not wholly of Jewish origin.

    • It's a little too convenient to blame Zionism for everything unpleasant about Jewish life. Jews were hostile to intermarriage long before Zionism entered the equation. It was customary to mourn a son or daughter who had married out as though he or she were dead and then never speak of him or her again. One of my uncles who married a Gentile was ostracized by his mother and two of his three siblings (my mother being the exception). His mother finally relented when she received a letter from his daughter. I expect that many other Jewish Mondoweiss readers could recount similar family dramas. Tribalist attitudes can exist even among anti-Zionist Jews though they make a good fit with Zionism and I think these protestors are Zionists as well as tribalists.

    • Can someone explain how a "mixed" wedding is even possible in Israel? I thought such couples had to go abroad to get married (usually to Cyprus).

  • 'NYT' journey to Israel/Palestine to be led by Israeli 'expert' who called on countrymen to 'kill and kill' Palestinians
    • The heads of the SS were also very concerned that "the men who have to do the killing" should remain "decent" family men. They concluded that this required the use of technological means that minimize face-to-face contact with the victims.

      The Nazis also believed that they were acting in preventive self-defense. In his Posen speech to SS officers on 6 October 1943, Heinrich Himmler said: "We had the moral right, we had the duty to our own people to destroy this people that wanted to destroy us." Rudolf Hoss quotes Himmler as telling his subordinates: "If we do not exterminate the Jews, the Jews will exterminate the Germans at a later date."

      In the same speech at Posen Himmler referred to Slavs as "these human animals" -- the same expression used by Soffer.

      Source: link to en.wikiquote.org

  • As Salaita's case becomes a cause, U of Illinois issues declarations on 'civility'
    • I think a distinction should be drawn between what a professor says in a professional capacity, especially in teaching, and what s/he says as a private person. A high standard of objectivity, sensitivity and respect is desirable in the professional role, but that does not negate the right to a more passionate expression of views outside of the work role. Twitter messages to friends belong to the private sphere and it is illegitimate to use them to discredit someone's professionalism.

      In practice, of course, it is often difficult to keep the two roles separate, and there is certainly a double standard. It is hard to imagine a professor getting into trouble for expressing "malice" toward Hamas, for instance.

  • Mr. Netanyahu, what is your endgame?
  • 'Common Dreams' website traps Hasbara troll spewing anti-Semitism
    • This guy is not a lone nutcase. He belongs to a time-honored Zionist tradition of provoking, encouraging, and if "necessary" faking anti-Semitism. In order to stampede Jews in Egypt and Iraq to Israel in the early 1950s, Zionist agents not only distributed anti-Semitic leaflets but also blew up cafes frequented by Jews.

  • My personal BDS
    • I should add to my last comment that good relations with Jews did not necessarily save Palestinians even from massacre. Tantura apparently had friendly relations with the neighboring Jewish settlement but there was a massacre there (see, e.g., Hana Gabriel's documentary at link to vimeo.com). I suppose that in many cases the killers did not know what kind of relations a particular village had had with Jews -- or care.

    • Marnie: Learning to "experience" the Holocaust in a personal way is intrinsic to Zionist indoctrination. There is a brilliant documentary about it by the Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir (entitled "Defamation"). Indeed, learning to relate in this way to the tribal past (as conventionally "remembered") is part of Judaic indoctrination too. The Hagadah (the guide to conducting the Passover seder) explicitly teaches that we (Jews) are obliged to imagine the escape of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt as though we had experienced it personally. And this is an event from a past even more remote than the Holocaust, if it happened at all.

      On another point, the anonymous Israeli colleague should not be allowed to get away with this:

      "Those [Palestinians] who were not suspected of being potentially hostile were allowed to stay, so ethnicity is not the issue."

      From what I have read (e.g. Pappe's book) this is simply untrue. The inhabitants of most of the villages considered "friendly to the Jews" were expelled. Some villagers were saved because neighboring Jewish settlements wanted to continue exploiting their labor. At most a history of good relations with Jews might save Palestinians from massacre, but not from expulsion.

  • Salaita’s stellar teaching record exposes political motivation behind his firing
    • Good point, lysias. Whatever a professor might say on any controversial topic, it is bound to discomfort (or offend or upset) someone. It is impossible to talk in a way that complies with the rule never to discomfort anyone. As the saying goes, "you can't please everyone, so you might as well please yourself."

