Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 874 (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


Showing comments 874 - 801

  • 'Foreign Policy' says 'Israel lobby' donors are making 'pro-Israel the new circumcision'
    • Pabelmont: It is not only "gay" people who are unwilling to be "outed."

      Very true. It has been true ever since Zionism acquired a dominant position in the Jewish community.

      A late friend of mine in London told me that when he set up an anti-Zionist committee all the Jewish business contacts whom he approached were willing to give him money but on the strict condition that he would not "out" them. They were afraid of being boycotted and ruined.

      When local Zionists were intriguing to get me fired from my university post I was greatly helped by closet anti-Zionist Jews who willingly kept me informed of what was afoot.

      If all these people came out of the closet I suspect that might in itself suffice to tip the balance.

  • Israel isn't worried about ISIS
    • Like Al-Qaeda, from which it is a splinter group, IS probably gets its main outside support from wealthy and influential Saudis. I have yet to see convincing evidence of a link with Israel, though I wouldn't exclude the possibility.

      It seems to me, however, that Israel and IS are "objectively" allied because they have a shared perceived interest in fomenting chaos in the region. The IS strategy is based on the idea that chaos will eventually enable them to establish a powerful Islamic state. Israel does not want that to happen, but it too values chaos for a different reason. Israel thinks that chaos will eliminate any regional power capable of challenging Israel. Indeed, Syria has already lost its capacity to mount any such challenge. But they want Iran out of the game as well. That is why they are pulling out the stops to avert the "threat" of cooperation between Iran and the West against IS, which practical considerations make an appealing option. So Israeli strategy objectively benefits IS, while IS strategy objectively benefits Israel, at least in the short run. There is no need for the postulate that they are conscious allies.

  • 'NYT' only counts Jews when it pronounces Thursday 'deadliest day of violence'
    • When I noticed the title to this article I thought it referred to the terror attacks in Paris and was just a little surprised the NYT would be so frank in that context. Not yet, I suppose.

    • The Zionists are not and have never been against anti-Semitism. They regard and have always regarded anti-Semitism as an important positive factor in stimulating the growth of Jewish "national" consciousness and uniting Jews around their banner. Their problem is that there is simply not enough anti-Semitism in today's world for their purposes. Therefore they try to find it where it does not exist, simulate and encourage it, conjure it into existence. I have explained this before and I shall continue explaining it until people grasp it.

  • ISIS as a fascist movement
    • I don't know enough about Islamic State to assess whether it is fascist. However, it is inconsistent to oppose use of the term Islamo-fascist because it might be interpreted as condemnatory of Islam but then to use the terms Judeo-fascist and Christio-fascist, which could similarly be interpreted as condemnatory of Judaism and Christianity.

  • Theocratic Israel
    • Other things that a cohen must avoid in order to remain pure are marriage to a divorced woman and contact with a corpse. Only pure cohanim will be able to serve as priests in the Temple when it is restored. For more on the subject see the Facebook page of "Cohanim International Congress".

  • The way for Americans to take on the Islamic state is to end support for Jewish nationalism
  • DC protests mark the end of PEP era -- progressive except Palestine
    • When an era ends can only be judged in retrospect. but there's no need to deny that some progress has been made.

      The unity that protestors have achieved is made possible by the drift toward extremism in Israeli society and politics, which blurs the inner division between anti-Zionists and "moderate" critics of Israeli policy. That division will reassert itself if more respectable politicians return to power in Israel. I suppose though that that is unlikely to happen.

  • Zionism, anti-blackness, and the struggle for Palestine
    • Two kinds of racism are common in Israel and among "white" (i.e., pinko-gray) Jews in other countries. One is Jewish racism aimed against Gentiles of all colors. The other is white racism aimed against blacks, including black Jews. The two kinds are logically incompatible but happily coexist in practice, even inside the same heads.

      In rabbinical (Talmudic) Judaism you can find both kinds of racism. Zionism originated as a secular European colonial movement marked more by white than by Jewish racism, but with the rise of a more specifically Judaic (religious) variant of Zionism (the Rabbis Kook etc.) it came to combine both kinds.