      So the implicit rule is really: do not discomfort people of a certain kind. To be more specific, I think it means: do not discomfort people with conventional views. People with unconventional views such as your communist student (or it could be a socialist, anarchist, satanist, etc.) are routinely discomforted and no one gives a damn. It is a sort of class system.

      I am unsure about JeffB's claim that the "comfortable" norm has its origin in protests against hostile work environments. It doesn't seem to me an adequate explanation. If he is right, then the original meaning of the norm has been extended almost beyond recognition. Bullying, insulting or humiliating people is hardly the same as politely and respectfully challenging their opinions.

    • Clearly some role is played in this by the idea that people have a right to feel "comfortable" (at least psychologically). This seems to be an American cultural norm of sorts. Does anyone know how it developed? It is directly opposed to the spirit of real education because anything that conflicts with our deep beliefs is bound to cause discomfort.

  • Ari Shavit calls out every brutality, except the ones Israel is complicit in
    • There is an implication in Shavit's defense of the Nakba that he may not be too keen to draw out. If the right of people living in a country to stay there can be overridden by the right of other people to expel them because they have greater need of that country, then the right of Israeli Jews to remain where they are can be overridden on the same grounds. Given the plight of the Palestinians in Syria, for instance, don't they need Palestine more?

  • More Orientalist insinuations in the New York Times
  • US branch of the Jewish 'family' owes the homeland 'unconditional love' -- Rosner
    • samlebon2306: Why would they need the US when they have God?

      The trouble with God is that now and then he loses patience with the Jews and visits destruction on them (see the Bible). The US is more reliable.

  • Watch: Young Israeli Jew at Western Wall calls for 'another war and another war and another war and another war'
    • I think the desire for peace is genuine, but what it means is peace -- an untroubled life -- for their own collective, i.e., for Israel and Jews. Not for anyone else. The traditional song-prayer for peace "Oseh shalom" makes this meaning explicit, culminating in the line: "Shalom aleinu ve'al kol Israel" (Peace to us and to all Israel). The Israeli folk singer Mosh Ben Ari tried to detribalize the message by changing the line to: "Shalom aleinu ve'al kol ha'olam" (Peace to us and to all the world) -- and also introducing an Arabic version. But the original better fits the sentiments of the people in this video.

  • Professor Salaita was fired for disagreeing too vehemently with Professor Nelson
    • When I was on the faculty of Brown University I was on a hiring committee a number of times. The question of how pleasant or unpleasant it would be to have a certain candidate as a colleague was always part of the discussion. Sometimes the "clubby" criterion was crucial to the outcome. I expect it is much the same everywhere.

  • 'One nation, one state, one leader' -- frightening slogan at Tel Aviv protest
    • Chris Hedges also makes the point that Israeli lies make dialogue impossible:

      "The Big Lie destroys any possibility of history and therefore any hope for a dialogue between antagonistic parties that can be grounded in truth and reality" (Why Israel Lies, link to truthdig.com)

    • I have tried "dialogue" with Israelis, but I have found it extremely frustrating and exhausting because they are so tricky. They ignore points you make that they don't like and they absolutely refuse to consider anything from a different point of view. They constantly lie, evade, equivocate, shift goalposts, contradict themselves, etc. If they feel that a line of argument is not leading where they want it to lead, they refuse to continue with it and change the subject. If you say anything they find offensive they become abusive or hysterical. It is not real dialogue but a form of verbal warfare. So it is Israelis themselves who make dialogue impossible. I know there are exceptions, but they are rare.

    • Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer

  • 'A blind evil rage that increased forever, day and night' --Mads Gilbert on Operation Protective Edge
    • Yes, this is a crucial point that the floods of propaganda against Hamas and Hezbollah obscure and are meant to obscure, irrespective of the extent to which specific propaganda claims are true or false. Israel hates the Islamists not because they seek to establish a caliphate, not because they oppress women, not because they advocate barbaric punishments, and so on and so forth, but simply because they are among "the most resilient" in fighting the occupation. Israel has nothing against Islamists who accept the occupation (if such exist). If the majority of Palestinians were Buddhists, we would hear endless propaganda about the evils of Buddhism. Less hypothetically, if the leading forces of resistance to the occupation were not Islamists but secular leftists such as the PFLP then we would again hear much less about Islam -- instead Palestinians would be demonized as dangerous reds (like Jews used to be). Is the Shabak any softer on PFLP militants out of appreciation for their progressive positions on social issues? The very idea is ridiculous.