      The entry of a largish number of black African refugees into Israel has stimulated more open expression of the white racist component, and this obviously creates clearer common ground between Palestinians and black people in the US and elsewhere. If this development had not occurred the link would have remained more tenuous because Palestinians look no blacker than Israeli Jews. Both are a mix of white and in-between. In the absence of distinctive clothing you really can't tell the two groups apart, which is unsurprising given that they largely share the same ancestry.

    • How many Americans even know what a Jacobin is?

  • I went from Bar Mitzvah to BDS at Temple Emanu-el
  • Israeli army makes post in Hebron activist house
  • When Palestinian 'protection' stands in the way of equality
  • Ghada Karmi comes to New York and DC
  • Video: Israeli military tells Palestinian refugee camp, 'We will gas you until you die'
  • (Update) This year for Halloween your child too can help defend the Israeli occupation
    • Indeed, the "Sheik Fagin' (not 'Fagan') nose is anti-semitic in the broad sense. That is, it mocks both Arabs and Jews, who supposedly share the same deformed nose. Fagin is the master of the child pickpockets in Charles Dickens' novel "Oliver Twist." It is a good example of how one form of racism opens the door to another.

  • Dear Chief Rabbi, your sermon on Palestinian violence failed tests of moral and communal leadership
    • Like Hilary Clinton, Rabbi Mirvis is willing to condemn only Palestinian violence against Jews while studiously ignoring Jewish violence against Palestinians. As it is highly implausible that he should be totally unaware of Jewish violence, his silence indicates indifference at best and approval at worst. It seems too soft to accuse him merely of cowardice and poor leadership.

      Speeches like this amount to incitement. Obviously he is inciting Jews to hate Palestinians, despite hypocritical blather about "communication and healing" (while actually pushing the knife deeper into the flesh). He is also inciting Palestinians to hate Jews because that is the natural human reaction to being treated with such callous hypocrisy. As Shylock said, Palestinians also bleed and they too (or at least some of them) are bound to seek revenge.

  • Has Netanyahu's revisionism ended the use of the Holocaust as enabler of Israeli injustice toward Palestinians?
    • Zionist historiography has always placed great emphasis on the Grand Mufti's alliance with Nazi Germany as a way of presenting the Palestinians as successors to the Nazis in a recurrent drive to destroy the Jews ("in every generation they rise up against us"). The purpose is to create an association at the emotional level so that Jews can feel that by being cruel to the Palestinians they are avenging the Jews killed in the Holocaust. Netanyahu is pushing the idea a bit further, but it is not fundamentally new.

  • Goldberg says the root of the conflict is the Palestinians' anti-Jewish 'narrative'
    • When Goldberg dismisses the idea that Zionism is a form of European colonialism he reveals his abysmal ignorance of the history of the Zionist movement, because until colonialism lost its legitimacy after World War Two the Zionists themselves always represented themselves as European colonial settlers. They assumed there was nothing wrong with that. They sold Zionism to the European colonial powers on precisely that basis -- look how useful we can be to you as a bulwark of European civilization against Asiatic barbarism!

  • Israel gets away with it because it is a global arms supplier -- Halper
    • catalan: The world is a diverse place. Christians are not the winners in Iraq. Christians are not the winners in Syria. Christians are not the winners in Indonesia. Christians are not the winners in Palestine... And plenty of people in "Christian" countries are losers in terms of wealth and power despite being Christians.

    • Emory Riddle: Halper is pointing out that there is more than one elephant in the room. His focus on Elephant B does not necessarily reflect a subconscious (let alone a conscious) desire to distract attention from Elephant A. Both matter.

      Israel rightly worries that its influence over America and Europe is gradually declining and in particular that the time may be coming when Israel can no longer count on US support. Cultivation of Russia, India and China is a deliberate strategy to insure against that eventuality. Israel's relations with those countries are not solely economic. In particular, all three countries also face secessionist and "terrorist" threats from forces that are viewed as Islamic (Russia in the Caucasus, India in Kashmir, China in Xinjiang) and this creates a basis for security cooperation.