  • On being accused of anti-semitism by well meaning liberals
    • With rare exceptions those who complain of "lack of comparable passion" about suffering in other parts of the world do not themselves care in the least about Congo, Tibet, etc. It is just another spiel devised to counterattack critics of Israel.

  • My friends say I'm being too nice to Hamas
  • Moshe Feiglin's vision of liberating Gaza by driving Palestinians into the Sinai --Updated
    • Feiglin is silent on a very important point. Deportation across state borders requires not only the initiative of the deporting state but also the passive or active cooperation of the receiving state or states. Up to 1939 the Nazis were glad to "let the Jews leave"; the problem was who would take them in. Will Egypt willingly accept a couple of million more Palestinian refugees? Surely not.

      Feiglin must understand this perfectly well. He is not a stupid man. His silence does not mean he has not thought about this aspect. It means he does not want to reveal his thoughts, at least in public. Israeli 'transfer' advocates have suggested that Israel might first occupy the destination area and then carry out the deportation unilaterally. In this case that means reconquering the Sinai.

      But the Sinai is mostly desert. How would it support the resettlement of two million people from Gaza? Perhaps Israel will "make the desert bloom" for them? Ha ha.

      Note an inconsistency in Feiglin's presentation. First he says: "Sinai is not far from Gaza and they can leave. This will be the limit of Israel’s humanitarian efforts." This clearly implies that Israel will do nothing to help the people it has deported. Further on he talks about giving them "generous" aid. I would guess though that where he says "they can leave [and] this will be the limit" he is expressing his real attitude. After all, when in the past has Israel ever given aid to those it has expelled?

      So the prospect of real genocide is perilously close here. There are historical precedents for driving people into the desert as a means of genocide. The Hereros of southwest Africa were driven into the Kalahari in the first decade of the last century. Many Armenian deportees were also driven into the desert to perish in 1915.

  • "There's nothing exceptional or heroic about a Jew standing against Zionism'
    • It's revealing how the police grab Koerner even though he has violated no formal law. No nonsense about freedom of speech in the region's "only democracy"!

      What Koerner did was perhaps not exceptional -- there was a time though when it would have been -- but it is still rather unusual.

  • Elie Wiesel plays the Holocaust trump card in Gaza
    • Does the story of Abraham and Isaac really reject human sacrifice? Its main message, after all, is that a God-fearing person should at least be willing to sacrifice his child at God's command. Whether the sacrifice is consummated is up to God, not man. Real rejection requires a resolute refusal by human beings that does not depend on God's intentions and wishes.

      Anyway, the top brass of the IDF do clearly believe in human sacrifice and practice it on a large scale. They sacrifice not only Arabs but even "their own people." A case in point is the notorious "Hannibal directive," which commands the IDF to thwart enemy capture of an Israeli soldier alive at any cost, even if that means killing the captive. The purpose is to prevent recurrence of the situation in which pressure from the Jewish Israeli public forces the government to negotiate a prisoner exchange, release a large number of Palestinian prisoners, and then go to all the trouble of arresting them again, wasting valuable time, effort, and resources.

  • Video: Mark Regev, deciphered
    • Zionist sites are highlighting a claim made on Israeli TV that Hamas has executed 20 people in Gaza for holding an antiwar protest. Does anyone have any information on this?

  • More voices describe Gaza slaughter as a 'genocide'
    • I don't think the Zionists are categorically committed to genocide. They just don't want the Palestinians in Palestine. If they were all to be transported by magic to other parts of the world -- or, better still, to another planet -- the Zionists would be quite satisfied. The trouble is that this is not going to happen.

  • Video: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis
    • Piotr: "A large number of people who do not believe in God, but believe that God gave the Holy Land to the Jews."

      There's a perfectly simple explanation. God used to exist but now he's dead.