    • What I find most remarkable in the close cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia is the apparent incompatibility of their official ideologies. Both privilege one religion over others, but while Israel discriminates against non-Jews the Saudis discriminate against non-Moslems, including Jews, who are denied freedom of public worship and access to Mecca and Medina. Saudi Arabia treats Jews much worse than Iran does, but the Zionists make hardly any fuss about it. How wide the abyss between professed ideology and the reality of power politics!

  • Hillary Clinton expresses alarm for Israeli Jews, and not one word about Palestinian victims
    • A comment on the news item quoted by Annie:

      "The victim of the stabbing attack in Kiryat Ata has been identified as a Jewish Israeli man. According to initial assessments he is the victim of a failed revenge attack by another Israeli Jew who assumed he was an Arab because of his Middle-Eastern appearance."

      But he probably WAS an Arab -- a Jewish Arab who came (or whose parents or grandparents came) from an Arab country.

    • hophmi: "Hilary didn't recognize the right of Palestinians"

      She didn't mention Palestinians at all. Judging by her statement it is quite possible that she believes the attacks on Israelis came from Martians.

  • Ayotte, Rubio and de Blasio are bought and paid for by the 'magnificent' Israel lobby
    • In medieval times the Jews typically formed a special caste at the service of the ruling stratum (there were expressions like "the King's Jews" and "the lord's Jews"). They were used as agents in the exploitation of the lower orders, as tax collectors, bailiffs, managers, innkeepers, leaseholders of estates, etc., and of course provided a useful lightning rod for popular discontent. So they did kick ass and at the same time their ass was kicked by their masters.

      In terms of Jewish power Zionism may have given the world something a little "better" than the medieval model, even though that was not the original intention of the Zionist movement, which was to refashion the Jews as a "normal" nation.

  • Rescuing atheism from Harris and Hitchens
    • It is a gross exaggeration to say that atheism is in vogue. It would still be suicidal for any candidate for US president to proclaim himself or herself an atheist. It may be in vogue in certain circles, but hardly in the population as a whole. Therefore even the politically most objectionable atheists are still dissidents in some ways.

  • Facing Reality: Jewish terrorism is no longer limited to just a few bad seeds
    • a blah chick: "Mayhem might be saying that Jews need to get stop blaming themselves for all the bad things that happen to the Palestinians. Sometimes the Palestinians themselves provoke a Jewish response by flaunting their success without showing due deference. I think, maybe that’s the argument."

      Yes, he may read into the article the implicit message that the backlash is wrong, of course, but also an understandable reaction to the "provocative" insolence of those uppity Palestinians who no longer know their place. Which was the traditional attitude taken toward Jews by apologists for anti-Semitism.

    • I just read the article, which is of considerable interest and does not in fact support Mayhem's insinuation that "both sides" share the blame. The article argues that Palestinian citizens of Israel have greatly strengthened their position within Israeli society and the Israeli economy and that the wave of anti-Arab incitement and violence is a backlash against this change.

  • Settlers gawk as Palestinian woman lies dying at checkpoint (Update)
    • Kris: Certainly the Zionists and the Nazis have an awful lot in common.

      There were Nazis who recognized this, though Hitler did not. There are also pro-Zionist groups among present-day Nazis, like National Socialists for Israel (in Germany). It is this sort of "toughness" that wins their respect and leads them to the conclusion that Hitler was wrong about the Jews.

  • 'NYT' and 'NYRB' publish important pieces on Jewish terrorism
    • Ashkenazi Jews are PARTLY descended from the Khazars. There are certain Jewish families who have preserved the memory of their Khazar origins. I met a man at a conference who proudly told me that he was of Khazar origin -- he was from the Crimea and his name was Kazarin, which is a bit of a giveaway. The Karaite and Krymchaks of Crimea are undoubtedly of Khazar origin. However, Ashkenazi Jews are partly of Slavic origin (many members of Slavic tribes converted to Judaism under Khazar rule) and partly of ancient Judean origin.

      It seems very likely that Palestinians are also partly of ancient Judean origin. It was only the priestly castes that were exiled to Babylon while the rest of the population stayed in Palestine (the so-called "people of the land"). Probably the Palestinians are of ancient Judean origin to a much greater extent than the Ashkenazi Jews.