    • I humbly suggest that Israel establish a special agency that would allocate special stickers to Gaza residents who can prove beyond reasonable doubt that they have never voted for or otherwise supported Hamas. The lucky sticker holders would display them prominently on their clothing, vehicles, donkeys etc. and the IDF would of course take extraordinary care to avoid hurting them in any way.

    • In southeast Ukraine it is mainly the government forces, backed by the US, that are tormenting innocent civilians on a scale similar to Israel's war on Gaza (over 1150 civilians killed so far, 100,000 or so refugees). Kerry is advocating sanctions against another country that is helping the anti-government side (the so-called "pro-Russian rebels"). It's the equivalent of demanding sanctions against Iran for helping Hamas. No inconsistency whatsoever! Always back the perpetrators, not the victims.

  • As night follows the day, deaths of 10 Israeli soldiers lead to deaths of 30 Palestinian civilians
    • The ratio of 3:1 is rather moderate, I think. The overall casualty figures suggest a ratio of at least 20:1. It could go higher, of course, but it is a long way from the 100:1 ratio the Nazis used and this shows how absurd it is to compare Zionism with Nazism (at least for the time being).

  • ‘Lone soldiers’ and young ideologues from around the world contribute to Israeli war crimes
  • Attacks on demonstrators in Rome
  • (Updated) In Photos: Worldwide protest against Israeli attack on Gaza
    • Resistance can take forms that are quite effective, relatively safe, and difficult for Israeli PR to exploit. For instance, instead of throwing stones at tanks and soldiers kids in the West Bank could scatter them on settler roads. Operating in small groups at night, they could scatter pebbles (selected for sharpness) from access points (as agile youngsters they would be able to clamber up slopes), finish the job in a few seconds, and return home. In the morning tires would burst and halt the cars of settlers commuting to jobs in Jerusalem and other places inside the Green Line. This would cause few if any serious casualties but it would create numerous road blockages and long delays, thereby making daily commutes infeasible for many settlers. Together with other sabotage tactics (against electricity lines etc.), this would discourage Israelis from moving to settlements and encourage many existing settlers to leave.

    • The best use for rockets is against Israeli warplanes and gunboats. Last time a few planes were shot down and Israel didn't even try to squeeze any propaganda value out of that because who (apart from ultra-Zionists) is going to sympathize with pilots terror bombing a civilian population? And yet Israeli leaders must be much more worried by Palestinian air defense capacity than by the rockets they complain about publicly. For one thing, those planes cost a lot of money.

  • Claim that Hamas killed 3 teens is turning out to be the WMD of Gaza onslaught
    • Parts of the Israeli power elite even today have a certain "British" flavor because Israel grew out of the British mandatory regime in Palestine. There was a lot of continuity. Key figures among the founders of the IDF were influenced by pro-Zionist British officers (other British officers took the other side) and especially by the British military expert and historian Basil Liddell Hart.

  • Oren's charge that networks showcase Palestinian dead at behest of Hamas is 'obscene' -- Penhaul
    • If Hamas strategy is to “drag Israel” into Gaza and “get Israel to kill large numbers of civilians” and prominent Israelis like Ambassador Oren are aware of the fact, then why does Israel walk into the trap set for it? It could defeat Hamas strategy by leaving Gaza alone, lifting the siege, and not killing civilians.

  • Fox's Hannity abuses Yousef Munayyer, says he has a 'thick head'
  • Israel's actions 'unjustified' in eyes of women, non-whites, Dems, indy's, and those under 50 -- Gallup
    • We are dealing here with two variables both of which have a strong impact on people's views and that are also quite strongly correlated with one another -- i.e., formal educational level and class privilege (as reflected in wealth, income, status, etc.). In this situation an assessment of the impact of one of the variables is valid only if some way is found to compensate for the confounding influence of the other variable. In other words, in order to assess the impact of one variable (education) it is necessary to disentangle it from the other (class privilege).

      One way to do this is to compare people at different educational levels separately for each level of class privilege. My guess is that if that were done it would show education as having a positive impact even on the I-P issue. Much depends on the content and style of education -- some types of education encourage independent thinking, others discourage it. But in general highly educated people tend to have access to more information and are therefore less vulnerable to manipulation by the mass media. People who combine a high level of education with poverty and low social status, such as graduates who remain unemployed for a long period or have to accept menial jobs, tend to be the most radical social group.