    • Zionist terrorism has always been carefully designed to achieve specific results and has therefore achieved them, whether sabotaging diplomacy or inducing Palestinian flight. It has often been hard to understand what specific effects terrorist acts by Palestinians were designed to achieve and I suspect that there has usually been no such design (except for the PFLP). As a result they achieve nothing and are often counterproductive.

      In his "Personal History" Vincent Sheehan -- an Irish-American journalist who visited Palestine in 1929 and lost his initial sympathy for Zionism in the light of his own observations -- presents evidence that Zionists deliberately provoked and privately welcomed Arab massacres of Jews, which could be effectively exploited to win international support for the Zionist cause. Few Palestinians understood at that time that the crucial arena was the struggle for international opinion. Now they increasingly do understand that and that is why they will win.

  • Losing My Religion: A high holy days reflection
    • pabelmont: Moti has lost his illusions (or some of them). Hopefully he will find a way to salvage the sense of community and other positive values that he identified with Judaism.

      MHughes976: According to a website about "the re-established Jewish Sanhedrin" (link to the Sanhedrin functioned under Roman rule and even continued to function for over 400 years after the destruction of the Temple. I'm no expert on the relationship between the priestly (later rabbinical) and the Roman authorities, but both the Christian Gospels and Talmudic tradition are consistent with the view that the Romans allowed the priests a considerable degree of autonomy.

    • Since my childhood I too used to be impressed with the humanitarian sentiment of the biblical verses urging kindness toward the stranger "because you were strangers in the Land of Egypt." But recently I read some of the Talmudic rules about how to treat the resident stranger (GER TOSHAV) and discovered that the meaning isn't as clear as it looks.

      The stranger in ancient Judea was under the jurisdiction of the rabbinical court (bet din) and could be put to death for any violation of the seven Noahide commandments by a single judge on the testimony of a single (male Jewish) witness. He was treated more harshly than a Jew for the same crime. For example, a Jew was executed for blasphemy only if he directly blasphemed against God, while a stranger was executed even for indirect blasphemy (that is, if he used a substitute expression for God). Murdering a Jew was a capital crime; murdering a stranger was considered wrong but it was up to God to punish the murderer, not the Bet Din.

      The position of the GER TOSHAV in ancient Judea was similar (in some important respects even identical) to the position of the Jewish or Christian dhimmi in classical Islamic society, as regulated by the Pact of Umar -- a position of institutionalized oppression and humiliation. Just as Islamic scriptures urged Moslems to ameliorate the oppression of the dhimmi by being nice to him (in particular, abstaining from killing him), so Judaic scripture contains the same injunctions to be kind to the GER TOSHAV. The hypocritical character of these injunctions is clear only to those who have some knowledge of the context.

      Of course, these Talmudic rules were inoperative for a couple of millennia while the Jews were in "exile" and had no Temple or Sanhedrin. But in an increasingly theocratic State of Israel, where in recent years there has even been an assembly of rabbis claiming the status of a reconstituted Sanhedrin (at least in embryo), they are again coming to be viewed as operative. So the ancient oppression of the strangers resident in the land provides an additional model for the modern oppression of Palestinians and other Gentiles.

  • Video: Israel's celebrated Labour Party 'is the mother and father of racism', says member of Knesset
    • For historical background on how the Israeli Labor Party became what it is, see Professor Ze'ev Sternhell's classical study "The Founding Myths of Israel: Nationalism, Socialism, and the Making of the Jewish State." He shows how Ben Gurion shaped the party to ensure that nationalism would always have priority over "socialism." In fact, the "socialism" was in the service of the nationalism. Under the conditions then prevailing the Zionist proto-state (the Yishuv) could only cohere on a collectivist basis. It was from the start an exclusively Jewish collective.

  • The Israel lobby is alive and well-- and split
  • BDS is here to stay: Message to a CT synagogue
  • The 'Pallywood' smear: Viral images of Palestinian boy's brutalization brings backlash
    • Are the IDF soldiers who so regularly succumb to these provocations really just "set up as villains"? Isn't it much more likely that they are actively collaborating with the enemy? Shouldn't they all be suspended from duty and investigated for treason? For the sake of Israel's security.

  • 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

      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

  • 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 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 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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