  • Horrifying details continue to emerge of massacre in Khuza'a
    • "Little" massacres are probably perpetrated by small groups of soldiers on their own initiative "for fun" but big massacres like this one are presumably orchestrated from above in the service of some strategic purpose. In this case I suspect the Israelis have decided to depopulate a broader zone along the border.

  • Berkeley rabbi mounts a soapbox in my living room
  • The deafening silence around the Hamas proposal for a 10-year truce
    • Israel put a great deal of effort into pushing Hamas and the PA into an intra-Palestinian civil war, in which they would have given Fatah supplies and other aid and ensure it won. All that effort went to waste. The fact that the PA defied strongly expressed Israeli wishes and formed a unity government instead also showed Israel that even its control over the PA is rather limited. Naturally the Israelis felt frustrated.

    • Seafoid: "They're just helpless."

      More specifically, I would guess they are frightened of being beaten to a pulp or killed by "patriotic" vigilantes like those who attacked the protestors in Haifa.

  • Watch: 9 Jewish activists arrested after occupying Friends of the Israel Defense Forces office
  • Mr. Modi-- do not court apartheid Israel in my name
    • Thank you for a very interesting article. There are indeed many resemblances between Israel under Netanyahu and India under Modi as well as between Zionism and Hindutva as ideologies. In both cases we see a combination of confessionally based militant nationalism with neoliberal globalism. Logically there could hardly be anything more contradictory, but in practice they fit together as snugly as a glove on a mailed fist.

  • Naomi Wolf walked out of synagogue when they had nothing to say about Gaza massacre
  • Finally, Israel is alienating the US mainstream media
    • The last time Israel invaded Gaza, the ceasefire was supposed to be followed by Egyptian-mediated negotiations on the siege and other outstanding issues. But then we never heard any more about it. Either no such negotiations took place or they led nowhere.

  • Massacre in Gaza: At least 60 killed in Shuja'iyeh, over 60,000 in UN shelters
    • But why don't they just continue spouting the line about it being Hamas' fault for not building air raid shelters? That one too was probably coordinated -- there was a big article in Commentary that may have been used as a model.

  • Israeli military destroyed el-Wafa hospital even though it knew there were no weapons inside
    • I would like to know exactly how these arrangements for communication between the Red Cross and the IDF work. Are the Red Cross representatives really in contact with the individuals who make the decisions? I very much doubt it. There is probably a special unit in the IDF for dealing with the Red Cross and the people in that unit are probably only sporadically in contact with decision makers. I am guessing, but that would explain a lot. Of course, this would not relieve the IDF top brass of responsibility because they would have deliberately arranged things this way in order to prevent the Red Cross from exerting any effective influence.

  • Israeli police ransack Tariq Abu Khdeir family home and arrest relatives in apparent revenge raid
    • Palestinian-Americans are a very significant threat to Israel's hold over US politics. Blackmail with their relatives in Palestine as hostages is an obvious way to keep their mouths shut. Targeting them directly would be unnecessarily risky.

  • How can Human Rights Watch conclude an Israeli didn't want to kill 4 boys on the beach?
    • There is also plenty of relevant evidence in the testimony collected from Israeli soldiers by the "Breaking the Silence" organization. For instance, there is testimony about soldiers deliberately goading kids to throw stones so that they can then shoot them down. They do this because they are bored and crave some "action" (i.e., killing).

      Why do decent humanitarians like HRW find these things so hard to "imagine"? The individuals who write such things must simply not know very much about Israeli realities. Those who have made an honest study of even some of the numerous available sources do not need to "imagine" -- they know. But NGO reports are edited by generalists who know little about any particular issue. Perhaps, being such nice people themselves and lacking personal experiences that would help to disillusion them, they just cannot grasp the motives that inspire the behavior of sadists. And I suppose they view the Israelis as "Jewish" and associate Jewishness with sensitivity and gentleness -- an archaic view from pre-Zionist times that seems to survive somehow from sheer inertia.

  • Why I, a Palestinian-American Muslim, went to the White House Iftar and what I learned
    • When something happens that is so much worse, so much more brazen than anything you were expecting, the shock of it can have a paralyzing effect and prevent you from reacting. However, you should not have made public your resolve to react next time. There won't be a next time. They won't invite you again.

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